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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Classics Secrets of Magic - Bruce Elliott (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bobcape
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I should be receiveing this book in a couple of days. I bought it because of a recommendation from a review site. What are some of the great effects from this book that you really apprectiate? Thanks for your input.

Bob
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Jason London
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Greetings,

Sach's Dice, Benson Bowl, Egg Bag, Linking Razor Blades from the Mouth, and many other great items exist in this book.

I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy reading this book. I learned Sach's Dice from it a longtime ago.
Jason London

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Harry Murphy
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In my opinion Bruce Elliott’s “Classic Secrets of Magic” is arguably one of the best all around, general magic books available! Yes it is difficult to find but it is out there. In fact it is out there in both hardback and soft cover versions. You'll find that it doesn't cost half as much as many of the magic books being published today (you probably got it cheaper than a copy of "Magic for Dummies"!).

Plus it was published for the general reading (youth) market, not for magicians! I think that it was produced more readable (i.e., in simple English!) than many of the magic books being published for the magic/magician market during the same time period.

From it you can build a very creditable, entertaining, and magical close-up and/or stand-up (cabaret/club, stage/platform) act. Nothing else is needed but a few props (cards, coins, etc.)!

It is the second magic book I ever got (the first being Hilliard’s “Greater Magic” given to me used by my Uncle). It was the first magic book I ever bought with my own money. I got it in 1958 second Hand! It was published in 1953. I still have the original copies of both books.

Heck, I also have backup copies of both books! I have maybe three or four copies (one is an English paperback version) of "Classic Secrets" and no I will not sell any. Frankly I would give up my “Greater Magic” before I gave up my "Classic Secrets". I like it that much.

In it is just about the only easily found and clearly written published version of Roy Benson’s “Bowl” routine (the Don Alan handling at that!).

There is also Roy Benson’s version of the “Egg Bag” a novel and different approach and the version I tend to perform.

It also has perhaps the most elegant and beautiful “Misers Dream” found anywhere. It is fairly easy and can be done surrounded. This is the brilliant Club performer Wally Dean's version. Mr. Dean starts with the production of a wine glass full of wine and then uses the wine glass as the “bucket” to drop the magically produced coins into. This is after the wine is drunk of course (to prove it real)! Sadly Mr. Dean is pretty much unknown to most of today's magicians.

The book also has a very capable “Billiard Ball” routine and a nice “Cups and Balls” routine (that is the traditional three cups and balls version) as well as an impromptu coffee cup cups and balls.

Plus it has the “Razor Blade” trick and a trick that I used to perform in every club (small venue) engagement I managed to get. That is the “Corncob Pipes”. This is a trick where you get volumes of smoke from two pipes without flame or tobacco. It is a smoke from nowhere! I used to buy the corncob pipes by the gross and go through a couple of gross a year. It is no longer politically correct so…

In terms of close-up you get an OK version of the “Ambitious Card”, a couple of versions of four object assemblies including aces and coins.

It has a number of paddle trick using match sticks, table or butter knives, and a business card that magically prints itself, and includes the “Dr. Sack’s Dice Routine”.

It explains a version of the Rice Bowls and has the already mentioned wine glass production (from a hank).

The book is clearly written by Bruce Elliott and illustrated nicely by Dr. Stanley Jaks.

If the value of a magic book is measured by getting “just one useable trick” then this has been my most valuable book.

I have used everything in the book at one time or another in my almost 50 years of performing magic. And all in a small package of about 200 pages!

Let me say that one of my earliest stand-up, platform acts (performed in a carnival 10-in-one at the ripe old age of 13 for a whole paid season) came almost entirely from this book.

I only added a Die Box (to have a box-prop which was expected of magicians in those days) to the corncob and razor blade routines in the book and had an act. I did the egg-bag and broom suspension on the platform “out front” when it was my turn to pull a tip.
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Vincent
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That was a great review, Harry!

This book is also one of the highlights of my library, and I have read and reread it for over 40 years.

The Benson Bowl and Egg Bag Routines contained in these pages were the first actual magic effects/routines that I actually learned and performed in front of a live audience. Okay, so the audience was related to me but, hey, you have to start somewhere.

Now for some really good news.

Contact Magic Inc., as I believe that they still carry this book in their inventory.
I remember seeing it on their website.

Buy this book! Study this book! Enjoy this book!

Take care.

Vincent Smile Smile Smile
Bobcape
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Thanks Jason, Harry and Vincent for all of your positive opinions on this book. It arrived today along with Harry Anderson's (Mike Caveney's) Wise Guy. I guess I know what I'll be doing every spare moment for the next week or so. Thanks again. Does anyone else have any comments?

Bob
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leondo
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As always, re-read Harry's note.
Ted (Leondo)
van
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Also Charlie Miller's Cups and Balls, Vernon's Slow Motion Aces.

Van
Later Ya'll

Van
Harry Murphy
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Although parsimonious in his post, Van is right! I had forgotten that the impromptu “cups and balls” routine performed using coffee cups and balled up bills was the Charley Miller routine!

Elliott takes a couple of Dai Vernon ideas and includes them in the book.

One is a very clever card through handkerchief bit. Get this, a card is selected (freely), signed, and then shuffled back into the deck. The deck is placed on the table (or floor) and a pocket-handkerchief is draped over it. Then the hank is removed as the magician (you!) remembers that the person didn’t get to check out the fairness of the deck. The first few cards are turned over showing that the selected card is not on top of the deck. Now the deck is covered and wrapped with the hank. The now wrapped deck is lying on the table (or floor).

Still with me so far? (I’m doing this as I write it so that I get it right!)

Magic Mumbo-Jumbo, a snap of the fingers and two corners of the hank are grasped and pulled in opposite directions The deck comes unwrapped and the card is seen to lift right out of the deck and penetrate the handkerchief, laying face-up with the signature there for all to see. A killer little bit using only a deck of cards, a handkerchief, and a little something extra that everyone already has!

I have just amused myself performing this little throwaway bit a dozen times now. Thanks Van for reminding me about Vernon in Classic Secrets!!!

UPDATE: April 8, 2004

OK, Bob, you have the book. What is your first impression?
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Bobcape
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First impression - For a 1953 published book it is quite current and relevant.

I haven't gotten all the way through it yet, but the parts that I have read are very easy to follow and well thought out. I really like the whole first chapter on card revelations, especially the card through the handkerchief that you mentioned. Brilliant. I like the way he presents the original effect, then several improvements and finally the finished product. I loved reading the corncob pipe routine. I can see how that would have gone over well. I'm looking forward to making time to finish it this weekend.

Bob
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landmark
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That book is why I got a library card for the adult section. I was very happy with my children's library card-- loved that 793.8 section with those Joseph Leeming books--but then a friend showed me the Elliot book in the adult section, and I knew I had to get an adult card to find out the real magic.

You know what, though? Sometimes you still find the best magic books in the children's section.

Jack Shalom
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Harry Murphy
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Hey Jack, that book is in the children’s section of our library! It is along with Pat Page’s “Bell’s Book of Magic” and his “Magic Book”. Not to mention all the Joseph Leeming’s books. In fact there are about a dozen fairly current magic books that have some killer stuff. One includes the working of a version of Grants Sword box (which Hans Moretti turned into his act’s closing trick as “The Box”!). I agree with you, the kid/youth section has some overlooked and good stuff!
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PaulGreen
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Check http://www.Magicinc.net They are having a special on this great book until April 16.

Buy it!

Regards,

Paul Green
Bill Hegbli
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I found I have this book in small paperback, under the title of 'Great Secrets of the Master Magicians. Published by Collier Books.
Harry Murphy
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Hey Bill,

That is interesting! I can’t find any listing for a reprint of “Classic Secrets” in paperback as “'Great Secrets of the Master Magicians”. I do know that it was published in paperback but as “Classic Secrets of Magic” both in the USA and in the UK.

What is the copyright date?

Check out the contents of your book and compare it to the “Classic Secrets of Magic” contents:

Preface: Introduction to the book by Bruce Elliot, September 1952

Chapter 1: The Spectator's Card is Produced! Several ways of revealing a selected card
Chapter 2: Corncobs: Multiplying smoking pipes
Chapter 3: Water Water Everywhere: Standard, Brahmin, Al Baker; Jardine Ellis Wineglass production
Chapter 4: The Very Peripatetic Paddle: The paddle move with knives, matchsticks, business cards and dice
Chapter 5: Those Four Aces: Many variations and modifications
Chapter 6: Miser's Dream Come True: Wally Dean's method
Chapter 7: The Egg Bag, Well Done: Basic routine, twisting the bag, stomping the bag, and other ideas
Chapter 8: The Two Covers and the Four Objects: Chink A Chink type effects with cards, coins and magazines
Chapter 9: Billiards, Magic Style: Two thorough multiplying billiard ball routines
Chapter 10: Razor Sharp: Linking razor blades from the mouth
Chapter 11: The Ambitious Card: The card that keeps popping to the top of the deck
Chapter 12: The Eternal Cups & Balls: Simple routine, gimmicked cups, Charlie Miller routine with tea cups, Joe Berg routine, Benson Bowl routine
In Conclusion: final words
Appendix: A poll of the "classics" of magic
Glossary
Index


By the way, anyone interested, as of this date Amazon.com has several copies of the book available starting at a big $6.00!!!!!

Check out:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/det......;s=books
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John Macmillan
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Harry, I have a copy of the book in paperback as “'Great Secrets of the Master Magicians”. The index matches exactly and the subtitle says "Originally published as Classic Secrets of Magic. Published by Collier Books New York 4th Printing 1972, Original price was $1.25 and I think I got it at a used bookstore for 75 cents......... I guess I got deal Smile

John
Harry Murphy
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John,

Thanks for that information!! It helps keep my notes updated and complete.

You got a steal! In my humble opinion

That means that there are even more copies of this wonderful book out there!

Thanks again!
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Bill Hegbli
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Harry,

John beat me to it. My second-hand copy is 5th printing 1975. Collier first printing was 1962. It says they had an arrangement with Harper & Row, Inc.

Have a Happy Easter, Harry. It's my birthday also.
Harry Murphy
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Happy Birthday Bill, I hope that it finds you happy, healthy and a little richer!

Thanks for the information.
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kid iowa
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Is there any other little known secrets out there like this book? I just purchased a copy of it and am waiting for it to arrive. Finds like this make my month! My favorite "find" was Henry Hay's Amateur Magician book that I picked up at a library sale for 50 cents (no typo!). Bought it on a whim, best 50 cents I ever spent.
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Turk
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Quote:
On 2004-04-10 11:51, Harry Murphy wrote:

By the way, anyone interested, as of this date Amazon.com has several copies of the book available starting at a big $6.00!!!!!

Check out:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/det......;s=books



Thanks for the info, Harry. I immediatley went on line and purchased one of these "$6.00 books". I can't wait to get the book.
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
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