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Video: The magic is still there for Wizzo the Wizard

Erin Sauder

Marshall Brodien began dabbling in magic when he was 8 years old.

“When I started eating fire, it drove my mother crazy,” he said.

These days, the well-known magician who used to portray Wizzo the Wizard on “The Bozo Show” still makes public appearances in the Chicago area, sometimes with the assistance of his wife, Mary, and designs magic sets for children through a company called Cadaco Toys that are sold in stores all over the country.

Most recently, his autobiography, titled “The Magical Life of Marshall Brodien,” was released.

A Geneva resident for more than a decade, Marshall Brodien has made his basement into a museum of memorabilia. In it are costumes from Brodien’s years as Wizzo, magic sets he’s designed, photos taken with other famous magicians, including David Copperfield and David Blaine, and the Emmy Award he won in 1992 with the cast of “The Bozo Show.”

“I had all this stuff in boxes and my wife said, ‘Why don’t you put it out?’” Brodien said.

He also has a bottle of Louie the 13th cognac, given to him by Chicago mobster Jackie Cerone, after doing some tricks for Cerone and his friends at a party. The average price range for a bottle of Louie the 13th is about $1,500.

Mary Brodien describes life with her husband as “fun.”

“I was a very serious person before I met Marshall,” she said. “But people are always laughing here. We have delivery people come and they don’t want to leave.”

She said her husband will use whatever is around to do magic.

“When we’re in restaurants he’ll make the bread float,” she said.

Brodien played the wacky wizard from the magical land of Arobia on “The Bozo Show” for more than 25 years, from 1968 to 1995.

Different Bozos existed in different parts of the country, but the Chicago TV station WGN’s Bozo was arguably the most popular and the longest running.

In its prime, it was not uncommon to be put on a 10-year waiting list for tickets to the show.

Sometimes, people who knew Brodien was a magician would ask if he knew Wizzo.

“They’d say, ‘He’s really weird. What is he on?’” he said with a laugh. “It was fun being a different person.”

When asked his thoughts on people who have a fear of clowns, Marshall Brodien is stumped.

“Why are they afraid of clowns?” he said, shaking his head.