I love it when intelligent, gifted magicians take time out to really analyze our industry and art. Jamy Ian Swiss, like the greatly respected $link(2120,Trilogy of Dariel Fitzkee), holds no punches and makes some very thought provoking observations on magic, magicians, and mentalism.
In my book anything that makes magicians think twice about what they do and say is a winner. We don’t need more mediocrity in magic; this goes for performers, inventors, dealers, and manufacturers. By reading authors like Mr Swiss maybe our industry can get over its love of itself and actually start to produce great magic and entertainment that was abundant forty or more years ago.
"Magic, as exhibited by the majority, is the indulgence in a hobby which rarely instructs, seldom amuses and almost never entertains."Dariel Fitzkee, Showmanship for Magicians, 1944.
If you want to take the warm fuzzy feeling away from what many magicians, both professional and amateur, have with regards to their performance and their magic, then Fitzkee is your man. The first book of this trilogy changed my life, well at least that aspect that is devoted to magic. He makes you really think about the entertainment value of a typical magic performance.
I think everyone wanting to be a "Magician" should read Fitzkee’s words. Highly recommended!
This 2002 Facsimile version of Expert at the Card Table by the, still mysterious, S.W. Erdnase is an incredibly faithful reproduction of the original book. It was published in 1902 and has had a profound impact on card magic ever since (after some prodding from ($link(2151,Dai Vernon)). With the exception of using better quality archival-grade materials and a modern binding technique it is as close to the original as possible – the anonymous publishers even found what is to believed to be the same cloth.
This seminal work on card and gambling moves is a must have for all serious card workers, and now it is available as it was first delivered by Erdnase over 100 years ago. This book is small enough and cheap enough to be carried around with you wherever you go. Unlike the original which can fetch $2000 and is likely to fall apart in your hands.
Of course you might find reading something like $link(1682,The Annotated Erdnase) easier going and more practical today. So get both.
There are only 750 of this 2002 version so I suggest you $link(http://www.canick.com/erdnase.html target=_blank,order one now) – it is a truly amazing how authentic this book looks and how much you will gain from reading it in its original form. Thanks to $link(http://www.canick.com target=_blank,Michael Canick) for distributing this amazing book.
I often find it difficult to spend long periods of time reading magic books and this is where The Jinx fits perfectly. It is filled with incredible gems in bite sized pieces. Apart from a wealth of incredible effects, I love the commentaries by Annemann.
The historical impact that The Jinx appears to have had is quite amazing. So much seems to have come from this publication.
You can pick up all three volumes incredibly cheaply. Get these and the Phoenix and you will be one hap, hap, happy camper! Highly recommended!
I grew up in the UK dreaming of owning some Jack Hughes effects. It was clear that the House of Hughes was producing some of the best magic around. I was able to buy a few of his items, but for the most part his effects were too expensive for my pocket.
Thirty years on, it is a wonderful pleasure to look through these impressive volumes to relive so much of Jack’s magic. These books are beautifully produced and give very detailed instructions on how to build nearly all of the House of Hughes magic.
I was even lucky enough to get a signed copy of the first volume.
Wow – what a treasure trove of magic in these volumes!
As I buy more books I realise how much magic is out there, and how few truly new ideas have occurred in the last 10, 20, 30, or more years!
These are a wonderful historical document of 100’s of the marvellous items that came from Thayer. When you read through the effects with their accompaning instruction sheets you recognise so many effects that are still being pushed today as new ideas!
The first time I saw Shakespeare’s Hamlet I remember thinking how many cliches were used, forgetting of course that when the Bard wrote the play the phrases were new. These Thayer volumes are reminiscent of that – so many of these effects were new with Thayer, but today we consider them public domain.
If you have any abilities to construct magic you could be building your own magic for years to come!
This is a very thorough book about the man who susposedly wrote one of the great card Classics: The Expert at The Card Table by S.W. Erdnase. Unfortunately, for me it was a bit too heavy going. Over 430 pages of fairly small type. I managed the first 100 pages and flipped through the rest.
The conclusions reached by Bart Whaley, Martin Gardner and Jeff Busby are the subject of a great deal of contention and there appears to be a lot of evidence to support the theory that S.W. Erdnase was not Milton Franklin Andrews. A great thread on this whole subject can be found on the Genii Forum by $link(http://geniimagazine.com/forum/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000947 target=_blank,clicking here).
I think you would find this very stimulating reading if you were a big fan of Erdnase, but given that I have not read it yet (oh my word!) its hard for me to get too excited by it. I have however just $link(http://www.canick.com/erdnase.html target=_blank,ordered) the 100 year Anniversary edition so maybe I will revisit this book another day after I have emersed myself in the classic itself!
Good book to breathe a new lease of life into your Readers!
When you first start out in magic it seems you quickly go off using stripper decks and marked decks. I remember using a marked deck all the time before the age of 15. I also remember have great fun with Deland’s Deck, which of course is a combination of a stripper deck, a marked deck, and a stacked deck all in one. In fact I used to do all sorts of miracles with the Deland Deck. But I haven’t picked one up now for over 25 years!
At some point you figure these tools are not good magic and move on. Well Kirk Charles’ book Marked for Life reminds you that marked cards are still very useful and by mixing in sleights, non-reader effects, and reader effects you not only can create some huge miracles, but also you can keep the audience guessing.
This 95 page soft covered book spends about a third of the book going through various types of marking systems and its very interesting to see the different approaches various people take. I decided to give the bold, but easy, $link(http://www.martinsmagic.com/?html=gallery&keywords=lesley+marked,Ted Lesley’s Working Performers Marked Deck) a shot.
Once you read this book you will start using a marked deck again. It has many wonderful routines that just are so much better with a marked deck. And providing you follow the tips and tactics mentioned in this book no one will ever suspect a marked deck is being used. I think that is the key thing for me: by combining the marked deck with other principles you can make a good effect into a complete mind blower that could not be easily achieved in any other manner.
The book is well written and researched and comes with a large bibliography of other areas to continue reading about marked decks. Many of which I’m sure you already have, much to your surprise. It may not be a classic book, but it does provide you the path back to an old friend that really should be in every magician’s toolkit.
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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