The Amazing Johnathan's Amazing Underground Theater
“Sometimes Magic Sounds Like Tape...”
One of the most original and hilarious comedian/magicians ever, The Amazing Johnathan has created his own Gonzo style stage act, utilizing close up magic tricks that inevitably go horribly awry, audience participation that borders on the edge of calamity, all driven by The Amazing Johnathan's manic monologues, most of which delve into the darker corners of psychosis. With one of the longest running magic shows in Las Vegas, numerous television appearances, including guest appearances on Criss Angel's Mindfreak and a recent Comedy Central Appearance, The Amazing Johnathan is one of the unique talents in the world of comedy today.
Born John Edward Szeles, The Amazing Johnathan became interested in magic at an early age. His first few outings, however, turned out to be somewhat disastrous, seeming to elicit more laughter than awe. Choosing to build upon his strength rather than succumb to defeat, he quickly changed his moniker to The Amazing Johnathan and created a comedy driven magic show that coupling over the top humor with gore, amazingly creative props and a self deprecating sense of well timed magical failures. He made his television debut on the 8th Annual Young Comedian’s Show in 1983 which led to many appearances on other shows and comedy showcases.
Aside from always creating new and more innovative pieces for his stage act, The Amazing Johnathan has been writing his memoirs, to add to his book on practical jokes and magic titled Every Trick In The Book. With his long road through the comedy world, his unusual insights into the world of magic, his long running shows on the Vegas Strip as well as a serious heart problem problem in early 2007 (later diagnosed as cardiomyopathy), his personal biography should be a fascinating read. Another one of his projects is one of particular interest, not only for its inherent uniqueness, but for its sheer scale as well...The Amazing Underground.
Even in an abbreviated description, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems here. The Amazing Underground is an indoor drive-in theater. What began as a place to display The Amazing Johnathan's classic car collection has turned into the eighth wonder of the world of kitsch and creativity. On The Amazing Johnathan's website, he says that:
“I needed a cool environment to display my classic car collection. There are twenty-one cars in all and I thought a Drive-In Movie set would look great. Then I decided to make it functional so my friends and I could watch late night movies. I also made it look like the Gratiot Drive-In, the theater I worked at in Roseville, MI.”
Situated a the bottom of a wartime era ammunition bunker almost two stories underground, the 5,000 plus square foot interior houses The Amazing Johnathan's cars, vintage speakers and posts, a massive movie screen and a more than fully functional snack bar. With the addition of planetarium projectors that mimic the night sky, it is virtually like being outside.
With his current investment in the theater exceeding $40,000 at this point, The Amazing Johnathan seems most interested in creating a once in a lifetime experience for the theater's patrons. The theater is not only unique in its very existence, it is also an interactive experience for moviegoers. The flying saucers come right out of the screen, flying overhead, only to return back into the screen. The stuff of nightmares crawl out from the screen and walk amongst the guests and, if someone is more than a little observant, they might find that the psychopath in the movie may have taken up residence in their back seat. All of the interactive features of the theater can be tailor made to the patron's desires. You can just watch a regular movie in a truly incomparable environment, or the movie can come alive for you, like a living, breathing haunted house. Special occasions can be handled as well, with advance notice. Say, for example, you take your girlfriend to the movie, when suddenly, the actors on screen turn their undivided attention to your car and announce your intentions to propose marriage. That would truly beat out the tried and true “ring in the lasagna” method of proposal, which usually ends up in a lot of uncomfortable X-rays, laxatives and strainers.
Alas, The Amazing Underground is not open to the general public. To gain admittance to the hallowed underground, you must seek out (and be approved for) a membership. A temporary membership may be granted to large groups, such as for corporate outings and special occasions. For more information, go to The Amazing Underground's website. Also, be sure to check out his current tour dates so you won't miss The Amazing Johnathan's performance, along with his assistant, Psychic Tanya.