Kaufman publishing magic books again?

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Joe Mckay
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Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Joe Mckay » April 26th, 2014, 7:57 am

Hey Richard,

Quick question. There seems to have been a revival in your publication of magic books over the past 2-3 years. Particualry with the slate of books that are coming along soon as well.

Well - I was just curious what has made you decide to start publishing again. Since there seemed to be a 10-15 year gap some where along the way.

Do you feel you have more time for publishing books now that you have the running of GENII under control? Or do you feel the market for magic books has improved over recent years? Or is it a bit of both?

And if you feel the market has improved - I am curious as to how you think it has changed?

Either way - I am delighted to see that you are regularly publishing magic books again.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 26th, 2014, 12:29 pm

Well, a few things. After doing Genii for a dozen years, it seemed under control enough to leave time to start working on some books. I enjoy writing--it's what I do at the end of the day to relax after working on Genii.

And, of course you have to have subjects that interest you. While you didn't see any books published between Rene Lavand in 1998 and Knack Magic Tricks, in fact I was busy writing both of the enormous books on Theodore DeLand and Larry Jennings.

Then I had the idea to do the David Berglas book and considering his age I had to get that written and out (it took several years). I feel it's my most well-written book, but some people don't get "it" at all, which is a pity.

Japan Ingenious had been sitting here, mostly finished, for several years, and Brad Aldridge kept nudging me to put it out, so I did! Because it had already been written, I just need to do an edit and some scanning. Brad took care of the rest.

Then I had the idea to do the Tenyo book after Earle Oakes's family gave me his Tenyo collection about a year after he died. I realized that while the founder of the company and all the members of the original Creative Division were still alive, it was the perfect time.

And Allen Okawa contacted me about doing this project on Mike Skinner, which has to be out by July.

Many of the more recent things have seemed to come with a built-in deadline for one reason or another, so that's why you've seen more visible activity.

And then there's the most important thing: I enjoy writing and publishing books. :)
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Rick Ruhl » April 26th, 2014, 1:52 pm

A true bookworm

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Grey Lerner » April 27th, 2014, 4:50 am

Thank you for your hard work!

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Joe Mckay » April 27th, 2014, 6:26 am

Thanks so much for all your efforts, Richard! You should consider writing a biography sometime. Your experiences to do with magic publishing are unique and would be of interest and use to others.

Thanks once again!

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2014, 11:56 am

I really couldn't think of a less interesting biography than mine.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Joe Mckay » April 27th, 2014, 1:20 pm

lol - okay then.

Also - in terms of important projects for the future. Do you think it is possible we will ever see a Complete Works of Karl Fulves in print?

It would be nice to see Karl Fulves get the Stewart James treatment.

Maybe it is not something you will ever be involved with. But do you sense that this sort of thing might happen one day?

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2014, 2:23 pm

It would not be possible to do a Fulves book. For one thing, there's way too much material. It would dwarf the Stewart James book. And the second thing is that he would never allow it.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Joe Mckay » April 27th, 2014, 2:55 pm

What happens when people die - does it making easier to reprint stuff?

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 27th, 2014, 3:40 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:What happens when people die - does it making easier to reprint stuff?


Frank Garcia died in 1993 and the chances of reprinting his material still looks grim. Robert Harbin died in 1978 and his book won't see the light of day either. Onward...(with apologies to Racherbaumer)

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2014, 4:15 pm

The death of the author generally does not affect copyright protection.

Frank Garcia had just gotten remarried. He died without a will. His son and his new wife battled for his estate. I have no idea what happened, but the rights to all of his material seem to be in limbo. (And George Schindler actually wrote most of Super Subtle Card Miracles and Million Dollar Card Mysteries, but he can't reprint them, either.)

The rights to the Harbin book are owned by The Magic Circle, per Harbin's will. They refuse to reprint the book, or to allow anyone else to reprint it. The result of this is that instead of reprinting it themselves and using the income to benefit the club and its members, they have allowed pirated copies to fill the void in the marketplace.

The rights to Greater Magic are owned by Carl Jones's family. His children allowed me to reprint Greater Magic. They passed the rights onto their children: Jones's grandchildren. There is one grandchild who refuses to allow me to reprint the book.

Greater Magic is complicated because Carl Jones wrote none of it: it was written by John Northern Hilliard (dead in 1935), Jean Hugard (dead in the late 1950s, I think), and many of the contributors (all long dead) wrote their own pieces. Theoretically, 75 years after Hugard's death, that book should be public domain, but the Jones family is wealthy, and will likely sue anyone who attempts to reprint it. Then, of course, there's the 400 pages I added. I'm not dead. :)

Generally protection is for 75 years after the author's death (it might be 70 years). Long enough to allow his or her spouse and child to continue to reap the economic benefits of the work.

Another example: Houdini's diaries. These are public domain, and there are a pile of them. Most are in the hands of one person, not a magician, and very wealthy. The person who owns the only copy even if something is in public domain can control whether it's reprinted or not just by not letting anyone make a copy. Ken Silverman was given access to them for only a few hours. But all he could have in his hand was a tape recorder, and he flipped through them very quickly and dictated as much previously unknown material as he could spot. He was not allowed to make a copy, and no copy has ever been made of the diaries.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Joe Mckay » April 27th, 2014, 4:27 pm

Interesting stuff.

One hopes that Fulves' children will one day be open to the possibility of reprinting his stuff. And perhaps adding some biographical material about one of the most enigmatic people in magic.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Q. Kumber » April 27th, 2014, 5:04 pm

In normal circumstances I'd imagine The Magic Circle would not be averse to reprinting the Harbin book. However Harbin left the copyright to them with strict instructions that the book NOT be reprinted.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2014, 6:39 pm

How do you know that Fulves is even married? Or has children?
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2014, 6:40 pm

Yes, Harbin told them not to reprint it. That was before the advent of the internet, where a copy can be found on various torrent sites any day of the week.

You have to think different when times and technology changes.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Roger M. » April 27th, 2014, 7:17 pm

Fulves maintains such a massive cannon of work that it would (under normal circumstances) be all but impossible to maintain the deep cover he manages to maintain, and has maintained for decades now.

I would posit that he has "co-conspirators" who assist him in maintaining his limited profile. Enablers in the conspiracy of silence (although if one considers the written word, Fulves is the exact opposite of "silent").

At one time I doubted his actual existence, but then I read about his visit to Stewart James at S.J.'s home in Canada, and how James didn't let him off the porch let alone into the house ... so he definitely exists as "Karl Fulves" in the sense that there is a long history of "a" man and his involvement with magic and magicians.

Richard noted what is to me the other most interesting and enduring mystery in magic, which is the wealthy (non-magician) owner of Houdini's diaries, and the lengths he goes to in order to make sure nobody copies them or becomes too aware of what they contain.
Considering the financial resources of the few major players at the top of the magic collectibles and auction scene ... this chap must indeed have very deep pockets along with an unusual outlook towards and dedication to the diaries themselves.

Along with the Houdini diaries story, Karl Fulves is every bit the equal in what can only be described as magics most successful total-recluse (at least reclusive to magicians, as Fulves might be extremely active in something like a bowling league - with folks who have absolutely no idea who he really is).

Fantastic stories for folks interested in magic and the written word.
Last edited by Roger M. on April 27th, 2014, 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2014, 7:45 pm

I met Karl Fulves a number of times when I younger. Gene Maze, Herb Zarrow, and Father Cyprian all knew him well and met him. Fulves is definitely the same guy pictured as author in the Slydini books, and with the same photo on his New Stars of Magic contribution. He must be quite elderly now. Harry Lorayne is 88, so I imagine Fulves must be at least 80.

I know that he is divorced and has (I believe) two kids. I have no idea if he has remarried, or how many times he's been married. He's been through some hard times, but now seems to have the wherewithall to spend part of the year in New Jersey and part of the year in Florida. My understanding is that he work(ed) in the computer industry.

What is most mystifying are the people whose material he's published, like J.W. Sarles, that no one else seems to have ever met.

I had the chance to reprint Pallbearers Review years before L&L did. Fulves wanted $18,000 in advance for the rights. He would not discuss reprinting any other periodical. After going over the finances with my father and Alan Greenberg, we decided that the cost of printing paying Fulves and printing so many large books was not worth the risk.

The first time I met Fulves was in 1972 at Tannen's. I was 14. He asked what my favorite book was (this was just before Tony Spina sold me Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic). I replied, "Harry Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic." He turned and walked away.

Decades later, at a lecture Gene Maze gave in New Jersey (it might have been the last lecture Gene gave) Fulves was there. He looked considerably older, but it was still surprising. He stood in the back. I thought I might talk to him, so walked over to where he was. He promptly walked around the back of the room to the other side. Deciding to test if his movement was a coincidence, I walked over to the side he was on, and he immediately made his way back to the other side. Then it became fun and I walked back and forth several times to see if he would follow suit and walk to the other side. He did.

He also libelled me several times in his newsletter Interlocutor.

As an aside, the only magician Phyllis Zarrow refused to allow into her home was Karl Fulves. At this point I can't remember exactly why, however I believe he visited Herb several times and never once said hello to her or acknowledged her existance.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Joe Mckay » April 27th, 2014, 10:15 pm

Jeff Busby wrote that Fulves spent time in prison.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Herb » April 27th, 2014, 11:30 pm

Richard - I'm curious why one of Carl Jones's grandchildren wouldn't want Greater Magic reprinted. Is this something you can comment about?

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Bill Mullins » April 27th, 2014, 11:38 pm

Karl Fulves was on an episode of the Mike Douglas show in 1977, along with Jesse Owens, England Dan and John Ford Coley, co-hosts Bruce and Chrystie Jenner (pre-Kardashian), and comedian Jeff Altman, who also was a magician.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 28th, 2014, 1:36 am

This story came from the late P. Howard Lyons. After his divorce, and with no money, Fulves was renting a room in a brothel. The place was raided by the cops and he was arrested. I assume that he was released with no charges filed since he had nothing to do with the place other than renting a cheap room.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Q. Kumber » April 28th, 2014, 3:59 am

Oscar Oswald who ran The Magic Mart in London's Soho was (when I visited) based in a basement in Meard Street, just a short walk from Ken Brooke's Studio in Wardour Street.

The rest of the house was a brothel and you had to be careful to press the correct buzzer.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby erdnasephile » April 28th, 2014, 7:48 am

From Magicpedia:

"Books that Kaufman has announced:
Theodore DeLand: A Ring of Mystery Around the Globe
Mr. Jennings Takes it Easy
Mr. Jennings Takes It Tough
The Magic of Tomo Maeda
The Magic of Tenkai
Rene Lavand Redux
Book of Jules Lenier's work (most likely as an ebook[6])
Mike Skinner audio project [7]
"The" big book on Tenyo
A book on Lubor Fiedler in 2014[8]"


So much to look forward to!!! :D

(Personally, it's the Jennings books that I'm most eagerly awaiting, but Skinner this year will do just fine!)

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby erdnasephile » April 28th, 2014, 8:17 am

With respect, the notion that Fulves is reclusive doesn't fascinate me all that much. Pretty much every story I've read about him highlights the fact that he has exhibited a lot of antisocial behavior towards people I like and respect.

Despite the fact he is a magic genius, becoming a recluse seems almost inevitable if you treat enough people poorly.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 28th, 2014, 1:48 pm

Fulves has been reclusive since his earliest days of publishing in the mid 1960s. That was long before he alienated anyone.
It's just his way.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Bill Mullins » April 28th, 2014, 8:12 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote: I imagine Fulves must be at least 80.

In the last issue of Pallbearer’s Review, he mentions having not yet passed his 25th birthday in 1965, suggesting he was born ca. 1941. He’d be about 73 now.

[He] has (I believe) two kids.

In Interlocutor #34, he mentions a son.

What is most mystifying are the people whose material he's published, like J.W. Sarles, that no one else seems to have ever met.

Racherbaumer once wrote:
"What about J. W. Sarles? Is he real or what? Many skeptics think Sarles is fictional. Fulves should publish letters or other documentation. At this point, his existence as a real person is in question. Don't you find it peculiar that Sarles, a prolific creator, ONLY contributes material to Fulves, who publishes it in his books and magazine? Add this to Fulves' ADMITTED penchant for using noms de plume and you may wonder -- How do I know Sarles isn't an alias? "

I'm pretty sure that Sarles is real.
Magicpedia has a little information about him.

In PR vol 8 no. 12, Fulves says that Sarles had a magic shop when Fulves was 12.

In PR vol 1 no 1, he says that Carl Ruderman had been a student of Sarles. (Ruderman went on to publish The Magic Magazine in the 1980s.) In The Linking Ring Apr 1956, Ruderman joins the IBM, sponsored by James W. Sarles of New Rochelle, NY.

The Social Security Death Index says that James W. Sarles was born 10/21/1914, and died in 1974 in New Rochelle. The middle initial is most likely for “William”; he is referred to as “Bill Sarles” in PR.

The Phoenix #76 1/19/1945 has an effect by Bill Sarles.

The Apr 1944 LR mentions that Milbourne Christopher did a show with Cpl James Sarles at an IBM meeting in London, so I suppose he was in the Army. The Apr 1955 issue shows his IBM membership being reinstated, sponsored by Lou Tannen.

The Sept 1995 LR says that Sarles taught a night school class in magic at Scarsdale High School.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 28th, 2014, 11:56 pm

Bill, remind me never to try and hide from you!
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Roger M. » April 29th, 2014, 1:28 am

Some folks internal wiring leaves them no choice but to be reclusive.

The apparent rudeness, social foibles, and inability to be close to people are wholly unintentional.

For those folks, it may be the only way they can exist alongside everybody else in the world.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 29th, 2014, 2:08 am

Bill Mullins wrote:he mentions having not yet passed his 25th birthday in 1965, suggesting he was born ca. 1941. He’d be about 73 now.

Or 75 according to People Finder.

If anyone wants to invest $29.95 for the Total Invasion of Privacy Package, you can, in theory, find out his current address, phone number, date of birth, names of relatives, criminal record, marriages, divorces, bankruptcies, and whether or not he is a registered sex offender.

I'm sure we'd all like to know :(

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby erdnasephile » April 29th, 2014, 8:04 am

Roger M. wrote:Some folks internal wiring leaves them no choice but to be reclusive.

The apparent rudeness, social foibles, and inability to be close to people are wholly unintentional.

For those folks, it may be the only way they can exist alongside everybody else in the world.


Fair enough--certainly involuntary psychiatric pathology exists that causes some to act the way they do. (Although I would respectfully submit that "apparent rudeness" is still rudeness even when unintentional)

OTOH, I'm pretty sure some are just misanthropic jerks because they like it.

While we're on this tangent, I have a couple of questions:

1. Has anyone out there ever seen Fulves perform? Does he have chops? Is he a good performer? (Fulves alludes to having performed the material he has published, and sometimes chastises those that don't in his writings, so I'm curious if he can bring it.)

2. I have to admit that despite the copious output and original ideas, Fulves' own material kind of leaves me cold. I've read "Gambler's Third Lesson" and "The Book of Numbers", which are purported to be amongst the more commercial of his items, but they just weren't to my taste (especially the former). For the Fulves fans out there, any recommendations on better starting places to gain an appreciation of his body of work?

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Bill Mullins » April 29th, 2014, 9:06 am

I like his Dover Table Magic book.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Bill Mullins » April 29th, 2014, 9:08 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:he mentions having not yet passed his 25th birthday in 1965, suggesting he was born ca. 1941. He’d be about 73 now.

Or 75 according to People Finder.

That's the same People Finder that says that J. W. Sarles lives in New Rochelle, despite having passed away 40 years ago.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 29th, 2014, 12:04 pm

I know of very few people who have ever seen Fulves do a trick. He did, as noted elsewhere (perhaps earlier in this thread) appear on the afternoon talk show, The Mike Douglas Show, when his "The Magic Book" came out in the late 1970s. I think it's on YouTube. You can judge his abilities for yourself.
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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Charlie Randall » April 29th, 2014, 11:13 pm

Years ago Karl Fulves did release a video on which he did perform and explain a number of tricks. It's hard to find, but probably the best record of him performing.

I know others have had different experiences with Karl, but all of ours were very positive. H & R Magic Books was one of the few dealers Karl would sell to. He even called a few times to chat and those were always pleasant conversations. That's been a while though as the last time he called was to congratulate me when "my" Rockets beat "his" Knicks for the '94 NBA championship!

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Steve Hook » April 30th, 2014, 12:31 am

Richard:

I was able to track it down to Season 16, Episode 7, September 13, 1977.

But I couldn't find it online anywhere.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 30th, 2014, 12:56 am

Interesting to note that Jeff Altman also appeared on the same episode.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby mel » May 10th, 2014, 8:06 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:How do you know that Fulves is even married? Or has children?


http://www.zauber-pedia.de/index.php?title=Karl_Fulves

According to this site (and Matthew Field), he has three kids, is married and celebrates his 75th birthday this year...?!
Suppose, one has to ask Mr. Field himself where he got his information from...?!

Still: have a good one Karl!

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Matthew Field » May 10th, 2014, 11:52 am

Some came from Karl himself, some from mutual friend Harvey Rosenthal. J. W. Sarles was real, and owned a magic shop at one time. I tracked down some info on him for the talk I gave at The Magic Circle's History Conference a few ago, and at the European Conference on Magic History.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » December 12th, 2014, 9:44 am

In a later issue of Interlocutor there is a mention of a VHS tape for sale called "Video Tricks." I have met only one person who actually has the original vhs tape but have seen a copy of the tape myself. On it Karl performs a number of effects from his writings in a sudo restaurant setting. He also performs a number of riffle shuffle effects from his manuscripts and yes, he is capable of performing them.

BTW I'm almost sure he has a daughter who is an stage actress, along with at least one son.

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Re: Kaufman publishing magic books again?

Postby prodigy » December 14th, 2014, 1:01 am

I believe this is his daughter http://michelefulves.com


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