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

reviews Reviews ,
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!

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Osterlind Breakthrough Card System, The by Richard Osterlind

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Osterlind Breakthrough Card System, The by Richard Osterlind
Review by Andy Martin for Osterlind Breakthrough Card System, The by Richard Osterlind
5 out of 5

Wow, this is amazing!

So maybe you’re ready to move up from Si Stebbins or the Eight Kings to a stacked deck that not only looks like a shuffled deck, but is still easy to learn.

Then Osterlind’s Breakthrough Card System is for you. Just setting the deck up once you very quickly get the idea, and if you just spend an hour dealing out cards you’ll have the stack down. It’s really quite amazing how this works, but it does and I thank Richard Osterlind for publishing it.

Apart from the stack rules, it comes with some extra tips to get very proficient, fast and a selection of effects. Of course there are so many effects that could benefit from a stacked deck that you’ll soon be breathing new life into many old chestnuts.

Highly recommended!

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for You Don't Have To Be Crazy by Frances Ireland

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for You Don't Have To Be Crazy by Frances Ireland
Review by Andy Martin for You Don't Have To Be Crazy by Frances Ireland
5 out of 5

What a wonderfully upbeat Author!

Frances Ireland (Marshall) wrote this wonderful book in 1946. It is the only magic book I have read by a female magician, and it makes for a very refreshing read. She covers almost all areas of magic with advice and anecdotes, but she does so in such an entertaining way that you feel positively gushing with goodwill towards your fellow magicians at the end.

She makes you feel lucky to be in the magic business! And for those who want to make a go of magic as a professional performer or dealer she offers some very sound advice. Here is what she has to say about the benefits of magic:

"If you’re sick, magic will help you feel better. If you’re poor, you won’t buy a lot of useless equipment, but will concentrate on sleight of hand, which some day may make you rich. If you’re rich, you don’t have to practice sleight of hand, but can become a collector and the envy of the poor. And if you’re grouchy, brother, you’ll mellow and melt like butter when your audience applauds your first show. You can’t stay grouchy in show business. I guess the only kind of man who can’t benefit from magic is a corpse."

Frances sadly passed away last year, having spent over seventy years in the magic business as a performer, author, and magic dealer. From reading just this one book she surely sounded like a wonderful lady!

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Life and Times of a Legend – ANNEMANN by Ted Annemann

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Life and Times of a Legend - ANNEMANN by Ted Annemann
Review by Andy Martin for Life and Times of a Legend – ANNEMANN by Ted Annemann
5 out of 5

What can you say! Simply Amazing!

I’m not going to fool anyone if I say I have read the whole of this book – it is huge and heavy. However, it holds nearly all of the known published miracles of Ted Annemann and it is a book that I am very eager to read from cover to cover.

Ted Annemann was one of the real heavyweights in magic thought and creation, and its hard to imagine anyone not getting a truck load of wonderful ideas from this book.

I know this doesn’t do justice to the man or the book, so buy it yourself and post a review for us all to read! Beautifully produced and Highly recommended!

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Stein & Day Handbook of Magic, The by Marvin Kaye

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Stein & Day Handbook of Magic, The by Marvin Kaye
Review by Andy Martin for Stein & Day Handbook of Magic, The by Marvin Kaye
5 out of 5

The Perfect Book for the Beginner

$link(1900,The Complete Magician) by Marvin Kaye (or the $link(1886,Stein & Day Handbook of Magic) as it was known in the USA) is a wonderful book for the serious beginner who wants to perform magic as a hobby or as a profession.

What I liked most about this book when I first read it 27 years ago was that it didn’t just focus on tricks and sleights. It did provide some great routines in each of the main areas of magic, including a wonderful section on Children’s magic which I was performing most of at the time, but it also had chapters on patter, style, perparing for the big Stage show, routining and all the other things that make up a real performance. These other aspects of magic are often overlooked by the beginner.

The book also ends many chapters with a brief description of commercially available effects and gives sources of dealers and magical publications. As a budding young magician these of course inspired me to want to save up my paper round money to buy more magic!

I found this book a wonderful entry into performing magic for real audiences and for many many years used ideas and magic directly from it. Soon I will read it again and feel sure it will still provide me with some useful tips and ideas that I have forgotten.

(Notice: Although the printed word is basically the same in both versions of this book, the Complete Magician is a far superior quality book, with a bigger format, better quality paper and numerous black and white photographs. So if you can, get the Complete Magician instead of the Stein and Day Handbook of Magic.)

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Complete Magician, The by Marvin Kaye

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Complete Magician, The by Marvin Kaye
Review by Andy Martin for Complete Magician, The by Marvin Kaye
5 out of 5

The Perfect Book for the Beginner

The Complete Magician by Marvin Kaye (or the $link(1886,Stein & Day Handbook of Magic) as it is known in the USA) is a wonderful book for the serious beginner who wants to perform magic as a hobby or as a profession.

What I liked most about this book when I first read it 27 years ago was that it didn’t just focus on tricks and sleights. It did provide some great routines in each of the main areas of magic, including a wonderful section on Children’s magic which I was performing most of at the time, but it also had chapters on patter, style, perparing for the big Stage show, routining and all the other things that make up a real performance. These other aspects of magic are often overlooked by the beginner.

The book also ends many chapters with a brief description of commercially available effects and gives sources of dealers and magical publications. As a budding young magician these of course inspired me to want to save up my paper round money to buy more magic!

I found this book a wonderful entry into performing magic for real audiences and for many many years used ideas and magic directly from it. Soon I will read it again and feel sure it will still provide me with some useful tips and ideas that I have forgotten.

(Notice: Although the printed word is basically the same in both versions of this book, the Complete Magician is a far superior quality book, with a bigger format, better quality paper and numerous black and white photographs. So if you can, get the Complete Magician instead of the Stein and Day Handbook of Magic.)

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Magician's Magic by Paul Curry

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Magician's Magic by Paul Curry
Review by Andy Martin for Magician's Magic by Paul Curry
5 out of 5

More than just Out of This World!

I read this book initially over 25 years ago, and remembered to this day the story that Mr. Curry relates about the time Winston Churchill was late for a War Cabinet meeting because he was busy watching a magician perform "Out of This World". But this book has so much more than Curry’s most famous card trick, which is does indeed explain.

I guess it was aimed at the layman or beginner in magic, but as a performer and collector of magic for over 30 years I still found it a very interesting and rewarding read. He has chapters on many aspects of our art relating all the way back to the Cups and Balls. He covers stage illusions, close-up, escapes, seances, mentalism, and more.

One of the things I really like about this book is that Mr Curry will detail some historical effect or principle and then describe a more up to date and easy to do version of the effect or principle that can be perfomed. Most of the magic in the book is possible to perform without complex sleight of hand or specialised props.

It is a mix of history, showmanship and magical effects, by one of the true greats in the art of magic. I for one believe this should be on every beginners and advanced magic list!

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Quicker Than The Eye by John Mulholland

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Quicker Than The Eye by John Mulholland
Review by Andy Martin for Quicker Than The Eye by John Mulholland
4 out of 5

Eye witness tales about Magicians all around the world

Written in 1932 this book by John Mulholland takes you on a virtual tour of many distant lands as he tells tales of magicians from almost every culture and part of the world.

It is quite amazing to think how much Mr. Mulholland travelled with magic so long ago. It has some great stories and anecdotes that are very entertaining reading. It is not a book of tricks, but rather of cultures and people and the types of magic they have performed.

I’m sure 75 years on much of this is no longer quite the same, but it is still a thrill to read about the old days when you can help thinking there was a bit more "art" to our magic. One quote by Jack Gwynne is worth repeating:
"Mr. Gwynne, I have seen your act and I think it is perfect."
"Thank-you," Gwynne replied, "I’m glad you liked it. I feel that it has many flaws, but after all it should run smoothly, for it takes but twelve minutes to do and I have worked twelve years on that act. Allowing a year’s rehearsal for every minute’s performance it would be astounding if it were not smooth".

Can you imagine a modern magician spending so much time on one act? Maybe this is one of the reasons, that there are so many bad performances out there …

Click here for more information.

Review by Andy Martin for Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie by Michael Rose

reviews Reviews ,
Review by Andy Martin for Joe Karson - Beyond Zombie by Michael Rose
Review by Andy Martin for Joe Karson – Beyond Zombie by Michael Rose
5 out of 5

Much more than the Zombie!

So all of us at one time or another have either performed the Zombie floating ball effect, or dreamed of performing it. I remember even having a cheap plastic one when I was a kid. Performed well its one of the most fascinating magical effects ever devised. Its inventor, Joe Karson, is even more fascinating!

I have found reading this book very interesting; a real page turner! Joe was not a saint by any means, but he was clearly a borderline genius, a very talented inventor, and an incredible entertainer. Michael Rose has done a wonderful job of filling in all the blanks about this colorful character. A highly recommended read.

Click here for more information.