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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #1 
Most often I hear that it began with the gift of a magic-set, but I am wondering how you guys started off in your pursuit of magic, and what continues to inspire you? 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #2 
I was fortunate in that my parents had a friend who was a professional magician, Ernie Heldman.  I witnessed him perform in our basement to a large group of my parent's friends.  He was amazing.  Somewhere along that same time I had gotten a book that had some tricks in it and had cardboard cut-outs that you could use to make illusions and puzzles.  It had the standard optical illusion where you have the two curved shapes and when laid side-by-side one appears larger but when stacked they are the same size.  Also in the book was a cut-out that when assembled, created a box with a slotted front panel you could see through.  It had an extra flap of cardboard that could hide objects put into the box.  It was sort of a "white art" principle.  After my folks saw I was truly interested, they took me to the Magic Den, a shop run by Gene DeVoe, another incredible magician.  It was there that I began to learn magic in earnest.  That was probably 50 years ago I guess.
I honestly don't remember, it was a long time ago!  From there, I bought tricks as my budget (which was paltry) would allow.  By the time I was a teenager I was able to learn under Harry Montieth, better known as Harry Monti, former IBM President and the reason Monti cups are called Monti cups.  He helped design them with the original Rings-N-Things owner, Mike Brazill.  Eventually, I joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians and I developed a stage act featuring manipulation.  I did cards, billiard balls, thimbles, silks, linking rings and doves, not necessarily in that order!  I produced 4 doves in my act.  Funny story about that.  I was gifted a pair of doves by a fellow magician who was heading off to college.  About 6 months after I got them and had been learning how to produce them, I found eggs in their cage.  I honestly didn't know if they were going to hatch, but sure enough, they did and I then had 4 doves.  All of them made it into the act!  

As committed to magic as I was, life got in the way like it does to a lot of us.  I never forgot about magic, but I did stop performing for awhile.  I'd toy with cards and coins and such in my spare time, but that was about it.  I soon lost contact with all of my friends in magic as college, marriage and kids took precedence.

Every now and again something would happen to draw me back into thinking about magic.  I took my wife to dinner at a local restaurant and was shocked when a good friend, Dan Fleshman came over to perform magic for us.  He gave me a huge hug.  Danny is one of the nicest guys in magic, if not the whole world.  Anyways, we chatted and he told me what he was up to and he asked me if I was still "doing any magic" and I had to be honest and say not really.

These days, I just hope I can share some of what I've learned with others and maybe help them avoid some stumbling blocks.  I had some really good mentors, John Mendoza, Chris Kenner, John Snider, Gene DeVoe, Harry Monti, Tim Star and of course Dan Fleshman.  There were others mixed in there too.  They helped me to understand a lot about magic beyond the secrets.  What really makes magic work, how to treat an audience, how to spot a good trick, etc.  If I can help others in that regard then I'm happy.  I will return to performing at some point.  The right time and the right place will happen.  Certainly not right now with the 'rona.


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
By the way, I ran across this ad for the old RNT company.  Look at the prices.  I realize that people made a lot less money back then, so it is just a reflection of the times, but wow!

rings-n-things-linking-rings-ad-linking-ring-1974-05.jpg 

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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #4 
It all started with a Mattel magic kit I saw as a kid. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time. It was in a drug store high on a shelf. I also remember that's what I got for my birthday.

I was SO happy. Later on, I got the;

- Dr. Doolittle Magic Set
- TV Magic Cards
- TV Magic Kit

Then I got the MAGIC magazine once a month at the local store...
Then I got the Tannen's Catalog.

And that's how I got started.

MP-

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #5 
Doug Henning.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind Phantom
It all started with a Mattel magic kit I saw as a kid. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time. It was in a drug store high on a shelf. I also remember that's what I got for my birthday.

I was SO happy. Later on, I got the;

- Dr. Doolittle Magic Set
- TV Magic Cards
- TV Magic Kit

Then I got the MAGIC magazine once a month at the local store...
Then I got the Tannen's Catalog.

And that's how I got started.

MP-


I used to love watching the Marshall Brodien TV Magic Cards commercials!  To a youngster it looked like pure magic.

Check out one of the original commercials.  The one's he demos are Enardoe/Fox Lake brand and are bridge sized.

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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
... It had the standard optical illusion where you have the two curved shapes and when laid side-by-side one appears larger but when stacked they are the same size.

Long for those days!
I got that trick when I was 10 along with many "standard" and popular mini-magic tricks by my first magic box.
Nevertheless I was obssesed with card magic up to the point of not feeling much interest in other field of magic, all since I watched for the first time (on TV) a Tamariz card magic show, when I was 7.

Your personal history is very interesting, Ray, I read the entire post. I'm glad to know you better. And, do you know what? Me too I virtually "dropped out" magic (as an amateur performer in my case) since I engaged with my wife in 2010. During that time I focused my free time on finishing my personal card magic book and translating it into English as well.

I have no mentor but a "spiritual mentor":
Juan Tamariz.
My style has been his since I'm a child.
My family members used to call me "the little Tamariz."

So, I started off (card) magic like that.

By the way, Ray, you always can take magic up again as a regular performer if you love it. Fortunately for us, age is not precisely a problem when it comes to do magic. Think about Dai Vernon, Harry Lorayne or Tamariz with 78 still performing as a professional.
I'm thinking that some day, when my child become a man, I will devote more time to magic as a performer... And when I retire I will devote my entire time to it!

For the time being, I'm very happy in this great forum, meeting so nice and great magicians thanks to Rudy Tinoco : - )




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Medifro

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Reply with quote  #8 
Got hooked after Blaine's Street Magic special. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco Nagata

Long for those days!
I got that trick when I was 10 along with many "standard" and popular mini-magic tricks by my first magic box.
Nevertheless I was obssesed with card magic up to the point of not feeling much interest in other field of magic, all since I watched for the first time (on TV) a Tamariz card magic show, when I was 7.

Your personal history is very interesting, Ray, I read the entire post. I'm glad to know you better. And, do you know what? Me too I virtually "dropped out" magic (as an amateur performer in my case) since I engaged with my wife in 2010. During that time I focused my free time on finishing my personal card magic book and translating it into English as well.

I have no mentor but a "spiritual mentor":
Juan Tamariz.
My style has been his since I'm a child.
My family members used to call me "the little Tamariz."

So, I started off (card) magic like that.

By the way, Ray, you always can take magic up again as a regular performer if you love it. Fortunately for us, age is not precisely a problem when it comes to do magic. Think about Dai Vernon, Harry Lorayne or Tamariz with 78 still performing as a professional.
I'm thinking that some day, when my child become a man, I will devote more time to magic as a performer... And when I retire I will devote my entire time to it!

For the time being, I'm very happy in this great forum, meeting so nice and great magicians thanks to Rudy Tinoco : - )





My childhood was anything but normal.  It was great, don't get me wrong, but I got to experience a lot of things other kids my age didn't.  I was blessed to be able to visit with some really talented and generous magicians.  I learned so much from them.  Gene DeVoe, for example, the owner of a magic shop called the Magic Den, was a wealth of information.  He could pick up any trick he sold and perform it expertly, tell you about the creator and also show alternative handlings and presentations.  He was a master.  Gene had the original rights to produce all of Brother John Hamman's card tricks like Acey-Deucy, Final Aces, etc.  I believe Geno Munari holds the rights currently.
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #10 
I’m in my mid 50’s and just starting. I always thought magic was interesting but never considered actually doing it. A year or two ago I was on YouTube looking for something else, probably live AC/DC footage or historic auto racing. For some reason I watched a video where a kid had three cards and did a number of surprises then really surprised me when they all turned out to be blank. I don’t remember who it was, for all I know it was some of the terrible magic on YT so frequently lamented. And I couldn’t believe he showed how it was done. But for some reason I suddenly wanted to learn how to do it. So I started watching more videos but then gravitated towards the canonical books, and have had lots of great help here too.

I didn’t get a magic kit as a kit or have a lifelong interest. I stumbled upon it in middle age. So I’ll probably never become a master of the art. I just don’t have enough time left to put in 20 years of dedicated practice. I’m still just trying figure out what this is, which I would even ask here except I don’t know how to articulate it better than that; I just don’t know what this is. If I get to the point where I figure out the nature of what I’m doing, I’ll be happy.

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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #11 
That's more than just inflation, Ray. The 1974 dollar is worth 5 times the 2020 dollar, so the steel cups should be about $100 or a little more. But a professional set of cups is about $250 today.
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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
I’m in my mid 50’s and just starting. I always thought magic was interesting but never considered actually doing it. A year or two ago I was on YouTube looking for something else, probably live AC/DC footage or historic auto racing. For some reason I watched a video where a kid had three cards and did a number of surprises then really surprised me when they all turned out to be blank. I don’t remember who it was, for all I know it was some of the terrible magic on YT so frequently lamented. And I couldn’t believe he showed how it was done. But for some reason I suddenly wanted to learn how to do it. So I started watching more videos but then gravitated towards the canonical books, and have had lots of great help here too.

I didn’t get a magic kit as a kit or have a lifelong interest. I stumbled upon it in middle age. So I’ll probably never become a master of the art. I just don’t have enough time left to put in 20 years of dedicated practice. I’m still just trying figure out what this is, which I would even ask here except I don’t know how to articulate it better than that; I just don’t know what this is. If I get to the point where I figure out the nature of what I’m doing, I’ll be happy.


I understand. I started in my early 50s. I gave serious thought to even starting to do magic, but then I figured if it took me to 60 to do it well, I figured I would still turn 60 even if I didn't learn magic.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotasBadasIWas
That's more than just inflation, Ray. The 1974 dollar is worth 5 times the 2020 dollar, so the steel cups should be about $100 or a little more. But a professional set of cups is about $250 today.


You know the old saw "If I only knew then what I know now", I would have bought up a bunch of stuff and sat on it.  They really did make some wonderful cups, chop cups, vases, bottles, etc.  And of course their rings were among the best, if you were in the market for steel.  Back then it was them and Suds, most of the rest didn't compare.
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