Tim Conover Project

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Postby Eric Mead » 08/22/12 03:50 AM

Hello to everyone here at the Genii Forum. I have browsed around here on occasion over the years, but this is my first post. Something I'm very excited about, and hopefully some of you will be too.

I have reached a deal with Tim Conover's family to produce a book (or books!) about his magic and mentalism. I do not want to start a firestorm of inquiries about when it will be ready, if it's possible to pre-order, how big it will be, if this or that specific thing will be included, what it will cost, or anything like that. I am in the earliest preliminary stages of a huge project that will likely take two or three years to complete and reach publication. Right now I am gathering all the information I can, from every possible source, creating an index and database of all Tim's material, and trying to make sure nothing is missed. My intention is to try to include everything--his life's work--but it's a massive amount of material, and we'll see if that's actually reasonable somewhere down the road.

As many of you may know, Tim was a close friend of mine, and we shared ideas, secrets, material and methods for over 20 years. I have lots of video, pictures, correspondence and notes from our sessions. Some of Tim's other friends and collaborators have generously shared their own video and correspondence with me on learning of this project. At this point I think I have complete information about most of Tim's work. I am missing a few major things though, and this is why I'm reaching out here.

If anyone out there has, or knows people who have, video, pictures, correspondence, in fact ANYTHING related to Tim, his life, his work, his material, please get in touch with me. Tim's sister Shari is helping me to organize all of the raw materials into a coherent set of research material, and we are interested in anything and everything that might help. (The biggest missing pieces right now are a good record of his cups and balls routine, his signed torn and restored newspaper, and some of the older material he performed early in his career. I have notes about these things, but at this point they are too sketchy and incomplete to write them up for the book. Of course, as I said we're interested in anything, but if you had video of Tim performing or discussing those pieces--performing the cups and balls?--well, you'd get to see me dancing on air by sharing.) Even if you don't have anything personally, but can give me a lead or point me in a promising direction, please get in touch. My email is below my signature.

So that's it. It's a great project and I'm thrilled (and somewhat intimidated) to be doing it. If you were lucky enough to see Tim in action you already know he was one of the greats of my generation. A brilliant and uncompromising artist, in a class by himself. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Eric Mead
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Postby Ray Eden » 08/22/12 06:21 AM

Good luck with the project, Eric!
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Postby Diamond Jim Tyler » 08/22/12 09:27 AM

This is great news! Tim was amazing. My biggest regret is that I only got to see him perform twice. I can't wait to see the finished product. However long it takes, it will be worth the wait. Having a magician of your caliber to compile this, and being a friend of Tim's, will make this book extraordinary. I know the magic community will want it, but more importantly his family will know that his legacy lives on. Kudos to you!
Magically,
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Postby Bob Farmer » 08/22/12 12:40 PM

Along with Bill Goldman, I saw Tim perform in a corporate suite many years ago in Toronto and he was really, really good.

He had a three-book test using then-hot business books that was very impressive.

He was also the first guy I saw using a banked deck (i.e., 8 cards repeated) for a think-of-a-card effect, but Tim did two things that were new to me: he spread the deck face up on the table and left it there and he had three (rather than one) spectators think of cards (which he then divined). After the show, we discussed this and he was trying to figure out a 10-card sequence. I figured out one for him and put it into my "Tsunami" manuscript as "Overcon." I have been thinking about that ever since and come up with multiple versions.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 08/22/12 06:07 PM

A minor observation ...

Tim was dining alone one evening at the (only) restaurant at Magifest. He was to perform or lecture later that evening.

Some other magicians invited him to join them at their table.

He politely declined. The reason? "I'm memorizing," he said.

Some things you best do alone.
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Postby Eric Mead » 08/31/12 02:41 PM

Hello again my brothers and sisters in magic--

First off, thanks to all of you who've written to me with offers to share pictures, correspondence, video and even just personal stories about Tim Conover. I really appreciate all of it, and have received some great and useful stuff. Thanks.

Let me take a moment to publically answer a couple of the most common questions I've been getting:

1. I don't know yet exactly what material will be in the book and what will not. My intention is to include everything, but even at this early stage of outlining and gathering information the project is insanely huge. We may have to cut some material for practical reasons once the writing is done and we can really see how big it is. But all of the specific things I've been asked about so far will definitely make the cut. Cylinder and Coins, Bending Coins, Kaps Chinese Coin, Newspaper Test, Drawing Dup, Crystal Ball Readings --all of his "greatest hits" will be included. At this point everything else will be in there too. (And yes, the Conover Stack will definitely be included.)

2. The time frame is unknown, but realistically expect it to come out in 2-3 years.

3. For all those asking if they can help, and offering to proofread, take pictures or illustrate, etc, Shari (Tim's sister and my partner on this project) and I have a team in place to do all of this. But thanks, I understand your enthusiasm and appreciate the offers.

4. The performance and publication rights to all of Tim's material are legally owned by his family, as carefully spelled out by Tim. His family has granted performance rights to me while working on the book, but until the book comes out his work remains otherwise proprietary. To those who've asked if they might perform specific pieces of Tim's, or release their version of one of his ideas, I'm afraid I have to ask you to wait until after the Conover book comes out. You understand how quickly things get varied, how fast they can spread in the magic underground, and how the origins of material can become cloudy and disputed. So we're being careful, and trying not to allow the material to become diluted in advance of the book.

OK--I'm still searching for video or correspondence/notes on Tim's Cups and Balls routine. (And anything else anyone has, of course.) I got an anonymous tip about someone that secretly taped a convention performance with a phone after being asked not to. It turned out to be a false lead, but it brought up an interesting point. Tim didn't like to be filmed, and most of his convention appearances we're not officially taped at Tim's insistence. If there is anyone out there who filmed Tim secretly and is therefore afraid to come forward, let me say "shame on you for taping" but I would be quick to forgive--and keep your identity secret--if you would share what you have. In fact, I would be grateful. Please?

And anyone else who is sitting on video or correspondence, my email is below my signature. We would love to hear from you. Thanks.

Eric Mead
ericmead@mac.com
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