magicians' quotable quotes

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

Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/08/03 09:21 PM

I heard this forum is a good place where knowledgeable magicians are gathering. So may I ask a favor here?
Recently one idea came up in my mind; why any good list of magicians' quotable quotes has not been presented while that of politicians, actors, scientists, and inventors exist.

Good examples that I am looking for are;
- Many a good trick has been ruined by improvement.
- People like being fooled by a gentleman.

Of course, every magician can create his own favorite words, but I believe only statements that have been well received among most magicians are considered really valuable.

Also, just picking up a good quote is not good enough, but doing it with necessary context would be much worth. For instance, in Japan "A magician is an actor playing the role of a magician." was interpreted as "Perform magic as a real magician". However, when I read "The Dai Vernon Chronicles Vol. 4, page 259", I found his understanding was different: He interpreted it as "Be natural". So, understanding a quote is not so easy in some occasion. In this sense, when we talk about a quote, we should check its original source and context, and then it could be only meaningful quote. However it seems that there has been no good list of magicians' quotes so far unfortunately, even in US magic fraternity.

So, if some of you could help to gather such quotable quotes with their source and context, it would become a valuable project, and then I am happy to introduce good ones with some accompanied comments time to time to Japan's magic fraternity to share your thoughts. (I live in Tokyo/Yokohama area) Making more than a dozen of quotable quotes and sharing them widely is a good idea, isn't it?

To begin with, does someone know the exact source (name of the book with specific page it is described, its context and meaning intended) of the following ones?

"People like being fooled by a gentleman." - Nate Leipzig. I like this very much. Totally agreed.
"Magic is not tricks; it is a way." - Tenkai Ishida. Since most Japanese magician doesn't know this phrase, this seems not an interpretation of Japanese word. Meaning could be unclear; magic is "a way" for what?
"Many a good trick has been ruined by improvement."- Al Baker. Did he show any example? There are always good improvements and bad improvements, and good improvement is necessary to turn it into much sophisticated ones.
"A magician is an actor playing the role of a magician." - Robert-Houdin. Do you agree Mr. Vernon's interpretation?

I am very much pleased if you continue this topic and list your favorite ones with your understanding.

Mitsunobu Matsuyama
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Postby Jerry Harrell » 06/09/03 07:30 AM

Hello Mitsunobu, Permit me to recommend to you Whaley's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic. The second edition of this wonderful resource is available on CD-Rom, and is filled with magicians' quotes on every possible subject, citing source and context. It is available from Black Bart Magic in Key West, Florida. Good luck with your research.
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Postby Guest » 06/09/03 12:45 PM

Originally posted by Jerry Harrell:
... Whaley's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic ... available from Black Bart Magic in Key West ...
Jerry,

I've been looking for a copy of Whaley's Encyclopedic Dictionary for quite some time. An Internet search for Black Bart didn't turn up a site. If you have an address ( web site, e-mail or otherwise) it would be appreciated. I've heard that copies of this publication are extremely difficult to locate - I'm assuming these are legitimate CDs(?)

Thanks.
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/09/03 02:00 PM

Hi! Jerry,
I do have Whaley's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic, but I have not known there is the second edition on CD-Rom.
Alas, no Black Bart Magic is found in my web-research.
Thanks anyway!
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Postby Jerry Harrell » 06/10/03 06:20 AM

Yes John, these are legit CD, sold by Dr Whaley himself. Address on the jewel case: Black Bart Magic, 1416 Pine Street, Key West, FL 33040. e-mail bart.whaley@britannica.com.

He has also released a much revised edition of Who's Who in Magic on CD Rom as well.
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Postby Guest » 06/10/03 08:31 AM

Jerry,
Thanks for the information. I had been told (incorrectly, it appears) that these were unavailable. Glad to know that they are available and legitimate.
John
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Postby Guest » 06/10/03 10:54 AM

Mitsunobu Matsuyama,

Welcome to the forum!

Some of my favorite quotes include:

"Don't run when nobody's chasing you." attributed to Charlie Miller

"Stories are okay, but sometimes a card trick is just a g-d d-mned card trick!" Heba Haba Al

"Impact is more important than method." Masklyn ye Mage (Tony Andruzzi)

"K.I.S.S. - Keep it SLOGAN Simple - the card on ceiling, coin in bottle, coins across, so the audience will REMEMBER what you did and who YOU are." - Michael Ammar

"A laugh is worth a thousand sleights" - attributed to Al Flosso and quoted by Don Alan, often

Kind regards,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 06/10/03 03:33 PM

Originally posted by Lee Darrow:

"Don't run when nobody's chasing you." attributed to Charlie Miller
I heard "Don't run when no one is chasing you." is attributed to Al Baker.
I wonder which is correct.
Could you find the source?

Your favorite phrases are not familiar to me and other Japanese magicians. I might find their original source at Wharley's Encyclopedia.

Thanks!
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Postby Guest » 06/11/03 10:57 AM

Some men dream of celestial discoveries, others of medical advancement. Personally, I just want to do really really good card tricks.
Larry Jennings


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Postby Guest » 06/11/03 11:05 AM

Originally posted by MitsuMatsu:
Originally posted by Lee Darrow:
[b]
"Don't run when nobody's chasing you." attributed to Charlie Miller
I heard "Don't run when no one is chasing you." is attributed to Al Baker.
I wonder which is correct.
Could you find the source?

Your favorite phrases are not familiar to me and other Japanese magicians. I might find their original source at Wharley's Encyclopedia.

Thanks! [/b]
The attribution was on a videotape, if I remember correctly, but I'm darned if I can remember which tape!

Heba Haba Al, Al Andrucci, was one of the greatest bar magicians ever. Bob Sheets used to work with him at the old Pickle Barrel restaurant in Chicago, if memory serves, and I worked with him at the New York Lounge, also in Chicago. He was gruff, bawdy and one of the funniest magicians I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He passed away a number of years ago and I sure miss him.

The Michael Ammar quote is from his audio tape "Making Magic Memorable."

Kind regards,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
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Postby Guest » 06/19/03 07:26 PM

From an old Sphinx interview with Cardini (I don't recall which issue -- that was a looong time ago)
IBM= I Bother Magicians
SAM= Some Are Magicians
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Postby Guest » 06/19/03 08:15 PM

F-F'd up
I-Insecure
S-Sucky
M-Magic or Magician

This not a serious post...just goofing off. Apologies ahead of time :rolleyes:
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Postby Guest » 06/20/03 09:13 AM

"Critics are legless men who teach running."

Channing Pollack
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Postby Bill Duncan » 06/20/03 10:37 AM

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

And its corollary for prop magicians:
"Insufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."
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Postby Joe Z » 06/20/03 11:22 AM

"Without proper presentation, the best sleight of hand is little more than a feat of juggling."

-- Nate Leipzig
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Postby John Pezzullo » 06/29/03 06:03 AM

"It can't be the work of a genius. It's only a card trick."

Karl Fulves
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Postby Tim Ellis » 06/29/03 06:47 AM

Lots of great quotes! I love:

"Dealing with magicians is like herding cats." - Bruce Barnett.

From my mentor comes this GREAT piece of advice I've never forgotten:

"Don't tell me, SHOW me!!!" - Lyndsay Reitschel.

How to be creative:

"Everything you know is wrong, just forget the words and sing along." - 'Weird Al' Yankovic

And, a classic from Dame Edna Everage:

"Let's give him the clap he so richly deserves!"
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Postby Guest » 07/01/03 01:17 PM

"Just make the knife change color. Make it simple and it will be magical!" - Jay Marshall, to me, at a Christmas dinner at Lancer's with Marshall Brodien and the staff of his (Marshall's) magic shop. Opened my eyes, bit time to the magic inherent in simplicity.

"Most magic tricks are easy, once you know the secret - so shut the hell up about it, already!" - Heba Haba Al to a mouthy customer at the New York Lounge

"I don't care if I AM a Lemming! I"M NOT GOING!!!" - attrib to Simon Lovell (in jest, of course)

"Method does not matter all that much. Audience reaction is what to strive for!" Tony Andruzzi

"I guess I'll have to take the levitation out of the act now. I can't get the forklift up to the third floor of the Lodge Hall!" - Jay Marshall in response to the the Masked Magician's "exposure" and still one of my favorite quotes!

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!" Paul Harris quoting someone else...

"If I see anyone else do the 21-Card Trick again, I'm gonna...!" and professional close up magician worth his thumbtip

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
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Postby Guest » 07/01/03 01:53 PM

Mentalists/psychics/and other gifted artists can learn from this quote:

"The more subtle phenomena, is often more convincing."

Anton LaVey 1969/1970
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Postby CardFan » 07/02/03 03:29 PM

'"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!" Paul Harris quoting someone else..'

That someone else, I believe, is Groucho Marx.
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Postby David Oliver » 07/02/03 05:19 PM

Hello Mitsu -

One of the first magic quotes I ever read as a kid was...

"The art of a magician is to create wonder. If we all live with a sense of wonder, our lives will become filled with joy."

From the introduction inside the program book of Doug Henning's show. His quotes were, as his show was, fun.

Regards-

David Oliver
[color:purple]- DO[/color]
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/02/03 10:11 PM

David,

I fixed your little typo for you - I owed it to Doug. :D

Note that you can edit your own posts for typos when you notice them. Click on the little paper & pencil icon in your post and you can edit it.

Dustin

(See - I had to fix one of my own!)
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Postby Ian Keable » 07/05/03 05:33 AM

Great thread Mitsunobu. I have often thought the same thing about magic quotes and what a great little book it would make. My two favourite are: 'The presentation of the trick is everything; the little secret around which the performance has been woven is comparatively unimportant.' (David Devant from Magic Made Easy).
And 'Never to have seen Nate Leipsig is never to have heard Kreisler play, Caruso sing or seen Pavola dance; for in his own curious little field Mr Liepsig, too, was a very great artist' (Conde Nast, Editor of Vanity Fair and Vogue, quoted in Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic).

Misquotes are often quite intriguing too. Here is an example frequently quoted: 'Do you like card tricks?' he asked. I said no. He did five. Somerset Maugham (For example this is quoted both in the Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott and also Sam Sharpe's Neo Magic). Anybody know the correct quote?
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Postby Guest » 07/05/03 11:59 AM

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll think he's a mentalist.
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Postby Frank Yuen » 07/05/03 03:46 PM

Actual Somerset Maugham quote:

"Do you like card tricks?"

"No, I hate card tricks," I answered.

"Well, I'll just show you this one."

He showed me three.

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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/05/03 11:57 PM

Frank Yuen has quoted W Somerset Maughan correctly. I carried out considerable reseach when preparing the book on Rovi (page 57) and also established that the quote is from "Mr.Know-All." This is a short story that appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in the 1920's and later published in Somerset Maugham The Complete Stories Vol 1, William Heinemann: London; 1951, page 320. No doubt it was also published in a book in the US.
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Postby Guest » 07/06/03 01:33 PM

The bothersome Mr. Kelada.

From Mr. Know-All:

There is nothing more exasperating when you are playing patience than to be told where to put the card you have turned up before you have had a chance to look for yourself.

"It's coming out, it's coming out," he cried. "The ten on the knave."

With rage and hatred in my heart I finished.

Then he seized the pack.

"Do you like card tricks?"

"No, I hate card tricks," I answered.

"Well, I'll just show you this one."

He showed me three. Then I said I would go down to the dining-room and get my seat at table.

"Oh, that's all right," he said. "I've already taken a seat for you. I thought that as we were in the same state-room we might just as well sit at the same table."

I did not like Mr Kelada.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/06/03 04:12 PM

Opening line of Francisco's Midnight Spook Show (Arthur Bull):

"Tonight we will entertain you with a bit of prestidigitation...

Prestidigation is the art of taking the impossible, adding to it a few possibilities, then doing something that can't be done."

A line I have used for over 50 years (don't know if I made it up or heard it).

"I have a creative memory."

:sleep:
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/06/03 04:13 PM

"It was nothing, I could tell by the applause." Jay Marshall. :D

"Hold out your hand. No, the clean one. Oh, that was the clean one." Walter Zaney Blaney. (he himself told me he was FIRST with this line). :D :D
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/06/03 08:19 PM

From Walter B. Gibson's text on Houdini's magic:

"Never tell your audience how good you are, they will soon find out for themselves." :)

Leo
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Postby Guest » 07/07/03 10:05 AM

Said by Kreskin, during his live shows, with a tone of indignation:

"Ladies and gentlemen, you should know, that there are magicians, who are actually faking what I do!"
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Postby Danny Archer » 07/07/03 11:37 AM

The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method of procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers." Harry Houdini
Producer of MINDvention
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Postby Guest » 07/07/03 01:16 PM

From Pete Biro's profligate keyboard:
"Hold out your hand. No, the clean one. Oh, that was the clean one." Walter Zaney Blaney. (he himself told me he was FIRST with this line).
This bit should be banned from any and all magic performance, and would certainly head the list of Top Magical Bromides.

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 07/07/03 01:29 PM

Originally posted by Randy Campbell:
From Pete Biro's profligate keyboard:
"Hold out your hand. No, the clean one. Oh, that was the clean one." Walter Zaney Blaney. (he himself told me he was FIRST with this line).
This bit should be banned from any and all magic performance, and would certainly head the list of Top Magical Bromides.

--Randy Campbell
Variation on a theme:

Hold out your hand. Thanks. (aside to audience) I even got the clean one!

Not a good line at all.

From my own show, back when I did big illusions:

"Lock it securely!"

Volunteer: "It doesn't feel all that secure."

Me: "Well, insecurity is better than NO security, right?"

Credit to Rebecca Price for the line for my show.

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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/07/03 05:51 PM

Hi Danny, your Houdini quote about magicians who pull out apparatus before a crowd and think they are accomplished reminded me of the Orson Welles story of his meeting with Houdini backstage at a Chicago theater when Welles was a kid. He showed Houdini a silk effect and was admonished by the escape artist not to present a magic effect without having practiced at least a thousand times. Orson returned backstage some time after that to demonstrate how he improved the effect when he saw an inventor demonstrating a new prop he had built for Houdini. Houdini's reply was, "Great, I'll put it in the show tonight."
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 07/07/03 06:56 PM

Orson must of have had a great memory at eleven. :rolleyes: Not to mention being on the inside when Houdini bought equipment. ;)

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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 08:47 AM

When Duke Stern was demo-ing tricks at a new Underground Atlanta magic shop some years ago, a few young local magi thought it would be fun to heckle him. So they came in the back, started making snide remarks.
One tried to get the crowd's attention on Duke's hot hand, asking a pointed question.
Duke said, You just cop the joint and go south with the gaffus
(And he did exactly that, matching word to action with perfect deception, pulling focus as he wished, and dumping his gimmick with none the wiser weisenheimers excepted.)
Dont squeeze the Old Man, he growled. He can get out of anything."
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/10/03 10:53 AM

Hold out your hand... no the clean one... :mad: was under discussion one night at the Castle. Dai Vernon suggested changing it so it isn't so demeaning.

I am not sure (it was a long time ago) if I thought of it, or he did... but the line settled on was...

"Hold out your hand... (look at hand) Hmmm... did you have a flat tire on the way here?" :p
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/10/03 10:54 AM

With that knowledge... if you are LATE showing up somewhere... before you go in, rub your hands on your tires and get them real dirty.

When you go in, say, "I had a flat tire... where can I wash up?" :whack:
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 11:19 AM

The line about "don't run when nobody's chasing you" did indeed come from Al Baker rather than Charlie Miller.

In my capacity as a psychic reverend I have been in touch with the spirit world and both gentlemen have confirmed this.

When I was there I bumped into Lewis Ganson and Dai Vernon who both told me that this can be confirmed in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic in the chapter entitled "The Vernon Touch"
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