Shadows with Shears

Things were very different back in 1982. The boom in magic publishing and the widespread merchandising of magic secrets was still a few years away. The appearance of a large, hardcover magic book was an event. Best of Friends, Volume 1 marked the final phase of Harry Lorayne's book publishing days. (He would, of course, continue publishing Apocalypse for many more years.) Richard Kaufman's dynasty (in collaboration with partner Alan Greenberg) was just beginning, and Derek Dingle's Complete Works foreshadowed the remarkable flood of magic books that would soon appear. A-1 MultiMedia, L&L Publishing, and Hermetic Press were not even in the picture.

Magic videos were in their infancy. (In fact, general consumer home video was just starting to gain popularity.) Few magic videos were produced, and the ones that were released were very expensive. Joe Stevens, a major player in magic videos, would not join the party until the late 1980's.

Dai Vernon was 88 years old in 1982. He had been at the Magic Castle since the mid 1960's, and his presence attracted a stellar group of magicians who moved to Southern California to learn from the Professor. Lewis Ganson had recorded much of Vernon's material in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, the Inner Card Secrets Trilogy, and Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic. In 1979, Karl Fulves' published four Close-up Folios detailing many of Vernon's previously unpublished routines. But even with this body of information available, Fulves wrote, ".. .there is still, even after 50 years, a great deal of secrecy surrounding Vernon's methods." (And, of course, a great deal of information had yet to be disclosed. For example, there was much speculation about Revelations, Vernon's commentary on The Expert at the Card Table. Revelations would not appear until 1984.)

In early September 1982, Canadian magician Hans Zahn began an ambitious project: an extensive video shoot that would record many of Vernon's unpublished handlings, tips, and suggestions, and would also provide a glimpse into Vernon the man. The result was seventeen hour-long videos that were released by Zahn's Videonics company. Each video was $80, making the set a whopping $1,360. (And remember, we're talking 1982 dollars here.) Because of the steep price tag, most magicians are probably unfamiliar with these videos.

L&L Publishing has acquired the Videonics catalog, and has re-released Vernon Revelations: The Video Series in nine volumes. Volumes 1 through 8 are double videos: each contains two volumes of the original Videonics series. Volume 9 contains the final hour of the series. According to the L&L promotional material, the tapes have been digitally re-mastered from the original first generation tapes. I'll have more to say about this re-mastering and editing later. First, let's talk about what's on these tapes, how to make most effective use of the information, and how to decide which tapes to purchase.

The format of all the tapes is the same: Michael Ammar, Gary Ouellet, and Steve Freeman join Vernon, and a topic of discussion is introduced. Either Vernon or one of the co-hosts demonstrates the trick or sleight, and then the material is explained. This is not tightly structured teaching; Vernon often gets sidetracked, and the explanation takes a circuitous path. Throughout the explanations, Vernon reveals a lot of history, and the discussions of the evolutions of his tricks are fascinating.

All of the classic Vernon routines are discussed on these videos, including: Triumph, Cutting the Aces, Spellbound, Kangaroo Coins, Ring on Wand, the Slow Motion 4 Aces, and The Travelers from Stars of Magic; the Balls and the Net, the Jumping Jacks, the Ball and Cone, Leipzig's Coin on Knee, and the Vernon Cups and Balls Routine from the Dai Vernon Book of Magic; the Vernon Symphony of the Rings routine; the Trick That Can't Be Explained, and the Vernon Three Card Monte Routine from the Inner Secrets of Card Magic Trilogy; and the Five Coin Routine, the Vernon handling of the Berg Knot, and the Color Changing Silks, which appeared in the Fulves Close-up Folios.

But this just scratches the surface. Vernon talks about sleights from Expert at the Card Table, methods for palming cards, false deals, false shuffles, color changes, various techniques for crimping, and handlings for the double lift. Having sat through all 17 hours of these videos, I will tell you that the amount of information is overwhelming.

The second half of tape number seven (which contains volumes 13 and 14 of the original series) is titled "Four Stars Live," and consists of Vernon, Ammar, Ouellet, and Freeman performing. Several of these performances are duplicated on other tapes in the series. There are no explanations included. Tapes eight and nine, titled "Vernon, the Man," feature reminiscences by the Professor. No magic secrets are revealed on these tapes. A highlight is a segment where Vernon cuts a silhouette of Steve Freeman. For many years Vernon made his living as a silhouette cutter (his business card read, "Shadows with Shears"), and although he claimed to be much out of practice, he does a beautiful job.

My favorite moments on these videos were the small but extremely valuable tips that Vernon casually tosses off (for example, the importance of breaking the wrist, the real secret of the Five Card Mental Force, and a great suggestion for the Erdnase Bottom Palm) and the unexpected events which happen when you turn a camera on and simply let it roll uninterrupted (for example, Vernon fooling himself while demonstrating the Three Card Monte, and the work on where Tony Georgio hides his money).

Now, let me give you some information that will help you make an intelligent buying decision. First, these are not teaching tapes. I did not spend a great deal of time with Vernon, consequently those who knew him better than I may dispute the following opinion, but I do not think that he was a great teacher. I think that those who learned from him learned by a process of osmosis, rather than a process of direct instruction. At the age of 88, Vernon's mind had a tendency to wander, and his explanations ramble hither and yon. Important technical points tend to be glossed over, or in some cases forgotten completely. If you're looking for clear-cut instruction, you're not going to find it here.

In fact, these tapes are of most value if you are already familiar with the Vernon repertoire. This means reading and studying all the books mentioned above, plus Volumes 1-3 of The Vernon Chronicles. (Also be aware that while a substantial amount of the material which was revealed on the Vernon Revelations videos was generally unknown back in 1982, almost all of it has subsequently appeared in print, most notably in the Vernon Chronicles books.)

Also be aware that the quality of the demonstrations ranges from quite good to atrocious. (Under no circumstances should you use the performance of The Travelers as a model to emulate.) I would assume that the need to press on through an extremely lengthy shooting schedule precluded the luxury of re-shooting, however this means that the tapes are full of miscues, dropped cards and coins, poor camera angles, lost microphones, and lapses of memory. Vernon was also handicapped by a left thumb that was no longer completely functional, and there are some moves which he simply could not perform. But there are some, such as the Hofzinser Transfer, which he performed beautifully.

Now, let's move on to the subject of re-mastering and re-editing. I don't have a copy of the original Videonics tapes, so I can't compare the originals to the L&L release. I can tell you that the video image and the sound are clear. However, I was surprised to find some moments that should have been edited out. For example, there are several places on the tapes where the hosts are sitting around waiting for the director to yell, "Action." Keeping this footage in looks dumb and is completely unnecessary.

There has also been a bit of controversy (mostly on the Internet) concerning items that may have been edited out of the original tapes. Louis Falanga tells me that about 3 minutes have been edited out of tape number one. This footage involves Vernon lambasting one of the hosts. Louis explained his reasons for cutting out this incident, and I understand his position. However, I wish that the footage had been left in, for it not only gives some insight into Vernon's character, but it emphasizes how strongly he felt about certain aspects of magical performance.

So, are these tapes worth owning? Absolutely. Since most of you will not have the resources to purchase them all, my suggestion is to contact L&L Publishing and obtain a flyer that describes the contents of each of the tapes. Then, pick a tape that covers a subject that interests you.

I enjoyed Vernon Revelations: The Video Series very much. Watching them reminded me of how profound a loss Vernon's passing was. He was a standard bearer for naturalness, attention to detail, and dedication to a craft. His influence on generations of magicians was profound. If you never had a chance to spend time with the Professor, you owe it to yourself to pick up at least one of these videos. Pay attention, think about what you see and hear, and your magic will be the better for it.

Daryl's Ambitious Card Video By Daryl Martinez

Daryl really likes the Ambitious Card plot. He should, his Ambitious Card routine was part of the card act which won him first prize for card magic at the 1982 F.I.S.M. in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1987, Daryl published The Ambitious Card Omnibus (written by Stephen Minch), an excellent compendium which included Daryl's Ambitious Card Routine and many other related maneuvers. Daryl's Ambitious Card Video contains much of the information from The Ambitious Card Omnibus.

The tape begins with Daryl, seated at a table, performing his Ambitious Card routine for an enthusiastic audience. The routine consists of many phases, and as Daryl comments later, the routine is not rigidly structured: Daryl often spontaneously picks and chooses from his repertoire of available moves, giving the routine an improvised or "jazzy" feel. The routine concludes with one of the most astonishing climaxes in magic: the entire deck is tied up with a piece of rope. The Ambitious Card (which has been signed on both the front and the back by many spectators) is unequivocally pushed into the center of the deck. The card is pushed flush. The front edge of the top card is now lifted slightly and the card is slid out from under the rope. It is the signed selected card.

Daryl explains each phase of his Ambitious Card routine, and then explains two dozen other moves that can be used in an Ambitious Card routine. Of particular interest is the new method for Ultimate Ambition (the climax using the bound deck). If you don't know this new work, you're going to get fooled when Daryl performs it.

As I have mentioned in other reviews of Daryl's videotapes, Daryl is a charming and enthusiastic teacher. The camera work during both the performance and the explanations is excellent. It is also a pleasure to see a video audience responding the way a normal audience would. As a home viewer you'll be able to appreciate how powerful Daryl's routine is.

If you're looking for information on the Ambitious Card, and if video is your learning medium of choice, look no further. Daryl's Ambitious Card Video has an excellent performance, excellent material, excellent explanations, and excellent production values. What more could you ask for?

The Golden Shells Video By Bob Kohler

For 18 years Bob Kohler has been using the Three Shell Game as part of his professional repertoire. He has performed it at trade shows, hospitality suites, outdoor events, and private parties. Bob gives five reasons why his Shell Game routine is so effective: the routine is loaded with action; the routine allows the magician an opportunity to establish his performance character; the routine is not terribly difficult, thus the performer can focus his energies on showmanship and presentation; the routine is highly entertaining; and the routine is totally amazing.

The Golden Shells Video details almost all the work on Bob's routine. (In a moment I'll discuss an aspect of the routine which is glossed over in the explanation.) The routine consists of five phases. During the first two phases a spectator tries to guess the location of the pea. The spectator fails, even though in each phase he is given two chances to find the pea. In phase three the game is simplified, but the pea still ends up in an unexpected location. In phase four the secret move is apparently exposed, but the spectators are still fooled. In the final phase the spectator places a shell over the pea and then covers the shell with a shot glass. The pea vanishes and appears under another shell. Then it vanishes and reappears under the shell that is beneath the shot glass.

Bob begins with a discussion of the required props. Bob uses the metal shells produced by the School for Scoundrels (see my review of "The Golden Shells" in the October 1998 issue of MAGIC). Bob makes some valid points for the use of the metal shells, and you'll want to consider his viewpoint when you are deciding which props you'll use.

Bob then goes into a detailed explanation of the five phases of the routine. The discussion of each phase is intercut with the action as it occurred during the performance. Overhead shots are used effectively, and you'll be able to learn from his explanation.

Now let's talk about something that is not thoroughly explained on the tape. During the first two phases of the routine a spectator is asked to guess where the pea is. If he believes what his eyes tell him, he will guess wrong. The spectator is given a second guess, choosing between the two shells that remain. There is strong psychology involved here, and in all probability the spectator will guess incorrectly. But what if he doesn't? What if he guesses the correct shell on his first or second guess? This aspect of the routine is not completely explained on the video. Bob does explain a move that allows you to show a shell empty when it actually contains the pea, but he does not go into the various possibilities that may arise during a performance. I asked Bob about this, and he felt that it was too time consuming to discuss every possible situation.

So here's my suggestion: If you intend to perform the Three Shell Game, then you must be good enough at it to actually hustle it. (This is same advice I gave concerning the Phil Cass shell routine.) So read as much as you can about the Shell Game, especially the texts by Garcia and Ouellet. You need to know how to get yourself out of trouble, and Bob's video does not go into detail concerning that aspect of the game.

That small limitation aside, Bob's routine is excellent and extremely commercial. Anytime a professional releases a routine that he uses to make a living, I sit up and take notice. The Golden Shells Video is a top-notch teaching tape, and the routine is strong and well worth your consideration.

(You should be aware that Bob Kohler retains both Trade Show and Television performance rights for this routine. So if you intend to do the routine on TV or at a trade show, you'll need to talk to Bob first.)

Behind the Seams By Tony Clark

For several years Tony Clark has been headlining in the "Phantasy" show at the Horizon Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He is an excellent dove worker, and in Behind the Seams: The Inner Secrets of Dove Magic he tips work that will be of interest to anyone who wants to do dove productions.

Here again, we have a professional performer releasing information that can only be gained through years of experience and thousands of performances. Tony begins with a video clip history of the evolution of his act. This segues into a discussion of how to gaff up your wardrobe to more effectively hide the loads and increase the speed and deceptiveness of the steals. Tony goes into great detail describing loops, various dove holders and harnesses, and methods for stealing and producing the doves. A highlight of the tape is Tony's Invisible Sleeve Steal, a truly deceptive method based on Slydini principles.

Behind the Seams is a really fine teaching tape, full of valuable, time saving information. I recommend it to any aspiring dove workers.

Powerful Impromptu Card Magic By Paul Gordon

This new videotape from England's Paul Gordon contains 12 routines from two of Mr. Gordon's books, Protean Card Magic and Nocturnal Creations. (Actually, only 11 of the routines are explained. The Gordon Diary Trick is performed but is not explained. However, this not a great loss, because I think that Mr. Gordon's method for this trick is not particularly good.)

The routines are demonstrated in a simulated restaurant setting. Unfortunately, the assisting spectators are in desperate need of caffeine, and this, combined with Mr. Gordon's low key performing style, makes for a subdued viewing experience.

For the most part the routines are variations of standard card plots: Cutting Aces, the Collectors, Twisting the Aces, etc. Mr. Gordon prefers handlings which avoid difficult sleight-of-hand, so his constructions should appeal to magicians with average card handling ability.

Near the end of the videotape Mr. Gordon discusses a sleight he calls "ITHEC," which is an Elmsley Count performed using a spectator's hand. While Mr. Gordon may have come up with this idea independently, Roger Klause originally conceived this idea. Roger showed me this idea in 1976, and it was something he had been doing for several years previously. I kept the idea very tight, finally releasing it (with Roger's permission) in Workers #5 (1996). There is no substantive difference between the Gordon and the Klause handlings. Therefore, I'm afraid that Mr. Gordon is about 30 years too late to claim this move as his own.

Unfortunately for those of us in the United States, Powerful Impromptu Card Magic is priced at $60, which is very expensive for a videotape in today's market. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Gordon's work, you may first want to pick up a copy of Protean Card Magic or Nocturnal Creations to see if his style appeals to you.

Houdini

From Chip Taylor Communications

This 30-minute documentary on Harry Houdini was produced by the Wisconsin Education Commission Board. There is no copyright date, but I would guess that it was produced in the late 1980's. The documentary is well done, with lots of photos, film clips, and interviews with Sidney Radner, Harry Blackstone, Jr., and Doug Henning. If you're a collector of Houdini memorabilia, or would just like to add a Houdini documentary to your video collection, Houdini is worth a look.

Ron Bauer's Private Studies, Numbers 10 - 12 From John Luka Enterprises

John Luka has released three more routines in the Ron Bauer Private Study series. Each booklet in the series is about 16 pages long and explains one routine. The goal of the series is to describe both the "how" and the "why" of each routine. Ron Bauer is a "worker" and each of the routines in the series is commercial and practical.

Number 10 in the series is Ron Bauer's handling of Charlie Miller's Left Handed Hank. This is a funny routine in which a handkerchief refuses to stay tied. The beauty of this routine is that it will play for an audience of 2 or 200. Number 11 is Ron Bauer's Mechanical Deck, a handling for Al Baker's The Deck that Cuts Itself. The handling is based on an Ed Marlo concept, and the deck does not actually cut itself - the selected card emerges from the side of the deck as the deck is held in the left hand. The only problem I see with this routine is that the gaff is ditched on the floor at the end of the routine. For someone doing table-hopping, this would mean preparing a large number of gaffs before the start of the gig. (Ron does offer an alternative using the card case, but this only works if you perform seated.) Number 12 in the series describes Paul Chosse's Bar Bill Stunt, a handling for what is commonly referred to as The Hundred Dollar Bill Switch. Chosse's method does not use a thumb tip.

With the current glut of big, hardback books on the market, I'm surprised that Mr. Luka chose to market this material as individual tricks. On the one hand, you the consumer can purchase only those routines that interest you. On the other hand, if you bought them all you'd be paying $120 dollars for 12 routines.

Be that as it may, all the routines in this series are worth your attention. If you're looking for commercial close-up magic, check out the Ron Bauer Private Studies series.

The Koornwinder Kar

By Dick Koornwinder

Allow me the opportunity to give all of you the chance to do the right thing. Dick Koornwinder was at the recent World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. In 1971, Dick made an agreement with Ken Brooke. Ken agreed to sell only Koornwinder Kars which Dick himself had produced. Dick has never given nor sold any one else the manufacturing rights to his Koornwinder Kar. Dick has once again placed the Koornwinder Kar on the market. If you own a knockoff, do the right thing and buy the trick from Dick.

If you're unfamiliar with the trick, I'll simply tell you that it's one of most amazing and commercial card tricks ever invented. It's a favorite of Juan Tamariz (who has performed it on television and included his handling on a video from A-1 MultiMedia). Dick has come up with some revised techniques for handling the car, and they are great.

The price and ordering information can be found in the Details section. Dick accepts Visa, and for more information you can contact him by email at [email protected].

Dave's 16-Digit Deception By David R. Landry

I'm not sure what to say about this new mathematical trick from Dave Landry. Here's what happens: The magician hands out a sheet of paper and a pencil to many members of his audience (the more the merrier). On the paper are 36 small boxes connected with lines and arrows. Each member of the audience takes out a credit card and writes one digit of the credit card number into one of the top row of boxes. There follows a series of additions, subtractions, and multiplications. At the conclusion of this mathematical manipulation, an amazing coincidence is revealed.

Well, what can I say? I applaud Mr. Landry for discovering a little-know fact about credit cards and attempting to apply this information to a magic effect. However, I think that this trick would be about as entertaining as stopping your performance and having the audience fill out their tax forms. The method of the trick demands that each audience member perform all the calculations accurately. Considering the complete math incompetence of the average American, you've got the potential for a trick which is going to fail more times than it succeeds.

Mr. Landry includes the instructions, sample audience worksheets, and a 3.5 floppy disk with files that will allow you to print out more sheets. He also has a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you're unhappy with the trick, you can return it. My own preference would be to bring a Chia Pet to the show, water it, and invite my spectators to watch the grass grow. But perhaps you can think of a way to make Dave's 16-Digit Deception entertaining. If so, more power to you.

Mogar's Miracle Knife Routine By Joe Mogar

Joe Mogar (he of the marvelous thimble manipulations) has put a very nice set of Color Changing Knives on the market. You get four knives: one white, one black, one white/black, and one which is red on one side and split red/white on the other. You also receive a plastic carrying case and a three-position pocket holder. The knives handle beautifully. Also included is a fine routine from Joe, but you could use the knives with any routine you may already know. If you're looking for knives, Mogar's Miracle Knife Routine is worth your attention.

Strange Feats & Clever Turns Compiled by Charlie Holland

Charlie Holland is the Deputy Chief Executive and Program Director at the Circus Space, a British training center for the circus arts. He is also a former professional juggler. In Strange Feats & Clever Turns, Mr. Holland has compiled information on variety, sideshow, and vaudeville performers who plied their trade at the beginning of the 20th century. What makes for fascinating reading is that the reports of these performers come from the journals of the day. Included are articles about W.C. Fields, J.N. Maskelyne, David Devant, and a host of other jugglers, acrobats, strongmen, contortionists, sharp shooters, and sideshow freaks. The text is accompanied with a myriad of period photographs. If you have an interest in the history of magic and the allied arts, you'll enjoy Strange Feats & Clever Turns.

It's Not in English, But... Guest Review by John Moehring

Eight years ago, a Viennese journalist approached Austrian magician, Magic Christian, with the idea of writing an article on J.N. Hofzinser for an employee magazine published by the Austrian Finance Ministry. Because Hofzinser had been a Ministry employee more than 130 years earlier, Christian referred the writer to the Ministry records for background material. To Christian's surprise, the journalist turned up numerous files documenting Hofzinser's civil service career. This discovery led Christian to the wealth of untapped historical resources, which in turn, triggered the painstaking research that has ultimately resulted in the volume J.N. Hofzinser: Non Plus Ultra.

"The documentation assembled here is staggering," wrote Richard Hatch, "and it substantially revises the canonical portrait of Hofzinser passed on to us by Ottokar Fischer." Hatch translated Fischer's 1942 Johann NepomukHofzinser Zauberk√ľnste from German to English in 1985. "Perhaps most notable is the fact that Hofzinser did not die neglected and forgotten after a prolonged illness." Hofzinser died March 11, 1875, yet, Christian has documented public performances by the master as late as September 1894, with a presumption of private performances during the subsequent winter season.

Included in the book are the numerous, lengthy obituaries that appeared in major newspapers, with details of Hofzinser's career as both civil servant and performer. Reproduced are playbills, programs, lithographs, and even a photograph of his mysterious wife, Wilhelmine. The literary efforts of the Viennese conjurer are well documented. In addition to being a published poet, he was a music and theater critic. Reproduced are selected reviews of such renowned musicians Paganini and Liszt, as well as performance critiques of fellow conjurors Herrmann, Bosco, and Doebler. An exceedingly rare 1857 booklet by Patuzzi, purporting to contain excerpts from Hofzinser's dairy, is reprinted in its entirety, as are complete translations of the 41 known letters written by Hofzinser. Christian also documents Hofzinser's balloon ascensions with the famous Goddard brothers, and a trip to Paris, where he might have contacted Robert-Houdin.

The text of Magic Christian's impressive 352-page work of scholarship, published in a limited edition of 999 copies by Volker Huber, is entirely in German. An English translation may be forthcoming. But until that time, for those who read German - or for those who don't and just enjoy thumbing through a beautifully produced, lavishly graphic foreign-language magic book - J.N. Hofzinser: Non Plus Ultra may purchased from H & R Magic Books for $100.

Personal Note

This column marks the end of my fourth year as product reviewer here at MAGIC. My thanks to all of you who have offered words of support. Those words are greatly appreciated. A reminder to those planning on submitting items for review: Be sure to include all necessary ordering information. Failure to do this results in a less timely review. Thanks.

Details

Vernon Revelations: The Video Series by Dai Vernon. 9 videotapes. Each tape $29.95, any 3 for $84.95, any 6 for $160, all 9 for $240. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142

Daryl's Ambitious Card Video by Daryl Martinez. $29.95. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142

The Golden Shells Video by Bob Kohler. $24.95 plus $3 p&h. From Bob Kohler Productions, 2657 Windmill Parkway, Box 313, Green Valley, NV 89014

Behind the Seams by Tony Clark. $49.95 plus $3.50 p&h. From Tony Clark, P.O. Box 3472, Stateline, NV 89449

Powerful Impromptu Card Magic by Paul Gordon. 29:95 pounds Sterling/$60 US. From Paul Gordon, 108 King Edward Avenue, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 8DQ, UK

Houdini from Chip Taylor Communications. $29.95. From Chip Taylor Communications, 15 Spollett Drive, Derry, NH 03038

Ron Bauer's Private Studies Series, Numbers 10 - 12. Each booklet 5.5 x 8.5, 16 pages. Each booklet $10. From Magic by Mail, 25744 Melody, Taylor, MI 48180-3284

The Koornwinder Kar by Dick Koornwinder. $80 plus $6 p&h. From Dick Koornwinder, Schinkelhavenkade 7, 1075 VS Amsterdam, Holland

Dave's 16-Digit Deception by David R. Landry. $15. From David Landry, 3504 Driftstone Circle, Fayetteville, NC 28311

Mogar's Miracle Knife Routine by Joe Mogar. $45 plus $3 p&h. From Magic Stars, 123 Lakeview Drive, P.O. Box 594, Alloway, NJ 08001

Strange Feats & Clever Turns compiled by Charlie Holland. 6.5 x 9.5, softcover. 188 pages. $19.95 surface mail or $24.95 air mail. From Holland & Palmer, 22 Gilbert Road, London SE11 4NL, England (www.holland-palmer.demon.co.uk)

June 1999

The Road Too Well Traveled

Jon Racherbaumer's introduction to last month's "Inside Out" column struck a nerve with me. Jon wrote, "The amount of redundancy and reinvention is greater than ever." and he is correct. Each month magicians are greeted with a flood of new products, and precious little of it excites the imagination or the intellect. There is a sense of sameness about all this material, the feeling that we've been there, done that.

The reason for this feeling of sameness is that today's "creators" are churning out variation after variation of plots that have been worked to death years ago. These variations (or "personalizations" as I prefer to call them) rarely move magic forward. They move laterally, meandering through familiar territory on well-worn paths, bringing us to places we've been to many times before. They have not made the trip more efficiently, they have not deepened our understanding of the journey, nor have they made the trip more entertaining or enlightening for the spectators who travel with us. Making an effect easier to perform is not necessarily an improvement. Sometimes the view from the top of the cliff is more greatly appreciated if we have climbed the face, rather than taken the circuitous path around the backside of the mountain.

If you're not a creator, you might think that coming up with these variations is a difficult task. It's not, really. Put six card guys in room, ask them to come up with methods for doing an Ace Assembly, and in a couple of hours you'll probably have more than a dozen methods. Most, if not all, will stink. The creation of these personalizations is not necessarily a bad thing. It's an excellent way to begin to exercise your creative muscles. The big question is this: Is your creation worth publishing? To find out, subject your creation to Darwin Ortiz' Three Rules: Have you substantially improved the Effect, the Method, or the Presentation? In order to answer this question you must understand the creations of those who have gone before you. And in order to do this you must become a student of magic, and this means reading and studying everything you can get your hands on.

Coming up with personalizations is easy. Coming up with creations that satisfy the Three Rules is really hard. This is why the amount of crap in the marketplace vastly outnumbers the quality items.

Let me offer you some suggestions. For the next 18 months I see no need for anyone to spend any time on the following effects: Four Ace Assemblies, Spectator Cuts to the Aces, Flourishy Four Ace Productions, The Collectors, Sandwich effects of any type, Triumph, Reset, Color Changing Deck, Cannibals, Between Your Palms, Matrix, Reverse Matrix, any type of damn Matrix, Coins Through the Table, Spellbound, Card to Pocket, Card to Wallet, Cards Across, the Victor 11 Card Trick, Six Card Repeat, the Invisible

Palm Aces, Ring on Rope, Ring on Shoelace, Ring on String, Ring on Anything, or the Professor's Nightmare. We've been there, we've done that, a thousand times over.

Instead of methods, consider strengthening the presentation of a trick. Let's take David Roth's famous Hanging Coins as an example. In this effect, the magician shows four coins. Three disappear. (They are apparently hung on an invisible Sky Hook.) Then they reappear. My question is this: How do you explain away the fact that the fourth coin doesn't vanish? (Because of the exigencies of the method the fourth coin cannot vanish.) The way to do this is with a presentation that somehow justifies the fact that the fourth coin doesn't disappear. If David Roth has a solution for this, he didn't include it on Expert Coin Magic Made Easy Volume 2. Finding a solution for this problem would be an advancement, because it would eliminate what I think is a suspicious aspect of this routine.

For all you method guys here's something I wish would be passed into law: After cards are removed from the deck they can no longer come into contact with the deck. What I mean is this: You can no longer take out the four aces, put them on the table, pick them up, count them back onto the top of the deck, and then deal them face down onto the table. There is no logic to this, it looks stupid, and it clutters up the handling. What this means, of course, is that you can no longer use the Braue Addition, Hartman's Secret Subtraction, and Marlo's Atfus. Pretend that these moves no longer exist, and come up with something better.

Finally, if you want to discover new effects, I have two suggestions. First, go outside the world of magicians, magic tricks, magic magazines, and magic clubs for your inspiration. Second, if you must stay within the world of magic, go backwards - look to the old books for a wealth of material just waiting to be modernized and revitalized.

I am aware that the problems posed above are hardly earthshaking, but I do have solutions for them. I didn't think it was fair to ask you to think about something unless I had also worked on the problem. I also have no intention of telling you the solutions I have come up with. If I tell you my answers, there is a strong probability that you will stop thinking about the problems. (During my lecture tour I explained how I had "fixed" some methodological and presentational problems in Ton Onosaka's trick Lucky Lady. My reason for doing this was to inspire others to find unworkable tricks and fix them. At the end of the discussion the two most often asked questions were, "What was the name of the trick you just did?" and "Where can I buy it?" If I sound disillusioned and slightly defeated, I am.)

Finally, I'll do my best to alert you to those products that move magic laterally (or backwards). If we refuse to buy products of marginal value we can send a message to the magic producers that we will no longer accept the mediocre.

Roger Klause's Ultimate Slow Motion Bill Transposition By Roger Klause

U. F. Grant's Slow Motion Bill Transposition is an old trick. It appeared in Volume 3 of the Tarbell Course. Despite its age, the trick is in the repertoires of many close-up magicians, and it continues to fascinate contemporary creators. (See Michael Weber's Lifesavers, page 64; Eugene Burger's Craft of Magic, page 54; and David Parr's Brain Food, page 29.) Now from Houdini's Magic Shop comes Roger Klause's Ultimate Slow Motion Bill Transposition, and it is superb.

The effect is this: The magician borrows a five dollar bill. It may be signed by the spectator. The magician brings out a one dollar bill. Both bills are shown openly and fairly. The entire surfaces of both bills can be seen. The spectator folds the five into eighths; the magician does the same with the one dollar bill. Both bills are placed into the spectator's hand, which closes around them. The five dollar bill is removed. The five is rubbed on the back of the spectator's closed fist, and the five immediately changes into the one dollar bill. The spectator opens his hand and finds that he is holding the five. Both bills are opened and all surfaces are shown fairly.

Roger has combined ideas from Dai Vernon and Bob McCallister to produce a seamless and absolutely baffling handling. There is not a single suspicious move, and because of the manner of gaffing the one dollar bill it can be shown completely freely - the entire surfaces of both sides of the bill can be shown. There is nothing to hide. Best of all, the handling is quite easy. (I should point out that the spectators cannot examine the gaffed bill, but the display is so fair that I can't imagine that the spectators will have much interest in examining the bill.)

You receive a videotape in which Roger performs and explains the routine. The production quality is good, and Roger's explanation is clear. You also receive printed instructions on how to construct a gaffed bill. For maximum deceptiveness, the bill must be constructed carefully, however the gaff is not difficult to make.

Roger Klause kept this trick under wraps for 15 years, and I can see why. If this were my routine I wouldn't have told anybody about it either. Keep the gaffed bill in your wallet, and you're ready to fool people anytime, anywhere. Roger Klause's Ultimate Slow Motion Bill Transposition is fine routine, and an excellent improvement of the original U. F. Grant trick. I highly recommend it.

Pristine

By Wesley James One Tear at a Time By J. C. Wagner

Guy Hollingworth's piece-by-piece card restoration effect The Reformation continues to inspire variation and experimentation. The two latest efforts are Pristine, a 40-page booklet by Wesley James, and One Tear at a Time, a videotape from J. C. Wagner. Before I discuss the pros and cons of these two items, let's bring everyone up to speed on this effect.

The starting point of all the published versions was David Copperfield's performance of the Torn and Restored Baseball Card. This performance featured a piece-by-piece restoration of a historic baseball card, plus the pulling off of the spectator's signature and the removal of all creases. The trick looked good, but most magicians believed (probably correctly) that it could only be done on television.

Along came Guy Hollingworth, who figured out a method for performing the trick in the real world. Guy demonstrated the trick for me (and many others) at the Chicago S.A.M. convention, and later released the method on a videotape titled The Reformation. He also performed it on a World's Greatest Magic special. The Hollingworth method is excellent, but challenging. In addition, the videotape was a limited edition and hard to obtain. The scarcity of the video plus Guy's virtuoso performance made The Reformation a hot topic of discussion. Eventually, of course, variations were spawned.

Now, let me clear up a couple of common misconceptions. Regardless of what anybody's advertising hype may say, there is no version of the piece-by-piece restoration that is easy to do. All the versions require that you hold out a piece (or pieces) of card during the course of the trick. In other words, your hands are dirty the entire time you're performing. It is very difficult to hide an object in your hand and still use that hand in a natural way. In fact, I think there are very few magicians on the planet who do this well. Each version of the piece-by-piece restoration is a multi-phased routine with lots of steps and lots of moves. Consequently, the student is faced with a fairly steep learning curve. You're going to have to put in lots of hours of practice before the trick begins to look good at all.

Wesley James is a thoughtful magician. Pristine resembles the original Copperfield effect in that the card is returned to its original pristine condition: the card is restored, the signature is pulled off, and the creases are removed. In his Introduction, Mr. James explains why he feels that this pristine restoration is important. He also explains the importance of having the card signed. While I appreciate Mr. James' reasons, I should mention that they are not absolutely necessary to produce a baffling torn-and-restored effect. Through psychology and acting it is possible to set up a situation where the spectators are perfectly happy (and thoroughly amazed) if the card is still creased and unsigned. A drawback of the Pristine restoration is the amount of preparation necessary. You'll need three cards for each performance, and one of these cards must be prepared for the signature removal. If you intend to perform Pristine in a walk around situation you'll have to decide whether this added preparation is worth the effort.

Mr. James does a fine job explaining his method, but you are not going to learn this in one sitting. Nineteen illustrations accompany the text, but adding 20 or 30 more would have been helpful. A routine like this flows from one phase to the next, and more illustrations would have given us a feel for that flow. Mr. James makes some trade-offs in the method: the pocket is used to ditch a piece, and the restoration of the third piece is a bluff. Mr. James gives a good argument for the use of this bluff restoration, but I believe that one of the strengths of the Hollingworth method is that each piece is genuinely attached. You'll have to make up your own mind. The manuscript concludes with an excellent essay on the use of a mirror as a practice tool.

It's interesting that J. C. Wagner has tackled the piece-by-piece restoration problem, since his Torn and Restored Card from Seven Secrets inspired a lot of variations a few years ago. One Tear at a Time is a video from Brad Burt's Magic Shop. Mr. Wagner performs and explains his handling without the benefit of an audience. Unfortunately, I don't think that his handling improves the effect, the method, or the presentation. First, Mr. Wagner's performance is less than convincing. To my eyes the handling appears very "cozy," and there is much shuttling back and forth of hidden pieces. Mr. Wagner also uses the pocket to ditch, incorporates the bluff restoration of the third piece, and completely loses the visual aspect of the restoration of the final piece by folding the card into quarters. Granted, this does allow the final restoration to occur in the spectator's hand, but I feel that this trade-off weakens the effect.

So, what's the verdict? I still feel that Guy Hollingworth's The Reformation is the superior method. The routine should be in the Guy Hollingworth book that is supposed to appear sometime in the near future. (And a suggestion to the publisher of that book: Rerelease the Reformation video. It definitely helps to see Guy perform this trick.) To those trying to work out their own methods I feel that Wesley James' Pristine is worth reading and studying. I wish that Pristine had been sold with an accompanying performance video. With a routine this complex it would be nice to see what the final result is supposed to look like. I do not recommend One Tear at a Time because I think it fails to advance the piece-by-piece restoration plot.

Twenty

By Gaston Quieto

Gaston Quieto is a young close-up magician from Argentina. He owns a Magic Bar in Buenos Aires, and his new videotape Twenty contains eight effects from his professional repertoire. Unfortunately, Mr. Quieto tackles familiar plots, and the result is a tape that will be of limited usefulness to the average close-up magician.

The tape begins with a film noir feel; Gaston leaves his apartment, walks to his car, and drives to the magic bar while being stalked by a mysterious stranger who suddenly disappears. Have we seen this before? Yep. Both of Guy Hollingworth's videos begin with Guy walking the streets of London. Been there, done that.

The first effect is a vanishing card case followed by a sandwich routine using two jokers. For the first phase of the sandwich routine, Mr. Quieto substitutes Lennart Green's Top Shot move for Daryl's Hot Shot Cut. This increases the difficulty substantially, but does it improve the effect? The Top Shot move is not invisible, it's just fast. Next is a four ace production using a variation of the Forton Pop-out move. The final phase of this production is the visual change of an indifferent card into an ace. The change looks good, but I question the practicality of using the floor as a servante. The next item, Kings Production, is not explained and will probably send viewers racing to hit the rewind button. The aces and kings are used for a variation of Paul Harris' Reset.

Two coin effects follow: Hipnosix is the vanish and reappearance of three coins, followed by the surprise production of three extra coins and a jumbo coin; Reverse Matrix is just that, another version of this plot with a method which is not as good as others I have seen. Next is a version of the Torn and Restored Card. This also uses the Top Shot move and requires that the performer be seated.

Finally, there is Through and Through, which is the most interesting effect on the tape. This is the penetration of a signed card through a glass tabletop. Based on a move of Johnny Benzais, this looks very good, although Mr. Quieto's handling is not easy, requiring a one-handed double lift and a variation of a Ross Bertram Pick-up move.

Gaston Quieto is obviously enthusiastic and talented, and I wish he had used his energies to explore more unfamiliar territories. You should know that most of these tricks are quite difficult, and will require considerable practice to do well. Many of the routines require the use of a close-up mat. Magicians who are skillful enough to perform these routines will already have their own favorite methods for the standard plots discussed. Through and Through is the best trick on the tape, but it is beyond the abilities of the average magician. And is one trick worth $30? That's for you to decide.

Psycho-Kinetic Dice By Gary Kurtz

Gary Kurtz is a dynamic performer who established an enviable reputation as a performer and creator of challenging sleight-of-hand close-up magic. In recent years he has shifted his attention to the mentalism field. (You may have seen him on television performing his version of Russian Roulette using knives and paper bags, a routine that scares the bejeezus out of me.) Psycho-Kinetic Dice comes from Gary's professional repertoire, and it is an effective demonstration of psychic ability.

You receive four dice, four 35mm film canisters, a marking pen, the necessary gimmick, and an instruction booklet. Several different effects are detailed. For example: The mentalist makes a prediction. Each of four spectators is given a die. They can examine the dice to their satisfaction. Each spectator tosses his die into a plastic beer cup. The spectators note the number on the upper face of the die. They call out these numbers, for example 4-6-2-1. This accurately matches the prediction made earlier.

Another possible effect: Each of the four dice is placed in a 35mm film container. The container caps are snapped on, and each of four spectators takes a canister. The canisters are shaken. The mentalist divines the numbers that are uppermost on each of the dice.

Gary provides several versions of each of these effects. He is thorough in his explanations, and has obviously thought a great deal about how to make each of these tests seem genuine. The underlying method is not new, but Gary has structured each routine for maximum deceptiveness. (I should also mention that these routines are geared for the stand-up performer. It is possible for the dice to make some noise as the secret maneuver is performed. If there is some distance between performer and audience this noise will not be noticed.)

Psycho-Kinetic Dice is not for the beginner. At $155 it is too expensive for the merely curious, and strong presentational skills are required. Plus, you'll need to put in some practice time in order to handle the props smoothly and casually. But if you do mentalism for a living, I think you'll find that Psycho-Kinetic Dice is a strong addition to your repertoire.

Completely Mental Volumes 1-3 By Jas Jakutsch

So who is Jas Jakutsch? Jas is a Polish-born Canadian mentalist who has been inspired by the work of Gary Kurtz. As far as I know, the Completely Mental volumes are his first published works, and while the production values are minimal, the material is uniformly excellent.

Volume 1, titled Three 4 One, begins with the description of an effective Center Tear. This center tear is then put to use in a routine called The ATAW Triple Test. By combining the center tear with a progressive anagram pump and a bluff you are able to reveal three different pieces of information. Mr. Jakutsch next describes an impression device that allows you to retrieve the information right under the audience's noses. This impression device is utilized in a routine called the JAJA Quadruple Test in which four pieces of information are divined. Volume 1 concludes with IOU, an offbeat effect involving money. This routine has a nice, unexpected kicker.

Volume Two focuses on routines using billets. Numerous switches and peeks are explained. The final routine is a five-part divination. Volume Three is devoted to routines using playing cards, specifically routines in which the mentalist divines cards that have been selected from a thoroughly shuffled deck. These routines incorporate a familiar card-cheating stratagem used in a very clever way.

All the routines in the Completely Mental volumes are completely thought out performance pieces, and as such they will be of most use to the experienced mentalist. These are not particularly easy routines; in addition to a strong stage presence the performer will also need mental and digital dexterity. But the material is top-notch, extremely clever and well constructed. All three volumes of the Completely Mental series are worth your serious consideration.

Blood, Sweat, and Pinky Breaks By Magnus

Magnus is a young man who, since age 14, has made his living as a close-up magician. In 1997 he suffered an injury which has temporarily sidelined his performing career. In Blood, Sweat, and Pinky Breaks he gives the nuts-and-bolts information that you need to know if you want to make a living from magic.

The specific venue discussed in this book is restaurant magic, and Magnus makes excellent suggestions on what type of venues to approach, how to make the sale to the general manager of the restaurant, how to deal with the service staff, and how to deal with the customers. In addition, there is also a section on how to work private parties.

I liked this book very much. The advice is practical and is presented in a no-nonsense way. Many magicians who are good performers and entertainers have no business sense whatsoever. Blood, Sweat, and Pinky Breaks will get you headed in the right direction. I recommend it.

Chicken Ala Card By Gerry Frenette

John Moehring loaned me his copy of Magic Christian's excellent German language book, J. N. Hofzinser: NonPlus Ultra (See "It's Not English, But." in last month's Marketplace). The book is full of surprises, but for me the most amazing revelation was that Hofzinser was the first magician to pull a folded-up card out of the rear end of a rubber chicken. Apparently, Hofzinser had improvised the trick at a dinner party. He had had a card selected, signed and returned to the deck. Suddenly, Madame Hofzinser knocked over a glass of wine, and during the ensuing distraction Hofzinser folded up the card and shoved it into the small squab which had just been placed in front of him. When the commotion died down, Hofzinser showed his hands empty, reached into the backside of the squab, and delicately plucked out the card. The dinner guests went wild. The trick was immediately added to Hofzinser's salon show, using a ceramic chicken instead of a real squab.

(At this point I should mention that I neither read nor speak the German language, so I'm sort of guessing at the actual description in the J. N. Hofzinser: Non Plus Ultra book. I called Richard Hatch for confirmation, but he kept laughing and dropping the phone, so I'm not sure if I have translated this correctly.)

Anyway, I mention all this because it's possible that you have wanted to add this classic (and classy) effect to your stand-up repertoire. If so, you're in luck, because Canada's Gerry Frenette has created a routine and assembled all the props to allow you to do just that.

The Chicken Ala Card routine is designed for stand-up venues. A card is selected, signed, and returned to the deck. The deck is placed into a top hat, and is given further shuffles inside the hat. (When he does this, Mr. Frenette says, "I'll shuffle the cards inside this top hat so there's no possibility of sleight-of-hand." The ludicrousness of this remark gets a huge laugh from the audience, but I'm not sure that Mr. Frenette realizes that the line is funny.) The rubber chicken is brought out and held by the claws. The chicken's head is lowered into the top hat in an attempt to find the chosen card. The bird is lifted, a card is hanging from its beak. It is not the signed card. This is repeated twice more, but to no avail. Finally, the chicken is squeezed and a plastic egg pops out of its nether region. The egg is opened, and inside is a folded played card. It is the signed selection.

Mr. Frenette provides you with all the props necessary to perform this trick.. .almost. You get the gaffed rubber chicken, shim cards, holder, plastic eggs, and a video that shows Mr. Frenette performing and explaining the routine. However, if you're going to use Mr. Frenette's sleight-free method you'll need a container of some type (such as a top hat), and a magician's table that has an inner shelf on which the rubber chicken can rest. When I do stand-up I work out of a briefcase which rests on top of a stand. I would not be able to use Mr. Frenette's method. (However, if you know anything about sleight-of-hand, you should be able to work out another method for doing this trick.)

At $65, Chicken Ala Card seems a bit pricey to me. But if the effect appeals, you may appreciate not having to track down all the necessary props.

Dave's 16-Digit Deception By David R. Landry

I'm not sure what to say about this new mathematical trick from Dave Landry. Here's what happens: The magician hands out a sheet of paper and a pencil to many members of his audience (the more the merrier). On the paper are 36 small boxes connected with lines and arrows. Each member of the audience takes out a credit card and writes one digit of the credit card number into one of the top row of boxes. There follows a series of additions, subtractions, and multiplications. At the conclusion of this mathematical manipulation, an amazing coincidence is revealed.

Well, what can I say? I applaud Mr. Landry for discovering a little-know fact about credit cards and attempting to apply this information to a magic effect. However, I think that this trick would be about as entertaining as stopping your performance and having the audience fill out their tax forms. The method of the trick demands that each audience member perform all the calculations accurately. Considering the complete math incompetence of the average American, you've got the potential for a trick which is going to fail more times than it succeeds.

Mr. Landry includes the instructions, sample audience worksheets, and a 3.5 floppy disk with files that will allow you to print out more sheets. He also has a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you're unhappy with the trick, you can return it. My own preference would be to bring a Chia Pet to the show, water it, and invite my spectators to watch the grass grow. But perhaps you can think of a way to make Dave's 16-Digit Deception entertaining. If so, more power to you.

Update Department

All Thumbs (Marketplace, April 1999) is now available from Lea P. Magic, 3008 Ripon Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89134-7522. The Psycho-Kinetic Pen (Marketplace, March 1999) has been withdrawn from the market. And the results of the Wonder Words 3 spider story

(Marketplace, April 1999) are in. Most who replied were unaffected by the NLP sentence construction.

R.I.P. Department

It is always disheartening when a wonderful trick is thoughtlessly exposed to the general public. The latest casualty in this headlong rush to make everyone in the world a magician is Fizz-Master, a trick from The Art of Astonishment, Book 2. How good is this trick? So good I wish that it had never been published. The effect is offbeat and original, and the method is completely counterintuitive. Someone named Matthew J. Costello tips the trick in an article titled "Anywhere Magic" in the June 1999 issue of GAMES magazine. Curiously, in the introduction to the article Mr. Costello writes, "Magicians prefer to keep their tricks secret. After all, what fun is it if you learn to do something cool and then discover that everyone you meet knows the exact same trick." Nicely said, Mr. Costello. A pity that you can't follow your own advice. None of the tricks exposed are of Mr. Costello's creation, and as far as I can tell his knowledge of magic comes from reading books geared to the general public. (He credits Fizz-Master to Penn and Teller, an assumption that probably came from a less than thorough reading of How to Play in Traffic) Fizz-Master is actually the creation of Paul Harris and Eric Mead, and I send my condolences to the parents on the loss of their child.

Robert-Houdin said it: A magician is an actor impersonating a magician. Unfortunately, the truth is closer to this: A magician is guy who owns some tricks who doesn't have a clue what acting is all about.

David Mamet knows what acting is all about. He is a successful playwright, screenwriter, and director. In True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, Mamet gives advice on such subjects as Emotions, Actions, Guilt, Concentration, Talent, Habit, and Performance and Character. Along the way he takes aim and demolishes the Stanislavsky method. I'm a Mamet fan and I enjoyed this little book immensely. I think you will, too.

(By the way, I'm always on the lookout for items to include in this section of Marketplace. My own interests tend to be limited to a few areas, so if you have any suggestions please drop me a line at [email protected].)

Details

Ultimate Slow Motion Bill Transposition by Roger Klause. $29.95. From Houdini's Magic, 6455 Industrial Rd. Suite L, Las Vegas, NV 8911 Web site at: http://www.houdini.com/whats.html

Pristine by Wesley James. 5.5 x 8.5, stapled. 41 pages. $20 plus $3 p&h. From Onyx Publications, 5265 N. Academy Blvd., Suite #3300, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

One Tear at a Time by J. C. Wagner. $29.95 postpaid in US and Canada ($37 postpaid for overseas air). From Brad Burt's Magic Shop, 4204 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111. Fax: 619-571-7943. Web site: www.magicshop.com

Twenty by Gaston Quieto. $30 plus $10 p&h. From Gaston Quieto, Esmeralda 625 8C, 1007, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fax: 5411-4325-1604. Email: [email protected]

Psycho-Kinetic Dice by Gary Kurtz. $155 postpaid. From Paravox, Inc., 2280 Avenue Regent, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 2R1, Canada. Fax: 514-487-2612.

Completely Mental Volumes 1-3 by Jas Jakutsch. 8.5 x 11, plastic spine bound. Each volume approximately 25 single-sided pages. $25 per volume. $70 for all three. From Paravox, Inc., 2280 Avenue Regent, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 2R1, Canada. Fax: 514487-2612.

Blood, Sweat, and Pinky Breaks by Magnus. 8.5 x 11, plastic comb bound. 34 single sided pages. $19.95 plus $3 p&h. From Magnus, 623 Darren Way, Grand Junction, CO 81504

Chicken Ala Card by Gerry Frenette. $65 plus $8 p&h. From Gerry Frenette, 1240 Bancroft Dr., Mississauga, Ontario, L5V 1B4, Canada. Fax: 905-567-4826. Email: [email protected]

Dave's 16-Digit Deception by David R. Landry. $15. From David Landry, 3504 Driftstone Circle, Fayetteville, NC 28311

True and False by David Mamet. 6 x 8, paperback. 127 pages. $11.00 ISBN: 0679772642. From Vintage Books. Available from your local bookstore or amazon.com.

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