Hello! I love the Fine Art of Magic and was very excited that a new edition was coming out, especially one with an introduction by Juan Tamariz. I feel like the hardbound version that I received wasn't a great value for the price. Fleming did such a lovely job with their printing, so I was sad that the new version is just a print on demand level job...especially with the high price.
The second effect will not work, for one simple reason: Google search results are individualized, not universal. So even if you and I search for the same exact words, the search results are likely to be different.
I do find the document inspiring, but be advised that you’ll only be able to perform the first of the two effects.
This is a large book with 371 pages that should be in every serious magician's bookcase (or computer as a PDF). While almost 73% of the book deals with cards, a wide variety of other props are also covered. George G. Kaplan wrote (with Jean Hugard) the first edition in 1948. In 2019 Warren J. Kaps (who served as National President of S.A.M. during 2001-2002) created this second edition by updating some of the methods and adding some of his own effects. Really the best praise for this book comes from the Parent Assembly of the S.A.M. in 1995:
"His book, The Fine Art of Magic, is now considered one of the most important books on magic ever published. Like its author, it relies on effective presentation, subtleties, and clarity to create miracles. The entire world of magic is grateful to George for his contributions to its literature."
We’d heard about George Kaplan and about his Fine Art of Magic* for a very long time. Never thought we’d see a copy we could afford, and I wasn’t sure it deserved its reputation. So few things do. This is one of those happy exceptions - It actually exceeds my expectations. Frankly, I find it as fun to read as Greater Magic - maybe more so. You ever try to run a search on that humongous book? Not so easy when it’s not digitized.
Kaplan seems unduly modest in his Foreword, not seeming to realize how this isn’t just another magic trick book, but a well-written book about how to perform magic. The whole project starts out on the right foot with this opening: “A good trick, properly executed, is as individual a work of art as a fine painting, and, like every work of art, is a reflection of the skills of the artist. Gone is the day when magicians sought merely to ‘fool’ their audiences. The present-day performer aims both to mystify and entertain.”
That last sentence may have been true in 1948, but a casual walk today at a magic convention or through You(too?)Tube belies the statement. Or worse, the guy performing to the public who ruins, ruins, ruins the reputation of magicians and ensures that THAT particular customer will never ever hire a magician again. Because we desperately need a lot of new magicians, real magicians, who know how to perform and entertain, who know that humans have a sense of wonder and want that itch scratched.
Yes, we need more books (BOOKS!) such as Kaplan’s Fine Art of Magic, Tarbell’s lessons, and the Amateur Magician’s Handbook**. And not only do we have them in our libraries (and in our Lybrary) but in a second edition which has been gently and respectfully seconded editionated by Warren Kaps. It’s not that the original text was wanting - it was, after all, edited and evidently written, by Jean Hugard from the work, research, and drafts of Kaplan. So there are no egos to bruise here, but there are tender feelings of the living generations of magicians and authors who want to see credits, historical origins, and possible methods which just didn’t exist in the 1940s.
See how many of today’s hot new tricks (many available as download videos for more than the price of this PDF) you find within this book. The immortal Denny Haney and I once went through his showroom and tried to find something which didn’t come out of Tarbell. We could have done much the same with this book. Because, I do not tire of repeating this, you have a choice of learning methods of tricks or learning how to perform magic.
Buy this book. Study. Practice. Your audiences will thank you.
* Please excuse me for “fixing” the title. As past librarians and editors know, leaving the article “the” at the front of a title absolutely wrecks the ability to alphabetize anything with a title.
** Yes, here’s an exception to the aforementioned rule. Thank goodness I don’t need to alphabetize herein.
THIS IS NOT PRACTICAL. I REPEAT THIS IS NOT PRACTICAL.
Warning: This is not repeatable...for the same audience or for anyone witnessing the performance. This weakens the effect to the extent that it is completely worthless. With this type of effect it is necessary to perform it more than once for it to have any "credibility". For what it is, it is way over priced for what, to me, is essentially a trick based more on semantics and is no more than a gag. Like all of us, I've bought a lot of useless, worthless crap but this is the first time I'm writing to give anyone a heads up. My suggestion is to spend your hard-earned money (or however you've earned it) on something more worthwhile--maybe some X-ray glasses or a gizmo which allows you to throw your voice.
I am a loyal Lybrary follower, and not, by nature, very critical, but ... The idea contained in this brief text isn't a bad idea. But that's all there is - one idea that isn't bad, but that isn't earth shattering either. Simply explained, with no additional help on the rest of the handling of the two cards, or suggestions of a presentation, or ideas about the "effect" created, it seems like a very poor offering for $10.00.
Paul is a gifted magic writer. Here is a venerable Classic of magic that is worthy of study & performance. The tutorial videos alone include sleights which alone are worth the price. If you want to learn a magic classic & potentially new sleights & not a u-tube one trick pony, this is easily money well spent.
Two awesome effects for one low price! It’s the bargain of the year and it’s only January! Paul’s clear and clean handling of the classic McDonald’s Aces is sensational. This beautiful presentation is well worth studying and absorbing so you’ll always have a blockbuster effect ready to go. The effect flows along brilliantly and makes perfect sense. A concise history of McDonald’s Aces is included as well as a very interesting short essay on the History of the Jacks that could provide some great patter and presentation material for you. You’ll learn a number of effective moves along the way that you can utilize with countless other card illusions in your repertoire. Don’t skip the Preface and Introductions! Here as with all of Paul’s books he gives a ton of real-world advice on presentation, entertainment, audience management, and humor. Well worth the price of the book right there! You’ll be reminded of the power of entertainment in all art forms! Freak Out! is a Knockout ESP experiment that you will have a lot of fun performing. Easy set-up and a very puzzling effect with a very strong amazement factor! There are lots of excellent presentational ideas and patter here as well as a few more nice moves that can be used with other effects. Here’s some stuff you’ll use for sure.
"A collection of stunts apparently performed by hypnotic power. I wish that some of the hypnotists I have seen would get this material and use it. The first purpose of any entertainer is to entertain. The stunts in this book are good . . . you will use them if you do mental, hypnotic or related effects."
While the thinking behind this is brilliant, I didn't find the advantages were sufficient for the added complexity, when compared against a standard Si Stebbins set up. I decided to go the extra mile and memorize a deck.
"THORNTON'S SECRETS OF MENTAL MAGIC
"At last here is a really top value and PRACTICAL series of effects and routines that work by Dr. Thornton (medical doctor) who plainly PERFORMS mentalism feats. The best publication of practical effects in five years in my judgment."
If you are a DIY guy or gal, it's not a bad book. Some good ideas.
The copy reads "two different routines". In only 4 pages of text - AFTER teaching me about making the gimmick?
Yeah, there is the briefest of mentions of a routine(s), but no teaching. No "here's the props needed, here's how you steal the gaff, etc". Just a very brief mention of a theme to use.
However, this will prevent me from buying any of the other items in this series.
* Fork in card: The very first idea that came to my mind is the solution at the end. A spectator will probably think the same thing and we don't want to lie right ? I was expecting a more clever solution.
* Spider link: I didn't really care for it when I bought this. But it is nice, more on topological side. Difficult to handle because very thin. I prefer topological object with card.
* The needle: Didn't care for it either. And I saw this in ooold book. Might be of interest for some.
* Checker board: This is the biggest disappointment. I was expecting some special fold like the braided bill. Not at all. In the hand of spectator, he will quickly find out how it is done. Though this might be interesting to real topological purist as a puzzle/challenge.
But production is good with clear view/camera. I prefer the topological card series and inside out banknotes. But thank you fairmagic sharing your knowledge about impossible/topological objects. Still keeping an eye on your topological series.
The "method" that you'll find here could work in the USA, but it's totally impractical in my country (Italy). The product description should be different, with a big warning: not useful outside U.S.! That happens (sadly) with a lot of Knight's marketing manuscripts ... I feel very disappointed!
I’ve always liked the Jastrow illusion, and even use it in my walk around performing. So I bought this booklet, hoping to expand my knowledge of the illusion, and possibly be inspired by other designs I was not aware of.
It’s good, but doesn’t really go any further than what I already knew of. It shows about 6 or 7 different versions, all of which I’m aware of or own. It talks about the history of the illusion, but I felt it could have covered a whole lot more versions of it that have been released over the years. (I did a search of this in Google and found 100s of historical examples.)
Overall, it was good, but not enough information, I felt, to warrant a $10 price tag.
This book is LOADED with great ideas!! Ideas for: standard change bags, repeat change bags, clear change bags......some bits I had NEVER even considered.....and I've owned a change bag for eons! For the price, this is a MUST BUY!