I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/98-9/98

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


I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

July 1998

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part IX

POTPOURRI

OLD BUSINESS

Do not forget to provide general and special lighting for your magical performances, whenever possible.

GREETINGS

As Dr. OM is writing this June issue of his treatise, he is sitting in a deck chair on the passenger loading platform of the Arlington, Vermont Train Station. No, he is not waiting for a train; he is visiting the station, now the home, art studio, and gallery of his good old friend, Dr. Harold Lemmerman. Dr. Lemmerman and Dr. OM worked for many long years together at New Jersey, City University; Dr. Lemmerman as Scene Designer, and Dr. OM as Artistic Theatre Director.
Now retired, Dr. Lemmerman is permanently settled in Arlington. If you are ever on vacation in southern Vermont, just over the New York border, drop in to visit “DOC” and chat about scenic design and construction. He will love to see you. Note Dr. Lemmerman vs rendering of his new home, below:

MAGICAL LESSONS FROM LIFE, NATURE, AND ART

Driving to school each morning, on the New Jersey Turnpike, Dr. OM traverses a stretch of road which passes alongside a radio transmitter, with the consequence that the station being broadcast annoyingly intrudes upon the station of Dr. OM’s choice. Both signals are of about the same intensity, and yet, Dr. OM, by concentrating, is able to screen out the unwanted station and continue listening to the station he wants to hear.

Pianists, harpists, and guitarists, among other instrumentalists are able to divide the mind, in order to function with both right and left hands. Motorists, organists, and percussionists are able to function with both hands and feet simultaneously.

Lesson: So, too, must the performing magician be able to divide attention between, not only the hands and foot placement, but also between the business of magician’s technique and the business of acting when executing magical effects. Practice and rehearsal makes possible the same kind of eventual subconscious control an experienced driver employs. When such happens, the magician has achieved mastery.

In magical performance, practice is for achieving technical skill and for experimenting with the internal routining of an effect toward growth and improvement; rehearsal is for sequencing the effects, both skillfully and dramatically toward the culmination of an integrated act.

Back home again from school, Dr. OM, standing in the front yard of his home, was taught another magical lesson, this time by Mother Nature, herself. He suddenly became aware of pink and white crab apple blossoms and seeds cascading onto the lawn. They had been shaken down by the intelligent intent of a squirrel which was too well camouflaged among the branches and leaves for Dr. OM to see; had they not been so shaken down by the squirrel, a gust of wind would have inevitably done the job, because the seeds were fat, loose, and ready to pop, at the slightest provocation.

The events, as they happened, provide a small glimpse of the grand design of nature: the squirrel eats some seeds shaken to the ground by whatever means; overlooks some seeds leaving them on the ground; swallows and digests some seeds; and eliminates some undigested seeds, in accordance with the cause and effect plan of nature which, thus, germinates new crab apple tree offspring; but without awareness of the apparent causes, the effects seem truly magical. Lesson: In stage magic, when the cause is not apparent, the effect seems wrought by magic. The causes must be kept hidden, either by mechanical means such as camouflage, gimmick, gaff, or by misdirection or sleight of hand. Sleight of hand is a translation from the French: LEGERDEMAIN, or: LEGER (light); DE (of); and MAIN (hand), i.e., literally:LIGHT OF HAND, or, figuratively: LIGHT FINGERED. The English language has a way of contracting words, In the same way that GOD’S BLOOD became OD’S BLOOD and GOD HAVE MERCY became GRAMMERCY, as in GRAMMERCY PARK, so, too: IS LIGHT OF HAND became: S’LIGHT OF HAND, and eventually: SLEIGHT OF HAND; and by further abbreviational corruption, finally became merely: SLEIGHT.

During the two weeks prior to Dr. OM’s visit to Arlington to arrange a series of magical and musical performances throughout the coming month of August, through Dr. Lemmerman’s venue contacts in southern Vermont, Dr. Om had performed four magic floor shows and three musical shows with his musical partner Marcel Guttierez. Two of the magic shows were exclusively for children (and their parents, of course). On the day of his return from Vermont, Dr. OM was stricken by a strange malady. After several visits to his fine physician, four hours in a hospital emergency room, and consultation with a Contagious Disease Specialist, Dr. OM’s ailment was diagnosed as: FIFTH DISEASE, a sickness Dr. OM had never before heard of. Undoubtedly, he had contracted the illness at one of his magic shows for children. Lesson: Dr. OM recommends that he and other entertainers of children consult with our physicians about safeguarding against children’s diseases, which have a way of afflicting adults much more severely than they do children. Suffice to say, Dr. OM spent twelve days flat on his back in bed.

Mrs. OM enjoys watching the figure skaters on television. Occasionally, Dr. OM watches with her for company, but not without his own pleasure. Some skaters are skillful, some are athletic, some are graceful, and some are poetic. All are beautiful in the special way that only youth can be, but poetry wins out-poetry in motion.

Technically, the attention to detail and the split second timing are impressive. A performing magician can learn much from the movement and choreography of skaters and dancers.

The synchronization with music is quite astounding. The physical prowess of the skaters is awe inspiring, but the poetry, when the poetry happens, is the moment of art. The analog here with poetic magical performance is obvious. Magicians are poets more than athletes. All too often, magical performance is conceived of as a sport, rather than an art. The science of magic must be transmuted into the art of magic.

Please forgive Dr. OM for what might seem to be presumption. At times such as this he is writing as a critic rather than an artist magician, with full awareness that his own performance is subject to the criticism he makes. Alas, Dr. OM will never achieve the goal, but winning closer is the game. Ultimately the magician who lives every moment of his life as magician, in his secret heart aspires to be able to perform non-physical magic without props and clap-trap, to truly make authentic miracles happen; to utter the “spirit ditties of no tone,” as the poet John Keats put it; yes: “heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.”

Getting back to earth, the idealism of the artist magician must be seen as achievable only through the material of his art. The artist is a materialist who intimates spirit through the material of his art; who creates magical illusions. Magicians have gone off the deep end in the necessary belief that what they do is real magic. In an old second rate film starring actor Paul Newman, in his first major role, supporting actor Jack Palance plays the part of the court magician, in the setting of ancient Roman times. Unfortunately for Jack, who has built a high tower from the top of which he is to magically fly, he deludes himseaccommodate into believing he can fly without the rig he has invented. Of course, like Icarus, he falls to his death. No, the artist is a realist and materialist who intimates spirit through the material of his art, and yet, the magician must infuse illusion with belief; belief breeds belief. There is a difference between belying and believing. what should magical material then be; what should constitute the repertoire?

Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch have posed a question for Dr. OM’S consideration, as follows:

why do certain tricks work for some magicians but not for others?

Dr. OM’s response to the question takes the form of the checklist which follows:

1) Does the effect suit the personality of the magician’s persona?

2)Is the magician physically capable of performing the effect vis-a-vis: strength, skill, dexterity, and mental acuteness, e.g: can he lift his assistant onto the broomstick, without toppling over, as Dr. OM has.

3) Is the effect too replicative of another effect performed in the repertoire, vis-a-vis prop appearance or magical form, ie: too many cut and restored, penetrations, or transpositions?

4) Is the effect a performance item too identifiable with another local or national magician, especially televised?

5) How well does the effect generally fit into the sequence of effects comprising the entire act; does one effect flow smoothly into the next?

6) Is there building from one effect to the next toward a climax of the entire act?

7) Ultimately, how does the effect play before audiences? Is there consistent positive response in the form of applause or other reaction to the effect?

ADVISORY: Reading descriptions of magical effects is the most economical way to discover appropriate items for the repertoire. The old saw: “Never be the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last to put the old aside,” is not necessarily true in magic. New and original inventions are always worth trying, and age old classics, like old wine in new bottles, will be brought to new life by imaginative and novel presentations.

During the seven years Dr. OM’s granddaughter, Allcia, and her parents were living with Dr. and Mrs. OM, they shared many happy hours together. On one occasion when Alicia was about seven years of age, she brought home with her for a play day her little friend, Yu, and Dr. OM performed magic for them. when he had finished the performance, little Yu turned quite spontaneously to Allcia, saying:

“Oh, Allcia, you’re so lucky to have a grandfather who is a magician.” Alicia shot back, sardonically: “Yeah, but you don’t have to live with it.” Lesson: “A prophet is never appreciated in his own country,” or, as Gertrude Stein put it: “I write (perform) for myself and people who don’t know me.” Close friends and family see the magician as himself, rather than the persona he projects. They know him too well to see his character; his well known real self gets in the way.

The fact is that Alicia has quite a sense of humor, and does enjoy Dr. OM’s magic. when she was small, Dr. OM named the squirrels in the yard for her amusement. There were Nutsy and his wife Hazel (Dr. OM could never really tell them apart), and their offspring, among which was the runt of the litter. The tiny fellow had no difficulty eating the bird seed, but he was so short legged that he would trip over a slice of white bread held in his mouth by its crust. Day after day, Alicia and Dr. OM watched him tripping, over and over again, until one morning he stopped dead in his tracks, as if an idea had struck him, extended his tiny paws underhandedly under the slice of bread, and folded it over grasping the opposite edge of crust with his teeth without letting go of the other edge. He had successfully folded the slice of bread in half and could easily run with it held in his mouth. Thereafter, Dr. OM observed him performing the same trick, over and over again, and therefore named him Einstein.

Dr. OM has never before nor since ever observed a squirrel perform the same feat. Generations of Nutsys and Hazels and their children have come and gone, but never another such as Einstein. Thinking about the genius of Einstein, the squirrel, Dr. OM concludes that, although others might explain his act as instinctive, perhaps reasoning that squirrels had done so with large leaves to line their nests, since time immemorial, he, Dr. OM, had never seen a squirrel perform the same act with a leaf; and squirrels, after all, have been around a long time before sliced bread. No, the act was a sheer act of genius. Necessity IS the mother of invention, and Nutsy I and Hazel I’s son was the Einstein of the squirrel world. Lesson: Give a personally inventive twist to everything you do in magic. lf a squirrel can do it, so can you. Take it from Dr. OM, there is no such thing as a squirrel proof birdfeeder.

MAGIC AND PROGRAM MUSIC

Directors Bobby Gallo and Bill Wisch have asked Dr. OM to give attention to the use of program music in a magic act. The first act of Dr. OM’s own stage show is pantomimically set to music. During intermission he (one man act that he must be) fades out the first act music and brings up the interlude and second act music. Given that his stage act is componentially composed, the first act stands alone as a nightclub or restaurant floor show, causing no problem with working the sound track. For parlour shows or extended floor shows, he goes right into the vocal second act without intermission, allowing the music of the first act to run out as it will. Magical effects are added to the longer versions of the act and cut from the shorter versions of the act to accommodate physical life transitions and the special nature of the audience, but essentially, the show remains pretty much the same. Items cut are usually those which perform well on stage but do not perform well closer up because of angle and other visual considerations. In no case is any effect added or cut at such a juncture in the act as will disrupt the synchronization between physical life action and sound track. The advantage is that when one act serves multi-purposes, concerted effort can be given to practice and rehearsal-the act is everything.

Again, as in all, prevails the demand to suit the music to the personality of the magician’s persona and the theme of each routine contained in the act, be it comedically whimsical, emotionally romantic, or seriously dramatic. Commercially prepared background music tapes and and CD’s are offered on the market, for magical productions. Dr. OM has found a satisfactory combination of selections drawn from both such specialized recordings and a variety of general music-for- listening recordings. He is about to extend into especially composed and recorded original music to embellish his prerecorded sound track; perhaps with voice-over recitations of his own poetry and his own vocal renditions of original and standard songs. At present, adding the original elements is in the planning and experimental stage.

“Splicing” the selections is not difficult to do, especially if the PAUSE, rather than the STOP button of the tape recorder is used. However, even when unwanted low level juncture noise occurs, it passes quickly and usually unnoticeably during the course of performance, because program music, at its best, provides background without being obtrusive; the music should underpin the act but not dominate the act. The music should appeal to the audience subconscious, rather than conscious attention. Of course a seamless recording is always to be desired, given the necessary technological advantage of high quality equipment or the services of a recording studio. Use music is best of all, but show bands and orchestras to perform special arrangements are rare in most venues these days. In the old days, not only would a live musical organization provide nearly perfectly coordinated program music, but musicians in the front row were enlisted by the magician as assistants who would clandestinely slip him props during the course of the show.

However, carefully selected recorded program music as an alternative to live music can favorably enhance the rhythm, timing, and flow of manipulative magic with cards, balls, and rings, and does emphasize the comedic, romantic, and dramatic moods contained in an act.

In practice sessions with card slights and effects other than manipulative, Dr. OM finds that music lends an evenness and rhythm to his handling, even though no music is to be utilized during walk-around performance, in his customary restaurant venues. The ear picks up the rhythms and transmits them to the hands. The ear picks up the mood of the music and infuses the magician’s sensibility. For walk-around, Dr. OM prefers brief, snappy, visual effects performable in the magician’s and the spectator’s hands. The mood he intends is light-hearted and playful. The music he most prefers practicing to for these purposes are the light-hearted songs of Carlo Buti. Such stylistic choices are extremely personal and only the individual magician himself can make them.
Another practical deficiency in controlling music in a one man act without the assistance of a sound technician or live musicians, is that of graduating the intensity of the music such that it does not drown out the verbal life (patter). Music underlying verbal life must be even less obtrusive than background music to pantomime. Thoughtful selection of musical segments with special attention to their intensity and functional placement as program music in the act can alleviate the problem.

In addition to the thematic emphasis music provides, is the time period setting establishment. An ultra modern act will employ ultra modern music; a traditional act will employ traditional music.

Generally, vocal musical background sung by well known professional vocalists is unadvisable, because the audience will recognize the vocalist and the association resulting psychologically detracts from the performance at hand. Dr. OM has found this to be true of ice skating performances which employ songs sung by the late and great Frank Sinatra, or another well known singer. The great artist singer does not need the embellishment provided by the skaters, and audience focus of attention may well shift from the skating to the singing. Besides, there is something akin here to the amateurism of pantomimists of the twenties, thirties, and forties, especially, who visually “sang along” with Rudy Valee, Bing Crosby. or Nat Cole. The less recognizable the source of the music, the better. Even, too famIliar classical, jazz, or popular instrumentals can distract an audience, if only with the thought: “Can’t this guy find his own music?” Ideally, program music should be composed and performed live especially for an act. who would want to attend an announcedly new musical play contrived of songs stolen from George Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, and Gerome Kern? A recital, yes; a new original act, no. Unfortunately, in magic, the ideal is seldom possible, except for high budget acts.

Nevertheless, if carefully selected and re-recorded, canned program music can be most effective and greatly enhance even the low budget magic show. The low budget should be regarded as an additional challenge inventively and artistically met in every aspect of magical theatre. when such is accomplished, the management of program music can set the mood and help to tell the story of an act by subconsciously affecting the audience sensibility and stimulating the sharing of an illusion, the suspense, and the excitement, of a magical performance. The components of presentation transform a mere puzzle into magical entertainment. Without presentational aesthetic a magical effect remains a trick. Program music can play a great part in aesthetic presentation. A cardinal rule of performance might be expressed as: Do not imitate; rather, assimilate and become an original. Any rule of art may be broken, but if you break a rule, be sure to break it beautifully.

OF COMPOSITION

Written composition is effected in one of two modes: 1) the prose mood; and 2) the poetic mode. Dr. OM, throughout this present series of articles, has been employing each of the two modes, as he sees appropriate to the subject matter at hand. Therefore, Dr. OM presents to his readers his poem: PSALM FOR SOME, to better express that, as is true of all performing artists, the artist of magic is a risk taker who must be careful not to reveal the secrets of his art to the general public, either by performing ineptly, or by being unscrupulously profit motivated enough to engage in roguish public exposes, thereby betraying the ancient trust of the magic fraternity.

PSALM FOR SOME

The first law is survival and we do what we must to survive. We are not hypocrites, but we walk the jungle paths cautiously, avoiding this, or that twig of betrayal. We move in shadows wearing borrowed fleece, disguised in the flock, hurting no one but ourselves, letting no blood but our own, and if discovered, butchered, on the hewn block of mutual agreement. Ours is a life of moments stolen from the great hour glass of convention; ours is the day of stars eclipsing pretense with the bright light of emotion. In the valley of the shadow of death, we call upon no one, and yet, when prayers are answered, ours will be the first.
OM

NOTE: The celebratory August 1998 issue will initiate the magicschool program of study on four successive levels: 1) Rudimentary magic; 2) Intermediate magic; 3) Advanced magic; and 4) Master Class.


The following is composed of material that is always handy to have around. These creative, comedic lines can be used to “spice-up” an act giving an added comedy touch that can be so crucial to good entertainment…BJG

I.C.O.M-edy Lines
By
Ronald J. Dayton

1. Show a card which is bent in ripple fashion and say; ” Psychic’s Key Card!”

2. A theology student once told me no one could play cards on the Arc. Noah was standing on the deck.

4. Never play cards for big stakes if you are a vegetarian!

5. Strange, isn’t it?  Gambler’s earn a living holding hands.

6. Egg Bag Line:  ” Oh, don’t worry. It didn’t vanish. It just got mis-laid. “

7. Opening Line:  ” Good evening ladies and third time offenders…”

8. The acoustics must be bad in here, I couldn’t hear the applause!”

9. I went to see another magician’s show the other night, just to see what MY act looked like.


August 1998

Magical Commandments
By
Mike Fordice PhD

The following list of “commandments” has been prepared based on actual experiences over the years. Take them for what they are worth–friendly advise!…Mike F.

I. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, request “that trick you did 19 club meetings ago.”

II. Thou shalt not blast intense flashes of light into spectators’ eyes. (ie, FISM Flash is NOT a close-up tool)

III. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, announce “I was going to buy that, but I didn’t think it was that good.”

IV. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, request the source of the routine and/or trick being performed.

V. Thou shalt not take all the punch lines from the performer. (This particularly applies to those who are not performing, but cannot stand the fact that they are not!)

VI. Thou shalt not announce that: “I would never buy that effect because I make all that sort of thing myself.”

VII. Thou shalt not interrupt the performance complaining that the salad dressing is not your favorite kind.

VIII. Thou shalt not ask why the performer has more that one deck of cards in his close-up case.

IX. Thou shalt, prior to performance or quietly on the side, request the performance of a particular routine which you know the performer routinely performs.

X. Thou, as a magician, shalt lead the applause and appreciation of the performer.

Co-Director Notes: When I first read these commandments years ago that Mike wrote, they didn’t mean much to me as a fledgling semi-pro. Now after years as a full-time professional magician, I re-read them and can honestly say, that I was rolling on the floor laughing. Some times the truth is funnier than fiction…BJG


September 1998

Co-Directors Notes: The reason we offer so much material every month is partly due to the fact that not everything will be for everyone. The following is such a piece. I am attempting to relate this to the reader before the mountain of e-mail starts to come in asking what much of this information pertains to. The bottom line is that the following contains facinating and educational trivia and information for those already familiar with many of the classic personalitites in magic history. It is priceless in that regard. If you do not understand some of it, that’s ok, someday you will re-read this and realize it is one of the best articles you have ever read! However, the part on coins should be read by everyone …BJG

  “JINXACALIA”
By
Ron Dayton

An interesting book title,  mirroring the name of a classic illusion  to be created by Robert Harbin decades later, was mentioned  by Walter Gibson in a Jinxiana article, in The Conjuror’s Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 1949.  A gentleman named Fulton Oursler had contacted Ted Anneman in hopes of learning the author of a book called, ” Zigzag the Magician.”  A huge part of the plot of this book had to do with the way Zigzag stopped a panick in a theater by steering the audience safely outdoors when a fire threatened.  Years later, a Reader’s Digest account attributed just such cool thinking in the face of danger, and attributed it to Harry Blackstone…who also saved a theater full of people in the exact same manner.  The unknown author and creator of Zigzag, may well have had a premonition, a sense of prophecy…or, was it simply fate??

Mr. Gibson reported in yet another article of Jinxiana the Ted Anneman had done extensive experimentation with the spinning of coins to see if any in particular would come up one side more often than the other.  He noted that the head side of a Buffalo nickle varied from the depth of the stamped tail side…and wondered if this difference would affect the end result of a spin.  As it turned out, one side did not favor the other.. but we should applaud  his sense of wonder. As it turned out, Mr. Gibson discovered that a Canadian King GeorgeV nickel did indeed favor one side over another.  In this instance, the head side came up the vast majority of the time.  It had been a year or more since Anneman began the search, and Gibson carried the thought on.

The point I am making to I.C.O.M members is this.  The principle may well apply today as it did then.  If students here in the US, as well as those abroad take the time to look…perhaps you too may discover a coin which may be used to force heads or tails as well.  Personally, I think it would be worth the look.

By July of 1949, Walter Gibson reported that the ‘way’  Ted Anneman’s publication, ” The Jinx ” got its name, had almost been forgotten.  Now, fifty years later,  I doubt all but the most dyed in wool  historian would know.  I thought perhaps the members of I.C.O.M might enjoy this bit of trivia.

Prior to the appearance of Genii magazine in the early 1930’s, the only publication available was ” The Sphinx.”  Magicians of the day began to playfully fool around, kidding about the lack of  choices.  They gave the publication nicknames…ones which rhymed with Sphinx…and ones which were not always kind.  One of the names that caught on in the New York area was Jinx.

Every friday, when the Sphinx would come out, magicians would enter Holden’s magic shop and ask if the Jinx was in yet.  Anneman, quick to see the value in this, produced his magazine, and called it the ” Jinx “.  He timed its release and appearence with that of the Sphinx.  When the boys came in to Holden’s shop and asked their usual question…he said a resounding, ” Yes!”  And the very first issue of ” The Jinx ” was a total sell-out because of it.

In yet another suppliment of Jinxiana, Gibson reported on exactly how Burling Hull came to devise the ‘ long and short ‘ principle found in the Svengali pack, and others. It began as an effort on the part of Hull to disguise a one-card forcing deck.  What he did was to take one half of the forcing deck and  shuffle in an equal number of cards from an ordinary deck…dove-tail fashion.  The cards were not pushed flush.

After seeing for himself the success of this arrangement which showed one card when riffled at one end, and mixed cards when riffled at the opposite end, the next logical advancement for Hull was to shorten the force cards…and so, that is what Burling Hull did.  The rest is magical history.

A very humorous story comes from a billboard ad which ran in the 1930’s for Blackston Cigars.  The ad read;  Blackstone…Extremely Mild.  Upon seeing the ads,  Harry Blackstone Sr. slapped covering stickers over the ‘extremely mild’ part, which advertised which theater he would be playing at that week.

At first, the cigar company was angered…but then, they saw both the humor and the potential for themselves in what Blackstone the magician had done. This resulted in the running gag of the time for the Blackstone show being, Blackstone….Extremely Mild.

One day shortly there after, John Calvert visited Blackstone in his Los Angeles dressing room.  Someone present opened a magazine, and pointed to the Cigar company quotation, where upon another visitor turned to a different page which carried an ad for a popular adult beverage which read…” Calvert is Milder! “

Martin Gardner was a man who followed the trail of  the elusive gambler, S. W. Erdnase, just as a detective follows the clues to solve a crime.  The reward Gardner and others have hoped to achieve was the confirmation of this mans true identity. The life of Erdnase is filled with mystery and intrigue…as well as the possibility of a crime as violent as murder.

Many first class accounts of this search for the man called Erdnase have appeard in print since, but, one of the very first was within the pages of  ” The Conjuror’s Magazine “, August 1949.

Mr. Gardner located and interviewed the man who illustrated the book  Erdnase was said to have authored…” The Expert At The Card Table,”  which was released as a privately published work in 1902 by Chicago printers J. McKinney and Co.

The artist was Chicago illustrator Marshall D. Smith.  He confirmed to Mr. Gardner that the man he met in Chicago to discuss the lay-out of the work had come to Chicago from New York.  He did not recall the man’s first name, but  stated as fact that his last name was Andrews.  Gardner was quick to reveal that Andrews spelled backwards gives the name, S. W. Erdnase(maj).  It is my own personal flight of fantasy to think that maj might be short for maji!?

The New York directory for 1909 lists a James J. Andrews, occupation; clairvoyant as living on Sixth Avenue.  Further, an article which appeared in the 1909 issue of Harper’s Weekly  was written by one S. W.Erdnase.  In the article, he describes himself as being a thin, blonde, blue-eyed, nervous American. This matches the description Mr. Smith gave of the man he met,  Mr. Andrews.

Oddly enough,  Mr. Gardner also reports that within the Harper’s article,  this man who supposedly authored the article also refers to himself as being Abdul Aziz Khan!!

And so dear reader…the mystery continues to this very day.  It is still debated, and, the search for Erdnase goes on.


Coming in October

Dr.Om’s Mini Miracle Course In Writing For Magician’s

Co-Director’s Notes: I.C.O.M is once again proud to announce the birth of yet another ground-breaking, and not mention, totally original concept in the development of the magical arts.


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Author: Bobby J. Gallo

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