Old Magician’s Notebooks

Someone was selling a stack of old magician’s hand written notebooks. These are things I’m fascinated by, I’m very curious what’s going through magicians heads. When the notebooks showed up, they weren’t what I was expecting, they weren’t really notebooks of ideas, but notes of the Abbott’s Magic Magic Get Togethers from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s!

They have set list that are pretty cryptic, like what Don Alan performed in 1980:

Don Alan at the Abbott's Magic Get Together

Then there’s more detailed acts like this that’s simply labeled “best act” from 1977:

Another interesting find was a description of Al Schneider’s Matrix trick. This notebook was from 1982, and Al didn’t publish Matrix until 1983. Schneider wasn’t listed as a performer at any Abbott’s Magic Get Together, so I’m guessing he was just attending that year, or it could have been something that was moving around the “underground” and someone else showed it that year.

Al Schneider matrix

These notebooks are a really interesting look into what was performed 40+ years ago and I’m glad I got to read them!


Committing to the Cage…

When I was driving home from Abbott’s Magic Get Together, I stopped and visited a magician in Minnesota to talk about the vanishing birdcage. He was thinking of adding it to his show.

His fear was the cage hanging up on his sleeve. The thing with the cage vanish is that people think it’s easy, until they start to work with it and then realize how hard of a trick it is to do. The first thing you do is try to eliminate anything that will snag on your sleeve. The second thing you do is use proper technique for the vanish. That’s putting a lot of tension on the pull and making the “hand tunnel” correctly.

Here’s me vanishing the cage at the fair yesterday:

Once you’ve gotten the snags removed and the technique down, the last thing you have to do is commit to the vanish. When you make the cage disappear you don’t do it timidly, you vanish it like it’s going to go up your sleeve. Committing to the vanish is where I think a lot of people have trouble. They’re worried about it not going up the sleeve, so the don’t pull as hard as they should.

Out For Beers!

Last month when I was at the Abbott’s Magic Get Together, I was doing my trick Out For Beers. This combines a brand new gag card with a classic principle. Many of the magicians who I showed it to asked if I would sell it to them. I didn’t have any with me to sell, so I couldn’t. Because of that demand, I made up some sets for sale.

Here’s what it looks like:

out for beers magic trick

What I like about it, is you are using the gag to get into the trick. Where most of the tricks that use the Out to Lunch principle, the cards are the focus of the trick. They have no reason to be there aside from the trick. That’s what makes Out For Beers great, the trick is unexpected.

Here’s What You Get:
*Gimmicked card to show the full beer pitcher
*50 cards showing the empty pitcher
*Rubber band
*BONUS: 5 extra cards that show the full beer pitcher

Out For Beers $19

Another Cage…

Awhile ago I realized I collected vanishing birdcages. At the last Potter and Potter auction they had an old brass vanishing birdcage.

The description said they think it’s from the 1930’s. I personally think it’s more modern than that. I decided to bid on it, and I’m the only one that bid, so I got it for next to nothing, which is great for me!

I’m very curious how heavy it is and how well it collapses.

The blobs of solder look like they’ll rip your forearm open if you vanish it with any force. I wish I knew a little bit more about the cage’s history. That’s the thing, so many makers worked for different companies and people. It’s hard to know what came from who. When I was at Abbott’s Magic Get Together, I chatted with a lot of people who are very knowledgeable about the vanishing birdcage to try to figure out who made the one I use. Everyone gave me a different answer and told me that the other people were wrong.

Do I need to know who made it?

Not really, since they aren’t made anymore, I can’t just go out and buy one. Knowing the history of your props does make you a better performer. I’m not sure why, but I think when you know your props on a deeper level, the audience can sense that. The prop becomes something more to you, and that comes through when you use them.