Irv Weiner

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Postby David Regal » 07/15/04 07:51 AM

I would like very much to learn more about Irv Weiner. I've seen footage of him, have a few tricks by him, and heard wonderful stories about him - but not enough! Is anyone thinking of doing a compilation of his work?

Please chime in with any stories/memories you have of Irv.
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Postby David Regal » 07/15/04 08:40 AM

Is that $14,000 American or Canadian?
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/15/04 09:02 AM

On Ebay?
Stay tooned.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/15/04 10:58 AM

David, There have been some postings fairly recently on web forum(s). Try Magic Cafe as well as this.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/04 11:11 AM

Irv "Mr Fingers" a giant of a performer, packed in to a tiny body. He did performances of magic and mentalism in the mid and late 20th century. In the '80's he was listed as one of the most wanted performers on college campused
If was born and raised in the Boston. And he said his parents were deaf mutes which taught him miming skills. He was also a protege of Silent Mora, a performer, I'm not very familiar with Silent Mora
Mr Fingers was one of two performer I saw receive a standing ovation from an effect that failed
The other being Ormond Mcgill
Irv is largely forgotten, by many of today's performers, which is sad because many of his Manusecret releases were excellent

Postby Bob Farmer » 07/15/04 11:14 AM

DAvid, I have a very interesting Weiner routine called "Soft Dice." If you need info, e-mail me at
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 07/15/04 01:30 PM

I had the pleasure of seeing Irv Weiner perform and lecture on different occasiosn--one lecture at Magic INC., and one informal performance at a PEA conventation. Over the years, I saw dozens and dozens of lectures, but his stands out as one of my favorites. His energy, his ability, and his willingness to share valuable presentation information was an inspriation. His magic was direct, but his timing and presentation were killer.

Somehow at the PEA convention we got on the topic of dealing with people who question your "psychic" powers. (Gee, what an original discussion) We tried, and tried, and TRIED to come up with questions that would stump him, but he always came up with either incredile answers or incredible evasions. It was a pleasure to experience.

As I stated earlier, my limited encounters with Irv Weiner will always leave a lasting impression on me.

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Postby Guest » 07/15/04 01:43 PM

At one time when I had for years used Irv's Knick Knack as one of my most powerful effect he came to town to do a lecture. He stayed the night with my wife and me. We had a marvelous discussion and drove him to the airport in the morning. One of the most pleasant experiences. I have always been amazed at how few magicians use his knick knack and how many magicians I have fooled with it.
7/15/04 1:42 PM

Postby David Regal » 07/15/04 01:56 PM

What's "Knick Knack"? I - and I'm sure others - are dying to know.

Also - what was the effect that failed, yet earned Irv a standing ovation?
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Postby Guest » 07/15/04 03:01 PM

I'm from the Boston area, and my first exposure to "Mr. Fingers" was as a lad of 12. It was a college show, at Lowell Technological Institute. I remember that the entire show came out of a suitcase, and the audience exceeded 2,000!

After the show I brazenly approached Irv, and he asked me, after I informed him that I too, was a magician, to do a trick. I dared (Ah, sweet innocence!). He was as kind as could be, praising me without kidding me, and offering help where I desperately needed it (though I didn't know I needed it until AFTER he showed me "the way"...). I'll never forget that kindness.

I came to know him much better in the ensuing years, and Irv shared many things with me, including his wonderful "Red Tape Thumbtie". I use that to this day, with great success.

In 1977 I thought I'd finally be able to reciprocate, when Irv paid a visit to the West Coast, where I had re-located. He stayed with me a few days in SF, but I ended up way ahead of the game, once again. His generosity was beyond measure, and he shared his work with Daub (There is a manu-secret on Daub...) at that time (I had flowered into that most dreaded of all party goers - "Card Trick Boy!"). His subtle approach to card magic changed my vision of magic again, and his kind direction has spared many of you untold agony.

I clearly remember the only coin trick he taught me, and do it to this day - a simple vanish and reproduction, but beautifully staged.

So, there is the Red Tape TT, Soft Dice, Daub work, some mental effects like one called Simulimpromptu, I think it was, a production item that was recently mentioned on another thread here, and I remember a couple of Ambitious Card moves that I occasionally slip in a sequence, especially for the brethren. That's a short list of things that come to mind, I know there is tons of stuff I don't remember, or never knew.

The "Head Shot" I have is signed "To Paul, a long time friend, may the years ahead be kind, Irv, 1977." There is that kindness again. That, you see, was the REAL secret to Irv Wiener's magic, and those of us fortunate to experience it will not soon forget it. I would love to see a book devoted to Irv. If anyone is contemplating it, please keep me in mind...

Best, PSC

Postby Guest » 07/15/04 03:16 PM

David, I'm currently working at Ray Goulet's Magic art studio. I believe Ray Published some of his work/tricks, if you want me to send you some stuff I probably can. Email me.

Postby Steve Hook » 07/15/04 09:21 PM

Loved Irv's work and personality. I remember him tipping his simple book test in Dick Snavely's back yard after a lecture. He was a very high-energy guy. Go, go, go!

To elaborate on Ford's comment, Irv said that having to communicate with deaf people helped him learn how to effectively perform, for instance, a sponge ball routine for 2000.

What an enjoyable, positive, helpful personality. A book would be a great tribute. Too bad we got into politics here. Any more memories of Irv??

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Postby Guest » 07/15/04 10:15 PM

I, too, saw Irv in a college show, sometime around '78 - '80. A great show! Had about 300 college students in the palm of his hand. He did a lot of small magic but filled the auditorium with his presence.

He did a needle thru arm - first I'd ever seen - and killed with it! I recall he used a regular (balloon?) needle threaded with yarn, and no blood. He used the needle to pull the yarn through his arm (brilliant!) then explained he had learned to use his mind to control the flow
of blood. He yanked both ends of the yarn "through the arm" and clamped a cloth over it. Moments later, he removed the cloth, and... no wound, no blood!
I think this is the best and most logical needle thru the arm presentation ever - and I stole it right away (before there were ethics in magic) and have used it since. I hate to give it away here, but it's just an example of how extrordinary he made his presentations.

Earlier in the day to promote his performance that night, he had a member of the Student Government Association take him around campus, doing tricks for everyone he met. For me, he did the card to fly (another first for me)and blew me away!

Another of my favorites, General Grant, is from Mass. and was his protege'. Contact Gen, I'm sure he has lots of stories. In fact, I bought Irv's Red Tape Thumb Tie from Gen. Great Stuff!

I'm glad to see some interest in Mr. Fingers - let's not let his memory die away! --Asrah

Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/16/04 01:03 AM

Richard, yes, please. Thank you.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/16/04 01:31 AM

Paul Chosse, I would like to know more, please, about Simulimpromptu . Was it a Dealer Item including props, a Mss. or in print somewhere? I searched on this Forum and also Magic Cafe and ConjureNation with no luck.

I have a database of about 130 Irv Weiner items which does not include the above, or Knick-Knack, unless under different names. So I echo David's request for more info, please, on the latter.

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Postby John Pezzullo » 07/16/04 04:07 AM

A few 'odds and ends'....

The following Irv Weiner 'manusecrets' are listed in Book-A-Log #22 (issued by Micky Hades International several years ago):


Eugene Burger's recollections of Irv Weiner were published in the February 2000 isuue of Genii.

I understand that Irv Weiner also published a number of items in "Hugard's Magic Monthly" in a series titled 'Simplicity Magic'.

In May 1998, Wesley James generously shared the following information about Irv Weiner in response to a question I posted on The Second Deal forum:

Irv didn't specialize in close-up, though he could do some very heavy stuff when he chose. Actually, the distinction between close-up and other forms of magic didn't even begin to catch hold till the '40s. Irv, in his hey day, develop a number of very clever ideas. I can rattle off a few but I'm certainly not an expert on Irv's creations.There are probably some guys up in the Boston area who know his work far better than I.

I believe Irv was the first to do a Cup & Ball routine with cups and balls of different color. It was called the Patriotic Cups and Balls. Obviously, red, white and blue cups and red, white and blue balls. He also had an unusual Thumb Tie. I may be mistaken but I thinks it was called Red Tape, for obvious reasons. It was his performance that persuaded me that the Thumb Tie could be a highly entertaining routine. I ended up using a method other than his but the Thumb Tie became an extremely humorous part of my nightclub act for quite a number of years.

The particular routine, Peter the Miser, that I mentioned in my previous post, was magical because it was a marvelous piece of theater. I witnessed it at a performance Irv gave before an audience of about 200 college age kids. It wasn't really a close-up performance, per se, but the routine, without a line of patter, is an amazing character study.

We see an old, stooped man enter and settle behind a table. He looks around sheepishly, as though making sure that no one is watching him. He reaches into his robes and withdraws a small, worn, cloth bag. He slowly removes three or four substantial sized gold coins nestled in his fingers. He rubs the coins lovingly as he transfers them back and forth between his hands. His joy is evident in his face. As he continues rubbing and transferring the coins between his hands it becomes obvious, at some point, that the number of coins is increasing. Along with this increase, his glee, rubbing, transferring and furtive glances-- to make sure no one can see him-- increase in tempo and energy. The number of coins somehow continues to increase till he can barely contain them within his hands. His excitation builds as he begins to pour the coins from one hand to the other. He becomes more manic by the moment. as the number appears to increase still further. One coin escapes his hand as they are poured. It begins to roll across the table, away from him. He lurches from his chair snatching the coin before it rolls off the table. He raises it high with one hand as though celebrating his capture. As the elation fills his face, he is clearly racked by a sharp pain. He clutches all the coins to his chest as his body becomes rigid with the exertion and he rises almost to his feet. He keels forward, face first, on the table, his body falling on the coins. One lone coin rolls toward the table's edge. He heaves once and dies. The lights fade to black.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/16/04 04:53 AM

Thanks John for the useful list and fascinating article by Wesley James. I do not have the Invisible Transposition mss. but it may have another name. Was there anything else of relevance in the Second Deal thread?

There are really great items in the Hugard's MM columns, some written up more fully by Stephen Minch in Daryl's Ambitious Card book.
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Postby John Pezzullo » 07/16/04 06:01 AM


The other posting of interest was by Ed Andres:

I saw Irv Weiner at a public show at the Air Force Academy around 1980. He absolutely blew away a room full of cadets (about 200) with SPONGE BALLS!!! He was on a small platform and also did a Tossed Out Deck and the best Needle Thru Arm I ever saw (he played it like it was real - and they all believed this guy was magic). The best part was after the show Irv, Ken Simmons, Bob LaRue and I went and had dinner. He roasted us with coins. It wasn't till later he tipped us he was sleeving. I had never seen anyone use sleeving before that and he was an expert.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/16/04 07:13 AM

Thanks, John. I have seen Irv on videos where he opens with the Sponge Ball routine for large audiences. So strong magically and delightful. Effective at a mentalists convention, too.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/16/04 08:48 AM

"Actually, the distinction between close-up and other forms of magic didn't even begin to catch hold till the '40s."

Really? And what is Greater Magic full of, platform tricks? It was published in 1938, but the bulk of the material was collected in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

There are so many sources of what are obviously close-up effects published prior to 1940 that the statement is nothing short of absurd.

Of course Vernon would've found the statement equally ridiculous as he fooled the hell out of everyone in the 1920s by doing Ambitious Card with a double-backed card. I believe that can only be classified as a trick to be done very close to another person, whatever you want to call it.

Now about that nightclub act with the thumbtie ... anyone ever seen it? Has anyone seen a photo of it? Hmmmm.
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Postby Guest » 07/26/04 06:11 PM

I've been searching for Irv's stuff for almost 4 years and, thanks to Larry White, Harry Murphy and a few others, I have a small stash of Irv's Manu-secrets and some video footage as well.

I think what has struck me more than anything else about Irv is the fact that he had a sincere love for his audience. He never put himself above them and, in several instances that I've seen, made the spectators the stars.

There are few men in magic that I can point to as a performer and teacher and say to almost anyone, "Listen to that man, he knows!".

He was truly one of a kind.


Postby Guest » 07/26/04 06:21 PM

Someone mentioned Irv's booktest. I've looked everywhere for info on that. Can anyone help?


Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/27/04 03:32 AM

Irv released two book tests:

Irv's Miraculous Test, using any book, even hardbback (actually they are preferred). Sold for $50.

The Last Word, uses your own book but it can be any book, i.e. not specially printed. This mss. sold for $20.

There is a video (mine is poor quality--anybody got a good one?) of him at a PEA convention performing a couple of effects with books but these are not the usual type of book tests as they involve torn out pages or parts.

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Postby Greg McNeil » 07/27/04 06:01 PM

I had the good fortune of seeing Irv Weiner perform a platform act in a recital hall at a small college in the late 70's (early 80's?). There were only a few hundred people in the audience. The show was very well received. I recall his style was bold and dynamic. His magic was solid and very cleanly presented.

Much of the act escapes my memory after all these years, but one effect I will never forget. I gained a valuable lesson in presentation by watching him perform "The Tossed Out Deck", a routine that requires no manipulation, no "moves", and only a couple dollars worth of a standard magic shop accessory. What it does require is unwavering confidence. He had it. He was a most impressive magician, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to see him work.

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Postby Guest » 07/27/04 07:24 PM

Hi David, What a wonderful thread this is. Irv was one of my most eagerly awaited performers when he came to town. I had the enormous pleasure of attending two of his lectures here in Salt Lake City, Ut. in the early 80's. Not having much money to spend then, I still could not resist buying three of his effects that just knocked us all out when he performed them. I still have his Soft Dice, Triple Transposition ( which I still perform today) and his Sponge Ball Routine. I would have bought his entire line had I the money. His Silk to Egg routine was hilarious. Irv was a kind, funny and talented magician who's love for the art was evident in both my contacts with him. I sincerely hope a book of his magical creations can be made available to the Magic Community. I'd purchase it in a heart beat. Jess Cone

Postby Glenn Farrington » 07/27/04 07:25 PM

What was the Knick Knack routine?
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Postby Guest » 07/27/04 07:27 PM

I've seen a video of a college performance that Irv did. He did those same "book tests" that you mention. I felt that they were very strong to the audience, though not the conventional book test.

I've recently put together Bob Farmer's "Deja Voodoo" and, having seen Irv perform, would like to think that he would have probably done something like this.


Postby Guest » 06/08/07 04:15 AM

This is a fascinating thread. I recently found Irv Weiner's Manu-Secret # 35, a clever prediction routine with numbers.

From what I've read here and elsewhere Irv Weiner was a world class performer.

A book about him would be a valuable addition to any performer's library. Does anyone know is there such a work in the pipeline?

Postby Guest » 06/08/07 11:31 AM

Irv was incredible. I met him in 1973, when he came through Houston to appear at one of those college circuit audition things. He lectured at our club. I drove him around town, and showed him the sights.

He could blow an audience of college students away with such oldies as the pulse stopping trick.

He gave me a lot of pointers on how to sell my magic.

He was quite a guy!

Postby Guest » 06/08/07 04:51 PM

Irv was great. I believe he was at a big convention in Boston hosted by Steve Dacri. It was the "Professors Farewell Lecture Tour". With people like Irv doing his magic and Sid Radner doing his gambling lecture, the Professor almost took a back seat.. Got to see Irv do a college show too. In his later years, when his health wasn't that great he went more into mentalism. That's quite a list of his releases but I think he also put out an effect called In the Can. It was a torn card corner in a sealed can..

Postby Guest » 06/08/07 05:36 PM

I bought several items from Irv near the end of his life. He was a marvelous performer and a delight to watch on stage. Sadly, the family wasn't able to save the one badly shot video of his "Mr. Fingers" college show.

When one of my packages arrived it had several additional things that I hadn't bought but that Irv just tossed in because he thought I'd like them. He had one very expensive book test that was really something. When I bought it the manuscript came complete with presentation and the timing in the script. When you bought something like that from Irv you really got your money's worth.

Postby Guest » 06/08/07 06:47 PM

Yes. Irv produced In the Can. Bumper knocked it off without his permission.

Postby Guest » 08/03/07 12:53 AM

I met Irv through fellow performer Ed Dunhill, while attending the University of South Carolina in the late 1970's. Irv was a true gentlemen in every respect, and I enjoyed the opportunity to see this "crotchety old guy" blow away a large group of 18 to 21 year olds a couple of times.

Irv and I began to correspond after meeting in person a few times. He was a true delight, always thinking of new applications for ordinary objects and the like (my friend Ted Karmilovich reminds me of him in this respect).

When he became very ill, I tried very hard to work with him in publishing his entire collection of material dating back several decades. He declined, saying he just wasn't up to it, and (though I am an editor, writer illustrator and publisher, and was so at the time), Irv wanted complete control over the daily composition of the project.

I admired that in him, and would have happily gone along with him, but the distance between us wouldn't permit me to spend the several weeks it would have been necessary with him to complete the project.

I did what I could to help Irv's son gather a little information for his Dad's memorial Web site. I've not looked at the latter in some time, so don't know its status.

In any event, Irv truly was one of the great guys, and he, like so many others in our group who are becoming "antiques" in our own right, is missed. With his family's assistance, I may have another go at the publishing project at some point, but would do so not for the monetary gain (which, I suspect, would be minimal), but simply to let the conjuring world know what a remarkably creative man Irv was.

Greg Edmonds

Postby Guest » 08/05/07 05:18 AM

I think there was a "Tops" magazine where Irv was the cover, it you want I could find it. If you get a hold of what colleges he performed for, there is a chance they videotaped his lecture/performance. The videotape would probably still be OK, but the machines are getting harder and harder to find, I too could help there.

Postby Guest » 08/05/07 08:30 AM


Do you have a link to Irv's memorial site?

Postby Guest » 08/16/07 04:08 AM

Sorry, David, I missed your request until just now. There isn't, I'm afraid, much to the site as it stands. Here's the link:

Greg Edmonds

Postby Guest » 08/16/07 09:47 AM

When Irv came through Houston about 1973, he told me that he had once been a gambler. He said that he had been holding out an ace when one of the other players accused him of cheating. He remarked that when you look straight down the barrel of a .38, the hole looks as big as a wastebasket.

He never gambled again.

Postby Guest » 08/16/07 10:17 AM

A quick look through the above posts and it doesn't look like anyone mentioned this but the pronunciation of Irv's last name is "why' ner".

Postby Guest » 08/16/07 11:00 AM

Originally posted by Steve Hook:
..... the pronunciation of Irv's last name is "why' ner".
In German words, IE or EI are invariably pronounced like the second letter of the two. So I'd expect it to be pronounced that way.

(Not trying to be contentious, just observing that it conforms to the usual rule.)


Postby Guest » 08/16/07 01:12 PM

And I am being contentious - then it should be pronounced Viner


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