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Showmanship for Magicians

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Showmanship for Magicians by Dariel Fitzkee

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Dariel Fitzkee authored one of the best trilogies on magic theory. This volume, book one in the trilogy, primarily deals with theoretical aspects of a magic performance. This book has been cited numerous times and is one of the standard works every serious magician should read. Fitzkee has a very analytical mind and describes his thoughts clearly. As with any theory not everyone will agree with every detail and every suggestion. Regardless of if you fully subscribe to Fitzkee's thinking or not, there is plenty to learn from his writings.

Here is what others had to say about this book, when it originally was published in the 1940s.

"He has succeeded ... In treating with a surprising degree of thoroughness each of the manly phases of the subject, ... We regard SHOWMANSHIP FOR MAGICIANS as worthy of careful and repeated readings by every magician ... We cannot Imagine any magical enthusiast reading the book without being goaded into thought...(It) sets forth definite, specific measures ... for making magic entertaining, ... We regard this book as an important contribution to magician literature ... the best treatise on showmanship that we expect to see for many a day ... " - PAUL FLEMING, professional magician of many years experience and well known book reviewer, in the second longest review he has written to date

FRAKSON, great Spanish magician, and Music Corporation of America star, says: "It is a most wonderful, wonderful book---perhaps the greatest book ever written on magic! It shows a very good knowledge of the whole psychology of the theatre. Everything is there."

"The book should be studied, not merely read, by every individual who performs magic in public, or whoever hopes to do so ... ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECOMMEND." - JOHN MULHOLLAND, editor The Sphinx and experienced professional magical lecturer.

"Not since 1911, when 'Our Magic' appeared, has there been such a book ... This work is invaluable. His logic is crystal clear and he hits the nail on the head in every chapter, " - JOHN BRAUN, editor The Linking Ring.

"Many interesting pages are crammed with much needed information. All magicians should read it and most should apply its teachings." - WILLIAM LARSEN, The Genii.

  • INTRODUCTION
    • The need for this book
    • Much applies to all entertainers
    • Why I have dared
    • "Well, he's working."
    • Collected by the show business
    • The unmentionable appeal
  • CHAPTER I - Do Magicians Need Higher Entertainment Standards?
    • The only reason for showmanship
    • The fallacy that magic "always entertains."
    • Why changing standards have made new presentation methods necessary
    • The spectators themselves
    • The damage poor presentation does
    • Clues from the show business
    • See the performance as the spectators do
    CHAPTER II - Things From Another Era
    • Who the average magician is
    • Tables and the one-hoss shay
    • The circus adopts modern taste
    • Look at the stuff and hang your head
    • Whose fault is it?
    • Second childhood
    • Magicians as strange characters
    • Glib and idle talk
    • Dismal palaver
    • Stumbling all around
    • Secrets are not important
    • Flunkies
    • What do you prefer for entertainment?
  • CHAPTER III - How to Find Out What the Public Really Wants
    • The magic of attendance
    • Motion pictures
    • Stage musicals
    • Dramatic shows
    • Vaudeville
    • Night clubs
    • Burlesque
    • Opera
    • Concert
    • Ballet
    • The secret of the appeal of drama
    • Romance, rehearsal and punch
    • Specially written material
    • Unified routine
    • What show business reveals
    • Who gets the dollar?
    • Build to customer preferences
  • CHAPTER IV - The Things Big Audiences Really Buy
    • Dissection for diagnosis
    • Analysis of audience appeals
    • Where the average magician misses
    • Make them like you in as many ways as they can
    • Quantity and variety
    • Modernizing the mental act
  • CHAPTER V - How Music Adds Interest
    • The foundational principles upon which the whole show business is based
    • Shaping magic to these standards not difficult
    • Music
    • Not a "tiny little valse"
    • Mood, background, situation and character through music
    • Pennies from heaven versus the miser
    • Audience sympathy
    • Intermezzo to a snootful
    • Murder to music
    • The Anvil Chorus and the heathen Chinee
  • CHAPTER VI - Rhythm, Youth and Sex
    • Tap your foot to top billing
    • Stardust and a beautiful blonde
    • Stop, look and listen
    • Walk-ons
    • Who is the greatest magician, and rhythm
    • Life begins at forty, but Factor's helps
    • Gals as gals
    • Stress without vulgarity
    • Glamour sells tickets
    • Indirect methods are best
    • On being unaware and subtle
  • CHAPTER VII - Personality and the Necessity of Selling Yourself
    • People are more interested in people
    • The big stars and what they have in common
    • How individuality makes the star
    • Only one result possible
    • How a pleasing personality is achieved
    • Dale Carnegie's magic book
    • Only five ways to reach a spectator
    • Two most important
    • The sound and fury
    • Make yourself different
    • Identifications
    • They must please the spectators
    • Try it yourself
    • Material and style
    • Push the man, not the tricks
    • Picking you own pocket
  • CHAPTER VIII - Color, Harmony, Sentiment, Romance
    • Color in keeping only in certain cases
    • Think of the other stuff
    • Artificial lights and color
    • The conventional is dangerous
    • Many meanings to harmony
    • Good taste, and a sense for fitness
    • Sentiment pays dividends
    • Hats
    • Love, and a two-timing daddy
    • Conjuring courtship
    • Nostalgia, not neuralgia
  • CHAPTER IX - Timing and Pointing
    • What timing is
    • Examples abound
    • Emphasizing to sell the idea
    • The gradual ritard
    • Piano solo with razor blade accompaniment
    • Timing for punch
    • Amateurs don't like it
    • Volunteer critics
    • Pointing for mayhem
    • What pointing is
    • Lazy pointing to a very fast trick
    • The factors to stress
    • Good general rules
  • CHAPTER X - Surprise, Unity, Character and Situation
    • An effective expedient
    • Logical development best
    • Surprise with punch
    • Unity, the connecting thread
    • What unity is
    • Examples
    • Characters
    • What they are
    • How they trap audience interest
    • Back to unity again
    • More ways of achieving it
    • It may be bird, beast or fish
    • Maintaining character
    • People are interested in people, again
    • How character is revealed
    • Situation, what it is
    • Conflict brings consequences
    • Russell Swann and situation
    • Situation and a nude young woman.
  • CHAPTER XI - Costuming, Grooming, Make-up, Personal Behavior and Smoothness
    • Proper costume and careful grooming essential
    • Old out-of-date clothes at a party
    • Clothes make the character
    • When there is doubt, there is no doubt
    • Well groomed routine
    • What, when and how
    • Being at ease
    • Let the subconscious do the work
    • On standing still
    • Be particular about make-up
    • How to find out how to dress
    • How to avoid having to have the hands cut off
    • Facial expression with a floy-floy
    • Voice placement, not ventriloquism
    • Stage fright
    • What it is and how to eliminate it
    • Poise a la Old Grandad
    • And smoothness
  • CHAPTER XII - Confidence Through Rehearsal
    • How to gain confidence
    • What rehearsal really is
    • What it is in the beginning
    • Time limits
    • On acquiring material
    • Putting the act together
    • Get good advice
    • Magicians are poor judges
    • Every little movement
    • The walk-through
    • What is action?
    • Climbing the golden stairs
    • What lift and movement are
    • The grind of rehearsal
    • On correcting mistakes
  • CHAPTER XIII - Physical Action, Group Coordination, Precise Attack, Economy and Brevity
    • Why people like physical action
    • How it can be incorporated in magic
    • How group coordination may be applied to magic
    • Coordination with money, hats and water
    • Stupendous trickery
    • Out with the flunkey
    • Again, people are interested in people
    • A game of catch
    • With rope, too
    • What precise attack is
    • What economy it
    • Getting his money's worth
    • What brevity is, and how to achieve it
    • Holding attention
  • CHAPTER XIV - Efficient Pacing, Punch, Instinct Appeals, Combine Appeals, Grace, Effortless Skill, Spectacle and Contrast
    • How to pace efficiently
    • What punch is
    • How to acquire it
    • From 36 gals
    • Why magic acts lack punch
    • Instinct appeals and responses
    • Ganging them up
    • How to be graceful
    • How to make your skill seem effortless
    • Sure-fire material
    • What spectacle is
    • How to create it
    • Contrast for emphasis
  • CHAPTER XV - Comedy
    • Its importance
    • Subordinate tricks to comedy
    • Comedy is a serious business
    • Where to learn about it
    • Various kinds of comedy
    • Humor and wit
    • Jest and joke
    • The laughable, ludicrous, comical, droll, ridiculous
    • Satire, irony, caricature and burlesque
    • Farce
    • Comedy in the difficulties of others
    • Twenty-four causes for laughter
    • Some suggestions
  • CHAPTER XVI - Getting and Holding Interest and Attention
      Success is proportionate to interest
    • The kinds of attention
    • Voluntary and involuntary
    • What kind of attention is interest
    • Keep within the spectators' world
    • "My stuff is over their heads"
    • How to bring your act within the spectators' worlds
    • The three classes of people
    • Fit the act to the people
    • Contact through the "other woman"
    • Emotion, what makes it tick
    • Fatigue
    • Patterns
  • CHAPTER XVII - Types of Audiences and Their Preferences
    • Why you have to know your audiences
    • Eleven kinds of audiences
    • The kind of material and angle of attack
    • Kids, men, women and mixed audiences
    • Drunk and sober
    • Two more groups often neglected
    • What these audiences are interested in
    • The patterns to follow
  • CHAPTER XVIII - How to Routine
    • Planning every minute detail
    • Tricks as materials
    • How to make a trick "arrangement"
    • Interpretation is everything
    • Tricks are skeletons only
    • Top entertainers insist upon special, exclusive material
    • Routines are individual
    • The three-act idea
    • An example with a pocket trick
    • A trick is like sheet music
    • Are musicians more painstaking than magicians?
    • Routine defined
    • An example with a stage trick
    • An example with an illusion
    • "Hammy" magic
  • CHAPTER XIX - How to Routine-Continued
    • Don't drag in tricks by the ears
    • Find a reasonable pause
    • How a logical cause colors the whole routine
    • Mora wands with sex appeal and a moral
    • A Good Neighbor presentation of the cut rope, and a situation
    • Rising cards with Boogie-Woogie
    • Look out for stock instructions
    • The spark of life
    • How to keep from boring house guests
    • A routine for company
  • CHAPTER XX - How to Get Ideas For Acts
    • The name for a performance
    • Acts are ideas
    • An act from a trick
    • An act from a character in a situation
    • An act from sex appeal
    • Acts from confidence games
    • Waller suggests "perverse magic"
    • The neophite magician
    • Impersonations of well-known people
    • From characters and character types
    • From an ultimate impression
    • From a situation
    • By taking another act apart
    • From Folies Bergere to International Magicians
    • My slip showed
    • A revue act from a trick
    • More suggestions
  • CHAPTER XXI - How to Put An Act Together
    • Getting the materials together
    • Stock apparatus
    • How to make your props convincing and in keeping with the act idea
    • Preparing spoken material
    • Preparing music score
    • Putting in cues
    • Cue sheets for curtains and lights
    • Property lists
    • "You're on!"
  • CHAPTER XXII - How to Make Your Act Salable
    • The formula for the shortest route to success
    • Making the product like they want it
    • How to take an act apart to see what makes it tick
    • The booker is the guy to please
    • The longer way
    • The scarcity of geniuses
  • CHAPTER XXIII - A Magic Show in the Modern Manner
    • A new slant on magic presentation
    • A revue with magic as the theme
    • Where it differs from the usual magic show
    • Ouch!
    • Cocktails and cash
    • Tails and tricks
    • Stubs and sparks
    • Memory with music
    • The cut-ups
    • A bottle of spirits
    • East is East
    • It's just things like this
    • All wet
    • A bride and a bathing suit
    • Lunch
    • Beauty and the bird
    • My hat, please
    • Snorted again
    • It's murder, he says
    • Stardust
    • Oh, daddy
    • Slow and fast
    • And stuff
  • CHAPTER XXIV - Finale
    • An inventory
    • Salesmanship
    • Likable qualities
    • Don't don't
    • Grooming
    • Ease and confidence
    • Prepare thoroughly
    • Talk
    • Props
    • Smile
    • Bows
    • Building up to a hand
    • Emphasis
    • Be in style
  • CHAPTER XXV - Check Charts
    • A list of audience appeals
    • Check chart on act ideas
    • Check chart on routines
    • Check chart for performances
    • Things to think of after the show

1st edition 1943; reprint 1973; reprint 1988; 202 pages.
word count: 67072 which is equivalent to 268 standard pages of text


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11/15/2018
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