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!


My Life in Magic – Howard Thurston…

Sometimes the universe hands you a project you never knew you’d be working on. Last week I got a tip about an estate sale that had some magic stuff in it. The magician was named Carroll Wood, and was active in the first half of the 1930’s and was a founding member of IBM ring 59 (Seattle Magic Club). I’ll write another post about Carroll in the future.

One of the things I found for sale was the book My Life of Magic by Howard Thurston. I’ve never read this book so I picked it up.

my life in magic by howard thurston

I just picked up the book to read and noticed something inside the book:

Howard thurston autograph

It was signed by Howard Thurston!

This is really cool to me, when I was a kid starting in magic in the 1990’s learning from old library books, there was soo much written about him. The Rising Cards, the Five Card Vanish, the Floating Ball…soo much stuff that really got my imagination going. This was long before YouTube and all I had was pics in books and my imagination.

In the research I did about Carroll Wood and I found out exactly when this book was signed by Thurston, and it’s an interesting story that I’ll write about in the future!


Of Legierdemaine and Diverse Juggling Knacks…

As part of my going through the book The Artist’s Way, I’m trying to do more reading. A few years ago I was at the William McIlhaney auction and picked up the book Of Legierdemaine and Diverse Juggling Knacks.

Of Legierdemaine and Diverse Juggling Knacks

I started reading it when I first got it, but didn’t get too far into it. I’m restarting reading it and there’s a lot of interesting things in the book. The book is John Braun’s column from the Linking Ring a long time ago. I found it fascinating that people used to take notes of other people’s shows. They are in John’s column from historical magicians. It will list the tricks they did and the run time of their program. It was surprising to me that most of the magicians from the early 1900’s only did about 20-30 minutes. I just assumed most of them had a 90 minute show.

In the one of the columns they mention Herrmann doing what we now call the Muscle Pass!

muscle pass

I’ve encountered another past reference to the muscle pass, but done with an egg in the book It’s Fun To be Fooled by Horace Goldin. In it he mentions shooting an egg out of his palm into a spectator’s mouth!

It's fun to be fooled by horrace goldin

I love learning little bits of history of what we think of as a modern move, that has been largely forgotten.