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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Magic and showmanship (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

The Magician
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Liverpool
267 Posts

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Hi all,

Can anyone give me any information on this book please? Thanks.
The Magician

Expect the Unexpected
Payne
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Inner circle
Seattle
4572 Posts

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This book should be required reading for all magicians. This was one of the first magic books I ever bought and it was instrumental in forming my outlook on the presentation of magic.

Like Strong Magic, you may not agree with what the author states but you will think about the whys and wherefores.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Margarette
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Memphis area
956 Posts

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It is a MUST HAVE for anyone who wants to perform in front of any type of an audience. I think I've read it about five times completely, and countless times just reading certain sections.

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
huggie50
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North Las Vegas
109 Posts

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Fitzkee wrote three books which are a must for all magicians. They are Showmanship for Magicians, The Trick Brain and Magic by Misdirection.
Magically yours,
Huggie
eddieloughran
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Oh Dear.

I too own the book and although it does have some good points I don't regard it as particularly relevant. My copy is from 1945 and if it has been revised what follows may not be fair.

The book was published during the second world war and before Elvis, colour movies, television and Brando. When magicians wore evening dress and appeared in reviews on stage. When musicians played in the pit and you had a large cast.

Yes there are interesting ideas but there are dozens of theory books out there: Darren Brown, Jay Sankey, Eugene Burger, etc. why buy a book that is so out of date? Yes, I know, old is new, and all that.

I am not rich. I can only buy a few books a year and this one would not make a serious short list. If it were a cheap paperback, maybe, but compared to other more modern books, one I recommend that you think about hard.

Only my opinion ! and they did have colour film but it was still rare.

Eddie
Will-Ace
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Newark NJ
170 Posts

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I would recommend The Art of Magic by Eugene Burger. There are also his Voyage videos. Eugene Burger is a great author and really has tons of great advice on the psychology of magic and its presentation.
Ricky B
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Northern California
172 Posts

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Magic and Showmanship is by Henning Nelms and is a rarity in that it is an original Dover publication, rather than a reprint of something that is in the public domain.

Showmanship for Magicians is by Fitzkee.

Two different books, though the similarity in titles often causes confusion.

The Nelms book is well worth the $10 or so that it costs. It is highly regarded by a number of well known magicians. Barrie Richardson adapted a trick from the book, which appears in Theater of the Mind. If I recall correctly, both John Carney and Darwin Ortiz mention the book favorably in their books.

--Rick
RayBanks
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Nassau Bay, TX
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The Nelms book is great and should be read cover to cover.

I get tired of folks saying that a magic book or magic trick is "out of date." Does that mean cups and balls is out of date? Or Triumph? Or Vernon's Color Changing Deck? Or...? What may be out of date are some of the apparatus described, but if you have even half a brain, all of the apparatus can be updated to today's "standards."

What will never go out of date is Nelm's description of a trick and then the transformation of the trick into an event through proper presentation.

Read it. Learn it. Practice it. You will be much better off.

BTW, want to know how to completely fool a bunch of young magicians? Do most any trick published in the 40's or before. Smile
-------------
Pick a card, any card...No. not THAT one...THIS one

Ray Banks
elgranmago
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RayBanks,

Loved your response.

I have the Nelms book at bedside and is my nightime reading. Very good.
"It´s kind of fun to do the impossible". Walt Disney
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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I refer to Fitzkee Showmanship for Magician's often because what he has written applies for all times. When you watch a movie, you can see why it is good or bad based on what they failed to do according to Fitzkee's 39 audience appeals.

The drawback of the book is that a lot of the effects he is talking about would not be known to a new magician. (I ignore the effects and focus on the audience appeals and why they apply.)

Henny Nelm's Magic and Showmanship is also a good book. I have to buy a new one because I marked this up so much it is difficult to read. Nelms focus, similar to Fitzkee, but modernazation and origionality are key areas.

Eugene Burger focuses on putting meaning to magic, not to present a descriptive proformance (I place the silk in my hand, I have 52 cards is descriptive. Why are you showing me a card trick? What is the reason you're putting a silk in your hand?)

For magic to be meaningful, there is more to it than just these books. What David Cooperfied did during his eariler performances produced vingettees (Little mini stories) and used magic in them. He had the many emotional elements and audience appeals (audience connections) suggested by Fitzkee, he had the modernization suggested by Nelms and he had the motivational meanings for using magic as suggested by Burger.

(Cooperfield wanted to do the Dekota Chair so he developed an attic scene with dust and old stuff covered with cloth, produces a lady from a picture, vanished her in the Dekota chair where her picture reappeared in the frame. All this had reasons for doing these illusions.)

Read what you want but whatever you read it is not enough. It is an endless learning process and the true professional hungers for more knowledge. The more I read the more I realized, there is so much more to learn.

I even found a little known book called Get Your Act Together Producing an Effective Magic Act to Music, by James Alburger (Hades Publication) a very valuable book and it referes to Fitzkee's 39 Audience appeals.

Want to do magic go to a novelty store and buy a trick and do magic 20 minutes later. Want to entertain, then learn what is required to be an entertainer. (You'll soon find out a lot of professionals took some form of acting classes.) This is the reality of entertaining using magic as a medium and it is not meant to be a "smart alect" response.
Dennis Michael
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