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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » For the record » » The Old Mr. Wizard Phone Trick Origin (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Aaron DeLong
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Hey Everyone,

I am looking to get some information on where the old Mr. Wizard plot started. I know it is very well known and many believe it to be public property because so many sources teach it. What do you guys think?

Anyone got a source on who came up with this? I would like to read the original. I am not interested in new effects like it. I just need to know if anyone knows where it came from or if there is a reference point that might suggest its origin.

Cheers,

Aaron DeLong
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Dave Dorsett
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I'm likely to get in trouble for this 'cause I'm away from the library BUT... I think my first reading was in Henning Nelms Magic and Showmanship. If memory serves he may have even attributed it to someone else but I'm pretty sure it's in there.
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Aaron DeLong
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I will look it up. Thanks Dave. I found a source last night, but it doesn't give any credits and sites it as an old effect. The name of it is like the handbook for the mentalist or something. It didn't do the trick. I will check out the Nelms book.

Aaron
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Dave Dorsett
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Aaron-

Keep looking- the variant in Nelm's book clearly says it's based on "The Wizard" but doesn't go beyond that. It was originally issued in 1969 so you have a window for research purposes... between 1875 and 1969. If only Jay Marshall were here.
Dave Dorsett
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Aaron DeLong
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Thanks David. I really wish there was someone out there that had done this search already. Oh well, I will keep digging. Thanks for the insight. I had just ordered this book from the library. Don't need it now.

Aaron
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Dave Dorsett
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Don't write off the book! While some of it's dated, Nelms presents some solid pointers in this one. The author was a very brilliant man and heavily invoved in "real" theater. His insights can help the working magician improve his act if the underlying principles are applied.
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Hideo Kato
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Although I don't remember what is 'Wizard Phone Trick', the oldest Phone trick, as far as I know, is the one by E.M. Lipka published in November 1917 issue of "Sphinx". (In it, 52 different names of caller are used).

Hideo Kato
Julie
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For some reason, I keep thinking this was in one of the old Blackstone (Gibson) books???

Julie
Aaron DeLong
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Dave,
The library called yesterday to say the book was in. I will pick it up and read it upon your recommendation. Thanks again for your help.
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Bill Palmer
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This has been around a long time. The one with 52 different names is actually a second version of the trick. There is a later version called "The Polish Psychic," which I think is in either the Jinx or the Phoenix. In this version, you tell the person who thinks of the card that they can make the call themselves. They are to ask for Mr. Kraijevski, the Polish psychic. The person who answers the phone asks "How do you spell that? We have two Kraijevski's who live here." The key is in the spelling.
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Doomo
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I think you are all forgetting the progenitor of the Mr. Wizard Phone Trick. It was The great Wizard and was done via the Telegraph. Just telegraph the question to the Great Wizard and in practically no time at all, a messenger would appear with the reply.

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Ok, so it is the basic plot for a effect that I do...So what? Wanna make something of it? C'mon, I dare ya! Yeah, that's what I thought!
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Bill Palmer
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It was never, to my knowledge called "The Mr. Wizard Phone Trick." It was called "The Wizard Phone Trick" or "The Wizard."

Mr. Wizard was the late Don Herbert.
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Jonathan Townsend
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"Hello, good (morning/evening), is the wizard home?...
...to all the coins I've dropped here
DStachowiak
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Quote:
On 2008-04-23 20:27, Bill Palmer wrote:
It was never, to my knowledge called "The Mr. Wizard Phone Trick." It was called "The Wizard Phone Trick" or "The Wizard."

Mr. Wizard was the late Don Herbert.

Thanks Bill, you beat me to it!
Don
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
Geoff Weber
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Scarne on Card tricks includes this trick, and he mentions a female magician who used to do this trick a lot... I don't have the book in fron of me at the moment.
Geoff Weber
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I checked, and Scarne's book is dated 1950. John says this trick was a favorite of Steffi Storm, implying it had been around a while already.
landmark
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The Jinx had a version with 52 spellings of a name that sounded like Shurelle.
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mindmagic
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My father taught me this trick many years ago, but he called it "the Phantom". I don't know where he learnt it - he wasn't a magician.

I discussed this recently on another list. Someone mentioned that the Wizard/Phantom trick is very well known among laymen.

Barry
Bill Palmer
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It's one of those pieces of "folk magic" that has been around for ages.

The advantage of the one that uses the different spellings of the names is that the lay person is the one who makes the phone call. The magician never speaks into the phone.
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mormonyoyoman
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It was well enough known in the 1930s that Walter Gibson had no hesitation in using it in a Shadow novel.

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