So this week, we had a pair birthdays within the magic world. One was my previous escape mentor Steve Baker. He handed away just a few years in the past. The previous couple of years of his life have been fairly laborious as a result of his well being had declined somewhat quickly. He at all times had deliberate to make a comeback, even at his superior age. I’m sorry that probability by no means got here. In actual fact, there's a story about it, that I’ll share someday. However I've a unique story to share with you as a substitute.
And in addition this week was the birthday of Jonathan Pendragon. He's nonetheless very a lot alive, fortunately. And I take into account him a mentor of Phantasm, regardless that we now have by no means really met. I did meet him causally at a magic convention as soon as, however I doubt he remembers. And he did ship me a really good word after I wrote concerning the Pendragons on my weblog, the Magic Detective.com. However past that we’ve had no contact. The rationale I check with him as a mentor was due to his writings in Genii Journal. There have been a variety of Pendragon points and people have been instrumental in getting me began on this planet of grand phantasm.
Let me start nevertheless with a humorous Steve Baker story. Now Steve was an escape artist and he was additionally a stunt man, which isn't as well-known. He had a lot of Hollywood connections due to his work as a stunt man. Sooner or later, in 1986, he will get a name from a buddy of his who's a tech advisor on the brand new film Deadly Weapon. The man remembered a narrative Steve had informed him about his first encounter with a straitjacket.
The story was this. Steve Baker’s mother labored in healthcare. Sooner or later Steve requested if she may borrow a straitjacket from work. She checked along with her employer and positive sufficient they let her borrow one. Steve was simply a young person on the time. And never properly learn within the strategies of escaping a straitjacket. In Steve’s personal phrases, “I used to be in my storage with my finest buddy, Lee, and he proceeded to strap me into this factor. I used to be sporting a T-shirt which I later realized was an enormous mistake.
I twisted and turned and bent my physique in ways in which I did not even know have been attainable. Then I had an thought. If I may shift my physique inside the jacket it'd assist me to realize slack and get my arm over my head, then I may get out. My answer, run full pace into the storage wall slamming my shoulder in opposition to it.WHAMMO! And OUCH! To make a protracted story brief, I did get out, finally. With loads of marks and scrapes from solely sporting a t-shirt.”
So again to Steve’s buddy from the film. He asks Steve if he can are available and share that story with the crew. So positive sufficient he goes on the set and shares the story. Mel Gibson, one of many stars of the film was not on set that day, however the story will get again to him. He asks Steve if it’s true? And Steve assures him it’s precisely what occurred. Then he asks, “did it damage?” Steve says, YES. Mel Gibson apparently cherished the story a lot, he included it right into a scene within the film. If in case you have ever watched the movie, there's a scene the place Mel Gibson’s character is put in a straitjacket after which slams himself right into a submitting cupboard with a purpose to get slack to get out, ala the younger Steve Baker.
Now, I suppose I may share some Pendragon tales, however I’d somewhat save these for an additional day. As an alternative I’d like to present you some tidbits from these Genii articles. The primary reminiscence of 1 has stood out ever since I examine it. I consider it’s additionally from 1986, and the article by Jonathan was referred to as ‘The Magician Versus the Prop”. He begins by relating a narrative from his youth. Plainly as a teen, one other magician moved into his neighborhood, that will be a really younger Harry Anderson. Sooner or later, Jonathan was visiting Harry and he seen a really ornately adorned magic prop on a shelf. Harry requested him what he considered it, and Jonathan replied, “I feel it’s lovely.” Simply then Harry Anderson grabs it out of his fingers and threw it throughout the room. He then checked out a surprised Jonathan and mentioned, “Magic is an artwork, not a craft!” I’d say that’s a powerful lesson. And I can simply think about how it will ship a shiver of ache up the backbone of these of us who gather props, LOL. The purpose was in fact, is to not let the prop over shadow the performer. He makes one very poignant assertion on the finish of the article and mentioned, when a live performance pianist is taking his bows, he doesn’t flip and level to his or her piano, lol. Good level.
My favourite Pendragon concern was Jan 1992. The Pendragons are on the duvet. And the continuing articles are unbelievable, however one stood out above the others to me. It was merely titled, BOOKS. “If I have been stranded on a desert island, what books would I would like on Grand Phantasm?” NONE, I wouldn’t need any books on Grand Phantasm, I might need books on Lengthy Distance Swimming In Ten Simple Classes!”. Then he offers an inventory of books for anybody actually severe about Grand Phantasm. Right here is the checklist (with my very own commentary beneath)
1. The Jarret Guide by Man Jarret and Jim Steinmeyer. Thus far there are three Jarret books. First is the unique that Man Jarret printed himself. Second is the primary model that Jim Steinmeyer put out. Then years later who printed The Full Jarret. These are fantastic books by a posh particular person (Jarret) and his uncommon option to approaching Grand Phantasm. It is laborious to dismiss something right here as a result of all of it makes a lot sense. His Bangkok Bungalow is about as unorthodox an phantasm I've ever and but it is a factor of magnificence. His 21 Particular person Cupboard, proved to be one other winner. Doug Henning, Harry Blackstone Jr, and Scott Alexander have all used it for nice outcomes. It's a should have for an illusionist.
2. The Harbin Guide. That is the one ebook on the checklist that I should not have. After all it is identified for being the ebook that features how you can construct the Zig Zag Phantasm. That may be the crowning jewel within the ebook, however there's far more there. There's something referred to as The Upside DownBox that my buddy David Bull constructed, and what an exquisite thriller that was. I did choose up the books, Harbincadabra and The Genuis of Robert Harbin.
3. ILLUSION SHOW by David Bamberg
Wow, that is David Bamberg's autobiography. He shares tales from his whole life…when he began out as Psyco as a youth, till he turned FuManchu. Alongside the best way he encounters many personalities together with: Houdini, Raymond, Chang, Eva Peron, Okito, and lots of others. It is a should learn in my view. Top-of-the-line books of it is sort and fairly an eye fixed opener.
4. Secrets and techniques of My Magic by David Devant
Within the Genii article by Jonathan Pendragon, he mentions that he possible has spent extra time with this ebook than all the others. Why? Effectively, inside you will discover the Mascot Moth, the Artist's Dream, Biff and different unimaginable Devant creations. I might add one other ebook together with this one at that can be My Magic Life by David Devant. There may be some cross over in materials, nevertheless it offers an incredible overview of the thoughts and magic of Devant. By the best way, I recall precisely the place I discovered this ebook, it was at Barry's Magic Store in Wheaton MD. I used to be visiting the store someday after I seen stacks and stacks of books behind a counter. I requested Suzie, Barry's spouse, if I may look by means of them and she or he mentioned sure. I used to be overwhelmed to search out Secrets and techniques of My Magic among the many stack!
5. Hopkins Magic by Albert Hopkins
I'll admit this was one of many harder books to find on the checklist. It was printed in 1897. Fortunately, it had been republished a number of occasions and I used to be capable of finding a replica in wonderful situation at an excellent value. This ebook I bought from Denny & Lee's Magic Studio. I feel possible half the books on this checklist got here from Dennys. He had the primary magic store I would ever seen with an enormous quantity of books
6. System & Phantasm by Jim Steinmeyer
This ebook was printed in 1991. I am unhappy to say after I learn over the checklist initially, I didn't know who Jim Steinmeyer was. Suffice to say, I might be taught in a short time. I do not recall the place I obtained the ebook, I could have ordered it direct from Jim. Jonathan factors out two results within the ebook as being his favorites: Woman in a Puzzle and Small Packages. He additionally mentions that his small equipment results are among the finest within the ebook. I might agree with that. With reference to illusions, my favorites are Woman in a Puzzle, and Perforation. I personal Woman in a Puzzle and it is a unbelievable phantasm. I used to personal By means of a One Inch Gap, however I by no means discovered it's play as sturdy because it reads. I can let you know one of the crucial superb illusions within the ebook is a bit of piece referred to as India Rubber. Actually, I used to be not impressed after I learn the outline. However not too long ago I noticed a video of it being introduced and it fooled me!!!! System and Phantasm is a good ebook for the illusionist.
7. Conjurer's Optical Secrets and techniques by S.H. Sharpe
Effectively, I simply realized, I should not have this ebook available. I've Conjurer's Mechanical Secrets and techniques, which is sensible. That is a part of a set of books together with: Conjurers Psychological Secrets and techniques, Conjurers Optical Secrets and techniques, and I feel there are one or two extra. Nice reference books for the illusionist. I even have Optical Secrets and techniques, it is simply not in with the field of books in my home, it could nonetheless be in storage.
8. Trendy Illusions by Tom Palmer
One other ebook that I've in storage however not in entrance of me. If reminiscence serves this ebook has the Throne Chair that Lance Burton utilized in his present that was extremely efficient. I feel Doug Henning additionally used it within the musical MERLIN on Broadway. Fairly just a few intelligent, distinctive and barely seen illusions contained on this small quantity.
9. The Magic Poster Guide by Charles Reynolds and Regina Reynolds
Who has not seen this ebook??? Full of massive format magic posters from the Golden Age of Magic. Clearly a supply of inspiration for any illusionist whether or not beginning out or seasoned professional.
10. TIED FOR tenth Place: OUR MAGIC & NEO MAGIC
Our Magic by Maskelyne and Devant is a powerhouse quantity. The essay on the totally different ranges of Artwork is unbelievable. The complete ebook is a should learn for the magician who's severe about his/her magical schooling.
Subsequent is NEO Magic by S.H. Sharpe. A ebook crammed with idea and the philosophy of magic and efficiency. On the time I bought this ebook, it was probably the most I would ever paid for a single ebook. ( If in case you have a subscription to Genii or you have got entry to AskAlexander.com, search for the Jan 1992 concern of Genii and on web page 181, you may learn Jonathan Pendragon's ideas on all the above books)
I must agree. In actual fact, after I learn this again in 1992, I got down to discover the books, no small job. This was earlier than the times when magic retailers have been loaded with books. My go to buy was Al’s Magic Store and although that they had books, noe one on this checklist was to be discovered there. I did finally get each ebook on that checklist besides one, the Harbin ebook. I did nevertheless get different Harbin books, Harbincadabra and the later ebook The Genius of Robert Harbin.
And since 1992 there have been fairly just a few unimaginable books on Grand Phantasm, however this grouping by Jonathan is unbelievable.
By the best way, one of many tales Jonathan shared in his Genii articles involves thoughts. It was when he was working at Hollywood Magic half time. It was the Christmas season, and somebody walked into the store who gave him pause. I ought to say extra precisely he was awed by the gentleman who appeared even larger in individual that he did on the display screen, the person was John Wayne.
Mr. Wayne mentioned he son was concerned about magic and will he suggest a stocking stuffer. Jonathan steered the Cups and Balls and did an illustration of a easy routine. Wayne was thrilled and mentioned, “I’ll take it, however you must train it to me as a result of I don’t need my son fooling me.” For the subsequent half-hour Jonathan taught the Duke how you can current the Cups and Balls. I might like to have seen John Wayne current the cups and balls for his household on Christmas morning after which train it to his son, possible son Ethan.
However there's extra to the story. After John Wayne exited the store he was strolling to his automotive when
he stopped to let one other man cross down the sidewalk in entrance of him. In line with the article, “The opposite was a younger man with lengthy hair tied again in a pigtail. For a second the 2 stood there till the younger man gestured for John Wayne to cross first, “Please sir” Wayne dipped his head in a gesture that's acquainted to anybody who watches his movies. “thanks and Merry Christmas.” Wayne replied. “the identical to you Sir.” mentioned the opposite man who smiled and continued on his means. This was the mid seventies and right here have been two icons of radically totally different political opinions, however this didnt appear to matter a lot. It was Christmas in Southern California and virtually something can occur.
I like that story as a result of the tip jogs my memory of how divided of us are at this time and the way little kindness and customary decency in direction of one another can go a great distance. I”m not getting political it’s simply an remark.