January 2001 Melt Down

On Friday, November 24th my PC self-destructed. I'm still unsure what caused the problems, but the problems were major and could not be repaired. All of a sudden, I was unable to send or receive email, or to surf the Internet. The reason: Outlook (the Microsoft email program) and Internet Explorer (the Microsoft Web Browser) could no longer contact my Internet provider. I had just switched to a cable modem, but everything had been working fine. I checked the status of the cable modem, and discovered that the drivers were no longer installed. Then, other programs began crashing. Outlook would no longer print out email. When I tried to close the program error messages began to pop up. The program wouldn't close (even with the failsafe "Control+Alt+Delete"). Then other programs began to crash. I put a Zip disk in the Zip drive and made an attempt to back up some data. The Zip disk locked up. The green activity light would not go off. I shut down the computer and rebooted. Now the computer no longer recognized that I even had a Zip Drive. To quote a famous military term, the situation was FUBAR.

Normally, a crash of this magnitude would be devastating, but I was unperturbed. Why? Because I had installed on my system a program called GoBack, from the Wildfire Company. GoBack logs all the activity of your hard drive and allows you to revert your hard drive back to the state it was in at some previous point in time. I simply told the program to restore my hard drive to the state it was in on Thursday, November 23 at 8:00 a.m. GoBack did this, the computer rebooted and everything worked normally. I lost some email in the process but that was all. (In fact, anything that I had saved to the hard drive between Thursday morning and Friday when the system crashed would have been lost, since I could not back up anything onto the Zip drive. This emphasizes the importance of constantly backing up your data to floppies or CD-ROM.) My guess is that I opened an email that contained a virus. That email disappeared when I reverted the system to the earlier time. I have experienced no further problems.

GoBack is for PCs only. It is a fabulous safety net, especially in the world of Windows, where system crashes are a way of life. There is a price to be paid, however. GoBack takes 10% of your hard drive space to use for back-up purposes. Since GoBack is constantly monitoring your disk activity there is a small hit to your overall computer speed. If you are going to use your computer for disk intensive activities (such as video capture, music recording, or game playing) you will probably have to disable GoBack, do the work you have to do, and then re-enable the program. To my way of thinking, this is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you can recover from almost any disaster. You can find GoBack at most of the computer retailers (such as CompUSA), or online.

I'm placing the information on GoBack here at the top of the column (rather than in "It's Not Magic, But..." at the end) because our main topic of discussion this month is the release of The Linking Ring Magazine on CD-ROM. I'm going to spend a lot of words discussing this product because it is very different, it is a harbinger of things to come, and because I have some information that I think will be invaluable to those of you who purchase the product. Following my review of The Linking Ring on CD-ROM are four short reviews that got bumped from the December 2000 issue. I have a large backlog of items waiting to appear here, so I've put in a requisition for extra pages next month. Look for the biggest Marketplace ever in February. I'll be discussing products from Jeff McBride, Lennart Green, Carl Cloutier, Eugene Burger, Doc Eason, Paul Cummins, and many others.

The Linking Ring On CD-ROM.

From Digital Publishing, Inc. Three Volumes, each volume $125. Any two volumes $210. All three volumes $300. See the end of this review for complete ordering information.

I have spent most of my life trying to get out from under the avalanche of paper that I live with. I am a collector of information, and most of that information comes to me through books and magazines. Because of this I find myself buried under stacks of paper. When I was younger I enjoyed having rooms filled with books, magazines, and file cabinets. I'm now at a point in my life when I want fewer things, not more things. How do you thin out the collection? I used an approach that I had often seen my father use. I went through my stacks of magazines and I cut them up, extracting the information I needed and discarding the rest. The information when into file folders, the discards went into the trash.

One of the first magazines that fell prey to this desecration was The Linking Ring, the house organ of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. I extracted Parades, favorite columns (such as Rick Johnsson's "Come a Little Closer") and tossed the rest of the magazine. I felt bad having to do this, but I was simply running out of space. As I was chopping up the magazines it occurred to me that it would be great if the magazine could be transferred to an electronic medium. This would not only reduce the storage requirements, it would make it a breeze to find any information I might be looking for. This was 15 years ago. Lo and behold, technology has caught up with my wishful thinking; the entire file of The Linking Ring from 1923 to 1999 has been released on CD-ROM. Stacks and stacks of magazines have been replaced by a stack of disks less than 6 inches tall. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect product. Having all this material accessible on disk is an enormous convenience, but there are serious flaws in the tools that allow you to search for information. Let's take a look at what you get.

Digital Publishing has divided the magazine into three sets of disks: Set One (6 disks) covers 1923 - 1949, Set Two (10 disks) covers 1950 - 1974, and Set Three (11 disks) covers 1975 - 1999. You can purchase a single set of disks, or any combination of the three. In addition to the magazine disks, you also receive an installation disk. (I should mention that at this point in time the program is only available for the PC. Mac and DVD versions will be available sometime in the future.) The installation program offers several options. You can do a minimal install (which requires 30 Megs of hard drive space) or the maximum install that will eat up 300 Megs. With a minimal install you will only be able to search the magazines for Title, Author, and Summary information. (More on this later.) With the maximum install you can also search the entire text of every article ever written in the LR. For this program to have any value whatsoever, you're going to want to do the maximum install.

My original intent was to install the program on my laptop. As I began the installation process, the program told me that certain system files on my computer were outdated and needed to be replaced with newer versions. These words filled my heart with dread. I did not have GoBack (see the introduction to this column) installed on my laptop, so I aborted the install. Instead, I began to install the program on my desktop computer. Again, I received the message that certain files needed to be updated. (I found this very curious, since I was running Windows 98 SE.) I told the program to proceed. After a short period of time I was told to reboot the computer and restart the installation process. This I did. As the installation began, the program encountered a file that was "write protected." Did I want to ignore this file or abort the installation procedure? I told the program to ignore the file. The installation completed without further incident and the program worked just fine. (I still am not sure why a necessary file was write protected.)

The installation disk also provides you with the opportunity to install Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't already have this program installed on your computer I would suggest you install it first. You can then read the Help files on the installation disk.

When you run the Digital Publishing Archive program you are presented with two windows. The first is the viewing window in which the scanned images from the magazine will appear. This window can be minimized to any size or can be expanded to the full size of your monitor. The second window contains all the tools that allow you to access and manipulate the information in the magazines. Let's look at this window in detail. (NOTE TO JOHN: PLACE GRAPHIC OF MAIN WINDOW NEAR HERE.)

Four drop-down menus are available at the top of the window: File, View, Image, and Help. For the most part the commands available here are duplicated by a row of Toolbar buttons that lie underneath the drop-down menus. (You can adjust the size of the buttons in the View menu.) The buttons allow you to exit the program, print either the page you are viewing or an entire article, view an article summary (more about this in a moment), call up the Navigation Remote (more about this in a moment), change the size of the magazine image, or rotate the image. Underneath the buttons are the tools that allow you to access the magazines. These tools are arranged in a "tabbed" format. The tabs are labeled Search, Results, Details, and Browse Volumes. The Browse Volumes tab is the simplest, so let's examine it first. (NOTE TO JOHN: PLACE BROWSE WINDOW GRAPHIC NEAR HERE.)

Clicking on the Browse Volume tab allows you to choose an individual issue of The Linking Ring and then step through it page by page. You are presented with a drop down list of all issues that have been archived. You scroll down to the issue you want and then double-click on it. The computer prompts you to insert the required CD. After the computer recognizes the CD, the image of the front cover of the issue appears in the viewing window. The Navigation Remote also appears. The Navigation Remote allows you to move forward and backward through the issue. You can move one page at time, five pages at a time, or you can immediately jump to the front or back of the magazine. One important control that is missing is the ability to type in a page number and to jump to that page. It's surprising that this control was not implemented.

When the image appears in the view window it can be resized as needed. First, you will want to maximize the view window so it fills your entire monitor. When you do this the Navigation Remote remains on the screen, but the window with the other tools gets covered up. (It is easy to bring this window up again when it is needed.) There are three options for altering the size of the magazine image in the view window. The image can fit the width of the window, the image can fit the height of the window, or the image can be displayed at its actual size. The latter option means that the image will be displayed at the actual resolution (in dots per inch) that it was scanned. For all practical purposes, you will use the latter display size. If you fit the image to the height of the window it is just a little too small to read the text comfortably. When the image fits the width of the window, the image is huge, and you can only see a small portion of the page. When displaying the image at actual resolution, the size of the portion of the page you will see depends on the size of your monitor. I have two monitors connected to my desktop computer. On the 21-inch monitor I can see three-quarters of a page. On my 15-inch monitor I can see a little more than one-half of a page. To read all the information on a page it will be necessary to scroll up and down.

When a page image is in the viewing window you can read the page, or you can print out the page. It is not possible to highlight text within the page and copy that text for placement into another document. I was informed by Digital Publishing that this was done due to plagiarism concerns, but it certainly would have been convenient for a researcher to paste relevant information into a Word document.

Speaking of researchers, we now come to the heart of this review, using The Linking Ring on CD-ROM as a research tool. One of the important reasons to convert this magazine to an electronic format is the ability to search the magazine for whatever information may be required. It is here that this product becomes less than perfect. However, I have discovered some information that may save you many hours of frustration.

First, throw away the jewel boxes that come with the product and file the disks in a CD notebook. (My thanks to Phil Willmarth for this excellent tip.) When you begin to search The Linking Ring you'll be doing a lot of disk swapping, and trying to get the disks out of the jewel box is a pain in the butt. Having the disks in a notebook saves a lot of time.

There are two basic search options: you can do a simple search or an advanced search. Let's begin with the simple search. The first step is to type in the words you are looking for. For example, I typed in Michael Close. (Yes, I am that vain.) There is a slight difference between this search engine and an Internet search engine (such as Mamma.com, or Google.com). If I type Michael Close into an Internet search engine, I will get at least one hit for a site talking about the movie Fatal Attraction, featuring

Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. If I want to eliminate those sites, I would have to type "Michael Close" into the search engine. With the Digital Publishing search engine, the quotation marks are unnecessary. The search engine searches on text strings; that is, the program searches for the exact words you type in (capitalization is ignored). After you type in the words you want to search for, you dictate where the program should search. You have four options: Title, Author, Summary, or Article. Any or all of these four areas can be searched. (Note: If you did a minimal install then you cannot search Articles.) I clicked on the Article box. You can also choose whether to search the entire file of LR or limit the search to specific years. In the lower left corner of the Tools window is a box labeled "Select All." If you click on this box it becomes "Select None." This clears the window that contains the volume selection boxes. You can then choose whatever volumes of the LR you want to search. You can also indicate whether the search results should be listed in chronological or reverse chronological order. I chose "Select All" and then began the search. The length of time the search takes depends on the speed of your processor. I have a Pentium III and the search was not quick.

(NOTE TO JOHN: PLACE THE RESULTS WINDOW GRAPHIC NEAR HERE.) When the search is done a window pops up telling you to insert a specific disk. This disk will contain the information of the first article found in the search. You need not insert a disk at this time. Simply close the window and click on the tab labeled Results. You will now see a list of all the articles in LR that contain the search words you requested. In the left hand column are the titles of the articles, in the middle column are the authors, and in the right hand column are the first few words of the summary. You can now scroll down the list, looking for a specific article. If you find one that interests you, click on it. A pop up window tells you which disk to insert. (Again, you can just close this window for the time being.) With the appropriate listing highlighted, click on the Details tab. This tab shows title and author information, and the entire summary is shown. If this turns out to be an article you'd like to look at, just click on the Results tab, double-click on the article, insert the correct CD and the article will appear in the view window.

This procedure is quite simple, but I immediately noticed a snag. What Digital Publishing refers to as a summary is not really a summary; it is just the first paragraph of the article. What you read in the summary section may or may not be of any usefulness whatsoever, depending on whether the author used the first paragraph to provide a brief overview of the article that follows. In the case of some authors (such as Rick Johnsson), the first paragraph has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the article. My point is this: It is worthless to search on the Summary area, so don't even waste your time checking that box. (NOTE TO JOHN: PLACE SUMMARY WINDOW GRAPHIC HERE.)

Let me digress for a quick moment to explain the concept of "article" as it refers to this program. For the purposes of indexing, the folks at Digital Publishing considered anything that receives a separate listing in the Table of Contents of the magazine as an article. This means that each Linking Ring Parade is an article. The section of the magazine that contains the various Ring Reports is an article. The Obituary Column is an article. Here's why it's important to understand this. As part of my search on Michael Close, several Ring Reports were found. I clicked on one of them, inserted the proper disk, and the first page of the Ring Report section showed up. This particular article was 54 pages long. I now looked for the controls that would allow me to search the article for the words "Michael Close." There were none! In other words, I cannot search an article for a text string. If I wanted to see where my name appeared in this particular Ring Report I would have to step through 54 pages, looking carefully at every page. Ouch. The folks at Digital Publishing told me that the ability to search articles may be implemented in future versions of the product, but it seems to me that is a vital tool that should have been available right now.

In looking over the results of my Michael Close search I noticed that a trick I had contributed to Rick Johnsson's column did not show up. This puzzled me. But then I did another search, this time using Mike Close, and many other articles showed up, including the column that contained my trick.

I now did a search for Charles M. Hudson's "Card Corner" columns. I typed in the search string Charles M. Hudson and I clicked the Author box. I started the search and was completely amazed when the program informed me that no matching results were found. What's going on here? I then typed in Card Corner and checked the Title box. 389 articles were found. As I examined the results I discovered what the problem was. Digital Publishing has listed authors with only their first initials and their last names. Thus, Charles M. Hudson was listed as C.M. Hudson. John Bannon was listed as J. Bannon. The lesson here: if you are searching for an author, only type in the author's last name.

Continuing my experiments, I typed in Booth and checked the Author box. (John Booth has been contributing articles to the LR for many years.) The program listed 303 articles authored by J. Booth. If that last sentence set off some alarms in your head, congratulations - you're now an official Junior Detective. There is something very wrong here. I browsed the December 1999 issue of LR for Rev. Booth's "Memoirs of a Magician's Ghost." This issue contained installment number 342. How could the search program only list 303 entries for Booth when his memoirs alone contain 342 articles? I discovered the answer by carefully looking at the first page of the December 1999 article. The top of the page reads, "Memoirs of a Magician's Ghost, The Autobiography of John Booth." But no where does it say "By John Booth." Because of this, in many of the listings of the Memoirs, the Author field has been left blank. This would lead you to believe that way to find all of these articles would be to search on Memoirs of a Magician's Ghost. If you try this, the program will tell you that there are 0 results. What? The problem is that the search engine can't handle apostrophes. Type in just Memoirs and the program will find all of Rev. Booth's columns.

So far, we have only discussed simple searches. It is possible (by simply checking a box) to do a more advanced search. In the advanced search you can narrow the focus of your search by using Boolean operators. (This program uses only "and" and "or.") You can enter up to four different search strings, each string can be searched on a different field (title, author, summary, or article), and each string can be connected with a different Boolean operator. We'll come back to the Advanced Search in a moment.

Are we having fun yet? It gets better. One way to test a search engine is to pick a page at random, find a text string on the page and then see if the search engine will find the page that you're looking it. I did just that: I picked a random issue, found a random page, and picked the name Virgil Mulkey from among the many names that appeared on the page. I then entered the name Virgil Mulkey into the search engine. The program returned 11 articles, none of which included the page I had been looking at! I was really stumped. Then I looked carefully the page I had chosen at random, and I noticed that Virgil Mulkey was hyphenated. "Virgil Mul-" occurred at the end of a line of text and "key" was at the beginning of the next line. The hyphen had fooled the search engine. Using the Advanced search function I searched for Virgil Mulkey or Virgil Mul. The program returned 12 articles, including the one I had chosen at random.

What does this mean? It means that whatever the text you're searching for, you must use the advanced search and you must include all possible hyphenation combinations. Is this really important? You bet it is. I searched on Jay Marshall and found 1286 articles. I then searched on Jay Marshall or Jay Mar and turned up 1351 articles. If you ignore the hyphenation problem you may miss out on some information. (As I typed this I realized that I should also add gilMulkey to my advanced search. I tried this, but still found just 12 articles.)

Here's some other important search information. The program does not search the text of advertisements. John Moehring was interested in this, because researchers often try to find out when a trick was first marketed. Captions underneath pictures are not searched. This is too bad. Scholars would certainly have appreciated the ability to locate a picture by its caption.

So, what's the bottom line? Is The Linking Ring on CD-ROM worth owning? Yes it is, even with its idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, and inadequacies. There is an enormous amount of information here, whether you are a historian looking for facts or a hobbyist looking for good tricks (and there are some great tricks here). I hope that the information I've given will allow you to work around some of the program's shortcomings. If you purchase the program the first thing you should do is raise holy hell with Digital Publishing until they fix some of the problems I've mentioned. Putting the LR on disk is a brave step, and all those involved should be commended for taking a chance and putting this product on the market. I would love to see other magazines come out in an electronic format. If the LR project succeeds commercially, others will be less reluctant to produce similar products.

Now, how do go about purchasing this product? First, you must be a member of the I B M. You can contact Digital Publishing at 888-344-4782. Outside the United States call 703-737-3379 or fax them at 703-737-7699. You can also email them an order at [email protected]. You will need to give the following information: your name, your I.B.M. membership number, your shipping address, your telephone number, your credit card information (including expiration date), the volumes you wish to order and your preferred method of shipping. Digital Publishing's hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Card Concepts

By Arthur F. MacTier. 8 x11.5 hardcover. 301 pages. 27 pounds Sterling airmail to US (21 pounds Sterling by sea mail.) Visa, MasterCard, and American Express accepted. From Davenports, 5, 6, & 7 Charing Cross, Underground Arcade, The Strand, London, WC2N 4HZ, England. Fax: 20-7379 8828

So, you're telling me that you've gone through every card trick in The James File, the two bound editions of Apocalypse, all three volumes of Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, and the electronic book Virtual Miracles and you still want more card tricks. Well, why don't you make up some yourself? You can do just that if you study the information in Card Concepts by Arthur F. MacTier. Subtitled An Anthology of Numerical & Sequential Principles within Card Magic, this big book examines the underlying principles of mathematically oriented card tricks. If you've ever wondered why Elmsley's Penelope's Principle works (and if you haven't, shame on you) you'll find a discussion of it here.

Card Concepts contains 31 chapters, each devoted to a different mathematical principle. Included are such topics as the Parity Principle, Stewart James' AAG Principle, the Kruskal Principle, High Card Distributions Probability, George Sands' Prime Number Principle, Matrixing, C.S. Pierce's First and Second Principles, the Cancellation Combination, the CATO Principle, Gene Finnell's Free Cut Principle, Rusduck's Staystack Principle, James' Miraskill Principle, and perhaps the most famous mathematical principles in magic - Norman Gilbreath's First and Second Principles.

The format of each chapter is the same. Mr. MacTier discusses the principle at hand and examines the mathematics behind it. He then offers a card trick that utilizes that principle. For the most part, these are not totally original tricks. Rather, they are re-workings of established routines. Each chapter ends with some further notes and a section of credits.

Card Concepts is an impressive and useful reference volume. It is not meant to be read cover to cover in one sitting. (At least, not by me. Attempting to do so proved to be more effective than Melatonin.) Because each chapter is devoted to just one principle, it is easy to scan the Table of Contents to find the topic you want to read about. Mr. MacTier referenced over 500 books and 1000 magazines in writing this book. A small number of these books and magazines are listed in the Bibliography. Mr. MacTier also includes a page of Magician References. I'm unclear what the function of this page is, because he merely lists 66 magicians in alphabetical order. There is no referencing of magicians to page numbers in the book.

Generally speaking, mathematically based card tricks get a bad rap. To a certain extent this is justified, because many mathematical card tricks look like they are based on mathematics. You know the drill: Think of a number from 5 to 15. Count off that many cards from the top of the deck. Put those cards in your pocket. Transfer the same number of cards from the bottom of the deck to the top. Now deal the deck into four piles. Turn over the top card of each pile. Add the values of the four cards together. Remember that number. Reassemble the deck. Add the number you created by addition to the number of cards that are in your pocket. Count down that number into the deck. The card at that position matches a card that has been in a sealed envelope since the beginning of time. And so on and so forth.

In the same way that digital technique should be invisible to the spectators, mathematical principles should not be obviously apparent. The best mathematical card tricks (such as Stewart James' "Miraskill") produce results that cannot be obtained by any other method. The fact that they are based on mathematical principles is well concealed. These tricks can be made entertaining and can be extremely effective in the right situations.

For those of you who have a desire to work out your own card effects, Card Concepts will be a valuable resource. And those of you who teach mathematics will find lots of interesting topics to spice up your math classes.

Virtual Deck

By Iain Girdwood. $25. Available only at www.virtualdeck.freeserve.co.uk.

If you're considering purchasing the Card Concepts book, you'll also want to take a look at this fun computer simulation tool from Scotland's Iain Girdwood. "Virtual Deck" allows you to designate the order of a deck of cards and then manipulate those cards with various mixing procedures. You can then view the results of your manipulation. With "Virtual Deck" you can perform Faro Shuffles (In and Out as well as normal or reverse), Down and Under Deals, Under and Down Deals, Klondike Shuffles, legitimate riffle and overhand shuffles, cuts, and dealing sequences. The computer keeps a list of the manipulations performed, and you can observe how the order of the deck changes. The program is extremely intuitive and easy to use. In fact, I played with the program for only an hour and discovered that it is possible to go from New Deck Order to the Aronson Stack with only 5 run shuffles, three controlled cuts, and four Faro Shuffles. (Actually, that last sentence was a lie, but I bet there were at least 12 guys who almost broke their legs running to their computers.)

If you enjoy mathematical card tricks, you'll have a lot fun with "Virtual Deck." The program is only available for the PC, so you Mac guys are out of luck. (Nyah, nyah, nyah.)

Re-Print Copy Cards

By John H. Zander. Each trick is $8. From Magic Smith, 23192 Alcalde, Suite H, Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Fax: 949-452-0763. Web site: www.magicsmith.com

Way back in the early 1970's, packet tricks surged in popularity. Everybody and his brother worked out ways to get as much mileage as possible out of every conceivable group of gaffed cards. I loved packet tricks back then. I love them less now. Today, if I'm going to do a trick with a small group of cards, I'll remove those cards from the deck proper, and return them to the deck when I'm done. My days of carrying around little plastic wallets filled with packet tricks are pretty much gone.

I still perform a packet trick or two. (For example, "The Big Finish," reviewed above is sort of a packet trick. When I do it, I remove four legitimate cards from the deck, switch them for the gaffed set, and then do the trick.) I like "The Big Finish" for the same reason I like "B'Wave." The effect is very direct and easy to understand. I'm not as enthusiastic about "Re-Print" and "Copy Cards." Both effects involve the printing of a selected card onto a group of blank cards. I would detail the effect of each trick, but that would take up too much space, and this is part of the problem. On the front cover of the "Re-Print" instructions the effect is described and this description takes up about 150 words. That's a lot of words just to explain what happens.

There's nothing really wrong with either of these tricks. Mr. Zander claims he uses both to great effect, and I don't dispute that. But to my mind, there are better card tricks out there, tricks that don't require you to carry around packets of cards, and tricks that are more convincing and less convoluted.

On the plus side, neither of these tricks requires difficult sleights. All the cards can be examined at the finish of each routine. I suggest you visit the Magic Smith web site and read a full description of these two tricks. If the effects appeal to you, it may be worth it for you to risk $8 apiece on them. Unfortunately, I can think of better ways to spend $16.

CD Rainbow

By Jeff Brown. $12.95 postpaid in US. From Jeff Brown, 135 W. Second Street, Juneau, Alaska 99801. Web site: www.alaska.net/~jbrown.

Recently, CDs have become a popular prop for the stage manipulator. If you are already using CDs in your act, "CD Rainbow" by Jeff Brown may serve as a useful, brief interlude during your manipulations.

The effect is this. The magician shows a CD. Turning so the light catches the surface of the CD, the magician comments on the rainbow of light that reflects from the shiny side of the CD. Reaching into the hole of the CD the magician produces a rainbow streamer (about 34 inches long). The streamer is pushed back into the hole and it immediately vanishes. The CD is shown front and back.

Mr. Brown provides the CD, the rainbow streamer, and some brief instructions. There is one other gaff that is necessary, but since this is a standard device, the odds are that you already have one in your possession. I have no doubt that "CD Rainbow" would be a pretty effect in a routine of CD effects, but I have one big problem with the trick as it is sold. In the instructions, Mr. Brown suggests that you place the CD on top of the closed left fist. You then reach into the hole (and of course, into the well formed by your left fist) and extract the streamer. I do not think that this is a particularly effect way to do this trick. Placing the CD flat on top of your fist puts the edge of the CD toward the audience, making it difficult for them to appreciate what's happening. It would be more effective if the left hand held the CD at the fingertips so the CD was facing the audience.

Unfortunately, you will have to figure out your own way to accomplish this. (I improvised a satisfactory solution in about 30 seconds.)

If you are already using CDs in your act, "CD Rainbow" could easily be added to your show. Just be aware that you will probably have to rework the handling.

February 2001

Hidden Contest

I received a substantial amount of mail in the past month. Everyone who contacted me wondered if there was some type of contest hidden in the January Marketplace. Indeed there was. A careful inspection of the first page of the column reveals that all the paragraph indentation has been removed! So here is the contest. Read page 41 carefully, determine how many paragraphs should actually be there, and send me your answer on a postcard. All entries must be postmarked by January 31, 2001. The winner will receive a copy of my new book, Grammar? I Don't Need No Stinking Grammar! (Incidentally, the space saved by removing the paragraph indentations has been donated to the Salvation Army.)

Only a handful of people responded to my request for the five tricks that they would perform for 12 guests at a dinner party. Consequently, I have no results to give you. My main reason for asking the question was to find out if any of the material that has been flooding the marketplace in recent years is actually finding a place in the average magician's repertoire. As it stands now, we'll never know.

Mastering the Art of Magic

By Eugene Burger. 8.5 x 11 hardcover with dustjacket. 228 pages. Published by Richard Kaufman. $45.00. Available from most magic dealers.

As we plunge boldly into the 21st century, Eugene Burger has firmly established himself as magic's premier guru. Any list of the most influential magicians of the late 20th century certainly includes Eugene's name, and he is still much in demand as a lecturer throughout the world. Eugene's early reputation was established by a series of small booklets published from 1982 to 1984. These booklets challenged magicians to think seriously about their magic, to create evocative and engrossing presentations, and to decide what (if anything) was the message in their magic.

Richard Kaufman has republished these early manuscripts in a new book titled Mastering the Art of Magic. Included are Secrets and Mysteries for the Close-up Entertainer, Audience Involvement, The Secrets of Restaurant Magic, On Matt Schulien's Fabulous Card Discoveries, Intimate Power, The Craft of Magic and Other Writings, and Rediscoveries (published in 1994). Having all these booklets together under one cover is wonderful, for several reasons. First, many of these early publications are out of print and hard to find. Second, Eugene offers commentary on each booklet, and it is very interesting to see how Eugene evaluates each booklet from the perspective of almost 20 years more experience. Third, Jay Marshall once quipped that Eugene Burger had written the same book six times. We now have an easy to find out if he was correct.

The highlights of this collection are Eugene's essays, which range from dealing with hecklers to a hellish conversation between a professional magician, an amateur, and a prostitute. Eugene asked us to treat magic as an Art, and his words reached many. Others had written about this subject before, but few generated the enthusiasm that Eugene did.

Mastering the Art of Magic also contains some excellent magic, including Brain-Waived, Matt Schulien's Card Under the Tablecloth, A Voodoo Ritual (a routine I use all the time), and Dracula and the Sorority Girls. In addition, Eugene and David Parr have devised a new method for the Grant Slow Motion Bill Transposition. This is good news, because the change in U.S. currency has made the old method unworkable.

Mastering the Art of Magic is a wonderful collection, and it certainly should be studied by anyone who is seriously interested in the performance of magic. The advice Eugene offers is solid, the tricks are excellent, and Eugene's commentary is fascinating. Highly recommended.

Fusillade

By Paul W. Cummins and Doc Eason. 8.5 x 11 softcover, stapled. $20 plus $3 p&h in the US (foreign orders add $9). From Rocky Mountain Magic, 524 Park Circle, Basalt, CO 81621. Phone: 970-937-3197. Web site: www.doceason.com. Email: [email protected]. Also available from FASDIU Press, 3703 Foxcroft Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257. Phone: 904-260-9943. Web site: www.fasdiu.com. Email: [email protected]

Here's a rarity in the world of magic publications: two professionals discussing a reputation-making routine that is part of their working repertoires. Doc Eason is the head honcho magic bartender at the Tower Bar in Snowmass, Colorado. Paul Cummins is a full-time professional with experience in both restaurant and bar magic. For many years both of these gentlemen have featured the Multiple Selection Card Routine in their acts. In Fusillade, both Doc and Paul explain how they handle this routine. The result is a postgraduate course in the construction of professional-caliber material.

Fusillade is comprised of three sections: Doc Eason's routine, Paul Cummins' routine, and concluding remarks from both gentlemen. The premise of any multiple selection routine is simple: a lot of spectators take playing cards and the magician finds them one at a time, usually by dramatic or flourishy methods. A routine of this nature is not only a spectacular demonstration from the spectator's point of view, it also allows the creative performer a chance to indulge in "jazz magic," improvising and rearranging revelations to suit the circumstances.

Doc Eason's approach to the Multiple Selection routine is less technical than Paul Cummins' approach. Doc offers a simple method for controlling the cards and several methods for revealing them. The strong aspect of Doc's routine is that as the cards are selected he memorizes the spectators' names. As each card is produced Doc calls the spectator by name. Since Doc regularly performs this with 20+ spectators, the memorization of the names becomes as impressive as the revelations of the cards. Doc offers some simple suggestions to aid in the memorization process, but anyone who really wants to incorporate the name memorization should invest in memory aid book.

Paul Cummins gives a much more thorough and technically complete structuring of the Multiple Selection routine. Paul uses a more demanding control technique, and he outlines a multitude of revelatory techniques. Paul breaks the revelation of the cards into three sections: the initial discoveries, the flexible middle, and the closers. The initial discoveries are a set series of revelations for the first three cards. These are beautifully thought out and start out the routine with a bang. The flexible middle is the jazz part of the routine. Paul offers many suggestions here, including revelations that can be combined into what he refers to as doublets and triplets. Finally, there are the revelations that close the routine. These should be the strongest possible revelations. Paul gives two options.

Following the outline of both routines there is a very useful section called Outs, Opportunities, and Challenges. Paul and Doc discuss what to do if something goes wrong. They also discuss how to take advantage of lucky breaks. The book concludes with two appendices that list credits, references, and further reading.

Fusillade is one of the most valuable card books that I've read in a long time, and I know several people who wish that Paul and Doc hadn't tipped their mitts on this routine. The different styles of the two authors compliment each other nicely. My guess is that most readers will find Paul's information to be most useful. Doc offers excellent presentational information, but his style and venue are unique. Doc says he often has 20 or more cards selected. It would be difficult for the average performer to maintain both a dramatic arch and audience interest through that many revelations. Paul's routine is geared toward the revelation of 12-15 cards. To me this seems like a satisfactory number.

The Multiple Card Selection Routine has been a mainstay in the repertoires of such luminaries as Eddie Fechter, Michael Skinner, and Ricky Jay. The combination of (apparently) superhuman skill with the personal touch of remembering everyone's name produces a performance piece that will be remembered by even the most jaded audience. If you are interested in adding this routine to your repertoire, Fusillade is the book to own. Highly recommended.

Magic Magazines of the Second Millennium

By Father Stephen A. Fernandes. 8.5 x 11, hardcover with dustjacket. 448 pages. $75 plus $5 p&h in US. From Father Stephen A. Fernandes, 347 South Street, Hyannis, MA 02601.

Historians and collectors will immediately want to pick up a copy of this marvelous book by Father Stephen Fernandes. Father Fernandes has updated A Bibliography of Conjuring Periodicals in English: 1791-1983 by James B. Alfredson and George L. Daily, Jr. This book contained information on almost 1500 periodicals and was a groundbreaking reference work. In Magic Magazines of the Second Millennium, Father Fernandes has added 400 new titles published in the last 16 years, plus 200 titles that were not included in the Alfredson/Daily book. Information for each magazine includes title, editor, place of publication, affiliation (in the case of magazines associated with clubs or magic dealers), frequency of publication, method of reproduction, size, file run, total issues, category, and scarcity. It is important to remember that this new book works in conjunction with the Alfredson/Daily book. For example, the entry for Jean Hugard's Magical Magazine reads "No change to data."

In addition to the listing of the magazines, there are 11 useful appendices. Magic Magazines of the Second Millennium is an enormously useful reference book for both collectors and historians. A Deluxe Edition (limited to 50 copies) is available for $150 plus $5 p&h.

The Practitioner: Journeys into Grey

By Eugene Poinc. 8.5 x 11 hardcover with dustjacket. 115 pages. $39.00. From Thaumysta Publishing Co., P.O. Box 17174, Minneapolis, MN 55417. Orders: 877-4566716. Fax: 800-682-6143. Web site: www.thaumysta.com

Practitioners of Bizarre Magick will enjoy this new book from Thaumysta Publishing. Eugene Poinc has taken some very basic magic tricks (the Grandmother's Necklace, the Afghan Bands, the Professor's Nightmare, the Buddah Papers) and has cloaked them in very evocative presentations based on a character called The Practitioner, a shadowy figure who dresses in gray and who travels the world telling weird stories.

I have no idea where material of this type is performed (if it is actually performed anywhere). But the stories in The Practitioner are cool and would certainly make for a dramatic and memorable show. For those who like this kind of stuff, this is the kind of stuff those folks would like.

Fell's Official Know-It-All Guide: Advanced Magic

By Walter B. Gibson.

The Everything Magic Book

By Greg Davidson. (See end of review for price information.)

There seems to be no end to the people who feel they have enough knowledge to write a beginner's magic book. Here are two books that recently appeared in the marketplace.

Fell's Official Know-It-All Guide: Advanced Magic (Frederick Fell Publishers, ISBN 088391-017-9, $16.95) was originally a book written by Walter B. Gibson. Mr. Gibson was one of magic's most prolific authors and he certainly had experience writing magic books for the general public. I don't recognize the content of this book, so I can't tell which Gibson book was cannibalized to create this present volume. Some one named Elia Chesnoff is listed as Contributing Editor. We are told that Mr. Chesnoff has been doing magic for a whopping 11 years. This apparently gives Mr. Chesnoff the right to tip material that he did not create such as Glorpy the Haunted Handkerchief, The Invisible Deck, and Bob Hummer's Card on Window.

The Everything Magic Book (Adams Media, ISBN 1-58062-418-9, $12.95) was written by someone named Greg Davidson, who, apparently, is a student of Dean Dill's. (At least Davidson mentions that Dill was his teacher and Dean contributes a coin vanish.) The layout of this book is rather ugly, with green-tinted photographs that are not particularly clear. If this is supposed to be a beginner's book then Mr. Davidson makes some remarkably thoughtless choices, including explanations of the Elmsley Count, the Jordan Count, the Shuttle Pass, the Center Tear, and a method for swallowing razor blades. It also appears as if Mr. Davidson has never read an advanced book of magic since he makes reference to the "Farrow" shuffle. The descriptions of the Classic Force and the Double Lift are moronic. There is a chapter titled Marketing, Selling, and Performing Your Magic Show. That's what a beginner needs to know - how to market his show. A book like this is the reason I tell people I play piano for a living.

As long as there are publishers who are willing to bring these books to market and authors who are willing to strip mine magic for a profit, these beginner books will continue to appear. These books expose tricks without providing any information as to what is really involved in the study of magic. If you want to buy a book for a beginner, I would suggest Tom Ogden's Idiot's Guide to Magic or Allan Kronzek's The Secrets of Alkazar. Both these books describe simple tricks and attempt to instill a sense of respect for the craft.

Magic and Showmanship

By Henning Nelms. 5 x 8 paperbound. 322 pages. $9.95. From Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-41087-0. Available from most book stores.

I believe that the 1969 edition of this classic text has been out of print for many years. Magic and Showmanship should be read and studied by any serious student of magic. The theoretical information is excellent, and the book is only marred by the fact that the magic examples are pretty lame. Regardless, Magic and Showmanship is a valuable text and should be in your library.

Hollywood Illusion: Magic Castle

By Milt Larsen. 6.75 x 9.75. 219 pages. Paperback $25. Hardbound $45. From Brookledge Corp., 7011 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028. Also available from Amazon.com.

For many magicians Hollywood's Magic Castle remains the Mecca of magic in the United States. A visit to the West Coast is not complete without spending at least one evening wandering through the labyrinth of the Castle's Victorian style rooms, listening to Irma play the piano, and hobnobbing with whatever magic luminaries that happen to be in attendance.

If you've ever wondered how the Magic Castle came to be, you should pick up a copy of Hollywood Illusion: Magic Castle by Milt Larsen. Milt, of course, was one of the chief architects of the Castle, and for many years wrote stories of the Castle that appeared as part of the menus of the Friday lunches. These stories comprise the bulk of Hollywood

Illusion: Magic Castle. You'll learn how the Castle was started, and you'll learn of the many celebrities and legendary magicians who helped establish it as the premier place for magic in the world.

Hollywood Illusion: Magic Castle is an easy and fun read. Magic Castle fans will certainly want to add it to their libraries.

Green Magic Volumes 1-3

By Lennart Green. Each videotape $29.95. All three for $84.95. Postage and handling free for US, Canada, and overseas surface mail. Overseas airmail add $7.50. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 800-8768437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com.

Lennart Green is the only person on the planet who can make me laugh just by shuffling a deck of cards. Lennart is one of the true characters in magic, and his approach to card magic is the most unique since Jerry Andrus. Green Magic, a new three-volume video set from A-1 MagicalMedia, gives you a chance to experience some of the classic Green repertoire. The card enthusiast will find material that will delight.

Volume One features Lennart's award-winning F.I.S.M. act, which includes the famous Laser Deal and the blindfolded ace through king production. It is important to know, however, that the exact details of this act are not explained. However, if the material on all three tapes were studied it would be possible to reconstruct parts of the act. Following the F.I.S.M. act, Lennart explains many of his card techniques, including false shuffles, false cuts, the Lateral Center Steal, the Lateral Palm, the Top Shot move, the Angle Separation, and more. One problem is that this material was previously released on a video titled Green Magic Volume 1: Card Technique by Lennart Green. I purchased my copy at one of Lennart's lectures some years ago. If you already own this video you may want to think twice about purchasing volume one of the A-1 series, since the F.I.S.M. act is not explained and the second half of the tape duplicates the material in the previously released tape. (I think it's worth owning the first volume just to watch Lennart perform the F.I.S.M. act.)

Volume Two contains five items, including "The Temple of Shiva," an amazing routine in which a shuffled deck is magically sorted, and "Deceptive Perception," which features a terrific move called the Mirror Count. Also on this volume is an explanation of Lennart's One-Two Separation.

The highlight of Volume Three is Lennart's "Fractal Harmony" routine. Using a patter scheme based on Chaos Theory, Lennart shows how a shuffled deck of cards can arrange itself into weird and wonderful patterns. This is not a routine for table-hoppers, but would be perfect in casual performing situations. Also on this volume is a trademark Green effect: the production of a weird object from a deck of cards. Curiously, the explanation for this effect appears on Volume One.

If you enjoy card magic, I think you will be delighted with all three volumes of Green Magic. Lennart Green is one of magic's most brilliant eccentrics and I never tire of watching him perform. My guess is that these are videotapes that you will return to again and again.

Jeff Hobson Live!

By Jeff Hobson. $29.95. Postage and handling free for US, Canada, and overseas surface mail. Overseas airmail add $7.50. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 800-876-8437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com.

Jeff Hobson also makes me laugh. Jeff has long been a part of the Las Vegas magic scene, and he is now working in Reno with Mark Kalin and Jinger. Jeff Hobson Live!, captures Jeff performing at the Convention at the Capitol, in front of an audience of magicians. You'll see Jeff perform Fire Eating, the Silk in Apple, Card to Mouth, the Rope routine, the Egg Bag, and the fabulous multiple watch steal. After the performance segment, Jeff explains the Silk in Apple, the Vanishing Wand, the Balloon Bag (a great trick for kid show performers), some cigarette tricks, and the watch steal.

While much of what is explained here isn't particularly new, it is always enlightening to listen to a professional explain the material he has made a living with. Hobson's style is obviously his own, and it would be a mistake to attempt to copy it. But there is much practical, worthwhile information here, especially to the stand-up performer. If you've never seen Hobson live, this tape is an adequate substitute, although he has tamed down his act slightly (if you can believe it) to accommodate an audience of magicians. Jeff Hobson Live! is an enjoyable and informative video. I liked it and I think you will, too.

McBride: Magic on Stage

By Jeff McBride. Each videotape $29.95. All three for $84.95. Free postage in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 800-6266572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected].

Some years ago, Jeff McBride had a revelation. If he really wanted to perform professionally, he needed an act that could be done in any venue. Inspired by Penn Jillette and Jeff Sheridan, Jeff McBride created the Commando Act, a stand-up act that could be performed on the street or in Radio City Music Hall. This Commando Act has been a mainstay of the McBride repertoire for many years. Jeff McBride now explains this act on Volume One of a new three-volume videotape series titled McBride: Magic on Stage. Jeff McBride has released a lot of valuable information in the past few years, but these new tapes will be especially useful to stage and stand-up magicians.

The Commando Act consists of the following effects: A flash silk production, cane to ribbon, the comedy production of a rope, a cut and restored rope routine, a ring and rope routine, a Linking Ring routine, a mouth-coil production, and the production of a bottle of champagne. Jeff performs the Commando Act and then spends the next 2 hours explaining all the details of the act. As I have mentioned before in this column, when a professional magician tips the details of material he has used to make a living, I sit up and take notice. I was not disappointed. In addition to the workings of the various effects, Jeff also discusses the small details that can only be learned through thousands of performances. Anyone looking for a practical, real-world stand-up act will be delighted with what is offered here. Of course, it will be necessary to adapt the material to your own stage persona, but Jeff has already done most of the hard work.

Volume Two of the McBride: Magic on Stage series is titled Exotic Mysteries. Among the routines performed and explained are the Cornucopia of Flowers Production, Snowstorm in China, Self-knotting Silks, Blendo, Egg on Fan, and the Chen Lee Water Suspension. In addition to these basic effects, Jeff also discusses many variations and alternate techniques. Information on the care and handling of the props and the construction of the props is also included.

Classics of magic are discussed on Volume Three. Included are routines for the Dancing Cane, the Fountain of Silks, Gloves to Flowers, the Zombie, and the 20th Century Silks. As in the previous two tapes, much auxiliary information is presented in addition to the basic routines.

There is a ton of information offered on these three videos, and I have only scratched the surface in this brief review. For complete details of the contents of each tape I suggest you consult the L&L Publishing ads. If you can only afford one tape, I would suggest Volume One (the Commando Act). This is one of the best tapes on stage/stand-up magic I've seen. All the tapes are worthwhile, however, depending on what routines interest you. If you do stage magic, McBride: Magic on Stage should be in your video library.

Terry Seabrooke's Magic is Entertainment Johnny Thompson's Magic Made Easy

From L&L Publishing. Each videotape $29.95. Postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 800-626-6572. Fax: 530-5257008. Email: [email protected].

Here are two more videotapes from L&L Publishing. The first, Terry Seabrook'sMagic is Entertainment is a reissue of a tape originally released through Vic Pinto's Trik-a-Tape Company. England's Terry Seabrooke is one of magic's great stand-up performers. His goal is to provide maximum entertainment through his magic performance, and in this video his explains some techniques for doing this. Included are performances and explanations of the Paper Balls Over the Head, the Linking Rings, the Torn and Restored Newspaper, and his famous Burnt Bill Routine (a routine that has found its way into the repertoires of many stand-up magicians). As with the McBride Commando Act, we are watching a professional explain the routines that he makes a living with. This is practical and valuable information for anyone wanting to elevate the level of his or her performances.

Johnny Thompson's Magic Made Easy is a collection of 20 simple tricks for the beginning magician. The tricks are good ones, and Johnny performs and explains them well. In addition to the tricks, Johnny also offers some practical advice for beginners. There are several interview segments in which Michael Ammar joins Johnny. In one rather odd moment, Michael (who has apparently forgotten the audience for which this tape was geared) makes a casual reference to Dai Vernon, a name that would be completely unfamiliar to a novice magician. Johnny recovers the fumble by explaining who Vernon was and his importance in magic. Small quibbles aside, if you are looking for a tape for a young magician, Johnny Thompson's Magic Made Easy is worth checking out.

Third-hand Magic World-class Magic

By Carl Cloutier. Each video $29.95. Both for $54.95. Postage and handling free for US, Canada, and overseas surface mail. Overseas airmail add $7.50. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 800-8768437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com.

Here are two more videotapes from Carl Cloutier, a man who has won many awards in the world of magic. Third-hand Magic deals with techniques for utilizing the sleeves and the Topit to vanish and reproduce items. World-class Magic features a number of routines that use the sleeves and the Topit as their methods. When I began writing the Marketplace column (with Mac King) six years ago, one of the first products reviewed were two videos from Mr. Cloutier. I was less than enthusiastic with those tapes, and I'm afraid I am not particularly enthusiastic about these two new releases. My main problem is that Mr. Cloutier and I have different philosophical viewpoints on what magic should look like. Others share my viewpoint. In the Winter 1996 issue of The Looking Glass, David Ben described two sleeving techniques of Emil Jarrow and Ross Bertram. In the introduction to that article Mr. Ben wrote, "With the resurgent interest in the art of sleeving due to the presence of magicians like Rocco and Carl Cloutier, I am pleased to describe two previously unpublished sleeving techniques.. .Both Ross' and Jarrow's approaches, unlike those practiced by the aforementioned proponents, illustrate how sleeving should be a technique and not an effect." I mention this philosophical difference up front because it is a purely subjective opinion. Your opinion may be completely different. It is important that you factor this into what you are about to read.

Third-hand Magic contains the various techniques that Mr. Cloutier uses to vanish objects, switch objects, and retrieve objects from the sleeves and the Topit. Mr. Cloutier also explains the construction of his Topit. This is valuable information, because Mr. Cloutier's design allows for a larger area in which to toss the object. In addition, the object may be tossed from a lower hand position. Unfortunately, no actual pattern is shown, but if you have any experience at all with a Topit I think you'll be able to understand the construction of the Cloutier Topit. Mr. Cloutier also offers suggestions on how the sleeves may be altered.

Mr. Cloutier demonstrates several methods for tossing an object into the Topit. I find that most of these methods look completely unnatural. In all cases, Mr. Cloutier's hand goes inside his jacket when the object is tossed. Mr. Cloutier also states that he does not

"break" his wrist when he sleeves objects. A viewing of the videotape proves this is not the case. Another factor that is never discussed is this: if you throw a heavy object (deck of cards, jumbo coin) into your coat, the coat will react. The coat jumps when the object hits. This happens over and over on the video. Are we to assume that no one notices this?

A very embarrassing moment occurs when Mr. Cloutier vanishes a pack of cigarettes. The pack is tossed into the coat, and apparently into the Topit. Unfortunately, Mr. Cloutier has missed the Topit, and the pack of cigarettes is simply trapped between the coat and the body. After about 30 seconds the cigarettes drop out of the bottom of the coat and fall to the floor. Mr. Cloutier is talking and does not notice this. And apparently nobody associated with the production of the video noticed either! Everyone makes mistakes, but why in the world was this allowed to remain in the final edit?

The second video, World-class Magic contains nine routines from Mr. Cloutier's repertoire. All these routines make extensive use of the sleeves and the Topit. Of these, I found "To Bounce or Not to Bounce" to be the most useful for the average magician. The premise is funny, and the sleeves are used just once. The other routines simply look cumbersome. For example, why use the sleeves to accomplish the effect of the $100 Bill Switch? The effect is not improved at all. Other effects include a method for Pencil Through Coin, a routine in which a golf ball transforms into a miniature baseball, basketball, and soccer ball, a version of the Lit Cigarette in Coat, and a Single Cup and Balls routine. This latter routine simply requires more balls than I possess. (I should probably re-write that last sentence. Nah.)

At one point on these tapes, Mr. Cloutier mentions that it is possible to be a great magician and never use your sleeves or a Topit. To this I say, "Right on." I saw nothing on either of these tapes that would motivate me to spend the money to alter my coats or to invest the time and energy to learn the techniques. You may feel differently.

Ed Marlo: Private Studies

By Ed Marlo. $39.95. From Randy Wakeman, 12362 S. Oxford Lane, Plainfield, IL 60544. Email: [email protected]

Randy Wakeman has released another video of previously unseen footage of legendary card man Ed Marlo. This video contains Ed demonstrating and explaining over 25 moves and routines. Included are a version of Spectator Cuts the Aces, a Retention of Vision Change, the Bottop Change, a handling of the Throw Change (this is quite good), several deck switches, Card from Card Case, the Ace of Spades Trick, and handlings for the Zarrow and the Shank shuffles.

Ed Marlo was very reclusive, and few magicians ever had a chance to see him work. For the card enthusiast this video provides a chanc

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