The best magic is still timeless, mixing memory with illusion to conjure the experience of wonder.

Dr. Marc Charisse touches upon these ageless mysteries, and like any good Victorian parlor magician, he can pull a coin from your ear or demonstrate the impossible with a wicked pack of cards.

The professor has been studying and performing magic for 50 years.

Charisse, who holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Washington, said the role of “Professor of Prestidigitation” seemed a natural fit.

“When I was in the classroom, I used magic and humor to illustrate the lessons, and that’s very much in keeping with authentic 19th century performances,” Charisse said. But mostly, the show focuses on having fun.

Charisse grew up in a Hollywood show-business family — his father, Nico Charisse, was the teacher and first husband of dance legend Cyd Charisse. Charisse’s mother, Zita Charisse, was also a dancer. The family moved to Las Vegas when Marc was 8, and he was able to see and meet and learn from many of the world’s greatest magicians.

He has performed at countless private parties, public events and worked as a magic demonstrator in Las Vegas. But he recently decided to leave teaching and editing and devote himself full time to his magic. In addition to performing, he makes custom conjuring apparatus.

"I’ve always been excited by new things,” he said. “That’s the thrill of magic, opening us up to new impossibilities.”