Night Writer Wayne Kyzer

This is a comedy revelation by Wayne Kyzer. It has uses other than those with a deck of cards, but I will explain it using our 52 friends (which have made each of us countless enemies.)

The magician has a card selected and returned to the deck. The magician will now try to read the thoughts of the spectator who selected the card. He studies the spectator's face as well as the faces of the cards. Finally, he removes one and places it face down on the table.

Carefully, he suggests that the selector turn the card face up so that everyone can see what he was thinking. The victim turns over the card only to find that he is staring at a blank faced card. When the groans subside, the magician asks, "What did you think of the trick? Was that you card?" Receiving a reply which probably couldn't be printed here, he explains that it really is the selected card. "You probably can't see it because the light isn't very good in here. Maybe this will help." At this, he removes a small flashlight and shines it on the blank card. Mysteriously (?) the face of the chosen card appears on the blank faced card.

The Work. Wayne was drawing the face of the card on the lense of the flashlight to produce the revelation at the end of the routine. I suggested the rub-on pips and they look even more realistic. The trick itself looks far more inpressive if it's performed in a poorly lit room (as do Wayne's sleights). The image of the card will appear sharper with dim lighting.

You will need to play with the distance you will hold the flashlight away from the card to get the sharpest image. It varies with different lights. I use a little handheld flashlight which fits easily in my pocket.

Regurgitations. The routine is self-explanitory. I would like to mention that I would probably not conclude the trick with the following lines: "Oh, it wasn't that your mind was blank... it just wasn't bright enough."

Some of you have refused to renew your subscription because of your dislike of the term, "WIMPS". A few of you have suggested that you wished to renew but would prefer that you not be listed among the rosters of the WIMPS (Williston International Magic Practitioners Society). It seems that some of you feel that your professionalism might be questioned when others find out that you are a registered WIMP.

I guess it is just your good fortune that I have moved to Raleigh and that it would be illogical to keep the WIMPS title since there are no active members living in Williston. Therefore, I have decided to change the name of the organization (with approval from the "Bored of Directors") to something classier and a little more metropolitan. From now on, the WIMPS will be referred to simply as the "Raleigh Urban Magic Practitioners Society." "RUMPS" as they will proudly be referred to can now carry on the distinguished traditions thus far established without fear of retribution and ridicule.

To remain an active RUMP with all the benefits (including the right to have a "holier than thou" attitude" and a subscription to The Trapdoor) please send $25.00 to:

The Trapdoor 7375 Sandy Creek Dr.

Raleigh, NC 27609


Continuted from page 244

Shull, Dale Rabon, and the rest of the gang. I will miss them (and they will miss future issues of The Trapdoor.) An excellent account of the evening (albeit with the expletives deleted) appears in the June 1986 issue of The Linking Ring and was penned by Bill Nursey.

About the only magic I've had a chance to do since the move was a quick lecture tour. During the tour I got to see several old friends and meet several new ones. Included among these were: Jim Surprise, Gary Espy, Dick Williams, Thomas O'Hay, Bud Whitworth, John Mendoza, Chris Kenner, Clem Werner, Keith Bogart, Marvin Leventhal, Tom Craven, John Miller, Morris Herzberg, and Hugh Randall. I also got go have lunch with Mr. & Mrs. Don Morris in Asheville,andl just missed dinner with John Riggs in Chatanooga. You will hear more about many of these in this and in later issues.

Wayne Kyzer and I left for the lecture on Saturday, June 7. During the course of the tour, we logged 3500 miles on my Astro Mini-van. (I didn't fully appreciate the "mini" until I had to spend a week in the van with Wayne.)

Some lecturers probably do these things in an orderly, organized fashion. Wayne and I prefer the aerobic school of lecturing. That is, work hard, drive hard, and play hard. During the day, we drive or take in the tourist traps. At night, the lecture and the card tricks account for the bulk of the time. This combination works out fairly well but I'm still trying to find a way to work some sleep into the deal. (Other than when driving, that is.)

As if Myersville, Pennsylvania weren't enough (see issue #11, page 189) this year there was Mansfield, Ohio. We left Chicago en route to Mansfield on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 P.M. (This clever planning made it possible to witness one of Chicago's famous tourist attractions --- rush hour.) This was after Jay

Marshall gave us the "three minute tour" of Magic Inc. (which takes twenty minutes). In the spirit of the $40.00 Coke & popcorn set, we had the midnight/morning jaunt through Mansfield.

Allow me to digress for a moment. The lecture was scheduled for Thursday night at 7:30. Even though we did not finally get out of Chicago until 7:00, we still had more than twenty-four hours to get to Mansfield, a mere eight hours away. We planned to drive as far as we could that night and get a hotel room. Then, we would get up the next morning and hit the road for the remaining few hours.

In the spirit of hard-core magicians, we made it all the way to Mansfield. We came driving into downtown at 3:36 Thursday morning. We located the place where the lecture was to be held and were delighted to see that there was a Holiday Inn directly across the street. Equally delighted was the night clerk who exclaimed with glee that there were no hotels with vacancies anywhere near Mansfield.

It seems that the Miss Ohio pageant was being held in Mansfield at the same time as the lecture Thursday night. (No doubt, a poor choice since most of Mansfield would surely be at the lecture.) The pageant is held here, we were told, because Mansfield is the center of Ohio. (After eleven hours of driving, we could attest to the fact that it was nowhere near the Chicago side of the state.)

Anyway, he sends us over to the L&K motel, an Ohio chain. She (the night management) greeted us with the, "Ha! Ha! That's what reservations are for --- no vacancy" routine. (To which Wayne was about to answer with, "Let me show you what my foot is for.") She, I think spitefully, referred us to The Half Dollar Motel.

In this day and age, it is bad enough for two men to walk into a regular hotel during regular hours and ask for a room together. She was suggesting that we walk into The Half Dollar Motel at (by now) 4:30 A.M. and ask for a room together. I don't know how they view that kind of thing in Ohio, but I know they frown on it down south. In the south you would hardly get the pictures of the wives (Ann & Dawn) out of the wallet and explain that you are both "magic" when the lecture would have had to be called on account of blood.

So, we drove toward Akron, Ohio looking for a chain hotel off the interstate --- one interchange at a time. Two hours and 58 miles later, we located one with a vacancy. This has caused me to change the motto for the lecture. The new motto reads, "Remember, with a Steve Beam lecture, we go out of our way to do a good job --- about 58 miles out of our way.

During the break in the Mansfield lecture, I overheard, "Why do Steve and Wayne stare like that? They just stare off into space. They look like they are in some sort of a trance." Instead of a lecture on the zombie, they received a lecture by a zombie. Mansfield, Ohio. Remember that name. The next time I lecture for that group, they are coming to Raleigh. (And guess where North Carolina holds its pageant?)

During the course of the lecture, we saw North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Georgia. Not only did we tour the famous St. Louis Arch, numerous times we toured the famous double arches of Ronald McDonald.

And the people at Shoney's (home of the famous all-you-can-eat Breakfast Bar) got more than a little suspicious when we would walk in. Wayne would order a glass of water while I would order the breakfast bar with an extra place-setting of silverware. Then both of us would walk out with a smile on our faces and rubbing our bellies. These are the kind of things professional magicians are forced to do that Professor Hoffman never told you about.

Jim Surprise of Memphis suggested the addition of The Funken Ring (spark making ring) to the Charged Card routine from the cover of Issue #10. At the appropriate moment, sparks fly from the card after you charge it with electricity.

Since moving to Raleigh, I have purchased an ITT XTRA personal computer. I am about 80% complete converting Compu-card and Teleforce (both from issue #6) so that they will run on a IBM compatible personal computer. The results will appear here in the near future.

When I left Williston, the gang at the office threw a party to celebrate. (That could be taken two ways. Thanks to the antics of my cohorts including the three greatest (Donna, Joyce, & Jo) they gave me a going away present --- a stainless steel bedpan inscribed with "P&L" and complete with a Baby Ruth Bar inside (See issue # 13, page 220). This may give you an idea of the caliber of the people I worked with.

Phillip Young (New York) just sent me a deck of cards produced by the Museum of Modern Art inNew York. The deck takes some getting used to since all of the pips are grouped together in the middle of the face of the card. For those of you who collect different types of playing cards, you can order them direct or send $10.00 plus $40.00 postage and handling and I'll take care of it for you.

Phillip also sent me a copy (original, not Xerox) of the new Magic Arts Journal (or "Majic" Arts Journal) by Adam Fleischer and Michael Anmar. The first issue looks good and worth the $5.00 price tag. Phil does the design and Chris Kenner the illustrations. The appearance of the whole magazine is professional from cover to cover. There will be more on this later since it arrived as I was pasting up this issue. The subscription address is 2901 Broadway - Suite 105, New York, NY 10025. August 1986 is big Numero Uno.

Speaking of Phillip, he's the one who did the cover for this issue and came up with the name of the cover trick, "CashPack".

Don't forget to make a note of my new address: 7375 Sandy Creek Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. This address is for all contributions and subscriptions. All complaints should still be sent to the Williston address.

Steve Beam July 12, 1986

A lot has happened since the last issue. The W.I.M.P.S. have moved. That's right. The headquarters for the Williston International Magic

Practitioners Society has relocated to Raleigh, NC. I sent the last issue to press early to compensate for the possibility that I might move. It was a good thing I did since this place (the international headquarters) is a real mess. We are still not settled in and almost all of the magic is still in boxes. The last three months have added new meaning to the term "box-jumper".

The move itself was what raight be called a nightmare. Wayne Kyzer (a regular contributor) was one of several who gave me a hand. He was also the only one of the several who offered (begged) to let me keep my library at his house. He was even willing to store it for free. Such friends are hard to find. (You have to know the right rock to look under.)

I spent my last night in South Carolina at the Columbia I.B.M (Ring 105) meeting. They roasted me about as well as I have ever been roasted. They started by saying how much they would miss me. Then they said that they would each perform a trick out of one of my books or The Trapdoor. This was to be sort of a tribute. (Notice the wording ---

One at a time they took turns trying to perform some of my published items. None of them worked. It wasn't until after the fourth failure that it dawned on me that this was a joke. An unusually large number of visitors happened to be present and it never dawned on them. They walked away with the impression that if a trick has Steve Beam's name on it, stay clear. The next sound you hear will be the dull thud of enthusiasm which will greet all of my future publications. (I later told them that they performed the stuff better than I had ever seen them perform anything before. When those same visitors walked out the door that night, so did the reputation of I.B.M. Ring 105.)

As if that wasn't enough abuse, Henry Pettit decided to perform a trick "exactly as I had taught him". He then proceeded to perform my cut & restored rope trick, complete with blood and guts. (See "The Finger, page 175 issue # 10.)

Then Wayne got up and gave a brief synopsis of my magic career. He let it be known that many times I had practiced for hours on end in the same spot. He described how I had developed a device where I could sit and practice for fifteen hours straight without ever moving. He then produced a contraption which looked remarkably (exactly) like a colostomy bag.

All in all, it was a fun night thanks to the likes of Henry, Wayne, Drac Justice, Bill Nursey, Creighton


Continued on page 242

A/ter almost 18 years o/ doing magic as a hobby, profession, and obsession, there are still several things which 1 don't understand about it. Magic itself is a contradiction. After all, you are apparently going to do the impossible. If it can be done, it is no longer impossible. I have developed certain views on these contradictions and on much of what I do understand and I am going to share them with you.

Magician or actor1 Robert Houdin once said that a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician. Countless magicians and authors of things magical have repeated that saying as if it were the one sacred truth that governs magic.

Why? In Bcb's day, there was still the thought in peoples' minds that the magician could actually be performing magic instead of just tricks. That is no longer the case. With the maturing of the masses, everyone but the youngest and most gullible knows that you are there to perform tricks for their amusement and amazement. If you acted as if you were a real magician, they would lock you up.

If the saying is true, there are no magicians anywhere, just actors. To expand the thought to its conclusion, "Magicians are actors playing the part of magicians who are actors playing the part of magicians who are actors playing the part of magicians "

Magic should not be placed in a subordinate relationship to acting. Are comedians just actors playing the part of comedians? Are jugglers just actors playing the part of jugglers? No. They are individual performers with their own individual art forms.

All performers benefit from each other's arts. Magicians borrow techniques from actors just as they borrow techniques from comedians and jugglers. (They borrow lines from everywhere.) Actors borrow techniques and principles from magicians just as they do from other arts. Magicians use make-up just as actors but that does not change them into actors. Politicians wear make-up but that doesn't make them actors. (In light of our current political leader, maybe I could have chosen a better argument.)

I perform tricks in an amusing way which classifies me as a magician, a hooker, or a dog --- not an actor.

That does not mean that I don't occasionally act while performing magic. But, by the same token, I occasionally juggle. That doesn't make me a juggler.

Many of you may think this silly saying has not done any damage to the performance of magic, but I would like you to reconsider. How many times have you seen a magician overact? Almost any time you take an actor and ask him to do some magic, he overacts. He is an actor playing the part of a magician. And, he is also part of the reason that a series starring actors/magicians in the lead roles can't seem to hold on to a prime time television slot.

There are notable exceptions to this. David Copperfield combines both arts in an extraordinary manner to extraordinary results. Still, the public tunes in to see the magician.

Further, try reverse logic. If a magician who uses acting is a an actor playing the part of a magician; is an actor who uses magic a magician employed as an actor?

People don't fall for the premise that magicians are different from other people. It may have worked for Bob, but it's a little outdated now. Personally, I'm glad.

Why aren't magicians tougher on each other? It amazes me that magicians don't put up more of a stink when rotten magicians perform (A) for the public and (B) for pay. After all, doctors don't let doctors practice without a certain minimum level of competence. Lawyers don't let lawyers practice without having attained a certain degree.

If you think that comparison is too far-fetched, compare magicians with photographers or artists. A business would not think of hiring a photographer or an artist before checking out his credentials. Why? The reason is obvious. And, it's a problem magicians have created themselves. Magic is a sharing and a social avocation. What I mean is that the "magic meeting", in order to be successful by most magicians' standards, requires a certain number of people present. They don't require them to be alive -- just present.

They encourage everyone, even those with the eye/hand coordination of a bell pepper to keep pursuing the hobby. Then, to keep interest alive and the treasury solvent, they insist on arranging public shows. Since many of the professional members don't always want to participate, the burden falls on other "not yet ripe" magicians (or bell peppers). They claim they are not yet ready to perform for the public. But, the magicians they respect are telling them that they are ready. Well, maybe they are.

The sad thing is, that these magicians they respect, the ones that are trying to get them to perform for the public for the benefit of the club, are later the same magicians who are claiming that their new conpetitors have no business performing for the paying public. They created the monster when it served their purpose. They criticize it when it bee canes their competition.

They deserve the results. They should have spent the time necessary to smooth the rough edges before tossing the beginners out to the sharks. This is one procedure that should be borrowed from the acting profession --- the concept of the acti ng workshop.

An added advantage of having as many members as possible is that the more members there are, the more victims there are for the annual auction. Also, magicians want someone to show the same old stuff to so that they won't have to learn anything new. (This is usually done under the pretext that, "Joe here hasn't seen the old 21 card trick. This is for his benefit.)

So, if magic is such a great hobby, and the group is such a great way of enjoying it, why is there usually a problem with attendance? It is probably the way the meeting is viewed by the members. In the Rotary Club, members must attend 60% of the meetings in order to remain members. In most magic clubs, you are simply required to pay your dues.

In one of the magic clubs I belonged to, nobody wanted to be an officer. Officers were elected from the pool of people who were not present at the meeting when the elections were held. It was fun to watch. The meeting with the nominations was one of the best attended meetings of the year. A little fear goes a long way.

This is not a criticism of magic clubs. They perform a valuable function in the development of the art. And, there are scores of well run clubs out there that do nothing but good for the art. I am one of those finatics who enjoys even the poorly run clubs. Any magician who doesn't feel he can benefit from a club meeting has a very narrow perspective.

Personally, I learn more from watching bad magicians than I do from watching good magicians. A lot of the humorous stuff I create saw its beginning in the performance by a not yet ripe magician.

I would however, suggest that clubs demand more from their membership. In order to gain a respect for an organization, they have to have a certain pride associated with being a member. They should be required to attend and participate. Each member should have a personal stake in the development of the group as a whole.

Are magicians too tough on each other? Magicians are quick to criticize each other. There are many ways you can subdivide the magic fraternity. One of these is the division between the performer and the technician. The performer supposedly presents material for the paying public and is concerned about the inherent entertainment value of a given trick. The technician, on the other end of the spectrum, is concerned about perfecting the trick itself, making it more of a fooler.

I once listened to a "boxjumper" discuss the bad things "technicians such as Vernon and Mario" had done for the art. (He later proceeded to perform the Brainwave Deck and The Symphony Of The Rings.) He mentioned that neither of them could entertain a room full of laymen. What he didn't realize is that much of what he, performed would not have been possible without the existence of such technicians. After all, performers specialize in performing, not inventing.

Technicians are just as bad, which explains the existence of the term, "boxjunper". They don't realize that it is the magicians on television who keep magic alive for the masses. If it were not for them, there would be fewer and fewer technicians in the future to go in search for the perfect trick. (And when they find the perfect trick, they are there to improve it.)

The "Commercial" Trick. This is a term of relatively recent coining. Now, when a trick is released it is either "commercial" or a "puzzler" to be used for magicians only. If a trick is said to be conmercial, it is supposed to be good. That means you can use it somewhere other than in front of your, mirror.

There are several things wrong with this idea. First, with the reputation that conrnercials have in our everyday lives, I don't know that I would want any of my tricks to be conmercial.

Second, what makes a trick commercial? Is it something that happens to it during its creation? Or, does it mean that someone has already gone to the trouble of putting a presentation to it so that you won't have to? Isn't it the magician who sells the trick to the audience. It is not the trick itself.

I think any "noncommercial" trick can be made "conmercial" with a little thought. Take the old prediction which forces the number 1089. (Three digit number reversed and the smaller number subtracted from the larger. This new number is reversed and added to itself giving 1089.) Consult the "6801 Prediction" from issue #13, page 222. This trick would be classified by most who use the term as commercial. And all I did was to add a presentation.

Labeling a trick as conmercial takes the responsibility of making it entertaining off the magician and places it on the trick itself. And if you are one who purchases only tricks which are commercial, keep in mind that the same tricks will be performed in the same manner, with the same patter, by other conmercial magicians. (Maybe then, we will all be actors playing the part of magicians --- by reciting scripts provided with the tricks.)

Good Versus Bad Tricks. While roost tricks aren't inherently commerical, I do think there are a lot of tricks which are inherently good or bad. Each of us has our own scale to evaluate the worth of of given trick.

To some, a good trick is one which is angleproof, packs flat, has comedic possibilities, can be performed silently, is visual, is affordable, or is a combination of the above. To others a good trick is something which looks good on stage, reads well in newspaper interviews, eats up a certain amount of time, can be used to connect two better or stronger tricks, or is a "classic".

The trick is to be able to recognize what is a good or bad trick for you. Just because a trick sings in another performer's hands, doesn't mean it will hum in yours.

A good friend of mine once performed a trick for me which had no less than 29 sleights, including three different variations of both the Elmsley Count and the OLRAM Subtlety. I proceeded to show him an identical routine which utilized four sleights. One wonders how the 29 sleight version made it into print in the last five years when the 4 sleight version had been around for almost three decades. But, since it was in print by a reputable author, my friend assumed it was a good trick. The reputation of the author was his criterion for selecting a good trick. Authors such as these makes one want to paraphrase the old academic standard, "Publish, The Perish."

The Conmercial Magician. The fact that "conmercial" tricks are deemed desirable, forces one to ask why we do magic. Why are the majority of magicians doing magic? How many people at the magic club make more off magic than they spend on it? How many people in your state? Why is it such a crime just to do it for our own pleasure. And, if you do it for your pleasure, what difference does it make if the trick isn't entertaining or commercial? It would be different if you did it for a living.

This brings us to the next question. Do you really want to do it for a living? Most magicians are blinded by their love for the hobby when they decide to do it for a living. They don't realize that a person who does magic full time must be more than a decent magician. He must be an excellent salesman. He must sell himself, much like that other profession we compete with for the discretionary income of our audiences. And he must always sell. If you don't enjoy the selling aspect, you probably won't enjoy that part of the job. And without that part of the job, there is no job. Nobody is going to pay you to sit around and perform for yourself.

Can you make a living from magic? What do you consider a good living? What do you consider a good show? $100.00? $200.00? $500.00? What do you make in an average year off of magic right now. Don't take a certain week and multiply it by 52. Take a full year and decide how much you made. And don't take your best year if you have more than one from which to choose.

Now that you have estimated an annual income, decide how much you spend on magic in a year. Take the difference and you have the gross profit. Now subtract 20% of that figure from itself to account for the employee benefit package that most employers provide. What remains is your net earnings for the year.

Could you be making more money from it right now? Is the reason you aren't because you are not a salesman? Don't think that just because you are a "professional" people will be knocking on your door trying to get you to perform. Before taking the dive and deciding to do it full time, try running it like a business part time. After a year or so part time, you can make your decision with a little more information.

I am not trying to sound negative, but good magicians don't necessarily make successful magicians. $200.00 per show, four shows a month may be a good part time income, but $9600 per year will barely get you up to the poverty level.

The attitude. When I was younger, I did a considerable number of shows for the paying public. When I would run across a heckler, I had my own way of dealing with him. My philosophy was to get the troublemaker up in front of the audience (where he didn't really want to be) and go for the throat in the most innocent manner possible. I would always try to carry the audience along with roe so that they would be on my side when I moved in for the kill. Let's face it. The average person can't compete with the performer on the performer's turf. And, most magicians can think quickly enough to take advantage of situations which arise and turn the tide in their favor.

I never have gone in for heckler stoppers. They usually bring the performer down to the heckler's level in the eyes of the audience. Don't get confused. It's okay to be on that level... just not in the eyes of the audience. I preferred to make the volunteer look incredibly stupid by his actions. Little things like having him cut the rope "exactly in the middle." After he made the cut, I would display two unequal pieces of rope and deadpan a look which said (nonverbally) to the audience, "Where did this bozo come from?" If I had to say something, I would say something subtle like, "And where did you go to school?" This was particularly effective when he didn't see that the two pieces of the rope were unequal. He didn't know I was making chopped liver of him in front of 50,000 people.

As I said, this was when I was younger. I took it personally. "How dare you of questionable parentage attempt to belittle my chosen interestI Don't think that just because I am here with my silks and thimbles that I can't pound you into ground round in less time than it takes me to fan myself effeminitely with these cards1"

I have aged since then. My attitude has changed several times since then. I seldom come up against hecklers now. When I do, I am to the point where I say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you liked magic." Then I put my toys away and wait for him to apologize profusely. Of course, I don't continue no matter how much he apologizes since I ended with the upper hand. If I continue, I will have to maintain that peak. Maintaining is much harder than achieving it in the first place.

I haven't needed any of this in the last eight or ten years. I have a great way of starting with the upper hand which scares off most of the would be hecklers. The method is simple and borrowed from Nate Liepzig. People have a hard time getting me to perform for them in the first place. Since they really have to work to see it, most don't want to foul it up by opening their mouths in serious heckler fashion.

Although I have never needed to resort to it, I believe this applies to paying audiences too. A performer should not have to take any kind of abuse just because he is being paid. That is not what he is being paid for. Of course, I have not discounted the fact that I am now being paid by a much more sophisticated group of people--most of whom wouldn't tolerate a heckler amongst them.

The rest of the attitude change is that I use to die to show people magic. I would want to show everyone I met a card trick. I was sickening. The fact that I was so anxious, added a certain amateur flavor to what I would perform. If there was a heckler, I kept right on going - and so would he. Now that I play hard to get, it tends to add a professional scent to what they see. Subconsciously, I am saying, "Fine. If you don't want to see it, we can all get on with our lives. (And you with the big mouth will find something waiting for you in your car seat when you leave tonight.)"

While this may appear to be a prima donna attitude, it is simply that I enjoy magic and that is why I perform it. If it is no longer pleasurable to me than I will stop performing it" Since I don't rely on it for my daily calories, I can do this without worrying about repercussions from my stomach.

Furthermore, magic is a wide variety of things to me. I can have just as much fun doing it by myself as I have doing it with other people. I enjoy practicing tricks that I know I will never perform for anyone. I do this merely as a form of mental calisthenics (a form that beats the heck out of the real thing). I enjoy developing routines, reading the work of other magicians, inventing, and writing about magic. If magic is a spectator sport, I have eliminated the middleman. In effect, I have become both the performer and the spectator. It is not something I have to share, although sharing it is a great pleasure. It is something I can appreciate by myself.

Conclusion. During the last few pages you have read some of my reactions to some of the things which affect our art. These are by no means all of my observations, only some that have ripped at my insides enough for me to commit them to paper. Same of these are extremes. It is up to you to find the happy medium. (She's somewhere next to the smiling charlatan.)

The funny thing is that I like everything I have commented upon. I have been accused of being a technician and I love to perform stage magic. I like all kinds of magic. I have done magic for a living and I am currently doing it part time. I enjoy magic meetings as much now as I ever have and if they had four a month locally, I would probably be at all four of them. I do it now because I enjoy it. That's the key. I do it for no other reason. When I stop enjoying it, I'll stop doing it.


"the heck with the audience" Beam

After preparing the above comments, I sent them off to a few friends. Some sent their thoughts back and here is a sampling of them. Keep in mind that these are separate thoughts which were taken from different parts of their letters. (I ignored the parts where they disagreed with me.) I have edited them only to make them blend together.

Don Morris I read your thoughts on magic. It took me a while to get everything straight in my mind. It became eminently easier when I realized that you stapled the pages together in the wrong order.

Regarding the "Magician vs. Actor", I have used that saying myself. I do think there is some acting involved with performing magic. You act differently when you perform. Your voice changes as well as your emphasis and expressions. So, you are acting to some extent. This does not mean that you are an actor. It's an interesting comparison. Jugglers act as far as their expressions as do magicians. But, you're right. Neither are actors.

Regarding magicians being tougher on each other, I don't know why most members of most clubs don't attend most of the meetings. You, I, and a few others were so obsessed with magic that we wouldn't dare miss a meeting. I have no problem with having lots of members in which most don't attend. As long as you have a few quality participants, the meetings are worthwhile. You don't have to waste your time with the barely interested ones and yet the club still gets their money.

I have never had to deal with many hecklers. Maybe it's because they are the first to fall asleep when I perform. When I do encounter one, I try to get them to volunteer for the guillotine. This has a way of solving the heckler problem... permanently.

Now that you have scone of my thoughts on magic, you will probably want to rewrite your thoughts...

John Riggs

I have some conments on your "Pet Peeves" essay. As you know, I agree that the adage about a magician begin an actor is garbage --- with the possible exception of mentalists, goetic magicians, and other charlatans. Most magicians are actors playing the role of a bad magician.

(Regarding the technician versus the boxjumper...) In all arts or sciences, the technician provides the means of expression for the artist. It is a cliche that the guy who invented the piano probably couldn't play it worth a damn. A better analogy would be the guy who invented television didn't write scripts or invent Gilligan's Island. If he had, he should have been shot and his invention buried with him.

I agree that a good entertainer can make anything "commercial". Look at Harry Anderson reviving the old Chapeau act and making it hum. Another good example is when Joe DeLion worked out a routine using the

Star Puzzle --- a kid's game made into entertainment by a deft performer. I think "coranercial" tricks should be labeled,"repackaged"or "prefabricated" magic.

Leroy Blackstone

I don't think that the article is commercial enough.

Phillip Young

I do not subscribe to being an actor playing the part of a magician. I do believe that acting skills can enhance the performance of magic. Acting and magic have some parallels. Acting is a form of lying since you are making a viewer believe in something that is not true. Magicians do the same thing. Some of the techniques relate, others do not. Through the selective use of body language and / or words, the magician must 'act' in order for the spectators to accept a false premise. It is knowing when and how to cross over to the other arts which separates the great magicians from the average.

There are a lot of elements which make up a magic performance. Namely, undetected skill, misdirection, acting, atmosphere, emotion, patter, rapport, timing, continuity, and respect. All of this plus a meaning that ties them together, makes magic an uneasy thing to do easily.

Something that you didn't mention which would probably require a separate article to cover thoroughly, is the question of the close-up performer performing. How much performing (or acting) can he or should he do? He has to relate to the audience as one of than or he appears too aloof. But, he has to have contnand of the situation in order to control the outcome. Social interaction versus shovonanship. It is an interesting can of worms.

Dexter Cleveland

As far as the magician or actor business goes, isn't it just a matter of semantics? I doesn't matter what you call yourself. George Schindler uses "magicomedian"; Frank Furkey's card reads, "Close-up Deceptionist"; Dan Garrett uses the phrase, "Wondermaker"; while Californian James Lewis uses, "A Real Magician" on his calling card. Didn't Dai Vernon use "Sleight of Hand Artist"? Whatever one thinks or uses, the bottom line is that you are or should be an entertainer. Admittedly there are some who couln't entertain a doubt, but that is where the acting can be of some assistance. Feedback, direction, and criticism are probably the only ways to improve what miracles you are attempting (besides that dreaded creature, practice). All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed...

The Trapdoor "

Etbl&iad by: Stsue Bean Staff Cartoonist: Join Riggs COwer Dssigi by: Ehillip Yang

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Wayne Kyzer

Dear Steve; When I received your comments to proofread, I knew that your subscribers couldn't sleep until they knew the real story behind this controversy. Knowing the caliber of your subscribers, I knew that they would settle for nothing less than the truth. So, I booked a flight to Banghor, France to research this statement in detail.

The statement, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician" has been misinterpreted over the last century. It seems that there were a lot of unemployed actors in France circa 1870. However, when these actors realized they could make the equivalent of $15.00 in today's dollars doing kid shows as magicians, they all took up magic. This is what Mr. Houdin meant when he said, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician." They really were actors playing the part of magicians.

Postscript. Please find attached my travel voucher which will help to justify the increase in the subscription price from $20.00 to $25.00.

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