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By Jason England

Playing cards. They’re arguably the world’s most popular magic props. Prompted by the release of the new Mandolin Back design — created by magicians, for magicians, with a look very much like Bicycle Rider Backs — we explore the history of The United States Playing Card Company.



By Rory Johnston

When stage and close-up magician Richard McDougall gave a talk on performance last year at MAGIC Live!, he struck some nerves — but in a good way. His views on making magic memorable got people talking and, hopefully, thinking. So, we asked him to tell us more.




By Rory Johnston

While audiences can read what’s on his arms — he has a lot of tattoos — Luke Jermay can read what’s in their minds. He’s gone from a young British teen with a pack of cards to an internationally respected mentalist with a one-man Vegas show under his belt.




By Gabe Fajuri

This annual arts festival in Toronto draws over a million attendees. Last June, the event celebrated “The Art of the Impossible” with special performances by Mac King, Max Maven, Bob Sheets, and Juan Tamariz.




By Gabe Fajuri

She grew up in the magic world, working in her parents’ act and in their Vancouver magic shop, developing her own prize-winning close-up act, and performing on cruise ships. Her travels led her to Toronto, where Julie Eng is now Executive Director of Magicana, the performing arts organization that focuses on — what else? — magic.




Packs Flat, Plays Big
Since 2003, Franz Harary has been working with musical artist Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot, adding magic to her shows. “Over the years, Missy has performed over 22 major illusions,” Franz says. “That’s more than most professional magicians!” In a 2008 tour of Russia, the props did not arrive. With a performance looming, Franz dug through the stadium for anything he could find that was silver: a collection of random trusses, ladders, pots, and pans, and combined them together in a sixteen-foot modern-art sculpture, creating a platform on which Missy could appear, utilizing black-art. Suddenly it was clear that massive props were not necessary to travel with.

The Dickens Parlour Theatre
Charles Dickens was not only a major contributor to the world’s literary heritage, he was also an amateur magician. So, when Rich Bloch decided to open his own performance venue in Bethany Beach, Delaware, he chose the name Dickens Parlour Theatre as an homage to the author. “I was looking for a venue for a summer theater and came across a little over an acre of land near a supermarket mall, with a house, cottage, and big garage. When I walked into the garage, I saw that it had a raised platform and it occurred to me that if I knocked out a wall I could have a stage.”

Wonder in a Bottle
Jamie Grant, a 36-year-old magician who lives in Vancouver, BC, has started a unique project: the Send Wonder campaign. He has created 100 custom-designed decks with the words “Never Give Up” printed on one side. One edge of the card box reads: “Nothing is Impossible.” The decks are put into the bottles using his secret process, then left in a public area. Eventually, someone discovers the bottle and gets to keep it.

Carnival Magic
When the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut scheduled a run of the classic musical comedy Carnival!, they brought in Mark Kalin to serve as magic consultant. A Broadway hit that first opened in 1961, Carnival! tells the story of a young woman who joins a circus, where she encounters magician — Marco the Magnificent. Kalin coached the cast and helped stage sequences that include a modified Sword Box and a Table of Death, as well as some sleight of hand with cigarettes and a pocket watch.

Peter Gossamer return to the Silver Dollar City Opera House in Branson, Missouri; Shaquille O’Neal challenges Penn & Teller for an upcoming TV show; a Lunchbox-O-Magic is unveiled for Barnes & Noble by Mac King; and remembrances of Tony Corinda, Glenn Falkenstein, and Felix Snipes.



Fouteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Brad Henderson, Will Houston, and John Lovick:

Sick by Ponta the Smith
The Complete Ganson Magic Teach-In Series by Lewis Ganson
Cansposed by Carl Leek
Royal Opener by Bob Solari and Bill Wisch
iForce by Greg Rostami
Palms of Steel 5: Pirates of the Rising Tide by Curtis Kam
Annie Abbott “The Little Georgia Magnet” and the True Story of Dixie Haygood by Susan and Hugh Harrington
Reflection starring Bill Goodwin
Houdini The Movie Star
Gecko Flash
When Thurston Came to Town
Six. Impossible. Things. by John Bannon
Blank Night by John Archer
Bloomeries with Gaetan Bloom


A blockbuster card issue! Simon Aronson starts us off with an amazing, simple two-card transposition. Then it’s on to another card legend, as Darwin Ortiz shares a previously unpublished routine using a named four-of-a-kind. Next, Marcus Eddie contributes an impossible penetration using a playing card and a rubber-banded deck. Rick Lax explains a difficult but pretty color change. And James Alan wraps things up with a risqué card revelation.



Pyrotechnics and the Law
For centuries magicians have been associated with a flash of light, a puff of smoke, and a precisely timed “Ta-da!” Flash paper, flash cotton, and flash string have been staples of the art, as were cigarettes in days gone by. Torches, sparklers, and other flaming devices may be used to delight your crowd. For the magician who wants a great effect to be even greater, an explosion may seem like the perfect answer. But is it legal?




Motion Sickness
DEAR SHOW DOCTOR: I was looking at your tour schedule and was amazed by the amount of time you spend on the road. You seem to be in a different state or country just about every week. How do you do it? Do you really love traveling or do you get sick of it? Do you have good tips or advice for novice travelers?
— Thomas D.




Henry Ridgley Evans to Harry Houdini
This 84-year-old letter is the result of a bitter feud that played out publicly in the pages of magic magazines worldwide during the roaring twenties. As with any feud, people were forced to choose sides, even when they would have preferred to remain neutral. Since this letter contains nothing shocking or even slightly controversial, it could be easily overlooked. But if the reader is aware of what was going on in the magic world at that time, it becomes a clear window on this contentious period in magic history. During the summer of 1926, two controversies were raging, and both of them involved the world’s most famous magician, Harry Houdini.




It’s absolutely true: in watching other performers, we can see ourselves. We sometimes make the same mistakes or the same brilliant choices, but don’t recognize them until we observe them in someone else. Through this series of articles, enhanced by the accompanying videos you can find at, you can learn from watching other performers as I gently point out ways that their material can be improved, as well as the aspects of their acts that are working well. Although they refer directly to the video in question, these points also carry over as general principles of performing. There are many right ways of doing things, and these are a few options.



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MAGIC, The Magazine For Magicians (ISSN 1062-2845) is published monthly for $54 per year by Stagewrite Publishing, Inc., 6220 Stevenson Way, Las Vegas, NV 89120 USA. Periodical Postage Paid at Las Vegas, NV, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MAGIC - Attn: Circulation Dept., 6220 Stevenson Way, Las Vegas, NV 89120 USA
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