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Topic: Any DVDs or videos on magic history?
Message: Posted by: Philip Chau (Feb 17, 2005 12:01PM)

I recently became very intereste in the art of magic and it's history.
I was wondering if you guys know about some really good video sources of the history of magic and illusion.
I have bought 2 videos:

Great Illusions: Story of Magic (2 DVDs), did I spell the name right?
A&E Story of Magic Centuries of Deceptions.

I found these extremely entertaining and educational.
I was wondering if you guys know of other similar sources?


Philip Chau
Message: Posted by: joespc (Feb 17, 2005 07:38PM)
I remember the International Magicians Society having a video tape on the history of magic. It had many old black & white clips of magicians performing. I could not find it on their website http://www.learnmagic.com , but you might want to email them.
Message: Posted by: Philip Chau (Feb 19, 2005 12:26PM)

Thanks I'll try to google it :)

Message: Posted by: ALLEN TIPTON (Apr 27, 2005 12:54PM)
Philip. There are 2 videos called The Story Of Magic. One is on centuries of magic and the other on magic in America. Both are full of fascinating details and many, many clips & extracts of past Grand Masters.They were put out about 1997 by A & E Home Video.I bought mine from Jeff Busby. They are marketed, on the video label by New Video Group, 126, Fifth Avenue, New York. NY 10011. Each is 100 minutes long. VHS Documentary Cat. No. AAE 17087
I think a version of them was shown on USA TV. Am not sure but they may have been reviewed in Stan Allen's magazine 'Magic'.
Can you tell me what magic dante performs on Vol. 2 of Grand Illusions?
Allen Tipton UK

Posted: Apr 27, 2005 5:40pm
Philip. I obviously didn't read your post carefully enough. You already have the Story of Magic. Confusion arose over preceding this title with Grand Illusions.
However. Someone in the USA, cannot remember who, has put out a complete video on Harry Blackstone. They advertise in The Linking Ring (IBM) Then there is John Calvert performas A Tribute To Houdini, if you want to look at a modern, still living Master.You get just about all the famous JC routines in this. It's $19:95 and put out by Main Street Video, PO Box 1758 Memphis Tn. The BBC (London) over here in the UK put out 6 progs. on The History of Magic only last year. These even include the only known clips of Chung Ling Soo but alas not performing. he was visiting a hospital. However there are many pieces of our history in the progs.
Davenports, (the oldest magic family dealers here..1898) 7, Charing Cross Underground Shopping Arcade, The Strand, London WC2N 4HZ, UK. FAX 020 7379 8828 put out 3 videos on Volume 1 The Davenport Centary Celebration. £18 (pounds)plays 110 mins. Vol. 2. The Davenport Story £15 plays 90mins. Vol.3 Davenport Archive Film £30 Plays 95 mins. This was private film taken in the early 1930's and shows many of the greats of the time as Cardini, John Ramsay etc. Then pover in the USA there's Bi;ll Mcillany who has loads of historical footage. However why not read first Milbourne Christopher's books, Illustrated History of magic and his earlier slimmer work called Panorama of Magic and re issued about 2 years ago under a new name. Then there's the great thick book Magic, A Pictorial History Of Conjurers In The Theatre by David Price; lavishly illustrated. Chung Ling Soo books: The Riddle of C L Soo by Will Dexter, A Gift From The Gods by Val Andrews (contains about 50 full colour plates of his posters) The 2 small books by Gary Frank and the big tome The Silence Of Chung Ling Soo by Todd Karr. Then there's Dante The Devil Himself by Phil Temple and We Remember Dante (also the sound tapes) by Joel Ray and oh so many more. Start with the books. Any more. Simply ask. Whew!
Allen Tipton UK
Message: Posted by: Randy (Apr 27, 2005 05:17PM)
Bill McIlhany has released many old television shows and films of magicians on video tape. You can learn a lot from watching the greats of old. I am not sure exactly what he offers or where to get them but if you do a search of the Café for his name I believe that an email address for him has been given. I have the Don Alan Magic Ranch tapes and they are great.

Posted: Apr 27, 2005 6:20pm
Found this email address for Bill McIlhany in another post on the Café


Posted: Apr 27, 2005 6:54pm
Also look for the PBS special "The Art of Magic" which was available on VHS at one time. I could not find it new but I found it used on Amazon.com.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 27, 2005 06:44PM)
Most of our history is in print, not video.

One book, [i]Discoverie of Witchcraft[/i] dates back to the 1500s!

unless you want reinactments, most of our history is in print.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Apr 27, 2005 10:45PM)
Jonathan is right, not a lot of video of the "golden age" In fact the first magician on video tape was probably Mark Wilson. 3M right after developing the 3 inch wide old master video tape system for TV contracted with him to do a taped syndicated series that played in several major markets as a predecessor to getting him on Network TV with his Magic Land of Alakazam series. I believe that syndicated series was called Mark Wilson's Magic Circus. So from like the very late 50's on we had video tape, but most of the old timers Blackstone was retired, houdini, thurston, and otherse dead. So all that was around was small film clips. They did not like their magic filmed as they did the same acts for years, you can do that before live audiences. Do it on film or TV once and everybody has seen it. Plus, they didn't want their acts stolen ( which went on a lot) so most of the history is in printed format. Mark sells videos from his Alakazam and later Magic Circus specials for Pillsbury on his site http://www.markwilsonmagic.com but from ur post I take it ur looking for earlier than the 50's and 60's