Best “Book Test”…

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dick Christian » March 21st, 2010, 12:26 pm

Travis,

Since I don't currently have Harkey & Anderson's "AH-HA" I am unable to confirm whether or not "Scatterbrained" is EXACTLY the book test that Tim Conover features in his performances or merely one of the several that are very similar to his. However, now that you have brought it to my attention I will certainly check it out both for my own information and for appropriate citation in my encyclopedia.

Thanks.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Don Hendrix » March 21st, 2010, 1:56 pm

Perhaps this has been mentioned before, but I peeled the Borders price tag off of a book and attached it to the cover on my Mother book test. This makes the book look more "real".

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dick Christian » March 24th, 2010, 6:34 am

In response to Traviss post I went back to the top of the thread to refresh my memory re: which of Tim Cononvers routines I had referred to. Although this thread deals with book tests Tims routine is more aptly described as a newspaper test -- a category that I consider a sub-set of book tests and that is the subject of its own chapter in the book Im compiling.

Im still trying to track down and acquire a copy of Harkey & Andersons AH-HA (which is apparently out of print) so that I can study the Scatterbrained effect Travis mentioned to see if it is the same as Tims. Meanwhile I can say Tims routine is similar to -- but not exactly the same as, and much better than -- Fogels Headline Hunter which, in turn is based on an earlier (but different) newspaper test of that name by Annemann (Jinx #151, December 1941).

For Don: the bookstore label bit is a nice added convincer and a ploy that I and others have used as well.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Eugene2 » April 15th, 2010, 11:17 pm

Harry Potter book test is most amazing seen by me.
Seven Books and movies too. Pendulum then he gets it.
Take long time but amazing.
Must be best one.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 15th, 2010, 11:43 pm

Have you guys seen the movie scene trivia card games?

Book tests ... became obsolete long ago. Who reads books?

Really. Did you read the books Jon R discusses in his column or the ones I cite when discussing other current topics that are affecting how people perceive magic? If you aren't reading what makes you think your audiences are any more erudite?

Soon... DVD tests - look in the chapter listing and pick a chapter. Imagine the first shot - and the ...

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Pete McCabe » April 16th, 2010, 10:08 am

Industry sources report that 3.1 billion books were sold in the U.S. in 2005. That's about ten books for every man, woman, and child in the country. I assume Jonathan was just being obtuse, but it's rare for him to be stupid.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dustin Stinett » April 16th, 2010, 10:31 am

Jonathan--as well as many others--often confuses "magicians" with "people."

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2010, 10:44 am

Industry sources report that 3.1 billion books were sold in the U.S. in 2005.

The term "industry sources" cued me that what followed was a joke, and it's now 2010 in case anyone's calendar is being nostaligac.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2010, 11:22 am

Book tests for the tween market. Artemis Fowl and the Old Mind Reader?
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dustin Stinett » April 16th, 2010, 12:27 pm

Okay Jonathan, will you take the word of a business analyst with access to the 2009 numbers?

In a recession year, overall book unit sales were down only 3% versus the prior year which is actually outperforming many other retail categories.

When eBooks are added to the mix, sales were statistically flat (a change of less than 0.5%).

Non-fiction is down while fiction is up versus 2008.

Adult book sales have a higher share and also outpaced childrens book sales (which includes your tweens).

Dollar sales are down in the low double digits; however that can be explained through more books being sold via discounters such as Amazon, Boarders, etc.

I am not at liberty to give actual unit or dollar sales figures, but Petes 2005 number is lower than the 2009 number, making his estimates understated and your comments having no basis in fact.

Dustin

(Source: Nielsen. Note that Wal-Mart, which makes up about 25 to 30% of the marketplace [depending on who you talk to], is not in the sample since they do not share their sales with syndicated data providers.)

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2010, 12:36 pm

Dustin, I've been doing research online for about an hour - and you know how the BBS closes posts so I decided to wait till I had some better numbers and questions. I got as far as some Publisher's Association stats for 2000-2008 online and a presentation for the 2009 numbers. The dollar figures reported from smaller outlets do seem to be trending lower ( and some closings of smaller B.N etc) but larger in the larger outlet venues like the B/N megastores that have coffee places and large kid/tween sections.

I visit bookstores on weekends during my rounds. I see what's on the shelves, remaindered, how prices are going up for the latest (or last) Harry Potter book etc.

I stand by my opinion that literacy is going way down, book reading is down and that book tests compared to DVD scene or movie trivia context is losing ground as we get closer to a visual/movie oriented culture as far as references.

The horse in the bourse took the course of least discourse. ;)

*data: http://www.publishers.org/main/PressCen ... in2009.htm

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dustin Stinett » April 16th, 2010, 1:11 pm

The numbers from small outlets dont seem to be dropping; they are. Its called channel shifting and its prevalent in virtually all retail categories. Not to mention that the number of independent booksellers closing shop over the last decade has contributed greatly to that decline (and it saddens meI love book stores; the smaller the better).

You will get no argument from me that there is a literacy problem in our society. Here in my office buildings library is a collection of management books that are nothing more than distilled regurgitations of the work of Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie (which is actually just a version of Hills book which was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie). They are thin books with large print and a lot of white spaceand theyre all bestsellers hyped by management. Quick, easy read is the mantra chanted around here, and I suspect this isnt the only place like that.

No one is more worried about the dumbing down of America than I am (and I have the reprimands from management herewho prefer not to be called on their errorsto prove it).

However, to malign a form of mentalism that gets great reactions when done well is a different issue and I think that you are blurring the lines. People do read; a lot of people. And even the dumb ones know what a book is.

Dustin

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Eugene2 » April 16th, 2010, 1:23 pm

Harry Potter has many books and movies like you said DVD's to get words from. She does it on the cellphone. No one to cheat. They are at home or somewhere.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2010, 1:50 pm

Dustin, folks

I like the basic idea of a book test - and even thought about getting some books bound to do Hofzinser's. I just feel that the "book" itself is becoming less common and suggested the cards from those movie trivia games and also the chapter contents listings from DVDs for more common sources of text that leads to images. From a stanza in a poem (Hofzinser) to a setting in a movie scene - just a shift in the most common source media IMHO.

:)

E*, not sure if the libraries of fictional characters can help us here. Harry is a male character by the way and not sure there's any cell phones in the stories.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2010, 1:55 pm

By the way, from history we know that lighting ones farts and regurgitation can get tremendous career enhancing reactions when performed - so let's leave off any 'sufficiently advanced entertainer can read the phone book and get a standing ovation' distractions. The average citizen is not doing too much serious reading and carrying books around is looking stranger every day IMHO.

**update** any way to use MOAB on a Barron's type tax book?
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Reason: I wish TV guide were still suitable for...
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2010, 1:56 pm

How about an eBook test where you let them scroll down to somewhere in an ebook? A rigged reader might hide some bold methods. :)
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dustin Stinett » April 16th, 2010, 3:26 pm

And I think therein lies the rub: I believe people will think "rigged computer" (or "special application") long before they think "rigged book." And, given the many fine methods using real books, "rigged" becomes a non-issue. Now a method using borrowed eBook reader could prove effective, particularly as they become more common.

Oh, and Jonathan, books a far from "uncommon." Though I suppose one day the moment from The Time Machine where Wells runs his hands through the shelf of deteriorating books may happen. Thank goodness I wont be around to see it.

Dustin

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Pete McCabe » April 16th, 2010, 3:30 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:A rigged reader might hide some bold methods. :)


Even if it mightn't, that's the first thing the audience will think.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby David Devlin » June 8th, 2010, 9:11 am

In the 36th issue of SYZYGY and on SYZYGY's Best Vol 2 video there is an effect by Ty Kralin called, "Whenever-Anywhere". It basically gives you an impromtu MOAB. It is great because you can use nearly any book, which may be borrowed. They can't look through the book and pick any word, but in this routine it is a small point as they will be left with the impression that they could have picked any word. Also, you can do it without a book, which would make it more condusive to restaurant work. I do not recommend doing it without a book, but it can be done that way.

Note: While I recommend the book SYZYGY The First Five Volumes to every mentalist, I prefer the handling of Whenever-Anywhere on the SYZYGY video. It is the same method, but the handling is more streamlined. Nothing is written down, the spectator only calls out "stop" as the pages are riffeled once, etc.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby David Alexander » June 8th, 2010, 9:56 am

Irv Weiner sold his "Anywhere, Anytime, Any Book" book test for the whopping price of $50 some years back. He did it as part of his "Mr. Fingers" college show. He taught the presentation and timing as well as the secret part. It was worth the money. I'd rank it with the Chan Canasta Book Test.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby John Archer » June 11th, 2010, 2:11 pm

I may have a new one coming out soon... Hopefully before books vanish. ;-)

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dick Christian » June 11th, 2010, 5:57 pm

John,

Despite dire predictions to the contrary I don't think we need to worry about books "vanishing" in our lifetime.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 11th, 2010, 7:27 pm

I think that depends on your age.

Do I believe that 30 years from now you will be able to walk into a bookstore that is full of printed books? No. You can see this scenario coming from miles away.

You will be able to walk into a shop that does print-on-demand and has no inventory other than the electronic files from which it prints the books.

That's it.

Just as magic shops are vanishing around the world, so are the stores that sell CDs and DVDs. The number of independent music and movie stores has dwindled to almost nothing. Even the big stores are teetering. If you don't think the same thing is happening to books, well ... it already has.

The internet and electronic technology have changed the world. It's only going to accelerate.

So drop your Crocs and grab your socks ... and get to that local bookstore if it still exists in your town. Buy a book while you still can.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby John Archer » June 12th, 2010, 6:47 am

You are not often right Richard... Other than the June cover obviously. ;-) But on this occasion yet again... I feel you are right.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby John Archer » July 8th, 2010, 5:57 am

Did I mention that Streetwise is now out?

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » July 27th, 2010, 10:52 am

Bradbury could not have imagined this. I love books and can't imagine a world where they don't exist. There is tactile experience to holding a book, opening it up and reading it, that electronic print will never produce. There is a story I tell at the begining of the book test I present. Because I feared physical touch or interaction with others, I would hide in the library. It's true, the library was the Hunt's public library in Fullerton, California. It was beautiful, with enclosed gardens where you take a book out to read in natural light.

I think a familiarity with books is important to the presentation of a book test. I understand the lack of knowledge regarding the contents of book implies that the knowledge of the word gained is psychic in nature. But, people do equate mentalist with intellectual (they're in for a shock), that or idiot savant. Which would you rather play?

I use the "Mother of all Book Tests" and several books I know well. One on astronomy, Japanese swords, Poe's complete works...so that anyone could open to a page and I would be able to talk intelligently about the contents. The test is a demonstration of eidetic memory but not so well defined as to eliminate the mystical.

Any book test would benefit from a "love of books" because it's a better fit for a mentalist than pulling out a bunch of dusty old props.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby J ack Galloway » July 27th, 2010, 6:13 pm

I have read many of the posts in this thread.
(Did not at first for I knew it would be a true chore).

Do you guys really not know what a book test was and should be?

This is what comes of magicians thinking they can do mentalism.


J ack
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 28th, 2010, 8:52 am

Jonathan, that very notion of "dust" has its own appeal if you look in Philip Pullman's books. It's what happens when mind touches matter. ;)

J ack - maybe if someone explained it to them in terms of magic catalogs?

hey wait a sec - now that might be a fun book test prop - an old Tannen's type magic catalog. :D

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Spellbinder » July 28th, 2010, 9:37 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:I think that depends on your age.

You will be able to walk into a shop that does print-on-demand and has no inventory other than the electronic files from which it prints the books.


The vision is a little flawed. Where are the little shops that used to sell Videotapes and DVDs? Even the great BlockBuster is busted.

You will not walk into a little shop any more than you walk into Amazon.com. You won't ask for printed books but for downloads to your electronic reader. You don't even have to wait 30 years for this future to become a reality. It's here now.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 28th, 2010, 1:28 pm

See how quickly things change in the course of only a few weeks!
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby J ack Galloway » July 28th, 2010, 2:08 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Jonathan, that very notion of "dust" has its own appeal if you look in Philip Pullman's books. It's what happens when mind touches matter. ;)

J ack - maybe if someone explained it to them in terms of magic catalogs?

hey wait a sec - now that might be a fun book test prop - an old Tannen's type magic catalog. :D


Thanks, for the smile Jonathan.

Best Wishes,

J ack

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dick Christian » July 29th, 2010, 2:14 am

J ack Galloway wrote:I have read many of the posts in this thread.
(Did not at first for I knew it would be a true chore).

Do you guys really not know what a book test was and should be?

This is what comes of magicians thinking they can do mentalism.


J ack




Jack,

Having been collecting them for more than 30 years and seriously researching the genre for more than 7 I think I have a fair understanding of the subject. So your point is . . . ?
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » July 29th, 2010, 4:42 am

It would be a wonderful image, blowing the dust off the pile of old books used in the test. In the film "The Ninth Gate" a Spanish rare-book-seller drops cigarette ash on a necronomicon, coughs and brushes it off. I always thought that was nice touch considering the "dangerous" text.

Richard knows what it means to watch books lose their appeal in the eyes of the general public. I am sure it pains him. Today I spent several hours in Aladdin
Books in Fullerton CA. It's been around for years (and in my home town). A great collection of magic books. I thought about this thread. The book store has been moved to warehouse, and opens by appointment only. If you ever get to SoCal, look it up. It's worth the trip.

I have always hated the in-fighting between magical styles. The craft of mentalism is, in a large part, acting. Both Orson Welles and Harry Anderson were drawn to mentalism for that reason. When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Welles said, "as a magician." Harry's resume' needs no qualification. A magician can understand perfectly the essence of mentalism just as an actor can play a great magician. Craft is craft and I am tired of "one true form" mentality.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby mrgoat » July 29th, 2010, 6:46 am

utherswift wrote:It would be a wonderful image, blowing the dust off the pile of old books used in the test.


On stage, wouldn't that just look like a stage hand had put some 'fake dust' on a pile of books?

If someone was in your home and it happened, cool. But on stage, it would seem convoluted an cheesy to me.

utherswift wrote: The craft of mentalism is, in a large part, acting.


Isn't all magic, in a large part, acting? 99% presentation, 1% method?

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » July 29th, 2010, 10:38 am

Formulas? No piece of magic can be reduced to an equation, as much as I love equations. There is a fundemental difference between mentalism and magic, the "what if it is real?" quality. An illusionist's (I know a little about this) strong stage persona will almost always be seen as a theatrical affectation. A mentalist will be seen as "real" and therein lies the rub. Spencer Tracy was a great actor because he was so natural. When young actors asked him for advice on acting, he would say, "never get caught doing it." And he didn't. There is a great shot of Tracy and Clark Gable in the "San Francisco" film. Tracy is looking straight ahead and Gable is looking at Tracy. The expression on Gable's face is like, "How the f--- is he doing that?" Being completely natural and effective on stage is very difficult.

Some magicians will tell you that a manipulator can get by on skill of hand alone, I think that argument is nuts. The first time I saw Fred Kaps perform was at "It's Magic." It was while I was in theater school at UCI. I watched him and thought, "How the f--- is he doing that," and I don't mean the tricks. I also saw Fogel present his Russian Roulette and it was terrifying because it looked real. The only "move" was fast and simple compared to what Kaps was doing. All the skill was in the set-up, the narrative. No equations.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 29th, 2010, 10:58 am

Is this about effective performance? It's all about getting something across to the audience. From the introduction, the music, the lighting, how you walk on stage, what happens when the performer acknowleges the audience... and somewhere in there, behind the scenes is the base mechanics used to make what is not appear to be.

If it weren't method it would be some sort of rote process - with performers indistinquishable from the "audio animatronic" Disney mechanicals.

JPendragon's assesment - that the character of a mentalist is distinct from that of a magician gets to the heart of why mental magic seems strange in some ways. IMHO from the audience perspective the magician claims to be "one of us" while the mentalist's character leaves that matter in doubt.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Dick Christian » July 29th, 2010, 11:47 am

Silly me. I thought this thread was about book tests. Guess I should stop reading the headings. Too misleading.
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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby mrgoat » July 29th, 2010, 12:12 pm

utherswift wrote:Formulas? No piece of magic can be reduced to an equation, as much as I love equations.


OK, put the semantics of the numbers to one side. The *point* in all magic the performance/acting is more important than the trick.

utherswift wrote:There is a fundemental difference between mentalism and magic, the "what if it is real?" quality.


Interesting.

In my ambitious card, it is presented as a lesson in a trick, and for the climax the spectator does it, in their own hands, and it works. *Many* times spectators at the end of the trick ask if they can do it again as they believe it was real.

In my floating bill my patter, as with many other people, is about static electricity making the bill float. *Many many* people try to do it themselves afterwards. They believed it was real.

I strive in my presentations of close up magic to get my audience to think - if only for a split second - that what they just saw really happened. That is was real magic.

With my mind reading I categorically state it isn't real each and every time.

utherswift wrote:Being completely natural and effective on stage is very difficult.


I acted from the age of 5. I find it very easy. I guess it depends on your background.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » July 29th, 2010, 1:52 pm

Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it aint, that's logic.

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Re: Best “Book Test”…

Postby Gregory Edmonds » July 29th, 2010, 4:30 pm

My own "Triple Threat Booktest" was endorsed by many of mentalism's luminaries, and can be performed with books published in any language.

The routine was published in my MindSet #1 instruction book.

While the MindSet packages (with props) are no longer available, except at the occasional online or live auction, I do still have a few of the instruction books mentioned. The booklet contains all you need to create your "Triple Threat" books.

Gerry McCambridge (it's been so long, I can't recall the spelling of Gerry's name, so please accept my apologies), performed the effect, as written, on national television here in The States.

If you're interested in learning the routine, a few of the instruction books remain in storage. They're available for $20, postpaid - submit payment to ClientServices@ArsPraestigium.com.
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