Johnny Ace Palmer
Johnny Ace Palmer, a world champion magician, has, through a lifetime devoted to practicing magic, accomplished what no other magician has been able to do. In the summer of 1988 in the Netherlands, he became the first and only close-up magician in history to capture the World Championship title across all eight categories of the competition (i.e., even against the stage magicians).
In preparation for the World Championship competition in 1988, Johnny spent several hours each day rehearsing and perfecting his already near flawless act. The time limit for the competition was ten minutes, and to go over meant instant disqualification. Because of that, most competitors plan their acts far short of the ten minute limit. Johnny, on the other hand, felt that in order to demonstrate as perfect a performance as possible, his act must be as close as humanly possible to the time limit without exceeding it. He honed his act until it was consistently within five seconds of nine minutes and fifty seconds. Even allowing for and learning to carefully control audience response, Johnny's act became incredibly tight, without a single second of wasted time.
At the awards ceremony when the first, second and third place winners in close-up category were announced, and Johnny was not one of them (the Grand Prix winner does not receive a "place" award), many people were surprised and confused. But when the Grand Prix overall World Champion was announced, and fanfare music and fireworks began, Johnny was stunned to hear his name called out. He had done the seemingly impossible. He had become the first World Champion close-up magician!