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.
Without question, Harry’s untimely death 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.
Gay is currently serving on the Board of Trustees at Hollywood’s World Famous Magic Castle. She is also a member of several Magic Castle committees and from 2006 - 2008 served as the President on the Magic Castle’s Board of Directors.
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.
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 and Magic. Although she has certainly diversified in recent years, her loyalty to the World of Magic and to the Blackstone name is unfailing creating a legacy which will continue for years to come, thanks to the resolve, diligence and talent of one person…..