The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Any thoughts on the new Del Ray book? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
admagic
View Profile
New user
10 Posts

Profile of admagic
Forgive my ignorance... but the ad copy claims he was the greatest thing since sliced bread -- yet I don't recall him being an influence on my magic career over the past 25 years.

Am I missing something?

Thanks.
lebowski
View Profile
Veteran user
377 Posts

Profile of lebowski
This book should be a blockbuster, even if you never heard of Del Ray. There is still time for him to influence your magic.
Rimbaud
View Profile
Loyal user
Saint Louis
291 Posts

Profile of Rimbaud
Yes, he was, in fact, the greatest thing since sliced bread. I saw him at the 1983 Midwest Magic Jubilee and it is still, easily, the single best close up act I've ever seen. I was standing near Daryl and Richard Kaufman, and by the looks I remember seeing on their faces, they might agree.
http://www.DanLaddthehypnotist.com
"Saying 'Everyone is special' is just another way of saying 'No one is.'" --Dash from The Incredibles
Magic-Daniel
View Profile
Inner circle
Denmark
1317 Posts

Profile of Magic-Daniel
How the xxxx does this work http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk0LbHg-8Es ?
NicholasD
View Profile
Inner circle
1460 Posts

Profile of NicholasD
Del Ray was surely in the "one of a kind" class.
MrPrestoHypno
View Profile
Regular user
189 Posts

Profile of MrPrestoHypno
Just waiting for my book to get here, am looking forward to it and the dvd that comes with it!
truthteller
View Profile
Inner circle
2586 Posts

Profile of truthteller
Del was a real magician. The best. I would perform for people who saw him work 30 years ago and they still remembered his name. I have never been so pulled into the magic experience as I did when watching Del live.

Selfishly, I would rather Del's work remain underground. Some works of art are best left unique.
RiffRaff
View Profile
Special user
654 Posts

Profile of RiffRaff
Just finished reading it last night, and I loved it!
The Gary Plants section is outstanding!
I suspect that there could be enough material remaining to assemble a second volume Smile
Bill Hegbli
View Profile
Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22945 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
Quote:
On 2010-11-13 01:58, admagic wrote:
Forgive my ignorance... but the ad copy claims he was the greatest thing since sliced bread -- yet I don't recall him being an influence on my magic career over the past 25 years.

Am I missing something?

Thanks.


Del Ray was not into being around the magic scene, he was making a living with his one of kind act. Electronics before the general public knew what electronics even were and how to use it. Truely professional magician, do not mingle with magicians, they are to busy working and doing what they love.

Of course he would not influence you, unless you call being totally creative in your magic and methods. It is to bad that none of his stage effects are covered. Stage magic is truely suffering from a limited selection of magic. It would have been nice to have something new to perform if one could get it made easily.

Being the book does not contain any stage magic, I will not be purchasing this book, as I do not purchase close-up magic any longer. I have enough close-up to fill several lifetimes. Just like those that want to keep secret things secret, write about tricks noone is interested in and cannot use to enhance an act.
Gary Plants
View Profile
Special user
544 Posts

Profile of Gary Plants
Wmhegbli,

The vast majority of this book is NOT about learning MORE magic tricks. Yes, there are a few of Del's close-up tricks explained in the book, but it is mainly a historical book on the life of one of the greatest MAGICIANS who ever lived.

Because Del chose not to mingle with many magicians for many years, very little about Del has ever been recorded.

If you are interested in magic history at all, then you would want this book. With the DVD you CAN watch Del perform HIS stage act. Can you learn something from that.....probably.

If you are looking for something to add to your stage act, save your money.

Gary Plants
NicholasD
View Profile
Inner circle
1460 Posts

Profile of NicholasD
I received my book today and finished it in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. I had seen him perform only on film. There was so much I learned about this extaordinary man and magician. Maybe my age is catching up to me, but it had me wondering, laughing and crying.
msmaster
View Profile
Special user
522 Posts

Profile of msmaster
Haven't completed reading, just got it today, but I have to say this is an in depth portrait about one of the best and until now little of his history was known or even researchable. As for some saying they wouldn't buy this because it is not a book of "tricks" or because the few tricks in it are close-up, it is obvious to many that a lot can be learned by the perceptive anyway. Incidentally as to the close-up in this book, there is a nifty version of LePauls Gymnastic Aces using selected cards instead of the aces.
korttihai_82
View Profile
Inner circle
Finland
1807 Posts

Profile of korttihai_82
I have also finished the book finally. As allready stated, if you are looking for new tricks then this book is not for you. It is more of biography/historical book with few rather common cards tricks explained in the end. Also the use of Rays electronics is discussed rather openly but not really teached if that interest the reader.

The DVD coming with the book however is worth its weight in gold for anyone who has not seen Ray perform. To my suprice it also was full of different material that was put out few years back in other DVD that was taken rather quickly off the market. Both of these are fantastic and educational experience on one of the worlds most entertaining close up magicians who ever lived. The stage act didn't interest me at all really. It was far behind from Rays close-up stuff.

Also the lenght of the book is little misleading. The book is supposed to be around 500pages but it is divided into like 70 chapters. Each chapter starts with empty white page and writing starts at half page. Most of the chapters are just like 1-2 page in lenght and they take 3-4 pages of space. The book itself is very beautiful otherwise. Very fine glossy paper, quite heavy, easy to read, good quality and so on.

Good bedtime reading with amazing dvd but still quite expensive if you are waiting to learn something other than historical things...

Juha-Matti
Anatole
View Profile
Inner circle
1864 Posts

Profile of Anatole
I have two copies of the Del Ray biography--one to read and one to keep in mint condition as a collector's item. I don't think there's anything at all "misleading" about the graphic design of the book. The layout of starting a chapter well below the top line is not unusual in any publishing venture. For instance...

I'm looking at a hardbound copy of _Lightning_--a best-selling Dean Koontz novel--where if a chapter ends on an odd numbered page, it is followed by a blank page and then the first page of the next chapter. The first line of each chapter in the Koontz novel is 15 lines below the first line of a normal full page of text in each chapter. I don't think anyone would call the length of the Koontz book misleading.

I picked another book from my bookcase at random--a biography of American songwriter Irving Berlin--and each chapter starts 18-20 lines below what would be the top line of a full page of text. Again, this is a not uncommon design practice.

Personally, I think everything about the Del Ray biography is a first-class production. Consider, too, that a DVD is included in the purchase price. I'm looking at a couple of performance-only DVDs currently on the market that cost over $30.00 each for just the DVDs--no accompanying book, just the DVDs.

---- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Bill Hegbli
View Profile
Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22945 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
My comments have nothing to do with learning new tricks. When I seen Del Ray years ago in Toledo, OH, his act captured me totally. It was his stage act, with fantastic electronics timed with his perfect timing to create the most awesome magic I have ever witnessed.

If a book is written about this man, I would want to know what made him know that electronics could be used in the way he seen it in his mind. How did he know see the future the purpose of this never thought of magic.

As far as tricks, it would be really boring to see pages and page of electronic diagrams, that only an electronic expert could understand. The tricks he performed was the classics in magic. Rising card, dove production, etc. I am sure that is why he promoted and everyone that seen his stage act talked about the drinking white bear. I personally was not impressed with the bear, but that is just me, I was more impressed by the perfect timing of the flash of fire dove production.
noble1
View Profile
Special user
651 Posts

Profile of noble1
Why does one comment on a book they say they haven't haven't read? I don't understand how that is valuable or helpful to others.
Anatole
View Profile
Inner circle
1864 Posts

Profile of Anatole
I don't want to give too much away, but there is indeed some insight revealed in the Del Ray biography as to what inspired Del Ray to explore the merging of traditional magic effects with electronics. Without, I hope, giving too much away-- his first foray (while still at the children's home) into developing an electronic rising card modus is described. As John Moehring points out, it is a classic example of how Del's lateral thinking set him apart from most magicians of his time.

I have always felt that a book that is "begging" to be written is a book of how magic effects, routines and presentations evolve and where the inspiration comes from. Two examples: 1) Lewis Ganson described in _The Floating and Dancing Cane_ how the dancing cane evolved; 2) Thurston in his autobiography (ghosted by Gibson) related how a rowdy cowboy shot a bullet through the goblet that he used for the traditional rising cards. Since he now had no goblet, Thurston was inspired (forced) to come up with a method for making the cards rise from his hand, which led him to a way to make the cards rise entirely out of the deck into mid air until they are caught by the other hand.(For all I know, the entire Thurston story may be apocryphal, but it is still a great story; he did embellish it slightly.)

As I explain in my own lecture notes, my version of the dancing cane--"The Enchanted Walkingstick"--was inspired by modifications I had made to Bob Hummer's Whirl-a-way Card. (Whenever I write up a routine and submit one to a magic magazine, I include at the end a section that I call "Genesis" where I trace the evolution of the trick or routine. It is my way of "giving credit where credit is do" but also my way of documenting the creative process. Another example of the evolutionary process in magic is the evolution of the "Wild Cards" packet trick. I think Frank Garcia did that in his book on Wild Card.)

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
P.S. One more great example of lateral thinking is the story behind the invention of one of the most popular magic effects of all time--Joe Karson's "Zombie." Anyone interested in inventing magic should read Mike Rose's book _Joe Karson: Beyond Zombie_, available as an e-book from lybrary.com
----- Sonny Narvaez
ASW
View Profile
Inner circle
1887 Posts

Profile of ASW
I enjoyed reading this book because I am a long-term Del Ray tragic - but the end result was that it was a little depressing. The reason being that it ultimately ends up being a list of his engagements based on sifting through his show scrapbooks, but that it is almost entirely devoid of any real insights into his performing philosophy, the development of his character or the development of his attitude towards creativity and how magic secrets should be handled.

The amazing thing is that a range of people have emerged (i.e., the publishers) who appear to have spent a great deal of time with Del Ray, but with almost no exceptions they fail to have retained any nuggets of wisdom gleaned from sessions with the great man (including marathon telephone conversations) that spanned hours, days and weeks. I don't blame anyone for this. The book is well written, and John Moehring did a stand up job as a compiler of data - and Gary did a solid job of describing some of his material.

What was needed was a bit more effort in several areas. First, the author or someone with interviewing experience, needed to nail down people who knew Del Ray and just get them to talk at length in a relaxed environment while recording their reminiscences. He should also have recorded observations of people who may not have known Del Ray well but who saw him work sufficiently - AND who have solid reputations for insightful analysis of performance craft. Finally, the author or authors needed to sit down and conduct a deep analysis of the craft involved in Del Ray's dramatic construction, persona and also his philosophy as expressed or inferred from an analysis of his key show structures, and the observations of those interviewed.

Of course, this would take real critical analysis and not hagiography. There is little tradition of honest unbiased critical analysis in magic. Even the few people who many assume to be real critical thinkers have a habit of inserting THEMSELVES into the picture at every opportunity rather than focusing on the subject under discussion.

The kind of people who would have written a truly interesting analysis of Del Ray would be folks like Levent and Matt Field. Perhaps even Eric Mead, who I always find to be a good thinker.

As to all the guys who focus on the technical details of Del Ray's mechanical work, they are air bandits. Everything you need to know to appreciate the core points of what was happening behind the scenes is revealed in detail in this book. Okay, no schematics, but you don't need them because you are not entitled to replicate his act. He wouldn't have wanted that and frankly no one who has any respect for Del Ray would want to see you doing his material either. Leave it alone.

Actually that last point reminds me of one example where the writers don't seem to explicitly provide any insight into the subject. That's because Del Ray also pilfered ideas from someone else's act when he was starting out but had it slapped back in his face. The authors don't seem (unless I skipped a page) to have made the leap that this experience may have made Del Ray determined to pursue his own original ideas. And they don't note the irony of his own disappointment later in life when he became aware of two guys who had plundered his material. That's a key point that should have been discussed.

And what about his early years and how they may have forged his own approach to secrecy? Or how they might have explained his marrying a 40 year old woman at the age of 22?

This is a book that I recommend because it is the ONLY overview of Del Ray's life, and Del Ray was one of the top magicians of the 20th century. I only hope that any 2nd edition is expanded with some of the suggestions I propose above, because there is a better book about Del Ray's life waiting to be written.

Again, this is no criticism of Moehring and Plants. I understand Moehring was very ill during the drafting of this book and it amazes me he was able to even focus on it. He did a great job.
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

A magician on the Genii Forum

"I would respect VIPs if they respect history."

Hideo Kato
Markymark
View Profile
Inner circle
1600 Posts

Profile of Markymark
I agree.That is a very astute review.It's like a review that I might have read
in one of the 2 magic magazines.The book does read a bit too like a list of engagements.
I would have loved to have read something more like the piece Max Maven wrote
in 'Magic'.Inspiring writing rather then matter of fact writing.
The dvd is fantastic though.
''In memory of a once fluid man,crammed and distorted by the classical mess'' -Bruce Lee
jonnyboy
View Profile
Inner circle
San Diego
1021 Posts

Profile of jonnyboy
I agree with the both of you on this. The first part of the book about how he developed, and what he overcame was much more interesting than the list of engagements. Thank you for the incisive review. I'm still glad I purchased the book, but you hit the nail on the head. One thing not mentioned was how sloppy some of the proofreading was. Surprising that so many obvious errors slipped through. For me, that is always a distraction.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Any thoughts on the new Del Ray book? (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
X
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.21 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL