David Alexander wrote:This is just another version of the art vs commerce argument with the artistes claiming authority over what is real or good while those who toil in the trenches actually doing the work are looked down upon for commercializing the art. It is a boring waste of time.
There are a few who combine both art and commerce and do it beautifully and successfully. Don Alan was one. His act is worthy of study and the Racherbaumer book on Dons work is a fine learning tool to study his approach, especially his superb timing.
I would value the opinion of several people named when discussing technique but would give their opinions far less credit when it came to presentation and entertainment value as they primarily entertained amateur magicians, not lay audiences.
The true skill of the magician lies in the creation of the illusion of magic in the mind of the spectator. How this is accomplished a well-disguised self-working effecta mechanical deckadvanced sleight-of-hand is far less important than the creation of the illusion (the effect) and the entertainment derived from the presentation.
I just wanted to add that I agree with this above post. It takes me back to the old magic shop days.
And remembering the conversation that I had with Ed Marlo on the subject and speaking of magic - Ed Marlo's argument in those days was correct.
The production of a big object or one from left field - it can be argued that the lay audience would not remember the four coins jumping in a matrix routine - or the three balls passing in the cups and balls and then the big balls are produced.
And I have had this kind of a conversation before with many magician artist - purest - sleight of hand artist in magic that seems to want to make a case out of it. Speaking from a pure magic point of view I would agree that Ed Marlo was correct in his opinion.
However being a friend of Don Alan and speaking from the larger show business point of view I would say that Don Alan was correct in his opinion. Watching him all those years - the big loads he did - that is what his audiences were talking about. Now to talk about Don Alan and Ed Marlo and their different points of view - both of them had their own way and their own success in magic.
Ed Marlo like to use a large mat and do the spreads with cards and could entertain with only one deck of cards. Don Alan used a small mat and lots of props - and several decks of cards in his show - many of them trick decks.
Marlo liked to do "magic". Don Alan said that he did "tricks".
Ed Marlo said to me that the big production of a coin in the matrix routine wasn't even a trick - if you want to do a trick with a big coin take a small coin and (spellbound) turn it into a big coin.
As I remember that is a strong argument!
However Don Alan worked for the same kind of clients that I wanted to work for in the lay audience. And being a fan of Malini like Don Alan was - I liked the reaction of the big load from left field.
Even when I have seen Ed Marlo perform magic for the lay audience and they liked what he did. He was a warm person that had humor and did some great card stuff. He was not working for the lay audience in the same way Don Alan was. I would have the opinion that Ed Marlo was not in the trenches in the same way or even as often as Don Alan was.
I credit Malini as being the magician that took the body loads of the stage magician and made them practical for what we call the close up magician of today. And if I may add that from the show business point of view - the larger market place. Don Alan (my dad, Jay Marshall) really knew and lived show business!
By the way - I know more ways than I need to - to force a card however when I do the card duck in my stand up show - I use a svengali deck. Just the same way I might use a duplicate card and force the card - for a show - when doing the card to matchbook.
I have had one or two purest magicians ask me - why would I use the svengali deck when I can force a card? I asked them why would I need to force a card? He answered then I can have the deck examined before I do the trick.
I asked - why would I need to have the deck examined?
(The old Al Baker line fits in here - why run when no one is chasing you!)
And it went on from there. I wish David was there to say - "The true skill of the magician lies in the creation of the illusion of magic in the mind of the spectator. How this is accomplished a well-disguised self-working effecta mechanical deckadvanced sleight-of-hand is far less important than the creation of the illusion (the effect) and the entertainment derived from the presentation."
Because forcing a card and doing skill or technical things in that kind of a show is not the goal. However entertaining the audience - was.
Just my opinion.