In the Eye of Magicians
THE GREAT TOMSONI AND COMPANY are versatile performers with a background of music, magic, comedy and drama.
John Thompson (The Great Tomsoni) got his start in show business as a musician and musical arranger. He is the leading exponent of his instrument, the bass harmonica, and has toured and recorded with "Jerry Murad's Harmonicats", "Johnny Puleo's Harmonica Gang" and "The Harmonica Jazz Quartet." He later joined forces with a comedy team with whom he coauthored and co-performed three record breaking revues for the New York and Chicago Playboy clubs. It was during this period that he developed his successful comedy magic act, "The Great Tomsoni." The act is a parody of serious magical performers, but unlike most parody acts, the magic in Thompson's act worked, and worked well. Of Polish ancestry, he began using the billing "Poland's Finest Magician" and later "The Great Tomsoni, The Warsaw Wizard." He began his comedy magic career in the Nevada casino venues as a supporting act for such stars as Carol Channing, Eddie Fisher and Ed Ames. Wife and Partner Pamela Hayes, actress and comedienne, joined the act; the billing became "The Great Tomsoni and Company" -- Pam being "And Company," playing the bored and dizzy assistant to the hilt. As a team they have opened for the Pointer Sisters, Jose Feliciano, Robert Goulet, Brenda Lee, B.J. Thomas, Vic Damone and Diahann Carroll.
In the years since, they have become known as one of the top revue show acts in show business. They have starred in the "Folies Bergere" at the Tropicana, the "Lido de Paris" at the Stardust, the Flamingo Hilton, Steve Wynn's Golden Nugget, Don Arden's "Jubilee" at Bally's Las Vegas, the Sands Hotel & Casino, the Aladdin Hotel & Casino, Caesar's Tahoe and the Sparks Nugget. Atlantic City casino appearances include Trump's Castle, Trump's Plaza, Trump's Taj Mahal, The Showboat, The Tropicana and Bally's Park Place.
As international artists, they have played the Theatre Princess Grace in Monte Carlo, Le Caberet, Casino de Monte Carlo, the Casino Ruhl, Nice France, the Scala Melia Castilla, Madrid, Spain and the Scala Barcelona.
The Great Tomsoni and Company's television credits include appearances on "The Tonight Show," NBC's "Magic With The Stars," ABC's "It's Magic" and "Enter The Night," "The Magic Show" and "The Paul Daniels' Show," BBC, London, England, "Magic At The Olympia," Paris, France, Rai TV's "Fantastico," Rome, Italy, Shari Lewis' "Magic," Canadian cable special and video cassette release, HBO's "Hocus Pokus, It's Magic," cable special and video cassette release with Dick Cavett, "Two Top Bananas" with Don Rickles and Don Adams, "The Oak Ridge Boys Live In Las Vegas" and "Penn & Tellers Sin City Spectacular. John was most recently featured as a performer and magical historian on the PBS special "The Art of Magic."
In addition to his stage work, Thompson is a noted dose-up magic performer, illusion inventor and a highly respected trade show spokesman. He is considered to be the last G.P. (General Practitioner) in professional magic and while many other performers become accomplished in one of the above areas, Thompson is regarded as a virtuoso at all of them. Both he and his wife are also experienced actors in film, theatre and television.
The Thompsons are two-time recipients of the "Stage Magician of the Year" award from the Hollywood-based Magic Castle, The International Magician's Society's "Merlin Award for "Best Comedy Magic" and Tannen's Magic "Looie" Award. He has also received the Society of American Magician's "Superstar of Magic" award and "Magicians of the Year" Award, as well as a Performing Fellowship from the Academy of Magical Arts and, the Academy's highest award, the "Masters Fellowship." Both he and his wife are recipients of Prince Rainer's "Prix S.B.M." Ives Gran Prix, Magiques de Monte-Cario, Europe's most prestigious magic award which has only been bestowed upon 4 performers.
Thompson, in the capacity of magic technical advisor, has provided material for several television productions including "Hart to Hart," Fantasy Island," "One Day at a Time" and "Beyond Westworld." His film credits include Michael Ritchie's new film version of off-Broadway's longest running musical, "The Fantastiks," Norman Jewison's family film, "Bogus," Turner Broadcasting's cable release, "Houdini - Believe" and the Siegfried & Roy 3-D Imax film, "The Magic Box."
As a magical consultant and illusion designer he has written, developed and provided material for magicians Siegfried and Roy, Penn and Teller, Doug Henning and magic's newest rising star, Lance Burton. John was a member of the magic staff for the FX cable channel's "Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectaculars and, along with his writing partner, Fielding West, he's also one of the writers for the Lance Burton magic specials. He's penned the instruction sheets for Marshall Brodien's TV Magic Cards and TV Magic Sets and in recent years he completed the illusion designing, consulting and directing for all the magic sequences of the Sun City, South Africa extravaganza, "Beyond Belief," which ran for an unprecedented two-year run.
Complied in part, from T.A.Water's The Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians and Hyla Clark's The World's Greatest Magic.