Final thoughts on a controversial magic ICON

I have always had a love/hate relationship with this man. I loved him because he was an ICON in the magic world. I myself once owned several books, penned by his hand. For that reason alone I will always have a measure of respect and admiration for him.

Then there was the other side of Randi. The militant skeptic and atheist who made it his life’s work to attempt to debunk anything paranormal or spiritual. And gained a huge secular fan base in the process. Randi was a smart man, especially in the marketing department. He took materialism, nihilism, and atheism, to a whole new level. His theory was, if you could duplicate a paranormal event using a magic trick, then the event in question was automatically debunked. Which was ridiculous on its face. Using that logic, one could say that all of reality is an illusion because Steven Spielberg can duplicate it with camera tricks. Instead of using stock arguments to debunk things that he could not understand, he could have taken the opportunity to “really” examine the evidence presented to him with the open mind he claimed to have. But that would have cost him his secular fan base, and thus was never going to happen. Being a militant atheist, anything paranormal or spiritual was forbidden in his circles. Something to be shunned, mocked, and ridiculed. Which is one reason I have proudly considered myself on more than one occasion as the “Anti-Randi” of the magic world.

Though he branded himself a “paranormal expert”, he was anything but. His foundation which was funded by largely unknown benefactors offered a one million dollar reward for proof of the supernatural. This offer turned out to be a sham as safeguards were put in place so that the money never had to be paid out. Rumor also had it that he spent the money long ago on what I would imagine were living expenses, since as he advanced in age, his performing days were far and few between.

But the past is the past, and now a true legend is now gone. I am 100% sure that he is now aware that death is not the end he thought it was going to be.

We at ICOM extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

I.C.O.M Hot News Pages 7/97-6/98


This page is devoted to late-breaking news concerningI.C.O.M Online, it’s staff, students and the world of magic in general. Check with us regularly, we usually have news and information you will not find anywhere else!

May 1998

Coming to The International Conservatory Of Magic June 1998

Introducing “Shadows” a new I.C.O.M forum devoted to weird and bizarre magic. Features artwork by Ron dayton as well as monthly routines, poems, and spooky insights.

Are you ready ???

Mid-April 1998

A Brand New I.C.O.M Feature!

(or “out with the old and in with the new!”)

We are discontinuing our offer of the Free Amateur Magicians Handbook to new members, but are excited and proud to announce a new and better deal!

Details to follow

April 1998

Read This “Only” If You Love Your Magical Heritage!

“Pushing The Envelope”
Ronald J. Dayton

My dear I.C.O.M members, the thoughts I am about to share with you have been under consideration for a long, long time. I hope you will not feel I am abusing my position on the I.C.O.M staff to use these pages as a platform to plead my case. And, when all is said and done, perhaps I will have peaked your interest enough to encourage you to become a part of the movement.

Perhaps ten years ago or longer, a friend of mine with whom I was corresponding, Dale Bradfor Hearn, sent me several postage stamps from France. The stamps were all identical…each depicting a solitary figure. It was a likeness of Robert Houdin, the father of modern magic.

I was so inspired by the fact that a country thought enough of a historically important figure in magic such as Robert Houdin that they honored his memory and contributions and achievements in the form of a stamp that I immediately penned a letter to the Post Master General of the United States. I suggested that a series of stamps honoring past masters of magic in the United States would be well received as well. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that my letter had the impact of a lone cry for help in the wilderness. It went un-noticed, and unanswered.

Now, however, we have the power of the Internet. It would be possible to band together in one voice to make the same request. A voice consisting of so many voices, it can no longer go unheeded.

The staff of I.C.O.M is interested in hearing your take on this. Names or initials and state locations could be used just as if we were gathering signatures on a petition. if the list were massive enough, the Post Master General could not ignore the request. Various political representatives such as your Governor could be assaulted with requests in the same way. Perhaps even a well placed request, mentioning the suggestion made to the Post Master General, could be made directly to the White House as well. Why be shy when it is something this important to our magic history.

We have stamps of every type of animal, dinosaurs, flowers, cartoon characters, movie stars and movie monsters, famous inventors etc. Isn’t it time to include performers who began in tent shows, carnivals, vaudeville and were a part of Americana for well over one hundred years?!

I.C.O.M members could contribute suggestions for names which might be included for consideration…then we could formulate a master list, and post it for agreement. Names such as Willard the Wizard, Houdini, Thurston, Kellar, Herrmann etc. right up to more contemporary greats such asVernon and Slydini.

I can think of only one American magician who has been honored with a stamp, and that is David Copperfield. Sadly, it was not the United States Government that had this insight. He is honored by another country.

With proper planning, the movement I am proposing could actually hit its mark. It would be an important boon to magicians, collectors, and enthusiasts here in the U.S., and the world over. It will take time, to be sure…but the rewards would be so enormous. Please give this matter careful consideration, then contact I.C.O.M with your thoughts. Together, I am certain we can make a difference.

April 1998

The Introduction Of A Dynamic New “International” I.C.O.M Contributor!



The Campaign Against Magic Exposure Rages On!

Reader Response
Mid-March 1998

Who Are Really Concerned?

This was e-mailed to us in response to a posting on the BBS concerning a magician who thinks it is “OK” to ignore the exposures fearing more publicity will benefit the major network involved. He also expressed the views of a few that we should develop “new magic” as a means to make-up for the lost illusions that have been destroyed due to the exposure. This is an opposing point of view.

As far as giving this show further publicity.  I don’t completely agree that “all” publicity is “good” publicity.  If we expose the producers for what they are, and what they are doing, mainly taking food out of peoples mouths, you can bet that they will lose advertisers.

As far as new magic is concerned.  I really think that magicians would rather not be slaves to the actions of a few.  Meaning, what are we to do, develop new magic everytime there is an exposure?  The classics are just fine and always have been.  If new magicians would like to develop cutting edge material, fine… but leave the classics alone and secret.  Besides, the principles behind them are priceless as well as timeless, not the trick.

This whole situation has also opened my eyes to some very interesting insights concerning all magicians.  Except in a few cases, it seems that the non-professionals typically, are not to concerned with activism of any kind concerning these exposures. While the pro’s who depend upon these illusions to make a living and CANNOT AFFORD THE TIME OR EXPENSE to develop new material are the ones shaken.

Just my observations.

Opinion not necessarily that of I.C.O.M

March 1998


Ronald J. Dayton

The founding fathers of I.C.O.M…Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch asked recently if I had a position/ thoughts re: exposure in magic. They asked if I would be willing to make these opinions part of public record. I reflected on the matter, and in time, discovered that I had some very definite opinions. These were noted, and sent to I.C.O.M.

Now, weeks later, I find that I am still thinking about the topic…and coming to new conclusions. You may or may not agree with me, but I now feel that we often foster and contribute to exposure ourselves.

How can this be?! This fellow Dayton must be a few cards shy of a full deck to think I would ever encourage exposure in magic!

Relax a little. I didn’t make that statement to intentionally upset you…but maybe it’s a good thing that it did. Maybe the defensive posture and anger has opened your eyes. Now, I hope you will continue reading with an open mind as well.

Over the decades, various companies have used the exposure of magic as part of certain promotional campaigns. To site some early examples…Camel cigarettes printed a beautiful small premium or ‘give-away’ booklet in full color which was literally loaded with ‘current’ effects and methods of the day. The Plymouth Cordage Co. enlisted the talents ot no less a super-star of magic than Jarrow himself to explain various pieces of rope magic in a larger gloss print booklet they produced. In more recent times, certain cereal companies have exposed magic such as the visible color painting effect while stage versions were still being sold by magic dealers.

When we purchase these products or send away for their free premium items, we are all indirectly fostering exposure because the companies can only exaluate the numbers, to determine if the campaign is effective or not. They do not know when the material is being sought by the general public, or by a true magic enthusiast. This is not saying they should be excused for their actions. In many instances, they are revealing material which is NOT in public domain, and which directly hurts the magic community. The very least we should do would be to write or contact the CEO’s of these companies and voice our dissatisfaction.

Material being offered to the general public in the form of premiums/ promotions is very difficult to defend against. But there is yet another form of exposure which hurts us even more, and IS within our power to eliminate…the pirated effect.

We have all seen ads for the latest new creation which is soon followed by ads from other sources, offering ‘the same’ effect or version there-of, for less money. These secondary offerings are many times, pirated or stolen rip-off versions of the original. In most cases. they are not as well made and seldom routined in the same careful manner. What you get for your money is a cheap imitation. But what you also get, sad to say, is a stolen explanation of the method some other truly creative person thought of. That’s right, the thief is EXPOSING the secret of the originator. It doesn’t matter that you paid for it. You’re receiving stolen goods!

So, you’ve saved a couple of bucks. The savings came to you at the expense of the originator of the effect. Every sale the pirate got is one less taken in by the person most deserving of it, In time, the creative people lose heart, and stop making their material available to the magic community at large. We all end up losing because of the greed and lack of integrity of a few. In the long run, we’ve gained nothing by being supportive of the thief.

I would imagine we have all, unwittingly fallen into this trap. It’s difficult, if not impossible to always know which is the newest effect and who it’s originator was…but catalogs, magazines and reviewers can help to sort things out. We must simply try harder to remain more current. But those who knowingly buy pirated effects are nothing less than accessories-after-the-fact.

We are as guilty as the pirate. themselves when it comes to doing harm to the craft we profess to love.

February 1998

The following article by a respected magic columnist is the latest installment to our reader responses concerning recent nation-wide magic exposure.


Ronald J. Dayton

People have been exposing magic for decades. It is done for a number of reasons.. some good, and some not. An example of an honorable reason might be if a method is being divulged to unmask a charlatan who is misrepresenting magic to bilk money or goods from truly innocent people. On the other side of the coin, it is sometimes done to discredit another performer to make themselves look good. Exposure is often done out of ignorance and arrogance… but most often, it is done out of greed. This certainly seems true of blatant exposures of recent times.

The television special shown earlier in 1997 on the FOX network was a total sham. It was stated that the goal of the special was for the betterment of magic as a whole.. a means by which magician’s would be forced to develop newer and more deceptive effects and methods. What absolute RUBBISH to even suggest such a thing. Magic HAS NEVER needed exposure to stimulate change, growth or improvement.

The only goal, as I see it, that the special achieved was to line the pockets of certain parties directly involved. To boost sagging ratings, and to disillusion the non magic oriented individuals who were watching.

Several of the ‘tricks’ which were exposed were absolute treasures to magic. They were not things which can be improved upon. They were pure gems exactly as they were.. and to reveal the methods behind then was nothing short of criminal.

It took Robert Harbin three years to perfect the Zig Zag. The various cabinets and prototypes are explained in his book ” Harbincadabra.” It was insulting enough to this creative genius that hand measurements of his masterful illusion were taken without his knowledge by an American and brought back to the U.S. what final insult, after his death, to have the exact method revealed to a random nation wide television audience of lay people.

To reduce the linking rings to one or two basic moves simply to reveal the way it works is shameful. Just think of the artistry Jack Miller, Dai Vernon, Luna Shemada. Jonathan Neil Brown and Jeff McBride to name only a few have given to this classic. Every subtlety and nuance… every psychological ploy and clever bit of misdirection has become a victim to the unthinking actions of a few.

Some will say…” Don’t worry yourself. There has always been exposure, and we always get through it!” This may be true…but, at what cost? At whose expense? Where does the selfishness end, and a sense of integrity begin!?

January 1998

National TV Exposure…Who’s Fault?
(Reader Responses)

This is a reply sent to us addressed to a brother magi who communicated that he thought the recent lawsuit action taken by certain magicians against the major TV Network in question is a mistake.

Dear Brother Magi,

I have never seen a subject worth debating that did not have valid points on both sides.  This one included.  Though I agree that a law suit “will” promote the special, I also see the logic in it.  By that, I am not stating that a lawsuit is the answer to this problem.  Let’s face it…it is a truly double edged sword.  For not only will a lawsuit serve to promote these shows, but the magicians filing it will never have a prayer of being featured on anything magic related on that network in the future.

But that being said….., what is the answer?  This world doesn’t know any other course of action that does not involve the courts in some way or another.  I wish that were not the case, but it is.

So what should we do?  Ignore it?  And the next special, and the next, ignore those too?  Until America is full of trick conscious lay people that ALL have a working knowledge of magic?

Maybe we can then have an SAM or IBM membership drive for every household in America so everyone from now on can only appreciate the artistry of magic and throw all the wonder aspects out of the window!  Because for literally dozens of my audience members over the past few weeks, that has already happened because of ONE SPECIAL!  THE WONDER IS GONE for them, and they are only the ones that I am aware of because they have continually approached me before during and after my gigs. So much so, that I have come to the realization that this IS having a negative impact on us and our art whether one would like to admit it or not.

Magicians(?) can preach to me all they want about how people will now appreciate magic in different ways such as the artistry and presentation and it will not change a thing.  Why?…because that is nonsense, plain and simple.  The cornerstone of magic has ALWAYS BEEN MYSTERY ……PERIOD!  Not dance, not originality, not an expertly executed pass, not a carefully crafted comedic line, not the newest invisible thread dispenser………IT IS MYSTERY….and without it there is no magic.

Harry Houdini, Thurston,  Kellar, Slydini, Vernon, all the greats, would be rolling over in their collective graves about this (come to think of it they probably are!).

Magic is continually being degraded because of things like this and we do nothing about it.  WE are the problem, not television networks, because WE continually allow it to happen.  But it has to stop somewhere.  And where Are all the big guns in magic?  They had better speak up as well or on the next special, the single basic principle behind 90% of their illusions may well be exposed. So Jim, magicians on the other side of the isle may have valid points, but I am still waiting to hear what the correct course of action IS?

A Concerned Professional Magician…

Opinion not necessarily that of I.C.O.M

December 1998

National TV Exposure…Who’s Fault?


The magic world has been turned on its collective ears recently with a television special devoted to the exposure of our beloved magical art. While it is indeed true that much of the blame rests with the people who created this fiasco, responsibility must also be claimed by the magic community itself.

If one examines many fraternal organizations that exist, such as the Masonic Lodges, Knights of Columbus, etc. A stunning realization takes root. These organizations have existed for several centuries and yet, members do a better job of keeping fraternal secrets from the public than magicians do with magic! One may argue that most magicians do their best in keeping their tricks of the trade under wraps, but it has to be admitted that magic tricks and books are far too available to the general public for magics own good. That is not to say that there is not a proper stable of magic that is suitable for the public, for indeed, so-called “cereal box” magic is fine for whetting the appetites of would be professionals and serious hobbyists. But when just about anyone with enough money is able to purchase just about any illusion built. Then episodes like the one seen on national television were just waiting to happen.

Is it possible to keep the secrets of magic in closed fraternities similar to the way the ones noted above do with their knowledge? Of course it is! We just have to step back, look at the big picture, and understand what magic is all about.


November 1997

Now Playing In Our “Members Only” Area!

The I.C.O.M Live Cyber-Radio Lecture!

We here at I.C.O.M are on the brink of completing the most innovative concept the world of magic has ever seen. By the end of November, members and non-members alike will be treated to a magical experience without peer. The I.C.O.M Live Cyber-Radio Lecture! Once a month to start, dates to be announced. The I.C.O.M Instructors will be providing a “Live” audio feed directly from our own I.C.O.M studios here in the great state of New Jersey. This feed will be available around the globe and will feature magic lectures “Live” in our members only area, students will have the opportunity to learn through this fantastic new medium. Stay tuned to this News Page for further details on how “YOU” can attend.

This month: Rare studio footage of never before heard portions of the original Ultimate Magic Rap Recording session! Topics include the use of “Simplicity” in magic and “One of the four most difficult aspects of being a magician” and how to overcome it!

October 1997



During the last week of October through the first week of November, our password protection went down temporarily due to the change from to the all new location,

And by the looks of our hit counter, word spread fast and many visited the Inner Sanctum and previewed all the great features I.C.O.M has to offer. We fully expect any who ventured in to sign up and become full fledged I.C.O.Mer’s!

However, our accidental visitors do not enjoy the real benefits of I.C.O.M. Only our official I.C.O.M members get virtual lessons as well as other benefits reserved for those who sign up. So please, anyone who inadvertently entered I.C.O.M, don’t try to e-mail us with questions on any material you may have seen. We know who you are!!!!!!!

August 1997

Famous Bookstore to Announce the Formation of The International Conservatory of Magic!

Barnes and Noble of Ledgewood New Jersey will host Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch on Saturday, July 26, 1997, to officially and formally announce the opening of I.C.O.M and I.C.O.M Online. Everyone is invited. There will be performances of magic for the whole family as well as other great surprises… all designed to kick off the first and foremost world-wide magic school of its kind, The International Conservatory of Magic.


I.C.O.M Online Co-Director Bobby J. Gallo and the World’s Greatest Mind Reader “Kevin Wisch” Showing the audience how it’s done at the Barnes & Noble of Ledgewood New Jersey where the Grand Opening of I.C.O.M Online was announced!


  • 1. Wanted: Dai Vernon’s Tribute to Nate Leipzeig. (book) E-mail:
  • 2. Wanted: Any magic manuscripts for booklets from an old magic catalog company called House of a Thousand Mysteries. Most material authored by a magician named Vic Lawson. E-mail:
  • 3. Wanted: Rice Silks. E-mail:
  • 4. Computer Games For Sale: $7.00 ea. All are like new, cd-rom, value $30.00 to $60.00 ea! E-mail for complete list:
The “Back Page” Classifieds are provided Free to I.C.O.M Online members. Classifieds may be placed by non-members at the rate of $10.00 per 3 months for each classified ad of 60 words or less. All ads include free E-mail link. (members be sure to include your I.C.O.M Online membership # when placing classifieds for discount)
I.C.O.M Online reserves the right to limit and/or restrict any and all contents of classifieds. Dealers may not advertise in “The Backpage” but may inquire about advertising banners available all throughout the I.C.O.M Online Web-site.


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:// 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:

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 ( 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 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 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…

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*

As Memory Serves by Ron Dayton

As Memory Serves

A Historical Look at Inventions & The People Who Created Them.
Ronald J. Dayton

ATTABOY. . .Jack Hughes

BANG GUN…Harry Leat
BOOK OF THE MIND…Peter Warlock
BLENDO.. .Frank Ducrot
BOTANIA.. .DeKolta

CARD FRAME ( sand )…Bosco
CARD BOX.. .Roterberg
CARD IN WALLET…Schwartz & Himber
CENTER TEAR ( mental )…Martin Sunshine
CHOP CUP…Al Wheatley
COIN WAND…T. Nelson Downs
CLIPPO…Will DeSieve
CARD CHANGER…Shigeru Sugawara

DIE BOX… Davison
DRAWER BOX.. .Ponsin
DYE BOX ( pop corn style )…Tommy Windsor

EGG ON FAN…Sterling

FORGETFUL FREDDIE.. .Melbourne Christopher
FICKLE NICKEL…Cornelius & Gann
FICKLE FIRE.. .Kikuchi

GWENDOLYN ( mechanical duck )…Clarke Crandall
GYPSY CURSE…Emerson & West

HAUNTED PACK ( improved )…Lou Tannen
HIMBER RING…Persi Diaconis
HIGH SIGN…Christopher & Rawson

JET SET…Neil Foster


LEWISCONE.. .Ken Lewis

MAD, MAD, MATCHES…James Rainho
MAGIC MANOR…Sid Lorraine


OUT TO LUNCH…Cummings & Ellis


RICE BOWLS ( disc )…T. F. Fritz
RICE BOWLS ( double wall )…Brahman
RING FLITE…Doe & Koran

SILK BOY…Peter Warlock
SILK CABBY…Tom Sellers
SILK FOUNTAIN.. .Marconick
SOFT SOAP…Doc Hallock


TOPIT…Harold Comden
TIP OVER BOX…Jack Gwynne
TWILIGHT.. .Paul Harris



WORD-AMATIC…Sam Schwartz
WILD CARDS…Frank Garcia
WUNDERBAR…Steve Dusheck Jr.


Visitors are welcome to add their names and creations to this list… Be a permanent part of magical history here at ICOM!