Trade Show Magic books?

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Robert Allen » 10/04/04 09:07 AM

Hello. I'm looking for recommendations on books about doing Trade Show magic. I'm not looking for info on tricks per se, but rather issues like crowd management, duration of performance, and especially various ways of introducing the vendors product in the performance, or segue to the introduction of the product marketing person.

Thanks in advance for any pointers (to books or otherwise).
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Postby Ian Kendall » 10/04/04 09:52 AM

The obvious choice would be the Tullock book, which is an interesting read.

Take care, Ian
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Postby John LeBlanc » 10/04/04 12:06 PM

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
Thanks in advance for any pointers (to books or otherwise).
As Ian mentioned, Tullock's book came immediately to mind.

I have the two video set (VHS) that came out a few years ago called, "Eddie Tullock - The Real Truth About Trade Show Magic". It's been recently released on DVD (around $40) and reviewed favorably. I have no need for them now that I have it on DVD. They're virtually brand new and you can have the set for $25 if you're interested.

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Postby Robert Allen » 10/04/04 12:17 PM

Hmm, let me think about the video offer, thanks much.

I've been looking around and have found the DVDS and videos, but no copy of the book. I like books to augment videos as I can read the ideas and evaluate them indepently of the production values of a video or then-current abilities of the presentors (ref. some videos released of magicians past their prime, which detracts from the audience experience for me at least.)

I'll keep looking for the book, and thinking about the videos, thanks again for the refs!!
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Postby Oliver Corpuz » 10/04/04 12:52 PM

In addition to the Tulluck material, you also may want to take a look at Docc Hillford's Star Trade Show Act. The act has some very commercial routining. Even if you never plan on doing any of the tricks in his act, you'll probably be able to glean some useful information in reading his thoughts on why he uses each trick and how the act is structured.

Docc explains the psychological ploys he uses and the reasoning behind each trick in the act. From his experience, he also discusses what works and doesn't work, and he has tips on crowd management and transitioning them off to sales folks.

- Oliver
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Postby Guest » 10/04/04 01:48 PM

You have to read Joel Bauer's advice in his Hustle Hustle and How To Persuade People Who Do Not Want To Be Persuaded. He is one of the best in the industry.

Postby Guest » 10/04/04 07:15 PM

"The Magic Business" by Michael Bailey is a valueable resource to have. Routines are given including scripts for trade shows, sales meetings as well as new product introductions.

"Corporate Presentations" by Leo Behnke is also recommended. Scripts are also included in this volume. This book also has blueprints for a stage proscenium with lights.

Each of these is pricey, that being said the value can only be determined by the individual.

You might also take a look at "It Takes Guts Dammit" by Paul Diamond.

Incidently, Joel Bauer states that the Paul Diamond book was inspirational to him.

If interested H&R Magic is where I obtained mine.

I hope this has been helpful.

Kindest regards,

Pete Mills

Postby David Acer » 10/08/04 09:19 AM

Hi Robert,

Magic Inc published a little booklet called THE TRADE SHOW HANDBOOK by Bud Dietrich and Dick Jarrow in the mid-seventies. It was considered a mini gold-mine in its day, and it's still worth a look.
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Postby David Kaplan » 10/12/04 07:09 AM

If you can find a copy, I think you would get a lot out of Bill Derman's "Card Tricks That Get the Money... and the Patter That Gets the Bookings".

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Postby gfajuri » 10/12/04 09:15 AM


I have a copy of the Dietrich/Jarrow Tradeshow book, if you're interested. $12, postpaid, in mint condition.


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Postby Timothy Hyde » 10/20/04 09:53 PM


you might want to keep your eyes open for the release of Anton Zellman's information on this topic. It seems to answer your exact need. He's been working on a huge compilation of material & advice (and a few routines) for some time now. I've been lucky enough to see some of the early drafts and it's a goldmine. (When someone who in the past has signed a million dollar contract starts telling their trade show secrets, I listen.)

Anton has specilalised in specific markets and selling multiple engagements and multi projects into that niche with great success.

Look out for more information as the project comes together in the next few months.

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Postby Guest » 11/01/04 06:38 AM

The Behnke book is currently up for auction on ebay here - ... 00042&rd=1

Postby Timothy Hyde » 11/07/04 02:10 PM

The Anton Zellman Trade Show DVD that I mentioned above is now available in a Pre Release offer.
I think there are about 20 copies left.

Full details on the DVD and the conditions of the Pre Release offer available here.

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Postby Guest » 07/13/05 07:57 PM

Any of the Karrell Fox hardcover texts are worth a look, too.

Not only do you get great routines but the many pages of photos of his various appareances at trade shows also make for a delightful "read."

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Postby Guest » 07/16/05 08:25 AM

For a real understanding of Trade Show Marketing, the most logical place to start is learning about the actual marketing and then seeing if there is a fit with magic. (Of course, there frequently is a good fit for the right magician with the right client in the right environment.)

When possible deal with facts instead of opinions. The starting place for that is the October 1976 Journal of Marketing article (pages 100-105) by Suzette Cavanaugh and then moving forward. Even then there were 5,600 trade shows drawing 80 million people a year.

It's not Birthday Party, Bar room, or Stage magic. You will need to be more than just a magician to attract the good clients. But it is essentially a learned skill (which you may already have from other experiences).

Good luck on your research.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

Postby Bill Mullins » 07/16/05 02:41 PM

Corporate Hocus-Pocus --- Magicians -- Presto! -- Turn Into Business Motivators And Reap Big Rewards
By Joel Rosenblatt. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Sep 11, 2000. pg. B.1

Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc Sep 11, 2000
MAGICIAN PAUL GERTNER is entertaining a recent gathering of sales managers from Domino's Pizza LLC. But instead of a top hat and tuxedo, he's dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit. And part of his patter revolves around ways to "build the brand and increase profits."

This is magic? Ah, but wait. At one point, Mr. Gertner conjures up a cell phone and orders a pizza from a nearby Domino's outlet. When the steaming pie arrives, a torn $100 bill that disappeared earlier in the show is baked inside. "I've heard," the magician deadpans, "there's money in pizza."

These days, there is also plenty of money in corporate magic. Eager to find new ways to grab the attention of jaded employees and customers, more companies are turning to magicians to help deliver sales pitches and motivational messages. Prestidigitators who once worked birthday parties for a pittance are now making as much as $20,000 an hour to push corporate themes at meetings, trade shows and training sessions.

To some extent, the trend reflects a general resurgence in the popularity of magic, as evidenced by the huge audiences for big-name acts such as Siegfried and Roy and David Blaine, along with soaring amateur interest. Sales at Hank Lee's Magic Factory in Boston have more than tripled in the past decade. Other magic stores around the country report similar growth.

In the corporate world, magicians increasingly are being seen as an effective and novel alternative to traditional presenters such as motivational speakers, musical acts or comedians. Some magic lovers are disdainful, complaining that corporate messages have no place in a bag of tricks. But many magicians are delighted to find another lucrative stage, and company executives say that magic, if done well, appeals to nearly every type of audience. It also has the advantage of being politically correct, unlike off-color comedians or the scantily clad models who have long adorned many booths at trade shows.

Companies that have recently hired magicians for corporate events include International Business Machines Corp., Pitney Bowes Inc. and General Motors Corp. To push its Marlboro cigarette brand, Philip Morris Cos. is employing a small army of 30 magicians to perform in bars across the country.

Smaller companies are also finding that magic does the trick for them. Craig Elliott, chief executive officer of Packeteer Inc., a Cupertino, Calif., networking software firm, for the last three years has hired magician Lisa Menna to perform at his company's booth at the giant NetWorld/Interop trade shows. He pays her $60,000 for a three-day stint at this month's show in Atlanta.

Ms. Menna, 36 years old, weaves detailed descriptions of Packeteer's technology into her act. In one optical illusion, she asks audience members to stare at Packeteer's spinning logo, then look at their hands. The trick makes it appear as if their skin is crawling across their hand. "It's bizarre," Mr. Elliott says, adding: "People remember our logo."

Mr. Elliott compares notes with rivals at trade shows, and figures Ms. Menna brings in 10 times as many sales leads as conventional booth displays. Many visitors stay to watch her show several times, he says. He calls Ms. Menna "a product-marketing person disguised as a magician."

At Campus Pipeline Inc. of Salt Lake City, which designs internal Internet networks for educational institutions, magician Giovanni Livera is credited with helping hone the performance skills of its sales force. For a fee of $144,000 for a three-day session, Mr. Livera shows the sales staffers how to jazz up their pitches, by using storytelling, jokes and music along with conventional product descriptions.

Darin Gilson, Campus Pipeline's president and chief operating officer, is so impressed with Mr. Livera that he recently put the magician on the company's board of advisers, which includes such luminaries as Dell Computer Corp.'s chairman and CEO, Michael Dell, and Keith Krach, CEO of e-commerce firm Ariba Inc. Mr. Gilson says the performer knows every employee and once a month sends e-mails to reinforce the sales lessons.

Mr. Livera, 36, is one of two dozen or so magicians at the top of the heap in corporate work. As a boy, in Orlando, Fla., his father posted a picture of the young charmer on a mirror at his hairstyling salon. "Five bucks, book him, I'll drive him," his dad told potential customers. "While my friends were bagging groceries," Mr. Livera recalls, "I would go do a couple of birthday parties on the weekend and make more in two hours than they would make all week."

The money has only gotten better since Mr. Livera came to wide attention while doing halftime shows at Orlando Magic basketball games. In one trick, he made 7-foot-1-inch superstar Shaquille O'Neal appear at midcourt. He has performed at events for Unisys Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp., among others, and says he made more than $1 million last year.

Philip Morris has been quietly deploying its army of magicians in bars around the country since 1997. The performers appear unannounced and mingle with the crowd, performing sleight-of-hand tricks using cigarettes, bar napkins, shot glasses and coins. Brendan McCormick, a Philip Morris spokesman, says the magic campaign is targeting adult smokers in bars as part of a strategy to "reinforce brand loyalty and encourage brand switching."

For Domino's Pizza, Mr. Gertner was hired to help rally the company's sales force, after job reductions had hurt morale. Mr. Gertner's hour-long performance before about 130 sales managers mixes a healthy dose of motivational spiel with legerdemain. In one trick, Mr. Gertner tears apart a newspaper page and crumples it up, telling the audience that the torn pieces are "an important part of the total paper," just as each employee is "part of the company as a whole." Then he shakes out the now-untorn paper, and it has a new headline: "Domino's Pizza -- Say Cheese."
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Postby Guest » 07/16/05 07:59 PM

Nice article ! ;)

Postby Guest » 07/17/05 03:10 PM


That is a great article!

Thank you too for sending me a "portable" copy of the 1976 Journal of Marketing article.

Hopefully, I'll get to see you at SEAM in Huntsville next month.

Thanks again.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

Postby NCMarsh » 07/30/05 02:41 PM

Amid so many hyped recent products, some of the best information on the subject is in an inexpensive paperback released in the seventies. Frances Marshall's Trade Shows: An inside insight is exceptional. It is an excerpt from the larger The Success Book.

It should be availible from Denny...


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Postby Tom Frank » 08/01/05 06:23 AM

I like "Hustle, Hustle: by Joel Bauer

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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/23/05 12:56 PM

Dick Ryan had an excellent book out a few years back. He was a very busy trade show worker.
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Postby Guest » 10/17/05 10:38 PM

CW Stanford was a full time trade show magician for quite some time and he published a small book in the late 80's called How To Work Trade Shows As A Business. There is great info in this work from why a company would want to hire a magician to trade show travel tips, how to work a show, what to charge, how to get bookings and other excellent info. I am not sure whether the book is still available, but if anyone is interested, I would be happy to contact Chuck to see if he still has copies to sell.

Postby Guest » 10/19/05 02:17 PM

Well, after a couple inquiries I got a hold of Chuck Stanford and it turns out his books are sold out, out of print, and no longer available. I'm sorry if I got anyone excited about getting a book and finding out they're not available anymore.

Postby Guest » 12/01/05 07:41 PM

OK Guys, sorry to be here it is, now it's not, here it is again, but Chuck Stanford located a computer document of his trade show book "How To Work Trade Shows As A Business". He has added a chapter on how to market oneself in the trade show business that he had previously been unwilling to share. Now that Chuck has retired from the trade show business, he is willing to add that chapter to this document and while it is no longer available in book form, he is willing to print and sell the information as a manuscript. He asked me to advise him of a selling price. The original booklet of 48 pages sold at $25. While the current offer would only be printed 8 1/2 X 11 pages, he has added the marketing chapter back in. I would think the information would be well worth $25 even in this simplified form. If anyone would like to purchase the information from Chuck, please let me know and I'll see if he'll go for the $25 price. I can be reached at Remove magic from the address to get me.

Postby Guest » 12/13/05 02:05 PM

I liked the Bill Goldman double set 'Confesssions of a Corporate Warrior'.

Has any one seen the Anton Zelman stuff or have it for sale?

Postby Timothy Hyde » 01/09/06 02:21 PM

To answer your question, I have seen the finished product and Anton has it for sale off his website.

Those of you who took up the pre publication offer will notice the retail price has jumped considerably now the product has shipped. This has got to be the best packaged product of the year.

Don't expect a review from me any time soon. It will take weeks to work through the material & view all the DVD footage.

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Postby Guest » 01/15/06 05:29 PM

Timothy and friends of Magic and Mentalism,

I want to mention how grateful I am to Timothy Hyde for his kind remarks both here and in his MagicCoach marketing newsletter.

Love from AntonZ

Postby Steve B » 05/19/10 12:31 PM

Chuck Stanford republished his How To Work Trade Shows As A Business in 2006 as a comb bound book. Chuck learned a lot of his trade show secrets from Eddie Tullock, who was a mentor to him. Chuck's new edition has a very valuable bonus chapter that the original 1989 book didn't, called How To Market And Sell Yourself. In that chapter, Chuck reveals his exact marketing technique that he used to make a living with trade show magic for over 20 years. I've known Chuck since the late 70's and can attest to his success in the trade show market.

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Postby Yeeri » 06/17/10 01:54 AM

Anton's materials rock, Joel materials are great too... bottom line you still have to do he WORK (the selinng work that is) - no way around it. Just do it!
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