I guess we all have our heroes. And, rather than spend this valuable space begging you to subscribe or renew your subscription, I thought I would turn this section over for another educational installment on how to be a better magician. I know of no better way to do this than with an interview with my inspiration, The Great Baldini. I have know him for the past 50 years and 1 have spent the last ten trying to emulate him. (This explains the receding hairline.)
20 Plus Questions With The Great Baldini Question #1: How are you? Answer: Fine, thanks for asking.
Question #2: Briefly, explain your philosophy on life.
Answer: It beats the alternative.
Question #3: Do you have your own philosophy on performing? If so explain.
Answer: Yes, it beats the alternative.
Question #4: What are your short term goals in magic?
Answer: To finish this interview.
Question #5: What are your long term goals in magic?
Answer: To fool Vernon, then die.
Follow Up Question: But did you know that Vernon just died?
Answer: Oh, really? Are you sure? Well then, I already fooled Vernon. Yeah, that's it. I fooled him real bad, too. Blew him away with a trick I invented... using the pass.
Question #6: What do you think laymen want from a magic performance?
Answer: They want background noise while they drink, it's like people who use the radio to lull themselves to sleep or the television to keep themselves company.
Question #7: What are your intentions when appearing before an audience?
Answer: To provide background noise. And did I mention that I fooled Mario too?
Question #8: What was the last thing you learned from one of your own performances?
Answer: Nottopassmy assistantoutforexamination.
Question #9: What was the last thing you learned from watching another magical performance? Answer: They should have asked to borrow my assistant.
Question #10: What is the most tame, subtle piece of magic you perform?
Answer: I do a one-hand sextuple cut while hanging upside down from a 20 story building while bound in a straight jacket and handcuffs. On a calm day with low winds, I climax by revealing the selected card.
Question #11: What is the most outragious piece of magic you perform?
Answer: A puzzle trick which climaxes with a five digit prime number which when divided by a multiple of itself (excluding than itself) chosen by the audience produces a key number. Upon counting down this number, the chosen card is located there. Method: A prime number only has itself and one as factors. Control the card to the top of the pack and leave it. The patter forces the number one. Count down one card and reveal the chosen card.
Question #13: What is the weakest piece of magic you perform?
Answer: That's not applicable.
Question #14: Do you use the presentation of others or do you write your own?
Answer: I write my own while watching others perform.
Question #15: Do you think you could be a better performer?
Answer: Yes. And did I mention that I fooled Erdnase too? Yea, I was Max's favorite.
Question #16: What do you think it will take to do so?
Answer: Fewer interviews, more money, and maybe quit my day job. I fooled Hofzinzer real bad.
Question #17: What do you think is lacking from magic books, if anything? Answer: My name.
Question #18: What was the last item you worked up from a book (name the book) and are now performing for laymen?
Answer: I use the forward from Vernon's Inner Secrets. That's the least I could do after I fooled him.
Question #19: Do you perform sitting or standing? Answer: Standing. It allows me to look down on my audience.
Question #20: Are there any other reasons? Answer: Yes. It allows me to classify any applause I receive as a standing ovation.
Question #21:1 know we agreed on 20 questions, but may I ask one more? Answer: You just did.
Question #22: Then, may I ask two more? Answer: You just did.
Question #23: My last question is: After witnessing a very bad magical performer, will you go and talk with him to offer help or criticism? Answer: Absolutely not. That is unprofessional. Besides, I'll be too busy passing out my business cards (which will now say, The Man Who Fooled Vernon).
Question #24: For my absolute last question, if you had just one piece of advice to give to other magicians so that they might become true artists of magic, what would that be?
Answer: Without a doubt, the single best expenditure one could make would be to write a check for $30 USA or $42.50 overseas airmail and subscribe to The Trapdoor. This magazine cares so much for its subscribers that many times it doesn't even put in a plug for itself. (And that's where I got the trick which fooled Vernon. Did I mention that I fooled Vernon?)
Question #25: Do you mean like this subscription section?
Question #26: So, what would you do with the $30 check ($42.50 overseas airmail) once you made it out?
Answer: I would mail it in to: The Trapdoor 407 Carrington Drive Knightdale, NC 27545 USA.
(bottom and center) are flush again, use your left thumb to flip the combined packets face up over onto the straddle gripped packet. As the left thumb is flipping this large packet over, the left middle fingers lever the straddle gripped packet face up also. The conclusion of this action is shown in figure 7.
Your left hand now takes possession of the reassembled packet and rotates it face down into the waiting right hand as shown in figure 8. The entire deck is now back in its original order.
Regurgitations. As with most moves, speed is not essential. Smoothness is the critical factor to success. Especially with the full deck retention, the entire sequence including the final deck rotations should appear as though you are smoothly rotating the pack in your hands. It has the added benefit of resembling an all around square-up action.
According to Panati, if you want the real poop (sorry) on the flush toilets, you should consult Clean and Decent by Lawrence Wright (1960). It is the definitive history on flush toilets. (I understand the true originator was Ed Mario. This was derived from his unpublished notes dated October, 1652.)
Wayne Kyzer and I j ust got back from the annual lecture tour. Itincluded: Charlotte, NC; 50th Annual M.A.E.S in Carlisle, PA; Buffalo, NY; Clarkston, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Chicago, IL; and Columbus, OH.
This was the fiftieth anniversary of the Magician' s Alliance of Eastern States (M.A.E.S.) convention. Dave Rojahn was the man responsible for the fun and it was a blast. Tom Craven roomed with me and we shared a dealer booth. Tom and I always have a good time when we get together. Add Wayne to the group and it's amazing we didn't get arrested. Several old friends including John Moran, Ed Vorhees, Phil McDonald, John Swomley, and Martini were in attendance.
While there, I explained to Dan Garrett that since both of us were too lazy to use my idea with his color change, I had come up with an easier alternative. My idea is explained in the text of his Knuckle Busting Ultra Garrett Spinning One-Hand Lateral Palm Platform CardTransformation (With Triple Change Option) from issue #36. It was to learn the change with both hands. You could then show (for example)
a king in the right hand and an ace in the left. As you spin them in your hands, the king would change to the ace and the ace to the king. Rather than a color change, you get a magical transposition.
However, the change is difficult enough to do with one hand, much less two. Since we are both wimps, I have come up with a compromise. Dan holds an ace, I hold a king. As the cards spin around in the hands, the magically transpose. This can be done while the two magicians stand across the room from each other.
All you require is an ace and a king and a matching pair of duplicates. Harder to find will be two magicians who are proficient with Dan's change. Each of you hold a king and an ace in position for the change. One of you has a king on the face of the pair, the other has the ace on the face of his pair. Simultaneously spin the cards and make the change.
The next stop on the tour was Buffalo which was a blast. Jim Highland set everything up and made it one of the highlights of the tour. In addition to a relaxing dinner, the crowd of about 50 to 60 included Mike Hilburger, Karl Norman, Ray Mertz, and Dave Oestreicher. This group appears to have more fun than a legal gathering ought to be able to.
We cut through Canada to get to Clarkston, MI which is a suburb of Detroit. We overshot the lecture by about two and a half hours to visit Bob Lund's American Museum of Magic. What a great place! I met Bob at the Stewart James Gettogether in May. After my lecture, he came up to me and said that my looks didn't match my personality. I thanked him sarcastically and asked him whether I had the personality of an accountant or I dressed like a magician. And, to get revenge for his remark, I also threatened to visit him in Marshall.
All I can say is that if you truly love magic, you should call Bob and make an appointment to see him (and be on time!). He has purchased a historic three story building in downtown Marshall which houses his collection. (My idea of a three story building for my collection would be to buy a one story building and then lie about the other two — thus making three stories.)
I don't want to steal any of the thunder from his two hour tour, but I have to share a few things. He has fascinating sections on the ground floor where he displays props belonging to many famous magicians. He has the paper (that's collector's lingo for posters) which promoted many famous and not-so-famous magicians. During the tour, Bob is full of anecdotes, bits of history, and his personal history as it relates to the paper and the props.
The second floor houses his library. At 10,000 plus books, I don't think the word "paradise" would be stretching it too much. I have had a personal interest in material which related to Bruce Elliott because of his wonderful Phoenix. It was the inspiration (more than any other periodical) for the magazine you are now reading. Bob immediately produced a whole section of the library containing not only Bruce's magic books, but also many of his autographed stories that he had published in periodicals and several of his books of fiction.
Just when we thought we had seen everything possible, we went down to the basement. Here he had stored the original manuscripts for many of the classic magic books. These were not first editions, these were the actual proofs which went to the printers so that the books could be published. Off to one corner, he had over 25,000 original negatives of photographs taken of magicians by Irving Desfor.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that Bob could easily have filled a building three times the size of the one which houses the museum. Much of the material is stored away in file cabinets and boxes rather than displayed because of space limitations. There were many other sections of interest, but this should whet your appetite enough to put you in touch with Bob. You will regret any other action.
When we made it to Clarkston the next day, I lectured and gave a card session afterwards. The group was as lively as Bill Condon had promised. The only problem was that the hotel where we were staying was only a block or two from the Pontiac Silverdome which that night was holding a concert by U-2. This was poor planning on the part of the people who booked the U-2 concert. They should have known there would not be enough parking for both the lecture and the concert. I have no doubt that many of the concert goers decided not to go after seeing the volume of lecture traffic on the interstates.
In Grand Rapids, we spent the hours prior to the lecture in Earl Ray Wilcox's magic shop. His shop, located in his basement, is better stocked than many regular shops. Earl talked magic as we voraciously pilfered the shelves looking for that one jewel that belongs deep in the bottom of our magic trunk in the back of the closet. The next time you are in Grand Rapids, call for an appointment. Tell him Steve sent you. (And he'll ask, "You mean the guy who pilfered through my shelves?")
Chicago was next. Mel Siegel booked the lecture for the IBM meeting. We stopped by Magic, Inc. on the way to see Jay and Frances Marshal, and Jim Krenz. What can one say about Magic Inc.? It is a magic landmark. (Although, we could have used a few more landmarks to locate it. We drove by it three times looking for it.) In my opinion, Jay and Frances are the first couple of magic. Nowhere will you find more knowledgeable, more friendly, or more fun-loving magicians. Despite having seen the lecture two or three times in the previous six months, Jay brought Frances and Jim over to the hospital where I was lecturing just to be part of the audience. Jay is a first class act who also happens to have a first class act! (By the way, I promised him that if he wouldn't come to any conventions with me in the next four to five months, I would have a new lecture the next time he saw me.)
Also at the lecture were Tommy Edwards (who I met thanks to Allan Slaight in Courtright) and John Shirley. After the lecture, they took us over to Matt Shulien's place. This is another landmark among places magical. As you walk through the saloon doors, you step back into history. This is the neighborhood saloon or tavern of long ago. For over forty years, Schuliens has been a place (actually two places) where one could come for a good time including magic. John and Tommy took turns telling us stories about "the old days" which capped the evening. And to think, I almost stuck with coin collecting.
Schuliens is another must-see and is only one block off Lincoln Avenue which houses Magic, Inc. Tommy has promised me a full tour of Chicago the next time I am there. That has prompted me to try to start the next tour in Chicago and build the rest of the tour around it. (If you can't make it to Chicago, do the next best thing by ordering The Magic of Matt Schulien by Phil Willmarth from Magic, Inc.)
We got up at 5:45 the next morning to head for the next lecture which was in Columbus, Ohio. The lecture started at 4:00 and was followed by acookout and card session over at Mike and Betsy Bringardner' s house. This was the first homecooked meal Wayne and I had eaten in over a week. We made it to the lecture (after having lost an hour changing time zones) at 3:45. It was another great group of people with a surprising number willing to sit through the card session afterward.
Since I have long since removed all heavy sleight of hand from my lecture, I have offered (depending upon our schedule) a card/coin session after the lecture for those groups which have a high concentration of finger flingers. This allows me an opportunity to do both the lecture and have fun with the sleights. The schedule worked out so we could offer this to both Clarkston and Columbus.
There is no way I could have had all this fun if traveling by myself. Wayne comes along to share the driving but he contributes much more. We spend the days driving, discussing magic, and hunting for the next touristy place to stop. He has the dubious distinction of having heard my lecture more than anyone else in the world (with Phil McDonald and John Swomley maybe coming in second).
I always say that I wish that someone would publish a book with all the stories on magic. I have finally gotten around to reading Frances Marshall's books and I highly recommend them. I have My First Fifty Years and You Don't Have to Be Crazy But It Helps. I don't have With Frances in Magic land and it may be out of print (or at least unassembled over at the Magic, Inc. warehouse). So, to ensure that it reappears, why don't you order all three of the above (especially the last one) from Magic, Inc. (at 5082 North Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625). That way, I h ave a prayer of getting the las t book of the three and there will be a concerted effort to keep them in print. Yes, this is sneaky, but there has to be some benefit to publishing a magic magazine other than being able to sample poverty.
And, speaking of poverty, it's time to ship this baby off to the printer and pray there are enough renewals between now and the time my printing bill comes due to pay it. But don't you worry about it.
Take care and take cards.. .
Steve Beam October 17, 1992
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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.