The Fleming company published book versions of the HMM and Paul Fleming asked Fred Braue to give him a personal evaluation of the tricks published in the first two volumes. Braue was very wellread and a performing magician of quality - therefore it might be of interest and value to save Braue's viewpoints for the future.
The letter on volumes 1+2 is of October 2nd 1946:
no.1 Torn paper classic. I use a method similar, but not quite this. Still, I'd say that this one is workable and the trick is a good one, well done.
no.2 Flash Opening. This was from Jean's old act and he writes that it was always a good audience trick.
no.3 Hugard's Butterflies. Also from Jean's act, it's a trick I've planned to use and which so help me I shall very soon.
Double Reverse.As I recall, I used this and it was acceptable. Believe I discarded it for a better method. It's more or less pedestrian but for a novice in card work should be excellent.
Wand Production. This is really good - and I don't say that because I gave it to Jean. It really surprises an audience when done neatly. I don't know whose trick it was originally, someone told it to me.
Classic Coin Fold. More or less basic but good methods and fine for the newcomer.
no.4 Twelve Cards to Pocket. I'm not crazy about the method Blackledge gives. He gets afraid on the last three cards and stops; but this transit of the three cards at the end is the finale and makes or breaks the trick. Still, for a student it's worth studying.
no.5 Tried nothing in this one, but have (or had) my eye on the Cups and Bills.
no.6 Thimble Technique. This move is all right, deceptive and useful.
Serpent Hank is another I've planned someday to try out, with a few modifications. And Jamison has a few good presentation ideas.
no.7 Jamison's material reads well; haven't tried.
Backpalm section is good basic instruction.
no.8 Magno-touch by Meyer. Another I must try.
no.9 Ghost writing. This is good. One chap I know, however, asked a spectator to cut the pack and a perverse streak prompted the assistant to turn only the top card! Moral: "Cut the pack somewhere near the middle to make it harder."
no.10 Confusing Ladies is a good audience trick but you can miss on it, I forget why, but discarded it.
Coin Tapping Count is good presentation gambit.
Coin Extraction reads well and I'm trying it the day after the day after tomorrow (of course).
no.11 Greatest Four Ace Trick. This is a neat presentation of the double-facer four ace. There's nothing new in it, part of it was given by Merlin and before him by someone else; but for those who haven't used this (or these) methods, they've got a treat and a surprise coming. Double-facer four aces, properly handled, is one of the most baffling of all card tricks. For a really superb presentation (to the audience
) the method on page 353 of Expert Card Technique is one which can be recommended. When the spectator turns over the card which HE has been holding, and which he KNOWS is an ace -- you should see his expression! Having duly plugged ECT, to get back to Jamison's method: it's really good.
Reverse Interlude: This is good -- or it may have been because Charlie Miller did it.
Cube Root Extraction. For this type of thing this is ingenious.
no.12 Haven't actually used any of these, nor seen them done. However, four days from now I shall try........
no.2 The same
no.3 The same
no.4 Jamison's Spot Stick routine is fine; have used it particularly doing hospital ward work and the kids like it.
no.5 Next week I plan to try......
no.6 I saw a boy of about 16 do this at a recent boy's magic show and despite his ineptness the effect was good, particularly when the spring flowers were withdrawn.
no.7 The Spirit Match. This is a useful thing to know. One point the author hints at but does not emphatically state: you must let the match burn until half the pasteboard is consumed - this will insure a complete action of the phosphorous striking head - heck, I mean that the trick will then work.
no.8 Cut and Restored String. This is a honey.
Shuffling Presentation: sliding over the top card a useful gambit.
One in Five. Somehow I missed Kaplan's trick and it reads extra good.
no.9 Again I plan to try.......
no 12. Double do as I do. This is an excellent trick, as it was when Martin Gardner put it in his Twelve Tricks. (Sniping at Kaufman).
The Secret Addition: This is the best single move to come out in card magic in a long time (said he modestly) It is easy , and it is, best of all, wholly deceptive. I sent Jean the first version a long time ago and put a confidential on it, then gave it for the magazine but forgot I'd subsequently worked out a little better routine. Jean gave this in a later issue. The pic in no.12 is wrong, wholly misleading, but the text is right. Proper methods is to take the four aces, say, face upwards and for a moment, in squaring, cover the pack. When the aces are lifted, take the two (or three,if the method calls for it) top face down cards along. Keep all well squared. Draw off the top face up card with the left thumb, flip it over face down wards a la Flipover Change (from which this sleight evolved). Repeat. The third time, in flipping the ace face downwards onto the deck, drop all the cards remaining in the right hand. Thumb off the top faced ace and flip downwards. This places the cards ace, indif, indif, ace, ace, ace from the top down.
On the whole I think there's more good material in Hugard's Monthly than all the remaining magazines ut together. Perhaps I'm prejudiced. Phoenix has had just one good trick which I plan to use (never mind when) in a year, and this is Lu Brent's idea of double-facing five dollar and dollar bills for use in a four-ace transposition idea. If the trick pays off, Phoenix has paid for the subsciption......."
I plan to come back with Braue's comments on volumes 3 and 4 later.