The Fred Braue Notebooks

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Postby David Prouty » 03/15/02 02:07 PM

Roberto Giobbi's article in Genii's March 2002 issue refers to "The Fred Braue Notebooks (Jeff Busby Magic Inc., 8 volumes from 1985 to 1997)". I don't recall these volumes really making it to market... can someone please enlighten me with some details about these volumes? :confused:
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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 03/15/02 02:22 PM

DON'T GET ME STARTED !!!

Busby advertised these and was preselling the series. I like many others sent in my money. To this day I have only seen a part of the series. Over the years I have tried to get a straight answer from Busby on what the status was and if I can expect to ever see anything for my money he took. He doesn't respond.
I know this doesn't specifically answer your inquiry but I like to let people know how he does "business" every opportunity I get.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/15/02 04:44 PM

Busby originally promised in his agreement (that you as a subscriber had to sign in order to be allowed to purchase the series) that he would publish at least 15 installments over the course of 18 months.
It took many years for the first 8 to come out, and numbers 7 and 8 only appeared after some very public roastings of Busby in print. None of the subsequent issues ever appeared. Jeff Busby is a lying crook. Anyone who orders from him is nuts.
By the way, the entire Braue Notebooks is commonly available as a pirated xerox!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/15/02 04:58 PM

Richard,

In the Spring 1996 issue of The Looking Glass you reported on an item published in The Oakland Tribune which essentially alleged that Mr. Busby may have come to possess the original notebooks by less than honorable means. Do you know whatever became of that accusation?

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Postby Pete Biro » 03/16/02 12:06 AM

rumor had it the Braue material was part of Lloyd Jones' library... and... as J.B. "worked" for Lloyd at one time... ???
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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/20/02 03:54 PM

I probably know more about this than anybody, so here is the short story:

All of the rights to the so-called Braue Notebooks are owned by Braue's daughter, Genie Banda. Busby never received permission from her either to publish the Notebooks nor to use the Braue name and likeness. I have spoken with her about this on many occasions.

By a rough estimate Busby collected somewhere between $60,000 and $90,000 in subscription fees. He printed (as far as I know) 8 issues. I figure his printing and delivery costs for ALL those issues could not have exceeded $5,000, so he's pocketed somewhere between $55,000 and $85,000.

Subscribers (like me) signed up for 15 issues. We had to sign a contract that said that if all the issues were not published, a pro-rata refund would be issued. Despite repeated requests by me for my refund, I never got one (Busby never even replied).

But, I have a long memory--

A few months ago, I was contacted by a lawyer. Busby had sued a landlord for $500,000 in a dispute over water damage and other matters. The lawyer represented the landlord's insurance company. He explained to me that credibility was a major issue and could I help him out with my assessment of Busby's "credibility," character and business practices.

I was more than happy to do so, telling him of my Braue Notebooks experience and supplying him with a thick sheaf of documentation. To make a long story short: the lawyer used this and other evidence to reveal Busby's true character and Busby was forced to settle for peanuts. The lawyer called me with a big thank you from the insurance company (ironically it was Farmers' Insurance!).

I guess Busby should have refunded the $108 when I asked him the first time.
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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 03/20/02 04:06 PM

Thanks for that great story Bob from a fellow Braue Notebook subscriber who has also never gotten a response from my requests for a refund. I hope it continues to haunt him in many ways like that over the years.
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Postby sleightly » 03/21/02 05:43 AM

Bob:

Just curious, does the family have the original (or a copy) of the notebooks? If so, has anyone reputable in the magic community approached them about publishing them legitimately?

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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/21/02 07:20 AM

Not only does the family have copies of the Notebooks, they also have an extensive material related to all the more famous books Braue wrote (Expert Card Technique, Royal Road). This material consists of stuff that didn't make it into these books, as well as letters between Braue and Hugard.

Richard Kaufman has a "moral option" on publishing all this material. I originally suggested that a matching three-volume set (ECT, RR & Notebooks) be produced with the new material and annotations.

This is a big job, not one I'd wish to undertake, but interested parties should speak with Richard.

Incidentally, how I found Braue's family is a very interesting story -- but for another day.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/21/02 08:08 AM

In my "pre-teen" years, I did a lot of cartoons. The Oakland (CA) Tribune had a contest for kid cartoonists to publicise a furniture store.

I sumbitted one and was the winner.

I was told to call the paper and ask for "Aunt Elsie" -- it was on the Aunt Elsie page for kids...

A man answered, and explained Aunt Elsie was a ficticious name and he, in fact, was the writer/editor of that page.

I asked his name and it was Fred Braue...

I had NOT yet gotten seriously into magic and didn't know the name until later.

Small world...

:D :eek: :D
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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/21/02 09:52 AM

Pete--it was through the Oakland Tribune that I found Braue's family. After I contacted them, they published an article on Braue and mentioned Busby and me. A few hours after the paper hit the street, the family called me.

Another irony: Braue's wife's maiden name was "Miracle"
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/21/02 10:07 AM

It seems to me that this might be the makings of a really good in-depth Genii issue on Mr. Braue.

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