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 http://www.gti.net/icomo/ to the all new location, http:www.magicschool.com.

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: ProMagi@msn.com
  • 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: ProMagi@msn.com
  • 3. Wanted: Rice Silks. E-mail: ProMagi@msn.com
  • 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: ProMagi@msn.com
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Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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