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Topic: Info About Kuda Bux
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 20, 2004 03:42PM)
I’m doing a research about Kuda Bux for a performance I’m working on, and I would appreciate if someone could point me some good resources. Here on the web seems like it’s almost nothing. Any one knows about books, magazines or any other resource about him?

Thanks in advance!
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Feb 20, 2004 04:03PM)
Sounds interesting. Please give us a description of the performance and it's purpose. Little seems to be in print on him.
Message: Posted by: MindExplosion (Feb 20, 2004 04:04PM)
Kuda Bux was born in the village of Akhnur Jammu in the state of Kashmir in the late 1800s to early 1900s – the exact date is unknown – with the name Khuda Bakhsh. Later in his life he would become a man well known for his incredibly skillful blindfold act, as well as his amazing fire walks.

Kuda Bux was born into a wealthy family; however, at the age of thirteen he left his home to travel, and during this time he learned one of his trademark feats: fire walking, which he learned by studying the firewalkers whom he stumbled across during his travels. Later on in the year 1919, he developed his other trademark talent---blindfold reading.

When he arrived in Europe, he began starring in the television show "The Man With The X-Ray Eyes". Then after arriving in America, he amazed 250 doctors by walking barefooted over a pit filled with burning embers, and at a later date even walking 50 feet (25 feet each way) through a pit of burning coal, which was broadcast on Ripley's Believe it or Not and viewed by many, the press and medical field included.

Joseph Dunninger, famed mentalist, once claimed that Kuda Bux was a fake, but when challenged to copy the act, he did not answer. Bux had performed many times in the Magic Castle, yet none who witnessed his blindfold act were positive as to how he accomplished his feats and to this day, no one has been able to duplicate exctly the feats of Mr. Bux. Not only could he utilize a standard blindfold, but he could also have dough, coins, surgical adhesive, as well as balls of cotton placed over his eyes after which he would have gauze wrapped around his head and under his chin until all but his nostrils were covered. He would then proceed to duplicate anything written on a large slate. At times he would even have a volunteer draw a solid line, full of loops and curves onto a slate and then in a contrasting color, trace over the line exactly---and all this while, for lack of a better word, mummified!

On top of all of this, Bux was also a skilled magician, and amongst the illusions he would perform were an illusion in which he would push tubes through a box holding two women, as well as a levitation, and a vanish. During his career he had also performed with Maskelyne's company right alongside Robert Harbin.

Unfortunately in his later years, Kuda Bux began to lose his eyesight due to cataracts; however, even his failing eyesight couldn't keep him from amazing people with his astounding blindfold stunts.

In 1942 Kuda Bux married an Italian woman while he was in England. He had one brother who, before retiring, had been the chief engineer of Punjab. Bux also had one son, born in 1954, who grew to work as a mechanical engineer.

Sadly Khuda Bakhsh died in February of 1985 from a heart attack. Though none knew his exact age, he was believed to have been in his late 70s up into his 80s.

Sources:
"...With the Mentalists" by Robert Nelson
Linking Ring, 1938

"Memoirs of a Magician's Ghost" by John Booth
Linking Ring, November, 1980

Broken Wand
Linking Ring, February, 1981
Message: Posted by: Uriah Fuller (Feb 20, 2004 04:05PM)
Enrique,

British Pathe has recently put their entire film library online. They have a segment you can download on Kuda Bux which is very interesting. You can check it out [url=http://www.britishpathe.com/product_display.php?Search.x=0&Search.y=0&searchfilm=kuda+bux]Here![/url]

They also have segments on Fogel as well as the infamous British mentalism duo, the Piddingtons. You can find their segments here:

[url=http://www.britishpathe.com/product_display.php?PHPSESSID=92bb98c47060cc20067b14e34878ecb4&Search.x=0&Search.y=0&searchfilm=fogel]Fogel[/url]

[url=http://www.britishpathe.com/product_display.php?Search.x=0&Search.y=0&searchfilm=piddingtons]Piddingtons[/url]

Uriah
Message: Posted by: MindExplosion (Feb 20, 2004 04:09PM)
What I posted above is a short biography that I had compiled some time back from the sources that I gave below. If I may say so myself, I don't think I did too bad of a job, considering how little information is available.

I also have a copy of an old Ripley's Believe it or Not episode that he was on.
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 20, 2004 04:49PM)
Wow! Thanks for the help!

Ty, I’m impressed with your bio on Bux. You put together in a concise and beautiful way everything that it’s available out there. Great job!

Uriah, the stills and the video are great!

I’m still working on the performance, putting the pieces together. It will be a piece part history-part mentalism act. I will be glad to give you more details as soon as they became more clear to me. I’m working on the script now.

Many, many thanks to all!
Message: Posted by: MagicCoach (Feb 24, 2004 08:19PM)
Enrique,

I once did a piece based on Alexander The Man Who Knows. Some would say it was just an excuse to wear a turban, but it does allow you to work effects and styles that possibly wouldn't work now. By "framing" them as a historical, theatrical piece, they work very well.

Do let us all know how your project goes
Message: Posted by: John Clarkson (Feb 24, 2004 08:46PM)
Ty,

Thanks for the bio. I had the pleasure of seeing Kuda Bux perform at The Castle long ago. The "squiggly line" was drawn on a large blackboard (actually greenboard, as I recall) that was put behind him. It was not just a small slate. The spectator could draw for as long as (s)he wanted. When you watched Kuda Bux, you knew you were in the presence of greatness.

:nose:
Message: Posted by: MindExplosion (Feb 25, 2004 12:23AM)
I'm not sure if I put together [i]everything[/i] out there, but I did put a fair bit of time and effort into digging up the information.

If anyone could relate any personal experiences or knowledge of the man (Mr. Clarkson?) that would be great! I really enjoy reading people's accounts of the past Masters.
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 25, 2004 06:24AM)
John,

Do you recall more details about the routine?

I agree with Ty. If everyone has personal anecdotes about Bux and doesn’t mind to share it here, will be great.

On Jack Dean’s book “Psychic Sight”, there are a couple of anecdotes (I guess it’s not right to copy them here). He also states that claim to have “X ray vision” is a wrong justification for a Blindfold act (in theory, that reinforces inconvenient attention over your eyes). Seems to me like a chronic attack of “too much thinking”.
Message: Posted by: sgrossberg (Feb 25, 2004 09:14AM)
I had the great pleasure of being able to see Kuda Bux many times at the Magic Castle. I also happened to be in the audience during his last run at the Castle. I recall him being more intense than usual during the beginning of what would be his final act. As I recall, he seemed to pause repeatedly during the beginning of the show and then, halfway into the performance in the Parlor, said that he needed to take a moment because he thought he was having a heart attack. (Yes, that is what he announced to the audience.)

If I remember correctly, he excused himself and went behind the curtain for a few moments. He then returned, without showing any emotion nor further explanation, and then finished the performance. Every time I had the honor of seeing him or speaking with him, he was always gracious and quite the "gentle" man.
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 25, 2004 10:45AM)
Thanks Scott!

Do you remember the routine? What kind of things different from Blindfold work he did there? Did he finished with the Blindfold stunt?

Thanks again!
Message: Posted by: sgrossberg (Feb 25, 2004 03:22PM)
Enrique,

Wow, you are asking me to go back 23 years! I remember the "heart attack" portion so vividly because everyone was quite concerned, and Kuda Bux was, in his own way, what I would consider to be shaken by what was happening.

I remember sitting in the third row absolutely amazed that Kuda Bux would continue on with the show and with the professionalism that he showed (no further complaining). Indeed, he actually apologized to the audience for momentarily pausing his performance.

Unfortunately, I do not recall what precisely he performed that night at the beginning of the act. I know that he ended with the blindfold routine that he usually did (there were variations at times depending on the audience). I also recall that his hands were shaking "more than usual" as he traced on the board over the figures/shapes/words that audience members had written there. In hindsight, of course, this would have been a result of the heart attack.

Above all else, I remember this man's grace, even while suffering a heart attack, and his respect for his audience. I don't think many "professionals" today would comport themselves with such dignity and resolve. I further believe that Kuda Bux's yogic training helped him deal with his then-threatening medical condition as he was visibly controlling his breathing during the attack.

I will go through some of my materials and if my memory is refreshed I am more than happy to share more with you.
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Feb 25, 2004 05:58PM)
Thanks Scott!

I’m obssesed with historical anecdotes and I really enjoyed reading yours! The entire experience sounds absolutely powerful.

The first time I did my blindfold routine, one of my volunteers was a lady in hers 50s. After the show, she approached me, very touched. She told me that when she was a girl she saw Kuda Bux performing. She remembered Kuda Bux’s performance like something really powerful, almost unreal, and now, speaking to me, she was very thankful about being able to feel again the same kind of emotion. For me that was beyond any compliment.

If you remember something else... please! let me know.

Thanks again!!!
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Mar 5, 2004 04:42PM)
Do you happen to know his take on the Torn and Restored Napkin routine?
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (Mar 7, 2004 06:05PM)
Tom,

I know he used to perform the Torn and Restored Napkin along with some other tricks, but I only have found information about his firewalking and the blindfold works.

Did you see him performing the Torn and Restored napkin?
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Mar 8, 2004 11:39AM)
Yes. He showed and taught another guy and I the works, way back when, in the library at the Castle. The other guy (never knew his name) was doing a T&R napkin and Mr. Bux apparently thought his method would be better for the guy than the method he was using....he did it, lost us in the dust, showed us the step by step, did it again to illustrate, and lost us in the dust again....

I have it in some notes somewhere, but as I recall, the last time I tried to ressurrect this one, my notes made no sense in critical areas...what was obvious and apparent at the time, is now not so obvious....but his acquitment and basics were brilliant and ballsy and that part I do have.

As I recall, he started the trick in the middle of the usual routine. You might put out a call to anyone else who has seen this one performed (or whether it is in print) so as to get the step-by-step performance details. I've got the behind-the-event horizon stuff, but not the beginnning.

You are welcome to whatever I have, as soon as I can locate the notebook, if you are interested....BTW, I would have the date on this notated, so you could possibly check the records of the Castle to see who performed that week, and see if that person paid attention and can remember the routine.
Message: Posted by: kardini (Mar 16, 2008 02:00AM)
Magic friends from MC,

Two rare short videoclips of KUDA BUX here:

http://www.britishpathe.com

and

http://www.youtube.com

Search for "KUDA BUX"

Cheers from Brazil,

KARDINI
Message: Posted by: The Feegee Mermaid (Mar 16, 2008 03:43AM)
http://www.amazingabilities.com/amaze1a.html

Take a look around this site, some interesting stories and characters.

+TFM
Message: Posted by: andyfisher (Mar 16, 2008 05:46AM)
I am really interested in blinfold work and am devising a routine myself based upon my childhood hero - Daredevil! I currently use John Archer's method referenced in 'Blindfold Tips' which has a strong impact - but Kuda Bux's method here is truly baffling - has anyone come close to replicating it?
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Mar 16, 2008 07:12AM)
I tried to learn the dough method when I was in High School. There was a Mss. out on it then. Total mess. I decided the writer was guessing. Went with the coins and tape, then my own.

Around mid-'80's, Karroll Priest put out a small expensive manuscript that supposedly had the scoop on Kuda's method. Priest hinted, but, as I recall, never definitely stated that his take was the real method. The Mss. is available on Ebay every so often.
Message: Posted by: Steve Suss (Mar 16, 2008 12:12PM)
Back in the 60's I had the opportunity to eat lunch with Kuda Bux every Saturday at the Governors Caféteria in NYC. We did not know who he was and he introduced himself as Fred. He was a very humble and gracious gentlemen who prefered sitting with a few teens rather than some of magics contemporary greats who frequented the Caféteria after Tannens closed for the day. The thing that most impressed us about Fred was his 100% challenge classic force. He would challenge you to try to choose a card other than his force card and you could not do it no matter how hard you tried. He tried teaching it to us but the handling was just too unothodox and difficult for us and none of us ever learned it.

One day one of us asked Fred what he did for a living. He told us he was a magician. Then he very casually said my stage name is Kuda Bux. Needless to say our jaws dropped to the floor. Although we all heard of Kuda Bux, none of us had ever seen him perform live or on TV. Keep in mind this was way before the age of VCR's.

While Kuda Bux always tried to help us with our magic he never revealled the details of his blindfold act. He did however tell us something that has always remained in my mind and has helped me develope my own blindfold routine many years later. He said the secret of my blindfold act is I do not need to see.

For those developing a blindfold act I think the above words can be worth their weight in gold. For my own routine I mix up effects where I need to see with effects where I don't need to see. This has worked very well for myself and I think cancells out the various methods I use.

Did Kuda Bux mean those words literally? I don't know and still can't figure out his method. To this day I've never seen anyone who can so convincingly perform the blindfold routine.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Chad Sanborn (Mar 16, 2008 01:15PM)
When he performed at the Castle, wasn't Joan Rivers his assistant? I know she assisted him at some point in her career.

Chad
Message: Posted by: RLFrame (Mar 16, 2008 01:32PM)
I believe there is a chapter on Kuda bux in Psychic Paradoxes by John Booth.
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Mar 16, 2008 01:53PM)
We have in our collection, not on display, a huge red box, illusion, for several ladies, with spikes and cloth velvet tubes that belonged to Kuda Bux. If anyone knows more about it I would appreciate the info

Dick Brooks & Dorothy Dietrich