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AUGUST 2011 M-U-M • Volume 101 • Number 3
S.A.M. NEWS 6 7 8 11 23 24 25 75
From the Editor’s Desk Chadwick’s Magical Wisdom From the President’s Desk M-U-M Assembly News New Members and Reinstatements Broken Wands Good Cheer List Our Advertisers
THIS MONTH'S FEATURE ARTICLES 10 26 27 40 50 52 56
Newsworthy A Magician Prepares • by Dennis Loomis The Power of Bending Air • by Tom Vorjohan & Daniel Herron COVER STORY • by Marc DeSouza The Houdini Award • by Julie Sobanski Lucille Pierce • by Tom Ewing Quick Look Book Nook: Curtain Call
REGULAR FEATURES 31 32 34 38 46 54 61 72 73 74 76 76 78
Tech Tricks • by Bruce Kalver Nielsen Gallery: Iasia • by Tom Ewing Basic Training: Cards to Wherever • by Ian Kendall I Left My Cards at Home • by Steve Marshall Under/Over • by Joshua Jay Pro Files • by James Munton Informed Opinion • New Product Reviews Theory & Art of Magic • by Larry Hass The Tax Magician • by Steve Snyder I’ve Been Thinkin’ • by Norman Beck The Dean’s Diary • by George Schindler Basil the Baffling • by Alan Wassilak Confessions of a Paid Amateur • by Rod Danilewicz
M-U-M (ISSN 00475300 USPS 323580) is published monthly for $40 per year by The Society of American Magicians, 11086 S. Dartmoor Place, Parker, CO 80138 . Periodical postage paid at Parker, CO and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to M-U-M, c/o Manon Rodriguez, P.O. Box 505, Parker, CO 80138.
MAGIC - UNITY - MIGHT Editor Michael Close Editor Emeritus David Goodsell Associate Editor W.S. Duncan Proofreader & Copy Editor Lindsay Smith Art Director Lisa Close Publisher
Society of American Magicians, 11086 S. Dartmoor Place Parker, CO 80138 Copyright © 2011 Subscription is through membership in the Society and annual dues of $65, of which $40 is for 12 issues of M-U-M. All inquiries concerning membership, change of address, and missing or replacement issues should be addressed to: Manon Rodriguez, National Administrator P.O. Box 505, Parker, CO 80134 [email protected]
Skype: manonadmin Phone: 303-362-0575 Fax: 303-362-0424 Send assembly reports to: [email protected]
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Telephone/fax: (847) 519-9201 Editorial contributions and correspondence concerning all content and advertising should be addressed to the editor: Michael Close - Email: [email protected]
Phone: 702-355-0794 Fax: 866-591-7392
Submissions for the magazine will only be accepted by email or fax. VISIT THE S.A.M. WEB SITE www.magicsam.com To access “Members Only” pages: Enter your Name and Membership number exactly as it appears on your membership card. AUGUST 2011 5
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK MICHAEL CLOSE
his column is the last thing that gets written each month; this is due not so much to procrastination (which I’m very good at), but rather to allow the inclusion of any late-breaking news. The first week of July had lots of news, and, unfortunately, it was all bad. As I’m sure most of you know by now, PNP Hank Moorehouse died July 2, 2011, while traveling in China with a touring close-up show he produced. At the national convention in Pittsburgh (which, at the time of this writing, is next week), Hank was to be the guest of honor. Hank’s memory will be honored with a celebration of his life. George Schindler offers some thoughts on his friend in the Dean’s Diary column on page 76. I’m sure that there will be some great Hank Moorehouse stories shared in Pittsburgh. Here’s one from Dennis Loomis: “I’m still shocked at the news about my old pal Hank Moorehouse. Hank was a big influence as I started my professional career. For the brief period that he ran the small magic shop in Ann Arbor, I was his Saturday afternoon counter demonstrator. I also traveled with him to many conventions to help him run the booth. “In his early years as a magician, Hank fell in love with the vanishing cigarette in the handkerchief (thumb tip version). He was a smoker, and seldom went out of the house without a thumb tip and a handkerchief. When Hank, Marcello Truzzi, and I founded Ring 210 in Ann Arbor, we had an annual banquet with dinner and a show. To aid the treasury, we sold tickets to lay people as well. At our first banquet, Hank was the emcee. To warm up the audience, he had decided to do the cigarette vanish. He lit a cigarette, took out his pocket handkerchief, formed a cavity in the handkerchief with his thumb, and pushed the lit cigarette inside, as he had done thousands of times before. As he withdrew his thumb, for some unknown reason, the thumb tip did not stay on, but flew up into the air and fell to the stage with a clatter. None of us who knew him could believe it, and neither could Hank. He looked down at that thumb tip smoldering away on the floor and said, ‘Oh, s#*t!’ “The next week, Marcello and I went to a trophy shop in town and bought a small trophy, glued a thumb tip on to it, and had the plaque engraved with the words ‘Oh, s#*t!” We presented it to him at our next meeting and we all had a good laugh about it. Hank laughed the loudest, as we knew he would. “He was a gem, and one of a small group of people who really helped me to get my career going in the first few years. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone.”
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Hank was the subject of the cover story by PNP Bradley Jacobs in the June 2011 M-U-M. So long, Hank; you will be missed. To compound the sad news, the magic world lost several other prominent people during the last week of June and the first week of July. Tom Ewing writes, “Houdini buffs and magic history enthusiasts lost a real friend with the passing of Sid Radner on June 25. Sid was a leading authority on Houdini and frequently lectured at the annual Magic Collectors’ Association gatherings. At one time he owned Houdini’s original water torture cell, the oversized milk can that preceded the cell, scrapbooks, handcuffs, locks, picks, and other secret devices used by the escape king. He obtained many of these directly from Hardeen, and later broadened his collection significantly. Always interested in spreading Houdini’s name and fame, he was associated with the Houdini Museum in Niagara Falls, the Outagamie Museum/Houdini Historical Center in Appleton, Wisconsin, and other public venues. This kind and gentle man will be missed.” My old friend Jimmy Yoshida died on July 3, 2011. Jimmy was a kind and charming man, who always seemed to have a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. He was a great host and a great ambassador for magic. Aloha, Jimmy. You may not know who B.J. Jennings was, but she was important in the lives of two of magic’s legendary greats, Dai Vernon and her husband, Larry Jennings. For a while, Vernon lived at the Jennings home. When Larry’s health declined, B.J.’s ministrations kept him alive longer than would have been expected. After Larry’s death, B.J. moved to Las Vegas, and Lisa and I got to know her there. She was fiesty and always fun to be around, and she had great stories of life with Larry and the Professor. B.J. died on July 4, 2011. On an upbeat note, Warren J. Kaps, chairman of The Society of American Magicians Magic Endowment Fund, has announced that four young magicians have been awarded scholarships to two magic camps this summer. As part of the Endowment Fund program, one will attend the Sorcerer’s Safari Camp in Toronto, Canada, and three will go to Tannen’s Magic Camp in suburban Pennsylvania. Here are their names: Sorcerer’s Safari Winner: Mario Seki (age 13) Tannen’s Magic Camp Winners: Sean Burke (age 14), David Laid (age 13), and Yathundandh R.R. (age 13) The Society of American Magicians Magic Endowment Fund is proud of its achievement and growth, as well as the expansion of its scholarship program, which enables deserving youngsters from all over the world to attend magic camps.
AUGUST 2011 7
FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK VINNY GROSSO Promises - When I ran for second vice president, I made a video campaign piece outlining several goals I was committed to accomplishing. Thanks to the national presidents who preceded me, we were able to get them all done before I even became president. The final one happened this past June with the help of past presidents Mike Miller and Mark Weidhaas, and RVP Jania Taylor. The goal was to produce magic shows in theaters that featured young magicians and promoted the S.A.M. and S.Y.M. There are many people out there with a strong interest in magic, who have the potential to be great members of our society and local assemblies. Unfortunately, they are not aware of our organization, but they are aware of magic shows at their local theater. So, when I had the opportunity to produce a family magic show at Detroit’s Meadow Brook Music Festival, I capitalized on it. The show went over well; we featured two young and very talented magicians, TJ Ketchmark and Savannah Durocher. It’s too early to tell what impact this show will have on the Detroit assembly, but all indications are that it was successful. We will work to produce more of these shows and continue to fine tune the program. Membership Cards - When PNP Mike Miller met Israeli deputy Yosi Notkovitz, our new style membership card was born. Yosi’s suggestion was a hard plastic card similar to a credit card or hotel key – a card that doesn’t wear out and one that you can be proud to show off to someone. We didn’t want to stop there; we also decided that the card should reflect our rich history and feature past members of historical significance to the S.A.M. Each year, another member from our past would be highlighted, making the membership card a collector’s item. We wanted to take it even further; we are magicians, so shouldn’t our membership card be magical? Each year we will incorporate a new magic effect into the card. This year I decided to feature past national president and former M-U-M editor Milbourne Christopher. Mr. Christopher certainly did a lot for the S.A.M. and the art of magic, and his legacy lives on through the Milbourne Christopher Foundation. The MCF presents their prestigious awards at the banquet of our national convention. This year, Maurine Christopher, wife of the late Milbourne, was the guest of honor for the Life Member gathering. This is where the new membership cards were unveiled. I hope you enjoy your new membership card; you’ll receive it when you renew your membership. I am very excited about the new magic effect within the card. M-U-M columnist Steve Marshall was the creative force behind it, and I think you’ll have fun with it. We also added a new feature to the life member’s cards – gold! If you want the gold version of the membership card, contact our life member chairperson Clem Kinnicutt at [email protected]
com. Also, if you’d like to learn more about Milbourne Christopher you can read the article John Moehring wrote about him in M-U-M on either our Web site or via the magicSAM app for the
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iPhone/iPad/iPod touch. Something for Everyone - We recently released the first Smartphone app for a magic organization, magicSAM. The response has been amazing. In just the first month it has been downloaded approximately seven hundred times in eight countries and installed on a thousand devices. It’s only going to get better, because we are diligently working on the next version! We are also exploring porting the app over to other devices such as Android and Blackberry. Whenever we work on a project in the S.A.M., we always have to ask ourselves, “Is this a good thing for our members?” There is no single program or service that we provide our members that is a perfect fit for everyone. That’s why we try to offer as many unique benefits as we can, so there truly is something for everyone. With magicSAM, we wanted to lead the way with the first Smartphone app for a magic organization; we knew we were going to have to focus on one platform. We chose Apple’s iOS platform because of its market reach. The number of downloads and installs we’ve had the first month validates that decision. Please send us your feedback on ways to improve the app, or let us know of other platforms you would be interested in. I can’t promise we’ll be able to do everything that’s requested, but we will continue to strive to offer something for everyone. Travel Tips - I travel a lot, and I travel with people who travel a lot. I have picked up many travel tips through the years, and I will periodically share them with you here. One of my favorites is from Brad Sherwood. Brad is an improv artist who was regularly featured on Whose Line is It Anyway; he is perpetually on tour with his improv partner Colin Mochrie. Brad likes a dark hotel room at night and was frustrated with the gap between the curtains covering the window. His solution? Take a hanger out of the closet, the one with clips for pants. Use the clips to join together the two curtains. Presto! You can now sleep in darkness. If you want to see more of Brad’s genius, check out Two Man Group on Amazon.com; it’s a DVD of Colin and Brad’s improv show. Summer of Conventions Friends - The summer is in full swing and so are magic conventions. Magic conventions are not just great for the magic they provide, they’re also a great way to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Is it just me, or do we all go through the following cycle as a magician? As a young magician we go to our first convention and we don’t miss a single event. We practice newly learned effects between lectures, buy all that we can from the dealer’s room, and leave with enough new things for two shows. It’s all about the magic. Then, as we get older and we go to conventions, we end up missing events because we’re too involved in a conversation with an old friend. The line-up of acts performing and lecturing becomes secondary to the friends who will be attending. It’s all about our friends in magic. To use PNP Mark Weidhaas’s line: “You have a friend in the S.A.M.” I hope to see you at one of the conventions!
S.A.M. National Officers Dean: George Schindler, 1735 East 26th St., Brooklyn, NY 11229, (718) 336-0605, Fax (718) 627-1397, [email protected]
President: Vinny Grosso, 270 Mansion St., Coxsackie, NY 12051 (518) 756-1891 [email protected]
President Elect: J. Christopher Bontjes, 2313 Atwood Ct., Danville, IL 61834 (217)431-4791 [email protected]
First Vice President: Dal Sanders, 3316 Northaven Rd, Dallas, TX 75229 (214) 902-9200, [email protected]
Secretary: Marlene Clark, 435 Main Street, Durham, CT 06422, (860) 349-8149, Skype: marlene.clark, [email protected]
Treasurer: Mary Ann Blowers, 3 Christopher Bluffs Court, St. Louis, MO 63129 (314) 846-8468 [email protected]
Regional Vice Presidents New England: CT MA RI NH ME VT Tucker B. Goodman, 7 Evans Road, #2, Marblehead, MA 01945, (617) 901-5187, [email protected]
North Atlantic: NY NJ Pat Colby, [email protected]
Mid Atlantic: PA DE MD VAWV DC David W. Bowers, 169 Tobin Dr., Chambersburg, PA 17201(717) 414-7574, [email protected]
South Atlantic: FL AL GA MS NC SC Rick Hinze, (770)471-7558, [email protected]
Central Plains: KY TN OH IN MI Jania Taylor, (231)242-8242, [email protected]
Midwest: IL MN WI MO ND NE KS SD IA Jeff Sikora, 13023 Crown Point Ave., Omaha, NE 68164 (402)-339-6726, [email protected]
South Cental States: TX AR OK NM LA Jeff Lanes, (713)850-1770, [email protected]
Southwest: CA AZ NV HI Kenrick “Ice” McDonald, PO Box 341034, Los Angeles, CA 90034 (310)-559-8968, [email protected]
Northwest: WA OR UT ID CO AK WY MT Michael Roth, (503)493-8316, [email protected]
Canada Shawn Farquhar, (604)936-1234, [email protected]
Society of Young Magicians Director Jann Wherry Goodsell, 329 West 1750 North, Orem, Utah 84057 (801) 376-0353. [email protected]
Living Past National Presidents Bradley M. Jacobs, Richard L. Gustafson, Roy A. Snyder, Bruce W. Fletcher, James E. Zachary, Frank W. Dailey, Cesareo Pelaez, David R. Goodsell, William E. Andrews, Robert A. Steiner, Fr. Cyprian Murray, Michael D. Douglass, George Schindler, Dan Rodriguez, Dan Garrett, Donald F. Oltz Jr., Craig Dickson, Loren C. Lind, Gary D. Hughes, Harry Monti, Jann Wherry Goodsell, Warren J. Kaps, Ed Thomas, Jay Gorham, John Apperson, Richard M. Dooley, Andy Dallas, Maria Ibáñez, Bruce Kalver, Mike Miller, Mark Weidhaas.
AUGUST 2011 9
Newsworthy An Open Letter to All Magicians: Save money while you’re saving the world! In continuing efforts to support United States Armed Forces, The Society of American Magicians has recently begun offering discounted membership fees to active military personnel. Active military personnel have the opportunity to join or renew their membership in the S.A.M. at the reduced rate of $35.00 at www.societyofamericanmagicians.memberlodge.org/memberappSAM. This membership includes monthly issues of M-U-M online and other member benefits. I was recently appointed by S.A.M. President Mark Weidhaas to the position of Military Member Liaison. To make the new program effective, I will need the help of every magician who is or has been in the military or who knows someone who is. Additionally, we are making every effort to connect new military members with the nearest assembly. We encourage those assemblies to extend personal and financial courtesies to the military members. Please let us know about any incentives your assembly offers to encourage participation by military personnel. Future issues of M-U-M will make special mention of these men and women who protect and serve Americans. Please help me with this endeavor by sending me contact information for any member of your assembly who is connected to any of the Armed Forces so that I can introduce myself to them personally. I sincerely thank you for helping us promote this worthwhile endeavor. I believe this program offers a win-win-win situation. It benefits the new members, the assemblies, and magic! Scott Hollingsworth,Military Member Liaison [email protected]
Convention in One Night 2011 Is it possible to have a magic convention in one night? Absolutely! May 3, 2011, marked the Rhode Island Societies of Magicians fifth Convention in One Night, and it was a great success. Bruce Kalver did a fantastic job of organizing the event, which included close-up and stage shows, as well as lectures and a dealer area. Many guests were in attendance, including S.A.M. President Mark Weidhaas and Eric Jones, who was recently featured in an M-U-M cover story. The night opened with some great close-up magic from Mark Weidhaas and Eric Jones. Mark, looking very dapper, performed an excellent set of magic. His performance was both baffling and entertaining. Eric performed some nice card Alexanderia
10 M-U-M Magazine
Updates From Our S.A.M. Members
magic, and demonstrated his skill with coins, performing much of the magic in the spectator’s hands. A quick break gave the crowd some time to shop. Diamond’s Magic was the main attraction in the dealer area, with a large assortment of books, videos, effects, and props. Tony Karpinski was Eric Jones also on hand, displaying his beautiful hand-crafted effects. As folks shopped, the professional performers mingled with the crowd. Eric Jones was kind enough to offer advice on a book purchase, giving his seal of approval. There was plenty to learn from the evening’s three lecturers. Mark Weidhaas taught the history and secrets behind his highly successful character, Inspector Magic. Mark was completely comfortable going in and out of character, switching between performing and teaching. He touched upon character development and the importance of family magic. Mark also offered tips on using a common thread throughout your performance. With twenty-three years Tony Gangi of experience, Bob Carroll presented a great lecture on performing school magic. He explained the business side of magic, as well as audience management and keeping the adults interested. The final lecturer, Eric Jones, taught some fantastic close-up magic, including the Invisible Cigarette, a truly amazing effect, and a great three-coin routine using ungimmicked coins. During the course of the evening, Mark Weidhaas presented Presidential Citations to Bob Carroll and Bruce Kalver for their many years of dedication to the art Bob Carroll of magic. The night ended with a great stage show. Bob Carroll opened with a hilarious ventriloquism routine, even bringing Bruce Kalver into the act. Vinny Grosso took a more serious approach, performing magic with cards and silks. Getting back to the humorous side was Tony Gangi and his whacky sideshow. Mark Weidhaas brought us back to more traditional magic, performing magic with money and changing the color of 45-rpm records. Alexanderia is one of the few female escape artists in the world, and she was kind enough to take the stage as well. Eric Jones closed the show with a polished set of magic. Huge thanks to Bruce Kalver for organizing everything, and to all of the guests and performers who made this a most enjoyable convention. —Chris Natale
ASSEMBLY NEWS Society of American Magicians Monthly News
Volume 101, Number 3
Send your reportS to:
Paul Hallas Eric DeCamps. Because we Schneider have many new members, Lecturer Meir gave a beautiful history of this lecture and the man it New York, NY— A honors. At times it was quite visitor to the Magic Table for touching, because it came many years, Albert Callus of from the heart. He then introAssembly 168 was in from duced the lecturer, Paul Hallas. New Jersey with Marco and One nice thing was that Paul’s Tim Fortune this month. Marco lecture was filled with effects did a beautiful effect with a that were within the abilities key. We had a great time with of any of the fifty people who them. They joined the regulars, attended the lecture. It was a PP Jerry Oppenheimer and his wonderful lecture and night at wife Lee, myself, Secretary the PA 1. —Tom Klem Pat Colby, and board members Parent Assembly One– Meets Jordan Linker, Rene Clement, the first Friday 8 PM at Mt. and Richard Bossong. The Sinai Medical Center, 1425 Table meets Fridays from 12:30 Madison Avenue (96th Street), on for lunch at the Edison Hotel New York, New York. Café on 47th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue in Times COLOMBINI Square. LECTURE Our monthly meeting was held on June at Mount Sinai. SAN FRANCISCO, CA— President Ken Ferst was A second May meeting was absent, so First VP Margaret scheduled in order to have Steele started meeting at 7:30. Aldo and Rachel Colombini The first order of business lecture as part of their Final was our annual election of the Tour. It was well worth the adBoard of Directors. This went ditional meeting, because the very smoothly. Admission’s Colombinis not only are great Chairman Bob Friedhoffer magicians, they also have a announced that we had two wonderful sense of humor. new members to swear in. They The repartee between Rachel were Ed Checkett and Jared and Aldo kept us laughing Molton. Sworn in they were, while they baffled us with welcomed by the assembly. their magic. Rachel was very Then First VP Margaret Steele, open about her recent major producer of this year’s Salute, surgery and thanked us for our gave signed posters from thoughts, prayers, and contriour Salute staring Thomas butions. Our regular June meeting had Solomon to all those who worked so hard on this year’s an excellent teaching portion; show. Bill Gleason was singled the subject was false shuffles out with an award and a special and false cuts. Corky LeVallee award was given to Thomas began with a number of false Solomon to a nice round of shuffles that to the uninitiapplause. George Silverman ated looked like the real thing. announced a special workshop. Similarly, the false cuts had the Other committee reports were appearance of true deck cutting given. The meeting was then but did nothing to rearrange the cards. Rich Sequine added ended with ritual. The after-meeting event a few cuts to round out the was The Willie Schneider teaching program. The theme for the magic was Memorial Lecture produced by Meir Yedid. Meir Yedid twofold. Since we held an was introduced by PA 1 Dean auction at the May meeting,
members could show tricks that they bought at the auction or tricks purchased from the Colombinis. Corky showed Dean’s Box, Rob Shapiro presented the Needle through Balloon, and Hippo Lau did a nice presentation of a giant Three Card Monte. The Colombinis were represented by Jack Langdell doing Restless Cards, Stu Bacon showing Mind Reading Past and Present, and Walt Johnson doing a nice multiple cut and restored rope. The others brought magic of their choosing: Rich and Bob Kuhn did great things with cards, Bill Langell did a mental effect with pennies, and Tamaka made a card disappear from a metal box and appear in a previously shown empty canister. The interesting aspect of Tamaka’s presentation was that the two pieces of apparatus were well over seventy-five years old and were recently restored to working condition. The evening was further enhanced by cookies that Corky brought. They disappeared without any false shuffles, cuts, or other sleights. —Stu Bacon Golden Gate Assembly 2 meets the first Wednesday at 7:30 PM in the Community Room of the Taravel Police Station, 2345 24th Ave. San Francisco. Contact: Tamaka. 415 5319332,[email protected]
In June, over one hundred members and their guests attended our annual banquet, which featured an amazing array of talent. Following the cocktail hour, during which we were treated to the keyboard magic of Ralph Armstrong, everyone enjoyed a sumptuous buffet dinner. After dinner, Assembly 4 Dean Professor
Rem handed out the trophies to those individuals who placed first, second, and third in the close-up and stage contests this year. He then presented the prestigious Charles H. Hopkins award to long-time Assembly 4 member Charles Murter – a gentleman in every sense of the word. A round of applause was then given to outgoing President Ed Hanisco for all of his hard work this year as he passed the gavel and wand on to incoming President Ralph Armstrong.
Stuart Rudnick, our emcee for the evening
After the award ceremony, the stage show began, for which Stuart Rudnick ably served as the masters of ceremonies. The first act consisted of a dazzling number of effects performed in lightning fast succession by surprise guests Arlen Solomon, Eric Lampert, PNP Dick Gustafson, Ed Hanisco, Bob Little, Professor Rem, Reba Strong, Jeff Carson, Tom Ewing, Joe Mogar, and Al Lloyd. Following this array of talented performers, Sam Sandler took to the stage and performed a colorful, dazzling, fast paced act involving the production of silks, dyed dove,s and streamers before ending with a very funny mouth coil production with the assistance
AUGUST 2011 11
ASSEMBLY NEWS of audience member Ed Cohen. The delightful Kimberly Matthews then performed a beautiful silk act set to music, which included the production of multiple doves and culminated with their transformation into an adorable white rabbit. Next, George Hample wowed the crowd with his very own torn and restored M-U-M effect followed by an amazing milk vanish and reappearance inside a lighted table lamp. Finally, Jim Daly ended the show with his signature comedy bill in lemon effect, which had everyone in hysterics. Without question, the 2011banquet was one of the best we have ever had. —Peter Cuddihy James Wobensmith Assembly 4 meets third Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the Bustleton Memorial Post, 810 (American Legion) 9151 Old Newtown Road. Information: www.sam4.org/
of shiny stuff from her bag of tricks. She was in the running for the prize just by wearing the right outfit! Each member of the audience received a Diamond Pin (a dime and pin). Jeff Sikora brought Aaron Pierce out of the audience and was graced by a shiny hat and scarf that Jeff used to baffle us. Bruce Jacoby performed one of the most amazing feats I have
Time to Shine
Omaha, NE— To open the meeting President Larry Brodahl started this year’s series of “Find a book in our library/ perform the trick/ explain it/tell us what book it’s in” with an illusion from The Amazing Book of Magic and Card Tricks by Tremayne. This month we had a contest with a $50 prize. The theme was “Shiny,” but this was left to interpretation and was most interesting to note how each of ten performers interpreted the guidelines. The order was determined by random drawing; first up was Pete Petrashek with the shiniest mirror I’ve ever seen. With his help a scarf and ball de-materialized into and behind the mirror. Tom Neddo performed Waterfall, during which his shiny cups kept the water from falling on our President’s head. Johnny Impossible did a Coins Across routine with shiny coins. Bob Buczkowski entertained with a string and (shiny) ring routine – one of his signature effects. President Larry Brodahl presented a larger (shiny) ring and string routine. Denny Rourke did a shiny cup and water routine he called Aqua Binaca – and didn’t wet the rug. Roger Reese performed Jackrobats, in which cards turned into shiny mirrors. Joyce Chleboun produced tons
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ever witnessed! After setting up his sound system, with the push of one button the lights went out in the entire building (and the tornado sirens started to wail). After the audience first found a safe place, we managed to reassemble and talked Bruce into completing his act. Is it no surprise that he won the contest? If you hire him for a performance, you should ask him to perform this effect. Better yet contact Bruce and ask if he will sell you the technique. He won $50. —Jerry Golmanavich Omaha Magical Society meets on the third Monday of most months at the Southwest Church of Christ, 124th St. and W. Center Rd. - Across from Hooters.
Cincinnati, OH— The June meeting of the Queen City Mystics Assembly 11 was a joint summer picnic with the I.B.M. Ronald Haines Ring 71. It was held at a lodge and picnic area at Lake Isabella in Loveland, Ohio, on a beautiful springlike day. It was afternoon of games, fellowship, adults entertaining kids, kids entertaining adults, magic yard sale/flea market, and raffle. A picnic dinner was catered by Micki
Plyes and Betty Winzig. This was followed by the evening entertainment – the War of the Wizards – a showdown between S.A.M. and I.B.M. members. First up was Chuck Arkin (I.B.M.) who performed a funny escape routine involving a spectator and his wife, who pleaded his case. He did successfully free himself from the locked stocks. Don Hinton (S.A.M.) performed a series of effects, beginning with appearing and disappearing coins and silks, a card effect with a prediction, and then a three prediction effect using random coins and a young spectator in orange athletic gear. Frank Johnston (I.B.M.) performed his comically clever silk magic routine. It included cane to silk, rose to silk, disappearing black silk, silk to candle, and disappearing candle. This was followed by a change bag routine where several colored silks turn into a long, long and wide multicolored silk ribbon. Denny Metz (S.A.M.) had two volunteers select a card and they then transmitted their selection to the other via a clothesline attached to two plungers on top of their heads – a very funny bit. He then has a spectator select a card and the deck of cards disappeared in the spectator’s hand, leaving him with his chosen card.
D. Metz, F. Johnston, D. Hinton, P. Delholt, C. Arkin, P. Thermes
Paul Delholt (aka Presto Paul) performed an Ambitious Card routine with a blank deck of cards, completely mystifying a young spectator. He then had a spectator randomly (by thirds) cut a deck of cards and came up with nine cards representing a phone number of the spectator’s soul mate. The phone number was Paul’s! Patrick Thermes (S.A.M.) produced a coke bottle and
then vanished it in a paper bag. He then performed a card effect with a poker hand changing from an Ace high to a royal flush. Last he mystified a young spectator with a magically written message on a chalkboard. The War was won by I.B.M. Ring 71. Assembly 11 is eagerly awaiting next year’s War! —John Martini Queen City Mystics, SAM Assembly 11 generally meets on the 2nd Friday of the month at Haines House of Cards in Cincinnati, Ohio.
David Hira Lectures and Emcees
Dallas, TX— David Hira presented a lecture on the art of being a master of ceremonies (emcee), then demonstrated these techniques by introducing the performers for the night. The first performer of the evening was Geoff Grimes. Geoff performed his Chinese Sticks routine, followed by an anniversary-themed trick. Two spectators were handed a stack of large cards, with “values” such as “listen to each other.” Each spectator shuffled their stack and set one card aside. They then went through the shuffled cards one at a time to see how “compatible” their values were. Unfortunately for the newlyweds, only two of the five sets matched. Fortunately, the cards set aside at the beginning were “emergency cards,” one reading “Give her your first paycheck” and the other “and every one thereafter…” The second performer was Brad Ingle. Five card pairs were selected. The two sets of cards were shuffled, and Brad then proceeded to spell out the phrase “Will the faces match?” by transferring cards from the top to the bottom of the stack. A spectator was allowed at any time during the process to call out “SWITCH!” causing Brad to switch to the opposite stack and continue spelling. At the end of the phrase, the top cards of each stack were set aside as a pair. After all five pairs were dealt out, each was displayed to show that they were identical pairs. The third performer was Ian Richards. The Ten of Diamonds was selected by a spectator and replaced in the deck. Multiple attempts to find
ASSEMBLY NEWS the card, including the assistance of a mouse, resulted in selection of the Two of Hearts. Ian eventually destroyed the offending card, and asked Nathan Himes to step up and select another card from the deck. Nathan, of course, found the Ten of Diamonds! Ian then asked Nathan to wave a wand over the deck, and suddenly all of the cards in the deck were the Ten of Diamonds. The final performer was Daryl Sprout, the Magical Herpetological Humorist. Daryl performed a number of effects, all centered around his favorite creatures – snakes. Effects included wand to snake, balloon to snake, and even launching a giant snake into the audience. David Hira wrapped the show, and then held a question/answer session about the night and about emceeing in general. Dallas Magic Club Assembly 13 meets the third Tuesday of each Month at 7 p.m. Crosspointe Church and Community Center www.dallasmagic.org for directions. Check out the Dallas Magic Club on Facebook!
All in all it was a great evening of fun, friends, and magic. Until we meet again… —John Bryant Sam 16 meets every first Monday of the month at the magic barn in Ashland, MA. For more information contact Ken Maynard at [email protected]
Card Magic Never Gets Old
Jeff Prozyca started off the night with a great card club sandwich and then did a Jim Pace version of Oil and Water. Rich Gilbert’s use of doublebacked cards caused a King of Clubs to switch to a King of Hearts in the spectator’s hand. He then showed us the new Houdini vanish card escape. Ed Kazar amazed us using Jim Sisti’s Mixed Symbols ESP routine. PJ Pinsonnault did a nice Ace production, spelling out the Ace of Clubs, and then he showed us another card club sandwich, only in slow motion. Rich Pinsonault had four Queens traveling with Larry Jennings’s Simple Stencil. Conrad McIntyre made it look Rachel & Aldo easy with a lazy man, any Columbini’s card, any number, using just Farewell Tour the Two through Nine. Dave Dimock performed the Third Ashland, MA— Monday’s Choice by Corinda, and Tom meeting was none other than Gentile finished up with Cody spectacular. There were Fisher’s comedy card predictwenty-five members and tion, tearing up a card over and guests present. We enjoyed over again. Later in the month, Aldo a wonderful meal provided by Peter Lentros and then and Rachel Colombini came proceeded to enjoy our to visit for a spell, stopping evening with Rachel and Aldo by on their Farewell Tour. We Columbini presenting their learned so many new and easy farewell tour. They will still be tricks. Rachel impressed us lecturing but not on a full-time all with her beautiful paper basis. During their fantastic cup and ball routine and Aldo magic lecture, they also shared kept us laughing with every some details about Rachel’s trick. This was their third visit heart surgery last year and to our assembly. We will miss how amazing her recovery has them, because they always been. brought us great magic, lots The evening included, but was of fun, and wonderful stories. not limited to, ESP predictions, Next month we’ll be heading rope routines, a new twist on out for our annual Summer the ring and rope, the book test, Sizzler Picnic at Look Park. card magic, and the spectacular —Karen L. Gibson disappearing thumb tip! Dr. I.R. Caulkins Assembly #17 During intermission, we meets the first Friday of every were treated with strawberry month at 7 pm at the Grand shortcake provided by Peter Meadows Tennis Club, Dwight Lentros. The rest of the evening Road, East Longmeadow, MA was magical, as Rachel and www.assembly17.org Aldo concluded their lecture by sharing more magic and Knowing Your stories about their travels and Character experiences.
Houston, TX— In June, so we could get right into Phil Kampf presented an the evening’s highlight – the overview of magical presenta- “Farewell” lecture by Aldo and tion as the teach-in session. One Rachel Colombini! We were of the top items Phil kept men- privileged to host their only tioning was that you must know your character. One needs to know how he is going to act and what his response is going to be to situations and questions. Phil recommended that taking a class in theater at one of the working theaters in town would be very helpful. Phil’s many years of working as a professional magician along with his theater backJason Abate counts cards into Aldo’s ground were very evident palm. (Steve Wronker photo) in his presentation. Bill Palmer shared some very valuable lessons learned as Connecticut appearance. They he developed his Merlin the were quick to stress that they Magician character over time. were not retiring from magic, Bill of course perfected the just from touring. Merlin character that was so This was a wonderful talk, widely known at the Texas starting with a champagne toast Renaissance Festival. We had to Rachel. In between tricks we lots of audience interaction and were told stories of their being this topic went over very well. on the road, the details behind Thanks Phil for sharing this in- Rachel’s successful surgery, formation. and a few gag tricks (for The annual Memorial Day example, vanishing a thumb BBQ at Dr. Rex Crago’s home tip), and some giveaways. was another hit with over The highlights of the lecture sixty peope in attendance. In were: Zodiac Code, in which addition to the fine food, there a color linked to a spectawas some great magical en- tor’s birthday is predicted; An tertainment presented by Alex Empty Envelope, a gag preRangel and John Star, among diction effect; a cute cut-andothers. restored rope routine that goes Eric Evans stopped into by the prosaic name of Cutting Houston on May 10 to present The Rope In Three; Five-Card a fine lecture that was well Mystery, wherein a blank card attended. If you get the chance vanishes among red cards; to see him perform, you will not Ring On Rope, using, believe want to pass it up. Please visit it or not, a scrunchy, to remove houstonmagic.com to keep up a ring but leave the knot; A with all the latest magical hap- Mental Trick, in which one card penings in the Houston area. chosen from a pile matches the We wish to thank our prediction; Cidentaquin, which magical performers for the uses ESP cards to find the four June meeting. They were matches to a spectator’s chosen Bill Palmer, John Star, Gene card; Stranger In Paradise, Protas, David Hinken, Rick wherein a choice is revealed Hebert, Phil Kampf, David as the only red in a blue deck; Rangel, Sigmund Potocki, and Houdini Card, in which a card escapes from two rubberAlex Rangel. —Miles Root SAM 19 meets the first bands and a square of tinfoil; Monday of every month at the Three-Way Miracle Prediction, IATSE Local 51 Meeting Hall, in which the final composition 3030 North Freeway, Houston, of three card piles is predicted; TX. A teaching lecture begins Jumbo Prediction, a stunner in at 7:30 pm with the meeting which a selected card matches a jumbo card, but the deck beginning at 8:00 pm. proves to consists of duplicates THE COLOMBINIS of an entirely different card; IN CONNECTICUT Restless Colors, in which a pack of duplicates change their West Hartford, CT— back colors, then become Aces; The club decided to waive Tri-Color Cups and Balls, as our regular business meeting performed by Rachel – it uses
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ASSEMBLY NEWS no balls, just rolled-up colored tissue, with a surprise ending. —Dana Ring Bill Greenough Assembly #21 meets 2nd Monday (except December) at Angelo’s on Main in West Hartford, CT. www.sam21.org
internationally. David also performs magic in the classic style. His top hat and cane quickly became a table as he did a short silk knotting routine. Zerbel then performed a ball manipulation and multiplying ball effect. His act concluded with his own threeASSEMBLY 22 – 80 ring routine. YEARS OLD Southern California Assembly 22 meets the 3rd Monday each Los Angeles. CA— The month at 8:00 P.M., St. Thomas Southern California Assembly Moore Parish Hall, 2510 So. 22 celebrated its 80th anniver- Fremont Ave., Alhambra, CA sary at its annual banquet on Information: 213/382-8504 June 12, 2011. It was again held at Steven’s Steak & Seafood in Talent and the City of Commerce, a few Trickery miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. A fine meal was Providence, RI— The enjoyed by everyone after an warm weather has finally early cocktail hour. After the arrived, and so has the annual meal, toastmaster and show RISM’s Got Talent contest. emcee, John Engman, began Before the contest, Jeff Smith the program with the installa- taught several Aldo Colombini tion of the 2011-2012 assembly packet tricks. Jeff is always fun officers and directors. to watch, and a great instrucPNP Ed Thomas conducted tor to boot. And, he was nice the ceremony to install our enough to donate the tricks to new officers. Immediate Past the club’s monthly raffle. President Bill Yamane gave a With a quick break, it was short valedictory address and time to start the talent show. incoming President Jim Callen Round one of the contest pitted presented a very amusing ac- Dan Cipolla against Jeff Smith, ceptance speech as he begins Andrew Cipolla against Ed Hill, what typically is a two-year and Cameron Ramsay against term in office. Our assembly Sean Dale. Dan’s card and coin has always been fortunate to to orange were two really nice have competent and dedicated effects. Jeff performed a great leadership. card routine using magic paint. The 80th anniversary gala The routine is well thought out, show opened with the colorful and flows nicely through each and fast-moving act of Stoil & phase. Andrew inserted his cell Ekatrina. Set to music, Stoil & phone into a balloon, and then Ekatrina present a very unique made an amazing cell phone act. Ted “Suds” Sudbrack was call. Ed’s entry was the most our next performer and, as ambitious, performing magic always, it was full of humor and with the Statue of Liberty. fun. Suds is a long-time Los Cameron did some great rose/ Angeles area performer and napkin magic, while Sean enmagic manufacturer/dealer. tertained the crowd with a great Suds’s paper tearing tricks rendition of Coins Across. The judges voted, and only have become classics. His repeat Anderson Newspaper three contestants remained. Tear was not only funny, it was Round two pitted Dan, Ed, a baffler. The third performer, and Cameron in a three-way David Benitez, aka “Marsan,” battle. Dan performed a rising attired in a tuxedo and por- card poster, Ed selected magic traying the image of a classic with an Egyptian theme, and magician, opened with a card Cameron performed some ESP. manipulation routine and card The judges were left with the fan productions. Picking coins difficult task of eliminating from the air, he then presented one contestant. Round three gave us Dan a nice Miser’s Dream coin production. Marsan finished his against Cameron, in a battle act with a very smooth linking to the finish. Dan’s Not Knot ring routine and the now seldom Silks was a real crowd pleaser, seen Zombie floating ball. A but ultimately Cameron would take the prize with a fantastic class act in every respect. Closing the show was David monster card production. Thanks to Jeff Smith, the Zerbel, another Los Angeles magician who has performed judges, and all of the contes-
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tants for making this a great evening. —Chris Natale C. Foster Fenner, Assembly 26 meets first Tuesday each month from September to June at 7 pm at the American Legion Auburn Post 20, 7 Legion Way, Cranston, RI.
Building a Routine
Atlanta, GA— Our program director, Debbie Leifer, hosted the post-dinner performance. Dan Garrett was our first performer. He mystified the audience with linking rubber bands and torn and restored rubber bands. We are looking forward to his professional development session on rubber bands next month. Preston Turner, son of Joe Turner, showed us his magical rock that magnifies objects, which he got at a science museum. It was an interesting piece and we were glad to have Preston visiting with us. Joe Turner could not afford a Dean Dill box, so he used his hands instead and made a red and white rope link together. He also had his deck of cards do a trick for him by allowing the spectator to perform all the magic. Joe had a card chosen for him and the spectator also had a card chosen. Both cards were found at the end. Joe Morrison brought a light board with various colored lights and switches. The corresponding light would light with the same color switch even when the bulbs or switches were mixed. Jim Mangham had his wife set up a trick with a red deck and a blue deck. He had the red deck cut several times until only one card remained. When the blue deck was opened, the matching card had an X inscribed on it. Daryl Berman presented a ring and string effect by pulling the ring from the string when it was attached by a knot. He also borrowed a flip phone; when the string was inside the phone, music would play. Our Professional Development series continued with John Miller presenting how to routine your effects. He presented one of his favorite effects, Roy Walton’s Cascade, just as a trick, then presented it again with a routine he developed that suited his style of presentation. John also handed out suggestions for
building a routine, as well as several references for those who wished to pursue this interest. On Saturday, June 18, we held an initiation for four of our members, Jim Driscoll, Mal Simpson, Martin Baratz, and Rory Gullion. It was a very meaningful ceremony, with refreshments afterward. Now, if we can just get the goat back in the cage. —Carol Garrett Atlanta Society of Magicians, Julian V. Boehme/Walter S. Bell Assembly #30 Meets the second Thursday at Picadilly Cafeteria, I-85 & North Druid Hills Rd. For more info: Web site: http://www.sam30atlanta.org
A FOND FAREWELL
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – We were one of the lucky assemblies who were a stop on Aldo and Rachel Colombini’s Farewell Tour. Thirty-five attendees helped make this one of our best-attended meetings in quite some time. After a brief summary of happenings in Aldo and Rachel’s lives, we were treated to several hours of magic and fun. Rachel’s performance of Zodiac Code was wonderful. An Empty Envelope was a great prediction effect by Aldo. The entire
Rachel and Aldo Colombini entertain Assembly 35
night was filled with a lot of wonderful back-and-forth between the duo. We enjoyed card effects, rope tricks, amazing feats of mentalism, and so much more. Between effects were treated to the jokes you would expect when Aldo and Rachel are performing. They have a wonderful
ASSEMBLY NEWS rapport and kept us laughing all night long. If you have the opportunity to see them on their last lecture tour, put it on your calendar – you won’t be disappointed. Thank you Aldo and Rachel for a terrific night of magic. Assembly members, be sure to check out the Web site for more information on our revised summer schedule. —Craig Kunaschk Al Baker Assembly No. 35 (usually) meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the Milanese Italian Restaurant, 115 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY. Check out our website at compumagic. com/sam35 to confirm time and meeting location.
Denver, CO— A number of children attended our June meeting Kid-Dab-Ra, as special guests of the Mile High Magicians. Emcee and club president Connie Elstun got things off to a perfect start by introducing us to members of the cast of her Bunny and Birdie Magic Show. We were particularly pleased with participation by some new members of our club, including Lewis Peacock. Lewis thrilled the audience by pouring different colored liquids from the same teapot. There was an explanation, however, because dry handkerchiefs the same color as the liquid were pulled from the teapot. Next up was club member Inspector Magic, aka PNP Mark Weidhaas. Mark featured highlights from his show, including something that only the grandparents in the audience knew about – records that changed colors. Mark also featured a cool trick with colored pom-poms changing places and a card trick that used a large number of assistants. New member Michele Lutz also used a number of assistants to psychically find some colored stones hidden in their hands and to make a rod change colors. The Amazing Dave Elstun introduced members of the audience to a stoplight that creates mass confusion by flashing the same color in all directions. He finished with a see-through egg storage bag from which eggs appeared and disappeared. Bringing it all to
Mark Weidhaas performing a segment of his Inspector Magic show
a hilarious finish was the team of Jeff and Karen Wake. Jeff took on the role of a princess looking for an elusive dragon. The dragon turned up on the back of a child assistant playing the part of a knight. As if this wasn’t enough, Karen Wake then treated everyone to her delicious cupcakes. Kid paradise! Connie hung several baby pictures of Mile High members on a board and everyone had to guess who they were. Add on face-painting and balloons and it was a great evening. We also raffled a ticket to the Magic in the Rockies convention coming up in Fort Collins, Colorado, the second weekend of September. —Dave Elstun SAM Assembly 37 is The Mile High Magician’s Society and meets on the 2nd Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in the RiverPointe Senior Community, 5225 South Prince St. Denver, CO 80123. Our Website is w w w. m i le h ig h m a g ic i a n s . com. Connie Elstun is the President her E-mail address is [email protected]
Clocks, Watches, or Cards
Ft. Lauderdale, FL— The themes for our June meeting were Clocks/Watches/Cards, or Ventriloquism/Puppetry, or Blocks, or Mentalism, or Science Magic. President Billy Byron emceed the proceedings. First up was Mark Horowitz, who brought some gaffed cards and wallets from his collection. Anyone who knows Mark knows of his extensive magic collec-
tion. Peter Fox ate part of a card and then spat it back on. He then blew a hole in a card and moved it around the card. It was weird to see. Gene Fein did a card control in which a selected card became the only one in the deck facing the opposite direction; it then changed into a different color back. Mel Panzer did a four card mental selection with the cards also being the only ones facing in the opposite direction in the deck at the end. Sid Marcus performed a mental clock-setting stunt in which the spectator set the dial on a clock and it matched the predicted clock setting previously set by Sid on another clock. Al Hernandez, a street magician visitor, performed several outstanding card flourishes with the four Aces, even though they were mixed into the deck by several spectators. Michael Easler brought his friend “Woody” to do some ventriloquism. Woody was hilarious. Emcee Billy Byron also brought a friend, “Antonio The Great,” a puppet squirrel who performed several tricks for the crowd. All in all, it was a fun night. —Billy Byron Assembly 49 meets second Wednesday - 7:30 Margate City community Center.
Nashville, TN— Gene Anderson and David Sandy were the stars of our Magic Day. It all started with a kick-off lecture by Joe Turner from Atlanta. Saturday began with a lecture from Stephen Bargatze, with lectures from David Sandy, and Gene Anderson to follow later in the day. There was also a time during which attendees were allowed to get up and do a trick that they had been working on and receive tips from a panel made up of the acts that were booked for Magic Day as well as some of the other attendees. Two who participated were Tim Grant of Memphis and Ed Riply of Knoxville; both had really put a lot of work into their acts and in doing so got lots out of the session. Thanks to them and the others who took part. Just over two hundred people enjoyed a great Saturday night show, performed by Gene Anderson and friends. Let’s be honest, you just can’t go wrong
when you have Gene Anderson on the bill. Everyone loves Gene – that face, that look, that talent, and he is still single, go figure. He did his paper act, of course; it is still great to watch and has been updated with a lot of new and good jokes that all fit Gene perfectly. He also
Gene Anderson lecture performed the preacher act, and since we were meeting in a church, it just seemed right. David Sandy, after having two performers do acts similar to what he had planned, put together a great set. He went to the dealer’s table, good for them, bought a couple of classics and wowed the audience, both the laymen and the magicians who were there. Joe Turner started the show, Wayne Clemons did a great job of emceeing the show and also doing the award winning act of “Out Source” with his life partner Shank Kothare. Thanks to Mike Pyle, Trix, Tim, Shank , and Dick for all the hard work they put in. Kevin King offered prizes for anyone who could be the first to yell out what animal he was making with his unique balloons arts; there were no winners. —Stephen Bargatze Music City Mystics meets third Tuesday at 7:00PM at the It’s Magic! Theater, Hermitage. www.nashvillesam.com
Installation of Officers Banquet
SAN ANTONIO, TX— June 2, 2011, Brother John Hamman Assembly 52 held its annual Installation of Officers Banquet at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Outgoing president Don Moravits planned a great evening of fun, food, and entertainment. Don welcomed members and their guests as they dined on Italian Cuisine. A big thank you goes out to Geoffrey and Tabitha Sadowski for providing their
AUGUST 2011 15
ASSEMBLY NEWS the month at La Madeleine Restaurant, located at 722 N.W. Loop 410. The restaurant is inside Loop 410 on the access road between Blanco Rd. and San Pedro. For more information, contact [email protected]
net From Left: Joe Libby-President, Geoffrey Sadowski-Vice President, Don Moravits-Outgoing President, Doug Gorman-Secretary/Treasurer, George Castillo-Sergeant-At-Arms.
famous strawberry cheesecake for dessert, and to Doug and Fran Gorman for setting up the stage, sound, and lights. Don Moravits conducted the Installation of Officers Ceremony. Congratulations to our new officers: Joe Libby – President, Geoffrey Sadowski – Vice President, Doug Gorman – Secretary/Treasurer, and George Castillo – Sergeant-atArms. Don then recognized several members for their contribution to the assembly for this year with certificates of appreciation: to David Hira, for entertaining Assembly 52 at this banquet; to Dwayne Stanton and Geoffrey Sadowski for rejuvenating and leading the S.Y.M.; to Doug Gorman and Michael Tallon for assisting Assembly 52 beyond the call of duty; to Dahnene Moravits for providing continuing support to her husband; and to Fran Gorman for publishing the monthly newsletter. President Joe Libby then presented Don Moravits with a plaque of appreciation for his “unselfish service to Assembly 52.” Our entertainer for the evening was David Hira from Dallas. David is a world-class, full-time professional, having performed in such prestigious locations as Caesar’s Palace, The White House, and on cruise ships on the Mediterranean Sea. He has also made thirty-six television appearances. David provided an awesome show for our assembly, filled with magic and comedy. Thanks, David, for a wonderful performance. Brother John Hamman Assembly 52 meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of
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It was a very busy May for Assembly 56. First, the assembly took a “road trip” up to Canton, Ohio, for The International Battle of Magicians! Twenty compeers and two guests made the trip. What a great turnout for the assembly. Plus, it was a fantastic convention! It was my first time at The Battle and I’m planning on going back. Then, two weeks later, we had our regularly scheduled meeting. The theme this month was Card Magic Using Apparatus. What a fun theme by Oran Dent! All kinds of great magic and history was presented by Oran, Thurman Smith, Marvin Griswold, Fred Witwer, Barb Pfeifer, Paul Burnham, Stan Goode, Scott Miller, Matt Stanley, Dave Davis, and guest John Love. Stan also provided fantastic refreshments. Fun was had by all! —Paul D. Burnham Dayton, Ohio, Assembly 56 meets third Friday at 7:30 p.m. Location varies, so call Barb Pfeifer for information: (937) 433-8604.
Jay Sankey Lecture
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, MI— Friendly, warm, and down to earth, Jay Sankey started by talking about the importance of interacting with people, to have fun with people. His lecture consisted of three forms of close-up magic: traditional magic, mentalism, and “bending.” He started with a very funny card trick, in which three selected cards were mysteriously “eaten” by the four Queens. Then came a mentalism trick in which a card was picked;
Jay Sankey with Marvin Mathena (Treasurer)
the prediction was a “red card,” and then the chosen card ended up with the volunteer’s name written on it. For an example of “bending,” Jay showed a plastic spoon, turned it around a couple of times, and showed that the spoon had a twist in it. Jay also had plenty of other examples of his creative magic – a lot of it was his older stuff, but updated, with a few things I had never seen before. Overall, it was a great lecture and a great night for the AAMC! —Randy A. Smith Hank Moorehouse Assembly 88 meets the second Wednesday 7pm Faith Lutheran Church, 1255 E Forest Ave, Ypsilanti, MI. Randy A. Smith, Phone:313-562-3875 Email [email protected]
or visit www.aamagic.org for more details.
CARNIVAL MAGIC BBQ
The June meeting was held at the home of Ray Roch in Tsawwassen, who fired up his BBQ for a spouses welcome patio cookout. While Ray was in charge of the BBQ, his wife Pat was pretty well in charge of everything else, and together
they organized a fabulous last-meeting-before-summer sumptuous club meal. The magic theme for the evening was Carnival Magic, which reflects Ray’s involvement in the carnival in the past with his classic “Flim Flam Foolery” act. Up first, Lon Mandrake portrayed himself as a fortune teller in his presentation of Destiny Magic, in which Linda Henriksen happened to pick the only two red cards out of an entire deck of blue cards. Rod Chow presented a midway game of chance with Linda Mandrake; although she had several opportunities to win the big bucks, each time Linda ended up with only ten cents. Jens Henriksen had a word selected from a number of torn out pages of a book, and that word matched a word chosen in a dictionary by another volunteer. Neale Bacon confirmed that his favorite part of a carnival is the food, and showed various food items commonly found at carnivals. After Neale had Jens eliminate the items one by one, it turned out that Jens ended up with the bill for all the food. Dennis Hewson took everyone to the carnival sideshow and performed a Sword through Neck routine. Dave Watters demonstrated the effectiveness of a squeaker device, and then took an instant mini picture of Lon Mandrake’s thought-of card. Michael Glenister showed some attractive and fun color changing light-sabers. Henry Tom portrayed the carnival conman with a Three Card Monte routine. Rick Mearns performed a lie detector test and ended up matching Linda Mandrake’s card to his prediction. Lon closed the evening by returning with a mini sideshow illusion of the Finger Chopper, with Trevor Watters risking his finger. —Rod Chow The Carl Hemeon Assembly No. 95 meets the first Tuesday of each month at members’ homes.
Ray Roch hosts pre-summer BBQ
CONCORD CA— After yours truly won the attendance award at our May meeting, we immediately jumped into the performance portion of the meeting with Doug Kovacich
ASSEMBLY NEWS starting us off with a spiral disk that seemed to make Rick Allen’s get larger and then smaller for those who gazed at the disk. Immediately after, Zappo (that’s me) performed a cut-and-restored rope routine that included a sweet method of constructing a set of ropes to perform The Professor’s Nightmare right in front of the audience. Then Bob Holdridge performed two prediction routines with, as usual, his well-crafted props And Roy Porfido managed to capture a wild white balloon behind bars in a shoebox-sized cage. With the help a fiveyear-old guest spectator, Roy burst the balloon and turned it visibly into a cute little version of Pepé Le Pew. At that point, Jerry Barrilleaux penetrated a pencil through both a dollar bill and a lottery selection ticket in an effort to find the lucky winning numbers. It turned out the dollar bill was completely unharmed from the penetration of the pencil.
Following a brief pizza break, Jerry Barrilleaux explained the Trick of the Month, during which he provided us with an exceptionally well made set of sticks, made from timbers from his grandfather’s diamond mine. Although both sides of first one stick and later another were shown blank, by saying the magic word Jerry was able to make diamonds appear at will, jump back and forth between the sticks, and disappear just as fast as he had initially produced them. And, as usual with this feature, members present received these props for free. During the mini-lecture that ended the meeting, Zappo (that’s still me) had a discussion about several aspects of performing the cut-and-restored rope and a direct follow-up of The Professor’s Nightmare. —Larry Wright Diablo Assembly No. 112 meets third Wednesdays at the Round Table Pizza in Concord.
Champaign, IL— The
Roy Porfido has young helper pop balloon
The person from whom Jerry had obtained the miracle just performed was Mike Della Penna, the President of the Oakland Magic Circle, who followed with a dazzling act that included an Okito coin-box routine, a four-Ace routine, a matrix routine, a giant-sized coin production, and (with the help of his blindfolded card duck) the finding of a selected card. Following that performance, Jerry Barrilleaux demonstrated the Trick of the Month (which he explained later in the evening after the guests had left). Chris Roe rounded out the performance portion of the night with a bold mind-reading effect.
first item last month was the possibility of Skyping a meeting together with the Kansas City, Missouri, group. It was decided that this could be a lot of fun and we should give it a go. Next up, we voted to keep the business meetings to twenty minutes with magic to follow. The twenty minutes will not include book/DVD reports that are limited to two minutes. Bruce Kalver has an iPad app that includes contracts and paper work for magicians to use. It called Magic Gig Slips, it sells for $4.99 and can be found at the iTunes app store. In Tales from the Trenches, Justin Dudely told us of having a multiplying wand hide from him; it was then later thrown at him during a show. He also told of having his table fall over with an egg inside it that later cracked prematurely. Paul Mercer described having the person who hired him walk up to him in the middle of his show to pay him. Prof Higgins described a number of outdoor mishaps, which prompted ideas on dealing with adverse situations from Andy Dallas. Chris Bontjes gave our book report on Aaron Fisher’s The
Paper Engine: Tension, Focus and Design in Card Magic. The Gary Kurtz book Leading with Your Head was also discussed. Prof Higgins shared his thought on the DVD Silverado: Advanced Coin Magic. The program for the evening was flower magic. Prof Higgins opened by producing a large wine glass, four bouquets, and a double color-changing silk. Jeff Harpring did a nice version of Name that Card followed by Pedro Hernandez’s rendition of a card sandwiched between two Jokers. Mark Clegg finished with a nice presentation of Sequential Travelers. The next meeting will be Wednesday, June 15, and the topic will be “Patriotic Magic or Outside Magic.” See ya at the meeting, —Ken Barham Assembly 120, Champaign, IL – Andy Dallas Assembly, 3rd Wed. 7pm, (except Nov. and Dec.) For location call Chris at 217-431-4791 or Ken Barham Sec, 2318 Winchester Dr, Champaign, IL 61821 phone: 217-841-5616 email: [email protected]
The Meeting that Almost Wasn’t
Greensboro, NC— The April meeting almost wasn’t… only one person showed up on time, and, just as we were about to give up and watch some magic DVDS, a few trickled in. Finally, we could see some magic! Eric Dobell led off with a thought-reading effect using a copy of Alice in Wonderland. A page number was chosen and James Alcon turned to that page. Upon reading one of the paragraphs, James was to imagine the animal named in that paragraph. Eric began to read James’s thoughts and proceeded to draw the animal. When finished, he had correctly named and drawn a cat. Noah Gray followed with a card trick. The backs of his cards all had smiley faces on them. Noah discussed several pictures that he had of different assassins from the past. A card was chosen from the deck and shuffled back. Taking out a gun (careful!), Noah shot at the deck. When the chosen card was found, the back of it had a smiley face with a bullet hole
right between the eyes! (I’m guessing he doesn’t use this for his school shows.) James Alcon performed a penetration effect using a large Lucite plate and a silk. James then picked up a box of Kleenex tissues and removed four tissues. Commenting that he had begun to try Origami, he folded the tissues and produced a live dove, while in short sleeves! The dove was then also pushed through the center of the Lucite plate. He ended his routine with a new version of Out of This World. Afterwards, we all discussed how the effects were accomplished. Several had to know how James managed to produce the dove while not wearing a jacket! Hope to see everyone at the next meeting! —James Alcon Alcon’s Gate City Wizards, Assembly # 128 Greensboro, NC Meets the last Tuesday of the month. Location: 1207 Westminster Drive Greensboro, NC 7:30 PM Phone 852-4596
Money Magic Contest
Pensacola, FL— The June meeting started off with Beau Broomall conducting a teach-in of what he calls The Calendar Card Trick; it is quite amazing what you can do with a deck of cards and a calendar. President Nathan Nickerson called the meeting to order and touched base on events that included: the Pensacola Kids arthritis camp show, where Beau Broomall, Nathan Nickerson, and Ronnan Carrero performed and had a great time; Al Grimm’s surgery, which went well; a secret project that Nathan is working on; the upcoming Sanders Beach show for the Pensacola Parks; and the club’s picnic. Info will be in the club’s newsletter. Members Perry Vath, Jeremy, Billy Countryman and Charles Moody played a round of the alphabet game – backwards. It was hysterical. We held our raffle with over thirty items; thanks to Andy Dallas and Dave Kloman for their donations. Thanks to Betty Broomall and Joan Moody for setting up the refreshment table and to all who brought the goodies. Thank
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ASSEMBLY NEWS you Isaac Brady for handling the raffle ticket sales and for all the work you do as the club’s librarian. We also welcomed our two guests, Julie and Jim, friends of Charles Dunn, and our newest member, Jeffrey Sobel. June’s themes were inspirational magic and our annual money magic contest. Nathan Nickerson started it off by sharing one of his inspirations on the way he sees magic in art work. The money magic contest started off with Jeremy performing Richard Sanders’s Extreme Burn. Gene Burrell did his take on Dan Sperry’s lifesaver trick using a coin with a hole in it. Al Grimm entertained us with a Coins Across routine. Bill Metsch tried Michael Ammar’s BeSwitched. Beau Broomall did a great version of Michael Ammar’s Coin through Silk. Perry Vath did a routine he called Count your Blessings; he then produced a coin from his phone. While the votes were counted we were entertained by magic from Dave Kloman: he produced a rose from a silk then made it grow; turned a green silk into a frog; produced a long streamer; hammered a nail in his nose; and made some large money. Charles Dunn ended the evening doing his routine, This Little House of Mine. The winners of the contest were Gene Burrell, Beau Broomall, and Jeremy; they each received a cash prize, a mis-made bill, complements of Nathan Nickerson. The meeting was adjourned with only minutes to leave the building before it closed. —Bill Metsch The Gulf Coast Magicians Guild Assembly 129 meets the 3rd Thursday of the month at the Bay View Senior Center, Pensacola, Florida. At 6:45 pm. Contact: Secretary Bill Metsch- [email protected]
Stage Magician of the Year Contest
Tucson, AZ— Monday, June 6, 2011, was the Assembly 136 Stage Magician of the Year contest at the Gaslight Theatre. Not quite a sellout crowd, but pretty close. John Shryock was the emcee; contestants were: Mike & Billie DeSchalit, Hiro
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& Yuki, and Nelly Monroe & John Coppin. Hiro & Yuki were the first place winners for 2011. Everyone else came second. Stars of Magic performers for 2011 are: Nelly Monroe, Hiro & Yuki, George Franzen, John & Mari Shryock, Chip Romero, Jayson Schultz, Rod & Kim Housley, Bill Black, Mike & Billie DeSchalit, and Norm Marini. National Magic Week is the last week in October. Mike DeSchalit will attempt to get a proclamation from the mayor for Magic Week. The Club will have an S.A.M. initiation ceremony at our October 3 meeting at the “Z Mansion”. If you are a new member or have never been to an initiation, let us know. It is kind of like Harry Potter, but different. After many years of great service from Tuller Trophy’s, we will continue to purchase our magic awards from them. Elly Hundshamer (our newest member) is in charge of selling ad space on the Stars of Magic program. Now we know what you mean, Nelly, when you say, “My mother.” Elly has possession of the Stars of Magic tickets. A handful of magician went to visit Joe DuPerry in a local care facility. Randy Atha was the organizer. SAM Assembly 136 meetings are first Monday of each month at “The Z Mansion” 288 N. Church Ave. www.zmansion. com ALL lectures start at 7:00 PM and are held at Craycroft Towers 1635 N. Craycroft Rd. (On Lee Street, West side of Craycroft Rd.).
Past Presidents Night
Fort Worth, TX – The June 2011 meeting of the Fort Worth Magicians Club featured Past Presidents night. First were our new member qualification acts, during which we had three new members perform. Steve Medellin performed a Coins Across routine. Ron Wilson did his best Blackstone impression and then had six cards chosen from a mixed deck; he revealed all six cards and who chose them in different unbelievable ways. Daryl Sprout, who performs professionally all over the D/FW area,
treated us to a great balloon to a real snake comedy routine. Matt Martin gave a review of the new IMX convention and performed Random Choice, a card routine by Hayashi. Program Chairman Ash Adams introduced the core activity of the evening with a video showing Lew Zafran reading the charter of the Fort Worth Magicians Club and sharing stories about each of the founding members. Past president Rick Burcher (‘84) shared some of his own history with the club and with the TAOM. Bruce Chadwick (‘86, ‘09) showed us his Homer Hudson table and performed his very skillful bill switch. Bob Utter (‘91) shared a knot on a rope trick with lots of jokes and gags. Van McGee (‘92) shared a great Sidewalk Shuffle-type routine with large cards. Dan Scrivner (‘96) performed a very original pom-pom type trick made of PVC pipe with faucets on the end and plungers tied to string running through the whole contraption. John Hatzenbuhler (‘97, ‘09) had four volunteers come up. They all tore up tissue paper and everyone, including himself, put the torn pieces in their mouths; at the end he produced a mouth coil. He also vanished a ring that ended up tied to his shoelace. Last, David Thomason (‘98) did some crazy gags that left us all speechless. Ash Adams and others shared a brief history of founding member and first club president Ren Clark (‘41). Last was our new monthly “works in progress” session during which Richard Amon performed his linking ring routine; everyone shared ideas on what they thought was good and what could be enhanced. —Al Fox SAM Assembly 138 meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 P.M. at the Tarrant County College River Campus. See www.fortworthmagiciansclub. org for more information.
A VISIT FROM THE MYSTICS
ELMHURST, IL — (President’s note: We are happy to have our club secretary, Fr. Kurt Spengler back in our midst. But before giving the good father the floor, let me mention that here at Assembly 148,
we always encourage performances by our members. This time, our teenage sensation, TJ Ketchmark, offered a brand new act. TJ continues to solidify his well deserved reputation for skill, style, and professionalism. Now let me turn the rest of this column over to Fr. Kurt in his own inimitable words.) Our long awaited yearly magician exchange program with the New Mazda Mystic Ring, Elgin, Illinois, had finally arrived. After a short business meeting, it was on with the show. “Big Bob” Coleman, who has to be the universe’s best balloon man (over 250 figures and still counting) got the ball rolling. After a sucker card prediction with the help of Nicolette, using a smiley face and flash paper, a card was chosen by assistant Bob Syrup, returned to the deck, and the deck returned to its box. The whole shebang (pardon the pun) somehow got into an inflated balloon, which blew up to reveal the chosen card, which somehow had managed to get out of the card box. Next up was the classic Gypsy Thread, presented by “Doc” Morrisy. Doc’s rhyming patter is his own and has been professionally published for our fraternity – outstanding! He proved to be a true “ham” and scored with his own rendition of Bank Night to finish his set. Some guy named Kevin Sarnwick (with the help of Mary Ziemba and young magical prodigy TJ Ketchmark) dealt fifteen cards and got involved with cards across…oops! Well, there’s always next year. It was time for the master of mental mayhem, Bob Coluzzi to take the floor – cards on a CD, laser card prediction on the ceiling, torn card restored to pocket…cards, cards, cards! Bob used to do a fire act years ago. His mentalism proved to be just as hot by completing the evening with his own spin on Al Koran’s Medallion. Wait a minute! Hold the show! I forgot Steve Mills. He passed out clever illustrated instructions using mnemonics and taught us to memorize the alphabet backwards in a matter of minutes. When I got home I woke up my wife to show off my new skill. Needless to say, she was not impressed. A fun time was had by all.
ASSEMBLY NEWS —Fr. Kurt Spengler Assembly 148 meets the third Monday of Every month at the Epiphany Lutheran Church, on the corner of Spring and Vallette, Elmhurst, IL
Plan Learn Perform
us for dinner in our special (but crowded) dining room. President Doug Thornton started our May meeting with some short club announcements and the introduction of our guest lecturer, Jim Sisti. Jim has written for a number of magic publications, including his own Magic Menu, and has worked on numerous videos for L & L Publishing. Jim showed us some of his favorite routines and stressed the magic of presentation. He talked about his childhood growing up in his parent’s business and doing magic tricks for people passing through the restaurant. Jim’s lecture was very interesting and we learned how to be more creative with our presentations. I especially liked Jim’s four
Beaver, PA— The Mystic Magicians of Beaver Valley (Assembly 157) announced plans for the annual picnic on June 12 and a fall picnic in late September. The club’s participation in the S.A.M. convention in July is running smoothly, including local member buttons, a list of areas of interest, transportation from airport. Performers were introduced by Tom Chidester. Don Moody presented his Fifth Dimension, in which a wand goes through interesting gyrations as it passes through a box. Rich Howard performed a prediction effect with a wand made of six colored beads and a can of beads. Eric From left: Christopher J. Smith, Gene Davis entertained Soucek, Guru Subramanian, Bob Simek, with some comedy and Doug Thornton. Assembly 161 one-liners and Chad Long’s Now Look Here. Jim Weyand performed Flight of phase presentation of the ring the Phoenix, a presentation for on string. Bizarre Twist. Ray Lucas did Our June meeting, which is a surprising prediction effect. our last meeting of the season, Frank Kietzke presented the is when we have our Jim Hart Twentieth Century Silks. Excellence in Magic contest. Doug Ries performed Michael This year we had eleven of our Close’s Pothole Trick. Trent member magicians join the Rapp performed a prediction fun: Terry Landsman, Norman trick that ended up being a Rosen, Joel Landsman, Bob surprise birthday card (signed Simek, Doug Thornton, Greg by all the club members) for Ferdinand, Jim Flood, K. one of the members. Ed Bran- Bruce Harpster, Gene Soucek, denstein brought a rabbit Christopher J. Smith, and Guru standing next to a top hat prop. Subramanian. The judging He had two cards chosen from for the contest consisted of his deck, which he placed in all attending members in the the hat. The bunny pulled out Magic Candle Room at the the chosen cards. —Judy Steed Stage House Restaurant. This The Mystic Magicians of year the competition was very Beaver Valley (Assembly 157) close. In fourth place we had meet the second Thursday a tie between Doug Thornton of every month at the Towne and Bob Simek; third place Square Restaurant in Beaver, was captured by Gene Soucek; PA. second place went to Christopher J. Smith; and first place Jim Sisti was earned by Guru SubramaLecture nian. Guru is a past Assembly 161 champion and returned SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ— Jim this year to regain his much Sisti and his wife Sandy joined deserved crown. Guru gave
his presentation of a pencil through a bill (Misled) and also commanded the bill to float. A special mention must be made about our long-time member Norm Rosen. Besides being a fine magician and genial guy, Norm organizes visits to various children’s and veteran’s hospitals in the area. He recruits club members and they meet to bring some joy and wonder to the numerous patients. Thank you, Norm, for your endless volunteer work! When we come back on September 12 we will have a lecture by Chris Capehart. Our October 10 lecturer will be the magical pitchman Al Callus. —Christopher J. Smith If you are in the area please join us, 6pm dinner, 8pm meeting. David Copperfield Assembly #161 meets the second Monday; Stage House Restaurant 366 Park Avenue Scotch Plains, NJ 07076 Assembly Web Site: www.sam161.org.
Parsippany NJ— The June meeting was to be an uplifting one, as our theme was Levitation. Past President Dave Scribner opened up our meeting and younger guest Riley Fortune became the willing audience. It’s always nice to see friends return. The evening began with Earl Hicks opening with a coin vanish and then doing a silk routine with a Blendo, fountain, and streamer effect all intertwined. Next up, again completely ignoring the theme, S. Patrick did an Aldo Colombini card effect and then did a variation of Harry Lorayne’s Lazy Magician Card Trick. Pitchman extraordinaire Al Callus did a very strong routine using John Kennedy’s Flight Deck. He later followed it up with an impromptu Miser’s Dream type effect. The only performer of the evening to keep with the theme was Chris Smith, who performed a floating bill routine and then gave a brief demonstration on tying invisible elastic thread in “oval shapes, not loops.” Finally, President Tim Fortune performed a monte-cap routine from Dan Haus’s Rattled. The attendees then voted on the best performance of the evening and Earl took home the awards and accolades of all.
—Tim Fortune Assembly 168 meets fouth Wednesday 7:30 PM at Methodist Church in Parsippany, NJ. www.sam168.org/
End of the Magic Year Meeting
Hightstown, NH— Our end of the magic year meeting was a pizza party held once again at Brother’s Pizzeria in Hightstown. Everyone got their fill of pizza and soda and we all had a lot of fun doing magic for the workers, the customers, and for our fellow magicians. Matt Schick was home from college in Boston and treated us to some of his new card work. Matt is making quite a name for himself. He’s scheduled to appear at a local Rock Festival, be the emcee at Bob Little’s Super Sunday, and will emcee the Magic Alliance of the Eastern States Convention in September. Some of the guys got into a lively discussion about apps for the iPad. Another discussion concerned favorite card forces. Our new officers for the upcoming magic season are: Steven Sloan, President; Dave Dzbory, Vice President; Dennsis Govine, Treasurer; and ERYX, Dean and Acting Secretary (until I can get someone else to take over the darn paperwork, because the Dean ain’t supposed to do nuttin’). The Hightstown United Methodist Church where we hold our meetings had a luncheon in June. Four of our members performed walkaround magic at the luncheon. We had a lot of fun and the attendees were well entertained. It’s our way to pay back the church for letting us use a meeting room for our monthly meetings. Performers were: Dazzling Dave Dzbory, Magic Mike, ERYX, and Professor REM. I know that December is a long way off, but we are tentatively planning a planning meeting in August. (Somehow, that sounds funny?) Other than that, as Brian Hyland sang: “See you, in September.” And, if you can remember that, you’re likely as old as I am! —ERYX Assembly 181, the Richard Gustafson Assembly, meets the first Thursday of the month,
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ASSEMBLY NEWS September thru June at the United Methodist Church, 187 Stockton Street, Hightstown, NJ. However, for September 2011, our meeting will be on 8 September 2011 to avoid conflict with the M.A.E.S. Convention. Please see our web site at: magicsam181.com for a possible start time adjustment and other more timely information re: S.A.M. 181.
OREM, UT— The June meeting started a week late and was conducted by President Kerry Summers. The theme for the evening was magic accompanied by a give-away item. Brian South donated an Anything is Possible bottle, containing a sealed pack of cards, as a prize for the best magic effect of the evening. Brian also switched Curtis Hickman’s $50 bill for a $1 bill and tried unsuccessfully to give away the $1 in exchange for the $50. Eventually Brian gave new member Barrett Haughton the Change Cap Brian used in the trick. Al Lampkin showed everyone his new routine for libraries using Al’s new Axtell puppet. Both vent and library shows are new for Al, but some think he may make it in this business yet. Walter Webb somehow got Candy Brandon to sing to us and then revealed he knew all along what song she would choose.
Curtis Hickman’s hand. The ever clever Steve Dawson also figured out a way to get Curtis’ $50 and ran it through some kind of gimmick. Steve also showed us his wonderful collapsing table. Dave “Magical” Johnson used a Stress-O-Meter Doll to help him discern the identity of a chosen card. Kerry Summers showed us all the stuff he bought from Abbott’s when he was a kid. He used a Card Box, a Card Frame, miniature slates, Out to Lunch, Glorpy, and a pack of cards. Ben Jones made the corner of a playing card vanish only to appear inside the rest of the card. We had to split open the card to find the corner. Candy Brandon made her magical debut with a Stuart Little book and a paddle. Bob Christensen did a combination Out to Lunch and poker chip routine and then proceeded to do an Ambitious Card routine with a color change. Barrett Haughton did a card reveal. Curtis Hickman did a fun routine pulling previously chosen cards from an “empty” coat pocket. Winners of the contest were: 1st place: Curtis Hickman; 2nd place: Ben Jones; and tied for 3rd place: Candy Brandon and Al Lampkin. The Assembly usually meets every second Thursday at 7:00pm at The Courtyard at Jamestown, 3352 North 100 East, Provo, Utah. Guests welcome. For additional information contact Kerry Summers at 801/3727776 or go to our website at www.utahmagicclub.org
Al and Nigel Ricky Brandon grossed us out by hammering a nail up his nose; he then asked Catherine Johnson to pull it out. Yuck. Mont Duston told us a camping story and then somehow caused a penny to go right through
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The Aldo & Rachel Colombini Lecture
Yonkers, NY— Your reporter has been to dozens of lectures in his sixty-plus years of performing magic and I can’t recall when I enjoyed a lecture as much as the one we were treated to on June 15. Aldo and Rachel Colombini arrived right on time with lots of “goodies” and began their very well planned lecture by providing each one present with a cup of champagne to toast us and them as they drew near to the end of their fifty-stop Farewell Lecture Tour.
Their lecture was not only very well programmed, each of them taking turns in presenting and explaining the many effects they offered, but, from time to time, they also inserted commentaries on their own lives and on their special approach to creating and performing magic. Their personal remarks lifted the whole evening to a rarely achieved level at which the tricks were only a part of the evening. This was no mere “dealer demo,” but a sharing of some deep and personal and funny observations on magic and on life. Throughout the evening, Aldo punctuated his presentations – all expertly done – with his special brand of humor, often illustrated with quick sight gags. Space does not allow the listing of every effect, but of particular interest (at least to me) were An Empty Envelope, The Houdini Card, Cutting The Rope In Three, Cidentaquin (with ESP cards), and Ring On Rope, all done by Aldo. For her part, Rachel presented Jumbo Prediction, Baffling Book (a book test with a non-gimmicked book), A Mental Trick (based on a Marconick idea), and an absolutely stunning presentation of her unique Cups and Balls routine. Two final observations: 1) As far as I could tell, though the lecture ran quite long, just about everyone stayed to the very end, and 2) not only are Aldo and Rachel two very polished performers of entertaining magic, but there is a very visible and real “magic” (often referred to as love) between the two of them that greatly enhanced their presentations and their ability to connect with their audience. Those who were present left saying, “What a wonderful couple they are,” and “What a most memorable night this was!” Assembly 194 meets every third Wednesday (except July & August) at 7:30 PM at the Catholic Slovak Club at 49 Lockwood Ave., Yonkers, NY. For further information contact Pres. Stranges ([email protected]
ne.net or Secty, Fr. Dermot Brennan [email protected]
Rubber Bands and More!
SEATTLE, WA— June was rubber band magic, however there were quite a few great tricks performed as well that didn’t involve rubber bands. J.R. Russell started out the evening performing a recently published trick (in Steve Marshall’s I Left My Cards at Home column) in which you use tin foil to create an impression of a coin and then after removing the coin, another coin appears inside. J.R. used gold foil of gum and presented it as a nice impromptu piece. Jim Earnshaw performed a three coin production/vanish/ production by Eric Mead. Roger Sylwester performed a great vanishing bird cage bit that was very smooth. Roger also showed the group a beautiful Troublewit he had made and a very funny routine using it. Bill Murray preformed a nice cut to aces routine that got the group discussing various ace productions and false shuffles. Hugh Castell performed a very funny set of rubber band magic that included a signed sticker stuck to the band that jumps from band to band. Larry Dimmitt continued his great mentalism and borrowed a dollar from an audience member and had him fold it and place it into an envelope. Larry was able to divine the serial number of the dollar. Mark Paulson preformed a nice card revelation in which two rubber bands knew the card chosen was going to be the Two of Hearts and the bands ended up linking as hearts at the end of the routine. Mark also performed a nice silent/ music routine in which cards were eliminated by spectators only to have the last card left match the predicted card. Ralph Huntzinger performed a nice four silver dollars through the hand routine framed around a teaching lecture on how to routine tricks. Ralph presented some good information for everyone. —Jim Earnshaw The Emerald City Wizards Assembly 200 meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at a King County Library branch. Check website for meeting locations: www.emeraldcitywizards.org
Summertime is Show Time!
ASSEMBLY NEWS Rochester, MN— During flight time for their favorite the summer months of June effects; the club earned subthrough August, many as- stantial income from product semblies suspend their regular sales; business contacts were meeting schedules as vacations made; S.A.M. literature was and other activities take their distributed – and at least one toll on attendance. To sustain prospective member was enthusiasm over this busy solicited. time, Assembly 205 uses sumOur thanks to National Admertime as the prime oppor- ministrator Manon Rodriguez, tunity to recruit new members Midwest Regional VP Jeff and replenish the treasury by Sikora, and Most Illustriparticipating in community ous National President Mark events. Weidhaas for providing the On June 11, the Rochester beautiful trial membership Mystic 13 assembled in Pine postcards that are the focus of Island, Minnesota, for a nine- our recruiting campaign. ty-minute show during Pine In all – a very successIsland’s annual CheeseFest ful start to Summer 2011. celebration. The 200-seat —David J. Moitzheim Olde Pine Theatre provided an Assembly 205, The Rochester intimate venue for performers Mystic 13 meets the last Cody Story, David Danzig, and Thursday of each month Joe Swicklik. New member (barring holidays). Meetings Tommy (Twister) Bradley are held at Comfort Inn, 5708 and veteran Brent (Sin’Gee’) Bandel Rd, Rochester, MN. Coggins provided technical These meetings occur on the support on lights and sound. forth Thursday of each month Thursday, June 23, marked the 5:30PM-8:30PM. More insecond event on our summer formation can be found at calendar as the Rochester our website: www.mystic13. Mystic 13 made an appear- com. Direct inquires to: ance at the City of Roches- [email protected]
ter’s “Thursday’s on First and com Third” street fair. “Thursday’s on First and Third” is a regular Mac and event in Rochester that occurs Lance visit every Thursday between June Louisville and September. For the Mystic KY—Mac 13, it means an opportunity to Louisville, perform street magic and run King Assembly 215 in Louisour pitch booth for up to 20,000 ville, Kentucky, was honored to welcome home two of their fair-goers. On this Thursday night, members for our month of May overcast skies took a toll on meeting. Actually both Mac attendance – but those who King and Lance Burton came did stop by enjoyed street to Louisville to help Patrick magic by Isaiah Foster and Miller with a show held each Joe Swicklik; juggling by year to benefit Kosair Children. Ben Domask; balloon animals That, in itself, says a lot about by Greg Chalmers and Joe their dedication and commitSwicklik; and Svengali pitch ment to helping others. These work by David Danzig and Joe two Kentucky men agreed to Swicklik. Joining us, and dis- stay over for a meeting of our playing some amazing close-up magic club to be put to the test. chops, was Joe Viner, a Mystic That “test” was a question and 13 prospect from LaCrosse, answer and discussion of beWisconsin. In all, the Mystic 13 worked the crowd non-stop for nearly three hours; afterward, we unanimously agreed that a night of performing and pitching can’t be topped by the best-run club meeting. Members got crowd-proven Mac and Lance in Louisville
ginnings and how-to for our members. Louisville magic club President David Garrard took the stage with Mac and Lance to introduce them and help field questions. These two, world-respected magicians talked about their beginnings in our club, about Tombstone junction, Las Vegas, their most embarrassing moments, their favorite routines, and gave much advice to all in attendance. To paraphrase Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “…I reckon’ these two are ‘bout the most respected men from Kaintuck since Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone…” It was so much fun; thank you to all who attended. The question for us is, how does our president, David Garrard, top this meeting? I do not know, but I do know one thing: surrounded by some of the most dedicated and honorable members who continue to support this club, we will try! Visitors are always welcome; you never know what you will find here! —Tom Crecelius Any person traveling through Louisville, Kentucky and wishing to attend a meeting may contact us for more information. We are meeting at 7PM various days of the month, but usually on the second Tuesday, location for our meetings is the St. Matthews Baptist Church. You can e-mail for more information. contact: [email protected]
Plans and Performing
The May 18 meeting began with a Broken Wand Ceremony for our dear friend and magic enthusiast Jim McGovern. Jim’s love of magic was incredible. He truly loved to watch, learn and perform magic and, unlike many of us, Jim was not shy when it came to performing for strangers. Whether it was a hospital or some other location with lots of children, you could count on Jim performing for them and entertaining them. During the business portion of the meeting, Michael Heckenberger discussed planning a professional magic show in March/April 2012 to be performed by the three working professionals of the assembly. Other possible
details included: Kimball Theater as the location; other assembly members performing close-up magic in lobby prior to the show; and selling magic tricks in the lobby. In other business Harold Wood moved, with Tom Armentrout seconding, that Watt Hyer assume the vacant position of Sergeant-at-Arms. Additionally, monthly programs for the remainder of 2011 were fleshed out.
Watt Hyer performs with rings
For the entertainment portion of the meeting Watt Hyer, brought his DVD of Don Alan’s Magic Ranch. There was an introduction by Eugene Burger to the videos, which was very interesting. The videos were very entertaining and well worth watching. On Sunday, May 22, several members attended Watt Hyer’s Open House in Hanover, VA. Watt has quite a place, not least of which is a magic room that will be the envy of every magician in the area. Many of the guests were his neighbors, but there were also a number of magicians in attendance who took the opportunity to perform for the guests. Watt did a Ninja Ring routine, Professor’s Nightmare, and ring on wand. All three were done very well. In June, Michael Heckenberger will do a Linking Ring workshop, and hopes that Watt will take the opportunity to perform his Ninja Ring routine. —Michael Heckenberger Baker-Temple Assembly 226 meets at 7:00 p.m. on the 4th Wednesday (except December and January) room 009, in the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185. h t t p //s i t e s .g o o g l e .c o m / site/samassembly226. Email:[email protected]
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Lakeland, FL— Our first meeting of the summer started off with a quick business meeting chaired by our Prezextraordinary Ed McGowan. We filled out our assembly’s ballet for the upcoming national election and reviewed some lecture offers before wrapping up the business portion of things. Ed introduced our visitors from Tampa, Frank Velasco, John Aime, and Frank’s daughter Rachel, who had popped in to remind us of their one day convention coming up. Our sister I.B.M. group supports our events, so we like to do the same. We also had another guest and potential new member, Jerry Kardos, who joined us for the festivities. The magic portion of the night was preceded by our card workshop, which had Elmo Bennett and Ed working together on a King and Queen transposition effect. Some good ideas came from the process. For the performance portion of the night, Dean Bob Macey did a double feature of Nick Trost effects in which he controlled the cards and Elmo but using mathematical algorithms. Following Bob, scribe Al D’Alfonso demonstrated another Max Maven gem from Multiplicity. Al gave Elmo the gift of Luck, which allowed Elmo to control a slot machine into a winning pull. Ed was back with a drinking straw routine demonstrated to Jerry before moving back to cards with an encore presentation of a card transposition from one deck to another that wowed us just as badly as he did last month. Our cleanup batter this month was Elmo, who had three cards selected and then they all dis-
appeared and ended up in an IHOP menu that was visible all night long. Another full night of magic to kick off a magical summer. If your vacation plans bring you to Central Florida be sure to save the second Monday of the month for us. —Al D’Alfonso Jim Zachary Assembly 266 meets the second Monday of the month at 7PM at the Lakeland I-HOP, I-4 & US 98. For more info contact Al D’Alfonso at [email protected]
BOCA RATON, FL — On June 6, 2011, the Sam Schwartz Assembly featured “Money Magic” night. Appropriately, our emcee was “Mr. Money,” Phil Labush. Phil entertained us with many of his numerous effects that gained him the reputation as Mr. Money. The show opened with Henry Epstein, who performed the effect 4 Quarters, a clever version of the Mis-made Bill. Next was Simon Carmel, fresh from a convention in Helsinki, Finland. Simon performed several beautiful effects, including a non-gimmicked pen through bill and paper – a nice effect that he explained to us. Bernie Kraus followed showing how to change $5 bill into $100. Marshall Johnson used a wallet to create money. Mel Panzer demonstrated several outstanding effects. They included a Matrix, Extreme Burn, changing $5 bills into $20 bills, and a very nice routine using three different coins. Arnie Rosen had a most unusual effect involving a stack of coins. Jerry Somerdin, creator of many fine tricks, presented a puzzle involving two different solutions using pieces of a dollar bill. Herb Cohen vanished a coin and then produced two coins. Herb Arno performed
routines and set him loose on the world...and a magician is born. Todd started off the evening with his lotto decks. Five numbered cards are randomly selected from a blue-backed deck and placed face down on a table. Then the process is repeated with a red-backed deck and placed on top of the blue cards, resulting in five pairs of cards. When the pairs are turned face up, the numbers match. He was followed by Jay, who demonstrated The Smiling Assassin. A card is randomly selected by an audience member from a smiley-facebacked deck. Jay broke out his gun app and “shots” the deck with his phone. When the deck is fanned face down, one card reveals a “dead” smiley with a bullet hole between its eyes. The card is turned over and revealed as the chosen card. Jay continued by demonstrating false shuffles and forcing. Janine dazzled us with her unique stripper deck routine. The deck is dramatically dropped, leaving the selected card in the performer’s hand, June thus giving the routine a nice Meeting dramatic flair. Excellent showmanship, Janine! She also ATHENS, GA— Our June performed a nicely handled meeting was hosted by El card prediction. Then, Alan Drusso’s Magic House at the Wheeler performed DevasDiscover Mills Mall in Law- tation and a card mentalism renceville, GA. In attendance effect. Please join me in were Jay Schanerman (Vice welcoming Alan to the club. Todd took the stage again. He President), Todd Herron (Past President), Janine Aronson, stunned us with his lightning Alan Wheeler, Dru Lozano, fast appearing flower from a lit Giovanni, and Mark Hall candle routine. He continued with his very own Three Little (President). While we were in the store, Pigs cup and ball routine. Then before the meeting, a ten-year- Dru and Giovanni closed the old boy named Joseph was evening with an impromptu struggling over whether or not vanishing and reappearing to buy a Svengali deck. This wand routine using my wand! club President, would be his first magic effect Contact E. Hall, at and Dru, being the awesome Mark fellow he is, was offering it at a [email protected]
for considerable discount. I helped meeting information. Joseph with his decision by buying the deck for him. Dru, Janine, and I taught him our
several effects. Herb, master of sleights, astounded us with a coin stuck in his forehead. When he removed the coin it had a pin permanently attached to the other side! Vinnie Rosenbluth performed a coin transposition – a thing of beauty. Next was Gene Fein with his wry sense of humor. He demonstrated how to count a stack of bills with a different total each time he counted them. Regular Manny Riskin showed us how to take a bite out of a bill and then restore it. Billy Byron usually closes our show with his highly original magic spiced with his unique sense of humor. He performed Throw-away Glasses, a puzzle, the $49 dollar trick, and used an alligator wallet to produce money and then a check. There was an encore effect by Herb Arno, who showed us how to link lifesavers. —Marshall Johnson Assembly 274 meets at the JCC in Boca Raton, FL the first Monday of each month. President, Mel Panzer (561) 304-7091
Send your reportS to: [email protected]
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NEW APPLICATIONS AND REINSTATEMENTS The following applications and reinstatements for Associate Memberships and Assembly Memberships have been received. For good cause shown, in accordance with Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution of the Society of American Magicians, any member in good standing may object to the acceptance of any new Associate Member (Assembly Memberships have already been approved by the Assembly to which they will be affiliated). Any objection should be directed to the National Administrator.
NEW APPLICATIONS Aldrich, Steve Aurora, CO Allen, Tiffany Forest, VA Alvarez, Jesse Dallas, TX Andreoli, Thomas Joseph Hudson, NH Aragon, Woody Toledo, SPAIN Birkan, Shlomo Buffalo, NY Blanco, Michael Houston, TX Brantner, Robert West River, MD Brumbalow, Jason Belton, TX Carver, Shawn Mars Hill, NC Colburn, Scott Frisco, TX Corcoran, Paul South Dennis, MA Cubelli, Jessica Houston, TX Da Silva, Frederic Mably, FRANCE Darwin, Max New York, NY Denham, James Houston, TX Duffy, Tom New York, NY Elliott, Devon London, ON CANADA Fancher, John Riverside, CA Ferrante, Tony Winder, GA Fetzer, Benjamin Covelo, CA Ford, Charles Washington, DC Glaze, John Sycamore, GA Gobeo, Mark Boca Raton, FL Gore, David Cape Town, SOUTH
AFRICA Guthrie, Diane Jefferson, GA Hefter, Mathew Glendale, AZ Heinzl, Josh Windham, NH Hoelzel, Joseph Lyon Minneapolis, MN Inglis, Andrew Concord, MA Irwin, Bill Arlington, TX Kalinowski, Aaron Indianapolis, IN Lan, Hui Hsin Taipei City, TAIWAN Lessard, Yves St-Joseph De Sorel, QC CANADA Liston, Michael Billings, MT Maturen, Mike Harrisville, MI Mckenzie, Norman Billings, MT Mckinnon, Peter Belton, TX Mcniff, James Clermont, FL Mcnulty, Stephen J Staten Island, NY Mitchell, Craig Cape Town, S. AFRICA Moise, Rodiny Malden, MA Montalvo, Moises Ogallala, NE Murray, Sean Chicago, IL Newton, Lew Louisville, KY Norstrum, Andrew Shepherd, MT Olson, David Tucson, AZ Peckham, Michael Watchung, NJ Peekel, Art Palatine, IL Penstein, Richard El Dorado Hills, CA Perea, Maricarmen
Toledo, SPAIN Ren Jenkins, David Las Vegas, NV Reyes, Hector Angel Mesa Madrid, SPAIN Salinas, Alfredo Tucson, AZ Saul, Howard Cherry Hill, NJ Saul, Michael Cherry Hill, NJ Segel, Joseph Bryn Mawr, PA Sergent, Craig Jeffersonville, IN Sloan, Stephan Freehold, NJ Terral, Elliott West Monroe, LA Thompson, Blaine Memphis, TN Trent, Andrew Odenton, MD Weiser, Daniel Baltimore, MD Yamamoto, Hlroshi Toyonaka City, JAPAN Zboray, David Mercerville, NJ REINSTATEMENTS
Abbatiello, Lou Lancaster, PA Alday, Geoff Spring Hill, TN Alexander, Gale M New Milford, CT Alswager, Richard O Milwaukee, WI Baird, Joan L Lancaster, MA Bourgoin, Staphane Saint-Hyacinthe, QC CANADA Brandenstein, Edward J Pgh, PA Brooks, Brian Tualatin, OR Brown Jr, Larry J Weatherford, TX Buxton, Marc Florence, SC
Christenberry Jr, Earle J River Ridge, LA Clarke, Andrew E Beaver Falls, PA Crosson, Phillip Olyphant, PA Davis, Jonathan R Colorado Springs, CO Fajuri, Gabe Chicago, IL Fernandez, Raul Antonio Burbank, CA Haney, Dennis John Rosedale, MD Hayes Jr, Charles Port Jefferson Station, NY Hipschman, Irving B Palo Alto, CA Ishikawa, Shinjiro Kanagawa, JAPAN Kaiser, Phillip Saint Cloud, FL Kim, Jae-Hee Wabu-Eup, Deoksso-Ri, Namyangju-Si, S. KOREA Kothare, Shank Franklin, TN Kriss, Gary Williamstown, MA Kurzweil, Arthur Great Neck, NY Long, Tat-Chi Macau, CHINA Lopez, Christopher Bakersfield, CA Macione, Ryan Salem, MA Mahlburg, Steven Tawas City, MI Marchman, Laurie Winder, GA Martinez-Conde, S na Phoenix, AZ Meyer, Gordon Chicago, IL Miller, Donald E Indianapolis, IN Mogar Jr, Joseph Deerfield, NJ Molten, Jared Astoria, NY Mousch, David J Shelton, CT
Mullins, Jeff Aliquippa, PA Mullins, Robert C Aliquippa, PA Peace, Jennie Rae Evans, GA Peace, Ledan E Evans, GA Pitts, Ruth Fort Smith, AR Reinbold, Damon Santa Fe, NM Sagotsky, Barry Princeton, N J Sanders, Cherie K Houston, TX Schrier, John Scarsdale, NY Snyder, Michael A Lancaster, PA Srinivasan, Vasisht Rochester, NY Stanton, Dwayne San Antonio, TX Stone, Jack Philadelphia, PA Taylor, Jason W Havertown, PA Tomaszewski, Gary L Tallahassee, FL Tougas, Frank S Brooklyn Center, MN Trillo, Arthur Tucson, AZ Tyo, John A Massena, NY Unbehauen, George L South River, NJ Walden, Christopher M Cedar Park, TX Watkins, Glen Austin, TX Weisgal, Leo L San Antonio, FL Wenker, Kevin Peoria, AZ Yakubek, Michael Kennesaw, GA Zawada, Mark Staten Island, NY
AUGUST 2011 23
BROKEN WANDS William E. (Bill) King The magic world lost one of its premier collectors on May 12, 2011, when William E. (Bill) King Jr., eighty-five, of Hagerstown, Maryland, passed on. Bill held membership #4145 and had been a continuous member of The Society of American Magicians for sixty-four years. He was also a member of the I.B.M. and the Magic Circle. He was a co-founder of Ring #94, Hagerstown, a Ring that bears his name, “King Magic Ring.” Bill led a long and productive life. He served his country during WWII in the European Theater and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was a 1943 graduate of Hagerstown High School, and was a graduate of the University of Maryland and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. He retired from Hagerstown Trust and Mid Atlantic Bancorp as President and CEO. Bill King was not only a great contributor to the magic world, having written several books on magic history, but his generosity was surpassed by no one. At least four times over the past five or six years Bill prepared a grocery bag of magic from his collection for every member of Ring 94, making sure each bag was filled with the particular type of magic each member was interested in. Bill King will be missed by all who knew him, and especially by his family and members of the Hagerstown Magic community. —David W. Bowers
Leonard J. Elmer Dr. Leonard J. Elmer Sr., retired dentist, born in Hammond, Louisiana, on May 8, 1917, and a native of New Orleans, died on June 6, 2011, after complications following open heart surgery. His death was unexpected; he had anticipated taking trips to Russia, Dallas, Orlando, and Las Vegas with his family this summer. His will to live life to the fullest was exemplified in his daily activities and involvement in the community. He was a graduate of Jesuit High School (1933) and Loyola University (1938). He was a full-time instructor at the Loyola University Dental School from 1938-1942. He was attending medical school prior to being pulled to teach dentistry full-time during WW II. He devoted himself to his two children and his wife, Beverly (also a USAF officer) and was the epitome of what a father should be. He was a life member of the New Orleans, Louisiana, and American Dental Associations. His life-long interest in conjuring kept him very active and engaged in magic. He was a member of The Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He has been awarded the Order of Merlin Excelsior by the I.B.M. He also recently reunited with Ring 27 of New Orleans. He was known as an avid photographer and has gone to great lengths to get the “perfect shot.” He loved his wife dearly and her loss in 2007 affected him profoundly. Despite his loss, he continued to care for his granddaughter, Sarah, with whom he lived and shared his wisdom and love for life and magic with her. His loss cannot be measured and his contribution to his family is profound. His legacy of love, life, and gusto for making every day count are remembered by his actions.
Kim M. Zimmerman Kim M. Zimmerman, 56, of Orangeville, Illinois, passed away Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois. Kim was born February 10, 1955, in Freeport, Illinois, to Raymond and Cheryl Zimmerman. Kim attended National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York from 1975 to 1978, studying architecture. He worked for a small architectural business for five years. Kim then worked at O’Hare International Airport as a mailer handler from 1984 until retiring in 2010. He loved his Dalmatians: Donnie, Max, and Angel, who was deaf. Kim was interested in many things including reading, history, and travel. Kim had been a member of the S.A.M. and the I.B.M. since 1976. He was a Life Member of both organizations. He was member of the World Deaf Magicians had participated in WDM Festivals in different countries since 1992. He founded the first U.S. – Canada Deaf Magicians Festival in Chicago in 1993. He loved to do his magic in schools, churches, nursing homes, clubs, other festivals.
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BROKEN WANDS Henry L. (Hank) Moorehouse 1934 – 2011 Hank Moorehouse passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday, July 2, in Beijing, China, while in the middle of a sixteen-city, twenty-five show tour of close-up magic he was producing for the Chinese government. Hank touched so many lives – for so many years. And he did it selflessly. He never asked for anything in return – only that you do your best and become a credit to the magic community. As a magic dealer, he was impeccably ethical. As S.A.M. National President, he initiated many steps that ultimately brought the organization onto the world stage. And it was through his bonds of friendship within FISM, The Magic Circle, and magic organizations around the world that the door opened for magicians in this country to be recognized and perform abroad. Hank may best be remembered as a master of his craft and a highly respected magic show producer. Following sixteen years as S.A.M. show producer and an additional thirteen years as Abbott’s show producer, he was named Artistic Director for the 2009 FISM World Championship of Magic in Beijing. The S.A.M. dedicated this year’s convention to Hank. As part of the celebration, the June issue of M-U-M carried a cover story about Hank, and the 2011 convention program was a special Hank Moorehouse commemorative issue. It was decided that the tribute to Hank, originally scheduled at the convention for Saturday should be moved to the start of the convention as a celebration of his life. A film, with material collected from the Moorehouse family, was shown and is expected to be released on YouTube for public viewing. Our hearts go out to Jackie Moorehouse, who made Hank’s life worth living, and to his family members – a daughter, Kim, two sons, Buddy and David, and their collective nine grandchildren and one great grandchild – all of whom meant so much to Hank. Hank passed away doing what he loved to do best – producing magic shows at venues where the talent he booked could dazzle audiences and bring credit to the art of magic. A memorial service and broken wand ceremony is being planned for Hank sometime during the time of the Abbott’s Get-Together. —Bradley Jacobs
GOOD CHEER LIST
Please take a minute and spread a few words of cheer with a card or note to one of our less fortunate members. William “Bill” Andrews 298 West Lane Stamford, CT 06905
John “Kermit” Dickerson 10809 Balentine, Denton, TX 76207
Robert D. Knigge PO Box 5, Jones Borough, TN 3765
Ben “Benjalini” Ankri 3111 Aurelia Ct. Brooklyn, NY 11210
Dan A. Dorsey 98 Woodvalley Dr. Fayetteville, GA 30215
Peter Anthony 5100 O’Bannon Dr. Apt 72 Las Vegas, NV 89146
Joe DuPerry 1947 North Soldier Trail Tucson, AZ 85749
Stanley R. Kramien 11205 SW Summerfield Dr. Apt 161 Tigard, OR 97224-3391
Roger Barr 883 B Leverpool Circle, Manchester, NJ 08759
Joseph H. (Ben) Grant 400 Commonwealth Ave, Unit 9 Warwick, RI 02886
William H. Brewe 1698 Montrose Cincinnati, OH 45214
Charlie Gross 16745 Gertrude Street, Omaha, NE 60136-3023
John Clark 603 W Country Club Rd. Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
Roy Horn c/o Siegfried & Roy 1639 N Valley Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89108
Lawrence Clark 204 Hazelwood Ave Buffalo, NY 14215 Daniel Cudennec “Dany Trick” 225, Stang-ar-Veild’an-Traon, Mellac-29300, Quimperle, France
Cesareo Pelaez The Cabot St. Theatre 286 Cabot St. Beverly, MA 01918
Grant Schofield (The Great Granzini) 9303 Quailbrook Ct. Bakersfield, CA 93312
Larry Poague 34221 West 90 Circle Desota, KS 66108
Sybill Simons 65 West 95 St. Apt 3A New York, NY 10025
Richard Laneau 4020 55th St. N. St. Petersburg, FL 33709
Jim Relyea 241 W. Lakeshore Rockaway, NJ 07866
Sam Stecher 1000 Loring Ave Apt. C-23 Salem, MA 01970- 4253
George Gilbert Lott 1725 Great Hill Rd. Guilford, CT 06437
Harry Riser 8505 Woodfield Crossing The Forum Indianapolis, IN 46240
Mario Susi 6 Bristol Rd. W. Peabody, MA 01960
Frank J. McNaughton, Sr 1926 Apple Street, Williamsport, PA 17701 James J. Morrisey 24 Grove St. Wayland, MA 01788
Edward Kelly 224-15 64 Avenue, Bayside, NY 11364
Anthony Murphy 11 Angel Rd., North Reading, MA 01864
Bob King 304 Suburban Court, Rochester, NY 14620
Nahmen Nissen PO Box 1856 Colfax, CA 95713-1856
Dale Rumsmoke 430 Perrymont Ave Lynchburg, VA 24502 Pat Ryan 43 Fairbanks Rd. Churchville, NY 14428
Larry Taverner 805 LaPaz Ct. Bakersfield, CA 93312 Jack White 4288 Arguello St. San Diego, CA 92103
Matt Savin P.O. Box 7693 Alhambra, CA 91802-7533 Helene Schad 2440 Viginia Ave. Bensalem, PA 19020
Send additions, changes, or deletions to: Anthony Antonelly, Chairman, Sick and Convalescent Committee, (215) 820-3192 ext. 1512. Email: [email protected]
AUGUST 2011 25
A Magician Prepares...
by Dennis Loomis
The DeLo Cut In his 1973 book Rim Shots, Harry Lorayne introduced an excellent move to card magic – the HaLo cut. (The name is formed from the first two letters of Harry’s first and last names.) While that book is now out of print, it is available as part of Harry’s 2008 book, The Classic Collection 2. In fact, Harry updated the newer book and it contains more details and some new routines and handlings for the HaLo cut. While you’ll need to consult one of the Lorayne books mentioned above to learn the HaLo cut, in this article I’ll share my own move, which combines a version of the Halo cut with a Kelly bottom placement (also known as the Ovette Master Move) to achieve a different purpose. The original HaLo cut appeared to be a simple straight cut of the deck; it actually kept the bottom card on the bottom. The DeLo cut also appears to be a straight cut of the deck, but it keeps the two bottom cards on the bottom. It also exchanges the positions of those two bottom cards. If you have maneuvered a selected card to the bottom of the deck, and then do the DeLo cut, the selection will now be the second card from the bottom, thus allowing you to freely handle the deck, flashing the bottom card (which is now an indifferent card). Later, you might like to do another DeLo cut to return the selection to the bottom. We’ll start with the assumption that the selected card is on the bottom of the deck, although your spectators should not know this. With the deck held in standard dealer’s position, the right hand comes over and grips the deck in Biddle grip as in Photo 1. As soon as the right hand takes this grip, the left hand switches its position to the grip seen in Photo 2
Notice that the tip of the left thumb presses down on the top of the deck in the upper left corner, as the tips of the left index and middle fingers push upward on the bottom of the deck immediately below the spot where the thumb presses downward. As soon as this grip is achieved, the right hand starts a swivel cut of the deck at approximately the center of the deck. However, due to the left hand’s grip, the bottom card of the deck will ride along in alignment with the upper half, as seen in Photo 3.
As soon as the packets are completely separated, the packet in the right hand, which was the bottom half of the deck, is raised upward so that it can be placed on top of the cards in the left hand. But as that is done, the right hand’s middle and ring fingers spring the lower card downward in the typical Kelly bottom placement
4 2 position. As the two packets coalesce, the card slides to the bottom of the lower packet, as seen in Photo 4. The deck is then replaced into dealing position in the left hand; the selected card has been moved to its new position second from the bottom. The deck can now be handled very freely and the bottom card can be flashed. Later, should you wish to bring the selection back to the bottom, another complete DeLo cut can be performed.
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How would you like to add balloons to your magic show while not having to twist figures for each of the kids in the audience? For our past few columns, we’ve been sharing ideas that we use; in May we showed how to make a ball and use it as an interactive pre-show warm-up; in June we showed how to make a costume around a spectator. This month’s balloon is a show-feature similar to the Lota Bowl, only with balloons and no water to worry about. In 1991, Tom Myers of T. Myers Magic out of Austin, Texas, published his comb-bound notes Life on the Living Room Circuit: A Magic Birthday Party Blueprint. Tom did a great job combining magic and balloons, and one of his best routines in those notes was a running gag in which he created each of the different parts of a larger balloon sculpture between each trick; at the end of the show he connected the pieces into the larger sculpture. While Tom was not the first to do multiple-balloon creations, this ongoing “bit” was a great idea.
The Running Gag Balloon Creation You can do this! Almost any balloon creation that you make that uses more than one balloon can be used for this showpiece. You simply make each piece independently, and then put it all together at the end of your show. By staggering this between other parts of your magic show, it ties in the balloons throughout the show and gives the running gag a wonderful home. However, as with any good magic routine, a lot of the entertainment value will come from your presentation. If anyone
can make a Lota Bowl entertaining, then this should be like fireworks on the Fourth of July; this is almost automatic fun compared to pouring water out of a suspicious looking jug! Daniel started with T. Myers’s idea of having a title (Myers called his the “Giant Tasmanian Man-eating Devil Balloon”) and the tag line that it would be made the “first time…every time.” Then he punched it up with his own antics and personality. We will share Daniel’s routine here, but you need to infuse it with your own style and personality. The essence of this hinges on the fact that it is nearly impossible to envision what the completed model will look like when only the various parts are seen individually; the kids think that you are more than a little bit silly, since it doesn’t happen the “first time, every time.” In this routine you will be making a big duck (because it is black, it is similar to a parody of Daffy Duck), but you call it the “Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater.” Since the color (purple) is called out in the title, we have found that this drives the kids crazy, because they immediately point out that it is not a purple balloon. This sets up a very playful and fun conflict with the audience for this gag. Some patter ideas will be included in italics along with the twisting instructions. As always, give this a try and have fun. It can be a very strong part of your children’s show and it is another excellent way to feature balloons without having to make one for every child in the crowd. At the end, this can be presented to the birthday child. Because of the way that it is made during the show, we have never been asked to make another one for someone else later. That is like magic itself! If you have any questions or comments, contact us by email at [email protected]
Requirements: This is made with 260Q balloons. You need two onyxblacks, one white, one orange, and one goldenrod. (If you don’t have goldenrod, another orange is fine, but you lose the contrast between the feet and the beak.)
Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater
Step 1 – The Body: Explain to the audience what you are about to do: “I am going to make the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater…first time, every time!” Pull out the black balloon and inflate it, leaving about two inches uninflated. From the nozzle, come down twelve inches to pinch and twist the first bubble. Later this bubble will become
the top of the duck’s head, the back of the head, and his neck…but for now it is just a twelve-inch bubble. The remainder of the balloon will be made into what is called a “three-bubble push through” with just two inches left for the tail. You are going to twist three bubbles that are all the same size; start with a fourteen-inch bubble. Remember, you must securely hold the first twelve-inch bubble while doing this or it will untwist (Photo 1). Lay the remainder of the balloon next to this fourteen-inch bubble to measure a second fourteen-inch bubble, and twist
AUGUST 2011 27
it (Photo 2). Now lock these two bubbles together (Photo 3). The remainder of the balloon is again set next to these two bubbles to measure and twist a third bubble. Ideally, there should be about two to four inches remaining, which will be the tail (Photo 4). With the third bubble lying on the other two, you literally “push” or roll this bubble between the other two to lock in a three-bubble body (Photos 5 and 6). As you complete this portion, look puzzled at the odd creation and say, “Hey wait a minute…this isn’t purple! Why didn’t you guys tell me?” (Believe me, you won’t have to say it for the second section; they will all yell about it not being purple as soon as you blow it up!) “This obviously isn’t the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater…um, it’s a…it’s a…(and the kids will start yelling things out, so go with whatever they say such as…) …a coon skin cap? (Put it on your head.) No, it’s not that! How about a shoe? (Lift one foot in the air and hold the balloon next to your foot.) No, it’s not that! I think it’s an old man’s cane!” Grab the shortest bubble, hunch your back over like a rickety old man, and take a few steps around the stage. “Well, it’s obviously not the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater – I’ll just get back to that later.” Set this balloon aside and get back to the magic show. Step 2 – The Eyes: Pull out the white 260Q and proudly state, “I am going to make the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater…first time, every time!” The kids should immediately have an uproarious fit about the color of the balloon this
time, but politely dismiss them as you inflate the balloon completely. You only need a few inches of the white balloon, so make two bubbles that are three inches long and lock them together by actually tying the nozzle into the joint (Photo 7). Do not remove the remainder yet. Look puzzled at this creation; scratch your head. The kids will start yelling out ideas of what it is, so acknowledge some of their ideas by repeating what they say. “Yes! It’s a (whatever the kids say).” After a couple of their ideas are acted out, stop and say, “No! I’ve got it! It’s a golf club! (Swing it around like a pro and talk about the new flexible shaft that helps your swing.) Well, it’s obviously not the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater – I’ll just get back to that later.” Set this balloon aside and go back to the magic show. Step 3 – Beak: Inflate the orange balloon, leaving about three-inches uninflated. “I am going to make the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater…first time, every time!” Again, the kids should shout about the color not being purple, but just go on. Make two six-inch fold twists side by side, by taking approximately six inches of balloon and folding it back on itself; twist this fold together at the nozzle (Photo 8). Take the remainder of the balloon and make a big loop out of it by taking the uninflated nipple and attaching it into the joint of the two fold twists (Photos 9 and 10). Ideas will come forward about it being a hair bow, a hat, or a fish. Proudly announce that it is any of these objects, then
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say, “Well, it’s obviously not the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater – I’ll just get back to that later.” Set this balloon aside and go back to the magic show. Step 4 – Legs: The legs are made from a single goldenrod 260Q (or orange if you don’t have this color). Inflate it fully, leaving about one inch uninflated. “I am going to make the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater…first time, every time!” By this point, the kids think you are nuts, but they are laughing with you about the color of the balloon not being purple. Make a half-inch bubble followed by three threeinch bubbles (Photo 11), and attach the three bubbles into a triangle (Photo 12). Squeeze the balloon slightly to get the air down into the uninflated portion and repeat the same four bubbles at the other end. The result will be as shown in Photo 13. Look at this creation and then suggest what it could be. “It’s a phone – can you hear me now? It’s an antenna for a bug. It’s a giant smile for a big smiley face. (Hold it up in front of your face and smile!) Well, it’s obviously not the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater – I’ll just get back to that later.” Set this balloon aside and go back to your magic show.
Step 5 – Arms: Fully inflate the black 260Q, except for one inch. To make a simple hand on each end, twist a two-inch bubble followed by a five-inch fold twist (Photo 14). As with the legs in Step 4, squeeze the air in the remainder of the balloon down into the uninflated end, then repeat making a two-inch bubble and a five-inch fold twist. It will look like Photo 15. “It’s alien antennae…take me to your leader! (Say this in a funny alien voice.) It’s a wiener dog without a head! It’s… it’s…” Immediately go to the next step and bring the creation together. . Step 6 – Putting It Together: As you are staring at the arms, you need to get excited and say, “Wait, it is the Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater…or at least part of it! Watch! (Put the arms down and grab the body from Step 1.) If I take the Old Man’s Cane and attach the new flexi-shaft golf club…” As you say this, you need to make another three-bubble push through using the two white bubbles and a new black bubble. Twist a one-inch bubble at the top of the twelveinch black bubble and then a three-inch bubble (Photo 16); lay the two white bubbles on this black bubble and roll it
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between them (Photos 17 and 18). While this is happening, you need to pop the long part of the white balloon. You can make it look like a mistake, but you don’t need to. Save the white piece if you can. “If I add the Alien Antennae…” Take the arms from Step 5, and position the center at the base of the twelve-inch bubble under the eyes (Photo 19) and wrap the balloon around the neck making a collar; pinch it together and twist to attach (Photo 20). “Now all I need is the big smile...” Grab the legs, pinch in the center, and attach this joint to the bottom of the body at the joint where the tail is (Photo 21). “…and if I add the Fish…” Take the orange balloon figure and push the joint of the fold twists into the base of the eyes (Photos 22 and 23). To put some shape in the beak, gently bend the end of the beak upward toward the eyes (Photo 24). Tie the piece of scrap white balloon around the neck (Photo 25) and position the hands and feet forward – it’s done! “Now that is one Giant Tasmanian Purple People Eater! Well, maybe it’s just a really big duck!” Draw on the eyes as shown. If you follow the pictures, you will see how simple this actually is. The final product may look intimidating, but it’s just another example of the Power of Bending Air to make something more than anyone had expected. Give it a try and hopefully we have enticed you to add a new running gag to your children’s shows.
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We have lots of tech stuff to catch up on this month. I hope you all read the article about the S.A.M.’s very own iDevice app called magicSAM. In just four weeks, the app was downloaded to over one thousand devices. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, please give it a try. It’s free and available at the iTunes app store. If enough people continue to show an interest in it, we will work to move it to other phone platforms.
Looks like Magic Although I’m not a watch guy anymore (why wear one – just look at your phone or ask someone the time), a really cool tech watch caught my eye. It evidently catches other people’s eyes, because everyone who sees me wearing it asks me about it. The LED watch looks like a thick bracelet, but when you hit the button, the numbers show through. It comes with blue or red LED lights. Although it appears expensive, you can get them for a whopping $10! Buy one of each. Just troll around eBay and search for “men’s LED watch.” While working at the Magic Castle recently, a magician of some note was talking to me about all the high priced shows he was currently working. I glanced at his wrist and noticed that he was wearing one of these $10 watches. Expensive, no. Cool, yes.
Like Kreskin with His Paycheck Are you a traveling magician? Do you worry about your luggage getting lost? I received an email from Ryan Oakes, who discovered a neat little gadget while reading Inc. magazine. It’s called the GTU 10. It’s a waterproof GPS transmitter the size of a lighter. Ryan thought it would be a great way to track your props if you often check them as luggage on flights. Illusionists could put one in each case. Just stick one in your show case, which sometimes gets “lost” on flights and you’ll be able to tell the airlines where it is. An app
for your phone will track it wherever it is. You can also track the device on your computer. As a publicity stunt, I immediately thought of planting it in a stuffed animal or in a secret compartment of a box; a celebrity hides it somewhere in the city and you find it. You can read all about the Garmin GTU 10 at www.garmin.com.
Revealing Wonders The following two tricks are both very clever. They take two different approaches to the revelation of a card. Both require no forcing of the card. I really like Marvel Card. Before I go any further, I will say in bold italics that it is only for the iPhone with operating system 4. It is not for the iPad or the iPod Touch. A card is freely selected and placed face down on top of the iPhone. The magician waves his hand over everything and the iPhone now shows the selected card. It is that direct. I have to tell you that this method has never been done before. As a developer, I have to ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Buy a deck of the new S.A.M. cards and have fun with this app. You’ll put it on your front screen. Marvel Card is available at the iTunes app store for $1.99. The other app is called the Magic X-Ray Card Scanner. A card is selected and placed on the table. A spectator places her hand over the card. You explain that you have an app that can take x-rays. Place the iPhone over the back of the spectator’s hand, press the scan button, and an x-ray of her hand appears along with a picture of the selected card. This app works with the iPhone and iPod Touch. It will work with the iPad, but you’ll have to keep the app small on the screen. Once again, a force is not needed. The app is slick, and although the method has been used before, it is well executed. The Magic X-Ray Card Scanner can be downloaded from the iTunes app store for $0.99. Bruce is always on the lookout for computer magic, iPhone/ iPod Touch apps, and tech toys that can be used in magic applications. If you have any suggestions for future columns, write to Bruce at [email protected]
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The Nielsen Gallery Thurston Iasia – Vanished in the Theatre’s Dome
Dimensions: One-sheet: 27” x 41” • Lithographer: Otis Lithograph Co., Cleveland, Ohio Date:1920s • Nielsen Rating: Limited Availability
As the Roaring Twenties came to a close, Howard Thurston desperately needed a new and exciting illusion for his Wonder Show of the Universe. Imagine his excitement when a forty-five-year old Englishman told him he could create an illusion in which a flesh and blood woman, suspended from the dome of the theater, vanished over the heads of the audience. That illusion, Iasia, is the subject of this month’s poster. The man who created Iasia was Cyril Yettmah, an illusion builder for The Great Raymond and The Great Lafayette, and who, from 1928 to 1930, perfected a wide range of illusions for Thurston. In the program, Iasia was described as, “The unattainable attained. The impossible realized.” And for audiences, it must have seemed so. Michael Edwards, writing in the December 1999 issue of Genii, described the illusion: The illusion began with a girl dressed in long flowing robes entering a “Hindu prayer cage” – in reality, an upright, four-sided skeleton cabinet. Its framework was open on all sides; the thinness of its bottom and the narrowness of its ornamental top were readily apparent. Slowly, the cage with the girl standing inside was hoisted into the air and pulled up and out over the heads of the spectators. Once above the footlights, there would be a pause in its upward journey. At that moment Thurston would intone, “Salaam, Iasia – swing forth the old Hindu prayer cage.” Again the cage would continue its ascent. The girl would lower curtains on all four sides of the cabinet, proving she was still inside. As the cage traveled over the audience to the theater’s top, she would toss Thurston good-luck cards through the slits in the curtains to the spectators below. When the cabinet finally reached the ceiling, it would come to a halt, suspended from the auditorium’s dome with no visible means of escape. Thurston, with pistol in hand, would command, “One, seven, Iasia, Garawallah go!” A shot would ring out, the curtains would drop, and the hinged bottom of the cage would fall open. The girl had vanished. “She is gone,” Thurston would announce. “Those above may look down on the top of the cage. Those below may look through the bottom, which is open. She is gone…just gone… Every performance I stand here in amazement, wondering where she has gone and if she will ever come back.” He’d pause and then add wryly, “She always does come back… on payday.” To vanish a girl on stage is one thing. When a girl disappears in the dome of the theater directly above the heads of the audience, it’s another matter. The illusion remained in Thurston’s repertoire for the rest of his life. So, where did she go? She hid in the narrow, decorated 32 M-U-M Magazine
roof of the illusion. Here’s how it happened. The illusion contained a pull-down ladder that allowed the girl to climb up into the roof. As she hid herself, the floor of the cage slid upward assisted by counterweights concealed in the hollow posts of the cage. When Thurston fired his pistol, the curtains dropped, the bottom fell open, and the girl was gone. Thurston thought the illusion was so strong that for a time he closed his show with it. However, the disappearance was so startling that the audience was frequently too amazed to applaud. He later moved it to the penultimate spot in the show and closed instead with The Mystery of the Water Fountain. Not only was this a dangerous illusion, dangling many hundreds of pounds of wooden cage over the heads of the audience, it was also very difficult to set. Herman Hanson, who traveled with the show, recalled that this was the job of George White, Thurston’s number one assistant. It involved him climbing the catwalks above the theater ceiling searching for a girder with a painter’s hole beneath it from which to secure the rigging. “The life of the girl assistant depended upon it, as well as that of the audience directly below, as the cage traveled over their heads. Imagine what would happen if the rigging gave way.” This happened, in fact, in Youngstown, Ohio, during a test performance. The cage with a boy assistant inside fell shortly after it swung out over the footlights, smashing the orchestra railing and three chairs. The boy was not injured. As is so frequently the case, this was not a comfortable illusion for the girl. At the end of the trick she had to remain crouched inside the thin top until everyone in the audience had left the theater. In fact, in Jim Steinmeyer’s new biography of Thurston, The Last Greatest Magician in the World, he writes that the “girl” who vanished was Thurston’s stage manager George Townsend, who donned a wig and oriental robe to play the role of the lovely Iasia. The original Iasia cabinet was among the ruins of Thurston’s show that collectors and historians Mike Caveney, Bill Self, and Robert Self found in Gerald Heaney’s Berlin, Wisconsin, barn in 1988. Heaney had acquired much of Thurston’s illusions, but after years of neglect the cage was nothing more than a rusted steel frame. Although quite pricey these days, Iasia posters could be had cheaply at one time. In the early 1950s Claude D. Nobel was offering readers of Genii, The Sphinx, and other magic publications single copies of Iasia posters for one dollar, two posters for two dollars; three posters or more, seventyfive cents each. The same deal was offered for seven other now rare lithographs. Who wouldn’t buy them today at that price?
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BASIC TRAINING BY IAN KENDALL Cards to Wherever Welcome back to Basic Training. This month we are going to be looking at a slightly more advanced technique with cards, one that has the added benefit of using (for the most part) palming. If you can already palm a playing card without too much trouble, then this should be no problem for you; but if you are learning to palm, or haven’t yet dipped the toe into this threatening (but very worthwhile) pastime, then I have some tips and suggestions for you as well. The end result is that we will be able to get a selected card into our pocket or wallet quickly and efficiently. Once we have the mechanics down we can talk about the blocking and the attention direction we need to make the effect all that more magical. Before we look at the palming and loading of a card, let’s have a look at what we are trying to achieve. The “plot” of “card to impossible location” is – to the spectator at least – very clear to understand and usefully passes the “one sentence” test of clarity. From our side of the deck, however, it gets a lot more complex: What is the final location? How does it get there? How can I do this without being seen? How can I prove it was the original card? That last point is one of the more important ones, lest we get caught out by the Too Perfect Theory we talked about a few months back. Let us imagine a hypothetical effect from the point of view of a spectator. A card is selected and remembered. It is returned to the deck, and then the magician immediately shows his hand empty and removes his wallet. Inside the wallet is a card that matches the selection. While this effect is achievable (and we will be looking at it later), there is one glaring problem with the structure: the majority of people are most likely to jump to the conclusion of duplicate cards. No amount of protestation by the magician will have any effect to dispel this plausible solution. If we cannot change their minds after the fact, let’s change them before. (And here comes a proclamation that is bound to get me some flak.) Whenever you produce a card from an impossible location, it has to be identifiable as the original selection. Most of the time this will mean being signed on the face, but it can also include the “torn corner” ploy. Having that level of confirmation at the end of the effect will remove the “it’s a duplicate” solution before it has a chance to be heard.
Of course, if we are going to produce a selection from a pocket or wallet, there is one particular branch of sleight of hand that we must tackle head on. (I know there are a few methods for achieving this effect without palming, but none of them is as strong as the palming versions. Trust me on that.) Before we talk
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to those who can (and do) palm, a few words to those of you who are just starting out on the road. Palming is one of the families of techniques where a lot happens at the same time. Too often the instruction for a palm will involve three actions happening at once, and the student is expected to muddle through things on his own. People who have been reading my column for a while will know that this is not how I like to do things, and I would strongly suggest finding a tutor who will break things down for you for easy learning. Luckily, there are three such teachers out there (and I’m excluding myself from this list for reasons that will become clear), any of whom would be an excellent choice. First off, Editor Mike has a number of options; in Workers Three there is a chapter called, simply, On Palming, which is the first pedagogical approach to learning palming. A few years later he produced a video called The Power of Palming, which is a great study aid for the Workers lessons. More recently, there are the first three volumes of The Work ebooks series, which expand on the two former lessons, combining detailed text, photographs, and clear video to help the student learn. (Three years ago, when I first discussed this column with Mike, I said that I wouldn’t be teaching palming because I felt the perfect lessons already existed. These are they.) The second recommended teacher is John Carney, who many of you will know as a true master of sleight of hand. He has a DVD on palming that can be obtained from his Web site. Finally, there is Bob White, who also teaches his approach on a DVD that is available from your local dealer. Once you have chosen your course materials, you need to spend some time actually learning to palm cards. Unfortunately, this is not an overnight task – we are talking weeks and months (and more likely the latter). Don’t worry, we’ll still be here, so take your time and go through the steps one by one. The goal, despite not being strictly necessary, is to be able to palm from the top of the deck with one hand. If you can palm cards already, but haven’t had a go at the one-hand palm, then this is worth the effort. The two-hand palm – top or bottom – demands some type of motivation for you to come from an open into a closed position. (Without that motivation you may be guilty of “squaring up a squared deck.”) When you can palm one-handed, there are a multitude of justifications you can have for moving the deck from hand to hand, and even a small gesture towards a spectator with an empty left hand will give you ample time to palm a card. One-hand palming is the way to go…
Okay, you’ve palmed a card, and are standing awkwardly,
hoping that no one is going to try to shake your hand. First off, think back to the lessons on palming coins from last year. When you have an object palmed in your hand, the hand must “die” as it falls to your side. If you have a video camera (or even a Webcam on your computer), take a two-minute video of yourself simply standing still. When you watch it back, pay special attention to how your arms hang; there is no tension there, and there should be none when you are holding out. Guilt will kill you here, so make sure that you have spent a good chunk of your learning-to-palm time holding a card and being completely natural as you stand. (Many years ago, in a lecture, Editor Mike said that you should watch Patrick Stewart in Star Trek to see how a consummate actor holds his arms and hands when delivering dialogue.) The second thing to watch out for is The Hook. I hope you will have dealt with this as part of your lessons, but I’ll briefly touch on it again. Look at your neutral video; especially observe your hands. Look at how your thumb rests alongside your index finger; this is how your hand should look as you palm a card. If your thumb is sticking out at ninety degrees from the rest of your hand, then you need to work on loosening up a bit. The Hook happens for two main reasons. First, you are not relaxed and you have some guilt about palming a card; this means that you are concentrating too much on the card in your palm, and not enough on being natural. It takes tension to hold the thumb out at that angle, and once you relax your mind you will find it a lot easier to relax your thumb. The second reason is more physical. It’s possible that your pivot point is too far back, and the thumb is being pushed out by corner of the card, making it uncomfortable to lay the thumb against the side of the hand. If this is the case, you need to either move the pivot point down, or learn to grin through the pain…
Loading Into the Pocket
Let’s look at the standard effect of producing a card from your pants pocket. In many routines the load happens at exactly the time it is produced, and this means we have to be extra vigilant with our technique and attention management. Unfortunately, if we simply stuff our hands into the pocket without any thought, most semi-intelligent spectators will discern the ulterior motive behind our actions. Luckily, we have a bottle of Eau de Gordon Bruce, who has given me permission to teach his excellent pocket loading technique. Gordon first published this move in Epilogue, buried in a small corner for a couple of paragraphs. Despite this, it caught on very quickly, and for many card men it became the standard handling. Many years ago Gordon told me that it doesn’t work with jeans (you have to be wearing more formal clothes), but as you will see in the photos, I’ve had no problem with my jeans, although they are probably a bit looser than those from the Sixties... Begin with your selection palmed in your right hand. If you usually use the little finger to anchor the card you will have to switch to the index finger just before you go for the load. As the card reaches the mouth of the pocket, the lower right corner slides in and the middle, ring, and little fingers remain outside, while the index finger and thumb go in with the card. The card is pushed down by the base of the thumb, while the fingers on the outside of the pants provide all the cover needed. Photo 1 shows an exposed view of this action. The hand continues down until the index finger cannot go any further, at which point it releases the card
Photo 2 enough to slide up to the top edge, where it takes the card and lifts it out of the pocket. The three outer fingers move out of the way as much as possible so that the image the spectators see is of the card being removed at the fingertips – ostensibly there is no way that it could have been in the palm in the first place (Photo 2). Everyone say, “Thank you, Gordon.”
Francis Carlyle’s Homing Classic
One of the books that everyone who aspires to sleight of hand should own is the blue bible, Stars of Magic. A collection of a series of pamphlets that were put out in the Forties, it contains a gold mine of workable, amazing magic. Meir Yedid has recently republished the book with the original photographs (which are a heck of a lot better than the ones in my copy!) and he has very kindly allowed me to explain to you Francis Carlyle’s classic Homing Card routine. Everyone say, “Thank you, Meir.” This really is one of the classics. I used it in my Magic Castle set in January, and it’s been a mainstay of my working repertoire for as long as I can remember. The effect is stunning: a card travels to your pocket twice, and each time it is removed with an empty hand. There is a very simple set up. You need an indifferent card in your pocket to start, back out to the audience. Now, you might think it would be a good idea to have the card loaded at the start of your show, but experience has shown me that the heat of the room, and your thigh, will put a warp in the card that could be
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BASIC TRAINING a flag to an observant person. The best solution to this is to palm a card while you are talking to your group and casually place it in your pocket. If you do this without thinking, or noticing it, no one else will. Now, have a card selected and signed, and then control it to the top of the deck using whatever works for you. Comment that you will make the card fly into your pocket; here you can get creative. I usually explain that the card will fly around the room umpteen times, following a more and more convoluted path, but again, this is a personal choice. As the card finishes its path around the room (which I follow intently), I tap the outside of my pocket with my right fingers. This serves two purposes; it acts as punctuation for the travel of the card, and (because I can feel it though my pocket) it lets me check that I did, in fact, preload a card. A couple of times, usually when I wasn’t planning to do the routine, I have forgotten to and had to go to plan B. Assuming you are not as scatterbrained as I was back then, you show your hand very empty and reach into your pocket with your finger and thumb. Pull the card halfway out, peek down at the index in a very obvious way, and announce, “There it is, your card!” Photo 3. Push the card back into your pocket and look up as if to expect a round of applause. You will get called on this, and it is during this moment that you palm the selection from the top of the deck and, feigning upset that anyone would doubt your
selection. Bury it in the deck and offer to repeat the effect. Since the selection is already in the pocket, you can milk the production for all you are worth! I heard an apocryphal story about how Dai Vernon handled the reload of the selection, but I don’t know of an official source. Once the selection had been produced, he said that he would explain how it got there; he moved the card up his left arm, across his chest, down his right side, and placed it into his pocket, where it was switched. I must confess I’ve never used this handling, preferring to load on the offbeat, but you might like to give it a try.
Plan B If you haven’t loaded a card in advance, there is an alternative that uses Gordon’s load straight off. It’s not as elegant, but it does serve the purpose. The idea is to load the card using attention management, and there’s no room for subtlety! The method I used was this: I would describe the path of the card, ending with, “And it lands in your handbag,” while pointing to a woman on my right. I would then pause as if expecting her to look. After a short while, aided by a raised eyebrow or two, she would look, and the whole audience would turn to see. At this point I would load the card into my pocket. Just as she looked I would exclaim, “But it doesn’t stop there,” and produce the card from my pocket. I have no idea where I learned that presentation, but I’m fairly sure it’s been done that way for years. There is an interesting story that goes with this. Years ago I was preparing a Fringe show and I had some layperson help from my friend Stuart. He knew this method for the card to pocket, and saw the show a couple of times. On the third show I changed to using the Carlyle method, and when I produced the card without having gone to the pocket before, there was a collective “Ooh” from the audience and a very loud “Eh?” from Stuart...
The Adlib Jacket Load Photo 3 skill, you load and remove the card using Gordon’s method. Turn it around slowly, to show that it really is the signed selection. Done correctly, there is no way you will not get a good response to this, and as you accept the applause, you place the selection back into your pocket, again without drawing attention to it, and remove the indifferent card, leaving the selection in your pocket. (This is why we don’t want a heat crimp in the card. Sometimes the selection gets that banana look in half a second; if you get a round of applause at this point you know something has gone wrong...) You are now holding the indifferent card in your right hand. Glance at the face, without showing it, and miscall it as the
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Occasionally, you will want to produce a card from your jacket pocket without having to bother with loading it first. Here is a method for doing just this. At the time, I was convinced I had
Cards to Wherever Photo 5
Oh, there it is, so I’ll take it out with my left hand. I’d better hold my jacket out to make it easier to get in.” Following the lead of that script, here’s what happens. As you look to your right chest, your left hand begins to move up towards your jacket. Your right fingers curl over the front edge of the deck, and as the right hand moves to hold your jacket open the thumb lifts up the rear corner of the deck to separate the bottom card. (This is the start of the Kelly-Ovette bottom placement, see Photo 4.) The selection is hooked behind the edge of the jacket as it is held open, a few inches below the level of the inner pocket. Photo 5 shows an exposed view of this. Your left hand enters the jacket horizontally, but as soon as it passes the wrist, it bends down and the fingertips extend as far as you can to pinch the card, taking it from the right fingers. The motion of the left hand is reversed, and the card is removed from the jacket, several inches away from the deck in the right hand (Photo 6).
One of the most enduring effects for working professionals is the Card in Wallet. There are almost as many different types of wallets as there are makes of playing cards, and whichever one you choose will be another one of those personal choices. With the majority of the wallets it is possible to quickly load the card as you remove the wallet, but I’ve always preferred to do things in two stages. The card is half loaded into the wallet in the pretence of removing something that is needed (a pen, wand or, more recently for me, the Unbelievably Useful Comedy Prop). The routine continues for a moment, and then the hand can be shown empty as it goes to the pocket, completing the load and removing the wallet. Here’s another cautionary story. For many years I used the same wallet for a burned note routine – this involved loading with my left hand into the right jacket pocket. Once, I put my wallet into my left pocket for a close-up show, but put it in the wrong way round, so that the loading slide was against my body. I went to load the card, had a wee panic for a second until I realized what was happening, and then I dropped the card into my pocket to continue. Luckily, the folks at the table were not the most observant group; I had time, while they were talking, to go to my pocket, get the card and load it on the “wrong” side. The moral? Always check your props; before any gig at which I’m using the wallet, I always do a dummy load before I start.
Final Thoughts invented a masterpiece until I showed it to Roy Walton, who simply said, “Ah yes, Marlo.” Foiled again. Start by controlling the selection to the bottom of the deck. The deck is held in an overhand grip in the right hand. Your internal script goes a little like this: “The card is in my right jacket pocket.
The Card to Pocket is a wonderful routine that will separate the men from the boys (and the ladies from the girls, natch). If you can learn to palm adroitly, it’s the perfect effect to use your new skills, and is a good, achievable goal if you are starting out. It’s a multi-venue effect, working equally well close-up and on stage. I hope you are all having a good summer; I’ll see you again next month.
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i left my cards at
Louie Foxx Earlier this year, I was looking around on the Internet for a bullwhip that I needed for a western routine I was working on. I came across bullwhips.org; not only did the whips look nice, but the maker of these whips seemed interesting as well. I sent an email describing what I wanted and then gave a call to the whip maker, Louie Foxx. To my surprise, one of the first things Louie said to me was, “Are you the same Steve Marshall who writes for the M-U-M magazine?” This delighted me; I was happy to find out that he is a magician, he’s a member of the S.A.M., and he reads this column! I have to say that after talking more with Louie the term “magician” is a little constricting for him, since he is really a variety artist in the true sense of the word; he uses not only magic, but also juggling, shadowgraphy, silhouette cutting, whip cracking, comedy and, well, just about whatever it takes to entertain his audiences. He was born Isaac Louie, and still uses this name when publishing his material, such as his September 2008 and April 2011 Linking Ring parades. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, and by the time he was fourteen years old he was street performing at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, where he worked on a homemade
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magic table that he had found the plans for in the Mark Wilson Course in Magic. While street performing, Louie caught the eyes of Sheila Lyon and Darryl Beckmann, the owners of the Market Magic Shop at Pike Place Market; they offered Louie a job working as a demonstrator in the shop. “Over the years working behind the counter at Market Magic I learned so many pointers and tips from Sheila and Darryl; I owe a ton to them.” Another great thing that Sheila and Darryl did was to sponsor Louie to go to the first Bob Fitch workshop up in Canada when he was nineteen. Louie got to spend nine days with Bob Fitch studying not only magic but also theatrical techniques to make his performances stronger. Or as Louie puts it, “This was one of the things that changed my life.” Another life changing experience for Louie happened a few years earlier when he was seventeen and he snuck into a casino to see the juggling troupe The Raspini Brothers perform. He credits them for changing the way he looked at show business. “Up until that point all of the magicians and variety artists I had seen were 1980s-style performers who used the same lines and did the same bits. The Raspini Brothers were cool and hip and had original material and lines. It opened my eyes to writing my own stuff and making it funny. So a lot of my style came out of them as well.” Louie has gone on to become quite successful in the magic and variety arts fields. Today he can be found traveling and doing everything from school shows and summer camps for kids to comedy club shows and casinos for adult audiences. He builds a lot of his own props and describes his character and his show as “a bunch of stuff I learned to do as a kid.” This theme forced Louie to build a lot of his own props. As he puts it, “If I have a nice, slick-looking magic prop onstage it looks out of place with my character. With that thought in mind, nobody makes props that look like junk, so I had to start building them myself.” When asked about his thoughts on creativity he said, “Sometimes you have
to have a lot of bad ideas before you have a good one. The important thing is to keep trying stuff; don’t listen to anyone else if they tell you not to do something. A lot of people told me I shouldn’t do shadowgraphy in a comedy club, but I tried it anyway; today it’s my closer.” Some of Louie’s recent accomplishments are breaking the Guinness book world record by bouncing a soap bubble on his hand eighty-eight times, writing a book on the Svengali deck that has sold over 2,500 copies to date, getting his stand-up comedian robot “ROBO” on the TV show America’s Got Talent, and becoming a “rock star dad.” Actually, when I caught up with Louie to do this interview he was on the road for three days doing summer library programs; he had his seven-year-old daughter Ella with him performing. “Ella has probably done more shows at this point than most adult amateur magicians. She loves performing with me and is constantly coming up with new and funny bits for the show.” As a matter of fact, we had to finish our conversation because it was time for Ella’s bedtime story. A fringe benefit of working for Dad!
Facebook Prediction By Louie Foxx Effect: You have eight objects on the table and a prediction on the back of your business card. With the help from someone in the audience you narrow down the eight items to one (for this example, let’s say it’s a watch). You turn over your business card to show a barcode and you do the classic gag invented by Fumio Inagaki of Japan as you say, “That’s the barcode for a watch.” The barcode is then scanned by someone in the audience with a Smartphone and it takes him to your Facebook fan page where your most recent update is: “You will pick the watch.” Of course,
while they are on your fan page you have them click the “like” button. Working: One of the cool things about using a QR Barcode is that you can have a barcode permanently printed on your business card; by changing your status on Facebook you can change the prediction. Also, you get the bonus laugh by using the barcode gag. To do this, simply have a barcode that takes them to your Facebook fan page printed on the back of your business card. Here’s the front and back of my business card (Photo 1). To make a QR Barcode simply visit: http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qrcode-generator/ and enter the URL of your Facebook page. Before the show, update your Facebook fan page to predict whatever item you are going to force using the PATEO force. Show your prediction to be a barcode, and have it scanned to reveal your prediction! If you don’t know this force, it’s simple. PATEO stands for Pick Any Two Eliminate One. Start with eight items in a row and have a person from the audience help you. Have him point to any two items in the row; you eliminate one of them. Next you pick two and he eliminates one. You continue alternating turns this way until you have one item left. When you are picking the two items, you never pick the item you are going to force; when it’s your turn to eliminate one, you never eliminate the one you are going to force. Notes: There are some advantages to using a barcode over simply writing a
all you need is a business card and your Smartphone, so you’re set to do this anytime. I’d also suggest having the barcode printed on the back of your business card, and having the card printed by a print shop. At www.gotprint.com you can get 1,000 business cards with a fullcolor front and black-and-white backs for under $15. You’ll end up with a card that’s a higher quality and one on which the barcode won’t bleed or smear if it gets wet.
Steve’s Stuff PHOTO 1
prediction on the back of your business card: 1. Novelty: It’s visually more interesting than just writing “watch” on the back of your card. 2. Production Value: Having the card scanned, and having someone read your status update will make it play larger. 3. Bonus Gag: You get the classic barcode gag, which you can’t do by just writing on the back of your card. 4. Marketing: It gets someone directly to your Facebook page, where you can connect with him or her later. 5. You Don’t Need a Pen: To do this
You will notice that this trick is very similar to the trick that is printed on your new S.A.M. membership card (if you have received it already). I began working with S.A.M. President Vinny Grosso on the membership card effect at the end of last year. When Louie sent me this trick in April of this year I was really surprised to see how similar it was to what Vinny and I were working on. I really liked Louie’s presentation and the use of Facebook though, so I decided to use it here, the month after the new membership cards came out. It’s a good lesson on how two people on opposite sides of the world can come up with basically the same idea with a different presentation. Thanks for contributing this Louie, and thanks for your understanding of why I had to hold it a few months.
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Jon Dorenbos must be one of the luckiest guys in the world. He’s the long snapper for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a magician who performs at some of the best A-list charity functions. He is a motivational speaker who presents programs for varied groups from Fortune 500 companies to high schools all over the country. He is a television personality, often hosting feature segments on a number of different shows. He’s a partner in a successful framing business. He has a lovely and talented wife. He’s got it all…but it wasn’t always like this. Jon has a unique story to tell about his life and how he got to this point. He was born in Humble, Texas, in 1980. His family moved around a lot when he was a kid, finally ending up in Woodinville, Washington, just outside of Seattle, when Jon was six years old. His dad worked for Microsoft, but he later moved over to a new startup company called Oracle. His family was like the Brady Bunch. His mom was a housewife who did volunteer work and ran the book club at Cottage Lake Elementary. Jon has a sister who is three years older than him and a brother who is six years older. Everyone in the neighborhood knew and liked the Dorenbos family. Jon was really into sports, and as a kid he played baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. On August 2, 1992, at the age of twelve, he was playing 40 M-U-M Magazine
football across the street from his house. The dinner bell rang and he went home. His dad told him that his mom went for a walk with a friend. They ate dinner, hung out, and played chess for a while. The next morning, when Jon went to baseball camp, his dad told him that his mom had gone to the sports club to swim. That afternoon, friends of the family arrived at the baseball camp and told Jon that there had been an accident and he needed to go with them to the police station. He arrived at the police station, but they wouldn’t tell him what happened. An officer who knew him through the DARE program at his school asked them to let him be the one who broke the news. When he arrived, he told Jon that his mom and dad had had an argument, he pushed her down the stairs, and she died. His dad was being held in jail for questioning. His father pleaded temporary insanity and eventually was convicted of seconddegree murder and sentenced to thirteen and a half years in prison. After his father’s trial, Jon and his sister moved in with Kathy and Don Robson, who became their temporary foster parents. His brother was eighteen and chose not to go with them. Jon and his sister were sent to therapy. The therapist decided to use experiential therapy and confront the entire situation head
on. As a part of the process, their therapist thought it would be beneficial for them to view their mother’s autopsy photos. He went as far as getting a court order allowing the private viewing of the photos. Jon and his sister drove into Seattle with their therapist and were faced with the decision of whether or not to view the photos. The therapist told them they didn’t have to, but if they did, they would know the truth about what their father had done. During the trial it was revealed that his mother hadn’t been pushed down stairs; she was beaten to death by their father. Knowing this, Jon and his sister opened the folder that contained the pictures. Afterwards, the therapist drove them out to Puget Sound and Jon stood on the edge of a cliff and screamed for forty-five minutes. Jon was actually asked to testify against his father in court. He remembers telling the District Attorney that if it would help end the trial he would. Their mother’s sister, Susan, fought for custody of Jon and his sister and they eventually moved in with her in Southern California a year later. Jon had made the little league all-star team before he moved to Southern California, so he quickly returned to Woodinville to play baseball. He stayed with the coach’s family and it was there that he saw magic for the first time. One of their neighbors was sixteen-year-old magician Michael Groves. He did a show for Jon and performed coins across, a matrix routine, Roth’s Portable Hole, and a sponge ball routine. Jon was blown away and thought it was the coolest thing he had ever experienced. Michael saw how happy the tricks made him and taught Jon a sponge ball routine. Impressed with how quickly he learned the routine, and seeing Jon’s excitement, he took him to a local magic shop in Seattle and bought him a copy of Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo. Jon studied every word, and the more he studied, the more he fell in love with magic. Jon’s aunt also saw how Jon loved magic and introduced him to the ex-boyfriend of one of her friends, a magician named Ken Sands. Jon and Ken bonded quickly, developing a relationship that went beyond mentoring: almost a father-son relationship. Ken would show Jon magic, but not explain the methods until
Performing the Floating Rose
Jon had a chance to work them out. He made Jon work for the secrets. More important, Jon picked up on Ken’s style of performance and learned at a very early age that magic was just a vehicle for communicating with people. This is the hallmark of Jon’s performing style to this day. That’s not to say he didn’t have other influences. Like many other budding magicians, he would videotape magicians on TV and try to emulate them. He was uncomfortable speaking on stage, so he worked to music. When he was thirteen, he performed Kevin James’s Floating Rose in a school show. He was initially perplexed when there was no reaction at the end of the routine. He didn’t realize the audience was just stunned by what they had seen. A few seconds later they burst into thunderous applause. That encouraged him to work on another routine for the next year. He virtually copied Lance Burton’s Candle routine. He got a great reaction, but Ken told him that he couldn’t keep doing other people’s material or he wouldn’t grow as a performer. He had to come up with his own routines. Jon got the message and began creating talking routines for stand-up performances. At the same time, he started doing strolling magic for an agency that Ken referred him to. Although he was only fifteen, he was a big kid and could easily pass for eighteen or nineteen. He did magic for corporate clients as well as private parties. One of the things that helped him get referrals was that he might be hired for one hour, but he’d stay for three hours. All of this performing brought him to the realization that you can never mess up. The audience doesn’t know what ultimately is supposed to happen. It’s all about having fun with your magic and making people love it. As his mentor told him, “Don’t become what you do; be who you are.” Ken Sands owns a magic shop in Orange County and has continued to be Jon’s biggest influence in magic and one of the biggest influences in his life. While living in Seattle, and during all of this involvement with magic, Jon was even more involved with sports, playing soccer, basketball, and baseball. He particularly excelled in
Dorenbos snapping a football
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Performing Card to Mouth for the Cowboys TE Jason Witten at Pro Bowl in Miami
baseball. He was also a big Seattle Mariners fan. When he went to the games, he would hang out by the player’s entrance before and after the game. He was not an autograph seeker, but just liked watching the players drive in and out. One day, Mariner right fielder Jay Buhner came up to talk to him. That gave him a thrill he would never forget. When he moved to Southern California he continued to play basketball and baseball. Once he hit high school, he played varsity baseball and football as a freshman. This was due not only to his athletic abilities, but also his size. He was one of the biggest kids at his school, but at age sixteen he stopped growing, and all-of-sudden, he wasn’t the biggest kid anymore. In his senior year he still played both sports, but thought he might become a professional baseball player. Upon graduation from high school, he entered Golden West Junior College in Huntington Beach, California. He chose G.W. after talking with his high school coach, Bill Simpson, about pursuing football at the collegiate level. Simpson said, “Never stop playing; go where you can play, and someone will spot you.” Since Golden West had a 0-and-30 record, he knew he’d play right away there. Due to the low number of players on the team, he played multiple positions: quick side defensive end, outside linebacker and fullback. He decided to transfer out after his freshman year. A friend at the University of Texas at El Paso told him they were looking for a long snapper. Being that Jon wasn’t a long snapper, he had to get creative with the film that he sent UTEP. Jon had good speed; his buddy Nick Heinle was known for his hard hits, and Tim Thurman was the team’s six-foot-six tight end and long snapper. Jon combined the highlights of him and Nick, added Tim’s long-snapping highlights, and made the ultimate highlight tape. He sent that tape to the University of Texas El Paso claiming it was all him; after watching it, they offered him a full scholarship to be their long snapper. Though he wasn’t a long snapper and only six feet tall, he quickly learned the position and found he had a real knack for it. When people ask Jon what his favorite magic trick is, he replies, “Getting into UTEP.” He played for UTEP for three years but was under the radar for most of those years. No one had really heard of him until right before the NFL draft. A friend who was already playing in the NFL recommended him to his agent. The agent took a look at Jon and liked what he saw. He had to participate in Pro Day: the day the team scouts go to all the schools to look
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With Rascal Flatts on their tour bus
over potential draft picks. Jon had a slight problem. He had had surgery when he was a kid, and scar tissue continued to form in his groin area. He started feeling pain. He actually had a double hernia, but due to the scar tissue, it was misdiagnosed. On Pro Day, he could barely move. He had been injecting the tendons in his groin with cortisone, but it wasn’t healing the injury. He got two more cortisone injections before his school’s Pro Day. Although he was unable to even jog, Jon passed the lifting test with ease, bench-pressing 225 pounds twenty times. But it was the forty-yard dash that he was dreading. As Jon lined up to run, the head scout yelled out, “Jon, you are not fast, nor will you make it in this league because of your speed. All the scouts want is to see you snap.” By some miracle he didn’t have to run for the scouts. The Buffalo Bills signed Jon as a free agent in 2003. When asked what his second favorite magic trick is, Jon replies, “Making it all the way to the NFL and never being timed in the forty-yard dash, the signature test of all players.” He reported to Buffalo on the assigned day and checked into the hotel room they had reserved for him. Within a few minutes, he got a phone call from Jim Kelly, the former Bills’ quarterback, now a Hall of Famer. Kelly introduced himself and told Jon that he had heard of his reputation as a magician. He explained that he was hosting a charity event the next day and asked if Jon would come out and do some strolling magic. Jon nearly jumped out of his skin at the opportunity. The next day he was picked up at his hotel by a limousine. Kelly got out and told him “how stoked” he was to meet him. When he got in, he saw that the other occupants were Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Drew Bledsoe, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas. One of them said, “The Magic Man is here. The party starts now!” Jon thought he had died and gone to heaven. He was a hit; since that function, he has been on the A-list of requested guests at many other such functions. During the draft, Sports Illustrated asked St. Louis Rams coach Bobby April for his opinion of Jon. April said he reminded him of their own snapper and made some suggestions of things Jon should work on. Coach April later joined the Buffalo Bills and coached Jon his second season in the NFL. He really learned the position as he went along. Even so, Jon feels he struggled for two years at Buffalo, partly because he never felt so cold in his life. During this time, he did get to hang out with several prominent local magicians like Vic Trabucco, Dan Block, Mike Gallo, and Paul Richards. He also met a man who would change the rest of his life, a motivational speaker named
With Dean Dill
Kevin Elko. Elko heard about Jon and his way with people. He approached him in the Bills weight room and offered him $500 to talk for ten minutes at an engagement for a group of bankers that was happening at the facility forty-five minutes later. He asked him to tell his story and do one trick. When he finished he got a tremendous hand. Elko told him that he was in the wrong business and offered to groom him to become a speaker. When Jon received nearly a hundred letters from those bankers thanking him for telling them his story, he realized that Elko might be right. The trick he did that day was Timothy Wenk’s Misled, the pencil through bill effect that he saw David Copperfield perform on TV when he was a kid. Since then, he has performed that piece in every talk he has given. Elko groomed him to become an accomplished speaker and continues to work with him. Jon was released by Buffalo after two years. He considered leaving football, and went back to California. He talked with some friends, who convinced him that he should go into the film industry with them. He was about to do that when he got a call from his agent; the Tennessee Titans’ long snapper was injured. At this time, Jon had missed half of the 2005 season. Could he get on a plane and be ready to play on Sunday? He caught a jet late that night. The first he saw of his teammates was in the locker room that Sunday. He also met Jeff Fisher, the head coach, whom he immediately took a liking to. He loved playing for Fisher. He also loved the ambiance of the town. Music stars Rascal Flatts and Dierks Bentley became friends, and he became more involved with Garth Brooks’s Teammates for Kids Foundation. Garth said Jon is one of, if not the best, card magician he’s ever seen. Anytime Jon meets up with Rascal Flatts the first thing they want is a trick. The Titans released Jon after the ‘05 season. He didn’t get picked up by another team, so Jon spent more time speaking to companies and performing at charity events. Eight weeks into the 2006 season he got another call from the Titans. The same snapper got injured again. He flew in and played with the team for two weeks, but was released when the snapper returned. He then got a call from the Philadelphia Eagles. Their snapper, Mike Bartram, broke his neck. One of Jon’s old coaches had given Eagles head coach Andy Reid a big break early in his career. When he heard about Bartram, he called Reid and told him Jon Dorenbos was his man. Jon had to compete against two other players for the position, but his old coach’s recommenda-
With Sheets, Finney, and Bargatze at Kicks for Kids
tion gave Jon the edge. He got the job and has been playing in Philly since 2006. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and the Eagles hired Bobby April before the 2011 season, reuniting the two once again. It wasn’t long after Jon’s arrival in Philly that he met S.A.M. PNP Mike Miller (who has a passing interest in sports) at a sports show. They really hit it off and have become great friends. Through Mike, Jon has gotten together with a number of other local magicians and occasionally attends local conventions and events as his schedule allows. He has also spent time with another Philly sports figure, Pat Croce, former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. Pat is a major magic enthusiast, Houdini collector, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. One of Jon’s favorite memories is sitting in Houdini’s desk chair, reading Houdini’s personal scrapbook at Pat’s house. In all of his time in the NFL, Jon constantly did magic in the locker rooms and hotel lobbies wherever he went. He became known as The Magic Man of the NFL. His magical exploits have been featured on a number of sports related TV shows, and he is very popular among his own team’s players as well as visiting opponents. He became a regular on a show called Inside the Eagles. On this show he interacts with players in the locker room, talking, doing magic, or playing locker room baseball and golf. They even visited The Magic Castle on one episode. Jon won the Mid-Atlantic Emmy for hosting. Jon has continued to be very involved with a number of charities. He participates in Garth Brooks’s Teammates for Kids annual event, The Moyer Foundation, and David Akers’s Kicks for Kids. David Akers is the placekicker for the Eagles; he started a charity focused on children, after his own daughter needed extensive surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Teaming up with Mike Miller, they organized a fundraising event, An Evening of Comedy and Magic, to benefit this worthy organization. For the last two years, these have been mounted in major performance venues in the city and have featured performers like Michael Finney, Stephen Bargatze, Bob Sheets, John Cassidy, Denny Haney, and others. Jon said that meeting his wife, Julie, is the best thing that ever happened to him. Their meeting came as a result of his relationship with Kevin Elko. Elko booked him to speak at a corporate function for ING. Julie was in the crowd; afterward she told her mother what a great speaker he was. Her mother encouraged her to contact Jon via email. She did and he replied quickly. He asked her if she was spontaneous; she said yes. He
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asked her to dinner. She said yes. Then Jon explained that he was in California. She still said yes, but not yet. They emailed back and forth, and then started talking on the phone, frequently, and for long periods of time. Finally, they started dating and yes, Julie did fly to California to have dinner with Jon. Julie has a degree in finance and is currently forming her own company. Having met Julie on a few occasions, I can tell you that she and Jon are ideally suited for each other. They married last year and currently split their time between residences in California and Philadelphia. Jon travels to California frequently; he is working with a major television production firm developing new shows. So what kind of magic does Jon perform today? He performs on the corporate circuit and at charity events; he performs strolling magic and stand-up magic. When you see Jon perform, you will see a high energy individual who gets people involved and excited about magic. He is instantly likeable and bigger than life, but very friendly. He doesn’t set himself out to be “the performer,” but more of the kind of guy you just want to hang out and have a beer with. He can just as easily relate to a roomful of CEOs or to a street gang. Jon says that he never wanted magic to be a fulltime job. He sees magic as a way to develop relationships with people, either individually or in crowds. He usually doesn’t put messages into his effects, but uses magic to grab the attention of audiences. It evens the playing field and makes him approachable. It is this approachability that makes people take what he says to heart. Jon has always viewed magic as an outlet; he sees magic as being symbolic of life. His close-up work is focused on card magic that is very direct. He has excellent technical skills and is really “in the moment” when he performs. He incorporates a lot of jazzing in his work, taking advantage of situations as they arise. He learned several techniques to get out of any situation. These tools include a very good second deal, a side steal, and a top change. The only gaffed deck he has ever used is an Invisible Deck. He prefers to do magic with a normal deck of cards so he can perform any of his effects anytime, with anyone’s deck. However, the magic is really secondary, because he prefers to
With his wife Julie
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focus on the people, making them excited participants in the magic. He also does a lot of motivational speaking. He talks about his life and all of the challenges he overcame to get to where he is today. When asked what he hopes people take from his talks, Jon replied, “Clear your head of all the negative thoughts and remove the cluttered. Believe in the ‘magic of vision.’ The only person who can stop you is you.” He uses the magic to gain and hold the attention of the audience, keeping them involved. He often speaks at corporate events for major Fortune 500 companies, but he frequently speaks at high schools all over the country. It took a number of years for him to develop his performance character, but at this point he can look at an effect and know whether or not it will “work” for him. His show packs into a backpack and can play in a room for twenty people or an arena full of people. Jon said that the expectations an audience has for an athlete doing a presentation tend to be “not the highest, so if you are decent, you will be very well received. If you really know what you’re doing, you’ll get standing ovations.” Jon gets standing ovations. This has also allowed him to loosen up as a presenter. He comes across as a corporate performer who isn’t corporate – no PowerPoint presentation and no shirt and tie. If he is asked to wear a tie for an engagement, he starts his show with a trick he calls “the disappearing tie.” Jon says that he can’t write comedy. His comedy is based on situations that arise when working with the audience and the material that they feed him. He depends on their actions and reactions to create his humor. He is not one to come out and do a few self-working effects. His standard opener is the Tabary rope routine, which he presents in a very comedic manner. It is obvious that he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he establishes great chops quickly. He usually performs Martin Lewis’s Cardiographic, the linking finger rings, and his own version of Scott Alexander’s Shattered. He will take advantage of video projection and present Misled and Bill Malone’s handling of Sam the Bellhop. He will also incorporate some
With Julie at Lincoln Financial field
“special” effects for certain occasions. On the last Kicks for Kids show, Jon performed Bobby Motta’s Lethal and his own routine for Postcards from Home to close the show. The messages Jon delivers are what make him stand out as a speaker. Here are a few things that Jon said during our interview that I thought were really worth quoting verbatim: “My first game in Buffalo, I got out of my car and the crowd started cheering. I was so pumped that I ‘threw up the deuce.’ Then I realized that Drew Bledsoe was driving by and waving to the crowd. The guard said, ‘That’s not for you,’ and I said, ‘Thanks, dude.’ But there was one kid I noticed against a barricade. That same kid was there in the same spot after the game, so I went over to talk to him. That was like my life flashing in front of me. In my mind I was Jay Buhner. He didn’t care who I was; I was a Buffalo Bill. It wasn’t until later that I found out that he was terminally ill. “The only thing I learned in high school AP European history class came from a movie our teacher showed us. It was Swing Time, starring Fred Astaire. In that movie, he sang a song called ‘Pick Yourself Up.’ It had such great lyrics and the chorus became a motto for my life: ‘Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.’ “I think everyone is a legend. I looked up to Drew Bledsoe when I was a kid. When I signed with Buffalo his locker was three down from mine. When we were in there, all he wanted to do was to watch me do magic. One day he came up to me and told me he vaguely remembered my father’s trial. He said, ‘Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ve got your back.’ He became my hero. Not long after that, I saw how I had become a hero in the eyes of some terminally ill kids that I had spent time
with in Buffalo. It didn’t matter who I was, but to those kids I was Drew Bledsoe. Everybody is a hero, but you never know to whom, so you always have to be it. Opportunities will come. Doors will open. Your influence is way more powerful than you know. You can be that guy. People need you to be that guy. With great respect comes great responsibility. “When I speak at high schools, I tell my story to say ‘here is who I am.’ I want to be a great father some day. I want to be a great husband and a great friend. I view what happened to my family as a textbook of what not to do in life and that has given me a great head start. Every day, we have a choice. Do you want to make the sacrifices necessary to attain what you want in life? Be someone people can count on. When you look in the mirror, know that you can count on yourself. Don’t be afraid to be on teams. Make yourself so valuable that when you are gone, people will mourn. They will remember you forever and your contributions to helping them achieve their goals. “The best advice I ever got was in my freshman year of college from Coach Rowe. He said, ‘This game is not about winning. It never was; it never will be. The reason you play this game is for the respect of your opponent, the respect of your peers.’ This is so true; and the same goes for ‘the game’ of life as well.” There are some great pieces of advice there; some things that make you think about how you and your talents can really impact people in many walks of life. It was a tough road for Jon, but he has landed in a great place. He’s a caring person who generates excitement wherever he goes. He is a great spokesman for football, for magic, and for life.
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over How Do I Handle Hecklers?
“You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and last night all those people were at my show.” – Mitch Hedberg Being young makes you more susceptible to hecklers. Obnoxious people are less intimidated by a young magician because they can’t separate your skill level from your age. “She’s young and she’s doing magic; she can’t be very good.” But when a magician asks me how I handle hecklers, my first reaction is to tell that magician that it’s not the right question. Even as a young magician, if people are interrupting the flow of your show on a regular basis, it is likely due to something you are doing. Let’s see if we can pinpoint some “don’ts” to help eliminate those pesky hecklers. Don’t be rude to your audience or perform tricks where you challenge spectators. Comments like “You’re not paying attention,” or “Wrong, the ball is under this cup,” or “See if you can catch me on this one,” are lines I hope will die out with the old magicians who use them. Don’t perform in situations where your audience doesn’t want to see you. If someone asks to see an effect over dinner but it’s clear that everyone else at the table couldn’t care less, then save the trick for another time. Don’t encourage negative feedback. Hecklers feed on the attention you give them, so don’t give them any.
Where is the Line? We’ve talked about how important it is for your magic to reflect your life. And it’s critical that you be yourself onstage. It’s a natural outgrowth, then, to push the boundaries of what you can get away with. And since dating is on your mind and the f-bomb is on the tip of your tongue, it’s tempting to do off-color magic. Resist this temptation. I remember seeing the Amazing Johnathan slay an audience with dirty magic; every time he said a four-letter word, the crowd cheered. Johnathan is a comedic genius, to be sure, but I had to realize that I wasn’t the Amazing Johnathan, and I don’t perform in a Las Vegas Lounge. Suggestive material is offensive when it comes from a younger performer. Some people like crude humor, but nobody wants to hear it from a minor. Here’s the rule: if the trick would get you into trouble at the dinner table,
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by Joshua Jay
don’t do it! I even discovered certain words that affected the impact of my magic. Particularly with kids, there are certain words that suggest a harsh or negative emotion; they aren’t “bad” words but they sound bad. Even if you’re describing a prop or action, you should substitute “stupid,” “dumb,” and “ugly” for words like “silly” or “crazy.” I’m not suggesting you don’t tell dirty jokes or use fourletter words – it wasn’t so long ago that I was fifteen years old. But I am suggesting you reserve that material for the locker room, and keep it clean onstage.
Egos? Magic is about managing egos – yours, your audience’s – and how both your ego and your audience’s egos are affected by your magic. I’m not speaking exclusively about your getting a big head (though let’s not go that route). I’m talking about the larger problem that results from being young and good, which is this: people will project a big ego onto you. Whether from a group of jealous friends or older magicians, the very sight of you doing magic (and doing it artfully) at a young age is threatening to sensitive egos. And since magic requires more than a little self-confidence in both the way you present your effects and yourself, this is easily misinterpreted as cocky. What can we do to curb this bitter jealousy? Not much. The only ego you have control over is your own. So, be extra polite during your shows, don’t show off, and stay far away from material that challenges the audience. You’ll still hear things and get the occasional hostile comment, but here’s a secret you can take comfort in: all that jealousy is about how good you are. It’s a compliment in disguise! Just don’t let that go to your head.
David Oliver on Watching Magic Shows Never sit in an audience shuffling, or practicing with a deck of cards (or any other prop). And don’t whisper during the show to explain your thoughts on methods, routining, etc. Talk after the show or at home where there’s no chance of non-magicians hearing you and learning any magic secrets. Also, don’t forget to act just like every other audience member. Don’t take notes during a performance and definitely applaud, laugh, and smile. Never try to force the magician to pick you as a volunteer over a non-magician
An Inside Guide for Young Magicians and their Parents audience member. It’s better for the magician to have an unsuspecting volunteer, rather than someone like you, who may not react to the surprises. Sit in the back, relax, and watch how the magician handles “real people” and learn from it. Respect his or her experience. To meet the magician, wait until the show is finished, and all of the other audience members have left. Don’t assume that it’s okay to go backstage without permission. Be careful how you introduce yourself. Wait off to the side, away from any ongoing conversation. When the magician is not busy, approach and introduce yourself. Ask if they have time for a conversation and say that you are someone who’s learning to be a magician. Technically, you are still a “magician in training,” because there are no “Professional Magicians” at your age (sorry egos). Remember, respect equals respect.
events with him. If your child is female, be cautious; remember that magic conventions are hundreds and hundreds of guys who do card tricks. They’re nice guys, but still… Conventions typically provide a spousal rate for non-magicians and many even have youth rates. Check your local conventions for details. Magic conventions – particularly your first – are memories magicians cherish forever. My mom and I went to Las Vegas when I was young, and everything about that trip was an adventure; I look back on it as one of my fondest memories with her.
Are there organizations that can help?
Almost certainly. Magic camp is a week where campers practice, perform, eat, live, and breathe magic. There are several magic camps across the United States, but two reputable organizations lead the pack. Each camp is one week in duration and offers just one session each summer. There are lots of concerns for parents sending young kids to another state alone, often by plane. These concerns are legitimate. Don’t make any decisions until you talk to the camp directors. They’ll provide information on airport pickup, safety, diet or medical restrictions. I know the directors at both camps personally, and I’m sure each of them would be willing to talk to you.
Yes, there are two large magic fraternities: The Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. These organizations have clubs that meet in cities all over the world. You’ll have to look into which group meets in your area. The real value in these organizations is the face-to-face contact your child will get with other local magicians. There is no substitute for personal instruction, and once a month your child will have a chance to perform and watch others perform. Local clubs sponsor lectures, fundraisers, charity events, and banquets. Clubs are an excellent connection for shows and a good networking opportunity. If your child is serious about magic, he or she needs to be involved on a local level.
My Child Wants to Go to a Magic Convention. Should I Let Him Miss School? That’s your call, but my parents allowed me. My grades were good and I was serious about magic; other kids missed school for their interests (sports tournaments, family vacations), and by comparison a magic convention doesn’t seem so unreasonable. Magic conventions are clinics on magic, where your child will see, learn, compete, and buy magic. But conventions are also social affairs, and he or she is sure to make friends and get priceless hands-on instruction. If your child is under eighteen, plan to go with him; if he is under fourteen, plan to attend all
Would My Child Like Magic Camp?
Tannen’s Magic Camp When I was younger, there was really only one magic camp: Tannen’s. I attended two consecutive summers and I reflect back on those two weeks as seminal in my magical development. Now in its thirty-fifth year, Tannen’s offers in-depth classes taught by capable instructors. The camp takes place at a beautiful college campus outside Philadelphia. There are dorm-style sleeping arrangements, the food is served in a cafeteria, and the classes are taught in real classrooms. Campers take morning classes based on ability (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). There are elective courses taught in the afternoon on subjects like cards, stage manipulation, linking rings, and ballooning. There are shows every evening and stage and close-up competitions with trophy prizes. Because of its close proximity to New York City, the counselors and instructors are made up of the best, busiest pros in the business. David Blaine attended as a child and David Copperfield showed up unannounced a few years ago. The classes at Tannen’s are intense and the week is spent almost exclusively indoors.
Sorcerer’s Summer Safari Imagine a magic clinic in a real camp setting: this is Sorcerer’s
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UNDER OVER Summer Safari. This camp was formed ten years ago, long after I was eligible to attend as a camper. However, I was invited to be the guest of honor in 2002 and I have returned several times in subsequent years. I have a good feel for this camp, as well. This camp is set two and a half hours north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at Camp White Pines (where they filmed Meatballs). The venue is an actual campground, complete with forest, cabins, and a private lake; the scenery is beautiful. The “feel” of this camp is much more traditional. In addition to magic courses, electives, tutorials, and shows, Sorcerer’s Summer Safari offers campers free time for swimming, hiking, playing volleyball or basketball, or jumping on the trampoline. The instructors at this camp are particularly good with children and provide excellent teaching for both the beginner and advanced student. The instructor to camper ratio here is best, and many campers graduate into a “Counselor in Training” program, returning the following year as staff. Throughout the week, each camper receives lots of personal instruction and help. The electives are more specific here, offering workshops on individual tricks like Zombie or Linking Rings (I taught one on Ambitious Card). Star power at Sorcerer’s Safari is also strong: last year two of the biggest names in magic headlined. The sense of community is strong at this camp, and founders Mike and Jen Segal also offer a spring break reunion. They have an email list that provides year-round pictures and updates.
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By Joshua Jay
Mike Segal on Sorcerer’s Summer Safari Magic Mike Segal runs Sorcerer’s Summer Safari and has mentored numerous young magicians. He’s also a busy professional in the Toronto area. And he’s the perfect person to help define what sets magic camp apart. What does magic camp offer that a convention doesn’t? Magic Mike: When Sorcerers Safari started, I honestly didn’t know what the differences would be. In the ten years we have been running I have discovered many unique features. Interaction is a huge part of the camp experience. The counselors and magic personalities are not hired to do a show and then spend the rest of the time in their room. Camp is a social affair, and each camper gets many opportunities to eat, jam, and perform with the magicians they read about or watch on DVDs. All meals, cabin activities, swimming, etc. are done together, as a full camp. No one at camp is passive, and we pull together, campers and staff alike, to make it work. Camp is longer than a convention, and that gives kids and their counselors a chance to form close bonds. Lifelong connections are made, and we’re proud to spark friendships among campers that carry over long after camp is over. And, it goes without saying that the camp is an intensive magic training clinic. We all work together to make the next generation appreciate and add to the art of magic.
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The Houdini Award By Julie Sobanski
agic clubs have come and gone, but not many have endured year after year. The Houdini Club of Wisconsin will be celebrating its seventy-third annual convention this year in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Labor Day weekend, September 2-4, 2011. It’s a convention that, throughout the years, has attracted many of the greatest magicians of our time. The beginnings of the club can be traced back to 1915 and Oshkosh. For many years, magicians in Wisconsin had talked about organizing a statewide club dedicated to magic. Five magicians started the Houdini Club, named to honor that great native son of Wisconsin, Harry Houdini. The name “Houdini Club” is not original, because many other towns, including Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and others cities, also had that name. The Wisconsin meetings were informal, and the membership small. The club flourished for several years, but soon fell to the wayside. In 1928, two magicians tried to resurrect the group, but this club also fizzled within a few years from lack of interest and support.
Club of Wisconsin and the convention coming to Oshkosh can be found in the Oshkosh Northwestern. Headlines included Girl to Lose Her Head at Convention and Creator of Famed Charlie McCarthy is at Convention Here. (This referred to Chicago’s Frank Marshall, the man who created the famous ventriloquist dummy used by Edgar Bergen.) The funny article stated, “Frank was the one who carved Charlie McCarthy out of a hunk of wood.” Another newsworthy article mentioned with the bold headline, Magician Dies at Convention. While it seems like impressive news, it’s not exactly what happened. Michael Lauersen, fifty-five, of Kenosha, became ill at the banquet and was taken to the hospital, where he had a cerebral hemorrhage and died the next day. The report notes that those around him were unaware of his illness.
Program of the first Houdini trophy M.F. Zens, Dr. R.C. Finkle, Frank W. Carter, and Joe Walter built on the failed clubs to form the new Houdini Club of Wisconsin. It was organized on May 28, 1938, with Joe Walter as president, M.F. Zens as vice-president, Frank W. Carter as secretary, and Dr. R.C. Finkle as treasurer. At first, the club only accepted membership from residents of Wisconsin, Chicago, and Upper Michigan, but soon the by-laws were amended to take in any eligible magician anywhere in the U.S.A. The timing must have been right because the membership swelled to a record fifty members. The four men built upon the success of the club and organized Wisconsin’s first magic convention, which took place in Oshkosh in 1938. Quite a bit of newspaper press mentioning the Houdini
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Art, Ben, and Bess The growing membership and the success of the first convention had the club hosting another statewide magic gathering the next year. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was picked to host the third convention in 1940. The membership swelled to over two hundred, and a contest of escape acts was added. On February 8, 1940, Bess Houdini presented to the Houdini Club of Wisconsin a beautiful hand-tooled, engraved-leather traveling trophy. It was designed by Edward Saint, the founder of National Magic Day. It was a bound photo book that
included photos of Houdini and a letter personally written to the club by Bess. Bess expressed her deep affection and high regard for the magic organization named for her late husband, Harry Houdini. This award was not as unique as it might sound. Bess donated many “Houdini Awards” to other Houdini Clubs. Both Bess and Harry’s brother Hardeen were made honorary members of the club. It was decided by the membership that the trophy would be awarded for one year to the member presenting the best escape act. Bess stipulated that if it should be won by a contestant three times, it would become his property. The inaugural event was held in the afternoon, outside at the Taylor Park band shell. The conventioneers as well as the public were invited to attend this free show. The judges were the Fond du Lac city commissioner, the chief of police, the sheriff, the circuit court judge, and a reporter from the newspaper. The participants in the contest were Art “Suicide” Hanson of Green Bay, who did a chain escape; Ann Mahendra, wife of Doc Mahendra, who did an upside-down straitjacket escape while suspended from a cable; and Ben Bergor and his wife Alvina from Madison, who did a combination trunk and straitjacket substitution. After much deliberation, Ben Bergor was declared the winner. The pages of the trophy were leather, and the words “1940 – Bergor’s Original Combination Trunk and Straitjacket Escape and Substitution” were embossed in gold letters. The fourth convention was held in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1941; the big draw was the attendance of Bess Houdini and her business manager, Dr. Edward Saint. The escape contest was won for the second consecutive year by Ben Bergor. The leather page of the trophy read, “1941 – Bergor’s Improved Original Combination Trunk and Straitjacket Escape and Substitution.” The presentation was made in person by Mrs. Houdini. 1942 brought the convention to Whitewater. Two contestants vied for the Houdini Trophy: Art “Suicide” Hanson and Ben Bergor. The judges were the mayor of Whitewater, the chief of police, and the county sheriff. Hanson presented a torture belt effect. It took four-and-a-half minutes to chain and rope him, but less than two minutes for him to make his escape. Bergor improved upon his trick of previous years by having his wife Alvina tightly strapped in a straitjacket and then placed in a trunk that was securely locked and roped. Bergor stood on the top of the trunk and held up a curtain covering the trunk and himself. On the count of two, Alvina appeared standing on top of the trunk and immediately dropped the curtain. The trunk was un-roped and unlocked to
Bergor and Alvina find Bergor tightly strapped in the straitjacket. The judges were unanimous and voted Bergor the thrice winner. The leather page of the Houdini Trophy says, “1942 – By virtue of being adjudged to have the greatest escape act in three consecutive open free-for-all contests, Ben Bergor has won permanent possession of the Houdini Trophy.” Ben continued to be quite active with the Houdini Club of Wisconsin; he was made an honorary life member. Right before his death in 1981, Ben donated a new trophy to the club, the Ben Bergor Escape Trophy. It would be awarded to a member who competed and won the Escape Contest. The leather bound trophy that Ben cherished stayed in his possession until his death in 1981. His family later donated it and other artifacts to the Wisconsin Historical Society, where it resides and (upon special request in Madison) is available to view by historians. The escape trunk, a guillotine, and a signboard of Ben’s show are on display in the Wisconsin Historical Museum in an exhibit called “Odd Wisconsin.” For more information about the Houdini Club convention visit our Web site at www.houdiniclubofwisconsin.com. [A special thank you to Dr. Richard O. Mossey, Ellie Bergor, the Houdini Club of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the Conjuring Arts Research Center for research assistance.]
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Lucille Pierce and the Sorcerer’s Apprentices By Tom Ewing
Digital Photo Restoration by Gene Voshell
s all fraternal magic organizations know, a promising future depends on the ability to attract and retain young people to the hobby. Currently, the S.A.M.’s Society of Young Magicians (S.Y.M.) is a shining example. Over the years, there have been many efforts aimed at helping young people develop in the art; several have arisen from magic shop owners. Take for example the personalized approach of Baltimore magic shop owner Phil Thomas, who offered personalized tips, suggestions, thoughts, and guidance in lengthy correspondence he conducted with budding magicians. In the Midwest in the early 1930s there was Vernon Lux, first president and founder of the International Society of Junior Magicians. Some of the young magicians he helped develop and who later became famous in the magic world include Harry Riser, Jimmy Grippo, and Neil Foster. Later clubs included the American Magical Society, Lads of Legerdemain, Magic Youths International, Young Magicians of America, and others. In the 1940s in Philadelphia, the person who shepherd-
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ed young magicians was Lucille Saxon. She was a talented magician, puppeteer, and manager of the Philadelphia branch of Holden’s Magic Company. The group she formed and supported was appropriately named, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentices.” Saxon was born Lucille Pierce in Boston, and graduated from Briar Cliff College and Columbia University with a major in chemistry. After graduation, she gave up scientific pursuits and in 1928 joined up as an assistant for Harry Blackstone Sr. She was married to another Blackstone cast member, Frank Luckner, who served as prop master and onstage assistant for the show. During their time with the show, Lucille and Frank had three children, Todd, Pamela, and Judy; they divorced in 1935. Frank continued on with Blackstone until 1939, when he married another cast member, Bernadotta “Bunny” Smith, who was the levitated “Princess Karnac,” and left to pursue his own magic career. Lucille had already struck out on her own. Their children eventually went to live with Luckner’s parents in Corning, New York. In 1943, Lucille landed the job managing Holden’s Magic Shop in Philadelphia, a position she held until just after World War II. Perhaps it was the fresh supply of youngsters hanging around the Holden’s shop at 117 South Broad Street, or maybe she missed her children, but regardless, she soon founded the Sorcerer’s Apprentices. The club was created for aspiring young magicians Holden’s Catalog fourteen to eighteen, ages at which they were too young to join the local S.A.M. or I.B.M. clubs. Of course, there were also exclusive adult groups in the city like The Houdini Club and The Yogi Club, but again, not for youngsters. Not surprisingly, members of her club benefited greatly from her operation of Holden’s and her connections in magic. The group initially met at the Y.M.C.A. at Broad and Arch Streets in downtown Philadelphia, and later at the Sylvania Hotel, across the street from her shop. In its later years it met in an office building on Arch Street. The club was open to all interested youngsters, but the first demand she made of her students was commitment. Members could miss a meeting for personal or emergency reasons, but miss two in a row and they were out. While other clubs for young magicians focused on learning and swapping tricks, Saxon also offered her members wellgrounded instruction on such things as making a nice appearance, interacting with and managing your audience, getting applause, and the art of stage presentation. Magic tricks were certainly taught and learned, but Saxon believed performing magic required the development of well-rounded entertainers. She was also connected with the stars of magic and personal friends with Dell O’Dell, Jack Gwynne, Tommy Windsor, Al
Holden’s Magic Shop 1944 Baker, John Mulholland, and many others. When these entertainers came to town, they frequently stopped in Holden’s to visit Lucille; since many of them were performing nightclub shows, they took the opportunity of attending early evening meetings of the Sorcerer’s Apprentices. It was for this reason that the young men had the opportunity to meet Senor Mardo, Cantu, and others. Each year the Sorcerer’s Apprentices presented an annual show at the New Century Club, an exclusive women’s organization at 1520 Chestnut Street. The organization formed shortly after the close of Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exposition and served as a place where women could meet, socialize, have guest speakers and entertainers, and learn. They also had an elegant stage in the drawing room of their mansion. During the fourth annual show in 1949, member Jacob Needleman recalls that the elegant stage almost burned down when member David Ross magically produced a bowl of fire that set the curtains ablaze. Club members formed a bucket brigade that doused both the fire and the first few rows of the audience. Needleman, a noted author and professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University, wrote a fictional novel based on the club called Sorcerers. Many of the characters are loosely based on members of the club, including Lucille, who, in the novel, is the “enigmatic and beautiful Irene Angel,” a mentor of the young magicians. Needleman never met Lucille, but he still recalls a beautiful professional portrait of her doing the linking rings that hung on the wall of Holden’s Magic Shop. Other members of the club included at one time: Walt Hudson the noted magician, sideshow authority and author Rod Ware, Henry Perkinson, Dave Rosenbaum, Don Mechlin, Chuck Sovel, Jack Key, George Copes, Howard Rice, Paul Voight, Billy Bishop, Dick Hagy, Ben Brenner, and Bill Yeager, who billed himself as “Pep Williams.” Williams was a designer for Westinghouse and served as treasurer of Assembly 4 in the mid 1940s. Over the years some thirty different boys were members of the club. Her compatriot in running the club was a local magician named Jim Kilip, who performed in Chinese costume and billed himself as Chang Kuo Lao. Kilip used magic to promote health and good nutrition in Philadelphia public schools. When not helping young magicians develop, Lucille appeared both locally and nationally as an accomplished sleight-of-hand artist, being one of the few persons who could execute a triple
cut with both hands at the same time. During World War II she performed for wounded soldiers in area hospitals. She was an accomplished artist and puppeteer and designed outfits for her characters. Lucille also appeared frequently on the local annual I.B.M. and S.A.M. stage shows and throughout the 1940s served as secretary of both local chapters. In September 1944, Saxon appeared at the annual Abbott’s Get-Together. The Sphinx carried a review of the show and featured a photo of Saxon on stage. Always with a sense of humor, she used to advertise herself by distributing a promotional giveaway in the form of a small manual titled, “What Men Know about Women.” Upon opening it, the reader discovered it was filled with blank pages. She also married a local magician named Rudy Saxon who, in addition to doing regular magic and ambidextrous writing on a large chalk board, went on to become one of the nation’s leading mentalists in the Jim Killip 1950s and 1960s. Saxon had also been an assistant on the Blackstone Sr. show during the same time Lucille was on the show. She also kept in frequent touch with her children, especially her youngest, Judy, to whom she sent detailed letters emblazoned with hand-drawn fairies and princesses and fanciful artwork. Judy still treasures a sketch book of doll clothing designs her mother drew. Although she left Holden’s in 1945, Lucille continued to operate her Sorcerer’s Apprentices group; the April 1946 Linking Ring mentions that she and her boys attended the third annual picnic of the Allentown Society of Magicians/Ring 32 at Dorney Park. Eventually Lucille left Philadelphia and returned to Corning, New York, where she became increasingly ill. A lifetime smoker, she succumbed to lung cancer and died on November 10, 1948. Magic publications of the time carried her obituary and mourned the loss of a talented magician and mentor. Today, the care and development of young magicians in the Philadelphia area lies with Arlen Solomon and the leaders of Bob Little S.Y.M. Assembly 96. Begun in November 1991, the club currently boasts twenty-five members and over the years has introduced magic to more than 150 youngsters and their parents. They have also been assisted by members of Assembly 4, who have generously volunteered, lectured, and donated magazines, books, and props for these budding magicians. Although few of Lucille’s students remain today, those who do recall a warm and wonderful woman who cared deeply for both the young magicians she trained and the art of magic. At a time when magic clubs were exclusive, hers was inclusive. No doubt, when she looked in the bright eyes of her students, she saw the future of magic. So do we today at every S.Y.M. meeting.
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James shares an entertaining tale from the performing lives of professional magicians. These stories illustrate various tricky situations that working pros have found themselves in and how they handled them.
The inimitable Turley the Magician! When Washington, D.C.’s Turley the Magician is not entertaining audiences, he enjoys reading philosophy and exploring the meaning of truth. A student of Aristotle and Aquinas, he admits that he is not a fan of popular culture; he steers clear of the celebrity-obsessed tabloid media. Turley is erudite and thoughtful, with no interest in the superficial. As you will read in a moment, he was the perfect man for the job. “I have an arrangement with concierges at several major hotels around town,” Turley explains. “If a hotel has a VIP guest who requires a children’s entertainer, I get a call. There’s an unspoken understanding that I never ask who the guest is, and they almost never tell me.” Turley is an egalitarian. He offers the same great show at the same price no matter who the audience is. The rich and famous receive no different treatment from him. Whether the
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kid is living in the inner city, in the suburbs, or in a royal palace, he or she will have the same Turley experience. In most ways, however, the lives of the privileged bear no resemblance to those most of us lead. Turley remembers once performing for three children who were outnumbered by bodyguards five to one. An entire hotel floor had been rented out for their stay. He had no information about the family, but the person who booked him for the show later informed him that the kids were Osama bin Laden’s grandchildren. This was in 1993, long before bin Laden became the most infamous household name in the U.S. The booker also related to Turley how the children were taken to Toys “R” Us for a shopping spree like no other. The store was closed for their privacy and they were given free rein to buy whatever they desired. As the entourage left the store, one of the children saw a homeless man nearby. He asked his bodyguard if he could give the man some money. The bodyguard said he could. The child went over to the homeless man and gave him $800 in cash. One day, Turley received a call from a concierge at a luxury hotel who asked if he could come down and put on a show for some special guests. There would be approximately half a dozen children. Turley agreed and turned up at the hotel. As usual, he had no advance notice of whom the audience would be. He knew they were extremely wealthy because they had rented out the entire hotel floor. When Turley was shown into the room, he saw that there were indeed six children of varying ages. There were also several adults milling around. “There were four people who appeared to be nannies. Two of them were holding infants in their arms. The other two were watching the older kids. There was one guy who looked like security. There was a man sitting on the floor with the children. I thought he must be the father. Then there was a woman with a camera taking photos whom I assumed was the mother.” As Turley began performing, he had to adapt his show to the small space of the hotel room, performing routines on the floor with the kids when necessary. The children responded with laughs and delight, as did the father. Throughout the act, the camerawoman kept snapping away. When Turley performs at kids’ parties, the birthday child receives a number of gifts, including a handmade cape identical to the one he wears, along with a top hat and funny round glasses, all of which transform the child into a mini-Turley. In
this case, he had brought a cape for each child. After the show ended, the kids scrambled into their Turley wear. The father, too, insisted on his own gear, donning the top hat and glasses and posing for pictures along with the kids and the magician. Turley had also brought along copies of Woodrow the White House Mouse, a children’s book that features a character based on him performing at a White House party. None of the people in the room were familiar to Turley. Nothing about the circumstances or the faces rang a bell. What he did know was that his audience enjoyed the show thoroughly and had a fun afternoon. Mission accomplished. When he arrived back home, Turley’s wife Makiko was naturally curious about the mystery guests. “So who were they?” she asked. Turley in Woodrow the White “Well, I don’t know,” House Mouse said Turley. He recalled the scene. “There were six kids. They looked like they came from all over the world. There were two Asian boys, a little girl who looked Ethiopian, a little Caucasian girl, and two babies. The dad had a goatee. And there was a dark-haired woman taking pictures.” Makiko was incredulous. “That was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie!” The next time Turley was in a grocery store, a quick glance at the magazine display confirmed that the large and diverse family he had met was the globe-trotting Jolie-Pitt clan. Of course, the Jolie-Pitts couldn’t know that Turley had no idea who they were, but it must have been refreshing to be around someone who treated them as though they were ordinary parents, who did not act obsequious or obnoxious or star struck. In what surely must have been a first for the family, Turley performed his entire act and left the hotel without any evidence of his time with Brad and Angelina – not one photo, not one autograph, no endorsements or references. His brush with celebrity superstardom hasn’t changed Turley. His intellectual and spiritual pursuits continue. He is currently reading the works of Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk known for his ruminations on social justice and pacifism. Although he prides himself in not following the herd and is proud of the fact that he didn’t recognize Brangelina, Turley does now make a point of perusing tabloids in the checkout line “just to keep up.” Do you have an interesting story for the Pro Files? Send me an email at [email protected]
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QUICK LOOK BOOK NOOK Excerpt From: Curtain Call Author: Barrie Richardson Description: Hardbound with dust jacket, 251 pages Available From: www.HermeticPress.com Barrie Richardson has established an enviable reputation as one of magic’s finest creators of mental effects. His first two books for Hermetic Press (Theater of the Mind and Act Two) were highly praised. Mr. Richardson completes his trilogy with Curtain Call, which features the full details of his entire professional act, dozens of wonderful tricks, routines, and tools for the mentalist, and concludes with a unique piece that always brings a strong emotional response and a spontaneous ovation from his audiences. As the following two routines aptly demonstrate, Mr. Richardson is a master at achieving memorable mysteries by simple means. My thanks to Stephen Minch and Hermetic Press for allowing M-U-M to publish these excerpts. —Michael Close
Mesmer’s Pencil In Theater of the Mind, I presented an effect in which a woman could not lift an ordinary wooden pencil (Pencil Pusher, p. 71). This was a demonstration not of hypnosis but of the power of suggestion. Over the past decade, this effect has been presented by notable mentalists in North America and in Europe. I have added two additional phases to this routine, either of which can be done alone or in combination. I have also changed the script and, lastly, I have given more specific details on how to tie the threads. This is one of those rare pieces that can be done for a single person or on stage in a large theater. There is no preparation, and all that is required is a sharp pencil, a small invisible gimmick, a cooperative helper and a significant amount of stage management. It is imperative that the performer establish a friendly yet authoritative relationship. There should be the feeling that this is an experiment in which failure is a possibility and that success is largely dependent on the special abilities of the volunteer. The volunteer’s reactions are what make the demonstration so believable, and this requires guidance and frequent public affirmation of the helper’s success.
Effect and Presentation: Phase I “Have you ever heard of Anton Mesmer? Mesmer was born and educated in Switzerland, and he set up his medical practice in Paris in the latter part of the eighteenth century. He believed that a psychic ether pervades all space and that this energy flows
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through all bodies. “He further asserted that sickness and body pain were caused by a blockage of this natural flow, and he developed several remedies using magnets and hands-on massage to reduce pain and promote healing. “His spectacular ‘cures’ became the talk of society, and King Louis XVI offered him a life-time pension to keep him in France. “Mesmer’s patients were mostly wealthy, attractive women who had what we might now call psychosomatic illnesses and repressed sexual anxieties. “Like a modern stage hypnotist, Mesmer discovered the value of not accepting all patients. Only those who could supposedly control the flow of energy with their own body were accepted as patients. “Anton Mesmer would have the prospective patient undergo tests such as the ones we will try. “I need a volunteer. Ideally I would like to have a woman who has had natural childbirth training. If not, I would like a woman who has a vivid imagination. The experiment will be enjoyable, and the helper will receive a special gift.” An attractive woman, Carol, comes forward. “Let’s assume you are a prospective patient and I am Dr. Mesmer.” The performer freely shows a common yellow wooden pencil. He places it on his open left hand, with the point resting on the middle finger and the eraser on his palm. “Please open your right hand – and relax.” The performer takes the woman’s right wrist and holds her open hand five inches above the pencil. “Now I want you to feel that you have the power, due to the animal magnetism that flows through your body, to adjust the dormant energy in this pencil.” He slowly moves her open hand three or four times over the pencil. Then...the eraser-end of the pencil starts to rise. “Strange. Stay focused.” A few more strokes and the pencil pivots upward two or three inches. There are obviously no threads or magnets. “Now reverse the flow.” The performer slowly moves Carol’s open hand backward over the raised pencil, reversing the flow. Ever so slowly the pencil lowers back onto the palm where it started. “Will you please lift the pencil off my hand?” Carol does so without the performer making any motions or adjustments.
Phase II “Carol, you are doing a wonderful job. Would you like to try another experiment?” She nods affirmatively. “Please ignore the audience. Forget they are here. Follow my instructions and concentrate on the images I will give you in a moment.” The performer places the pencil on his open left hand, with the eraser pointing to his right. Carol is standing at his right. “With your left hand, grip the pencil between your thumb and first finger. Good! Now relax and shut your eyes. “Relax. Listen to my instructions. Carol, I want you to be successful. Use your immense creativity to imagine the pencil you are gripping is not a pencil. Imagine it is a metal bar. The metal is
from another planet. It is a hundred times more dense than iron. The pencil you are holding must weigh thirty pounds, not one ounce. Can you imagine that? Don’t open your eyes. Keep the image in your mind. “Try now to lift the thirty pound object. [Dramatically] You can’t lift it. It is too dense. Your mind sees it, senses it. It is getting even heavier. Try a little harder! You can’t lift it. Keep your eyes closed. Say out loud to the audience, ‘I can’t lift the pencil.’” She says with emotion, “I can’t lift the pencil.” “Relax. The others aren’t sure what’s happening. Since your eyes are closed, you may think I’m stopping the pencil in some way. Try! Remember, you believe it is thirty pounds. Now open your eyes.” She does. Her hand may be shaking. The pencil is there, resting on the performer’s hand. There is nothing constraining it. Her face shows wonder. “Please close your eyes again. Let’s change the image. The pencil is now not thirty pounds; instead, it’s as light as a butterfly. Use your mind. Release the weight. There is a butterfly weight in your hand. Lift.” She does. “Higher! Make it float up like a butterfly.” She does. “Open your eyes and take a bow.”
Phase III “Let’s try the most difficult test.” Saying this, the performer removes a small envelope from his breast pocket. He opens it and removes a three-inch feather. He blows on it. He once more places the pencil on his open left hand. “Carol, forget the audience. Concentrate on my instructions. “This feather will gain weight when I put it on my palm. It will weigh thirty pounds. You must create this image.” The feather is placed across the center of the pencil. “Carol, this time you will use both hands, but the feather will be dense and so heavy it virtually locks the pencil down. You will not be able to lift the pencil. “Now grasp the pencil with the thumb and first finger of your left hand, near one end, and grasp the other end in the same way with your right hand. “That’s perfect. Now close your eyes. “Use your immense imagination. Direct your mind to making the pencil immovable. Try, gently, to lift the pencil. Now try harder.” Her face shows a mixture of astonishment and self-congratulation. “Open your eyes.” She shakes her head in wonderment. “Relax your grip. The feather is now as light as a...as a feather. “Gently lift the feather with your right hand and blow on it. Now, with your left hand, lift the pencil into the air – and take a bow.” She does, and the audience applauds. “Mesmer would want you as a patient, and just as Dr. Mesmer did, I invite you to keep the feather and the pencil as reminders of the invisible forces in the universe and – most important – in you.”
Method: Phase I – The Rise The solution to this perplexing demonstration is a hidden loop of invisible thread on the first joint of your left middle finger.
I originally used the common “invisible thread” sold in fabric shops. It is made of strong nylon; and as you will soon see, I still use this in the second and third phases of this routine. This works fine, and I wear one tight loop on my left hand. I have recently discovered an even thinner nylon thread, which you may wish to try. Also a sewing thread, it is called Wonder Invisible Thread and is made by the YLI Corporation in Rock Hill, SC. This clear thread is listed as size .004 and comes on a spool holding 1,500 yards. There are, no doubt, other similar threads available. Any “invisible” nylon monofilament sewing thread should work. After trying many options, I have found the simplest way to tie the loop is the best. Cut off about eighteen inches of thread, double it and tie a single over-hand knot in it, forming a one-inch loop in the middle. Slip your left middle finger into the loop and pull the single knot fairly tight at the crease of the outer joint. Because the thread is nylon, even though there is only a single knot, it will hold. (If you doubt this, there is little harm in tying a square knot instead, although this knot is slightly more visible.) The loop should fit your finger like a snug ring, without being harmful. When you turn your hand over, you may see a mark where the loop circles the knuckle.
Finally, snip off the ends as close to the knot as possible. The nylon loop is “permanent.” You wear it day and night, so you are always ready for this demonstration. The pencil is ordinary but must be sharp. The point will squeeze just under the tight loop. You want only the tip – the smallest length you can dependably use – engaged. To cause the eraser-end of the pencil to rise, very slightly straighten the middle finger. Properly done, this action is imperceptible. After you lower the pencil
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back to its original rest position on your palm, a slight movement of the middle finger toward the palm will release the point and allow the pencil to be freely lifted away. This is a surprisingly simple action, which is done openly.
Phase II – The Heavy Pencil This demonstration uses another loop of thread. This is a loop of the standard clear nylon sewing thread. Some magicians have told me they use one-and-a-half-pound fishing line, which is also very light. Tie the loop in the same manner taught above. Once again, the thread must be snug on your finger, without constricting blood flow. This loop goes at the crease of the inner joint of your left middle finger; and like the first loop, you will wear it always. When preparing for the heavy-pencil test, you squeeze the pencil under this hidden loop, and let it lie in a perfectly normal position on your hand, with the eraser end pointing to your right. The loop may rest a few inches past the point of the pencil. This works. However, you may also place the pencil across your open palm, with the loop engaged near the center of the pencil. Turn the pencil so that the printing on the pencil faces upward. The print helps to hide the thread. Even a careful observer cannot perceive it. But there is no careful observer in this routine. If the woman holds the eraser end between her thumb and first finger, the pencil will remain secure and unliftable. It will take a little practice to learn how to position it. You may have to move the eraser end forward an inch or so to get a secure hold. When you remove the pencil, do not pull it rightward to free it from the loop. Rather, use your right fingers to grasp it, hold it steady and, as you patter, move your left hand sideways. This cleanly releases the pencil. It’s a small thing, but it adds to the appearance of total fairness.
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A few years back, I got a phone call from Chuck Smith, a brilliant professional magician. He has a reputation for fooling everyone, even the most knowledgeable magicians. Chuck asked if I would give him my permission to use the heavy pencil test in his program. “Of course,” I said. “It is published and therefore available for use.” I thanked him for the courtesy of his call. He then asked for my address, as he wished to send me some of his material. How gracious, I thought. Before he hung up, he told me how he used a small feather to “add weight.” This did two things. First, it completely covered the loop; and it made everyone focus on the feather. What a clever man Mr. Smith is. The third phase is much like the second. However, I raise my left hand to the height of the woman’s shoulders. Her lifting motion is made more visible to the audience, and it is diminished. This prevents her tugging strongly upward, since she is forced to lift with the fingers of both hands, rather than with her arms. There you have it. It isn’t a spectacular illusion, but it holds the attention of audiences and directs attention to the unexpected mesmeric talent of your helper. Best of all, it doesn’t seem like a trick. P.S. The hidden loop of thread used for the rising pencil can also be used to make an ordinary fork rise. This can be done in a restaurant without any preparation. The thread, though, is more likely to break, due to the greater weight of the fork and the thickness of its tines. On the positive side, the fork rises higher than the pencil, thanks to its curvature, and it does look very spooky. The Magician – Summer 2007
Symbologic Revisited This routine is one in which the participant is successful in intuiting the colors of unseen objects. The experiment is done first with three choices and then repeated with five. The second matching is the more dramatic and, if desired, can be performed without doing the first phase. Effect and Presentation: The performer opens a small purse and dumps ten quarters from it onto the table. There are round stickers on the tails sides of all ten coins. These stickers are colored to make two corresponding sets of coins, each set consisting of a red, a white, a blue, a green and a yellow coin. “Marked coins like these are used in statistics courses to demonstrate how most of us incorrectly estimate the probability of events. Let me show you an experiment.” The performer pushes three of the coins to a woman sitting opposite. Assume they are red, white and blue. He picks up the three matching coins and hides them from view in his left hand. He next removes one and places it colored-side down on the table, so that no one can discern the color. “Your job is to use your intuition and try to guess the color on this coin. Simply push one of yours forward to declare your choice.” The woman pushes one across the table; say, the white one. The performer sets it, colored-side down, on top of his quarter. This procedure is repeated twice, accompanied by some urging that the woman follow her intuition as she tries to match the unknown color of each of his coins with one of hers. The three pairs of coins are neatly stacked, each on the last,
into a single pile. “What is the probability that all your selections have been correct? Well, this is how it works. The first choice – the white coin – was one chance in three, right?” Holding the stack in his hand, the performer removes the two bottom coins and sets them on the table, with their colored sides still down. “For the second guess, you only had two choices, remember?” The next pair of coins is removed from the stack and similarly tabled. “Now here is the point most people miss.” He sets down the remaining two coins. “The probability of getting all three right is what – one out of twenty? One out of fifteen? No, it is one out of six. Let’s see how you did on your first try.” The first two coins are turned over. Their colors match. “Good guess! Look, the second pair also matches. That means the last two have to – match!” When this has sunk in, and the situation has been appreciated, the performer continues. “Let’s try to raise the bar. We’ll use all five pairs of coins.” He picks up one set of five and places them colored-side down in his hand. He then lays the remaining set colored-side up in a row in front of his intuitive helper. After some hesitation, the performer places one of his quarters, colored-side down, on the table. The woman pushes a colored coin of her choice forward as her guess. As in the first test, the performer turns this coin colored-side down and stacks it with its target coin. This is repeated twice. The performer sets a fourth coin colored-side down on the table. “Please place your guess colored-side down on this one.” As she is making her decision, the performer neatly and fairly assembles the previous three pairs of coins into a stack. By this point, the woman has elected her fourth choice. “You did that one with more certainty. Now put your coin on top of mine – and place those two onto these.” In concert with his instructions, he points to indicate she should place the fourth pair onto the stack of six previous coins. “And now put your last coin on mine.” The performer places his final coin colored-side down on top of the pile, and the woman does the same. “How well did you do? Two out of five is average.” The performer picks off the top two coins and sets them to his right. He places the next pair beside these, then the next and the next, forming a row of five pairs. These, and all actions, are scrupulously fair and open. “Now help me. I don’t want to disturb any of these pairs. Please turn over the top coin of each.” She does so, showing her five colors. These are in the order she dispersed them, as they should be, though this isn’t mentioned. “Turn this one over,” the performer says, indicating the first of his coins. It matches. “And this one.” Another match. “And this one.” Again, a match. This is repeated, and all five pairs are seen to match. The result is astonishing, and there can be no trickery. All the coins are left on the table, as all are innocent. Method: Hen Fetsch’s wonderful trick, Symbologic, was released in 1954. It is still an amazing trick. But there are some things that, in my opinion, make the treatment of Symbologic I’ve just described even more amazing. First, using coins seems somehow inherently less tricky than using playing or ESP cards. The coins also make a tall stack, which appears to prevent sleightof-hand. And there is the sound made as the quarters are slid and turned over, which somehow adds an extra dimension of honesty
and conviction. Initially, I marked the faces of the coins, so that all of them could be placed colored-sides down during the pairing phases. This, though, often created difficulties caused by my poor vision and circumstances of lighting. I’ve found that leaving the helper’s coins colored-sides up does not weaken the effect. In fact, it has the advantage of stimulating the onlookers’ interest. In addition, the correct sequence of the selected colors is noted by close observers. And as the coins are unmarked, there is nothing suspicious to find. The basis of the method is an expanded quarter shell, head side intact, and the ancient one-behind strategy.
Phase I – Three Matches The first phase doesn’t use the shell, so you keep it safely hidden for the time being. An easy and practical way of concealing it is simply to nest it over one of the quarters that is not used in this phase. Alternatively, you can keep it on your lap. The particulars of the handling are based on those taught in Douglas Dyment’s Bob’s Your Uncle (see his Mindsights, p. 28), which in turn is a variation of a Charles Pecor idea (Bob’s ESP Demonstration in Pecor’s Sinister Variations, p. 5). In your hand, you hold three coins with colors matching those given your assistant. To start things off, you place one of your coins down with the color hidden on the underside. Assume it is the white coin, although it could be any one you like. Take care that no one sees the color as you remove the coin from your closed hand. If your helper pushes her white coin forward to join yours, think to yourself, “Match.” If not, think, “No match.” For now, I will proceed on the assumption that the colors of this first pair of coins do match. We’ll discuss later what happens when they do not. Cleanly turn your helper’s coin colored-side down and set it onto your coin. Next put down a second coin; let’s assume it is the blue one. If you are very lucky, and the participant pushes forward her matching blue one, the effect is an automatic success, since the third pair of coins must match. Suppose that either the first pair of coins or the second do not match. Think, “No match” to yourself. As soon as you get a “No match,” follow the one-behind rule, choosing for your next coin that which matches the previous color your helper has pushed forward. When your helper pushes out her next coin, it cannot match yours, so you continue the one-behind strategy to the end. While your helper makes each new decision, you turn the coin she previously picked colored-side down onto its target coin, the one your helper hopes to match. This eventually creates three piles of two quarters, all colored-sides down. Gather them into a single stack, placing the center pair onto the first, then the coins last paired onto the four just stacked. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the matching happens honestly. The rest of the time you will have to resort to a little simple sleight of hand. The key move is a version of the glide, adapted to coins. Grip the stack at the fingertips of your palm-down left hand. Suppose you know that the bottom two coins match. In that case, you simply slide them one-by-one off the bottom of the stack and place them on the table. If, however, they do not match, your right fingers secretly push back the bottom one about a quarter of an inch. Pull out the two coins above it, one at a time, and place them together, colored-sides still downward, on the table. You
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will have to do this twice if none of the three pairs match. The third pair always matches, once any necessary adjustments have been carried out with the first and second pairs, so these last two coins are simply set down. If this explanation seems complicated, please go through the procedure two or three times and you will discover how easy it is. All that is required of you is that you do the glide whenever you think, “No Match.”
Phase II – Five Matches The second phase translates Hen Fetsch’s method for ESP cards to an equivalent one for coins. Instead of a hidden extra card, we use a shell to perform the same secret function. Pick up one set of five differently colored coins, including the one wearing the shell. First place one of the coins colored-side down on the table – then apparently change your mind. Pick it up, allowing it to be seen on both sides without mentioning the color. Replace it in your hand and set the shell on the table instead. The innocence of the first coin is transferred psychologically to the shell. You will again rely on the one-behind principle. For example, if your helper pushes her blue coin forward for her first selection, you set your blue coin out, colored-side down, as your second target. If your helper then pushes forward her red coin, you lay out your red coin for the third target. Let’s assume she pairs this with her green coin. As she considers and makes each of her choices, you turn her previously chosen coin colored-side down and stack it with your target coin. While this procedure seems identical to that used in the first test, there is a small modification that seems inconsequential if it is noticed at all. As you stack the first pair, you set your coin (the shell) over hers, rather than the reverse. In addition, when you set the shell onto her coin, don’t let it nest; rather, let it rest on the coin, overlapping it while one edge stays in contact with the table. Stack the other two sets of coins as you have before, hers on top of yours. You may leave these pairs arranged similarly to the first. The important thing is that your actions look entirely fair and casual. Set out your green coin (as her last choice was green) for the fourth target. While your helper is making her fourth decision,
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casually assemble the previous three pairs of coins, as you did in the first test. As you stack the second pair onto the first, squaring the coins, the shell automatically slides over the bottom one, covering it. No one ever notices there is one coin less in the pile than there should be. Then set the third pair onto the others. By this time your helper will have set down her fourth coin. Ask her to turn it colored-side down, put it onto your fourth coin and place the pair on top of the stack. Everyone believes you have only one coin left in your hand. In fact, you have two. As you focus your attention, and everyone else’s, on your helper’s stacking of the coins, slip one of your remaining two into right-hand thumb palm. You can then casually flash the silver side of the remaining coin in your left hand. The woman’s actions provide exceptionally strong misdirection, during which you place the coin in your left hand either under or over the thumb-palmed one. The order of these last two coins is determined by the color of your helper’s last coin. The top coin of the two you are holding out of sight must match this color. Immediately but casually set both coins onto the stack, as if they were one. When you do this, slide the top coin slightly out of register with the rest, making it look as if you’ve set just it on top. This furthers the impression that you’ve deposited only one coin, although there should be no suspicion of anything else. Ask your helper to place her final coin on top of the others. Now remove the top two coins as a unit and place them well to the right on the table. Take off the next pair and set them slightly to the left of the first pair. Continue to remove the coins in pairs from the stack, forming a row. The final pair, the bottom coin of which wears the shell, is not moved. Arrange matters so that the others form a straight line with this pair. Now ask your helper to turn over the top coin of each set and place it in front of its mate. When the coin over the shell has been taken off, casually place your left fingers on top of the shell for a moment. Simultaneously, place your right fingers similarly on the corresponding coin at the right end of the row. Slide both coins forward an inch or so, while pressing your left fingertips down firmly on the shell. It should look as if you are tidying up the display. When you raise your left hand, the shell will stick momentarily to your fingers and is secretly stolen away. This works perfectly if your fingertips are slightly moist. Move the shell into classic
palm before it can fall, or simply curl the fingers loosely, letting the shell rest on their tips. You are now ready for a dramatic revelation, after which everything can be examined. The Magician –August/September 2006
INFORMED OPINION Latest Product Reviews Compiled and Edited by W. S. Duncan
Unspeakable Acts Book By Jim Magus with Terry Nosek and Neil Tobin Available from Jim Magus through PayPal to [email protected]
Price $75.00 plus $8.00 shipping in the USA Review by Joshua Kane Unspeakable Acts is this year’s guilty pleasure read. It is a witty and salacious roller coaster ride through the life of one of magic’s most complicated and creative individuals; a man whose legacy has left three distinct identities for historians and friends alike to contend with, be confused by, and miss seeing at the bar or hospitality suite. The man, the myth, and the magic are inseparable in the tripartite subject of this volume. Three of the most creative and impactful performers, whose work I frequently bought from Magic, Inc. in my teens, were Tom Palmer, Tony Andruzzi, and Masklyn Ye Mage. Imagine my surprise later in life when I learned that all three people were actually one person, whom I came to hold in high regard and knew from late night phone conversations. Over the years, it has become clear to me that almost everyone I have met in magic either knew Tony Andruzzi or had a story about him. Tony was one of those performers whose name you could have used for a round of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” if the Bacon game had been played with magicians. His fingerprints are all over contemporary magic history. Andruzzi was the undisputed godfather and public representative of bizarre magick. Despite Tony Raven being the actual creator of Invocation magazine, it is Andruzzi who is most often identified with the monthly journal that united shamanistic performers and Lovecraftian writers. Prior to this, as Tom Palmer, he was involved in the early days of televised magic and worked with such luminaries as Mark Wilson. As Masklyn Ye Mage, he was an early member of the Psychic Entertainers Association and was just as famous for effects that did not work as he was for ones that did. He was happily infamous for his ability to terrorize hotel staff with his portable Satanic altars and rituals. His Invocational conventions were famous in their time; being able to claim attendance at them is still a status symbol equal to being able to claim that one saw the original NYC production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. And like that event, which would still be running today if as many people had actually seen it as claimed to have, Madison Square Garden would have been required to seat all those who claim to have played with Tony and his gang. If there ever was a performer whose life was stranger than fiction and suited for a mad bio-pic, it was Tony. If it were not for the careful documentation of newspaper articles and references
to primary sources included in the volume, no one would believe even half of the tales that have been collected and published. Tony even knew Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who shot Lee Harvey Oswald after President Kennedy’s assassination. Tony’s testimony to the Warren Commission is included in the detailed appendix. Jim Magus, Terry Nosek, and Neil Tobin (the star of Chicago Supernatural) are to be commended and thanked for compiling and editing so much material into a volume whose momentum and page-turning energy never flags. The book is hardbound, 533 pages, and is lavishly illustrated with line drawings, photographs, and reproductions of articles, ads, and ephemera. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and know that I will return to it often. Because no effects are taught in the book, and because the community who most passionately remembers and reveres Tony is a self-selecting one, I feel that the publisher could sell ten times as many copies as a $35 paperback. At that price it would be a no-brainer. At the hardbound price, some folks may be scared off. I recommend that every collector, magic club, and assembly order at least one copy for their library.
Danger in Paradise/Malay Woman Book By Sid Fleischman Available from Stark House Press Price $20.00 Review by Jim Kleefeld Just when you get ready to waste some free time and think there’s nothing in escapist literature around, along comes a pair of saucy stories about adventure in exotic lands. Stark House Press has gained some renown by republishing pulp fiction of the ‘40s and ‘50s. About five years ago I picked up a book with two stories by Fleischman, Look Behind You, Lady and The Venetian Blonde. Both were about magicians caught up in crime and turmoil. I thoroughly enjoyed both stories for what they were – light reading with a bit of nostalgia thrown in. This new Stark republication contains another pair by the same author. Two short stories, Danger in Paradise and Malay Woman are combined in one 276-page book. Written in the early 1950s, they both contain great gobs of post-war pulp escapism. Hard-boiled mugs duke it out with foreign bums and miscreants, while dames with great gams and ulterior motives entice them with feminine wiles. It’s all very Dashielle Hammet and Ellery Queen, with a touch of Fu Manchu. Fleischman spent the war years in Indonesia and the Far East, so he learned the ins and outs of tropical settings. He uses his travels (and a great deal of research) to make Malay, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore come to life in these stories. Steamships, ports, seedy bars, and rubber plantations provide the backdrop for
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a beautiful but mysterious Russian woman to who tries to smuggle gun-running information, an on-the-run overseer who awoke to find his wife murdered, and a local control war between native terrorists and the Red Army. And then there is the enigmatic Asian who carries a tiny deadly bird in his bare hands. I reviewed a prepublication edition – the actual book will be available in August – but there is little to suggest the final product will not be exactly the same as my copy. And aside from a typo or two, there is little to change: in one volume, two short stories, written and sold to pulp magazines back in 1953 and 1954. There are exotic ports of call, mysterious women, danger around every corner, and several well-plotted twists in the tales. I loved the intrigue, the mystery, the romance, and the nostalgic look at what used to pass for common literature. But then, I’m a Maltese Falcon kind of guy. You probably already know whether you like pulp fiction or not, but if you have never read the genre, this is a great place to start. The characters are well-defined and things move quickly. Surprises and adventures pop up as quickly as in an Indiana Jones film. People are shot and stabbed in the back. Jock’s best friend leaves town and his wife tries to seduce Jock. Gun-runners stage a gun battle against island natives. A widow who inherited a plantation drives around in an armored car. There is a rich American in a white suit who kills everyone that gets in his way. Jeff falls in love quickly, discovers his lover is deceitful, and falls in love with someone else. The Fleischman stories would make great beach reading. Or save them for a lonesome winter night by the fire. Which almost brings me to closing, except for a possible mystery of our own. Why is M-U-M, the magazine for magicians, reviewing a book of fiction with no magician characters or magic settings? Well, if by now you have not recognized the name of the author and his connection with our world, maybe you should buy this to find out. Sid Fleischman, besides being a terrific magician and writer of great magic books, both fiction and non-fiction, is a great writer, period. If you have to have magicians in your reading, then the fine introduction about Fleischman’s life and writing provides a concise biography of the man and his magic. Or, look up the great 2006 book with the two stories mentioned in the opening paragraph. For a great read and a fine example of a particular genre, this is a fine publication by a fine writer. As for Danger in Paradise and Malay Woman, there is no magician in these stories, but there is magic.
Pockets Full of Miracles DVD By Diamond Jim Tyler
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Retail Price $34.95 Review by Jamie Salinas This DVD contains close-up routines from Diamond Jim Tyler’s repertoire. Jim is an accomplished performer who provides you with many effects that he has created or varied. The routines are easy to follow and easy to master. There is a ton of material on this DVD. The first effect is called Baseball Diamond. A deck of playing cards with baseball players on the faces is shuffled. A spectator selects a card at random and Jim explains that he has a prediction card in the box that was lying on the table from the very beginning. The box is tipped down and out of the box falls a fullsized baseball. The selected card is shown to have Juan Gonzales on the face, and the baseball is signed by Juan Gonzales.
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Next up are Nimble Thimbles and Three Burnt Matches. The routine starts out with two corks on a table. Using just two fingers like a pair of scissors, Jim lifts the corks that are side by side and turns them over three times. A spectator is offered a chance to try to repeat the effect. The spectator fails. Jim offers a dollar if a spectator can do it and lets him try again. In the performance, one spectator is able to duplicate the stunt and wins the dollar. Jim offers another stunt to win his dollar back. Three paper matches are removed from a match book; they are lit and extinguished. Jim explains that the spectator is to respond “three burnt matches” to a series of three questions. The spectator fails and Jim gets his dollar back. These are bar stunts as opposed to magic, but in the correct venue they are interesting and are a nice interlude between magical effects. Following this interlude is the FBI Trick, a classic thumb cuff escape. Jim demonstrates the thumb cuffs by placing them on an audience member. Jim is then cuffed and a handkerchief is used to cover his hands; he is able to quickly make his escape. There is some nice byplay with the audience as he is able to escape with a surprise finish. There is nothing new here in the escape but Jim’s surprise finish is a nice touch to a classic. Soaring Straw is the next effect using a straw that seems to move on its own and levitate. This is a very quick, visual routine. Following the straw effect is Invisible Thumbscrews. This is an old classic stunt with a spectator using nothing more than his clasped hands and extended forefingers. The Animated Card Box is Jim’s adaptation of the animated match box using a card box. The box rotates, stands up, and opens. It looks very good and at the end, the box can be examined. Following the animated card box is a routine with cards called One-armed Aces. The premise of this effect is that using only one hand, Jim is able to produce the first three Aces with a series of one-handed cuts. The last Ace is missed; the card produced is a Joker. The Joker is turned into the final Ace. This looks great and it demonstrates your dexterity with a pack of cards. This routine is for the intermediate to advanced card worker. The first coin routine is called Trapdoor Coins. Three coins are passed through the solid table one at a time. The effect is short and straight to the point, using just three coins. There is nothing new here, but it is a nice routine. Returning to cards, Jim presents Diamond Dazzler. A spectator selects a card at random. The card is approximately near the middle of the deck as the cards are held face down. The deck is opened by Jim from the front as he lifts approximately half of the pack, and the selected card shoots out of the pack. This is a nice production of a selected card. In Cat and Mouse a spectator selects a card to represent a mouse. The mouse card is shuffled back into the pack and a mouse trap is brought out and set. The cards are removed from the top of the pack one by one and held near the trap. After several cards go by, the trap catches one card. The card is the selected mouse-card. The trap is turned over and on the bottom is a message that has a warning about the selected card. The trap creates tension in the routine and is a novel card revelation. Thankfully, Jim includes tips to present the routine safely.
At this point in the DVD, we have not yet reached the half way mark! The marathon continues with Gun Slinger. Jim draws a cowboy on the back of a spectator’s card. The card is bent vertically and placed on the card box so that it is standing up. Jim makes a gun shape with his hand and pretends to fire the weapon at the outlaw. The card falls over as a loud bang sound is heard and a hole is now found through the card. This routine has a nice Wild West theme. The appearing hole in the card is a nice touch to round out this routine. Breaking away from card magic, Jim borrows a bill, folds it into a small packet, waves a hole-puncher around the bill, and when the bill is unfolded, many punched out pieces fall to the table; the bill is now seen to have the words “Happy B-day” punched in it. The bill is handed back as a souvenir. This is definitely something different from your standard effects with money and is my favorite item on the DVD. We are next treated to a classic Ring and String routine using a borrowed ring and a leather lace. There is nothing new here, but it is a nice routine. Continuing with the classics, Jim performs a Coins Across routine using five coins and a glass. Jim concludes the routine with the production of two large coins and one jumbo coin. Again, there is nothing new here, but it is a well-routined version of a classic of magic. As I was watching Jim perform the next routine, Fire Ball, I could not help thinking I had seen this before. A piece of tissue paper is torn into four pieces and rolled into a ball. The ball is pierced with a large needle and held over the flame from a lighter. The paper busts into a flash of fire. As the fire subsides, the ball of paper remains in a ball. The paper ball is removed from the large needle and opened up. The paper is found to be restored to one single piece. I remember this effect, in a smaller scale, as John Bannon’s trick Shriek of the Mutilated. During the explanation of the effect, Jim credits John Bannon. Jim has a slight variation of the handling that is designed for the larger tissue paper. This is very visual magic. I loved the effect when I first read about it from Bannon and I really like how Jim has made this effect play bigger. Jim presents another quick effect called New Age Spellbound. This routine uses a small black stone that is turned into a diamond (clear stone) and back to a black stone several times. This one is really quick and is great for walk-around magic. In Mathamagic a spectator selects a small block of cards and is asked to count them in a special manner. Before the spectator finishes counting the cards, Jim has the spectator guess how many cards he has. In this case, the spectator guesses eighteen and Jim guesses twenty-one. The spectator continues counting and finds that he has eleven. The cards are handed to a second spectator to count the cards; he counts fifteen. The cards are handed to a third spectator for counting and he gets twenty-one cards. The first count is a little fishy but the second and third counting sequence is very straightforward. Jim’s inspiration for the routine comes from a Paul Harris effect. This is a very different effect with a pack of cards. There are twenty-three effects, routines, and bits of business covered on this DVD. For the most part, the sleights needed to perform the material are not very difficult and the material can be performed by the beginning-to-intermediate performer. Jim is obviously a veteran and everything is well thought out and honed through many hours of performance in front of live audiences. He is a very good teacher of the routines presented. For the most part, there is nothing new here, but there is a lot of very solid magic and a couple of gems that are great for the working professional or the casual performer. Boost your close-up magic repertoire with a dose of twenty-three effects for only $34.95.
The Minotaur Final Issue 2-DVD set By Dan Harlan and Marv Leventhal Available from: www.danharlanmagic.com Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $60.00 Review by Michael Close Sadly, one of my small pleasures in life has been taken away from me. For many years, whenever I happened to be at the same magic convention as Marv Leventhal, I took great delight in shouting at him (preferably at a distance), “Where’s my Minotaur?!” Marv and his partner (in the publishing sense of the word) Dan Harlan put out a very nice magazine in the 1990s, called Minotaur (half magic, half bull). The magazine was published quarterly and ran for eight volumes. The frustrating thing for subscribers was that the final issue, Volume 8, Number 4, never appeared. At the various conventions, after I had stopped shouting, Marv always offered apologies to me, but the world (as it is want to do) moved on, and the final issue never showed up. Until now. The boys have released The Minotaur Final Issue, a two-DVD set that fulfills their commitment to subscribers (and if you were a subscriber you should contact Dan through his Web site) and allows those who never subscribed to get a feel for the kind of magic that made the Minotaur such a great magazine. There are twenty-five effects on the first disc, which is labeled the Feature Presentation. These effects are a mix of close-up and stand-up effects, magic and mentalism, with a variety of props. Not everything appealed to me (nor should it), but there were several items I liked very much, including Harlan’s Cupside Down (a full cup of coffee is placed in a small bag and inverted – no coffee is spilled) and Royal Plushy (a full-deck stack that delivers a winning poker hand to the dealer regardless of the number of hands requested). I’m sure you’ll find several things that will appeal to you. Interwoven between the tricks is a storyline concerning a Dan Harlan look-alike robot. To be honest, I fastforwarded through all of those. The second disc contains eight bonus effects, one from each of the eight volumes of Minotaur. Again, you’ll find a variety of effects, and one or two are sure to appeal to you. The second disc also contains several files of interest and usefulness: three indexes covering all eight volumes (by issue, by the name of the trick, and by the creator), some photographs taken during the video shoot, and files that are needed for a few of the tricks. I have only one gripe about this product, and it is not really a legitimate criticism; I can’t complain about what a product isn’t, anymore than someone could complain that pigs don’t have wings. Things are what they are. But, for those of us who would have liked to have put our file of Minotaur to rest, it would have been nice to at least have prepared a PDF file of the final issue of the magazine. This would have allowed collectors to print out the final issue and bind it up with the rest of the volumes. But, unfortunately, that wasn’t done, so there you are. If you are familiar with the kind of material the Minotaur
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featured, or if you are a fan of Dan Harlan, you are sure to enjoy The Minotaur Final Issue DVDs. If you aren’t familiar with the Minotaur, the product is worth the money; the discs offer fine examples of the type of material that was featured within its many pages. You may even be inspired to try to track down the back issues. As happy as I am that the Minotaur has been put to bed, I’m bummed that I’ll have to figure out something else to yell at Marv the next time I see him.
Tenkai Pennies and Milliken’s Transposition DVD Available from: www.llpub.com Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $20.00
halves in the right hand and two quarters in the left. After the first transposition, you have one of each in each hand. At the end, you have quarters in the right hand and halves in the left hand. It’s dead simple, but you end dirty. Pairing it with the Tenkai Pennies allows you to dump the something extra when you put away the halves to “make things simpler” for the audience to follow. Combined, the two effects create a nice mini-act with coins that can be performed with quarters and pennies…nothing more than pocket change. How many twenty dollar investments will give you a solid multi-phase routine that you can perform anytime you can break a dollar at the corner store? More than worth the money and the time invested.
Review by W.S. Duncan
Tea Leaf Reading and More 2-DVD Set By Dean Montalbano
If you’ve been reading this magazine for a couple of years, you may have noticed that if I review a DVD from the World’s Greatest Magic series, it’s likely to be a recommended buy. From the first DVD of this series, which I reviewed when I was a staff writer and Dick Hatch was editing this column, to the arrival of the latest volumes, one thing has remained constant: if the subject matter of the DVD is of interest to you, then the twenty bucks is money well spent. Daryl, classicist that he is, does something I’ve never seen before. He does the Tenkai Pennies with pennies. And while I’ve done the trick with quarters, halves, and even dollar coins (using the method from Ponta the Smith’s DVD Sick), I have never tried it with pennies. Turns out, the trick is just as strong with the tiny coins, perhaps even better, and much easier to perform. Daryl teaches the original method, which, if you call yourself a magician, you should know. It’s one of the true classics of close-up and not as demanding as it seems. Or maybe it’s just that Daryl is an excellent teacher. No matter. Buy the DVD, learn this, and you have received your twenty bucks worth. After learning the original, you can advance to Steve Draun’s handling, which uses a different, and more advanced, back clipping method. Draun’s version doesn’t alter the effect, but does allow you to work with larger coins without the angle problems raised by the original method when using half dollars. There is also a short home movie clip of Ross Bertram, in full kimono, doing the effect with English pennies. There is an unfortunate cut to show a close-up that occurs before showing the effect. It makes it appear that the camera edit is the method. Fans of magic history may be happy to see the legend do some coin magic, but kids will probably wonder what all the fuss was about. If you are one of those kids, let me assure you that you do get to see Bertram do the move, although you may not think so upon first viewing. Following Bertram is David Roth teaching his Deep Palm version of the effect, another method that allows for larger coins. David then returns to introduce (Harry) Milliken’s Transposition. This routine uses two pairs of differently sized coins (in Roth’s demonstration halves and quarters are used, and in Daryl’s presentation, which follows, halves and copper subway tokens). In Milliken’s Transposition, you show (for example) two
Review by Joshua Kane In several world cultures, serving tea is a ceremony invested with meaning and involves significant ritual. The observation of teatime deepens communal bonds and can instill a serene sense of order. It is a centering process, and allows one to be deeply present. The antithesis of coffee in a cardboard cup, it encourages self-reflection and conversation. It can usurp anger and offers people a face-saving opportunity to reconnect when a day has been falling apart. It is, in effect, a mini Sabbath; and as such, it offers the opportunity for participants to create new beginnings. It also puts people in a receptive state to be entertained and diverted. Despite most Americans having only experienced tea in a bag, the idea of someone reading meaning from the dregs of a cup of tea made with loose tea is firmly imprinted in our culture. Even in the Harry Potter novels, the first lesson in clairvoyance taught by Professor Trelawney is the reading of tea leaves. We are meaning-making creatures. In addition to the snap judgments that are initiated by our primitive survival instincts, we also have the ability, when relaxed, to daydream a bit and find meaning and images in the most unlikely places. Which of us has not laid on our backs on a summer day and looked up at the clouds, discovering bunnies and faces floating by? Reading tea leaves is largely based on the same principle, known as pareidolia. (Now there’s a neat Scrabble word!) Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon that encourages us to see bunnies in clouds and images of religious figures on the toasted bread of a grilled cheese sandwich. For those of you who possess a pareidolic nature, tea leaf reading will be a quick-to-learn and fun-to-implement divination system. Montalbano teaches a thorough introductory course on the system of reading tea leaves. The instruction is lucid and engaging. As with his Tarot instruction set, we are once again treated to a combination of animations and live footage. There are also printed materials in a DVD-ROM section of the second disc. There is more than enough information to put you on the road of learning the basics over a weekend. Recommendations for print book sources for further education are also provided. In addition
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Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $75.00
to tea leaf reading, Montalbano has expanded upon the theme of utilizing a pareidolic skill set to include Blei Giessen, (a German divination system used at the New Year that involves the melting of lead figures and dropping them into water so the that the reconstructed shapes can be interpreted to reveal meaning for the coming year), wax splatter readings, dry tea and herb readings, and finally lipstick print readings, which are sure to be popular at singles events and other parties. Unlike the Tarot DVD set, there are no subtitles with this set. Instruction on the ethics of reading and a business model on how to get bookings doing such readings are once again supplied and are worth the second exposure. Demonstrations of sample readings are also provided. Altogether, I found this to be an enjoyable set and am looking forward to adding tea leaf readings to my own social repertoire.
The Classic Force DVD By Phil Jay
Available from JB Magic and Mark Mason Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $30.00 Review by Norman Beck I had never heard of Phil Jay, but then I don’t get out much, and Phil Jay is not a magic dealer/lecturer kind of guy. Phil Jay is a worker and one of the tools he uses, and uses a bunch, is the classic force. I think it is one thing to learn a sleight from a guy who makes his living selling things to magicians and another thing to learn from a guy who makes his living doing magic for the real world and getting paid to entertain. That is why you have never heard of Phil Jay. He works, and when you work you get good at your craft. The DVD teaches you how to do a classic force and a touch force, and offers tips that only come from doing them over and over again. The DVD has a fair amount of actual footage of Mr. Jay doing it for real people in the real world. I think this is really good money spent for one of the most important moves one can learn in card magic.
Rizer DVD By B. Smith and Eric Ross
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $30.00 Review by Antonio M. Cabral Rizer takes dead aim at the street magic crowd, and, with any luck, it’ll succeed. Martin Lewis’s Cardiographic is undoubtedly a classic. Now imagine being able to do it without the pad. Imagine being able to do it on your own bare skin, without surgery. That’s Rizer. B. Smith and Eric Ross came up with the idea independently, and then got their heads together to come up with this ultra-accessible, killer piece of
street close-up. In the basic version, after the obligatory card is selected, you roll up your sleeve and draw a picture of a playing card on your forearm with a Sharpie in an attempt to divine the selection. It’s the wrong card, but you save the day by announcing the drawing is actually a deck of cards and the selected card is somewhere in the middle. You then grab your forearm, give it a shake or two, and the drawing animates to show the selected card rising up out of the middle of the deck – in ink. You’re left with the complete image indelibly scribbled on your flesh. If you want to end as in the Martin Lewis original, you can tear the skin with the drawing on it off your forearm and give it to the spectator as a souvenir. Okay, you can’t. Rather, you shouldn’t, but I’ll bet David Blaine or Dan Sperry figure out how. This is a great idea. It’s a strong idea, and it’s a diabolical idea. The method comes straight out of another classic effect – if I said which, I’d give the game away. It’s good enough that I’m actually a little disappointed I can’t do it. Not “can’t” as in skill (although I’m betting my skin would give me trouble trying to perform this), but “can’t” the same way Woody Allen never casts Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead in his films. I wear suit jackets and ties. I have no tattoos. If I want to draw a picture or write something down, I carry paper or index cards. Barring developing Memento-like problems with my memory, I’m not going to roll up my sleeve and start scrawling on myself in Sharpie in front of people. Penn & Teller could do this in suits. I can’t. And given how good this idea is, that’s a bit of a shame. The instructions on this DVD are crystal-clear. Nothing is supplied (save a pill fob keychain to carry the “secret stuff”), but a quick trip to your corner drug store and you’re all set. There’s the basic version I described, and another where you have two cards selected and get an extra “pop” by getting the first divination right. The necessary basic card moves are taught for both versions. But who cares? The card rises up on your skin! Plus they give some very helpful tips for being able to repeat the effect if needed, and ultimately how to get all that permanent ink off your flesh. The only other “problem” some might have is that the “height” of the rise is only about the width of a Sharpie itself. The effect, however, is so startling and flat-out cool that it really doesn’t matter. Heck, it might not even matter if you get the card wrong. The one suggestion I’m surprised no one mentioned anywhere on Rizer (probably for legal and demographic reasons) is the one way I could conceive performing this effect for myself: actually get the image tattooed on your arm. You lose the immediacy of apparently creating the drawing right in front of the audience, but imagine rolling up your sleeve to reveal an actual, permanent inked-in-the-flesh tattoo, and making a card rise up out of that. Whether or not you follow up with a belly-dancing mermaid or a chorus or three of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” is up to you. I can’t recommend this trick to everyone, but holy cow, is it ever a great idea. Kudos, gentlemen.
Laws of Attraction DVD By Shoot Ogawa
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $35.00 Review by Antonio M. Cabral
The trick explained on Shoot Ogawa’s Laws of Attraction is an interesting example of how an “effect” can be widely open to interpretation. When I first saw the DVD box copy that discussed how Shoot’s technique will allow you to “magnetize
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any object,” I expected a suspension-type effect along the lines of the Magnetized Cards. Laws of Attraction isn’t that kind of effect. Shoot Ogawa’s techniques will allow you to create a very nice illusion of various objects being attracted to each other as if magnetized. However, to present this as a showpiece of its own would be like forgoing Cigarette Thru Quarter in favor of the old Cups and Balls business in which you penetrate the bottom of the cup with the wand. The technique at work is a combination of some clever sleight of hand, the use of sound, and good old-fashioned mime. In many places, this looks very good. In a couple of places, it looks amazing – in a few others, not so much. The DVD is an hour long, and Shoot covers myriad possibilities for making things stick to other things and then pulling them apart. The explanations are very thorough – perhaps more than they need be in some places. And after an hour, you might start to feel like you get the drift already. That’s a good thing to keep in mind. I’ve never seen Shoot Ogawa perform this in person, but the DVD gives the impression that you could perform a whole routine of these demonstrations amidst claims of “magnetism.” In my opinion, that would be a mistake. There’s no build or escalation; you just keep sticking things together and pulling them apart. Not only does the repetition wear thin, but someone’s bound to ask you to leave the two things stuck together without holding them together. You know, like a suspension. And with these techniques, you can’t. One solution is to not sell the effect very hard, or not so hard that it can’t support the weight of its own claims. On the other hand, if you do some kind of suspension effect with an invisible thread or something like Gary Plants’s beautiful Magnetized Cards, and you throw in some of these bits in or around one of those tricks – ah, then you have something. Or you could use these techniques to support a spurious claim of using “trick magnetic” coins before going into a Coins Across routine to explain how the coins jump to be next to each other. Maybe. (I wouldn’t recommend it if you actually use magnetic coins in your coin work.) But by itself, the illusion – while again it’s very good – doesn’t hold up (hah!). Which brings me to yet another observation on the “onetrick DVD” phenomenon: is it worth spending $35 on what is in essence a gag? I’m not calling it a gag derogatorily, either. It’s a very good, magical-looking gag. It’s a useful gag, very worth doing. But it’s still a gag, like the aforementioned Cups and Balls business of making the cups penetrate one another or making the wand penetrate the cups. There’s a difference between those types of illusions and the kind that drive their point home hard, leaving an undeniable feeling of having seen something that shouldn’t be. If you can get anyone to buy hook, line, and sinker that these bits on their own add up to “magnetism,” you might want to book them into the act, because at that point they’re the entertainment. I’m not sure what the answer is. Some performers will think that the bits and techniques on this DVD are worth the price, and find all sorts of places to use them. Others, like me at the beginning, will be expecting a suspension effect and be disappointed. I can’t heavily endorse Laws of Attraction because it falls short of my expectations. But I can’t condemn it just because it’s not a suspension effect; that feels like saying “Don’t buy this sandwich, it’s not a car!” Let the buyer, at the very least, be informed.
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V2F 2.0 DVD By G
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $30.00 Review by Antonio M. Cabral V2F 2.0 makes a very interesting claim in its ad copy: “While everyone else is still doing card to wallet with their expensive gaffed wallet, you can advance to the next level with V2F 2.0.” The cost of this DVD is $30. My card-to-wallet wallet, a Tony Miller Hipshot Wallet, costs $40. I suppose in this economy ten dollars can make all the difference (ignoring the fact that you’re spending money on card tricks at all), but this claim still raises my eyebrows – particularly so in light of what the “next level” appears to be. V2F 2.0 (the “V2F” stands for Visual Vanish Fantasy) makes a lot of simultaneous claims. On the one hand, it claims to be an amazing visual vanish of a playing card. On the other, it claims to be an amazing signed card to any impossible location you can think of. Which is it? Well, it’s an amazing visual vanish, if by that you mean “pretty good color change.” And it’s an amazing signed card to any impossible location, if by that you mean “card fold, after which, with the card securely in finger palm, you can load it wherever you like.” And it is, in fact, both of those things at the same time. The video quality is very good on this DVD, but the instructions follow what I fear is becoming a trend in magic DVDs: the hands demonstrate while the instructions appear as captions along the bottom of the screen. If this goes any further, I half expect to have to follow a bouncing ball to learn the next hot move; the upside, I suppose, will be that no one will be able to complain that the DVD crowd doesn’t read. I’ll also point out that if you’re going to produce a DVD on the cheap, using a standard iMovie/iDVD/ iWhatever menu screen is a dead giveaway. But you should have no problem learning the technique from this DVD. G, the creator of V2F 2.0, makes the vanish look very pretty. And when it is performed that well, it’s a very disarming vanish – it almost looks like you’re erasing the card from one of those magnetic drawing toys. Unfortunately, the move is built backwards: it starts off looking very open and ends cozier than I’d like. A better picture of the card vanishing completely would end with the hand doing the “erasing” to be open and obviously empty, which could happen here with a little more development, but doesn’t as is. The problem with any extremely direct method like this one is that the secret workings of the trick follow the same path as the audience’s attention. You’re doing everything directly in front of their eyes and hoping no one puts two and two together. And while there are other similar “under your nose” vanishes/changes, the best ones are quicker and more startling. V2F 2.0 is a very deliberate, slow visual effect that invites the audience to stare at it. When you invite your audience to stare and wonder for a long time, unless you’re doing a really thorough job of covering your tracks, don’t be surprised if someone comes up with an answer. That’s not to say it can never work, but a more standard color change would
offer a cleaner vanish, and after they’re really convinced the card has disappeared, while you’re directing attention to their shoe or wherever, a standard card fold would take care of the rest. Strong misdirection might seem boring from a mechanical standpoint, but there’s no denying how well it works. While V2F 2.0 might have its problems as a vanish, it makes for a very effective appearance of a card, an idea offered here as V2Ambitious, an ending for an Ambitious Card routine. This idea has some very clever extra thinking involved, and is arguably the real use for the move. The other routines offered are good but unremarkable, because once you’ve got the card folded, whether or not you load the card in a shoe or a wallet or a ham sandwich is almost academic. G’s Card under Wallet routine is a good one, but again unremarkable given all the really strong card-under-the-box routines already in print. Despite all my reservations about the technique, the audience footage shows some very satisfying reactions to the V2F 2.0 used as a vanish. And again, done well it’s very pretty. If you’re a card nut into color changes, it’s worth playing around with. I’m not convinced it’s worth $30, though.
Ultra Telethought Wallet II Prop By Chris Kenworthy Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $65.00
Review by Danny Archer This an updated version of a peek wallet that Chris Kenworthy had on the market a few years ago. The basic effect is that a card is removed from the wallet and an assisting spectator writes something down on it (symbol, drawing, word, etc.), after which the spectator inserts the face-down card into an outside pocket on the wallet. The performer opens the wallet to remove another card and he/she successfully duplicates the thought-of information. The wallet is nicely made in leather with brass corners and can certainly pass for a standard business card case. It also comes with some blank card stock and some cards printed with the words ESP Laboratory. These included cards are slightly wider than a standard business card. What makes this wallet different from the standard peek wallet is how the peek is gained. Without giving away too much, there is a special surface that appears to be a blank surface, but through which the performer can secretly see the written info. This is very cool. On the Internet boards, there is talk about using the wallet in a different fashion than is explained in the two pages of text and photos that accompany the wallet, to gain the glimpse without having to open the wallet. I can see that this can be accomplished easily by folding the wallet in a different direction than it comes in the package. As with any peek wallet, thought must be given to how and why the information needs to be written down in the first place. There is no real presentation or routine included with the wallet; the instructions cover the handling of the wallet and the all important glimpse. This is a fun utility device, and is a must-have for any
fans of peek wallets (you know who you are), or for someone looking for an entrée into the fascinating world of mentalism.
Devastation Trick with DVD and props By Wayne Dobson Available from: www.jbtvusa.com Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Retail Price $40.00 Review by Jamie Salinas For some strange reason, I am drawn to leather magic wallets. I have owned many different ones, but I only keep a few. Devastation is a named-card to wallet effect that has been created by one of our most respected and creative performers, Wayne Dobson. Is this one a keeper for me? Keep reading. The routine begins with the magician recounting a dream that featured the spectator. In the dream, the spectator named a card, so the helper is asked to name a card. The magician exclaims that was the same card named in the dream. The magician then shows a pack of cards that are double-backed cards. The magician removes two double-backed cards, calling them Jokers, in spite of it being very clear that the two cards are double-backed cards. The two “Jokers” are placed in a wallet. The double-backed deck then instantly changes into a deck of regular (and different) cards, in new-deck order. As the magician points out that all of the cards are in order, it is seen that the named card is missing. The two double-backed cards that were referred to as Jokers are removed from the wallet and they are found to have Joker faces on each card. In addition to the two (now real) Jokers, there is an extra card in the wallet. The card is removed and shown to be the named card that is missing from the pack. The effect is very straightforward and is fairly simple to perform. You are supplied with the specially printed cards and the special wallet that allow you to perform this miracle. Mark Mason provides the demonstration as well as the explanation portion of the video. Mark does a very good job in both the performance and instructional segments. The trick resets in ten seconds. Mark also includes his handling for the wallet. The wallet is well made and very thin, with a simple design in black leather. The quick reset makes this a very good trick for the strolling magician. The magical effect of having a deck of double-backed cards transforming into regular cards and having the named card in the wallet is very strong. Finger flickers will be disappointed, as there is none of that here. The routine is great for the beginning magician as well as the seasoned pro. So will I add this wallet to my collection of keepers? If you have not already figured it out yet, this wallet, as well as the routine, is a keeper. Priced at $40 including the leather wallet, special gaffed cards, and instructional DVD, this a very good buy!
Double Back Trick with DVD By Jon Allen
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $18.00 Review by Norman Beck
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This is a packet trick that is a transposition. The performer shows four cards, for example two Fives and two Kings. The two pairs change places after the fashion of The Last Trick of Dr. Jacob Daley. The key word here is clean. You start and end dirty, but it looks clean – very, very clean. Dean Dill says it is his favorite packet trick, as does another top performer in the Philly area, who does it at every walkaround gig. The trick is easy to learn and the DVD instructions are very clear. It comes with the necessary gaffed cards. At this price it is well worth the money.
PLF ESP Collection Set Book and ESP Cards By PLF
Available exclusively in the USA from: www.Tannens.com Price $64.95 Review by Joshua Kane When I first started performing mentalism, I bought several sets of the actual ESP/Zener testing cards used by Dr. Rhine of Duke University. They were about the size of bridge-size playing cards and had a one-way back design that was composed of a field of white stars on a blue background. While the scientists may have been serious, the cards looked as if they were designed for a kid’s magic set. They were also finished and sized in such a way as to permit them to be used like regular playing cards, which, unfortunately, tempted many performers into doing card tricks with an ESP testing deck. The cards used to be packaged in a little blue box that actually had an image of Duke University’s testing lab on the cover. This added an air of authenticity. Over time, the studies were abandoned, the cards and case went out of print, and when the cards were reissued just for magicians, the box was gone and the backs either retained the star pattern or were given clarity as magic shop props as they were printed with backs to match regular playing cards. I dropped ESP card routines from my repertoire and boxed up the related books. Recently, Tannen’s magic shop in NYC has become the exclusive distributor in the USA for a series of well crafted mentalism products produced by a company in Germany that values secrets. They clearly want to make these cards available to performers while at the same time taking great pains to keep them secret from the public. The question is: can magicians keep the secret? So long as the actual name of the product is not posted in reviews that are stored electronically or on Internet forums that can be Googled, the secret should remain intact. This is why I refer to the company as PLF. I request that you do the same. The first product of theirs I picked up is a new version of the classic ESP cards. You receive two packets of twenty-five cards. One set has blue backs with white print that clearly states the actual PLF company name and the phrase “testing cards.” The second set has white backs and blue print. Each set has the standard five designs printed on the front of the cards along with a set of five additional gaffed cards. The markings on the back can bear scrutiny,
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but can be quickly read by the performer. The look of the cards is a wonderful departure from playing cards, and the stock is thick and deliberately lacks the air cushion finish of standard playing card decks. The cards are cased in a white cardboard box with the PLF testing cards phrase and a very official company logo. This box is packaged inside of a plastic box of its own, which can be used separately or in conjunction with the cardboard container. The packaging reminded me of testing kits that I have seen being used by psychologists who test children. PLF has even gone to the effort of creating a Web site for their imaginary testing company. This means that if a spectator Googles the name on the back of the cards, they will be taken to an official-looking Web site that will further confirm the cards as scientific tools. Mentalism and magic literature has produced a wealth of effects that can be effectively exploited with these cards. A book is included with the PLF ESP Collection set and is also sold separately for $35. In addition to several strong effects, the book contains the necessary psychology and vocabulary needed to portray the effects as experiments and not tricks. It is well written, clearly illustrated, and required reading for those who want to ratchet up their believability. I recommend you buy the set and an extra deck while they are available. And sshhh... remember to keep the secret.
Personal FX DVD and Gimmick By Wayne Dobson and Mark Mason Available from Mark Mason Magic Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $25.00 Review by Norman Beck I will give full disclosure here: I am friends with both Mark and Wayne, and I like them both very much as magicians and dealers. Personal FX is a mental effect in which you remove a card case and place three of your business cards on the table. An assisting spectator places his cell phone on one card and his keys on another. The last card goes back in the case. When the cards are turned over, all three match the choices made by the spectator. The instructional DVD is well done, and the routine is easy to learn. I like this very much. This is a good buy at $25.
Postcards Trick with DVD and gimmick By Hernan Macagno Available from: www.tangomagic.com Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $45.00 Review by Payne I recently attended a lecture by Doc Eason during which he wisely advised that one should never start a set with a card trick – a sentiment I wholeheartedly agreed with. Nothing is as potentially off-putting as walking up to someone, cards in hand, to ask
if they’d like to see a trick. Even though you could be the greatest entertainer in the world, you can all too easily end up looking like their weird Uncle Charlie who foists unwanted card tricks upon them at holiday gatherings. Deserved or not, there is a certain social stigma associated with the purveyors of card tricks. There are of course, as there always are, dissenters to this theory. The loudest of these are, of course, the weird Uncle Charlie types who enjoy inflicting the latest card trick they’ve extracted from the periodicals on the unsuspecting. But other voices that can be heard in the cacophony of protest: those magicians who only have card tricks in their repertoire. This puts them into a bit of a quandary. If one shouldn’t open with a card trick, but the only tricks you know how to do are with cards, then what is one to do? There is a simple way to reconcile Doc’s advice with the “all cards” repertoire. Make the first trick you do a vehicle to produce the deck of cards you are going to use for your performance. There have, over the years, been many novel ways to accomplish this feat. One of the more interesting ways was found in an early Paul Harris book. It was called Dehydrated Deck. The basic effect was to magically remove a deck of cards from a previously folded-up card box. More recently, David Regal came up with Sudden Deck. This involved producing a deck of cards from a previously shown empty and dismantled card case. This had the advantage of being a lot easier to do than Dehydrated Deck, because no difficult sleight of hand was required. But it had the weaknesses of not being examinable (you could hand out the folded up Dehydrated Deck at the beginning of the effect) and containing a topological incongruity at one point of the routine: the box is shown to have an extra, third side during one of the displays. Hernan Macagno’s Postcards from Tango Magic is the latest foray into the concept of extracting a deck of cards from a previously folded up or flattened box. And it’s a pretty good one to boot. It’s very much akin to Eugene Burger’s Shotglass Surprise, because the envelope containing the flattened card box can be freely passed around before the effect. The envelope is opened and the card box removed. It can be shown on both sides and very freely handled by the performer. The envelope is then discarded, the card box folded up, and a complete deck of cards is then removed from the box. The box can be set on the table as it will retain its shape and pass a cursory visual inspection. However it cannot be passed out for perusal. Unless you want your audience to know how the trick is done. But there is really no need for it to be examined. After all, the spectators have just held the envelope containing the box and they saw for themselves that it in no way could conceal a deck of cards. The angles are no worse than Sudden Deck, and multiple handlings are taught on the DVD. It is best performed at a table but there are a couple of stand-up variants shown as well. However, most of the stand-up variations require a jacket and the ability to secretly get a deck of cards out of your pocket and into play. A method where you simply walk on stage holding the envelope
or take it out of your performing case at the start of the effect is demonstrated. The reset for this trick is quite quick and can easily be done in a matter of seconds, making this a good little opener for the table-hoppers out there. All in all, I think this is a clever prop that lots of performers will have a fun time using. My only complaint is that the card box should have been laminated to help it stand up to the wear and tear it’s going to get.
Starlight Trick By Kreis-magic.com
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $20.00 Review by Norman Beck The basic idea behind Starlight is that you can, for lack of a better term, make a spectator into an instant stooge. A card is selected and returned to the deck, after which a second card is handed to a spectator, who is then able to figure out what card was selected by spectator number one. The trick card looks normal from a distance, but the second spectator will know the card selected by the first spectator when he holds the card up to the light. I have a couple of problems with this. First, the assisting spectator doesn’t know what he is looking for, which makes the gimmick less than perfect, and second, there are lots of better, cheaper ways to give the information to the spectator. Not recommended.
Don’t Blink Trick with DVD By Salvador Sufrate
Distributed by Murphy’s Magic Supplies Price $40.00 Review by Norman Beck
The basic effect is simple, you show one card and it changes in your hands with no funny moves; or, you can place the card in your mouth, turn away from the audience, and when you turn back the card has changed. The video looks great, but (and the “but” is quite large) you need to know several things about this project before you buy it. My problem is that telling you what the problems are would give away the secret. Let me just say that I do not think you can do this up close, and you have restrictions on what you wear when performing it. You also stand a good chance of being caught after the fact. I will say it looks great on video. I won’t tip the method, but let’s just say that you have to dress like Max Maven. I fear that this will be of limited utility.
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Mental Epic Trick Available from your favorite dealer Distributed by D. Robbins http://www.ezmagicrobbins.com Price $22.00 Review by Payne All I can say about this “prop” is that you get what you pay for, which in this case isn’t much at all. For a start, a proper Mental Epic is supposed to look like a chalkboard or a more contemporary erasable white board. This “prop,” to use the term loosely, more closely resembles a cafeteria tray than it does the previously mentioned two items. To say it is shoddily put together is to insult all other things that are shoddily put together. The frame is constructed out of miserably thin vacu-formed plastic reinforced with shiny black tape. The areas given to you to write in are painfully small, about two and a half inches square. This combined with the fact that they are also recessed about a half an inch makes writing anything in them cumbersome. There are three doors to cover the performer’s predictions, which on the outset look handy. But the way they are constructed (tape hinges) keeps them from staying open on their own when you do the final reveals at the end of the trick. So you’re left showing that prediction one matches and then closing the door; then moving on to prediction two, and then again closing that door before moving on to revealing prediction three. This makes for a less than impressive final display of all three matching predictions at the conclusion of the effect. The visual image that the audience is left with is that you got one prediction correct. Add about thirty-five bucks to what you’d typically pay for this thing and you can pick up Paul Romhany’s excellent book The Mental Epic Compendium (reviewed in the July issue), which has many variations on this effect. All of which look a hundred times better than this prop. The only positive thing I can mention about this piece of apparatus is that it does come with an erasable whiteboard pen that you can use for something else. Avoid this poorly made prop like the plague.
If you wish to have your product reviewed please send it to: Bill Duncan P.O. Box 50562 Bellevue, WA 98015-0562 70 M-U-M Magazine
Joining Forces By Debbie Leifer
S.A.M. Veterans Entertainment Chair “Joining Forces – Taking Action To Serve America’s Military Families” is the powerful initiative spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The initiative focuses on employment, education, and wellness, while engaging in a comprehensive effort to raise awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of military families. I’m sure all magicians will agree that the relaxation, humor, and entertainment derived from our art is a joy to engage in while recovering from injury, illness, or trauma. Imagine how appreciative an audience of men and women who have served our nation would be to receive the gift of a magical performance while confined to a Veterans Hospital or Veterans Nursing Home. When you attend your next assembly meeting, please consider making the suggestion that your members get together to donate a performance at your local/regional Veterans Hospital! Our Veterans Entertainment program, also known as “Operation Hocus Pocus,” is described in great detail on the Web at www.magicsam. com/VHSP-home.asp. You’ll find pages on How To Volunteer, Tips and Guidelines, and a list of VA Hospitals across the U.S. that your assembly can contact to donate performances. You’ll also see an image of the impressive Veterans Program Lapel Pin you’ll be sent to celebrate the performance you’ve so generously donated. Many of our members and officers wear that pin with pride. We’ve got good company! Major League Baseball, Sesame Street, AOL, The American Heart Association, McGraw-Hill Publishing, YMCA, Best Buy, Intel, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Tennis Association are among the diverse corporations and organizations supporting veterans and the Joining Forces program this year. So, borrowing a phrase from one of those popular organizations, let’s all “step up to the plate” and hit a home run this year by donating our time and talents to entertain our veterans confined to hospitals and nursing homes across America.
Spotlight On... Neil Tobin Neil is President of Assembly 3. He has instituted a fund-raising séance each October and acts as the Necromancer who performs the séance. He sets up the room, does the blackout, and requests club volunteers to help. Neil started an annual magic competition held at Chicago’s Navy Pier. This free show was created to bring magic to the attention of the general public, and up to twenty area magicians take part. The first-, second-, and third-place winners each receive a specially made wand. The first-place winner receives a show contract. Neil publicizes the show, lines up community judges, requests club volunteers, and emcees the competition. – Darlene Bull
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THEORY & ART OF MAGIC LARRY HASS
What Are Your Venues?
ne of the things philosophers do is pay close attention to words and concepts. We do this because it is easy for ways of thinking and talking to lead us astray. And if those misleading terms become a habit of thought, then we have a problem on our hands: we end up missing the true complexities of things, which often leads to flawed or confused action. It is in this spirit that I want to consider the common way magicians talk about their venues and styles. If you ask magicians today what kind of magic they perform, you are likely to hear, “Oh, I perform close-up magic,” or “I perform mostly stand-up magic, but some stage magic, too.” Indeed, “close-up, stand-up, and stage” have become the fairly standard ways magicians describe their venues and styles. But is this adequate? One obvious problem is that it is essentially gibberish to clients who aren’t magicians; you always have to add two or three sentences to explain what “close-up” and “stand-up” magic are. The bigger problem is that this classification is so general and abstract it isn’t even true. The fact is that there are at least seven different venue-styles of magic and each one of them has its own distinct character, conditions, and challenges. If we don’t see this clearly, if we don’t understand each of them precisely, it is easy to select the wrong material and easy for our performances to be weak and unsuccessful. My goal this month is to briefly discuss what I see as seven main venues for live magic. The fact is I could write a whole column about each of them, and there are certainly more than seven. But I want to get the conversation going and start to show how many vitally important details our current three-tier system ignores. 1. Greeting Magic. This venue happens on the fly. You are attending a party or
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shopping and someone you meet says, “You are a magician…?” So what are you going to perform? Remember, it comes up by surprise and your performance needs to happen fast and it has to be fast; it is too slow to take out a pack of cards and start shuffling. You need something direct and fun, something that “makes friends” rather than shows off or “puts off.” I never leave the house without one or two rock-solid pieces of greeting magic in my pockets – with coins or bills, or small objects I can give away as gifts. 2. Walk-Around Magic. When you are engaged to perform walk-around at a cocktail party or reception, your performance needs to be more formal: a series of mini-shows – each one with some kind of beginning, middle, and end. You need strategies for “breaking in” to groups and “bailing out” if one is unruly or unresponsive. Reset is crucial. Flash is excellent. Getting people involved, talking, and laughing is outstanding. Quick aside: Do you see how different walk-around is from greeting magic? Do you see how the general category “closeup” ignores these crucial differences? Do you see how having only greeting magic for a walk-around gig would limit your success? The needs and goals are different; you would fall short of what the venue requires. 3. After-dinner Table Magic. At a dinner party or restaurant with non-magicians, the entrée has been eaten, dessert has been served, and things are winding down. So what are you going to do to bring down the house? What is required here is a very particular kind of magic. It has to be incredibly strong, not hack, lame, or gimmicky. It is probably one piece, not two. It has to feel informal and impromptu, even if it is not. It is excellent to use playing cards or common objects that are lying around. All night long people have been thinking about the fact you are a magician; this is the big moment. Think Eugene Burger, Juan Tamariz, Eddie Fields, Johnny Thompson – masters of the form. 4. Formal Close-up. Here you have some distance, so it is time for servantes, loads, switches, and lapping. You might stand up for part of it. You may have some lighting; you might play music. But the heart of it is you need a real show, not a
collection of tricks – one that is carefully composed for flow, texture, build, and closure. Think the close-up room at the Magic Castle. Think the maestro René Lavand or Al Goshman. Time to read Fitzkee. 5. Stand-up. Whether you call it “stand-up,” “parlor,” or “cabaret,” this venue requires that you stand and deliver for up to about eighty people. Visibility may be an issue, so the magic should happen vertically and at chest level, not on a tabletop. Because you are so close and there is no “moat,” you should break the fourth wall early and often. Also, audience members will join you up front and need to be managed. Some permutations may feel casual and loose, but unless you are part of an ensemble, you need a formal show. Typically, you will need to adapt to existing light sources and bring your own music. Think John Carney. 6. Platform Magic. Over about eighty people, stand-up magic becomes platform magic. That is, you are (or should be) on an elevated platform and your magic has to play much larger. (For example, the use of playing cards is highly limited in this venue.) Audience interaction becomes more difficult because of stairs, distance, and visibility. You may have lights and sound, but you are unlikely to have an assistant or wings so the whole show needs to be set before you start. This is unquestionably a formal show and needs a strong opener and killer closer. Think Paul Potassy and Jay Marshall. 7. Stage Magic. The whole smear: lights and sound, wings and assistants, technology and the staff to run it. I could go on, but you get the idea and know the names. There you go: seven venues of magic, not three. And I haven’t even gotten into TV, radio, or street magic. But already with this more detailed thinking in place, we can get some good work done. Ask yourself: in which of these venues do you have real expertise? For which ones do you need new material and better presentations? Is there one or more that you want to become better at? What specific course of study and skill development do you need to take the next steps? In magic and life more precise thinking brings better action!
The Ta x Magic ian
by St e ve Snyde r
B us i n e s s a n d Ta x A dvi c e fo r t h e S e l f-E mp l o y e d E n t e r t a i n e r
Which of My Convention Expenses is Deductible? Last month I wrote about the joys of going to a convention. I hope you went, or are still planning to go to one. I can’t say it enough times – it’s worth the trip. This month, I’d like to discuss your expenses going to and during your convention experience. As always, good recordkeeping now will avoid the headaches later. Let’s begin with your registration. Your registration fees are one hundred percent deductible. I’ll discuss the deductibility of family members you may be bringing with you at the end of this article. Next comes your trip. How did you get to the convention? Did you fly or drive? If you flew, all your expenses are deductible: the trip to the airport, the flight, getting from the airport to the hotel. How did you get to the airport? Taxi? That’s deductible, including the tip. Did a friend drive you? You can claim the mileage and reimburse your friend later. Did you drive yourself and leave your car in long-term parking? You can deduct that expense, too. Perhaps you live close enough to drive to the convention. If you drove your own vehicle you are limited to the mileage allowance or your actual expenses, depending on which method you use for your tax return. As of July 1, the allowance is 55½ cents per mile. Maybe you drove a long distance, spending a night or two in a motel. The motel expenses are deductible, too. I’ll discuss meals later. Now that you’ve arrived, we can deal with your hotel bill. Your hotel bill is completely deductible. However, keep away from the snack bar. Not only is it expensive, but meals are limited. However, using the snack bar would be included on your hotel bill. So if you must use it, try not to get caught if you decide to deduct it. Better yet, stop at a local Wal-Mart type store and buy whatever snacks you need for your room. Hey, the ice is free! While at the convention you just happen to wander into the dealer’s room. Who could blame you? All those effects are calling your name, a temptation much too hard to resist. Anything you purchase should be deductible as supplies or equipment. If it’s a big-ticket item, you may want to deduct it under Section 125. I don’t believe in depreciating my assets if I can write them off. After all, I had to pay for them all at once; why not deduct them all at once? Let’s talk about meals. Some hotels provide a free
continental breakfast. Nothing to deduct there – it’s free. When Liz and I go to conventions, the free continental breakfast is actually our preferred method of breakfast. And while we’re at it, we also pick up a few pieces of fruit or granola bars to snack on later. But other hotels do not provide such amenities and you are on your own. Or you may prefer to eat at the hotel and charge the meals to your room. Meals are a tricky deduction. Generally, meals are limited to a 50% deduction. The thought being that you could have eaten at home. Not likely since you’re many miles away. I usually deduct the full cost of my breakfast on those occasions when I have to purchase it. Not legal, but worth the risk. Lunch is always available at the hotel – somehow. But if you do need to go out, keep in mind the 50% rule. Dinner is usually eaten with friends from the convention, or with my wife. We usually choose something a bit nicer than a local fast food place. So, here I follow the 50% rule. Let’s talk about family members. As I mention earlier, my wife Liz usually accompanies me. Although she does not perform with me, she is my consultant. She know better than anyone else, what effects are me, and which ones I need to avoid no matter how much I whine, beg, or plead. As my consultant, her part of the trip is also deductible. All our children are grown and gone, so we never have to deal with them. You, on the other hand, may be bringing other family members – depending on the convention location and what other stuff there is for your family to do. Their expenses are not deductible. None of them! You cannot claim your ten-year-old son as a consultant. However, if your children are truly a part of your act, performing with you as a regular part of your show, then you may deduct their expenses as indicated above. That about covers all the expenses I can think of in conjunction with what I hope was an experience of a lifetime. If I left anything out, or if you still have a question or two, write to me, call me, or if you see me at a convention, just come up and ask me. Whatever you do, whatever you bought, wherever you ate; keep all your receipts. Steve Snyder has a BS in Accounting and an MBA. Let him put his knowledge to work for you. Send business or tax questions to him at: [email protected]
Please put “M-U-M question” in the subject line. Steve is also the author of several books, all of which are available at: www.thetaxmagician.com.
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I’VE BEEN THINKIN’ NORMAN BECK
couple of things to talk about this month. I just read Michael Close’s review of The Berglas Effects in the June issue of M-U-M, and a quote from Berglas caught my eye: “The order of importance in doing magic is personality, presentation, effect, and method.” The big mistake that many magicians make is that they work on their magic and spend little or no time on their personality. I travel to Vegas a great deal; the idea of personality rings true in that city. You would never just say, “I saw a magic show in Vegas.” The more common statement would be, “I saw Mac King,” or “I saw Penn & Teller.” The achievement of these performers has less to do with tricks and methods and more to do with personality. Many magicians who can do great sleight of hand cannot carry on a conversation about anything that doesn’t involve magic. Their time is spent working on tricks and methods. The price they pay is too great and the amount of money they make is too small. The only way to develop an interesting personality is to do things and learn things that have nothing to do with magic. The fact of the matter is that you can’t make it as a performer without a strong personality. When someone tells me that he saw a magician at a party, and I ask what his name was and he says, “Oh, I don’t remember his name, but he was real good,” it makes me sad. I once spoke to a very good magic booker who told me that he hires guys whom the CEO would want to have come to the house and hang out with all afternoon. Unfortunately, on this subject I’m probably (as Michael Close said in his review) preaching to the choir. So, let’s move on to something else. I like to dig in the dirt. By dig in the have a
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dirt, I don’t mean literally, but rather figuratively; it is amazing what you can find sometimes. My favorite digging spots are pawnshops, thrift stores, flea markets, swap meets, estate sales, and used book stores. Used book stores have that smell of dust and old paper that makes me want to see what I can find. Powell’s Books in Portland is a city block in size. Last week I was in Rochester, New York, and I found The House of Guitars, a used music store. I have a big passion for music and books. I find many crossovers between the two. In digging around, I found a CD on comedy that those in the magic world may find of interest. Topics included comedy magic, writing jokes, the entertainer, likeability, ad-libbing, technique, joke construction, acceptance, persona, ego, rapport, and the list goes on and on. The person who was giving the advice was some guy named Carson. You can probably find it; the title is Johnny Carson on Comedy and it is from 1968. I thought that it was a very good find for eight bucks, but it wasn’t my best find of the day. You have to understand that I travel a great deal, and I read a lot; on this trip the books I brought had not lasted as long as I hoped. I needed something for the trip home. I saw a used paperback with a bad title. I sometimes will judge a book by its cover or its title, and The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth through Music did not seem like the type of book that would be much fun to read. The author was some guy named Victor Wooten. The bio on the back cover told me he was a three-time Grammy award winning bass player and that he plays with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. As I put the book down, I noticed that on the first page, in big red letters, were the words: “Warning! Everything in this book may be wrong, but if so, it’s all right!” I still had no idea what the book was about. I wanted to put it down, to move on down to other books on the shelf, but that one sentence made me turn the page. I found: “Truth? What is truth? And by the way, if I always tell you the truth, you might start
to believe me.” I was finding it harder and harder to put the book down, and I didn’t even know how much it was. I turned to the back cover and looked at the people who had said nice things about it and read: “Don’t let the title fool you…It’s not just about music. Victor’s book blended beautifully with my vocation…in fact, it applies to everything we do in life. – Shano Pable, Master Garden Designer.” Okay, I bought the book and I’ve read it. My quote would be: “Every close-up magician who has ever wanted to perform in the real world must read this book.” I would put it in my must-read stack and, more important, I’d put it in my must-reread group. I have one bookcase that contains my treasurers; Wooten’s book goes in that case. The book is sort of a novel, but it is really about how to entertain with music. Watch a YouTube clip of Mr. Wooten and you will understand; words just won’t do it. I was hooked; he had explained more about being an entertainer in thirty-five short pages than I have seen written in all the magic books I have read, and he never once talked about magic. I have since learned that he is also a magician; an article was written about him in Genii. Let me quote some advice from the book: “You should never lose the groove in order to find a note. “Your problem is this: You have been trying to tell your story with a bass guitar instead of through it. “The foundation of any building has to be the strongest part; the life of a true bass guitarist is the same.” I will close with what Wooten says on page 64: “Many musicians get caught up, way too caught up, in the technique, when it could benefit them to get caught up in the music. Some of them measure their accomplishments on whether they can do a certain technique or not.” You can take this book and swap the word music for the word magic and the advice will still work. I think of Don Alan in this regard; he didn’t have a ton of technique, but when he performed he produced a lot of magic.
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AUGUST 2011 75
THE DEAN’S DIARY GEORGE SCHINDLER
Farewell Hank When I became president of Parent Assembly 1, I was called upon to perform a Broken Wand ceremony for a departed member. I had known him as a fun performer, but never really got to know the “man,” behind his tricks. Since that time I have performed the ceremony far too many times. As my years with the Society add up, I have gotten to know many of the magicians who have left us, and each year the ritual gets harder to perform. I can recite the words by heart. In July, I suddenly heard and felt the words in my heart and not on my lips. “One we talked with yesterday is silent today.” Hank Moorehouse, “who walked with us, has gone on without us.” Our friendship lasted many years. Each and every one of us around the globe has been touched by the real magic of this man. His unselfish giving and straightforward manner endeared him to us all. His even temper never got out of hand. He and Jackie have always been great hosts
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to magicians from around the planet. Although he spoke no foreign languages, he was a world traveler who did business as a magic dealer and a consultant; he never missed a trip to his favorite place, Sindelfingen in Germany. His generosity extended beyond all limits. Hank opened doors for me, introducing me to foreign
Photo by Dale Farris dealers and negotiating deals for me. Years ago, when I was producing shows, he could always be counted on to recommend great acts. In his travels he found acts for his
sixteen years as producer of the S.A.M. convention shows; he also booked talent for the FFFF convention and the Abbott’s Get-Together. Hank, Brad Jacobs, David Goodsell, and I spent many conventions together as “magic widowers,” while our wives took over the registration desks as the “Unholy Four.” While you are reading this, I will be at the Abbott’s Get-Together, where Hank really shone. He never asked us to have dinner with him each evening before the shows. He just said, “Look it! Meet me at the showroom at 5 o’clock; we are eating at the Lakeside.” On our way to visit our kids in Chicago, the Moorehouse home in White Pigeon was the “open house” place to stop, have a Manhattan with Hank, and visit with Jackie. Hank was a good cook. Occasionally we’d stay over in the guest room, where more magicians than there are cards in a deck have slept! We are not sure about George Washington. There are too many wonderful memories to share in this small space. At the Pittsburgh convention (which, as I write this, is a week away) there will surely be a great sharing of Hank Moorehouse stories. He touched many, many lives. “No greater tribute can be paid to any man than this; to say that he lives on in the hearts of his friends.” Hank Moorehouse will live forever in our hearts.
CONFESSIONS OF A PAID AMATEUR ROD DANILEWICZ
his month we finish our inventory section in the binder. We’ve organized our tricks, but we carry a lot more than that to each performance. Some of us use a PA system or a backdrop curtain. A few of us have our own lighting system or a portable stage. You should have a separate list for all of the accessories you take to each show. I have several tables, each designed for a specific purpose. I’ll use my suitcase table as an example. My permanent suitcase table inventory includes a servante tray, a close-up pad, and a folding lint brush to keep it fresh. I carry rechargeable LED lights with charger to illuminate the inside of the case. I have a tool kit that includes nail clippers. Did you ever break a nail while setting up? Those rubber squares that go under table legs are handy for blocking your wheels. Some outdoor stages are not on level ground. One of those large gag cellphone magnets goes to every show, because that has become a common problem. I always carry one of those oldfashioned movie clapboards as a permanent out. Mine says: “Polish Wiserd Magic Act, take 137.” When you can’t think of a comeback, it always works. Making fun of yourself keeps the audience on your side when something goes wrong. Not only are each of my tables inventoried in a similar manner in my master binder, a copy of the inventory is on an index card in each table. I refer to it both when packing for the show and when breaking down after the performance. There is room on the card for notes, such as “put fresh batteries in the system.” This is work the audience never sees, but it is necessary if you want to convey the image of a professional entertainer. It will enable you to concentrate on your presentation instead of worrying if you remembered to load your rabbit in the Square Circle. Being organized buys you time, a commodity that is generally unavailable at any price.
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Finally, we get to the magic. The reason we cleaned house in phase one can be attributed to a statement Jamy Ian Swiss includes in his lectures. He says, “If you have been involved with magic for at least five years, you do not need more tricks. You will do better as a magician to perfect the performance of a few effects that are suitable for your stage personality.” He’s right. I fell into the same trap we all do at the beginning, I’m always working for hometown folks. I needed new stuff for every show. That gets expensive, and you end up doing three hundred tricks poorly instead of becoming an accomplished entertainer. It took me almost six years before I applied the brakes. Why is there no twelve-step program for recovering magicians? When I had completed all of the steps described over the past few months, I finally had a sense of direction. I now was aware of what type of magician I could become based on tricks I had kept that were enjoyable to me. I had created a solid foundation on which to build. On the surface it appeared I had a larger problem. I was still performing for the same people, but now I had fewer tricks to share with them. I solved the problem by creating different shows with the materials I had. Because I do mostly children’s shows, I decided to create three different shows for kids. A page for each went into the inventory section of the binder. I do a lot of repeat shows, so I have three years of “new” material. In year four you can repeat show number one. Most organizations have an age cut off for attendees, so your audience does change. I did the same with shows for adults suitable for stage or parlor. I have two walk-around shows and one mentalism show, which is not done seriously. I don’t feel comfortable having people come up after a show for a private reading concerning their upcoming heart surgery. I have spoken with mentalists who have had that happen. I have close-up shows, table magic shows, and even an inventory for impromptu performances. I have fourteen different shows I can do for local audiences before I have to repeat a performance verbatim. This was accomplished after reducing my inventory to just fifty tricks.
This is work the audience never sees, but it is necessary if you want to convey the image of a professional entertainer. Being organized buys you time, a commodity that is generally unavailable at any price. All instantly resettable card and coin tricks have a separate inventory page. Finally, I have a page for filler material such as Tricks for Food or Grave Mistake. Add pages as needed for things you do that I don’t, such as large illusions or balloon animals. I have a personal problem with magicians who are always on. In the April issue of M-U-M, Bruce Chadwick said, “A good magician always has a trick in his pocket.” In his 1951 book Scarne’s Magic Tricks, John Scarne stated, “As a magician you must always be on stage.” I see the value in being able to do something on the spot that might result in a booking, but pulling sponge balls out of your pocket seems a bit contrived. My list of impromptu magic is composed of everyday items – for example, rubber bands or coins. Even doing a prediction using the PATEO force with items on the table can be effective. There are a few innocent magic items you could ring in such as a Pen through Anything. I think the magic is stronger when you’re put on the spot and can perform while seemingly unprepared. Next month we finally get to the actual tricks. We are, however, still a long way from building a show that has entertainment value. It’s time you began thinking about performing magic from your customers’ point of view. Email me at [email protected]