Frank Garcia

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Postby timbrown » 06/27/02 07:15 AM

I have been searching for a copy of "The Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic" (Frank Garcia) for a long time but have had no recent success in locating a copy at a price that I am willing to pay. Before the emergence of EBAY I had several opportunities to buy this book at various magic shops (sometimes for as low as $10 or $15)but at these time I passed because I was always able to find something better for the same price.
I have traveled the USA extensively for business purposes and was fortunate enough to be able to visit just about every decent magic shop in the USA and many in Canada. I would always ask "Do you have any old stuff that isn't on display" and would often discover that the shop owners had boxes of stuff - hidden away behind counters or in closets.

Of course EBAY has just about ruined this experience and things such as Garcia's Encyclopedia go for $100 or more. This is nuts but it is also completely in line with the principles of supply and demand.

With this in mind, and in consideration of the fact that most of the stuff that was put out by Garcia is snatched up for $50, $60 or higher I find it hard to believe that we haven't seen a high quality book containing a collection of this material. After all, the quality of the old card stuff was pretty poor - but still it goes for big bucks.

My question - Why have we seen no such book and why have we seen so little in print about Garcia in recent times? Wouldn't he make an interesting feature subject?
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Postby Ian Richards » 06/27/02 07:29 AM

Hi Tim,
A similar question arose on this forum a few months ago. At that time Richard informed us that Frank Garcia may not have had a will and as such there were legal disputes between members of his family. Hence, there has been no reprinting of his material.
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Postby timbrown » 06/27/02 08:24 AM

Thanks for this info...I had figured that this was the case. Still, for such a popular figure I find it strange to see nothing about him in the periodicals. I may have missed this info (and have only recently subscribed to both Genii and Magic). If you know of any such articles please provide the reference.

Tim Brown :eek:
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Postby Ian Richards » 06/27/02 08:51 AM

Hi Tim,
There was an issue of Mr. Gadfly that featured Frank Garcia. It may be possible to obtain this magazine via their website: http://www.mrgadfly.com
It might be prudent to contact the editor/publisher directly to inquire as to the availability of back issues, as the current status of this publication appears uncertain. Once again, there was an earlier thread on this forum that detailed the problems of current subscribers to this magazine.
All the best,
Ian
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/27/02 01:24 PM

Tim,
Frank Garcia did have a one-man issue of Genii sometime in the 1970s or 80s--can't recall at the moment, but I did see it recently in my file.
As Ian mentioned, Frank died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was a heavy drinker, and he lived in a neighborhood in Manhattan that could be dangerous at night. There was also a fire escape outside the window of his apartment. Now, as anyone who lives in Manhattan knows, if you have a fire escape you are almost certainly going to be robbed if you don't have bars on the windows. Frank didn't have the money to put the bars up, so he NAILED his windows shut. The week he died there was a heatwave in Manhattan. Frank had no airconditioning and his windows were shut. It was probably over 100 degrees in his apartment. He had been dead for several days when he was found. The only reason they went looking is because his new wife was waiting for him to arrive at the airport in (I think) Phoenix and he simply never arrived. He died without a will and his son and new wife were engaged in a legal struggle over his copyrights. I have never heard of any resolution.
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Postby timbrown » 06/27/02 01:53 PM

Thanks for the information Richard. I had no idea as to just how tragic it was at the end of Garcia's life. I knew that his health was poor - you can certainly see that in several of the videos that feature him in his later years.

I collect his stuff mainly because it was through his books that I became entranced with good card magic. I really love his "Exclusive" and "Million Dollar" stuff and go back to these books often. But are they really worth $50?? At this point I collect Frank Garcia material just for completeness sake.

I have the Genii issue to which you refer. Someone told me that you had written something that was published in Genii (letter to editor?? or perhaps YOU were the editor??) that explained, candidly, the controversy over lack of crediting in some of the books that Garcia had published. I have not been able to locate this issue of Genii (if if even exists at all) and would appreciate if you could provide me with the reference.

Thanks,

Tim Brown
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/27/02 03:14 PM

Tim,
My comments about Frank were published in MAGIC just after his death. Caught hell for it! Some were supportive. His wife, Betty-Lou, told me that even though parts of it were hurtful to read, she could tell that I knew Frank well and liked him a lot. My writing was successful in that regard.
You might be interested to know that Frank had illustrator Robert Hirsch (I think that was his name) do drawings for about 6 books that were NEVER released. Never heard anything about them after his death.
We were all shocked by Frank's death because he looked perfectly fine to us at the time. He always had circles under his eyes, so that was nothing unusual.
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 06/27/02 10:41 PM

Tim, I have a July/August 1986 Tannen's Magic Manuscript 'dedicated' to Frank Garcia. Cover photo, three card effects, five pages of photos and biography of F.G., along with his regular column, "New York News." Also in this issue is a review of his first Tannen's video by the Video Voyeur, Steve Bryant! (they sold for $69.50 back then!) Lotsa other interestin' stuff, too. I'd be glad to let you have it if you're interested. --Mitch
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