In this classic manual, the first Hugard wrote for people outside the inner circle of magic performers, he reveals the secrets of a host of mystifying tricks covering all major forms of close-up and stand-up magic: conjuring with coins, watches, rings, balls, eggs, silks, cigarettes, cigars, thimbles, flowers, ropes, bills, cards and mental magic.
This is a great primer for anyone aspiring to be a performing magician. The large amount of effects also holds gems for the intermediate and advanced performer. There is some overlap of material with other Hugard publications.
This book is addressed to the general reader. It does not presuppose any previous knowledge on the part of the reader but assumes only that he is reasonably intelligent and interested in becoming a magician. This means that the author must start at the beginning, take nothing for granted, and see to it that his explanations march steadily forward, step by step, gradually building up an understanding not only of the terminology and technique of magic but of its presentation as well.
We know of no one better qualified than Jean Hugard to write such a book. He brings to the task the experience of a long life devoted to the study of magic and magicians. He knows the literature of the field through and through, and this broad knowledge has enabled him to select for inclusion in Modern Magic Manual those sleights and tricks, old or new as the case may be, which the learner will be able to master and present effectively. He possesses, to a degree which is rare among writers on conjuring, the qualities that make a great teacher - the power to analyze a situation clearly, a genuine desire to help the student gain a firm grasp of the subject, and a facility of expression that reminds one of the beautifully clear English of another great writer on magic, Professor Hoffmann. Finally, as the inevitable outcome of his long career as a performer, he is able to offer valuable suggestions which will help the learner to avoid many pitfalls.
For example, Mr. Hugard, in gentle protest against the use of obviously fraudulent "props," warns the magical enthusiast that a stuffed rabbit-skin is a poor substitute for a live rabbit, and that "bouquets of feather flowers, so much affected by the average performer, cannot be said to create any illusion." Of greater significance is his emphasis upon tricks that require personal skill in their performance, as contrasted with those which "work themselves." Mr. Hugard holds no grudge against magic shops; on the contrary, he advises the reader to buy rather than make whatever equipment he may need. But his selection of feats in this book seems to say, by implication though not in specific words, "No magician is ready to use apparatus who has not learned to use his hands." This, indeed, is a maxim that may well be emphasized. Many a person is today a member of the tin-can, false-bottom school of magic simply because he was never warned that one cannot buy one's way into magic. One does not become a musician by purchasing a phonograph, nor a magician by acquiring a trunkful of weird and wonderfully decorated apparatus. Happily for the reader of Modern Magic Manual, he soon learns that a magician is a person who has developed a particular type of technique, to which any mechanical aids that may be utilized are distinctly secondary in importance.
Of the seventeen chapters in this book, the longest are those which deal with coins and balls. This is as it should be, for the skill to "produce," "vanish," "change," or otherwise manipulate coins and balls is valuable in many other branches of magic. The fields of conjuring covered by Mr. Hugard include, also, feats with wands, watches, rings, eggs, linking rings, cigarettes, cigars, thimbles, flowers, ropes, banknotes, hats, mental phenomena, and cards. In every case, the author presents both "moves" and tricks, and in many instances, he specifically recommends particular sleights or feats as being especially deceptive or effective. This kind of advice from an experienced performer is very valuable since it leads the student to concentrate upon really workable material and to avoid the impractical, of which there is an overabundance in magical literature.
We cannot take space to mention in detail the dozens of complete tricks explained in Modern Magic Manual but may list one or two from each chapter as illustrative of the first-class magical fare that awaits the readers of this book.
- Ch. 1. Magnetic Suspension of Wand at Finger Tips.
- Ch. 2. The Miser's Dream; The Coin and Orange Trick.
- Ch. 3. The Watch in the Loaf of Bread.
- Ch. 4 Ring, Silk, and Glass Transported into a Borrowed
- Ch. 5. Multiplying Billiard Balls; Sponge-Ball Magic; The Cups and Balls.
- Ch. 6. Max Sterling Paper to Egg; The Egg Bag.
- Ch. 7. Jean Hugard's Routine with Linking Rings.
- Ch. 8. 20th Century Handkerchief Trick; Sympathetic Silks; Knot-Tying.
- Ch. 9. Production of Lighted and Unlighted Cigarettes.
- Ch. 10. Production of Cigars a la The Miser's Dream.
- Ch. 11. Multiplication of Thimbles from One to Eight.
- Ch. 12. Production of Real Flowers from Paper Cone.
- Ch. 13. Cut and Restored Rope.
- Ch. 14. Borrowed Bank Note in Lemon.
- Ch. 15. Hat Productions.
- Ch. 16. Owen Clark Blackboard Tests.
- Ch. 17. Cards Passed Up Sleeve into Pocket.
If the beginner cannot eventually build an effective "act" or longer program from the instructions given in Modern Magic Manual
, it would seem likely that he does not have in him the makings of a magician. And if the skilled amateur or professional cannot find in Mr. Hugard's book many helpful items, he must be far better informed than the average amateur or professional. We ourselves cheerfully admit that it fills a need not fully met by any other book in a library which includes every practical work on magic in the English language, and several other languages as well. It is worthy of the attention of every serious student of conjuring.
Modern Magic Manual is a book of 345 pages, illustrated with 271 line drawings. The publishers have given it a format which is in keeping with the dignity of Mr. Hugard's style of writing. It is handsomely printed and handsomely bound. It is unquestionably one of the genuinely outstanding textbooks on the art of magic.