10 Best Tricks & The Magicians Who perfromed Them

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

Postby Guest » 03/12/07 06:58 AM

On the last page of Ascanio Vol 1, he mentions a list published in The Linking Ring of the ten best tricks of all time and the magicians who performed them.

Frakson is mentioned twice with his Miser's Dream and Rising Cards.

Does anyone know the rest of the list?


bearing in mind that a twenty year-old will not have seen as many performers as an eighty year-old, what is your list of the ten best tricks and the magicians who performed them. If possible stick with magicians who perform mostly for the public.

Postby Pete Biro » 03/12/07 07:33 PM

Kaps "Smoking Thumb"
Kaps "Salt Pour"
Ken Brooke "Multiplying Bottles"
Harbin "Zig Zag"
Phoa Yan Tiong "Cut/restored Handkerchief"
Blackstone (Sr.) "Girl without a Middle"
Blackstone (Sr.) "Dancing Handkerchief"
Jay Marshall "Linking Rings" (His style)
Copperfield "Flying"
Christian Fechner "Vanishing TV Set"
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Postby JKeppel » 03/12/07 09:32 PM

Hans Morrettis sword cabinet using a refrigerator box, is still, to me, the greatest thing i have seen in 35 years of being in magic.
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Postby Guest » 03/13/07 06:07 AM

I think that Kaps "Homing Card" is very high on the list. I dont know if it is his presontation of the effect or the effect itself. I don't use very much comedy in my routines and don't really like comedy magic but this is one of the few comedy routine that I like.

Postby Guest » 04/02/07 10:21 AM

Years ago, Kreskin performed a Lota Bowl on his TV show. His presentation? He was using his mind to condense the moisture in the air to repeatedly fill the bowl. Genius!!!! :)

Postby Guest » 04/03/07 06:13 AM

I'm not really a fan of the Linking Rings. However...years ago I saw Richard Ross perform them. For those minutes, there was nothing more miraculous in the world and no one I've seen since has measured up!


Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/03/07 07:32 AM

Richard Ross used a locking key in his routine, informtion he withheld when he published it.
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Postby Guest » 04/03/07 08:02 AM

Here is a "favorite" list made up by Jean Hugard in Vol 6 of Hugard's Magic Monthly....:

http://www.austinmagic.org/sam/studygui ... ocId365156

I don't have my HMMs handy, but I believe that was back in the '40s...


Postby Guest » 04/03/07 04:23 PM

In no particular order:

Johnny and Pam Thompson, the comedy dove production act.

Johnny Thompson and Tom Mullica, comedy mind reading bit (Whooda Putz), hope I'm spelling that correctly.

Tom Mullica at the Tom Foolery in Atlanta, the entire act

Richard Ross, the linking rings

David Copperfield, Flying

Tony Sydini, torn and restored cigarette, napkins in hat routine and the untying silks routine

Cyril Takayama, cheeseburger stealing routine, old man head dropping sequence (when performed live), items through (gimmicked) glass top table routine

Steve Beam, the impromptu snow ball routine, performed only once at the Gatlinburg "Winter Carnival of Magic," when we were all snowed in for a week.

These I've based on entertainment value alone, which, in my estimation, is all that matters in magic.

Greg Edmonds

Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/03/07 05:10 PM

(In alphabetical order)

David Copperfield "The Attic" (DeKolta Chair/Table)
Doug Henning "Things That Go Bump in the Night"
Ricky Jay "The Mysterious Circle of Iclon" (sp?)
Mark Kalin & Jinger The Wakeling Sawing
Fred Kaps Jumbo Coin Productions
Max Maven "One Handed Card Trick" (I don't know what he calls it; that's what I call it).
Milo & Roger Where Did the Duck Go?
Richard Ross Linking Rings
Siegfried & Roy Metamorphosis
Teller "Shadows"

Not magic-magic but I could watch Jay Marshall and Lefty over and over again.

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Postby Guest » 04/03/07 07:07 PM

Cellini's Act (notables: knotted silks, cups and balls, coins through table, cut and restored rope)
Bob Read's Knife through Coat
Eric Decamps Cups and Balls
John Carney's Coins to Glass
Mac King's Cloak of Invisibility
The Great Thomsoni and Co. (entire act)
Tom Mullica's Card in Mouth, Egg Bag
Kalin & Jingers Wakeling Sawing (This is one of my top three favorite illusions and Kalin and Jinger's routine is just about as classy as it gets)
Lance Burton's FISM Act
Lot's of Copperfield stuff

Friend's from NOLA:
Doug Conn blew my doors off with Chameleon Sandwich, Coins to Cup and the most magical looking shadow coins ever.
Nick Urso's Chop Cup and Vampire Card Trick (for total believability in characterization as well as creativity)
Jon Racherbaumer fried me with Topping Mental Topper

Not magic but Harry Anderson's portrayal of Clem Hoatley from Nightmare Alley was astounding.

I didn't count but I may have exceeded the 10 trick limit.


Postby Guest » 04/03/07 08:03 PM

My own personal favorites have been, since childhood, those revealed in Bruce Elliott's CLASSIC SECRETS OF MAGIC...They are listed in the chapters as follows:


How can we really say what our favorite ten tricks are, when any opinion is really based on what we have read or been told?

I love the lists we have had here, and I hope to learn and appreciate more from some of the tricks/routines/effects that have been listed and which I may have overlooked...

Thanks all for the lists....


Postby Guest » 04/04/07 07:18 AM

Billy Bishop - Misers Dream, His Rope Tie, Canvas covered box escape, Bow sawing routine.

Fred Kaps - Salt Pour.

Dai Vernon - Linking Rings, Cups and balls, The Travelers and triumph.

Jack Pyle - Punch Bridge Deal.

Glenn Bishop - The Shell Game and punch "cull" deals.

Al Schnider - Zombie Ball - Matrix.

David Roth - Chop cup - Portable Hole.

Bill Malone - Sam the bellhop.

Jim Ryan - Ryans ring rope and wand, cups and balls.

Rolland Hamblen - Jailed Card.

That is the first ten that came to me when I read the thread.

Glenn Haywood - Knife through coat.

Blackstone Jr. - Floating lightbulb.

Don Alan - Big nut in the hat coin routine, sponge ball and bowl, chop cup.

Slydini - coins through table.

Ed Marlo - Marlo's Miracle Aces.

Postby Pete Biro » 04/04/07 09:59 AM

Have to add:

Al Flosso - Miser's Dream
Glen Haywood - Knife through coat (thanks for reminding me Bish)
Mike Caveney - Thurston's Million Dollar Mystery
Kirkham - Broomstick type suspension with fluorescent light tube REMOVING BOTH
Siegfried & Roy - Vanishing Elephant
Paul Daniels - Chop Cup
Topper Martyn - Perverse linking rings
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Postby Guest » 04/04/07 12:59 PM

Don Alan - Chop Cup

Blackstone Jr. - Dancing Handkerchief

David Copperfield - Flying

Al Goshman - Salt & Pepper Shakers

Hans Moretti - The Cardboard Box

Norm Nielsen - Floating Violin

Richard Ross - Linking Rings

Mike Skinner - Eleven Card Trick/Cards Across

Slydini - just about everything...

Tommy Wonder - Two Cup Routine

Postby Guest » 04/04/07 02:41 PM

Here are a few more...

Marshall Brodien - Linking Rings, sword through neck, dice stack.

Jim Ryan - Dice Stack.

Richardi - Chair vanish to trunk and rice bowls.

Jack Gwynne - Blade box, flip over vanish, floating table, temple of Angee, flying carpet, the rice bowls and stack of fishbowls production.

Galli Galli - cups and balls with baby chicks.

Jay Marshall - Paper hat routine and vanishing cane in newspaper.

Johnny Thompson - Three balls in the net, Comedy Dove act.

Jack Pyle - Cards up the sleeve into his pocket, knotted silks and his rabbit production.

Terry Vecky - Coins to glass and a watch.

Bill Weimer - Wisdom Teeth.

Jimmy "Cards" Molinari - Jazz Aces, Marlo's Reverse four ace assembly, Oil and Water.

Eddie Fields - Brainwave deck and pool table, card in the hat, svengali deck.

Mardoni - Rice checkers and orange - linking rings.

Tony Marks - Manipulation act - rabbit production and the floating vanishing rabbit.

Barkley Shaw - for putting life and magic into a clown puppet.

David Hoy - Tossed out deck!

Postby Guest » 04/14/07 01:25 PM

Is there any register on video of David Roth's Chop Cup routine?
Didn't know he performed it, and would love to see it as he's one of my favourite magicians.
Amazing list, I'll try mine:

Fred Kaps - The Homing Card
Fred Kaps - The Salt Pour
Juan Tamariz - Triple Coincidence
Tommy Wonder - Nest of Boxes
David Roth - The Funnel
David Copperfield - Flying
Slydini - Torn and Restored Cigarrette

Those are what I can think of at the moment... :)

Postby Pete Biro » 04/14/07 02:48 PM

Johnny Paul - Torn/Restored Bill Routine
Ken Brooke - Multiplying Bottles
Charlie Miller - Egg Bag
Roy Benson - Chinese Sticks
Carl Ballantine - (oops wrong list)
Frank van Hoven - Silk to 50 lb. block of Ice
Dai Vernon - Cups and Balls
Persi Diaconis - his card magic
Fred Kaps - Tosheroon and Floating Cork
Robert Harbin - Zig Zag
Billy McComb - Vanishing Birdcage
Frakson - Vanishing/Reproducing Birdcage
Richiardi - Buzz Saw
Phoa yan Tiong - cut restored handkerchief
Finn Jon - Esoteric
Johnny Paul - Cups and Balls
Slydini - anything with coins
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/14/07 05:24 PM

1) Harry Blackstone, Jr,. The Floating Light Bulb
2) David Copperfield, Flying
3) Rene Levand, Oil and Water
4) Al Goshman, Salt Shaker Routine
5) Slydini, One Coin Routine
7) Del Ray, I can't single out one trick!
8) Tom Mullica, Signed Card in Apple
9) Brother John Hamman, Multiplying Kings
10) David Berglas, The Berglas Effect
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Postby Guest » 04/14/07 05:59 PM

From television:
Richard Ross--The Linking Rings
Mark Wilson--Gypsey Thread
Doug Henning--Water Torture Cell, and Han Ping Chien

Live, and at close-quarters:
Teller--Shadows, and The Needles
Patrick Martin--Wrist-watch To Live-Goldfish Transformation
Daryl--Cardboard Chameleons
John Cornelius--Coin Through Glass Table
Michael Weber--"Rubber Ringer"
Harry Anderson--The 3-Shell Game
Ricky Jay--Multiple Selection Routine from "52 Assistants"

Postby Guest » 04/15/07 05:12 PM

1. Chop Cup - Ken Brooke
2. 3 Card Trick using 4 cards/Counting the cards/cut & restored rope/stand up sponge ball routine - Joe Riding
3. Manipulation act - Salvano
4. Coins thru table - Pat Page
5. Close up ACT - Al Goshman (yes it was an act - not tricks just strung together)
6. Continuous cigarette production - David Berglas
7. Sword Chest using cardboard carton - Hans Moretti
8. ANY card magic performed by ROVI
9. Burnt & Restored note - Terry Seabrooke
10. What A M-E-S - Harry Lorayne

Postby Mark Collier » 04/15/07 05:35 PM

After seeing Paul Potassey at the Magic Castle last week, I would have to say his pick-pocket routine is the best I've ever seen (and I've seen Ricki Dunn).
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Postby Guest » 04/15/07 06:55 PM

I have been watching the Paul Potassy DVDs for awhile now and I love his pick pocket sequence as well. I think it's far better NOT to telegraph the steal to the audience by flashing the stolen items to the audience. When Potassy eventually returns the stolen objects, the audience is stunned and entertained by the entire situation!

Paul Pacific

Postby Guest » 04/15/07 08:36 PM

I have to throw Tina Lenert's act into the mix here.

Postby Guest » 04/15/07 08:44 PM

Frakson Cigarette production, Misers Dream, Giant Rising Cards, Martin Birdcage (the whole act)

Blackstone Sr Floating Light Bulb, Dancing Handkerchief

John Calvert Dr. Q Hypnosis routine

Dr. Giovanni/Vic Perry Pickpocket routines

David Copperfield Flying

Skipper Frank Herman Sidekick, Troublewit

John Daniel Thin Model Sawing (I saw the debut performance)

Robert Harbin Zig Zag

Dunninger Mindreading

Charlie Miller Cards and Egg Bag

Harry Lorayne - Audience memorization

Cardini - the act

With the exception of Harry and Dunninger, everyone was seen in person.

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 02:12 AM

Armando Lucero's Matrix "Coin Menagerie" is just pure magic...

Postby Matthew Field » 04/16/07 03:41 AM

I'd add Tom Mullica's Egg Bag routine, Lennart Green's FISM routine and Tamariz's version of the Koornwinder Car. And I love Copperfield's 'Laser'.

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Postby Guest » 04/16/07 05:16 AM

Need I say more?

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 05:37 AM

Why are folks listing dead people?

They are gone.

IMHO listing the dead in this context may at best give a reminder to those who got to see them work and an irk to those who won't get that pleasure.

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 10:55 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Why are folks listing dead people?

They are gone.

IMHO listing the dead in this context may at best give a reminder to those who got to see them work and an irk to those who won't get that pleasure.

Perhaps, more to the point, there are few today who can hold a candle to the quality of those who worked in the past. Sadly, while the quality of close-up magic remains high, I can't think of many stage performers today who could equal the quality and artistry of those who are dead. Nine of the people on my list are dead. No one today equals Frakson or Cardini in artistry or execution or impact on an audience. That skill comes out of doing thousands of performances. That sort of refinement is rare in today's performers.

Who is doing John Calvert-like material where the major requirement is massive self-confidence and a pair of big brass ones?

And so it goes for many other theatrical performers, not just people you see at magic conventions. We don't call them the Old Masters for nothing.

There were few bridges between the vaudeville/night club era and today. A great deal of showmanship and stage craft has been lost to the current generation because they have not been exposed to performers of this exceptional quality.

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 11:02 AM

Time's arrow flies but one way, onward.

Unlike the visual arts, where we can admire the works old masters who've passed on centuries ago, ours is a performing art. The magic is live and in person making direct contact.

I can understand and respect the spiritualists putting the deceased up on lists as if it made sense, but no dead person has been known to hold a candle to any living person.

As much as we miss the departed, they have gone from living present into our remembered past. And in the performing arts where its that direct contact which makes something work in context it just seems strange to hold imagined nostalgia over the heads of those who can never have any idea what it was like to watch those performances.

Postby Pete Biro » 04/16/07 11:16 AM

Reading this thread makes me think of something funny... :D

Looking at most of TODAY'S illusionists... I can see an image of, say, Robert Harbin, or Blackstone (Sr)... DANCING as they presented their illusions.

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Postby Guest » 04/16/07 06:26 PM

Mr. Biro: --IN SPANDEX-- :eek: :help:

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 06:47 PM

Naaaa....He has already done it, to the tune of "The Stripper", with a toilet chain.....


Postby Guest » 04/16/07 07:28 PM


Don't really get your point mate?

Many of these magicians mentioned were not dead when we saw them BUT their magic left such a lasting impression; hence they have been chosen.

If you doubt the quality of some of these dearly deceased performers, go to YouTube and watch Fred Kaps - magic at its very best (unlike some modern day 'entertainers' e.g. Blaine....that just give the impression of being a corpse)!

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 07:35 PM

Barry, folks, those performance now exist ONLY in your memory and in some pale reflection on some recordings. The departed cannot hold a candle much less light any new ones.

With all due respect, most of the folks listed (who are no longer with us) have been gone longer than many in our community have been in magic. Why taunt our newcomers with tales of those they will never see perform?

As to dancing...Robert Harbin popping? Cardini gets down and does some krumping? And Fred Kaps does some M. C. Hammer moves... right. LOL

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 07:47 PM


Do you really know what the real point is here? The real point is that our heros from the past are deceased and really do not care whether or not we DO SOMETHING BETTER THAN THEY DID OR NOT.....


What is important is that we LEARN A FEW GOOD TRICKS and JOIN THEM IN THE HEREAFTER, as magicians who did something that HOPEFULLY ENTERTAINED SOMEBODY....

.........Gee! I hope I am not wrong.....opie

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 08:56 PM

By Jons theory, we may only have opinions of living performers, presumably people hes seen. Years ago I was discussing the Misers Dream with Bev Bergeron. He said that the two people hed seen get the most out of it were Frakson and Albert Le Bas. As a long-time professional with decades of performing experience whod seen thousands of magicians Bevs opinion had weight with me, especially since I agreed with half of it having seen Frakson and been able to compare him to others who tried to perform the same effect. I never saw Albert Le Bas work, but I respected Bevs opinion for the reasons given.

I spent an afternoon with Edwin Brush Brush the Wizard an old Chautauqua performer who saw Herrmann the Great twice when he was 17. It was an exciting afternoon to hear him recall what he saw. He was probably the last living magician who had seen Herrmann. The fact that I would never see Herrmann perform did not in any way diminish the pleasure of hearing Brushs story.

Apparently thats not the case with Jon. Most of the people I listed are deceased but because you didnt see them is a great pity for you Jon, but the fact that I did and as a working professional was able to form an opinion based on education, experience, and analysis does not diminish the validity of my opinion just because your education and experience is deficient in this area.

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 10:28 PM

Well-put, Mr. Alexander.

The best "Miser's Dream" I've ever seen was Teller's, in Asparagus".

Postby Guest » 04/16/07 10:42 PM

Call me David, Dave....and thanks.


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