As It Happens

Retired clown turned mayor persuades Texas congressman to table 'magic bill'

A Texas congressman is fighting to designate magic as a national treasure and it all started with the help of a small-town mayor, who used to moonlight as a clown.
Eric Hogue persuaded Texas congressman Pete Sessions to table a bill that recognizes magic as a valuable art form and national treasure. ( Hogue)

Maybe you don't believe in magic. That's fair — you're a rational human being. You believe in the things you can see with your own eyes.

But a Texas congressman is begging you to open your eyes just a little wider and see the magic all around you. Congressman Pete Sessions just submitted a resolution to recognize magic as a "valuable art form and national treasure" and there are lots of people in Texas who are dazzled by his passionate proposal.

"I'm talking about anything from a simple little card trick to David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear," Eric Hogue tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "The magic that helps you to dream. The magic that helps you to believe that you can do the impossible."
Eric Hogue, mayor of Wylie, Texas. (

Hogue is the mayor of Wylie, Texas and the one who urged Sessions to table the bill. For years, Hogue moonlighted as 'Clinky the Clown' and saw the effect magic had on his community.

"You see the child's eyes light up or you see the senior citizen who's dealing with the terrible disease react and respond when they haven't done that with even a family member in months, weeks or even years," Hogue explains.

Hogue took up the cause after talking to one of the magicians at the local Wylie magicclub. The club has been trying to get congress to recognize magic as an art form for 40 years. He reached out to Sessions, who set the motion in process and, as a start, recognized magic in the congressional record.

"It does nothing — but it makes you feel good," Hogue admits.

Eric Hogue, in his Clinky the Clown costume. (Eric Hogue)

It wasn't until Hogue had a chance encounter with magician David Copperfield, that the push to table the resolution as a bona fide bill really took off. 

"I was staying at the same hotel, the MGM, where he performs," Hogue explains. "We immediately clicked. We became instant friends."

Hogue says Sessions was a little star struck about Copperfield.

"The three of us had a conference call and Pete said: 'Let's see what we can put together. Let's see if we can get it introduced, which is what happened this past Monday.'"

Democrats have pointed out how some House Republicans have recognized magic but not climate change.