Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott(c. 1953) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)
Details: If you could choose just one book on magic …
… I believe this would be a very worthy contender. Bruce Elliott’s Classic Secrets of Magic is a small book by modern standards: it has only twelve fairly short chapters, with each chapter focusing on a single basic effect and some variations. However, if you were to thoroughly study and learn the magic and routines contained within these chapters and nothing more, ever, you would have enough material to last a lifetime of magical performances.
Very few props are required, the sleights are straight forward, and the magic is beautiful.
In my magical youth I used to perform three card routines from Chapter 1 (the Spectator’s Card is Produced) with the highlight being the Card on the Ceiling; the rice bowls from Chapter 3 (Water, Water, Everywhere!); two paddle routines from Chapter 4 (The Very Peripatetic Paddle); the four ace routine from Chapter 5 (Those Four Aces!); the Egg Bag from Chapter 7 (The Egg Bag, Well Done); two matrix type effects from Chapter 8 (The Two Covers, and the Four Objects …); some simple billiard ball moves from Chapter 9 (Billiards, Magic Style); and the Ambitious Card from Chapter 11 (The Ambitous Card!). I also dreamed of performing effects with Razors, Money and the Cups and Balls from the other remaining chapters.
If you bought this book today and spent one month on each chapter and spent say $100 on props you really could be in the top 1% of magicians in the world after just twelve months. Of this I have absolutely no doubt – provided you were committed to the task, and focused just solely on each chapter of this book.
Of course if everyone did this a lot of magic dealers would go out of business. And you wouldn’t have the excitement of trying out 100’s of different tricks, gimmicks, gadgets, fine wooden and brass collector’s pieces in a vain attempt to find the ultimate effects. This book contains them all, but where is the fun in that? One book, hardly any props to buy and just reading and practicing the same routines for a year? That doesn’t sound very magical does it.
Maybe the true secret of magic is that buying magic props from dealers won’t make you a good magician, knowing 100’s of tricks won’t make you a good magician, but learning just twelve effects really well will.
Like so many magicians before me I have fallen into the trap of thinking more props will allow me to create routines for all occaisions. In reality of course, just twelve effects are needed. I know it’s fun collecting magic. I have been doing it for over thirty years. But in fact if I just had the balls to stick with the Classic Secrets of Magic, I would be more rewarded, save a fortune, and give back a lot more to the art.
Contents: (from book):
ix Preface: Introduction to the book by Bruce Elliot, September 1952
1 Chapter 1: The Spectator’s Card is Revealed!
2 Wrong Card Tranforms to Selection
4 Card Through the Handkerchief (Dai Vernon & Wallace Galvin)
8 Card on the Ceiling (Jay Marshall)
13 Chapter 2: Corncobs
13 Corncob Pipes (Lee Noble): smoke pours from empty pipes in increasingly unbelievable ways (chemical trick)
19 Chapter 3: Water Water Everywhere
19 The Rice Bowls: rice to double rice to water, fully explained
24 Brahmin Bowls: more advanced version (commercial product)
24 Al Baker’s Bowls: another improvement
26 Jardine Ellis Wineglass Production
28 Wineglass Producion: Wally Dean’s approach
32 Chapter 4: The Very Peripatetic Paddle
32 Table Knife Paddle
35 Match and Arrow
35 Business Card Turnover (Francis Carlyle)
36 Dr. Sack’s Dice: a full routine with a pair of dice
47 Chapter 5: Those Four Aces
47 Simple Four Ace Trick: Aces assemble to one pile
50 Wally Dean’s Follow Up: Aces travel to top of deck
52 Collins Ace Trick (Stanley Collins): Aces clearly shown to be in four different piles before assembling
55 Peng Peng (Conradi) One Ace vanishes while packet is in spectator’s hand
56 Ending for Collins Ace: reproducing the Aces
58 Gimmicked Four Aces: with gimmicked cards
60 Slow Motion Ace Trick (Cy Enfield): another Four Ace trick
70 Chapter 6: Miser’s Dream Come True
70 T. Nelson Downs: intro
71 Wally Dean’s Miser’s Dream: starts with wine glass intro
79 Al Flosso: brief description
79 Gimmicks: coin dropper
82 Chapter 7: The Egg Bag, Well Done
82 Simplest Presentation: overview and general approach
84 About the Bag: seems to describe a Tarbelll style bag as opposed to Malini
86 Special Moves: twisting the bag, stepping on it, other convincers
86 Stringed Egg Bag: for a clean vanish
88 Using an Egg-shell
90 Roy Benson’s Egg Multiplication: many eggs appear in the bag
93 Chapter 8: The Two Covers and the Four Objects
93 Chink-A-Chink: coins assemble under two playing cards
100 Four Card Version (Clyde F. Cairy): four cards, coins, a newspaper, and two smaller magazines
109 Chapter 9: Billiards, Magic Style
109 Multiplying Billiard Balls (Walter B. Gibson): with a standard set and a handkerchief
118 Jack Chanin Move: for vanishing the balls
127 Advanced Routine (Walter B. Gibson): adds color changes and a fifth ball
136 Chapter 10: Razor Sharp
136 Razor Blade Swallowing (Lee Noble): razors become attached to thread in the mouth
144 Chapter 11: The Ambitious Card
144 Bruce Elliot’s Routine: multi-phased routine in which the card always comes to the top
159 Chapter 12: The Eternal Cups & Balls
159 The Basic Routine: for any set of cups with a two in the hand and one in the pocket climax
169 Dixie Cup Version (Dr. Franklin V. Taylor): cleverly gimmicked cups
175 Charlie Miller Routine for Coffee Cups: with coffee or tea cups and rolled up dollars
182 Dealer Cups and Balls (Joe Berg, Ande Furlong): another routine for standard commercial cups, a sponge ball, cork balls and jumbo final loads
187 Cup Through Cup Illusion (Johnny Paul)
189 Benson Bowl Routine (Roy Benson): a one cup and ball routine (not a chop cup) using a larger bowl sized cup and sponge balls and a wand
199 In Conclusion: essay on presentation of magic
203 Appendix: List of best-liked effects of magic and twenty most performed effects by American magicians
- Publisher: Harper & Brothers
- Pages: 210
- Location: New York, USA
- Dimensions: 6″x8″
- Date: 1953
- Binding: hardbound
Contents: magicref.net – click for details
Approx. Price: $12.00 (2003) ***Notice: I am not a dealer and this item is not for sale on this site. It maybe available in the links below or at our sister site: qualitymagicsales.com, but not from here so please do not ask.
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