By Jon Racherbaumer and Edward Marlo
You probably associate the name Ed Marlo with card magic, and indeed, Ed was a prolific creator of card effects and sleights. But Ed was interested in all facets of magic, and published a large amount of non-card material. Jon Racherbaumer has assembled, rewritten, and annotated this material, and the resulting collection contains a wealth of routines for standard props that you probably already own.
The amount of material is actually a bit overwhelming: 67 routines divided into three categories - Coin Connivery, Arcade Dreams, and Bar Magic. I was already familiar with much of this material because many years ago I assembled my own file of Marlo non-
card routines. I will mention a few of my favorites, and then I'll give an overall impression of the entire collection.
The Coin Connivery section begins with one of Ed's best routines, "S.O.C.," an Okito coin box routine which does not use any "turnover" moves. This routine is a fooler, and I incorporated part of it into a routine I used way back in 1976 at the I.B.M. convention in Evansville, Indiana. This section also contains "Copsil" (which Racherbaumer mentions was Ed's favorite coin routine), "Pop-up Coins Across" (the first published routine to apply the Pop-up move to coins), and the famous "Spider Vanish." You will also find Marlo's handling for the coin fold, the venerable "Thieves and Sheep" trick, and an excellent coin through table, which incorporates a rarely used move of Ross Bertram.
For a period of time Ed Marlo worked as a demonstrator at the Treasure Chest, a store in the Chicago Loop which featured pinball machines, books, records, souvenirs, toys, and magic tricks. The Arcade Dreams section contains routines which Ed developed for standard "slum" items: the "Red Snapper," "The Ball and Vase," "The Magic Frame," and the "Bill Tube." Highlights in this chapter are: "Colorful Vision," a four-phase routine for the standard "Colorvision" prop which will fool laymen or magicians; and "Poor Man's Locking Key Routine," which is a routine for the cheap, miniature linking rings which came with the old S.S. Adams magic kits. (If you're not familiar with this set of rings, they are about 3.5 inches in diameter and have a conspicuous solder joint on the perimeter. Ed took advantage of this solder joint in a very sneaky way.) I have found that it is useful to be able to do baffling routines with standard "slum" props, not only to "pitch" the items (which I did at one point in my life), but also to fool little kids in restaurants. You can derive a lot of satisfaction by fooling a little kid with a trick that they own.
The final section of the book contains material created for performance in a bar. Ed Marlo actually owned and operated a tavern in Chicago. (I bet you didn't know that. I didn't.) The routines Ed created were used by himself and the other Chicago bar magicians, including Johnny Platt, Johnny Paul, Clarke Crandall, and Roger Siegel. In this section you'll find a dice stacking routine, a handling for ring on stick, an excellent sponge ball routine, a Cups and Balls routine (using sponge balls, which was the custom of the Chicago bar magicians), a three ball routine using balls made from aluminum foil, and a multiphased Egg Bag routine, which culminates in the production of two bottles of beer. (Unfortunately, the final load demands that you be standing behind a bar in order to effect the production.)
Jon Racherbaumer offers some interesting insights concerning the history of the various routines, and there are also some great Marlo stories, including the legendary second-dealing monkey story. Joseph K. Schmidt did the numerous illustrations in his inimitable style, and there are wonderful Nelson Hahne illustrations from the National Magic Company catalog which are used at the beginning of each trick.
Arcade Dreams is a very worthwhile collection for the close-up performer who is seeking non-card material, and I recommend it. However, I would offer one caveat. I believe you will find that for the most part these routines are too long for contemporary audiences. (For example, the Egg Bag routine is comprised of twelve phases.) The material will need to be edited, and that is going to require some work on your part. If you don't mind going through the refining process you will find that Arcade Dreams is a mother lode of worthwhile information.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.