Chris... Kaaps, who a few of us called him by his real name... Bram Bongers, (Tommy Wonder is Jos Bema) was, in his own words, "A professional and an amateur magician... a pro when I work, an amateur to learn."
Kaps was NOT a creator of magic, but the consumate performer, routiner. His skill was such, and his respect of the art, made it so that a great number of creators would give their ideas to him... because one knew it would be excecuted to perfection.
He was loved by all, his family came first... he was the perfect gentleman, at home with royalty, or even "the boys" sessionong card tricks all night.
Travelling with him to shows in Holland his style netted many laughs... he was funny in his talking act, but not slapsticky... he was the brunt of the humor, he was seemingly being fooled by what was happening himself.
His lay act repertoire? Professor's nightmare, spot card, chinese sticks, homing card. 11 bill trick, linking rings... if he did two spots in a review show he would do the silent manip act, opening with vanishing cane in newspaper, candle productions and flame thru silk candle, card manips but with dollar bills, smoking thumb, jumbo coin production, closing with long salt pour.
His first (of 3) FISM GP Wins was as "Mystica" producing, as a running gag, dozens of canes... his memorable cane bit was the production of a rabbit from a cane... (HUH?) -- No visible prop--a pair of rabbit ears appeared sticking out of thr end of a cane... he grabbed at the ears and BANG he was seen holding a rabbit!
When he first started he was coached by Henk Vermeyden... a blessing and a problem... Henk came to the U.S. and "pinced" material and taught it to his young students... two such items he taught Fred were Roy Benson's chinese sticks and the salt pour. Years later, when Fred found out, his presentations were so different, they had, in fact, become his...
David Regal visited yesterday and watched some of the material and what really stood out was Kaps' deliberate style, called POINTING... his words (I don't call it patter) emphasised what he was doing... he made sure... and SOLD what the effect... he literally told people this was amazing...
more later, stay tooned...