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Car Culture

Killer Magician

Magician Bill Maloney Nancy Farghalli, NPR hide caption

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Nancy Farghalli, NPR

My life was threatened today.

By a magician.

This guy:

Bill Maloney has been hired by Ford to attract people to the Ford booth here at the Detroit auto show. He does magic tricks. He makes jokes — "Do you drive a Ford? me: "No." Bill: "I can get you a good deal; I know some people!"

As he's performing, he drops Ford facts into his patter: "Pick a card, don't show me. The new Ford Fusion gets 40 miles per gallon. Is this your card?"

He told me he'd have to kill me if he if he told me how he turned a card in my hand into another card after snapping his fingers. I contemplated that for a second; I really wanted to know how he did it.

Then I asked him, is this really the message Ford wants to send — having a magician perform tricks under the Ford logo? Does Ford really want people to think its new cars are nothing but sleight-of-hand versions of the old ones? His answer — PR-y, but true: "The whole world needs a magic trick right now."

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