ST. GEORGE – Local magician Peter McMillan, better known as Mulee Pete, is seeking to turn his years of experience in the art of magic into a fun and friendly learning environment for all.
Unique to McMillan’s onstage persona is his cowboy-inspired apparel and abundance of hair, leading many to compare him to “Wild Bill” Hickok and other legendary figures of the Old West. His tricks follow the same theme, among them “ranch ropes” and pistol juggling.
Pronounced “mewl-e,” he boasts his moniker is more than just a name; it signifies that he has learned to embrace his “inner jackass.” But all joking aside, McMillan said magic and being Mulee Pete have helped him discover his identity and transform a once quiet, bookish boy into an energetic entertainer.
McMillan’s interest in the art first sparked at age 10 when he discovered Merlin’s Magic Shop during a family trip to Disneyland. Magic entered his life again four years later in the form of a show put on by the Hollywood-based Magic Castle. He stumbled upon their rehearsal in his junior high school’s auditorium and was invited to participate in a few tricks, for which he received a free ticket to the actual program, and inspired him to visit local magic shops to build his own repertoire.
He started performing professionally while serving in the United States Navy in the 1970‘s, also donating his time and skills to entertain the Enlisted Men’s Club on base.
After retiring, McMillan immersed himself even more deeply in magic and partnered with the Bar-G Wranglers, a Western-themed music group performing at Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill in Bryce Canyon City. Noticing a trend of early arrivals to the performance, he created a solo pre-show program called Mulee’s Magick, featuring tricks such as multiplying bottles, the Miser’s Dream (sleight-of-hand with coins) and the humorous Annie Oakley’s Sure Shooting Show.
The act was so well-received that in 2009, he was asked to host Ebenezer’s new Cowboy Dinner Show, where he remained for just over a year. He has also appeared in various community theater productions in recent years.
McMillan is currently developing a Victorian-era-themed parlor show, which he plans to perform locally when complete. It will demonstrate tricks used by 19th-century mediums to contact departed relatives, including McMillan’s own great uncle.
Keeping up with his lifelong love of magic, McMillan is forming a twice-monthly fellowship where other enthusiasts can gather. He said that in today’s world of technology, almost anyone can study a magic trick on the internet – learning presentation and sharing it with others is the difficult part. Participants of all ages and skill levels, from veterans to beginners, are encouraged to give it a try.
“Some people enjoy the challenge of mastering a skill like magic, (while) others need a confidence builder,” McMillan said. “I would like (anyone) interested to come out and enjoy the awe and wonder of the magical arts. But mainly, let’s have some fun.”
Randy “Mick” McDonald, a St. George-based magician who has been performing for over 40 years, said: “When you are trying to keep the secrets of (your act), yet looking for camaraderie it becomes quite a lonely road to walk. (This club) is a great outlet to talk about the art of magic and I support Pete all the way.”
Though a definite time, date and location for the inaugural fellowship meeting are yet to be set, McMillan said he believes enough people have a desire to pursue magic and will make it a success. Anyone interested may contact him personally at (435) 225-6322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.