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By Rory Johnston
Photos by NBC and Linda Arrendondo

America’s Got Talent is a unique experience for those brave or foolish enough to become a contestant. In past years, a number of magicians have entered the competition, including Kevin James, The Pendragons, Nathan Burton, David & Dania, Bruce Block, Dan Stapleton, Becky Blaney, and Bizzaro. This year, the magical performers included Murray, Dan Sperry, Antonio Restivo, Spellbinder (Walter King Jr.), Jason Andrews, William Scott Anderson, and spoof act Chipps Cooney. But it was Michael Grasso who was the first magician ever to make it to the top ten finalists of this nationally televised talent show.

How did a relatively unknown performer manage to accomplish what some of the better known names in the business could not? Where the heck did this guy come from?

 

 




By Gabe Fajuri

Del Ray was born Raymond Petrovic (the family name was later changed to Petrosky) on November 28, 1927, in Hubbard, Ohio. His grade school years were spent at the Trumbull County Children’s Home, an orphanage in the nearby town of Warren. There, Ray was introduced to magic, first by seeing the performance of two local magicians, Nevin Hoefert and Don Lea. Not long afterward, a wealthy benefactor to the orphanage gave Ray a Mysto Magic Set for Christmas — the biggest set in the Mysto line, at that. Shortly thereafter, a purchase of the seminal pulp publication Howard Thurston’s Card Tricks sealed his fate. But it took much more than a deep interest in trickery to transform Ray into “Del Ray, America’s Foremost.”

 

 

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By John Moehring

Excerpted from the new book about his life and magic, Del Ray’s triumphant appearances at the 1953 IBM convention are revisited, as magicians first experience the wonders of Del’s electronics in close-up and onstage.

 

 

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By Steve Marshall

On a gloomy February night in 1989, Tokyo was hit by a rare and unexpected hailstorm. On the same evening, a man simply described as performing “Cho Fushigi” (A Big Miracle) appeared on a popular Japanese late-night TV show called 11 PM. The show’s producer had concocted his simple introduction to create an air of mystery about this man and get people talking about the show. After this mysterious performer was introduced, he handed a spoon to one of the celebrity guests and caused it to bend in the spectator’s own hand. The viewers’ reactions were favorable and although this was their first time seeing this man who could perform cho fushigi, it would certainly not be the last.

 

 

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By Rob Zabrecky

Photos by Mike Caveney and John Lovick
On the evening of September 23, over 400 guests gathered in Los Angeles at LA><ART for a reception to celebrate Glenn Kaino’s new collection of work, Safe | Vanish. The visual artist turned to the world of magic and illusion for inspiration and emerged with magic-based works of art. The gallery buzzed with an unlikely crowd of curious onlookers, encompassing an unorthodox blend of Southern California’s elite art gallery representatives, magicians, musicians, and writers.

 

 

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By Alan Howard
Photos by Thom Kaine

“An evening of spooky amusement.” That’s how Todd Robbins describes his latest theatrical performance piece. Co-written by Robbins with Teller, who also directed, Play Dead has bits and pieces from several genres — séances, spook shows, haunted houses, and magic productions — but it is an evening unlike any other.

 

 

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By David Britland
Photos by Paulo Abrantes

Encontros Magicos is always full of surprises. It is the annual magic festival organized by Luis de Matos and his Studio 33 production team in his hometown of Coimbra in Portugal. This year was the 14th edition and, as usual, the festival managed to attract first-class performers from all over the world.

 

 

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By Mark Nelson
Photos by Najee Williams

During the week of September 17 – October 3, the Magic Castle was transformed into a living history museum in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of The Magic Land of Allakazam, which debuted on October 1, 1960 [see MAGIC, October 2010]. To honor the program and all of the people involved in making it, Greg Wilson — “Allaka-Son #2” — staged a week filled with history, parties, special guests, and a viewing of the long-awaited “100th Episode” in the Palace of Mystery.

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Fifteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Jason England, Gabe Fajuri, Thomas Fraps, Brad Henderson, Will Houstoun, Alan Howard, and John Lovick:

CAAN Craft by J. K. Hartman
Streets by John Archer
Gotcha! by Bob Sheets
Semi-Automatic Card Tricks Vol. VIII by Steve Beam
Biz Card Magic by Carl R Andrews
Sleights of Mind by Stephen L. Macknik and Susanna Martinez-Conde with Sandra Blakeslee
Card Constructions by Ollie Mealing
Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott
Crazy Cube
Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes.
Gary Jones Live Lecture, Volume 1
Audience Management by Gay Ljungberg
Extreme Brain Damage by Andrew Mayne
You’re the Star by Dave Goodsell
A Grand Exposé of the Science of Gambling.

 

 




David Parr, Joe Diamond, and Vinny Deponto offer three refined, spooky presentations that will astound in professional environments: one uses cards, one uses coins, and the other uses an antique key. Frank Fogg, Joe Williamson, and Harapan Ong wrap up the issue with three handy card routines.

 

 




In previous installments, Lance has advised us on the power of just performing, performing, and performing, as well as how important editing is. This month, he offers words of wisdom on “Conventions, Competitions, and Manners.”

 

 

 



Operating Theater
DEAR SHOW DOCTOR: Because of my “real” job, I’m not able to travel, so all my shows are done in my hometown. I’ve written a theater show and can’t find a good space to present it in. I was thinking about creating a home theater, like the one you have at your Mystery School in Las Vegas. Do you have any helpful hints on setting up a home theater?
— David P.

 

 

 




Billy Russell to Harry Cecil
William W. Durbin basically invented the magic convention in 1926 when he invited the members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians to his home in Kenton, Ohio for a bit of fun. As successful as subsequent annual IBM conventions were, some folks missed the intimacy of the early gatherings at Durbin’s Egyptian Hall. And so, on November 10–11, 1933, the first “Back To Kenton Conclave” was produced in the friendly confines of Egyptian Hall. This small gathering was in no way meant to compete with the upcoming IBM event, but rather to whet the appetites of the faithful for the ensuing confab. With the Kenton Conclave fast approaching, Billy Russell rolled a piece of stationery into his typewriter and filled the page with news for his friend Harry Cecil about preparations for the big convention in Batavia.

 

 

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In this second installment of our educational entertainment series, Brian combines two well-known puzzles to create a routine about the Bermuda Triangle. While documented evidence indicates that the number and nature of disappearances in this region of the North Atlantic Ocean is similar to that in any other area of the ocean, the Triangle still holds a certain fascination about it. And with fascination comes attention, and when you can hold the attention of an audience, be they elementary school students or corporate executives, your message will be heard!

 

 

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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 www.MAGICmagazine.com, 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
© 2010 MAGIC Magazine [click to return to cover page]