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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » The Best In Magic by Bruce Elliot (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Phil Thomas
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Newark, Ohio
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Hi all,

I found this book in my local library almost by accident the other day. I checked it out and was impressed with what is in this book. The copyright date is from 1956 but there are some really good effects in here. Has anybody heard of Bruce Elliot and this book? Does he have more? I am going to try to find my own copy of this and if he has anymore books out there.... if he is even still with us, I would love to find them. If anyone has this book or has read it, what are your views on it? I give it 5 stars. Even though the material is old, it still plays big. I floored some magician friends of mine with some of these classics of old. I am impressed with it. How about the rest of you? Please share your thoughts.
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
magicbern
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Hong Kong, China
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The book can be purchased from MAgic Inc under the name "Classic Secrets of magic" - which was the original name. It does contain a lot of timeless classics - for example the egg bag routine is the one I still use together with the ambitious card routine.

Bruce Elliot also has another great book called 'Magic As a Hobby" which contains some great routines such as a Bill production act and a routine which has a Backwards in Time theme! He was also the editor of the New Phoenix magazine - which can be obtained on CD Rom from Houdini Magic.

Hope this helps!
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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Bruce Elliott and this book “The Classic Secrets of Magic” has been discussed at length in various sections and regarding various specific tricks found within its pages. I consider it the best all around magic book printed. I believe that a person could put a club/stage/parlor/platform act together using nothing else but what is in the book.

It has the best version of the egg bag (Roy Benson's), Cups and Balls (including Charley Miller’s), smoking pipes, Razor Blade trick, Ambitious Card, and on and on. In fact, this book is one of the few places where you will find the Benson Bowl routine in print.

In fact, this book is one of the few places where you will find the Benson Bowl routine in print. This is also one of the places the Elliott published one of his pet favorites “the Dr. Sacks dice routine”. Bob Sheets and Reed McClintock have spun off this routine into their own versions.

Do a search on Bruce Elliott and another on Classic Secrets of Magic and see what you get.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
joespc
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He also published the book "Magic Made Easy". The Phoenix magazine and all his books are great.
Tony Noice
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Bruce was a good friend. I had lunch with him on the day he was walking in NY and was hit by a car. Tragically, he never recovered. His contributions to magic were enormous. Not the least of his many talents was that, in addition to magic, he was a fine writer/editor of fiction and non-fiction, resulting in some of the most enjoyable descriptions of effects ever in print.
Turk
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Portland, OR
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Quote:
On 2005-02-16 07:14, Harry Murphy wrote:
Bruce Elliott and this book “The Classic Secrets of Magic” has been discussed at length in various sections and regarding various specific tricks found within its pages. I consider it the best all around magic book printed. I believe that a person could put a club/stage/parlor/platform act together using nothing else but what is in the book.

It has the best version of the egg bag (Roy Benson's), Cups and Balls (including Charley Miller’s), smoking pipes, Razor Blade trick, Ambitious Card, and on and on. In fact, this book is one of the few places where you will find the Benson Bowl routine in print.

In fact, this book is one of the few places where you will find the Benson Bowl routine in print. This is also one of the places the Elliott published one of his pet favorites “the Dr. Sacks dice routine”. Bob Sheets and Reed McClintock have spun off this routine into their own versions.

Do a search on Bruce Elliott and another on Classic Secrets of Magic and see what you get.



O.K., Harry. Other than that, how did you like the book?

Mike
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
Harry Murphy
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Er…I guess I was being a bit subtle! I do kind of like this book a little, but only a little! I have three copies in my collection. One is the UK published, paperback version titled “The Best in Magic”. It is also the first magic book that I ever bought with my own money. It was newly published when I bought it. In fact, “Greater Magic” and “The Classic Secrets of Magic” were the only magic books I had for years!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Turk
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Harry,

And, based upon your past recommendation,, I purchased this book approx 8 months ago. It is a great book and (as you indicated to me in a prior post) regularly shows up on Amazon.com as a used book for approx $5.00 plus S&H. A worthy edition addition (say that 3 times fast) to any magic library.

Mike
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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Quote:
On 2005-02-16 03:01, magicbern wrote:
The book can be purchased from MAgic Inc under the name "Classic Secrets of magic" - which was the original name. It does contain a lot of timeless classics - for example the egg bag routine is the one I still use together with the ambitious card routine.

Actually, that's an entirely different book. I have both "Classic Secrets of Magic" and "The Best in Magic" in hardcover.
Phil Thomas
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I was thinking that these were two different books. I can still find "Classic Secrets" for sale, but "The Best In Magic" I can't find anywhere. Luckily I found a copy at my local library.......which I would love to buy from them if they would be willing to sell it. Smile

Phil
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
Anatole
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The Library of Congress website lists the following magic books by Bruce Elliott:
1. Best in Magic (1956)
2. Classic Secrets of Magic (1953)
3. Magic as a Hobby (1948)
4. Professional Magic Made Easy (1959)

What was special about these books is that a lot of the tricks were culled from _The Phoenix_, which had contributions from some of the greats in magic in the decade of the 50's. The high quality of the Phoenix contributors meant that the effects were aimed more at magicians who already had some experience rather than the pure novice.

I believe Bruce Elliott also edited one of the men's magazines from the 50's (Dude Magazine), and also wrote science fiction was well. The Wikipedia entry on Bruce reads:
-----begin quote-----
Bruce Elliott (1917-March 21, 1973) was an American writer who wrote mystery fiction, science fiction, and also worked as a television screenwriter. He was also a magician.
Elliott was the writer of 15 Shadow stories that appeared in "The Shadow Magazine" between 1946 and 1948. These stories are held in low regard by Shadow fans because of Elliott's atypical handling of the character, best exemplified by the 3 stories in which the Shadow does not appear in his costumed identity.
In November 1972, Elliott was hit by a taxi and lapsed into a coma. He died 4 months later.
-----end quote-----

One of Bruce's SF stories was "The Last Magician" was about a magician who was challenged to escape from a Klein bottle.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Vlad_77
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Since part of Phil's question concerns Bruce Elliott and if anyone had heard of him and in addition it seems The Phoenix has been given little mention in this thread, a little history.

The Phoenix was a bi-weekly journal produced by Bruce Elliott from 1942-1954. It was published every other Friday - and apparently NEVER late. Some historians have stated that The Phoenix was the spiritual successor to Theo Annemann's legendary The Jinx. While this assertion is or may be valid, The Phoenix also stands on its own as one of the most important journals in magic history. "The Bird" as it was affectionately called, weighs in at 1201 pages. It ran concurrently with quite a few other great journals including The Sphinx, Hugard's Magic Monthly, The Magic Wand, The Bat, The Wizard, Pentagram, Ibidem, The TOPS, and the Linking Ring among others.

What was truly amazing is the sheer quality of the magic produced in this journal. Start with the very first issue and the cover effect "Pay-Off" by Walter Gibson greets you. It is still an excellent effect and many have argued it is the forerunner of OOTW. Each issue averaged three effects plus an editorial by Elliott.

I have these as hard bound volumes, but, I THINK they are also available digitally.

Regardless of format, The Phoenix stands as mentioned as one of the great journals in magic. Within its 1201 pages (no ads) one will find treasure after treasure. Through the editorials, one gets to know Bruce Elliott and the man could write very well. Just my opinion, but, Elliott was perhaps the best WRITER in magic until this guy from NYC came along. A lad that I am told has some promise. I think he is named Harry Lorayne. Smile

So Phil, I really think you would love The Phoenix. MANY of magic's greatest effects had their genesis in this wonderful journal.

Ahimsa,
Vlad
Harry Lorayne
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Bruce Elliott was a close personal friend; helped me out when I was just starting my "memory" career. For example, I wanted to memorize a magazine as part of my act - at that time, Bruce was the an executive (editor?) of the original People magazine - it was a small format. I.e., not the normal size of magazines that we're all accustomed to. There were a few such magazines at that time - this is way back in the 1950s. Well, I used to go to Bruce's office once every week, and he'd give me a pile of the current issue of the magazine - no charge. We'd see each other pretty often. Terrible memory - we had spoken on the phone a short while ago, he told me he was having lunch at a place right around the corner from my house, in Greenwich Village, NYC, NY. It was when he came out of that place and started to cross the street, that he was hit by a car. He went into a coma - never came out of it. Terrible, sorry, story. HARRY L.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
duanebarry
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In 2002 or so, Geno Munari of Houdini's Magic Shop published a CD-ROM containing the complete run of The Phoenix, the complete run of The New Phoenix, and Mike Skinner's notes on The Phoenix.

That's a whole lot of tricks, ideas and cultural history for just twenty clams.

http://www.houdini.com/home.cfm?page=sho......_id=1773
van
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The last time I saw John Greget he had a couple of Elliot's books for sale.

Van
Later Ya'll

Van
Motley Mage
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This was actually the very first magic book I owned. A friend who was a professional club magician in Miami gave it to me one day when he learned of my interest in magic. Can't find my copy today (I believe it is in a box of items never unpacked from a move some years ago) but this thrread has reminded me how great the book is . . . so a hunting expedition will soon commence!
cpatchett
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Amazon has a used copy available for < $10 at the moment, along with new copies starting around $25. Digital copies are also available for the Kindle and iPad through their respective online stores (also for < $10).

Craig
Magician: Someone willing to spend $15 to learn how to make $1 disappear.
countrymaven
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What a sad tale for such a magic book writer. Hit by a taxi in NY? I was definitely influenced by elliot's magic made easy. HIs writing is great.
Ray Haining
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Hot Springs, AR
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As a teenager in the 1960s, I picked up a paperback copy of The Classic Secrets of Magic at a local drug store. It was displayed on one of those revolving book racks along with other paperbacks such as Edgar Rice Burrough's At the Earth's Core with that artwork of a sexy-looking female hunter on the cover (those of us who are old enough will remember what artwork I'm referring to).

The original Doctor Sacks's dice routine is in it, which, with all the various versions that have come out, is still by far the best version there is, in my opinion. Great book.

I didn't know about how the author, Bruce Elliott, died. Very sad.
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