Jacob Philadelphia

Jacob Philadelphia (August 14, 1735 – 1795)

Jacob Philadelphia is notable as the first American-born magician to achieve fame — although he primarily performed abroad. Jacob Meyer was born on August 14, 1735.  Dr. Christopher Witt, the associate of Johannes Kelpius, was chiefly responsible for his education. Meyer’s patron in England was Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn.

When he converted to Christianity, Jacob Meyer took the name of Jacob Philadelphia in homage to the home city of the American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin. He was also performed by the names Meyer Philadelphia and Philadelphus Philadelphia. Read More…

Are dogs fooled by sleight of hand?

The answer appears to be … yes!

Escape artist cat?

Marshmellow the French escape artist catFor a moment of levity — if Houdini had owned a cat, would it have looked like Marshmallow? Read More…

Dark Legacy

Thriller - Dark Legacy - bullet catch trickOn Boris Karloff’s TV show, Thriller, one episode was titled Dark Legacy — about a dying warlock who is also a great stage magician, who leaves his book of secrets to his nephew, a struggling stage magician.  Unfortunately, the nephew follows in his uncle’s occult footsteps, with fatal consequences.

The episode shows some examples of some classic magic, including: Read More…

Aldo Colombini has suffered a stroke

Sad news – Aldo Colombini has suffered a stroke, according to his wife.

Prayers will be appreciated, I’m sure. Read More…

Self-Working paper magic

Self-Working paper magic—81 foolproof tricks by Karl Fulves

Self-Working Paper Magic, by Karl Fulvesbuy-from-amazon

I’m a fan of Karl Fulves “self-working” series, and Self-Working Paper Magic is no exception.  It’s a collection of 81 “tricks” that would work for any clown, magician, kid’s church worker, children’s pastor, etc.  It’s a collection of different “tricks” ranging from paper hats, a paper tree, simple origami (the dollar ring, etc.), some classic magic tricks, etc.

The descriptions are clear and straightforward, and the illustrations are simple and clear.  It’s highly recommended, and I rate it 4 clowns out of a possible 5. Read More…

Magic change bag

buy-from-amazon

Professional Change Bag - A Magic Performer's EssentialThe magic change bag is a very versatile clown prop, that is used to make a small item disappear, or to change one small item into another.  One of its’ strengths is that the bag can be pulled inside-out to ‘prove’ that it’s empty—when it’s not, of course.  It can be used as a straight magic trick, but it lends itself to clown magic as well. Read More…

Magic for Dummies

Magic for Dummies

Magic for Dummies - a reference for the rest of us by David Pogue - ''A book that all magicians of any age and level of experience will cherish and refer to for years to come''—Lance Burton, world-renowned magician - Includes favorite tricks from 35 top professional magicians! - over 90 easy-to-perform tricks using everyday items like money, silverware and playing cards! Conjure up a magical performance for any event or occassion - Photos, patter and presentation tips provided for every trickbuy-from-amazon

As a general rule, I dislike the ‘Dummies’ series of books, simply because the titles seem to insult the reader.  However, I’ll make an exception for Magic for Dummies by David Pogue.  I’ve been familiar with David Pogue’s writing for the Macintosh community for several years, and I’ve always found him to be both an entertaining as well as informative writer.  The same, I’m happy to say, holds here. Read More…

Mysterio’s Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring

book review of Mysterio’s Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring

Mysterio's Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring - a complete compendium of astonishing illusions by Gabe Fajuribuy-from-amazon Previously, I pointed to Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic as my favorite, one-volume introduction to magic tricks.  That title has now been taken byMysterio’s Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring.  It is written as though the author, Gabe Fajuri, has stumbled upon the notebook of an old illusionist, circa the 1920’s named Mysterio, and is serving as an editor, updating the various effects where needed.  It makes for very enjoyable reading, with ample illustions, and well-written for teaching people how to perform magic tricks.  Further, it not only shows how to perform any given trick, but suggestions as how to entertain, using the various tricks as a means to that end.  In addition, as part of the text, “Mysterio” also adds tidbits of history for the various performers of the past, which I found very enjoyable. Read More…

Maskelyne’s Book of Magic

Maskelyne’s Book of Magic

Maskelyne's Book of Magicbuy-from-amazon I frankly found Maskelyne’s Book of Magic to be very useful—but not for the tricks included in the book.  For the most part, I’ve seen most of them in other works, such as Mark Wilson’s Encyclopedia of Magic, and others are obsolete—chemical tricks, etc.

However, what I found to be very useful were the directions on stagecraft, preparation, routining, nurturing a good relationship with your local magic dealer (and why), etc. Read More…