Review by Thomas Holbrook for Tarbell Scrapbook, A by Richard Kaufman

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Review by Thomas Holbrook for Tarbell Scrapbook, A by Richard Kaufman
Review by Thomas Holbrook for Tarbell Scrapbook, A by Richard Kaufman
5 out of 5

Tarbell scrapbook by Kaufman

As a collector and Historian on Dr. Harlan E. Tarbell. I know how rare and hard to find the wonderful historic info and items contained inside. Here the reader will see items from nearly 100 years ago from rare file of Edwards Monthly ( a magic magazine that ran from 1909-1910 ), items from the original Tarbell System (1927) not avail in the vols on the market. Fantastic articles and writtings of and about Tarbell,delightful copies of the wonderful booklets given out durring Tarbell’s teaching lectures his life and work in magic and more. A bounty of fun reading and an interesting look back at some of the magicial offerings and more that Tarbell has left us. Note this book by Kaufman is very limited and only 100 copies were produced. Making it a bit hard to find as the historic info contained inside it’s pages. If one is interested in magic and it’s history they would enjoy this book very much.

Just a note… I am always looking to add to my historic timeline and display on Tarbell’s life and work. Please feel free to contact me at: $mailto([email protected])

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Review by Andy Martin for With Frances in Magicland by Frances Ireland

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Review by Andy Martin for With Frances in Magicland by Frances Ireland
Review by Andy Martin for With Frances in Magicland by Frances Ireland
3 out of 5

Amusing anecdotes and great Kid Show Advice

This is the second book I’ve read by Frances Ireland (Marshall) written in 1952. It’s not as informative or detailed as her other one, $link(1895,You Don’t Have To Be Crazy), but it still makes for interesting, light reading.

It has many anecdotes of famous and not so famous magicians which help you relive the past golden years of magic. I don’t know if such things continue to happen as the magic community has been watered down over the last twenty years or so but I hope there are similar parallels today.

Of particular interest is the section on the Chicago Magic Bar scene which gives a glimpse into a world that I certainly have never experienced and would like to.

Also, there is a very helpful section on performing to kids. This section is certainly filled with the real meat and potatoes for performing to children and is worth checking out if you plan on performing to this difficult, but rewarding, age group.

Overall a worthwhile relaxing read, from one of the most wonderful ladies in Magic.

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Review by Andy Martin for Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott

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Review by Andy Martin for Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott
Review by Andy Martin for Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott
5 out of 5

If you could choose just one book on magic …

… I believe this would be a very worthy contender. Bruce Elliott’s Classic Secrets of Magic is a small book by modern standards: it has only twelve fairly short chapters, with each chapter focusing on a single basic effect and some variations. However, if you were to thoroughly study and learn the magic and routines contained within these chapters and nothing more, ever, you would have enough material to last a lifetime of magical performances.

Very few props are required, the sleights are straight forward, and the magic is beautiful.

In my magical youth I used to perform three card routines from Chapter 1 (the Spectator’s Card is Produced) with the highlight being the Card on the Ceiling; the rice bowls from Chapter 3 (Water, Water, Everywhere!); two paddle routines from Chapter 4 (The Very Peripatetic Paddle); the four ace routine from Chapter 5 (Those Four Aces!); the Egg Bag from Chapter 7 (The Egg Bag, Well Done); two matrix type effects from Chapter 8 (The Two Covers, and the Four Objects …); some simple billiard ball moves from Chapter 9 (Billiards, Magic Style); and the Ambitious Card from Chapter 11 (The Ambitous Card!). I also dreamed of performing effects with Razors, Money and the Cups and Balls from the other remaining chapters.

If you bought this book today and spent one month on each chapter and spent say $100 on props you really could be in the top 1% of magicians in the world after just twelve months. Of this I have absolutely no doubt – provided you were committed to the task, and focused just solely on each chapter of this book.

Of course if everyone did this a lot of magic dealers would go out of business. And you wouldn’t have the excitement of trying out 100’s of different tricks, gimmicks, gadgets, fine wooden and brass collector’s pieces in a vain attempt to find the ultimate effects. This book contains them all, but where is the fun in that? One book, hardly any props to buy and just reading and practicing the same routines for a year? That doesn’t sound very magical does it.

Maybe the true secret of magic is that buying magic props from dealers won’t make you a good magician, knowing 100’s of tricks won’t make you a good magician, but learning just twelve effects really well will.

Like so many magicians before me I have fallen into the trap of thinking more props will allow me to create routines for all occaisions. In reality of course, just twelve effects are needed. I know it’s fun collecting magic. I have been doing it for over thirty years. But in fact if I just had the balls to stick with the Classic Secrets of Magic, I would be more rewarded, save a fortune, and give back a lot more to the art.

Well it’s something to think about at least as we enter the new year!

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