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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Ed Marlo on Exposure? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

RandyWakeman
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Ed Marlo on Exposure?

When it was first decided to put out the various control systems, we realized it would entail an expense we couldn’t afford. The logical conclusion was to look around for what is termed “an angel.” Naturally, to produce a book which would retain all the original drawings meant an outlay of several thousand dollars. Once a book runs into such figures, it follows that the volume must be priced so as to draw the largest possible market, which also in turn might mean distributing the information outside the magical circle. The truth of this can be proved by such volumes as Greater Magic, Card Magic, Expert Card Technique, Royal Road to Card Magic, Modern Coin Magic, Modern Magic Manual, the Amateur Magician’s Handbook and many other expensively produced tomes, which literally have turned out to be public exposures simply because the backers can’t possibly realize a satisfactory return from the magicians alone.

This we did not want to do. Therefore it was concluded that the material must be put out as a source of information for those who were willing to pay for exclusiveness of certain secrets.

The systems of control explained within the pages that follow have been at one time or another sold by personal instructions to a very, very few and even those few were not taught all that is contained herein. This is not because we held out, but simply because it would be impossible to tech anyone at one sitting, all the various systems or their possibilities. We feel therefore that the student thus has an advantage by having the controls within his reach, where he can refer to them whenever the urge is there.

Naturally, when such a manuscript as this is put before the magical fraternity, it is bound to arouse curiosity. There will be those who will not buy but ask, seek, inquire, chisel the information as best they can. One or more of these stems may be inadvertently disclosed. Some may even appear as inventions of another. This unfortunately cannot be prevented. However, the student has one consolation in that if any one control system becomes too well known, he can always turn his attention to any of the other types and enjoy presenting something still unknown.

In reading the manuscript, the student will find reference to effects. It may also puzzle him not to find said secrets. This was another matter that entailed too much expense, work and bulk to put out together. It came to us that the effects could be put out at a later date and sold only to those who purchased the control systems. This also means that no public advertisement will be necessary on the effects, as each purchaser will be contacted privately by mail, if and when the effects are released.

In the meantime there is no reason why the student should not take stock of his present card effects, and he will find many to which these systems may be applied. Merely being able to so apply what he has learned in this manuscript puts him in the category of a true student and magic scholar.

In conclusion, we believe that these control systems will stand up for many years to come. We do not believe, but now we know, that when these systems are interwoven into an effect, that effect will take on a new and baffling dress, confounding even those who may be entirely familiar with the effect. Therefore, study, think, practice – to get the most out of your investment.

Cardially yours,

ED MARLO (1952)

--------------------------------------------
Considering Eddie wrote these words in 1952, you might find them strikingly topical at a time when even the subject of exposure is overexposed. Personally, I was taken with how so very little many of the subjects Eddie touched on have changed as of today.
Where were you in `52?

Randy Wakeman
jcards01
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Randy, I was only 4 years old in 1952. Twenty-three years later we meet at Mr. C's.
See ya!
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
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RandyWakeman
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Times fly, Jimmy Cards!
Peter Marucci
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In '52 I was just a kid but I was performing.
But whether we're talking about 1952 or 2002, I must disagree with the late Ed Marlo's view that "such volumes as Greater Magic, Card Magic, Expert Card Technique, Royal Road to Card Magic, Modern Coin Magic, Modern Magic Manual, the Amateur Magician’s Handbook and many other expensively produced tomes, . . . literally have turned out to be public exposures . . . "
If anyone ever picked up any of the above books with the hope of quickly finding out how to "do magic", they would be sorely disappointed.
The material in the aforementioned books -- the ones that I am familiar with, at least -- takes considerable effort to master and is certainly not a "form of exposure", any more than a magic shop that sells to the public is a "form of exposure".
Besides, there is far too much emphasis put on those almighty secrets, as if they were the basis of magic.
They aren't, really.
Secrets are to magic like a piano is to a pianist: Necessary but certainly no guarantee of a booking at Carnegie Hall!
The REAL secret in magic is in the performer, his or her personality, style, and aura.
But, then, that's pretty much true with any form of entertainment.
Maybe it's just that magicians waste too much time on the exposure issue.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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WR
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Well Said!
Most magically yours,
WR
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RandyWakeman
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Maybe it's just that magicians waste too much time on the exposure issue.
cheers,
Peter Marucci



Perhaps they do, Peter. Once you have your values in place . . . the rest seems obvious. You mean to tell me that this stuff isn't "Easy To Master" after all? As for secrets being the basis of Magic, of course they are. If the methods were not "secret," why would we expect anyone to be intrigued by watching this stuff? It is what defines Magic. If it is not apparently impossible, then why bother? You don't have to look very deeply to see that the "best-sellers" in magic would not be, were there no explanations given. Remove the mystery from Magic, and what do you have left? That could be a long debate- but, whatever it might be it isn't magic.

The emotions felt in times past were similar to those expressed today. When Hilliard spoke of "heart-breakers" in "Art of Magic" (1909) . . . there was common sentiment that some of the material was too valuable, far too precious to be proliferated. Magicians have sought the "Real Work" before and since.

In the pre-fax, pre-PC, pre-eBook 1950s . . . professionals who truly "guarded their secrets" didn't like the fact that ECT and Greater Magic graced the shelves of public bookstores. Reading was the primary source of information to many . . . a color TV in every home with a VCR / DVD player was a long ways off.

So now, though the "real secrets" are not easily exposed . . . the outrage expressed by some over the "MM" and others had less to do with public access, than the delivery method. "TV Magic Cards" have been disdained, Erdnase on the NY Times best-seller list has saddened some. An "exposure book," of which there have been several, gathers little wrath- yet, an exposure "show" does.

The actions are the same, it is only when the act becomes widespread is it widely frowned upon. It seems not the transgression, but the visibility of the incursion that is the focus of anger. No longer a purely moral issue, it is now partly a software issue. The importance of methods and secrets is recognized on this very board. Otherwise, there would be no "Secret Sessions" area.

Hofzinser had his secrets burned. You won't see Ricky Jay or Del Ray publishing their secrets. Some place great value on knowledge or other working touches that are not available.

Many enjoy keeping things tight, and enjoy doing what the others aren't. Is either side completely right, or completely wrong? Not for me to say . . . few would argue that if it is your "pet secret," you can do as you please with it.

Like it or not, magic is a world of secrets. In many ways, our world is a world of secrets. If no value was given to them, there would be no reason for a patent office. Even those who refute that would be none too pleased with a "fellow" magician explaining their effects after a performance.

Tipping is a double-edged sword. A great example is Slydini - - - his "knotted silks routine" was both his greatest success, and his most loudly lamented failure.

I started this thread by quoting Eddie Marlo; I'll finish the same way.

"Don't tell me that exposure doesn't hurt!"
Dan Farmer
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I just have two interesting points. The first is a quote from Jay Scott Berry (or paraphrased because I can't recall exactly) he alluded to magic being like a piano. "Trying to discover the magic by looking at the method would be like trying to take apart a piano to find the music" (I'm sure I butchered that but that was the message). I think it is accurate though, the performer makes the magic. And to illustrate that point I move on to....

Number two, movies. Everyone knows that movies are fake and everyone knows how everything is done (Dang HBO exposing everything with their behind the scenes looks dontcha-know) but people are still intrigued because the performances are compelling, not because they can't figure out how a certain effect was achieved.

I am not trying to say secrecy is completely unimportant, the mystery is a large part of the allure of magic but if that is the only part that holds the audiences interest then I think the performer needs to put more work into presentation and perhaps less on mechanics.

-Dan
RandyWakeman
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Here's one person who doesn't know every F/X in the movies, and does not care to.

Is the secret the "only thing?" No, I'm not asserting that it is-- I do think it is vital. Darwin Ortiz (I believe, correctly) mentioned that the choices you make in technique and method shape and mold the effect.

I was disappointed when I saw the string moving the Cowardly Lion's tail in the "Wizard of Oz." Not because I believed Bert Lahr was a lion, but because it "took me out of the moment." As a good friend of mine likes to say, its like "a Roman soldier wearing a wristwatch."

Competent technique is not optional to the performance of magic, it is a requisite. You might be a wonderful actor, story-teller, or all around charismatic powerhouse. Yet, if a card conspiculously protrudes from a place where it shouldn't-- you are no magician. A magician fools in order to entertain. No mystery, no magic. What is left may be entertaining to some; it cannot, however, be magical entertainment.

Mystery is the allure of magic - - - anything that removes the amazement deforms the magic. Exposure can impair any magical performer's ability to astonish his audience. That is why many think it reprehensible.
Peter Marucci
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The greatest problem with exposure is that it trivializes magic.
Exposure shows and books suggest that it's really simple to be a magician and fool the public.
Well, if that's what we did, then they might be right.
But what we really do is entertain, and to do that well is FAR from simple.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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PatUmphrey
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On 2002-08-16 02:27, RandyWakeman wrote:
Here's one person who doesn't know every F/X in the movies, and does not care to.

Is the secret the "only thing?" No, I'm not asserting that it is-- I do think it is vital. Darwin Ortiz (I believe, correctly) mentioned that the choices you make in technique and method shape and mold the effect.



Competent technique is not optional to the performance of magic, it is a requisite. You might be a wonderful actor, story-teller, or all around charismatic powerhouse. Yet, if a card conspiculously protrudes from a place where it shouldn't-- you are no magician. A magician fools in order to entertain. No mystery, no magic. What is left may be entertaining to some; it cannot, however, be magical entertainment.

Mystery is the allure of magic - - - anything that removes the amazement deforms the magic.





VERY Good Stuff!!

This is why it is disturbing to me to see a perfomrer (and even some lecturers) perform something with a finger break that shows from the front. As you mention, good technique is a REQUISITE. And NOT FLASHING is the beginning of that requisite.

Coupled with this is the often used phrase "I just make a joke here so nobody sees this move". Often this is used as an excuse for poor technique.

I am not claiming that misdirection is bad, it is just misused. Having solid technique allows you to not have the need for such HEAVY misdirection.

-Pat
“And you’ve got a perfectly logical reason for showing the cards like this” -Harry Lorayne

“Paging Mr. Herman” –Rafael Benetar
Randy
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On 2002-08-16 01:43, Dan Farmer wrote:

Number two, movies. Everyone knows that movies are fake and everyone knows how everything is done (Dang HBO exposing everything with their behind the scenes looks dontcha-know) but people are still intrigued because the performances are compelling, not because they can't figure out how a certain effect was achieved.



A movies purpose is not to fool you but to tell a story. A magician's purpose is to fool. If you do not fool your audience you may be a great entertainer but you have failed as a magician.
The Buffalo Get-Together - A Close-Up Magic Convention
Dan Farmer
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On 2002-08-16 10:03, Randy wrote:
A movies purpose is not to fool you but to tell a story. A magician's purpose is to fool. If you do not fool your audience you may be a great entertainer but you have failed as a magician.


I think we are all lost if you think that being a great entertainer is a failure. As a magician I know how a lot of magic things are done (no where near all but many). So when I watch a performer and I know exactly what he's doing the ONLY thing that matters to me is whether he is entertaining or not. It's like a trial by fire, just because you can blow a sleight by someone who doesn't even know what they are supposed to be watching doesn't make you an entertainer. And magic is about entertainment. Fooling people is just one method of entertaining, not the only."There are more responses than laughter and applause." My magic has improved substantially by getting away from "method, method, method" that doesn't mean I am not technically proficient, it just means that I've added more meaning to my magic. Before I started to become an entertainer rather than a "sleight-of-hand artist" I rarely ever got a response. My perfect sleights didn't really matter much to the people watching until I made it matter.

Of course you're free to do whatever you want, if what you are doing works then you may as well continue doing it. I just like to try to point out things that some people may not realize. Final example. My trusted magic buddy who doesn't do magic but knows many of my methods by letting me bounce ideas off him enjoys my magic MORE when he knows how I did it, because then he appreciates the skill and presentation that it takes to entertain without keeping the audience in the dark.

-Dan
RandyWakeman
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I think we are all lost if you think that being a great entertainer is a failure.


No one has suggested that. The topic was Ed Marlo's comments on exposure, written in 1952-- not the importance of "entertainment."

The terms "magic" and "entertainment" are not at odds. Whether you feel an individual performer is sufficiently entertaining, only mildly amusing, or extremely engaging has little to do with the subject of this thread.

The point was that exposure of your methods can impair your ability to amaze audiences. If no amazement or mystery is present, there is no Magic.

Some have found "Magician's Secrets Revealed" shows entertaining . . . yet no one would suggest that those shows are "magical entertainment." Puzzles are entertaining to many, yet they are not magical by design or execution. A gambling expose' may be presented in a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable manner . . . yet, the audience is left with no particular sense of wonder. That's why the word "expose'" is associated with that style of act.

If you call yourself a magician, astonishing the audience is no option-- it is a requisite.
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If you call yourself a magician, astonishing the audience is no option-- it is a requisite.





I couldn't agree with you more. This is why the phrase "It's our job to be entertaining" is somewhat incorrect, if you're a magician.

It is our job to do MAGIC, and magic is entertaining, but it does not imply that our job is to just be entertaining, because to some poeple, song and dance and jokes are entertaining.

But they are not magic.

This is why, to me, it seems a bit wrong when I hear someone say "I don't care about theory, because it doesn't matter, as long as I am entertaining". And this is usually the guy that does 18 flourishes coupled with a barrage of one liners, but no MAGIC.


-Pat

P.S. Disclaimer: I do not think that jokes and flourishes are inherently bad. I think they are misunderstood.
“And you’ve got a perfectly logical reason for showing the cards like this” -Harry Lorayne

“Paging Mr. Herman” –Rafael Benetar
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