Kaps, the person and the magician

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
Philippe Noël
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Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Philippe Noël » January 22nd, 2003, 12:43 pm

I think that again two very interesting threads have recently appeared on this forum, Ken Brooke's and Vernon's thread.
What about giving here all the anecdotes you remember of Fred Kaps?
To begin with, I remember that in pabular was an article on Fred Kaps Lecture that took place in London on 29th of January of 1975.
In that article, they talk about a kind of sandwich effect in which "a selected card vanishes from the pack and is discovered with two jokers that are on the other side of the table" and I suppose that it was Fred Robinson who said:"Most of us can control a card and palm it, but what kind of magic is used to add it to the jokers unseen by a ROOM-FULL OF MAGICIANS intent on seeing how it was done?"
Does anybody here attended this lecture and what are his memories of this extraordinary performance?

Philippe Nol

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Pete Biro
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 22nd, 2003, 1:49 pm

Did not attend that lecture, however I have a TON of stories on Bram Bongers (AKA Fred Kaps) and recently did a two-hour presentation on his life with stories and video clips at the Magic Castle.

I have a stack of letters from him, and perhaps later in a month or two, could scan and publish them here if anyone is interested. :cool:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » January 22nd, 2003, 6:02 pm

Pete, I think there are easily eight thousand people on this forum who would love that... also don't forget about doing something commercially with those videos! I'd be glad to help... I've spent 15 years in TV broadcasting and audio/video production. Let me know! --Asrah

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » January 22nd, 2003, 7:51 pm

Hello Pete Biro-san
How are you doing! (O genki densuka?)
I want and expect that the precious letter of Fred Kaps is exhibited in this Forum as early as possible.
Y. Mutobe

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Philippe Noël » January 23rd, 2003, 7:29 am

Pete,
How much I would have loved to attend your two-hour presentation on Kaps.
It would be great if you could do this presentation at FISM this year!
And of course I am very interested in Kaps letters.
Take care,

Philippe Nol

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Pete Biro
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 23rd, 2003, 9:52 am

Phillipe... FISM? Love to, but having just lost my job it looks like someone will have to hire me to be there!!! :eek:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 23rd, 2003, 9:53 am

And... Phillipe, you could take the train to Amsterdam and GRAB Dick Koornwinder and sit him down to finish the Kaps book (from Fred's notebook)!!!

The world is waiting for this one. :genii:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Larry Horowitz » January 23rd, 2003, 6:57 pm

I was the organizer for the Fred Kaps evening at the Magic Castle. Pete Biro and Mike Caveny were the speakers and they were both great. Pete was a very close friend of Fred Kaps his insight into the man and his thinking were fantastic. We should all bug him on this forum until he relates more stories.

Larry

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Robert Kane » January 23rd, 2003, 8:59 pm

We are lucky to have Pete as a regular contributor to the Genii Forum. I have had the pleasure of speaking with him on several occasions (most recently at WMS) and his knowledge of magic and its eccentric personalities is astounding. Keep it coming Pete. It is sincerely appreciated and enjoyed.

If you ever get the chance, have Pete show you his presentation of Card-in-Mousetrap. Now that is fun magic with a sneaky twist.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 24th, 2003, 10:16 am

Aw shucks you guys... card in Rat Trap was published in Genii... probably 30 years ago? :D I've only caught a finger in it once... and some guy said to me later..."Boy you can sure act, you really looked like you caught your finger." :mad: I said, "Yah, this black and blue (showing him my finger) is make-up, nice job 'eh?" :D
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 24th, 2003, 10:18 am

Funny thing with card in Rat Trap... of course it is a duplicate card, right... so this guy comes up to me and says, "I did your card in Rat Trap, tossed the cards into the air, and stabbed into the falling cards (it is like a card sword) and I actually caught the selected card in the trap, there were two King of Clubs' caught in the trap, what should I do?"

I told him... "Don't ever do the trick again." :D :D :D
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 24th, 2003, 10:23 am

Back to Bongers.

Oh, I must explain. Fred Kaps' real name: Bram Bongers... and Jay Marshall and I always called him by his real name... that way others wouldn't know who we were talking about.

Anyway, Fred was doing some amaazing close up stuff for a group of well-to-do Frenchmen.

He did Bob Driebeek's "Tosheroon" (effect, card selected, lost, deck placed on table face up and a large coin placed onto the face of the deck... a wave of your hands over the deck/coin and the top card changes to the selected card).

Anyway the way it works is the top card is gaffed so it can be palmed off--through the coin.

Kaps does this and blows them away... he relaxes, leans back (has a card palmed in his right hand)...

This one guy says "That is the greatest trick I have ever seen... let me shake your hand."

Being Kaps, he did a perfect change-over palm and no one was the wiser!

He later worked out a way to palm the card out without the card being gaffed.
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 24th, 2003, 10:26 am

The Cork.

We booked Kaps to lecture in Oakland, Calif., home of the Super Bowl Raiders...

Rumors had spread that he had a new floating trick that no one could figure out. It was the Floating Cork.

Word had spread and Larry Jenning, then living in Los Angeles, flew up to Oakland real early, was the first to the lecture hall, and promptly grabbed the front row middle seat and waited.

When Kaps did the cork, NO ONE, NO ONE... was hip to invisible thread, and Larry, and others -- me included -- had any clue as to how the trick was done.

We all were thoroughly baffled. :genii: :cool: :genii:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » January 24th, 2003, 10:36 am

Muatobe-san, ma-mo-naku watashi kakimas' ni tsuite Kaps-san tegami :cool:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby John McDonald » February 3rd, 2003, 8:46 am

I Have a video called the "Heros of Magic" by John Fisher which shows Kaps doing the floating cork on the Parkinson show.
It still baffles me even when I know about invisible thread.

It is real magic!!

Best wishes John :D
Best John

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Pete Biro
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 3rd, 2003, 11:47 am

Finn Jon's improvement on the floating cork was to make it self contined... he had the cork in a wine bottle... and you pretended to take a swig of the wine and loaded the gimmick into your mouth that way...

I did the cork once in a meeting room 2,000 miles from home. I was there a couple of weeks and I us ed to "hide" the gaffed setup by hanging it on the wall inside the closet behind the door.

I forgot it was there and left it.

A year later I came back to the same meeting room and -- you guessed it -- it was still there! :cool:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2003, 4:18 am

Can someone who was personally familiar with Fred Kaps tell me what qualities the man had that made him such a fine magician?

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2003, 5:57 am

Pete Biro-san
Thank you for your reply in Japanese!
I'm just waiting for your writing about letters from Fred Kaps.
Y. Mutobe

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 4th, 2003, 9:22 am

Fred was not just a "fine magician" but a "fine gentleman."

He was dedicated to his art and to his family.

Fred considered himself both an amateur and a pro... an amateur, in that, he kept studying, watching, learning and loving all forms of magic.

A Pro because he knew how to entertain, to be gracious, to be liked on stage. He had the skill to back it up... I never saw him do anything that was not perfected. He practiced constantly. He studied every way to do something and kept at it changing if he found a better, simpler way.

He was the kind of guy that others, who would invent things, would send him ideas and props, because they knew he would do them proud.

Two examples: Braco really invented the floating cork, but gave it to Fred because he knew Fred would perfect it. I gave Fred a trick with a borrowed finger ring, knowing the same thing would happen... he built it up to perfection and featured it on two television specials.

Kaps was at home with kids sessioning coin and card stuff at a convention, and with the Kings and Queens of European countries, where he entertained royalty on many occasions.

Ken Brooke often called Fred "The best all around magical entertainer of our time."

Why?

Because Fred was. He could do micro magic, card magic and illusions... it didn't matter.

One thing the FEW American magicians know, Fred was really funny and got lots of laughs when he did his "layman" act in Holland (and other European countries where he spoke the language, German and French).

He knew what audiences liked.

He did different material at magic conventions than he did for the public.

Sure do miss that guy... :(

Thanks for asking about him :)
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 4th, 2003, 9:28 am

Mutobe-san... Mimas' tame tagami Kaps-san. Mit'kemas' sugo -- watashi nozomimas' :)
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Anthony Brahams » February 5th, 2003, 2:07 am

I echo Pete's comments on Fred Kaps. I mean the posting in English-not sure about the Japanese one which looks like what I ordered in a Benihana restaurant.

Was the Magic Castle presentation videoed?
Anthony

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 5th, 2003, 7:15 am

Thank you for the info Pete, I'd like to learn more about the man if you care to tell us.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 5th, 2003, 7:58 am

Mickey Hades published a wonderful book (smallish) on Fred's life. I think it is still in print.

No, the Castle Presentation was not taped, it was 70% looking at videos with comments, anectdotes, etc. thrown in by myself and Mike Caveney.
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 5th, 2003, 7:59 am

AND... AND... Dick Koornwinder (c'mon Dick you can finish it!) is getting Kaps material together to be published by Mike Caveney. :genii:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Philippe Noël » February 5th, 2003, 11:17 am

Pete,
Would you be kind enough to tell us the full story about the cork?
You said that it was Braco who invented the trick.
How does Braco and Kaps meet each other?
What were the improvements of Kaps?
How does Ken Brooke happen to sell this trick?
Do you know the story of this trick?

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 5th, 2003, 11:50 am

Philippe: I think Dick Koornwinder may be better to ask.

Kaps, as I understood it, learned about the thread from Braco (or Bruno ?? or are they the same person ??) and devised the idea of putting the thread from his fingertip to his mouth. The end in his mouth had a small piece of cork on it so he could make the cork on his hand 'DANCE' by moving his tongue.

I would believe the ROUTINE he devised is what he worked with Ken to produce and market.

After it had been around for some time, Fred was coming to the USA (Hawaii IBM Convention) to lecture. He had me make up 50 sets of the trick to sell at his lecture and convention. I don't recall how many we actually did make and sell, but I don't think it was all 50.

How he met the other person? I don't know. Perhaps Koornwinder, who reads here once in awhile can add to the story.
:cool:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Philippe Noël » February 6th, 2003, 12:31 pm

Thank you Pete.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 7th, 2003, 1:08 am

Pete, Philippe,

the man's name, who invented the dancing cork and gave it to Fred Kaps, is Bruno Henning (stage name Joro) from Germany.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 7th, 2003, 8:48 am

In an older thread didn't Hennig (Henning)'s grandson come on the forum and tell the tale?
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Pete Biro
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 7th, 2003, 9:22 am

Harry Lucas: Thanks for clarifying the names. I just couldn't find my notes and was guessing.

Richard: Yes, the message was here sometime last year.

:)
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Philippe Noël » February 8th, 2003, 2:48 am

Richard,
The thread your are mentioning was "the black envelope" and the tale is about the card to box, not about the cork.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 8th, 2003, 7:27 am

Oops!
Okay, who will give us the history of the Floating Cork?
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 8th, 2003, 8:07 am

The instruction sheets (from Ken Brooke) that came with the necessary props for the "Dancing and Floating Cork" also specify that the trick was given to Kaps by Bruno Hennig in Germany. In the same instructions, Kaps mentions that he worked on it for years and found a different handling, along with the box, the ring, the right type of cork, etc.

It is also mentionned that Ken Brooke's Magic Place started marketing the routine towards "the end of 1971".

Hope this helps a bit,

Seb.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 11th, 2003, 10:11 am

Can anyone explain his use of the necktie as a topit clearly please ?

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete McCabe » February 11th, 2003, 12:05 pm

Martin:

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I saw Dan Garrett use a Necktie Servante, which I believe he also sold. An interesting device that could create some real miracles, including a sleeves-up vanish that looked just like a Raven.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Guest » February 11th, 2003, 12:18 pm

I am guessing here, Pete but I guess that the works sit behind the body of the tie and the tail
maybe angled to the "throwing" side ?
In Fred's lecture notes it reads like the tie itself was slit open the actual description is a little hazy, I guess you had to be there.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 11th, 2003, 3:09 pm

The necktie had diagonal stripes. There was an opening cut along a stripe. You could drop a coin, or something similar into the inside of the tie. :genii:

Norm Nielsen Magic sells these. I "think" it was really Bob Driebeek's invention and he gave it to Kaps. :cool:
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 11th, 2003, 4:05 pm

I saw Fred Robinson do this when he lectured at Bob Elliott's house years ago. Many of us had come to the lecture hoping to see his legendary card work which he had displayed the previous night at another lecture. Instead we got a lot of simple stuff and this dopey thing with a necktie that had a slit in it. We were extremely disappointed.
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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Geno Munari » February 11th, 2003, 5:20 pm

This idea goes back to some crossroader/dice and bj dealers in Reno and Las Vegas. They called it a "sub". They would cop a check and then make the move to their tie. They also built a sub in their dealing apron. Simply by pulling in their gut, a big pocket would open up. Upon leaning over to pay a bet they would drop checks (casino chips) into the compartment. They also used their pants and a stiff wire in the top to keep the sub open.

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Re: Kaps, the person and the magician

Postby Pete Biro » February 11th, 2003, 8:55 pm

I have a really nice "sub" made to expand contract that fits inside my trousers... I gotta lose some weight now to get it in there! :D
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