Steve Martin was born in 1945 and grew up in California’s Orange County, not far from Disneyland. For Martin, the Magic Kingdom wasn’t just a theme park; it was his place of employment, where he worked from the age of 10 until he was 18. Initially, he sold guidebooks at the entrance and then graduated to demonstrating souvenir lassos in Frontierland before moving on to Merlin’s Magic Shop, performing magic tricks for tourists. “I knew every nook and cranny of the shop,” he recalled in an interview for Walt Disney Archives.  

Appearing on “The Dick Cavett Show,” Martin recalled the surreal experience of being a child with a job at Disneyland. “I had a good time,” he admitted. “I was in a fantasy world. You know, you go to work and you’re 10, and you put on the little straw hat … and you’re selling newspapers. It was really fun.” Working at the magic shop as a teenager, spending eight-plus hours per day immersed in magic tricks, honed his skills at prestidigitation to a razor’s edge. “That experience was so valuable,” he said.

When Martin was 18, he landed a gig at nearby Knott’s Berry Farm, performing in a stage production that ran four times each day (five on Sundays). After each of those shows, he’d put on his own 10-minute performance that combined magic tricks, banjo music, and comedy — an embryonic version of the act that would later catapult him to superstardom.

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Nicki

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