Actually, without much fanfare and at far too low a price, International Magic has released two of the most valuable video tapes I have ever watched.
Until recently my most valued video tape had been Andrew Galloway's performance only recording made (I think) in the 1980's. The release of the recent International Magic videos supasses this earlier effort. Not only does Mr Galloway smile slightly more often (!) but he also performs and explains effects that until now one had no choice but to read and imagine.
Mr Galloway performs and explains legendary Ramsay effects such as Coins in the Hat, Cylinder and Coins, Triple Restoration and the wonderful cards to pocket routine. However he also demonstrates several smaller but beautifully constructed routines such as Switch is Which and the Ramsay spellbound sequence.
While many of the routines are complex and slow paced, they leave one with a profound sense of mystery and, often, complete amazement. Strangely enough the explanations are just as amazing. This is not to say that the techniques are cutting edge or revolutionary but rather the construction of the effects that is fascinating. However what I found most amazing was the degree to which Mr Galloway disguised his technique. It is incredible to watch the explanation of the Cylinder and Coins, for example, and realise just how much work is going on and just how well hidden it is.
While Mr Galloway's performance style will not appeal to all, I found his dry humour quite amusing and his focus on the effect very powerful. From the smattering of clips of Mr Ramsay performing his magic I drew the impression that his style was impish and mischievous. Mr Galloway is very different. Nonetheless his attention to the Ramsay philosophy on performance and direction of attention are highly evident and make his own performances quite compelling and magical. The coins in glass effect, for example, is a fascinating lesson in how the gaze of the performer can substantially enhance the impact of a simple sequence of sleights.
Galloway also takes the time to discuss the basics of John Ramsay's approach to misdirection and to provide some examples of how these might be implemented.
As you may surmise, I am enthusiastic about these tapes. John Ramsay died having had few students and having passed on much of his knowledge to Andrew Galloway. Although Galloway wrote much of this in his books on Ramsay's magic, these tapes represent a rare opportunity to watch and learn the Ramsay approach to magic from the man Ramsay chose as his pupil and apprentice.
Overlook my gushing, do yourselves a favour, and buy these videos.