Jim Hyams

As a public service, The Trapdoor has commissioned a study by Jim Hyams of the various diseases which affect magicians. We are proud to offer you the results of his research in his own words.

The following survey of atypical diseases reported ewer the preceding five years suggest an eminent medical concern for persons engaged in the vocation/avocation of performing magic. These reports have appeared in journals published in the United States and abroad. This work represents the first survey of the literature.

Arteriodealerio Gripitis - This strange manifestation of spasmodic hand cramps has appeared in a number of reported cases. In at least two reports, the hand has been permanently debilitated The etiology appears to be long periods of time spent holding a deck of poker size playing cards in an unusually deep palm grip. Treatment by physical therapists has shown success but must be combined with cognitive restructuring and the introduction of more mature pursuits.

Descriptive Aphonia - Apparently related to obsessive speech disorders, this medical anomaly is characterized by constant verbal description of all physical movements. This pattern is not related to the telling of any story or plot related verbalization. ("I have a metal pan here, I'm putting lighter fluid into the pan, I'm closing the lid...") Some rather interesting concomitants are the patient's use of his own name as if he were another person ("The Great Waldo will now open the lid___") and the apparent ability of descriptive aphonia to induce catatonia in nearby persons who had prev iously shown no psychiatric disturbances. Prognosis is poor and treatment has been limited to community based halfway houses.

Daryl's Disease - This remarkable disorder is typically diagnosed after observation of patients "slipping in and out of various foreign dialects". While frequently not grammatically correct, these utterances may include Americanized Spanish, French, and certain unusual Puerto Rican phraseology. While not terminal, many reported cases of transient disphonia seem to appear immediately following "lecture tours" by a group known as "Ammar and Martinez". The symptoms seem to disappear with time. Only one reported case of of irreversible damage ex ists.

Palmosis - A remote cousin to lockjaw, this disease is characterized by the inability to bring one's palms together at appropriate times. This disorder is most apparent at conventions held by persons interested in the performing of magic. While apparently delightful shows are in progress, no one attending is able to bring their palms together in the traditional "clap". The distinguishing feature of this disorder is its transient nature. Should a variety act other than magic (i.e. juggling, mime, etc.) be presented, the v ictims are no longer unable to clap and in fact do so enthusiastically. Current thought tends to relate palmosis to mass conversion disorders. No treatment has been reported in the literature.

Elephantisis Egosis - A psychiatric disorder characterized by grossly inflated ego without any supporting evidence of causality. One case has been reported in which the apparent accomplishment preceding onset of symptoms was the ability to "do a pass" (an unusual exercise in card manipulations with no apparent functional use). This disease is frequently accompanied by standard manic-depressive disorder. Prognosis is poor.

It is hoped that this rather brief review will clarify the increasing number of disorders which appear to be associated with an interest in performing magic. It is further suggested that the level of concern among physicians increase and that steps be taken to reduce the risks individually and to the general public.

LEFTOVERS Continued from page 444

spouting personal things regarding my sex life and my apparent affair with her in between beatings with her purse.

After about fifteen minutes of one-liners it dawned on me that my staff was not totally innocent. Someone had obviously paid this "lady" to harass me. What a bunch of ingrates, I thought. I turned to the staff and remarked that, "I would have paid the other fifty cents to get a stripper!"

Imagine my surprise when the little lady started peeling off her clothes. All I could think about was that I was going to have to experience an ugly stripper and pretend to enjoy it. However, within three seconds she had transformed into a gorgeous, scantly clad, blonde. Was this a wonderful group of employees, or what?

Meir Yedid suggested the following line in conjunction with Glenn Strange's Time Bomb from #8. Open by telling the audience that the management is very tough about the time allotted to each performer. "I have exactly twenty minutes to finish my act. I am going to keep track of it with a brand new clock." At this, pull out the bomb and follow with, "Now we all have twenty minutes."

Following up on "The Ping Pong Force" from #7 (page 92) I have a gag I use when I am going to use an okwious stooge for a comedy routine. I explain that for my next routine it is important that weryone in the audience know that I am using a volunteer chose completely at random. There must be no possible way that I could be using someone "in cahoots" with me. Toward that end, I have here a ping pong ball. I am going to toss the ball into the back of the audience. The is no way I can control who in the audience will catch it. Would the person who catches the ball please step forward and on to the stage."

At this, the magician deftly hurls the ball toward the back left side of the audience. Half way to the audience, the ball makes a ninety degree turn and heads off to the right where someone else catches the ball. This person, an obvious plant, steps to the stage for whatever is to follow.

This is simply a reel which is held by your plant. The end of the filament is securely fastened to the ping pong hall= There is as much slack as possible so that the filament runs down to the floor — covered by the magicians pants leg. It will not be noticed running along the floor to the plant. If he has the break locked in the ON position, this can be used in the middle of the show with the ball resting on a table.

When ready to perform, pick up tne ball. Be sure that the thread goes behind the arm which is displaying the ball. Wind up for a loft to the back ro\-i „ Immediately before the ball reaches the top of its arc;, the plant release the break causing the ball to zoom to the "randomly chosen spectator". He can then be used for any two part comedy magic routines you choose.

I have had a lot of requests for annual indexes in the past. I felt (after the first index in 1983) that an index was not necessary every eighty to one hundred pages. Instead,, I decided to wait and do a comprehensive five year index which you now hold in your hands, I thought it would be a simple job. But I had to reread everything in the almost 500 pages published to date. While it is ex tensiv e and takes up a lot of space, recognize that it takes up a lot less space than five annual indexes would have. In addition, I was still able to cram several articles and seven tricks in the 20 page issue.

Speaking of the index, it was interesting having to reread everything for the last five years. I found several errors which weren't there when I published the issues,, Among these were a story I repeated, cards which changed color from one illustration to the next, and two tricks which didn't work until the corrections were published in the next issue. You've heard of The Vernon Chronicles. If I had found too many nsore bugs, I would have renamed this sheet.. The Vermin Chronicles.

From the 'disgusting but I bet so ire of you will use it3 category comes the following. I was in a card shop recently and purchased a 15% tip table for 79 cents. It is a plastic card slightly smaller than a bridge size playing card. It has the 15% tip calculated for various amounts. I can picture those of you who work restaurants classic forcing this card on some of your spectators. "Oh, a tip card.„„ I wonder how that got in there." So much for subtle hints.

The card is available from Target Promotions, inc. P.O.Box 1693 Santa Monica, CA 90406-1693o The phone number is (213) 458-2152. Here's wishing that all of your tables are "15% Tip Tables".

I just got back from a weekend session at Paul Sorrentino's house. For various reasons, most of the regulars couldn't make it. Jim Hyams was there just long enough to say "Hi"» Gary Plants and I showed up although we were both sick. Paul was the only one in good shape and he spent most of the time listening to Gary and I conpeting for sympathy. In spite of our shape, there was some good magic and we are still arguing about who fooled whom.

While talking about Paul, while in Boston at the IBM convention, he had a can of Wrinkle Free. This is a "fabric relaxer'". When sprayed on a wrinkled shirt, the wrinkles disappear. I might add that it works better on some material than on others» We were discussing the possibility of a trick where a chosen card is ultimately revealed folded in quarters. There are many tricks of this genre currently popular. At the conclusion of the trick, the magician removes this spray and applies it to the bent card. Immediately after being sprayed, the bends in the card disappear.

If you don't want to use the spray in a routine, you could always use it as a gift for the cardman who has everything. Give it to him at the next Christmas gathering. He can use it to get the crimps out of his cards.

This brings the fifth year of The Trapdoor to a close. The next issue starts our illustrious sixth year together. The next two issues feature souk top of the line card and coin magic fresh from the Boston IBM convention. Until then, I will leave you with the following thought to ponder. "Is the S.A.M. an I.B.M. Compatible?"

Periodically Yours, Steve Beam

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