right. Every real pro knows that he is the servant of his public and not the master. If somebody does not like him or his act, for whatever reason or however unreasonably, he should be grateful to them if they go to the trouble of pointing it out. No performer will ever be 100% perfect. None will ever be able to please all of the people, all of the time. However, every performer should aim for these goals. If there is something about the performer, or his act, which alienates one person, then in all probability it will alienate others as well. The difference is that most of them will say nothing and avoid or ignore that particular act. The odd one, who does stand up and makes his feelings, felt is doing that performer a great favour. He may not intend it that way but that is what is happening. He is telling the performer why he does not always get the results that he expects. If it is something that the performer can rectify, he has the chance of dicing so. If it is not, at least he knows where he stands. * * * *
It is nice, from time to time, to hear of different people pushing forward the frontiers, of the close-up scene. One such young man is David Eagger. He tells me that he has been booked to tour the country, doing a series of promotional trade shows for Southern Comfort. If this goes well, there may be more to follow and all at very good money. * * * *
I am writing this in the aftermath of Blackpool. As usual, this was an excellent convention, providing as it does, the chance to meet so many old friends and, hopefully, to make some new ones. I am always amazed at the number of people, who tell me that they read Pabular and, more importantly, use the material from it.
It is not normal practise, in this magazine, to mention the stage shows. We have little enough space as it is and try to use it to give a detailed review of the close-up. This year, however, I feel that I must give a mention to Ian Kent, who compered the gala show. In my humble opinion, he was one of the best comperes that I have ever seen on a magic show, anywhere. He did no tricks and wasted no time on ego trips. When he was required to fill in, he did so, using very funny, well delivered material. When the act was ready, he finished and got off. One act had problems, which he coped with and covered entertainingly.
The show would have been first class without him but his efforts lifted it that little bit more.
AMONG THE GREAT UNWASHED (Close-Up at Blackpool)
They are a tough breed in the North of England. Anybody, staying at the Gables Hotel, soon found this out. The hotel advertises and charges for private bathrooms and showers. However, the notice on the reception desk said that the management "regret" that there is no hot water, owing to a failure in the plumbing. The management may have "regretted" this but their regret did not go deep enough for them to consider any positive action, such as providing kettles in the rooms to heat some water. Anybody, who complained or asked for a discount got short shirft and as for those, who requested clothes pegs for their noses As
I said, these northeners are a hardy breed.
With regard to the close-up itself. This was a pretty mixed bag. The undoubted star turn was Dan O'Donoghue. He scored well at the Martin Breese day, last year. I saw him there and have no doubt that he creates a big impact. Quite why this is, I am not so sure. His magic is not unduly spectacular and there are several dead spots-like the time, when he has a spectator count down to a number of cards. While this is being done, nothing is said. There is a certain amount of fumbling going on below the table top. By rights the audience should lose interest. In fact they do not. They watch intently, bear with it, applaud wildly and follow him round from table to table. I suppose that is talent (or do the British just love an Irish accent — witness the popularity of Terry Wogan, Henry Kelly and Eamon Andrews). I shall watch Dan's progress with interest. He has a lot going for him and will be really, really good. He does, however, need to tighten up some of his presentations.
Undoubtedly the performers, who score best, in this type of show, are those with the clearest voices and those, who do "three dimensional" magic (with large, solid objects, rather than cards or coins). Mo Howarth for instance, was very quiet — almost inaudible from where I was, at the back. His magic, on the other hand, was large and spectacular and this helped to get him across. Tricks like the tumblers through coat and vanishing the glass under the newspaper. All good, big, visual magic.
Art Emmerson too was extremely 'three dimensional" and with a good clear voice to back it up. Nice, big, visual effects, all smoothly executed. To me, his penetration, using a small tray and a Rubik's Cube, is a sheer miracle. I just have not a clue how it is done. It is the type of magic, which creates a great impression on this kind of show.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was Ken Hawes. I have known Ken for many years and am a great admirer of his skill and expertise. I also know that he has considerable professional experience. In a commercial situation, he would score very heavily. Unfortunately, close-up shows at conventions are not commercial situations. The performers must work to large audiences, against a background of noise and distractions from the adjoining tables. The performer does not have the undivided attention of his audience. They will not hang onto his every word, waiting for him to produce a miracle. They need to be hit, hit and hit again. Ken sat down and for the first half of his act just cracked gags. This may have be§n fine for the front row but from where I was, they just could not be heard. As I can only watch half of each act, if I am to see them all, I had to leave the table before I had seen a single trick. This was frankly disappointing, especially as I know how good Ken is capable of being.
Always a favourite at these conventions is Harry Nichols. He has exuberance, enthusiasm and a good clear voice. I have seen him work regularly over the last fifteen years or more. Somehow, during that time, he has never lost his freshness and vitality. His enjoyment of his magic comes across loud and clear. It may not be the greatest magic around but I have no doubt that, in the eyes of any laymen present, it was the most memorable and mystifying.
Jarjet Clare is a rather difficult act to report. People who know me will know my feelings about lady performers in general. Perhaps, one day, I will get around to putting my thoughts on the subject into print. To me, magic, when performed by a woman, does not seem to be magical. It is like magic performed by a child. It lacks authority. Mind you, having said that, it must be admitted that the same could be said of the performances of a lot of male magicians! However, I think that it is safe to predict that we shall never see a female equivalent to Kaps, Vernon, Mario or Slydini. Of course, this does not mean that women should not be allowed to have a go, if they want to. In competitions and the like, dressing, spectacle and all the sugar icing, which magical audiences confuse with good presentation, count for more than magic itself. Ladies can compete on equal, if not advantageous terms. However, having to report on a lady performer, for the first time in my life, it is necessary to put those more global considerations to one side and judge this particular one on her merits. The act was tightly routined, well worked out and performed with technical competence. Janet has a clear voice, which as has already been said, is an important asset, on this type of show.
Jack Henderson featured modelling balloons quite heavily. I am surprised that more close-up workers do not do likewise. His magic was mostly small ^tuff, using cards etc. In other words "two dimensional" but the balloons added that "third dimension" and made the whole thing bigger and more suitable for this type of show. I was very impressed with Jack and for my money he was the dark horse of the day. He also demonstrated himself as a very unselfish performer, by working much more quietly than he needed to. Had he opted to project more strongly, I think that most of the others would have had a hard time.
The final performer, that I saw, was Walt Maddison. He has lost none of his old flair since I saw him, some twenty years ago. He has a lovely line in self deprecating patter, coupled with some very nice card magic. He suffered a little from being inaudible at the back and of course his magic was "two dimensional". I enjoyed it, though, as did a lot of other people.
There is no doubt about it, the performers, who seem to make the biggest impact under these conditions are the ones, who do big solid, "three dimensional" magic. Anybody, who works on the table top, with cards or coins and the like, "puts himself at a serious disadvantage. This is a crying shame, because it means that the best performers do not always come over as being the best. This is a fact of life and anybody agreeing to appear on this type of show must take account of it. Brashness and spectacle are the order of the day.
I am told that, for the second session, two of the above performers dropped out and were replaced by Jerry Sadowitz and Richard M. Gamble. Both are regular contributors to this magazine.
Unfortunately, I was unable to see either of their offerings, so cannot review them here. Jerry's work, I have seen on and off, over the years and know it to be good in real close-up situations. I have never had the pleasure of seeing:Richard perform but having seen him demonstrate his "Blooming Aces", described in Pabular Vol 7 No 7,1 would say that he is somebody, who is going to go places. Watch out for him.
KANING MERCURY John Anders
A signed card vanishes from the pack and is discovered inside the card case, neatly folded into four. John uses this particular handling to climax his Ambitious Card routine. It can, however, stand up as an effect, in its own right.
Requirements & Preparation
An Aviator pack. The card case is gimmicked in a similar manner to the one for the Ring in Card Case, outlined in "Another Card Session with Peter Kane". That is to say that it has a small, metal flap fastened to the bottom of the inside, by means of a hinge made from adhesive tape. Thus, when the case is rattled, the sound of a small object moving around inside, is created. John uses a paper clip, attached by string.
Also, with a sharp knife make a slit, on the flap side of the case. This slit should run just below the word "Aviator", where the two colours red/blue and white meet. Fig 1 shows the completed article.
Working & Presentation
Contrive a situation where the card case is lying on the table with the slit on the underside. A card has been chosen, signed and returned. Secretly bring it to the top of the pack.
Explain that you are going to cause the card to rise to the top of the pack, while a spectator covers it with his hand. Cut off the bottom half of the pack. Place it on the table in front of your assistant, face down. Have him turn over the top card, check that it is not his and then place his hand flat over the cards.
While all this is taking place, quietly turn the remaining portion of the pack face upwards and execute the Mercury Card Fold. This is described in detail, in an effect called "Mercury's Card", in chapter eight of "Expert Card Technique". It is suggested that readers refer to that work for the full explanation. For completeness sake, however, here is a brief summary.
Fig 2 shows how the first fold is made. The right hand holds the cards, from above, by the short ends. The left, under cover of a squaring action folds the bottom card across the centre, as in the picture. The right thumb acts as a stop, for the folding to take place. When the card is folded in half, curl the left fingers around the right thumb. This will fold the card into four. Place the packet from the right hand, into the left, in a normal dealing position, to hid the folded card. Fig 3 shows this. The misdirection for the folding actions comes, while the spectator is checking the top card of the tabled packet and covering the latter with his hand.
It is necessary, on completion of the fold, to turn the folded card so that the central crease is pointing towards your body. This is to allow for easy insertion into the card case, later.
Once the folded card is in position, lift the packet out of the left hand and place it in front of the spectator. Have him cover it with his other hand, having first checked the identity of the top card.
Ask the spectator if he felt the card rise to the top of either packet. He will say no. Slap your right hand on top of his and ask him if he felt anything that time. Have him lift his hand and look at the top card of that packet. It is the same as before. Nothing has changed. The chosen card is not there.
With the right hand, pick up the card case and absently shake it. Because of the fake, it will rattle as though it contained something. Look surprised. Hold the case to the ear of a spectator on the right and shake it. Ask that person if they heard anything.
Place the case, slit towards the palm, deep into the left hand. The central fold of the card should be more or less in line with the slit in the box. If the case is moved slightly away from you and at the same time the left hand moves backwards, towards you, the card will be loaded into the case. The action takes but a second to accomplish (see Fig 4)
Shake the case close to the ear of the spectator, who chose the card. Let him hear the sound. Then withdraw it and open the flap. Hold the case, for a few seconds, in front of the eyes of a spectator, allowing a glance of the card, inside.
With the fingers of the right hand, delicately begin to withdraw the folded card. When it is half way out, extend the box towards another spectator and have him remove the card completely.
Was this article helpful?
Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.