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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Oldies... but goodies! » » Any Apparatus Experts Out There? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Clay Shevlin
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If you know something about apparatus have some of Dr. Albo's Classic Magic books, have you found his books to be accurate most of the time in describing apparatus and its workings?

This is not an invitation to slam Robert Albo. He's a friend of mine and already knows he's made some mistakes in his books. Really, the question is more "is he usually correct?"

I don't know much at all about apparatus and am trying to get a feel for the perception of experienced apparatus collectors when it comes to Dr. Albo's books.

Thanks in advance for reading!
Larry Barnowsky
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I find his books to be very accurate with a few mistakes. Also sometimes a description of say a Thayer effect may not account for the fact that a different limited or custom version may have been made. I wish he had included the work of Massey. Some effects in the books were made as late as the 1960s yet very interesting effects by Massey such as The Cabinet of Deodar were omitted.
Clay Shevlin
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Many thanks for your input, Larry. Your comments have been noted.

Now if I could only pry more comments from apparatus collectors! Must be something wrong with this poster or the subject matter doesn't interest most. Oh well...

Clay
Michael S
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Hi Clay,

Just saw your post...I don’t get around to visiting this board all that much.

Albo's books have many errors (though...to be expected with such a great undertaking.)

Lots of small stuff like spelling and mis-captioned or flip flopped pics, plenty of duplicated items etc...but also some pieces incorrectly labeled as being one maker when its in fact another.

He included some correction sheets here and there and he also stated somewhere within the set (a later volume) that the entire project turned into a MUCH larger undertaking then ever expected thus things were learned along the way...of course some too late to correct.

I believe he also mentioned somewhere that a revision project was hopeful for the future...so who knows...maybe the set will be revised and republished, or I hope at least a correction volume.

As I am sure you know it’s the most fabulous set of books and surely never ever to be topped.

Take Care!!

Mike
Clay Shevlin
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Thanks, Michael, for your input.

Though I don't know much about apparatus (thus the reason I asked Magic Café readers), I think you hit the nail on the head when you noted that, although "Albo's books have many errors... [it is] to be expected with such a great undertaking..."

Although I'm sure that some do, I sometimes wonder how many of his critics take the massive nature of his work into account when leveling criticism.

I've spent some time with him in the course of preparing a thorough bibliography of his publications as part of my Historians' Guide to Conjuring (Redux) series, and can say that he seems keenly aware of the mistakes and does indeed hope to rectify them down the road.

As with any work of such a huge scope, one can only hope that the overall contribution made by such an undertaking outweighs the inevitable errors.
cardcltr
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Does anyone know where I can purchase the Robert Albo magic books in any amount, one or the whole set. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Barry Sokolsky
Barry Sokolsky
hugmagic
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Bob did a yeoman's job even undertaking this project. Yes, there are errors. That is forgiveable except that in years to come they will be regarded as the bible for apparatus magic. Many things will be miscredited or mislabeled.

It is a shame that with all the experts in the magic collector's that some way. It could not have been more throughly cross checked before publishing. I tried to give Bob all the flowers stuff I had (which he used verbatim) but a few things there were even miscredited.

Again, I am not faulting Bob one bit. It is a heck of a project and thank God he did it.

Maybe the best way to update it is to do a CD rom of photos of the apparatus and make just basic entries into something like Filemaker Pro. I know Ken Klosterman is cataloging his collection this way. It allows a photo and remarks with each item.

Maybe a webpage, where emails from collector's could be gathered and then complied would work.

I just know that I do not have the time or resources to do though I would be glad to help someone who did decide to do it.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Crispy
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I found a book at the library once. It was not a book with narrative, but was simply a collection of snippings from old magic catalogues. This particular book was also the size of the yellow pages.

One of the things that amazes me if the effects in magic that are simply lost. For example, my description of the vanishing Alarm Clock stand that I happened to come across. Or how many magicians have you seen performing the original Aerial Fishing routine where 4 or 5 goldfish are produced?

One of the items in this book was an ad for a dove in balloon. however, unlike the standard dove in balloon in consisted on a thin tray with a perch at the top of a t-bar. a balloon is attached to the perch and the balloon bursts and a dove is sitting on the perch. I actually saw this effect (with the perch) on an episode of Matlock that takes place at the Magic Castle. And I've wondered why I've never seen the "perch" version performed by anyone else, or why it is no longer produced by manufacturers. Plus, I have to be honest.... I have no idea how you get your dove to appear on a perch like that!

Cris
hugmagic
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I have seen at least five magicians do the aerial fishing and did the vanishing alarm clock for many years in my school show.

The dove on perch was made by Jack Hughes and I think Owens made a version of this also. I have no experience but I also wondered how to get the dove to perch. Seems to me if he hopped up on the perch he could just as well fly.

The reason many effects are no longer made is the lack of the raw materials. Most magic is made from common everyday articles that are adapted. For instance the fish bowl used in aerial fishing was no longer available so it was no longer made. I stopped advertising the vanishing alarm clock because I could no longer wind the large cast iron windup bells. I have four bells left and that is it.

It is same but a fact of life. Magic is such a small industry that you cannot afford to tool up to make all the parts you need. Most manufacturing facilities will only start talking to you when you want 10,000 or more pieces. That is about 5 lifetimes supplies for most magic dealers.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Rennie
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Quote:
On 2005-09-16 20:41, cardcltr wrote:
Does anyone know where I can purchase the Robert Albo magic books in any amount, one or the whole set. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Barry Sokolsky

Barry,
Good luck. I have been searching for volume # 5 for a long time and was told that it only had a print run of 600 volumes. If you happen to find a complete set for sale it will probably be about $3500.00 plus. They are fantastic books though and really great illustrations and color plates.
Rennie
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve it is not.......
Crispy
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I've seen one magician perform the Aeriel Fishing and it was done in a more "parlour" setting at a magic club picnic. Being that close made the effect even more killer. The version I saw used the special pole and the ungimmicked bowl.

You are right that a lot of effects aren't built anymore simply because of manufacturing capabilities. The vanishing alarm clock stand I was speaking of was the vanishing stand of multiple ringing clocks. Seeing all the mechanical craftsmanship in this piece of apparatus was so unfathomable when I saw this thing in action. And, of course, effects fall out of favor simply because they aren't relavent to today's audience. There was another topic about whether the vanishing catsup bottle will die out since the glass bottles aren't sold in grocery stores anymore and that we are all too familiar with squeeze bottles.

There was another topic about craftsmanship which I think can be separate from manufacturing. Okito, Sheppard, and Milson-Worth all used readible available materials. But where can you buy a prop of that quality anymore?

All of that aside, there are effects that I think have just been lost to time. Great effects that for one reason or another, were stopped being made and were never picked up again. And besides apparatus, there have just been great routines that have been lost. One simply just has to read Tarbell to see this.

Anyway, I was just trying to say how I can look through old magic catalogues and drool over effects that aren't around anymore. I could live in Ken Klosterman's basement and I probably wouldn't come out for a year! haha

Cris
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