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Topic: Dunninger's Encyclopedia
Message: Posted by: Thamiel (Oct 25, 2006 12:06PM)
Hi Everyone,

I recently found a copy of Dunninger's Encyclopedia of Magic yesterday at a rummage sale for a few dollars. It is a fun read, with quaint and charming illustrations, actually a lot more pictures than text. There are a lot of seance-type effects; hands, bells, etc. They all seem a little archaic and transparent (not that it detracts from my enjoyment!). I was wondering it anyone had looked at this book, or adapted anything from it. I have just skimmed through it at this point.

Message: Posted by: Bill Ligon (Oct 25, 2006 01:18PM)
I have had it for years, whenever it was first published. I don't think I have ever used anything from it. It is still an interesting book to look through. I wouldn't give mine up.

Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Oct 25, 2006 02:08PM)
From the way it was written and illustrated (and from when it was published), I always thought it was a book intended for "lay people," to give them a sort of fun idea of how magic works. I never found anything usable in it either.
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 03:34PM)

This is probably the best book of magic I have ever seen!

You guys are missing out...

It is full of inventive genius...

Many effects sold in shops are here in all there early stages...

It is a DIY manual of magic and contains all the classics...

The balancing ace!

Tricks of mediums

spirit writing

pocket shocking coil

how to take plaster casts for masks

look at the bottom of page 24 for example this is a secret worth its weight in gold...

people are making up this stuff, repackaging it, and selling it to you under new guises...ha ha!

I am glad I'm the only one recognises its value...

It contains more information than any other sigle magic book I own, and the drawings are excellent...

Corona. (shocked and stunned)
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Oct 25, 2006 03:39PM)

Don't leave out the water fountain effect.

Lots of good stuff, you just have to realize what you're looking at. Same thing goes for the Gibson book.

Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 03:43PM)
Ah Tony a man with one eye in the kingdom of the blind,

Are they missing out or are they missing out?

I have had this book out from my local library many times over the years, and recently someone gave me a copy, yippee!
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 03:46PM)
The jumping spoons!
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Oct 25, 2006 03:47PM)
I don't have it in front of me here at my day job, but there is great material. The orange tree effect, some mentalism, several good productions. The pictures alone help inspire.

One man's junk is another man's treasure.

Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 03:48PM)

'A useful piece of apparatus' page 205...
Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 25, 2006 03:52PM)
On 2006-10-25 16:34, Corona Smith wrote:

This is probably the best book of magic I have ever seen!

Corona. (shocked and stunned)
[b]Oh. So you[/b] didn't [b]get my book yet, I see...[/b]


[b]No this book is an amazing contribution to the craft...changed my world when I was a young lad... seen it again for the firt time in 20 yrs. last summer... still amazed...[/b]
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 03:56PM)
Your / my book is still on holiday in Indiana, I await it with baited breath, Lucia has told me to expect greatness!

All the best, Corona.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Oct 25, 2006 04:16PM)
I wonder if anyone knows this Dunninger book - I've had it since I was 7 years old.. it was magazine like - slightly larger than a readers digest.. the front page is missing and the back as well... the very first page I see has Harry Houdini on it with his sleeves rolled up - then an article about famous magicians from HH Blackstone etc to Dunninger... then a piece of Dunninger - and then a bunch of his effects with lots of black and white photo illustrations... this really implanted the magic bug in me from wayyyyyy back... I should have known I'd be a bizarrist - the effects I liked the most were the scary and weird kind - like the 'Pharaoh's Finger' ... the seance effects with luminous painted images you whip out in the dark... phantom music... etc.... the coin vanishes, the "force a card psychologically" etc didn't grab me until much later when I realized I could dress it up with a story of dark design!

This isn't the same book is it? All I know is, although very scant on description and method etc. I have encased the old tome in a leather cover of mystic design and have it on the shelf with my other prized books.....
Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 25, 2006 04:21PM)
[b]Same book...[/b]
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 04:43PM)
Not sure it is...

Unless I have a different edition, don't see the Houdini pic?

First page after contents is 'Magic for Everybody'

It is a large hardback book published by SPRING BOOKS 1970 (year I was born).

Message: Posted by: Thamiel (Oct 25, 2006 04:47PM)
The one I picked up yesterday has no photo illustrations, only line drawings, and is packed with probably a thousand effects. I haven't spent much time with it, only a cursory reading. It did seem that many of the effects seemed dated, so I was wondering what to expect; an enjoyable curiosity for my shelf, or some workable stuff. I was wondering what others thought of it. It seems opinions are mixed, I guess I'll determine my own answer after I read it more. There were numerous pages devoted to making puppets/dummies, which was interesting.


Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 25, 2006 04:49PM)
Ok, then that's the one I got--line drawings..BUT houdini, I recall is in there too, as a line drawing, I believe.......either way, the book rocks..

ya'll gonna make me go all the way to the basement to dig 'er out once again...
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 05:05PM)
You got a bargain Thamiel, this book costs 25 on Amazon, that's about a thousand dollars to you guys.

Message: Posted by: Bill Ligon (Oct 25, 2006 05:07PM)
Welllll, I didn't say I did not like the book. I said I have never used anything from it (at least directly). I had always assumed it was meant for lay folks, too.

Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 25, 2006 05:37PM)
Bill hold your Turban, no ones pointing claws at yu... :)

ah, the use of a WALNUT for a candle w*** is pretty cool...............
Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 25, 2006 05:42PM)
By the way, the book is BIZARRE, by all accounts...still gives me the creeps...a bunch o' guys sipping matini's,listening to sinatra, and making back door mafia deals, while doing Pharoahs finger...is the impression I got :)
Message: Posted by: Thamiel (Oct 25, 2006 05:52PM)
"ah, the use of a WALNUT for a candle w*** is pretty cool"

Is that one in there? that's great! I can remember that being the first trick I did when I was a child. Walnut for the w*** and apple for the c*****, then down the hatch while my parents and siblings humoured me. I can't wait to go through it again after work.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Oct 25, 2006 06:21PM)
Sorry - my memories are wrong..

page 3 Intro - line drawing of Dunninger... can't read the scrawl of the editor at the end.

4 Dunninger a biography

6 That picture of Houdini - starts the section on Magical Memories (lots of great photos - with him and Doyle, escapes,goes through all the greats... p 24 has a skeletal mummy in a case on stage... Blackstone with it - looks cool...

28 Performance Pointers

p30 starts the effects.... starts with card force

p34 is funny 1/2 page of text and 6 pics decribing THE PASS... still never mastered it :)

p42 - levitating glass - but is a patter a bizarrist would be proud of - in fact, there are some really cool eerie stories he attaches to some of the effects

p60 the pharoah's finger

p61 where I first learned to burn sugar

Spirit writing etc

The dreaded jumping cigar band.... and the Houdini Match trick that won me some comic books etc when young...the use of stooges...how to make the face of a coin cry... initials on match... caglistro 2 person mentalism code... the cute ghost in the dark......

A very cool book....

Anyone know what the heck it is, please tell me.

(I should say all the pics are and writing are sepia) -
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 25, 2006 07:01PM)
I can tell you it is not Dunninger's encyclopedia...

Some of the same effects perhaps.

Sounds good though.

Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 25, 2006 07:04PM)
We still like you though, DR. Spektor....I do anyhow...
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Oct 25, 2006 09:17PM)
Hi Dr. Spektor,

Sound like: 100 Classic Houdini Tricks You Can Do (originally printed in 1954, and reprinted several times since).

As for Dunninger's Complete Encyclopedia of Magic, it's a marvelously entertaining comics-style coffee-table book. Between the more far-fetched entries and the standard boy's-book stunts is far more workable material than most people realize, contributed by Flosso, Gibson, Jaks and others.

Message: Posted by: mindmagic (Oct 26, 2006 04:21AM)
On 2006-10-25 16:39, Tony Iacoviello wrote:

Lots of good stuff, you just have to realize what you're looking at. Same thing goes for the Gibson book.


Which Gibson book are you referring to, Tony? I have three.

I also have the Dunninger Encyclopedia. There is some useful stuff in there. It includes the full secret of Dunninger's Q&A act. Mine has a cover price of 30 shillings, but I bought it in a half-price sale!

Message: Posted by: Harlequin (Oct 26, 2006 05:17AM)
I always wanted to make 'The Ghost Flame' on page 259 (along with many other effects), but never got around to it. I'm afraid I'm going to be arrested for buying the chemicals used in this type of trick! :winker:
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Oct 26, 2006 07:29AM)

I'm at the office right now, I'll get back with the title when I get home, but it is the big yellow one.

Message: Posted by: Gede Nibo (Oct 26, 2006 07:55AM)
On 2006-10-26 06:17, Harlequin wrote:
I'm afraid I'm going to be arrested for buying the chemicals used in this type of trick! :winker:

Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Oct 26, 2006 08:06AM)
Great, now Baba has to run down to the basement, again, to see what chemicals he is talking about. Baba, not that kind of chemical. :)

Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Oct 26, 2006 08:33AM)
Thanks Neil! That makes sense!
Message: Posted by: Harlequin (Oct 26, 2006 08:55AM)
Baba, I'm talking about chemicals that can be used to create explosives, of course. If government agents came snooping around to investigate me for buying certain chemicals, I'm pretty sure I'd have a hard time explaining some of my props! Do you know of some ritual to avoid police investigations? :coolest:
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Oct 26, 2006 08:59AM)
Ritual of the Roadrunner.
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Oct 26, 2006 10:02AM)
Neil sums up Dunninger book well, some of the effects and methods are sheer craziness, and I am sure many were just made up as he went along, but the creativity is very inspiring, and many diamonds are hidden in there...

Apparently the book is a compilation from a 3 volume set titled 'Dunninger's Popular Magic', I imagine they are very rare.

Can't seem to find reference to the illustrators though...

Message: Posted by: thecardtrick (Oct 26, 2006 01:24PM)
I have this out of the library right now. I recognized the greatness in it, but haven't had the time to go through everything and pull out the most valuable ideas yet.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Oct 26, 2006 10:52PM)
Okay, okay, I can tell when I'm outnumbered... :)

I'll pull out the book, curl up in my easy chair (after nudging the cat out of it) and peruse the book again. Sigh.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Oct 27, 2006 02:33AM)
The Dunninger Encyclopedia is great. Love the old ideas for Stagecraft. I think the book was quite well packed considering that it even tells you how to make your own Ventr. Dolls. And has a very old but still entertaining Dialog in the back, "I want to go Hooooooooome..."

I have used MANY effects from this book. I think it rates on the same level as the Tarbell collection for me.

And the Medium stuff is mean to be done in the dark. That is why it seems simple, trust me many of those effects work WELL!!!

Message: Posted by: JohnWolf (Oct 27, 2006 08:39PM)
I also would praise Dunniger's as a source of valuable infomation. My copy is quite dogeared.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Oct 31, 2006 05:43AM)
I am putting up a digital copy on my website it will include notes and such. Look for it b y the end of the night...
Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Oct 31, 2006 02:31PM)
Dunninger's actual methods from his own act ARE in that book, even his Q & A method. You just need to learn to see gems when they are hidden within the pages. There are many amazingly good old books out there with some of the best magic that is not being done anymore because most magicians think they are "above that old stuff" BUT there has been at least one well known magician who did just that. Went to old sources of magic, found things that were not being done anymore, updated them and used them to turn David Blaine into a NAME on television.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Oct 31, 2006 02:38PM)

I thought you were going to say Ricky Jay.

But if the old book that Blaine read had directions to Tannen's, then I agree with you on that.

Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Oct 31, 2006 04:11PM)
I have used a number of these classic methods from the Dunninger's Encyclopedia over the years. I love the Rose that changes from white to red- sort of a Vampire thorn effect if you will! Made my first one about 25 years ago.....The wind glass that self fills is good also especially since the advent of the plastic party ware flutes. I think most folks have forgotten much of what was in this book, as it has been OOP for a bit. Just like they have forgotten much of the wxposurte they have seen on TV.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Oct 31, 2006 06:06PM)
That q and a is phenomenal. I just finished digitizing this. The text is 100% searchable and includes some bookmarks and notes to my favorite effects. The 2 person serial number divination, blindfold facts, georgia magnet stunts, and q and a methodology made me cry when I tore the spine to scan it. But I pain stakingly did the community a favor and now it will no longer degrade and can be the new " Desktop Book". You know, that tome you keep on your desktop for reference and when you're bored?