Hugard's Annual of Magic for 1938-1939 is similar to its 1937 predecessor in size and format. It is a volume of 126 pages (137 minus 11, since the text begins on page 11), and has good illustrations by Nelson Hahne, good paper, good printing, and a good-looking cover of blue, gold-stamped fabrikoid. Like the earlier Annual, it deals with sleights and tricks in several branches of conjuring.
Mr. Hugard begins this book auspiciously with an eight-page essay on extempore magic, which emphasizes the desirability of putting into a program occasional feats which, though actually planned with great care, give the impression of being impromptu. He then turns to the explanation of specific effects, among which card tricks play an important part, taking up about a quarter of the book. Prominent among these feats are his own Rising Cards inside a glass bottle, a novel and striking form of this favorite card trick; O. W. Meyer's Finding the Pairs, a pleasing variation on the old mutus/dedit/nomen/cocis theme; The Harmony of Numbers, a good feat in "coincidence," with patter, by Dr. H.· Walter Grote; Double Prediction, by P. W. Miller, an amazing mental demonstration that requires no digital dexterity but employs two special packs of cards; The Story of One-Card Pete, by Elmer Applegit, which turns out to be an adaptation of Tommy Tucker's Six Card Repeat Trick, with amusing patter in rhyme; a first-class Card-Stabbing Trick, by Fred Braue; a Four-Ace Trick with giant cards (and therefore suitable for stage performance) by Fred N. Rothenberg; and a number of flourishes with cards.
Other branches of magic are represented by A New Coin Production, to be used either in The Miser's Dream or independently; a "coin penetration" by Tom Osborne; Louis Tannen's Coins from Hand to Hand; a handkerchief production from candle; the familiar Handkerchief, Candle, and Tube, but performed without the usual faked metal "candle"; several billiard ball sleights; fifteen "useful gimmicks"; The Chinese Rings (8 pages), including three "moves" by Cardini; a farcical episode by Audley Walsh, making use of a dove pan and the help of two boys from the audience; sleights with thimbles; and a simple but effective feat in "telepathy" by Frank Kelly. In the section entitled Stage Tricks and Illusions are found a magical sketch called Professor Woofledust and the Neophyte, which strikes us as being neither humorous nor in good taste; an impromptu Cutting a Woman in Two, which bears no resemblance to either the Goldin or Selbit illusions that this title brings to mind; and The Fairy Fountains of Ten Ichi, which is well explained in eight pages of text with ten cuts.
The Hugard Annuals were discontinued after two issues had been published. Of the two, we find the 1937 Annual the more valuable, perhaps because of our liking for stage tricks, of which the earlier volume contains a liberal number. But for this very reason, club performers and "close workers" might prefer the 1938-1939 issue. The truth is that both volumes present much practical, usable material. Fortunately for magicians, if not for the publisher, the two may now be had for the original price of one, and they may well be regarded as companion volumes. We can recommend them as a sound investment.