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I had a terrific idea for this month's column. I waited until December 31st to start writing. My plan was to chronicle all the bizarre and terrible things that happened as cities around the world headed into January 1, 2000. But of course, nothing happened. The world didn't end. The worst result of this was that I had to finish my column anyway.

Ah, well. Maybe 3000 will be more interesting.

Servais Le Roy: Monarch of Mystery By Mike Caveney and William Rauscher Guest review by David Charvet

Jean Henri Servais Le Roy ranks as one of the greatest creators and performers of magic during the "Golden Age" of 1880 -1930. Born in Spa, Belgium in 1865, Le Roy was in the right place at the right time when magic shifted from the streets and the drawing room to the music hall and vaudeville stages of the world. He traveled the world, first with an act, and later with a full-evening show; all the while inventing tricks and illusions that have become regarded as true classics of magical theater. The list of his creations that are still being performed by present-day magicians is impressive: "The Three Graces" ("Modern Cabinet"), the "Asrah" Levitation (along with the "wedge base" principle), the "Duck Pan," "Duck Tub," "Duck Vanish" (plagiarized by Doc Nixon as "Where Do the Ducks Go"), "Stolen Jam" ("Palanquin"), and the "Dress Box" ("Costume Trunk") - just to mention a few.

Author William Rauscher grew up just ten miles from Le Roy's home in Keansburg, New Jersey. While he never met Le Roy, in 1949, the 17-year-old Rauscher was fortunate to meet Elizabeth Ford, Le Roy's sister-in-law, who had assisted him around the world. Over the following 21 years, Miss Ford told Rauscher all she knew about Servais Le Roy. From these conversations, Le Roy's private scrapbooks, and notes for an uncompleted autobiography, Rauscher became privy to material never before seen by magicians. This information was assembled as a 66-page monograph, which Rauscher published in 1984. Then in 1992, after continuing his 40-year quest for the full story of Le Roy, Rauscher completed a manuscript for a book. It eventually (and luckily) landed in the lap of Mike Caveney - undoubtedly today's finest publisher of historical magic books. Mike spent three years of additional research, re-writing and annotating parts of the story, and through a network of friends discovered a host of illustrative material. Caveney has published it all in beautiful form as the eighth volume of his Magical ProFiles series. The result is the definitive portrait of this long-unheralded magical genius.

It is both a great feast for the mind and the eyes. In this large-format, 300-page tome, over 140 rare black-and-white photos and 28 full-color posters (many from the only existing copies) are beautifully reproduced, chronicling Le Roy's career.

Le Roy's story is both inspiring and, ultimately, tragic. We follow his great successes and creations that made him the admitted envy of Kellar, Thurston, and Houdini (to name only a few); his marriage to Mary Ann Ford and her transformation into "Talma, Queen of Coins" (whom T. Nelson Downs considered his greatest rival); and Le Roy's realization that in spite of all of his great illusions, to become a theatrical success he needed to add comedy to his act. This came in the form of Leon Bosco (in a total of nine incarnations through the years) and the formation of the legendary "Le Roy,Talma & Bosco" show. Le Roy's in-depth involvement with the exploitation of "Sawing A Woman in Half' is fully documented for the first time, as are his candid impressions of contemporary performers, and his championing of the anti-exposure committee for the Society of American Magicians during the 1920s. All make interesting reading.

In 1930, at age 65, Le Roy was hit by a car while crossing a street. His brilliant career was brought to an abrupt end. The concussion from the accident affected his brain. He spent years convalescing, living in self-imposed seclusion. In 1940, he was wooed out of retirement to present a full-evening of magic at the Heckscher Theater in New York. What should have been Le Roy's swan song became one of the most tragic nights in the history of magic. Confused and totally unrehearsed, the then 75 year-old Le Roy realized backstage just moments before curtain-time that he could not go on. But it was too late to back out. The full house was awaiting the return of the legendary Servais Le Roy. The events of that evening are painfully documented by eyewitness accounts and heartbreaking photographs showing Le Roy literally experiencing a nervous breakdown on stage. By intermission, much of the audience had left. Twenty minutes into the second act, the curtain closed, as did Le Roy's life of magic. The next day, a broken master took an axe and destroyed all of his illusions. He told a neighbor "that is the end." Servais Le Roy never performed again. He died in 1953.

Mirroring his theological background, Rauscher's writing style is of moderation and matter of factual. Caveney's additions and editing has been restrained to match (unlike his previous tour de force, the often hilarious and eminently readable romp through the life of Charles Carter). The results are rather unemotional, except for the above-mentioned account of Le Roy's final performance. One must read this book carefully, as many choice secrets are squirreled away within the text. Strangely, even in his private notebooks, Le Roy did not divulge the complete modus operandi of his illusions. It took a considerable amount of sleuthing on the part of Rauscher and Caveney to bring many of these secrets to light. While I would have preferred to see a separate section of the book devoted exclusively to a technical dissection of Le Roy's magic, those items that are explained are done so within the life story, in chronological order of their creation.

There are many gems in this book, waiting to be rediscovered and redressed by magicians of the 21st century. Which is perhaps, the ultimate tribute to the enduring genius of Servais Le Roy.

Highly recommended. Magic in Theory

By Peter Lamont and Richard Wiseman

For the past 10 years I have emphasized the importance of understanding magic theory. If you only understand "how" a trick works you will always be locked into doing someone else's material. If you understand "why" a trick works you can take that information and apply it to any other trick, original or not. A thorough grounding in the theoretical underpinnings of an art form can allow your own creativity to take wing, and for me, it is this creative freedom that makes magic and music so much fun.

But teaching theory is difficult, especially to an audience of magicians whose only concern is learning the latest trick. I have watched some very fine magicians go down in flames attempting to present "theory lectures" because their audience simply lost interest. My own approach is this: fool the crap out the magicians and then touch briefly on the theoretical reasons for the strength of the trick. By dishing out the theory in small dollops the message seems to sink in. If magic theory is too far removed from its practical usage the subject becomes very dry and potentially boring.

Which brings me to Magic in Theory by Peter Lamont and Richard Wiseman. Mr. Lamont is a Research Associate at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Wiseman heads a research unit into deception and the paranormal at the University of Hertfordshire. Both gentlemen are former professional magicians. In the Introduction to Magic in Theory they discuss the goal of their book. "Parapsychologists, psychologists, and magicians have all written about the stratagems that lie behind successful conjuring. Each has approached the topic from somewhat different viewpoints.. .Unfortunately, most of this literature has been written by, and intended for, these rather specialized audiences. This book is the first attempt to draw together these different theoretical approaches and present them in a way that is accessible to a nontechnical readership [emphasis mine]."

The last two words in the above quote sent up a flare for me, and I contacted Stephen Minch at Hermetic Press to ask if Magic in Theory was going to be released as a general public book. He replied that Magic in Theory would not be released to the general public in the United States, but the University of Hertfordshire Press was releasing it as a general public book in Europe. In my view, releasing this book to the general public is a bad idea, although I don't think it will do much harm (for reasons I will explain later). Although no significant magical effects are exposed in this book, significant theoretical information is disclosed. Will knowledge of this information increase a layman's enjoyment of a magic show? I don't think so. It's very true that studying a book on music appreciation or art appreciation may increase a spectator's enjoyment of these art forms. Jazz is appreciated more by an educated and informed audience. But magic demands that its techniques be concealed from the audience. The way to produce an enlightened and discerning audience is not through the exposure of methods and theoretical information, but by an exposure to superior practitioners. A layman will recognize great magic when he sees it, but he sees it far too seldom.

Magic in Theory contains five chapters plus a Bibliography and an Appendix. Chapter One discusses magic tricks and how they are done. The authors have divided magical effects into nine categories: Appearance, Vanish, Transposition, Transformation, Penetration, Restoration, Extraordinary Feats (including Mental Feats and Physical Feats), Telekinesis, and Extrasensory Perception (including Clairvoyance, Telepathy, Precognition, and Mental Control). For each of these categories methodological strategies are offered. For example, in the Appearance category the possible methods are: the object was already there but was concealed, the object was secretly put in position, or the object is not actually there but appears to be. (It is interesting how this methodological analysis corresponds to Stewart James' Assumptive Trinities.)

The next two chapters explain how physical and psychological techniques can be used to disguise methods. Physical techniques are used to direct the spectator's attention toward the effect and away from the method. Psychological techniques are used to reduce or divert the spectator's suspicions. The authors suggest many possibilities for physical and psychological misdirection, including passive and active diversion, reducing or increasing attention, and reducing or diverting suspicion. In addition, Chapter Three discusses techniques for causing a spectator to "misremember" the events of a trick.

Chapter Four discusses the differences between a magician and a pseudo-psychic. These differences include how the performer presents himself, the type of effects performed, how the effects are performed, how the spectators interpret the effect, and how the performer incorporates favorable conditions. Chapter Five discusses the function of conjuring theory and explores some differing viewpoints. The Bibliography is useful, and the Appendix expands on Chapter One by offering methodological devices for accomplishing magical effects.

One aspect of the ad copy for Magic in Theory is slightly misleading. The ad states, "In addition, to expand their analysis of this crucial subject, [the authors] have interviewed six of magic's finest and most thoughtful performers - Lance Burton, Mac King, Max Maven, Darwin Ortiz, Michael Weber, and Tommy Wonder." This seems as if the book contains long interviews with each of these gentlemen. Actually, only sporadic quotes are included throughout the book.

Magic in Theory is a scholarly book, and its seriousness is what the casual reader will find most daunting. Magic theory is a subject I enjoy, and I found the book to be hard going. In fact, it wasn't until I read through it a second time that I began to appreciate it. It is for this reason that I don't think that releasing it to the general public will do much harm. I can't imagine a layman making it past the first 20 pages. For the book to be of value to you, you'll have to be an active participant. Take copious notes, and then as you analyze the routines in your repertoire ask yourself if you are utilizing the techniques that have been explained.

It is important to understand that theory (whether it is traditional music theory, jazz theory, or magic theory) is only useful once it has been completely internalized. It is then that the creative performer transcends the theory and forms a unique, individual expression. Just because you understand the principles of voice leading doesn't mean you're going to be able to write Bach Chorales. John Ramsey and Slydini both understood magic theory. Their genius lay in their ability to apply the theory to their own unique mannerisms.

Information on magic theory is spread throughout the literature. Magic in Theory is not a perfect book, but it does make a valiant attempt to collate and codify the main principles. If you are serious about learning why magic works, the time spent with this book will not be wasted.

Pros: Magic in Theory offers a scholarly overview of the principles of misdirection.

Cons: The book is extremely dry. Very few real life magical examples are given. Casual readers will find Magic in Theory to be a daunting read.

The Magic Show

By Mark Setteducati and Anne Benkovitz

On page 18 of the December issue of MAGIC you'll find a picture of Mark Setteducati demonstrating The Magic Show book for Jay Marshall, John Carney, and Dr. Gene Matsuura. I just picked up a copy of The Magic Show, and in one word, it's terrific.

The Magic Show is just that, a magic show in a book. As you page through the book you will perform 12 magic tricks by pulling tabs, lifting flaps, moving cards around, and spinning dials. The book does all the work, allowing a lone reader the opportunity to enjoy the mysteries without the need for anyone else to be present.

The first trick is on the cover of the book. Six red spheres turn green as a dial is turned. Unfortunately, the alignment of the dial is not quite perfect and tips off the method. (Curiously, I just recently encountered "Houdini's Magic Dial Candy" which is a candy dispenser that uses the same principle. The construction of the dispenser is quite good, however, and makes the color change hard to figure out.) The inside cover of The Magic Show contains the instructions and a list of credits. The 11 tricks which follow are very clever, and while most will be familiar to you, there are a couple that will give you pause, specifically Trick #8 - The Misplaced Middle, and Trick #11 - The Trunk of Terror. Mark had mentioned that The Misplaced Middle would bother me, and it did. (The Misplaced Middle is the invention of Angelo Carbone and Hiroshi Kando.) Mr. Carbone also devised The Trunk of Terror, and its method is extremely ingenious.

In fact, ingenious is the key word here. The Magic Show is one of the cleverest things I've encountered in a long time. The book took three years to design and create, and 70 workers were required to assemble the various mechanisms. As an added bonus, the small booklet that explains how to reset the show also includes some enhancements to make the tricks more effective (and to fool those who have seen the show before).

The Magic Show is great. It would make a terrific gift.

Pros: The Magic Show is an ingenious, self-working magic show built into a book. The tricks are clever and the design is remarkable.

Cons: Only a few tricks are repeatable for the same audience.

Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating By Darwin Ortiz

Darwin Ortiz is well known in the magic community. His conjuring texts (Strong Magic!, Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table, Cardshark, and The AnnotatedErdnase) are excellent books and should be in your library. Darwin is also a gambling expert and has written two books on the subject (GamblingScams and Darwin Ortiz on Casino Gambling). Darwin's new videotape, Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating, contains demonstrations of 55 different card cheating techniques, grouped into three basic categories. The categories are derived from the timeline of a card game: cheating before the cards are dealt, cheating during the deal, and cheating during the play of the hand.

Category One contains false shuffles and cuts, and includes push-through shuffles, false overhand shuffles, various false cuts (including Up-the-Ladder), shifts, various riffle shuffle and overhand shuffle run-ups (including the Double Duke), and the perfect riffle shuffle. Category Two includes the various false deals: the bottom deal, the Greek deal, the one-handed bottom deal, the second deal, and the center deal. Category Three contains various methods for palming and switching cards. Here you'll find switches for Chemin de Fer, Baccarat, and Blackjack, various shuffle cops, one-handed card switches, and moves for switching in a stacked deck. The video concludes with a performance of Darwin's routine for Three Card Monte.

The production values of Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating are excellent. Magician and special effects expert Bill Taylor produced the video, and his experience and expertise are obvious. The use of numerous camera angles (including shots from beneath the tabletop) gives a clear picture of each sleight. Darwin's narration is polished and professional. You should be aware, however, that this tape is geared toward the gaming industry and the serious card player. It is not an instructional video. Darwin demonstrates and exposes the various sleights, but he makes no effort to teach you how to perform them. Judicious use of the rewind and slow-motion buttons on your VCR may help you decipher what's going on.

Is this tape of value to magicians? If you have an interest in gambling techniques and would like to see a skilled performer demonstrate some very difficult moves, then I think you'll enjoy Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating. However, I would offer a warning against blindly imitating Darwin's approach to card handling. To my eyes, I find Darwin's card handling to be very precise and tight (as opposed to casual and loose). While this approach produces impressive demonstrations of skill, I think it would run contrary to the goals of the card hustler, who would want his card handling to resemble that of the people he was trying to cheat. Since moving to Las Vegas I have had the good fortune to spend some time with people who made a living separating card players from their money. (Or "stealing" as they refer to it.) When they handle cards they are so casual and natural that they arouse no suspicion whatsoever. This I do not see when Darwin performs. (Be aware, however, that this is a purely subjective opinion, and may have no impact whatsoever on your enjoyment of the tape.)

I have one other comment if you intend to purchase this tape as a gift for someone who is a serious card player. Darwin offers no advice on how to protect yourself against these cheating techniques. Even though there are numerous methods for performing the various cheating techniques, there are technical "giveaways" that can alert you to a cheater at work. (For example, in the strike second deal the left thumb fails to lift from the top of the deck as it would in a fair deal. This can be a tip-off.) Darwin offers no protection methods, so if this is important to you, you might want to seek out other videotapes.

Pros: Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating is a very well produced video that covers a wide range of cheating techniques.

Cons: The various moves are demonstrated and exposed, but they are not taught. There is no advice on how to protect yourself from these techniques.

Ring Leader By Gregory Wilson

Gregory Wilson, whose videotape Double Take offered an encyclopedic look at the double lift, is back with Ring Leader, an encyclopedic look at ring and string routines. Ring and string routines remain popular with close-up magicians, and this video provides a ton of information.

The tape begins with "Ring Leader," a 6-phase routine. This routine is very commercial, performable in both restaurant and strolling venues, and is modular, which allows it to be customized to any time length. Of particular interest is the presentation hook Greg employs to introduce the use of the string. His ploy makes the use of the string seem natural and uncontrived. Greg's performance of this routine is a little odd, for it appears to have been edited together from several individual takes. I have no idea why this was done, but the editing is jarring and undermines the feel of the routine as one long flowing process.

Following the explanation of "Ring Leader" are three sections devoted to ring and string moves. The first, Familiar Ring, contains classic moves from Ray Grismer (the Godfather of ring and string routines), Scotty York, Earl Nelson, Jay Scott Berry, and Dan Garrett. The second section, Ring Master, features the creations of David Grippenwaldt. You may be unfamiliar with Mr. Grippenwaldt's name, but his material is top-notch. Finally, there is a section called Fraternal Ring that contains the collaborative effects of Wilson and Grippenwaldt.

Included with the video are a plush velvet cord, a man's wedding band, and a small, four-page insert containing ring gags. The cord and the ring allow you to get started right away without having to track down the necessary props. The ring gags may or may not be useful, depending on your taste and performing style.

If you have wanted to add a ring and string routine to your repertoire, you'll find Ring Leader to be an excellent source of information. Combine this video with Bob Miller's "Relentless Ring and String Routine" (reviewed last month) and you'll have the power to exhaust possibilities (and spectators).

Pros: Ring Leader contains a very solid 6-phase routine and lots of other moves to play with. It comes with the necessary practice props so you can get started right away.

Cons: No cons, really, unless you don't particularly care for ring and string routines.

Making a Living Performing Close-up Magic By Carl Andrews

I've known Carl Andrews for almost 30 years. In 1988, he and Chris Moore started Illusions, a magic-themed restaurant in Carmel, Indiana. For all the time I've known him, Carl has made his living from magic. Carl now makes his home on Maui, and he performs close-up magic at several of the resorts on that beautiful island. On the new videotape Making a Living Performing Close-up Magic, Carl reveals many of the insights he has discovered during his years as a pro.

Carl begins by performing and explaining seven routines from his professional repertoire. Included are: "The Jumbo Coin," a handling of Gregory Wilson's "Honest Abe"; "Déjà Vu," a card routine that makes effective use of a Jay Sankey switch; "The World Famous Two Coin Trick," a no-gaff version of "Hopping Halves"; "Beenie Weenies," a version of the Harris/Ammar routine; and "You Don't Know Jack," a variation of my "Frog Prince" routine. I found Carl's routines to be less than interesting. There's nothing particularly wrong with them, but in some cases they are simply personalizations, and fail to advance the plots. For example, "The World Famous Two Coin Trick" does avoid the use of gaffs, but the tradeoff is an excessive tossing of coins from hand to hand. "You Don't Know Jack" is also a step backward. What makes "The Frog Prince" a memorable and baffling effect is the transformation of a freely selected card into an origami frog. Carl has eliminated the selection of a card (in an attempt, as he states, to produce a card trick that really isn't a card trick) and in the process loses the strongest aspect of this trick. (Curiously, several years ago Carl showed me a variation of "The Frog Prince" that was a worthwhile variation. Carl had developed a way to perform the trick in strolling venues. Some of the deep mystery of the original was lost, but being able to do the trick without the need of a table, and in less than 60 seconds, was useful. I'm surprised that Carl didn't include this version on the tape.) I'm not sure why the "Beenie Weenies"

routine was included. It requires that the performer is seated, and I know of few venues that allow the performer the luxury of sitting down.

It is the next 25 minutes of information makes Making a Living Performing Close-up Magic worth purchasing. Carl offers advice on the business of performing close-up magic in the real world. The advice is excellent, and is the kind of information that can only be obtained through experience. If your desire is to do restaurant magic, this information is invaluable. In fact, Carl offers one suggestion that was new to me, and which I have immediately incorporated.

The production values are good, although only one camera was used. Carl also offers a companion book. Check his web site for more information.

Pros: Making a Living Performing Close-up Magic contains valuable and useful information for anyone planning on working restaurants professionally.

Cons: The close-up routines are less than earth-shaking.

Solid Gold Easy Action Pro

Hoodwink!

By Ben Harris

Australia's Ben Harris offers two more products designed for the close-up performer. "Solid Gold Easy Action Pro" is a card to envelope effect. The magician removes a small, white envelope from his pocket. The envelope is shown to be empty. The envelope flap is sealed with a sticker that is initialed by the spectator. Another sticker is affixed to the other side of the envelope, and it is also initialed. The envelope is replaced in the magician's outer breast pocket.

A card is now selected (no force), signed, and returned to the deck, face up. The deck is mixed. The cards are now counted, face down. There are only 51 cards, and the face up selection is not among them. The envelope is removed from the magician's pocket and the flap is opened. The top edge of a face down card shows. The card is slid out of the envelope, it is the selected card.

If the above description sounds too good to be true, you're right. "Solid Gold Easy Action Pro" is based on a clever idea, but there are some handling considerations that I find unappealing. First, the envelope can never be examined. The spectators cannot handle the envelope at any time during the effect. Those of you who perform the Card to Wallet effect (where the card appears in a sealed envelope) know that part of the strength of that effect is that the signed card and the envelope can be given away at the end of the trick. The second problem is that the envelope is exactly the size of a playing card. This is not a coincidence, and, for me, this would lead an astute spectator toward the correct solution. Third and most importantly, the envelope comes into contact with the top of the deck far too often. You bring out the envelope, put it on top of the deck, have the flap signed, turn the envelope over onto the deck, have the back signed, and then put the envelope back in your pocket. To produce the card you bring the envelope out, put it on top of the deck again, turn it over onto the top of the deck, and then pull out the selection. There is no motivation whatsoever for bringing the envelope into contact with the deck, and the cleanliness of the trick suffers for it.

Pros: "Solid Gold Easy Action Pro" offers an offbeat method that eliminates all difficult sleight-of-hand, and you will probably enjoy playing with the props.

Cons: The handling is contrived, unconvincing, and far too cozy for my taste. If you are willing to simply invest a little time and effort, there are more convincing methods for accomplishing this effect.

"Hoodwink!" is a method for performing the Torn and Restored Card effect. A signed card is folded in half the long way. The card is torn in half. Instantly, the card is snapped open and is seen to be restored.

Again, we have a method where ease of handling produces a serious tradeoff. You should know that the card is not completely restored. It looks as if it is restored, but there is still a big tear in it. This means that the card cannot be handed out for examination. Mr. Harris states in his introduction, ".the effect is best performed as a set piece of theatre in a formal setting. It is also ideal for television. Don't perform it for a difficult crowd. They won't let you get away with it!" It is up to you to decide whether it's worth purchasing a routine that has such restrictive conditions. I can think of one situation where "Hoodwink!" may come in handy. Let's say you've just finished doing one of the popular piece-by-piece restorations. You've handed out the card for examination. The spectator hands the card back and says, "Do it again." You could perform "Hoodwink!" (because it only uses one card), and perhaps the surprise of the immediate restoration would overcome the spectator's desire to examine the card. I don't know. It's just a thought.

Pros: "Hoodwink!" uses only one card and is fairly easy to perform.

Cons: The card is not really restored and cannot be examined at the end of the trick.

Completely Torn By Craig Allen

Here's another Torn and Restored Card effect, heavily influenced by the work of Jay Sankey and J. C. Wagner. A card is selected (no force), signed, and torn into four pieces. During the tearing process the signature is seen several times. The magician reaches into his pocket for a cigarette lighter and applies heat to the torn pieces. The pieces are opened. The card is restored.

There is a bit more sleight-of-hand involved in "Completely Torn" than is found in "Hoodwink!". This means you'll have to invest a bit more practice time, but you will be able to hand out the restored card at the end. "Completely Torn" uses a small gaff, which is destroyed with each performance. You could make up the gaff yourself, or a call to

Haine's House of Cards will provide you with an adequate (and not too expensive) supply. "Completely Torn" is not a radical new approach to the plot, but it is practical and is not too difficult.

Pros: "Completely Torn" is not too difficult to perform, and the restored card can be handed out at the end.

Cons: There is nothing radically different here, and you will destroy a gaff with each performance.

Graphic Film Kit From Mantle Magic

Here's a nifty idea. Mantle Magic provides you with four 8.5 x 11 sheets of graphic film paper that can be used to make decals. This enables you to make up your own custom gaffed playing cards. You design your master copy using a computer (or the old fashioned paste-up method). This master copy is then copied onto the graphic film using a laser color copier (your favorite copy shop should have several options available). You then cut out the decal and apply it to a playing card. The results are very good. It takes a little practice to get the hang of how to do this, but you are provided with a full set of instructions that should help you avoid most of the pitfalls.

Pros: The "Graphic Film Kit" allows you to create your own gaffed playing cards.

Cons: The film is a bit pricey.

Confusing Crayons By Tom Yurasits

Here's a great prop for the children show performer. The magician shows two large plastic crayons, one red, one yellow. He also has two cardboard tubes. A spectator is given one crayon and a tube. The spectator attempts to follow the magician's instructions, but always ends up with his crayon upside-down. The magician and the spectator can even trade crayons and the spectator still cannot duplicate the magician's actions.

This is a classic plot, full of laughs and audience involvement. The props that Tom provides are top-notch and should hold up through many performances. A routine is included, but it fails to solve the basic problem of this type of routine: there is no finish. It will also be up to you to construct a routine that takes the onus of failure off the spectator. Far too often this type of routine simply makes the spectator look stupid, and that's not a good thing. However, if you can solve these problems, and if the effect appeals to you, I think you get a lot of use from the "Confusing Crayons."

Pros: The "Confusing Crayons" provides a well-made set of props that should last for many performances.

Cons: The routine included has no finish and does not address the problem of making the spectator look stupid.

The Magic Circular 1000th Issue Edited by Anthony Owen

Collectors will want to take note of the 1000th issue of The Magic Circular, the magazine of England's Magic Circle. The magazine is normally only available to the members of the Magic Circle, but because of the historic nature of the 1000th issue a very limited number of extra copies are being made available to non-Circle magicians. When these copies are gone the special issue will not be reprinted.

Magic Poster Reproductions From Nielsen Magic

Norm Nielsen is offering some extraordinary poster reproductions. These reproductions are done on canvas. The width is 16 inches, and the length varies depending on the size of the original poster. The reproductions are absolutely gorgeous, and the good news is that Norm can reproduce just about any poster in his extensive collection. I purchased one of these as a Christmas gift and I was absolutely delighted with it. Norm also offers expert framing for those who want it. The price of a reproduction is $150 to $175, depending on the size. Framing is extra. Contact Nielsen Magic for further details.

Details

Servais Le Roy: Monarch of Mystery by William Rauscher and Mike Caveney. 9.5 x 11 hardcover with glossy dustjacket. $85 postpaid in US and Canada. Foreign surface mail $6. Foreign airmail $24. From Mike Caveney's Magic Words, 572 Prospect Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103. Fax: 626-449-8025.

Magic in Theory by Lamont and Wiseman. 6 x 9 hardcover with glossy dustjacket. 175 pages. $30 plus $3 p&h ($15 overseas mail). From Hermetic Press, 1500 SW Trenton Street, Seattle, WA 98106-2468. Fax: 206-768-1688. Email: [email protected]

The Magic Show by Mark Setteducati and Anne Benkovitz. 10 x 10. $18.95. From Workman Publishing. ISBN 0-7611-1595-1. Available at most bookstores.

Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating by Darwin Ortiz. $50 plus $2 p&h ($10 overseas). From Darwin Ortiz, 1234 Eton Court NW, Washington, DC 20007. Fax: 202-333-2029. Email: [email protected]

Ring Leader by Greg Wilson. $40 plus $4 p&h. From The Magicsmith, 64 Seafare, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677. Fax: 949-249-8277. Web site: www.magicsmith.com.

Making a Living Performing Close-up Magic by Carl Andrews. $30 plus $3.50 p&h ($7 p&h on foreign orders). From Carl Andrews, P.O. Box 235, Kihei, HI 96753. Web site: www.maui.net/~carl/video.htm.

"Solid Gold Easy Action Pro" by Ben Harris. $25

"Hoodwink!" by Ben Harris. $10. Both available from most magic dealers.

"Completely Torn" by Craig Alan. $12 postpaid. From Craig Alan, 15606 Northville Forest Drive, #K128, Plymouth, MI 48170-4939. Web site: www.craigalan.com

"The Graphic Film Kit." $15 plus $2 p&h. From Mantle Magic Mfg., Box 68696, Seattle, WA 98168

"Confusing Crayons" by Tom Yurasits. $35 plus $3.50 p&h in US (international orders add $10.00 for p&h). From Tom Yurasits Productions, 534 E. 5th Street - M, Northampton, PA 18067. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.tomyurasitsproductions.com.

The Magic Circular 1000th Issue edited by Anthony Owen. 10 pounds Sterling postpaid. Sterling cheques/international money orders (payable to The Magic Circle) or credit card details (Visa or MasterCard) should be sent to Peter Lane, The Magic Circle, 12 Stephenson Way, Euston, London, NW1 2HD.

Magic Poster Reproductions from Nielsen Magic. $150. From Nielsen Magic, P.O. Box 34300, Las Vegas, NV 89133. Tel/Fax: 702-656-7674. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.nnmagic.com

Practical Mental Influence

Practical Mental Influence

Unlock the Powers of Mental Concentration to Influence Other People and to Change Situations. Learn How to mold the mind one-pointed, until you have focused and directed a mighty degree of Mental Influence toward the desired object.

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