Stan Kramien: The Show Begins When the Posters Go Up

This week Stan Kramien passed away. A magician who performed for over 70 years, and he spent 30 of those years touring with one of the largest magic shows of it’s time.


I’m too young to have ever seen his show live but I did have a chance to attend the Magic Jamboree which was hosted by the Kramien family. During those conventions we got to hear stories from life on the road as well as see some of his performance footage.

My favorite parts though were when he would talk about business. Anyone who can make such a long career out of performing magic obviously has it figured out.

One thing that Stan said that will always stick with me was: “The show begins when the posters go up.”


I think that simple phrase is more profound than it may initially seem. The show begins in the audiences’ mind as soon as they see that first poster. As soon as they see that poster it becomes real.

When you look at these posters what does it say to you? Who is the show targeted towards? Do you get an idea of what the performer’s personality is like? What the atmosphere of the show will be? Does it makes you want to see the show?

Just by seeing a poster your imagination begins to fill in the blanks about what the show could be like. Compare those vivid thoughts and ideas you have in your head right now about the show compared to that of no poster at all. Instead there wouldn’t be any idea at all. You’d simply be guessing.

With the right type of branding and marketing your audience can be excited to see your show before you even begin. It’s so much easier to put on an amazing show when the audience is already anticipating the show.

The House of Magic 1948


Night clubs are masters at this. In order to entice people to come to their venue they dress up a regular Friday night as something special by creating a poster. They give their event a special name, maybe a theme, and hype the DJ’s that are performing. Most of the time they’re the same DJ’s that play there every weekend, and the club looks the same as it does on every other Friday night, but they’ve still managed to get people in the door by making that particular night feel special with their posters.


What kinds of posters are you using to promote your show? If you really are a professional you need to be constantly scrutinizing every element of your business over and over again. Honestly my old posters haven’t been so great. But that’s okay. It’s isn’t about being perfect. It’s about continually pushing yourself to improve.