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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Fred Kaps (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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twistedace
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Hi all,
I've heard a lot of Fred Kaps and was wondering if there was any video footage of him doing his magic. He's held in the highest regards by many magicians and I came into magic about 5 yrs ago, and was wondering if there was any footage of him working?
Tom G
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There is supposedly a new dvd of some of his work.
Someone had posted a sight that had some footage a while ago. Might be worth a search.
Tom
Bill Palmer
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There is a film clip of his performance on the Ed Sullivan show the night of the Beatles' debut.
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Steven Steele
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There is a link to the new DVD at the Fred Kaps Website. I bought the DVD a couple of months ago and it cost about $60 plus $1.38 for the conversion to Euros.

The DVD is very good, but I'm biased because I like Fred Kaps and wanted it just to have a record of him performing. There are a lot of segments of him doing his act for different audiences (you'll see whis routine with the salt pour finale four or five times). There are no secrets revealed, but if you want to see a master, have at it.
Kjellstrom
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Fred Kaps did several public performances in sweden in the 50:s. A old magician in my home town saw him perform live many years ago and that was a wonderful experience, he said...

Info about F. Kaps:
http://www.mastermagic.info/articles.php?articleId=14
The Magician
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I have some Lecture notes of Fred Kaps dated The 13th of February 1973 and it includes some great magic tricks by the master himself
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Pete Biro
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Go to http://www.fredkapsdvd.com and you will see the promo for the new DVD... and if you buy it you will have the extreme pleasure of even seeing ME on it... heheheh...

Seriously, as close to Kaps as I was and as much time as we spent together, this DVD had an incredible amount of images, performances, etc. that I had never seen... It is truly a great historic piece of Kapsiana.

Trivia item. Abraham Bongers was Kaps' real name. He also worked for awhile as "Mystica".
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Blackwood
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I watched the Fred Kaps DVD last night and of course was humbled by his skill and style. There were a couple of disappointments for me though.

Of all the performing clips, not one of his often-called "signature" effect, The Homing Card.

And no real information about Kaps' history. Perhaps Mr. Biro or others who knew him could offer some more details. How did he get into magic? Who were his mentors/idols? He seemed to have passed on pretty young, what was the cause?

Now I guess I'll have to pony up another $20 or so to get a copy of his Homing Card routine on the Ed Sullivan/Beatles DVD-- unless someone knows of a cheaper option?

:bikes:
Randy Sager
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Kaps died of cancer in 1980 I believe he was 57? Maybe a little youger by a year or two.

Yes I'm sure Pete Biro can give more details on Fred Kaps.
Pete Biro
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I wish it had been taped, but at the recent FISM, in Holland, Dick Koornwinder, Mike Caveney and I did a talk and demo on Fred Kaps. If you go to http://www.fredkaps.com you will see some highlight pictures from that session... which I might add got a standingn ovation.

Kaps considered himself both a pro and an amateur. A pro in his work for pay, and an amateur in that he loved to play with magic ideas.

He was NOT a creator of methods, but a fabulous man in his choice of material. His skill and dedication and his ability to act.

When he did a false pass (say a coin move) he believed he placed the coin in the other hand.

He was a gentleman's gentleman, comfortable hangin' out with the magic dudes or the Royal Family.

He could do it all, coins, cards, cups and balls, close up, then stand up and comedy (in his native tongue he was tremendously funny--I saw him do many stand up shows in Dutch).

He was the kind of guy that did thing so well, that creators the world over would send him their tricks and inventions because they knew he would perfect the presentation and make it better.

He did die too young... in his 50s (I don't have my notes to give the exact age) during a performing contract at Leow's Monte Carlo casino in Monaco.

He was a great family man with two daughters, his wife Nellie passed away last year. One of his son-in-laws died of Mad Cow's Disease.

We worked a lot of convention shows and lectures together (me for comic relief, I guess) and used to visit regularly, here when he was in the US and I would always take side trips to Utrecht, Holland, where he lived when work had be in Europe.

He had a few new items he had developed that he was going to market, but after several dealers ripped off his "Dancing and Floating Cork" he decided to not market anything after that.

There is a small book, published by Mickey Hades that has a lot of details about his life.

He did win an unprecedented three Grand Prix awards at FISM. He was on the famed Ed Sullivan show that introduced the Beatles to US audiences. He was on the Sullivan show before that doing an INCREDIBLE manipulation act.

His layman comedy act, talking included the Spot Card, Professor's Nightmare (Slydini handling), the Chinese Sticks (with three sticks ala Roy Benson) and the Salt Pour.

Kaps did the sticks and salt pour as he was taught by his coach when he was young and starting out, by Henk Vermeyden (who coached a lot of Dutch Magicians). Kaps didn't find out until much later that Henk had seen Roy Benson in the USA and taught the material to Kaps, which Henk had ripped off. Kaps really never knew that until much later in his career, but by then he had changed the presentations so much they had become his signature pieces.


Posted: Jul 17, 2004 3:57am
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Kaps also was a good friend of Scotty York and of course, Ken Brooke. It was Ken who coined "The greatest all around magic entertainer of our time" when talking about Kaps, who's real name was Abraham Bongers.

He wanted a simpler name for his pro career and decided to look at names in a phone book. He liked "Fred" and then found a name similar to Kaps, I think it was Daps, and changed it to Kaps, which he thought was more masculine sounding.

At one point, when his hair got really thin he wore a toupee, but few knew it since he spent top dollar in Hollywood having one made by Max Factor. Then, later, in his 40s he decided he didn't need to cover up anymore and quit wearing it except for some TV appearances.

He got interested in magic from seeing his barber doing tricks, he hung around the barbershop and wound up marrying the barber's daughter, Nellie.

He had a small workshop and made many of his own gimmicks. He was also a very excellent amateur photographer.

Some of his closest magic friends were Dick Koornwinder, Ken Brooke, Bob Driebeek, Slydini, Dai Vernon, Albert Goshman and Arturo Ascanio.

He was greatly influenced early on by Chefalo.

His most famous trick, for magicians, was the Smoking Thumb... a trick most could never figure out.

He said, "My big advantage with that trick is I am a better manipulator." Ie: He could handle the gimmick in such a way no one knew where it was, let along what it was.


Posted: Jul 17, 2004 4:00am
------------------------------------------
One of my favorite tapes of Kaps is a private one with Brother John Hamman as his sole audience member. Kaps went all out to fool Hamman and did some amazing card and object magic.

The other is a BBC Special where he did a routine I created for him. That was one of my major joys in magic, to see a master perform a creation of one's mind.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Steve Knight
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Twistedace,

There's a clip of Kaps on The Ed Sullivan Show which can be found at: http://www.contato.inf.br/Fred_Kaps_Ed_Sullivan_1964.avi
rickmagic1
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Pete,
Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for the great stories about Fred. I, too, have have seen the perfomance Fred did with Bro. John. It is a lesson in close-up magic! His cups and balls using the sponge balls is fantastic!

BTW, which routine did you create for Fred's show? I have a copy of that show, and I think I know which routine it was, but not sure.

Rick
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Pete Biro
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The Ring on stem of wineglass. I supposedly have a first generation copy of the tape coming from someone at the BBC. I have also written this up for Genii and it will be forthcoming.
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Randy Sager
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Pete is there a chance of you ever posting any of the letters you and Fred Kaps wrote to each other. I know you had them on the Magic BBS several years ago.
Pete Biro
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Yikes.... I don't know. Right now I am really behind on several projects.
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rickmagic1
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So...as I understand this, you're going to put the workings for the Ring on stem of wineglass in Genii? Any idea which issue? I've watched that performance many times, one of the strongest pieces I've ever seen.

Rick
Richard Green
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hugmagic
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Rick Johnson used to do a version of this called "Wedlock".
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Kjellstrom
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You can buy a book here about Fred Kaps:
http://www.trickster.com/catalog/f-booklist.html
Werner G. Seitz
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Right in front of me, on the wall, there is No.4 of HOCUS, the dutch periodical,3d year, august 1980.

I have it framed and the whole issue/periodical is about Fred Kaps.. strange enough, the exact date of his death isn't mentioned there either, the frontcover has a nice picture fo him and just states

FRED KAPS
1926-1980

Accordingly to the above URL from Kjellstrom,the 8th of June 1926 is mentioned as his birthday, still the exact date of his death I couldn't find..
Died 1980, the funeral was the 28th of juli 1980.

IF anybody knows more about Fred, it would be Pete Biro!
I can't add anything that not yet has been said, but I truely can ensure one thing..

HE WAS THE BEST !

I've been lucky enough not only to se him life on stage on several occations -f.ex. at Hamburg/Germany in 1962 where I for the first time saw him doing the *Homing Card*...
Later at other conventiones (also earlier, first time in 1959 at Enschede/Holland) I also had the pleasure of seeing him working in private doing close-up..

Once again, anything said about this man is true..those not believing in it, simply get that DVD, Dick Koornwinder was responcible for in getting produced..
They'll then will understand..

BTW... The *Homing Card* is on one of the BBC Fred Kaps specials produced by John Fisher..a lot of ppl should have a copy..he there does not only the homing card, but his smoking a spoon as a start of his intro and the chinese sticks, apart from the great routine Pete *invented*..

HE WAS THE BEST!..it is that simple..
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
bishthemagish
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Thanks Pete Biro for the posts on Fred Kaps. It is the best posting I have read in the Café. Please post on yourself and other magicians that come to mind.

Thanks again because it is a great read!
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