Richard Himber - GENII issue?

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Joe Mckay
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Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 25th, 2018, 1:54 pm

Hey Richard,

I read on the Magic Cafe (back in 2011) that you were once considering a GENII issue devoted to Richard Himber.

I think that would be a very good idea. He is a forgotten genius of magic.

Anyway - just wanted to start a thread to encourage you as regards that idea!

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Steve Bryant » February 25th, 2018, 2:59 pm

Great idea.

Himber was on the cover of the Sep-Oct 1963 issue, but it was a Magic from Manhattan issue, not a Himber issue.

It was one of the issues I cherry picked before recycling years of Genii last month. Fine stuff from J. Benzais, Ken Krenzel, Harry Lorayne, Harvey Rosenthal, Lou Tannen, T.A. Waters, and others. And here online of course.

P.S. Young magicians would be surprised to see Himber's sexy ads in Genii.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 25th, 2018, 3:34 pm

Here are a few interesting tidbits about Himber.

In Hugard's Magic Monthly - Frederick Braue had a poll where he asked magicians to nominate their 5 favourite card tricks. Richard Himber's response was this:

1) OUT OF THIS WORLD
2) OUT OF THIS WORLD
3) OUT OF THIS WORLD
4) OUT OF THIS WORLD
5) OUT OF THIS WORLD

Over on the Magic Cafe - Steve Dusheck points out that Richard Himber invented the Scotch & Soda trick. There are some adverts in GENII back in the 1950's. But not many since it quickly sold out. This must have been under a different name since I understand the trick did not get the name Scotch & Soda until the 1970s.

I have the book covering Richard Himber's magic.

https://www.qualitymagicbooks.com/product/richard-himber-the-man-and-his-magic-by-richard-himber/

http://magicref.tripod.com/books/himbertheman.htm

It is a great book - but it feels as if there are a number of things missing from the book. I understand that a second volume was planned at one point.

I was delighted to see Richard Himber's Crystal Casket described in Al Mann's Pandora's Box. This is Al Mann's name for Himber's The Diamond Treasure Chest. This trick is not featured in the book above. As such I was delighted to learn the sneaky secret behind this Headline Prediction. The psychology involved is gorgeous.

At a Michael Weber lecture, Weber mentioned a book test that Richard Himber performed in the library at the Magic Castle. This involved gimmicking every book in a bookcase! The description of the method that Weber gave reminded me of a Stewart James magazine test. So my guess is that Richard Himber took this Stewart James magazine test and adapted it so that he could use an entire bookcase full of books. This meant he could perform the trick with any freely chosen book. It must have been some miracle. Look up The Jogestja Magazine Test on page 64 of Stewart James In Print - The First Fifty Years.

I first became interested in Richard Himber after falling in love with his devious Superbowl Prediction principle. You can see a nice use for it over on Andy's blog:

http://www.thejerx.com/blog/2016/3/20/gardyloo7

The best use I have seen for this principle is a variation on the idea by Ken Dyne that combines it with a Jim Steinmeyer Headline Prediction.

Richard Himber also has one of the best telephone tricks in magic. I never hear it discussed. The Incredible Feats of Jason Michaels by Al Mann has an interesting use for the trick which helps turn it into a publicity stunt in the run up to performing on the radio.

Jon Racherbaumer published a great trick in The Hierophant that is a reconstruction of an unreleased Richard Himber coin trick.

The Himber Vanish is also one of the best coin vanishes in magic. I remember seeing Bob Farmer praise it here on the forum.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 25th, 2018, 3:37 pm

Okay - just found this.

Here is Richard Kaufman discussing the proposed Richard Himber GENII issue a few years ago:

https://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=3443

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 25th, 2018, 3:41 pm


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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 25th, 2018, 5:32 pm

At this point, I don't think a cover story on Richard Himber would be of sufficient interest to most readers to justify the work involved.
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 25th, 2018, 6:42 pm

Fair enough!

Also - Richard Himber was behind my favourite routine by David Copperfield.

Himber filmed an interactive magic trick with Orson Welles (who talks to the camera). Copperfield got hold of the film and used it on one of his TV specials. It is an incredible routine. Absolutely wonderful.

https://youtu.be/8CehjowD-Xw?t=22m51s

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 25th, 2018, 7:03 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:At this point, I don't think a cover story on Richard Himber would be of sufficient interest to most readers to justify the work involved.


How about an article instead?

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Steve Bryant » February 25th, 2018, 7:22 pm

A reprint of the ads alone would generate the interest.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 25th, 2018, 7:55 pm

You're right, Steve: the ads are interesting. However there are too many of them. And something about the tricks themselves would need to be written, and already it's way too long for a person almost no one in magic remembers.
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby observer » February 25th, 2018, 9:54 pm

Himber was apparently a huge big deal in the swing band world - to the point where I at one point was under the impression that his magic stuff was just meant as PR fodder for his bands.

I guess that wasn't the case, but I think I remember murmurs that he did not himself come up with all the magical ideas and props that bear his name?

He was also famous as a practical joker .. was he perhaps the (or an) inspiration for Penn & Teller Get Killed?

PS - https://www.amazon.com/Stars-Fell-Alaba ... dpSrc=srch

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 25th, 2018, 10:32 pm

He did not come up with a number of the items. The so-called "Himber Ring" was, from what I've heard, actually the idea of Persi Diaconis. It was a ring made for people with arthritis.

I also vaguely remember Persi being attached to a Himber item which had a Hofzinser card paper-clipped to a lampshade.

Ben Braude (who ghost wrote some of Scarne's books) also comes to mind as involved with Himber.

And of course a Himber "wallet" is not Himber's at all. It would be interesting to a few of us, at least, if someone could track down if Himber added anything to the wallet when he released it (perhaps that little strap over the end).
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 25th, 2018, 10:38 pm

In The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser, there is this note about the Hofzinser Card:
One of the few uses of such a "transparent card" in a marketed trick is Richard Himber's "Telestar Card" (rumored to have been created by Persi Diaconis) first advertised in Genii, Vol, 27, No.2, October 1962, p.48.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Jack Shalom » February 25th, 2018, 11:39 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:At this point, I don't think a cover story on Richard Himber would be of sufficient interest to most readers to justify the work involved.


Richard, just wondering: does the circulation of the magazine vary from month to month based on the cover, or is it pretty consistent from month to month?

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Dustin Stinett » February 25th, 2018, 11:45 pm

I did an article on someone in magic that no one but his family members knew. Isn't part of our job to educate?

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Q. Kumber » February 26th, 2018, 7:21 am

Dustin Stinett wrote:I did an article on someone in magic that no one but his family members knew. Isn't part of our job to educate?


Round of applause for Dustin.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby erdnasephile » February 26th, 2018, 11:04 am

I always thought Harry Lorayne's stories about Himber were interesting, fun, and sometimes horrifying to read, so I'd enjoy a feature article on Himber.

BTW, does anyone know if Magicol ever had a feature article on Himber?

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Q. Kumber » February 26th, 2018, 12:27 pm

Harry Lorayne would be an ideal person to write an article on Himber. There aren't many around who knew him well.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby performer » February 26th, 2018, 12:45 pm

I would very much like to read an article about Himber. He sounds a very interesting character among a sea of dull personalities that 90 percent of magicians are made up of.
I am associated with three groups of people, magicians, psychics and grafters. Easily the least colourful of the three groups with the dullest personalities are magicians. Very boring people indeed with the charisma of a dial tone. However, Himber was an exception from all the things I have heard. Brash and obnoxious with a heart of gold is the feeling I have from what I have read and heard about him.

The late Bobby Bernard used to tell me stories about him. I think some coverage of the man would be a great idea.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 26th, 2018, 12:55 pm

Double Detection by Richard Himber is one of the best self-working card tricks in the world. You can find it in Tarbell.

Jon Racherbaumer has a great story about this trick in an old issue of MAGIC magazine. He was performing this trick in a bar where the legendary Chan Canasta was present. As Jon got to the climax of the trick - Canasta shouted out the name of the two chosen cards.

Jon says he was absolutely dumbfounded and had no idea how Canasta knew the names of the two selected cards.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby JFox » February 26th, 2018, 4:45 pm

It's a real shame that the name "Himber" means nothing more to this generation, than reference to a "finger ring" and a "wallet".

Harry Lorayne, James Randi, Orson Welles, Merv Taylor, and Cardini all counted Richard Himber as one of their closest friends.

His products (advertised as early as 1938, in Genii) brought CLASS to Mentalism and Magic. No plastic or cardboard....Leather, Silver, and Gold.

For a good 22 page chapter on Himber, I recommend reading "It Takes All Kinds", by Maurice Zolotow (and after you've read the Himber chapter, jump to the individual chapters on: Cardini, S.S. Adams, and a biting chapter on Dunninger).

Himber's "Examined" coin trick (Genii ad, 1962+) would be the "Scotch & Soda" effect, as cited in a 'post' above (a solid and a shell English Penny, along with a Half Dollar). Penny shell is placed over the Half Dollar, real Penny along side of it, on palm. Climax: In your hand is now a Half Dollar and an English Penny...both which may be examined.

True, many "Himber tricks" were not of his very own invention. But, there were many that were. Whichever the case, his input and suggestions for all of them were contributing factors.

Easily, there are over a 100 tricks that are associated with the Himber name, and/or marketed by him.

The Magico Magazine book ("Richard Himber: The Man And His Magic" -1980) is just about all that the magic community has on Himber.
Its a poor "copy & paste" job, but the reading is fascinating...but its all we have. I'm thankful for it.

Sadly, as Richard conveys, the new generation of magicians would probably not appreciate a Genii issue featuring Richard Himber (The ORIGINAL "Bad Boy of Magic") and of his many, many contributions to our art ...probably because he isn't known for doing card flourishes (don't get me started).

A coffee table-style book is much deserved for him.

During the 1940's through the mid-1960's, few in Magic had the POWER and CLOUT that Richard Himber had on the New York City scene.

Only a Richard Himber had the INFLUENCE to get the publishers of the widely popular "Reader's Digest" and "Fantasy and Science Fiction" magazines to alter their printed text (without the story author's permission, no doubt)....just so that Himber's customers could utilize those same magazines for an "impromptu" magazine "book test", upon entering a client's home (yes, what that means is that those particular magazine issues were GAFFED and yet, SOLD TO THE PUBLIC via subscription and newsstands.

The "Himber Wallet" and the "Himber Ring" may mean nothing more to many magicians than simply the names of magic props...but they have forever immortalized the name HIMBER with the magic world...and that's a very good thing. He should not be forgotten.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 26th, 2018, 5:12 pm

I may be misremembering this, but perhaps not. My recollection from speaking to various people in New York who knew Himber is that he was a real schmuck and pretty much disliked by everyone.
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Ian Kendall » February 26th, 2018, 5:24 pm

On reading Harry's various stories about him, the image was of an obnoxious man who enjoyed creating hassles for others (cf the butcher's story, where he persuaded a butcher to mince up prime beef, then walked out refusing to pay the high price, leaving the butcher severely out of pocket...)

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 26th, 2018, 5:38 pm

"...a real shuck and pretty much disliked by everyone."

"...an obnoxious man who enjoyed creating hassles for others..."


Maybe there was "another side" to him...

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby JFox » February 26th, 2018, 5:43 pm

I am the first person to admit that, yes, Himber had the reputation of being a major A-Hole, especially with his practical jokes.

Reportedly, only a handful of people from both the MUSIC and the MAGIC communities chose to attend his funeral (-H. Schwarzman)

For Himber, apparently there were two sides to him: The "Man" vs the "Character".

I never met him, but here are two personal quotes from both Howard Schwarzman and Dennis Loomis:

* "Himber could be a delightful person if you were alone with him. But, as soon as another person entered the company, he turned into the most obnoxious individual that anyone could know." (H. Schwarzman)

* "I found out later all about Himber's reputation....he played harsh practical jokes on his friends, and how egocentric he was. But, as a seventeen-year-old amateur magician...I saw a completely different side of the man. He was kind and generous, and every bit the gentleman...
We got to his destination first (in a taxi). He jumped out, spoke briefly to the cab driver and gave him some money. Himber never said goodbye; he just flashed me a big smile and waved as we pulled away from the curb. The driver took me to my hotel, and I asked him what I owed him. "Nothing", he said. Mr. Himber took care of it". (D. Loomis)


I guess that I'm just drawn to these types of individuals (you either love them or hate them). My other two favorites?: Houdini, and Al Jolson. :P



.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 26th, 2018, 7:17 pm

Jolie was the "World's Greatest Entertainer!!!!" so he gets a pass.
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 26th, 2018, 8:51 pm

Can't believe I misspelled "Schmuck." (Or was it the auto-IN-correct?) Anyway, glad it didn't happen during the denouement of my heckler spelling trick...


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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Joe Mckay » February 27th, 2018, 11:32 am

Thanks for that, Mark!

Never thought I would get to see Richard Himber perform.

Very interesting.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby JFox » February 27th, 2018, 12:27 pm

The above film clip is from the 3-DVD "Don Alan's Magic Ranch" set.

Himber's full segment is 13 minutes long.

He performs:
*Chinese Sticks
*Menu Clock Vanish
*Comedy Card Stab Through Body
*Himber Pail
*Linking (stage) Rings (aka: his "3 Ring Circus" rings)

The information beneath the video lists his birth year incorrectly (as do several other sources).
Himber lived from 1907 - 1966. A relatively young man of 59 when he died.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 27th, 2018, 12:49 pm

That Himber Pail is an unbelievably clever routine and use of the Phantom Tube principle!
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Bill Mullins » February 27th, 2018, 1:15 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:I did an article on someone in magic that no one but his family members knew. Isn't part of our job to educate?


I wish someone had done likewise in 1903 or so about someone whose name was probably E. S. Andrews . . . .

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Bob Farmer » February 27th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Wasn't Persi Diaconis allied with Himber and worked out some of the material?

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 27th, 2018, 2:35 pm

Yes, and you missed my post above.
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby performer » February 27th, 2018, 4:50 pm

I have seen a few of the Magic Ranch shows. And have seen Don Alan at work years later. I have always found it interesting as to how he changed his performing style over the years. He became a little more "forceful" or "aggressive" if that is the correct word (it probably isn't). I suppose as your personality changes over the years so does your manner of presentation.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby performer » February 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm

Incidentally there are a TON of Himber orchestra videos on you tube. Just still pictures with music. Nothing much to see--just listen to.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 27th, 2018, 6:40 pm

There are folks alive today who remember Richard Himber. What those who remember the guy choose to leave by way of stories and echoing what they saw him do and what they learned... that's up to them. In a way that's their legacy too. What's lost to the craft in terms of time and opportunity if not - look at the fragmented Hofzinser and Germain legacies. So much expertise, insight, social history, lore and fine magic neglected out of our culture.

@performer, Thanks for the Magic Ranch reminder.
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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby Brad Henderson » February 27th, 2018, 7:25 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:That Himber Pail is an unbelievably clever routine and use of the Phantom Tube principle!


The pail IS great, but the pitcher is the best i've seen.

obtained an original and presented it a few months ago. The frame was presenting a classic that hasn't been performed in decades:

"It is quite daunting to bring to life a piece of magic that hasn't been performed in maybe 50 years, i would hate for any personal interpretations to diminish the genius at the heart of this trick. So I will be presenting this illusion move by move, word for word, as described in the instructions provided when this trick first sold in the early 1950's . i do so in hope that you can best appreciate three hallmark qualities of classic magic from this era: ingenious methods, casual racism, and an abrupt ending that shows a lack of attention to detail.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby James » February 27th, 2018, 7:29 pm

Here’s a story that Jackie Flosso told me about Himber.

When Jackie was somewhere around 12 - 15 years old, he would do odd jobs for Himber. Run errands, set up shows, etc. One day Himber calls and asks Jackie to come to his apartment (somewhere in Manhattan).

Jackie gets there. Himber lets him in.

Jackie was hanging out in the living room as Himber was shaving in the bathroom.

The doorbell rings and Himber asks Jackie to answer it. Tells him he was expecting a singer to come over an audition for his band.

Jackie goes to the door, opens it and sees a beautiful woman. She had a very sweet and innocent look to her… but gorgeous. She was meek and was very shy.

“Is… is… is Mr. Himber in?” she timidly asked. Jackie said yes and invites her in.

“Is that her Jackie?” Himber shouts from the bathroom where he was still shaving. “Yes.”

“She good looking?”

Jackie was taken aback by that. He’s a young kid, so awkward moment for him.

The singer looks a little concerned too.

“How are her t*ts? She have nice t*ts?”

The singer was now getting scared. Jackie could see it in her eyes.

And Jackie didn’t know what to do. All he could see is the look of fear in the singer’s face.

“What about her ass? How’s her ass? Himber shouts. And then he comes out in a t-shirt and boxer shorts.

The woman just starts stuttering something along the lines, “Please get dressed…”

Then Himber comes on over and starts fondling her. She starts screaming. That doesn’t stop Himber. Starts grabbing her ass. “Not bad, huh Jackie?”

By this point, Jackie is nervous and panicking. Has no clue what to do.

The woman screams, “You scoundrels! Both of you… Scoundrels.” Back then, “Scoundrels” had a stronger connotation I guess. “I’m calling the police!”

Jackie seriously thought she was going to call the cops and that he was going to go to jail.

Then Richard starts laughing… and so does the “singer.” Turns out, she was an actress. Himber had hired her for the sole purpose to act as an innocent victim so he could play a joke on Jackie.

Jackie said he had never seen a better acting performance by an actress… ever.

That shows the lengths Himber would go to to play a joke.

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Re: Richard Himber - GENII issue?

Postby I.M. Magician » February 27th, 2018, 7:43 pm

Please allow me to suggest that not only would there be a huge interest in seeing a Himber cover for Genii but...it may well be one of the most popular/successful issues of Genii in modern times!

RK...you may want to seriously consider doing it. How can readers not enjoy a magazine full of Himber? Just the little bit here is already lots of fun! Perhaps a nice big double issue large enough to offer plenty of interesting stuff would not be a bad idea.

Or...a book.


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