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a little town in nowhere
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Profile of Montethrower
I bought volume three of the Tarbell books and thought it was good, but is it really "the Bible of the Industry" like Bob Little said to me? I do think they are good, and that Dr. Tarbell was brilliant, but....

*This is not to say I didn't enjoy the book because I think they contain a wealth of information, and provide good material on the psychological side of the Art.
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I think I have about
1867 Posts

Profile of Rennie
What is it you want to say. If you do not have the 8 volumes of Tarbell you do not know what you are missing. You can find a wealth of information in them and if they are not on your bookshelf, then it is not complete.
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve it is not.......
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The Jersey Shore
2700 Posts

Profile of sethb
The Tarbell Course does contain a wealth of information about performing many standard and classic effects. And it really can be an indispensable part of a magic library. I do a Hank Tie that's straight out of Volume 1, and everyone always wants to know where I "bought" it, they assume it's a new trick!

Having said that, the only possible downside to Tarbell in my view is the suggested patter, which varies from just OK to outdated and sometimes embarrassing. This may be the source of your "but" comment. If so, it's really not a problem, because you should be coming up with your own patter anyway.

While Tarbell may not be the "bible of the industry," I think it's a very good investment, since it covers so many different fields of magic and also has excellent advice on presentation, showmanship, routining, misdirection, comedy, etc. Since you now have Volume 3, why not get volumes 1 and 2, then you can decide whether to acquire the rest? SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
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a little town in nowhere
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Profile of Montethrower
Well our (me and my brother) magic dealer only had volume three and eight so instead of jumping right to eight, we decided to get number three. After reading just the coin section, we've decided to set money away for the rest.
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I dug 5,000 postholes, but I have only
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Profile of mormonyoyoman
A very wise decision, Monte!

Seth, in a way I rather agree with you about the Tarbell patter. Part of it is that - in those days - entertainers were expected to act like gentlemen instead of louts. But I also heard something very wise from Bob Klamm (author of "Fly Like a Bumblebee").

Bob says that Harlan Tarbell never really meant the proffered patter to be used verbatim. Instead, it was given to show the pattern and pacing of the routines. What Tarbell was encouraging, was for each performer to adapt this to their own style of speaking.

And THAT makes perfectly good sense to me.

#ShareGoodness #ldsconf
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Oregon City Oregon, Oregon
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Profile of RevJohn
When deciding if I wanted to get the Tarbell Hardbacks, I got Tarbell on CD from

Very good investment, and while it differs from the Bound additions of the course, it does give you a LOT of the information and is a great alternative.

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Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
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Profile of Stanyon
Someone once said that, "If you could perform 10% of all the material contained in the Tarbell Course, you would be the greatest magical entertainer in the world!" I think that it was Jay Marshall.


Cheers! Smile

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
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Profile of ChristianR
Ah, but Stanyon, its the character not the tricks. Smile Most Entertaining and Most amazing are two different things. (it's not ment to argue just to get you thinking!)

I think this year I will buy the lybrary Tarbell. I'll pm you RevJohn
Bill Palmer
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Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
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Profile of Bill Palmer
As a fairly knowledgeable magician, I can state without reservation that the money you put into the Tarbell course will be a great investment. If funds are not a problem, I would get both the DVD and the 8 volume set, as well as the supplements.

I would also get Greater Magic and Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. None of these, by itself, will make you a great magician or a great entertainer. But you will not lack for material.

I guarantee you that I can fool you with material taken from Tarbell, even if you have read the book cover to cover. Why? I do it to really sharp people all the time. I know my business, and I'm pretty darn decent at what I do.

And most of all, I know how to entertain people.

For that part, you need other books, though...and lots of experience.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
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Profile of leapinglizards
We just released a book based upon an old Genii column that was all about taking items from Tarbell and making them new and up to date.

I believed then, as I do now, that The Tarbell Course In Magic is the single best value and single best investment one can make in magic!

To a new comer, it offers a wealth of good performable material at a variety of skill levels.

To the intermediate student it is a valuable reference, and gives the theory that one SHOULD care more about as a newcomer, but usually gets overlooked.

To the experienced performer, it is an awesome reference set, and a place to go to fire up the creative juices when you need something to help you invent a new routine or idea.

Not to mention, Dr Tarbell sounds, from his wirtten voice, like he was a genuinely NICE guy and a gentleman- which makes for refreshing reading and a healthy "father figure" for folks to pattern themselves after. Sometimes I think maybe we need more of that.
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
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Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

Profile of drwilson
Our I.B.M. Ring is having a Tarbell Night this month. In preparation, I skimmed through the eight volumes looking for something that I could work up. I have had all the books for a long time. The content never changes, but I do. Every time I skim thorough it, something else floats up off the page as just what I needed.

This is the best money you'll ever spend in magic.


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