Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays and a Magical Flip Book

video

If you haven't seen the movie HUGO go see it. It is a magical film in many respects.

The video I have posted above is a little film of a flip book I own. Simple method, magical result.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

60 Great Magic Posters - UPDATE and COPY FOR SALE

Dover Publishing tried some "hocus pocus" of their own with this book. Apparently, they copied some posters from various sources without their permission. The book is now unavailable and very hard to find. I have a copy for sale. The book is in very good shape and contains the DVD with all the bonuses. Because the book has been pulled from the shelves and almost impossible to find, my asking price is $200 USD (PAYPAL or credit card only). Email me at crmagic@comcast.net if you are interested.

It has been a busy time of year for me and I have neglected this blog-again. Nevertheless, I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. I'll be back in 2012!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicago Magic Book Project

Time sure does fly. I haven't written much here because I have busy busy researching my new book on Chicago Magicians. If you are a magician who has lived and performed in the Chicago land area for over 20 years, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at crmagic@comcast.net.

I'm also sad to report the passing of my good friend, Hank Moorehouse. I was shocked when I heard the news. Hank died suddenly in China a week or so ago. My last blog entry was about him. Rest in peace, my friend.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hank Moorehouse - An early inspiration

Well, it has been a busy month or so.  I have been busy working on some research for a possible book project.

I attended and displayed at the annual Knights of Sleights Flea Market the night before the Magic Collectors Convention. Mike Caveney, John Carney, Harry Monti, Marshall Brodien, David Parr, Hank Moorehouse and many others attended the flea market. It was a lot of fun and I sold some of my “excess” props and books. It is a perfect time for Spring cleaning the magic room!

Hank Moorehouse has been a friend of mine since I was in the sixth grade. He came to my school to do a magic show. The principal knew I was a magician and offered my services. I helped Hank carry his props and set up. His show was great and I will never forget his kindness and generosity. About all I can remember was a burnt bill routine and an escape from a stock. I think it was Abbott's version. I do recall he gave me a few tricks after the show. We have kept in touch ever since that day.



After seeing Hank's show I knew I wanted to be a magician. Looking back I really appreciate the time he took out to be with me that day and how he has always been willing to answer my questions.

Never dismiss or ignore a child who has an interest in the art. They may actually turn out to be a dedicated student and a life-long practitioner.

Hank, thanks for the all the fond memories and taking the time to share a little magic with a sixth grader.

Visit http://www.moorehousemagic.com/ for more info on Hank Moorehouse.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

60 Great Magic Posters - A Review

In 1975, Charles and Regina Reynolds compiled and wrote 100 Years of Magic Posters (Darien House). It is a large format (11" x 16") book filled with 96 full color and black and white reproductions of magicians’ posters. Today the book is sought after by collectors. Many kids who bought the book back in the ‘70s cut the posters out and pinned them to their bedroom walls or decorated their magic props and cases. I was one of those kids, but later I bought two more copies of the book and kept them intact. The book can be found on EBay occasionally anywhere from $50 to $100.
Nothing has been done like the Reynolds book until the new paperbacked book by Dover, 60 Great Magic Posters (edited by Carol Belanger Grafton).  The book is 8-1/2" x 11" and printed in full color. The 64 pages contain poster art from the golden age of magic when magicians used colorful and imaginative lithographs to promote themselves. The collection includes images of Herrmann, Carter, Houdini, Thurston and many other prominent illusionists. Many of the posters have been seen before, but there are a few that are rarely reproduced in color.

What makes this book unique is the inclusion of a double-sided DVD. This DVD includes three different types of images - high-resolution (300 dpi) images that can be used to print large format prints, JPG images for low-resolution use (72 dpi) and hi-res screen saver images. All of the images are royalty-free so they can be used as they wish. 10 "bonus" images can also be downloaded.

The compilation also has a short biography section of the magicians featured on the DVD. I found this part of the book to be lacking and not of any real significance. The other negative of the book is that many of the images seem to be scanned images of printed posters from other resources. If you plan on printing larger format posters you may see the quality of the image is not of the highest quality.

All in all, this compilation of posters with DVD is affordable and welcomed. At $12.00 and change you shouldn't hesitate adding this book to your collection.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Marshall Brodien - One of the all-time great guys!

My friend, Marshall Brodien, called me today. It gives me goosebumps every time I say that. When I was seven years old I received my first TV Magic Set. I never thought the master magician I saw on TV as a kid would one day be my friend.

Marshall is one of the most genuine and giving people in magic. I have a lot of stories to share about the master magician. Someday soon...

Until then, buy his biography by John Moehring. It is a fascinating and enjoyable read. You'll soon find out why he is one of the all-time great guys.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Sense of Wonder

I have been doing magic for over 30 years. As time goes by "magic" doesn't make you feel the way it did when you first started in the business. Well, I have to admit I felt a sense of wonder again watching the incredible Danny Cole on YouTube. I don't know Danny, but he seems like a very likable and clever guy. Check out his videos. You will feel a sense of wonder (how he did that!).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Siegfried and Roy - Unforgettable

Last night I pulled out a DVD set I have of Siegfried and Roy. I was fortunate enough to have seen them perform many times at the Mirage. Watching the DVDs made me recall what a truly amazing and spectacular show they had. There wasn't a show that could compare to it and I don't think there ever will be. Siegfried and Roy were master showman and they earned their place in the annals of magic as two of of the greatest magicians - ever.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Siegfried after his show several times. He always took time out for his fans and friends in magic. The men, their magic and their show were truly unforgettable. Thanks for the memories.

My wife and I with Siegfried.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Houdini - The Uncommon Photographs

One of the earliest books I bought as a budding magician was Houdini - A Pictorial Life by Milbourne Christopher (1976). It is a wonderful book filled with photographs of the master mystifier. Recently, the book was reissued in a collectors' edition. It is must-have book for anyone that likes Houdini.

I am always amazed how many Houdini photographs are unpublished and those that are unearthed. I recently came across the website of the New York Public Library. They have many uncommon Houdini photographs I had never seen before in a digital gallery.

Magicians should also type in "Herrmann" and they will find several beautiful photographs of Adelaide Herrmann.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gary Darwin: A Las Vegas Institution


I heard that my friend Gary Darwin is in the hospital. Everyone in Vegas knows Gary. He has helped very magician that has ever passed through Sin City and his generosity is unsurpassed.

For many years he worked at the Riviera Hotel as a doorman. He has crossed paths with everyone from Sinatra to Siegfried & Roy. During his downtime he practiced his sleight of hand and came up with many of his own moves.

I met Gary in the late '90s when I was working on my first book, The Art of Deception. I had to include him in the book because he is a great artist in addition to being a talented and skillful magician. I will never forget one visit when he was bringing me to my hotel at 5AM. Just as he pulled up to the hotel his Dodge Dart broke down. Gary finally made it back home and I had some more memories of a wonderful visit to Gary's magic museum.

Darwin (Gary Lee Meador), the self-proclaimed “King of the Thumb Tip,” was born on September 19, 1935, in Denver, Colorado, Gary began a life of magic at the age of six when his grandfather vanished a cigarette in a thumb tip. By the time he was fourteen he was performing close-up magic semi-professionally.

Gary moved to Las Vegas in 1954, when the magic capital of the world was still in its infancy. Darwin was quick to realize that the city held many opportunities for a capable magician and was one of the first to ever perform there. During the 1960s he performed at some of Las Vegas’ grandest hotels, including the Stardust, the Desert Inn and the Thunderbird.

Darwin is a man of many talents and interests. Besides being an artist and author, he is an inventor of over 550 effects, performer and teacher of magic. He was an early mentor of the celebrated magicienne Melinda.

Gary's easygoing personality and wonderful sense of humor win him friends and admirers wherever he goes. In 1968 he founded “Darwin’s Magic Club.” This informal organization, where amateur and professional magicians get together to exchange secrets and stories, meets weekly. 

Darwin has been an avid collector of magic since the mid-sixties and over the years has amassed a substantial library of over 7,000 books on conjuring and the kindred arts. Gary’s library fills over two rooms of his Las Vegas home. He even has magic in his kitchen sink! Many of these books are autographed by the authors, and comprise one of magicdom’s most unique libraries. Darwin also has a large collection of posters, apparatus, and photos. His collection is unsurpassed. If you don't believe me watch the video clip below featuring Lance Burton.



Get well soon, Gary! You're a one of a kind. I look forward to visiting you again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Everybody has one.

Most people have an uncle, cousin, friend or relative who does a few simple tricks or stunts. "Look there's a coin behind your ear!" We all have probably heard that one before. Some of these men of mystery are bumbling idiots, but a few are very competent and knowledgeable.

I had an Uncle Johnny who ate cigarettes and did card tricks. I had another uncle who pulled sausages (Weller) out of my cousins' pockets and changed the color of handkerchiefs. He even gave my a copy of Scarne's Magic Tricks.

I want to be your "Magic Uncle." I have been performing and absorbing everything about the art of magic for over 30 years. My intention is to use this blog to inform, entertain, share, rant and review MAGIC.

Until next time...

By the way, that's Uncle Harry (Blackstone) in the header above. A bit of advice -- DON'T ever lift a rabbit by it's ears!