ENID, Okla. —
Few people would expect a performer who had taken the stage in front of presidents and national television audiences to suddenly end up homeless and destitute.
“Magic Al” Ravine, a nationally recognized magician and illusionist, found himself in that position not long ago. His path to recovery, and even greater successes, began where it begins for many people facing hard times — at the Salvation Army.
“One thing I’ve learned is anybody can be knocked off their saddle, and a person’s life can be changed in the twinkling of an eye,” Ravine said. “I would not have believed it could happen to me, but it did. A series of events put me in the position where I was completely homeless.”
On top of the world
Ravine was at the top of a career in the entertainment industry. He had opened his act in Las Vegas, had appeared with David Letterman, made television appearances and toured nationally with entertainers such as Rick James and Fats Domino.
His husband-and-wife team show came to an abrupt end through divorce, leading to the loss of his show bookings. Illness followed, requiring a stay in the hospital and draining savings.
Ravine moved into a motel in Broken Arrow but wasn’t able to sustain the rent without work. A hit-and-run accident totaled his car, leaving him stranded with no work, no place to stay and no transportation.
In a short period of time he found himself on the street with his few belongings, and even fewer options.
“I had no money, no car ... I was completely destitute,” Ravine said. “There’s nothing worse than being out on the street, because you become tired and weary, and you look bad and feel bad.
“That experience was something you almost couldn’t convince me could happen to me, but it could happen to anyone. They could end up getting a divorce, they could get sick ... anything could happen.”