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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Misdirection.....What's that behind you? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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Paul, where is the Malini misdirection mechanics written up?

Looking for explanations of how to misdirect.
Andy Galloway tipped the two Ramsayisms in 'The Ramsay Legend'. The Slydini style and 'LOOK' was discussed in the Fulves work. Not sure about the HOW TO that goes with the Malini material.
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Chris "linkster" Watson
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I have only ever come across the Malini Subtlety....how do you have the bravery to try that out for the first time?

Can you give any hints as to the other forms of misdirection Malini would have used. Without giving too much away of course.
Curtis Kam
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Chris,

Most of what I understand of Malini's misdirection is anecdotal, things that appear only between the lines in the "Stars of Magic" write ups and in the Ganson(?) book. People who spent a lot of time around Dai Vernon seem to have picked up this information, Roger Klause, for instance, showed me a Malini effect I had never seen before at the COINvention. After years of not understanding the misdirection involved in the Malini color change from "Stars", Allen Okawa finally cleared that one up for me.

Since you asked, for me, I can't recall when it was that I came to the understanding that "misdirection" is simply the byproduct of proper "direction". We assume the task of directing the audience's attention at all times, from the moment we step into the spotlight. As I recall, I first saw this in print either by John Carney in the introduction to "Carneycopia" or Tommy Wonder, in his lecture. (Well before the "Books of Wonder" came out)

Sometimes you have to perform a piece as described before you understand the way attention is managed. If you're good at working this sort of thing out, then I recommend "Magic by Gosh" which will take you step-by-step through Albert Goshman's entire act. If you ever saw Goshman, you know what it's like to be "misdirected." One of the best lessons I ever had in audience direction was to learn Goshman's act well enough to perform it. I hear Tim Connover did the act, or part of it, at WMS?
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harris
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Seeing Mr. Goshman back in 76 was what got me hooked on coin magic and being me. Ditto on the book.

I have never tried to do his type of magic but I make reference to him when I work.

Learing the routines for the reasons mentioned above make a bit of sense. Definetly food for thought.


Harris
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Paul Chosse
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Curtis is right - much of the Malini material IS anecdotal. There was a series in "The Conjuror's Magazine" that included stories by people most of you will have never even heard of - Jesse Mueller was an attorney (VERY prominent criminal attorney in SF in the 30's, 40's...), Paul Linder, Tom Defthelsen (Owner of Golden Gate Magic), Bob Stull (Owner of Stull Magic in SF, and developer of some literally top secret war material during WWII), etc. These were guys who knew Malini personally and separately from their magic connection to him. There was a series in "The Linking Ring" (circa 1971) that included letters from T. Nelson Downs and Eddie "Tex" Maguire (Author of "The Phantom at the Card Table" and purportedly Malini's only manager) to each other. They outline some of Malini's material and his approach, personality, etc. This series was later reprinted as a booklet.

Maguire also wrote several scathing letters after the "Vernon on Malini" book came out (published in Genii, if I recall correctly, or maybe by Fulves...). He (Maguire) claims that it (The Malini book) is essentially a manuscript that he wrote and that circulated underground in the fifties. That Vernon guesses at many of the methods Malini used. This is likely founded in truth. Vernon was not nearly as close to Malini as it would appear from the book, and in fact Malini was MUCH closer to Charlie Miller, who really made Malini's Egg Bag famous. Charlie had the "inside dope" on a lot of the Malini material and DID IT. Not so with Vernon. Malini was, for instance, far too fastidious to use the method Vernon espouses in the book to produce a block of ice. There are other glaring discrepancies in the book, but even at that it makes for interesting reading.

I am writing this from my office, so don't have all my references to hand, but I have copies of correspondence from Charlie to Faucett Ross, and other correspondence from Maguire, all detailing Malini's methods, personality, etc. and this gives a good insight into his misdirective techniques. One of the most often quoted "Malinisms" is the one about how long to wait if someone is watching you - "A veek, I vait a veek!" was the supposed response. Even if it is apocrophal, it is indicative of Malini's state of mind regarding moves, and therefore direction, or misdirection - do it when they aren't looking!

This may be the place for me to make a point - the literature abounds with information about questions like this one. The thing is, I've spent my life reading, researching, questioning, and interviewing people in order to gain some insights. I have files on this type of thing that are an accumulation of years of study. I'm happy to share that knowledge with students of the art, but please, know that you can learn more, retain it better and will appreciate it more if you do the work yourself.

O.K., so much for the rant, back to Malini...

"The Stars of Magic", as Curtis noted, has some interesting material, if you read it in the context of Malini's performing style. This is the key, for me, to understanding what performers I've never seen must have looked like. I try to get an idea of their personalities, their backgrounds, and the times they worked in. Then I can, maybe, reconstruct the material. Even if I'm wrong, I have a lot of fun doing it, and I often find new ways of interpreting the material I'm reading. Give it a try, it can be very rewarding...

Best, PSC
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Curtis Kam
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So Paul, where did "the little bugger" load the block of ice from?
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Chris "linkster" Watson
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Wow.....thanks Paul that really is some write up.

I take your point on the reaseach bit although it is nice to get a starting point from those who have trod the path before. It seems that misdirection is one side magic which will be a continuing learning curve as long as you want it to be.

Interestingly Paul Daniels one of our TV personality magicians over here in the UK is doing a show where he is "performing the magic of Malini". I am going to try to get tickets, it may be a rewarding experience? It would be interesting given the limited information on Malini's magic to discover where he got the tricks for the show from. I shall see if I can collar him after the show.

As for Goshman I am waiting on the post for a video at the moment and hope to get the book shortly too. It gets expensive but I like to see performances on video and learn from books. Do you guy's feel that misdirection can be learned from a book or is it better to see someone perform. I seem to remember reading Slydini would make his pupils copy his movements exactly in order to learn misdirection, is that the case? Do you feel that is a relevant way to develop some of the finer points or do you prefer to take the principals and apply them to your style of magic straight away. I guess that these days you would automatically abopt things into your own style so I probably mean when you were learning?

As for Slydini anyone know where his one coin routine may be found?
johnloon
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You can find it in " Stars of Magic". The book with a blue cover. I am sure you can find it in most of the magic shops. Smile
Curtis Kam
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Slydini's One Coin Routine appears in print in "Slydini Encores". The individual phases are well described, but the rhythm of the piece is difficult to convey in print. I don't know whether the routine is redescribed in the later books, and I doubt it was ever caught on tape, unless he did it on T.V. at some point.

If the Goshman tape you await is the one he produced himself, you'll have to use your imagination. He does everything well, but Goshman's act was a living thing, and there's no studio audience on the tape.

The book is a great help in learning the flow of the misdirection. (which I submit always moves in a counter clockwise circle--check it and see) The explanation of his famous retention vanish on the tape is remarkable. Even when he's just tallking and doing the move, you'll swear you see something go from hand to hand.

Interesting note about Paul Daniels. I have no idea how well he knows the Malini material. Please report back. Smile
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johnloon
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I have got several brand new copies of "The Ramsay Finale" and "The Ramsay Legend"


johnloon@hotmail.com
kerpa
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The Fitzkee book Misdirection is an excellent classic - if you can get hold of it.
One pearl he offers that I find rings true for me - you have to semiconvince yourself on some level that you really did do an action you want the audience to think you did. E.g., you want to convince yourself you actually did transfer the coin, even when you retain it in the original hand.
The idea is that the audience will pick up on your conviction through subconscious cues (including body language). Seems to work for me.
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Bill Palmer
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I was wondering when someone would get around to discussing Fitzkee in this thread. Although it's an old book, Magic by Misdirection is really the basic book on the subject. It dissects misdirection and goes into its building blocks. Misdirection is essentially the "acting" part of magic.

Once you have read Fitzkee, then read Tommy Wonder's material. That will give you a strong head start. When you have a fundamental understanding of misdirection, you can do almost anything.

Blackstone used it to produce a donkey and an elephant. He also used it to vanish a group of ducks.

I used it at the Texas Renaissance Festival to do a disappearance from what was basically an open stage with a reappearance at the back of the audience -- in a different costume.
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Chris "linkster" Watson
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Hi Guy's,

Just got back from seeing Paul Daniels doing the "magic of Max Malini" in London. Wow what a show!

It was a bit like a history lesson and a magic show rolled into one. Paul went into how he had found out about many of the routines along with showing the routines themselves.

Much of the material had been gleaned from old magazines, and books. Paul is now 64 and has been collecting and performing magic since 11. He has on his travels also met an old Australian Model who was now around 80 who knew both Malini and Dante. Paul was able to glean some information about the man from her. In addition one of his friends was taught the Malini egg routine by Max Malini's son. The routine had been passed to Paul over the Internet from this magician in America.

Paul Maintained that Maguire, Malini's manager was employed by another famous magician to spy on him and Paul has a copy of the manuscript sent to this magician outlining the tricks in the act.

Tricks performed included a coin folded into a piece of paper disappearing, the paper being torn up and thrown into a Spittoon (bucket) apparently Max would then retrieve the coin at a later date out of the bucket. Being such an elegant looking performer no one would suspect he would sift through the spit and gunk at the bottom of a bucket to find a "disappeared coin".

Others included a Chink a Chink with sugar, bill in lemon, card tricks, glass through table (excellent presentation, you hear a spoon tapped on the glass and a spectator picks it up just prior to the glass going through the table). Another trick was a coin trick / con. Paul's right hand was wrapped in a handkerchief with only his finger pointing out, he then balance a £2 coin on the finger and the spectator held a £1 coin in his palm up hand. The idea was that Paul would have to click the £2 coin onto the £1 coin and keep it balanced on the finger, all the spectator had to do was grab the £2 coin once it had tapped the £1 coin...needless to say no one got the £2 coin (someone did but he had moved before he should have!)

The closer for the show was the ice under the hat, wow didn't see that coming, the spectator at sitting right by Paul didn't either...busy calling heads and tails on a coin when all of a sudden a block of ice appears under the hat. Very impressive.

Anyway that gives a brief overview of the show. Paul was saying this may well be his last bit of theatre, there are only about 30-35 people in the audience so tickets are limited. If anyone gets the chance though I would recommend going to see the show.

Have just got Leading with Your Head by Kurtz and Goshman's book...looks like I have some studying to do ;-D

Chris
roi_tau
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Hi

Try to get Al Flosso's Miser dream routine on video.

This is one of the BEST lesson in misdirection you will ever get.

Have fun
Roi
Mano
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Hey Chris,

Can you tell me where you get the Kurtz and Goshman's books; I would also like to get some study from those books.

Thanks in avance.

Mano
Chris "linkster" Watson
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Hi Mano,

The goshman book is widely available and is called magic by gosh, I know the likes of magic books by post, davenports, alakazam here in the UK should all have it. I would highly recommend the video of Albert from International Magic here in the UK called Goshman performs...its a hoem shot type video but truly superb. The Gary Kurtz book is available from http://www.leirpoll.com and again makes for an excellent read.

Enjoy

:)
Mano
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Hi Chris,good morning,

Thanks so much for the reference,i'm gonna be looking for the books and the goshman's perform video right now.

Thanks again Chris, have a good day.

Best wishes.
Mano.
Mike Wild
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Unpopular as it may or may not be, try reading Sankey's last book, "Beyond Secrets". It's not a "here's four tricks to do" kind of book, more like a "here's how to perform magic" kind of book. Well worth the ten bucks.

Mike
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Pete Biro
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Paul Daniels has released the Malini Show in a DVD... well worth getting. Smile
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Chris "linkster" Watson
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Groovy, Thanks pete
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