I’m an admirer of the creative genius of U.F. Grant, so I was hoping to get more out of viewing the “Missing Files” of “U. F. Grant's Lost Illusion Secrets Revealed”, but I would have to say this PDF is way over-priced for what it is. $5.00 might be a fair price, but $35.00 is too much. The description of this PDF file says:
“Over the years, Grant sold many manuscripts that just contained one illusion along with building plans in most cases. (Some of these were released by Percy Abbott in his catalog without credit to U. F. Grant.) This compilation is a collection of those plans released by Grant and also in the early Abbott Magic catalogs.
Most of these plans are near impossible to find nowadays and most of the ideas and plans will be new to the majority of magicians. The manuscripts have new typeset, corrected errors and added photos.”
Several of the illusions described have no plans or illustrations at all, most have only a few crude sketches that get the basic idea across, but offer little practical guidance on how you would actually build or perform these illusions. Some do have plans with actual dimensions given, but overall the building directions are sparse.
The description -- “The manuscripts have new typeset, corrected errors and added photos” -- gave me the impression that these various old plans and ideas had been substantially edited and updated with the addition of photo illustrations of the illusions, but the “added photos” are simply a few generic stock photos found on the internet:
- On page 18 a stock photo (with the 123rf.com watermarks still visible ... you're supposed to pay the licensing fee if you use stock images) of a girl with a towel wrapped around her for “The Girl in the Shower” illusion, but this stock photo has nothing specifically to do with the Grant illusion, it’s just a cheesecake photo of a pretty girl with a towel around her.
- On page 112 a stock photo of Santa Claus accompanies the “Santa Claus Arrives” illusion, but again this stock photo has nothing to do with illustrating how the illusion would look or how to build it, it’s simply a stock photo of Santa Claus.
- On page 142 there is a photo of a child’s rubber boot, in connection with the “Farmer and the Witch” illusion where it says: “Some performers who are using this illusion have made cloth ‘boots’ to match the costumes, In the event that the audience should get a glimpse of the feet of the children, the shoes will not give the illusion away. Instead of the cloth boots, you could use the cheap plastic boots which are sold for children in the winter time.”
- On page 143 a stock photo of a surgeon and a nurse in surgical masks is printed at the start of the description for “The Doctor and the Nurse Illusion”.
- On page 165 for “The Bunny-Girl Illusion” a stock photo of a girl in a sort of "Playboy Bunny" type of costume grabbed from a Halloween store website. It has nothing to do with the illusion, except the suggestion that “The girl should, of course, be dressed in the popular bunny costume — bunny ears, white collar and cotton tail.”
- On page 167 a photo of the “Girl on Three Swords Illusion”, but it’s simply a photo of the prop as seen by the audience at the start of the illusion, three swords standing upright on a small platform. There is no description or photo of how to make the gimmick.
None of the 6 stock photos included are of any use in helping someone to build or perform the illusions described, so the mention in the description of “added photos” as a selling point is rather misleading.