Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

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Joe Mckay
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Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » October 30th, 2016, 12:51 pm

This is common knowledge here in the UK. But in the US - it probably is not.

The best TV close-up magic series ever broadcast was called 'Stuff The White Rabbit'.

It was hosted by John Lenahan and one of the stars of the show was Jerry Sadowitz. In my opinion - one of the finest creators (and performers) of card tricks ever. The show was broadcast on the BBC back in 1998. And I always felt it was a shame it was not more famous in America.

John Lenahan got kicked out The Magic Circle for doing "exposures" of magic secrets on a show called "How Do They Do That?".

It was complete nonsense in my opinion. Since the secrets he exposed were either ridiculous secrets that magicians would never use or gambling sleights that most magicians would never use in their act.

Fortunately he was rewarded with a show on the BBC called 'Stuff The White Rabbit'.

It was the greatest close-up magic show ever broadcast.

He did an incredible job as the presenter. I was 17 when these shows were broadcast and they absolutely cemented my love for close-up magic.

John Lenahan, Jerry Sadowitz, Chris Power, David Williamson, Rene Lavand, The Amazing Jonathan, Noel Britten, Tom Mullica, Neal Austin, Fay Presto and Richard McDougall did a superb job on this show. From what I have read - Mac King was also on the pilot show but never made it to the final series.

John Lenahan did an incredible job as a presenter. And Jerry Sadowitz was the star of the show. I am pretty bored of card tricks these days. But I still feel it is important that you non-British magic fans see what a wonderful job Sadowitz did on this show.

Card magic has never had a better platform than this.

Sadly not all the shows are available on YouTube - but 4 of the 6 episodes are here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YBKZsLGSCQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BX42t5USuI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbb1QMWX80g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24mdiB9zWPw

This is the best series of close-up magic I have ever seen on TV. And I have never seen a better performance of close-up card magic than those given by Jerry Sadowitz. So be sure to check it out for that if nothing else...

I was a huge fan of Jerry Sadowitz on this show. Here are some links to some of my favourite performances by him:

https://youtu.be/TW2RtW91E3s?t=5m51s

https://youtu.be/2YBKZsLGSCQ?t=4m36s

https://youtu.be/Vbb1QMWX80g?t=15m34s

https://youtu.be/24mdiB9zWPw?t=14m38s

https://youtu.be/_BX42t5USuI?t=3m1s

https://youtu.be/_BX42t5USuI?t=22m25s

https://youtu.be/24mdiB9zWPw?t=6m27s

https://youtu.be/24mdiB9zWPw?t=22m17s

I also really enjoyed David Williamson's performances on the show. I think this series did the best job of capturing his unique style on TV.

https://youtu.be/_BX42t5USuI?t=4m25s

----------------------------------

All the best,

Joe

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Matthew Field » October 30th, 2016, 1:19 pm

John Lenahan was readmitted to The Magic Circle a bit over a year ago and I enjoy spending time with him on Mondays when he attends.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » October 30th, 2016, 1:40 pm

He is a great guy and a great magician.

I always felt he deserved more coverage in the magic magazines. But maybe he is not interested in that.

At the moment he is doing very well as a best-selling author!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowmagic-Book-1-John-Lenahan/dp/1905548923

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Curtis Kam » October 30th, 2016, 5:00 pm

Thank you Joe, but I think you've buried the lead. In the first show of the ones you designated as featuring Jerry Sadowitz, there is the unique and remarkable experience of Rene Lavand, performing partially in English, to the theme from Shaft!


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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 30th, 2016, 6:16 pm

In my uneducated opinion, Jerry Sadowitz is mentally ill. Just go to his website and you'll immediately see why. At the very least, he is probably guilty of liable under British law.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Brad Henderson » October 30th, 2016, 7:19 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:In my uneducated opinion, Jerry Sadowitz is mentally ill. Just go to his website and you'll immediately see why. At the very least, he is probably guilty of liable under British law.


I believe you mean if found guilty he would be liable for libel.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Steve Bryant » October 30th, 2016, 7:42 pm

Thanks, Joe, these are wonderful. I'm surprised that this is the first I have heard of John Lenahan. His delivery and sense of humor are so similar to that of Harry Anderson. (That's a good thing.) I also really enjoy the opening and closing credits.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby performer » October 30th, 2016, 8:29 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:In my uneducated opinion, Jerry Sadowitz is mentally ill. Just go to his website and you'll immediately see why. At the very least, he is probably guilty of liable under British law.


I think all magicians are mentally ill. Or at least most of them. There is something wrong with virtually all of them in some way or other. I have never met a sane one yet. Think about it and you will realise I am right. When I visit the local magic shop I feel like I have entered a psychiatric ward.

I rather like Jerry Sadowitz. After all he said my lecture in London was the best one he had ever seen. Perhaps some of you may consider that proof that he is mentally ill. I did notice he nearly fell of his chair laughing every time I said something rude about various supposed notables in the world of magic. I suspect that had something to do with him liking the lecture so much.

He had seen me do the Notis Cascade about 30 years ago or so and had tried to learn it ever since but could never manage it. He was eager to pick up some pointers on the matter from me. I asked him to do it so I could see where he was going wrong. He attempted to do it and the cards went all over the place. But he wasn't doing ANYTHING wrong as far as I could see. I told him to duplicate what I was doing and he did. And he did everything right. But he STILL messed it all up. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the problem was since he was doing everything perfectly correctly. I would do it time after time and so would he. I kept doing it perfectly and he kept dropping them. Incidentally when I do it the fall is about a foot or so. None of that piddly 3 inches or so that everyone else does.

Anyway after about 15 minutes of this I got suspicious and asked him for his cards. They were bicycle cards. And when I did it with the bikes the bloody things went all over the place! He then tried it with mine and he could suddenly miraculously more or less do it. He had tried for thirty years to master it after seeing me and referred to the original Vernon instructions in the Ganson card book. And he kept failing. All he had to was not use bicycle cards! They don't seem Notis Cascade compatible!

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » October 30th, 2016, 9:40 pm

That is a great story, Mark!

And hopefully the other 2 episodes will turn up at some point as well.

Would be great for you all to see Jerry do his 'Everywhere and Nowhere' routine using signatures. It was probably my favourite trick that he did on the show.

Although - if I had to mention another one it would be this funny story-telling routine.

I don't think Ed Marlo fans will be too happy with this performance. lol

https://youtu.be/Vbb1QMWX80g?t=15m34s

And I couldn't agree more with Steve. John Lenahan is brilliant. He is so comfortable and relaxed when performing. So rare to see that in magic.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 30th, 2016, 10:16 pm

Brad, you are too clever by half.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » October 30th, 2016, 10:36 pm

Oh - turns out I already linked to the superb 'Everywhere and Nowhere' routine (using signatures) by Sadowitz:

https://youtu.be/TW2RtW91E3s?t=5m51s

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » November 1st, 2016, 3:18 pm

One of the opening sequences with cards is very good. Jerry Sadowitz had a really nice one that looked great. But it is in one of the other episodes that I currently don't have links for. I am not sure why they didn't get Jerry to do all six of them to be honest?

I remember being pretty much a laymen when the show was on the air. I was 15 (and not 17 as I said in my original post) and had been to a magic shop a couple of times by that point. And for what it is worth - even the "bad" card handling for some of the opening credits still felt deceptive and magical to me.

It is funny how different things look once you lose the ability to look at magic like a layperson.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby performer » November 1st, 2016, 5:40 pm

You must always look at magic like a layman. Absolutely necessary. It is difficult but not impossible. You have to train yourself to do this from the very beginning. Imperative.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » November 1st, 2016, 5:46 pm

Yeah - I had a story along those lines a few years ago:

viewtopic.php?t=29325#p202417

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Mac Stone » November 1st, 2016, 6:18 pm

Seems Jerry Sadowitz wasn't too happy to see these videos on youtube.

They have been removed at his request.
Last edited by Mac Stone on November 1st, 2016, 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 1st, 2016, 6:19 pm

Told you he is a screwball.


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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Roger M. » November 1st, 2016, 7:03 pm

It's funny that folks keep forgetting that Jerry trolls all the magic forums looking for an opportunity to throw a wrench into anybody's enjoyment of his magic!

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby erdnasephile » November 1st, 2016, 7:56 pm

Who owns the copyright for that show?

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Brad Henderson » November 1st, 2016, 7:56 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Brad, you are too clever by half.


I think you're giving me twice as much credit as I deserve.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 1st, 2016, 9:08 pm

Lenahan might be able to tell you.

However it's doubtful that Sadowitz owns any right to any part of Stuff the White Rabbit, even his own appearances, and so it's unlikely he's the one responsible for getting the videos pulled.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Roger M. » November 1st, 2016, 9:18 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:..... it's doubtful that Sadowitz owns any right to any part of Stuff the White Rabbit, even his own appearances, and so it's unlikely he's the one responsible for getting the videos pulled.


Richard, click on one of the links in the first post and you'll be greeted with the text:

"This video no longer available due to a copyright claim by Jerry Sadowitz".

Which isn't proof that Jerry owns the copyright to anything, but definitely proof that he's responsible for getting the videos taken down.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby erdnasephile » November 1st, 2016, 9:56 pm

Didn't Sadowitz get all his stuff pulled from Pabular and other publications as well?

Why is he doing this, especially since he released the material in the first place?

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Roger M. » November 1st, 2016, 10:08 pm

    If you admire Jerry's magic - he screws with you as best he can.
    If you dismiss Jerry's magic - he screws with you as best he can.
    If you ask Jerry for a subscription to his "magazine" - he screws with you by not answering you.
    If you call him "Jerry" in a post, he takes the piss out of you for using his first name when you don't know him personally.

Seeking any sort of rational explanation for Jerry's behavior has proven to be a fruitless undertaking in recent years.

Richard notes earlier in the thread what he thinks is going on - and I agree with him 100%.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Steve Bryant » November 1st, 2016, 10:59 pm

Dang. These were great. I should have saved them locally. Didn't realize there was a potential problem.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby performer » November 1st, 2016, 11:12 pm

From what I hear he has moods. Sometimes he is very pleasant and sometimes he is the opposite. I must say he was very pleasant to me. And he purchased my memoirs and that alone gave me a good impression of him. When I first met him thirty or so years ago he was very reserved indeed. When I did the Notis Cascade for him he showed no reaction. I had no idea he was so impressed that he was going to worry about it for the next thirty years. It is very sad to think he would not have had to worry about it for such a long period if only he had not used bicycle cards.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby prodigy » November 2nd, 2016, 12:42 am

erdnasephile wrote:Didn't Sadowitz get all his stuff pulled from Pabular and other publications as well?

Why is he doing this, especially since he released the material in the first place?


According to a recent Lybrary newsletter, Jerry Sadowitz's contributions have now been added back to the digital pabular. The description on the Lybrary website hasn't been updated to reflect this.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » November 2nd, 2016, 4:03 am

I knew there was a good chance they would get taken down.

I just wished I had encouraged people to save a copy for themselves.

Apologies!

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2016, 5:51 am

Show rights are owned/controlled by the BBC and is unlikely to ever be re-released because all the contracts / licenses for it were for first-run broadcast only so there's 100+ contracts that would have to be renegotiated.

YouTube will accept takedown requests from anyone who can establish a primary link to a video they host (and since Jerry's name is all over it he meets the definition of a primary link) because of the DCMA rules - they can pull a video with one click and thus avoid any possible prosecution whereas arguing and researching the full copyright & licensing ownership of a clip takes weeks and may still result in them having to pull the clip.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby performer » November 2nd, 2016, 7:25 am

Aha! That gives me an idea! I detest all those exposure videos. Perhaps all that one has to do is complain to You Tube that you invented the trick in question (whether you did or not) and you want it taken down. I suspect they will do so if you have some flimsy claim to it because they can't be bothered arguing about it just like Tom said. I have used a similar idea in the past myself in another non online context. It does work.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » November 2nd, 2016, 12:38 pm

Okay - somebody has been in touch with me.

I may have a way of been able to share the videos again.

Cannot promise a timeline just now (probably be a few days). But I just want to throw the idea out - since if anybody is desperate to see these episodes, I want to do my best to help them out.

So PM me if you really want these. And I will follow up with my contact and find a way to share them with you.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby lybrary » November 2nd, 2016, 1:42 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Didn't Sadowitz get all his stuff pulled from Pabular and other publications as well?

Why is he doing this, especially since he released the material in the first place?

Just wanted to point out a couple of things related to this. Yes, all Sadowitz material has been added back to the digital Pabular. Folks who have purchased this from Lybrary.com can download the new and now complete PDF from their digital shelf.

For those who care about the details, Jerry never asked for his material to be removed from the digital Pabular. Martin Breese did this to get back at him for ongoing disputes of various kinds.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2016, 1:51 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Okay - somebody has been in touch with me.

I may have a way of been able to share the videos again.

Cannot promise a timeline just now (probably be a few days). But I just want to throw the idea out - since if anybody is desperate to see these episodes, I want to do my best to help them out.

So PM me if you really want these. And I will follow up with my contact and find a way to share them with you.


I'm not sure i would be very comfortable with this - i don't see what you're proposing now as being any different to people pirating instructional DVD's or PDF's of books? If you share with people exclusively in the UK then it might just fall under the TV License rules and be ok but offering to make bootlegs of a copyrighted show and share them with people all over the world is highly unethical - especially when (rightly or wrongly) people who do have a legitimate copyright interest in the performances have made it clear they do not want the show sharing and primary rights controllers (the BBC) have made it clear they don't intend to re-release the show in any form.

Whilst the show was very revolutionary as a format in the UK it is worth pointing out that every guest on the show was doing "act as known" and so the performances are available on other shows & video's legitimately available all over the world as well as being able to go see any of these performers working today and experiencing the acts live.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby performer » November 2nd, 2016, 2:17 pm

Oh, it wouldn't surprise me if it was Jerry himself in touch with Joe!

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » November 2nd, 2016, 3:54 pm

It seems even the producer of the show is relaxed about them been shared around.

http://www.talkmagic.co.uk/sutra351082.php

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2016, 4:17 pm

That's a third hand report of a conversation where the producer said the best chance for someone in the uk to see the show is on a video tape (which as I mentioned before would be stretching the TV licensing laws but still just within them as the show is effectively being shown to license payers in the original market) is distinctly different to actively pirating the show and distributing it internationally on the web against the express wishes of the other rights holders.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Bill Mullins » November 2nd, 2016, 4:40 pm

Some stuff is against the law, because doing it hurts someone. Like murder, or robbing a bank.

Some stuff is against the law, because doing it really increases the risk that someone will get hurt. Like drunk driving.

And some stuff is against the law only because the government says so. Like picking up bald eagle feathers off the ground. Like playing poker for money. Like limited duplication of copyrighted videos that had been previously broadcast to millions of people.

Yes, it's against the law. But it has happened every day since VCRs were invented. Some of the first video tapes I recorded after I got my first VCR in 1985 were football games off cable that an ex-room mate from college couldn't see because his dorm didn't have cable. In 1987, when Star Trek Next Generation came on, I did the same thing for a friend who lived in an area that didn't have a station that carried it.

If Jerry Sadowitz or the other magicians involved were actively selling tapes of their performances, I'd think Joe was crossing a line for publicly offering to do this. But that's not the case here. If it's a sin, it is a venial one. A very, very venial one.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Joe Mckay » November 2nd, 2016, 5:22 pm

I find it interesting that Jerry uses Bridge sized cards in a lot of his tricks.

I experimented with it once and it really makes certain tricks easier.

But I never stuck with it.

On TV - Bridge sized cards look fine. But in real life they probably look a bit weird.

That said - here in the UK - they are the most common type of playing card. So I guess it is just me that thinks they look weird.

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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2016, 5:33 pm

An almost entirely irrelevant point there as you'll notice I've stuck squarely to the ethical and moral dimension rather than quoting chapter and verse of the legal statutes this impinges.

The world of magic is a small one, largely self-policed and at the heart of that lies ethics and respect for fellow magicians & their work; sure we could all just ignore those ethics (and yes, there are people that do) but that will ultimately lead to the decimation of the industry and somewhat ironically the release of less material, less performances and less open discussion of ideas because those of us that do "create" simply stop releasing our tricks/ideas/tv shows and spend less time talking with people who cannot or will not respect the basic ethical ideas and codes we all should be aspiring to. As magicians we should be capable of choosing the ethical path, safe in the knowledge that just as we respected other magicians wishes; so they will respect ours when one day we need their help.

The simple fact is that what is being discussed here is absolutely no different in any way to torrents of sold DVD's or scans of books - in both cases the rights-holders behind them have not given permission for their work to be exploited in this way (and have even taken steps to stop people copying) and as fellow magicians we should be able to respect their request and not share bootlegs around the globe just because we want to.

As i have also mentioned whilst the show itself was revolutionary in the uk at the time of broadcast it actually doesn't contain any "new" or rare material; every one of the performances on the show is legitimately available in other places so there's not even an argument that important ideas or performances will be lost.
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2016, 5:38 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:I find it interesting that Jerry uses Bridge sized cards in a lot of his tricks.

I experimented with it once and it really makes certain tricks easier.

But I never stuck with it.

On TV - Bridge sized cards look fine. But in real life they probably look a bit weird.

That said - here in the UK - they are the most common type of playing card. So I guess it is just me that thinks they look weird.


Magician's logic

In the uk, ask any "real" person for a deck of cards and they'll pull out a bridge sized deck, probably printed on horrific cardstock. Poker sized playing cards look (and feel) weird to lay audiences just about everywhere in the world apart from USA so if you're striving for a naturalistic style (and we can safely say Jerry's style is a long way from glitzy, showbiz "magic") it's entirely logical and rather sensible that he uses playing cards which look and feel normal to spectators.

He also will have been taught almost entirely with bridge sized cards since outside of hardcore close-up-performers Bicycle poker decks were very hard to get hold of right up until the late 90's
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Re: Stuff The White Rabbit - best magic series ever

Postby performer » November 2nd, 2016, 5:48 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:I find it interesting that Jerry uses Bridge sized cards in a lot of his tricks.

I experimented with it once and it really makes certain tricks easier.

But I never stuck with it.

On TV - Bridge sized cards look fine. But in real life they probably look a bit weird.

That said - here in the UK - they are the most common type of playing card. So I guess it is just me that thinks they look weird.


I have used bridge cards for my entire life and get better reactions from card tricks than anyone else. From laymen anyway. It is indeed the most common type of playing card in the UK and at one time it was the ONLY type! So how can it look weird in the UK?

I live in Canada now where bridge cards are uncommon but I don't give a stuff. I will continue to use bridge cards as it is the British way of doing things and we are an older nation. Besides Her Majesty is in charge here unlike heathen America.

I can do all sorts of one hand cuts with bridge size cards that I can't do with poker size. Eddie Tulllock the famed trade show magician used bridge cards too for his entire life. It is the biggest load of tosh to say that you can't use them.

I went back to the UK a few years ago and was quite disturbed to see magicians thinking they were Americans using poker size cards and even worse American brands. I considered this the end of civilisation as we know it. And yes, even Jerry Sadowitz was using poker size bicycle cards. No wonder he couldn't do the Notis Cascade!


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