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

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

(Not Black Eye’s)
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

Ron Dayton


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 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)
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. .


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”
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

A review of the forthcoming Robert Neale Video
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


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


ICOM National Reviews

The International Conservatory Of Magic on INTERNET MINUTE WITH HARLEY CARNES (WCBS NEWSRADIO 88)

“INTERNET MINUTE”, an international, WCBS radio, daily review of  “the coolest, most fascinating sites on the net, selected after careful review” has chosen the International Conservatory Of Magic to be included with the very finest websites in the world.

On Thursday,  July 23, 1998 host Harley Carnes honored us with an entertaining and enthusiastic review and added ICOM. to the INTERNET MINUTE archives forever!


Audio clip used with permission


Check out the February 2003 M.U.M (the official publication of the Society of American Magicians) for a fantastic 3 page spread featuring the International Conservatory of Magic! Lessons and features taken directly from our archives are included!

The International Conservatory Of Magic Gets Reviewed in “THE LINKING RING” MAGAZINE!

The following is from the “INTERNET MAGIC” section of “The Linking Ring” written by Mike Durant

This month I have The International Conservatory of Magic. I.C.O.M is a magic school on-line. In their words “This is not just an online collection of simple tricks. I.C.O.M Online is the definitive online school of the conjuring arts with “hundreds” of pages of material and knowledge at your disposal!”

By the time you read this I.C.O.M will be 2 years old. It is the “offspring” of two respected magicians: Bobby Gallo and Bill Wisch. At first, teaching magic by internet seemed like another “internet me too”. But I have heard their audio tape (right, not video) and that convinced me to give it a try. It is affordable. At just $29.99/year it is about the same as a video and you get new material every month for a year.

First is the “Open” section. It is designed to give you a feel for the quality of their work. That initial impression? Good stuff here!

I found the quality high throughout the site. But the real point of the site is “inside.” For that you need an ID and password. Inside you find an Orientation area and 5 main “study areas: ” Beginner’s Study, Advanced Lab, I.C.O.M Spotlight, Slydini Legacy, Kid Show Konservatory, and Secret Passageway.

Orientation gives you a sense of the place; where things are, how to use them as well as some theoretical grounding in magician’s ethics, how to learn here (it is different and takes some getting used to). As I.C.O.M says: This is not a simple magic book placed on the Internet. This is an “INTERACTIVE MAGIC SCHOOL” hence, you may have to do a little digging and researching to find what you are looking for But remember, and we cannot stress this enough, we are always here to help.”

I really like the “Kid Konservatory!” This is specifically for kids in the 7 to 13 years of age. I think it is an important age group that is ignored by too many magic groups.

Another important feature is the “Virtual Magic Lesson ™” At each lesson you can send an E-mail to ask questions, get clarification and the like. Great stuff not available with a book or video!!

This is only a brief glimpse. I encourage you to stop by and see for yourself. Just point your browser to http:// www.magicschool.com and enjoy.

March 1999

“Reprinted with permission of The Linking Ring(tm), Phil Willmarth, Executive Editor.”

The International Conservatory Of Magic Gets Reviewed in “LAUGH MAKERS” MAGAZINE!

The following is from the “NET REVIEW” section of “Laugh Makers” written by David Bartlett

It is going to be interesting to see how effective on-line education can be. Who knows? Fifty years from now all instruction may be through on-line hook ups. This site belongs to THE INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATORY OF MAGIC and offers a magic school on-line at a very reasonable price of $10 per month (three month minimum). If you need magical instruction it’s a small price to pay.

It offers beginning lessons, advanced labs, and “Virtual Lessons ™” as well as access to information contained in its twenty five area “Inner Sanctums”. One area called KID SHOW KONSERVATORY promises “actual routines from acts of top industry professionals.” Another area is a SLEIGHT OF HAND GALLERY featuring an “extensive stop-action photo collection of widely used moves to use as an online reference guide and dynamite learning tool.”

I don’t mean for this to sound like an ad, but for $30 for a 3 month investment*, you can’t go very far wrong. If you don’t find it helpful, just consider it in the same category as those myriads of props you bought that simply gather dust in your closet, except you still have the space!

*Since the writing of this review, the membership fee has been”reduced” to $24.95 per year!

For more information about “Laugh Makers” e-mail: lafmaker@aol.com

The International Conservatory Of Magic Co-Directors On Television!

The Latter part of January saw Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch on the popular television show “Jersey’s Talking” with veteran talk show host, Lee Leonard! The show featured and in depth interview with Bobby J. and Bill as well as performances including expert sleight of hand by Bill Wisch and Bobby J. Gallo’s famous X-Ray Eye Act. I.C.O.M was also mentioned during the segment as well as little known insights on Slydini from Bill’s own experience. Below are some clips from the show….enjoy!

Bobby J. Gallo Borrowing a dollar bill from legendary talk show personality, Lee Leonard before destroying and restoring it on LIVE television!

Bill Wisch talking candidly about the past master of magic, Slydini. Who is the present master? Why Bill of course!!!

Bobby J. Gallo cracking jokes and enjoying the fantastic interview.

Television Superstar Lee Leonard being entertained by the ICOM Co-Directors!

The ICOM Online Streaming Radio Network

Now Playing In Our “Members Only” Area!

This month we feature rare excerpts from the “Ultimate Magic Rap Recording Session” not heard in the published version. Topics include “The Toughest Parts of Being a Magician” and The Importance of Simplicity.

Bill Wisch presenting ICOM live! at the S.A.M. Parent Assembly #1 In New York City 7/18/97

There are magicians’ clubs throughout the world. Lecture tours are continually being scheduled for personal appearances by Bobby J. Gallo & Bill Wisch. If you are a member of a local magic club (and we urge you to be), and would be interested in a live lecture, feel free to contact us via e-mail for availability and fees. Just follow the link in our “Membership Information Page”. Tour schedules will be posted in our ICOM Online Newsroom.


Your solution for sales meetings and trade show training. ICOM will be available for personal appearances before your sales force to train them in the art of ice-breaking, presentation, showmanship and product promotion utilizing magic as the medium!

Past clients include: AT&T; Manhattan Savings Bank; Relocation Dynamics Inc; Unified Data Products; Keyes Fiber Co; M&M Mars; Delta Line; Posner Labs; Marcal Paper Co; Minolta; Wang; Pfizer Pharmaceutical; Sandler Foods; United Jersey Bank; Cyanamid; Schering Plough; Human Resources Network; State Farm Insurance; Mobay Chemical; Minwax; IBM; Monsey; Cyro; Con Edison; National Labratories; Arrow Shirt; Brighton Best Co and North American Philips. These are some of our past clients regarding sales/presentation seminars.

Some of our seminar titles include:Tricks for your Trade(tm)

Ice Breakers and Point Makers for All Occasions(tm)

The Magic Word of Showmanship(tm)

The Way to Magical Trade Shows(tm)

Personal Instruction Available

If you live in the New York/New Jersey tri-state area, you may wish to study with our instructors with personal live one-on-one instruction. This gives us the opportunity to help students further develop acts and give extra attention to areas of magic that are difficult to master. E-mail us for rates, times, and availability.

Classic Magic Shows

Perhaps you would just like a dynamite performance of magic? If so, inquire about our fantastic professional magician service. Our staff includes some of the most talented and entertaining magicians in the world, available for your organization, corporation, civic club, trade show, or any function where high quality entertainment is critical.

In Memorium

We will apologize that this hasn’t been updated in over a decade. So we take this time to honor all of those who haven’t been listed…

Great men and women of magic have entered our world, made
their mark, then moved on to the greatest mystery of all…
Their passing should be documented, and remembered.

My Dear Friend and Contributor – Mike Fordice – Left us 2017

Michael W. Fordice Chemist, amateur magician Michael W. Fordice, 76, of Randolph, N.J., passed away on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, at Columbus Specialty Hospital, Newark, N.J. He was born in St. Paul, Minn., and had been a resident of Randolph since 1977. Memorial visitation is on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, from 1 to 5 p.m. with a service at 3 p.m. at Tuttle Funeral Home, 272 State Rte. 10 West, Randolph (tuttlefh.com). Michael began his career as an organic and clinical chemist working for Merck & Co., the East Orange V.A. Hospital and MetPath Inc. before retiring from Roche Diagnostic Systems in 1999. Since his retirement, he owned and operated Fordice Communications in Randolph. Michael was an amateur magician and a member of the Society of American Magicians. He loved Apple Computers and was a member of MAC-NJ. He also sang with the Hunterdon Harmonizers Barbershop Chorus. He greatly admired the Service Dog Project in MA online at explore.org. Michael is survived by Tanya, his wife of 47 years; daughter, Alison Fordice of Englewood, N.J.; son, Christopher and his partner, Heidi Adami of New York; brother, John and his wife, Janice of Pennsylvania, and his niece and nephew, Beth and Jeffrey. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Servicedogproject.org or S.D.P. 37 Boxford Rd., Ipswich, Mass., 07938.

Published in Star-Ledger on Jan. 12, 2017


Eugene Joseph Gerome Poinc  1930 – 2002

Bob Jepson

“World’s Greatest Comedy Magician”

Passed Away on March 29, 2003

Brian Flora died on Saturday, August 24, 2002

Gary Q. Ouellet died June 7th, 2002

Arnold Furst,  born in chicago,6-21-1918,  died 2-22-2002

Pierre Warren Fontaine.  Passed away on Feb 23 of this year at the age of 80

Frances Marshall died at age 92.-   After the death of L.L. Ireland she renamed the business Magic, Inc which she operated with her husband Jay Marshall until her illness.  Jay is the Dean of the Society of American Magicians. In 1938 she founded the MAGIGALS. Frances Marshall authored many books and was a columnist for the Linking Ring for many years.

JACK MILLER- died. Monday, Feb.25th 2002

Ed Schuman, Life Members, Past National President,(1968-69)  Past President of the Parent Assembly #1 (1963)   member of the S.A.M. Hall of Fame and a loved magician and innovator. Ed Died May 23 in Denver Colorado at age 85.

REGINALD SCOT, born 1538, died 1599
JACOB PHILADELPHIA, born l734, died 1800
ELIASER BAMBERG, born 1760, died 1833
DAVID LEENDART BAMBERG, born 1786, died 1869
GIOVANNI BOSCO, born 1793, died 1863
JEAN EUGENE ROBERT HOUDIN, born 1805, died 1871
JOHANN NEPOMUK HOFZINSER, born 1806, died 1875
SIGNOR ANTONIO BLITZ, born 1811, died 1877
TOBIAS BAMBURG, born 1812, died 1870
CARL HERRMANN, bornl8l6, died 1887
HERR ALEXANDER, born 1819, died 1909
ROBERT HELLER, born 1826, died 1878
JOSEPH HARTZ, born 1836, died 1903
JOHN N. MASKELYNE, born 1839, died 1917
PROFESSOR HOFFMANN, born 1839, died 1919
DAVID TOBIAS BAMBERG, born 1843, died 1913
FRANCES MARTINKA, born 1843, died 1924
ALEXANDER HERRMANN, born 1843, died 1896
BAUTIER De KOLTA, born 1845, died 1903
HARRY KELLER, born 1849, died 1922
CHARLES BERTRAM, born 1853, died 1907
ADELAIDE HERMANN, born l847, died 1932
CHING LING FOO, born 1854, died 1922
FREDERICK EUGENE POWELL, born 1856, died 1938
CHUNG LING SOO, born 1861, died 1918
DAVID ABBOTT, born 1863, died 1943
CARL BREMA, born 1864, died 1942
SERVAIS LeROY, born 1865, died 1953
LEON HERRMANN, born 1867, died 1909
AUGUST ROTERBERG, born 1867, died 1939
SI STEBBINS, 1867 to 1950
MERCEDES TALMA, BORN 1868, died 1944
DAVID DEVANT, 1868 to 1941
CARL HERTZ, born 1869, died 1924
HOWARD THURSTON, born 1869, died 1936
CONRADI, 1870 to 1944
JOHN A. PETRIE, 1871 to 1954
THE GREAT LAFAYETTE, born 1872, died 1911
JEAN HUGARD, 1872 to 1959
FRANK DUCROT, born 1872, died 1939
OTTOKAR FISCHER, 1873 to 1940
HORACE GOLDIN, born 1873, died 1939
MAX MALINI, 1873 to 1942
NATE LEIPZIG, born 1873, died 1939
AL BAKER, born 1874, died 1951
EHRICH WEISS, 1874 to 1926
EUGENE LAURANT, 1875 to 1944
THE GREAT LEON, 1876 to 1951
JOHN RAMSEY, born 1877, died 1962
FLOYD G. THAYER, born 1877, died 1959
WALTER JEANS, 1877 to 1942
WILL GOLDSTON, .~1878 to 1943
CHARLES WELLER, born 1878, died 1953
KARL GERMAIN, born 1878, died 1960
P.T. SELBIT ( T.P. Tibles ) born 1879, died 1939
E.J. MOORE, 1881 to 1957
GUY JARRETT, born 1881, died 1972
HERMAN HANSON, 1882 to 1973
DAVID JANSEN ( DANTE ) 1882 to 1955
MAX HOLDEN 1884 to 1949
SILENT MORA 1884 to 1972
CHEFALO, 1885 to 1963
CARL ROSINI, 1885 to 1969
LONG TACK SAM, born 1885, died 1961
HARRY BLACKSTONE Sr., 1885 to 1965
PERCY ABBOTT, 1886 to 1960
TAMPA, 1887 to 1939
EDWARD VICTOR, 1887 to 1964
BURLING HULL, born 1889, died 1982
TENKAI, born 1889, died 1972
CHANG, 1889 to 1972
AUTHUR BUCKLEY, born 1890, died 1953
PAUL FLEMING, 1890 to 1976
CARL OWEN, born 1890, died 1975
MATT SCHULEIN, 1890 to 1967
CARYL S. FLEMING, 1890 to 1940
HARLAN TARBELL, born 1890, died 1960
DORNY, 1892 to 1982
THEO DORE’, 1982 to 1985
JOSEPH DUNNINGER, 1892 to 1975
ROBERT STULL, 1893 to 1982
KALANAG, 1893 to 1963
STEWART JUDAH, 1893 to 1966
SUZIE WANDAS BENNETT born 1894, died 1986
AUDLEY WALSH, 1894 to 1957
S. LEO HOROWITZ 1894 to 1971
AL FLOSSO, born 1895, died 1976
HARRY WILLARD, 1895 to 1970
JACK GWYNNE, 1895 to 1969
ANNE GWYNNE, 1896 to 1979
JOHN BRAUN, born 1896, died 1988
VAL EVANS, born 1896, died 1981
ED MISHELL, 1896, died, 1983
ADE DUVAL, 1898 to 1965
JOHN GIORDMAINE, born 1898, died 1973
JOHN MULHOLLAND, 1898 to 1970
DARIEL FITZKEE, 1898 to 1978
CARDINI, 1899 to 1973
GLENN E. GRAVATT, 1899 to 1984
MYSTIC CRAIG, 1900 to 1987
PAUL Le PAUL, born 1900, died 1958
FAUCETT ROSS, born 1900, died 1987
U. F. GRANT, 1901 to 1978
ROBERT A. NELSON, 1901 to 1972
DELL 0′ DELL, 1902 to 1962
DR. JOCOB DALEY, 1903 to 1954
JOHN SCARNE, born 1903 to 1985
JOE BERG, 1903 to 1984
STANLEY JACKS 1903 to 1960
EDDIE CLEVER, 1904 to 1975
GEORGE BOSTON, born 1905, died 1975
BILL LARSON Sr., 1905 to 1953
CLARKE CRANDALL, .1906 to 1975
WILL DEXTER, 1906 to 1985
BERT EASLY, born 1906, died 1987
RONALD HAINES, 1906 to 1973
JACK HUGHES, 1906 to 1982
LLOYD JONES, born 1906, died 1984
SIR FELIX KORIM, 1906 to 1986
AL WHEATLY, 1906 to 1964
TOMMY WINDSOR, 1906 to 1978
SAM BERLAND, 1907 to 1987
RICHARD HIMBER, 1907 to 1966
GERALD KOSKY…born 1907, died 1987
CLETTIS V. MUSSON…1907 to 1988
THEODORE ANNEMAN…1907, died in 1942
ROBERT HARBIN…born 1908, died 1978
NELSON HAHNE…born 1909, passed away 1970
JACK PYLE…1909 to 1987
LOUIS TANNEN…born 1909, died in 1982
ROY BLASS…born 1909, died 1981
J. G. THOMPSON…born 1910, died 1975
J. B. BOBO…born 1910, died 1996
ANNE (EMMA ) SMITH BELL…( wife of Peter Warlock ) 1905 to 1996
FRANCES CARLYLE, born 1911, died 1975
MAURICE FOGEL…born 1911, passed away 1981
JOE PALEN…born 1911, died 1984
GOODLIFFE…born 1912, died 1980
HENRY HAY…born 1912, left this earth 1985
HAROLD RICE…1912, died in 1987
JOHN ALBENICE…born 1913, died 1957
P. C. SOCAR Sr. …1913 to 1971
DUKE STERN…born 1913, died 1973
BILL BAIRD…1914 to 1978
HARVEY E. RABKIN…born 1925, died 1996
MILBOURNE CHRISTOPHER…born 1914, died 1984
BRUCE ELLIOTT…1914, died 1973
KEN GRIFFIN…born 1914, died 1988
ORSON WELLES…1915, died 1985
ROBERT E. LEES…1915 to 1988
EDDIE FECHTER…born 1916, died 1979
AL KORAN…born in 1916, passed away in 1971
PAUL CURRY…born 1917, died 1986
ROY KISSELL…1918 to 1988
JULIUS SUNDMAN…born 1918, died 1986
KEN BROOKE…born 1920, died 1983
RICK ROGERS…1920 to 1986
NEIL FOSTER…born 1921, died 1988
KEN GRUNWALD…1921 to 1987
DON LAWTON…born 1922, died 1988
RICHARDI Jr. …1923 to 1985
DON TANNER…born 1924, died 1981
BILL MADSEN…1925, died 1983
FRED KAPS…born 1926, died 1980
DAVID HOY…born 1930, died 1981
HARRY BLACKSTONE Jr. …born 1934, died May 14th, 1997
BEN TALLMAN…born 1936, died 1977
JOHN BENZIAS…1940 to 1967
SAMUEL HOROWITZ…born 1912, died 1997
MICHAEL O’DOWD…born 1924, died 1997
HOWARD BAMMAN…born 1916, died 1997
STEWART JAMES…born 1908, died 1996
JACK CHANIN…born in 1909, died 1997
KARRELL FOX…born Jan 30, 1928…died March 12, 1998
CONRAD (Connie) BUSH…born 1900, died February 15, 1998
VIRGIL HARRIS MULKEY ( VIRGIL )…..born 1900, died 1989
SHIGEO TAKAGI…..1930 to 1991
QUINTINO MARUCCI  ( TONY SLYDINI )…..born 1900, died 1991
FRANCIS WHITE…1907, passed away 1989
HORACE E. BENNETT…..1925 to 1990
WILLIAM W. LARSEN, Jr.  1929 to 1993
DR. JOHN HENRY GROSSMAN:  died Sept 8th, 1992
ALAN RENNAUGH ( husband of Elizabeth Warlock )  1928 to 1991
EDWIN HOOPER, 1925 to 1992
BOB ” LAMP POST” PORTER:  1910  to 1991
ALTON RENERICK ” Ren” Clark:  1905 to 1991
FREDRICK “Rick” JOHNSON: 1937 to 1989
RUFUS CLAUDE BUFF: born 1899, died 1990
MAURY LEAF:  born 1896, died 1976
WILLIAM MOZART NICOL ( The Great Nicola ): 1880 to 1946
EDMUND M. BALDUCCI:  1907 to 1988
LARRY WEST: Passed from this earth in 1989
BRUCE PROSGATE:  born 1902, died 1991
FRANK LANE:  1896 to 1987
WALTER BROWN GIBSON:  1897 to 1985
ALBERT GOSHMAN:  1920 to 1991
ELLSWORTH H. ” Tommy ” TUCKER:  1912 to 1991
CHARLES EARL MILLER:  born 1909, died 1989
ALEX WEINER ( Aldini ):  1917 to 1989
ROBERT C. ( Bob ) MCALLISTER…born 1935…died 1998
SHARI LEWIS: died 1998
THOMAS A. WATERS ( T.A. Waters ): 1938-1998
LEON M. LEON: 1903- 1998

Updated Section:

Lawrence Arcuri — 1905 to 1980
Charles Goodliffe Neale born 1912, died 1980
Robert harbin– 1908 to 1978
Clinton C, riedel — 1909 to 1005
Tony Anverdi — 1926 to 1995
Francis Haxton — 1908, died in 1995
John Davenport aka. Little Johnny Jones , born 1889, died 1995
Alvin P.Gentil — 1904 to 1995
Burlingame Gilbert Galt Hull aka Burling Hull –1889 t0 1982
Lyle Douglas –1895 to 2982
Roy J.Madsen– 1914 to 1982
Louis Tannen– died in 1982
Lewis Ganson — died 1982
Seymour Westerman — died 1982
Edgar Bergen–1907 to 1982
Martin Sunshine aka Kismet– 1901 to 1982
Fred Kaps –born 1928- died 1982
Wilbur J. Thomas –(writer for MUM) – 1937 to 1981
Jose Frakson — born 1891, died 1981
North Bigbee — born 1904, died 1979
Billie Bransford Clark ( wife of Ren Clark — 1905 t0 1982
Frederick M. Shields (Genii columnist ) died 1982
Jack Hughes– died 1982
Chrystal Dunninger ( wife of Joseph Dunninger, 1899 to 1982
William Thomas Keckkritz aka Bill Baird– born 1914 died 1982
Werner F. ‘Dorny’ dornfeld — 1892 to 1982
Ben Berger — 1897 to 1982
Noel B.Lester — 1894 to 1980
Valentine Bagely Evans aka Val Evans — born 1896- died 1981
Leslie P. Guest — died 1981
Edmond Spreer — 1902 to 1983
Keith Clark– died 1979 age unknown
Alec William Bell aka Peter Warlock–1916 to 1996
Harold R. Martin — born 1905, died 1996
Ludwig Hanemann aka Punx — died 1996 (Bizarrist Legend)

Out of Respect, no music or advertising will appear on this page…
If you would like a name added, e-mail us, we would be honored to include the memory of any who have contributed to our art.

The Woman Of Magic

” The Women Of Magic ”
( The Magiciennes )

Ronald J. Dayton

Not only the world of magic, but the world itself is changing.  The stereotypes of decades past are being shattered daily.  Women are rapidly advancing to the forefront in many fields previously dominated by men.  The ironic part is…they have been here all along…but have gone relatively unrecognized.  Male egos have pushed them into the background.  It’s sad, but true.  Public perception is another quantity which has hindered their advancement.  It was not until the 1850’s * that women began to appear on stage in the capacity of assistant and victim to their maile counter- parts.  They…being considered to be the ‘weaker sex’  were the ‘objects’  which were expendible enough to suffer the indignities of torture, dis-memberment, and general abuse in the name of entertainment.

In more modern times, the ladies became known in the trade as ‘box
jumpers”.  We needed their charming good looks and form  to enhance our own performances, act as  misdirection, and someone who would actually fit into the tight spaces required for most illustions.  As indispensible as they were and are…they still did not get adequate billing or credit for what they were doing.

The same might well be said for all of the husband/ wife teams of mentalists and spirit workers over the years.  One partner was not solely responsible for the success of the act.  Many times it was the ‘lesser’ partner,  who did all the work in the trenches…carried off her end of the bargain by memorizing key parts of a code…while the more flamboyant male garnered all the glory.

This is NOT the case, I am happy to say, in the instance of Francis Willard and Glenn  Falkenstein.  They work as a perfect and harmonious team.  Francis, the daughter of  famed tent show performer, Willard the Wizard shares center stage with her husband.  But, I am getting a little ahead of myself.  Let’s begin at as early a period in magical history as possible.

In 1872, a Newzealand  performer billing herself as Madame Cora de Lamond  was performing the broom suspension with the assistance of her sister Christina.  Cora also presented hypnotism. The 1880’s found Madamoiselle Beatrice performing the egg bag,  aerial suspension and  a version of the hindu basket in London.  Around this same era, a French escape artist…a lady known as Saronje’  was amazine the european community.

In a billing shared three ways, with two men and a woman…Mercedes Talma held her own in the team of  Talma, Le Roy and Bosco.

Following the death of her husband, Alexander Herrmann,  Adelaide ( Scarcez ) Herrmann took over all responsibilities for the huge stage show…not only managing and overseeing it, but performing  with exceptional skill, and headlining on the vaudevillian circut for over thirty years!

In the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, marvelous talents arose from the female ranks.  Skilled manipulators such as Suzy Wandas Bennett .  Bennett was inspired by the skills of Mercedes Talma…and she in turn inspired a present day manipulator and performer named Lucy Smalley. Suzy Wandas is recorded  as one of the top manipulators in magic, male or female, in the history of magic!!

The 30’s and 40’s also reflect the contributions of three other ladies of magic.  One time circus strong woman,  Dell O’Dell  gained recognition in California as a performer of children’s magic on televison.  She had an infectious and embracing style caused her to be touted as America’s foremost female magician.  The thirties also found Geraldine ( Jaffe ) Larsen as co-founder and  driving force behind the formation of both Genii magazine, and the Magic Castle. Prior to that,  Gerrie was the star of her own television series.

Known as the ‘First Lady of Magic:, Frances Marshall has written many, many books on magic, has performed on stage as a world class magician in her own right, and owns and operates one of the countries finest magic shops, Magic Inc. in Chicago, Ill.  This woman has been a tireless embassador to magic for  many decades.  Her work, dedication and high standards are beyond reproach.  She truly is, ” The First Lady.”

There are of course, performers who have specialized in one field or another, and are there-by not  directly associated with magic…even though their love for it, and involvement in it are outstanding.  One such lady is Shari Lewis.  Here too is a remarkable woman.  She is a show person in the finest sense.  She and her hand puppet creations, Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse have won her world acclaim, fame, and the hearts of millions.  Shari has co-authored books on magic for youngsters.  She is a powerful influence for the craft. Ladies such as Celeste Evans, a stautesque and lovely club performer and manipulator have also made their mark…and been positive influences and role modles for other females such as Diana Zimmerman.  The 1940’s also witnessed the talents  of Ruth Dore, daughter of Theo Dore. Her manipulative skills and sleight of hand were flawless.

The name of Dorothy Diedrich should also be mentioned.  She began her career as a dove worker, and has since found her way into the world of escapetology.  Straight Jackets and chains do not phase this woman.  She is very accomplished…and willing to take on any challenge.

The creativity of Velma Nahum is evident  in the character she has devised, that of an exotic Harem Girl.  Working in a fully costumed, cross-legged fashion, she weaves her story of mystery in a world of Arabian Nights.

I cannot close this commentary without mentioning two other ladies of the wand.  The first is Nanni Darnell…wife of magician Mark Wilson.  They were instrumental in bringing some of the very first magic to television, via their creation, The Magic Land of Alakazam.  It would be difficult to envision its success without the grace, charm, and personal magic Nanni brought to the show.  And lastly, we must look to the future.  People such as Melinda…the very first woman to headline in Vegas, and Luna ( Shimada )  McBride,  are bright stars on the horizon…and entities which will foster the dream of success in generations of Ladies In Magic yet to come.

 I think we owe them all…past, present and future…a debt of gratitude!


ICOM Orientation Room

The I.C.O.M Orientation Room

Thank you for starting here!

This forum is to give you a brief overview of how the study areas work and how to use them for maximum benefit. It is important, however, to reiterate what was stated in the magicians’s code. Please keep all secrets learned in these forums to yourself and to your assistant if you are planning on using one. Have them take a pledge of secrecy as well. You have paid hard-earned money for this course. Please keep this information top secret! Also, above all…


Before we jump into our lessons let us first discuss one of the most important aspects of being a magician. The following text is more important than most people can imagine. In each of the following rule lie the true secrets of successful magic. It is better to know a few routines well, following this code, than to know the workings of a thousand tricks which have no real meaning. This code will always be on this entrance page to consistently remind all of us of the importance of…

The Magician’s Code

1.NEVER REVEAL THE SECRETS OF MAGIC TO LAY PEOPLE: The art of magic is a time honored tradition over four thousand years old. The reason for its longevity is in the equally ancient tradition of keeping the secrets. As a student of the conservatory you must remember, the cornerstone of magic is “mystery” and without it, there is no magic.

2.PRACTICE, REHEARSE, THEN PRACTICE AGAIN: As with any art-form worthy of its name, magic requires time and effort in order to gain a smooth proficiency. Do not be mislead when a trick is seemingly self-working. There is no such thing. Even when the mechanics are simple, you must polish your presentation, and that takes time.

3.NEVER SHOW A TRICK MORE THAN ONCE BEFORE THE SAME AUDIENCE: This may be the most difficult rule to follow…even more so than keeping the secret, but it is every bit as important. The temptation to do a dynamic trick a second time when coaxed by your audience can be overwhelming, but heed this. Many people will watch more closely the second time around due to the fact that the surprise factor is now absent. Therefore, they are more likely to learn the secrets by simple deduction or the second chance at spotting a sleight. If you ignore this rule, you will be surprised at how easily the exhilaration of the original mystery will be sacrificed. The fun will be gone.

4.NEVER TELL AN AUDIENCE WHAT YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO DO IN ADVANCE: This rule does not apply in every case depending upon your presentation. However, it should be the rule rather than the exception. Magic relies heavily on the element of surprise which would be lost if you explain your intentions beforehand. Also, as you will be learning later in the forums, you have a built in “safety net” in the form of “outs” when you follow this rule.

5.ALWAYS STAY IN CHARACTER: Every magician, top professional or otherwise makes mistakes. What separates the master magicians from the tricksters is how they handle those situations. If such an event pops its “murphy’s law” head up, use an “out” and make it part of the show. Remember if you’ve followed rule #4, they will never know you’ve made the mistake in the first place..

6.DO UNTO OTHER MAGICIANS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU: The most neglected rule in magic. Also, a large reason why I.C.O.M Online was founded. Never interrupt a fellow magician’s performance. Be a good audience for them and the entire art will benefit. Never reveal the workings of a fellow magicians act to layman as well as other magicians in general. Respect the props of others. Respect the material of others. If you do not have permission to use a particular magicians routine, please respect that person and leave it alone. We all have fantastic gifts within us. Develop your own style and presentations. It is people who are themselves onstage that become stars!

The International Conservatory Of Magic
New Student Primer

Bobby J. Gallo

Note To Advanced Magicians: This primer is written with the beginner to magic in mind. Please disregard basic knowledge that you may already know. However, please read this in its entirety anyway due to the fact that it gives valuable insight as to how this site functions …thank you.

There Are Three Basic Ways To Obtain Magical Knowledge In The Conservatory

  • Through any or all of the main forums that are added to periodically. This would include the: Beginner’s Study, The Advanced Lab, and The I.C.O.M Spotlight among others.
  • In any or all of the other forums where “resident or static” magic lessons are established. This would Include the: The I.C.O.M Archives, and The I.C.O.M Library with all of its subdivisions including the CyberMagic-Text Book System ™ and The Magicschool Program of Study ™ and lots more.
  • By making use of the International Conservatory Of Magic Virtual Magic Lessons ™ and Virtual Classroom.

Always begin your visit by visiting our “What’s New Page” in the public section of the site to see what may have been added to our huge curriculum.
We recommend that if you are new to magic that you start learning magic in the“Beginners Study, and The Magic for Beginners Cyber-Magic Textbook located in the Library” We have made all the forums available to every student for the simple reason that beginners will generally not get anything out of the more advanced material until they understand the basics anyway, but if they are interested, they are more than welcome to check the “Advanced Lab” out. The point is, beginners will get more accomplished by focusing in the “Beginners Study” where they will be able to learn the basics of magic and perform material within their abilities requiring much less rehearsal time.

Advanced magicians will no doubt find great effects and theory in the beginners study that they can use in conjunction with more complex presentations. They may even consider it a refresher course!


When first entering a forum, please read the complete effect from the beginning. However, before going on to the explanation, try to envision what the effect would be like if you were watching the trick yourself. Remember, once you read the explanation, you will never be fooled by that particular magic trick again, so take advantage of the “visualization” technique beforehand!

For many effects, you may be directed toward the current CyberMagic-Textbook being focused on by I.C.O.M at that particular time. Read the effect from the text before reading the instructors comments and fine points of presentation in the lesson.

After reading the explanation, try the trick out in front of a mirror. Most magicians rehearse this way. Practicing in front of a mirror enables you to see things in your posture at different angles with movements that you would normally overlook.

Here is a brief step-by-step overview of how to learn magic as a member of I.C.O.M

  • Read the “What’s New Page” in the public section of the site.
  • If you are new to magic please read the Magicians Code upon entering the Inner Sanctum.
  • Beginner’s report to the Beginner’s study for your current lessons, Advanced students visit both the Beginner’s study as well as the Advanced Lab. Then go to your specific area of interest such as the Kid Show Konservatory, Secret Passageway, Slydini Legacy, etc, etc.
  • Read the effect and visualize the impact it would have on your audience.
  • Read the method and then proceed to rehearse the effect (in front of a mirror if possible).
  • After you have completed the lesson in your particular study area, be sure to visit the” I.C.O.M Spotlight  to see what magic, material, and theory are being concentrated on currently by both instructors, guests, and students alike. Then there is always the I.C.O.M Online Library” where you can spend time and learn from some of the most prolific minds in magic with features you will find nowhere else as well as practicing your moves from our extensive “Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery”.
  • Visit all other forums of interest. If you are a salesperson, teacher or presenter, you may have signed on exclusively for the “Presentation/Demonstration Page” also located in the library, or on the other extreme end of the spectrum, “The Magic Arcade” for the very young magician of the family.
  • Search I.C.O.M for all terms, sleights, and knowledge you may need to enhance your understanding of the lessons. This includes visits to the library and other forums.

After you have done that, write down any questions you may have and visit the “Virtual Magic Lesson ™” e-mail link at the bottom of each study area. Send us your thoughts on the material and we will respond with personal instruction and advice! You may even choose to share your question with the rest of I.C.OM by posting it in our “Virtual Classroom”.

An important point to remember is that there are important lessons and knowledge placed all throughout I.C.O.M. This is not a simple magic book placed on the Internet. This is an “INTERACTIVE MAGIC SCHOOL”, hence, you may have to do a little digging and researching to find what you are looking for. But remember, and we cannot stress this enough, we are always here to help.

You may see new and different pages and areas “pop-up” as time goes on. Not to mention all of the current pages not mentioned in this orientation that each focus on differing aspects of the magical arts. Check them all out! We at I.C.O.M strive to make your experience with us a magical adventure, you never know what we’ll have appearing here and there!

You now have a full year to review the lessons as many times as you like, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is your opportunity to rehearse, get your personal instruction and develop your unique presentations for the effects.


What Every Beginner Should Know

Bill Wisch

It happens to all of us. We must be a beginner. “Nobody is a born anything, except a baby”, says noted motivator Zig Ziglar. Everyone has to learn the basics. Magicians are no exception, even though it appears “so easy”.

It’s a fun, wondrous, exciting, awesome journey becoming a magician.
I know I’ve enjoyed it immensely…and still do.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to teach quite a few magicians at various skill levels over the years and I still enjoy that first lesson with a rank beginner who is literally “starving” for that magical experience. It gets me motivated as well. But one thing I noticed a while back was that I had the tendency to get caught up in the “rush” and go faster than was practical and effective for the student. It’s real easy to do when the student is so excited and wants to learn everything in one lesson!

I came up with a list of questions that I ask every beginner to set the stage…not only for him or her, but for me as well. I need to have some questions answered to be an effective instructor. There are so many directions to go and I must have a “roadmap” to get to the right destination. That destination is for the student to have the most rewarding, fun and exciting experience they can have during their magical journey…especially up front when the excitement is there.

Bobby J. Gallo’s phenomenal (and I can’t overstate that too much due to the lack of anything in their class available on the market) Cyber-Textbooks, “COMMANDO MAGIC” and “THE COMMANDO MAGIC MARKETING MANUAL”, which just happen to be available for you and only you as a member of I.C.O.M. Online (in the library), are great primers and guides for making effective choices in your study of magic at ANY level. Please CHECK THEM OUT (you don’t need a card) and read them…you won’t run across anything quite like them anywhere else and your decisions will become sharper and clearer because of the practical, valuable, “in the trench” knowledge they contain.

In addition I wanted to mention the questions I’ve always asked whenever I started with a brand new student. These may be of some help, as well, in your focus on this fascinating (and at times confusing to learn) art.

If you are a beginner in magic, ask yourself (and write down or tape record):
1)What do I want to be in magic?


  • 1)stage?
  • 2)close-up?
  • 3)casual?
  • 4)business?
  • 5)professional?
  • etc.?


  • 1)books?
  • 2)tricks?
  • 3)magazines/periodicals?
  • etc.?


  • 1)general interest?
  • 2)specialized interests
  • etc.?

The list goes on and on, right? Decide what you see yourself being in magic.

2)What do I want to learn?
Investigate and check out anything and everything magical. What “turns on your magical appetite”?

3)What do you see yourself doing in magic 1 year from now?…5 years from now?…10 years from now? What are your goals?

4)What style of performer do you like to see do magic? Any favorites?

5)What do you want I.C.O.M. Online to contribute? What do you expect from I.C.O.M.? Do I plan to make use of the “virtual lessons”? Am I just happy to browse and read?

6)Do I see myself inventing effects and routines somewhere down the line? Is it important how much originality will be involved or am I content to use established effects and routines exactly?

7)Where do I see myself performing?

8)Am I a good story teller?…joke teller?

9)Are my hands pleasant to look at? Am I happy with myself physically? If not, what can I do to make myself a more effective performer in my own eyes?

10)What are my limitations, if any?

11)Do I have support in my study of magic? Will I be able to show someone the effects, sleights, routines, as I’m learning them? Will I get positive feedback?

12)What kind of a budget do I have to purchase effects, books, magazines, etc.? (Be practical…you don’t have to spend much and unless you have lots of money try not to be too impulsive buying effects and books until you know something about them and feel you’ll be completely happy with the items.)

13)Am I serious about magic or just curious? Do I plan to study until I get what I want?…no matter what?

and last but not least…

14)Why do I like magic?

If you can answer these questions as if I was asking you in person, and come up with answers that express exactly what you want to say, then you’ll probably get to where you want to go as quickly and directly as possible…WITH THE MOST ENJOYMENT.

Let me ask you to please take time to answer these questions…even if some take a bit of thought. If I was teaching you personally I would spend some time at the beginning of the very first lesson asking these exact questions. Make yourself comfortable and have no distractions. The questions that seem hard to answer would be given as part of your first assignment for the next session. I’m asking you to do the same thing here. As members of I.C.O.M. Online you have access to “virtual lessons” ( the first time anything has ever been available like this in the history of magic) and if you have any questions about MY questions above, please let me know ASAP, OK?

We really want to make your experience with our school as fruitful as possible IN ALL AREAS! Please keep this in mind and never forget…the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and get some help from it.

Why Mostly Text Based Lessons?

We at I.C.O.M Online have the technology to include any photos or illustrations we desire on this site, however, you may notice that we keep such images to a minimum with the exception of the “Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery”.

The reason for this is the following. When reviewing classic magic texts we have found that most include only those illustrations that were absolutely necessary to communicate the routine to the reader. This approach serves our purpose in much the same way, due to the fact that while some members have state-of the-art computers, others have slower machines and still others only have text-based browsers. To keep download times to a minimum, to fit maximum material into a study area, and to better serve the entire magical community, our lessons will be basically text with only those illustrations we feel are absolutely necessary. Besides, it is the personal consultation aspect that makes I.C.O.M Online so special!

Another point to remember is that we concentrate on giving our students only choice magic effects…one lesson at a time. There is a reason for this. It allows you to perfect routines rather than wade through a whole pile of meaningless “trick trash”. David Devant, the famous English magician, was once asked by a fellow performer, who claimed to know hundreds of card tricks, how many David knew. David answered, “only about five or six, but I know them better than anyone else in the world!” Think about it………..

*Note: This another point that makes us different anything else that attempts to teach magic. We are not trying to re-invent the wheel. Most of the magic routines that you need to learn the art of magic are already in print. What is needed are knowledgable instructors to TEACH this material correctly. Something that has been absent from the world of magic for far too long. Now together, I.C.O.M Online and YOU, can make a difference!

Good Luck!

Bobby J. Gallo

Ron Dayton in his own words

Who Is This Guy Anyway?
Ronald J. Dayton

When the two gentlemen who created this marvelous on-line school of magic first approached me and asked if I might like to join them as an instructor, my first impulse was to blurt out an enthusiastic YES! YOU BET I WOULD! But later, when the initial euphoria passed, I asked myself…”What could possibly qualify me as an instructor?!”

My best answer would probably be, nothing…and everything. I am you see, no one and everyone in the world of magic. I have devoted many years to magic…but I did it strictly for myself. I have been selfish, and have striven to soak up every shred of history and information I could find. It is a journey which is on going…and one it seems, that you are interested in as well.

Some people have called me an expert in certain fields of this art…but I am not. I just retain a lot of information which others have learned as well. The difference is, they manage to let go of it, and move on. I on the other hand, hang on for dear life!

From time-to-time, I may express an opinion or two. You may or may not agree with what I have to say…that is your DOWNLOAD. Mine is to state things as I view them, as clearly and objectively as possible.

You will find, as time goes by, and you become more firmly entrenched in the world of magic, that opinions vary greatly. There are many schools of thought. It will be part of your job to sort things out and discover where the truth lies. For those of you who have a copy of Henry Hay’s book, “The Amateur Magician’s Handbook,” in your haste to learn ‘tricks’, please do not pass over the first eighteen pages. This is where the real ‘magic’ of magic can be found. And for my own part, I am in full agreement with almost everything Mr. Hay had to say. It is a real education, compressed into a chapter or so.

As far as magicians go…I am not the best, but I know I’m not the worst. I am good at what I do, but always want to be better. I think that’s a worthwhile goal…to constantly try to improve. Complacency is as detrimental to the serious student of magic as anything I can imagine. Vanity runs a close second.

Books will tell you to ‘be yourself ‘ when performing. To a high degree, that is true. But it is only true when the YOU you convey is a person who is acceptable to the audience at large. It is wise to NEVER talk down to your audience or to make them feel foolish. It is also a good decision not to be vulgar or offensive in any way. Don’t be tempted into using ‘blue’ material. The poor choice in language may well rob you of admiration for the skill the audience may have felt.

Performing styles are extremely important to any magician. We’ve all seen artists we admire. It is very tempting to want to be ‘just like them.’ While this is flattering I’m sure, I think the better road to travel would be to find a character all your own. It won’t be easy…but it would be rewarding. It will give you and your act an important element…individuality. And that is what you wanted to emulate in you mentor’s act. To lead the pack rather than simply run with it.

On a personal level, I enjoy pushing the envelope of creativity a bit. I like to look for different or unique ways of achieving a given effect. Not only does this give me a creative satisfaction, it gives my presentation a look that others cannot duplicate unless I share the method with them. If I were driven to be a professional, full-time performer…this would be a tremendous advantage to me.

Originality is the key to success. As a amateur, it will give you an edge, and make what you present memorable. As a professional, it will do the same. When you’re doing magic for a living, you can’t afford to be run-of-the-mill. As a amateur…should it be any different?

Where will the world of magic take you? Well, how far do you want to go? The possibilities really are quite limitless.

I have been a ‘student’ of magic for forty-five years. That is to say, my ‘interest’ has matured with time. What a boy of nine was looking for from magic is not the same as the intensity of a man in his fifties. The effects, the sleights, the subtle ploys gradually begin to integrate with an appreciation for the dozens of other facets of magic…and magic is so multi-faceted, you may well spend a lifetime, and never fully touch on it all. With your enrollment in this school, you have taken the first step in a journey that never ends and a fascination that seldom fades.

What In The World Are “Virtual Magic Lessons” ™ And How Do I Use Them ???

Bobby J. Gallo

When you enrolled in the International Conservatory Of Magic, you were told that you had Virtual Magic Lessons. What are they? We’re glad you asked.

Virtual Magic Lessons ™ are one of the International Conservatory Of Magic’s finest and most distinguishing features. In Short, Virtual Magic Lessons are a way to communicate directly with the I.C.O.M instructors. The very people who write the lessons! This is what makes I.C.O.M so very different from any other conceivable way to learn magic. With books, you have only the text and illustrations to learn from. When watching videos, you may have a semi-clear idea of what the teacher is trying to explain. However, all have one significant drawback. You cannot ask questions!Think about it, you have never been able to interact with a book or video. Even in a live lecture situation there is limited time to ask in-depth questions. And as for the limited number of so-called interactive magic related cd-roms, you can’t ask questions at all. Interactivity is limited to fast-forwarding and reversing much like a standard video tape. Only I.C.O.M is different! With Virtual Magic Lessons, you now have the means by which you can have total interactivity with your instructors. Just like live one-on-one lessonsat a fraction of the cost!

At the bottom of each main lesson page (Beginners Study, Advanced Lab, I.C.O.M Spotlight). you will find a large red link panel like the one below…

Beginner’s Study – Jan-March 2004

Welcome the I.C.O.M Beginner’s Study! Here you will find high-quality material that is within the technical ability of virtually all magician’s. It is important to note that while this place is specifically designed for the magical novice in mind, we strive to include material that is strong enough for even the seasoned professional.

January-March 2004

For further information on the cups and balls please check out the new book talked about in the I.C.O.M Spotlight this quarter!…BJG

Bobby J’s Ultimate Beginner’s Course of Magic


The Classic Cups & Balls

This classic of magic is thousands of years old and is a bit more involved than other tricks in this book, but is included for those who want a challenge doing more “professional” tricks. This routine would make a great way to close your magic show as it is a very powerful presentation if you practice hard to perfect it. So be patient and follow the instructions carefully. This is an ultra-simplified version. This effect can and does get very complicated in the hands of a professional as there are literally dozens of moves and variations. But this is the very basic effect for you to master before you attempt such things.

What the audience sees: Three cups and three balls are shown. Then the balls mysteriously penetrate the solid cups one by one!

What you need: Three plastic cups that you cannot see through and that can be stacked on top of one another.  You also need FOUR small pom poms, balls,  crumbled up pieces of tissue paper or dollar bills.

What to do: As you may have noticed already, you really have four balls but the audience is only aware of three at all times.  Before starting, place one cup, mouth up on the table and drop one of the balls into it. Stack (nest) the other two cups on top of this and this completes your set-up.

Step #1

Start by picking up the three nested cups and remove the top cup with the right hand placing it mouth down on the table, do the same with cup #2. Now do it again with the final cup that contains the secret ball. Turn this cup over briskly onto the table so that the secret ball does not fall out (this cup should be in the center of the other two). You should now have three cups mouth down on the table and under the center cup lies the secret ball. The audience also sees the other three balls as well.

Now show the audience one of the three balls and place it on top of the cup that has the secret ball underneath.  Now take the other two cups and place them on top of the center cup. Say the magic word and lift all of the cups and it will appear that the ball has penetrated the cup!

Step #2

Lift up all the cups and turn them mouth up. Take the top cup and remove it. Notice that the next one has the secret ball in it. Now using the same brisk motion as before, turn this cup mouth down so that you add the ball in the cup to the ball on the table. Place the remaining cup alongside this one on the table. Now place another ball on top of the cup with the two balls underneath.  Stack the three cups again, say the magic word, lift up all the cups and voila! It seems as though the second ball has penetrated one of the solid cup again. Now repeat this process to make the third ball join the rest. At the conclusion get rid of the cups and extra ball and take your bows.

It may sound complicated but if you follow the instructions with the props in hand, you should have no problems in the end.

Over the next few quarters we have decided to go back to our roots and publish lessons from our Beginner’s publication entitled “Bobby J’s Ultimate Beginner’s Course of Magic ™”. This is material for the true amateur just starting to perform magic that I have used to teach literally thousands of students year in and year out. These are basic effects written in a way that everyone can understand and this lay a solid foundation for the more difficult material on the site. After all, this “IS” the Beginner’s Study…BJG

Bobby J’s

Ultimate Beginner’s Course

 of Magic


A lot of beginner magic books contain tricks that are either very hard to do or require objects that aren’t so easy to get. This collection of easy-to-do feats of magic are straight from the actual lessons I use to teach magic before thousands of people just like you! So you can be sure that they will amaze and bewilder your family and friends. Just remember to follow the “magician’s code” and you will be the talk of the town!

Bobby J. Gallo

The Mind Reading Duo!

The Temples of Mind reading

The Magician guesses the number from one to ten that is whispered in the ear of an audience member by placing his hands on  their temples!

Secret: The audience member who’s mind you read is really your secret assistant. (someone you let in on the secret). Beforehand, tell them to tighten their jaws causing their facial muscles to flex. If you place your fingers lightly on their forehead straight  back from their eyes, you can feel the muscles “bump” every time they tighten their jaw. Instruct them to do this the same number as was whispered into their ear. You just count the number of times you feel the “bump”. Then dramatically announce the answer to the rest of the audience.

The Great Crayon Trick

The Magician names the color of a crayon behind her back that she never, ever looked at!

Secret: You take about 4 or 5 crayons and ask the person to hand one to you behind your back then hide the others. Turn back to face them asking them if they are satisfied with the color they gave you. While you are doing this secretly mark a small amount of the crayon on one of your fingernails. Remember, never look at the crayon, all this is done while the crayon is behind your back. Turn around again and return the crayon. Then pretend to read their mind by waving your hand. Take this opportunity to glance at the finger that has the secret mark. You can easily see what color crayon it was!

The Baffling Boomerang

One boomerang grows larger than the other before your very eyes!

You may have seen me perform a version of this in my own show so you know it’s good! If you like, you can even use a photocopier to enlarge them. Then cut them out and show the audience that they are the same size. Then say the magic word and hold one directly above the other and it will seem the one has grown! The secret? There is none. It’s a real optical illusion!

So you want to make Something

Disappear Huh?

This mini-course of magic wouldn’t be complete unless you learned at least “one” method of making an object disappear. There are many ways to accomplish this. Some use difficult sleight-of-hand and others use mechanical means such as trick boxes and props. The following is a great to make almost any small object vanish instantly, though coins and balls work best.

Here’s How—Obtain a handkerchief or bandanna and a small rubber band. The rubber band is secretly placed around the ends of the fingers and are hidden behind the hanky. Make a small pocket in the hanky with your fingers and place the coin, ball or other object inside of it. The rubber band is released around the pocket and traps the object inside. Now shake the hanky. It appears that the object has vanished! Quickly put it away and proceed with your next trick.

Next Installment: The Cups & Balls!

Cut and Restored String Revisited

By Bobby J. Gallo

I’ve been doing magic for over 20 years and I have seen all kinds of props and materials used in the construction of great and sometimes not so great magical presentations. This is why I am frequently amazed that the simplest props can literally knock an audience out. The following presentation is currently being used in my act with great success and honesty, from the audiences perspective, is one of the most amazing bits of magic in the show.

Effect: A ball of cotton butchers twine is displayed to the audience as the magician asks…. ” Do you know the difference between reality and illusion?” As he says this he pulls out a length of the twine and proceeds to cut it with a pair of scissors. “This string is reality..correct?” He asks the audience where they invariably agree with the mage. “Now if I were to cut the string… is that also reality?” The magician matches his action with his words and cuts the string again and again until he has eight pieces in his hands. He then counts them out singly stating. “This is an illusion. I never really cut the string at all.” The audience usually laughs at this point. Then the magician goes on and on about how good an illusionist he is due to the fact that the string really looks like it is cut.

To prove what I am saying is true I will use a person from the audience. He then takes out a small manila envelope from his pocket stating that he needs somewhere to put the “seemingly” cut pieces of string. He tucks them into the envelope and gives it to the spectator to hold and says… “You are holding and envelope with what the audience believes are eight small pieces of string correct? Wave the envelope over your head…. Thank you. Now open it up and take out what is inside.” As the spectator does this he removes one solid piece of string. The envelope is then ripped apart and there are no secret compartments or trap doors.

The audience gasps……

Method: All you need is a ball of cotton butchers twine that can be found in most any supermarket or hardware store. A pair of good scissors, a mania pay envelope which you can buy by box at your local office supply store, and our good old friend the thumb tip (yes you can take it out of your drawer again). The king size (goblin) thumbtips work best for this. If you don’t have one they can be purchased from a magic supply company for a small cost. Get several as any magician will tell you they tend to vanish in your case sometimes.. hehe

Before the show have a duplicate length of string in the envelope beforehand with the thumbtip in the envelope as well. Keep these both in your front jacket pocket. After cutting the initial length of string, remove the envelope and slowly place all the cut pieces into the thumbtip. Steal the thumbtip out of the envelope and drop it into your pocket or table as you go to look for a magic wand or some “woofle dust”. Hand the envelope to the spectator and finish as stated above.

This is one of the few thumb tip tricks where a thumb tip is NEVER suspected!

I use this in my stand-up show and it is one of the few tricks that I do slowly and deliberately to get maximum effect. Try it and you will be as hooked on it as I am.

Bobby J. Gallo

Emily Post once said that the correct way to wear a top hat was to have it level on your head. However others say that it should be worn tilted slightly forward and cocked no more than 10 degrees to one side. An example would be of that in the famous portrait of Lord Ribbesdale by John Singer Sargent.

Throughout the 1800’s tops hats of all dimensions and sizes were all the rage. Some so large that there were no room for them in cloakrooms. Thus the invention of the collapsable top hat was born by Antoine Gibus.

Little known is the fact that the top hat’s popularity was actually waning by the beginning of the 20th century. Movies like “Top Hat” with Fred Astaire in 1935 suggested that the topper was still very popular dress fashion, but such was not nessesarily the case. Except for select socialites, theatre use, and performers such as magicians and dancers, the top hat was mainly relegated to the realm of costume.

Rightly or wrongly, it’s the effect that all of magic has become synonymous with. Pulling a rabbit or other animate or inanimate objects from a hat. It is the universal symbol of the magician and one that some adore and other modern magicians shun. No one knows the exact origins of this effect but many believe it’s origin around the early 1800’s when top hats were in full vogue. As a matter of fact, earliest records indicate that a French magician named Louis Comte who became the first conjurer known to pull a white rabbit from a black top hat.

The hard cold fact is that audiences do and probably always associate the magician with this trick and the smart magician would do well to incorporate some form of it in his or her repertoire. The public expects you to do it and if you comply, they will love you for it. Finally a magician that gives them what they expected. After all, even though it’s a trick that they all associate the magician with, they never see it done!

Many tricks have been developed over the years with the rabbit in the hat theme. Paper tears, coloring frames, close-up paddles, jumbo card tricks, and the list goes on and on. But why perform these knock-offs when you can do the real thing? Now I realize that many including myself really don’t want to use “live” animals due the the sheer impracticality of caring for and transporting livestock. Not to mention the fact that many places like restaurants forbid the use of live animals due to health codes, the risk factor when live animals are brought into the private home and the use them when in close proximity to the audience. And lets not even get into the humane aspect.

All of that aside, there are many alternatives to the live rabbit such as the spring animals that are currently marketed that all but take care of the problem entirely. I am of the belief that an animal live or fake is not really the issue but rather that of the magician pulling “something” out of the hat. Whether it be an animal of a hat coil, flowers, or sponge hot dogs. It’s just the image of pulling something of the hat that fulfills the audiences expectations.

There have been numerous ways to accomplish this. Some use specially constructed hats with false bottoms. Fakes have been sold that can be sewn or merely placed into the hat. Other methods have used hidden bags that contained the load that is secretly introduced into the hat at one point or another in the act. Still more methods include methods where the object is hidden under the performers coat and a “trap” in the bottom of the hat allows the hand to pass through going straight into the coat where the load is stolen right under the audiences collective noses. All are good proven methods and all have strong as well as weak points. The following is the most practical method I have come across for performing the most famous trick in magic….period.

First you need a top hat. I have seen where derbys were also used but the top hat is the “top dog” so to speak. Pun intended. You can make your own, or buy one. These are easily obtainable as they are a very popular halloween and new years item. Yes, they are plastic and unless you are a good distance from your audience they look it as well. However if money isn’t an issue you can still get the real thing. Opera hats as of this writing currently sell for around $275.00 but top quality wool top hats cost less. Around $75.00.

You also need a sheet of black felt. This can be purchased at any cloth or craft store for around $1.00 and this this the secret. Take the felt and with fabric chalk, trace around the bottom of your hat (assuming your hat is on the table mouth up). You will end up with an oval shape on the felt sheet. Now cut out the oval which should be almost exactly the width of the inside of the hat. Trim it up and make it look nice. It’s needs to fit in there rather snugly.

Next place your load into the hat and cover it with the felt. You should now be able to “flash” the inside of the hat to the audience and the hat should appear to be empty. Yes, it’s the worlds simplest false bottom but it also happens to be the most effective one I have ever tried.

Now in working, take the hat and show the audience that it is empty. Next take a black silk and cover the hat. Wave the wand over the hat and look inside…..nothing. Take the silk and this time when covering the hat, poke it inside a bit. Now after you wave the wand over the hat, reach inside and grab the felt fake trough the black silk and remove it and the silk at the same time. Promptly dump them in your table or receptacle and proceed with your production.

Guess what? you’ve now just become the magician of legend…….

For the younger members of I.C.O.M
Depending on the materials used, a home-made top hat can be put together rather well. The following is a no nonsense hat project that would cost very little to make and should appeal the the younger members of I.C.O.M. However, though the following method may not have the strength to hold a rabbit load, but it should handle silks just fine.

You will first need to get a strong paper plate, a glue stick, black construction paper, and scissors.

Color the paper plate black to match the black construction paper. Once this is done and dry, cut out the center of the plate about the same size as the width of your head. Using a ruler may help with this. Remember to leave an outside rim of about 2 inches wide.

Now cut the black construction paper to approximately 8 inches by 8 inches. From this into a tube and tape or glue this into the cut out circle of the paper plate. Be sure that the bottom of the plate and the bottom of the tube are flush.

Decorating the hat with sticker stars of other fancy designs will enhance it’s look and make it more magical!

You now own your own top hat made even more special because you made it!

Let’s start off the new year with some “word of the wise”. As always this is vintage exactly Dayton brilliance that is as good for the seasoned performer as it is for the beginner…BJG

Ron Dayton

When I say that mouth-coils are tasteless; I am not saying they have no flavor; but I am saying that to produce things from a body orifice such as the mouth or nose is rather tacky. Your audience may feel it is repulsive; and most certainly they will not want to handle the item. In these times of various social diseases, people are rather squeamish about contact with any body fluids, especially if they happen to be yours! So, perhaps it would be in your best interest to re-think how you intend to produce mouth coils. Consider too, the production of cards or coins from your mouth as well. A youngster in your audience may place coins into his mouth and create a choking hazard.

They are after all , a compact little bundle which creates a colorful; and disproportionately large production. The smaller coils can be produced from within a thumb tip. You can attach a loop of thread to a larger mouth coil, and manipulate it like a Stillwell Handkerchief Ball. A mouth coil can be attached to the inside if a Goes-Inta-Box for a surprise production. By attaching one corner of a silk to one mouth coil; and the opposite corner to another. The mouth coils may be placed side by side and the silk wrapped around them to create a small bundle One coil is started at the thumb side of your fist. The other is pulled out at the little finger side. Spectators are allowed to pull the coils. At the end of the feed a previously vanished silk appears between the paper strands. Creating a mouth coil version of the Sympathetic Silks. A Card Silk, or a Good Night Silk could also be used effectively to close your act. In otherwords, put on your thinking caps. Mouth coils can provide a lot of magic at a reasonable cost.

Idea: Cut a hole in the back of a box of crayons, just below the flap. The hole is about a half inch square. Tape a mouth coil just under the hole. Top of the coil uppermost. This is box of jumbo Crayola Crayons, the kind with only about eight large crayons in the box. Ask the kids to call out several colors. As they are named you remove them from the box. The finale’ comes when you produce yards and yards of colored streamer from the box via the hole at the back. Rub the paper bundle over a previously shown black and white coloring book. Magically, the pages are now all filled in in vibrant colors; or you could produce one of those large production crayons from within the streamer paper.


EFFECT: a spectator selects a card. He does not show it to you or any one else. You ask him to concentrate on his card, while you attempt to pick up a mentally transmitted impression of it. After a moment , you say you bethere you know the card’s value. But rather than reveal it you ask another spectator to join you on stage. You say, I will now attempt to transmit the name of the card to you, look into my eyes. They do, and soon are able to correctly name the chosen card.

METHOD: The chosen card is actually forced, so you know it from the start. But how does a spectator know by simply looking into your eyes? The value, say the jack of spades (J-S is printed on your eyelids! Turn slightly so only he may see your eyes, then close your eyes to reveal the value to him/her. So simple really, but if done properly, it could be quite amazing. (Use a theatrical make-up pen which is easily washed off your lids.)

Ron Dayton
Dear I.C.O.M students, consider this as an addendum to thoughts concerning the use of rubber cement in magic. An empty kitchen match box with a coating of rubber cement in the inside bottom of the drawer; and some cement applied to the side of a die, opposite the side you wish to force, has been mentioned. But the matchbox drawer and it’s slide have eighteen surfaces. What a shame not to place more of them in play. The drawer inside end panels if treated could hold a die as well. Or if the end panel of the drawer were treated, and the inside top surface of the slide, but not the bottom, treated coins or cork balls could seem to vanish in a variety of ways, depending upon how the box is tipped. If you begin with the slide slipped on with its untreated inner surface uppermost, none of the objects will adhere to it. Rubber cement applied to the heel of your hand, and a bit to one outside end of the drawer, depending upon how the drawer is facing; can be used to cause the box to rise off your palm as does the rising pen or pencil Treated thread can be attached to treated objects too with just a touch causing animated bills, spongeballs and feather’s to move or float as it they had a life all their own.

Consider this for a haunted pack effect with borrowed cards. The card you add to their deck is a treated joker, which is discarded after the routine. If you own the old tumbling rings illusion, an extra free ring can be held to one end with rubber cement. As the top ring appears to pass down through all the others and fall to the bottom of the chain; you openly pluck the free ring off as to appear to catch it. Two ring boxes may be attached bottom to bottom in an instant with this versatile cement, creating a transformation / switching box right under the spectators eyes. With some help, a fine invisible hair net is stretched out flat. Some rubber cement is applied to the white borders of the ends of the card. Then a line rubber cement is placed onto the net directly below the card at each end. When dry the two are pressed togebelief and excess netting trimmed away. You have just created a card on the back of which many objects may be placed, then levitated simply by bowing the card a bit. A second card may be slid under the object as it floats. Objects such as matches, feather’s, light rings or pom pon balls will work very well. The flat area of the netting being more forgiving than parallel lines of elastic thread


Advanced Lab – October – December 2003

October – December 2003

This is Brilliant!… BJG

By Peter Marucci

basic, two-in-the-hand, one-in-the-pocket routine, full of awful gags and puns, and finishing with a double-laugh climax!

Preparation: You’ll need four little plastic feet and a little plastic hand. These can be found in the doll-making section of almost every craft shop. As well, you’ll need a fake eyeball from your local gag and joke shop.

The hand and eye are in your right jacket pocket, three of the feet are on the table, and the fourth foot is concealed in your right hand.

Presentation: Extend your left hand, palm up, and point to it with your right forefinger: “You’ll notice that my hand is eight inches long. If it were four inches longer it would be a foot.” (First hilarious gag)

Point to the three feet on the table: “But it wouldn’t be like these feet, because they are magical. Let me show you what I mean.”

With the right hand, pick up one foot and toss it into the left hand.

Count: “one.” Pick up the second foot and toss it into the left hand, adding the concealed foot from the right hand. Count: “two.” Pick up the third foot and put it in your right pocket, palming it out again. “And the third foot goes in the pocket.”

Open the left hand, showing that the three feet have magically joined together again. Repeat the sequence but this time, instead of palming the third foot, drop it into the pocket and palm out the hand.

Show the three feet have again magically come together. Casually pick up one foot with the right hand and pretend to toss it into the left, actually switching it for the palmed hand (Bobo switch). Pick up the other two feet with the right hand and drop all three into the right pocket, palming out the eyeball.

“Don’t you think something that magical deserves a hand?” you ask, as you open the left hand and drop the little plastic hand onto the table (Yet another hilarious gag.) Pick up the plastic hand with your right, show it around, then pretend to toss it into the left, actually switching it for the eyeball. As you do, say, “Now there are some people who believe that the hand is quicker than the eye – but I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

Open the left hand and show that the hand has turned into the eyeball. (Final hilarious gag.)

Second thoughts: Of course, you don’t have to use the feet: Anything you used in a two-in-the-hand routine will do, finishing with:

“Don’t you think something that magical deserves a hand?” and continuing with the eyeball gag.

This plays better than you may think, even though it sounds corny. Just don’t analyze it too much. As one wag once put it, “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog: Nobody much cares – and the frog dies.” … Peter Marucci

Another I.C.O.M world exclusive!
A secret that is literally worth hundreds of dollars to any working performer….BJG

“The M.C. Force”
by Bill Wisch

This is a substitute for the valuable, mind-boggling (if done well) classic force.

Every magician, at one time or another, has tried to master the timing and components of this classic. However, very, very few have mastered it (Including me).

I call this “The M.C.Force”, M.C. meaning “Mock Classic”. It is based on a subtlety and takes a very short time to master, yielding every bit of the reaction/effectiveness of the difficult Classic Force. I can attest to this because I’ve used it many, many times for about six months under any and all circumstances without a single hint of a force, and I’m including quite a few experienced card magicians in the group. It is now my favorite because it is by far the easiest, most natural and most convincing. And you can use it as much as you want for the same person/group without any fear of arousing suspicion.

The Subtlety:

Most magicians are familiar with the LH corner riffle force. The force card is below a break held by the pinky and the left thumb riffles until the spectator says “stop”. The cards above the break are lifted by the RH and the force card is offered. To the spectator it appears that you lifted the cards at the exact spot they stopped you. It’s a great force that is sure-fire and widely used.

About six months ago I realized that the same subtle handling of asking the spectator to say “stop” instead of actually taking a card can be applied to the classic force. And the important (and amazing) thing about it is that it doesn’t diminish the power of just spreading out the cards and having one actually taken. You won’t believe it!

The Handling:

1) Force card on top of deck. You can either cut the cards and maintain a pinky break or do an injog shuffle and then get your break.

2) At this point you slowly spread small groups of cards from left hand to right, just as in the classic force. You ask the spectator to say “stop” as you’re spreading.

3) When they stop you, the tip of the right 3rd (ring) finger, immediately lifts up at the break and the RH separates its cards away from the left hand. The force card is now offered to the spectator. NO ONE SUSPECTS THAT YOU STOPPED AT A POINT DIFFERENT FROM WHEN THEY STOPPED YOU!
That’s it! You have to try this to see how effective it is. All the power and punch of the classic force without any of the worry of the difficult timing.

Most of the time the spectator says “stop” before you reach your break, but occasionally they want to take their time and you have to pass the break. Just keep the tip of the right 3rd finger at the break from underneath as you keep spreading in a natural fashion. It will take a small amount of practice but you’ll quickly get used to it. Like I said, it rarely happens, but you can easily spread past the break and still maintain it without detection. After you’ve used it a while, you can actually time getting to the break exactly when they say “stop”.

I’m including “The M.C. Force” here, in I.C.O.M., the greatest cyber-repository of magical knowledge and instruction, to not only get it into print for the first time anywhere, but to allow you, our fine students, to be the first to learn and enjoy it. I hope you try it and keep it secret. In my 32 years of magic I personally have never used a force that is easier and as effective under all circumstances.

Q & A “My Way
Bobby J. Gallo

This alone is worth the price of your membership if I do say so myself…..BJG

Like many other entertainers I have scoured the mental books looking at the wondrous ways to perform that most mind-boggling feat called the Q & A. Nelson and other “psychic” entertainers have literally make careers revolving around this act and it’s no wonder. People who have witnessed it done correctly have revered it as the most amazing effect in magic or mentalism. Take your pick.

Recently I was, for the first time in my career, called upon to perform such an act and I had about two days to put it together. I had no doubts that I could pull it off theatrically. But the method was a different story. I have read Corinda, Annemann, Nelson, and a host of others and some of the methods, ingenious as they were, would not be practical for me. So, I developed a method where I could perform this famous feat and meet the customers expectations. The following is what I did and now will do whenever I get the chance as it is a blast to perform!

The effect goes something like this:

The performer hands out a “post-it” pad and about 6 or 7 golf pencils to various people in the audience with the request that they write anything about anyone in the room and to not tell anyone at all what they wrote. They are then to fold up the paper as small as they can. You then hand out small manila coin envelopes to each of the people who wrote the questions and they are instructed to seal the small billets inside of the envelopes. You then instruct someone to collect the envelope while you blindfold yourself. After both of these procedures are done you hold the envelopes up to your head one by one and begin to answer questions and divulge the secret information to the gasps and utter amazement of your audience. Once you are done you take off the blindfold, breath a heavy sigh of relief that the mental ordeal is over and receive a well deserved round of applause.

Now tell me honestly. Can you think of one thing in all of magic as powerful as this? The answer is that there is simply nothing stronger. Nothing…….

Now if you think that this effect is to good to be true, you’re right! It is! To do it you will have to do some leg-work. That’s the price you have to pay for something as wonderful as this act. You will have to do some “pre-show work” to gain secret information about your audience members. This is the same thing that has made the reputations of some of the all-time great mentalists in history. There are many, many ways to accomplish this and if you have any of the better mentalism books in your library you will have access to methods for obtaining the required information. But there is an easier way and in my circumstance, much more effective as it takes all possible explanation out of the picture from the audience perspective.

You see, two days before the show I mentioned above I received a fax from the agent booking the event. It was two pages of information that was supplied to him from the hostess of the event about the guests that would be present. Things like the politics they subscribed to. Things they did in their lives. Nicknames, etc. Yes, the hostess who booked the engagement was my secret assistant in the act. Since she never met me in person, the audience was none the wiser and since she had a vested interest in the event being a success, was perfectly able to keep the secret.

So next time when someone calls you book your show and you are interested in trying this out, you may want to see if the host or hostess would like something “really” special for the quests. Ask them if they can keep a magical secret and if they can, tell them about the act. I bet more times than not they will go along with you and put together the info you need. And trust me, they themselves will be so delighted at the reactions of the audience that they will be thrilled they did this. In my case the hostess could not stop laughing! Of course this routine is only good for adults and would mean next to nothing in front of a younger crowd. Mentalism except in super rare circumstances never flies for children. They just don’t understand it yet. However, for a teen audience (like a sweet sixteen party), I think it would be a real winner!

Once I got the information, I then typed it all onto a small slip of paper using a word processing program and reduced the font as small as I could so that I could still read it. I got all the info on a “cue-card” that was printed out on pastel yellow paper and then cut small enough to be taped onto one of the small manila envelopes in the stack.

Once all the envelopes with the actual billets were collected I added them to a stack of empty envelope that I was holding the entire time. I gave out the empty envelopes to the spectators off of the top of the stack while the one with the info was on the bottom.

Now you may wonder how I can determine the questions that were written by the spectators inside the envelopes. The fact is I didn’t. No one knows what was written inside the envelopes so the spectators had no idea at all if I was actually reading the billets or not! This is EXACTLY how the old time mentalists did their acts! Since you know information about the people present the audience ASSUMES you are actually reading their thoughts! Why would they think otherwise?

As for the blindfold. I just used the standard bandanna blindfold where I was able to peek down the side of my nose in order to read my cue card. Blindfolding yourself is important for a few reasons. One is that when you are blindfolded it just looks better. And two is that you are able to read the cue-card without fear of being detected. I just held one of the sealed billet envelopes up to my head while I slightly tilted the cue card envelope up just enough so that I was able to read the card.

Now while reading the information, you will need to do some clever acting. Don’t just blurt out the information. That looks “too good”. Get a hazy picture in your head and say something that alludes to the information and let the audience fill in the blanks. For instance. In my show, I got information that someone had a staunch political view. So instead of just saying whether he was a Republican or Democrat, I described he he voted for! Pretty easy when you know what they are registered as! I was even able to tell them what news programs he listened to! The result was astounding!

Keep the readings clean and don’t humiliate anyone even if the information supplied to you is embarrassing. The act is so good that putting people in awkward positions in front of other guest simply isn’t necessary.

One word of caution though. This act was SO STRONG, that some people genuinely got freaked out! Yes, this can be a bit scary to some if you perform it well enough. But if you want to do magic that people will remember, then this is certainly the best you can possibly do. In my humble opinion.

Okay, okay, so this is not really an advanced effect, but it’s a winner and let me tell you why. Ever since alludes embarrassing (I hope I spelled that right) used a little wooden car to locate a playing card to international acclaim, other novel methods of card location have been developed. I think this is great comedy for adults and would be outstanding for kids. I myself plan on using it, and for those reasons, I consider this an A-1 lesson in magical “entertainment”….BJG

By Ed Solomon

Basically, the card is selected and shuffled back into the pack and it is ribbon spread as per usual. Rather than a toy to locate the card, a pair of doll shoes and socks are slipped over the first and second finger and they walk down the path gently. At one point they stop and stomp the cards and bubble gum (blue tack) on one of the shoes picks up a single card. Behold, it is the selected card which was forced and has a single pencil dot in the white border on either edge so it can be spotted in the spread. The story line has yet to be developed but the old TV ad with the fingers walking through the yellow pages is a place to start.

I haven’t bought the shoes and sox yet but have them spotted in a craft store and just need to get them. It could be done with a magnet in the shoe and a shgenuinely card but why go to the trouble when the blue tack will work just as well and lends its self to the story line as bubble gum.

The shoes are to be found in hobby shops like Michael’s or doll shops. They look great and the socks don’t come with them. They are necessary to make so the fingers have someplace to slip into when ready to perform. White card stock and laminating material give them rigidity and they are hot glued into the shoe itself. Just make little tubes that fit the tip of the index and second finger and glue them in. Have fun! … In the Craft, Ed


Books Before 1900


Discoverie Of Witchcraft Was Not The First

Ronald J. Dayton

Our present day world of magic, almost without exception, heralds the 1584 work of Reginald Scot’s ” Discoverie Of Witchcraft “ as one of the monumental dates in conjuring history. It is not the intent of this article to diminish the importance of his work. Quite the contrary. But from a historical point of view, it may be of interest and importance to I.C.O.M. members to find that other books came before. I am certain that there are many historians and collectors out there who are already aware of these facts, but the novice or casual magician may not be as informed.

The earliest written account on magic appeared in the form of an Egyptian text known as the Westcar Papyrus. This was dated about 1799 B. C. and purportedly detailed a magic performance before King Khufu, or Cheops approximately one thousand years earlier.

A book titled ” A Manifest Detection of Dice Play “, offered as an anonymous work but later credited to Gilbert Walker, appeared 1552. It gave an extensive disclosure of cheating at dice as well as card-sharping methods. A second edition appeared in 1580, and a final printing 1850.

Four years later ” Natural and Artificial Conclusions ” was written by T. Hill. It contained what would be known in modern terms as parlor magic and scientific oddities. Additional copies were released in 1570, 1581 and 1584. It seems it was quite popular. Of all copies…as of 1955, only one copy of the 1581 release was known to exist.

Possibly the best known and most highly lauded text, Reginald Scot’s ” Discoverie of Witchcraft ” appeared in 1584, a full twenty-eight years after Hill’s ” Natural and Artificial Conclusions.”

The first printing of Scot’s book angered King James to such a degree that he had almost all copies burned. As a consequence, it is an extremely rare book indeed for first edition collectors. Later editions were printed in 1651, 1654, 1665, 1886 and 1930. A new expanded edition is now available to magicians of the ’90’s.

Originally known as ” The Anatomie of Legerdemain, by Hocus Pocus Junior,” in 1634…known today as ” Hocus Pocus Junior “, became the accepted model for conjuring books for centuries to follow. In 1734 ( approximate ) the ” Whole Art of Legerdemain, or Hocus Pocus ” was released by H. Dean.

Beginning as a serial in ” Every Boy’s Magazine, under the pen name of Professor Hoffmann, Angelo Lewis created material which would later be assembled as the classic, ” Modern Magic.” This was followed by ” More Magic ” in 1890.

The French were also busy with printed works on magic. In 1784 H. Decremp offered ” Magie Blanche Devoilee.” The year 1853 produced a work by J. N Ponsin titled ” Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee. ” Portions of this word were later translated by S.H. Sharpe and presented as ” Ponsin On Conjuring.” J. E. Robert Houdin wrote ” Confidences d’un Prestidigitateur ” in 1858. This was later translated into English as ” The Memoirs of Robert Houdin.”

Leaving the European front we also found magic alive and well in America. The earliest known U.S. book on magic was H. Dean’s Hocus Pocus, printed in Philadelphia in 1795. Close on its heels was W. Pinchbeck’s ” Expositor,” 1805. 1830 brought ” Hocus Pocus by Nickerson. “Ventriloquism and Legerdemain Exposed ” was an anonymously written book in 1834, and the ” Humorous Magician Unmasked ” was done by Engstrom in 1836. A large book on magic, illusions, automata etc. was released by A. A. Hopkins as ” Magic, Stage Illusions, Etc.” in 1897. This year also found the release of A. Roterberg’s ” New Era Card Tricks.”

All of the above information is historically accurate, gleaned from the minds of some of the finest members of Britian’s Magic Circle. Exerps taken and re-worked from Will Dexter’s 1955 work,
Famous Magic Secrets.II*