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By Mark Nelson

Rich Bloch is a man who journeys constantly between two worlds. To magicians, he’s a creative performer, delightful raconteur, and amiable host. To the business world, he is one of the country’s most respected labor arbitrators, rendering judgments involving such towering institutions as United Airlines, the NFL, and NBC. Right now, both of his reputations — miracle worker and adjudicator — are of minimal influence, as he waits for a decision from the Town Council of Millville, Delaware, regarding his latest enterprise, the Dickens Parlor Theater, “five minutes west of the Bethany Beach Totem Pole on Route 26.”

 

 




By John Cox

The great magician and escape artist Harry Houdini getting lost under the ice of a frozen river is one of the most memorable scenes in the 1953 Paramount movie Houdini, starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. But did you know that scene was first due to appear in a Houdini film 21 years earlier? That was just one of the surprise discoveries John Cox made while examining the long-forgotten file on RKO 589 — Hollywood’s first attempt to make a movie based on the life of Harry Houdini.

 

 

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By Tina Lenert

Rob Zabrecky is an odd man. More specifically, he is the Odd Man. His unique persona is highly reminiscent of Norman Bates, with a bit of Rod Serling in the mix — a psycho from the Twilight Zone, doing magic. Whether performing the Diminishing Cards while spasmodically “dancing” off beat to the music, getting electrocuted, cutting paper into two-headed dolls, or introducing his 95-year-old grandfather — who turns out to be ashes in an urn — the results are both mystifying and amusing, fascinating and entertaining. One cannot help but wonder, however, just how much of the strange fellow onstage is the real Rob and how much is acted by design. Once more is known about his background, the possibilities open that the mix may be more even than one would initially surmise.

 

 

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By Dale Salwak

The evening of December 30 in London was a memorable time indeed as the curtains closed on the last of eight performances of the thirteenth annual Magic Circle Christmas Show. Memorable for the producer, Peter Scarlett, and for the director, David Ball, who along with a staff of dedicated volunteers had worked many months to honor yet again a dream first proposed in 1998 by the late Christopher Pratt. Memorable for the performers who were completely and unabashedly in love with their art, with the adventure of it, the romance, the sense of purpose it gave them, and who were sorry to see the run come to a close. And memorable for the enthusiastic audiences who had come from surrounding counties to the Centre for the Magic Arts expecting to see a balanced, first-class magic show presented in a 164-seat jewel box of a theater. They got just that, and they loved every minute of it.

 

 

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It was a TV reality show that admittedly dealt in the unreal. The premise: British magicians taking the stage to fool American magicians Penn & Teller. Should they succeed, they would be rewarded with a trip to Las Vegas to appear with the magic duo in their regular show at the Rio Hotel & Casino.

 

 

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A large hound dog in a tuxedo, top hat, and cape sits behind a table, looking down at a set of cups and dog biscuits. The dog reaches out, with human hands, and begins to do a Cups & Balls routine using the dog treat. The little biscuits penetrate the cups several times, and the final load of a large dog biscuit is produced. The dog then eats the dog biscuit. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold Cartoon Network’s Houndini — Dog Magician!

 

 

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JC Sum and “Magic Babe” Ning have created several mega-illusions in recent years, such as teleporting a car across a city, or volunteers across a river, or themselves to the top of a building. Their latest premiered in Singapore on December 12.

 

 

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As he has done numerous times over the past three decades, last December Chuck Jones and company spent three weeks touring New Zealand with their illusion and variety show. But this time, their return home was far different from all the other trips.

 

 

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The Long Beach Mystics began in 1955, in the back of Brownie’s Camera Store in Long Beach, California. Two years ago, to celebrate the completion of the documentary The Mystics: A 50 Year Legacy, a screening was held at the Magic Castle. January 10–16, the Mystics returned to the Castle, with every showroom featuring graduates of the organization.

 

 

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Farewells to Ron Wilson, Terry Seabrooke, and Gloria Crawford.

 

 

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Twenty-one products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Peter Duffie, Jason England, Gabe Fajuri, Brad Henderson, Will Houston, Alan Howard, and John Lovick:

Multiplicity featuring Max Maven
Mene Tekel Miracles by Nathan Kranzo
Del Ray: America’s Foremost by John Moehring
Evogram by Jay Crowe
Gambit Issue #2
Paul Stockman’s Impossible Envelope
Moments: More Superlative Magic From Troy Hooser by Joshua Jay
Close-Up Time by Don Alan
Darwin Ortiz At the Card Table
Trick Photography by Steve Gore
Houdini: Art and Magic edited by Brooke Kamin Rapaport
Tommy Cooper’s Mirth, Magic & Mischief by John Fisher
Seigfried & Roy: Unique in All the World by Diana Zimmerman & Robert Gould
GION Deck by Yuji Murakami
4D Surprise
Ghost Lamp
Kartis Visible Bill Change
Top Score by Lewis Jones
One Degree by John Gustaferro
Enigmaths 4, 5 & 6 by Werner Miller
Freedom Pack by Justin Miller

 

 




This month begins with two rubber band effects that are both practical and different from any you have seen before. Donny Orbit does double duty, contributing a smart improvement to an effect you probably already do, and then a cool effect you definitely don’t do (but you will want to after reading). Stephen Hobbs and Robert Gardner round out the issue with two card offerings.

 

 




Felix Herrmann to Harry Blackstone Sr.
Felix Herrmann slipped into the Herrmann dynasty of magicians through the back door. With his days of touring over, Felix decided to sell off some of the large effects such as his Cross Illusion. A likely buyer was an illusionist named Harry Blackstone.

In April of 1929, the Blackstone show was playing in New Orleans, and Felix Herrmann saw an opportunity to possibly make a sale. He picked up a fountain pen and, having no formal stationery, grabbed a blank sheet of paper and filled both sides with his distinctive handwriting.

 

 

 

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Grasping at Straws
With Grasping at Straws, a little secret setup can produce an amazing feat of impromptu magic, restoring or “healing” the torn end of a straw sleeve. And using a simple switch of straws in your back pocket on the offbeat will put you way ahead of the audience.

 

 

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Jason Byrne
Jason Byrne Cunningham grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Winner of Siegfried & Roy’s Golden Lion Head Award and the Academy of Magical Arts Stage Magician of The Year two years running, Jason has a prominent presence on the Las Vegas Strip. Better known as Jason Byrne, his act is highly regarded by magicians and audiences worldwide. He is close to embarking on a two-year contract to perform a full-length illusion show on Carnival Cruise Lines for producer Kevin Jeffries. Joanie Spina looks at a few excerpts from Jason’s bird act.

 

 




Kirigami Ring
Challenges, brainteasers, puzzles, and mind games. In this final installment of this series, we explore what most magicians see as simple “betchas,” but Teach By Magic magicians see them as teaching opportunities.

 

 

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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]