Books

MODERN COIN MAGIC by J. B. Bobo

(Published by Carl W. Jones of Minneapolis, price 45/-).

One can well remember the days when one frequent complaint against American publications, was that books were a rarity, whilst manuscripts were many. How much since those days in the twenties, has the pendulum swung, and how very many fine books have been produced by that country during the last fifteen years.

The present book under review is no exception and the reader is presented with what on the title page is described as "A modern treatise of ways of concealing, producing, altering and multiplying coins from the empty hands, being the first complete explanation for so doing published since Down's immortal classic of fifty two years „ _ _ »»

ago.

That statement is in the main true for J. B. Bobo who quite obviously is a magician who loves magic has taken considerable time and trouble in compiling a work which will certainly become the standard work on this particular form of conjuring for a number of decades to come.

One thing comes home to one reading through such a tome and that is, that work is the only way to success with coin magic for the self working coin tricks are few. For that matter so are the plots of coin magic.

As well as a multiplicity of methods for producing the effects mentioned on the title page, many, many routines and tricks are dealt with, and those who wish to take up this most fascinating branch of magic have the wherewithal for a lifetime's work.

The history of coin magic has not been neglected and as well as a contribution by Bobo himself, Stanley Collins has added a chapter in which he describes the work of outstanding coin conjurers whose work he has witnessed. Apropos of this there is a bad cross reference on page 322, where the name of Oswald Williams is confused with Owen Clark. Let's hope that the second edition will see this righted.

A big word of praise must go to Milton Kort, who has been responsible for a big section of the book. We have heard from our friend Francis Haxton about this magician's fine work, and we look forward to watching him ourselves one day.

Credit has been given as fully as possible to originators, but as two people will invariably hit upon a similar idea, certain items bearing a comparatively late date have earlier antecedents, as for example, the Bobo Switch on page 10 and the Bobo Coin Vanish page 27. Whilst the first seems to have common property on this side of the Atlantic for as many years as we can remember, the latter we certainly saw performed by that great artist, Allan Shaw, way back in the early twenties.

The book runs to some 353 pages, there are 116 coin sleights and 236 coin tricks illustrated with over 500, the Editor is John Braun and Nelson Hahne has supplied the illustrations.

It is bound in one of the most attractive ways we have seen. A book for use by everyone who has a love for magic. Unreservedly recommended.

ENTERTAINING WITH CONTACT MIND READING, by S. Edward Dexter. (Published by

George Armstrong, price 7/6).

On the title page, added to the title are the words, ' A complete non-technical treatise on the Science of Contact Mind Reading enabling anyone to present a convincing telepathic Act.'

In the simplest possible language our friend Eddie Dexter has placed within the reader's hands the complete means of producing an effect which is the nearest approach to genuine mentalism. Contact Mind Reading is far from being new. Nevertheless it has always been one of the most impressive forms of mental demonstrations. The late Alfred Capper made this the most talked-of feature in his act, and quite rightly so, for there is not the slightest evidence of trickery to be discovered.

To those of you, whichever branch of conjuring you may be interested in, we earnestly ask you to read this booklet and to absorb its contents. With a little practice you have something wnich on many occasions will prove a marvellous means of publicity.

FOUR LITTLE BEANS, by John Ramsay. (Published by the author, price 5/-).

Those who had the privilege and pleasure of seeing Johnny perform this effect on the closed circuit TV at Hastings will need no recommendation of ours to purchase the routine which is described in meticulous detail by the author, and edited by Victor Farelli.

Based upon the old marble trick that students will find in Sachs classic, Johnny, in the style that is all his own, has produced a version puzzling to both layman and conjurer alike. Straightforward in effect, direct but subtle in method, the close-up magician has to consider this most reasonably priced booklet a must.

f \ NE OF the perennial controversies in magic, is that surrounding the matter of conjuring for conjurers, or let's lift the phrase a bit and call it magic for magicians. Our friend Bruce Elliott has just been carrying a torch for that type of magic. In the Phoenix, No. 266 he so rightly says, " Magic would be so incredably dull as not to warrant an imbecile being interested in it if there were only one kind of magic. Magic for magicians happens to be a narrow segment of our art from which we personally happen to get a lot of pleasure. And why notl The main reason that most of us got interested in tricks in the first place is because we were fooled at some point in our lives by a magician.

As one becomes more sophisticated and knowledgeable the tricks that can fool one become fewer and fewer.

If some bright- souls get pleasure out of concocting magic that may very well be boring to a layman, but is baffling to a sophisticated magician we say more power to those people.

The only legitimate criticism that we think the hater of magic for magicians has a right to level, is if, or when, a performer is foolish enough to employ a trick that is designed to fool magicians in front of laity"

Although Bruce, according to the next paragraph, has said his last word on the subject for some time, we would like to go a little further. Whilst-we are not of that school which thinks that Magic per se is one of the fine arts, we think as a branch of acting it can be brought to the status of an art. One has only to witness the work of Cardini for example to be assured of this.

Though for instance Cardini has an act that will register with the laity, the polished nature of his act, whilst not deceiving a knowledgeable magician, enjoys the respect of such a magician and at the same time gives him the satisfaction of Tcnowing that he is witnessing the work of a great artist.

The would-be magical artist is less fortunate in his choice of expressionism than many other wooers of Thespis. Ballet in this country to-day has achieved quite a following because it has produced a form of entertainment easily assimilated by a laity, which after an initiation has gone home to read about ballet and later gone to see more ballet with a greater understanding of what is taking place. Magic is on a different plane, for magicians as a whole do not want the public to know the methods that they employ with the result that an infinitessimal portion of the average public audience watching a magical show has any understanding of the fineness or otherwise of the work they are watching.

We feel that it is not merely the matter of fooling (though there is a deal of satisfaction in this aspect) a fellow magician that matters most in the production of good magic, but rather, the matter of propounding and exploitation of an effect that is as direct as possible which will not only be acceptable in every way to the laity and magicians alike, but at the same time will earn the respect of the latter group and place the performer in the role of an artist.

Casting about for references recently and wading through many magazines, we have been struck by the terrible photographs that appear from time to time in which a group of conjurers is pictured. One will be performing the Linking Rings, another holding up a piece of rabbit skin, whilst tpring to get into the picture with a photo finish will be several other deadbeats with versions of rising cards, serpent silk and what have you. Nothing can degrade magic more in the public eyes than such a pitiful pictorial composition, and we often wonder what a magician would think if he saw a photograph of a group of musicians like Boult, Sargent, Beecham and Delmar posing for a picture each holding respectively a triangle, a tamboreen and a side drum!

B O O KS Continued from page 14

ONE MAN MENTAL MAGIC, by Milbourne

Christopher. (Published by Lou Tannen, price not known).

In this well-produced and illustrated booklet, that delightful magician Milbourne Christopher presents the reader with five mental effects which are linked up to form an act. The effects are called 4 Guided Thoughts' where the performer wills the spectator to do a certain thing, 'Pin Pointed Image ' a mind reading effect with a sheet of paper,

4 Out of Town,' a new version of the 4 Living and Dead' test, 4 The Mentalist Solves a Murder,' a nice stagy item and finally 4 Super Psychometry,' a title which tells you all. With a few properties that can be easily carried in a brief case, the reader has a most impressive and entertaining routine for drawing room or concert work.

A SENSATIONAL ACT AT LOW COST

ENTERTAINING WITH CONTACT MIND READING

THE NEAREST THING TO GENUINE MIND READING

CONTACT MIND READING is a sixth sense, highly developed, that enables the performer to read other people's minds without recourse to trickery or any of the usual trappings of the mentallst.

You need only a clear understanding of the principles involved, no assistants, stooges, properties or other appar' atus. You alone are ready at any time to present this most baffling form of entertainment known.

Suitable for public or private shows, intimate or stage, newspaper offices, scientific investigations, social gatherings — ANYWHERE |

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