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Artistic Endeavors of West Point Graduates

By Linda G. Berman

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What do sculpture, painting, wood-working, magic, motion pictures, acting and screenwriting have to do with the United States Military Academy?  All are fields that its graduates have entered after serving in the military.  A sample of West Point graduates who are successfully working in the fine and performing arts follows.

Dick Steiner '68 spent 21 years in communications as a Signal Corps officer before retiring from the military in 1989.  He turned an enjoyable hobby, reserved mostly for weekends, into a fun, lucrative and full-time career.   According to Army Times (2 March 1992 issue), "Like magic, (he) has merged the various parts of his life and pulled success out of a hat."

Steiner enjoyed magic as a child growing up in Minneapolis, but it wasn't until he met magicians Fred Cook and John Bannon, a former Air Force officer, that he found the inspiration for his craft. "I've read hundreds and hundreds of books on magic, (but) the catalyst was meeting a magician."

As a magical entertainer, Steiner has traveled around the country performing for a variety of audiences: his specialty is providing entertainment for corporations and organizations.  He performs strolling or close-up magic at cocktail hours, private parties, hospitality suites and conventions, and also performs stage shows as the after-dinner entertainment at banquets, often introducing a corporate theme or product into his presentations.  Steiner combines magic with mentalism and includes mind reading, forecasting the future and other aspects of ESP in his acts.

Steiner provided magical and mentalist entertainment at the 1992 Army-Navy Football Game party in Annapolis.  Most impressive was this prediction of his:  "Just before game time I was interviewed on the Navy football radio network and was asked for my prediction of the results of the game.  I predicted that Army would win in an exciting game, 24-21, which turned out to be fairly close to the actual score [25-24]."

His list of clients includes 3M, Xerox, Coca-Cola, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the 1991 World Championship Minnesota Twins.  He also performed at the White House for the 1989 American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural Show, "From George to George... Two Hundred Years."  This summer, his magic will be featured at the major-league baseball All-Star Game.