Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

This forum is an ongoing, and evolving, discussion. Genii Forum members discuss opinions and trade notes on current and past magic books.
Dave Egleston
Posts: 429
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dave Egleston » September 4th, 2002, 11:48 pm

Hi John and all
Yes I know - Convoluted at best - The magic and the effects are without question very good - If poorly written - The layout of the book is terrible -
As far as Mr Weber reviewing a book - One of the best magicians around - but - Have you ever seen LIFESAVERS?
And you have to admit - If someone published a book that had this appearance today - It would die on the vine -
When I try to justify a book being called a classic - I have to look at the whole package - Not only content - I would love to have our State of the art book reviewers go through this book and give an opinion.

Dave

Mitch Dutton
Posts: 114
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Calhoun, GA
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Mitch Dutton » September 5th, 2002, 5:22 am

Also in response to Tim... I have neither seen nor done the pipes effect, though I did read a routine with clay pipes in Tarbell. I was intrigued by the smoke factor, but afraid to breathe the fumes from the chemical mixture. Perhaps Mr. Noble can address this. Anyway... I have seen plenty of corncob pipes for sale in various smoke shops in my area. My job takes me to various retail stores in a rather large region and I have seen them often, so there is a source for them. If you do work out this effect it will be something that no one else is doing! --Mitch

User avatar
David Regal
Posts: 437
Joined: January 22nd, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Burbank, CA
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby David Regal » September 6th, 2002, 2:08 pm

I am writing from work, so I do not have a copy of the Elliott book in front of me, but I've had the book for many years, and it is certainly one of the most enjoyable magic books I've ever read. Such a variety of magic! Many years ago I learned the Sack Dice routine from the book. I'd never seen it done at that time, and I can still recall the giddy feeling that working out the trick gave me. I posted a funny story about the trick on another website. Here it is, if you're interested:

TRUE STORY:

I learned the Sack Dice routine from Classic Secrets of Magic maybe fifteen years ago...twenty? It was at a time when I was practicing it constantly, and always had a pair of dice in my pocket, as I did when my girlfriend and I went to (I think I have this right) the New York State Fair in Yonkers. We went to the sideshow-type area, walked by the tent that held the jars of animal birth abnormalities, and entered another larger tent filled with people watching various entertainers. After being entranced by Otis The Frog Boy, a large, large man with a big belly clearly hiding beneath his white-ish undershirt took the stage. I remember being surprised to see a performer appear in his undershirt. It was Melvin Burkhardt, I was to learn later. He did the human blockhead stuff, and some other stunts - something with his stomach, I seem to recall - then he took out two HUGE dice. They weren't solid dice, they were made of "walls" of plastic glued together. They were well-worn, chipped even. As I stood dumbfounded, he launched into the same Sack routine I'd been running day in, day out. Eleven on one side...eleven on the other side.... Maybe a couple of hundred people were in that tent watching him. At the mid-point of the trick, he stopped everything to make a big point of proclaiming the fact he was using ordinary dice - there wasn't really eleven on one side...eleven on the other side. In fact, he wanted a member of the audience to examine the dice and attest to the fact that this was so. He looked over the crowd. I tried my best to be invisible. I was several rows back, so I knew he wouldn't pick me.

He picked me. He called me to him and placed the dice in my hand, asking me if they were normal in every way. I looked down at the dice in my hand, realizing I was the one person in the tent - maybe in the entire New York State Fair in Yonkers that day - besides Melvin could hold them up and show the audience there was eleven on one side...eleven on the other. I couldn't keep from smiling, as I realized that some opportunities come along only once, and will certainly never come again.

Then I said "Yes, the dice are ordinary in every way".

****

The trick with the corncob pipes amazed me by virtue of its method which boardered on alchemy. What a thing to tip in a book for laypeople. They must wonder "My God - THIS is what magicians are willing to go through?!" I don't think that explanation could be published for a mass-market book today, not with liability insurance costs being what they are. I loved - and still love - the almost incredible amalgamation of talents (including nerve) a performer must have, should he wish to perform all the tricks in the book. I'm reminded of a "trick" I read in a book when I was 14 or 15. Understand, I'd go to every library in the area - and there were many - checking out anything with the word "Magic" in the title. This one trick...the effect was simple: The performer apparently drives a straight pin into his thigh with a hammer. The secret? The book gave the recipe for a topical solution that was to be secretly applied to the leg prior to the performace of the effect. To Perfom: Drive the pin into the leg with a hammer. I'm not kidding. The book recommended one firm blow, and assured the reader that, thanks to the topical solution, it would not hurt "much". I swear I am not making this up. Does anyone know the name of the book this appeared in? "Dangerous Amusements"? "Fun Stunts with Pins"? It exists somewhere.

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2191
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Pete McCabe » September 6th, 2002, 5:29 pm

Now I finally know how David does his ultrarealistic Pulling-Off-the-Thumb gag. No preparation but the clean up is a bitch.

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 6th, 2002, 8:08 pm

Regarding the pipes:

Further info on this effect can be found in Marvels of Mystery by John Booth. (Another great classic...hint, hint ;) )

Back to the pipe trick.
Before attempting this effect you must recite the Clinton Mantra:
"NEVER INHALE"!!!

The illustrations in Classic Secrets shows the performer blowing into the pipes and the smoke eminating from the other end. This is the proper way to perform the effect. Though the Elliot and Booth books impliy it, according to Lee Noble, the performer NEVER takes a drag and NEVER inhales the smoke.

It is interesting to note that Elliot an Booth disagree with regards to which of the two pipes should touch the mouth (a very important detail). Elliot says only the ammonia pipe; Booth says only the acid pipe. Unfortunately, during our informal chat, Mr. Noble could not remember which pipe went to the mouth.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6765
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 6th, 2002, 9:20 pm

Originally posted by Rafael Vila:
Regarding the pipes: "NEVER INHALE"!!!
Important safety tip - thanks Rafael. I think it would be wise for us to say that NO ONE should simply experiment with this. In other words: don't try this yourselves kids (right, have your "friends" try it first...NO NO NO!!! THAT WAS JUST A JOKE).

I, and I'm sure The Genii Forum, HIGHLY recommend that you DON'T try this! If you are so inclined, then make sure that you seek guidance from a qualified chemist.

Dustin

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6765
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 6th, 2002, 9:27 pm

My thanks to David Regal for sharing that terrific story regarding the Sack's Dice Routine!

I wish I could help you with your hunt for the book you seek. I can supply you with the recipe of a lovely Tropical Solution that helps numb pain, but not a topical one. Sorry.

Dustin

Mitch Dutton
Posts: 114
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Calhoun, GA
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Mitch Dutton » September 7th, 2002, 7:47 am

How about using one of the Paul Diamond "Smoke From Mouth" gimmicks with the pipes? That way you could blow real smoke through the pipes, puff real smoke from your mouth, and still use the chemical reaction 'smoke' for the non-oral parts of the routine. Anyone have any experience with the Diamond gimmick? Would this work?

Asser Andersen
Posts: 65
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Asser Andersen » September 8th, 2002, 2:48 pm

Regarding the Corn-cobs trick. In his wonderful book "McComb's Magic - 25 years wiser", Billy McComb describes - in great detail - his version of this trick using only one pipe.

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 9th, 2002, 9:40 pm

What about just using the Diamond "Smoke in Mouth" gimmick and blow the smoke out of the pipe when you have it in your mouth? I think that if you can build up enough residual smoke, it won't be noticible that it's coming from you and not the pipe.
Anyone else? Bueller...Bueller...anyone?
Rick

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 10th, 2002, 2:49 am

Hi, I'd like to put my little hands on the book, but I cannot find it. In Italy, there's no way to obtain it. Is there anybody who wants to buy it, and then send it to me? I can pay, of course...
;) Thanks in advance!

Andrea

Jackie Huang
Posts: 95
Joined: September 2nd, 2008, 1:16 am
Location: NJ

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Jackie Huang » September 10th, 2002, 8:21 am

Originally posted by Andrea Antonuccio:
Hi, I'd like to put my little hands on the book, but I cannot find it. Andrea
Andrea,

You can purchase an used copy from www.amazon.com. I recently purchased The Best in Magic from there.

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 11th, 2002, 8:24 am

I wish Richard was doing the sketches(as they use to call it then)in the book.
I have problems in page 23.
Can someone help?

Doripaz

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 11th, 2002, 12:57 pm

Ok..............so whats the NEXT "Book of the Month"???

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23863
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 11th, 2002, 7:09 pm

Earlier in this thread a guy named Dave wrote, "As far as Mr Weber reviewing a book - One of the best magicians around - but - Have you ever seen LIFESAVERS?"
Mr. Egleston, "Life Savers" is a highly acclaimed book and is one of the best-selling magic books I ever published. People love the tricks, they tell their friends to buy the book. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, of course, but you should realize that your opinion on "Life Savers" is not shared by the majority.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1437
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Bill Duncan » September 11th, 2002, 7:43 pm

Must of the stuff in Lifesavers reads poorly but plays strong. That fact was recently brought into sharp focus for me when Ben Robinson lectured here in Seattle and did the mousetrap effect.

Like many of the effects in Lifesavers it's hard to see how powerful it is until you do it for an audience (or see someone do it).

For me the crossword puzzle trick is worth twice the price of the book.

Dave Egleston
Posts: 429
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dave Egleston » September 11th, 2002, 8:51 pm

Mr. Kaufman:
As you may or may not know - I buy almost everything you've written - Usually directly from you - You are probably the one author/publisher I never hesitate purchasing from -
I am very surprised to hear that LIFESAVERS is one of your all time best sellers.
I bought this book right after Mr. Weber lectured in Sacramento with eager anticipation
I opened the book to the page facing the dedication - Cute - Is there any question in anyones mind that Mr Weber is a lawyer?
No doubt the clearest written page in the book
The second thing I saw in the book as I leafed through the book randomly was "Hiding McBride"

Now once again I'm going to fall into ambiguity - I don't regret buying the book because there ARE several things that verge on being great - Tainted in my mind by the opening statement in the book

Mr Weber's lectures and the magic he performs is beyond anything a fat old man like me can harm with an opinion - After all, how many magicians do you know that actually vanished during a closeup competition - He got my vote that year

Dave Egleston

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6765
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 12th, 2002, 10:25 pm

First, my apologies to everyone: my Father In-Law had major surgery on Monday and is still in very critical condition (but he is showing signs of improvement, so, as my friend Steve V. would say, please pray, cross your fingers, or circle the goats around your favorite tree - or whatever your inclinations may be - for him). As a result, I've only been able to check the board a few times but I've had no time to participate. So I will try and cover a lot of ground with this one post.

Originally posted by Rick Green:
What about just using the Diamond "Smoke in Mouth" gimmick...anyone?
Rick;

That thought had occurred to me (I used to help Paul at his booth when he'd attend conventions here on the West Coast). The gimmick is fairly big, making speaking difficult to impossible, so you'd have to do it as a silent piece, but it certainly could work.

Originally posted by Dori Paz:
I have problems in page 23.
Can someone help?
Dori;

What exactly is your question? Just to be sure, my page 23 (I have a first edition) covers the rice bowls; it is Figure 8. To me, Figure 7 is a bigger mystery: look closely at Sketch 2 and you'll notice that Dr. Jaks gave the magician in the sketch two left hands! In Figure 8, Sketch 1 (the most confusing) the right hand appears to be bent back in a rather awkward position, given the fact that the disk is supposed to be on the upstage side of the cloth.

Originally posted by Dave Egleston:
Have you ever seen LIFESAVERS?
Dave;

I have, and it's a great book. In fact, it is a very good candidate for this forum. This title has shown up on two request lists. Add Richard's and my endorsement (the Chief and the Czar – two big votes), we're up to four. This makes it one of the few books with multiple votes. Should it be done, then your opposing comments will be welcome! That's the purpose of this forum.

Originally posted by Jeffyz:
Ok..............so whats the NEXT "Book of the Month"???
Jeffyz;

The only thing I am prepared to tell you is that it will be a magic book!

Okay…….I'll give you a hint: Though I can't say for certain (yet – but given my research so far), there has never been a magical publication with a greater combination of editions, printings and publishers than the volume that is scheduled next.

Given my family issues, my research has been interrupted, so the next thread will be delayed a week or so. I wanted to start it this weekend, but that will not happen – please forgive me for the delay.

Talk to you all soon,
Dustin

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 14th, 2002, 7:29 am

Well Jeffyz has no problem with that ! I'm looking forward to the "next" one.

Cheers,
Jeff

Mitch Dutton
Posts: 114
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Calhoun, GA
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Mitch Dutton » September 16th, 2002, 8:42 am

Does anyone have information on where I can find some rubber covers for the filled wineglass production from Classic Secrets? I am working on the Miser's Dream routine and want to produce a full wineglass but have had no luck finding the required covers. Any info appreciated! --Mitch

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23863
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 16th, 2002, 9:10 am

Mitch, I believe that most people make the covers themselves. You can do this by covering the mouth of the glass you want to use with a piece of cardboard and then taping it neatly in place, leaving no holes exposed. Then buy some liquid latex (not sure at this point exactly where to get it these days, though the kind of stuff that they sell for dipping the handles of your tools to create that no-slip grip MIGHT work) and dip the entire end of the glass in it. Dip and dry. Dip and dry. Do it a bunch of times until the cover is thick enough. The peel it off, trim it, and you'll be in business.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 16th, 2002, 11:35 am

Richard,
You can get liquid latex at any costume/make up store. Especially now, with Holloween just around the corner, stores like TARGET, K-MART and ECKERT have a little make-up section.

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 16th, 2002, 11:36 am

Richard,
You can get liquid latex at any costume/make up store. Especially now, with Holloween just around the corner, stores like TARGET, K-MART and ECKERT have a little make-up section.

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 18th, 2002, 6:26 pm

Anyone ready for the next book? Dustin/Richard, taking any requests? How about the Doc and His Deck...OK, just kidding...please, no emailing any virus's for that :)

Mike

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23863
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 18th, 2002, 7:07 pm

We do have the book for next month picked out ... it'll have to wait a bit until the dust settles at Dustin's due to his father-in-laws health.
Mikey, do you remember what we used to call "The Doc and His Deck" when it came out? Only one letter changes in the title, but what a difference!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6765
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 18th, 2002, 10:20 pm

I hope to have the thread opened this weekend (Sunday, God willing). I'm hoping to make the trek up to the Castle tomorrow night* to wrap up my research. It would be easy just to drop the book title on you folks and let you have at it, but that's not my style.

The situation with my father in-law has improved. He's been upgraded from critical to serious/stable. He's not out of the woods, but he's found the path.

Dustin

*Attn. Gordon Bean: I didn't have the opportunity to call you tonight. On the chance that you read this; if the library will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) for some reason, please let me know by posting here or leaving a message at 949-477-2728. Thanks!

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 19th, 2002, 2:03 pm

Mikey, do you remember what we used to call "The Doc and His Deck" when it came out? Only one letter changes in the title, but what a difference!

Hell Richard...didn't we have a song about it? One we would sing leaving the Madhatter :) . Or maybe that was something altogether different :p

Gordon Bean
Posts: 46
Joined: January 21st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Niskayuna, NY
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Gordon Bean » September 19th, 2002, 10:47 pm

Dustin just dropped by the Castle library, making some notes about the next selection. All I'll say right now is that it's certainly one of the all-time greats, one sharing many characteristics with Classic Secrets. Certainly, for me, these two books formed the foundation of my own magical knowledge--with their two authors giving an early clue into the depth and diversity of magic.

John Pezzullo
Posts: 455
Joined: March 16th, 2008, 5:19 am

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby John Pezzullo » September 20th, 2002, 3:26 am

We Aussies love to gamble.

Based on Gordon's comments, I'll wager five red/blue double backers that the next 'Book of the Month' was written by a guy named 'George' and published in 1948.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6765
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 20th, 2002, 9:34 am

Originally posted by John Pezzullo:
We Aussies love to gamble.

Based on Gordon's comments, I'll wager five red/blue double backers that the next 'Book of the Month' was written by a guy named 'George' and published in 1948.
BZZZZZZZZ!!!

Oooh - nice guess, but wrong.

You can keep the DBs. ;)

Dustin

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 20th, 2002, 10:44 am

Can I guess? My guess doesn't come from Gordon's clues. It comes from Dustin's. It has to be the book we all know and love, simply as ERDNASE.

Jackie Huang
Posts: 95
Joined: September 2nd, 2008, 1:16 am
Location: NJ

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Jackie Huang » September 20th, 2002, 12:13 pm

Originally posted by Gordon Bean:
Certainly, for me, these two books formed the foundation of my own magical knowledge--with their two authors giving an early clue into the depth and diversity of magic.
My bet is on The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay.

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » September 21st, 2002, 8:53 pm

I think you may be right, Joe. The thing that has me thinking Erdnase (Or "Erdinase" for the Michael Kaminskas students) is Dusty's comment about the number of editions and publishers. So, either way, I still have two life lines left.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23863
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 21st, 2002, 9:28 pm

Regarding Erdnase, there will shortly be several more editions and several more publishers--this being the centenary and all.
My lips are sealed. :p
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6765
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 22nd, 2002, 2:38 am

Okay gang - the new thread is open - you smart guys can gloat over there. I will leave this one open for a few more days then lock it up. If anyone has something they would like to share in this thread after it is locked, email it to me and I will determine whether or not it should be added.

Thanks,
Dustin

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » October 11th, 2002, 9:47 am

Hi, Everyone!

As a new member of the Genii Forum, I am pleased that Dustin was kind enough to re-open this topic so that I could add my thoughts. I have a deep fondness for this book.

My public library in small-town Tennessee had four magic books:

Fun With Magic, by Joseph Leeming -- a fine first magic book for kids which had me giving backyard summer shows for the neighborhood kids at age 8 (I recently bought an ex-libris copy for the future for my 6-yr-old son)

Best In Magic, by Bruce Elliott -- one of three very useful digests of material from Elliott's periodical, the PHOENIX

Classic Secrets of Magic, by Bruce Elliott -- the book currently under discussion

...and a fourth book, not unlike Fun With Magic, but by a different author; this book and FWM are still in that local library as of last month, but the Elliott books have been lost, stolen, or phased out of the library (the latter not likely, however).

The above four books, my seeing a touring magician's evening show at my local high school when I was 7, and Mark Wilson's MAGIC LAND OF ALLAKAZAM were turning points in my interest in magic. A mere 42 years later, here I am, still an avid magic hobbyist and revisiting one of my favorite books for the umpteenth time.

I wanted to own those Elliott books so badly when I was 10. In 1962, used specialty books were impossible to find, especially in small towns. TV was still mostly b/w. Mass market bookstores existed only in major metropolitan areas, and computers were science fiction to most people. The interstate highway system was just a baby. Finding out-of-print books was nearly impossible, especially for a 10-yr-old unversed in the ways of the world. Classic Secrets was already more than a decade old, and I just knew that I could never find one. Aside: The Elliott books were still in the public library when I left home for college in 1970, so someone copped them after that.

Flash forward 35 years to the Internet. Lo, and behold, Bibliofind (much better in those days than since Amazon swallowed them, IMO) had multiple copies of Classic Secrets for $10 and up! I bought a first edition for $12 with dust jacket, and later bought a 1970's Galahad printing with dust jacket for $10 (which is my study copy). Quite by accident I stumbled across a mass-market paperback edition, which I bought for $3 and keep in my briefcase (with Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook in the Signet paperback edition). Bibliofind also led me to Best In Magic, Magic As A Hobby, and Professional Magic Made Easy, all Elliott books worthy of a place on your bookshelf.

Classic Secrets was the first book that took me beyond the apparatus magic and head magic of Fun With Magic. It showed me that magic was much deeper and broader than I had ever imagined. My first foray into sleight-of-hand was the Benson Bowl routine (with Don Alan touches) that was in CS (I cut my own sponge balls, not knowing you could buy such things; I still have them). It bowled over my family (pun intended, but it really did so!), and I was hooked for life. My mother bought me my first $2 magic wand from Magic Inc. in Chicago, and I was off and running. I did the wineglass production/miser's dream combo for a talent show when I was 12, for example.

How I wished that I could afford the shiny Cups & Balls that Elliott's book so grandly described. I learned the first C&B routine and the tethered sponge routine using styrofoam cups for both, and often closed my family or neighborhood shows with Benson Bowl or C&B.

Ok, so I wax too nostalgically. The book is poorly organized (so was Magic As A Hobby, but Elliott did a better job on Best In Magic and Professional Magic Made Easy). The illustrations are often abysmal (where were the illustrators who did the other three Elliott books?). There are many mistakes, often crucial ones, like mixing up the hands specified in some of the C&B routines. Some of the descriptions are incomplete, too terse, or assume a bit of prior knowledge that many readers would not have. Yes, and sometimes Elliott rambles a bit (not unlike this post?).

Despite all of that, there is some superb information to be found in this book. Nay, intermediate magicians can find gold in this book. The development and variations of effects found in the C&B chapter, the Paddle chapter, the Four Aces chapter, the Matrix chapter (called 2 covers/4 objects), and the Ambitious Card chapter can really spark one's creative juices. Even if one does not like the routines as taught, the concepts lead the creative mind into one's own ideas. I credit this book and Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook for giving me the knowledge and courage to create my own magical effects. Studying the above chapters showed me how magicians should always be thinking about better ways to accomplish their effects, and I am grateful to Elliott and Hay (Mussey).

The same statement works for Elliott's three other books, listed above, and the 8 volumes of Phoenix/New Phoenix (now available on CD-Rom for under $20). Take a plot, make up your own sleights and routine, and have something fresh. Or, take an idea and create your own plot around the sleight. Elliott encourages that kind of creativity.

I would be much the poorer magician without Classic Secrets in my background, so I recommend it highly for those above the beginning level. The very flaws I enumerated above are what keep the mass-market publishing status of this book from destroying the effects within for the general public. As I also said of the Amateur Magician's Handbook elsewhere in the Book of the Month area, Classic Secrets is just too much work for the general public to read and understand. Those of us who cherish our hobby or profession of magic have the care to put in the work, and are rewarded quite richly.

Thanks, Dustin, for letting me put in my thoughts. Hey, Richard Kaufman, how about a new corrected edition of CS with your drawings replacing the originals?

Regards,

Jon

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » July 6th, 2004, 7:53 pm

Here, and on several other forums, I have noted for several months that Magic Inc. in Chicago had brand new in the box copies (whole cases?) for only $6 each, surely the bargain of our time. I bought several for Christmas gifts for magic friends, and they were all appreciated (I put a complete set of props for the Benson Bowl routine in the present, too).

Well, somebody must have been listening at Magic Inc., because the books now sell for $20! Sorry if you missed out...

Jon

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » July 1st, 2005, 7:22 pm

Hi All

I don't know whether anyone will see this, 3 years later.

I have owned Classic Secrets of Magic for around 30 years, and recently I began looking for the gimmicks Elliot describes for the wineglass production and the rice bowls.

This would be a small rubber cover for the wineglass, and a somewhat larger cover for one of the bowls, supported by a colored ring which appears to be ornamentation around the bowl's rim. This allows the bowls to be examined by the audience, a unique feature of this version.

Does anyone know where these items could be found?

Thanks,
Sky

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » July 4th, 2005, 6:46 am

Actually, the wineglass cover can be any flexible rubber or plastic film attached with rubber band. Try cutting one side off a plastic sandwich bag, or if you want it a bit thicker, cut it of one of those zipper sandwich bags.

Al Baker's Rice Bowls, which look like cereal bowls, are supposedly still commercially available. Here are some links, with my inevitable commentary:

http://www.tannens.com/cart/cat118.html
Tannens wants an outrageous $150 for two porcelain bowls and a rubber cover. Plus, as oft documented here and on other bulletin boards, Tannen's has a nasty habit of taking money for things that are not in stock and making you wait a long time before you get your item, if ever.

Magic Inc in Chicago used to stock them, although they don't show on the web site. However, they carry much more in the shop than they do on the website, so phone or email them to ask about the Baker Rice Bowls:
Email -- info@magicinc.net
Telephone -- 773-334-2855

http://www.owenmagic.com/Club___Stage/C ... age_4.html
Owen Magic's bowls are metal, not porcelean. They do resemble mixing bowls, though, and have the lota bowl feature, so they can be shown inside and out. The price is not shown, but Owen items are very expensive, and often the best available in pro magic gear.

http://www.morrisseymagic.com/morrissey_stage6.htm
Morrissey Magic's Rice Bowls (Brahmin) have a distinct oriental look to their shape, and work like the Owens. The price listed is in Candian dollars, so they are less than they appear to cost. Many dealers stock these with their markups, so order them from Morrissey if you want a better price on them.

Abbotts catalog #25 shows the Morrissey Brahmin Bowls and the standard celluloid disc bowls. Phone them to ask about the Baker Rice Bowls.
1-800-92MAGIC

The Baker china rice bowls have a commonplace appearance that lends much to the magic, IMHO. Using the Baker bowls, consider using Corn Flakes instead of rice, and doing a "morning after" sequence in your swing show. You could come out looking suitably disheveled (vest hanging open, necktie untied, a little stage black to make you look unshaven), perhaps with your wife (or cast member serving as your wife). Pour yourself a bowl of cereal; when she asks for some, too, discover that the box is empty, and offer to share with her. Hold both bowls and start to pour some of your flakes into her bowl. Slip, and dump your bowl upside down on hers! Turn the bowls over apologetically, and separate them to make twice as much cereal! She comes back with an empty milk carton, and you put the bowls back together. Transfer the rubber cover (see Elliott) and produce not water, but MILK (using Oil of Milk, of course).

Just my thoughts. Hope they are some help to you.

Jon

Guest

Re: Book of the Month: Classic Secrets of Magic

Postby Guest » July 4th, 2005, 8:53 am

Re: rubber cover for wine glass production

a (trimmed) balloon & a rubber band work well

For more details, check out Bruce Cervon's version of Chanin's 'TV Surpise.' The routine can be found in "Ultra Cervon" (L&L)

Great routine BTW


Return to “Book of The Month Club”