Not For Sale to Minors

Mac: A few of months ago, Mike mentioned a number of new magazines that he'd received and enjoyed. I thought I'd begin this month by mentioning my favorite.

Within the first year's publication of MAGIC, an advertisement appeared here with a couple of crudely drawn guys yammering at each other about a new magazine called The Crimp. The ads were different each month and all of them were hilarious. They were written and illustrated by Jerry Sadowitz, a person I knew by reputation only. Mr. Sadowitz had written some very good books on card magic. Also, my roommate at the time, comedian John Riggi, had told me a wild story about some crazed Scotsman who was on the show with him at the Montreal Comedy Festival. It was this same Jerry Sadowitz.

Anyway, The Crimp ads were so intriguing to me that I was quite ecstatic when I spied an actual copy of the first issue on the coffee table during a visit to the Max Maven compound. Once again I found myself laughing out loud at both the cartoons and the writings in this one-man endeavor. But I was lazy. I didn't subscribe. Years passed. I was going to England to do a pilot for a TV series - with Jerry Sadowitz.

He was the nicest guy. He and Douglas Cameron (a guy who works with Jerry on the behind-the-scenes part of the magazine and who, I understand, actually has a routine for the Jack Hughes "Attaboy" prop) were so friendly to me. The TV show was not so good, but not only did I get a chance to meet Jerry and Douglas, I got a chance to acquire a complete file of back issues of The Crimp.

What's in The Crimp? It's really more of "a 'zine" ' than "a magazine." It is hand drawn and lettered by Jerry Sadowitz. In every issue there is at least one thing that makes me laugh out loud. Not just snicker, but also really, really laugh. There is also always something most people will find offensive. And it seems an afterthought, but in addition to the filthy cartoons and rants, there is what I consider the best selection of actual magic tricks of any current magic magazine.

A couple of notes. When I say that there is something to offend most everyone, I mean it. The language is filthy (but artful), and some of the comments are mean. Each issue says plainly on the cover Not For Sale to Minors. You have been warned.

Mike: You're right on all counts. The magic is excellent, the humor is childish and unbelievably vulgar, and I also laugh out loud when I read it.

Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic

By Lewis Ganson

Mike: The original edition of this book came out in the late 1960s. By this time Vernon had taken up residency at the Magic Castle, and Lewis Ganson contacted Bruce Cervon for help in compiling material for the book. Cervon writes, "I sent this material to Lewis Ganson envisioning the fantastic book this choice of effects would make, not as good as the Dai Vernon Book of Magic but certainly as good as the Inner Secret Series'" The material was indeed top-notch but, unfortunately, the physical production of the book was extremely poor. The book appeared to have been typeset on a typewriter, the reproduction of the photographs was not good, and (perhaps in an effort to make the book appear to be physically imposing) the book was padded with a great number of blank pages. As Cervon writes, "Perhaps the worst hardbound book I had ever seen!"

Fortunately for all of us, L & L Publishing has republished this book in the high quality format that it deserves. The text has been revised and corrected, the excellent Steve Young photographs have been re-screened (including the missing photo from Ross Bertram's "Bottom Steal and Recovery"), the excess blank pages have been eliminated, and the book has been laid out in the same format as the Vernon Chronicles books.

Besides material from the Professor, there are sleights and routines from a veritable who's-who of card men: Larry Jennings, Bruce Cervon, Fred Kaps, Ross Bertram, Alex Elmsley, Persi Diaconis, Jack Avis, Roger Klause, Charlie Miller, Roy Walton, Francis Carlyle and more. This is material of the highest caliber.

I poured through this book when I was in my late teens and, at one time or another, I have done every trick in here and most of the sleights. (There are a couple of moves that I could never get the hang of, so if you do "The Perfect Circle of Cards," "Slow Motion Card Vanish," or "Benzon's Shuffle," please let me know. I'd love to see someone do them.) In fact, there are two moves in here that I use in almost every show I do.

What else can I say? If you've never owned a copy of this book, get one. No card man's library is complete without it. If you have the earlier edition you will be delighted with this reprint. I wish the Professor could have seen it. He would have been delighted, too. P.S. There is a very limited deluxe edition available.

Mac: Yes, this is fine. I mean really fine. The paper is great. The cover (which matches the other Vernon books by L & L) is lovely, the whole deal is just great. Also, anytime anyone wants to see "The Perfect Circle of Cards," all they need do is ask me. When demonstrating this item I prefer to leave the second finger showing because it is, in the words of Lewis Ganson, "certainly a peculiar sight and rather humorous.

Paul Harris' Cardian Angel By Paul Harris and Mike Maxwell

Mac: This is Paul Harris and Mike Maxwell's take on the deck-of-cards-as-flip-book animation effect made so popular by Dan Harlan's "CardToon" trick. The effect is as follows: A spectator tells you their name, and picks a card; you rifle down the edge of a portion of the pack of Bicycle cards and one of the little printed angels riding a bike jumps off the bike, drags a card into view, turns it over, revealing not just the selected card, but the spectator's name as well.

Being a huge Paul Harris fan to begin with, I was very intrigued by the ads that have recently appeared for this item. I was excited to see how this trick looked and to get a chance to try it out. The try-out took place on my wife, Jennifer. Her response was, and I quote, "Oh... My... God!" Pretty astonishing coming from a woman who has seen a boatload of card tricks. She has seen Dan Harlen's "CardToon" and actually preferred "Cardian Angel."

The trick is easy to accomplish and really is quite astonishing. There are a few minor points that need to be addressed, which neither the advertisements I've seen nor my description above make clear. First, unlike "CardToon," the entire deck is not used as a flipbook. Second, you must find out the spectator's name and preset that name in the deck prior to approaching the spectator to perform the trick. Third, the spectator cannot touch any of the cards, including their "name card" (although I have yet to have anyone ask to examine the deck, I'm sure it will happen). And finally, the deck will display 150 different names, but they are all male. If you do this trick for a woman, then you must ascertain a male name that is meaningful to her.

Here's a question for you, Mike. My recollection is that when "CardToon" hit the streets, you were less than taken with it. What didn't you like about it and do those same arguments apply here?

Mike: The main problem I had with "Cardtoon" was that the trick could really only be done for one person at a time. I didn't think that this was particularly practical in a reallife performing situation. "Cardian Angel" also suffers from this problem, but perhaps this is not so important, since you are emphasizing the interaction with one spectator.

There is also the problem of having this hugely gaffed deck that you must dispose of in some way. Since you must prearrange things anyway, perhaps a solution would be to add the necessary animation cards to 34 real cards. This would enable you to do several tricks and then finish your set by doing "Cardian Angel."

Anyway, I'm sure that this will the next trick that everyone will be playing with (especially after the batteries on their "D'Lites" burn out). And the people I've shown "Cardian Angel" (in a casual rather than a formal setting) have also been vocal in their reactions.

The Magic Menu: The First Five Years By Jim Sisti

Mike: If you derive a portion of your income working in restaurants or bars, then you are probably already aware of Jim Sisti's magazine, The Magic Menu. Jim started the magazine in the fall of 1990, and it has appeared bi-monthly ever since. The purpose of the magazine is to address issues and offer information that will be of value to those who ply their magical trade in the rough-and-tumble real world of restaurants and bars. And in it's five-year history it has achieved these goals.

L & L Publishing has released a hardbound volume containing the first five years of The Magic Menu. This volume contains all 30 issues of the magazine, plus a bonus section of tricks from people like Simon Lovell, Paul Green, Scott Wells, David Acer and 1995 IBM Close-up winner Jon Allen. In addition, there are very useful indices of contributors, articles and tricks.

If you are unfamiliar with Jim's magazine, the format is as follows: There is usually a cover article focusing on a well-known performer in the restaurant/bar field. Included in the past five years are articles by or about Bill Malone, Scotty York, Jamy Ian Swiss, Harry Lorayne, Doc Eason, Eugene Burger, Bert Allerton, Barry Govan, Ray Mertz, Dan Garrett, Dan Fleshman, Kirk Charles, David Acer, Jerry Camarro and others. There are regular columnists including Paul Green, Al the Only, Simon Lovell, Ray Mertz and Chris Hurlbert. Each issue also contains a section of tricks and a product review section. There is ton of information contained within the 380 pages of this collection. Because of the wide variety of personalities and viewpoints included, you will find tips, hints and suggestions that apply to your own performing situation. The tricks are practical and performable, but I think that it is the advice that can only come from years of real-life performance that you will find most useful. And because L & L has reprinted these magazines exactly as they originally appeared, you will be treated to a brief history of desktop publishing.

If you are currently doing restaurant or bar magic or if you have a desire to enter this area of performing, this collection will be of value to you and I recommend it.

Mac: While I certainly knew of this magazine's existence, and enjoyed Jim Sisti's column in Genii, I had never read an issue of The Magic Menu prior to receiving this book. I very much enjoyed it. One thing that Mike barely mentions that I found very interesting is the reviews of tricks and books from the perspectives of people who work in a real restaurant environment. If you don't already own all these issues, this book is a really good investment.

The Lost Cheesy Notebooks Volumes 1 and 2 By Chad Long

A couple of issues back I mentioned that one of the summer convention highlights for me was the opportunity to meet Chad Long and watch him work. These two lecture-note type booklets offer really good examples of why I found his work so appealing. Each booklet contains nine tricks, and they are all good. Effects range from a marvelous version of the "Card Under the Glass" to a PlayDoh trick, to a trick with a toy dart gun. A couple of these tricks have appeared in the trick section of this magazine in the last few months.

Check out those free samples and then, if Chad's stuff seems like your cup o' tea, order these booklets.

Mike: This is very nifty material, reasonably priced. Give Chad a vote of confidence and pick up these booklets from him.

The Siegfried & Roy 1996 Calendar is a beautiful 12-month calendar that measures 12" by 24" when opened. In addition to lots of full-color photos of the two Masters of the Impossible and their wildlife pals, it's also marked with the dates their show is playing at the Mirage and with the birthdays of both Siegfried and Roy.

Balloon Magic is a 52-page spiral-bound booklet by Marvin L. Hardy. It gives step-by-step explanations, complete with accompanying photos, for 12 figures that are made using the 321 (or "bee") balloon.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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