Fred Braue

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby JBA Janson » 08/28/01 07:36 AM

Thanks Richard for starting this great subject. I have a question and a small contribution.
Q: In 1975 Michael Albright and friends started the monthly "The Conjurer" and it took off in a good and interesting way. Suddenly after issue No.8 it disappeared. Does anyone know why?- It looked so promising!
In my collection I have the correspondence between Fred Braue and Paul Fleming during some six years. Here is an interesting part from a Braue letter dated August 8, 1945:

"The other evening I amused myself by evaluating, for a friend, the present-day crop of writers on card work.I was surprised at the result and pass it along to you for comment:

Martin Gardner: This chap has thought up some excellent feats. In his book, "Twelve tricks with a borrowed pack", he has three tricks which audiences love. There is always at least one usable trick, or twist in presentation, in his books. I do not recall that you have reviewed this book.
Paul Curry: Another man whose work is worth reading. His sleight, the Curry turn-over change, is one of the few really good card changes; it's so good that it actually deceives good cardmen. I did this for Paul Rosini in'40 and Rosini, who is well-posted, was enraptured. (But I'll wager he doesn't use it!) Curry's book "Something new, something old" is excellent.
Kaplan: He hasn't published anything in book form, but he's another man to watch.
Marlo: I thought Marlo was another chap to watch, from the standpoint of originality, but with his last two books I've begun to wonder. In his last book, "Off the top" he printed four sleights from Expert Card Technique and claimed them as "original". One or two could be coincidence, but four is too many. He may have forgotten the source but this would indicate that his ideas are not original in the same sense as those of Gardner or Curry. Even so, his books are worth reading.
Annemann has always left me cold. He was an excellent editor of the type of magazine he made - Jinx, but he had a liking for conjuring which strayed too far from the basics.
Jordan: Similarly, this writer was too impractical.I have never understood the high esteem in which he is held by some. Of his material, the only feat which is really first-rank is "The unknown leaper".
Hugard: Jean of course tops them all, both as a writer and as an editor. Moreover, he has published many excellent feats for which he was too modest to take credit. I've berated him for this and he is now placing a by-line (of a different sort) on his things. When we did ECT (Expert card technique, we agreed to pick out six things apiece and put our names on them!

Amongst the oldtimers, with whose work I am not so familiar as I should be, since I lack Sachs, Hatton and Plate and most of the Europeans, the ranking would be something like this:
Bertram: This man must really have been a conjurer. He knew audience psychology.
Houdin: His Secrets is one of the really fine textbooks, even today.
Erdnase: I've always thought that the card-conjurer unfamiliar with Erdnase has deprived himself of an invaluable source book.
Hilliard: The Art of Magic was and is a splendid book.Curious: Downs took credit fot "Art"; Hilliard receives credit for "Greater Magic".
Devant: Another whose books should be in everyone's library.
Hofzinser: The English translation is not the most satisfactory, but from it one receives the impression that Hofzinser must either have had a fabulous skill or been a master psychologist.
Gaultier: An excellent basic book with especially fine chapters on coins, thimbles and billiard balls. For some reason I cannot warm to his card selection. I believe that this may have been because of his method of organizing it........
..... I noted a peculiar thing: in the list of present days Dai Vernon isn't included. For all his reputaion he hasn't produced a card trick which can stand in the shadow of, say, Garner's "Lie detector" or "Double do as I do".
;)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby Ryan Matney » 08/28/01 06:04 PM

Thanks! Very interesting.
Ryan Matney
 
Posts: 729
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hurley, Va

Postby Guest » 08/29/01 12:50 AM

"..... I noted a peculiar thing: in the list of present days Dai Vernon isn't included. For all his reputaion he hasn't produced a card trick which can stand in the shadow of, say, Garner's "Lie detector" or "Double do as I do"."

This Fred Braue statement made me lol, considering how much of the Professor's material appeared in ECT via Charlie Miller.
Guest
 

Postby JBA Janson » 08/29/01 07:25 AM

In a letter to Paul Fleming Nov 5th 1944 Fred Braue talks about his "invisible pass" for the first time:

"...I mentioned earlier a special interest in the "pass". Jean and I are doing another little booklet, this time on the Invisible Pass, in which illustrations will take the place of text. This is being done as an experiment, in an attempt to record a new pass which is exceptionally good. It's one which I've been using for a good many years and which, up to now, I've kept to myself. Several months ago Charlie Miller was so interested in the move (he couldn't see the pass although I did it repeatedly) that I gave him some of the moves, holding back only one important action. He took it East with him and, so he wrote, delighted Vernon with it.
In any event it is actually an invisible pass -- a pass which may be made with the hands at rest, with spectators watching the hands, and they will be none the wiser. I think it is actually easier than the classic pass since the pack is held in the left hand as for dealing and the left little finger is not inserted between the packets, but merely holds a flesh break at the side. Best yet, since you know that they can't see the transposition, you get great pleasure out of using the thing, and don't have to wonder afterwards if they've got a flash of the transposition..........
.....I do not think the booklet will sell for I doubt there is a market for a book on only a single sleight. The move, however, should be recorded. (My original idea was to let DA (=Donna Allen) do the pics merely to have the record so that the thing wouldn't be lost to later conjurers). Now we have decided to publish it and hope to at least break even."

The Invisible Pass was published in 1946 as a big size hardbound book.

I would be most interested to know what our card specialists think about it today, some 55 years later!!
:)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/30/01 12:19 AM

Jan, thanks so much for posting the contents of these rare letters.
Braue's "Invisible Pass" is an excellent book, though is premonition about it not selling was well founded. Indeed, it sold poorly and was available in its first edition for many years. Even today, it remains one of the easiest older books to find and it has never been reprinted.
The technique, which it is interesting to note Braue eventually chose to teach with both photographs AND Donna Allen's illustrations, is quite wonderful. When you do it the way Larry Jennings did, by [censored] the lower half inward slightly at an angle just prior to doing the sleight, it's both easier and more well-covered from the front.
Does anyone out there do it EXACTLY as described by Braue?

[ August 30, 2001: Message edited by: Richard Kaufman ]
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20009
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Matthew Field » 08/30/01 09:14 AM

I must also thank JBA Janson for his fascinating and useful post. What else have you got stashed away on la Cote d'Azur?

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2425
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby JBA Janson » 08/30/01 11:35 AM

Matthew Field - thanks for your kind words. I have a few more things that might have wider interest and I plan to put them on the board bit by bit.
A little background to the letters between Braue and Fleming. Remember that this was during the final years of the war. Braue was living in Alameda, Ca., working in the accounting department of Moore Dry Dock Company, a warship-building company employing some 30.000 people. He was also allowed to play one or two shows a week and he often filled in for some other professional working in the area when they for example fell ill.
Paul Fleming's brother, Walker, owned the famous publishing house and Paul was advising and helping his brother when it came to magic books. Fleming-Braue correspondence started when Fleming was preparing the publication of the translation of Gaultier's Magic without apparatus (done by Hugard). Braue was posing for the illustrations which were done by Donna Allen.
Here is from a Braue letter of Nov 25, 1944 and it relates to Dante but also the ever present problem of the relationship between professionals and amateurs-hobbyists. Here goes:

..."Dante is in the third week of an engagement in San Francisco and the local magicians attended a showing in a body; I took the night off and went along. Proceding the performance the local magicians has a dinner in San Francisco, which I could not attend but which, I am told, was full of sound and fury because Dante, invited, failed to attend. Everyone was very angry and felt that, although he is playing a two and half hour show with all the responsibilities attendant thereto, he should have dropped everything and attended their banquet until, say, eight o'clock after which he would have plenty of time to stroll to the theatre and be ready for an eight thirty curtain.
Dante further charmed the local magicians by mentioning their presence in a curtain speech, referring to them as 'amateurs', thus causing a cloud of steam to rise to the ceiling of the theatre. Having thus annoyed the lads, he poured salt into the wounds by advising the lay audience that whenever they wanted a magician to entertain at hospitals, benefits, or for little sick children, they should call upon the local amateur.
I have never had much sympathy for the amateurs who be-devil the poor professional when he appears in their city; hence my sympathies are with Dante in this matter. I have seen men go backstage, poke around amongst a magician's equiptment, drop things, stumble over others; practice with still more equiptment; and finally tell the professional that he doesn't do his tricks right, but should do them thus and thus, after which he would no doubt be a great success and ready to appear before a paying public.
Dante is a real showman, an expert actor; and despite an injured left hand (bandaged and useless) which constantly reminded the audience that he had been injured (you worried about the hand every time he used it) his show was a very fine one. It is interesting to note that the two features which the audience liked best were one and the same trick: the Nest of Boxes (attributed to Thurston) and the illusion The Girl Transported to the Nest of Trunks.

Here is a curious thing: Another of Dante's very effective illusions is titled The Un-Sevilled Barber. This is the substitution trick utilizing a trap. When last here Dante did this same illusion and on both occasions when I caught his show he did it perfectly; he BACKED into the wings while misdirection took the audience's attention to the man in the barber chair; the substitute then stepped out onto the stage. But the other night Dante, for some reason, walked straight out into the wings, and very fast; he pulled every eye with him and the laymen with whom I attended the show caught onto the trick at once. This was not the case at the other presentations; even my sister Gene, who was not easily deceived, could not figure the illusion properly.

This brings to a point which I have been thinking about a good time lately; and that is the importance of psychology in conjuring. For me the greatest fun is in learning WHY people are deceived, and how best to deceive them........
:)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby CHRIS » 08/31/01 02:28 PM

JBA,

thank you for these wonderful letters. Very insightful I must say.

Richard Kaufman writes:....and it has never been reprinted. (the Invisible Pass book)


Not true. I have reprinted the book in electronic form. It was released two weeks ago. The book is wonderfully layed out. One of the best designed magic books I have seen.

A question to JBA. Would you give me the permission to include the second letter from Braue you posted into my electronic reprint of the Invisible Pass book?

Chris.....www.lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby JBA Janson » 08/31/01 02:36 PM

Dear Chris W.

Of course you are very welcome to do that.

And thanks a lot for the effort and money you are spending on e-books. I had the great pleasure to buy your recent releases and I am very impressed and happy!

I would be in 7 heaven if we could have an e-release of a complete file of Sphinx!! How about that!?

Best regards

Jan :)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby Tom Stone » 08/31/01 03:37 PM

"The other evening I amused myself by evaluating, for a friend, the present-day
crop of writers on card work."
(SNIP)
I noted a peculiar thing: in the list of present days Dai Vernon isn't included.


Is that perhaps because he is discussing "the present-day crop of writers"? Vernon, as I've understood it, didn't enjoy writing as much as the others on that list.

Thanks for this extremely interesting posting!
User avatar
Tom Stone
 
Posts: 1035
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Postby Guest » 08/31/01 03:51 PM

Jan

Greatly enjoyed reading your posts, particular concerning 'The Invisible Pass' book which I have a copy of. Do you happen to know what the print run was?
Thank you...looking forward to reading more.
Kim
Guest
 

Postby CHRIS » 09/01/01 12:09 AM

Jan,

thank you for your generosity. I will send you the updated "Invisible Pass" ebook.

You are not the first to ask for an electronic version of the SPHINX. A while back I looked into the copyright issue, but it is not clear to me if it is already in the public domain, or who owns the copyrights. The first years of the SPINX are definitely public domain. But the later ones I am not sure. Do you have any information about its copyright status?

Once all copyright issues are cleared I would be very interested and willing to work on a conversion of the SPHINX to electronic form.

My current plans are to do JINX as my first magazine conversion. With enough persuasion I might change that to the SPHINX.

Chris....www.lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Steve Hook » 09/01/01 02:02 AM

JBA:

Excellent posts!

Is there any chance YOU could publish the now-missing Braue Notebooks? ;)

Steve H
Steve Hook
 
Posts: 759
Joined: 10/21/08 11:50 AM
Location: North Carolina, USA

Postby JBA Janson » 09/01/01 01:16 PM

Hi Steve ... Wish I had the notebooks, but I am just one of the subscribers still waiting for the final issues! And remember that Busby said that the best stuff will come at the end!

Chris .. let me think a bit about putting letters on e-books. There are so many letters with very little interest, related to normal everyday business. And then you find one that is really eye-opening!
Richard K knows all about Sphinx copyrights. Thanks for the e-book!

Kim ... I could not find any direct info on the print run of Invisible Pass. Will have your question in mind when I look through other sources.

I will also use this space to put in some rather surprising info. Here is from a Braue letter of June 5, 1945:

..." At the same time I want to make the trip east particularly to see Jean; we have never met although for almost eight years we have corresponded and almost daily. I don't suppose it is really possible to grow to know another person under such circumstances and yet I feel as though I knew Jean intimately; and I'm awfully fond of him."....

So there you have it. There is a file of letters out there somewhere between Braue and Hugard stretching eight years in time with almost daily letters ... Mindboggling and sad to say I do not have that one! Especially the Braue letters should be very interesting to read. He is a very fluent writer and could easily crank out pages after pages of opinionated interesting info.

It is a bit startling that they had never met in spite of all the successful collaboration they had going with Expert Card Technique, HMM and a number of booklets.

During the end of 1945 Braue is deciding to leave the warshipbuilder next year and continue his work as journalist. He marries Ann in Oct '45 and in 1946 he and his young wife visit Chicago, Washington, New York and also Paul Fleming in Pennsylvenia during a 2 months trip mid 1946.

I will revert to some letters to Paul F. where Braue describes his view of the New York magic scene and some famous magicians he met!
:)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/01/01 11:16 PM

Chris, It is my understanding that The Jinx is still fully protected by copyright, and currently owned by D. Robbins.
I would check it into it very carefully before you assume it's in public domain. Lots of books were grandfathered in 1978 when the copyright laws were changed.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20009
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby JBA Janson » 09/02/01 04:34 AM

The war is over. Fred Braue is 40 years old, recently married and the wife is pregnant. The shipyard stopped producing warships and the number of employes goes from 39.000 to 11.000 in a few months. Fred decides to go back into journalism and in between jobs he and his wife go to the East Coast via Chicago mid 1946 for a duration of two months to visit and meet for the FIRST TIME Jean Hugard face to face. Also to see his new friend Paul Fleming in Swarthmore,Penn. as well as his old publisher Carl Jones (ECT). The SAM conference in Washington is also in the program and in his luggage he has a bundle of the Invisible Pass booklet.

Returning to California he and wife are very busy setting up their new home and adjusting to the new job and not before October 2 1946 he is able to write a long letter to Paul Fleming to give his impressions from his long stay in New York. Here is this interesting letter:

.... I note that you have seen Kaplan work and that you liked his work. I did too and should imagine that his book would be most worthwhile, although I haven't seen the copy. I liked Kaplan personally and from his past record - that is, the tricks which he has already published - think him most ingenious and practical. He did one trick at a show back East which took my eye - that of unreeling about ten yards of white thread, after which a spectator helped break it into a great number of short lengths; after which Kaplan held the broken pieces, balled, on the palm of his hand; after which the thread was spread from one to the other and was fully restored. This, to me, was much more interesting than a rope restoration. It was amazing at what a distance the white thread could be seen.

I note also that you saw Roy Benson in Philadelphia and that you liked his act. I like Benson very much indeed and imagine that if he DID do a book it would be a good one. However, it is apparently still in the future tense and I wonder if he will actually do it. Writing a book is a job, a lot of work, and some of us are always going to do it --manana. (It is curious how magicians copy one another. Benson does the salt rick and after his appearance here many of the local magicians have picked it up, including Steve Shepard. The locals don't know the secret of the great quantity of salt which Benson produces so they don't get the same effect.)............

...The Invisible Pass has done and is doing very well. It is not sensational but it will be a steady seller I'm sure, which is all that one can ask. .......

.....In your letter you comment that you would have liked to talk over the New York magicians. Apparently I conveyed the thought that I wasn't too impressed, which is the case; however, some of this lack of appreciation of the New Yorkers as magicians was due to as much to their ethical and social attitudes as much as anything else. It seems to me that a chap like Carlyle (Francis) does a great deal of harm to all magicians. Apparently he goes on 'benders' and is proud of the fact; he is uncouth in his talk and doesn't seem to have very good judgement. It seems to me that in conjuring as in any other profession character counts for a good deal.

Scarne I liked. His ego is amusing and apparently he does not have confidence in himself and most continually bolster his self regard by pronouncing how good he is. Yet I liked him, in the few contacts I had with him. He did but one trick for us, a card to wallet effect which he did for Ann after I'd shown him the Invisible Pass (which he liked exceedingly and told me to quote him in any way I liked in advertising). His control of the card after a peek was to take a break; undercut to take it to the bottom; shuffle a few times holding it there; palm off and take to the pocket; all of this done rather too rapidly for my liking. I did not see him work enough to be able to estimate him accurately. He is wholly wrapped up in a new game he is marketing called "Scarne", in which he states that he has invested $ 17.000. He will be out here on the Coast some time this month - so he said - and I look forward to having more time with him. (And - as you comment in your letter - you won't quote me on any of this!)

Yes; Horowitz was a tremendous disappointment. He has no fire, went through his act smugly smiling at his own cleverness.

I should like to have had more time with Vernon. He came down to Dixie hotel a couple of times to meet me and we had pleasant general talks with a little card magic. He gave me his phone number and urged me to call but the number actually was Dr Daley's and I was unable to contact him. I did see him work at Lukins' party and we spent about two hours swapping ideas. (Which recalls to mind that when last I saw him we parted at 42nd and 6th avenue as Dai went to catch a street car. He was waiving goodbye and laughing and he didn't watch traffic and right there we nearly had the end of Vernon. He saw the auto at the last moment, dodged it, and even at that distance I had to laugh at the comment he made at the driver - it was from the very soul.)

Vernon's work, I should say, is about as good as any I have seen but not outstandingly better. I think he is superior in brain-work. For instance, he did the Triumph trick which Stars of Magic are now selling and this is not at all difficult, once one knows the routine. Yet when I saw him do it I missed the trick entirely, was completely gulled. My guess is that Vernon keeps up on everything, takes a good idea, works on it, plays with it, changes it around, and eventually hooks a better working. The other day in an old Tops I came across the trick which was probably the basis on which he erected the trick which recently he had in Jean's magazine - I chuckled when I saw it.

Vernon's Cutting the Aces is a marvelous audience trick, not at all hard. Rosini showed this to me in 1940 and I've been doing it ever since. I didn't like the method of cutting so changed this and use a straight slip cut, facing the top card first, and this is better when the audience is seated around as it sometimes is in closeup. He also has one move in the routine which is awkward and could be handled differently. However, the point is that Vernon dreamed this one up, and he made it a mighty fine trick. In my opinion the two Vernon tricks are far superior to the Scarne card trick, which Stars of Magic first put out, judging them on audience-reaction, which is all that that is important.

Dr Daley: Curiously, I had not the slightest interest in seeing him work, which was probably stupid of me. I had heard, however, that he riffle-shuffles the pack for hours; that he can do marvelous set-ups in this manner; but I at that point had no desire to see someone endlessly shuffle cards. In meeting him once to speak to I thought him a trifle negative on the personality side, there was no warmth or particular interest and this may have prejudiced me.

Bert Allerton: You have a treat when you see Bert work. His one objective is to amuse and entertain and this he does to a turn.

Carl Jones: A most fascinating personality, complex and interesting, and one which I simply for the life of me couldn't fanthom. He phoned when he arrived in New York and invited us to meet him for lunch at his hotel. Ann and I took Jean with us, although I am not sure that Jones had wanted him. (This is very definitely confidential). We had lunch and Jean returned to his home. Then Jones really went to town; chartered a limousine and took us for a two-hour drive around town; took us to the Coffee House for dinner; took us to see Orson Welles' show. He had so much fun, he said, that he phoned the next day and asked us to repeat. We went in and had dinner, went to see State of the Union and finished up at Waldorf. We talked of many things and I was really glad to have met him since for a long time I had wondered what he was like. As a host, there is nothing more one could ask and it was not until we arrived at the Waldorf could I make a return of any kind. I believe that he sincerely thinks that Jean's part in Greater Magic was very small; he referred to the great amount of work which he had done at some length. In all this I remained noncommittal since I had no desire to enter into a pointless argument. Point was, however, that there would not have been a GM if Jean hadn't done it.

We had a great deal of conversation which more or less off the record; and some that wasn't, which I thought it best not to repeat to Jean since it would have served no good purpose..
..(now an uninteresting part about printers)..
..In any event, Carl from a social viewpoint is completely charming and entertaining; he even wanted us to stop off at Minneapolis to stay for a time. There is no doublt that he feels, sincerely, that he has done well by Jean from a business;man's outlook. ........

..... Did I tell you that Ann and i dropped in to see John (Mulholland) after his return from St Louis? He is certainly a character. Roy Benson stated that they rejected him during the first war; wanted him in the second war because of his brilliance! I should say that he is a very slow thinker, it takes him time to catch on. Ann and I watched fascinated while he took a package from a delivery boy, slowly and meticulously counted off some postage stamps, looked at them, thought it over, slowly affixed them to a sheet of paper with a pin; looked at the paper and stamps - and at the pin; picked up a pencil; looked at the pencil; thought it over; thought it over some more; wrote something on the paper; looked at the pencil and put it away. Put the paper and stamps and pin to one side; looked up at us."I forget things," he said. .....


:) that' it!
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby CHRIS » 09/19/01 06:45 PM

Richard, thank you for the info regarding JINX. My understanding was that Annemann released all his material into the public domain, including JINX. But I have not confirmed that myself. I will look into it.

Chris....www.lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby JBA Janson » 09/20/01 05:37 AM

Home from a business trip to NYC - NJ with a very tragic background.

To finish up on Fred Braue, I just wish to add to the record some Braue thoughts on 1949 magic writers, all from a long letter to Paul Fleming March 5, 1949.

"...All in all, when I ponder the habits and hypersensitivity of magicians, and particularly editors, I sometimes get pretty dissatisfied with the whole mess. For years I had nothing to do with most magicians, then I got mixed up in a local club but I've dropped that again -- I just couldn't stand the long involved arguments which never got anywhere, the pathetic old men standing up fumbling away at tricks, the petty jealousies and (in some cases) the unreliability of the people. It just makes me unhappy and I always kicked myself for wasting the evening.
Mind you, there's nothing that's more fun to me than a session with a good man; but these are few and far between. The last was a 12 hour one with Le Paul which was good -- he's a good man indeed.
As long as I'm unburdening myself I'll take on your letter which is in line with what I am thinking. There are some writers in magic who give me a good pain in the neck because of their pomposity, their conceit, or their intellectual dishonesty.

Farelli: We agree on him. I'll never forget the first time I read him, went all the way through one of his tricks -- and at the very end was told something which should have been in the first paragraph.This particular item was Appendix X, sub-section five. He thinks of himself as God's Gift, which I don't.

Henry Hay: My feelings on him have been more or less passive until I read the unctous introduction to the Turner book. Entirely aside from merits of this book, I took exception to the style, which Hay assured me was "lively". But on the first page he refers to "goosing" a dog -- which is in my book a vulgarity and not at all "lively".

Woodfield: This boy doesn't bother me much (he's only 21 or 22) since he is just a kid. But I dislike spite and revenge-knifing and he has done some very odd things, both in print and otherwise. Bob Stull, a SF dealer with whom he is feuding, assures me that Woodfield would phone him, talk with him, and then later the phone would ring and Stull would hear a play-back of the recording which Woodfield had made of the conversation. This is of course illegal. Those this lad likes personally he praises; those he doesn't like he puts the knife on. And his standard of value is very poor; anyone who say that Genii was a good magazine is biased.

Marlo: This chap is a "lifter" and his conceit to me is most annoying. He lifted material from Le Paul, who tells me that the Chicago boys will not work when he is around. He's also taken a number of things from Expert Card Technique and reprinted them as his own -- and his latest take is the Secret Addition which we had in HMM in 1945. In 1949 he claims it.

Arthur Le Roy: I don't know if you've read this chap's booklets but he did one for L. Jones, "Outline of Mystery", which had good material in it but was marred by smart-aleck style. His last line was something about telling his son that he managed a sporting house since he didn't want to tell him he was a magician!

Larsen: Very passive curiosity about him. Notoriously inconsistent. I've been told he drinks himself to sleep each night, which may explain many things. He wrecked Thayer's and Genii should go on the rocks any time now if he doesn't wake up and put some material in it. I doubt if it has a thousand circulation.

Ed Dart: Again, very passive. This chap apparently genuinely believes the things he writes about how wonderful Conjurors' is and I get the most incredible letters from him. I feel rather sorry for him because apparently he has put his eggs into this basket and is going to take a beating. (Hey -- not bad)

Fitzkee: Again, passive. He can be wrong more than any other chap in magic and, while I don't think you have to be able to lay an egg to know if it is good or not, he puts on a very bad show himself. Too much conceit, like all these little men with Napoleon complexes.

Goodliffe: Again, passive. Another victim of self-delusion, I should say. Why anyone should buy Abracadabra is beyond me and I wonder how he gets by with it. Pentagram seems far superior. The smug superior manner can be annoying.

Now from all this you might think I just don't like anybody but this is not the case, honestly. I'll list some of those I go for just to offset that impression:

M. Christopher. A good man, writes first-rate copy.
Martin Gardner. Ditto. ditto.
Frances Ireland. Writes good copy but a tendency to lose her sense of proportion, notably on that Rufus Steele article.
Gibson. He has his quirks but he's a good editor when he's working at it.
Fleming: (Hey -- look what I said!)
Jean -- of course.

Now there's a curious thing. Try as I will I can't add names to that list. There are probably others who will come to mind later but as it stands it isn't much of a list. Oh Fulton Oursler, of course; his Ottokar Fischer book was a dandy. And Robert Parrish. I only skimmed his book but what I read seemed good.

On the first list you can include Bruce Elliott. If he is a writer then I am a chinese. It may be that the hack-writing is what makes his sentences so tortuous."

The frequent letter writing between Fred Braue and Paul Fleming more or less ceased during 1949 because Braue became responsible for his own daily column in a local daily Hearst paper.
The Fleming Publishing Company left magic books after a run of disappointing sales for Gaultier, Sachs, Kaplan and Collins. They were offered Bill Simon's "Effective Card Magic" (WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY JEAN HUGARD - regardless of what Orben says) but had to decline and that is why Tannen picked up this very good card book - useful even today!!

That's it :)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France

Postby pduffie » 09/20/01 04:48 PM

Thank you Mr. Janson.

Your Braue posts have been absolutely fascinating!

Best Wishes

Peter
pduffie
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: UK

Postby JBA Janson » 09/21/01 04:39 AM

Dear Peter,

thanks for your kind words. I have always enjoyed your great card magic - all the way back to 1982 Alternative... with Sadowitz.
I especially liked the two books you did with Richard!

Looking forward to more of the same!

Best regards
JBA :)
JBA Janson
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Cagnes s/M France


Return to Magic History and Anecdotes