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For Magicians Only

by Robert Parrish
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For Magicians Only by Robert Parrish

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This was a very successful book on magic when it originally appeared in 1944. Even the sophisticated New Yorker put at the top of its list of recommended books for servicemen.

A complete repertory of tricks that can be performed without elaborate equipment.

The only book on magic that tells exactly how to keep the audience from seeing the mechanics of performance.

Here's the book for every one who ever dreamed of pulling rabbits out of a hat or sawing a woman in two (and putting her back together again). The author, who has had a long experience in platform magic and two previous books on the subject, has succeeded in making prestidigitation simple and interesting, and his book can even be read by those who never expect to become magicians.

Mr. Parrish not only gives clear and explicit instructions for performing thirty popular "tricks," but he also explains the psychology of letting an audience see only what you want them to see. Distracting the audience is more important than the mere mechanics of performance.

Although the book is written in a sophisticated manner, it will be clear to young magicians, as well as to adult readers. It is illustrated with many diagrams and amusing chapter headings by Doris Holley Peters.

Paul Fleming wrote:

For Magicians Only, despite its title, is a book for the general reader. It will not appeal to many who are already conjurers, because the effects it describes are so slight. For the same reason, it will disappoint the purchaser who buys it on the strength of the dust-jacket "blurb" which reads: "Here's the book for every one who ever dreamed of pulling rabbits out of a hat or sawing a woman in two" - for he will find nothing of this sort described here! It is a well-printed, clothbound little book, with 112 pages of actual text, is illustrated with 57 explanatory diagrams and 20 humorous drawings, and explains 24 tricks and in addition a few sleights.

As we have already suggested, the tricks themselves are not at all sensational. There is, for example, a very small trick with a book of matches, to which seven pages are allotted (plus three more which analyze the misdirection that is involved). There are three after-dinner feats, one of which is the ancient Knife and Bits of Paper; the others are transposition stunts with a salt-shaker and whiskey-glass, and a walnut and kumquat, respectively. Four methods are given for "controlling" chosen cards; and seven card tricks are explained, of which the best are the discovery of a selected card by pushing a knife through the paper-wrapped deck, and a feat (called Hop, Skip, and Jump) which is reminiscent of Annemann's Eye-Popper Card Trick.

The five "psychic" demonstrations explained by Mr. Parrish include Billet Reading, a "Living and Dead" trick with a slate, a feeble two-person feat in "telepathy," and two others. The Torn and Restored Paper Napkin is explained, and there are several small tricks with coins and thimbles. A chapter entitled Large Tricks presents The Stretched Rope; The Cut and Restored Rope; a trick in which a small quantity of water passes from one Dixie cup to another; the "vanish" of a lemon from a tumbler and its reappearance in a napkin; and a production feat in which "a number of silk scarves, old correspondence, and even a light bulb" are extracted from a waste-basket that has been shown empty. The author also offers some advice on building individual tricks into short programs.

There are several short chapters that discuss "the fun of magic," describe contrasts in old and new types of equipment and styles of presentation, and tell something - though nothing like so much as the advertising and text profess - about misdirection. Those who are familiar with the writings of Robert Houdin, Professor Hoffmann, Edwin T. Sachs, David Devant, and Jean Hugard will learn with surprise that this is "the only book on magic that tells exactly how to keep the audience from seeing the 'mechanics' of performance" (as the dust-jacket claims), and that in this book "for the first time, all of the subtleties are included in the explanations" (as we are told on page 20). Because too much is claimed for it, and because it is not up to the high standard set by Mr. Parrish in his earlier books, For Magicians Only is a disappointment to this reviewer.

1st edition 1944; original 121 pages; PDF 74 pages.

  1. CONTENTS
  2. Chapter One WARNING: THE FUN OF MAGIC
  3. Chapter Two THE WAY IT LOOKS AND THE WAY IT IS
  4. Chapter Three THE OLD WAYS AND THE NEW
  5. Chapter Four THE FIRST TRICK
  6. Chapter Five AFTER-DINNER MAGIC
  7. - THE KNIFE AND THE PAPERS
  8. - SALT AND WHISKEY
  9. - HERE AND THERE
  10. Chapter Six CARD MAGIC WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE
  11. - HOW TO KEEP A CARD FROM GETTING LOST IN A DECK
  12. - LETTING A SPECTATOR SHUFFLE THE DECK (IN VAIN)
  13. - A TRICK USING THIS METHOD
  14. - HOW TO USE CARD SYSTEMS
  15. - HOW TO BE MARVELOUS WITHOUT SKILL
  16. - CARD INTO POCKET AND NO SLEIGHTS
  17. - THE STABBING TRICK
  18. - TWO CARD TURNABOUT
  19. - HOP, SKIP, AND JUMP
  20. - A CARD TRICK WITH NEEDLE AND THREAD
  21. Chapter Seven HOW TO BE PSYCHIC
  22. - THE BANGALOR BILLET
  23. - PREDICTING THINGS TO COME
  24. - SLATE PSYCHICS
  25. - AN IMPROMPTU METHOD
  26. - HOW TO MAKE YOUR BEST FRIEND A MEDIUM
  27. Chapter Eight MANIPULATING MANY THINGS
  28. - A PAPER NAPKIN AND THE TABLES TURNED
  29. - HOW TO MAKE A COIN VANISH
  30. - HOW TO PRODUCE A COIN
  31. - VISIBLE MAGIC
  32. - THIMBLE TRICKERY
  33. - THE TROUBLE WITH THIMBLES
  34. Chapter Nine LARGER TRICKS
  35. - THE MAGICIAN'S WASTE BASKET
  36. - THE FLIGHT OF WATER
  37. - A DECEPTIVE LEMON
  38. - ENOUGH ROPE
  39. - THE HINDU ROPE TRICK
  40. Chapter Ten A MAGIC SHOW
  41. - AN IMPROMPTU PROGRAM
  42. - A SHORT MAGIC SHOW
  43. - ANOTHER MAGIC SHOW
  44. - CONCLUSION

word count: 27616 which is equivalent to 110 standard pages of text

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