Magician Scott Davis presents an act that combines fun with a serious message about staying safe around electricity.
But his best trick brings a room of more than 500 elementary school students from a noisy scream-fest to an eerily silent exit, each pressing an index finger to their lips.
For much of this year, electric co-ops in Kentucky have been hiring Davis to travel from his home in Little Rock, Arkansas, for performances at schools around the state.
The title of his act, Making Accidents Disappear—Teaching Children about Electrical Safety in a Magical Way, sums up the lesson of his 40-minute show.
But it doesn’t capture the enthusiastic connection Davis makes with a gym full of schoolchildren.
Strolling in front of the swarming bleachers at Deer Park Elementary School in Owensboro, a wireless microphone circling his face, Davis delivers a stream of delightful groaners like: “Oh, you’re 9? I was 9 when I was your age. I’m just kidding, I was never 9.”
The wordplay seems more appreciated by the teachers. The strongest responses from the students come during the more slapstick parts of the show: the wand that goes limp in the hands of a volunteer, or tricks that seem to go wrong, but end up mystifying.
The entertainment snakes around snippets of warnings about how to avoid electricity’s dangers. Davis asks the crowd about hammers and saws, and whether you could hurt yourself with those tools. Of course the audience answers yes.
“Does that mean they’re bad?” he asks. No, of course.
“Every tool has dangerous places you don’t touch,” he says, explaining about staying away from electric outlets as he moves into the next trick.
Kenergy electric co-op sponsored Davis’ trip to several area schools, including Deer Park. Other Kentucky co-ops have started to bring him to their parts of the state, with his messages of staying away from power lines and keeping appliances away from bathtubs.
For his part, Davis welcomes the work that sometimes takes him to three schools a day. The 33-year-old has performed message magic for a variety of businesses and causes, including shows with anti-drug messages.
Now he wants to focus on working with co-ops on electric safety. He wouldn’t mind if that makes him so busy he has to recruit other magicians to travel to schools across several states.
“I’ve been impressed with how the electric co-ops are so involved in their communities,” says Davis. “I’d like to stay in the co-op world because they are all about taking the money people spend on their light bill and putting it back into the community.”
Meanwhile, back at the Deer Park assembly, Davis uses a white board and black marker to draw a face resembling an electric outlet. He names it Sparky, of course. When its eyes suddenly move and its mouth talks, the children erupt in hoots and screams.
He ends with a speech.
“If you liked that, and want your teachers to let you see another show some time, you’ll put your finger on your mouth, and not make a sound as you walk back to your classroom,” Davis almost whispers. “If you talk, you’ll be telling your teachers you didn’t like this and don’t ever want to do anything like it again.”
Five hundred and forty elementary school students return to their rooms in funereal silence.
That’s not magic; it’s a miracle.
HOW TO MAKE ACCIDENTS DISAPPEAR
As Scott Davis performs magic at schools, he weaves in a series of safety messages, including:
- Every tool has a dangerous part that you don’t touch. Just like a hammer and saw, electricity can be dangerous and even deadly if it’s not handled properly.
- Never stick anything other than a plug into an electric outlet.
- Electricity travels faster than we can think or move.
- Stay away from power lines.
- Before putting water in the bathtub, unplug everything in the bathroom that uses electricity.