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Bill Palmer
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A couple of follow-up notes:

To answer the original question -- to my knowledge nobody has yet produced a list of magic books that are in the public domain. However, if you have a favorite magic book, look at the copyright date. Under current law, if it was published in the US before 1923, it is in the public domain.

Regarding the mechanics of a trick vs. the secrets of a trick --

The day after "The Masked Magician" exposed the Linking Rings on his show, I was scheduled to perform a stand-up banquet show for the local branch of Rodeway Shipping. As I was setting the stage, one of the audience members showed up and pulled up near the stage. When I got my rings out, he said, "You can forget about those. I know how that one works. I saw the Masked Magician expose it last night."

Those of us who perform are actually more likely to be "shot down" by a bumbling amateur magician than by a book or a video.

I was asked to perform strolling magic for an office party. The boss was a polythumbed amateur whose favorite trick was "Ring Flight." He had purchased one of the crudely made depot versions and had accidentally exposed it to all the people in his office. His normal mistake was to open it up the wrong way so the victim could see the gaffus attached to the inner surface of the key case. They warned me about him. However, I was about 200 miles ahead of him. I had built my own. The gimmnick was totally concealed. There was no tell-tale "condom ring" on the back of the case, and when I opened it, I let them see inside. All was concealed.

I fooled all of them. But more important -- I actually entertained them. Later, the boss asked me where I got my key case. I told him -- Dillard's.

I replied, "Sit as close as you can. I think you might be surprised."

He did. He was. My routine is very simple, three 12" rings. All the moves are very natural. There are a few things that you have to search through MASSES and VOLUMES of books to find. He came up after the performance and said, "That B******* lied."
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Everything old is new again » » Magic Books and the Public Domain (6 Likes)
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