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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Thomas Nelson Downs (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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T. Nelson Downs is recognized by many people even to this day as the greatest coin manipulator who ever lived. But he didn't limit himself to coins . . . his book _The Art of Magic_ has tons of his favorite card tricks, and one of his most legendary performances was done with three matchsticks. He actually stood up in the middle of the Ringling Bros. circus in the center ring and did a trick with three matches and totally captivated the entire audience.

There is a short biographical sketch of him in the introduction to _Modern Coin Manipulation_ . . . does anyone know of any other biographical sources on Downs? Has there ever been a book written about him? If not, I might like to write one . . . I feel like he deserves more recognition . ..
Rob Johnston
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Inner circle
Utah
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Amatuer Magician's Handbook has some stuff on him. Also, his grave can been seen on http://www.findagrave.com
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Clay Shevlin
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No stand-along bio that I can think of, but of course the general magic history books will have material on him (Christopher, etc.).

There is some mention of him made in Phantoms of the Card Table, a relatively newbook, written by David Britland and Gary Osbourne.

If you find a good source, please let us know!

Thanks!
Reis O'Brien
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Seattle, WA
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Wow... it even says King of Koins on his tombstone.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Bill Palmer
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There is also some material in Bertram on Sleight of Hand.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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I Cast No Shadow
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"Phantom of the Card Table" is a great book, and it has a fair amount of info on Downs as was mentioned. It actually made me a little angry, as it seemed the other magi in the story often gave him the short end of the stick. I love Downs myself, he's one of my all time favorites. I was fortunate to actually visit his grave a week ago. It's a pretty nice cemetery and the people in the flower shop were most helpful with regards to telling me where he was. A nice visit, and I've got some picts of my own now, me next to his grave. A great memory for me, my only regret is that I never got to meet him in the flesh. I'd give just about anything to do that. Sigh. I wish there were more written on him as well. When I was in Marshalltown (the town where he's buried) I saw a "Downs Auto Body Shop" or something like that. I was tempted to stop and ask if they were related at all, but I figured it'd be a long shot and besides, I'd hate to hassle people on a wild goose chase. Anyway, just thought I'd share. Smile
"It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious" - Murphy's Corollary
The Magician
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Liverpool
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This is an awesome book
The Magician

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Jonathan Townsend
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There are stories about Downs that tell of HOW he was and WHAT was important to him. Interesting guy.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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To Sir Townsend: Where might I find these stories? If they are word-of-mouth stories, do tell . . .
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