It's easy to see the influence of the contributors to a book because their names are right there. There are, however, other people whose contributions may not be so obvious. The one man without whom this book (and, for that matter, all my others) would not have been possible is Harry Lorayne. I had presumptuously written a book while only sixteen and he agreed to edit it, in the process teaching me not only how to write, but how to publish a book as well. He spent a lot of time rewriting it while I watched over his shoulder until he felt I understood the technique of properly describing an effect. It's rare to find a busy celebrity who is generous to a fault with his time and knowledge. Though young, I sensed the unique opportunity being offered and took advantage of it: that kind of practical experience isn't easy to come by.
Over the years Harry introduced me to many people, made a lot of connections, and provided the opportunity necessary to increase my skill at drawing. Without all of that expert teaching my work would not be as you now see it. In short, this book would probably not exist if it were not for Harry's help and advice over the past six years. I could not have asked for a finer teacher.
One name that you will see, but whose influence you may still underestimate, is David Roth. Not only has he generously contributed material which constitutes almost a quarter of the book, but he also has influenced many of the other contributors. Geoffrey Latta, Scott Weiser, David Arthur, and Les Shore have all grown up in New York City watching Roth perform. He caught the imagination of those coin men and provided new pathways for them to follow. Roth is to coin magic what Hofzinser was to card magic, and the eventual publication of his wealth of ingenious material will confirm that beyond all doubt.
Sol Stone is another major contributor, and a name you've seen before in both Apocalypse and Tar-bell No. 7. Sol developed many of his routines during the forties and fifties and a choice selection of his most cherished material comprises his section. Anyone who has seen Sol work is amazed at the smoothness of his beautifully choreographed sleights. I've tried to give a sense of his flowing rhythym in the descriptions, but it's really just style.
Every book should have a surprise, and the sudden arrival of a seemingly fully formed major talent seems appropriate. Geoffrey Latta has been a close friend of David Roth's for years, and nobody is quicker to acknowledge his debt to David than Geoff. They don't really think alike, though, and in many of the routines in Geoffs section you'll see wonderful applications of ideas that certainly signal a unique creative mind at work.
To Jon Racherbaumer, and the many other prestigious contributors like Vernon, Slydini, Marlo, Krenzel, Zarrow, and Dingle, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks. Without their almost unlimited generosity the art of magic would stop stone still. By creating and giving their ideas to all of us our art continues to expand and grow, becoming more wondrous with each passing moment.
Richard Kaufman August, 1981
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