Yesterday I learned my friend Steve Dacri, host of Behind the Curtain, had passed away.
I was introduced to Steve through my friend Doug Geinzer who knew I was looking for an honest-to-goodness Las Vegas entertainer to host a show on the network. The three of us met at Green Valley Ranch Casino for what was supposed to be an hour meeting. Steve brought cigars. Four hours later, long after Doug had to excuse himself, Steve and I were still talking, laughing and thinking about what ended up being Behind the Curtain.
Well. . .at least that was part of how I spent those first four hours with Steve. Truth is, my favorite part was listening to Steve’s stories.
For those not familiar with Steve, he’d been in the entertainment business for 30+ years. Considered among the top close-up magicians in the world, I got to hear stories about his past (Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Milton Berle) along with what was keeping him busy today (Las Vegas Hilton headliner, movie producer, regular at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, Internet publisher, etc.). Each story was funnier (and more inside) than the previous. I couldn’t wait to hear more. We were both very excited about working together.
A week or so after our first meeting, Steve invite my wife Melissa and me to see his show at the Hilton. This is where I got to see firsthand what an amazing magician Steve was. Melissa, who hates secrets, kept nudging me the whole time. . .
Melissa: “How does he do that?”
Scott: “Uh. . . .I don’t have the first clue.”
This went on for every trick Steve performed.
Afterward, we joined Steve and his wife Jan for dinner at Benihana. (He thought it was very important we all “break bread” at the beginning of this relationship.) The four of us had a great time — really connected.
Planning the show with Steve was a kick. Lots of emails, voice mails, text messages. . .and one-on-one time. He had tons of ideas and the enthusiasm of a kid in a candy store. We were both very excited.
(I was especially excited about his closing segment – A Little Magic – where Steve preformed some close up magic with cameras right on top of the action. Jacob and I often saw a trick, looked at each other, and just shook our heads. On many occasions, after everybody had left the studio, we even played back many of his tricks in slow motion. . .and still couldn’t figure out how he did what he did. Amazing.)
We only had the opportunity to shoot five episodes. As many folks know, he was fighting his illness throughout the entire time we worked together. Every time he came into the studio, I got a hug. Always had a smile on his face. Couldn’t wait to get the show started. And during that time, he never once mentioned what he was going through. I don’t think I could have been so strong.
In tribute to Steve, the VEGAS VIDEO NETWORK homepage is featuring all his shows in the main section for much of this weekend.
Our thoughts go out to his wife Jan and the rest of their friends and family.