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Topic: Magic books & Videos for beginners
Message: Posted by: LeConte (Jan 6, 2003 07:57PM)
What are the best books and videos for a beginner?

Please add to this new sticky thread so that everyone who reads it can benefit from your ideas and input. If possible it would be helpful if you could list the particular strengths of the book or video that you are posting about. Why is it so important for a beginner? What can be learned from the material?

A general consensus is often hard to reach when the discussion involves topics such as,
“What is the best book or video for someone to purchase when starting out in cards or coins?”

As far as books are concerned, a mutual agreement amongst the fine practitioners of our art seems to have been reached about the following works and their importance to the beginners library and all of these really should be required purchases. These books are Hall of Fame classics!! There is little to debate about the merits of these particular works.

[b]Card Magic:[/b]
[i]The Royal Road To Card Magic[/i] by Hugard & Braue
[i]Card College[/i] 1-4 by Robert Giobbi

[b]Coin Magic:[/b]
[i]NEW Modern Coin Magic[/i] by J.B.Bobo

[b]General Magic:[/b]
[i]Complete Course in Magic[/i] by Mark Wilson
[i]Tarbell Course in Magic[/i] 1-8

The best videos for beginners is a great debate in and of itself. Here are some of my picks in no particular order except for the Ammar series being number one. I hope that other members of the Café will post with additional information on their favorite instuctional videos.

1) [i]Ammar’s Easy To Master Card Miracles[/i] Volumes 1-6:

Volume 2 receives the greatest praise. These videos contain demonstrations of some of magic’s finest card tricks, that are all within the grasp of a beginner. All 6 volumes are now out on DVD.

2) Gregory Wilson's [i]Double Take[/i] (VHS):
The best way for anyone to learn DL’s is with this video that is only available on VHS right now.

(3) [i]Daryl’s Encyclopedia of Card Sleights[/i] 1-8
This set costs a lot but it has helped me more than any other videos that I own. This is a great visual reference for learning sleights. Daryl does not go into much detail about each sleight, but the basics are covered. I find it helpful to read about a sleight then reference it on the DVD so that I can watch it. I do wish the set was cheaper, so that more people could enjoy the benefits of owning such a collection. I watch these all the time, but I do agree, the cost is high.

4) [i]Daryl's Ambitious Card Video:[/i]
Awesome for learning the Ambitious Card Routine, which is something that most card workers try to learn. Many people new to magic buy this after a couple of months of study. I’ve only been into magic for about 4 months and I can recommend this for a beginner once you have the basics down.

Coins: I am not a coin guy, so here is where some good feedback is needed. There is a great new sticky thread on the "Show me the money" forum with a wealth of information. We are also lucky at the Café to have some incredible coin workers who are also frequent posters.

See Dan Watkin’s excellent site: http://www.coinvanish.com

Here are some good videos to get you started that most coin workers seem to recommend:

1)[i]Introduction to Coin Magic[/i] by Michael Ammar: this has a ton of sleight of hand moves and a couple of routines.

2) [i]Easy to Master Money Miracles[/i] 1-3, Michael Ammar: mainly routines, he assumes you already know the basic sleights.

3) David Roth's [i]Expert Coin Magic Made Easy[/i] Volumes 1, 2 and 3

Please add to this thread as you see fit. There are many more books and videos available to help newcomers to our craft that need to be discussed in a sticky post such as this. Everything from timeless classics to modern works.There are many treasures in our art, as there always will be, for the new student to seek the rewards of their riches!Thank you for your time in both reading and adding to the list!
Message: Posted by: Terry (Jan 6, 2003 09:17PM)
As being new to magic, I own most of the material you mention above, and some advanced stuff.
I am very happy with my humble library, and am attempting to master the basics.
I think they will provide a lifetime of learning.

Thanks for the thread.

Terry
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 6, 2003 10:01PM)
There are three parts to magic and each must be understood to do well:
[list]
[*] 1. The Technical (How-to)
[*] 2. The Theatrical (Presentation and Showmanship)
[*] 3. The Business (Publicity, Advertising, and Selling Yourself)
[/list]
Much of these three parts are covered by the many topics located on the Magic Café.

Because the mind works differently for each person, some learn best visually, while others need detail such as what is written in books. Both are necessary for most magicians. The following Books and VHS Tapes top my personal list of items to have in a magic collection.

If one is fortunate and can find a private tutor, learning increases at a much faster pace.

A Beginner needs to know the the basics of cards, coins, and stage magic and the Jeff McBride DVDs and VHS tapes cover them.

Once established as a magician the beginner will need to know how to perform magic anywhere anytime when asked. The Idiot/Dummy guides as well as Mark Wilson's Magic, or Encylopidia Guide to Impromptu Magic will do the trick. (pun intended)

[list]
Cards, Coins and Stage Magic
[*] Jeff McBride Art of Card Manipulation 3-DVD Set
[*] Jeff McBride World Class Manipulation Video Set Vol. 1-3
[*] McBride Magic On Stage - 3 DVD Set

General Magic Books
[*] Magic for Dummies (Excellent Overall Information)
[*] Complete Idiots Guide to Magic Tricks (Excellent Overall Information)
[*] Encylopedia of Impromptu Magic. (Excellent Quick Anywhere Magic)
[*] Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson (Best Overall One book Magic)
[*] Tarbell Course in Magic 1-8 (Best Overall Series)
[*] Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic (Best Coin Magic)

For Kid Shows: Books
[*] Birthday Magician's Handbook by David Fiscus (Business Stuff Included)
[*] Kidbiz by David Ginn (The Required Funny Stuff)
[*] Professional Magic for Children by David Ginn (Routines)
[*] The Bobo Magic Show by BoBo (Routines)
[*] Safety Magic for Children by Karl Wagner (Theme Magic-Optional)
[*] Seriously Sill by David Kaye (2006 book)

Showmanship and Presentation
[*] Showmanship for Magicians by Fitzkee
[*] Magic and Showmansip by Henny Nelms
[*] Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz

Comedy Writing
[*] Step by Step to Stand up Comedy by Greg Dean
[/list]


There are many more good DVDs and VHS Tapes to enchance your abilities and performce, such as anything by Michael Ammar or Patick Page.

It is better to learn and do very well only three good tricks with cards, coins, and stage magic, (9 total) then a ton of magic tricks.

It won't be long before a character style will emerge and you'll want to do more. Focus on that with three additional well done and presented effects.
Message: Posted by: Hernan (Jan 6, 2003 11:31PM)
I vote for Magic for Dummies and Complete Idiots guide to magic tricks.
Both books focus on entertaining with magic immediately. They are a gold mine for learning skills in entertaining a crowd. With an introduction to misdirection, patter and presentation.

Most of the time tested and extremely good books recommended by most magicians, merely teach you the "skills".

And I wonder sometimes. Would Magic be more popular to audiences if magicians were taught showmanship BEFORE they were taught skills?
Movie's, Plays/theater, Television, are (with Magic) eqaully illusions. They are not "reality".

And yet these entertainments do not have somebody on thier right "Burning" their hand(burning your hand means watching your hand closely during slieght of hand feats). People are more willing to be "Fooled" by television. That is sad commentary on the people who went before us.

Along with the 2 books "idiots" and "dummies",
I strongly recommend picking up a "Skills" book such as Amateur Magicians Handbook or Mark Wilsons course in Magic.
don't learn showmanship without also learning the core skills of our art.

For videos I have another controversial recommendation. I bought one or two beginners videos. And they are good if you have $30 to dispose of learning tricks you will read in a book.
But there are 2 videos centered around specific tricks that will teach you every basic skill and sparkle you will need to know. From my point of view they are the best beginner videos even though you will not be performing the "trick" anytime soon.

"The complete Cups and Balls Volume 1" by M.
Ammar.if you have the cash buy the whole set. In this video is vanish's, switchs,
productions, routining, patter, presentation.


Earplugs by Sankey.
In this video is vanish's, switchs,
productions, routining, patter, presentation.




Go out there and drop some jaws.
Message: Posted by: Jim Morton (Jan 8, 2003 12:16PM)
Good choices so far! I'll add a couple books that are all too often overlooked by people. One is out of print, the other is back in print. Both are fairly easy to find in used bookstores though.

[i]Magic with Cards[/i], by Garcia and Schindler.
This is an amazing little volume. It covers all the basics, key cards, spelling effects, mathematical principles, and Si Stebbins. The Si Stebbins section is worth the price of the book (which is cheap--$15).

[i]Magic Digest[/i] by George B. Anderson. I would recommend this stunning book over Mark Wilson's any day. For one thing, it doesn't just teach the effects, it tells you who created them (when that is known) and gives lots of historical info as well. It also contains a section that refers the beginner to other books if they are interested in continuing their magic studies. You can find this at used bookstores for around $15, or less.

Also worth owning:

[i]The Magic Book[/i] by Harry Lorayne.
Oringally inteneded for the lay audience. This is an excellent book. One of the effects in the book is the basis for a magic trick that would cost you $250 if you purchased it.

The Karl Fulves "Self-Working" series. This series of books by Dover is the cheapest and easiest way to build up a library of useful effects and (more importantly, IMO) useful general knowledge of basic magic principles. The titles may put a lot of people off, but they are filled with good--sometimes great--effects (like the now classic Gemini Twins in [i]More Self Working Card Tricks[/i]).

[i]Encycplopedia of Card Magic[/i] edited by Jean Hugard. Okay this one is kind of a hodge-podge, but it's a great reference for most of the principles of card magic, includinog lots of useful info on gaffed decks.

As for videos, I still think that if you only bought the Johnny Thompson Commercial Classics of Magic series, and learned everything on them, you'd be set for life.

On the subject of improving your presentation, I agree with Den Dowhy's choices completely. I would add Jamy Ian Swiss's [i]Shattering Illusions[/i] to the list.

Jim Morton
Message: Posted by: Bigmagictrout (Jan 8, 2003 02:36PM)
The Card College series is a little expensive, but it's a must for beginners. Almost everything is in this book. If you can afford it, go for it :smiletear:
Message: Posted by: AndrewG (Jan 10, 2003 02:22AM)
I own several Brad Burt videos which seem to be a good value.

Best as an addition to a good good book
Message: Posted by: LeConte (Jan 13, 2003 02:26AM)
[b]Reviewed
Michael Ammar: Easy To Master Card Miracles Vol 1[/b]

[i]Price[/i]: Around $30
[i]Format reviewed[/i]: DVD (also available on VHS)
[i]Publisher[/i]: L&L
[i]Running time[/i]: 75 minutes
[i]Number of tricks taught[/i]: 10
[i]Number of sleights taught[/i]: 12
[i]Original date of publish[/i]: 1994
[i]Difficulty[/i]: a reasonable mixture of fairly easy card tricks ranging from self-working to slightly more difficult effects that require mastery of a few basic sleights (one trick requires a palm). As always hours of practice makes perfect but most of these card miracles are simple enough to allow you to concentrate on your patter and presentation rather than any physical demands.


[b]Final Rating[/b]: 8 out of 10

Michael Ammar’s Easy To Master Card Miracles is often hailed as the best video starting point for a beginner to properly learn some of magic’s great card tricks. I will post my reviews of each of the first three volumes since those are the only ones available at this time on DVD format. Perhaps volumes 3-6 will make their way on to DVD by this spring if all goes well.

The series does have a slightly dated look as we enter 2003. Released in 1994, the hair styles and manner of dress might evoke a chuckle or two. Ammar introduces the video series excited somewhat, obviously proud of his offering and with good reason. Hundreds of cards tricks were researched by Mr. Ammar and he hand selected what he felt were the best effects for new students of card magic to learn. To quote, “these are simple yet powerful effects, material easy enough for a beginner, yet also strong enough to be included in any professional repertoire”.
He continues. “You will only need a small handful of these effects from this series and you will be able to astonish people”. These are confident claims that Mr.Ammar indeed delivers! If you decide to purchase these tapes (or DVD's) you will find that they do contain some of the finest card magic that the beginning student can aspire to learn.

The tricks are broken into small performance segments that are essentially two or three effects that seem to work well together. These are shot with Ammar surrounded at a small card table (he is standing) with 4-7 spectators. Obviously these are all close up card tricks that must have good angles because of the proximity of the audience. After the short performance segment the explanation follows. Mr Ammar speaks slowly, clearly and concisely. His words are simple and direct. There is nothing superfluous during the explanation phase of the tape. I believe his instruction to be clear enough for his tapes to be enjoyed by all, including magicians whose native tongue might not be English.

[b]1) 8 Card Brainwave[/b] (Nick Trost)
8 cards are removed from the magicians pocket to conduct an experiment and shown face up. A spectator freely selects one of the cards and it is placed onto the table. The magician then, in an elegant manner, shows the remaining cards to all, have red backs and tables them one at a time. After cleanly showing the seven cards, the original selection by the spectator is flipped over and revealed to be the only card in the group with a blue back!

[i]Sleight learned[/i]: Olram Subtlety
This is pretty much a self working sleight and Ammar gives great instruction for learning this creation of Ed Marlo (Olram = Marlo spelled backwards). This is a nice routine and uses ordinary cards to achieve it’s startling conclusion. You can do this one right away and it's perfect for jumping into the waters of card magic. An excellent choice to start the series with!

[b]2) Red Hot Mama[/b] also known as [b]The Chicago Opener[/b] (Leech, Everhart, Ryan)
Considered by many to be one of the greatest tricks in all of card magic, yet simple enough for a beginner to learn and perhaps master in a relatively short amount of time. A card is freely selected by the spectator from a blue backed deck and then returned/lost to the center of the deck. Remember the cards are clearly shown to have the same colored back (blue in this case) when the spectator selects their card. When the deck is then spread (after the magic of course) one card is revealed to be in the center of the deck with an odd colored back, in this case a red back. The contrast is very strong! The red backed card is turned over and revealed to be the spectators freely selected card. This red backed card is tabled in front of the spectator. The magician attempts to repeat the feat one more time. Again the spectator is asked to freely select a new card. The deck is squared up and then spread, but this time the magician, after a wave of his or her hand, fails to produce a red backed card in the middle of the deck. It would appear that the trick is a bust, when attention returns to the red backed card on the table that has remained in view the whole time. The one and only red card, the card that previously had been revealed to be the spectators first selection, is flipped over and incredibly has now become the newly selected card!

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]: Dai Vernon’s Double Lift & The Hindu Shuffle Force
The instruction for the double lift are very poor in my opinion. Almost no real detail is given by Mr. Ammar, which is surprising considering the relative importance of this sleight in performing a variety of card tricks. The working of this sleight are not detailed, nor the subtle mechanics of the replacement of the double. This is one of my main points of criticism of the ETMCM Volume

1. This sleight needs much more attention. The Hindu Shuffle Force is, however, well taught (it’s pretty easy after all) and Ammar’s instruction are easy to follow on this clever little force.

[b]3) Acrobatic Aces[/b] (Braue/Forton)
This is a nice little 4 ace routine and quite clever, well within the reach of a total newcomer to card magic. The magician asks four spectators to each pick a card in an attempt to select the four aces. They of course all fail to pick an ace and the random cards are returned to the deck. The magician then takes the four cards face down from the deck and tables 3 of them in a face-down fan. The fourth card that had been selected by one of the spectators is now held face-up in the magician’s hand and is used to scoop the 3 packet assembly into the air, which remains nicely balanced on the card. With a quick wrist motion the cards are flipped over in a blur and land on the table to reveal themselves to be the four Aces including the one card that had been held face up in the magician’s hand just seconds before!

[i]Sleight Learned[/i]: Braue Add-On
Easy to learn sleight so it’s well covered.

[b]4) The Secret To A Perfect Royal Flush[/b] (no credits)
Gambling routines are an important aspect of card magic, so it is only fitting that Ammar would include a nice and easy trick on Volume 1. Some practitioners of our fine craft do not enjoy these particular types of routines very much, so this might not be everyones favorite trick, but it is still a nice introduction to this type of card magic. This is a basic presentation of a magician dealing himself a royal flush in spades. This is done by first clearly demonstrating how a false bottom deal can be used. The magician then proceeds to deal five hands of poker with his hand containing the aces of course. The five poker hands are squared up onto the deck. five more hands of poker are dealt, this time cleanly from the top of the deck. The result is a royal flush for the card handler.

If you throw in some false cuts and shuffles (which are not taught on the video) then you have a great routine here. Ammar, like always, keeps things nice and easy for the beginning student. He does make a special mention of Harry Lorayne’s fine version of this classic gambling routine. This version in particular is found in The Royal Road To Card Magic.

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]: none, just patter and presentation

[b]5) Triumph[/b] (Dai Vernon)
Yet again, another one of the most highly regarded card tricks in all of card magic makes an appearance in Volume 1. Dai Vernon’s Triumph is a true classic of modern magic and has spawned countless variations of it’s themes. Ammar teaches the original version taught by Mr. Vernon and tells a story about some time he spent personally with the “professor” himself. The spectator selects a card and it is returned to the center of the deck. The magician cuts the cards and turns over one of the halves so that it is face-up. The magician then proceeds to shuffle the cards into each other in a convincing manner, at which point they are ribbon spread onto the table, clearly shown to be interlaced and indeed about to be mixed up thoroughly, half face-up into half face-down. The shuffle is completed and the cards are squared. The performer proceeds to cut into the deck several times to show that the cards are truly mixed up every which way, some face-up and some face-down. Magic words follow or perhaps a magical wave of the hand, regardless, the deck is flipped over and spread onto the table to reveal that the cards are all now magically facing one direction (face-down) with the exception of one card, and one card only, in the middle of the deck. The card is of course the spectator's original selection that had been previously lost into the deck.

This is a tremendous effect and one that most card handlers attempt to master. Ammar’s performance is a bit stiff, and I don’t find his shuffle in the performance to look particularly convincing, however, the trick is well taught and every aspect of the basics is covered. With practice this routine will astound your audience and seem like “real” magic.

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]: Triumph Shuffle
Well taught but somewhat stiff in the live performance. Maybe others will have differing opinions, but I have seen other magicians perform this shuffle and have it look a lot smoother. Ammar does teach it just fine, so get to practicing!

[b]6) Further Than That[/b] (Stewart James)
This is practically a self working card trick. The effect is easy to follow. The spectator is asked to pick a number between 10-20 (hey, it’s for beginners remember, no laughing) and then using that number a random card is chosen (yea right). The magician, being careful not to see the card himself (or herself), reveals it to the spectators to be the ace of spades. The card is lost into the deck. Now the magic begins. The cards themselves appear to communicate to the magician the identity of the chosen card as he holds the deck close to his ear. The magician tells the audience that the selected card is the ace of spades and that many tricks might stop there, but not this one, “it goes further then that.” Since the selection was the ace of spades, the magician deals out the letters to spell “ace of spades” all face down. The first three cards (spelling ace) are turned over to reveal the AC, AH, AD. The cards spelling spades are turned over next to reveal a straight flush. Again the magician states that many tricks might end here, but not this one, once again, “it goes further then that.” The final revelation is a royal flush which is dealt out containing the ace of spades.

All in all this would never be considered strong card magic, but one must remember the context of this first volume of Ammar’s ETMCM. This trick is specifically on this tape for someone who is completely new to the art and this effect is self working

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]:
10/20 Force: is simple to learn and put into use

[b]7) Las Vegas Leaper[/b] (Paul Harris)
Here we have the first semi-advanced trick in the series. The magician starts by demonstrating how cards are counted in Las Vegas with a small packet. This packet is handed to a spectator who is told to finish counting off the cards which in this case equals ten. The spectator then sits on the cards! The magician proceeds to vanish in a clear and clean manner 3 cards from the deck. The last card to vanish is clearly named to the audience and in this particular performance is a 2C. The cards are then removed from under the tush of the spectator and counted out to now total 13 cards. The 2C is clearly shown to among them, having indeed traveled over! The spectator is next asked to hold the cards close to their chest so the magician can in no way get to the cards. Once more the magician is able, under great scrutiny, to send three cards to the spectator's tightly held card packet, which again is counted to now reveal 16 cards!

This is an incredible trick that can play huge to an audience. It is also the first semi-advanced trick in the series, but it is well worth learning. The palm is an important sleight to master and is often intimidating for the novice, but the misdirection taught in this card trick makes it fairly easy to pull off with confidence. The effect can be a center piece type of trick in most young magician’s routines. Bill Malone has a tremendous version of this Paul Harris classic (which is originally found in the amazing Art of Astonishment Vol 1) on his On The Lose DVD set.

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]:
Biddle Steal
2 as 3 False Count
Tent Vanish
Simple Palm
A nice assortment of sleights are all well taught by Ammar for this trick.

[b]8) Cannibal Cards[/b] (Lin Searles)
The 4 Kings are removed from the deck by the magician and three spectators each chose a card from the remaining portion of the deck. The three selections are placed face-up on the deck. Now here is where the trick gets interesting. The first spectator selected card is placed into the packet of Kings. When they are squared up and flipped over and then cleanly spread out, the card is no longer seen, it has been eaten by the
“Cannibal Kings”. The next card is placed into the Kings without delay and once again after spreading the card packet, the spectator’s card is found to be missing. The final card meets the same fate as the first two and disappears. Now that the 3 selections have vanished, the magician clearly counts off the four Kings one by one to show that the spectators cards have truly vanished and places the Kings on top of the deck. The magician states that now the
“Cannibal Kings” will eat themselves. One by one the First 3 Kings disappear as the magician cleanly flips them over from the top of the deck. The last King is cut into the deck and in one quick motion the deck is spread revealing in it’s center the 4 Kings with the spectators original three selected cards sandwiched between them.

This is a great trick and is somewhat fun to perform. The audience laughs a good bit while Ammar performs the effect. There are many variations of this card classic and Eugene Burger has a great one. This card trick is a little harder to master than some of the other tricks so far.

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]: Ascanio Spread
This is taught very well by Mr. Ammar. No problems here.

[b]9) A Night At the Improv[/b] (Eric Mead)
This is a story trick along the lines of the classic Sam the Bellhop (which rocks and Bill Malone’s handling is highly regarded), but much more watered down. No false cuts, false shuffles or false anything’s are taught. I don’t really care for this trick, but this is a beginners series and a routine such as Sam the Bellhop would be quite difficult to master (see Malone’s On The Loose Volume 1 for the routine). The effect is simple as the magician basically tells a story using the cards, which are turned over one by one from a face down deck. With enough thought and practice you could come up with your own story using a stacked deck that could potentially suit your needs far better than what is taught here.

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]: none, all patter here

[b]10) The Insurance Policy[/b] (Tommy Windsor)
Every video in the series contain one so called bonus effect and the gimmick or prop is supplied. In volume one’s case the trick is an old standby of card magic. The effect is very simple. The spectator is allowed to select a card by cutting the deck and then shown the card. The cards are then squared up and the magician attempts without success to name the selected card. He or she repeatedly fails to name the card and the trick appears to have gone awry. The magician explains that he has an insurance policy in case this happens and produces a folded piece of paper from his coat pocket. The policy essentially unfolds to reveal the spectators chosen card, which is printed quite largely on one side of the “policy”.

Once again this trick is not my cup of tea, but this a great trick for someone who is utterly and completely new to magic. It is pretty easy to perform and introduces the concept of time misdirection quite well, so it is important to understand the inner working of this old effect. This is not something that will appear in any professional repertoire in my humble opinion because it feels like it came from some cheap magic set. Also, there are a multitude of better ways to reveal a card, but they will be learned latter in the series. Hey it’s only the first volume so far, and I understand why this effect was included on the series.

[i]Sleights Learned[/i]: The Criss-Cross Force
Once again well taught by Ammar. One of the most basic forces in magic, so it is appropriate to be taught here on the first volume of the ETMCM series.

Well there you have it. Volume 1 serves the young card worker well and it makes a clear introduction to the format that the remainder of the series is to follow. The variety and careful selection of each card trick is for the most part outstanding. From this volume alone I feel that most will agree these 3 tricks are keepers for the beginner.

1) 8 Card Brainwave
2) Red Hot Mama
3) Triumph

I like the fact that Ammar also includes a more advanced trick in Las Vegas Leaper on the first volume as well. Palming is an important aspect of card magic and Ammar does not shy away from teaching a trick that employs this sleight. There are effects to grow into, kinda like clothes that are too large for you when you get them. The complete beginner can master all of this stuff in due time and I like that. The difficulty slowly ramps up from when you first learn the Olram Subtlety. Once the final volumes (4-6) are released on DVD format, you will have no excuse not to pick up the whole series.

This is not the strongest volume of the series but it serves as an excellent introduction to card magic. Some of the material might be viewed as old or outdated by some, but please remember that this series is designed for the sole purpose of being viewed by someone who is new to magic. Some people will not enjoy Ammar’s patter and nervous laughter that is exhibited at times, but the focus here is ultimately the tricks themselves, and you should not strive to copy Mr. Ammar’s presentation anyway.

The magic of volume 1 is sound and practical. My final score is a solid 8 out of ten and yes there are better volumes in the series. I am not pleased with the lack of descriptions for the ever important double lift, as I feel that the first volume in the series must properly teach this incredibly important sleight. The explanations are clear and simple for the other sleights however, so you won’t be disappointed. This video is highly recommended for any beginner to magic who is looking to learn some good tricks from a source other than a book. This is a great place to start.

In due time I will continue to review many more videos and books for beginners and post them (my review of volume 2 is next) to this thread. I hope that someone out there in cyberspace finds this helpful and that it answers some questions. Please PM me with any suggestions or criticisms!!
Message: Posted by: amazingboz (Jan 17, 2003 08:55AM)
Posting here is a great start. However nothing can beat hands on. Find the nearest magic shop and call them. Better yet, if you can stop in and make yourself known.
Network with magic events in your area (i.e. clubs, magicians in the phone book...).
Only you can answer what style or type of magic that you want to learn and perform so
keep coming back. We all started at the same place. Feel free to email me if you want.

Magically yours,
AmazingBoz aka Phil
:bunny2:
Message: Posted by: atkinsod (Jan 17, 2003 09:00AM)
Conte,

A very thorough review of Ammar's video. Have you considered contributing it also to Bryan Dean's http://www.magictalk.com
They have a good review section. The advantage is that your review won't get buried in a thread that not everyone will see.

It wouldn't hurt to post them in both places, of course, for Magic Café readers who don't frequent both places!

Doug A.
Message: Posted by: amazingboz (Feb 11, 2003 02:26PM)
I always recommend Mark Wilson's complete course on magic! I also look for used Genie, Magic and other used Magic magazines for useful thoughts and bits. Obviously having a computer will make you light years more resources than us older timers from the BC era. (before computers).

AamazingBoz :bunny2:
Message: Posted by: Majestic12 (Feb 11, 2003 08:06PM)
I recommend Micheal Ammars World Of Magic Video, you will learn a bit of everything. Magic, recommended videos and reading, how to buy magic etc.

I also love Bill Tarrs books, Now you see it, now you don't. Lessons in sleight of hand. 2 editions of that book and his 101 easy to do magic tricks. You will learn good fundamentals in all of this material. :cool:
Message: Posted by: pennypinch (Feb 12, 2003 11:36AM)
Majestic12, I got the Bill Tarr book, "Now you see it, now you don't" and think it's fantastic. It's packed full of great tricks, but to me, the best thing about it is that the tricks have a difficulty rating. This is great for beginners like myself. Anyway, I heard about the very rare "The Second Now you see it, now you don't" and I heard that it was just as good, if not better. Tracking a copy of that book down has become my new obsession.
Message: Posted by: gandolf (Feb 15, 2003 12:04PM)
LeConte:
Thank you for your outstanding review of Ammar's DVD. You write extremely well and clearly. I decided to purchase the set of DVD's today based primarily on your review. It is one of the best reviews of any product I have read on any web site. I certainly hope you will continue to provide the members at the Café with your input. I will look forward to reading anything you post! :dancing:
Message: Posted by: LeConte (Feb 15, 2003 02:45PM)
Man, thanks a lot for the kind words as they mean a great deal to me. I have been working so much lately that I've had little time to work on the next review. I promise to get Volume 2 posted this week (I'm off Monday and Tues). It's great to hear that the review helped you to make your purchase! :nod:
Message: Posted by: Dr. TORA (Feb 16, 2003 03:55PM)
All the above mentioned are really the finest sources. I want to add just another one for manipulation. Davenport's publication titled "Willane's Complete methods for Miracles" It virtually covers a variety of sleights. I have learned a lot from it. It is slightly over 10 pounds sterling as far as I know. (It was 12.5 pounds when I bought mine)
[img]http://themagiccafe.com/forums/images/smiles/turkishcoffee.gif[/img]
Message: Posted by: pennypinch (Feb 25, 2003 03:58PM)
I managed to get Bill Tarr's book 'The Second Now You See It, Now You Don't'. It's so amazing. So much magic presented in such an inviting way. HIGHLY recomended, if you can find it.
Message: Posted by: magician_carter (Feb 27, 2003 11:16AM)
Bill Tarr's book, Now you see it, now you don't is a great book and I also recommend it. IT has done wonders for me. I would also like to add to this the video "Inside Magic" from the ellusionist.com site. I just got it and think all, but a couple of effects are good beginner effects. Not too difficult sleight of hand.

Above all, remember, without practice, the books and videos are useless.

Carter
Message: Posted by: Zidane (Mar 1, 2003 12:33PM)
where do you get the magic with cards??????? :bluebikes: :bikes:
Message: Posted by: philwalker_wba (Mar 1, 2003 06:12PM)
Just been to the Blackpool convention in the UK. A guy that really impressed me was Michael Vincent who did a couple of magnificent routines. I purchased his tape whilst there, the first half of which doesn't show a single trick, it covers psychology how to put a trick together, etc.

Since I had lots of young lads aching to show me their latest trick, shuffle handling of which showed they could handle cards well, they didn't put together an entertaining or 'proffesional trick' just convinced me how hard magic is to quote (I can't remember now). When asked for my opinion, silly really since I took this up as a hobby not long ago, I could only say, great handling now work on your presentation.
Message: Posted by: flipped (Mar 2, 2003 03:25PM)
I really don't find anything on Ammar's Easy To Master Card Miracles a killer.
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Mar 5, 2003 04:53AM)
Hernan suggests "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay. I agree. It is available in paper back for probably five or six dollars. This is one of the best and least expensive books for a serious beginner.

Cheers!

Gerald
Message: Posted by: Koji Takada (Mar 5, 2003 07:14PM)
"Harry Lorayne - Best Ever" video/DVD series are very good for beginners. He is a good teacher, and all tricks are by using a borrowed deck.

Koji
Message: Posted by: redstreak (Mar 12, 2003 07:38PM)
I would recommend "How to do Street Magic" from ellusionist. This really got me into magic and it teaches many great tricks, it is more than two hours long with two download bonus videos and a written explanation of the King Rising Levitation.
Message: Posted by: EddyRay (Mar 14, 2003 07:39PM)
If your just starting out and on a budget, I recommend the series of 25 tricks video's.
(Hampton Ridge used to produce these)
The videos cover everything from cards, to linking rings, to cups and balls. Each video is about 30 minutes and the videos are dirt cheap, only around $15.00 bucks at the most.

These are what I started with, they will give new magicians a good foundation.
Message: Posted by: Primal (Mar 21, 2003 01:50AM)
LeConte - have to agree with the others that your review was excellent of the volume one DVD. I've also ordered it on the back of your recommendation. Looking forward to the vol. 2 review!

As for your worries about the double lift technique, do you have any specific advice that is missed on the DVD?
Message: Posted by: Steven Leung (Apr 2, 2003 05:18AM)
Dear Leconte,

Thank you for your review on Michael Ammar's ETMCM vol.1 It is really useful and I have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone who need card magic learning.

I am looking forward your review of remaining volumes.
Message: Posted by: per_agge (Apr 3, 2003 08:21AM)
LeConte!
great review. I am thinking of buying Ammars or Brad Burts! Which one do guys think I should buy?
Message: Posted by: clui (Apr 3, 2003 11:19AM)
How about Greg Wilson's "On the Spot"? Would it be considered a learning video?
Message: Posted by: Jasonm921 (Apr 7, 2003 06:41PM)
Sankey's videos have provided some great tricks and ideas that I use on a regular basis.
Message: Posted by: Victor Brisbin (Apr 9, 2003 02:01AM)
Wow, it's amazing to look at the long list of contemporary books and video that is available to the students of magic. I would like to suggest that you consider older books. There are some amazing values in "previously enjoyed" (used) volumes of general magic. Check the acts of the professionals, they still mine gold from routines out of the Tarbell Course in Magic. Some of the best "next step" books, in terms of solid, entertaining material, include the Supreme publications of The Faucett Ross Book, and anything by Ken Brooke.
Message: Posted by: rgranville (Apr 9, 2003 08:23AM)
Seconding Mr. Brisbin's suggestion to consider older books, I'd also recommend Henry Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook. Don't let the title fool you. It should be "How to Progress from Beginner to Amateur to Professional Magician's Handbook". You'll get a solid introduction to the basics in just about every field of magic, as well as valuable insights on presentation and on how to studjavascript:InstaSmilie()
javascript:InstaSmilie()y magic.
Message: Posted by: impossible man (Apr 10, 2003 07:44PM)
I'd like to place another vote for "Amateur Magician's Handbook." As a beginner I just assumed that a lot of tricks "weren't right for me." Then I studied Hay's book and learned how to really entertain people with magic. Now even the old saws like the ring on the rubber band are good material for amazement. You know the old saying "In the right hands..." well, this book will make YOURS the right hands.
Message: Posted by: lhughes (Apr 14, 2003 07:40PM)
I would agree with those who selected Mark Wilson's course in magic. I also have Bill Tarr's -Now you see it, now you don't. Both of these books are great starters (and great books to use if you are teaching magic classes.)
The Klutz book of Magic and Magic for Dummies are also good books and if you never learn any tricks from them, they are useful for comedy relief when a trick goes wrong.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Hoodwink (May 2, 2003 06:46PM)
Unto the assembled magi doth Dr. Hoodwink send electrographical greetings,

I have what might seem to be an unusual query. My isolated tower of occult might is indeed isolated. Thanks to the capriciousness of geography, I am unable to see many master magi plying their trade. My employer, too, demands much of my evening time. I take great pleasure in not only watching a magical performance but also working out for myself the secrets employed by the professionals.

My question is thus: What are some few of the most Entertaining video records extant? In your exalted opinions, of course.

Yrs. in scholarship,
HOODWINK
Message: Posted by: melish (May 8, 2003 12:48PM)
I highly recommend The Very Best of Jay Sankey Vol 3. I am a beginner and this dvd offers some truly great tricks including Paperclipped (under another name), and Leaving Home. The price is well worth these 2 tricks alone, but there is so much more...Ouch and Ship in a Bottle being fabulous as well.
Message: Posted by: gocall911 (May 8, 2003 03:21PM)
Michael Ammar's Icebreakers and The Hampton Ridge 25 tricks video series are some of the best videos to start out on. As for books Magic for Dummies is one of the best for some one just starting out I think.
Message: Posted by: Spider (May 27, 2003 09:51PM)
I wrote a FAQ for Beginners that reposes on the Michael Ammar site (thank you, Michael, for asking me for it!).

Go to: http://www.ammarmagic.com

and click upon the blue tab called TIPS.

Then scroll down the new page until you find a link for FAQ for Beginners, and click upon it.

This is a long article covering suggested beginner books and follow-up books, how to practice and improve, what the various branches of magic are, etc.

I hope you find it helpful.

Spider (Jon) :cups:
Message: Posted by: Jonatan B (May 28, 2003 02:01AM)
Absolutely!!
Message: Posted by: Zap (Jun 15, 2003 06:28AM)
I know more people that got started with one of the first three volumes of Michael Ammar's Easy to Master Card Tricks than any other single source.
Message: Posted by: submagi (Jun 15, 2003 11:28PM)
Don't forget, Now You See It Now You don't. That got me started..
Message: Posted by: tdowell (Jun 17, 2003 03:37AM)
Tarbell #1, Wilson's Course in Magic, Now You See It. :ventriloquist:
Message: Posted by: markkwan (Jun 17, 2003 11:21AM)
Magic for dummies, now you see it and the self working books are all great books for the beginner magician.

Thanks to this post i actually placed an order for

Magic and Showmanship: A Handbook for Conjurers - Henning Nelms

and

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic - Mark Wilson.

I will share my opinions when i receive it. Id love to get encyclopedia of impromptu magic, but the prices are sky high since its out of print.
Message: Posted by: mastermagician91 (Jun 25, 2003 02:28PM)
Michael Ammar and Jay Sankey have very cool videos, along with: Ellusionist and some stuff at Danteking.com. Most are not free but help a lot.
Message: Posted by: Phred (Jul 2, 2003 11:03AM)
I have to second (or is it third or fourth)The Amateur magicians handbook. Hay's theory of Easy Hard Tricks and Hard Easy Tricks, should be required reading.
Message: Posted by: indianajones (Jul 3, 2003 09:57AM)
I would suggest starting with a video first so you can see what it is supposed to look like. Darly's encyclopedia of sleights Volumes 1-8 are a great start. But still use books to get the finer points.
Message: Posted by: MagicDiva (Jul 3, 2003 07:03PM)
The first magic book I ever read was Bill Tarr's "Now You See it Now You Don't." It is a great book for beginners. I loved it, because it rates the effects on difficulty. You are able to start out learning less difficult effects and watch yourself progress. I also love the Card College's; they are great reference books that I still find myself going back to. I would also agree that Daryl's videos are great for learning magic visually.

:goodluck:
Message: Posted by: rezamalek (Jul 7, 2003 12:04AM)
I'd say Mark Wilson's complete course in magic, or the Tarbell course would be the most well rounded place to start.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 24, 2003 03:36AM)
I have been a working pro for about 30 years. When I started, there were no videos at all to learn from, so it was books and people that were the sources for me. Now that there are so many good videos out there, it's almost like a smorgasbord.

Still, I would have to recommend the classic books -- the Tarbell Course, the Henning Nelms book, The Fitzkee trilogy, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, The Royal Road to Card Magic, etc.

But more than any of these, I would recommend to anyone who is serious about presenting magic well to enroll in some kind of drama program, either in school or in your local theatrical group. A person who is a decent actor can turn a ho-hum piece of magic into a killer with a good presentation.

And don't forget to occasionally seek the help of a good director.
Message: Posted by: Hernan (Jul 25, 2003 01:27PM)
I recommend, highly, Brad Burts card course on video. He even has a money back guarantee.
The focus is on teaching you the skills to do most card tricks. He does give you routines and patter. I do not think any other video focuses on teaching you core skills. And succeeds so well.

[url=https://secure2.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=bburt&BusType=BtoC&Count1=707576930&Count2=624717354&Target=products%2Easp&CategoryID=19]Click HERE[/url]
Message: Posted by: focusedintention (Jul 30, 2003 03:15AM)
I would recommend trying to find a place to watch some close-up magic and try to figure out which type of effects really impress you personally. For example, there are effects which are completely visual and require almost no explanation as you're presenting them, others are more based on mentalism or involve the spectator. Some are done with coins, other with cards, and yet others with more bizarre items. If you start by finding effects which really impress you it will narrow down your search as to what "type" of magic you would look for. Performing magic in front of your friends which *YOU* find amazing yourself will definitely show in your presentation and build your confidence. I personally find card magic very impressive and the Card Collage Series (5 Volumes now) are an absolute must.
Message: Posted by: TheAmazingNick (Aug 3, 2003 01:29PM)
I would recommend if you are starting out with cards, Royal Road to Card Magic. But pretty much anyone can learn anything from this book not just beginners either. And if you want to start with coins, I would go with bobo's modern coin magic. It has some great sleights and routines.
Message: Posted by: artofmanipulation (Aug 6, 2003 05:41AM)
I personally do not understand why so many people recommend books over video. If we were judge the cost and benefit of buying a book over a video or a DVD, I personally think that the only edge that books have over video is its affordable price. When I first got into magic, the first book which I bought is card manipulator by Mr Hugard. Some of the very simple and easy tricks are explained in such a way that left the reader in a state that is more confused before he reads the book. I find it extremely tough to visualize the required action and speed that is being described in the book. But learning through video is totally different. I do not know about the more experience magician out there, but for me learning through video best works for me. I guess the benefit of being able to learn a sleight the easily and effectively out weight the extra bucks that we have to spend on those video.
Message: Posted by: RayBanks (Aug 6, 2003 10:51AM)
artofmanipulation

Some people learn better from books and some learn better from videos. I have and have used both. Both have their place.

Your feelings could be tempered by the fact that your first book (Card Manipulations) is more of an intermediate book rather than a book for beginners.

Had you started with RRTCM or Wilson, you might have a different opinion.
Message: Posted by: rej19 (Aug 7, 2003 10:32PM)
I agree with the many others about Mark Wilson's complete course in magic. A great place to start. I enjoy Michael Ammars style of teaching on his videos and he usually has a variety of skill levels presented.
Message: Posted by: vootrage (Aug 28, 2003 11:17AM)
Get Daryl’s encyclopedia of Card Sleights. By the end of the eight volumes I guarantee your skill will have quadrupled.
Message: Posted by: trixter (Sep 4, 2003 04:13PM)
I would suggest:

[i]Royal Road to Card Magic
Modern Coin Magic[/i]

And as for videos...anything that includes Jay Sankey, Michael Ammar, Jeff McBride, Greg Wilson or Max Maven. They have videos from beginner to intermediate. I really recommend when you have the money to pick up one of these.
Message: Posted by: Ashkenazi the Pretty Good (Sep 5, 2003 12:07AM)
My list would DEFINITELY include:

[i]Dead Rabbit Re-animation Techniques
My Two Bits[/i], and [i]My Life in Horsemanship
76 Sleights That Have No Practical Application[/i]
And Michael Sankey McBride Wilson's [i]Essays on the Art of West Coast Flower Arrangement[/i].

ATPG
Message: Posted by: Robert P. (Sep 8, 2003 07:24PM)
It's good to see Bill Tar's books getting so much run. They are very, very good books.
Message: Posted by: Sagethegrumpyowl (Sep 17, 2003 09:30AM)
For card magic I would say Daryl's [i]Encyclopedia of Card Sleights[/i] 1-8 and his [i]Revelations Videos[/i] 1-5.

Books like [i]Royal Road[/i] and [i]Expert Card Technique[/i] are good but most of the sleights have been improved on as the books are quite old now, but hey great books, don't get me wrong.

I'm not to sure about coin magic but I hear Michael Ammar and David Roth are both excellent in their videos.

For history and theory of magic I'd read Eugene Burger's books, very deep.

Whatever you decide try to use vidoes and books to do your own magic. Don't rely on gimmicks... :nod:
Message: Posted by: andre combrinck (Sep 18, 2003 02:04PM)
While most people have mentioned the greats, I feel compelled to do it again:[list][*]Mark Wilson's [i]Complete Course in Magic[/i]
[*]Bill Tarr's [i]Now You See It Now You Don't[/i]
[*]The second [i]Now You See It Now You Don't[/i]
[*]Tarbell vol 1-8
[*][i]The Royal Road to Card Magic
[*]The Amateur Magician's Handbook[/i][/list]After this try: [list][*][i]Expert Card Technique[/i]
[*][i]The Magic of Michael Ammar
[*]The Art of Astonishment
[*]Practical Mental Magic (Effects)
[*]Modern Coin Magic[/i]
[*]David Roth's [i]Expert Coin Magic[/i][/list]Also when starting the more advanced books in the latter sentence, try getting hold of an accompanying video (e.g. [i]The Art of Astonishment[/i] video, [i]Stars of Magic[/i], Paul Harris) to help you see the way the effect is done. :bluebikes:
Message: Posted by: Mistro (Sep 18, 2003 05:37PM)
The one book that I must recommend to beginner magicians is Mark Wilson's [i]Complete Course in Magic[/i]. That's probably the best beginner book in the market!! That's the book that got me started.
Message: Posted by: Themagicquest (Sep 24, 2003 06:49PM)
All this stuff I use even now and I'm not a beginner so I suggest that you get it all not all at one time nut over time.

Thanks
Cameron Woodward
Message: Posted by: taller8 (Sep 28, 2003 06:47PM)
I like the Mark Wilson book too. I found it used for $10. It has many solid tricks to get you going and start learning the foundations of cards, coins, ropes, and overall sleight of hand and presentation.

And it's easy to read which is very important for the beginner. Card College is my pick if you want to focus just on cards.
Message: Posted by: shanester (Nov 23, 2003 06:59AM)
For great value, get Tarbell from the lybrary. There's a huge amount of very useable and interesting stuff for $37.
Message: Posted by: Roberto Gee (Nov 23, 2003 12:22PM)
In addition to LeConte's terrific suggestions, I'll also second Hernan and Gerald's recommendation of that old standy, "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" for the serious beginner. Some excellent slights and a great overview of the profession.
Message: Posted by: Axio (Nov 23, 2003 02:23PM)
I would highly recommend "The complete idiot's guide to Magic tricks". Beside the tricks, it will put you on the correct way.
Message: Posted by: Anthatron (Dec 19, 2003 09:10AM)
Two books that I learned a lot from was Magic Digest by George B. Anderson and Scarne's tricks by John Scarne. They both have a good variety of different kinds of magic and classic tricks.
Message: Posted by: Aperazor (Dec 26, 2003 02:09PM)
Wow, I feel better now.
I got a gift certificate to Border's Books for Christmas and I bought Bobo's coin magic, Royal's card magic and then also grabbed Mark Wilson's book.
I almost put it back because it the pictures looked so dated and I thought it couldn't be to good for such a big book at only $19.95
Glad to see it is still being recomended here.
Looks like I'll have a fun couple days off this weekend.
Thanks to all for the advice given in this thread.
Happy New Year to all
Nick Zender
Message: Posted by: JordanB (Jan 1, 2004 11:30AM)
I think any book published by Dover is good (ie, Royal Road, Expert Card Tech, and Modern Coin Magic), but I would highly recommend obtaining The Dai Vernon Book of Magic. Chapter 2, "The Vernon Touch", will help you with the way you practise and it has some very, very good routines in it.
Message: Posted by: Johnathan (Jan 2, 2004 05:42PM)
Hello!!!

I would definately recommend card college 1-4. These are great books that teach fundamental techniques. Highley recommended!!! :)
Message: Posted by: Rob Johnston (Jan 2, 2004 05:56PM)
Bobo's Modern Coin Magic as almost everyone has mentioned. The sleight references are great.

I would also suggest the Secrets of Houdini by Cannell.
It is a good reference and source of study for all magicians.
Message: Posted by: andre combrinck (Jan 3, 2004 02:55AM)
After reading RRTCM, if you are still into cards(most are), buy Card College- it's the new card Bible.
Andre
ajcombri@telkomsa.net
Message: Posted by: phil (Jan 8, 2004 04:40PM)
For coins, Vol. 1 of David Roth video collection (1 of 3) is invaluable (worth its weight in gold). Generally speaking, I am a fan of the Amateur Magicians Handbook as a broad stroke to get a beginner started :rudolph: :blackeye: :realnerdy: :spinningcoin:
Message: Posted by: harp (Jan 11, 2004 07:53PM)
So many choices...If you have any reservations or limited access. You can essentially get most books from the public library. Bill Tarr, Henry Hay, the Wilson course and Hugard's Royal Road are all available. If the local library does not have it, they can request it through the interlibrary loan system. This gives you an opportunity to review different titles and then go on to purchase some you might enjoy owning.

Harp
Message: Posted by: thumbslinger (Jan 12, 2004 10:18AM)
Here's my review of something I found a couple of weeks ago that is the best band for the buck (at least from what I've seen)
Techno Card Magic
Daniel Rhod:
US$10:
Joker Deluxe:
French-1999 English-2001:
49 pages:
Beginning to Intermediate:
8 of 10:

Grips-
-standard dealing
-Biddle grip
-verticle grip
-straddle grip
-bevel grip
-slip-cut grip

Breaks
-holding a break
-forming a top card break

Buckle
Pull-down
Swing-cut
-simple swing
-multiple swing

Transfer Cut-
-in the hands bottom double-cut
-reverse double under-cut, top card control

Slip-Cut
-basic techniques
-visual appearance in hands

Flushtration Move
Jordan Count
Elmsley Count
Kardyo-Biddle Move
Hamman Count

Tilt-
-two handed tilt
-one handed tilt

Atfus
Ascanio Spread
Complete false overhand shuffle
Double lift and turnover
Chornology

Nice little book covering many basic moves consisting of sleights and counts. Many photographs that are large and clear. Also nice is that each move has a small historical note telling where the move was first published and by whom. Fantastic price for such a wealth of basic knowledge and reference. I would have liked a few more tips per move, but with practice, most of those that would be 'tips' reveal themselves eventually.
Message: Posted by: Spider (Jan 17, 2004 11:15AM)
A most conspicuous omission in this discussion is

SECRETS OF ALKAZAR, also known as A BOOK OF MAGIC FOR YOUNG MAGICIANS, by Allan Kronzek

Most beginner books teach too many tricks, and the new learner is overwhelmed. This book teaches a few magical classics, perhaps a dozen, superbly. The learner is taught misdirection and how to use it, multiple presentation options for single tricks and how to create one's own presentations, naturalness of movement, and much more. Despite it's condescending title in the Dover edition, I have never met a magician who could not profit from reading this under $10 book. Perhaps "A Book of Magic for New Magicians" would have been a better re-title.

Highly recommended for anyone, not just beginners.

Jon :cups:
Message: Posted by: Lagrange (Jan 21, 2004 05:35AM)
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic provides a great overall grounding in a lot of basic techniques and effects. It's the book I started with when I was a kid, and I remember it being easy to understand. In fact, I was performing some of the effects for my family within minutes of opening the book (I was a bit too eager in my youth!). Anyway, when you get an idea of the sort of effects you prefer, you can get into more specific books and videos.

I'm a pasteboard maniac, myself, and I think Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles series is about the best resource I've used. It looks a bit dated, but the effects are solid and Ammar is a great teacher.

For coins, Bobo's Modern Coin Magic is a great resource.

For more specific stuff, general close-up work, etc., it's helpful to check the various subforums to see what the "buzz" is on the boards about useful books and videos relating to the subject of the subforum.
Message: Posted by: DarkSmaug (Jan 22, 2004 03:03PM)
When beginning card magic, I would recommend that you do not buy videos or DVD's first. Start out with a book. The best one being "The Royal Road to Card Magic."
The only gripe I have about this book is that it was written over half a century ago, and a lot of the dialoge is dated. But for sleights and tricks, this book is essential. You will easily be able to learn most of the sleights in the book.
After this, I would recommend Expert Card Technique. Also, written a while back. If you can ignore the odd dialoge, you will find that this book contains the most in depth descriptions of sleights available. Some of the chapters are very difficult, but this book is necessary to progress from a neophyte to a learned magician.
Also, the Card Manipulations series is a collection of short books that further describe sleights, add new tricks, and give many flourishes. The thing about this book, is that it is in no particular order. You hvae to do a lot of searching to find what you want to learn. But the One-Hand Top Card Palm is absolutely the best method for palming a card I have or probably will ever see. Essential.
Then once you have a good understanding of the sleights and tricks, I would recommend a video or DVD if you are confused by a few sleights. The reason I don't spend money on DVDs is that they are more expensive than most books (excluding the Card College series, an excellent series from what I hear) and don't contain nearly as much information. But they are helpful when you don't understand what a book is trying to describe.
Those are my recommendations. I hope they helped.
Message: Posted by: ashah (Jan 29, 2004 10:50AM)
It can be difficult for a beginner on a tight budget to choose which books or videos to get at first. My advice is this: there is no need to buy all of the recommended books and videos at once. Start with a couple of them, and when you have absorbed everything, go ahead and try another one. That way you won't spend hundreds of dollars on a bunch of stuff that you can't possibly read/watch at once.

If you are on a tight budget, Card College or AoA or the whole ETMCM set might be too expensive. I got Mark Wilson's book used for $7 (including shipping) from half.com, and Bobo and RRTCM are $10 each from Penguin. If you get those, plus ETMCM volume 2 ($30 from Penguin) and a couple of decks of cards, you can get enough magic to keep you busy for a while, for under $65. You'll actually be able to perform high-quality tricks. And of course make use of your local library if possible.
Message: Posted by: NYKnicks5 (Jan 30, 2004 09:50PM)
[quote]
On 2003-01-08 15:36, Bigmagictrout wrote:
The Card College series is a little expensive, but it's a must for beginners. Almost everything is in this book. If you can afford it, go for it :smiletear:
[/quote]

I cannot agree more with that. Without a doubt, a beginner looking to learn the basics of cards sleights MUST buy the Card College Series. Although it is expensive, it is well worth every penny. You will use these books as reference for years. I must say that if you are a beginner looking to learn the art of card manipulation, this is the perfect series for you (even magicians who have been performing for years can benefit from these books). I guess my point is made that these books are good :)
Message: Posted by: Magic Clown (Feb 3, 2004 08:05AM)
After reading this post I see a lot of great recommendations for those just starting out. I would like to add one more to this great list.

We just started carrying a DVD set that I think is a great addition to everyone's magic library. It's called [i]Complete Card Magic[/i]. It's a seven-volume DVD set that covers everything from the basics, to advanced, to expert extreme:

DVD 1 - Beginner
DVD 2 - Intermediate
DVD 3 - Advanced
DVD 4 - Expert
DVD 5 - Expert Extreme
DVD 6 - Techniques (Forces! Shuffles! Flourishes!)
DVD 7 - Techniques (Cuts and Sleights!)

I've been a parlor and stage magician for over 30 years and recently started to learn close-up. We got these DVDs in our store and I reviewed them. They have taught me so much. (A local working professional bought this set and is still raving about them.)

Yes they are not cheap, $149.95, but they are great for those who learn better by watching.
Message: Posted by: HighVolt29 (Feb 14, 2004 06:41PM)
If you are looking for an easy trick, I would go with Aces In Their Faces. Easy to do, self-working. You can see a demo at: http://www.penguinmagic.com
Message: Posted by: cardsharkcarter (Feb 14, 2004 09:23PM)
While it is not an extremely popular book, I am a big fan of [i]World's Best Card Tricks[/i] by Bob Longe. It is easily avaliable, cheap, and in a couple of weeks a beginner can have a workable routine that brings almost instant gratification. Using his tricks I have had all the same reactions professionals get: amazement, people thinking I'm really psychic, people thinking they are really psychic and girls screaming.

I will warn, however, that only one in every four of his tricks should be performed so you must try out many tricks until you find the ones that get the best audience reaction. Do not bother with [i]World's Greatest Card Magic[/i] or [i]101 Easy Card Tricks[/i]. Neither is worth the money.
Message: Posted by: Brad Hall (Feb 25, 2004 09:28AM)
Just a heads up on a bargain. You can find "Mark Wilson's Complete Course In Magic" in hardcover for $9.99 at BookCloseouts.com.
Message: Posted by: magic soul (Mar 3, 2004 04:56AM)
I do not agree with flipped who said he don't think there is anything he considers is a Killer or such like on the Michael Ammar video's.I just wonder from whos point of view he is looking at it from a magician or a spectators.Andy
Message: Posted by: The Magician (Apr 3, 2004 02:55PM)
The Art Of Magic And Sleight Of Hand by Nicholas Einhorn

A wide variety of tricks are covered including Card Magic , Dinner Table Magic , Match Magic , String Cord and Rope Magic , Mind Mgaic , Silk Thimble and Paper Magic and Money Magic.

Includes an illustrated history of Magic and magicians from the prigins of the art in Egypt, Through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the magic of today featuring magicians sucj as Siegfried and Roy David Copperfield and David Blaine

Over 1,000 colour photographs showing both the audiences and performers perspectives
Message: Posted by: Rafa (Apr 13, 2004 08:35PM)
I think if you're new, you don't have to compare a lot. If you're new you'll think about that once you've mastered the basics.
Go with Lamar or Daryl, they're great teachers, they you'll get what you need from any of them, and you'll be then ready to start comparing.
Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: nakulshenoy (Apr 15, 2004 02:23AM)
Here is my list of recommended books (and most of them have already been mentioned):

Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks for Magicians - Stewart James
Amateur Magicians Handbook - Henry Hay
Annemann's Card Magic - Ted Annemann
Card Magic for Beginners - Harry Baron
Close-up Magic for Beginners - Harry Baron
Complete Course in Magic - Mark Wilson
Encyclopedia of Card Tricks - Jean Hugard
Learn Magic - Henry Hay
Magic for Beginners - Harry Baron
Making Magic - Edwin A. Dawes & Arthur Setterington
Modern Coin Magic - J B Bobo
Practical Mental Magic - Ted Annemann
Professional Magic for Amateurs - Walter Gibson
Royal Road to Card Magic - Jean Hugard & Frederick Braue
Self-Working Card Tricks - Karl Fulves
Self-Working Coin Magic - Karl Fulves
Self-Working Mental Magic - Karl Fulves
Self-Working Paper Magic - Karl Fulves
Self-Working Rope Magic - Karl Fulves
Self-Working Table Magic - Karl Fulves

I also wish to place my vote (have lost the count of votes) for Henry Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook too.

It simply has to be one of the most essential books for the performing magician, whether a beginner, amateur, or professional.

Also, Larry Anderson's Jaw Droppers 4-CD series (www.jawdroppers.com) is a great way to start. Anderson not only teaches the magic tricks, but he has a great presentation too... which makes these tricks seem like miracles.
Message: Posted by: magiciangirl902 (Apr 16, 2004 09:38PM)
If your looking for anything magic go to magictricks.com. It has almost everything and is for magicians on all levels.
Message: Posted by: DragonMage (Apr 18, 2004 10:26PM)
Greetings to those more talented than I (i.e. EVERYONE). I am but a humble beginner whom has always dabbled in an effect or two but now is trying to get a routine together for local hospital & senior centers use.

I am currently devouring the "Complete Idiot's" guide and it is absolutely wonderful! Eight chapters of history, background, staging, patter, practicing your "outs" and main routines, etc. Not just a secret teller, and that is what I appreciate most about it. I'll begin learning some new material tomorrow but have been reading it for 2 days already.

Will look into the other books & videos recommended here after that, but for now I'm working my way through this great book.

Have a great week everyone!
Message: Posted by: GavinK (Apr 21, 2004 11:44PM)
As a new member on this forum I'm learning so much reading posts like this. Such great ideas and sooo much money I'm gonna have to spend to catch up ;).

Thanks alot for you time and experience.

Gavin K
Message: Posted by: Gary Barnard (Apr 22, 2004 08:05PM)
I would recommend Mark Wilson's Video Course in Magic and Do you wanna learn magic by Rob Stiff. They are both pretty good for beginners.
Message: Posted by: Paul H (Apr 26, 2004 03:43PM)
Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum and have re-descovered card magic after a 20 year interval. My apprenticeship has literally begun in ernest three weeks ago!! I have viewed Volume One of Mike Ammer's 'Easy Card Magic' series and liked what I saw very much. I also have his 'Introduction to Coin Magic'. However, my main choice for cards has been for the new Complete Card Magic DVD's featuring Gerry Griffen. This set may not be for everyone as Gerry is a rather ponderous old thing, but I find him very likeable, comfortable and reassuringly skilled with the cards without being off-puttingly or intimidatingly slick and seemless. As a beginner, I really am enjoying this nicely paced, graded approach to learning card magic. However, the DVD set is not really for the skilled and experienced card magician or the 'cool' testosterone driven youngster out to emulate David Blane. To put this into context, I would say that the so called 'Expert Extreme' DVD is more like a launch pad into advanced card magic with the first two volumes being pitched at the novice level (fine by me!!) and volumes 3 and 4 at the intermediate stage. In combination with either Card Collage Vols 1 and 2 or the RRTCM, this makes an easy, enjoyable and friendly start for the complete beginner. Hope this helps.

Regards,

Paul H
Message: Posted by: DragonMage (Apr 28, 2004 07:02PM)
Greetings again! Finished the "Complete Idiot's" and moved on to following in this order:
"The complete beginner's guide to Magic" by Walter Gibson
"The Everything Magic Book" by Greg Davidson
"Tricks with your Head" by Mac King & Mark Levy
and "David Blaine Mysterious Stranger"

Tricks with your head is more gags & practical joke type material (but I absolutely LOVE Mac Kings act!!!)and David Blaine is more autobiographical with mixed historical references pointing to his motivation for the effects he performs, etc. Interesting but not what I was looking for.

I have purposefully chosen a wide-ranging & mixed group of books & effects so that I can see a little of what is all out there before I decide which area I want to "specialize" in as I want to perform impromptu and close-up effects (see earlier message reference to wanting to entertain in children's hospitals & senior centers, etc). I'm just finishing my first run through of the books & will begin narrowing down my focus next.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions, please feel free to let me know, I am yet putty waiting to be molded (so to speak).
Message: Posted by: buffalobob (Apr 30, 2004 06:14AM)
[quote]
If you have any recommendations or suggestions, please feel free to let me know, I am yet putty waiting to be molded (so to speak).
[/quote]

I'm glad to see you want to do things right from the beginning. I have only performed publicly a couple of times at the request of a friend. Because I fooled them in an informal surrounding such as their home, they thought I should volunteer to perform at a charity event for children. Unforturnately, my ego agreed.

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but performing for friends and family is a TOTALLY different experience than performing for the public. To put it mildly, my act was not appropriate for the audience at hand.

My best advice to you is to know what is appropriate for the venue. For whom are you performing? What is the occassion? Where will you be performing? How much time has been set aside for you performance?

It sometimes might be better to decline an invitation to perform. If you don't feel there is a match between your style and the intended audience, you aren't doing anyone a favor by agreeing to do the show.

If their is one quality that differentiates the bumbling amateur from the successful professional, I believe that quality is patience. You will reach your goals if you do your homework and practice, practice, practice!

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: DragonMage (May 4, 2004 07:40PM)
Thanks for the advice Bob! Understand exactly what you are referring to! I've been giving briefings in my mundane job (USAF) for years now & no two groups require the same effort or approach & forgetting that can definitely get you in a tight spot!

Found the IBM ring in my town and will be giving them a look-see here next month (missed this months meeting) to get some help on my palming skills.....so far coin palming is really beating me up but I'm still trying!

Have a great day everyone!
Message: Posted by: Dan Ezell (May 7, 2004 03:00PM)
Thanks to all who have posted to help beginners select quality magic books. We are all coming from our own experiences, but it is nice to see support for the same books over and over again. I agree with the many previous endorsements of

Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic (my #1 choice and the one that got me started).

If you want to preview the book before purchasing it, check it out at your local library. In addition, I recently noticed that Barnes and Noble had it in paperback. Amazon.com is another great place to purchase it (around $13.00).

Thanks,
Dan
Message: Posted by: Tod Todson (May 21, 2004 11:42PM)
Allow me to add my voice to the chorus of others who have recommended Hay's, "Amateur Magician's Handbook."

While equal praise can be given to Wilson's book, AMH has a series of chapters that today would be charged $$ per lecture.

These two books would make an ideal gift to any new person seeking to get a well-rounded intro to magic.

Regards,
Tod
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (May 26, 2004 12:24PM)
The Mark Wilson Course is a good start and you can find it in most book stores.
Message: Posted by: Oz Fan (Jun 1, 2004 11:54AM)
Here are some reccomendations

Card Magic
__________

Royal Road To Card Magic

Magic With cards By Garcia & Schindler

Coin Magic
__________

Modern Coin Magic By JB Bobo

General Magic
_____________

Mark Wilson's Course In Magic By Mark Wilson

Hope this helps!

-Blake-
Message: Posted by: believer (Jun 5, 2004 11:29AM)
Make sure and check your local library. I found instructional magic videos for free near my house.
Message: Posted by: dacsus65 (Jun 11, 2004 09:00PM)
I threw Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic in my duty bag. It's small enough to carry around, has lots of different routines of varying difficulty and the explainations and diagrams are easy to follow.
Message: Posted by: Alastair_Webb (Jun 14, 2004 01:47PM)
Amazon are doing a deal at the moment which I intend to take advantage of. Buy 'Royal Road to Card Magic' and 'Modern coin magic' for £13.96 or $19.51. this sounds good value and especially good as both these books have been recommended.

Just one question, has rrtcm got a new cover as there appears to be two on amazon, one old one which I was familiar with and a much newer looking one, I presume they are the same book?
Message: Posted by: magicalphil (Jun 14, 2004 02:30PM)
The new version of The Royal road to card magic is published by a different company. The writing has been updated and it has a foreword by Michael Bailey (ex president of the Magic circle). Having said that the material is the same and personally I think the older version is better as it is the original version and it is the version that is refered to in some other books.
Message: Posted by: stuper1 (Jul 14, 2004 04:22PM)
Harry Lorayne's "The Magic Book" gets my vote as the best beginner's book.
Message: Posted by: dynamiteassasin (Jul 17, 2004 11:47AM)
Whats better in coin magic for beginners?

Ammars video volume1
or
David Roths video volume1 ?
Message: Posted by: Jeruah (Sep 8, 2004 03:32PM)
I strongly second the reccomendation for Modern Coin Magic By JB Bobo. It was my first magic book but it is great for beginers and expert preformers alike. It has easy to read instructions and plenty of great illustrations, and it is so clearly explained that it only took me about a week to master palming!

-Jeruah
Message: Posted by: ygthad (Sep 11, 2004 04:31PM)
Thanks for the help...
Message: Posted by: Mitchum (Sep 15, 2004 06:34PM)
I am new to magic myself. My main interest is card magic. I have both Mark Wilson's Course in Magic and Royal Road to Card Magic. Although Royal Road is considered by many to be the bible for card magic, I find it a little difficult to understand the explanations at times. My vote would be to start with Mark Wilson's book... plus, it teached other magic (coins, rope, cups & balls, etc.) as well.
Message: Posted by: BullzEyE (Sep 17, 2004 10:17PM)
I havew to start looking for some good books...thanks for all the help with choices
Message: Posted by: Saw Me In Half (Oct 11, 2004 11:57AM)
Thanks for the info!
Message: Posted by: David Round (Oct 12, 2004 11:56AM)
Aces in Their Faces, I agree that this is a rather stunning visual trick, easy to perform for beginners (being one myself) and the reaction that it generates is amazing.

For the beginner in magic, I would recommend How to Do Street Magic, available from Ellusionist.Com. This was the first ever video I purchased on magic and I found it to be educational, providing an insight into magic together with performances.

I appreciate the advice and guidance that people have posted but wonder whether anyone could answer a question for me?

Daryl's Encyclopedia of Card Sleights Versus Michael Ammar Card Magic.

Which would you recommend?
Message: Posted by: MMCRANIUM (Oct 13, 2004 08:20PM)
Greetings David,
I would recommend Michael Ammars ETMCM first without question. As a beginner, Ammar's material will give you the basic sleights necessary for the powerful tricks that are presented. I think this is more effective as it will get you in a position to perform powerful card magic ASAP and keep you focused. Daryl's EOCS's is fabulous & incredibly comprehensive. I would get it after you have mastered & performed card magic for a period of time. Then EOCS's will provide a myriad of sleight options to improve and/or streamline your existing trick base.
Hope this helps.
MMCRANIUM