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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2004 entrée: Paul Cummins » » How did you learn magic, who were your influences? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

peter teagle
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Paul

Just wondering how you learned magic, and were you mentored or inspired by other magicians? Who are the magicians you admire most?

peter
"technique is science.
the application of technique is art."


peter teagle
pcummins
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Hello Peter,

As a boy my family was a card-playing family. Canasta, Rummy, penny-poker, Gin. Also, when I was a kid it was cool to collect things: baseball cards, stamps, coins, whatever. And, if you collected something unique, that was even more cool. So, on a family vacation to Cape Cod many, many years ago, I notice a round deck of cards in a tourist shop. Cards, I thought, I'll collect different kinds of playing cards. This led to jumbo decks, miniature decks, zig-zag decks, decks from different countries, and eventually to trick decks and marked cards. When I tried out the tricks provided by the trick decks, the immediate positive response was very rewarding. So I headed straight to the public library (am I aging myself here, or what? lol), and the first couple of books I checked out were The Royal Road to Card Magic, The Modern Conjuror, The Amateur Magician's Handbook, and, I think, a Houdini biography.

While the other books are great ones and I devoured them, it was Royal Road that really tripped my trigger. No need for trick decks! Just some practise...

At this point I didn't know any other magicians but I was getting a reputation in school for being the "card guy." In, let's see, 7th grade I met Bill Herz, one year my senior and also a budding magician. We spent the next week or so every afternoon at his house sharing tricks and began a lifelong friendship. Bill always was the mover and shaker and he had us doing kid's shows in no time. I remember that he was new to sleight-of-hand and I was new to the "box" tricks that he had. Our first kid show had nine kids at it and we charged a dollar a head. Bill took $5 and gave me $4 because, after all, the equipment was his! Ah memories...

Bill and I started going to Tannen's Magic shop in NYC on Saturdays and there, of course we met other magicians and traded tricks and hob-nobbed with them. This led to some wonderful afternoons at the Caféteria where the heavies would go after Tannen's closes, a tradition that still exists today. So Bill and I, shy at the time, would sit and watch in wonder as Darwin Ortiz, Gene Maze, a young Richard Kaufman, Lenny Greenfader, Ken Krenzel, David Roth, Harry Lorayne, Derek Dingle, Geoff Latta and others from that NYC crew would discuss routines, perform for each other and in general just try to fool each other. Bill and I would absorb this smorgasbord and take the train home to Larchmont only to spend all day Sunday and most of the rest of the week trying to figure out all the routines we'd seen. Those Saturday afternoons were very, very motivating, very exciting. So, while I wasn't mentored by any of those people, they sure were inspiring.

Magicians I admire? Well, I admire a lot of magicians for different reasons. Here are a few: Bill Malone and Del Ray as the best entertainers with deck of cards I have ever seen. David Blaine, through his second TV special, for taking what he's got and schmoozing it into world-wide recognition and a nice chunk of change. Richard Kaufman for changing the face of the publication of magic books forever. Vernon, Fechter, Liepzig, Jennings, Marlo, Elmsley, Simon, and a host of others for contributing their classics and their techniques to the rest of the magic world.

Then there's friends I've made that I admire for being nice, decent, cool, friendly people who are also top-notch magicians: Jim Swain, Chad Long, my old friend Herz, Mike Gallo, Roger Klause, Malone again, Danny Block, Jason Alford, Hank Miller, Bob Bengel, Danny Tong, Doug Conn, Dan Dygert, Chris Moore, Lou Gallo, and others who I'm sure I'm leaving out. Conn said it best in his Theory section of TOMT: Be Nice. Be Interesting. Be Amazing. All these guys are all those things.

Paul
Ken Abbott
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Paul:

After reading your thoughtful replies to everyone's posts, I have a feeling that you would also be a very nice guy to hang out with. Thank you for taking time to correspond with us.
gkfreed
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Quote:
On 2004-07-13 15:07, Ken Abbott wrote:
Paul:

After reading your thoughtful replies to everyone's posts, I have a feeling that you would also be a very nice guy to hang out with. Thank you for taking time to correspond with us.


Ken,
Yes, he is also a nice guy to hang out with. Having met Paul at Tannens and Fechters I can attest he is one of the "elite" talents without the elite ego. Thanks Paul!
peter teagle
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Paul

I truly wish you all the success that you so rightly deserve in the future. It will be my honour, one day, to shake your hand. Thank you for the time you have spent with us this week, come back soon.

P.S I've nearly got 'The Invisible Hand' down, awesome!

peter
"technique is science.
the application of technique is art."


peter teagle
pcummins
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Ken, Gary, Peter,

Thanks, very kind of you.

Paul
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2004 entrée: Paul Cummins » » How did you learn magic, who were your influences? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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