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By Mark Kornhauser

The Carnival Magic embarked on its maiden voyage on May 1, 2011. The ship cost $740 million and has the capacity for 3,646 passengers and 1,367 crew. It is three football fields long and weighs 260 million pounds — that’s twice the tonnage of the QE2 and almost three times the size of the Titanic. About two years ago, while the ship was being built in Italy, someone must have said “Hey, we should have a magic show on this ship.”

The next logical step was to ask Kevin Jeffrey and Gus Carrilo of Kevin & Caruso to co-produce the show with Carnival. Here’s a backstage look at the making of a million-dollar magic show — a story of power, money, sex, and danger.

 

 




By Gregory Curtis

It was a bright morning in May when my boss, Dr. Thomas F. Staley, director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, called me into his office. He pointed proudly to a green steel box about two feet long and eighteen inches wide. Gold letters on the front read “The Estate of Harry Houdini.” Houdini died on Halloween, 1926. This box was a recent gift to the Ransom Center from a lawyer who had worked on Houdini’s estate so many years ago.

I examined the contents over the next several days. With one exception, these papers were of only slight interest. But one brief note on a slip of paper had me running back to Tom Staley’s office to show him this treasure. Could this yellowed piece of paper resolve one of the great controversies involving Houdini, a controversy that did not arise until almost three years after his death?

 

 

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By Jamie D. Grant

Despite being on a Ducati, we weren’t actually going that fast. I was driving and Bill Abbott was on the seat behind me. Bill and I were cruising through the Canadian countryside along a winding road. He was in town for a gig, having been flown across the country to come perform in Victoria, which is on an island off the coast of Vancouver. This, of course, filled me with both admiration and horror.

Admiration: A church was paying to have Bill come out from Toronto, which is on the other side of the country, and was paying him a good deal amount of money to do so.

Horror: A church was paying to have Bill come out from Toronto, which is on the other side of the country, and was paying him a good deal amount of money to do so — while I live only thirty minutes away and am a performer myself.

 

 

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By Mark Nelson

In the 1960s, Mark Wilson drew huge crowds at trade shows with exactly what his company name promised: Magical Attractions. A Robot Girl, a Half Humanoid, and the Amazing Hand Machine cloaked illusions as science, and corporate messages as entertainment.

 

 

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By Alan Howard

The White Nights festival in Perm, Russia is really a festival of festivals. This year, one of the conventions making up the larger event was White Magic, “the first international magic convention on the border of Europe and Asia.”

 

 

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Nearly 800 registrants attended the International Brotherhood of Magicians 83rd Annual Convention in Dallas, Texas. Co-Chairmen David Sandy and Roger Miller dubbed this a “reinvention convention” for the IBM.

 

 

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Over the years, Fantasma Magic has hosted a series of tributes spotlighting some of magic’s living legends. This year, in honor of his 100th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his marriage to his wife Tammy, John Calvert received his very own three-day-long gala tribute in New York City. This event was merged with the return of the Magic On Manhattan convention, aided by past MOM producer Steve Rodman.

 

 

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It was a return engagement for the Essential Magic Conference, originating from Portugal but really taking place on computers across the globe. Building on their success last year, organizers Luis de Matos, David Britland, and Marco Tempest again surmounted the insurmountable to bring together magicians both live and electronic, keeping conjurors in front of their computer screens July 7–9.

 

 

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Luis de Matos, Marco Tempest, and David Britland teamed up once again to produce the Essential Magic Conference, July 6–8. MAGIC Magazine sat down with Luis in Portugal on the last morning of EMC to learn more about why they decided to produce an Internet convention, the difficulties they’ve run into, and what their plans are for the future.

 

 

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Remembrances of Eugene Johnson, Bruce Bray, Sidney Radner, Jimmy Yoshida, and Hank Moorehouse.

 

 

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Nineteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Jason England, Gabe Fajuri, Greg Gleason, Brad Henderson, John Lovick, Francis Menotti, and Will Houstoun:

Handle with Carey by John Carey.
365 by Chris Congreave
The Heist by Lance Richardson
Elements by Lance Pierce
Postcards by Hernan Macagno
Shootout by Adam Dadswell.
Tenkai Pennies & Milliken’s Transpostition
X-Tension by Alexander Kolle
A Rhapsody in Silk by Ade Duval
Impossible Card Magic & Impossible Close-Up Magic with Ray Kosby
New York Coin Magic Seminar Volumes 14, 15 & 16
Twizted by Eric Jones
The DarkSide Deck by Lucas Allen
Coin Balloon-acy with Magic-Ian.
Out of this World
Look No Hands by Wayne Dobson
The Way of Shinobi by Emran Riaz
The Trapdoor, Vol. 1 edited by Steve Beam
Illuminate by Mike Hankins

 

 




This issue contains five routines. Each one of them will make you say “Hey, I could use that in my next show!”These are audience-tested routines from working pros. Cameron Ramsay shares a signed bill to party popper, John Lovick has a new take on Confabulation, Aljaz Son offers a trick with a penny and a cell phone (both borrowed), and Fritz Alkamade presents us with two workable card effects.

 

 




Floyd Thayer to Howard Thurston
Howard Thurston’s quest to retain his lofty position as America’s foremost magician meant that he was constantly searching for new effects that could be added to his ever-changing show. Friends and fellow magicians were forever on the lookout for new mysteries that could be sent Thurston’s way.

During the week of January 8, 1931, Chris Charlton appeared at the RKO Theatre in Los Angeles. He soon discovered that Floyd Thayer’s workshop on San Pedro Street was within walking distance from the theater, so he made a point of visiting this well-known magic emporium. During one such visit, Floyd showed him a brand new illusion. Although it wasn’t something Chris could use, he thought it might be of interest to Howard Thurston, whom he’d met during his travels across America — but the illusion had one big flaw.

 

 

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Short Sleeves
The performer picks up a spectator’s marked and flattened coffee sleeve, holding it by its ends between both hands, and appears to “stretch” it. Afterward, he picks up his own coffee sleeve and holds it next to the stretched one to show that the marked one is indeed longer.The performer then appears to stretch the unmarked sleeve. Holding it next to the marked sleeve, he shows that the unmarked one is now longer.
Next, he takes the supposedly “longer” sleeve and taps the end several times on the tabletop, ostensibly to normalize it. To prove that this is true, he slips it back onto his cup. A perfect fit.

Finally, he taps the end of the remaining sleeve to make it even shorter. To prove that this is also true, he hands this sleeve to the spectator and watches him go crazy trying to slip it onto his cup with a not-so-perfect fit.

 

 

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Buddha Takes the Bus
Many people have had this experience while performing:  You’ve done your routine so many times, your mind just starts to wander. You realize you just had a thought about your grocery list. The audience provides a kind of steadiness to your quietly directed mind. You gently lead yourself back to your routine. All’s well. People are still laughing. You are right back where you left off. You just briefly went on automatic pilot. Every so often, you sense that you are watching yourself. It’s effortless, fun. You are a “witness” to your actions. And it would be fair to call this a “mystical” experience.

 

 

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One More Bow
Marvyn Roy (Mr. Electric) & Carol had an illustrious and celebrated career in the world of magic and variety. They traveled the world for over fifty years, performing in such places as the London Palladium, the MGM Grand and Tropicana casinos in Las Vegas, and The Lido in Paris. The performance principles demonstrated in Marvyn and Carol’s act are good examples from which to learn. The attitude, costume, and music styles may date back a bit, bit if you stripped away those elements and dressed up the act with more current styles, you would find Marvyn’s solid routine structure still stands. The staging is sound and well-founded, and it shows off the magic to its best advantage.

 

 

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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
© 2011 MAGIC Magazine [click to return to cover page]