In the beginning there was Inside Magic, a monthly newsletter published by boy-entrepreneur Stan Allen. Each issue of Inside Magic featured a short (about 750 - 1000 words) review column written by Michael Weber. Although the focus of the review column was books, Michael occasionally reviewed videotapes and often offered news of upcoming publications. Michael Weber's reviews began with the first issue of Inside Magic (January 1985) and continued until the final issue in August of 1991. At that time Inside Magic ceased publication in order to make way for MAGIC magazine, a larger and more elaborate undertaking.
The first issue of MAGIC appeared in September of 1991. I was one of the initial subscribers, having been made aware of the magazine by Michael Weber. Michael Weber continued as product reviewer. In that premier issue Weber reviewed Hell Bent, The Sealed Deck, Knotty Knot, The Shiner, Carneycopia, and Smoke and Mirrors. He also cleared up some misinformation concerning a trick called Sign of the Dragon. The first letter to the editor concerning a product review appeared in the second issue of MAGIC. Eugene Burger criticized Weber for being too soft in his review of one of the previous month's products. In the third issue of MAGIC there was letter from the creator of this trick, who was not too happy with either Weber or Burger. And so it began.
Weber's last column as product reviewer appeared in the July 1993 issue (Volume 2, #11). This was an interesting column, for instead of focusing on current products, Michael offered a selection of some of his favorite magic books. Michael is responsible for two of my favorite lines from MAGIC. In commenting on a highly derivative trick Michael wrote, "There may be some scientific principle behind the basic fact that tricks created in an intellectual vacuum tend to suck." In a year-end retrospective Michael commented on the fact that Chris Kenner's trick Three-Fly had been offered for sale in at least three different formats. Weber wrote, "Does buying something over and over again constitute practice?"
From August 1993 through November 1993 the product reviews were handled by committee. Offering their opinions were Mac King, Charles Reynolds, Chuck Fayne, Michael Weber, Lance Pierce, Stephen Hobbs, Peter Studebaker, Eugene Burger, Stephen Minch, and Max Maven. In December 1999 two people took over the reviewing chores, Stephen Hobbs and Chuck Fayne. The format was this: either Hobbs or Fayne would write the primary review of the product and then the other would offer a secondary review, thus giving the reader two fairly thorough opinions. In the September 1994 issue a new feature was added. At the end of the review column there was a side bar that contained capsule reviews of products that had appeared in the previous months. Hobbs and Fayne continued as product reviewers until January of 1995. No reviews appeared from February to April 1995. (For trivia buffs, there was also no review column in the January 1993 issue.)
In May of 1995 Mac King and I took over as the product reviewers. The idea was to continue the two-man evaluations begun by Hobbs and Fayne, but to increase the "give and take" of the reviews, ala Siskel and Ebert. We reviewed a whopping four items in that first column, including Roberto Giobbi's Card College Volume 1 and Burger and Neale's Magic and Meaning. The first column also placed Mac and me in a very hard position, because we had to give a negative review to Karrell Fox's book Much Ado About Something. As was to be expected, we received a lot of angry mail concerning this review, and my relationship with Karrell became the first casualty of my life as a reviewer.
As I have mentioned in previous columns, the two-man reviewing process was never really successful. Mac bowed out after twelve columns, and I took over the job by myself. There have been several guest reviewers during the past six and a half years. From the start I knew that I was unqualified to review historical books. There was also the question of who would review products that had my name attached to them. My thanks to Elizabeth Warlock, David Charvet, Mac King, Jon Racherbaumer, John Moehring, Cushing Strout, Stephen Hobbs, Brian McCullagh, and Gordon Bean for helping out when necessary.
In November of 1996 I introduced the "It's Not Magic, But." department, which allowed me to discuss products outside of the world of magic. This is one of my favorite parts of Marketplace, and I continue to receive suggestions from readers. In September of 1997 I started a department called "From the Horse's Mouth," in which the authors of books would offer their favorite tricks. In January of 2000 I began listing a summary of each review using a "Pros and Cons" format. Both From the Horse's Mouth and the Pros and Cons sections faded into oblivion without anyone (myself included) actually noticing, so I doubt that they will be revived.
In the past 120 issues of MAGIC the product reviewers have offered opinions on over 1500 books, videotapes, tricks, lecture notes, and miscellaneous items. As staggering as this number is, it is more remarkable to reflect on the fact that this represents only a small portion of the products that were made available to the magic community during that time period.
I'm proud to be part of the MAGIC magazine staff, and to share a history with my illustrious predecessors. Regardless of who was doing the reviewing, the goal of Marketplace has always been to provide you with honest and entertaining reviews that will help you make intelligent buying decisions.
By Punx. 6 x 9 hardcover. 114 pages. $38 postpaid in US. From I Saw That!, 35 Candle Liteway, North York, Ontario, M2R 3J5, Canada. Fax: 416-665-7377. Web site: www.isawthat.com
Punx was the stage name of Ludwig Hanemann, a German magician whose unique style combined magic with evocative storytelling. As Ariel Frailich writes, "Punx created a new genre: theatrical magic. His performances were highly acclaimed by theatrical critics and he has been equally compared to Mozart and to Hofzinser. He influenced a whole generation of German magicians, including Siegfried and Roy, who quoted his famous line, 'Don't call us magicians or conjurors - storytellers would be just right,' in their souvenir program."
Punx recorded seventeen of his presentations in a book titled Magical Adventures and Fairytales. This book has been long out of print. Ariel Frailich has republished this book under the title Once Upon a Time... Bill Palmer has made a new translation of the original Punx book, and there is addition material, including two routines originally published in Magie, historical material from Palmer and Richard Hatch, and a Foreword by Ted Lesley.
Punx fashions fanciful stories to accompany familiar effects: a four ace assembly, the haunted key, the six card repeat, the Chinese compass, a glass penetration, a paddle trick, Dai Vernon's Cutting the Aces, and others. Although the majority of the routines are geared for close-up performance, there is also material for the stand-up performer. In addition to the fanciful stories, Punx also used interesting and unusual props. Several of these props may have to be specially manufactured if you plan on adding the routines to your repertoire. Following Punx's original description of each effect are useful notes from Bill Palmer.
Since Punx's style will probably be unfamiliar to younger readers of this magazine, I will mention that his approach is similar to that of Robert Neale. Routines of this nature place unique demands on the performer. I am also unsure whether these routines would play in contemporary close-up venues (such as restaurants, bars, and hospitality suites.) Because of this, the material may be of limited usefulness to the average close-up magician. However, this is not to say that a study of this book will not pay dividends. I'm a firm believer in cloaking my effects with presentations that will engage both the emotions and the intellects of my audience. However, I find that my stories are grounded in reality rather than laced with fantasy. But keep in mind that many approaches are possible, and the one that is best for you is the one that fits your personality, your style, your venue, and your audience.
For those seeking out a more theatrical approach to magic, Once Upon a Time... is a valuable resource, and I'm delighted that it is back in print.
By Richard Busch. 7 x 10 hardcover with dust jacket. 209 pages. $65 plus $4 p&h in US. (Foreign orders add $6.00). From Magic Inspirations, 3613 W. Clay Street, Houston, TX 77019-3705. Phone: 713-524-0147. Web site: http://members.aol.com/swells4691/index.html
In a marketplace that is dominated by books devoted to card tricks and close-up magic, it is a refreshing change to receive a large, hardcover book devoted to mentalism. Scott Wells' company Magic Inspirations has released Peek Performances by Richard Busch, a hypnotherapist and psychic entertainer. Experienced mentalists will certainly find much to stimulate their imaginations.
Mr. Busch's focus is the surreptitious gaining of information. This information may be a phrase written on a billet, words on a page of a book, or the identity of a playing card. (Incidentally, the use of the word peek in a magical context can be a little misleading, since it can be used in diametrically opposite situations. In card magic a spectator peeks at a card as the deck is held at the magician's fingertips. Later the magician can then glimpse the card that the spectator peeked at. In Peek Performances the words peek and glimpse are used interchangeably). Mr. Busch offers several methods for peeking information on billets, including methods that incorporate unusual billet folds. Several book tests are explained, including an intriguing test that uses unprepared books. Mr. Busch also discusses several methods for glimpsing playing cards and a method for peeking the time on a pocket watch.
In addition to the peek related material, there are many other mental routines explained, including variations of Ned Rutledge's File Box, T.A. Water's No/No, Mark Striving's Predic-a-Date, and Bruce Bernstein's Picture Duplication.
As I mentioned above, the material in Peek Performances will be most useful to the experienced mentalist. Unfortunately, the value of Mr. Busch's book is undermined by four factors. First, the layout of the book is horrendous. The extensive use of words (and complete sentences) typed in all capital letters, words underlined for emphasis, and the liberal use of bold-faced type make the book look like a 209-page ransom note. The layout of a book is (to use a computer term) its user interface. The interface of Peek Performances is as unfriendly as it gets. Second, the text would have benefited from judicious editing. Third, more photographs are required. The book uses large photographs to capture the moment of obtaining the peek. But peeks are context sensitive; what happens before and after is extremely important. It would have been more beneficial had we been presented with a series of photographs enabling us to see the actions that surround the actual peek. (There are a few photographs that actually look like jokes, including the worst example of fingerpalming an object that I have ever seen and a fingertip peek technique in which the performer's forefinger is inserted into the deck up to the middle joint.) Finally, there are some items in the book that are questionable as explained. For example, in Ned Rutledge Hangs Out the wording of the prediction is completely unnatural. (The prediction reads, "I am thinking of the word Richard Busch [word goes here].") Fortunately, many of these problems can be corrected with a little thought.
At $65 Peek Performances is a little pricey in today's book market. With the flaws mentioned above I am reluctant to give the book an unreserved recommendation. If you are an experienced mentalist who is looking for new ideas it would be in your best interest to use the Internet to seek out a second and third opinion before investing.
Dunninger's Brain Busters By Joseph Atmore Between Two Minds Too
By Walter Pharr and Ned Rutledge. See the review for price information. From H&R Magic Books, 3839 Liles Lane, Humble, TX 77396. Fax: 281-540-4443. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]. Web site: www.magicbookshop.com
Also of interest to the mentalist are these two new books from H&R Magic Books. The first, Dunninger's Brain Busters [6 x 9 hardcover with glossy dustjacket, 110 pages, $39 postpaid in US] details more than a dozen of the sensational stunts that Dunninger used to keep his listening audience riveted to their radios. Although author Joseph Atmore was able to obtain actual scripts for the brain busters, the methods used by Dunninger remain unknown. However, offering conjectures as to possible methods are some of the best minds in mentalism, including Max Maven, Banachek, Lee Earle, and Al Mann. Of particular interest is the story of the involvement of David J. Lustig who was not only Dunninger's promoter, but also his invisible man - an accomplice whose presence was completely ignored but whose covert activities helped Dunninger accomplish miracles. Some may wish that Dunninger's true methods were revealed in this book, but the real lesson here is how skillful marketing can keep a performer in the limelight for decades.
Ned Rutledge was one of mentalism's premier thinkers. He co-authored two books with J.G. Thompson, Card Party and Between Two Minds. Rutledge's friend Walter Pharr has released a collection of 13 effects on which he and Rutledge collaborated. The book titled Between Two Minds Too [5.5 x 8.5 softcover, stapled, 51 pages, $19 postpaid in US] focuses on card routines, but there is also a coin trick, an envelope divination, a method for Pseudo-Psychometry, and a rope tie. There's very clever stuff here. In fact, I modified one of the card items and am using it regularly in the Houdini Lounge.
If you have interest in mentalism, both these books are worth your consideration.
The Art of Modern Conjuring Mulholland's Book of Magic
The Amazing Dad. All three books available from your local bookstore or amazon.com. See review for price information.
At hand are three new magic books geared toward the general public. The first, The Art of Modern Conjuring [5 x 7, 206 pages, $20, ISBN 0-609-60829-0], is a reprint of Professor Henri Garenne's 1886 text. The book is a charming glimpse into the world of magic as it was performed at the turn of the last century. The promotional material for this book hypes it as if it is a manual for the amateur magician. This it most certainly is not. You probably won't find anything here that will go into your next show, but you may find it fun to read through it and admire the quaint props.
Mulholland's Book of Magic [6 x 9, 352 pages, $9.95, ISBN 0-486-41772-7] by John Mulholland is an excellent book for the amateur magician, and I remember it fondly from my youth. There are simple stunts, impromptu magic tricks, card tricks, mental effects, and some terrific effects that require special props. Most of these prop tricks are completely unknown to contemporary magicians and would certainly be worth the effort to construct. At $10 this book is a steal.
Finally, The Amazing Dad [7.5 x 7.5, 212 pages, $12.95, ISBN 0-399-52696-X] by Giovanni Livera and Ken Preuss is a handbook of stunts, games, activities, and magic tricks geared to help fathers look like superheroes to their kids. The material in this book seemed like so much fun that I sent a copy to my father. He wrote me out of the will. I guess you can't go home again.
Kid Show Magician's Notebook
By Tony Daniels
More Shows! More Money!
By C.J. Johnson. See review for ordering information.
Books on the business side of magic are appearing more frequently. Here are two more that arrived recently.
Kid Show Magician's Notebook by Tony Daniels contains a wealth of ideas for those who want to make more money as a children's entertainer. Mr. Daniels discusses marketing, venues, press kits, promotional packages, bookkeeping concerns, and much more. The material is nicely organized and there are many flyers, forms, and give-aways that can be customized to fit your personal needs. The book is reasonably priced and certainly provides information of value. [8.5 x 11, plastic comb bound, 88 pages. $24.95 plus $3.50 p&h. From Tony Daniels, 6525 Hayvenhurst Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91460. Fax: 818-908-9097. Email: [email protected]]
The cover of C.J. Johnson's More Shows! More Money! states, "This book will pay for itself in 30 days or your money back." Putting the money-back guarantee on the front cover certainly assuages any trepidation on the part of the potential customer, and Mr. Johnson assures me that the guarantee is real with no questions asked. Topics covered include Positioning Yourself in the Market, Advertising, Copywriting, Direct Mail & Mailing Lists, The Birthday Party Market, Restaurants, School Shows, Fundraisers, and Back of the Room Sales. Mr. Johnson offers practical and useful advice, and with the money-back guarantee I don't see how you could go wrong. [8.5 x 11, plastic comb bound, 154 single-sided pages. $69.95. From C.J. Johnson, 2555 County Road 281, Leander, TX 78641. Phone: 800-462-4424. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.MoreShowsMoreMoney.com.]
Child Prestidigitators By Gabe Fajuri
Under the Southern Cross: Australian Published Magic Books 1858-2000 By Brian McCullagh. See review for ordering information.
Here are two manuscripts that will be of interest to collectors and historians. Gabe Fajuri explores the world of the prodigy in Child Prestidigitators. Included is information on Chucky Koontz, Roberta Byron, David Bamberg, Baby Yvonne, and Betty Jane Kolar. (An autographed picture of Betty Jane is tipped into the front of the manuscript.) Whether or not any of these performers could actually be classified as prodigies is a matter of conjecture. As Mr. Fajuri writes, "In the world of magic there have been many truly prolific, talented and professional child performers. None of these 'prodigies,' however, won lasting fame. Most of them, in fact, dropped out of magic before adulthood. Any fame was fleeting, lasting barely into their teen years, let alone beyond their lifetimes." Certainly, the accomplishments of these young performers pale in comparison to the child prodigies in the fields of music, mathematics, and chess. However, their stories are fascinating, and they are to be applauded for what they achieved. [8.5 x 11 softcover, stapled. 18 pages. $20 plus $3.50 p&h. Available from H&R books. Address listed above.]
Brian McCullagh has assembled a bibliography of magic books published in Australia from 1858 - 2000. Titled Under the Southern Cross, the bibliography encompasses John Henry Anderson's Magical Grammer (the first book on magic published in Australia) through contemporary authors such as Barry Govan and Ben Harris. As Kent Blackmore writes in the Foreword, "For the casual reader, Under the Southern Cross will appeal because of the commentary and the range of illustrations.. .For experienced foreign readers, this book will also be of interest because it adds to the existing record of English language publications and makes corrections to some errors in the standard works." Certainly collectors and historians will find this volume to be a useful addition to their libraries. [8.25 x 11.75 softcover. 103 pages. $45 postpaid in US. From Byron Walker, P.O. Box 3186, San Leandro, CA 94578)
Daryl's Card Revelations Volumes 1-5
By Daryl. VHS: $29.95 each, $135 for the set. DVD: $34.95 each, $150 for the set. Postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 800-626-6572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.llpub.com
It has been said that if you know 100 ways to control a playing card but only one way to reveal it, then to your spectators it appears as if you know only one card trick. However, if you know one way to control a card and 100 ways to reveal it, then you've probably worn out your welcome at every party you've ever been invited to. Daryl, the Magician's Magician, has compiled more than 140 ways to reveal a selected card and has assembled this information on five videotapes (or DVDs). Titled Daryl's Card Revelations, this material consists of some of the best card tricks of the past 50 years.
Included are such classics as Chicago Opener, Skullocation, The Bullet Trick, Dunbury Delusion, Card in the Card Box, The Fingerprint Trick, Triumph, The Gymnastic Aces, Card on the Forehead, Card on the Seat, Rising Cards from Envelope, Card Under the Tablecloth, and Coin Cut. The creators of these fine effects include Frank Everhart,
Richard Himber, Al Baker, Stuart Judah, Harry Lorayne, Bill Simon, Audley Walsh, Larry Jennings, Paul Rosini, Derek Dingle, Peter Kane, Ken Krenzel, Charlie Miller, Dai Vernon, Ronald Wohl, Cy Endfield, Eddie Fechter, Karrell Fox, Ed Marlo, Pete Biro, Bill Severn, Matt Schulien, and Bruce Cervon. (Apparently Bruce got a promotion, for on the video his name appears as Bruce Chevron.)
There is an overwhelming amount of high quality material explained in this series. (Three of the items are part of my working repertoire.) Daryl's demonstrations and explanations are absolutely top-notch, and the production values are up to L&L's usual high standards. Be aware, however, that the title of this series is not Easy Card Revelations. Although there are a substantial number of effects that require little manipulative ability, there are some tricks that are pretty tough. (For example, Charlie Miller's Dunbury Delusion requires sequential second deals.) Novice card magicians will find that, once again, someone has made life very easy for them, having spared them the trouble (and the joy) of seeking these tricks out for themselves. Experienced card handlers will probably be familiar with most of the material presented, although you may be reminded (as I was) of some gems that you've forgotten.
Because of the sheer number of tricks presented in each volume, I suggest that you purchase the DVD version of Daryl's Card Revelations. Having the ability to instantly skip to whatever trick interests you is a convenience that becomes a comfortable habit. In fact, if you don't have a DVD player go out and buy one. Right now. I'm not kidding. Just put down the magazine, get in your car, and do it right now. You'll thank me later.
They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Well, Daryl's Card Revelations series provides you with a lot of knowledge. Please promise that you'll use your newly acquired powers only for good.
Simon Lovell: Man of Danger Volumes 1-3 Simon Lovell Live: The Lemming Unleashed
By Simon Lovell. Each video $29.95. From Randy Wakeman, 12362 S. Oxford Lane, Plainfield, IL 60544. Fax: 815-254-2339. Email: [email protected]
Simon Lovell is a wild-and-crazy Englishman who now makes his home in New York. Simon is also a talented performer who is equally comfortable working stand-up or in the trenches of real-world close-up magic. These four videotapes from Randy Wakeman showcase Simon in both the stand-up and close-up arenas.
Simon Lovell: Man of Danger is a three-volume videotape series that features Simon behind a bar performing for real people. The emphasis is on card magic. Volume One contains Fingered Number Three (a card transposition), Card to Wallet, The Lemming Ace Exchange, and The Wobbly Wombat (a multiple selection routine that ends with all the selections appearing in Simon's wallet). Volume Two includes Heartless (an offbeat effect in which the entire centers of the cards disappears), Another Departed Point (a version of Elmsley's classic Point of Departure), Sleight-of-Tongue, and Paper Roses. Volume Three contains Lovey Dovey Sandwich, Elmsley Cut Elmsley (a version of
Diamond Cut Diamond), The Packed Wallet (a clever idea that allows for a very subtle deck switch), and Who Killed Lilly Longlegs (a story trick ala Sam the Bellhop). Following the performances of each of these sets, Simon explains the routines and then engages in a question and answer session with cameraman Randy Wakeman. During these sessions Simon offers much practical advice on performing magic in the real world.
Simon Lovell Live: The Lemming Unleashed features Simon performing a stand-up show at New York City's Monday Night Magic. The set includes a Cards Across routine, a version of Card in Mouth, a very funny Torn and Not Restored Divorce Decree, and Simon's hilarious Straightjacket Escape. In addition to the magic there are lots of comedy bits and gags. Simon does not specifically explain the routines performed in this set, rather (in a long interview segment) he discusses the thinking behind the routines. Topics include audience management, pocket management, and routining. As with the close-up tapes, the information here is valuable and well worth considering.
Simon has placed no restrictions on how the viewer may use the material presented in these videotapes. This is extraordinary, since this is the material that Simon uses to make a living. However, Simon's presentations are so carefully melded to his off-the-wall performance character that I cannot imagine anyone else successfully using them. Consequently, it is the thinking behind the routines that will be of most benefit. The routines are certainly strong and commercial, but it will require some serious "retooling" to adapt them to your own performance style.
Before moving on, I must mention that these videos were shot with a single camera, in what can most generously be termed "home movie" style. There is a very noticeable high-pitched hum that runs through all four videos. This hum was produced by the video camera and is not a flaw in the duplication process. (I know this because the hum drops out during the opening titles and segues.) Whether this hum bothers you will depend on how sensitive you are to such things. You should also be aware that all four videos were shot in real world settings, so there is some background noise to contend with.
Simon Lovell is a pro, and when a pro talks I listen. Those seeking practical advice will certainly find much of value on these videos.
Charlie Frye's Eccentricks
By Charlie Frye. $29.95 plus $3.50 p&h. From Charlie Frye, 2712 N. Green Valley Parkway, Suite 246, Henderson, NV 89014. Web site: www.charliefrye.com
Charlie Frye is an eclectic performer. He is a juggler, a comedian, and a magician. (As an aside, I should mention that jugglers make the most dangerous type of magician, because they are not afraid to practice. Charlie can nonchalantly toss off some flourishes that make experienced magicians weep.) On Charlie Frye's Eccentricks Charlie presents some magic tricks, juggling stunts, and sight gags that will be of use to jugglers, stand-up comic, emcees, and magicians. Included are tricks with cards, coins, and billiard balls, a complete Cups and Balls Routine, a Dice Stacking routine, Spoon Bending, and much more. Some of the material will require practice, other bits can be done right away.
Charlie has made every effort to credit the sources of the material he explains. Charlie's performances and explanations are excellent, and the video is fun to watch. If you want some wacky things to add to your act, Charlie Frye's Eccentricks may be just what you're looking for.
By Gaetan Bloom. $45 plus $4 p&h in US (foreign orders add $10 p&h). From Imagination Unlimited, 3580 South Polaris, #7, Las Vegas, NV 89103. Orders: 877-9469784. Fax: 702-889-0537. Web site: www.kjmagic.com
One of the real downsides of the reviewer job is that every now and then I have to tell you about something that I would really rather keep to myself. Such an item is Gaetan Bloom's The Intercessor. This gaff allows you to perform the following effect. A card is selected (forced). A corner of the card is torn off and given to the spectator. The remainder of the card is vanished (or destroyed). The card appears in a completely impossible location, limited only by your imagination. The corner held by the spectator is fitted to the card. It matches perfectly.
There is no switch of the torn corner. The corner that is torn off the original card absolutely matches the card that is found in the impossible location. Gaetan has been demonstrating and selling The Intercessor at his lectures, but the trick is still relatively unknown to magicians. I got one years ago and kept very quiet about it. You get the gaff plus a manuscript that includes ideas from Juan Tamariz and Michael Weber. Also included is Gaetan's pet routine. As with almost everything that Gaetan comes up with, The Intercessor is a brilliant idea. Get one before Blaine does it on his next TV special.
And now, just forget that I said anything about this. Move along to the next item, there's nothing to see here. Just move along now.
By Steve Fearson. $9.95. Available as a download from http://www.downloadmagic.com
Here's a very clever idea from Steve Fearson. The scenario is this. A friend is visiting your house. Your computer is on. Suddenly, a Microsoft Instant Message appears on your computer screen. The message is from The Wizard, and he offers to do a card trick. Your friend selects any playing card (no force). The Wizard instantly names it. The trick can be repeated.
This trick is a real fooler and requires no skill on the part of the magician. Included is a great idea from Lee Asher that allows the spectator to do all the work. Steve Fearson markets this trick exclusively through his web site www.downloadmagic.com. You pay for the program with a credit card and immediately download it. The instructions are clear and it ran on my system without a hitch. (You may have to change your screen resolution, but this is a minor and easily restored alteration.) I don't have any friends, so I haven't had the chance to try this on anyone, but I think it would play great. Steve has lowered the price of this item, and for $10 it's a real bargain. (As with all products provided a digital format, please respect the creators and do not make illegal copies.)
By Dick Bowman. $25 postpaid in US. From Professor's Higgins' Magic, 445 Brandywine Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906-4848. Email: [email protected]
Here is fun kid's show trick. The magician shows an empty brown paper bag. He pretends to produce two chocolate bars. He tosses the invisible bars toward the bag. The bars magically arrive in the bag with a corresponding "plunk." Four more chocolate bars are produced. A child attempts to produce a bar, but the errant bar arrives stuck to the magician's backside. Finally, two large chocolate bars are produced from the bag.
I like the idea of doing a Miser's Dream type effect with chocolate bars. The thought of producing chocolate at will is certainly one that would appeal to an audience of children. You are provided with all the necessary props and complete instructions. If you are a kid's show performer Chocolate Surprise! is definitely worth checking out.
Bogus Bubble Gum Coils
By David Alan. $12 per dozen. From Studio of Magic, 1771 (Rear) Silas Deane Hwy., Rocky Hill, CT 06067. Phone: 860-529-3483. Email: [email protected]
Here's another cute kid's show item. The magician invites a group of children on stage and gives each a piece of bubble gum. The magician also takes a piece of gum and all begin chewing. The magician challenges the children to see who can stretch out the gum the farthest. The magician begins to pull on the end of his gum and more than 20 feet of "gum" is pulled out of his mouth.
What you're getting here is a pink mouth coil that is disguised as a piece of gum. The instructions offer suggestions as to the type of gum to distribute to the children. The gaffed gum would certainly pass casual inspection, and the sight of the magician pulling the long strand of gum out of his mouth is very funny.
It's Not Magic, But.
If you have problems learning origami from a book you might want to take a look at a new CD-ROM titled Money Folding with Paul Ingram. Mr. Ingram is an experienced paper folder and close-up magician. He teaches 10 money folds, including a shirt, ring, peacock, elephant, duck, church, butterfly, bow tie, boot, and Robert Neale's Bunny Bill. When you place the CD-ROM into your disc drive the program autoplays, bringing up a menu that allows you to install a video codec (do this first) or play the program. The program itself offers some folding hints and a menu of the various objects. Clicking on the name of an object brings up a video of Mr. Ingram explaining the folding process. It is easy to pause the video as you fold along with the instructions. I believe that the program is only for the PC, but you can contact Mr. Ingram for further information. [25
pounds Sterling. From Paul Ingram, 32 Brynhyfryd Avenue, Rhyl, Denbighshire, North Wales, U.K., LL18 2DB. Email: [email protected]]
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