IT ISN'T EVERY day that a 3-year-old makes doves appear and rabbits disappear, but then Michael Gabor isn't your typical 3-year-old.
Well, almost. He plays outside, watches television, and wants to be a fireman when he grows up.
But he also is a professional magician who had his first paying job last weekend at the Forks Hotel in Cheektowaga.
Michael comes from a magical family: His father, James Gabor, has been performing magic for almost 20 years, two years as a career.
His older brother, 5-year-old James Gabor Jr., known as J.J., has been performing since he was 2. The boys have been working on stage together since last Christmas.
Their father said he never planned for his sons to be magicians, but they seem to come by their talents naturally. "Initially it started with J.J.," Gabor said. "I was doing shows and he would watch me in the audience. He ended up mimicking me at home."
The boys know about 15 tricks, ranging from making rabbits and goldfish appear to making birds disappear. They also can produce silk scarves from empty cylinders and make cartoons from a book appear and disappear.
Michael's favorite trick is making a bird appear from white feathers in a covered silver tin. J.J. likes producing goldfish from orange scarves.
Both boys say they prefer working together rather than alone. Like others their age, they can be timid, but they manage to overcome it when they take to the stage.
J.J. seems to understand the mystique of the tricks a bit more than Michael, who has to be careful not to reveal the final step before the right moment. When asked where the birds go after they make them disappear, both grin and say, "It's magic."
They have performed at Maryvale Elementary School, Crystal Beach, telethons, Boy Scout dinners and a Lackawanna ethnic festival. They are scheduled to perform at the Father's Day "Bun Run" in Hamburg.
Over the weekend, Michael and J.J. performed to a sold-out crowd at the Forks Hotel. Their mother, Sandy, says many people find it hard to pass up a show by 3- and 5-year-old professional magicians.
They also model for toy ads and packages for Fisher-Price in East Aurora. Gabor said the money they earn is being put into a fund to pay for their college education.
J.J., a kindergartner at Maryvale Elementary School, has a summer interest of playing T-ball.
Gabor said he tries to keep the boys free in the summer so they can play and do the things they like, although both boys agreed they like doing magic.
Mrs. Gabor doesn't do any magic, although people might disagree if they saw the ease with which she dresses Michael and J.J. in their little blue and white tuxedos.
She also is the mother of 1-year-old Kimberly, who has shown an interest in the boys' magic wands.
Although Michael can't quite pronounce "abracadabra" (he says "abradabra"), the enthusiasm for his hobby is apparent.
During an interview in their Cheektowaga living room, in between talking about garbage trucks, firemen and lawn mowers, he and his brother chanted "magic, magic" over and over again.