The February issue of Magicol is at hand and is it ever a doozy! Besides being the 150th (!) issue, its sporting a heavier cover (book-like weight) and again in full color. My fellow card degenerates will be pleased with the feature subject: playing cards. The feature article, The Card Trick, is made up of pieces written by John Carney, John A. McKinven, Karl Fulves, Bill Miesel, Richard Hatch (more on Dicks digressive piece in a moment) and Dan Waldron that are short reminiscences regarding a card magic moment in their lives. There is also a quote attributed to Kreskin.
A black and white reproduction of a turn of the (20th) century J.G. Brown painting of a group of boys being entertained by an equally youthful card magician (coincidently titled The Card Trick) graces the center sheet.
Leo Behnke offers an extended piece on collecting playing cards that also goes into the various subcategories such as trick decks, packet tricks, gaffs and card sets. He offers some sound advice on the preservation of these treasures as well. The black and white photos of some specimens are reproduced in vivid color on the front and back covers of the magazine.
Jay Marshall shares some memories of the late actor/comedian Zero Mostel. Tipped into the magazine is a foldout replica of a full page from a 1949 issue of Colliers that shows a sequence of photos of Mostel attempting (unsuccessfully) a card trick. While the trick may have been less than successful, Mostel looks pretty comfortable with a deck in hand, right down to the textbook mechanics grip.
The usual columns, reviews and commentary grace this fine issue of what is my second favorite magic magazine. Magicol is published four times a year and is the journal of the Magic Collectors Association. Membership, which includes a subscription, is a paltry $22 (domestic) a yearone of the best bargains in magic. Contact the MCA at P.O. Box 511, Glenwood, Illinois 60425-0511. Alternatively, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My hearty congratulations to David Meyer on the event of the 150th issue of Magicol and thanks too, David, for the fine work!
PS: In regard to Richard Hatchs piece, it made me think of a similar occurrence that took place in my youth. (So this will only make complete sense to those who have read the articleso go subscribe, would you please!)
It was the summer of 1975 (the middle of my fifteenth year) and a friend (Mike) and I are riding the rails from Southern California on our way to Oregon. Early on in the trip, I am attempting to impress a young French woman (about seven years my senior and a dazzling beauty) who has caught the attention of my hormones. Of course, the only thing with which I have to impress her are my card tricks. Who I end up impressing is a man in his fifties who invites Mike and me to lunch. Of course, I would rather hang with my newly found friend, but the man insists, assuring me that I havent got a shot. Of course, being a worldly man of 15, my reply is, But shes French! It was of no availI was soon lunching with Ron. At least thats what he said his name wasat first. He also said it was George. And at one point we could just call him Mickey.
The rest of the trip (which was a little over 24 hours) was a whirlwind of bar hustles and short cons; card tricks and moves (he showed me how to do a pull-through shuffle on a Formica topped table) and assorted other rip-offs. Many of the little hustles came in handy while in Oregon, garnering Mike and me beer while hanging out with my alcoholic step-grandfather at the White Horse saloon in Molalla (hey, he was babysitting), but I digress.
The charming Ron/George/Mickey had more brass than anyone Id ever met. His short change bit was so good that I think he ended up being paid to eat in the dinning car (that one he didnt teach me). I asked him what he would do if he was caught, I mean, it wasnt like he could run away. Oh, Im sorry, my mistake, was his answer. I still wonder if he ever actually had to use the out.
But above all, it was that card move that stuck with me. When pressed I can still do it, but I prefer another subterfuge these days. Good old Ron/George/Mickey was quite the character. We didnt see him on our return trip two months later, and I never took the train up there again, so I would never have the opportunity to cross paths with him again; not that he would have been there had I taken the train again. I cant help but wonder, Dick, if Ron/George/Mickey wasnt the same kindred spirit who visited you on the bus and The Professor at the Ottawa Library. If so, I wonder who else hes visited. I wonder if well ever know.