This booklet doesn't deserve the name 'booklet', because it is packed with many wonderful effects using small objects, from cards and coins, to ropes and silks and everything in between. There is also a nice section on vesting and sleeving. Jean Hugard is one of the outstanding teachers and authors in magic. My friend Chuck has been vanishing an orange for the last forty years in much the same manner that this booklet reveals how to vanish a dinner plate. He also remembers reading of Blackstone Sr. performing some of these stunts. Whenever the author is Jean Hugard - read it!
Close-Up Magic is a book of conjuring for night clubs, where "the performer has to work at the closest quarters and is subject at all times to the interference, good-natured or malicious, of his patrons. But its usefulness is by no means limited to this field, for most of the tricks are equally suitable for "parlor work," and a good many can be presented effectively on the stage. However, all of the material in Close-Up Magic has had to measure up to the exacting requirements that must be met by the night-club magician who goes from table to table exhibiting his wonders.
The first of the ten short chapters tells about The Night-Club Field and Its Requirements. Chapter 2 (4 pages) explains the vital matter of making contact with a group of guests at a given table; for "the approach to the particular table selected for attack should be apparently accidental and the first feat performed should be of such a striking nature that the sitters' interest is aroused, making them wish to see more." Chapter 3 (10 pages) includes a Wand Production, The Ring and Wand, The Flying Ring, Tearing Off a Button, and five other miscellaneous tricks. Chapter 4 (4 pages) consists of five feats with linen (not silk) handkerchiefs, chief among which is The Cut and Restored Handkerchief. Chapter 5 is a 7-page chapter of tricks with paper money, of which The Torn and Restored Bill and The Cigarette and Bill (which involves the burning of a borrowed bill and its later recovery from a borrowed cigarette) are good examples.
There are only three card tricks (The Tacked Card, The Torn and Restored Card, and The Poker Deal), which take up the four pages of Chapter 6. Chapter 7 (4 pages) explains three tricks with cigarettes, but not how to catch lighted cigarettes from the air. Chapter 8 is a two-page "routine" with sponge balls. Chapter 9 (10 pages) presents ten coin tricks, the most important of which is the fine Coin and Silver Boxes. Chapter 10 (5 pages) consists of ten "table tricks" with plates, glasses, matches, cigarette papers, and other small articles. Chapter 11 (5 pages) gives useful hints on "vesting" and "sleeving," and a half-dozen "effective gags" which include Biting a Piece Out of a Plate!
It should be clear, from what has been said above, that this booklet offers a wide variety of tricks for the use of night-club performers. This collection of feats would be valuable for such performers in any case, but it is doubly so by reason of having been written by a great teacher of magic, Jean Hugard. Close-Up Magic is a pamphlet of 57 pages, with 33 illustrations by Nelson Hahne, and is bound in soft boards. It is a revised, greatly enlarged edition of a book that gave excellent satisfaction to a large number of magicians in its original, shorter form. In this second edition, it should appeal to all "close-up workers."