Book

My aim in writing this column will not be to review all new books, but to take one or two books each month, either old or new, and give a general survey as I see "them.

This month I would like to start with a book written by Bruce Elliott called "Magic as a Hobby". I must admit that the title put me off somewhat, and several times I passed it over although one or two people told me it was good, just how good, I did not realise until recently.

There are some top line effects here, and at first glance it would seem a pity from a magician's point of view that the book should be made available to the general publ ic! At the same time, I realise that unless anyone had been bitten by the "Magic Bug" they would hardly wade through the book, so there it is.

I must admit that a lot of the matter appeals to me because I am also a fan of "The Phoenix," from whose pages most of the tricks have been gleaned.

Which items to select is a bit of a problem, but the ones that appealed to my sense of humour are the "Sorcerers Serpent", a comedy Rising Snake with card, that reads well, and which I must try, and "Cagliostro's Spectacles", the items for the last being obtainable from Max Andrews, I can assure you that this will really fool Magicians as well as laymen. The effect is that the performer invites anyone out of the audience to act as a Magician, hands him or her a pack of cards, has them thoroughly shuffled, and then asks that person to go down into the audience and have a number of people select cards at random. They, and they only, are to know the cards they have selected. The person comes back onstage again, and is fitted with a pair of special glasses which you tell him were specially made by Cagliostro, and they certainly do look very queer.

The pseudo magician is then directed to go down into the audience and have the cards replaced in the pack, but he is not to peek or try and discover the cards selected. He then returns and shuffling the pack once more, hands them to you. You stress the point that neither you nor he can possibly know the cards chosen, but say that as he is looking through the Magic Glasses he will now be able to pick out the very cards selected. This he does and he will not even know how he does it! A first class effect.

There are many others, one of which is "No time lost" which has been published before in a slightly different form; a very nice routine with Vest Pocket Slates a good book test, and a rather unusual trick with audience participation called "Odds on" in which a member of the audience infallibly selects the right number, colour, picture, etc., with ever mounting odds against him.

There is also a very nice routine with a folding penny. Altogether "there are 236 pages of very good reading and an appendix which lists the Magic Dealers and Publishers. This is certainly a book to be thoroughly recommended.

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