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Harry Lorayne
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New York City
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Profile of Harry Lorayne
Perhaps this post from somewhere else here at the Café may help:

"In 1978 (aged 14) my Christmas present was The Magic Book by Harry Lorayne. Maybe hard for teenagers these days to believe but back then, there were families who did not have a lot of money; and apart from a few sweets (candy) a book would potentially be your main present.

When I started reading Harry's The Magic Book, I felt as if I'd been transported to a parallel universe; whereby superb close-up magic, with every-day items, was indeed possible.

As I type this post sat at my kitchen table, there are 2 books in front of me - may the Lord strike me dead on the spot if I'm lying. Harry's 'The Magic Book' and Quantum Leaps (I was cross referencing something last night). I'm looking at The Magic Book as I type. It's battered and bruised - having been regularly read. More than any other magic book that I own, there's bits of torn cigarette packets with notes written on, sticking out of it. The odd torn playing card with other references scribbled. And of course, the more recent post-it note.

The fact is this book has been my inspiration in magic for nearly 40 years. I have used literally everything within. Despite, like many of us in our adult lives, having wasted a lot of money over the years on the latest magic 'flim flam' it IS the material within this book that I return to time and time again. Because one thing I have learnt about how magic is perceived by an audience is that you earn the greatest respect by performing with borrowed, or 'normal' items. For example, there is hardly anything within the card section that cannot be performed with a beat-up, borrowed pack of cards. Nothing within the coin section that needs expensive gaffs (in order to produce a similar effect in the eyes of spectators). Where else can you get so much workable material with a piece of paper & a pencil? A handkerchief, table items, etc.

What's more, it taught me the most important elements of magical entertainment - presentation, routining and misdirection.

It also taught me a very, very important lesson. That it is the basic, clearly defined easy to follow plot that gets the best reaction.

Over the years, I've spent time and money learning different versions of 'The Colour Changing Deck'; or buying gaffs to get Aces to transpose, etc. I've spent money on further gaffs to get coins to go through a table; or pass from hand to hand. I've bought (and sold on) these gimmicks and flim-flam; along with countless others that achive matrix-style routines, etc. The reason being that all most gimmicks do is over-prove what you don't need to be over-proving anyway.

The classics of magic will live forever; because they have an easy to follow plot. When you use ungaffed or borrowed items and throw them into the mix, it's just so much more rewarding. Added to which 'less is more'. If you can go out with minimal props, you will generally work harder on your presentation - because you are building upon the basics - by actually using the basics. Does that make sense? I hope it does. In other words, you tend to put more energy into your performance. A prop isn't doing the work for you. I've worked with other magicians that rush at break-neck speed from prop to prop; akin to a magic dealer demo (only to then vanish to re-set their gimmicks). However, arrive at a table; borrow a few contrasting coins and a table napkin, and you are ready to entertain. And what I can genuinely say to guys (still reading my rambling here) is that people aren't stupid. If they can see you are working AND entertaining them with what are clearly not 'magic props' you will get one hell of a lot of respect.....and in many cases, you will stand out.

Harry (I believe) wrote this book for people who had an interest in starting out performing magic. It has the clearest of instruction; and covers so many useful principles of magic.

I would not only unreservedly recommend this book to people starting out; but also to any magician that wants to make a living as a professional, magical entertainer.

Indeed, it's title of 'THE Magic Book' could not be more deserving.

It is, in my honest opinion, the GREATEST book of magic ever produced.

Words cannot express my most sincere gratitude and thanks, to the Master himself.......Mr Harry Lorayne."

Barry Allen (Merc Man)

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