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Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 1:50 pm
by Mark.Lewis
Not that I am one to gossip of course but I heard that Koran was highly irritated with you for including what he said was HIS trick in your book. He acknowledged that you gave him credit but that you included it without his permission. You now say it was your trick. Actually I don't care if you pinched it from Koran since he was very rude to me when I was a young shy magician and not as obnoxious as I am now.

The trick is indeed Jack Miller's and I am delighted to inform the multitude that if they go to page 241 of the Royal Road to Card Magic the trick will be there in all it's glory but not credited to anyone at all.

As for going too fast I saw no evidence of it on the clip I saw. I did hear some people say that your DVD teaching was too fast but I have no idea. I do know that decades ago Bobby Bernard complained to me that you worked too fast. But then he said that about me too. He said that if people blinked they would miss the trick whereupon I retorted "Well, don't blink"

I suspect your speed may be a New York thing. I have seen New York magicians talk at a faster rate than normal whatever normal is. I do remember a noted trade show magician who was MUCH faster than you. He talked at a rate of a million miles an hour. And of course he was from New York too.

I live in Canada now where the populace not only talk slow and walk slow-- they also think slow. I feel like I am a wolf among the chickens.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 4:06 pm
by Harry Lorayne
Two things: 1) I have no idea how silly stories like the Al Koran thing come about. Stupid people making up stupid things, I guess - can't think of any other reason. Dick Himber introduced me to Al, and then said to Al that I was writing a book and would like to use his name, etc. Al did the thing for me. He was thrilled when I said I'd probably use it. That's it. Saying "without his permission" is a ridiculous and out-and-out lie. If you read my re-write of the effect in LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION, Vol. 1, you'll see that I explain all this the same way there, and also mention that I was told after the fact that the basic mathematical effect appeared in Royal Road to Cd Magic. I "tell" these things when I "know" these things!!

2)I have NEVER had anyone have a problem in understanding me, even though I speak faster than they do. Interesting little vignette: Many, many, years ago when my wife and I were working together, I was booked to do a lecture tour of some dinner clubs in the South. They were called Knife & Fork Clubs. The powers that be asked if I could slow down because, this was a "deep south" tour(Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, etc.). I said "no," I didn't think so. First of all, if I slowed down, my 45-minute to one-hour appearance would end up being three hours!

2) and more importantly - slowing down would throw me mentally. So, the managers, and etc., said okay, we'll just have to go with you the way you are.

We did about twenty appearances that trip - and here's the point - remember these were in the deep south of the U.S.A. - everyone understood me (I speak quickly but pretty distinctly), but I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND THEM!! I work with the audience, and I need to understand what each person is saying. We got some laughs out of it (I'd say something like "You talk funny," with a smile, of course, we'd all laugh, and get on with it), and my ear became accustomed to the deep southern accents pretty quickly.

Perhaps it is a "New York thing." Although I most likely speak faster than other New Yorkers. I'm not a spokesman for New York, but the "New York thing" does bother me, but rarely. I'll give you two instances, so long as it's been brought up.

Generally speaking, over the years, when I was doing a lot of appearances all over the country - I'd occasionally get a remark like - "So you're from New York, are you? Where people are rude, push you off the sidewalk," etc. I'd always ask, "Where did this happen to you? Where were you when you were rudely pushed off the sidewalk?" Usual answer: "Well, near out hotel on ..." And they'd always mention a street in Times Square. Or, they'd say they were walking in Times Square. That's when I'd answer: "Hate to tell you this, but New Yorkers rarely wander around in the Times Square area. The odds are that you were rudely pushed off the sidewalk by someone from Kansas, Milwaukee, or Idaho!!"

I was on a book promotion tour. I was in Portland, Oregon. Had an early (drive time)live radio show to do. The limo came to an area surrounded by barricades, lots of police action, couldn't drive through. The driver said that this would cost a lot of time, because he'd have to go around, extra miles, whatever. We had the radio on to the station we were going to. The show, with two male hosts, came on. Ordinarily, I would have been there a half hour before the show went on. But, because of that mess... So, there were jokes about the "famous expert seem to have forgotten to be here..." And so on.

So, I rush in, late. I'm ushered into the studio, quietly seated at the microphone oppobsite the two hosts. "Hey, Harry, you made it. Where you from, Buddy? Oh, New York City, eh? Where you have to walk around with a machine gun!" And another joke or two about crime in NYC. As I'm about to answer, someone walks in and hands this host a piece of paper. He reads it - and it's a new bulletin about the problem I'd seen coming there - the police, etc. S

Seems as if there's a sniper on the roof of a tall building there and he's SHOOTING PEOPLE. Has already injured a few, etc. When he's finished reading the bulletin, I get my two cents in. "Hey, Arthur, I sure do hope your police get this SOB, 'cause if you don't, he'll GRADUATE TO NEW YORK CITY!

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 4:30 pm
by Harry Lorayne
Obviously, I omitted the word "memory." The host's great joke was, "Seems as if the famous memory expert forgot to show up." Also, you mentioned Bobby Bernard. He's an old friend; spent some time together decades ago, in London. Just wanted to mention that HE TALKED MUCH TOO SLOWLY WHEN PERFORMING! That's my feeling about quite a few people doing magic over the years. I'd see members of the audience nodding off as he was working. Well, I may be lousy, but nobody falls asleep when I'm working!

Reminds me - I used to go see a magician by the name of Bill Williston (I think - this is six decades ago). He was good, but the thing I've remembered all these years is - in the middle of his act he'd shoot a gun that made the loudest noise I ever heard! Before or since. This certainly wouldn't be allowed today - he could have given someone a heart attack. Anyway, he'd shoot the gun, and his line after the echo of the shot died down, was - "Nobody sleeps while I work!"

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 6:19 pm
by Mark.Lewis
I have come across a few people who do a variation of that gun gag. I absolutely hate it but then I have always been a sensitive soul.

You are right about New York. I was once there changing planes at a New York airport and remember thinking what a rude bunch of people everybody was. Everybody was pushing, shoving and cursing and I remember being quite startled by it having just been in boring Canada with a populace so polite that when you stand on somebody's toes THEY apologise for having such stupid toes.

I then immediately formed an opinion of rude New York. This was confirmed by making phone calls to a magic wholesaler where a horrible man I spoke to sounded like he was the devil incarnate. Possibly the rudest man I have ever spoken to in my life.

Of course I am perfectly used to rudeness coming from the UK where the populace are among the rudest people on the face of the earth despite the false image that we are so terribly polite. We aren't as can be seen by reading the posts of James Munton and myself.

Anyway on two subsequent occasions I went to New York in recent years to perform at trade shows. I kept looking for rude people but to my great distress I couldn't find any. Not only on the trade show floor but on the streets. There was one bloody awful magician performing in F.A.E. Shwarz who was slightly rude although more obnoxious than rude. But to be frank I couldn't see that much in the way of rudeness. In fact far less than I would see in London, England.

I asked where all the rude people were and was informed that New Yorkers weren't as rude as they used to be since the tragic events on September 11th had brought the people together. I don't that is true because rude people don't change their spots no matter what happens. And this was several years after 9/11.

I am highly amused to hear that poor Bobby Bernard was making people nod off when he was working. I expect that was because he was boring rather than too slow. We British tend to talk quickly too. Mind you I have to say that I have seen Bobby perform and I didn't think he was any slower than you were on that clip. I always thought that Bobby was in general quite a good performer.

I did see you on British TV doing the memory stuff and it was at a good steady pace, almost fast but not quite. I thought it was great and I remember overhearing people in a cafe discussing and raving about you the next morning. I didn't think it was too fast at all.

When I first came to Canada everyone talked so slowly that I thought I should too. But then just like you I soon abandoned that silly idea and found that everyone could understand me anyway.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 6:20 pm
by Mark.Lewis
Since, as usual I am on a mischief making mood I am going to comment further on the Al Koran thing. I have here in my hands two relevant articles on the matter. One is an article that was published in Abracadabra magazine by Al himself. Unfortunately it doesn't give the date but I expect some busybody with too much time on their hands will be able to research that for us. It was issue number 450. I don't know if that was before your book came out or after it. It is virtually the same presentation as in your book and is in Al's actual words. The title of the article is "THE LAZY MAGICIAN DOES A CARD TRICK"

The other article was taken from a lecture for magicians in 1971 where Al took a little dig at you. I shall quote the relevant passage and the little dig is right at the end. It seems to have been edited by Pete Biro who is a member here so may have more information. It seems to start out in the third person but the last sentence or two is in the first person for some reason. It is in the Martin Breese publication "The Magic of Al Koran" as is the Abra article 450 too. So hopefully you can yell at Martin too and keep me entertained.

"The Lazy Man's card trick falls into this category of top class magic. Many, many years ago, when Koran was at the Embassy Club on Bond St, London , he was finished with his performance. It was 3am and was tired, waiting for the morning paper to come with the review of the new show. He was sitting in an arm chair and a friend, Sir Gordon Richards gave him a cigar and Al, to pass the time did the Lazy Man's Card trick. The manager of the club was watching and when he finished the manager said: You must do that trick in the show!" Al cried "I can't do a card trick, I'm a mentalist" He insisted Al do the trick. Koran did agree but it must be the same way he had just done it, the chair, the cigar, the lot. The manager himself introduced the trick. He asked that a chair be brought on stage. Koran seated."Bring a cigar" ....he then told the audience "Relax, for three minutes I want everybody to be quiet...not a sound" I did the trick. He added a hundred a week for that one trick. It has been published without my permission though credited."

Note the last sentence and calm down. At your age you can't afford to let your blood pressure rise.

Frankly I am a little dubious of the story. I have been to the Embassy club and coincidentally it was where I met Al Koran although that night he was not the performer. I just can't see Al doing the trick in that large room to inattentive people full of drink at 1am in the morning in the manner he describes but what do I know.............


Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 6:44 pm
by Joe Pecore
Abra No. 450 is dated September 11, 1954

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 7:18 pm
by Mark.Lewis
1954? Are you kidding? I always say the best things in magic were written in 1954 or previously. Except Harry's stuff of course but then I bet Harry honed his considerable skills before 1954 so I am right anyway. And of course it is a weird coincidence that it was published on September 11th just as I was talking about that date in the post above.

Methinks however that this is going to irritate Harry since his wonderful "Close up Card Magic" was published way after 1954. I remember that when it first came out I was around 18 years old and terribly excited by the contents. And that would have been around 1962 or so. I am afraid that the presentation in Koran's own words are exactly as Harry describes in his book. So the question now arises. When did the meeting with Himber and Koran actually take place? If it took place over 50 years ago as Harry said I suppose it is possible that it was before 1954 and Al copied Harry rather than the other way around. On the other hand it does seem that Al published the presentation way before Harry did.

Not that I care of course. I am a pitchman and of course I lie, cheat and steal all the time as part of my glorious profession. I am just in a mood to stir up trouble, nothing more. I do get rather bored sometimes.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 11:13 pm
by Barefoot Boy
Mark.Lewis wrote:1954? Are you kidding? I always say the best things in magic were written in 1954 or previously.

That's a shame, Mark. I suppose my favourite book does not qualify because it was written from 1956 to 1958. I still love it, though.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 9th, 2009, 11:56 pm
by Harry Lorayne
I don't much care either, Mark. I don't know dates, etc., and unfortunately I never heard or read about Koran making those idiotic statements - there sure would have been hell to pay.Over the years I have heard some interesting things about Al Koran, so I guess some of the things you say shouldn't surprise me. What I've told you, and written, about Al doing the routine for me, and boring both myself and Himber is the exact truth. I really have much better things to do than to lie over sillinesses like this. And anyway, who cares?! HL.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 12:17 am
by Mark.Lewis
I believe you. I met Koran and he wasn't very nice. Anyway the information is included in the Koran book mentioned. It wasn't the greatest book anyway.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 3:47 am
by Denis Behr
Joe Pecore wrote:Abra No. 450 is dated September 11, 1954

If Koran really published the "Lazy Man's Card Trick" with this presentation eight years before CUCM appeared, it's hard to draw another conclusion than that the presentation is Koran's?! Of course, it might depend on when Koran was in NY.
Is there further comment in Abra 450?

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 12:18 pm
by Mark.Lewis
The presentation in the Abra article is virtually identical to Harry's description. There is no comment other than the effect description.
However there is no evidence either way of who came up with the presentation first since Harry stated above that he saw Koran do the thing over 50 years ago. Conceivably that might have been before the Abra article was published.
I don't suppose we will ever know.

I don't care. All I know is that it is a fantastic effect. When I read it first in the Royal Road to Card Magic it sounded dreadfully boring so I discarded it as possible material for my repertoire. It was only when it appeared in Harry's book that it came to life. I have been doing it ever since.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 1:47 pm
by Harry Lorayne
That's the key, Mark. Who the hell ever heard of the concept before I published it in my very first magic book? Don't you think that if Koran was doing the effect AS I DESCRIBED IT that it would have "traveled" within the magic world, as it did AFTER I published it?

There's only one reason I can think of that Koran would lie about this, and lie he did. After HE GAVE ME PERMISSION to include it in a book (which didn't see the light of day until years later)he realized that there'd be some flack because THE IDEA WAS NOT HIS. So, claiming that he didn't give me permission to publish it would get him off the hook - suddenly I'd be the "heavy."

Just think about this for a moment - I've published literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other people's effects - I have never, knowingly, done so without that person's permission. Why in the world would I want to, when most have always been anxious for me to publish, with credit to them, and etc? Makes no sense.

Finally, and I really have had it with this silliness - I WAS THERE, dammit, so I really do know what happened! Listen; Al Koran was a "magic name" way back then. I WAS NOT. My very first book, HOW TO DEVELOP A SUPER-POWER MEMORY was published in 1956. Then I became a bit of a "name"; full page ads for that book all over the world with my picture at center page, etc. Okay; the point is, that when I met Koran at Dick Himber's apartment IT WAS BEFORE THAT, because I was a nobody compared to Koran. There was absolutely no reason for him to perform for me - and those who knew him will vouch for the fact that he didn't perform for magicians he a) didn't know and/or b) magicians who were not "important."

The ONLY reason he did this one trick for me was because Dick Himber asked him to, said I was thinking of doing a book, and could he contribute something, etc. Now, probably the most "telling" point. I was fooled by the trick; I didn't know the principle, had no idea how he did it. Point: WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD HE THEN TEACH IT TO ME IF HE DIDN'T WANT IT PUBLISHED?!?! He taught it to me, AND GAVE ME PERMISSION TO PUBLISH IT. That's it, that's the story, and I'm bored as hell with it. Best - HARRY L.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 2:28 pm
by Mark.Lewis
One thing I am curious about and this is nothing to do with the Koran business. You are a fast paced performer whereas the trick as presented is a bit of a slowish one. The spectator has to do a fair bit of cutting. How do you maintain the interest? And how do you personally adapt to what seems to be against your natural style?

Here is a Koran story for your amusement. I was dining with him and Billy Mc'Comb. I remember also that Dick Zimmerman was there. He was bragging about himself all evening but spent a lot of time railing against David Berglas. He was cursing Berglas to the skies all night, saying he used stooges, he stole Koran's radio series etc; etc;

He really seemed upset with David Berglas and the venom came dripping off him in an unbelievable manner. Then a diner at another table came over and asked him for his autograph. Al had been on TV rather a lot (as indeed had DAvid Berglas) and was at that time recognised in public.

Al beamed and smirked at the rest of us as if to say "See how famous I am". Alas the smirk disappeared when the autograph hunter said, "I have always admired you, Mr Berglas and will be so excited to tell people that I met David Berglas tonight"

Al soon recovered and signed the paper. And guess what? He signed it as "DAVID BERGLAS"!!!!!

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 3:12 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Harry has never had a problem maintaining interest while a trick is being performed, even if the spectator is busy doing something else that would create a boring moment in the hands of a different performer.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 3:30 pm
by Glenn Bishop
I just want to jump in here and talk about The Lazy Man's Card Trick for a second. Celeste Evens was the first magician I ever saw do this great trick with cards besides my dad. She showed me how to do it at Wayne Rolland's house at a performers party - Wayne Rolland was a Vent.

Anyway the trick was one of the card tricks that my Dad did when he did close up. At the time (I was about 8 years old) magic secrets were very hard to get. I don't think that my dad was happy that Celeste Evens showed me how to do this trick because my dad did it when he did close up.

I have seen my Dad perform this great trick many times for a room full of people. And yes Close up card magic by Harry Lorayne was one of the books my dad looked in (and read over and over again) to get great performing material for close up card magic. This was years before our magic shop years.

I posted this in the Genii forum a long time ago that my Dad thought that Harry Lorayne was the best entertaining magician with a deck of cards that he ever saw work and perform. I thought that was quite a statement because he knew Vernon, Scarne, Jack Pyle and many others.

I have seen Harry perform and do a several hour teach in and after seeing him in action - (after reading many of his books over the years) I agree with my Dad - Harry is the best in my opinion.

I also do and still do The Lazy Man's Card Trick and many Harry Lorayne routines - because they are great card tricks.

Thanks again Harry!

Just my opinion.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 4:13 pm
by Harry Lorayne
Mark: I'm not at all surprised re: the your Koran story.

I guess the answer to your "fast paced" question is to make your "natural style" WORK for and with the effect you're performing at that moment. I can't really teach the concept, 'cause I never think about it; I just do the damn thing. The entire point of my Lazy Man's Card Trick presentation is that I just finished doing an hour or more of magic, I'm tired, and am not particularly interested in impressing the late comer. And, I'm busy trying to make time with the (other) person to whom I'm talking. That's the premise; and I act accordingly.

Thank you Richard and Glenn: I blush! HARRY L.

Re: How to draw a crowd

Posted: November 10th, 2009, 9:04 pm
by Mark.Lewis
I shall make you blush even more. I am actually very good at making people see red. Not quite so good at making people go red. Let me get some practice in. I posted this somewhere else on another thread:
When performing I appear absent minded and incompetent yet everything is under control. And by disarming people and lowering the resentment factor I can garner very strong reactions. I manipulate the PEOPLE. Nobody describes what I am trying to say better than Vernon in his foreword to Harry Lorayne's first card book. He said regarding Harry's work "Onlookers are not aware what decision, what quickness of apprehension, what judgement and even knowledge of character, he employs when demonstrating some of his card effects"

This describes my approach EXACTLY. I have never seen Harry do card tricks but I can vouch for the wisdom of this philosophy.
THAT is the way to do card magic. Or any kind of close up magic for that matter.