Harry Blackstone, Sr.
Harry Blackstone, Jr.
At any given time, Gay may be producing award-wining shows for television, providing technical management for stage spectaculars, or carefully overseeing quality control for her latest venture…the production of exquisite, top-of-the line jewelry. She is truly a renaissance woman.
Arla Gay Blevins first caught the public's eye as a two-year-old, when her sparkling face graced the cover of LOOK magazine. Naturally comfortable in front of audiences, Gay popped up in myriad show business venues as she grew older. She was a member of The Howdy Doody Show "Peanut Gallery", and a "Ding-a-Ling" on The Andy Williams Show. She later honed her dancing skills, and landed recurring roles with the prestigious San Francisco Ballet Company and on The Dean Martin Variety Show as one of the famous "Golddiggers."
What began as a one-time gig assisting Harry Blackstone Jr. on a magic show turned into a lifelong love affair, not only with the world-renowned illusionist, but with the world of magic and the entertainment industry as a whole. Arla Gay Blevins became Mrs. Harry Blackstone Jr. on October 14, 1974…..a date which marked the beginning of a new chapter in the Blackstone legacy.
Gay's introduction to the art of magic was something of a baptism by fire. With Harry, she ably performed the various, and often uncomfortable duties of magician's assistant, but also became extremely adept at the various other elements required to elevate a magic show to the status of full-fledged theatrical production. Gay's dancing skills made her a natural to assume the role of choreographer.
Her television appearances provided her with a keen sense of wardrobe design and construction. Add to these qualities an inherent sense of business acumen, sharp directorial skills, hands-on knowledge of lighting, music, rigging, and animal-wrangling, among other unique qualities, and it's no wonder that Gay soon became co-producer of the Blackstone Magic Show - one of the most successful shows of it's kind in history, as evidenced by the fact that the Blackstones set box-office records after opening at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway on May 14, 1980.
Harry's untimely death on May 14, 1997 certainly created a void in her life. Yet, in true Blackstonian tradition, Gay decided the show, and her life, must go on. She continued to expand her areas of expertise, and soon became recognized as a walking encyclopedia of things theatrical.
Although the big show has since been warehoused, Gay has selectively made arrangements for some of Harry's signature pieces to be performed by a few recognized professionals, with the caveat that the effects be performed in Harry's memory. She also provides tricks and illusions to motion picture and television studios, and coaches actors, directors and producers who wish to add a touch of magic to their productions.
Although her plate seems constantly full, Gay finds time to serve as Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California, teaching choreography for television and film. She also serves on the Board of Directors at Hollywood's famous Magic Castle as Vice President.
As if she isn't busy enough, Gay continues to be a featured speaker and performer at magic conventions worldwide. She has served as director and producer of several magic-oriented television shows for PBS, CBS, PAX, HBO and NBC networks. Gay has coached and provided magic illusions for such notable performers as New Kids on the Block; Earth, Wind & Fire; Alice Cooper; Michael Jackson and The Boys Choir of Harlem, among others.
She has appeared at practically every major hotel and casino in the United States and, with Harry, toured throughout the country with one of the largest traveling mystery revues in theatrical history.
In 1999 and 2000, Gay served as executive producer of the successful, two-hour World Magic Awards television specials. She also executive-produced the 15-show television series, Masters of Illusion.
She recently served as producer of a new bound-for-Broadway show, The Magician and is the creative consultant and segment producer for Siegfried & Roy Present Darren Romeo - The Voice of Magic.
Her input has also been sought by Penn & Teller; The Walt Disney Company; Nickelodeon; Amazon.com; Honda; Cadillac and Nabisco corporations.
Gay's four-part television and DVD series for Time-Life Corporation, Kids 100 Favorite Songs, netted her a Telly award. She's authored a popular book on basic magic, Around the House Magic, and, together with Harry and Charles Reynolds, produced the popular Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusion.
Although Gay has certainly diversified in recent years, her loyalty to magic and to Harry is unfailing. This is evidenced by another of her projects, a DVD tribute to The Blackstone Magic Show featuring virtually all of the Blackstone masterpieces in actual performance. The DVD, affectionately titled, Blackstone - Magical Moments, is an accurate and loving tribute to the Blackstone legacy.
Earlier this year, she co-produced The Magic of Wynn - a spectacular, fill-the-stage television special which is currently airing.
As the co-founder of BJW Jewelry, one of her most recent endeavors, Gay painstakingly oversees the development and production of a line of exquisite, finely detailed 18K and Sterling Silver jewelry. Not surprisingly, ALL of the pieces are of a magical nature and are rapidly being sought by collectors of fine jewelry and precision apparatus throughout the world.
And what does the future hold for Gay?
One thing’s for sure.
Whatever project, concept, or idea that heads her way will be embraced with the exuberance, professionalism and dedication which has earned Gay Blackstone her well-deserved and enviable reputation as one of the most prolific exponents of practical theatrical expertise in the world of show business.
- Magic Castle/The Academy of Magical Arts President –2006 -2008
- Magic Castle/The Academy of Magical Arts - Board of Directors – 2002 – Present
- Community Leaders Board for the College of Arts and Letters at California State University San Bernardino 2009
- Woman of Distinction Award from Hollywood Chamber of Commerce - 2007 Honoree
- Los Angeles Business Journal – Front Page Feature Story
- Board of Directors Warwick Pictures – Houston, Texas
- California State University at San Bernardino – The Harry Blackstone III Library
- Ronald McDonald House – Loma Linda, CA Board of Directors
- Adjunct Professor, University of Southern California teaching Choreography for television and film, performance and production, advisor George Burns Award
- Author of book “Around the House Magic”
2002 - Current:
- Executive Producer – “Masters of Illusion –LIVE!” Tour 2011 to Present – US, Canada, Singapore, Manila, and Peru
80 shows in 46 venues, 26 states, 5 countries, and 3 continents (first two season
- Executive Producer - “Masters of Illusion” Television Series for immediate release for Sony International
- Executive Producer - “Masters of Illusion” Television Series for 2014 release CW Network http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cw-revives-magic-show-masters-585645
- Executive Producer – “World Magic Awards” - 2 Hour Network Special Hosts Neil Patrick Harris, Sir Roger Moore, Robert Wagner, Jonathon Franks, and Bob Saget
- Creative Consultant & Segment Producer for Illusionist “Hans Klok – The Beauty of Magic”
Featuring Pamela Anderson June 2007 at The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Executive Producer – “Masters of Illusion- Impossible Magic!” 15 hours of Magic and Variety
Producer/Creator Magic Stage Show at The Bayside Theater Lighthouse in Fukuoka, Japan - 2010
Producer/Creator “Ai & Yuki” Show – US and Asia 2007 - 2009
- U.S. Producer for “The Illusions of Lawrence Khong – A Magical Musical Adventure!” Spring Tour 2006
- Creative Consultant – Illusionist David Blaine Television
- NAACP Image Awards Special Effects Consultant for Television - 2005
- Producer Illusionist “Darren Romeo: The Voice of Magic” at The Welk Theatre in Branson, MO
- Producer of Boy Scouts of America Grey Back District Recognition Evenings – 2002 & 2003
- Producer - Darren Romeo:“Live in Berlin at Pump, Duck and Circumstance”
- Producer & Creator of International Female Illusionist My Uyen – Television Special and Casino Stage Show
- Creative Consultant/Show Analyst for Disney Cruise Line
- Producer of Telly Award Winning Four Part Television series for Time Life – “Kids 100 Favorite Songs”
- Creative Advisor for Penn and Teller “Sin City” Television Series
- Creative Consultant, Staging & Segment Producer for
“Siegfried & Roy Present – Darren Romeo: The Voice of Magic” at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
- Adjunct Professor University of Southern California –
- Choreography for television and film, performance and production, advisor George Burns Award
- Hosted multiple episodes of “The Story of Magic” – Canadian Television Series
- Author of “Around the House Magic”
- Special Events Producer – Amazon, Nickelodeon
- Creative Consultant for multiple Films and Television Series
- Corporate Events Producer/Consultant/Performer – The Money Store, Henley Health, Cadillac, Honda, California Dental Association, Ontario Convention Center
Co-Produced “The Blackstone Magic Show” 1974 – 1997: Producer / Consultant
- Broadway – Holds the record for the longest running Magic Show in Broadway History
- Tour – U.S. and International
- Casinos – Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe, Reno
- Television – Multiple one and two-hour specials: PBS, HBO, CBS, NBC and PAX
- International television specials, Japan, England, Paris and EuroDisney
- Television – “Mystic, Magic, 3D Video”
- Honda Introduction
- Cadillac Introduction Show
Rock & Roll and Live Music Shows
(Special Effects, Staging/Rigging for Venues, Arenas, Stadiums and Sheds)
- New Kids On The Block
- The Magic Summer Tour – U.S. and International
- No More Games Tour
- Earth, Wind & Fire – U.S. and International
- Alice Cooper – Welcome to my Nightmare
- Vanilla Ice – Special Effects
- Michael Jackson, Victory Tour – Special Effects
- Sea World – The Super Heroes, Florida and Ohio
- Boys Choir of Harlem and Friend on Broadway
Awards, Recognition, and Associations
- Member of Academy of Television Arts & Sciences as Executive Producer
- Magic Castle: The Academy of Magical Arts-
- President: 2006 -2008
- Vice-President: 2004 -2006
- Board of Directors: 2002 -2012
- “Face of Redlands” Honoree for local Philanthropy and Community Service
- International Ambassador for the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians
- Recipient of the Milbourne Christopher Award
- 2013 Society of American Magicians Presidential Citation
- Community Leaders Board for the College of Arts and Letters at California State University San Bernardino
- Woman of Distinction Award from Hollywood Chamber of Commerce - 2007 Honoree
- Los Angeles Business Journal – Front Page Feature Story “Woman of Distinction”
- Released top selling “Blackstone Magical Moments” DVD