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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » What Defining Moment Sparked Your Interest In Magic? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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sirbrad
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Was there one defining moment that made you realize that you had to learn magic, and had to become a magician? I had several that solified my journey and destiny. I started my journey going to the library at age 7 in 1981, after getting a "1962 Adam's Mr. Magic Set." My friend got it for Christmas and was not interested in it, and he fried me with the Ball Vase. So I gave him $3.00 for it and he took it immediately as he wanted candy instead. After that I saw a local magician at a fair who called me over to his table, and he had all kinds of glitzy, glamorous magic apparatus on the table, was dressed in the standard magician's attire a tux coat, top hat, and a curly mustache and goatee. He made a bird appear out of a puff of smoke, and it walked up a ladder. He then did the cups and balls routine for me, vanishing dimes to nickels, and sponge ball routine. I had no idea how he did them as I checked the cups for "holes" on the bottom, but were solid aluminum, and I had no idea how that ball appeared in my hand with the other. From that point on I was hooked!

I went to the library and took out every book I could find, all books which I bought and still have today. My first one was "The Amateur Magician's Handbook", followed by "The Magic Book", "Mark Wilson's Complete Course", and all of Bill Severn's Books. Also "Scarne On Card Tricks" after that, "Dunninger's Encyclopedia of Magic", "Classic Secrets of Magic", "The Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusions", and "The Stein and Day Handbook of Magic". Many others followed but I did shows for years out of those books alone until I started getting paid for gigs, then I was able to save up and order more books, tricks, and later VHS tapes from those old magic catalogs.

I also saved up for the Tarbell Course, which back then was like $400 at a magic shop $50 each. The shop owner said I must be a serious student as no one else has wanted to buy it, and that I must be in magic for the long haul. Turns out he was right as this is my 35th year in magic and 25 as a professional. So which defining moment lit that burning desire in you to want to study magic?
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Johnny Butterfield
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A singer in a band I was once in had quit smoking and took up magic to give him something to do with his hands. I was amazed when he showed me some stuff!

A week or so later, found a copy of Modern Coin Magic in a bookstore. Later, ventured into the local magic shop, Browser's Den of Magic, and was thoroughly hooked. The staff at Browser's as much as anything hooked me. The hours they spent with me, the fact that they never sold me on anything and always suggested the stuff appropriate to my skill level, and put me on the right path really made the journey as enjoyable as possible.
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
The poster formerly known as Fman111.
Dick Oslund
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Yup! That's the difference between a good Brick & Mortar shop, and internet shops.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
sirbrad
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I still love the Brick & Mortar shops and wish there were more today, and it is still my hopes to have my own strictly for the fun of it and not "need" to make money. I love the internet today due to the convenience of it, but I am still old school and love to walk into a magic shop if I ever have time to travel to the few that are left in my area. But there is only one left within 60 miles and even they do most of their business on the internet now. I only get there maybe a few times a year as I am too busy doing gigs. But it is always a great feeling to go there as I did so many years ago.

Luckily the owner also did not have to close it as he does it on the side for pleasure, and is a teacher almost retired now and also does a lot of gigs. He has it open a few hours on certain days, and usually when I do get there I am the only one there. Kind of sad and kinda of a good thing as I don't want anyone else getting all of those goodies. But also a shame that others have no idea what a great journey and experience might start there. Today's generation are too busy to see the shop as they are walking around looking down at their iPhones.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Michael Baker
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I got the typical magic set for Christmas. I putzed around with it a bit before it found its way to my closet. My uncle was visiting some time later and spotted it. He performed the cups and balls from the set and totally blew my mind. All I could think was that this was MY stuff he was using. I was hooked.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
sirbrad
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Probably the most important item in my collection is the 1962 "Adam's Mr. Magic Set" as this is the first set that I got at age 7. I was ECSTATIC to find one on eBay in excellent condition, and mostly unused and some items still sealed for a great price! Most of mine got lost and thrown out over the years, and I still have some of the pieces left. Even more amazing and strange is that this one had a penny in it with my birthdate on it, and the JCP address on the front where it came from also just so happens to be the same name of first professional gig that I did for a nursing home as a teen, "Grandview". Pretty cool and astounding in itself!

Image
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Roy Rocha
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Caught "the bug" after watching The World's Greatest Magic shows on TV. Was drawn to close up magic because of the performances of Michael Ammar, Lance Burton, Paul Gertner, and Jean Pierre Vallerino. I watch those old VHS tapes from time to time to "re-energize."
sirbrad
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I love those shows as well, and still got some on VHS.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Banedon
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Brad, I still have all of my old Adams tricks including most of those featured in that set! The bunnies for the cup and balls tricks seem to be lost, though. Smile

The pre-made sets I had as a kid were the beginner and advanced Blackstone kits.

Plus lots of props I made (or my mom helped me sew [e.g. an egg bag that I showed as empty and then used to conjure a stuffed rabbit that I tied a black bowtie around and clipped a top hat on]).

What I think (not sure) is the earliest trick in my memory that made a big impression on me was the Blackstone, Jr. floating light bulb into the audience trick. I was also absolutely obssessed with Houdini for much of my life (although I never tried escape artistry much myself other than some gimmicked handcuffs and the like). The Houdini obssession predates the Blackstone trick - but watching Blackstone perform on tv was what gave me the bug to do a full show instead of just random tricks. Around the same time (I am not sure how hold - maybe 5?) I also saw a magic clown at our local harvest festival faire and that made a HUGE impression on me. In addition to standard clown stuff, the tricks that I remember going home and trying to figure out were scarves changing colors, producing a lot of colored scarves individually and tied together, some really neat stuff with a parasol, oversized card tricks, and some other tricks. That was definitely the first time I became obssessed with reproducing effects and then performing variations on the theme once I figured out a method.
sirbrad
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Awesome! I also grew up idolizing Houdini at first as well as all of the other classic magicians including Blackstone SR. and JR, from that time. I had two Blckstone magic sets as well, and several Houdini ones. The bunnies are actually a separate trick, the cups and balls use 4 white balls. I seen them sold separately also so you might be able to buy them to complete your set.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Banedon
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I was curious, so I pulled out my old sets. The bunnies came with the Blackstone Advanced set (still lost, though). They appear to be identical to the Adams bunnies. The cups in the Blackstone set are identical to the Adams cups (I seem to have a lot of cups! - I used to be [for a kid] ok at those). Other sets I had (that I just rediscovered in my closet): Hocus Pocus by the Jumso toys and game company (the logo that looks like a red elephant) and Jr. Magician's Magic Show by Paragon-Reiss. With the exception of the missing cup and ball bunnies from the Blackstone set - all 4 sets are still 100% intact with no real damage other than a bit of expected boxing from having seen use. I even saved the empty cardboard punch outs!

I have a random assortment of old Royal Magic tricks, too. My favorite when I was really young was a gimmicked finger guillotine and then as a teeny bopper the spiked coin. It looks like I have some also by Franco-American (logo of a monkey wearing a turban doing magic) - my favorite of which was a King Tut that would stay in his coffin unless you knew the trick.

I actually opened an Adams thumb tip earlier this year that was still sealed that I for some reason never opened. That must have been sitting there in mint condition for over over 20 years. I used to buy a lot of those kinds of things every year at the Ocean City, MD magic shop (still open - I was there buying stuff a few years ago!) during our yearly late June family vacations. I wish I had not opened it now. I wanted to use it since my nice thumb tip was destroyed by storm damage (along with a LOT of my stuff) because it was meant for a kid's thumb and would not make it even halfway to my knuckle (so I went to my local shop and bought new hard and soft Vernet tips). Adams still makes the exact same tip in the exact same packaging, so I do not feel TOO bad about it.

I was pretty obssessed with plenty of magicians as a kid (and still love them), but was just mentioning the ones that got me started in actually wanting to learn and perform magic. In the 80s and early 90s I was certain never to miss a Copperfield or Lance Burton tv special and pretty obsessively watched any other tv specials or variety shows with magicians (especially the British ones who had a particular comedy slant that I still adore [e.g. Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, etc.]).
sirbrad
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Yeah I had those as well in another Magic Set also by Adams I got later, loved the spiked coin, color vision box, anti-gravity rope bottle, and finger guillotine. I had a few of those mummy type tricks and one effect was you let the spectator put a 4 sided block in the coffin while your back is turned, and place the lid back on and hand it to you. You are then able to tell them what image was face up out of 4 possible images. I had all of the Adam's pocket magic ones also which were much of the same stuff. I had tons of magic sets stacked to the ceiling, most I had to throw out long ago due to lack of room. So not I collect those most special to me and my first ones etc.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Banedon
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I never saw that particular mummy trick in the store but would have loved it.

The anti-gravity rope bottle! I knew there was something large missing from the box that I used to have a lot of fun with. Now I will have to go hunting in closets for it to keep everything together.

From a visit to my local magic shop it appears that all of the old Adams stuff is either still in print or they have a lot of unsold old stock hanging on the wall. I'm tempted to buy a bunch of them just for display, but for the price of a handful of Adams tricks I could get say, a set of Vernet balls in a color I do not have yet and that would actually be practical right now. Maybe one day I will make an Adams and Royal Magic display shelf.
ZachDavenport
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There was no defining moment, or even several. I have no idea why I got into magic, and don't even remember exactly when.
Reality is a real killjoy.
Bin
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My father took my brother and I to a (pretty crummy) magic shop when we were little, as he had done some magic when he was a kid and enjoyed it. We both absolutely loved it. I purchased a Scotch and Soda (not on my first visit, on my second) and that was my go-to (that is, basically my only) trick for my first run in magic. I would perform it all the time, whenever I got a chance, for complete strangers. I wish I now had the confidence and easiness that I had when I was seven or eight.
Remember Quacky.
tommy
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It was when I found the search button.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
browneyed
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I saw the movie The Prestige and Christian Bale's character did a simple key production but at that point I knew nothing about magic at all so it blew my mind. Then after that I saw a trailer for a Keith Barry show on Discovery Channel which I never even watched but it lead me to Derren Brown and I fell in love.
Ivan Imagination
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For me there were several moments that inspired me to learn magic. I have a distant memory of someone pulling a quarter out of my ear when I was in the grocery store with my mom. Also, the David Copperfield specials were on when I was little, and I watched those with my family. What really hooked me though was seeing a local magician perform at my school. I can't recall what tricks he performed, but I know that later I was always impressed when he would do sleight of hand at school events. Coins across always got me. Also, I had a unique experience when my brother let me look at his magic kit. Not knowing what anything was I fooled myself with a double panel card box, which vanished the card inside. All of those early moments of wonder tend to blend together in my memory, so it becomes hard to pinpoint exactly what hooked me.
Bill Hallahan
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I posted what got me interested in magic at The Love Bug, which is similar to this topic. A shorter answer is that my Dad did a trick that amazed me.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
ianwray
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Interestingly enough it was from a teacher, or a substitute teacher rather. He would usually perform mentalism, and sometimes magic tricks at the end of each class that he substituted for. I had learned a few magic tricks as a kid, but nothing major. And seeing this sub do what seemed to be real mind reading really set me off on a magic frenzy. After I learned about magic lectures, books, and penguin magic it was all downhill for me. I don't know whether to thank him or curse him for starting this addiction...
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