Magic as a Profession, by Hermann Pallme.
Not only is there no better divertisement for adult, or child than the study and practice of magic, but there is scarcely a more profitable field for a profession.
In the former case, it takes the mind off the cares and worries of daily routine, serving as a splendid relaxation for oneself and an unlimited source of entertainment for one’s friends.
In the latter case, it constitutes a respectable calling which yields fine returns, income steadily increasing with ability.
It is an axiom that nothing can be accomplished without study or practice. Yet, it is quite within the bounds of truth to say that there is nothing which repays one more for the time spent in its study than does magic.
To attain that degree of perfection which characterizes a Herrmann or a Kellar naturally requires continual and lifelong study and application.
Yet, to acquire sufficient proficiency to entertain successfully and earn a good living, means less time and labor than the study of art or music, and gives quicker results and better pay.
Let me enumerate a few points which show the value of magic as a profession.
It is dignified. The audiences drawn to this form of entertainment always are refined, cultured and appreciative. An atmosphere of gentility thus surrounds both performer and auditors. The conjurer has constant opportunity to display his scholarship by frequent mention of historic and scientific facts, allusion to travel, acquaintance with persons of note, familiarity with languages, and so on, ad infinitum. All this may be done most naturally in the “patter” which is the monologue running in conjunction with the experiments Again, magic, as a profession, offers an unlimited field. By that I mean two things. First, unlimited as to its possibilities; for the study of mechanics, chemistry, electricity and optics, will suggest an endless variety of new tricks and experiments. These can be patented, and” thus become your exclusive property; nor can they be used by anyone else unless on payment of a royalty to you — an additional source of income.
My second meaning in speaking of its offering an unlimited field is that it is not overrun as are most professions, there being but few adept performers now in the field, and room for many more. The trite platitude, “There is always room at the top,” applies particularly to magic.
Again, magic as a profession presents an opportunity for wide travel. I might also subdivide this advantage.
First, because one’s engagements in the course of time cover a continent; and in the event of marked success take in the civilized world.
Second, which is akin to the first, the splendid income of a good magician — before referred to — makes extensive travel possible.
And third, advancement and development in the art necessitates travel. For example, some of the most famous experiments shown have their origin in the far East — India or China. The more successful performer finds it necessary to go there, to get the local color, and in some cases to buy the secrets of a trick itself. One of the most marvelous tricks seen on the stage in our day — growing a full- sized tree from a seed — was purchased from an East Indian magician by the conjurer who introduced it in America, for a sum equal to one dollar.