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Alan Wheeler
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It was so many years ago that I can't remember what book I saw this concept in; it might have been "The Amateur Magician's Handbook". The idea was that the basic effects in magic-once the types of props and performance styles are taken away-can be reduced to a few ways of breaking the laws of nature (I'll take a stab at recalling them and try to fill in the gaps myself):
Productions and Multiplications
Disappearances
Teleportation
Levitation (and visible movement?)
Transformation (color, size, shape...)
Restorations
Mentalism and Predictions

There may be a few more. I just remember this as another way of thinking about things in the designing of effects, routines, or acts. Any comments?

--alan
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Gawin
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Martin Michalski - Great book of magic:

Appear
disappear
change
change place
levitation
mental
destroy and restore
math effects

so far my German literature

hope I helped
Smile Smile
Dennis Michael
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The effects are listed in Fritzkee's "The Trick Brain"
Dennis Michael
Jason Fleming
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Perhaps add

Penetration
Animation (different from levitation?)

That's all I can think of right now.

Cheers!
:sun:
Dennis Michael
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Here's the list:

    1. Production
    2. Vanish
    3. Transposition
    4. Transformation
    5. Penetration
    6. Restoration
    7. Animation
    8. Levitation
    9. Adhesion
    10. Sympathetic Reaction
    11. Invulnerability
    12. Physical anomaly
    13. Spectator failure
    14. Control
    15. Discovery
    16. Thought reading
    17. Thought transmission
    18. Prediction
    19. ESP
    20. Skill
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Alan Wheeler
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Thanks guys. I suppose swindles would come under the "skill" category. I am guessing one use of such a list would be to maintain variety in one's collection of effects or in the designing of acts.
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Dennis Michael
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To a certain extent, Allen, you are right, but this doesn't mean you focus on that. For instance, productions are generally done to a greater extent. Producing yourself, assistants, silks, doves, birds, rabbits, etc., are common ways to bring color, surprize, and beauty into the magical picture.

During the Halloween period, physical anomalies may dominate the magical act. An act of many transformation may not go as well as the productions, or five different types of levitations. You should begin to see the point and how these effects are used.

Do not let them dominate your act development, only use them to evaluate the act. They are for discussing the development stage and they were created by Fritzee so magicians can design and develop new tricks. They are used so developers can create original effects, the main purpose of his book, "The Trick Brain"
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Alan Wheeler
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Thank you, Dennis. The main purpose is design or development of effects rather than in themselves dictating what is presented. I do see your point and will try not to lose heart in seeing there is so much to learn. The book you mention sounds very interesting.

--alan
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Dennis Michael
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Dariel Fitzkee published "The Trick Brain" in 1944, and it is one of three.

"Showmanship for Magicians" (1943)
and "Magic by Misdirection" (1975)
are the other two.

These three are/or should be in every magician's library, along with the Tarbell Course. Most dealers carry these books (1987-88 editions). I loved Showmanship the best because it was my first exposure to the many things that can be added to a routine to make it more entertaining.

Jeff McBride praises "The Trick Brain" on one of his DVDs. It is disliked by many, and also listed as boring. It is a book that must be read slowly to really understand. It contains the theory part of magic. I like it and found it fasinating. (You know how much we liked reading, writing, and arithmatic in school.) I find myself referring to it often, to keep my mind sharp.

It explains the theory of how EVER trick is done. For instance, there are 13 ways to Levitate, and 48 ways to Produce or 48 ways to Vanish objects. Think of an object...

Now pick a number... say 6.

Now (#6) Produce that object forward from it's secret hiding place by means of a spring reel. You just created a new trick. That's kinda how it works. (#6 Vanish it the same way.) Another new trick.

Number 6 in Levitiation is to float it by means of invisable support, spring, wire or string. Now see it floating in your mind.

It is kinda neat doing this and allows for originality, but it is taxing to some, because it may not always work or "one does not have a creative thinking mind" (Many can't be bothered to do this, it's easier to buy new tricks others have thought of.)

If you are thinking of buying this to learn how tricks are done, you will be sadly disappointed. The examples named are very few and many names today, people won't know what trick they are talking about, but that doesn't really matter, it's the theory. You can say things like Copperfield did his flying act by one or more of these 13 levitation methods, and you would be right.

I like the book, also chess, computers, and video games, and firefighting all are based on strategy and tactics... creative stuff!

Den
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Alan Wheeler
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Dennis, I don't know whether to start with "Showmanship for Magicians" or "The Trick Brain" (when I get back to the States this summer).

Lately I have been dabbling in effect design, because my resources are so limited here. It's really fun for me to mix and match the methods I'm starting to remember from my old days in magic. It's fun for me, too, to hear of a killer effect and figure out ways to accomplish it. (My mistake in the past was to try to start with the props I wanted to use, for example, seeing a cigar box and thinking, "Now, THAT would be really cool for an effect," rather than starting with the effects in mind.

I am also interested in the theory of the art of magic, which inclines me toward starting with "The Trick Brain".

At the same time, I need to be working on my presentation and personal style (the way a writer needs to find his "voice") which makes me think "Showmanship" would be the best to start with.

Of course for sheer knowledge of technique and method, I'm guessing the Tarbell course is the route to go.

I really appreciate your posts and thank you for answering questions I didn't think to ask!
Smile alleycat

(alan wheeler)
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Dennis Michael
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The Tarbell books will build the basics, and it does have nice sections on presentation, showmanship, and comedy.

Showmanship is good and so is Henry Nelms book, a more up to date book but not a copy of Fitzkee material. Books are a personal thing. You must view them and make some tough choices with limited funds.

There is a lot on this topic all over this site. Check them out.
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Alan Wheeler
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Thanks again, Den. As I read through the threads, I am writing down all the names of books recommended for beginner-intermediate magic so I can make those decisions. For some reason, the title of the Henry Nelms' book isn't on my list yet. I'm not sure how I missed it.

--alan
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mikeB
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The book is Magic and Showmanship: A handbook for conjurers by Henning Nelms. ISBN 0-486-41087-0 (Dover). I just got mine through Amazon, and am enjoying every page. I have only got through the first two chapters and already it is making me think.

Great book.

BTW thanks Den for pointing out this book to me. Smile
Cheers

Mike
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Dennis Michael
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I bought my Henning Nelms book in 1969, and it is pretty beat up from use. Numerous highlighted material, underlined, notes, etc.

I really liked it, mainly because back in 69, there really were no other books on Showmanship for Magicians other then Fitzkee's book.
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Alan Wheeler
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Well, here's one more crack at the "types of effects" topic. Could it be that sometimes the TYPE of effect is more significant than the size, style, or materials used for the effect. I think it was Blackstone whose favorite illusion was animating a dead fly, something seemingly small in scale. I think I understand that this way of looking at effects by category is most useful at the design or evaluation stages, but am certainly still interested in any examples or even other ways of looking at effects.

--alan Smile
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