Magic's Most Amazing Stories by Ivan Amodei

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Postby Tom Frame » 01/28/10 08:02 PM

Magics Most Amazing Stories (Book) by Ivan Amodei $24.97
Soft-bound, 9x 6, 256 pages, 22 illustrations
Available at:
Dealers contact Murphys Magic Supplies, Inc. (916) 853-9292

The best part of getting together with other magicians is the swapping of performance stories. Id rather hear a remarkable true story from the trenches than learn the latest whiz-bang trick. I revel in hearing stories of calamitous mishaps, incredible coincidences, colorful participants that made or ruined a performance, or once in a lifetime moments of real magic.

Ivan Amodei shares my passion for incredible tales, as evidenced by this compilation of magical anecdotes from a stellar cast of conjurors. The book includes stories by, or about:

Dana Daniels, Rob Zabrecky, Murray Sawchuck, Senator Crandall, Jimmy Grippo, Doug Henning, Ivan Amodei, Rocco Silano, Johnny Platt, Matt Marcy, Jeff Hobson, Don Drake, Tom Ogden, Mac King, Joseph Burrus, Michael Finney, Dave Cox, Bruce Gold, Ben Jackson, George Saterial, Richard Turner, Rick Merrill, Jason Latimer, Aldo Colombini, Harry Houdini, Shawn Farquhar, Jasper Maskelyne, Christopher Hart, Nick Lewin, Peter Samelson, Steve Bargatze, Gazzo, Dan McKinnon, James Bentley, Woody Pitman, Gene Anderson, Dick Barry, Goldfinger & Dove, Doc Eason, Harry Kellar, George Schindler, Richiardi Jr., Shawn McMaster, Marc Bachrach, Steve Cohen, Steve Dacri, Max Maven, R. Paul Wilson, Kostya Kimlat, Rich Marotta, Curtis Kam, Tom Burgoon, Anders Moden, Tim Ellis, Gerry Katzman, Eric DeCamps, Danny Cole, Tommy Cooper, Chris Randall, Tony Slydini, Asi Wind, Tony Giorgio, John George, Larry Jennings, TC Tahoe, David Minkin, Simon Lovell, Steve Beam, Martin Nash, Ed Alonzo, Chung Ling Soo, Carl Andrews, Daniel Sylvester, Dai Vernon, Harry Blackstone Jr., Billy McComb, John Ramsay, Francis Carlyle, Rachel Colombini, Rob Rasner, Kuda Bux and Charlie Miller.


Mr. Amodeis design of the book is playful and visually pleasing. Cartoon-like illustrations highlighting elements of some of the stories are sprinkled throughout the book. I found these to be mildly amusing.

Between stories, he inserts random story snippets (with story title and page number) to arouse our interest and possibly compel us to flip to the designated page to read the full story. I didnt take the bait. I read the book cover to cover.

In addition to the full stories, the book contains Did You Know? boxes that offer factoids about various magicians. There are also Quick Bits boxes that feature shorter anecdotes.

Apart from several yawners, the stories are uniformly good and a few of them are great. If youve been involved in magic for several decades, a number of the stories will be familiar to you. But a good story is always worth revisiting.

My favorites stories include:

Bill Wischs tale of a frantic, rain-soaked Slydini trying to catch a ride to his show.

Gay Blackstones story of how Harry Blackstone Jr. proved that the elephant that had just vanished was real.

Ron Wilsons story of how Senator Crandall dealt with a man who didnt want to see a card trick

Ivan Amodeis tale of Jimmy Grippos incredible card effect that got him his gig as the house magician at Caesars Palace.

Jeff Hobsons story of accidentally producing more than a dove.

Mac Kings unexpected version of his Houdini Challenge Naked Rope Escape.

David Coxs encounter with a crazed drunk aboard an airplane over Iceland.

Good stuff!

Despite the fact that three people are cited as proofreaders, the book still contains numerous typos and odd, fragmented sentences. For future publications, perhaps Mr. Amodei should look elsewhere for qualified proofreaders.

In terms of a target audience, it seems that Mr. Amodei is seeking crossover appeal. He advertises the book in magic magazines, so he obviously wants magicians to buy it.

Yet in his Introduction he states, This book will give you an inside look into the crazy things that happen to us while we work. Youll instantly feel a part of this underground world. This statement sounds like he is speaking to the general public.

Attempting to cater to both magicians and laymen is a difficult and potentially perilous undertaking. I imagine that the author strived to provide enough insider detail to satisfy magicians, while avoiding exposing our methods to lay readers. Unfortunately, while walking that thin wire, he slipped on several occasions.

Woody Pittman reveals too much information about the Indian Dove Chest.

In the course of telling a very funny story, Tom Burgoon describes a thumb tip.

Chris Randall refers to a billiard ball shell.

Carl Andrews exposes the Ring Flight mechanism.

I believe that with more judicious editing, Mr. Amodei could have preserved these secrets while maintaining the integrity and spirit of these stories.

Despite these problems, I enjoyed the book. Its filled with interesting and amusing stories that will entertain magicians and muggles alike.

Tom Frame
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/10 09:26 PM

I don't see that he's marketing the book to laymen, thus no editing of methodology is necessary (and I wouldn't feel that it was necessary anyway).
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Postby lakewoodcards » 11/28/12 10:25 PM

I found this book through layman channels, yet I don't think the things he exposed would be surprise to most people. However, the horrible grammar and spelling took away most of the enjoyment that the book had to offer.
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