More from the box of old Geniis

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

Postby Pete McCabe » 04/01/04 11:14 AM

I'm just about done going through the two boxes of old Geniis I recently acquired (not all that recently anymore, I guess). Here are some highlights:

Great idea for the Snap Change (which may or may not also be known as the Goldin change), but unfortunately I lost the issue I read this in so I cant credit the contributor:

Take a regular card and a mini card of the same card. Hold the mini behind the regular card. Now do the snap change. Voila -- a visible diminishing card.

I read that Lance Burton and Melinda are getting married! They must have quite a family by now.

Also read that David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer are getting married. The 80s must have been a golden age for magicians getting married, or at least, engaged.

From the November, 1979 issue, the most incredible thing Ive ever seen in a magic magazine. From the "Miscellaneous for sale" section:

MALE AFRICAN LION for sale. 7 months old, well behaved and has been trained for lady to lion illusion. Contact etc.

A 7-month-old male African lion for sale. In Genii Magazine. The mind boggles.

Nostalgia Overboard Department
The inside front cover of the January, 1978 issue (with Robert Harbin on the cover) has an ad for Tannens which includes the trick "Separazation". This trick was created by me and my friend Dave Cagan, when we were in high school. It is to this day the only magic trick Ive ever had on the market.

The entire thing is nothing more than Roy Waltons "Oil and Queens," from The Devils Playthings. Except instead of red and black cards, with the climax being the queens, the cards are preprinted with large red/black dots. At the climax you have all the blacks in your hand, so the cards set aside at the beginning must be the reds. Here you turn over the cards to show that the dots on the cards have magically changed into the letters R-E-D-S. Watch the audience gasp!

If Roy is reading this I apologize on behalf of Dave and myself for not asking permission before releasing this minor variation of your trick. I hope you will forgive this as the youthful ignorance of a 16-year-old.

If anybody bought this trick I apologize to you. We had the cards printed ourselves and the printer had never printed on playing card stock. The ink flaked off very quickly.

In the 2/79 Vernon Touch column, Vernon says the following about a performer. Ill leave the name blank so you can guess who you think it is:

"Discussing mental work, Id like to state that I consider ________s manner of presenting this type of act the very best that I have ever seen. Much better than Dunninger and other well-known names. In my opinion his only rival as far as entertainment and uncluttered presentation and real mystery would be Dr. Jaks if he was still with us." Answer below.

I read in the 10/84 Vernon Touch that Jeff Busby has "studiously gathered together all the private notes written by Fred Braue. He plans on putting these out periodically." No indication from Mr. Vernon what the periodicity might be.

The same column tells the story behind the uncredited material in ECT:
"It might be of interest to some to learn the following. When "Expert Card Technique" by Hugard and Braue first came out I was quite surprised to find over twenty items, ideas of mine not credited to me. At the time I had never met Fred. I asked Charlie Miller who knew him quite well, where he had learned about them. Charlie rather sheepishly told me that he was the one who has passed on the information. However, he hastened to remark, I never explained the working or technique, but Braue kept asking me to repeat things over and over and he solved the working by himself.

Thus Charles Earl kept his promise to me never to explain these cherished effects of mine."

The 1/79 Tribute to Robert Harbin issue has a note, written by Eric Lewis, that Harbins wedding gift to Chris Woodward was a set of drawings for a brand new illusion which "later turned out to be one which Bob considered greater than the Zig-Zag, and which at present is still under the covers." Does Martin (or Chris, or anyone else) know which illusion this is?

Another fascinating suggestion from Vernon, which Ive only seen one other place. "Kathy Diamond, one of our girl members, handles cards much more naturally than many of our male members. The reason for this is because she attended a course in Lake Tahoe. The course had nothing to do with magic but was how to handle and deal in a game of Black Jack."

In Ron Bauers "Hornswoggled Again" manuscript, he advises you to "pay more attention the next time youre getting change from a cashier", and to count bills "repeatedly as though auditioning for a role as Super Cashier in Vegas."

Heres a great line from Charlie Miller:
"All one needs to have is one good false shuffle and many persons for whom to perform."

Not too long ago there was a thread about Vernons opinion of Houdini. Heres a little more of the answer, from March 84:

"Let me state emphatically that Harry Houdini was a very mediocre conjuror. However he was an extraordinary escape artist and an amazing showman."

Ive already commented on how largely unfunny I found the occasional cartoon that appeared in these old Geniis. But one in the April 84 issue takes the cake. There are three men in tails at the bus stop. Two have bass guitars in large carrying cases. The third has a carrying case in the shape of a rabbit (the largest rabbit in history, from the size of it). One of the musicians is saying something to the man with the bunny case. Heres the caption of the cartoon:


A typo, I assume, although a particularly remarkable one. But does anybody have any idea what the original caption is? I see no indication of the cartoonists name.

Something I didnt know, from Pete Biros column in 4/84. Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon were (are?) both top stunt performers. Apparently Jonathan did Belushis fall down the stairs in The Blues Brothers, and Charlotte was a regular on Charlies Angels.

An ad for John Booths Creative World of Conjuring calls it the "most controversial book of the decade." Part of the ad says "This is NOT a book emphasizing, or about, author/gambler S.W. Erdnase, as grossly misrepresented. It has just over 3 intriguing pages about him. The revelation that it contains (legally and ethically published) caused a libelous attack on the author. Booth has finally raised the curtain on a virtual certainty that others admittedly had covered up for years."

What was this?

Another interesting idea from 1/90 is Terry Schaplows "Protracted Silver Extraction". Terry comments that if you remove the silver from a half dollar you will not end up with a glass disk but in fact a copper slug. (His audiences, perhaps more familiar with Half Dollar construction than modern audiences would be, apparently commented on this.) Thus, he suggests, use an English Penny instead of the disk.

I suggest, use an English Penny thats been filed down to be a thin copper slug.

I didnt know he did mentalism
"I hear Iraq is looking to buy more weapons, and were REALLY going to stick it to them this time."
From the August, 1992 Genii. In an article called "Ethics-Schmethics". By John Carney.

Separated at birth:
Irv Tannen and Michael Caine.

The mentalist whom Dai Vernon said 25 years ago is the best that he has ever seen is Max Maven.
Pete McCabe
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Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
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