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Vince Hancock
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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!


Image



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.

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.

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.

[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.

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.

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

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/s......te1=1876

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

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/......ned.html
Vince Hancock
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Bear Lake, Michigan
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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.


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

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
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