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Topic: Maskelyne's Book of Magic
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Nov 5, 2009 11:48AM)
Dover Publications has just reissued 'Maskelyne's Book of Magic' from 1935, calling it 'a charming glimpse of stage magic in the early 20th century'. I'm wondering just how much the word 'charming' is a code word for 'out of date'.

I know that these kinds of books often contain hidden gems and underrated effects. But these days even $12.95 causes me to hesitate to buy.

Does anyone know this book? Is the advice worthwhile? Are the tricks original?
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 5, 2009 05:16PM)
You pays your money and takes your choice, but I've found that -- more often than not -- some of the best stuff is in the old books. The presentations may be dated but, that's easy to correct if you've got any creativity. One of the best things about what you'll find in books is that all the newbies won't be doing it because they can't be bothered with studying the books, everything they know they got from watching crap -- usually poorly performed -- on YouTube. There are gems, not just the tricks, but WISDOM in the works of Hoffmann, Maskelyne, Devant, Mulholland, et al that you won't find on the Internet or YouTube. And I haven't even mentioned the best and most comprehensive source of all -- Tarbell. Everything you ever really need to know can be found in Tarbell. You could have a highly successful and lucrative career in magic if you never studied anything but Tarbell.
Message: Posted by: todsky (Nov 5, 2009 06:56PM)
Maskelyne was one of the all time greats, among the most innovative and creative magicians ever there was. $12.95 sounds quite reasonable to me, if only to learn more about one of the luminaries in our profession. Of course the tricks were mostly original for the time, but if it is new tricks you are looking for, it is probably best to look elsewhere.
Message: Posted by: ico (Nov 5, 2009 06:56PM)
If this is the first time a book from 1935 is re-issued, then probably there is not much in it. Tarbell is reprinted often enough, isn't he?
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 6, 2009 09:36AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-05 19:56, todsky wrote:
Maskelyne was one of the all time greats, among the most innovative and creative magicians ever there was. $12.95 sounds quite reasonable to me, if only to learn more about one of the luminaries in our profession. Of course the tricks were mostly original for the time, but if it is new tricks you are looking for, it is probably best to look elsewhere.
[/quote]

True in a sense, but there are really d*** few really "new" tricks. The vast majority of what passes for "new" are really old tricks updated with new dressing.

(When will the management get over their obsessive censoring of posts to sanitize them for 5 year olds to read?)
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Nov 6, 2009 10:28AM)
[quote]
(When will the management get over their obsessive censoring of posts to sanitize them for 5 year olds to read?)
[/quote]

Uh, my five year old can't read . . .

But when I read these posts to him, he does get rather emotionally distressed by the strong language used on the Café!
Message: Posted by: Gordon (Nov 6, 2009 03:04PM)
This book was recently highlighted in "Re-Viewed" in MAGIC magazine. The gist was quite positive.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 6, 2009 03:16PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-06 11:28, mrehula wrote:
[quote]
(When will the management get over their obsessive censoring of posts to sanitize them for 5 year olds to read?)
[/quote]

Uh, my five year old can't read . . .

But when I read these posts to him, he does get rather emotionally distressed by the strong language used on the Café!
[/quote]

You mean he'd get emotionally distressed if you mentioned the Hoover, Conawingo or Grand Coulee d** without saying its proper name? Most 5 year olds are using the term themselves by the time they reach that age.
Message: Posted by: Turk (Nov 6, 2009 03:45PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-06 11:28, mrehula wrote:
[quote]
(When will the management get over their obsessive censoring of posts to sanitize them for 5 year olds to read?)
[/quote]

Uh, my five year old can't read . . .

But when I read these posts to him, he does get rather emotionally distressed by the strong language used on the Café!
[/quote]

mrehula,

Let me get this straight:

1. You actually sit and read Café posts to your five year old son, and,
2. Despite your perceived discomfort with some of the words in some of the posts, for intellectual integrity, or otherwise, you read (and subject) him the words you don't think he should be exposed to in the first place and you fail to either omit the "offending words" and fail to substitute a more "sanitized" word in their place--and you do this knowing that he will become emotionally distressed at the use of these words.

WOW!! What unusual conduct. Most parents would be reading Winnie the Pooh and Nursery Rhymes and other children's books to their five year old child--and letting him see the pictures and asociate the words in the book with the pictures.

Amazing.
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Nov 9, 2009 07:43AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-06 16:45, Turk wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-06 11:28, mrehula wrote:
[quote]
(When will the management get over their obsessive censoring of posts to sanitize them for 5 year olds to read?)
[/quote]

Uh, my five year old can't read . . .

But when I read these posts to him, he does get rather emotionally distressed by the strong language used on the Café!
[/quote]

mrehula,

Let me get this straight:

1. You actually sit and read Café posts to your five year old son, and,
2. Despite your perceived discomfort with some of the words in some of the posts, for intellectual integrity, or otherwise, you read (and subject) him the words you don't think he should be exposed to in the first place and you fail to either omit the "offending words" and fail to substitute a more "sanitized" word in their place--and you do this knowing that he will become emotionally distressed at the use of these words.

WOW!! What unusual conduct. Most parents would be reading Winnie the Pooh and Nursery Rhymes and other children's books to their five year old child--and letting him see the pictures and asociate the words in the book with the pictures.

Amazing.
[/quote]

Let ME get this straight . . . you actually believed me?
Message: Posted by: Turk (Nov 9, 2009 11:50AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-09 08:43, mrehula wrote:
***
Let ME get this straight . . . you actually believed me?
[/quote]

Frankly, no. But I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you were attempting a serious post and that you were not attempting some rhetorical form of humor. My bad.
Message: Posted by: mrehula (Nov 10, 2009 08:43AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-09 12:50, Turk wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-09 08:43, mrehula wrote:
***
Let ME get this straight . . . you actually believed me?
[/quote]

Frankly, no. But I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you were attempting a serious post and that you were not attempting some rhetorical form of humor. My bad.
[/quote]

This IS a serious post. But I'm not a serious man. I'm interested in finding out what people have found in the book . . . no one has really provided anything specific. And I'm not below cheap humor.
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 22, 2015 12:19AM)
This title just became available as a (limited-time) free offering from the Conjuring Arts Research Center (CARC).

It's their first "[url=http://shop.conjuringarts.org/store/pc/Summer-Reading-Program-FREE-and-hugely-discounted-books-c127.htm]Summer Reading Program/Club[/url]" offer of 2015. (Also described in a thread within [url=www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=517414&forum=2&start=0]this MC thread[/url].)

CARC's PDF is available [i][url=http://shop.conjuringarts.org/store/pc/FREE-Maskelyne-s-Book-of-Magic-PDF-127p1206.htm#.VYebUvlViko]here[/url][/i].

As the CARC doesn't itself appear to offer a forum for discussion, I thought perhaps this area might be a convenient place to (continue to) talk about the book.

What say you?

Best,

Vince
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jun 22, 2015 05:42AM)
Thanks for mentioning this book, I just purchased the ePub version from Dover Publications. Taking a quick glance, very old stuff, and basic coin sleights like the palm, front and back.

Table of Contents

Title Page
Copyright Page
INTRODUCTION TO THE DOVER EDITION
FOREWORD

Table of Figures
Chapter I - STARTING IN MAGIC
Chapter II - WHERE MAGIC IS BOUGHT
Chapter III - SPECIALIZING IN MAGIC
Chapter IV - CONJURING WITH COINS
Chapter V - BAFFLING CARD-TRICKS
Chapter VI - CLEVER TRICKS WITH HANDKERCHIEFS
Chapter VII - TRICKS WITHOUT ELABORATE APPARATUS
Chapter VIII - MAGIC WITH PIECES OF PAPER
Chapter IX - CONJURING WITH COMMON OBJECTS
Chapter X - ROPE-TRICKS
Chapter XI - STAGE-MANAGEMENT
Chapter XII - THOUGHT-READING MADE EASY
Chapter XIII - DISAPPEARING-TRICKS
Chapter XIV - SIMPLE APPARATUS FOR ILLUSIONS
Chapter XV - SPECIAL APPARATUS AND MODERN IDEAS
Chapter XVI - WHEN YOUR MAGIC GOES WRONG
Chapter XVII - WHAT ANCIENT MAGIC TEACHES US
Chapter XVIII - SIMPLE CHEMICAL TRICKS
Chapter XIX - ENTERTAINING IN DRESS-CLOTHES
Chapter XX - TWO GREAT AMERICAN MAGICIANS
Chapter XXI - A CHINESE AND WIZARD SHOW
Chapter XXII - WHERE MAGICIANS MEET
Chapter XXIII - A LITTLE JUGGLERY, SHADOWGRAPH-WORK, AND VENTRILOQUISM
Chapter XXIV - THE ART OF MAKE-UP
Chapter XXV - HOW TO GET BOOKINGS
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 22, 2015 12:49PM)
Who are the "two great American magicians" ?
Message: Posted by: Tim Cavendish (Jun 22, 2015 01:08PM)
Kellar and Thurston.
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Jun 22, 2015 08:15PM)
Complete table of contents for this and hundreds of other magic books at magicref dot tripod dot com
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 26, 2015 02:23PM)
I hope those who are interested in this book have downloaded a copy. CARC's PDF is available [url=https://shop.conjuringarts.org/store/pc/FREE-Maskelyne-s-Book-of-Magic-PDF-149p1206.htm#.VYxkZhtViko]here[/url]. It will be there, most likely, through tomorrow (Saturday), when a different book will be slid into the free section.

One fun item to play with is called "Paper Bag Cookery." See p. 121 (PDF) or p. 105 (hardcopy).

It appears to be an item plagiarized from an earlier book from 1923, called [url=https://www.lybrary.com/tlpp/books/paper1/34.html]Paper Magic[/url], by Will Blyth.

[img]https://www.lybrary.com/tlpp/books/paper1/43.gif[/img]

Nevertheless, it could be a colorful production as it involves ribbons and candy. The patter given by Blyth actually brings to mind several ways that it could be updated. We do have Jiffy Pop and paper bag-based popcorn. What if kernels, instead of ribbon, were scooped up? (Or pretended to be - glue some kernels on top of the concealed load.) The shape of the container could be played with, too. Maybe corresponding to actual disposable popcorn containers, or perhaps a lunch-size brown paper bag.
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 27, 2015 03:02PM)
Along the lines of the adaptation to a "microwave popcorn" effect (have everyone point their cell phones at it?), I made this sketch. I wonder if any parts of it would actually work!

[img]http://api.ning.com/files/y5Mcq6BCU**sJAQpBARGIV5kK*N36shUwAIKaenJxhbzPmBK-rcSB1Htq4*1ZjlpyNWV1f6P4l9l6han4FLrrl4hE-S4mGuP/paperbagcookerypopcornvhh.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 28, 2015 07:17AM)
[quote]On Jun 22, 2015, Tim Cavendish wrote:
Kellar and Thurston. [/quote]
Thanks, Tim.
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 30, 2015 12:34AM)
There's only a few sentences about Kellar, but a fair introduction to Thurston.

After reading the chapter on Howard Thurston (Chapter 20, pdf p.253/hardcopy p.225), I have new appreciation for the process of making small improvements, and gradually feeling one's way towards larger audiences - with setbacks along the way. Maskelyne/Groom offer the biographical overview as an encouraging example.

I can't help but think of the excitement Thurston must have felt on the way to see Herrmann the Great at City Hall (Columbus, Ohio). The newspapers buzzed with sightings of Herrmann as he took short strolls through cities and towns, while on tour. Thurston was seven; Alexander Herrmann was thirty-two. Thirty-two!


[img]http://api.ning.com/files/pBrEDFyKDmNApwfY87zErzSmMAS7QMWt8sZimCBOUwgdgRn0JJ2aH56kphz9zepa2706T-Nad2-RQl4SdaRbiYwjCKuPwSOa/thurstonherrmann1876.JPG[/img]


I wonder if the building continued to evoke any feelings afterwards. That was Thurston's own City Hall, in the city he grew up in. Or partly grew up in. In Iowa, according to Maskelyne/Groom, some horse trainers he fell in with forced him into a weight-loss program.

[i]On one occasion the trainers, hoping to get young Thurston down to the proper weight to ride in a race, wrapped him in a sheet and put him in a barrel of manure to sweat off five pounds of surplus flesh. The five pounds of flesh came off all right, but his night in the barrel left him so weak that he could not stand on his feet, much less ride in a racing-saddle.[/i]

Later on, as a performer yet to make it big, but carrying on with his shows, he met up with another rude sort in Colorado.

[i][O]ne night at Boulder a member of the rough audience fired a revolver while Thurston was setting the stage for his act. The bullet broke the specially made goblet, and in a flash the great magician hit upon a method of doing the trick in his bare hands, making each card rise out of the pack and float through the air to the fingers of the other hand held high above.[/i]

What insight came from shattered glass? And why don't they build buildings like City Hall in Columbus? Apparently everyone hated it and was glad to see it burn in 1921.

[i]Two days after the fire, Mayor James Thomas received a letter from several prominent citizens extending "congratulations on the successful fire."[/i]

Architects, where are you? City planners, be brave! Shall all of our structures convey the blandness evoked by the word, "municipal?"


https://harvardmagazine.com/1999/01/magic.html

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83032058/1876-06-29/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=1876

http://www.genealogybug.net/franklin_county/timeline.htm

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/01/12/thurber-among-those-happy-city-hall-burned.html
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jul 5, 2015 08:49AM)
[i]At all events, I think that young magicians should be handy with tools and start a small workshop where they can make and invent some of their own tricks. It is obvious that a new trick that is invented by the performer must be more successful than any other, because it is as novel and up-to-date as it can be. [...]

A propos of this question of having a workshop of your own, I must add that it is essential to create an atmosphere of mystery and surround it with that atmosphere. Keep the door securely locked and bolted, do not allow strangers to enter, and cover half-completed tricks before you leave the workshop for the night. There is a limit to this secrecy, of course-—a limit that poor Lafayette the Great passed, as you will read in the next chapter; but in the main I would say guard your secrets as the vaults of the Bank of England are guarded. If rivals or even members of your audiences happen to see the way you are doing your tricks, you will have to scrap your whole show and start all over again.[/i]

[i]--Maskelyne's Book of Magic, pdf pp. 31-32/hc pp. 25-26[/i]

O rivals! wherever are thee to be found?

I wondered if any parts of the "Popcorn Bag Cookery" idea, sketched out in a previous post, could be realized. A dozen or so web searches put me in the right ballpark for the vinegar-to-baking soda ratio. I still wanted to see, first-hand, what a bit of variation would mean, in terms of reaction time and inflation, plus the question of how bags would fit into other bags and all of that bothersome practical rubbish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtyRnnUsCbg