Books

DICE DECEPTIONS bv Audley Walsh and Ed. Mishell

In the field of close-up magic, effects with dice have a place of their own, as the present publication goes to show. In America particularly, and to a lesser extent on the Continent, dice and dice cups are commonplace things. Nevertheless, the accessories are known everywhere and they have the added advantage of being so very free from obvious trickery.

The present book has five chapters, the first teaching the reader the rudiments of dice stacking in which rhythmic action plays such an important part. Chapter two goes on to teach some actual tricks, finishing with the change of four normal sized dice into one large dice, a nice finish to a routine.

Chapter three gives a version of the Patriotic Billiard Balls, coloured dice and coloured dice cups being used. A version of Chink-a-chink which follows conforms to the usual formula. The fourth chapter goes into the more dexterous forms of dice control, and the final chapter includes a colour Change of four dice that sounds excellent.

The booklet which is very nicely produced, runs to thirty pages. Edited by Bruce Elliott, the reader is assured that the instructions teach as well as explain. The drawings made by Ed. Mishell, have the authenticity of the artist-conjurer for as Ed. Mishell explains in the preface, Audley Walsh insisted on his being able to accomplish the various moves before making the necessary drawings. A very good ' buy.'

THE UNIVERSAL MIND by Ron Baillie (Published by

Magic Wand Publishing Co., price 12/6):

Those interested in mentalism will need little encouragement from us to purchase this routine, devised by one of the finest magical minds in this country. Readers will remember his many contributions to this publication.

In the ' Universal Mind' Ron has produced an act which in the hands of a capable mentalist will gain for him a most favourable reputation. The process of the routine is direct and the principle method employed quite new when in action. The audience will, as the author remarks, gather the impression that the performer is convincing them in a most logical manner how mind reading is possible.

There has been no attempt to produce a hastily devised manuscript. The routine is nicely printed in a booklet which runs to some twenty-eight pages. Illustrations by the author cover every stage of the performance. This booklet carries our highest recommendation and it becomes an imporlant addition to the make-up of the mentalist.

A STAB IN THE PACK by Douglas Francis (Marketed by the originator, price 12/6) : Duggie Francis has come up with a delightful idea for finding a thought of card by means of a knife stab. The effect is this : A pack of cards is shown all that it should be, namely fifty-two different cards, and also a paper serviette of the kind used for Bridge parties, i.e. one that carries the reproductions of many playing cards upon it, A spectator is asked to merely think of one card, after which the pack is wrapped in the serviette. The performer now takes a small knife and for the first time the spectator is asked to reveal the card he has in his mind. The performer then stabs through the paper, which is then torn away from the pack to show that the knife has successfully located the thought-of card.

The effect comes complete with cards and serviettes, and is an excellent ' buy' for the small amount asked.

MESSAGE FROM HADES (A routine with all accessories. A Jack Avis exclusive, price 7/6 from all dealers) :

This is a most intriguing item which Jack spoke to us about some months ago. A spectator is handed a small packet, and a pack of cards and four coloured counters are placed on the table. With a face-up spread, the spectator is asked to take any one of the coloured counters and place it on any card he chooses. Suppose that it is the two of clubs and the colour blue. The spectator is asked to undo the packet previously handed to him. He does so and finds inside a small metal box. The lid of the latter being removed, a number of screwed-up pieces of paper are seen which are then turned out on to the table. Touching each with the end of a lighted cigarette end, all but one flash off. The one left unscathed is-opened and on it is found written in the chosen colour the name of the chosen card.

There is little to trouble about from the point of view of technique, and with the routine you receive everything you want, including a gimmick (an improved version of the one first put out, Jack tells us) accessories, in fact everything apart from some flash paper and a pack of cards. A bargain at three times the price.

AS OUR friend Wilfrid Jonson recently had cause to comment in The Sphinx, the parochial outlook of magical societies and/or their official publications is an interesting, if not peculiar, phase of magical life <or existence) to-day.

This was brought home to us rather forcibly after reading the March number of The Budget (official organ of the British Ring). The editor of this publication in his allotted space weaves a theme on the virility of modern magic and goes on to cite instances of society and other magical activities in support of his statement. It does seem to us rather a pity that two very important contributions of the past twelve months have been overlooked in this resume. The first is that of the successful revival by the Magic Circle of Maskelynne's famous sketch, " Will, the Witch and the Watchman " on a grand scale and the second the series of shows at Victoria Hall, where month after month those interested in magic have the opportunities, as well as the pleasure and privilege of seeing some of the most renowned International magicians. These events are of greater magical importance than the noting of a performance of ' Evaporated Milk ' in some rural retreat.

We know only too well that the editing of such a publication is no sinecure: it is a labour of love, with a great many more kicks than ha'pence, and that just as much as he must satisfy the ego of mediocrity by printing for public reading the private letters of mutual admiration from Joe Snooks at John O'Groats to Joe

Soak at Land's End, so must he publish the reports of members of the society concerning their magical activities. His task is unenviable. Nevertheless, coming back to where we started, we think that when a survey of magic is being made, a more catholic attitude should be adopted, and the really important magical events included.

The sensitivity of professional magicians to criticism by other conjurers is amazing. After all we know that they are, each and every one, the world's ' greatest.' We well remember Dante before the war, after Stanley Norton had written an excellent review of his show, taking umbrage because his billiard ball work was not considered better than Clement de Lion's. The latest to take offence is Sorcar. Possibly the greatest magical money maker in the world to-day, this youngster from India (or is it Pakistan?) wants to be accepted by the Western world, and with that acceptance to be equal to western magicians. That he is, without doubt, the biggest magical act in his own country, is not enough, and we have a sneaking sympathy for one who by publicity and undoubtedly a great deal of hard work, westernised to a certain extent his very large offering of mystery.

Next month we have for your delectation, Alex Elmsley's delightful version of ' Astral Coinand the ultimate in that great classic, the ' Hindu Thread Trick' by Hans Trixer.

It has been a very busy month. Of outstanding interest to British magicians has been the visit (not yet concluded) of that great writer on magic, Dr. Harlan Tarbell.

At London Airport, it was rather ironic that the first person to spot this distinguished visitor was not a "Flying Sorcerer " but Peter Newcombe. But, as Peter explained, he had during the previous day affixed some seventy photographs of Dr. Tarbell to menu cards and was possibly in the best position to identify him.

At the Magic Circle complimentary dinner to this American guest, speeches were brief and witty, Goodliffe rising to full height by means of a chair.

On the Monday following the dinner at Francis Hax-ton's home, we and a few others were able to have a pleasant session with Dr. Tarbell. The Doctor's version of the "Rice Bowl" effect is the finest we have ever encountered. It is a miracle to the audience.

On the following Thursday, the Magic Circle had its annual clubroom supper entitled the " Wizards' Meet." A matey kind of "do" where everyone let their hair down for the evening; a good meal was followed by a brisk cabaret of five acts, the Great Lyle, Stanley Watson, Voltaire, Victor Peacock and ourself.

On the 7th April the I.B.M. dinner for Dr. Tarbell most unfortunately clashed with an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Magic Circle, a meeting for the adoption of new rules. A lot of work has gone into the production of a set of rules which are not only comprehensive in nature but set out to achieve a higher status for members of the society. If they are passed it can no longer be said that anyone can become a member of the Magic Circle.

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