Any juthur lmii argue thiil hifi latest hook is timely, and reasons can be bipughi forward by (he wagon-load to support the point. In the case of a magie book, the excuses for its existenec tend to be thin. Mew ideas? Mo. none of us, however liberal witii our praise, can claim t*> have laid eyes on <iny realiy new ideas f.n magic, nut J'or twenty years. Robbed of that particular claim, the magical author slctrTs to withdraw lo Ihe dense jungle of obtuse arguments and special pleas where few readers will even bother to follow him. Sn a new buok is out. and Hie author s.'jys it s the greatest yet, and lie has put forward some arguments that nobody wants to pursue. Pine, Another one for (he slieif, fo placate r hem selves for ["living laid out good money 011 a space-filier. the fraternity go around spouting Unit old one aboul a book being worth its price i(' they get only one ^ood irtt-k from It. I-ft me say right now that if I ¿;et only one good effect from a book, however small the volume, I feel robbed. Yet, writing Hops is not a deliberate p.dSLime. The iititfior most of the time. Feels lie is making :i vjjIiiJ contribution to the Craft "ihe problem thai sometime^ the writer finds that his information, so large and multi-faceted within his head, take* up only a few small sheets of paper, and the dreaded beast, padding, creeps in. My own magical bookshelf would shrink to a third its length if! could somehow remove all (he hot :iir.
So why I his book? Almost five years ago, I wrote a book called 'Professional Presentations', it was a success, a great success. Am I, then, following the fairly common practice of cashing-in on a good thing, putting out a book that may limp along to a reasonable acclaim on the strength of its well-regarded predecessor? My heated denials can be taken as read. The first book succeeded on the strength of its content; for the same a-ason. I am sure this will be an equally successful volume. Any shortcomings will be mine, the material is impeccable.
Al was one of the most remarkable people I ever met. In Britain he enjoyed a reputation of the kind normally reserved for super-stars and mystics. A lot of people still believe he had supernormal powers, yet he never used secrets that were in any way obscure. He made people believe in him, and he used presentation as the vehicle for his myth. So well-dressed were his techniques that some magicians believed that Al's talent had more to do with a psychic gift than a swami-gimmick. 1 have seen scrap books bulging with news-clippings, all acquired on the strength of just one of the effects in his book. In Bangkok, AI Koran pulled off the enviable double of almost overthrowing the government and being invited to lecture to Buddhist Priests on the subject of Mystic Contact. I can recall the astonishment of newspaper columnists and public alike where Al successfully predicted the winner of the Grand National. His knowledge, or presumed knowledge of the upper reaches of the human mind, took him all over the world; he spent several weeks as house-guest of the novelist Paul Gallico, advising on the writing of a book which became a bestseller. 'The Hand of Mary Constable'. His advice on matters of investment, romance, contact with the deceased and a dozen allied topics was sought daily, in beseeching letters from every level of society. Al Koran achieved his primary objective with total success; he fooled the public.
The Koran mysteries were aimed directly at the public. Consideration for the niceties of traditional presentation were always shelved if he felt they got in the way of his effects. Fooling magicians was one vice he never suffered; by accident, he often did mystify conjurors, but it was never deliberately contrived. Time and again, in conversation, Al would emphasise that the material was nothing without its presentation. He could demonstrate the point effectively by first performing what appeared to be a miracle, then repeating the trick, without its dressing. The difference was always spectacular. To everyone reading this book. I would insist that this advice be followed to the letter: learn the effect until its working is second nature — then work just as hard on the presentation.
Al Koran was not an inventor. There was nothing in his armoury that he could claim as original. His talent lay in turning lead to gold, straw to bricks conjuring tricks to Entertainment. When AI performed, the audience felt privileged He exuded an cxciting belief in the strength of his material, and, above all else, he was confident. He was, alter all, selling himself as a person with unusual power. Superiority cannot be transmitted haltingly, a measure of suppressed aggression and certainty is essential to the success of Koran's effects. That does not mean that you need to be a male Ethel Merman to gel his material across. Aggression, in this context, means making an encroachment on the audience's belief; this is accomplished automatically when you are sure of your material and genuinely desire to give it the best presentation of which you are capable Point two, then; have total faith in your material and give it your personal best.
Some of the effects in this present volume could not be included in 'Professional Presentations', because Al was using them in his cabaret act at the time. He also felt that too much of a good thing was just that; there was argument enough lor a second book, the only sadness is that Al died without ever seeing it. I have made every personal effort to ensure that the book will be a fitting and practical memorial. The reader may notice, for instance, that one of the effects. The Gold Medallion', has already appeared in 'Professional Presentations*. It is included here because, for the first time, we are able to describe (he method that AI Koran eventually usötf himself, in his act. ft makes a big difference to the handling, rendering the (rick virtually automatic. Similarly, the Koran touchj as ¡t was actually applied by him, lias been carefully described! Ütröugh-out the hook. The wotk lias been done for tho render, ait he need du is team.
As 1 rcl^paiked a cottple paragraphs ago. AI was no inventor. Ik- used material that suited him, and dressed ii in his own inimitable livery, Within these |>a^es are the feats with which he staggered sophisticated audiences in theatres and clubs, tho routines that gained him .1 television following that »umbered millions, and the close-up tricks with wJikh lie delighted his friends. The selection is immaculate, for the ehaiee wns AI Koran's own.
At tile end of the book is 3 short chapter on presentation, Please read i(, it is as important as any other part of the volume. Anyone whr> would emulate AI's success musi give attention to those aspects which he though! to be vital. It only requires a little 1 rouble, and the rewards are enormous
Here, then, is Koran's Legacy, I asserted that the book would be a success, ami 1 will reassert this, M contains the. amoe titrated talent of one of the tew people in our lifetime who euve magic [lie Stature il has always asmred foiii is a book replete with routines and effects that have ..II left their mark in the public memory; ii will be a success for ¡he same reason as ii-; predecessor - ii is lull of successes.
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