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Terry Holley
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Inner circle
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Profile of Terry Holley
Hi Larry:

As always, it's great to get your input! Reading over all your posts, you certainly have touched on some of this, but perhaps this question will consolidate your thinking for us.

Before your visit here is over, can you leave us with your top three "bits of wisdom" regarding mentalism (effects and performance)?


Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
Logan Five
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Inner circle
Northern California
1434 Posts

Profile of Logan Five
Great question !
Self concept is destiny..
Larry Becker
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Profile of Larry Becker
The art of magic and mentalism isn't always art. Notwithstanding that, this is my 63rd year in magic, and I never stop learning or trying. There are times when I see myself on video that I wish I hadn't. But the desire to be better still burns brightly. I still practice even when there's little reason to believe I will do any better. I don't look 75. I don't feel 75 (on a good day) and I never stop thinking about magic. If I have any longevity, Magic gets the credit for it. And as our Parish priest would say, this is a great time for confession. I took up magic because as a youngster I had very low self esteem. I could hardly carry a conversation when there were more than two people present. My voice would quiver and I had trouble keeping my knees from knocking. And that very same problem has accompanied me throughout the years.
I suffer from terrible stage fright. But somehow my desire to entertain people has overcome it. At least to the point that I still force myself to do my thing.

In my humble opinion too much focus is placed on methodology in magic and mentalism instead of the most important aspect of what you are attempting to do. It's called knowing how to entertain an audience and most important of all...ensuring that they remember the performer, as much, or more than what he did. My approach over all these years was and is, to concentrate my efforts on structuring and mastering my craft with the major emphasis on ENTERTAINMENT. As I matured in our art over the years, my performing style and persona changed. I place major emphasis on being courteous, charming, and humorous. And the humor is primarily self-deprecating as opposed to the in your face, put-down style that some mistakenly think is funny.

Today I structure my routines to provide maximum impact with a minimal amount of props. My performances run anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the venue and how much gas is left in the tank. The only things visible on stage when I walk on are five chairs one of which has a small Barnes and Noble shopping bag sitting on it. Everything else is on my person.

My opening routine usually consists of a few introductory and humorous remarks followed by a magic square routine. What makes this routine particularly effective is the fact that there doesn't seem to be anyway that I could have known the participant's thought of number until after I've filled in the 16 square grids.

In the fnumber two spot I offer to double the money of seven lucky members of the audience. I then proceed to purchase seven $1 bills from as many sellers, for a brand new $2 bill. I then have a participant hold the seven purchased bills behind their back, placing any six in one hand and the seventh bill in their other hand. Then with my back turned, I reveal the serial number on the one bill selected from seven.

Speaking of luck, I then segue into an imaginary trip for three participants to Las Vegas. A sealed envelope containing a written confirmation of three actions that I will attempt to mentally influence is handed to a member of the audience to hold. One participant freely selects one “Silver Strike” slot machine token (the Porsche of slot machine tokens) from five that have been examined and the names of five different casinos called off before the selection. A second participant shuffles and examines a deck of playing cards. The participant then deals two blackjack hands and freely chooses which he will retain. The final participant is allowed to cut an unknown number of fifty $1000 bills to represent his winnings. When the sealed envelope is opened and read and confirmed by the three participants, the performer has caused the first to select a token from the Luxor Hotel and Casino, the second to deal a blackjack hand that totals 20, and finally that the third participant would freely cut off twenty-three $1000 bills. All three actions match the participant's choices.

Next, five participants are invited to take a seat on stage. Each is handed one of four paperback novels and the fifth receives a 35,000-word dictionary. The performer reveals a word freely selected by one participant winning a $1000 wager; a second participant reads a paragraph silently as the performer accurately describes what the participant is reading. The third participant silently reads a sentence and concentrates on one word. He then uses that word in a long sentence that he makes up. The performer accurately reveals which word in the sentence the participant actually selected. Finally a fourth participant opens a book to any page, mentally selects one word. The performer not only reveals the word, but its exact location in the word guide held by the fifth participant. This climax has never failed to produce a standing ovation.

For many years, my closer had been my version of Russian Roulette using three revolvers. After Columbine and similar tragedies I retired the effect and donated the props to the S.A.M. museum when I was inducted into the S.A.M. Hall of Fame.

These days I primarily perform RR to help spread the word to men over 40 and their families how impportant it is to get an annual examination for prostate cancer. I am one lucky dude to have beat it and I'll continue to do evertything in my power to help others from having to deal with it.

Magic and mentalism have been very good to me. It is the third most important thing in my life. The Lord tops the list and my long suffereing angel of a wife, April, is the most wonderful partner a man could hope for. I also hope that somewhere along the line I will have the opportunity to meet those of you I have missed. In the meantime I'll continue to try and do right by this thing we call magic. And thanks to Steve and all of you for making my visit so much fun.
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Profile of jlevey
Dear Larry,

Your shared thoughts, insights, and experiences have been a wonderful contribution.

Many, many thanks.

Wishing you continued good health,spirits and success.

All the best.

Max & Maxine Entertainment
Magicians with a touch of comedy!
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Profile of Snidini
Mr. Becker, it has always been a pleasure to speak to you when having the opportunity to do so at some of the conventions you have attended. I quote you ; "As I matured in our art over the years, my performing style and persona changed. I place major emphasis on being courteous, charming, and humorous." You certainly are all three and more of these characteristics that exude the fine human being that you are. You have so graciously shared your work with the magic community and for that Larry we magicians are so grateful. God bless you.
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