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RayJ

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https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/04/30/last-specialty-magic-store-in-new-england-disappears

I wanted to share this as a reminder that local magic shops are becoming like hen's teeth.  My town had as many as 5 shops during the '80s.  We are down to one and it isn't all that great.

So if you have a shop in your hometown and want to see it survive if not thrive, pay it a visit and more importantly, BUY something.

Many shops can stay afloat with costume business, gag gifts and joke shop stuff.  Others are entirely dependent upon magic.  With many people opting to buy their magic through the internet, they are lucky to be able to afford rent and utilities not to mention inventory.

Times change and along with that so does expectations.  The magic shop used to be where you learned about new stuff.  That and the humongous catalog from Abbott's in Colon, MI.

If you were lucky, you ran into other magicians and could share ideas.  Sometimes you got really lucky and a famous magician stopped in on the way through town.

I get it, all brick & mortar specialty shops are struggling to survive.  But if you do what you can, it would make a world of difference.  At least think about it.

By the way, I'm not criticizing folks that buy online.  I'm there with you.  

Just know that one day you might look back and say remember when.......?
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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/04/30/last-specialty-magic-store-in-new-england-disappears

I wanted to share this as a reminder that local magic shops are becoming like hen's teeth.  My town had as many as 5 shops during the '80s.  We are down to one and it isn't all that great.

So if you have a shop in your hometown and want to see it survive if not thrive, pay it a visit and more importantly, BUY something.

Many shops can stay afloat with costume business, gag gifts and joke shop stuff.  Others are entirely dependent upon magic.  With many people opting to buy their magic through the internet, they are lucky to be able to afford rent and utilities not to mention inventory.

Times change and along with that so does expectations.  The magic shop used to be where you learned about new stuff.  That and the humongous catalog from Abbott's in Colon, MI.

If you were lucky, you ran into other magicians and could share ideas.  Sometimes you got really lucky and a famous magician stopped in on the way through town.

I get it, all brick & mortar specialty shops are struggling to survive.  But if you do what you can, it would make a world of difference.  At least think about it.

By the way, I'm not criticizing folks that buy online.  I'm there with you.  

Just know that one day you might look back and say remember when.......?


Perfect magic is still alive and well in Montreal if you are ever in the area.  But please note, due to some family medical issues they are no longer open everyday.  the hours for now are Tuesdays and Thursdays Between 12:30 and 4:15.  Of course you can always order online perfectmagic.com   If those hours are a problem and you do want to visit just give them a call and I'm sure arrangements can be made. 

Shameless plug I know.  

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
Shameless plugs don't bother me if they don't bother Rudy!

Actually, others might benefit from knowing of good places to visit, whether in their hometown or otherwise.
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MagickDon

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Reply with quote  #4 
Eugene Burger wrote an essay on "The Sad Death of the Magic Shop" back in 2005. You can check it out at:  http://www.magicbeard.com/presentations-essays/the-sad-death-of-the-magic-shop.php

[frown]

The closest one to me used to be over 60 miles away, but that closed down last year.

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagickDon
Eugene Burger wrote an essay on "The Death of the Magic Shop" back in 2005. You can check it out at:  http://www.magicbeard.com/presentations-essays/the-sad-death-of-the-magic-shop.php

[frown]




Thanks for the link.  Eugene makes some of the same observations I made, specifically about the loss of community.

Another thing magic shop owners do/did is help steer people to the right tricks or books for where they are at in their journey.  Doesn't do a kid much good to buy a dissertation on the faro shuffle when what he or she really needs is a book on beginner's card magic.

The late Gene Devoe, whose "Magic Den" was the premier shop in St. Louis when I was a kid would ask you a bunch of questions and then direct you to props or books that he felt were appropriate.  He was also able to help any purchaser learn to do the trick, often showing better handlings than what was in the original instructions.  He would offer do's and dont's and presentation tips.  He was a master.
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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


So if you have a shop in your hometown and want to see it survive if not thrive, pay it a visit and more importantly, BUY something.

Just know that one day you might look back and say remember when.......?


It's unfortunate that many shops make their predicted death inevitable. On my last couple of trips to a shop I was unable to buy the simplest of props and the book selection was pathetic.

I get it. They're financially struggling and maintaining a decent inventory is difficult, if not impossible. Since it is frequently a real effort to get to a B&M shop, having it ordered and return later is impractical.

I haven't got answers, but this is important.

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arthur stead

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Sigh … I really miss “the good old days” when you could spend an afternoon hanging out in a real magic shop, page through books before deciding which one to buy, marvel at all the colorful & exciting props, see great demos by seasoned pros, ask for and receive expert advice from the owners/demonstrators, and occasionally run into and learn from international stars when they dropped in from time to time.


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Wayne T

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmat


Perfect magic is still alive and well in Montreal if you are ever in the area.  But please note, due to some family medical issues they are no longer open everyday.  the hours for now are Tuesdays and Thursdays Between 12:30 and 4:15.  Of course you can always order online perfectmagic.com   If those hours are a problem and you do want to visit just give them a call and I'm sure arrangements can be made. 

Shameless plug I know.  


Next time I go to Montreal I will try and visit, I live in Ottawa only a couple hours away. Unfortunately we don't have a magic shop here. [frown]  When I go to Toronto I try to pop into the Browsers Den (another plug).

Wayne

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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T


Next time I go to Montreal I will try and visit, I live in Ottawa only a couple hours away. Unfortunately we don't have a magic shop here. [frown]  When I go to Toronto I try to pop into the Browsers Den (another plug).

Wayne


Love the browsers Den!

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #10 
That article is actually wrong.  There's RP Magic in MA and Winkler's Magic Warehouse in CT both still active.  A far cry from years ago.  Hank Lee's, Steve Dacri's, Carl Bertilio's, Tony's shop, a previous shop in Springfield Wizard of Oz and that was just in MA.  There were a few in CT and one in NH.  I'm sure there were more.
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rready

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Reply with quote  #11 
You have to remember also that a lot of us old timers got started into Magic when we visited our first brick and mortar shop. I think it was Tannens for me the first time and then Hank Lees and the shop Tom mentioned that was in Springfield called The Wizard of Oz. If it wasn't for these shops a lot of us would have never probably got into Magic.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rready
You have to remember also that a lot of us old timers got started into Magic when we visited our first brick and mortar shop. I think it was Tannens for me the first time and then Hank Lees and the shop Tom mentioned that was in Springfield called The Wizard of Oz. If it wasn't for these shops a lot of us would have never probably got into Magic.


You are right. So that begs the question of how is the next generation of magicians going to be introduced to the craft.

I recently found out a young man at church is wanting to be a magician. I've offered to help him get started.

What other means are out there besides the internet? Traveling magic shows?
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #13 
At a Shin Lim lecture he mentioned he got his start from Youtube.  Somewhat sad, but look where he is now.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
At a Shin Lim lecture he mentioned he got his start from Youtube.  Somewhat sad, but look where he is now.


And you can see the influence of youtube on his work.  He candidly admits that some of his routines are designed for the screen.  

I saw him on stage in "The Illusionists" and while his performance was impressive, for me as a magician, I saw through most of it and wondered how it might fly in a well-lighted room.

Not taking anything away from him.  He's off touring the world and I'm at a keyboard typing.
[smile]
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DJ

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
At a Shin Lim lecture he mentioned he got his start from Youtube.  Somewhat sad, but look where he is now.


This is true but what initially sparked his interest in magic was his brother showing him the slip force.


Relevant part at the 4min mark....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=v3KV8Eke3ts

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #16 
There's nothing inherently wrong with learning from YouTube. When needing to affect a home, automotive, or small appliance repair, I frequently consult YouTube for tutorials posted by professionals. They've saved me several thousands of dollars over the last 5 or 6 years. The trick is separating wheat from chaff.

There are scads of excellent teachers posting video lessons on YouTube and elsewhere. Some do it with the enthusiastic desire of a proselytizer, with no expectation of financial reward. Others post videos as bread crumbs leading to paid lessons or items for sell on their website. Some amateurs are wonderful teachers. Others suck. Rather than automatically disdain anyone who seeks to learn from YouTube, shouldn't we instead do our best to guide them to sites that we, as hobbyists, amateurs, and pros, endorse? Perhaps answering an inquiry about YouTube videos with, "I'd recommend looking at [insert name here]'s channel. He [or she] is knowledgeable, understands the art of magic, and is careful to credit where credit is due."?

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #17 
Can we start to build that resource here and now?  People ask me about this quite often and I would really like to give good advice.

I think Jay Sankey has a ton of online instruction but I'm not personally familiar with it.  Is it worth recommending?  What are some sources of online instruction that are worthwhile?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
Can we start to build that resource here and now?  People ask me about this quite often and I would really like to give good advice.

I think Jay Sankey has a ton of online instruction but I'm not personally familiar with it.  Is it worth recommending?  What are some sources of online instruction that are worthwhile?


Good idea. Why not? I will start a thread titled, YouTube Resources Recommended by TMF Members. First, though, let's create a list of criteria for inclusion, beginning with the aforementioned attributes, knowledgeable, good teacher, and, careful with crediting. Once we have a nice, concise list I will start the thread, pinning the criteria to the top of the page. Members can monitor the links or suggestions, and Mods can delete or edit as required. 

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #19 
Yes Shin did mention his magic was designed for video, but I saw the same act he did on P&T from 10' away, and it was just as magical.  There was a shop in Feeding Hills, MA, tons of great lectures, but the guy behind the counter was a little sketchy.
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rready

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Reply with quote  #20 
Tom,

          Is he the same guy who does those You Tube videos in his bedroom and talks to invisible spectators like their actually there? 

          
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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rready
Tom,

          Is he the same guy who does those You Tube videos in his bedroom and talks to invisible spectators like their actually there? 

          


Not sure about the bedroom thing, but do you really not know who Shin Lim is? 2015 FISM winner, America's Got Talent, and AGT Champions winner, two time Penn and Teller fooler, has several massive stage shows, a Penguin Lecture, an At the Table Lecture, I think he's also been going to Fechters since at least 2011, which to me is impressive since it meant he was only 20 years old at the time and had only been doing magic for 4 years according to him....
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #22 
rready... that's the same guy.  He got a lot of my money.
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rready

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Reply with quote  #23 
Chi,

        TomG was talking about me when I had a shop in the 90's. The bedroom joke was about me not Shin Lim.


        Tom, I should open another shop since you have a lot more money now.
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Tom G

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You'd have to open it in NH, I'm not driving that far.......
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
You'd have to open it in NH, I'm not driving that far.......


Tom hits on an issue here and that is convenience.  I'm in the construction products business.  I've worked for distributors and for manufacturers.  I am periodically asked if we have a website with an e-commerce platform.  Seems folks don't want to have to get dressed, wait for the store to open and then drive in to pick something up.  They'd rather sit at home in their jammies and order things after-hours.

Stores that are retail fronts only are in jeopardy.
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Harrisgagnon

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Reply with quote  #26 
It's such a shame brick and mortar shops are closing. The experience is much better than clicking buttons online... but people are lazy! 

The closest magic shop to me is 1 hour and 45 minutes away. 
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rready

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Reply with quote  #27 
You can never beat the feeling when you are just about to walk in a brick and mortar shop and the feeling of excitement. 

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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rready
Tom,

          Is he the same guy who does those You Tube videos in his bedroom and talks to invisible spectators like their actually there? 

          


I like the bedroom guy! I just assumed he had a big bedroom full of people!!!

Tony keep up the good work, my only suggestion is please don't move it into the bathroom, your stuff is perfect for the big rooms. [rofl]

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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #29 
Brent Braun is opening a new store:

https://www.newsandtribune.com/news/magic-theater-shop-coming-to-downtown-new-albany/article_6d57555c-6ea8-11e9-9ad9-df92441c7d29.html
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmat


Perfect magic is still alive and well in Montreal if you are ever in the area.  But please note, due to some family medical issues they are no longer open everyday.  the hours for now are Tuesdays and Thursdays Between 12:30 and 4:15.  Of course you can always order online perfectmagic.com   If those hours are a problem and you do want to visit just give them a call and I'm sure arrangements can be made. 

Shameless plug I know.  


Here's my plug...

Just to let everyone here know (especially my Canadian friends) Perfect Magic in Montreal is a first class operation. I just completed a recent purchase, shipping was quick. Will definitely do business again. Prices seem as competitive as anywhere else and perhaps with the exchange rate, USD$ might even go a little further.

Wayne

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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #31 
I envy all of you that grew up with an old-school BNB magic shop. As I said in another post, my first 'tricks' were purchased at one of those mall "joke" shops that had one small glass case of magic tricks -- and buried within the junk there were a few good things. Only one time have I set foot in an 'old school' one. It was in Scottsdale, Arizona -- not an overwhelming distance from my house. I have no remembrance of who told me about it, or what it's name was. I do know it shut down because of some scandal or something with the owner being killed by a gunshot.. maybe that will ring some bells with someone. But... my experience was this:

I walked in, not knowing much -- probably Elmsley/Jordon, how to hold a break - probably not much more. I'm guessing by then I'd had a copy of the "Amateur Magician's Handbook" since that one was an early purchase. There were books and stuff along all the walls of a room more narrow than long. 3 older-than-me guys in there (I was probably early 30s). They realized I'd never been there, but were kind. I guess it was the owner called me over and asked what I was interested in, what I knew/etc. He pulled out a copy of "The Creative Card Magic of William P. Meisel", and said it would be a good place to begin. I love that book, and have been through it more times than I wish to count -- it's always close by for reference.

Next time I went looking for the place I found out it no longer existed... that was too bad!

I currently have a local one. They cater more to the plastic junk toy stuff that sells faster and some mid-range stuff they sell to their students. They do magic lessons to the young crowd. Don't really have much for me.

I have a go-to place when I'm looking for out-of-print stuff: Midwest Magic -- I understand it is a BNB with an online presence... they stand behind the fact that if it shows online, it's available... I've never found that to be wrong. If I'm ever in the Chicago area, that will be a place to visit.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell
I envy all of you that grew up with an old-school BNB magic shop. As I said in another post, my first 'tricks' were purchased at one of those mall "joke" shops that had one small glass case of magic tricks -- and buried within the junk there were a few good things. Only one time have I set foot in an 'old school' one. It was in Scottsdale, Arizona -- not an overwhelming distance from my house. I have no remembrance of who told me about it, or what it's name was. I do know it shut down because of some scandal or something with the owner being killed by a gunshot.. maybe that will ring some bells with someone. But... my experience was this:

I walked in, not knowing much -- probably Elmsley/Jordon, how to hold a break - probably not much more. I'm guessing by then I'd had a copy of the "Amateur Magician's Handbook" since that one was an early purchase. There were books and stuff along all the walls of a room more narrow than long. 3 older-than-me guys in there (I was probably early 30s). They realized I'd never been there, but were kind. I guess it was the owner called me over and asked what I was interested in, what I knew/etc. He pulled out a copy of "The Creative Card Magic of William P. Meisel", and said it would be a good place to begin. I love that book, and have been through it more times than I wish to count -- it's always close by for reference.

Next time I went looking for the place I found out it no longer existed... that was too bad!

I currently have a local one. They cater more to the plastic junk toy stuff that sells faster and some mid-range stuff they sell to their students. They do magic lessons to the young crowd. Don't really have much for me.

I have a go-to place when I'm looking for out-of-print stuff: Midwest Magic -- I understand it is a BNB with an online presence... they stand behind the fact that if it shows online, it's available... I've never found that to be wrong. If I'm ever in the Chicago area, that will be a place to visit.


Midwest magic is very good. I visited several times when in Chicago on business. The owner is nice and they have a demonstrator that has published several items. I think his name is Tom Dobrowolsky. He is super nice. I attended a Paul Cummins lecture there. Paul is awesome and his side steal is superb.

Yes, having a real shop is quite a blessing.
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #33 
Dave could that have been Sun Magic?  I traveled to Phoenix for martial arts and skipped to Sun Magic to look around during a break .  I think J. C. Wagner was behind the counter.
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StevePR104

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Reply with quote  #34 
Ray,
Tom Dobrowolski is a great guy and has published several sets of notes, and issued effects like "Big Four Poker."  Paul Cummins' side steal is great...and his FASDIU notes are great.  If you don't have 'em, you should!
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
Dave could that have been Sun Magic?  I traveled to Phoenix for martial arts and skipped to Sun Magic to look around during a break .  I think J. C. Wagner was behind the counter.

Sun magic is correct, Tom... could NOT remember that, and can find no reference as to who the owner was -- no clue who was in the shop the day I was there -- would have been very nice to have that information in addition to the memory.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevePR104
Ray,
Tom Dobrowolski is a great guy and has published several sets of notes, and issued effects like "Big Four Poker."  Paul Cummins' side steal is great...and his FASDIU notes are great.  If you don't have 'em, you should!


Yes, I did buy his FASDIU material! And yes it is top-notch. I saw Paul control like six selections via the side steal and his technique is impeccable. The "dip" he demonstrates makes all the difference.
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chris w

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell

Sun magic is correct, Tom... could NOT remember that, and can find no reference as to who the owner was -- no clue who was in the shop the day I was there -- would have been very nice to have that information in addition to the memory.


Ah ha, got it. From https://www.carnivalofillusion.com/phoenix-magic-shows.php:

"Jack Sutherland was one of Easley's best salesmen and a practiced magician. He had a slick, almost Vegas style about him, and he was to become good friends with Harry Anderson, a well-known actor and magician in his own right. Jack loved to crack jokes and help the up-and-coming magicians learn new techniques and illusions. Jack eventually left Easley's to start his own business called Sun Magic. All seemed well in Jack's world until the fateful day when he was murdered. He was unable to magically dodge the bullet that killed him, shot by a jealous ex-boyfriend of his then wife."

A search of Ask Alexander reveals many mentions of Sutherland scattered throughout issues of MUM and The Linking Ring over the years. There's also a photo of him at the link above.
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Reply with quote  #38 
When I went to California (in the mid 80's), I often visited Merlin's Magic Mansion on El Camino Real, in Belmont. I would spend most of the day there when I went. Mike Rovno was behind the counter and a few years ago found him on FB. He told me that this shop closed a long time ago and that his owner, Merlin (never knew his real name), had died. I loved being there and watch magic and buy books and effects. 

If you have the New York Magic Symposium book 3 (the white one), at the beginning there is an insert with some ads for some shops and effects. Merlin's Magic Mansion advertised there because this symposium took place in New York AND San Francisco (not at the same time, but with a week's difference). The program for the two parts of the symposium were basically the same with slight differences. 

Merlins.jpg 

I would have loved to be there at the time of the Symposium to attend and meet all the people there. I went there about 2 years later... 

I cherish those times...



 


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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #39 


There ya go...

Thanks for finding that Chris!

Since I was only there once, and it was on the leading-edge my magic adventure, the name didn't mean anything to me... wish I'd have found out about it sooner and/or went there more.

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