(2 customer reviews)

Amateur Magician’s Handbook by Henry Hay

(c. 1950,1982) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

This amazing book by Henry Hay (aka June Barrows Mussey) and Bruce Elliott’s Classic Secrets of Magic were by far my most read books in my early magic years.  This handbook is massive and covers everything a budding young magician could ever want to learn about magic.

Details: A great textbook for a college level course. I first read this book when I was in the 8th grade (along with Expert at the Card Table by Erdnase). The title could well be “The Magicians Handbook” as it is truly professional in its scope. The appendix is great for magic terms and proper names of magic props. I first found this book in a library and now I own my own copy. I hope it never goes out of print.


ix Introduction by Milbourne Christopher
xi A Few Words Before Curtain Time

Chapter One: The Magic State of Mind: essay

10 Chapter Two: Hard Easy Tricks and Easy Hard Tricks: essay on practice, learning magic, presentation

19 Part One Hand Magic

19 Chapter Three: Hand Magic With Cards:
20 Hand Magic: Requirements
21 Hand Magic with Cards: cards to use and so forth
22 1a. Breaks: little finger
24 1b. The Glimpse
25 As Easy As Spelling Your Name: Spectator peeks at a card, shuffles the deck, and spells his name to the selected card. Uses glimpse.
27 1c. Permanent Breaks: the crimp or bridge
28 Paul Rosini’s Location
29 2. Shifts or Passes
30 2a. The Conventional Two Handed Shift
32 The Stabbed Pack: effect
34 2b. The side Steal or Side Slip
35 You Must be Wrong: effect
36 2c. The Herrmann Pass
37 2d. One Handed Shifts “New-Method” Robert Houdin
30 2e. One Handed Shifts Old Method
40 2f. One Handed Shifts: The Charlier Pass
41 3. Forcing
41 3a. The Fan Force: the Classic Force
42 3b. Thought Forces: similar to classic force
43 3c. Sure-Fire Force: The slip: my personal favorite
44 3d. Sure Fire Force: Stanley Collins Method (knife)
45 Everybody’s Card: Four spectators each pick the same card, but end up holding a different card. The selection ends up in performer’s pocket
46 3e. The Shift
47 4. Palming
48 4a. The Top Palm
48 Charles Bertram’s Four Ace Trick
51 4b. The Bottom Palm (right hand)
51 4c. The Bottom Palm (left hand)
53 5. False Shuffles
53 5a. Overhand: provides definitions from Erdnase for Stock, Run, Jogs, etc.
56 Luis Zingone’s Table Spread: Cards selected from table spread end up in performer’s pocket
58 5b. Dovetail: extensive coverage
64 5c. Hindu Shuffle
64 6. Changes
65 6a. The Double Lift
65 6b. The Top Change
66 Step on It! Magician and spectator cards change places
67 6c. The Bottom Change
68 6d. Palm Change
69 6e. Double Palm Change
70 The Phoney Aces: Three’s passed off as Aces turn into the real Aces, then Three’s again
71 7. Color Changes
72 7a. The Clip (Felicien Trewey)
72 Wiping Out the Spot and a Production Flourish
73 7b. Sidesteal Color Change
74 Correcting a Mistake: effect
75 7c. Far End Steal Color Change
75 7d. Snap Change
76 8. Trick Deals
76 8a. Second Deal
77 Five Hands: effect
78 8b. Bottom Deal
79 Flourishes
80 9a. The Riffle
80 9b. Springing the Cards
81 9c. Fanning
83 9d. The Back Palm
87 Vanish and Recovery: effect Using the Back Palm
88 9e. Scaling or Throwing Cards

89 Chapter Four: Give Them A Rest (Tricks where no cards are chosen)
89 1. The Four Aces: Aces assemble to one packet; variations
92 Nate Leipzig’s Slap Aces: Effect
93 Cardini’s Ace Trick: effect
94 2. The Cards Up the Sleeve: includes false count, variations
98 3. The Diminishing Cards
100 4. The Thirty Card Trick: cards pass from spectator to spectator
103 5. More Flourishes: Cards from the mouth and Fan Away
104 6. The Ambitious Card: The whole deck becomes Jokers
105 7. The Three Card Trick: Basic Monte explanation with pointers to references and the Mexican Turnover
108 8. Reading the Cards: various methods mentioned

110 Chapter Five: Please Take a Card – Standard Card Tricks
111 1. Locations
111 1a. The Tap (in-jog)
111 1b. The Side Crimp
111 1c. Approximation, with the Optical Fan Location
113 The Optical Fan Location (John Mulholland)
115 2. Card at Any Number
116 3. Stop Me
117 4. Spelling Trick with Spell Charts
119 4a. The Automatic Speller (chancy!)
120 4b. Mental Selection Speller
121 5. Reversed Cards
122 6. The Card in the Pocket
123 7. The Rising Cards: sleight versions, IT, etc.

129 Chapter Six: Hand Magic with Coins
130 1. The Tourniquet or French Drop
131 2. The Finger Palm
132 3. The Flat Thumb Palm
132 4. The Regular Thumb Palm
132 5. The Regular Palm
133 6. The Edge, Oblique, or Downs’ Palm
135 7. The Change Over Palm
136 8. The Back Palm
139 9. The Crotch Palm
140 10. Sleeving (Brief Coverage)
140 11. The Downs’ Click Pass
141 12. The Downs’ Fan Pass
142 13. The Squeeze Pass
143 14. The DeManche Change
144 15. The Handkerchief Fold: for vanish or penetration through handkerchief
145 16. Flourish: Coin Roll or Steeplechase

147 Chapter 7: The Miser’s Dream and Other Great Coin Tricks
147 1. Miser’s Dream: lengthy discussion of approaches
151 2. Catching Five Coins (Downs’ Eureka Pass)
152 3. Manuel’s Thumb Gag
153 4. Nate Leipzig’s Slow Motion Vanish
156 5. Leipzig’s Coin from Hand to Hand
157 6. Coin From Hand to Hand: 3 methods
159 7. Silver and Gold: Three silver join 3 gold coins. Version of Dai Vernon’s Winged Silver
160 8. The Sympathetic Coins: Coin Assembly/Matrix. Downs’ Version
164 9. Coins Dissolving in a Handkerchief (click pass)
164 10. The Shake Penetration (Senor Mardo)
165 11. Coins to Handkerchief
167 12. Coin from Handkerchief to Handkerchief
167 13. Trouser Leg Vanish
168 14. The Dissolving Coin (no disk version)
169 15. Finding the Chosen Coin: Spectator 2 finds Spectator 1’s coin
170 16. Date Detection (Eddie Joseph): similar to above, uses one ahead principle
171 17. Coins Up The Sleeve: Coins travel from left hand to right trouser pocket
174 Heartbreakers: lots of practice, but little reward
174 18. Heads or Tails: always predict coin flip
175 19. Coins to Glass
176 20. Coin Star (One handed)
176 21. Coin Star (Two handed)

178 Chapter 8: Hand Magic With Billiard Balls
180 1. The Palm
181 2. The Finger Palm
181 3. Simulation (acting as though the ball is in the palm)
182 4. Standard Passes
182 5. The Trip Pass
183 6. The Kick Pass
183 7. The Change Over Palm
184 8. Color Changes
185 9. Flourish: Cardini’s Climbing Billiard Balls

187 Chapter 9: The Multiplying Billiard Balls
187: Hay’s Routine: basic

192 Chapter 10: Other Hand Magic With Balls
192 1. Cups and Balls: small ball palm, Bosco little finger palm, loading, tips on routining
196 2. Sponge Balls: basic ideas only

198 Chapter 11: Hand Magic with Thimbles
198 1. The Thumb Palm
198 2. The Steal Pass
199 3. Thimble Changes
199 4. The Multiplying Thimbles

201 Chapter 12: Hand Magic With Cigarettes
201 1. The Thumb Palm
202 2. Tip Tilt Pass
202 3. Poke Through Pass
203 4. King Size Pass
204 5. Tonguing
206 6. Lighted Cigarette Through Handkerchief
207 7. Card in Cigarette

209 Part Two: Applied Art: Head Magic

210 Chapter 13: Head Magic With Cards
210 1. Locations
210 1a. Unprepared Key Cards: With applications. One Way decks, pointer cards, divided deck
214 1b. Prepared Key Cards: Thick, long, short, cornered, rough & Smooth, pop-eyed popper deck
216 2. Mechanical Decks: stripper, Svengali (Mirage), Mene-Tekel, With brief application.
218 3. Setups
218 3a. Systems: Si Stebbins, 8 Kings, Nikola
220 Behind Your Back
220 The Shuffled Setup
221 The Foolproof Card in Pocket
222 3b. Special Setups
222 Sound of the Voice
223 Spot Location
224 Got any Good Phone Numbers?
224 The Royal Marriages (Dai Vernon)
226 The 10 Card Trick
227 4. Card Reading
227 4a. By the One Ahead Method
228 4b. The Whispering Queen: Perfect self working

229 Chapter 14: Varied Head Magic
229 1. Find the Dime (Al Baker): find dime under one of 3 cards
229 2. Who Has Which? Mathematical coin find
230 3. Money Sense: As above, but different method
231 4. Date Reading: 2 methods, read the dates of coins
232 5. Coin Telepathy: cards match the coin date
232 6. Torn and Restored Paper: various methods (brief)
234 7. Pellet Paper Repeat: One is thrown away but comes back
235 8. Rubber Pencil: illusion
235 9. Rising Cigarette from Pack
235 10. Restored Matches: impromptu with pack of matches
236 11. Linking Matches: held between thumb and ring finger
236 12. Ring On Stick (Major Branson, Indian Army)
238 13. The Potsherd Trick: Image transfers from sugar cube to palm

241 Part Three: Apparatus Magic. An essay on logical apparatus

241 Chapter 15 – Silks
244 1. Productions:
244 Stillwell Ball
244 Roterberg Vanisher
245 False Finger
245 Drumhead Tube
246 Phantom Tube
246 2. Vanishes:
247 Traditional Method
247 Poke Through Vanish
247 Pulls
249 3. Color Changing:
250 Color Changing Handkerchief
250 Dye Tube
252 4. Knots
252 Dissolving Knot
253 Appearing Knot
255 Fake Square Knots
257 Knot That Unties Itself
258 Sympathetic Silks

260 Chapter 16: Small Gimmicks and Fakes
260 Thumb Tip
262 Finger Tip
262 Thumb Writer
262 Card Index
263 Card Box
264 Card Frame
265 Pulls
265 Hooks
266 Tumblers
266 Mirror Glass

267 Chapter 17: Standard Stuff
267 1. Cut and Restored Rope: 3 methods, no graphics though
269 2. The Egg Bag: skeleton routine only
271 3. The Passe Passe Bottle and Glass: description and basic routine
272 4. Liquid Tricks
272 4a. The Lota: inexhaustible vase of water
274 4b. The Rice Bowls: old style
275 4c. The Funnel: comedy water funnel
275 4d. The Ching Ling Foo Water Can
276 5. Productions: what to produce
277 5a. Hat Productions
277 5b. The Tambourine
278 5c. Carpet of Bagdad: servante load
278 5d. The Jap Box: False flip bottom
279 5e. The Organ Pipes: nesting tube production
280 6. The Chinese Wands: strings seem to be connected
281 7. The Linking Rings: Parts of a routine provided with some photos. Link, Crash Link, Crash unlink, simple count, slow unlink, some routine basics. Okay as an intro.

287 Part Four: Mental Magic

287 Chapter 18: Mental Magic – Theo Annemann
287 1. Magician or Mind Reader? Spelling Master from Chapter 5
288 2. Psychic Slate Test: setup deck
289 3. Extrasensory Perception: setup picture cards
290 4. The Stolen Center Ruse: center tear
291 5. Question and Answer: billet switch
292 6. Stuart Robson’s Newspaper Test: uses classified ad
293 7. Sid Lorraine’s Forty Thousand Words: book test
295 8. One Ahead Reading
295 9. A Day of Your Life: Performer divines items about person’s day after he has written them down. One ahead principle.
297 10. More Alive Than Dead: Performer determines “dead” note among 4 papers. Also, Dead or Alive variation.
299 11. A Mentalist With Money: serial number identification
300 12. The Lyons Bill Switch: no TT
301 13. Dr. Daley’s Slates: flap style
303 14. The Mystery of the Blackboard: blindfold
304 15. Taps: steel ball raps answer (TT)

305 Part Five: Intimate Magic

305 Chapter 19: Close Up Performance
309 1. Matches
309 1a. The Fire Proof Hand
309 1b. The Extinguisher
309 1c. The Balanced Match
309 1d. The Leaping Flame
310 1e. The X-Ray Cross
310 2. Coin in Roll
311 3. The Torn Cigarette
311 4. Tumblers
311 4a. Balanced Liquid Diet
311 4b. Glass Levitation
312 4c. Coin Through Glass (Bertram)
313 4d. Vanishing Tumbler (glass through table)
313 4e. The Ghost Echo (tuning fork)
313 4f. Singing Glass, Peculiar Pellet
314 5. Stringing ‘Em Along:
315 5a. The Spiral: Endless Chain, Chain of Chance move
315 5b. The Snare
316 5c. The Triple Circle Routine (Jack Salvin and Fred Lowe)
317 5d. Jumping Rubber Band on Fingers
317 5e. Wild West: throw knots in a rope equal to numbers thrown on bottom of dice
319 6. Knocking the Spots Off: paddle dice trick
320 7. Coin Boxes
320 7a. German Box: Ganson routine (summarized)
321 7b. The Okito Box: Tea for Okito from Lewis Ganson’s Close Up Vol II
323 7c. Boston Box: Fred Lowe’s Boston Three Step from Ganson’s Close Up Vol 1

325 Part Six: Children’s Shows

325 Chapter 20: Performing for Children
325 Children’s Venues
326 Resources
326 Your Audience
329 Casting Yourself
329 Children Are Your Guests
330 Assistants
332 Sucker Gags
333 Never Lose Your Temper
333 Noise Level
335 Closing the Act
335 Time
336 How Should You Dress?
337 The Act
339 Music
340 Animals
340 Hand Puppets
342 Giveaways
342 What Tricks?
344 1. The Afghan Bands
345 2. The Breakaway Fan
345 3. The Cake Baked In a Hat
347 4. Nest of Boxes
348 5. Sun and Moon

351 Part Seven: Platform Magic

351 Chapter 21: Platform Magic
351 Things You Should Know
354 Take Those Articles Along
355 The Wand
356 Clothes
356 Faked Furniture
356 Servante
357 Black Art Wells
359 Coaching Yourself with Videotape (The Amazing Randi)

365 Chapter 21: How to Stage a Magic Show: Some Professional Advice
365 1. Comedy
367 2. Pantomime (Louise Gifford)
371 3. Music (Henry Blanchard, Boyd C. Roche)
372 4. Night Club Shows
374 5. Business Methods
376 6. Publicity

379 Appendix: Further Tricks and Illusions Glossary
393 Biography and Bibliography: Index of magicians and publications
405 Index

  • Publisher: Castle Books
  • Pages: 414
  • Location: Edison, NJ, USA
  • Dimensions: 6″x9″
  • Date: 1950, 1982
  • Binding: hardbound

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Approx. Price: $20.00 (2003) ***

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2 reviews for Amateur Magician’s Handbook by Henry Hay

  1. Joe Douglas MMC

    A great textbook for a college level course

    I first read this book when I was in the 8th grade (along with Expert at the Card Table by Erdnase). The title could well be "The Magicians Handbook" as it is truly professional in its scope. The appendix is great for magic terms and proper names of magic props. I first found this book in a library and now I own my own copy. I hope it never goes out of print.

  2. Daryl Maddox

    An Invaluable Text

    Henry Hay’s "The Amateur Magician’s Handbook" has been a treasured guide into the realm of magic for several decades now. I have had a copy in my library for forty years and still use it. This is an absolute must-have for anyone aspiring to be good at their magic. Henry Hay is the pen name of J. Barrows Mussey who was a master of sleight of hand, especially coins. Not only are "tricks" presented but the needed philosophy of the magic involved, guidelines for practicing, as well as presentation and routining. In addition to all this, it is very good reading and the first page will quickly ‘pull you in’.

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