Leftovers is continued from the back page.
Leftovers is continued from the back page.
The last issue was well received. Several sent back "bloody" bandaids. Many implied that I underestimated the number of bandages required to master the routines enclosed. I sentHarry some extra issues to send to his family and friends. He was faced with a predicament. He didn't want any of his non-magic friends to have access to the secrets. He purchased bandaids to cover the explanations. Is anyone else out there wondering if we (magicians in general) take ourselves a little too seriously?
I took a similar approach to the material in the last issue. I cleverly repeated the table of contents from the previous issue. Now, when laymen or magicians not in the know try to find the Hurricane Change, they will have to search page after page of the magazine. This is because there is no reference to the material in any of the tables of contents. They will pick up #42 and flip to the contents. It will refer them to the previous issue so they will assume there is nothing of value in #42. Those of you who managed to locate the material are guaranteed something exclusive.
I went to see David Copperfield's show in Raleigh on March 25th. I didn't know he was going to be in town until two days before the show. I can' t understand why he didn't call me to tell me he was going to be in the vicinity. I always call him and leave a message with his staff when I'm working a birthday gig in
Vegas. The audience was on his side from the beginning and the support grew with each successive trick. I understand from the local paper that he wasn' t quite that well received in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the show was taped for later broadcast. It seems adjustments were made to the show (tricks not being completed or being repeated) to accomodate the taping. According to the article, they "Bumped paying spectators from prime seats to accomodate paid extras." (Is "paid extra" a synonym for "stooge?" I kinda like it.)
The paying audience members were notdelighted. You might even say they were miffed. They filed suit against David in Broward District Court (for $ 1,000,000!) saying David seldom performed a trick from beginning to end and frequently left the stage to apply make-up and fix his hair. I can honestly say that in the twenty plus years I've been performing, I have never left the stage to fix my hair. (And, during the last decade, I would have had to have left the stage just to visit my hair.) But $1,000,000? Now who's taking their magic too seriously? (They must be under the mistaken impression that David is a cardman who, like cardmen everywhere, makes a fortune off magic.)
While discussing David, I thoroughly enjoyed the live show and the televised version a week later. (And talk about your remarkable coincidences. The volunteers in Raleigh thought of the same ad libs — and their names and actions inspired the same ad libs — which graced the special. Now how many times does that happen to you and me?) I do think the timing could have been better for his "lighter than hair" illusion. It's bad enough that Peter Pan is currently playing in local theaters. However, the night before the broadcast of the annual special, one billion people tuned into watch the Oscars. One of the non-magical numbers consisted of about ten kids floating around the stage. Although it was poor timing, you have to give the designers credit. The floating illusion beat the heck out of the chair suspension. It really has to be seen to be believed.
While I'm pulling from the newspapers, there was an article on the Kid's Page recently providing the history of the periodic table of elements. In 1834, Russian scientist Dmitry Mendeleyev (we'll call him "Jack") developed the chart which classified elements according to their properties. According to the article, "His interest in (playing) cards helped him invent the chart." He wrote the names of the elements on playing cards and spread them out to form the table. This explains why there were 103 elements on the chart when I took chemistry in high school. Two decks of 52cards (he must have been a bridge player) total 104. He used one card as a bookmark in his chemistry book, leaving 103. He ran out of cards, so there wasn't any room for more elements. Those of us who had to memorize the table in high school chemistry can be grateful that "Jack" wasn' t a magician with lots of decks hanging around.
Last issue I told you to try adding a small piece of acetate to the glass part of your copy machine so that the writing on it would show up on the copies made by your coworkers. As it is pushing tax time around here, might I suggest that it would be incredibly unthoughtful of you to use the phrase "IRS SUX" on the joke on April 15th. And since you wouldn'tneed it on every copy, you may wish to copy this phrase on a couple of blank pieces of copy paper. Then, mix these copies in with the blank copy paper in the paper tray. I would never do this and I only mention it because I know you too will find the joke disgusting.
A recent issue of Magic quoted the February issue o f Premiere magazine. It seems that mime bashing has become a new trend. Quoting New York City policeman Mike Reddington, "For some reason, mimes don't like to press charges." I guess they just don't want to talk about it.
I am working on a major book featuring self-working card magic. If you have any related original ideas, let me know. (Self -working refers to the physical effort, not mental.)
Jay Marshall was at the 1992 FFFF. He passed on the following two anecdotes regarding the late Ed Mario. It seems that Ed's past included some performances for real people from time to time. One day there was a knock on the back door at Magic Inc. Frances answered the knock and Ed was standing there. "Don't mention this to anyone, but give me a dozen hats and a dozen pants." (I guess he was performing something from his unpublished book, Mario With Tears. Read it slowly or you'll miss it.)
Jay mentioned that Ed once stood in for Dick Ryan for a week while Ryan went on vacation. When Dick got back, he asked one of the regulars what he thought about his stand-in. To this, the spectator replied, "I never saw so f&#@?!! many aces in my life." (Are Chicago laymen always so colorful when talking about magicians?)
While at the 4F convention, I saw Richard Kaufman's bound version of Richard's Almanac. This interests me because I have a complete file (purchased retail) and it is now available hardbound for much less. The reason I bring this up is that I have been debating on what to do with the first few years of The Trapdoor. I could reprint issue by issue as I run out. However, this becomes very expensive when you consider that before long there will be over 50 separate issues to keep in print. Space is another consideration. As the number of issues has increased, the space alotted to them has remained the same. This leads me to the option of binding up the old volumes as has been done with The Jinx, The Phoenix, Hugard's, etc. I'm listening to some of the things friends of mine are saying about the new version of Richard's Almanac. I just can't agree.
Some say that he shouldn't have published them hardbound for less than the originals. This has merit, but they are ignoring the cost of mailing individual issues out on a regular basis. A large portion of the cost of The Trapdoor (and I assume Richard's) is the cost of mailing the issues. Depending upon the size of the issue, this sheet costs 75 cents or 98 cents to mail in the U.S. That's just the postage, forget the envelope, and the label which send the total shipping cost to about 25% of the retail cost of an issue.
Books (such as the bound Richard's) qualify for a reduced rate. In addition, the shipping is usually added separately to come up with the total mail order cost. Then there is the opportunity cost. Part of the value of subscribing to a magazine is the exclusive nature of the material. You receive the material before anyone else. Those who wait for it to come out in some alternative form later lose the ability to be on the cutting edge of magic. This is prized by many, ignored by others. Those who liked Back To Aces from the second issue of The Trapdoor, have had the opportunity to perform it for almost a decade before others have had an opportunity to read it elsewhere and use it. That was worth something. Further, the original issues tend to grow in value. Recent files of the Pallbearer's Review have sol d for $650 versus the original $ 100 price tag. Your investment should at least keep pace with inflation if not exceed it.
Others have complained that because Richard included new material with the book, even subscribers will have to pay for the book to obtain the additional material. There is a significant investment necessary to bring the material out again. I can't fault Richard for trying to ensure that he recoups his investment by making the material as desirable as possible.
Besides, magazine editors always have something else to say about the material they publish. (Reference Bull, Ellipses, Afterthoughts, Regurgitations, and Leftovers.) This is usually to highlight the stuff they feel you may have missed the first time or to try to make the material easier to learn. To expect an editor to release a later version of the same material without adding something else is unrealistic.
The precedent for the cost differential has been established in the real world. When a book is new, it's usually first available in hardback. Only after all the money has been made is the paperback made available for a third (or less) of the hardback's price. The hardback retains its value for collectors while the paperback allows the book to be read by all.
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, "You can't please ma gicians ever!" I have been concerned about this aspect of the magazine for the last few years. My concern started in 1987 as I saw that I would eventually run out of various issues. And, if I'm out of an issue, I am out of the file. Just in the last month I have started reprinting selected issues. For the benefit of collectors, I have marked the reprints with an asterisk. This will help retain the value of the original issues by differentiating the reprints. (Many had suggested printing the reprints on a different color paper to further delineate the difference. My guess is that most would have preferred using an ugly color while I was at it.) Eventually, I may go back and combine issues into a hard bound volumes. The unacceptable alternative would be to allow the material to die a natural death. Many of you have been with me from the beginning. You are the subscribers who will be affected and I would be interested in your points of view.
I am genuinely excited about the material in this issue. Scott's Time Travel is a close-up killer that can be performed any time you need something which packs a wallop. Clocking In has been a minor favorite of mine for a long time. Imported Kings to Aces is high on impact and visual magic. This is similar in effect to one of my favorite magician foolers. Yugi's solution leaves little to the imagination and it's considerably easier than my solution.
Peter's No Smokes is a gag which awaits the right situation to spring on the unsuspecting. Steve's Double Hit, John's Optical Location, andBill's Right Here is Your Card are all self-working wonders. (Have I whetted your appetite for the self-working book yet?) Finally, Mark's Duet should replace the single penetration in everyone's repertoire.
I have already assembled the material for the next issue and it is just as strong. I am catching up on the backlog of material I have. You'll notice that fifty percent of the material in this issue is non-card. I have plenty more where that came from. I'm going to go renew.
I mentioned the F.F.F.F. convention earlier. This was the first convention which was not held at the Forks Hotel. Instead, it was held at a combination brewery / bar / restaurant. The Forks had a certain ambiance about it but there was no comparison. The brewery has air conditioning.
Understand that magicians from the south require air conditioning to function. We can work up a good sweat walking ten feet from the door to the car. (Did I mention we are also out of shape from to much practice and not enough exercise?) The new place has meeting rooms galore, a large gallery with tiered seating, and room enough for a real dealer room.
Obie, Mike Hilburger, Dave Drake, and Phil Willmarth put on a convention which will be tough to beat. But, I am going to try. I will hopefully see some of you at the M.A.E.S. convention inHarrisburg, PA on Labor Day Weekend. Then, I'll see the rest of you at Close Up Encounters of The Magic Kind in NovemberinRochester,NY. Finally, we'll be holding a make-up for those of you who can't make the above conventions in Philadelphia next March for Philadelphia Magic's Day of Magic. Ihave never been to any of the above listed conventions but people say great things about all of them. I hope that doesn't change after my lectures.
Barring anything unforeseen, I'll also see you (in a non-performing capacity) at February's Comedy Magic Bash in February and Gatlinburg's Winter Carnival of Magic (minus the double backers). Until then, I remain
Peric *4ours, Steve Beam>
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