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Topic: David Roth
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 15, 2021 08:39PM)
I've known David Roth since he was 17 and I was 20. So that's over 50 years. I just spoke to him several days ago. He sounded fine. He was telling me about when he knew Francis Carlyle. David knew these great anecdotes because he knew so many of the guys. I just heard this news from Jeff McBride. On the Genii forum there is a whole page, but no one knows anything. Someone could check with Darwin Ortiz or Pat Cook. They'd know. This is shocking. Gregg Webb
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Jan 15, 2021 09:17PM)
My friend David Roth is gone. He was my best friend in magic. He had some health issues, but I never thought he would leave us so soon (and the details of his passing aren't important). To many he was a legend, the man who shaped coin magic for generations. To me, he was someone who I could call and we would talk for hours. Not just about magic, although he loved to share stories about the Giants in magic. We would talk about our lives, and what we were up to. Years ago, he stayed with me for three months after a fire broke out in his apartment, and in all that time we never had those all-night sessions that magicians love. We just talked about life, and my cats. In fact, he turned down an offer to move into the city to be closer to his place of work, because he confessed, he didn't want to leave my cats!!
In recent years due to my own health issues we didn't see each other much, but in earlier times we toured the world together, going through Europe, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines. We traveled together, just because we enjoyed each other's company, and had a blast promoting our shared love of coin magic. Often, after our lectures, we would get together with the attendees and David would wow them with incredible card magic! Yes, David had some of the best teachers in card magic like Marlo, Jennings, Ortiz, and others, who shared secret stuff with David because he wasn't a card guy!
Together with Mike Gallo (and initially Geoff Latta), we held the famous New York Coin Magic Seminars. The first was held in a hotel in Manhattan, one was held in Las Vegas, and the rest at Marc DeSouza's magic theatre. The work we created, a DVD series consisting of over 34 hours and over 225 routines and discussions on all aspects of coin magic, have been called by Bill Wells the video Bobo for the 21st. century. Of course his own work, preserved in his own book and DVD sets, are classics and will be in itself lessons for generations to come.
David was always so supportive of my coin magic, and his advice made me a better magician. From David I learned about how to build a routine, the importance of patter, and how to make magic look as clean as possible. I always tell the story that after seeing David perform for the first time as a teenager, I changed my entire philosophy of coin magic and developed my own retention and fingertip style. To be more like David. He was the Best.
He used to kid me that when I went to his apartment for the first time in 1983 to have a session, I brought a box of fresh ruggalah. The way the afternoon went, was that I performed, and he watched. I guess I passed the test because we became friends for life. When I got overwhelmed with work and raising a family and had to put magic to the side for a while, it was David who kept calling me to keep me updated with all the news in the magic world until I was ready to come back.
When we were kids, we watched as the greats of the generation before us slowly began to pass on. And we realized that we, and all the guys of our age group, were the people that everyone now looked up to, as we had looked up to the Vernons, the Slydinis, the Kaps, and the New York guys like Ken Krenzel, Gene Maze, Derek Dingle, Herb Zarrow, Sam Schwartz, Harvey Rosenthal, and so many more. And now, it seems like our generation is passing down the torch to a great new group of young, talented magicians, who will become the older generation, and so it goes. The changing of the guard. But no one will ever be able to replace my friend, who has impacted the lives of magicians the world over, now, and for generations to come. R.I.P. David (1952-2021).
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 15, 2021 11:06PM)
I was working at Tannen's when David bought a red close-up mat which he was going to use because he was going to perform at the Magic Castle the first time. He had me bring out about three different ones because he wanted it to be perfect. I understood.
Before long I saw Vernon on, maybe Dick Cavett's show, talking about David Roth. Vernon had been blown away and admitted it on national TV. Before too long, it seems, I met Geoff Latta who was somewhat in the know about David's techniques. David had been helping him. Later I was to find that David was helpful to a fault. One reason he and I got along was that I wasn't trying to learn his techniques because I was trying to develop my own...which he respected.
Again, seemingly before too long Richard Kaufman's book on Coinmagic came out. Before too long it seems, The first few issues of The Apocalypse came out, and then Kaufman's big book on David's coin magic came out.
I must say that at the time, you saw very little great coin magic. Slydini of course did coins. Shigeo Takagi from Japan showed me a really great matrix with quarters. That was a very interesting time. Many guys did cards. Very few did coins. One heard of Kaps, or Goshman, various other names...but nobody at the time could make it look like the way David did. Magicians would surround him just watching him do his Retention of Vision vanish (you thought you saw the coin in the hand before it vanished). He called it "getting a burn". Or watching him just do his Spellbound variations.
Most guys at that time, when they did coin tricks...they looked like coin "tricks". David really got it to look like real magic. Young guys today with the
DVD's and all might not be able to realize the state of coin magic before him. He made coins magical.
Message: Posted by: Hookem (Jan 16, 2021 01:03AM)
I remember when I first tried the shuttle pass, it felt clumsy and I wasn't sure if it would fool anyone. Then I saw David Roth, and was blown away how real it looked. The Hanging Coins transformed the way I approached coin magic. Then Wild Coin. Various Spellbound handlings. The Black Hole. And on and on. David was truly very talented and creative to the point of being out-of-the-box in his thinking. Much imitated but never equaled, he was the epitome of a true original.
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Jan 16, 2021 02:01AM)
David came over to London in 95 on business and while here a small workshop was arranged by Morley Budden (Kaymar Magic). I travelled down from the northeast to attend.
There was about a halfdozen of us there. Everything we asked he covered, even types of close up mat that worked best for him. I vividly remember him stood right under my nose going through the deep back clip recovery.
In between the teaching he did a few card tricks which easily fried us (or me anyway).
Back then being quite young and always broke it was an effort to get time off work and pay for train tickets down to London but it was the best money I ever spent.
I would love to know who else was there that afternoon. Back before the day of mobile phones and email addresses to my regret I never made the effort to keep in touch with anyone.

RIP Mr Roth. A master of performance and teaching.
Message: Posted by: Lawrens Godon (Jan 16, 2021 02:40AM)
In 1996 I was Jean-Pierre Vallarino's assistant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the great Bazaar de Magia convention.
There I met David, we talked about everything, but mainly coin magic lol !
I encouraged me to pursue my research on the back thumb palm, giving me several sources to study.
I'm grateful for all he brought to the magical world, and first of all for his kindness.
Message: Posted by: warren (Jan 16, 2021 04:33AM)
Another legend gone such a loss to the magic communtuty RIP
Message: Posted by: Betrayal Mix (Jan 16, 2021 05:33AM)
It's always a sad day when we lose another giant - perhaps sadder too for those new ones of us who never got to know the greats in the first place.. thoughts and prayers to everyone

For those of us who want to see some of his best work, what would people recommend? The New York Coin Seminar stuff?
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 16, 2021 06:42AM)
So sorry to hear this...😔

I spoke to Roth for his birthday a couple/few years ago and we had a great conversation. I was humbled that he knew of some of my work. WOW!!! I have known him for many years growing up in NYC and frequenting the old Tannen's Magic Shop near Times Square. Man, Roth was Coin Magic for me, and it was always good to run into him here & there over the years, always a special moment. And it was just beautiful to watch him work, no one did it any better, and he taught most of us here & worldwide a thing or two as to the art with that famed, “...50 cent piece” of his. He will be sorely missed, and his influence and expert ingredients will live on in me and surely many others for all time and then some.

Finally, to a real Master here and everywhere...Thank you for being such a nice man and a great magician that gave so much more than you ever took. Now, onward to see the greatest magic that ever was...R.I.P. 🙏🏽
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 16, 2021 07:59AM)
I was thinking about one area of David's work that I feel has been misunderstood by many writers. They refer to the Retention Pass as any time you keep the coin held-out or held-back in the opposite hand, as in "you pretend to put the coin in the left hand but RETAIN it in the right hand". Well, this is not what he meant.
He was referring to Retinal Retention or Persistence of Vision. See, he was operating on another plane. He kept his coins shiny and just before a coin was to vanish, he'd hold it still, on the left palm but still held by the right fingers and thumb tips, long enough to "burn" an image into the retina of the viewer so that after the hand was closed, as the coin was stolen away, your retina told you the coin was still there. Then he timed the opening of the left hand to reveal the vanish...that you could swear you saw the coin "dematerialize". It was amazing to see up close. He called it "getting a burn" and he used to do it over and over for those of us who were friends of his. This technique made his coin magic seem like supernatural phenomena. I feel that a lot of people who never knew him well enough to see this up-close think that Retention Pass means just keeping (retaining) the coin in the other hand...a fake-"put". No...it is Retention of Vision Pass or Retinal Retention Pass. In the early days it was just Geoff Latta who was understanding this.
Message: Posted by: Leo H (Jan 16, 2021 08:48AM)
[quote]On Jan 16, 2021, Betrayal Mix wrote: For those of us who want to see some of his best work, what would people recommend? The New York Coin Seminar stuff? [/quote]

Everything Roth released in print and on DVD was great. He was that amazing. If his name is on it, get it.

Notice that Roth never worked with silver dollars, only half dollar sized coins. At a lecture I attended he pointed out that his hands were small and he was more comfortable with half dollars.

The best description of Roth's ROV vanish is in Kaufman's CoinMagic book. Several pagesges are devoted to the nuances that Roth thought were important. It might also be in Expert Coin Magic. Roth noted that it was important for the coin to catch the light before the move. Right before it went into the receiving hand, the coin was revolved from edge on to flat surface toward the audience. This would reflect a brilliant flash outwards, if the coin was polished.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 16, 2021 08:50AM)
Gregg, nice to explain this here as to Roth. I remember Mickey Silver mentioning Roth to me as to this long ago, and of course Mickey took it to an even higher level as to truly understanding the extensive power of it in the right hands.

I use a simple retention pass but know many ways to do it, as for me it is just a tool to get from here to there in an effect. The whole action of it becomes second nature within a routine. And usually you can substitute a fake put, but a cleverly placed use of the persistence of vision is quite a bit more convincing and eventually more startling, as you mention Roth originally showed and made better known.

And Leo, I learned an awfully lot from the man, his DVDs were gold as to learning good coin magic. I would guess they would remain HIGHLY RECOMMENDED forever. I can't perceive a moment in time when they would not be anything but required learning. (Oh, and Mix, Roth's work can be seen all over the internet and it takes you only a minute to see how truly good he was from the simple to the complex, which he made look simple).

Leo, I remember him also somewhere mentioning preferring half dollars to silver dollars, mostly a matter of comfort for him as you said. I think they are more comfortable for most people really, especially just starting out and as you go down the road a'piece. Oh, and once you get that retention vanish down, it works even with a dulled silver coin, and then any coin really. But the shinier the coin, the better flash or burn for sure. Certainly a magical little thing that was worth all Roth's deeper exploration, explanation, & sharing of.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 16, 2021 10:16AM)
Mb217 - you are one of the few who understands the difference between what most people mean by the "retention pass" and the retinal retention, persistence of vision, "getting a burn" theory.
I was also thinking about the first time I met David. He said to me, regarding how he got so good so young, that most magicians don't practice enough. I think he got his discipline of practicing from music. He had played the oboe, he made money on the side carving reeds for other oboe players, and from music stores he knew about rosin. Rosin was something you rubbed on the bow of a violin. Well, David used to rub the edges of his coins with rosin to make them easier to palm (!) Also he used to really be able to play piano...honky-tonk style I believe it is called. He attempted playing piano and also typing on a typewriter with coins palmed to improve his classic palm. I'm trying to remember some of the more interesting anecdotes about David as a way of keeping his memory alive.
To get back to my point. He believed most magicians didn't practice enough. That's a real lesson there.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Jan 16, 2021 10:25AM)
I am so sorry. To say I am shocked would be an understatement. RIP

Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jan 16, 2021 01:27PM)
His contributions to coin magic will be remembered for many generations to come. An absolute legend.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 16, 2021 03:23PM)
Gregg, thanks and I have played with the move for a long time, and as mentioned became super-excited by it behind Mickey SIlver's work using it in some highly creative ways. But yes, it was Roth that first explained it best into my mind. I can remember when it first clicked to me as I was in front of the black glass front of the top oven of our stove. In its reflection, I could better see what the retention was all about, I could actually see it happening as all I could see was the burn as my hand closed around the coin. It looked just like I left the coin there. I remember yelling Eureka!!! when I got it, just like I did when I finally nailed The Sylvester Pitch way back when.

I remember some stories from Roth, and the ones you tell sound so much like him. A very interesting man with a piercing focus as to the detail of things. I remember the rozin story, and I remembered as a boy the stickiness of the residue from it when using it on my violin in grade school. I never heard much of his family and didn't know if he was married or had kids, but I can see in lieu of all that a fantastic focus being created on coin magic and the art in general. He was quite intellectual about it all.
Message: Posted by: livejeh (Jan 16, 2021 04:43PM)
RIP :-(
Message: Posted by: joseph (Jan 16, 2021 07:51PM)
R.I.P. ...
Message: Posted by: countrymaven (Jan 16, 2021 08:06PM)
The passing of master David Roth is sad. Because he reminds us of an era we can never get back, the wonderful 80's, when coin magic became way more visual and magical. Much of this is due to Mr. Roth's influence. Richard Kaufmann's books, which featured Roth's coin magic, were the first time you felt that you could completely understand coin moves from the written page. They were like videos, almost, in books.

I must also mention Roth's shelled coins across. One of the greatest, most practical and deceptive close up transpositions, ever.
So the passing of master Roth also reminds us that those of us who grew up in that era, have had that era pass from us as well. We are not getting any younger. But as long as we live and do good visual coin magic that amazes, we are still carrying the torch, and this is certainly due to influence of Mr. Roth. Thanks David, for all the great magic, which we will try to carry on, for you as well. We are indebted to you, more than we perhaps know.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 17, 2021 10:26AM)
Mb217...you sound knowledgeable and I see a lot of posts. As I said I was lucky to have known David for 50 or so years...he's perhaps the person I've known the longest except my brother. Especially in the days that David was just becoming famous, he was so generous with help if he thought you were really into coins. Later on I think he began to think he was giving too much away and pulled back a bit...except for his lectures. He emulated John Ramsay's traveling all over to teach coins.
I wanted to mention that unbeknownst to many, David was very good with cards. He knew Darwin Ortiz, but also Derek Dingle, Perci Diaconis, Vernon, Charlie Miller, Ricky Jay and on and on. Geoff Latta was excellent with cards as well. While David didn't want to specialize in cards of course, what he did he did with the same attention to detail as with his coins.
David's passing still hasn't registered completely. I'm still in denial or in "The Twilight Zone" or something, but I'll keep trying to come up with little anecdotes about him.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Jan 17, 2021 11:02AM)
To anyone in the New York area, I am sad to report that David's cat was taken by the police from his apartment, and is now held at the Manhattan ACC for only a few days. Then, I don't know. Neppi is 9(they have him as 5), a neutered male with all shots. He only has lived with David, and is probably shy with others. He needs someone with no kids or pets who would be patient with him. He is now in a cage, scared and alone after losing his only friend. If you can help, please please please let me know.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Jan 17, 2021 01:09PM)
Update - David's cat was adopted!!
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 17, 2021 02:23PM)
That's great. Thanks Michael, great to hear. David always loved cats. Nice going.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 17, 2021 05:32PM)
Yeah, good job, Doc! 🙏🏽
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 18, 2021 08:55AM)
Getting back to the idea that David was only interested in coins. Well, not true. Magicwise he liked the endless chain, Cups and Balls, Chop Cup, Floating Cork, and the Three Ball trick, and well as cards and also bar bets. He knew a few cigarette tricks, and I'm probably forgetting something, but whatever he did he did well. Oh, I forgot Sponge Balls. He only featured coins professionally and they probably were his main concern.
Socially he was happy being single. He could leave to travel half-way around the world at a moment's notice. Also he had heard the horror stories most magicians tell of wives who grow to hate magic.
He used to tell me what Vernon told him which was to date many women instead of just sticking to one. I actually cleaned up the quote a bit. Also, David had many friends in magic, but he had interests in many things...music I mentioned, but he was "into" the Priore de Sion before Dan Brown and the Grail Mysteries and stories and the Templars. He got me interested in those too. When he got interested in something, it became infectious.
Lately he had been transcribing old letters, handwritten, into the computer in typed form for storage and reproduction or study.
Just to let you know he wasn't only interested in coins.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Jan 18, 2021 10:45AM)
I remember once watching him at a magic shop work the cups & balls as good as anyone I'd seen, and he presented every trick in his Roth style, the way he presented his coin magic. Always fun to watch him work no matter the genre. I also remember sitting near him at a magic seminar in NJ, where we all were watching his old buddy, Darwin Ortiz do some astounding card magic. That was a great day for me as I met so many wonderful magicians, that up to then I had only chatted back & forth with online, like a young Eric Jones, Mano Tejeda, Mickey Silver, Jonathan Townsend, Steve Dusheck, Joe Reindfliesh, and so many fine known and unknown others. Many of which I continued long friendships with, some still to this day, some right here on the Café. Roth was not at the seminar to perform this day, but to support and enjoy the good magic of others. I saw him do this many times over the years, and I always appreciated his sense and support of the art for art's sake.

And yeah, there's some wisdom in Vernon's words, though I believe he was married? Perhaps that's how he knew best. :D While I can appreciate the finer points of the wisdom, there are also a lot of good things in a good woman and family as well, even if they don't like your magic (not to mention, that they will usually find something not to like about you just the same). :D Roth's choices as to all that are his own and led him down different roads as to his greater pursuits. As Sly Stone once said, "Different strokes, for different folks." :) But whatever drums he beat, he played them all well. I remember some of his last pursuits was as the Master in Residence at the Conjurors Arts Research Center in NYC... Didn't even know they had such a thing, but indeed it is, and Roth was quite the respected ambassador and historical reference as to magic there. When I called to wish him happy birthdays, it was always when he was at work there, and he would always take the call and happily stop to chat. :)
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Jan 19, 2021 09:49AM)
Warming news about Neppi finding a new home. Thanks Doc
Digging through my memory... when I saw him in the UK around the mid 90's he talked about having two cats at the time called Houdini and Slydini. The BBC produced a documentary about Ricky Jay around the same time and David was seen briefly in the film. He mentioned about how they filmed him (David) doing a routine using one of his cats as an impromptu close up pad but it never made the final cut.
Also... on the subject of non-coin magic, didn't A1 Multimedia produce a VHS on the Balducci Levitaion which was all the rage at the time? I'm sure David was on it aswell as others.

Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Jan 19, 2021 12:07PM)
When David was young, he used to set people up for the levitation. His friends would say that David could float, and at some point they would ask David to show it. After a sufficient build up, David would perform it and blow people away.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 19, 2021 06:07PM)
Doug Henning, the late great Doug Henning, burst into tears and hugged David's knees and said, "I knew it was real, I knew it was real" which shows how well David must have done it that time. Or something.
Thanks Michael for reminding me of that trick. Eddie Balducci learned it from a circus performer.
Message: Posted by: reese (Jan 19, 2021 06:48PM)
I only met him once at a very small attended lecture in a hotel suite in S.F. It was '87. I know the year
because he inscribed the date when he signed his big book... What have I got the most milage out of his creations? Sh*ll Coins Across, Flurry, Eraser Coin, the workhorse routine Copper/Silver. His work on Deep Back Clip. His work on the Okito Box. The Retention Vanish & finally teaching me how to do a coin roll.
But more then the coin effects... David's version of the Silent Mora/Fred Kaps 3 Ball Routine. I have performed it hundreds of times. One of my all-time favorite magical routines. Thank You Master of Magic. Bless you and your incredible work. ( he also inscribed in his book " Coins do'nt like to be dropped" )
Message: Posted by: Leo H (Jan 21, 2021 10:42AM)
A nice tribute to Roth by Swiss:

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 21, 2021 01:48PM)
Message: Posted by: NicholasD25 (Jan 21, 2021 03:56PM)
I saw David lecture four times over the years. Whenever I knew he would lecture anywhere near me, I was there. He largely did a lot of the same items in his lectures, but I always came away knowing something I didn't know before. The non-coin items he performed: Cards, The Three Ball trick, A cup routine and of all things, an endless chain routine were perfection.
I'm very saddened by his passing.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 21, 2021 08:31PM)
When David did Bar Mitzva shows he would often just do the endless chain because he could get a lot out of it with those kids and didn't like the way they reacted to actual magic. I know nothing about the endless chain except a vague understanding about what it is all about...something like monte but different. He talked about it on many of our phone calls, but I never saw him do it.
Message: Posted by: Conus (Jan 23, 2021 11:44AM)
I spoke to David Roth on the phone a couple of times.

Plus, I was lucky enough that I had a chance to meet him and see him lecture and perform at a convention years ago. He was smooth and every move and nuance was perfection. He was approachable and shared anecdotes.

We're so very fortunate to have a wealth of his material, theories, and thought process available for study.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 25, 2021 08:07PM)
I was just thinking about something David was telling me about on a recent phone call. It has to do with David's great memory for anecdotes about magicians of all eras. I think he learned this honing of an anecdote from Vernon, and also probably Ricky. Anyway, he told me that he had a podcast or I'm not sure what you'd call it...a blog? Not sure. Anyway, I think it was somehow related to the Conjuring Arts Research Center and was called "Roth Remembers". I'm pretty sure that was the name.
If anyone knows how to access this, please let us know. David seemed to think I could listen to these. I'm not a member at the Center and assumed I wouldn't be allowed in or on this site or section of the Center. Gregg
Message: Posted by: Betrayal Mix (Jan 25, 2021 08:36PM)
Greggg, the best I can do for you at short notice is this online series of videos from the Conjuring Arts Research Center, hope that helps:

Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 26, 2021 08:24AM)
Yes, that's exactly what He was telling me about. I thought I had to join the Conjuring Arts. Maybe I should anyway, but thank you for posting that! I wanted people to know about David's other talent, his anecdote telling.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Jan 28, 2021 09:54AM)
Thanks again for the anecdotes link. I watched them all and found them very interesting. I was reminded of one of the last phone chats I had with David about the fact that coin companies are selling the Swindler's nickles in a two coin set with one gold plated and the other a regular matching coin. These were the od nickles which had the Roman Numeral "V" on the back to mean 5 cents, but swindlers had them gold-plated and passed them off as gold $5.00 pieces.
The idea is, we as coin magicians could tell the story as patter and use Spellbound or other color change move to actually change the regular old nickel to the gold-plated one. The story could be that the swindler knew a magician (or alchemist) who changed them into gold. We both thought there was something there, but David ended the discussion of that trick as not being practical because you could only use it for very few people because spectators needed to see the details on the coin(s). Yet, we all don't perform for large groups.
Message: Posted by: todsky (Jan 30, 2021 04:50PM)
Shocked and saddened to hear this. I saw David lecture here in Montreal, but my most magical memory of him was this:
I was visiting New York City around 2003 I believe, and just walking aimlessly around Manhattan when I found myself on some street and noticed a sandwich board outside a building that said Fantasma Magic Shop. I knew of Tannens, but had never heard of Fantasma. At this time, I was at the height of my obsession with coin magic, so I was excited to check out this new magic shop and to see their coin section, and maybe get a coin book. I walked up the steps, entered the rather long and spacious magic showroom, and found myself to be the only customer there. I was gazing in rapture at all the beautiful magic display counters, searching out the coin section, when I noticed a man standing behind a counter. It was the coin magic display. I looked up at him and to my surprise he looked a lot like David Roth, but I thought to myself why would the dean of coin magic be standing behind the counter of a magic store like a mere mortal? So I said to him, “You know, you look a lot like David Roth,”, to which he replied, “I am David Roth.” Well, he very graciously gave me a few coin handling tips, but I will never forget the mysterious force that led me to him that day. He will be missed.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Jan 30, 2021 05:14PM)
Thanks to all who have sent me private messages about David. I wrote a piece about him, which will appear in the March issue of Genii magazine.
Many may not have heard this wonderful interview by David Roth, which touches on several topics. I hope you give it a listen
Message: Posted by: Feral Chorus (Jan 31, 2021 10:50AM)
Thanks to Gregg Webb and everyone else for their remembrances in this thread. Your posts are greatly appreciated and have only raised my considerable admiration for Mr. Roth and his contributions to magic.

Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 1, 2021 09:40AM)
One other thing I forget to mention is David's ease at travelling all around the world to do lectures. I don't travel and am afraid of planes and all the passport details and all..trusting someone to show up at the airports to take him to the lecture, etc. David admired John Ramsay's ability to do that type of thing. Also, think of the nerve to go on Dave Letterman's show after how he mistreated K-Mar. I don't know if everyone realizes that they had a negotiation with Letterman that David wouldn't appear if Letterman was even there. I think originally they wanted Letterman to leave the stage while David performed..but then Letterman promised not to try to ruin the act. I would have been so stressed I couldn't perform if it had been me but David Roth seemed to take it all in stride. That alone says a lot.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Feb 1, 2021 01:06PM)
I remember when my La Famiglia brother, Rannie Raymundo got David Roth & Doc to visit Manila in the Phillipines years back now. He was so proud that they took the time to visit and promote coin magic down that part of the world to his magic club there. 😊
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 1, 2021 02:26PM)
It was a great trip. Here is a recap:
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 1, 2021 06:57PM)
Wow that was great to see. Did they speak English down there? Also, is this the time they were going to arrest you for trying to take Phillipine coins out of the country, but then the judge remembered seeing you on TV and let you off? David told me about this.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 1, 2021 07:17PM)
Haha,yes, but that's not the EXACT story. As we were leaving for Japan, I got stopped and had to show my money belt, which was under my clothes and contained the Philippine currency I had. We had planned to exchange it once we got to Japan. David went right through without a problem. They surrounded me and were going to confiscate all of my money, but then one of the guards recognized David and me from the TV spot we did at the beginning of that clip. I showed them all some coin tricks, and instead of confiscating all of my money they escorted me back through security to an exchange booth where I was able to exchange the money. Coin magic has gotten me out of trouble a few times, but those are stories for another day.
And yes, everyone speaks english. They even had half dollars that were made in Philippine currency because at one time they were a US territory.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 2, 2021 08:48AM)
Ah, currency. Hey, I think David used to work out his anecdotes on me. This morning I was wondering about whether it was in Japan, but the video looked just like I envisioned it when David told me about the trip. I also remember him telling me about the long flight. I don't fly. But that's half-way around the world.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 3, 2021 06:36PM)
Thanks, Michael, for the Blue Crown interview link.
Message: Posted by: Leo H (Feb 5, 2021 05:55PM)
Was Roth smoking a cigar at the end of the Manila video? Great stuff in that video!
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 5, 2021 09:48PM)
Message: Posted by: feher (Feb 6, 2021 04:30PM)
I am so sad to be reading this today. I came on to see what everyone has been up to. I have been away a long time.
David Roth was my coin hero. When I watch his VHS tapes many moons ago those were what got me into coin magic. To me, he was on a totally different level than what I was used to seeing. I wanted to be like him. Smooth as silk.
I told myself one day I will meet David and show him how he has influenced me on my approach to coin magic.
Then life got into the way and I put all my attention into my career and stepped away from my magic for the time being. :(
If I can give a tip to anyone. Don't wait and say I will do this or that next week, month, or next year. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. Life is short and it will fly by before you know it.
RIP David Roth. You have touched so many lives. You live on in our memory, through your writings, through your videos, through your work.

Michael Rubinstein,
My deepest condolences.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 6, 2021 05:14PM)
Thanks Tim, still processing this. Currently working with his manager and sister to get his stuff taken care of. Every coin magician today owes a debt of gratitude to David for the way he elevated coin magic to another level. And glad to see you back, and posting. Hope all is well!
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Feb 6, 2021 08:12PM)
Tim couldn't have said it better. David turned coin magic on it's head and back again.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 9, 2021 07:59AM)
I just remembered another Roth anecdote. He told a lot of anecdotes about other magicians. I'm trying to remember anecdotes about him. David, in the 70's, used to say often..."Magic is going to be the Rock of the 80's". I don't know if it ever got quite that big, but there was certainly more activity than before. We all believed it. We all behaved as if it was going to happen.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 10, 2021 06:34AM)
Here is a video tribute I made for David. This was hard to make, but this was the David that I knew. He was a genius with coins, an innovator, an inventor. But most of all, he was a friend.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 10, 2021 07:58AM)
Great tribute. Thanks Michael. Was that an oboe in the music accompaniment? Very thoughtful.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 10, 2021 08:50AM)
I got thinking about David's reaction when one of the biggies or a member of out group "passed", such as The Professor, or Derek, or Geoff, or Ken Krenzel, or Allen Greenberg, I hope I didn't forget somebody; he'd say to me "...and we're next." And so, Michael, and I always liked David's use of dark humor in these circumstances, I say to you, "...and, we're next."
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 10, 2021 10:12AM)
I forgot to mention Herb Zarrow. Anyway, I remembered another David Roth anecdote from the early days. After doing something, he'd say "That's just a small sample of the carnival-lke atmosphere I'm able to create around myself." And then he stopped using that line, as I recall.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 10, 2021 11:59AM)
I tried to find a soulful melody that contained an oboe. I hope that I succeeded as I can't tell my clarinet from my oboe...
I heard so many Roth stories, and I used to be him to put them into a book. He was excited to do the a Roth Remembers series, and I helped him think of some of the stories he told. Unfortunately he only recorded a few, and a lot of the stories are now lost. I don't remember that line, sounds like early David. Older David was much more mellow.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 12, 2021 09:13AM)
He used it with me up until the present time. Maybe Allen Greenberg was the last time.

The music you picked was very good. Perhaps that line was an inside thing between him and me. By-the-way, I was just thinking back. Were both Derek and Geoff Latta 50 when they passed?
Message: Posted by: Leo H (Feb 12, 2021 09:40AM)
That was a great tribute Michael! Thank you for posting it! It also seemed to me that Roth didn't record enough of his Roth Remembers YouTube videos. I wanted to hear more stories, but I'm grateful he shared that material.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 12, 2021 10:08AM)
Gregg, Geoff was 51, don't know how old Dingle was when he passed.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 12, 2021 10:44AM)
I seem to remember 50. No matter. I have a lot of anecdotes from David. He told them to me numerous times and I wouldn't interrupt to tell him I heard it before; I didn't mind hearing them again...maybe I'd remember some. Many are short. Here's a short one. When Vernon devised Twisting the Aces, he used the fingertips style Elmsley Count. David then told me it was Perci Diaconis who changed the Elmsley Count grip to the dealing position most of us use now for the left hand. I didn't know that. It is short, but I found it interesting. David told me he still found the fingertips version compelling because it says "look how fair I'm being". Anyway, I'll try to organize the ones I can remember.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 12, 2021 01:18PM)
It's funny, over the years I have heard all of the stories, and more than once. David had an uncanny way of repeating the same story exactly, word for word, and nuance for nuance. Just like the way he performed his tricks. Every word and inflection the same. Problem is, as I have gotten older my memory isn't as sharp. I do remember one story about Francis Carlyle. He was an alcoholic, and was banned from the bar at the Castle because of his drinking. But he would go into bars and perform, and tell such soulful stories that the men would literally weep. I guess they bought him a lot of drinks, to see the magic and hear the stories.
Some of the stories told by David were not flattering, however, and although they were funny to hear, the person who was the focus of the story would be embarrassed. Although, there was one story that was really funny, and I can tell it because I don't think he is with us anymore. There was a magician who called in a bunch of magicians into the close up parlor to show them something, including Jack Lemon. This gentleman was rather full of himself. Instead of being introduced by the host of the room, he insisted on providing his own introduction. So, while he was behind the curtain, he started a very long, drawn out intro. As soon as he realized what was going on, Jack Lemon quietly indicated to the crowd that they should all leave, so they silently filed out. When this gentleman finished his legnthy and pompous introduction, he came out from behind the curtain into an empty room.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 12, 2021 06:52PM)
I realize I have only 4 more. Many have been told. David told me one the Professor told him about walking down the street with Houdini and Sam Margulis (sp) who was probably who Vernon was staying with at the time or something. Anyway, Houdini announced "From now on, call me Houdini, not Harry." So Sam kept forgetting, such as "Hay, Harry, look at that", and point to something. Houdini says "I told you to call me Houdini, not Harry anymore". Finally, on the third time, Houdini slapped Sam, and said "I told you to call me Houdini not Harry!". Then Vernon ended the story by saying "That was when I realized Houdini was not a nice man".
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Feb 13, 2021 01:16AM)
Enjoying the anecdotes... keep them coming guys
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 13, 2021 07:22AM)
When we drove up to Ithaca for David's video Master Coin Magic, there was a lot of time to talk about stuff. By-the-way, my brother worked at Cornell and Ithaca College both (I forget which place we shot.) He was teaching audio for film and video. The cameraman was an ex-NFL cameraman. Anyway the conversation in the car turned to Jeff Altman. Almost anyone you'd mention turned out to be someone David knew. Jeff Altman is the son of Art Altman, a Marlo cronie from Chicago. Jeff fooled me badly with some 1-on-1 card stuff in a Syracuse bar. This is before he rose to fame as a comedian.

Well, one time in a car Jeff was driving and had the person in the passenger seat take the wheel and Jeff hung his whole torso out the window, hanging down, with his arms hanging down, like he was dead. After the show Laugh-In, these things were more common back then. See, this would freak out the other drivers.
Anyway, David wanted to try it. I was driving. I didn't dare do it. (I didn't think David knew how to drive). Also, he kept saying "Can't you go faster?". We
finally got there. I remember we had trouble filming The Ruler trick. Many takes for some reason. Well, there you have it. p.s. I just heard there will be something about Jeff Altman on TV...a "where are they now?" type of thing I guess. Not sure, but I just heard the name.
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Feb 13, 2021 07:29AM)
Gregg, David told me the Altman story with him as the passenger ducking down a little and taking the wheel. David finished the story by saying he didn't know how to drive.
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Feb 13, 2021 07:38AM)
Slightly off topic but..... Paul Daniels once told a story about himself driving a foreign car here in the UK, so naturally the steering wheel was on the 'wrong' side.
He used to have a full size skeleton in the passenger seat that freaked other drivers out.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 14, 2021 08:10AM)
Charles Reynolds showed me a video of Paul Daniels doing the Rings for a little girl. It was great.

I have a Charlie Miller anecdote David told me the phone conversation before the last one. I had asked him if he had gotten to meet Charlie Miller who was an old friend of Vernon's who David knew. Not only did he meet Charlie, Charlie gave him a tux and a patent leather pair of shoes so David could get in the main dining room of the Castle where I guess there was a dress code. This was when David got a close-up award.
Later Charlie performed, and later told David it was his best performance ever and the best audience reaction he ever had. He did a trick which I didn't know he featured where metal objects, silverware etc. would cling to his outstretched fingertips. He would vibrate his whole body and claim it was because of the zillion volts of electricity surging through his body. Finally it stopped, and the silverware fell. That's how I remember it being told.
I never even have been to the west coast, or the Castle. I never met Vernon or Charlie Miller.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 14, 2021 09:12AM)
That was a great story! Here are the details, as told to David Regal in his book Interpreting Magic (David published his interview on Facebook, so I feel I can reprint that small part here).

You worked The Castle when you were how old?

"Twenty-one. This is a nice story: When I went out there for the first time I was saying in Charlie Miller’s apartment, and working The Castle. They were about to have, in a day or two, the award ceremony for the previous year. I didn’t have an invitation, I didn’t have a tuxedo, I didn’t have anything. I was just out there to work The Castle for the first time. So, Ron Wilson gave me a tuxedo, because we were the same size. Now I had a tux. And I wore Charlie Miller’s patent leather shoes. And The Professor gave me a bow tie, the same bow tie that’s in all of his 8×10 glossies, and I still have it. So now I had a bow tie, and the shoes and the tux, and Francis Carlyle had a spare invitation for this event. So, I was his date for the night. All these wonderful legendary magicians chipped in so that I could go."
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 14, 2021 05:43PM)
I did pretty good from just memory, thank God. Hey, I just have one more. David was on a flight with the Amazing Randi, going to the same convention somewhere. Randi told him this story about being on a train (I think it was a train) in Europe (I think it was Europe). Anyway, and I knew Randi somewhat, I can almost hear his voice. So, in the night thieves came into the car and almost everyone was sleeping. The thieves drugged everybody. I'm not sure what drug. Maybe Doctor Rubinstein can help me out. Was if chloroform or what ? I almost remember it as some kind of spray fog that, whatever it was, put everyone "under" and then they robbed everybody. Randi almost woke up and he remembered a light shining in his face. They shone a light into everyone's faces to be sure they were "out". In the morning everyone found out they had been robbed.

So that was the last anecdote I remember David telling me that is repeatable. Yes there are many more that are not repeatable. And there you have it.
Message: Posted by: scotchrocket (Feb 16, 2021 07:14AM)
[quote]On Feb 14, 2021, gregg webb wrote:
I have a Charlie Miller anecdote David told me the phone conversation before the last one. I had asked him if he had gotten to meet Charlie Miller who was an old friend of Vernon's who David knew. Not only did he meet Charlie, Charlie gave him a tux and a patent leather pair of shoes so David could get in the main dining room of the Castle where I guess there was a dress code. This was when David got a close-up award.
Later Charlie performed, and later told David it was his best performance ever and the best audience reaction he ever had. He did a trick which I didn't know he featured where metal objects, silverware etc. would cling to his outstretched fingertips. He would vibrate his whole body and claim it was because of the zillion volts of electricity surging through his body. Finally it stopped, and the silverware fell. That's how I remember it being told.[/quote]

[quote]On Feb 14, 2021, Michael Rubinstein wrote:
That was a great story! Here are the details, as told to David Regal in his book Interpreting Magic (David published his interview on Facebook, so I feel I can reprint that small part here).

You worked The Castle when you were how old?

"Twenty-one. This is a nice story: When I went out there for the first time I was saying in Charlie Miller’s apartment, and working The Castle. They were about to have, in a day or two, the award ceremony for the previous year. I didn’t have an invitation, I didn’t have a tuxedo, I didn’t have anything. I was just out there to work The Castle for the first time. So, Ron Wilson gave me a tuxedo, because we were the same size. Now I had a tux. And I wore Charlie Miller’s patent leather shoes. And The Professor gave me a bow tie, the same bow tie that’s in all of his 8×10 glossies, and I still have it. So now I had a bow tie, and the shoes and the tux, and Francis Carlyle had a spare invitation for this event. So, I was his date for the night. All these wonderful legendary magicians chipped in so that I could go." [/quote]

Mr. Roth tells this story in one of the videos in the [i]'Roth Remembers'[/i] playlist posted on page 2 of this thread.

Here's a direct link, straight from the horse's mouth! https://youtu.be/5vGW3cb0cIk?list=PLZxapgPfbekZwA1gKrYkTaa4cfyhNM02l
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 16, 2021 05:59PM)
David told me the story in person and I was telling it from my memory of how he told it to me over the phone. Pretty close I'd say and the part of the Charlie Miller trick with the clinging metal to his fingertips was the part I was most interested in...hadn't heard Charlie did that trick in his "act".
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 16, 2021 06:14PM)
Hi Tom G. Yes, David was the one in the passenger seat with Jeff Altman, the two of them in the car. When he and I were driving to Ithaca (me driving) he wanted to try it but I didn't want to since he didn't know how to drive.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 16, 2021 06:54PM)
One joke David liked to tell (not the Aristocrats, although when he told that it was pretty funny). David had a propensity to sweat a lot, so he carried around a small hand towel. He used to joke that he sweat so much, he could grow rice! OK, you had to be there...
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Feb 16, 2021 08:27PM)
I can almost hear David telling the Aristocrats...
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Feb 17, 2021 09:16AM)
And now it is time to say "goodby" to my old friend of about 50 years. I thought I had run out of anecdotes you told me, mostly over the phone, but I just remembered one of my favorite ideas of yours from the early days. Remember "Coins From A Dead Man's Eyes"? I think you planned to have that in your play at Ford's Theater, which Pat Cook wrote, and which I unfortunately didn't see...I hope the bit made it in. I think you planned to have an actor (I hope) laid out and there would be coins on his eyes which you'd use for a coin trick. Maybe someone saw the play and can tell the rest of us.

And thanks for being kind about my coin inventions over the years. And honest when required (when I reinvented an old wheel). GREGG WEBB
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Feb 20, 2021 08:29AM)
Gregg, just read over this entire thread again. I am still processing David's loss, but it was so nice to read over your stories and memories. When you mentioned David playing the piano while palming a coin, it brought to mind another story that I am sure you will remember once I write it. David went into a jazz club, and happened to notice the piano player was playing with a coin in classic palm. He kept watching, and every so often he would notice that the guy kept playing with a coin palmed. David waited until after the guy took a break, and then went up to him and said, "It's really good how you did that, playing with that coin palmed in your hand." The player smiled, and turned his hand over. He had a silver dollar coin image tattooed on his palm! Apparently it was a macho thing because the palm is so sensitive. When you mentioned the practice, that story came to mind.
As a strange end to the story, Harry Lorrayne said that the story was his, not David's. David said that Harry must have heard the story at some point when David told it, and decided to make it his own (and certainly Harry has his own great group of stories). I don't know if they ever discussed it, but it was a great story (and David told it better!!). Anyway, thanks so much for recounting your personal memories. David was more than a great magician. When he let you in, you were in for life.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 1, 2021 11:44AM)
I was just going to post that story because I just remembered that we forgot to tell that one. We could start a mindreading act. But I do have another short one. A friend in the Detroit area saw David at a lecture, and of course it was great, but one thing he mentioned was a trick I never saw David do that involved coins vanishing and reappearing in a "bullet bag". Not sure what a bullet bag is, or anything. I think he also used a chop stick for a wand, if I remember my friend's description. Maybe someone saw this item from his more recent lectures.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 1, 2021 12:49PM)
This item? https://www.naturalexotics.com/dark-brown-leather-bullet-bag.aspx

He used a chopstick as a wand in an item he performed on the Penn & Teller show.
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Mar 1, 2021 01:37PM)
Can't remember where I saw David discussing the 'bullet bag' but its an ingenious idea. Not just the method of using it but also the fact that the routining means its of no importance to the spectators. Not my place to tip method.
Im sure he used it on Penn & Teller. He had a different name for it I'm sure. My memory fails me.

Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 1, 2021 03:15PM)
You guys are referring to David's open servante. He fried everyone at the New York Coin Magic Seminar when he unveiled it, and fooled Penn and Teller with it on TV. I remember the first time he showed it to me. Latta and I met with David at his apartment, and he kept vanishing coins over and over until it slowly dawned on us what he was doing (and we were literally a foot away from him). He tipped the entire system on volume 11 of the NYCMS DVD series.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 4, 2021 07:30AM)
Was the Open Servante his idea? Did it look like a bag?
Anyway, I was just re-blocking Twisting the Aces back to the old fingertips handling, because one of my last phone calls with David was about how he thought the old Elmsley Count handling was more deceptive. He asked me if I originally learned the "Twisting" with the old grip. I had, and then noticed the NYC crowd were all using the new Diaconis handling. So I just switched back.
By the way, David really did Twisting the Aces well but didn't use the actual Twisting flourish as if it were too corny. Instead, each time, to make magic happen, he'd take the packet in an overhand (Biddle) grip and give the cards a gentle shake. "When I give the cards a shake"...such and such happens. I would call that a "touch". The David Roth "touch". The mistake some guys make with the fingertips count is that they make it seem like "mixing" the cards. To make it seem like counting, one hand stays stiller, and the other hand moves a little more, so there is an emphasis on which hand is holding and which hand is drawing off, that makes it seem like counting and not mixing. That being said, I'm going back. This is an example of how his work with cards had as much attention to detail as his coin work.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 4, 2021 08:05AM)
Gregg, sending you something to your email that should explain it.
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Mar 4, 2021 12:10PM)
A couple of things here, off topic, but on the topic of the Elmsley Count being discussed here.

The reason for the Vernon at-the-fingertips approach is that after the twisting motion, that is where the cards wind up, i.e. at the fingertips, so that there is no re-adjusting of the cards; from there, one goes right into the count.

I believe the Diaconis handling is different from the way the count is popularly done today. In the popular version, the cards are held [i]at the fingertips[/i], usually of the right hand, and counted from right to left. In the Diaconis version, the cards are held in left-hand [i]mechanics grip[/i] and counted from left to right using the left-hand thumb at the top left-hand corner to do the push-off.

On topic: With all the wonderful coin magic around today, the coin magic of David Roth is unsurpassed. Every element of magic--sleights, plots, patter, timing, presentation--are perfected in his magic. I concur with Vernon: he was the greatest coin magician ever.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 7, 2021 10:08AM)
I was just recounting how David discussed the Diaconis handling with me. He's the one that said the mechanics grip/popular/modern handling was from Perci. That's all.

Anyway, thinking back to Sol Stone's passing, David and Sol were close. In fact one of the last times I spoke with David, one thing I asked him was if he had spoken with Sol recently. He had. The reason I asked was someone had told me at that time that they heard Sol died 2 years ago...which I knew couldn't be true...the 2 years ago part. So I double checked.

One story David told me about Vernon concerned getting old and living a long time was that Vernon felt the worst part was that you saw all your friends die. So, Sol having been 98, and he was a friend of David's and I'm sure he heard of David's passing.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 7, 2021 01:08PM)
I just talked to David's manager Regina Monaco, who has been working with David's sister Lisa and Asi Wind to host a David Roth zoom memorial. She asked me to post this:
Regina R. Monaco and Lisa Roth would like to invite the Magic Community to attend the Memorial we are holding in Honor of David Roth's Extraordinary Life.

We are holding this Memorial as a Zoom meeting, hosted by Asi Wind.

The details for connecting to this Zoom Memorial are below. Please join us as we remember the Life and Magic of the irreplaceable David Roth. 

Topic: Remembrance of the life of David Roth
Time: Mar 13, 2021 02:30 PM EST America/Nassau

Join Zoom Meeting

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Message: Posted by: pabloinus (Mar 8, 2021 10:12AM)
Thank you Michael I will attend. I never met Roth but I enjoyed everything he did
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 8, 2021 01:20PM)
I just remembered a Fred Kaps story David told me. David got some close-up coins info and the Floating Cork, among other things from Fred Kaps. Well, in Fred's standup act he used to vanish a salt shaker into his profonde. A woman saw him on a cruise ship, I think it was, and saw a number of his shows. Each time he missed and the salt shaker smashed into pieces on the floor. Then, some time later this woman saw Fred and this time he didn't miss and in fact the salt shaker made it into the profonde.

As this woman was telling the story to David, she said that this time he had taken her favorite part out of the act. David asked what that was. "Well, he used to smash the salt shaker on the floor." "That was my favorite part of his act. He didn't do it this time". She was disappointed that the salt shaker trick worked. Again, an example of how David was "in" with the top magicians of the day. In fact, we were all calling it the Kaps Subtlety for a while until someone started calling it the Kaps/Malini Subtlety.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Mar 13, 2021 06:34AM)
In ongoing recognition and respect for a real giant in the art, “Happy Birthday, David Roth.” 🙏🏽

I would regularly try to give him a call on his birthday, and actually got him a time or two. I remember him always enjoying the call from me sorta magically out of the blue. He was always a pleasure to speak with, ever inspirational and welcoming. Personal experiences that I will always cherish in fond remembrance on my journey of yet another unique someone really worth remembering, a real champion.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 13, 2021 04:17PM)
We just had the most amazing zoom tribute to David. I know it was recorded, I hope it becomes available for all to see. Here is a video tribute I made for David.

Message: Posted by: CoinBoy101 (Mar 14, 2021 06:04AM)
A beautiful video tribute, Michael.

Yesterday's Zoom memorial was a wonderful privilege to attend. There's nothing I can say which others have not already said about David Roth's impact on magic. Thank goodness we are left with such a wonderful body of timeless work to watch, read and learn for generations to come.

The Zoom tribute was about the man his family and friends fondly recalled. There was a veritable who's who of magicians in attendance, sharing a life unseen by those of us who were only familiar with Roth's work. Great stories about a man whose kindness, curiosity, knowledge, skills and inventiveness knew no boundaries. David Roth made an impact on so many people, including those like myself who never got to meet him. As a few participants yesterday said, there was coin magic before David Roth, and coin magic after David Roth. We are all the richer for living in the post-Roth world. RIP, David.

Jeremy (aka CoinBoy101)
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 14, 2021 09:51AM)
I thought the memorial went very well. I had audio reverb/echo at my end. Particularly on Darwin's. Still, good to see Darwin and Pat and Steve Freeman who David mentioned to me many times. The clips they showed were amazing to see. I'm glad I attended.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 14, 2021 10:15AM)
I forgot to mention I remembered another anecdote. Way back, late 70's I think, he used to do this bit. He'd say "a real magician wouldn't have to use patter." "He'd just have to say 'watch', and make something happen." Meanwhile he had found a watch that, if he took the straps off, he could classic palm. So he's do a L'Homme Masque Load and after the appropriate pause, open his hand to reveal a WATCH!. Also, he bothered to find out the correct pronunciation for L'Homme Masque'.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 14, 2021 12:35PM)
It was the first zoom meeting I've attended. Conjuring Arts sent out an invitation (thank you, Michael, too, for sharing invitations here at the Café) and I think it was a lovely get together. I appreciate having been able to attend.
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Mar 15, 2021 04:42AM)
Sad that I couldn't attend due to a prior commitment. Im hoping its eventually available to watch.

Best wishes to all
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 16, 2021 04:00PM)
This just came in, so I thought you would like to see the YouTube video of the memorial (about 2.5 hrs). It is nice to hear so many stories from different parts of David's life.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 16, 2021 05:15PM)
Thank you, Michael. I wasn't able to record, so thank you for posting this link from Asi.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 18, 2021 06:19PM)
I do have a couple of little things I'd like to share from my interactions with David. I have posted other mentions here on occasion, as well, which I think you could find in a search if you'd like.

He helped me grasp (pun not necessarily intended but seems a good fit) classic palm technique very quickly in one of the breakout sessions at NYCMS 5 in 2007.

Earlier in the day, and this is documented on one of Volumes 5, 6, or 7, I believe, he had asked me if I palm coins (*direct quotes can be obtained, I'm paraphrasing). I haltingly said I did, a little. He was demonstrating his rosin, which he had included for all attendees in the gift bag. He rosined up a silver coin, half dollar, 50 cent piece and told me to palm it.

He asked if I noticed it was "tacky". I accepted it was and answered in the affirmative. Immediately the coin dropped out of my hand, and fell to the floor, being sure to clang loudly against my chair, as it went.

"Sticks like glue!" says David.

Problem was I was trying to palm the coin on a sort of diagonal top to bottom. Once David explained the proper technique is side to side I was on my way and he had us try in the breakout session. He gave a couple of simple directions and a visual demonstration of how to "flatten the hand". I followed them.

"YES! That's it!" said David. And suddenly I could classic palm a coin.

I don't remember what we were talking about- same session- but all of a sudden he points at me and yells, triumphantly,

"Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! SHE SAID Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 18, 2021 08:05PM)
Yes, David not only sold the rosin, but used it himself. Even David didn't take chances that a coin would slip!!
Message: Posted by: John Long (Mar 20, 2021 09:11PM)
Is this the same rosin that is used on violin bows?

If no, where can it be obtained from?

Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 20, 2021 09:37PM)
Yes.He preferred the dark rosin.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Mar 21, 2021 08:23AM)
Not many people know this, but David Roth was in the movie BIG, as an extra. Look for him as a father with his son , wearing a gray jacket, in the backround during this iconic scene at FAO Schwarz.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 21, 2021 05:05PM)
F.A.O. Schwartz. I don't know if everyone knows that David worked out tricks that he could only do because of the way that the magic department was built. He discovered this over time and worked out certain routines he could only do there...without giving anything away-that's all I'll say. Maybe Mike will want to go further, but I'll leave that to him.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 21, 2021 06:17PM)
In case anyone thought I meant coin tricks, these were mental feats with cards.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 23, 2021 07:48AM)
Since nobody is biting I'll go. So, when David was working at a magic shop or magic department, he wasn't getting his fee that he required to do coin magic...unless there was a dealer item (Hopping Halves for instance) for sale which he could demo. But if someone wasn't buying anything...he liked to do card tricks. He liked Twisting the Aces, Bro. Hammond's Card on the Table, and Smith's Myth, if I recall. But he had worked out really impossible card tricks at F.A.O. because he could see reflections of the cards people selected, in the glass counter and also the cabinets, and there were more than one place, and the lighting had some impact on this phenomenon. This type of magic dates back to the idea of that a cup of black coffee could reflect a card held above it.

Suffice it to say that David was good at many kinds of magic...not just coins.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 24, 2021 09:31AM)
Did David do the Imp Bottle at the store?
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 24, 2021 09:46AM)
I never saw him demonstrate store items, but of course he did when he had to, but when no one was buying, he'd do card tricks, as I remember. If the store carried the Imp Bottle, then he'd have done the Imp Bottle.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Mar 28, 2021 10:21AM)
Getting back to coins, for various reasons David didn't do coins very often at magic shop counters. This was true for Fantasma as well. I remember him saying that he felt the various gimmicks involved with the trick Hopping Halves were each interesting in themselves and he thought the various gaffs were worth it. I never bought a set, but plan to someday.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Mar 30, 2021 08:55AM)
Speaking of the Imp Bottle, have you seen this beauty by Michael Baker?


It's "Pocket" Classic # 4 - Chianti Imp Bottle

(scroll down)


I just bought one...

Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Apr 1, 2021 07:59AM)
In an earlier post I erred when I mentioned that David Roth was the extra with a small boy during the piano scene in the movie BIG. That guy looked like David, but wasn't him. David was actually at the end of the crowd, and can be seen clearly as the two stars walk off the piano keys at the end and walk toward David, who is wearing a gray jacket and tie.I will try to post a photo:
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 2, 2021 06:40AM)
During a conversation with Mike Rubinstein, it came up about a famous bit of the Roth Legend, that being his little black books which contained his repertoire, his list of routines. I actually saw these books in the early 70's. They were tiny and I remember 2. The handwriting was in block lettering, small, if I remember.

Mike mentioned that Bill Kalush acquired them and I hope Bill makes digital copies which he is equipped to make, and makes them available...maybe in Genii or such.

David mentioned that Richard Kaufman changed the names of certain moves and tricks so it would be an interesting document as to what David called various things. For example "the scoop" became "the Scoop Addunder" etc. Geoff Latta knew of the books. Others who would have would be Pat Cook and Darwin Ortiz and maybe Jamie Swiss but I'm not sure.
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Apr 3, 2021 01:55AM)
Fascinating Gregg and Doc

I use "the scoop" a lot in my box work. I always work seated so such a 'simple' move elimates a lot of picking up the box which I don't like.
I've mentioned before about when David did a lecture tour over here in the mid 90's. Aswell as travelling down to London to see it he also came up to the north east (Newcastle)a few days later so I took a non magician friend along with me. David remembered me and even bummed a cigarette off me as the ones he had bought were 'too light'.
He was doing the stonehenge coin assembly and as the final load (huge stone) hit the table my friend unintentionally said "what the !@#$". Fortunatley it was drowned out by the cheers.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 4, 2021 09:53AM)
He smoked about 4 cigarettes a day...which is a very small amount for smokers. Yet he didn't want to quit completely. I had to quit and always told him he should quit entirely but he always said he didn't want to quit. In fact we discussed Slydini's torn and restored lit cigarette not too long ago. Like a lot of us cigarette magic got us smoking. When you couldn't smoke in restaurants...there went a lot of cigarette magic. I remember when the big ending for the Chanin silk production of coin was to produce a cigarette and next a lighter and then go into some cigarette magic. Slydini's torn unlit cigarette where he tears it into about 4 small pieces then restores it...when he did it for Sophia Loren on Dick Cavette's show...wow. I'm sure David had work on it.
Message: Posted by: stevie c (Apr 4, 2021 12:33PM)
[quote]On Apr 2, 2021, gregg webb wrote:
During a conversation with Mike Rubinstein, it came up about a famous bit of the Roth Legend, that being his little black books which contained his repertoire, his list of routines. I actually saw these books in the early 70's. They were tiny and I remember 2. The handwriting was in block lettering, small, if I remember.

This is a great story. So Greg / Dr Mike, I wondered if either of you could estimate how many routines David Roth knew / performed throughout his life / career? Hundreds? Perhaps thousands? It sounds like he practiced more than most, and was prodigious with not only coins, but also cards and other stuff!!

Great thread


Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 4, 2021 06:40PM)
Well, if you go through his book and his DVD's etc, there are a lot, and add cards, not too many but what he did, he did perfectly. Three ball trick. Endless Chain, Chop Cup, Spongeballs. I'd guess hundreds of routines, but he phased out certain things that he did earlier in his career. With the advent of the Slot Box, certain earlier routines were dropped in favor of newer things. In his lectures, he trimmed things down to what he thought other people could possibly learn...like the shell coins across with the goblet. It almost seems like he did a lot less coin-box stuff later in his career. I mean, I don't remember him doing the Tuning Fork after a certain point. It may be my opinion only, but it felt like he realized that no one could learn some of his routines and figured out "why not teach them something they can use" in his lectures after a certain point. I realize I didn't give an exact answer.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 4, 2021 07:54PM)
P.s. just wanted to make sure people know the little black books didn't contain his entire life's work in them. No. They were the repertoire of routines he used when he was just getting famous. Titles, like Out With 4, etc. and not instructions or theories. I'd love to see the lists today. That would have been the early and mid 70's.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 4, 2021 08:04PM)
P.p.s And I'm only talking about the 2 I saw. I'm sure he wrote later lists of items in his repertoire as his career went on but I never asked. David was very generous with help to any of us really interested in coins. Then came a time when he realized he had been too open about his work. From that time on I was careful to not seem like I was prying. There was one development that he really kept a lid on for a long time and then finally he showed me what it was after he finally taught it at some coin summit in Europe or something. That session he also fooled me with a Han Ping Chien variation I never saw, and he had a look in his eye like from when he was just getting famous and he made all the coins go to his right hand and the Chinese coin went to his left hand (!) I never asked, and I worked out several ways it could be done but never was sure.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Apr 4, 2021 09:58PM)
David had sets for magicians, and sets for laymen. When David was hired to do a show, he would do a lot of the non coin items like cards,three ball routine, etc. This was all for walk around. He also did his Castle set for private parties. Once I remember him preparing Rip-O for a show (and I have his gimmick and silk). Funny story about that. One day David's cat Neppi began to vomit. So he brought him in to me, and we couldn't find anything on bloodwork or x rays. After supportive care Neppi was better, and went home. A week later he was back, same issue, and again, after supportive care he went home. The third time, David brought him in because he had a red thread hanging out of his butt. Turns out he ate the thread David was using to prepare the Rip-O gimmick. Usually when this happens, you can find the thread under the tongue and that gives you the diagnosis. But when Neppi was seen and sedated for x rays, my tech did not find it, and the x rays showed no pattern of any obstruction. Usually they don't respond to treatment and the thread is subsequently found, but because he did so well, we never checked again. It figures that a magician's cat would be able to keep a secret!! Anyway, we took Neppi to surgery, got out the thread, and Neppi did well and went home. Lesson learned, David was always more careful with the thread after that.
David loved the color changing knives, and had quite a collection. He also played with dice stacking and thimbles. He performed a wonderful chop cup routine, which you can find on YouTube.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 5, 2021 07:29AM)
Wow. I always forget to mention dice stacking. And I never even knew about the color changing knives. Or thimbles. I do remember him telling me that for a lot of Bar Mitzvah shows he'd only do the endless chain because it worked on that crowd and they liked it. It kept their interest. He also collected bar bets, or at least stories about bar bets, and he loved tricks he could do over the phone. Coins in a row and moving the coins around, card tricks. He's say (on the phone) do you have a deck of cards?" He could do those kinds of card tricks through a door. Person on one side of the door, and he'd give directions, although he only told me about that. His Chop Cup routine was great. Way beyond what anyone else was doing with it at the time.
Message: Posted by: stevie c (Apr 5, 2021 09:25AM)
Great stories Gregg and MR. Love reading this stuff.


Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 5, 2021 03:00PM)
Thanks. Going back to that unusual HPC where the Chinese coin ended up in the opposite hand. I often wondered if he did some kind of quick move, but I don't remember the kind of quick throw during the slap-down. David had a soft action on his HPC. So, I think he had 2 Chinese coins...one palmed in the left at the start, and then everything else the same as a 2 for 2 HPC with the extra "Odd Coin" and then palming the Chinese coin in the right hand at the end and showing the one palmed all along from the left hand. Just so you don't think I think he sort of threw it over fast. I'm heavily into HPC and can tell those things...although the version where he dropped coins in his lap just when he was slapping down on top, and got the sound right (Is this Slydini?) fooled me. I didn't think anyone could actually do that so wasn't expecting it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 6, 2021 09:57AM)
@Gregg, great story about doing the HPC trick.

Was that odd (Chinese?) coin smaller than the silvers he was using for the HPC coin trick?
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 6, 2021 10:52AM)
I see where you're going. That's an interesting idea. But remember I never knew exactly what he did. For all I know he could have had 1 and "did something" (Vernon Load) or whatever. Wait, I'm thinking you meant a shell Chinese and cut down Chinese (I have a set)...but you're asking if the Chinese coin was smaller than a half, so could be hidden by a half. No. My main theory involves palming, and the whole exercise was in the new plot...which is open to various possibilities. I don't think he was lapping because of the kind of table and where he was sitting. With 1 Chinese coin and do a L'Homme Masque Load at the end would suffice for a version for laymen of this trick...but again, that's not what I think he did. I didn't press him to tell me. I never did. If he showed me something, so be it and vice versa.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 6, 2021 09:31PM)
Was it a "wiggle my thumbs and they go" presentation?

Great to see an item that inspires making magic :)
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 7, 2021 06:27AM)
No, it wasn't a one-at-a-time across thing. It was just a straight HPC trick and at the end all the half dollars dropped from one hand and the chinese from the other. Just a quickie. A "session" thing. I mean, I can do a whole HPC sequence with an extra coin in left classic palm. I find the plot interesting or plot variation. There are probably many methods. If at a lapping type table there would be even more methods. Slydini used thumb palm for HPC but this wasn't.
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Apr 12, 2021 07:26AM)
On to a new topic, there's some discussion of Fugitive Coin on another thread. When we filmed Master Coin Magic, he used a Mexican old Peso circa 1958.