Influential Amateurs

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Gary Brown
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Influential Amateurs

Postby Gary Brown » July 17th, 2005, 3:01 pm

Here's a thought: who are the most influential amateur magicians in the history of magic?

I'll start with my favorite: Professor Hoffmann (Angelo Lewis). An attorney by profession, his elegant, encyclopedic texts -- including Modern Magic, More Magic, Later Magic and Latest Magic -- provide a remarkable catalog of a broad spectrum of the art of illusion.

Hoffmann's seminal work catapulted generations of magicians into the art. In My Magic Life, David Devant credits obtaining a copy of Modern Magic with his entry into conjuring. One professional conjurer suggested that Hoffmann should be "hanged" for exposing so much of the craft to the public. Yet his tireless efforts virtually created the hobby, converting a guild-like profession into an accessible pastime and entertainment for countless millions.

Even today, more than a century after their creation, his works remain a joy to read.

Image

There must be scores of other amateurs who have advanced the art. Any ideas?

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Joe Pecore
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Joe Pecore » July 17th, 2005, 4:05 pm

I nominate Milt Kort, a Detroit pharmacist.

From the back cover of the book "Kort":

"Milt Kort is a legend of sorts: a magician who has seldom traveled outside the Detroit area, who rarely performs at magician's conventions or lectures, yet a man whom the professionals and greats in magic came to see; men like Paul Rosini, Dr. Daley, J.B. Bobo, Charlie Miller, Cardini, Dai Vernon, and many more sought out Milt Kort and shared secrets with him. But why? Milt was a pharmacist by trade, not a professional magician. The answer lies in the word love. It was his great love of magic that drew magic's greats to him. Magic has been Milt's abiding passion since childhood, and he always did it for the love of it, for the fun of it, not for the money or the fame in it.

Well, there was one other reason they came; Milt often fooled them with devishly clever tricks of his own invention."
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Bill Duncan
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Bill Duncan » July 17th, 2005, 4:10 pm

Roger Klause?

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Bill Wells
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Bill Wells » July 17th, 2005, 5:39 pm

John Ramsay
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Tabman
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Tabman » July 17th, 2005, 7:49 pm

Good question Gary - fun to think about. Don't forget about our own Pete Biro, photographer, writer, magazine editor, as an amateur magician has had a marked influence on magic and the way magicians think. I know he has on mine.

-=tabman

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Pete Biro
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Pete Biro » July 17th, 2005, 11:17 pm

Hey, I got paid for my shows! :D :D :D
Stay tooned.

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Tabman
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Tabman » July 18th, 2005, 5:16 am

Originally posted by Pete Biro: Hey, I got paid for my shows! :D :D :D
And John Ramsay didn't ???

-=tabman

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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Guest » July 18th, 2005, 5:24 am

Pete,

You also get paid, and make your living from, photography, if I understand correctly. Ramsay made his living as a grocer, and as a judge for gardening and dance contests (he was an expert at both and in high demand as such).

Jon

Brian Marks
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Brian Marks » July 18th, 2005, 9:02 am

Sol Stone psychologist
Harry Lorraine author/memory expert
Richard Kaufman author/forum moderator
Herb Zarrow CPA
Ken Krenzel psychologist

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Michael Kamen
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Michael Kamen » July 18th, 2005, 9:27 am

Paul Curry, notably for Out of this World and the Turnover Change.
Michael Kamen

Jon Racherbaumer
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » July 18th, 2005, 9:43 am

Henry Christ
Jacob Daley
Frank Thompson
Oscar Weigle
Ben Braude
Fred Braue
Ed Marlo - Machinist
James Elliott
Jim Steranko
Karl Fulves

and so on...

Bill Duncan
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Bill Duncan » July 18th, 2005, 3:32 pm

Let's not forget
Jon Racherbaumer
Steve Minch

Earle Oakes
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Earle Oakes » July 18th, 2005, 3:46 pm

In my humble opinion,Jon,is not an amateur.
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CardFan
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby CardFan » July 18th, 2005, 5:22 pm

Alex Elmsley, for sure.

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Tabman
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Tabman » July 18th, 2005, 6:38 pm

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer: Ed Marlo - Machinist... and so on...
Thats an interesting aside. I never knew that. I'd like to hear more about this and of course it has me wondering if he ever did any magic related machining???

-=tab

Jacky Kahan
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Jacky Kahan » July 18th, 2005, 9:40 pm

John Bannon... ?

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Ian Kendall
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Ian Kendall » July 19th, 2005, 12:25 am

I think Roy Walton _has_ to be here.

Take care, Ian

Terrence
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Terrence » July 19th, 2005, 7:25 am

Bill and Milt Larsen.

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NCMarsh
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby NCMarsh » July 19th, 2005, 9:34 am

In the strictly literal sense of the word ("one who does a thing because she loves it, a lover") every one of the masters was/is an amateur...Generally, we have a misplaced respect for "professionals" in our culture, and a misplaced contempt for "amateurs"...beautiful magic will always come from an amateur -- were that there were more amateurs in magic!

as to the conventional sense of the word, a case could be made for Dai Vernon. His period working for Frances Rockefeller King was fairly brief and he seemed to be fairly hesitant to be involved (at least according to Karl Johnson's The Magician and The Cardsharp)...much of his life seems to have been spent living hand to mouth from the silhouette cutting and then being supported by the castle...in the latter case, his means of support is coming "from magic" but not from paid performances for the public...however we want to consider this in terms of the making a living with magic/making a living some other way distinction; he remains, in the real sense of the word, one of the greatest amateurs of magic...

best,

N.
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Bill Mullins
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Bill Mullins » July 19th, 2005, 3:26 pm

Gary Plants. Ken Krenzel.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Pete Biro » July 19th, 2005, 4:06 pm

Fred Kaps always said he was both, a pro AND and Amateur... he did his act as a pro... but pleyed with magic for the shear pleasure.
Stay tooned.

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Steve Bryant
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Steve Bryant » July 19th, 2005, 7:27 pm

Then there is the entire cast and crew of Le Grand David, who probably toil elsewhere during the week but put on a most professional show on the weekend.

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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Guest » July 20th, 2005, 4:40 pm

Well, the jury may be out on this, but I believe one of, if not THE, most influential amateurs of the 20th century would have to be: ERDNASE!

Best, PSC

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NCMarsh
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby NCMarsh » July 20th, 2005, 5:06 pm

Intriguing suggestion -- though I've always imagined him as a "resourceful professional"...
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Ray Haddad
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Ray Haddad » July 29th, 2005, 3:04 pm

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Hey, I got paid for my shows! :D :D :D
Come on, Pete. Getting handed a Snickers bar back stage doesn't count. :D
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Ray
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Re: Influential Amateurs

Postby Guest » September 24th, 2005, 5:16 pm

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
Let's not forget
Jon Racherbaumer
Steve Minch
Steve Minch is a professional writer and publisher of magic books, isn't he? I think by "amateur" this thread refers to people who make (made) their living outside of magic.
Wasn't Larry Jennings a plumber?


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