Bill Tarr has Died

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Richard Kaufman
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Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 7th, 2006, 10:42 am

Bill Tarr died yesterday at age 81 after living with Parkinson's Disease for many years.
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 7th, 2006, 11:20 am

Bill Tarr's two "Now you see it, Now you don't" books provided many hours of education and amusement for me as a kid. I'm quite sad to hear that he's left us.

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 7th, 2006, 12:15 pm

I'm so sorry to hear that.

When I was 15, I got "Now You See It Now You Don't" and it literally changed my life. Thanks to Tarr, I learned that magic wasn't in the boxes I had been buying, but in my hands.

(Ironically, my next purchase was Richard's "Card Magic" and that was when I realized that learning what was in my hands was going to take my whole lifetime...)

Those two books of Tarr's were such wonderful places to start. Great instructions, wonderful clear illustrations...

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 7th, 2006, 12:49 pm

The illustrations in the Now You See It! books by Barry Ross were among my major inspirations as a young illustrator. The idea of multiple overlapping images that I started to use in 1977 with my first published books defintely came from Barry Ross.
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 7th, 2006, 12:54 pm

Definitely a classic book I remember very well and spent a lot of time with early on.I'm very sorry to hear of Mr. Tarr's passing.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 7th, 2006, 3:26 pm

More on Bill Tarr from his sons:

William Tarr, Sculptor

On November 7th, sculptor William Tarr, aged 81, died from complications associated with Parkinsons disease attributed, in his case, to the inhalation of welding fumes over a span of many years.

A Guggenheim Fellow in 1974, Tarr was self-taughta dedicated do-it yourself sculptor who has produced a wide variety of work in various styles and mediums. Although he was worked mainly in welded metals, he also worked extensively in wood, concrete, fibreglas, and cast bronze, and made large pieces in all of those materials.

The first piece he ever exhibited in public was at the prestigious 1962 Whitney Museum Biennial. That year the Ford Foundation bought eight pieces off the floor and one of them was Tarrs. It was donated to the Chicago Art Institute where it remains part of their permanent collection.

In the lead Sunday New York Times article on the 1964 Whitney Biennial, Times critic John Canaday picked Tarrs entry as the centerpiece of the show, and in 1966, well-known collector, Armand Erpf, bought Tarrs sculpture off the floor.

His Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in the heart of NYC, one of the worlds largest welded-steel pieces, is 120 feet in girth, weighs 63 tons, and is considered a highly innovative work. New York Magazine declared it the Best Monument in N.Y.

Another large work, his Gates of Hell, a 5,900 pound bronze casting also known as the Gates of The Six Million reposes in the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, and an eighteen foot tall bronze fronts the County Administration building on Ringling boulevard in Sarasota, Florida. The art critic for the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Joan Altabe wrote, Sarasota didnt get a mere sculpture. It got a monument to the ages.

Mr. Tarr shared his intense devotion to art with a life long love of magic. An ardent magician since the age of 10, he was internationally renowned for the four highly esteemed Magic books he authored. One, his Now You See It, Now You Dont Lessons in Sleight of Hand is the best-selling magic book in the world.

But whatever he managed to achieve, he always considered his most notable accomplishment the fifty three years of wedded bliss he shared with his late wife, the beautiful and extraordinarily talented author, Yvonne Young Tarr whose work included the best-selling New York Times Bread and Soup Cookbook.

Two sons, Jonathon and Nicolas and his grandchild Elizabeth survive Mr. Tarr.
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 7th, 2006, 3:59 pm

Bill Tarr was the best. He made casual as well as serious close up a joy to study. I never had the priveledge to meet him personally but I want his family to know how much he impacted my magic life and that my heart goes out to them with this tragic loss.

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 8th, 2006, 3:35 am

Tarr's books are exceptional among the best I have read.

His son writes: "One, his Now You See It, Now You Dont Lessons in Sleight of Hand is the best-selling magic book in the world."

This is the first time I hear that this Tarr book is the best selling magic book in the world. Has anybody information to support this? Typically Tarbell or Giobbi's Card College are considered the best selling magic books of all time.

I am not trying to take anything from Tarr. It could very well be the best selling magic book in the world. Just trying to collect some data.

Best,
Chris....
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Matthew Field
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Matthew Field » November 8th, 2006, 5:29 am

Many years ago I got into a mentalism phase and saw an ad for Bill Tarr's BT One, a double writing gimmick. I started to send him a check when I saw that he lived in East Hampton, which was where I had a weekend place, out on Long Island in New York. I called him up and he invited me to his house so I could buy the thing.

He met me in his studio which was immense, not surprising given the large size of his sculptures.

Although I did not meet up with him again after that, I'll always remember him as a nice man with a deep interest in magic.

Matt Field

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 8th, 2006, 6:29 am

Now You See It..is the first magic book I ever owned. I still do many of the routines from that book. This is a sad day and my thoughts go out to Mr. Tarr's family.

Elliot

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Jim Morton » November 8th, 2006, 8:50 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
This is the first time I hear that this Tarr book is the best selling magic book in the world. Has anybody information to support this? Typically Tarbell or Giobbi's Card College are considered the best selling magic books of all time.
www.lybrary.com
I don't have statistics for you Chris, but I don't doubt the claim. I am sure Tarr's book has outsold both Tarbell and Giobbi. During the early seventies it was in every bookstore in America. It was the magic book that a lot of people who weren't magicians had, and it was the inspiration for a lot of young people to get into magic as well.

Jim

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 8th, 2006, 8:58 am

"Now You See It, Now You Don't" inspired a road trip for my friend Frank and I when we were about 14 years old. I had picked up a copy at the local mall for about $8. I brought it to Frank's house. We paged through it and he decided he HAD to have a copy. IMMEDIATELY! We hopped on our bikes, he on his little red 10 speed and me on a little "dirt" bike and we road the 5 miles to the mall only to find out that the book was sold out! We then hopped on our bikes and rode another 7 miles to the next mall! Luckily they had a copy. We bought it and then made our trek back to Frank's. By this time is was dark out and we had to ride down a very busy road to get home. That ride was another 8 miles! That 20 mile bike trip is one of my fondest magic memories! I got to have an adventure with my best friend and we both got a copy of the Bill Tarr book that ended up inspiring many great magical moments!

I LOVE THAT BOOK!!!

Hooray for Bill Tarr!!!

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 8th, 2006, 9:16 am

In 1974, I was in my first year of law school and getting real tired of reading cases. I was in the university bookstore and saw "Now You See It..." on the shelf and recalled how interested in magic I was when I was younger, but let it go by the way through high school and college as I was then concentrating on playing music. I bought the book and learned almost everything in it while taking breaks from my required reading, plus I started buying the books referenced in the back. I have to credit Tarr with renewing an interest that has given me a lot of pleasure over the years. If I hadn't seen that book, I would not have taken the sleight of hand path and would not have met the many friends in magic that I have today. It's amazing how things work.

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby jerry lazar » November 8th, 2006, 9:30 am

I'd love to see an All-Time Best-Seller List for magic books (and DVD/videos), but alas because of lack of central distribution and data collection, we're not likely to anytime soon... However, I will share that my boyhood hero Mark Wilson recently revealed in a lecture that, with the Russian publication (!) of his quintessential MAGIC book (that so many of us grew up on ), the global sales for that title , in its various editions, and over several decades, have passed 850,000. But I do wonder what kind of sales figures are attained by other "popular" titles, such as those in the Dover series (Fulves, etc.), and even enduring generation-spanning classics such as Royal Road, Bobo, and other "must haves" that grace most collections (and are re-purchased by magicians throughout their lifetime as they become tattered, revised/updated, or permanently "loaned"). I imagine, with a bit of research, such figures are obtainable, and would probably make an informative one-pager in Genii, don't you think? At the very least, it would serve as a reality-check to any potential author of a magic book who thought he was going to make a bundle on sales!... And, yes, in keeping with original topic of this thread, Bill Tarr's considerable contribution to our craft has served us all well, in childhood and adulthood, and for his enduring legacy we are all grateful...

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 8th, 2006, 9:54 am

I hope that Mr. Tarr' family can access these posts to further remind them of how meaningful his work was to us.

I have a very distinct memory of discovering "Now You See It..." in my high school library as a freshman. Great book! Great illustrations.

Richard, did Barry Ross illustrate any other magic books apart from these?

GG

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » November 8th, 2006, 10:00 am

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
Many years ago I got into a mentalism phase and saw an ad for Bill Tarr's BT One, a double writing gimmick. I started to send him a check when I saw that he lived in East Hampton, which was where I had a weekend place, out on Long Island in New York. I called him up and he invited me to his house so I could buy the thing.
Interesting...I first came across "Now You See It..." when I was staying at my uncle's vacation home in East Hampton. We went to the library one day, and I naturally went to the section on magic. That book was there and I went through it the rest of the week. I can only imagine if I had known he was in the same town!

-Jim

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 8th, 2006, 11:01 am

Barry Ross was known as an illustrator for books on sports. I don't know of any magic books he illustrated other than those by Bill Tarr.

The sales for Card College or Tarbell are miniscule compared to either Now You See It, Now You Don't! or The Mark Wilson Course in Magic.
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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » November 8th, 2006, 11:11 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The sales for Card College or Tarbell are miniscule compared to either Now You See It, Now You Don't! or The Mark Wilson Course in Magic.
That's not terribly surprising considering both the Tarr and Wilson books are offered to the general public while Card College and Tarbell have only been made available to the magic community.

-Jim

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 8th, 2006, 11:50 am

Today, I find myself reflecting on how much the Tarr family has meant to me.

With Bill, "Now You See It" was one of my first magic book purchases, and from it I learned many of the basic card and coin moves that I do today. His enthusiasm was evident in his writing and I often found in it the impetus to keep trying; the detail with which he explained these sleights helped me through endless practice sessions.

But aside from magic, my other main hobby is cooking. My library of cookbooks, which is nearly matched by my library of magic books, has several volumes written by Yvonne Young Tarr, Bill's wife. Her huge compendium of recipes and home-brewed household formulae, "Up With Wholesome, Down with Store-Bought," has been a staple reference of mine for about 30 years...roughly the same time I first picked up a copy of "Now You See It...".

I'll remember Bill fondly.

--Josh

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Larry Horowitz » November 8th, 2006, 6:16 pm

When Gordon Bean and I began selling our products through MagicLab I recieved a check from Bill Tarr asking for some of the effects. I immediatly called the number on the check and asked if it was THE Bill Tarr. After confirmation and a long talk about magic, I sent all of our products, the check and a big thank you to Mr. Tarr.
It was a privilage to speak with him and to have studied his books.

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Ruben Padilla » November 13th, 2006, 9:40 pm

It's quite possible I would never have become a magician if I didn't stumble onto his book (and it's companion volume, NYSINYD 2).

Thirteen years old, deck of cards in hand, coins warmed by my palms, pages lovingly worn, eyes darting from text to illustrations and back again, family members amused by my first interpretations of his advice, and the remnants of his words echoing in my work over twenty-five years later.

Is it too late to whisper, "Thank you, Bill Tarr"?

:(

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Allan Kronzek » November 13th, 2006, 10:08 pm

I met Bill in 1984. We started talking magic at an art opening in East Hampton, had dinner together that night, along with our spouses Yvonne and Ruby, and remained close for 22 years. Bill would have loved these posts, and Ill share them with his sons, and at the tribute. We went to a few magic conventions together, the four of us, and Bill was always sought out by fans who recognized him from the illustrations in "Now You See It Now You Dont, and wanted to share how much the book had meant to them, and how it had opened a door or unlocked a puzzle. Bill was deeply touched, as he would be now.

There was a yin/yang quality about Bills magic and his sculpture. The art work is monumental, hard-edged, huge one piece weighs 63 tons! all made single-handedly by Bill. The magic was soft, effortless, and flowing. When he performed, which was mainly socially, Bill worked slowly, making sure the audience understood what they were watching, where it came from, and why it was important. His hands were tough and calloused from the hammering steel, but his sleights were gentle and looked just like Barry Rosss illustrations. When Bill did a simple coin vanish, it was perfection. The artist he admired most was Cardini.

One of my great pleasures was being able to fry him with a new routine. I remember one of the Tarrs astonishing dinner partiesYvonne was the best cook everwhen Bill asked me to do something for the other guests and I did the Tamariz masterpiece Total Coincidence. This floored everybody and made Bill ecstatically happy. Me too! What a great couple! What great times! What a privilege.

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 13th, 2006, 10:14 pm

"Now You See It, Now You Don't" (#1 and #2), along with "Street Magic", "Cards As Weapons", "The Best of Slydini and More", and "Secrets of a Puerto Rican Gambler" constitute the beginning of my magic education.

R.I.P. Mr. Tarr

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » November 16th, 2006, 1:16 am

like Richard, Barry Ross's illustrations in Bill Tarr's excellent books were very inspiring to me as an artist/illustrator! RIP Bill Tarr!

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Re: Bill Tarr has Died

Postby Guest » December 28th, 2006, 9:32 pm

This was, I believe, one of the "longing to have" books at the bookstore. Luckily, no one said, "Aren't you going to buy it, kid?". I didn't have the funds... I learned from "Amateur Magician's Handbook" and thought Tarr was incredible as I could understand and see more clearly what Hay wrote. It was brilliant.

Is Book 2 still inprint? Dover publishes the magic apparatus Tarr book and Pioneer (?) publishes Book 1.

I met him in passing once at Tannen's. Very kind and soft spoken.

Tom
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