LEWISTON — The children started clamoring as soon as “Amazing Lou” stepped onto the stage at the Lewiston Armory one afternoon this spring.

“I want the bunny!” one said.

It didn’t matter whether his magic trick involved a hat or a paper bag.

“Is there a bunny in there?” one asked.

More than 100 children were focused on one thing: Where’s the bunny?

So when magician Lou Ward — aka Amazing Lou — finally turned a picture of a rabbit into the real thing, the children were ecstatic. 

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Whitey was the hit of the show.

That wasn’t a surprise to Ward. His little 2-year-old rabbit is the hit of every show.

“It just goes with it,” he said. “You don’t see a magician without a bunny.”

Ward, 69, became interested in magic two decades ago after the death of his father, who had been a magician for 60 years. Ward inherited items from his father’s act and fell in love with magic.

For a while, Ward juggled both a magic act and his day job as a fisherman.

“I think the most challenging part was going from a lobster boat to 500 children,” he said. “It was a little different.” 

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Although his act largely uses cards, scarves, rope, bags and other items for sleight-of-hand, Ward incorporated a bunny for a trick or two.

There was Snowball. Blackie. Bandit.

And now Whitey.

“He knows when we’re going to a show,” Ward said. “He’s pretty excited. He just jumps around when he sees me coming.”

There are, however, some aspects to show business that annoy Whitey. 

“At Christmastime, I dress him all up in a Santa suit with a Santa hat,”
Ward said. “He is the most adorable thing when he comes out of that (magic) box completely dressed. He does not like the hat. He kicks it off, so when I open the box, I kind of have to slip the hat back on.” 

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Ward didn’t have to do much to train Whitey or get him used to the show, though he’s learned over the years how to manage the chaos around a rabbit. He never allows children to hold Whitey, and he lets them pet the bunny only if they’re in line, giving a couple of children at a time supervised access. 

Whitey spends about 30 minutes on stage, most of that time quietly waiting in a box close to Ward. Once in a while, when the venue supports it, Ward will let Whitey hop around on stage after making his entrance.

“If they let me,” Ward said. “A lot of folks don’t like the bunny being there and pooping. But he’s a big part of the act.”

When he’s not performing, Whitey spends his days at Ward’s home. At night, the two watch TV together.

“He lays in my lap upside down, and I scratch his belly,” Ward said. “He’s so much fun.” 

Ward has done a little more than 1,000 shows since he started 20 years ago. He tailors his tricks to his audience, whether they’re children at a birthday party or adults at a museum. But there’s almost always Whitey.

“He’s been a blessing,” Ward said. “He’s one of the best bunnies I’ve ever had.”

Have an idea for Animal Tales? Contact Lindsay Tice at 689-2854 or [email protected]


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