Shock Wave

I'm writing this column just a few weeks after the tragic events in New York City and Washington, DC. While we were all shocked and outraged, what surprised me the most was how quickly a terrorist act on the East Coast affected the lives of people 3000 miles away.

I worked at the Houdini Lounge on Tuesday night, September 11. My plan was to keep a low profile and just play some soft background music. I didn't even put out table tents. The lounge was full of people who were stuck in Vegas. To my surprise, at least six groups of people came into the lounge and asked for magic. My guess is that they needed something to take their minds off the events of the day, and I was happy to provide that.

On Saturday, September 15, the casinos began laying off employees. Nobody wanted to fly, people were canceling room reservations, corporations were canceling conventions. More than 10,000 people were laid off, including some of the bar staff and musicians who are my friends. It was a tense and scary time.

Happily, as I write this at the end of September, it appears as if we are returning to business as usual. People are getting back on airplanes, room reservations are increasing, and conventions are rebooking. An enormous number of lives have been affected by these senseless acts. I hope that your days are becoming a bit more peaceful.

On a completely different note, this month we catch up on the videos that have been released recently. Next month we'll finish the year by checking out the books that have been piling up.

Herb Zarrow on the Zarrow Shuffle

By Herb Zarrow. $34.95 for DVD, $29.95 for videotape. Postpaid in US. From Meir Yedid Magic, P.O. Box 2566, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410. Fax: 201-703-8872. Email: [email protected]. Website: www.mymagic.com

On the back page of issue #346 of The New Phoenix magazine (published by Jay Marshall) was an unassuming sleight titled "Full Deck Control by a Riffle Shuffle." The sleight was described in a few hundred words, accompanied by four illustrations. In a remarkable moment of understatement, Herb Zarrow, the creator of the shuffle wrote, "The following is a sleight which I developed after considerable work and which I think will be of interest to card men." The shuffle, which became known as the Zarrow Shuffle, proved to be of considerable interest to both magicians and card hustlers. In his introduction to Dai Vernon's Revelations, Persi Diaconis wrote, "Zarrow's shuffle may very well be the single most important practical card move invented since Erdnase."

Since its appearance in The New Phoenix, many descriptions of the Zarrow Shuffle have appeared in print and on video. Dai Vernon's handling was described in More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, Karl Fulves published an issue of Epilogue devoted to the shuffle, Roberto Giobbi devotes several pages to the shuffle in Card College Volume 3, and recently video explanations have been offered by both Bill Malone and Dominique Duvivier. One person who has remained taciturn on the subject, is Herb Zarrow, who has published nothing beyond his original explanation of the sleight. (I should mention, however, that Herb has always been extremely gracious when asked for personal help on the shuffle. I remember watching him perform the shuffle at a magic convention in the late 1970s. His execution of the shuffle was otherworldly.)

Fortunately for all of us, Herb has succumbed to the persuasive abilities of Meir Yedid, and has recorded his techniques and applications on a DVD titled Herb Zarrow on the Zarrow Shuffle (also available on videotape). In addition to a thorough explanation of the shuffle itself, Herb has tipped techniques and applications that have been held tight for more than 40 years.

On the DVD Herb is joined by long-time friends John Mintz and Ronald Wohl. Herb's teaching method is loose and free form, rather than tightly structured. There is nothing wrong with this, but every now and then important information is given out of order. Because of this you will want to watch this DVD several times. It will also behoove you to take some notes, so you will remember the essential factors that make the shuffle deceptive.

As he explains the original shuffle, Herb offers information on speed, cover cards, simulating resistance, cutting sequences, the importance of double hand movements, and one and two shuffle sequences. Herb offers several suggestions that increase the deceptiveness of the shuffle if your audience is watching from a distance. (The front side of the deck is vulnerable when the audience views the shuffle from a distance.) The various shuffle combinations, especially the double cover and two-shuffles and cut sequences, look very good.

In addition to the shuffle techniques, Herb demonstrates and explains several effects that incorporate the Zarrow Shuffle. Of particular interest to me were the Cull Stack, in which the performer can both cull cards and stack them in a single operation, and Attraction, a routine that appears to require enormous skill, but is really fairly easy to do.

The production values of this DVD are quite good, and the menu system allows you to easily find any of the techniques or the routines. One small quibble, near the beginning of the DVD there is some very loud coughing by one of the participants. This could have easily been muted in the editing process, and I'm a little surprised that it wasn't.

As Herb mentions at the beginning of the DVD, from the standpoint of expert execution it would have been better if this material had been recorded 25 years ago. However, even if Herb's fingers sometimes fail to move as adroitly as they once did, the information offered shines through. For anyone who is serious about learning this most valuable of card techniques, Herb Zarrow on the Zarrow Shuffle is a must have DVD.

(Incidentally, if you order directly from Meir and indicate that you read about the DVD in MAGIC, you'll receive a free autographed Herb Zarrow Commemorative FFFF postcard.)

The Restaurant Act Twists of Fate

By Paul Wilson. Each video $29.95. Both for $54.95. Free postage in US and Canada. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 800-876-8437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com

One thing I admire about Mac King's act is that it is an act. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Its various parts are tied together thematically and there are a huge number of callbacks. As a close-up performer, I've never really had an act. I have repertoire that can be combined into various configurations, usually incorporating three routines, that provide a satisfactory opener, middle routine, and closer, but I've never sat down and tried to work out an act. Paul Wilson, however, has. Inspired by a lecture given by Steve Hamilton, Paul has taken four effects and structured them into an effective and cohesive close-up act, suitable for restaurants or other strolling venues. On The Restaurant Act, a new video from A-1 MagicalMedia, Paul explains every nuance of this practical and commercial act.

Paul's restaurant act consists of four routines: a vanishing handkerchief routine, a sponge ball routine, an Ambitious Card routine with a Card in Wallet finish, and a Chop Cup routine. The act has several features that will appeal to the strolling performer. At the conclusion of the performance the act is completely reset. You can immediately walk to another table and begin again. The amount of table space required is minimal. In fact, all that is needed is enough space to put down the Chop Cup. If you eliminate the Chop Cup routine the act can be done without a table. This is important for those who work cocktail parties where most of the audience is standing. The act can easily be shortened or lengthened. In fact, Paul offers alternative tricks that he carries with him just in case something goes wrong with one of the four routines that make up the act.

Considering the fact that the routines that make up the act are standard ones, you might assume that this video is geared toward the novice close-up performer. Beginners will certainly find much of value here, but experienced performers will also learn a thing or two. Paul's handlings for these effects are excellent, and his tips, hints, and suggestions can be adapted to your own act. Even if you never perform any of these routines, it is useful to see how a pro works out every detail. (For example, there is a reason behind the color of the sponge balls Paul uses. As an exercise, you might want to figure out the reason before he explains it.) In addition to the restaurant act, Paul also offers valuable suggestions on performing close-up magic in the real world.

The only downside of The Restaurant Act is that Paul performs for a group of "laymen" who have obviously seen a lot of magic. How bad is it? At one point Paul brings out his wallet. An assisting spectator asks, "Does it have a zippered compartment?" I understand that footage was shot in a real restaurant, but for one reason or another this footage was not usable. It is the responsibility of the producer to provide an environment that shows off the artist to his best advantage, and in this case Mike Maxwell really dropped the ball. As I viewed the video it was clear to me that Paul was dismayed that material that usually played very well was getting a lackluster reaction. This is a pity. Both Paul and the purchasers of this video deserved better.

A-1 has also released another video of Paul Wilson material titled Twists of Fate. The routines presented here will fool both laymen and magicians. The emphasis is on card and coin magic, although there are two excellent miscellaneous items. Among the card routines are Stealing Second (a second deal demonstration with a double duke kicker), Three Cards Found (a routine that incorporates Paul's excellent Tabled Double), and Randall Flag (a self-working routine that is a real magician fooler.) The coin routines include Penihook (influenced by Larry Jennings and John Ramsay) and Coin Popper (a visually arresting method for making a coin pop into existence). I'm partial to the two miscellaneous routines. A Darkness Rises is a method for making spirit writing appear. Happily it does not use flaps or the Out-to-Lunch principle. Hot Zone is a dark twist on the standard Torn and Restored Cigarette Paper. Instead of being torn, the cigarette paper becomes the repository for the dreaded Ebola virus. Even though the presentation is played with tongue firmly in cheek, you'll want to choose your audience carefully for this one.

As usual, Paul's performance and explanations are top-notch, but sometimes the camera fails to capture all the action. In particular, Hot Zone suffers from a camera that is simply too far away.

Despite the production limitations, I recommend both these videos. There is information of value to both the novice and the experienced close-up performer.

(Some may wonder why I recommend The Restaurant Act video when I have recently responded negatively to videos that also feature standard routines and familiar plots. There are three reasons why I find The Restaurant Act to be worthwhile. 1) Although the plots and props are standard, Paul's handlings are clever and interesting. 2) Paul has thought deeply about these routines, and the "why" behind each routine is valuable. 3) Paul is one of the finest technicians in magic. You will not go wrong if you choose to emulate what you see.)

The Revolutionary Coin Magic of Jay Sankey

By Jay Sankey. $30 plus $1.50 p&h. From Jay Sankey, 360-A Bloor Street West, P.O. Box 68589, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1X1. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.jaysankey.com

Way back in 1982, Richard Kaufman received a letter from Jay Sankey. Sankey wrote, "I am writing you to see if you are working on any venture at present in which you might be interested in publishing some original and (in my opinion) revolutionary coin concepts along with some very practical and unique applications." Kaufman hooked up with Sankey at a Close-up Encounters convention in Rochester, New York. Sankey made a believer of Kaufman, and Richard published a Jay Sankey issue of Richard's Almanac in 1983. A lot of Sankey material appeared in the Almanac, and Jay and Richard produced several books together.

Jay Sankey had a big influence on the close-up magic of the 1980s, but then he faded away, concentrating on his stand-up comedy career. In the last few years, however, he has resurfaced with a vengeance, producing "homebrew" videotapes and several individually marketed effects. His latest effort is an extensive (one hour, fifty minutes) videotape featuring a wide variety of coin magic. Sankey fans will enjoy having all this material available on one tape. Those who are unfamiliar with Sankey's brand of offbeat magic will find much to keep them amused.

There are 38 titled items on The Revolutionary Coin Magic of Jay Sankey. Some of the items are just explanations of coin sleights, but most of the time Jay explains a sleight and then demonstrates a routine that utilizes the sleight. There are some old favorites here, including Cartesian Coins, Pyramid (here titled One by One), Royal Rivet, Slick Splits, and H.P.C. - C.P.H. that originally appeared in Richard's Almanac. Some items such as the Flying Shuttle Pass, Mexican Jumping Coins, No Jacket Required, and The Messiah Coin Vanish have appeared on recent Sankey videos. (I don't have copies of the Sankey books, so I can't check on which routines appear there.) Those worried about repurchasing material they already own should check the Sankey web site for a complete list of the effects on the video.

Jay offers a wide variety of material on this video. Some of the routines are quite simple, while others will require some serious practice. There are some tricks that I thought were absolutely great, while others left me cold. Whatever your taste in coin magic, there should be something here that appeals to you. Be sure to take a look at Cartesian Coins, Slick Splits, Plastic Surgery (use a quarter instead of a half dollar and you'll have a great impromptu-looking routine), Nest Egg, Silver Lining, One by One, Under Wraps (another excellent impromptu trick), Mr. Clean Coins Across, and Ups and Downs.

The format of The Revolutionary Coin Magic of Jay Sankey is similar to his other recent videos - a one camera, home-movie shoot, recorded in his apartment. Jay is a wild and crazy guy, and the demonstrations and explanations are often very funny. However, I should warn young readers of this magazine that if they are watching the video in the same room as their parents they should turn the sound down at the beginning of the tape. In his introduction to the video Sankey uses two words that I have never heard on a magic video. There's nothing wrong with this, but youngsters probably don't want their parents to be shocked.

Although much of this material has appeared in other books or videos, having it assembled in one place is convenient and gives an excellent overview of Jay's approach to coin magic. As Richard Kaufman wrote in The Collected Almanac, "Jay's magic uniquely embodies the necessity of seeing the ideas performed before judging them." The Revolutionary Coin Magic of Jay Sankey gives you that chance. Recommended.

(By the way, because of the large number of items presented, this video would be a prime candidate for conversion to DVD. Hint, hint.)

On the Spot

By Gregory Wilson. $50 plus $4 p&h. From MagicSmith, 23192 Alcalde, Suite H, Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Fax: 949-452-0763. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.magicsmith.com

Gregory Wilson is a hot commodity these days. He performed at the MAGIC Live! convention in August, and then 30 days later returned to Vegas to perform at a close-up convention hosted by Danny Archer and Robert Allen. Gregory's latest offering is On the Spot, a two-video set focusing on impromptu magic, a subject he has explored on an earlier video, Off the Cuff.

For those of you who are newcomers to the magic scene I should explain that impromptu magic means that the magician performs his tricks with whatever objects are available. No sponge balls, Okito Boxes, or Chop Cups are allowed. Of course, it is possible to carry gaffs that resemble common objects, thus producing more impossible-seeming effects, but impromptu aficionados prefer to work with just the objects at hand. (Remember, please, that impromptu does not mean unrehearsed. These tricks take just as much practice as the routines that comprise your formal close-up set.)

There are two ways to utilize impromptu material. One way is to use these effects when friends ask to see a trick and you are not carrying any magic props. (This has never happened to me, but then again, I have no friends.) The other approach is to incorporate these effects into your formal strolling repertoire, utilizing the objects that you find in your performing venue. This is a very disarming and organic approach, because it appears to the spectators as if you can do magic with anything.

Thirteen items are explained on the two On the Spot videos. Gregory begins with % Across, in which three quarters travel from the right hand to the left. (Curiously, this routine is almost identical to Jay Sankey's Mr. Clean Coins Across.) Ring Fright uses an ancient child's trick to set up a spectator for the apparent mutilation of her ring. A Questionable Trick is an ungaffed copper/silver transposition. Florida Keys shows you how to magically link and unlink your house key from your key ring. (This trick is not totally impromptu.) Quick Silver is a multi-phased routine in which a coin vanishes and reappears in the magician's eye, on the spectator's shoulder, and under the spectator's watch. While Gregory credits Apollo Robbins for one phase of the routine, he fails to mention that Apollo has been performing a very similarly structured routine for many years. Apollo's routine, however, is much more thoughtfully constructed than the simple routine Greg presents. The first tape concludes with Glossy Finish (a version of the Ash Trick performed with lipstick) and Head Trip (Greg's personalization of the Slydini Paper Balls Over the Head).

On the second video you will find Sponge Napkins (a sponge ball routine done with balled up paper napkins), Toll Free (a multiplying coin routine using the Sylvester Pitch), 99 Cents (a vanish of four quarters with a surprise kicker), Recap Revisiting (a reworking of an effect from Off the Cuff), and two pickpocket routines, Playful Pickpocketing and Ticker Taker.

On the Spot contains practical, commercial magic, although some of the effects are hardly masterpieces of creativity. (How much imagination does it take to do a sponge ball routine with napkins rather than sponge balls?) The format of the tapes is this: Gregory performs the routines out on the street, for real people in real life locations. He then performs the routine again in a studio setting and then explains the routine. Following this, there is another real life performance of the routine. This is a one-camera production, but the explanations are clear and you will be able to learn from the videos.

In the course of the videos Greg explains two utility moves, The All-Around Vanish and The Pitch and Ditch. (These moves were also explained on the Off the Cuff video.) In several routines Greg uses the Pitch and Ditch to clean up after the routine has ended. For this purpose the move works quite well. In one routine he tries to use the move to vanish a coin and he gets busted. I believe there is a lesson here.

I would also like to make a quick comment on the pickpocket material explained on these videos. Watch steals are very popular these days. Greg explains how to steal a watch and also explains how to snatch other objects off a spectator. What is not addressed are the implications and consequences of performing this type of "intrusive" material. There is a big difference between performing a pickpocket act on stage and performing one close-up. I am very weary of approaching a table, announcing that I am a magician, and having one of the spectators say, "Keep an eye on your watch and your wallet." Is the term "magician" now synonymous with "thief"? What is the relationship you want to establish with your audience? Remember, just because you give the watch back doesn't mean that you didn't steal it. One more thought: what are you going to say when you return the watch and the spectator tells you, "That's not my watch. That's a knockoff. My watch was a genuine Rolex" I'm not saying that pickpocket effects are good, bad, or indifferent. I'm just asking that you give some thought to what is involved before you add such an effect to your repertoire.

So what's the bottom line? On the Spot contains useful material that is within the abilities of the intermediate close-up performer. Learn a few of these routines and you'll never be at a loss when someone says, "Hey, you're a magician. Show us a trick."

Johnny Ace Palmer Trilogy of Magic

By Johnny Ace Palmer. Each video $30. From MagicSmith, 23192 Alcalde, Suite H, Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Fax: 949-452-0763. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.magicsmith.com

Johnny Ace Palmer has won a lot of awards. He won the Magic Castle's Close-up Magician of the Year award two years in a row. He won the I.B.M.'s Gold Cups award and the S.A.M.'s Gold Medal award. And he is the only close-up magician who has won the Grand Prix at FISM. He has now released a three-video set titled Johnny Ace Palmer's Trilogy of Magic. Whether these videos are useful to you will depend on your expectations. Considering Johnny's success in winning contests and his reputation in the magic world, I was surprised at how little information was actually here.

Volume 1 is titled Expressions of a World Champion Magician. If you are planning on entering a magic contest, the information offered on this tape may be of use to you. The tape begins with Johnny performing his award-winning act, which includes the famous Cups and Balls/Baby Chicks routine and the Doves from Lap finale. Johnny then offers advice on how to develop an award-winning act. Of most value here is the recounting of Johnny's journey to the Grand Prix. He had a goal, he never lost sight of that goal, and he didn't give up when he didn't immediately achieve that goal. This dedication and perseverance is admirable and inspirational. Johnny then discusses Style, Material, Timing, Standing Ovation Techniques, and Practice Techniques. The section on Practice Techniques contains some very strange information. In preparing the FISM act, Johnny was obsessed with concluding the production of the Coke bottle (his first effect) at exactly 18 seconds into his act. He never explains why this was important to him, and more importantly, he never explains why this should be important to us. Johnny also suggests practicing the act backwards and practicing the act blindfolded, but he offers these suggestions as if they were something he once read in book. He gives no rationale why these practice methods would be useful.

Under the heading of Principles and Concepts Johnny discusses Misdirection, The Rule of Three, Respect, Salad Bar Magic (Improvisation), Multiple Methods, Audience Participation, The Camouflage Principle, and the One Ahead Principle. The discussion of these topics is extremely superficial. The tape concludes with the performance and explanation of several effects: a completely standard Egg Bag routine, several routines that utilize a card force, a routine with three handkerchiefs (for some reason this trick has recently shown up on a lot videos), and a gag you can do with your car horn.

Volume 2, titled Magic for Fun and Entertainment, contains ten routines, most of which are completely uninteresting. Five of the routines (Vanishing Bobby Pin, Hocus Pocus Pocket, Mysterious Key, Scotch and Soda, and Travelling Match) are beginner's tricks that will only be of interest to the novice. Of more interest are three routines that Johnny uses in restaurant situations. For some reason there is no mention of these tricks on the video box. These include a multi-phased coin routine (incorporating various flourishes, a transformation into a finger ring, and a ring and string sequence), a card transposition combined with Card in Shoe (this is explained on the third video), and a Cups and Balls routine. The Cups and Balls routine is very good, and may well be the best item of the three tapes. The routine is direct and to the point, and it has lots of spectator interaction.

Seven routines are explained on the third video. Included are: an Invisible Deck routine, Coin Under Watch, Card in Shoe (this is the routine that was performed on the second video), Coins Through the Table, Card on the Ceiling, Crazy Man's Handcuffs, and the production of a miniature 7-Up bottle. There is nothing wrong with any of these routines, but then again, there is nothing extraordinary either. With the exception of the Card in the Shoe and the 7-Up Bottle Production these are routines that have been explained many times over in both print and video mediums. Why sell them to us one more time?

I think that Johnny Ace Palmer is a good person with a sincere desire to impart information to magicians. Unfortunately, much of the information he offers is superficial and has been presented far more thoroughly by others. If you are thinking about competing in magic contests you may find Volume One to be inspirational. If you are looking for a commercial Cups and Balls routine, Volume Two may be worthwhile. I'm not sure why MagicSmith decided to produce three tapes. There is simply not enough original material to justify the Johnny Ace Palmer Trilogy of Magic.

Martin Lewis' Card Creations

By Martin Lewis. $30 plus $3.50 p&h. From Magikraft Studios, 11639 Sandpiper Court, Moreno Valley, CA 92557. Fax: 909-247-1666. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.magikraft.com.

Martin Lewis offers six card routines and a Chop Cup routine on this new video. With the exception of the first item, The One Hand Boomerang, the card tricks require very little technical ability. The One Hand Boomerang, however, will require some work. A card is selected and returned to the deck. The deck is held in the right hand. The top card of the deck spins up into the air, spirals back down, and is caught in the middle of the deck. The cards above the boomerang card are lifted. The bottom card of this half is the selected card.

Other card tricks include a clever method for the Whispering Joker, Eye Opener (a prediction effect with a surprise kicker), Magician's Poker (a routine that incorporates Martin's marketed effect Ghost Deal), and Little Switch (a close-up version of Big Switch, in which the wrong card is changed into the right card by means of a light switch).

The Chop Cup routine uses a can of peas. Martin explains how to construct the props. The routine is fairly standard, but the prop provides opportunities for comedy.

The tricks on Martin Lewis' Card Creations are not particularly earth shaking, but they are practical and for the most part easy to do.

Martin also has a new trick out called the Ghostwriter ($35 plus $3.50 p&h). You take a bar napkin and draw a circle on it with a ballpoint pen. You ball up the napkin and place it on the point of the pen. A spectator holds the pen with the napkin on its tip. A card is selected (forced). The napkin is unfolded. Written within the circle is the name of the selected card.

The pen Martin provides does all the work, and it is a lot of fun to play with. You'll have to spend some time getting comfortable with the handling, and you'll need to perform this on a table or a bar. Ghostwriter is a nifty little trick.

Working Alone

By Danny Archer. $30 plus $3.50 p&h. From Danny Archer Magic, 303 S. Broadway, B 392, Denver, CO 80209-1511. Fax: 303-355-2013. Email: [email protected].

Danny Archer is a professional magician, a magic dealer, founder of The Magician's Lecture Network, and one of the organizers of a close-up convention recently held in Las Vegas. Working Alone is a videotape that was shot live at one of Danny's lectures. The lecture includes five stand-up routines, three close-up routines, and an explanation of the Archer Shuffle (a false in-the-hands riffle shuffle that appeared in MAGIC a few years ago).

The stand-up routines include: Balls, a simple manipulative routine in which balls appear, vanish, and change color; Triple Threat, a no-gaff version of Mental Epic; Par for the Course, a prediction effect using a golf scorecard; Magic Jeopardy, an easy (and inexpensive) version of Key-rect; and Outfoxed, a version of the Paul Fox Miracle Gimmick. The close-up routines include: Play it by Ear, a variation on an ancient coin vanish; Lost & Smelled, a funny card discovery; and Barrel of Fun, in which a marked coin is found in a nest of barrels (of the plastic, child's toy variety).

While none of these routines are radically new, they are solid variations that are well within the abilities of the average magician. Danny has also given some thought to the presentations, making it easier for viewers to add these routines to their repertoires. Although the video was shot live, the camera work is good and you will be able to learn from this tape.

Pasteboard Animations

By Dan and Dave Buck. $30 plus $5 p&h. From Dan and Dave Buck, 16620 S. Creekside Drive, Sonora, CA 95370. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.geocities.com/pasteboardanimations/index.html

Dan and Dave Buck were part of the close-up show at the MAGIC Live! convention, and they wowed everybody with their card flourishes. These young men do some serious card juggling. Those of you who enjoy flourishes (and flourishy magic) should immediately pick up a copy of Pasteboard Animations. On this video the Buck brothers tip 12 snazzy items, including the legendary Leno Cut that requires the use of both hands and your chin. The tape is a homebrew production and is only 20 minutes long, which makes it a bit pricey in today's video market. I think that in this case you are definitely paying for information. Dan and Dave have a book (which is currently unavailable) that describes these moves, but in comparing the two I think that video is a better medium when trying to explain the movements of packets of cards through three-dimensional space. Be aware, however, that this is tough stuff and will require serious practice.

The Mystic Craig Video Collection Volumes 1-4

From William McIlhany. $103 postpaid, NTSC only. From William H. McIlhany, P.O. Box 7486, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Fax: 310-205-7952. Email: [email protected].

Attendees at the MAGIC Live! convention had a chance to see a lot of movie clips from Bill McIlhany's collection. (My favorite was a pompous magician performing in front of a group of completely indifferent children.) Bill has now released a four-videotape set of magic filmed by Mystic Craig (William Vagell). This footage was shot in the early 1950s through the mid 1960s and features performances by Bro. John Hamman, Jack Miller, Edward Victor, Peter Warlock, Jack Miller, Clarke Crandall, U.F. Grant, and Kalanag. These are not really teaching tapes, although you can certainly learn from these tapes. What is fascinating is getting the chance to see a performer that you had only read about.

My favorite moments include: a very nervous Bro. John Hamman, who, despite his nerves, fooled me at least twice; Clarke Crandall performing his Six Card Repeat Routine from Tarbell; Vernon performing the Coins and Champagne Glass and the Cards to Pocket; and Jack Miller lecturing, who was completely different from how I had imagined him.

Having a chance to watch these performers is a great gift, and I know that historians and collectors will find these videos to be a valuable resource. Students of the craft will also enjoy watching young incarnations of their heroes. My thanks to Bill McIlhany for making The Mystic Craig Video Collection available.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

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

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment