ICOM Spotlight – Jan 2002 – June 2003

This page is devoted to general studies and information that may not fit neatly into other study areas or is knowledge fit for both beginner and advanced students. It also acts as the I.C.O.M main theory page. Theory is where the true magic lies, study it well. It is the inner workings of the magical art far beyond the secrets of any tricks, effects or routines.


April-June 2003

We felt that rather than a straight theory article we would offer this as it blurs the line between theory and magic effect. It deals with how to take a classic concept and adapt it to make a fresh new effect. In this case, the old paper tear. Is there anything this genius cannot think of?…..BJG

“IMAGINATION”
By
Ron Dayton
You enter carrying a piece of white gift wrap tissue paper. It is cut in an unusual way. You say, “Magic as you may know relies a great deal on imagination and suspension of logic for a moment. Take this piece of paper, what does it remind you of, a cloud, a swan with gas? Each of us may see something different. Actually, it is a Tu-Tu, see (You hold it in front of you at your waist and do a few brief dance steps. Swan Lake, geez, I just can’t ditch that darn bloated swan! But this is a Tu-Tu , remember, so I was wondering, if you tear a Tu-Tu in half, do you get two twos/one half Tu and one half Tu??”

You proceed to tear the paper shape in half down through its width rather than its length. Place one half in front of the other and tear them in half again. You ask, “What have we now? Just watch!” (you emphasize the word watch as you say it and simultaneously open the packet out to reveal:) A large round paper pocket watch whos hands are drawn to represent 1:45 aka A QUARTER TO TWO (Get it) a 1/4 Tu-Tu! <g>

Needed: White gift wrap tissue sheets. One cut to represent your cloud, the other a pocket watch. With a magic marker draw the watch hands set to 1:45. Fold this cut out into a smaller packet. It is held behind the cloud. Do the tears, then fold the torn pieces into a smaller packet like the watch. Switch one in for the other, open out the watch and deliver your punch line, then run for your life!

It ain’t exactly a classic like Fresh Fish, but it isn’t bad!

Editors Notes: Yes this is a short and sweet lesson. But I think Ron really encapsulates the essence of what it means to create a trick with clever, entertaining lines using tried and true methods. The torn and restored paper has been used to countless effects but this shows that there are still untested waters where what’s old is indeed, new again.


Happy New Year
January-March 2003

THOUGHTS ON SHINERS
(Not Black Eye’s)
By
Ronald J.Dayton

Shiner: A small mirror used to secretly glimpse a card known only to the spectator. In old times used by gambling cheats. But in modern days used for magical entertainment purposes.
Dear ICOM students:

For your consideration. Recently I have been pouring over old issues of Bascom Jones’s “MagicK”. One section mentioned the use of shiners, the use of mylar etc. It also mentioned watching for natural / impromptu shiners. The now out dated metal cigarette cases and lighters were mentioned, as well as table knives. In the area of silverware knives are nice, but spoons offer more variety. A spoon bowl side down is a convex surface. It reflects in one way for distance glimpses, and the interior or concave surface in another way as the card passes face down over it. A spectators own reading glasses if they wear them, can be a shiner too. In some instances the blades of certain scissors become a shiner for you. Nice, and logical if you intend to do a cut and restored card. Some styles of large polished earrings women wear will work to your advantage.

The inside of a pocket watch case, opened to record your fastest card trick might work as one. But what common object might a magician logically have on his table with cards that would act as a shiner? How about brand new coins to be covered with four randomly selected cards by a spectator for a Coin martix effect with a surprise ending. The coins not only travel invisibly from under the cards, the values of the unknown cards travel to your mind; for a Mind and Metal Mental Matrix.

What other items might become impromptu shiners? Silver candle stick bases, certain glasses filled with dark liquid. or a cup of black coffee as viewed from above. Certain cuff links you chose to wear, bright chrome keys for padlocks; a tube of lipstick for female performers. hat others can we think of? Think outside of the box, these subtle inspired touches are the stuff of which miracles and reputations are made.

Ron Dayton


October-December 2002

” KUDA BUX REVEALED ”
By
Ron Dayton

AN I.C.O.M EXCLUSIVE!

Kuda Bux, world famous as “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes”, was born in Pakistan. He performed in England as a firewalker during the 1930’s, played vaudeville during the 1940’s with a full stage illusion show and had his own network radio show at one time. He was able to stop his pulse and heart beat at will. However, it was his talent as a mentalist that attracted the most attention. With bread dough plastered over his eyes and layers and layers of bandages wrapped around his head, Kuda could read, ride a bike, and trace over phrases written on a blackboard by audience members.*

A beloved member of the Magic Castle, Kuda never revealed the secrets behind his mystifying mentalism. When asked if he would pass his secret on, Kuda replied,

” I will have to take it with me, because there is nothing to teach.”

* From the book, “The Magic Castle’s Wall Of Fame”

Kuda Bux had the total package; the look, the stage presence and control. I remember his eyes looked mesmerizing and mystical. His pronounced nose, strong wide, jutting angular forehead. He had a pleasant smile, and gentle, dignified nature. He handled people and their minds , as John Calvert sometimes manipulates them physically.

It has been years since I saw Bux on television. So some of what I remember may be blurred. I think they began by pressing bread dough into the eye sockets, Then a thick gauze pad was placed over each eye. Next the if strip of gauze was wound around his head to hold the dough and pads in place. Thirdly a piece of cotton batting was positioned over his eyes and nose. The final phase was when the entire roll of gauze was wrapped thickly around his head and eyes from every conceivable angle. AND YET , he was able to name objects, copy messages written on a chalk board, and other unfathomable things. If I have forgotten some of the steps, please forgive me the ravages of time. But perhaps in magic archives film or video tape clips of the act may still survive so you can get an accurate representation.

You will think I’m crazy when I tell you what I think he he did. It is childishly simple; and perhaps that is why it is so baffling. Look at the physical and theatrical facts we know about him? We know he had a pronounced nose. We know he had a rather wide and angular forehead, and deep-set eyes. What benefits are derived from these facial attributes? The brow and nose will tend to hold any gauze wrap away from his eyes. So what? You counter, his sockets were packed with dough. That’s true, they were. But they were also covered with square gauze pads, which I believe Kuda placed himself. Call me crazy but as his hands came up to his face; the gauze pads held clipped at his extended finger tips, would provide cover for his thumb at the palm side of the hand. I submit the idea that Kuda ran his thumb into and between the eyelid and the dough to create a tunnel. I think he held the gauze pads in place as the first wrap of gauze went over the pads, in front of his eyes and around to the back of his head. That means that one single layer of gauze covered the side of the eye socket and head. A layer thin enough for him to see through using peripheral vision; which is quite extensive. So using the dough tunnels formed on each side by each hand, depending upon how he positioned his body; he could literally see many things. Tilting his head in thought would allow him to read or see things held in his lap while seated.

Another aspect of Kuda Bux was mentioned earlier was his absolute control of the situation. The people wrapping gauze around his head and eyes did not do so in a willy nilly fashion. They did so, following his careful , slow and courteous requests and subtle verbal and sometimes physical direction.

So if you study any tape of his act carefully, I think you will see the gauze wrapped criss-cross fashion over his face, and each side of his nose. Perhaps down around the chin , then to over the top of the head to begin another criss cross. But I do not think you will see the gauze passing more than one more time over the eyes and around the head. As he helped to remove the wrappings, it was an easy matter to press the dough back into the eye sockets, thus destroying any evidence of the thumb tunnels. Perhaps make up powder or something similar, just as flour will do help to keep a baker’s pie dough from sticking. and perhaps the gauze pads were picked up by being clipped between the fingers, making it appear as if the fingers and thumb were used to hold them; but secretly allowing the thumb to be free to do its dirty work This is currently nothing more than guess work and speculation. I don’t think people are ready to believe or accept that an act as legendary as his can be summed up in only a few words; Showmanship, subtlety, and peripherical vision. His facial features made Bux unique, and therefore it is quite possible no one will ever duplicate what he did exactly. The above theory is respectfully submitted for your consideration.
Kuda Bux had the total package; the look, the stage presence and control. I remember his eyes looked mesmerizing and mystical. His pronounced nose, strong wide, jutting angular forehead. He had a pleasant smile, and gentle, dignified nature. He handled people and their minds , as John Calvert sometimes manipulates them physically.

It has been years since I saw Bux on television. So some of what I remember may be blurred. I think they began by pressing bread dough into the eye sockets, Then a thick gauze pad was placed over each eye. Next the if strip of gauze was wound around his head to hold the dough and pads in place. Thirdly a piece of cotton batting was positioned over his eyes and nose. The final phase was when the entire roll of gauze was wrapped thickly around his head and eyes from every conceivable angle. AND YET , he was able to name objects, copy messages written on a chalk board, and other unfathomable things. If I have forgotten some of the steps, please forgive me the ravages of time. But perhaps in magic archives film or video tape clips of the act may still survive so you can get an accurate representation.

You will think I’m crazy when I tell you what I think he he did. It is childishly simple; and perhaps that is why it is so baffling. Look at the physical and theatrical facts we know about him? We know he had a pronounced nose. We know he had a rather wide and angular forehead, and deep-set eyes. What benefits are derived from these facial attributes? The brow and nose will tend to hold any gauze wrap away from his eyes. So what? You counter, his sockets were packed with dough. That’s true, they were. But they were also covered with square gauze pads, which I believe Kuda placed himself. Call me crazy but as his hands came up to his face; the gauze pads held clipped at his extended finger tips, would provide cover for his thumb at the palm side of the hand. I submit the idea that Kuda ran his thumb into and between the eyelid and the dough to create a tunnel. I think he held the gauze pads in place as the first wrap of gauze went over the pads, in front of his eyes and around to the back of his head. That means that one single layer of gauze covered the side of the eye socket and head. A layer thin enough for him to see through using peripheral vision; which is quite extensive. So using the dough tunnels formed on each side by each hand, depending upon how he positioned his body; he could literally see many things. Tilting his head in thought would allow him to read or see things held in his lap while seated.

Another aspect of Kuda Bux was mentioned earlier was his absolute control of the situation. The people wrapping gauze around his head and eyes did not do so in a willy nilly fashion. They did so, following his careful , slow and courteous requests and subtle verbal and sometimes physical direction.

So if you study any tape of his act carefully, I think you will see the gauze wrapped criss-cross fashion over his face, and each side of his nose. Perhaps down around the chin , then to over the top of the head to begin another criss cross. But I do not think you will see the gauze passing more than one more time over the eyes and around the head. As he helped to remove the wrappings, it was an easy matter to press the dough back into the eye sockets, thus destroying any evidence of the thumb tunnels. Perhaps make up powder or something similar, just as flour will do help to keep a baker’s pie dough from sticking. and perhaps the gauze pads were picked up by being clipped between the fingers, making it appear as if the fingers and thumb were used to hold them; but secretly allowing the thumb to be free to do its dirty work This is currently nothing more than guess work and speculation. I don’t think people are ready to believe or accept that an act as legendary as his can be summed up in only a few words; Showmanship, subtlety, and peripheral vision. His facial features made Bux unique, and therefore it is quite possible no one will ever duplicate what he did exactly. The above theory is respectfully submitted for your consideration.


My initial theory it would seem, has been confirmed by none lesser known performer than John Mulholland ; in his book “Gems Of Mental Magic” published June 7th, 1947. On page 27, the effect is called Psychic Vision. The first line of the METHOD: reads, “To successfully perform this illusion, the performer MUST have ‘deep -set eyes’.” Further in the text we learn that cotton wool is placed into the sockets of the eyes and held in place on each eye with an X or criss cross of adhesive tape strips. Then a black cloth bandanna is placed over his eyes and tied behind hid head to effectively blind fold him. Behind cover of straight fingers as they ‘adjust’ the blindfold just a bit; the thumbs of the hands go under the blindfold and under the X of tape to push the cotton wool up against the sticky tape to create an opening, or line of vision. I have just recently discovered this source of information. It causes me to amend my previous explanation ever so slightly. Kuda Bux may not* have used his thumbs to create the peripheral vision tunnels as the gauze pads were set in place. The pads were simply placed and then held in place with a single wrap of the gauze roll. The dirty work took place under the larger and more ample cover of placing and adjusting of the piece of cotton batting. It was than that the subtle master created a line of vision; followed by carefully orchestrated wrapping of the gauze around and in an ‘X’ shaped pattern over the eyes and on each side of the nose. Bux performed a version of the one Mulholland described fifty five years ago. But Kuda Bux, the showman changed it, and made it his own; and in the process, became, and created a legend.

*Then again…..maybe he did?


KUDA BUX
Addendum

Kuda Bux always managed to get a line-of-sight vision from his left eye to the tip of his nose, no matter what kind of a blindfold was used.

The late Jack Dean published “Psychic Sight,in which he discussed several ways to to present a blindfold act and various blindfolds, including what he considered to be the one used by Kuda Bux.

Kuda Bux, the mentalist most famous for his Blindfold Drive and other blindfolded feats, eventually lost his sight to glaucoma.

A brilliant, RARE and very little known system calls “EYES OF INDIA”! 6 pages published and commercialized by U.F. Grant, many years behind.

Here it is the effect: “Committee of spectators are invited, you step forward. They place piece of dough or clay to over each of the performers eyes and then encase the perform head in thick towels, wound in all directions. When this is completed the performer head is completely obscured, having the appearance of a mummy head. With his vision thus completely out off, the to performer may proceed you demonstrate series of amazing tests, proving his claim to eyeless vision.”

Would be this the same system that became famous with KUDA BUX??? This wonderful secret was disclosed to me by the great Argentine mentalist Pedro Christofersen, in 1981.

Geoffrey Lamb mentioned the sightless drive and using bread dough under the blindfold in his “Illustrated Magic Dictionary.” He didn’t mention Kuda Bux – Lamb was from Great Britain. Lamb said that lowering the eyebrows as the scarf is tied and raising them when you need to see also works with bread dough. Another method involves secretely pushing up the dough while covering the head with a faked black bag.

Editors Note: Care must be taken when the head is completely wrapped up. I know from personal experience that onstage under stage lights and in the heat of performing that it can become quite claustrophobic in such a situation and those with breathing problems would do well to test these theories well before putting them to actual use….BJG


July-September 2002

This is brilliant. I feel it’s important for wonder workers to learn of their magical pasts. This is a first rate lesson in that vein. What more can I say?…BJG
“Knots, Rope & Magick”
(A lesson in tying the history of knots to story telling magick)
By
Ed Solomon
One of the things Ron Dayton is known for, other than being one of the better minds in the magic field and being an outspoken guy who reads people like a book, Ron is one of the real exponents of rope magic and has books to his credit that have become the foundation for the work of many “Rope” Magicians.

The following material is sort of a tribute to Ron. Those who work the ropes will understand as they read this. For those of you who might be relatively new to the digest, I posted this material a couple of years ago but there have been a few little additions along the way. Sorry I can’t give you a SITE on to which you could log and glean this material. It is deep in the catacombs of DeNomolos and I for one, will not go gently into those dark places.

Rope Magic

In the multi-diversified areas of magical entertainment that encompasses today’s magic, rope magic is one of the most rewarding from the standpoint of the few props needed for outstanding performance. We see ropes stretched, cut and restored, restored and then cut in twenty different ways, knots appear and disappear and the addition of a couple of metal rings allow for brilliant penetrations etc. etc. ad nauseaum, ad infinitum. That goes for finger rings and strings too. When we are finished, the props go back into the pocket or are left for the hapless audience to examine and we go home.. What could more simple?

The rope magic (perhaps it should really be Magick, as it really has a much deeper meaning), is much more than a few slipknots and a few flourishes. In the ancient and most honorable study of witchcraft and wizardry, rope bindings and spell casting go hand in hand. The specialized handling and tying of knots has quite a different purpose, which opens up a vista that perhaps we had better think about. Perhaps we should be very careful when we begin to tie our magical knots to try to entertain. Who knows what spells we have already cast in our efforts to but entertain?

CAUTION is advised.
“Knot once but twice
or maybe thrice.
A binding takes but four
or five or six a spell to fix
or seven or eight or more,
But knots of nine
will suit me fine
to cast this magic spell
but tempt me not to go beyond
for in the tale I tell,
ten knots is all it takes
to loose the gates of Hell.


We are not talking about soft cotton “magician’s” rope with which we are all familiar. We’re talking heavy-duty stuff like flax fiber and cords, hemp and sisal fiber rope or twine; silk, human hair, dried umbilical cord and leather braided rope made from human skin. While the construction material was important to the spell, the binding or the tying of the knots in a special order with the proper incantation was important if the rites were to be properly carried prepared and celebrated. There is where the real magick came into play and the word play is part of the magical condition.

The Spell presented above is a part of the casting I use for a ritual involving a knot routine. The words are more important than the effect as they set the mood. The story is the thing. In every civilization there are records of string games taught to the children so that they could learn the power of knots. The singsong nonsense songs that often accompany these games are vestigial remains of the incantations handed down from generation to generation.

Perhaps you remember the fowler’s knots on the reed basket that held the infant Moses. The fowlers were the shore people who were the hunters and fisher folk who lived on what they could catch at the waters edge. They used fowler’s knots to tie their nets and fishing lines and they taught the art of knots to their young so that they could survive. Those games were similar to our “Cats Cradle”. Remember though, these were not really games but were teaching tool !

As you recall, we were talking about rope and knot magic. If you came back for the second half of the class, great. .

HERE WE GO WITH PART TWO

Records of the teachings of knots and spells has been traced back to the reign of the Pharaoh, Tuthmosis III who lived about 1450 B.C. Part of the curriculum of the Egyptian Mystery schools included the tying of Mysterious knots for great magical purposes. The famed Buckle of Isis shows a strange knot that made up part of a belt for securing clothing. these classes were not a pass/ fail situation. One “learned the ropes” or one did not. The need to bind, connect, fasten and make secure led early man to produce twine, cord and rope. He needed fishing line and thread to stitch animal hides. He needed heavy rope for construction and lashing together poles for shelter. Because these materials came from earth and nature was so important in the supernatural, it is easy to understand why threads, strings, cords and ropes along with their knots came to acquire their magical present meaning.

Let us look at some examples of meaning. A cord, tied end to end, makes a magic circle and can bind individuals with unspeakable spells. Special knots were worn to prevent sterility of to promote fertility depending on how or into what they were tied. Other knots were so powerful as to cheat death itself and others were tied to cause death in an unsuspecting individual.

In ancient Peru, the book keeper of a tribe were knot keepers and all records were kept by tying a series of complicated knots in a cord to keep track of the accounts of grains and other supplies. The knot is a symbol of a sealed bargain. The figure eight-knot represented infinity. These knots had their beginnings in secret societies and religious orders. Bindings were used in initiation ceremonies from the high caste Brahmins to the Knights Templar.

Just think for a moment about some of our every day phrases and think about the origins. Phrases like “the bonds of Matrimony” and “tying the knot”. These are a carry over from a time of the “old ways” about which that most never knew.

As late as the 19th. century, folk medicine had people tying knots in colored cotton thread and wearing it in a locket for protection or dropping a knotted thread in to the coffin of a loved one for safe passage to the beyond. From ancient Babylon comes a 4000 year old formula which calls for a three fold chord with twice fourteen knots tied overhand to be worn about the body for protection from illness or misfortune. Why not? Or maybe that should be Why Knot? Young people today are wearing thread rings and friendship bracelets that they are making just for fun. Oh! if they only knew what they might be conjuring. Where do these fads come from?

Many a witch, wicked or not, was burned, hung or otherwise similarly mistreated for simply having a knotted thread on their person. Even a loose thread on your uniform could get you days in the brig if you were a sailor on one of the early English sailing ships. Superstition surrounding witches claimed they sold knotted strings or cords to the seamen so that when a calm sea befell their ship, they could untie a knot and the wind would come up to take them on their way. The more knots that were untied, the stronger the wind. Knots in another kind of cord could calm a violent stormy sea. Many a seaman paid dearly for these special charms and spells. I find it odd that the terms used for speed of a ship and the speed of the wind is expressed in the term “Knots” It comes of course from the word nautical and had nothing to do with the behavior of the sailors themselves.

Strangely enough, the last of these knotting rituals is still used at sea to make the highly decorative macramé used on the Admirals Barge. Hand tied knots make designs handed down from one boatswain’s mate toanother in the tradition of the early fowlers. This dissertation is used in part whenever I present a piece of “Rope Magick” The spell described earlier is the prelude to the Penrose Knot described in Karl Fulves book, “Self Working Rope Tricks”. On page 75 an explanation will be found. This book is a part of an ongoing series of paperback books published by Dover.

Another of the Gibson books is titled “Knots and how to tie them” published by Wings Books of New York. Another of intrest is called “Cat’s Cradle- String Games” By Camilla Gryski- Published by Scholastic Inc. of NewYork.

A spectator inserts one finger into one of the knots of the nine described earlier, the rest of the spell is chanted. The only true knot closes around the spectator’s finger with the last line of the spell. Nine knots are here with meaning clear. Each knot will come undone and with but a very gentle pull, one knot is left and chosen well.The one you chose was true.

The magick of the knotted spell that kept us from the road to hell, was broken just by you. Some simple magic but with the information at hand even tying one’s shoelaces can be quite magickal.

In the Craft,
Ed Solomon


Thanks for a great lesson with an excellent picture illustration of the props Ed, this is Gold!….BJG

April-June 2002

“There Is Magic Everywhere”
By
Ed Solomon
Magic can be found anywhere one looks. The toy store is an unlikely place except for magic sets of all kinds and shapes and price ranges but read on.

In the early days of television there was a popular program called Magic Ranch which starred Don Allan who was one of the first to do a magic show on TV. Bringing on famous magicians to perform, he established magic on the screen way before the Magic Land of Alakazam with Mark wilson and Rebo the clown. One of the many tricks that was done was a thing called Yard Bird or maybe it was Ranch Bird. It was a wind up toy that went in a circle and when a selected card was lost in the deck and the deck spread in a circle, the clever bird hopped around the circle and when it stopped it was on the selected card. That one trick was copied and used by magicians everywhere even if they didn’t buy the original.

Remember this was a toy that was available at what we called Five and Dime stores back then. It was a cheap Cheeper that could be obtained cheaply. One foot was bent out of shape and the thing would run around in a circle. The card selected came from a one way deck with but a few regular cards on the face down deck. These could be shown to prove the deck regular. A card was selected from the many duplicates, returned and then the deck was then shuffled overhand and then laid out in a circle. Of course the bird could find the card. They were all the same. Well that was the bare bones of the effect.
>
The point now is that in the novelty and toy stores there are many little inexpensive wind up toys that will accomplish the same thing. The cards are laid out in a straight row rather than a circle and by some experimenting with how many turns of the winder to make the toy go so many inches, almost any of the little toys will find a selected card. I don’t like card tricks but I have a collection of these little toys that will do the card trick for me and it gets me off the hook so to speak. With a little planning it is easy to find a toy that will represent every season of the year or every age group that makes up different audiences.
>
There is magic everywhere. All one has to do is look and apply the principal that says “That Looks Like Magic.”
>
In the Craft,
Ed Solomon


Happy New Year!

January-March 2002

VIDEO REVIEW
A review of the forthcoming Robert Neale Video
by
Eugene Poinc

“CELEBRATION OF SIDES: The Nonsense World of Robert Neale ” with Michael Weber

Jewels are treasure, most have many facets, many sides — Robert Neale is such a gem. A prolific one nearing, or to my perspective already having achieved, legendary status. So many intriguing, creative sides: card magic illustrated with stories some
insightfully profound, others delightfully goofy; origami that enchants with giggle oh joy stuff like a jumping frog or his classic folded dollar bill Rabbit-Popping-Out-of-Hat; puzzles that perplex; and…and…and…perhaps ad infinitum. What ceative enormity issues from the the many sides of Robert Neale.

In this wonderful video another side — the Nonsense of Bob at play, nonsense that makes so much sense as he toys with realities and unrealities, perceptions that seem so right but prove to be so wrong except, of course, when they bewilder by being both. No cards, no coins, no ‘magic making’ props, the most simple of things non-magical you’ll find at home that nevertheless make a special kind of magic happen. Consider:

“Brick Wall” Two sections of a paper, cardboard, or if you prefer wood, brick wall. Purportedly a model of the one through which Houdini walked. You see it solid, now you see an open hole. Not an optical illusion. Passage thru the wall — not there, then there — you can stick a finger through it.

“Whatsabox!” A box bottom is a bottom except when it’s a top, or conversely a top is a top except when it decides to be a bottom that prevents a ball from passing through, or with sudden perversity let’s it happen by suddenly deciding to be an upside down open top rather than a closed bottom.. A close-up nonsense weirdity that not only enthrals but has method that could be applied to a larger magical prop.

“Borromean Rings” Interlinked rings of flat plastic change positions in an impossible fashion. This is a crazy-making effect that when you learn how to do it you won’t understand why it works. Even Bob admits he doesn’t understand the ‘why’. The man’s candor and humility is astounding.

“Trapdoor” While a participant firmly holds a trapdoor in a piece of paper, or soft plastic, odd things happen with the ‘Out There’ and the ‘In Here’ — they transpose. Two dimensions having a little confusing fun.With imagination the story applications are limitless. I think maybe this is my favorite. Or…maybe all of them,. Yes. All.

And there are more including a bonus of Bob’s Bunny Bill, the Rabbit-Popping-Out-of-Hat animated delight.

Michael Weber makes a valuable contribution to the totality of this video. He functions as far more than simply participant observer/listener. Michael clearly understands what Bob is explaining, and with perceptive comments and questions helps communicate understanding to the viewer.

Elegantly produced and edited by Tim Trono it is free of transitional electronic gimmickry that contributes nothing, that substitutes razzle-dazzle for substance. This video is simplicity in the most positive sense of the word — clearly communicating its purpose without meaningless padding or trappings. Producers of other teaching videos should watch and learn.

There is one more vital element that makes “Celebration of Sides” something to celebrate. The man himself. That the warmth, the impish charm and profundity of this Philosopher / Elf / Creator / Trickster has been captured on video tape not just for today, but for the far future of Magic is time for celebration, indeed. A legacy for all tomorrows.

Celebrate the existence of this grand meld of Genius and joyous Kid at Play in a Sandbox.

“CELEBRATION OF SIDES: The Nonsense World of Robert Neale” with Michael Weber

$30.00 Available from your Magic Dealer
Wholesale Orders through Murphy’s Magic Supplies, Inc. at (800) 853-7403
(www.murphysmagicsupplies.com)

CELEBRATE.
**********************************************************************

” THE AMERICAN FLAG AND MAGIC “
By
Ron Dayton

The flag has been used in magic for decades. Indeed, there are appropriate times and uses for the American Flag and inappropriate times as well. I have no problem using the flag in a show if the flag is the focal point of the trick and is treated in a respectful way. Flag productions, Mismade Flag, Flag staff productions, firecracker, Abbott’s patriotic stage finale’, etc. would fall into this category. Phantom tubes , square circles etc. were once used in the Flags of Many Countries productions. Care must be taken when doing this to be aware of where and for whom you are performing this. Production of a flag deemed offensive for social or political reasons could cause you problems i.e. during W.W.II a flag of Japan or Germany. Always, ALWAYS treat your flag with respect! Thirty years ago I attended my first Abbott’s Get-Together in Colon, Michigan. The illusionist and his assistants for the evening’s gala show allowed the flag to touch the floor, and handled it in an irresponsible manner. three quarters of the audience walked out on them in disgust. Thirty years later, I remember the incident vividly. I remember the performers name as well, but will not repeat it here. The catch phrase for his act however was; ‘Magic Personified! Certainly no truth in advertising in his code of ethics. It is NOT to be used as a table cloth, backdrop, drape/curtain or foulard.

Ron Dayton


To my perspective applause should be generated by demonstration of applause deserving skill — NOT by using a symbol having evolved from the “Don’t Tread on Me” courage, through that so heroically raised on Iwo Jima to the flag of today that has covered coffins of some of the Twin Towers dead. Using that flag as a PROP for something as comparatively stupid as magic tricks? No. Try displaying talent for applause, rather than cheap exploitation of a historical symbol. That should suffice.

Gene Poinc


As a Canadian, I understand the relationship Americans have with Old Glory. It is a flag — a symbol of what the country means — not a sheet, drape, foulard, or anything else. In a recent posting to SAMtalk, I gave my routine for the vanish of the Statue of Liberty (in microcosm; it was a picture on a nine-inch silk). When Lady Liberty is restored, it is out of a blue and red silk (the picture of the Statue is on a white silk), it is NOT out of an American flag. In fact, I stressed that in the instructions; the flag is not something to be trifled with and used as a prop. It is a symbol of sacrifice. Please, treat it with respect.

Peter Marucci


The following (PART OF) flag laws and regulations are contained in the Public Law as amended July 7, 1976 by the 94th Congress of the United States. They set forth the existing rules, customs and etiquette pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America.

Respect for flag No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

Bunting of blue, white and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is
designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff
of halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.  Flag Law information provided by Marcus Blakely

BE A RESPONSIBLE PERFORMER …

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