|Born||Marcelo Alejandro Rodolfo Contento|
January 19, 1955
Haedo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Died||July 3, 2012 (age 57) |
|Spouse||Maria Cristina Ciliberto|
|Children||Luciano M. Contento|
|Notable works||New Generation Card Fountain, Jumbo Card Fountain, Rising Card|
|Known for||Marcelo Contento Productions, Hand Shadow Routine, Marcelo Contento's Magic Touch|
Marcelo A. R. Contento (19 January 1955 – 3 July 2012) was a magician, shadowgraphy performer, jazz drummer and arranger, and engineer from Argentina. He owned and operated Marcelo Contento Productions (Marcprod), a business manufacturing magic effects, in Watertown, Massachusetts with his eldest sibling and brother, Victor.
For many years, Marcprod was considered the top producer of Magicians' props and effects in the market. Most people praised their intricacy, presentability, and especially, their durability. Contento and his brother put together everything by hand and made sure to test everything for perfection. If something was not up to par, it would be promptly fixed. However, with Contento's diagnosis and decline, the company slowly lost its' prominence and presence in the Magicians' community, eventually being forced to shut down its' workshop in Watertown in 2008. Victor has continued, since then, assembling products in an area he set apart in his own basement, but without the help of Marcelo. Furthermore, with his own job and his own life, Victor is barely able to really do anything, taking months at a time to complete just one or two products.
Born Marcelo Alejandro Rodolfo Contento on January 19th, 1955, to an Italian Physician and a devoted, Italian-born mother, Contento started practicing magic at the age of eight, and at the age of eleven took up drumming after spending some years on the piano and guitar. In his teenage years, he was mentored in magic by the late great David Bamberg (well-known by his stage name, Fu Manchu), and already playing jazz gigs around Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital.
Bamberg taught Contento an art that was then known as "Chinese Shadows" (now more commonly referred to as "shadowgraphy" or "Hand Shadows"), which he would carry alongside with him through life and eventually develop and hone into a unique skill and performing routine. One particularly important piece of advice Bamberg gave Contento was to finish school and go to College, regardless of what he wanted to do in life, and Contento did just that. He graduated College with the Argentine equivalent of a Master's in Electromechanical Engineering, and began working as an Engineer in companies around Buenos Aires. Concurrently, he diligently continued to practice and perform Magic and Jazz, at one point playing with then-well-known Argentine Guitarist Oscar Alemán and his troupe.
During the time that he worked as an Engineer around Buenos Aires, Contento performed as part of a Jazz trio at the classic Café Tortoni. The trio consisted of bassist Eduardo "Rulo" Vignolles, pianist Manuel Fraga, and Contento. The name of the trio was "Vibratops".
One day after the show at the Café, Contento was introduced to Cristina Ciliberto by a mutual friend. There was an immediate connection, and the two began dating shortly afterwards. Contento and Ms. Ciliberto were together in Argentina for two years, until they each stumbled upon different and separate obligations that drove them to follow separate paths. Contento went to Spain for a Magicians' Convention, and Ms. Ciliberto flew to Italy to spend time with her family.
It was here that the real magic occurred. Within just a few short weeks, both had independently made the decision to spend some time visiting other European countries as tourists. Contento's plan took him to France and then Italy, while Ms. Ciliberto's plan involved traveling to France, England, and then Greece. Seizing their opportunity, divine powers intervened and selected the illustrious city of Paris for their masterpiece spectacle. On what seemed to be a perfectly usual hour of a perfectly usual day at the Louvre Museum in Paris, after the future Mrs. Contento spent some quality time admiring the Venus de Milo, she was walking down the long, wide corridor that leads back past the stairs and to the first floor when she happened upon a certain oddly familiar, handsome, young figure. As the two got closer and closer together, they began peering awkwardly at one another, more and more with each step, both thinking the same thing and yet both completely baffled and distrusting of reality. Needless to say, what they were thinking then is also what you are thinking now. No, it's not likely at all. Yes, it is practically beyond the realm of possibility. Yes, it happened.Not long after that, Contento earned a scholarship to Boston's Berklee College of Music. Once he settled in to Boston, with his brother Victor Contento, he opened Marcelo Contento Productions, a business manufacturing magic effects in Watertown, Massachusetts, and quickly gained the respect of many Magicians worldwide. After some time, he was joined in Boston by the Future Mrs. Contento.
Furthermore, starting in 1992, while he was S.A.M. Boston #9's Vice President, Contento embarked upon a quest to place a plaque on the Cambridge Bridge in Boston, MA, to commemorate one of Harry Houdini's most famous escapes. Lots of effort and many phone calls later, Contento and the Assembly #9 culminated their project in 1994. The plaque can still be seen there today, now a stop for some tour buses and guides around Boston, fulfilling Contento's wish.
Mr. and Mrs. Contento got married the next year, and their son, Luciano Miguel, was born in April of 1996. Contento continued playing the drums, practicing and performing Magic, and performing Shadowgraphy. He recorded a Jazz cassette entitled "Top Hat" in 1994 with his group "Magic Touch" in which he arranged every track and played the drums, attended many Magic Conventions both nationally and internationally making many friends, and continued to perfect the talent Bamberg had passed on to him, adding his own touch to it. 
In March of 2000, right after being featured on the cover of the Society of American Magician's MUM magazine, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a very malignant kind of Brain Tumor. Because it was inoperable, the original prognosis was a maximum of 4-5 years. However, after a year of intense chemotherapy, the tumor went into remission and did not return for another nine or so years. Regardless, it had very adverse effects and as a result, he was never able to perform again. Marcelo Contento Productions also suffered greatly, officially closing their workshop in Watertown in 2008. In late 2010, the tumor began to grow once again, and he fought through 2011 and into 2012, when he suffered a stroke three days after his 57th birthday. On January 28th, he was taken to MaristHill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where he passed away peacefully and in his sleep six months later, on July 3rd.
Contento is survived by his wife Cristina and son Luciano, as well as three older siblings: Victor, Maria Teresa and Guillermo.
Posthumously, his son made a tribute video for him.
First place in close-up, S.A.M. National Convention (1996)
- Fotocard (marketed effect) (c. 1981)
- SCREW IMPOSSIBLE!! (effect marketed by Tannen's c. 1982)
- Super U
- Crazy Dominos
- Lightning Bolt (manufactured now by Johnson Products)
- Cartoon Bullet Catch (with Alan Wassilak)
- Aces Forever plus
- The Thief and Four Policemen
- Comedy Spring Wand
- Magic Template
- The Card Crystal, Genii 1991 July.
- Drilling, MUM, March 1992
- MARCELO CONTENTO'S EGG ROUTINE, MUM, February 1993
- ALL TOGETHER, MUM, April 1994
- Cup/Ball/Wand - Twice, Apocalypse Vol 18, No.11, page 257 (Nov. 1995)
- She Loves Me Not (card effect) in Magic Magazine (April 1999)
- Featured on the cover of the March 2000 issue of MUM Magazine.
- The Magic of Argentina, MUM, June 2000
- CONTENTO's EGG ROUTINE published in "The Encyclopedia of Egg Magic" by Donato Colucci, Stephen Minch, ed. (2002)