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Harry Lorayne's 2016 Jaw Droppers Lecture

A rare opportunity to see a 90 year old living legend perform and teach card magic!

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HARRY LORAYNE: THE LEGACY

Who is Harry Lorayne?

Some would say that I don't need to ask this question, not least Mr Harry Lorayne himself.  After all, shouldn't everyone in magic know who Harry Lorayne is?  As I'm writing this, Harry is now in his early 90s.  But even though he is a living legend of card magic, it is a reality that many younger magicians are unfamiliar with him.  They might be on the cutting edge of the latest and newest releases of magic, but American magician Harry Lorayne (born in 1926) is before their time.  Unfortunately it's often the case that only the truly dedicated that will take the time and trouble to look up and work with the experts in card magic that have long preceded them.  Given his age, Harry Lorayne is truly a man from a previous generation, and has outlasted many magicians around him.  

But it would be a travesty not to build on the work of those who have preceded us, especially when they are as legendary as Harry Lorayne.  In fact, he's still producing new material, and is currently working on yet another book.  Those who know something about the history of magic, and who are familiar with the biggest names of card magic from the second half of the 20th century, will certainly recognize Harry Lorayne and be aware of his work.  After all, it's no small thing to sell sold more than 17 million copies of over 40 books!  He has published a large number of classic works on card magic, and was one of the top showman of his time.  He may have lost some hair over the years, and is no longer the Bilbo Baggins of magic that he once was, but he's still an incredible magician, who has made a prolific and lasting contribution to card magic. It's a small miracle that he's still alive, and even more so that he's as active on internet forums as he is. And better yet: still very adept with his card magic and able to perform a magic lecture at age 90.  It's this Jaw Droppers Lecture, which was released in 2016-17, that is the subject of this review. 

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His expertise


Memory

I first came across one of Harry Lorayne's work as a curious teenager, some time in the 1980s when I stumbled across his books on memory in a public library.  He's known not only for his expertise with card magic, but also as a memory training specialist, and is arguably the world's foremost expert in memory training.  Using the memory techniques that he taught in books and seminars, he would perform remarkable demonstrations of memory for large audiences.  He was especially known for being introduced to large audiences of as many as 1000 people or more, and being able to recall the names of every single person.  He appeared on national television on many occasions, including regular performances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. You can see a clip of a 1988 appearance on the show here and doing a memory demonstration on another TV show in 1958 here.  

I didn't attempt to progress in mastering the advanced memory material that he taught in his books, but even the basic memorization concepts proved enormously helpful throughout my subsequent education in high school and university, and even still today.  I have continued to share some of those techniques with my own children and students (I recently passed on a copy of his book The Memory Book to one of my older children), because it is all so practical and useful, and it really works!

Magic

But of particular interest for this article are Harry Lorayne's skills with card magic.  While enormously successful in the area of memory training, Harry Lorayne's first love was card magic.  He emerged from a difficult childhood with a real interest in and love for card magic.  Combined with his natural t
alent as a showman, and a genuine ability to entertain and also to teach, as well as to create and innovate, he quickly became one of the leading names of his time.  Some of his associates and friends included big name legends like Dai Vernon and John Scarne, who preceded him.  

But Harry Lorayne not only had an enormous capacity to create, to perform, and to teach, but also to write.  In the course of his life, he was the prolific author of many influential books on both memorization techniques and card magic, with more than 20 books on the latter subject alone.  His book on magic for beginners, The Magic Book (1977), and his first work on card magic, Close-Up Card Magic (1962), continue to be included by many magicians in their lists of all-time favourite books on magic, and are often regarded as his most influential and best works. 

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His Teaching Materials

Harry Lorayne's material will certainly outlive him, both in the areas of memory techniques and of magic, the latter being of special interest to us as magicians.   A 4 DVD set entitled "Harry Lorayne's Best Ever! Collection" contains all ten volumes of his original video teaching series, with over 15 hours of instruction.  And from 2005 to 2014, he published a five volume set of books entitled The Classic Collection (Volumes 1 - 5), in which he revisited and reworked all his best books on magic, to produce the definitive and ultimate collection.  

Even in his old age, he's continued to produce new material.  In 2015 he published his autobiography Before I Forget, which tells the story of his life, and gives a whole new perspective on the man and his life.  More recently, he produced two new collections of card tricks, Jaw Droppers (2015) and Jaw Droppers Two (2017).  And when he's not posting on internet forums around the world, he's currently working on what he considers to be his last written work, which has the working title, And Finally.

I only wish I had come across some of Harry Lorayne's books on card magic at an earlier stage of my life when I also began learning magic some thirty years ago.  To my shame, while his books on memory had quite the positive impact on my life, I never had opportunity to read any of his books on card magic across those years, in part because I grew up in a pre-internet era, and simply didn't know about his many contributions to magic until more recently.  I'm sure there are many others like me, and also many younger magicians who may not even have heard of Harry Lorayne at all, even though names like Brad Christian, Criss Angel, and Dynamo are well-known to them. 

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His Lecture and Interview

Fortunately for all of us, we now have a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Harry Lorayne and his magic, via a delightful lecture and interview which was organized by Rudy Tinoco, who runs the internet forum The Magicians Forum.  Though now in his 90s, Harry Lorayne is still as full of fire and passion for card magic as ever.  And remarkably, despite his age, he hasn't lost many of his skills in card handling.  When approached by Rudy about the possibility of doing a video lecture and private interview in connection with his 90th birthday (1 May 2016), Harry was kind enough to agree.  The result: more than three and a half hours of intimate footage featuring Harry Lorayne, filmed in August 2016. 

The lecture is available digitally from Rudy Tinoco, and details can be found here.  It's not expensive: only five dollars.  To get access to watch it, you simply send $5 to themagiciansforum@gmail.com via PayPal, with all the money going to Harry Lorayne.  In return Rudy will send you links to two private youtube videos.  The first is entitled "The Jaw Droppers Lecture" and runs for two and a half hours.  The second is a personal one-on-one interview that Rudy had with Harry Lorayne, and runs for one hour.  Being private videos, both are streaming videos and can't be downloaded.  You will need to tell Rudy the same email address that you use to log on to your Google account, otherwise you won't be able to get access to the videos, as I quickly discovered myself.  Fortunately Rudy was quick to help sort this out for me, and from then I had no issues with accessing or viewing the videos. Both were filmed and recorded in Harry Lorayne's own home.

A short video trailer can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGIfthSdsOE

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HARRY LORAYNE: THE LECTURE

In the course of the 2016 Jaw Droppers lecture, Harry Lorayne performs and teaches a total of 15 tricks, which are summarized below.

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1. Fantastic Ace Assembly

The four Aces are shown on top of the deck, and then placed on the table, with three indifferent cards on each.   Each Ace is then shown to move to the packet with the Ace of Spades, one at a time.  The beautiful part of this trick is that in each phase of the trick, the packet which ends up with all the Aces is shown to have an extra Ace each time.  It's a beautiful and well-executed routine that seems truly impossible to the layperson.  All the video clips shown below are taken directly from the lecture, and were made available online by the producers Ron and Rudy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqawVpxPoSE
 
2. Numero Uno

This is another all-time top trick from Harry Lorayne.  A spectator makes a free choice of card from a shuffled deck.  It's remembered and returned to the middle of the deck, which is shuffled. The spectator gives any number between 10 and 20, and Harry immediately cuts off that exact number of cards to produce the selection.  The trick has two beautiful elements, the first one being the production of the selected card, and then the second phase where the cut cards are exactly the right number. As part of the explanation, you'll also learn how to secretly crimp a stack of cards on the fly. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1OjXkXs6DI

3. HaLo Aces

This is a true Harry Lorayne classic, often used by Harry as an opener, and is a startling revelation of four Aces from a shuffled deck. For Harry himself, it's very much a personal favourite, and he's gone on record as saying: "Although honestly - my HaLo Aces is and always will be at top of my list" (link).  Many magicians also consider it their all time favourite Harry Lorayne effect.  Harry teaches the HaLo Cut which is key to this great routine, and you'll also learn a great Spread Control with HaLo Cut that can be very useful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFDlBrdCUH8
 
4. Double Take

This trick is also known as "HaLo Revisits The Aces".  From a shuffled deck, Harry Lorayne shows how he might estimate a cut of 13 cards, and then gets two spectators to do the same.  Remarkable, the top cards on all four packets are in fact the Aces!  This routine is helped with the benefit of some good acting, and Harry himself can sell this illusion very convincingly!  It's a lovely take on the classic Spectator Cuts to the Aces plot, with some added elements that add real interest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZQqVdvZrVE

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5. Startler

Harry typically follows HaLo Aces and Double Take with this trick, which is another application of the HaLo cut.  From an apparently shuffled deck, all four Aces are produced almost simultaneously and instantly from apparently different parts of the deck.  This has been regarded by some as a stunning Ace revelation, hence the name.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYeXhF6RDVI

6. Greatest Card Handler

This is a great follow-up to a four Ace trick; because it begins with four aces placed face-down on the table.  Two spectators each choose a card which is lost in the deck.  A selection of cards is placed on top of each of the Aces, and after some cuts and shuffling, Harry Lorayne spells the names of the Aces to produce each in turn.  With only two cards remaining, these are shown to be the spectators' chosen cards. This is one of the tricks in one of Harry's recent releases, Jaw Droppers. While spelling tricks are typically associated with boring stretches of counting and dealing, you'll be surprised how much life Harry manages to inject into this entertaining routine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgaumLTy0W8

7. Powerful Powers

This trick was also originally taught in his 2015 book Jaw Droppers.  For many readers, it's the best trick in the book - and now you can see and learn it as part of this lecture.  Four spectators each shuffle the deck, remove, and remember a card, while the magician also names a card.  The cards are all lost in the deck, which is shuffled, and Harry Lorayne feigns that he's genuinely uncertain that the trick will work.  He keeps reducing the size of the deck, until several packets have been stripped off and only one card remains.  It turns out to be his own card, while the top card of each of the other packets has the spectator's selected cards.  This trick really shows Harry doing a great job in acting, and it's terrific if you enjoy magic that showcases card handling skills, especially if you want to include involvement from multiple spectators in a group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gqi9ukNK-6U

8. Magician Versus Gambler

In this classic favourite from the Lorayne repertoire, Harry tells a terrific story about a contest between a gambler and a magician, who are arguing about who is the best card manipulator.  With a million dollars on the line, the challenge is to shuffle the deck four times, each time producing a card that will make up a four-of-a-kind. The magician first turns up three queens, and seems to have failed when the final card is a two - but then incredibly all the queens are shown to actually be twos as well.  And as if that's not impossible enough, the queens are then shown to have been in the magician's pocket the entire time, including the final queen in his wallet!  It's a brilliant story and brilliant trick, and little wonder it has been so popular across the years.  While owing something to a Dr Daley routine, and perhaps even predates that, Harry has clearly put his own stamp on this clever trick. You can see a younger Harry Lorayne perform this on his Best Ever series here.

9. Pleasing Combination

In a rare departure from the card magic that is his staple, Harry Lorayne teaches a brilliant mathematical routine.  He quickly performs a complicated mathematical calculation involving multiplying two sets of three digit numbers and then adding them together, and coming up with the answer quicker than the spectator can ever accomplish with a calculator.  This effect was originally taught in the book Mathematical Wizardry, p.45.  If you're not familiar with this effect, you can watch Harry perform it on the International Magician Society Gold Series here.

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10. Really 

A spectator chooses any four of a kind which are mixed face up in a packet of cards.  But are they really mixed?  Not really, says Harry, over and over, as the mixing continues more and more, with small packets of cards being turned over, even as decided by the spectator.  Yet in the end, after all the mixing, the only four cards that are reversed is the spectator's four-of-a-kind.  This is Harry at his energetic and entertaining best!  The trick itself was first taught in a bonus section on the video "Lorayne: The Classic Collection, Volume 1", and is a routine that will finally be published in his forthcoming book And Finally.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG57UDLyQPw

11. Slide Finder

Harry Lorayne also calls this trick "Searching".  While shuffling the deck, the magician is shown to be searching for cards.  After producing four packets, each is shown to have an Ace at the bottom.  The spectator chooses one of these four packets, and in the blink of an eye, Harry produces a royal flush in the suit matching that Ace.  While not one of the strongest tricks in the lecture, it's still an impressive display of card handling.

12. Blown Further Away

This is based on the beautiful Neither Blind Nor Stupid routine by Juan Tamariz.  Harry Lorayne demonstrates how to make the Tamariz trick impromptu, and also adds his own ending to it.  Aside from the opportunity to learn a stunning piece of magic, the real value of the teaching section here is in what Harry teaches about the set-up.  He offers a very impressive way of stacking a deck right under the nose of a spectator, impromptu and from a borrowed deck.  The trick itself is a self-worker, but ingeniously so, and seems thoroughly impossible.  Harry's presentation owes something to Tamariz, but is entertaining as always.

13. Monte Plus

This is a beautiful three card monte routine that uses ungaffed cards.  It's based on a Trevor Lewis move which Lorayne explains and teaches, with a wonderful and strong kicker at the end that Harry has added himself, which includes a card with a bent corner. There are certainly great monte routines that use gaffs, but this trick from Harry features a very clever move that is not complicated, and yet makes the impossible happen.

14. 8451 Plus

This is a delightful gambling themed trick with four aces, demonstrating how a gambler might follow a "formula" (in this case: 8451) to deal himself the four aces from a shuffled deck.  While this might already impress, the true element of astonishment lies in the surprise kicker, when he's shown to have magically separated the rest of the deck into reds and blacks.  The teaching section includes some great tips about how to set up an entire deck impromptu.

15. That's The Truth

Under the guise of offering a lie detector test, this trick features a very nice method of revealing a selected card. The premise here is that you’re setting up a lie detector computer, and the very visual method to reveal the selected card is especially charming and unique.

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In the course of the lecture there's also a few moments where Harry Lorayne digresses to tell personal stories, such as when he met three magic greats (Dai Vernon, John Scarne, and S. Leo Horowitz).  An example of this is in this video clip below, where he also talks about the Spread Control:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=339GLKzEn4U

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HARRY LORAYNE: THE INTERVIEW

Overview

This section is a separate video consisting of one hour, and consists of Rudy Tinoco talking with Harry Lorayne one-on-one about a range of topics.  It's like being able to sit down for a personal chat with Harry Lorayne, and is a rare opportunity for a private conversation with a living legend of magic.  The conversation is largely driven by Harry Lorayne himself, and Rudy wisely takes a back seat role and allows Harry to spin one story after another.  Fortunately Rudy is  not like a typically aggressive TV interviewer that dominates by asking leading questions, constantly cutting off the speaker, and artificially dictating the terms of conversation.  Instead Rudy lets Harry do most of the talking, and we really get a sense of being in the room with Harry Lorayne, unplugged and uncut.  During the conversation the camera also cuts away occasionally to show us images of personal memorabilia that Harry has on display, which gives added interest.

Topics drift naturally from one to the next, and include things like Harry Lorayne's wife Rene (who saw in him the energy that defined his personality, and to whom he was married for more than 66 years); the war (including his strategy of making deliberate mistakes in order to get out of the army!); his production of Apocalypse (despite it being one of the busiest times of his life); his prolific writing of books (all of which were first written entirely by hand!); his schooling and childhood (including the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, who would punch him whenever he came home with low grades); his initial use of memory techniques (a childhood strategy at age 11 to get through Mrs Goldfisher's tests); his TV appearances; people he inspired (e.g. David Copperfield); his friends; and his thoughts about technology. At times the conversation drifts towards areas that won't be as meaningful for listeners; for example some of his stories about his personal friends like Mel Brookes, Anne Bancroft, and Carl Reiner won't be as interesting if you're not aware of who these people are and the role they played in Harry Lorayne's life.  But on the whole the material is fascinating.

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Highlights

Harry is a great storyteller, and one of the highlights for me was the amazing story of the tough spot that his bragging got him into as a brash 18 year old.  When asked by a company boss if he could do the things that Harry Houdini could do, he said yes.  When challenged if this included opening safes, he promptly said yes, and was immediately taken up on it by the boss - with a remarkable and surprising outcome that I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't heard the story!

But perhaps the most revealing part about the interview is what Harry openly and candidly shares about his childhood, and the impact this had on his later life.  His flamboyant personality, and what some might interpret as cockiness, is by his own admission an overcompensating for the shyness and pain of his childhood. He was often punished as a child, especially at the hands of his father, and not once heard the words "I love you."  He was also extremely shy: "I was the shiest kid in the world.  I over-compensated, with the shyness.  I never made eye-contact with anybody."  What changed his life was his discovery of magic, after being shown a card trick.  He candidly admits: "Card magic saved my life."  He then learned magic himself, and was forced to overcome his shyness in order to show anybody the tricks he learned.  These kinds of statements offer a rare and tender glimpse at the heart and soul of a man that has suffered much in his childhood, and allow us to see something of his real feelings and emotions which lurk below the public face.  Despite his apparent brashness and bravado, Harry Lorayne is very much human like the rest of us, although he's done a remarkable job of overcoming what can only be described as a very difficult childhood, in order to have a successful career and achieve the levels of greatness for which he'll be long remembered.

You can view a segment from the interview which includes some of these touching and emotional parts here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZcWDRAqqjI
 
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IMPRESSIONS

The Video

This video has been produced by Ron Arceo and Rudy Tinoco, and overall they've done a great job putting this together.  Access is via private youtube links, and while I can understand this decision, I do regret not being able to have an easily accessible digital file for viewing on on my computer.  But I can understand the decision to make the availability in this form, and for most people this will work fine.

As for the quality, it's not as polished as professional production produced commercially, and there are some places where some minor blemishes are evident.  At times the sound is slightly off, not to the point where it can't be heard or understood, but at times it is less clear.  It appears that while Harry Lorayne was equipped with a good mike, this isn't always the case for the others on the video.  The camera work at times also leaves something to be desired, with the front view occasionally shown is clearly from a web cam and is lower in quality, and there's also occasional panning that seems somewhat rough.  But there are multiple camera angles and zooming in where necessary, so these are by no means fatal flaws.

In the course of the lecture, Harry Lorayne is accompanied by Paul Gertner and a young man named Joseph, with Rudy Tinoco himself making an occasional appearance.  The interview features Harry Lorayne exclusively with Rudy.  In both cases, there's an intimate and engaging setting.  Overall, considering the low cost of $5, and the terrific content - especially the performances and teaching by Harry himself - I can't imagine that anyone wouldn't feel that they're not getting their money's worth.

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The Magic

Content

Overall the selection of tricks included in the two and a half hours that the lecture runs for is excellent.  Harry has on a previous occasions deigned to list some of his favourite tricks, and in one instance mentioned the following (link): "HaLo Aces, Fantastic Ace Assembly, Numero Uno, Magician Vs. Gambler, Card Sharp & The Four Gamblers, Lorayne's Poker Deal, Out of This Universe."  It's good to see that the first four of these are included as part of the lecture.  You'll also find these tricks often listed in online discussions where magicians list their favourite tricks by Harry Lorayne, such as here.  HaLo Aces in particular is a common favourite, although besides the above you'll also find his Lazy Man's Card Trick frequently mentioned as well.  A great deal of top notch magic is included, and what you get here is certainly a selection of some of his best material, including strong new tricks from his Jaw Droppers books.

Teaching

I hope I have a mind and ability like Harry Lorayne when I'm around 90!  He's long been respected for a remarkable ability to teach well, and despite his age, he hasn't lost this gift.  So not only are the tricks themselves entertaining, but they are also well taught.  He doesn't assume anything, and as a result even more basic sleights are explained and covered.  I really appreciated his ability to speak to experienced magicians as well as those who are still learning to master the essentials, and there's definitely something that everyone can take away from this. My only real complaint is that he tends to use God's Name quite frequently, which I found unnecessary and disappointing.  But that aside, it's very obvious that Harry has done these tricks hundreds if not thousands of times before - every word of patter and every move has been carefully calculated and meticulously rehearsed and repeated.  These tricks are clearly intimate friends that have travelled with him throughout his life, and he knows them well and loves them dearly.

Difficulty

Occasionally some of the tricks require a more advanced move, but for the most part they can easily be done by the intermediate magician.  As such they are quite accessible, and practical.  Avoiding knuckle-busting moves is in part a reflection of Harry Lorayne's present ability to work with cards, including the limitations imposed on him by his fingers, which no longer have the mobility that they once had.  This has forced him to rework some of his tricks to make them easier, but he'd be quick to tell you that in many instances this has even improved them.  Another advantage of this is that it makes the tricks squarely accessible for intermediate magicians.  It's certainly not a collection of material reserved for advanced magicians, but is very practical and workable for everyone.

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The Man

His creativity 

Harry Lorayne isn't just a good performer, but he's also a skilled creator of magic.  While he certainly owes a huge debt to the magicians that have preceded him, as do we all, he has built on the foundation of the legacy that others have handed to him, and crafted his own routines and tricks.  And he's good at it. In fact, he's still doing it, and from time to time he continues to produce new material, such as his recent two books, Jaw Droppers and Jaw Droppers Two, both of which have been the subject of positive reviews and have been well received.  The tricks in this particular lecture do a good job of showcasing Harry's talent in being able to create something that is both magical and entertaining.  He really is the complete package: he can create magic, he can perform magic, and he can teach magic - and he does all of these very well indeed.

His card skills

Even at 90, Harry Lorayne’s card skills are still going strong.  By his own admission, his ability with sleight of hand is not what it used to be, with arthritis making some moves more difficult, and his dry hands and bad joints are a real challenge at times.  As a result, you won’t see him doing moves that were previously part of his repertoire, like faro shuffles.  This has forced him to simplify some of his tricks, and in his opinion this has sometimes even made them better.  But despite this, he still has the ability to control cards and do sleights that would make most amateurs and even some working magicians green with envy. It’s immediately apparent that he’s done all these tricks hundreds if not thousands of times before.  Every move and every word of patter has been carefully orchestrated and rehearsed; he’s done them so often he could do them in his sleep.  Harry himself would probably be one of the first to say that he was much better when he was younger, and point you to his "Best Ever" videos and online youtube videos.  There may be truth to this, but the reality is that he is still a charismatic performer and skilled magician, even at the ripe old age of 90.

His personality

A huge part of why Harry Lorayne’s own career in magic has been successful is his vibrant and effervescent personality.  Even at 90, this still shines brightly.  You'll notice some of his recurring pet phrases like "The injog shuffle covers a multitude of sins", and the charming: "If this works I’ll even fool myself!"  Harry himself often says that when learning an effect or routine, you need to make it fit your three Ps - Personality, Patter, and Presentation.  But he himself does a good job of modelling how to do this well.  His magic is accompanied by a non-stop stream of patter, which not only keeps spectators fully engrossed and entertained, but this constant talking somehow seems to lull them into an inability to catch his moves, and instead focus on enjoying the magic.  One of the most important skills for a magician is acting, and Harry Lorayne frequently reminds us of how important this is when performing, and he’s still good at it himself.  Harry has often been told that he's a natural actor, include one friend who told him that "you are the best natural actor I ever saw", and he knows it and is happy to remind us of it.  But emphasizing the importance of acting and presentation is helpful for aspiring magicians, because good acting is indeed an important part of magic.  After all there is no such thing as a true magician, but as Robert Houdin famously wrote, "
A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician."  Harry Lorayne understands this better than most, and does a fantastic job of showing us how to do it.  As he often says in the course of his teaching: "And now, it's all acting!"

His ego

A study of Harry Lorayne is not complete without reference to his ego.  I don't raise this as a criticism, because it is something Harry himself brings up on several occasions.  For example, at one point he says in his interview: "
This may sound egotistical, but at my age I don't care," and at numerous points in his lecture he says things like: “I’m kinda proud of this” and “I know this is immodesty”.    He is well aware of criticisms that have been levelled at him in this regard.  In an online forum, Harry himself once cited a final sentence from a review of one of his Apocalypse volumes, in which the writer concluded: "It's a big book but nowhere as big as Harry Lorayne's ego."  Harry isn't afraid to discuss this directly in the personal interview with Rudy.

Fans of Harry Lorayne's work are quick to defend his right to boast, as Greg Arce does when he writes: "If he came on this board and said, "I'm one of the greatest card workers EVER and one of the greatest INVENTORS of card Magic EVER!!!", I would say to him, "Don't be so modest... you're even better than that." And I would mean it.  He is a living legend. The guy has what it takes to back up whatever he says or whatever anyone says about him."  The simple reality is that Harry has achieved something that few others ever have and ever will.  And he is rightly well aware of his remarkable accomplishments, and he isn't afraid to remind readers or viewers about his life's work into which he has poured his energy and passion.  

It's easy to be critical of this, especially because at times this can come across as self-promotion and even can prove explosive in the context of a free-for-all internet forum discussion.  But I suspect that many of us would be more gracious if we took into consideration the context that created this persona.  In his personal interview with Rudy Tinoco, Harry opens up about his painful childhood, and acknowledges that his larger-than-life personality is largely a result of the shyness and the pain he experienced as a young child.  What some might consider to be arrogance is by his own admission a result of overcompensating for a terrible childhood.  "I have forgotten most of my childhood, because I want to, it was terrible. I never heard in any of my childhood, the phrase `I love you'.  Never."  Later he adds: "Talking about the ego thing - yes, I over-compensated, and I'm aware of that; the kind of shyness I had was the worst that anyone had, so I had to do the ego thing.  But the shyness is still there."  At one point he gets emotional and teary-eyed when talking about the pain of his childhood.  This hardship may have proven formative in shaping him to be the energetic showman that he is, but one can only feel compassion and sympathy to someone who had to experience such suffering and pain as a child.  Being aware of this larger picture certainly made me feel that I should extend much compassion and grace rather than respond too quickly with harsh criticism.

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The Praise

Harry Lorayne has rightly earned a lasting reputation as one of the all time great card men, and it's not hard to find words of high praise stated about his work.  For anyone who still needs convincing, that his materials are worth seeking out, here are some positive endorsements that I found scattered around the internet.  One day he won't be around to hear these compliments, and as Harry Lorayne himself would say, "it's always nice to receive bouquets while one is still around to smell 'em". 

Praise for his books, videos, and teaching

"Harry Lorayne is one of the most prolific writers of magic of all times." - Dennis Loomis
"THE Magic Book is, in my honest opinion, the GREATEST book of magic ever produced. Words cannot express my most sincere gratitude and thanks, to the Master himself.......Mr Harry Lorayne." - Merc Man
"I have an entire shelf devoted to every one of his books, but I can never get enough of Harry." - Magiguy
"Harry's body of work will be read and studied for many, many years to come ... original, uncommon and often remarkable magic!" -  Nate
"He can describe moves, in print, like no other." - oldngrey
"How many magicians have the breadth and depth of Harry's writing? I believe he surpasses them all. I am glad this thread was created. He deserves the respect and appreciation of all magicians." - Gary Dayton
"I've probably learned more about magic and illusion and misdirection from Harry's books than from any other source." - boinko
"Love ya, Harry. You've been my mentor through your writings for more years than I care to discuss." - Ray Lucas
"Perhaps the best teacher in the history of magic - he is a consummate teacher. His writings/teaching is a very special kind of magic." - Dennis Marks
"Many have regarded Harry Lorayne as the finest teacher in magic, I agree." - Michael Vincent
"He is a top notch teacher and magician. A very nice guy, and if you ever get a chance to attend one of his lectures, don't miss it. His books and videos are the best." - Father Photius
"There is still so much to learn from this incredible performer." - kShepher
 "Many of us have learned from Harry Lorayne. He's, in my opinion, one of the best teachers of magic. I recommend all his videos. There is something for all of us." - Vinny Marini
"Truly the greatest writer and teacher in magic - ever." - Jeremy Lasky
"Harry is a dynamite performer and instructor, you can't go wrong with any of his products." - mumford
"Harry Lorayne is (in my honest opinion) the greatest author of card magic material it's ever been my pleasure to study - as well as being an absolutely brilliant performer." - Barry Allen

Praise for his magic

"He is a living legend. The guy has what it takes to back up whatever he says or whatever anyone says about him." - Greg Arce
"Harry's magic looks like he stuck his hands in some magic potion and he can lay them on anything and make magic happen." - 1KJ    
"Mr Lorayne is so well liked by so many people because he's truly one of a kind. A true treasure to magic." - Phil Watchmaker
"Harry teaches MAGIC, not tricks, and very powerful magic indeed." - Grandpa Chet
"I have admired Harry Lorayne for nearly 50 years." - Mark Lewis
"The first larger-than-life magic figure I became aware of.  An exhilarating performer. First-ballot hall of famer." - R.E. Byrnes
"One of the greatest card men who ever lived." - magicfish
"Magic, memory and writing and very gifted at all three. There's only one Harry Lorayne." - Bill Wilson
"To this day, I am captured by this man's knowledge, charisma, energy and skill.  Masterful Mr. Lorayne, simply masterful!" - Jim Rogers
"Harry Lorayne has got to be one of the all time greats in magic. The praise he gets is well deserved. You can't go wrong with anything he's created." - Kevin Harrison
"Best card guy ever, and an amazing hero. Mr. Lorayne deserves every last bit of praise and more." - DT3
"Harry is the person that got me excited about card magic. His energy is contagious, and his methods are ingenious." - Keith Raygor
"One of the problems with skepticism is that it rapidly turns into cynicism, and then one can't believe there is anything as good as - in this case - Harry Lorayne's work. If anything, Harry's work is BETTER than described." - Grandpa Chet
"Harry is the person that got me excited about card magic. His energy is contagious, and his methods are ingenious." - Keith Raygor
"Can't say enough great things about Harry Lorayne. The all time greatest in my opinion." - Bobby Forbes

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Praise from big names in the industry

For more kudos and endorsements, here's a compilation of video greetings from magicians/entertainers worldwide on the occasion of Harry Lorayne's 90th birthday, with including big names like David Copperfield, David Blaine, Dynamo, Max Maven, Michael Ammar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aT7PhrKJ3c

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Recommendation

It's a real privilege to see a living legend like Harry Lorayne perform and teach. He's made countless contributions to magic throughout his lengthy and distinguished career, and once again he's done us a great service by being willing to perform and share some of his classic tricks in this lecture.  We can be grateful that this giant of card magic is still around to share something of his gifts with the magic community.

Not only is this an opportunity to see a skilled card-man at work, but it's also an opportunity to learn some great magic, and learn from one of the very best. Do yourself a favour, and for just $5, you'll get three and a half hours of quality time with Harry Lorayne.  Even at age 90, he's very able to entertain and teach, and any aspiring card magician does well to sit at his feet and learn from one who is unquestionably one of the all time greatest card magicians.

[JByszKz]

Want to learn more? 
[link] - The 2016 Harry Lorayne Jaw Droppers lecture is available from Rudy Tinoco at The Magician's Forum for $5

Related links:
[link] - Harry Lorayne's official webstore
[link] - 30+ video clips of performances from Harry Lorayne's "Best Ever Collection" DVD set
[link] - a compilation of video greetings from magicians/entertainers worldwide on the occasion of Harry Lorayne's 90th birthday
[link] - Harry Lorayne's memory demonstration on the Johnny Carson Show (1988)

Reference: 
Below is a listing of all tricks featured in the lecture.  Shown in brackets is the time on the video where the performance and explanation of each can be found.
1. Fantastic Ace Assembly (01:20 & 06:00
)
2. Numero Uno (04:00 & 11:30)
3. HaLo Aces (20:20 & 22:30)
4. Double Take (33:20 & 34:30)
5. Startler (37:50 & 38:20)
6. Greatest Card Handler (43:00 & 47:10)
7. Powerful Powers (54:50 & 59:00)
8. Magician Versus Gambler (1:07:00 & 1:10:40)
9. Pleasing Combination (1:24:00 & 1:30:00)
10. Really (1:33:40 & 1:37:30)
11. Slide Finder (1:44:35 & 1:46:20)
12. Blown Further Away (1:52:10 & 1:56:10)
13. Monte Plus (2:04:45 & 2:06:45)
14. 8451 Plus (2:10:25 & 2:13:40)
15. That's The Truth (2:21:00 & 2:24:00)

[WqYpiqz]


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"Instead of attempting to learn a great number of tricks, concentrate upon a few good tricks and master them so that their technique and their presentation is so excellent that those who see them will want to see them again." -Expert Card Technique
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks, Ender. Great review! This is one of my favorite lectures. (Okay, it might even be my favorite.) The tracking times for effects and explanations are a wonderful reference - Many thanks for that!

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Anthony.

Is it just me, or are the youtube video clips not showing up correctly as embedded within the review article?

Normally the forum does this automatically, but in this case it doesn't seem to be producing them correctly, at least not for how it is showing up on my internet browser.

EDIT: Perhaps there's a limit to how many youtube videos can be embedded in a single post, and that's what's causing the issue?  Although I did notice that including multiple youtube links within a Private Message works just fine, because they all are converted automatically to embedded videos, even if there's as many as ten or more.

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"Instead of attempting to learn a great number of tricks, concentrate upon a few good tricks and master them so that their technique and their presentation is so excellent that those who see them will want to see them again." -Expert Card Technique
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #4 
Randomly checked on a couple and they seem fine to me.

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Reply with quote  #5 
Normally in these forums each video is automatically embedded like the one I've included below (HaLo Aces performance).  But it's not showing up that way for me in the review itself; only the link shows up without the video embedded.


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"Instead of attempting to learn a great number of tricks, concentrate upon a few good tricks and master them so that their technique and their presentation is so excellent that those who see them will want to see them again." -Expert Card Technique
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Reply with quote  #6 
     Re: this statement --- "... only real complaint is that he tends to use God's Name quite frequently, which I found unnecessary and disappointing."   Sure glad that that's the only "real complaint."  But - reason I mention it - I can't watch the lecture - I am a terrible computer person; really - can someone remind me when/where/how I "used God's name quite frequently"?  I just don't recall why/when I would do so. 
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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
     Re: this statement --- "... only real complaint is that he tends to use God's Name quite frequently, which I found unnecessary and disappointing."   Sure glad that that's the only "real complaint."  But - reason I mention it - I can't watch the lecture - I am a terrible computer person; really - can someone remind me when/where/how I "used God's name quite frequently"?  I just don't recall why/when I would do so. 


The way I open the link is from an email that Rudy sent me. If you don't have his email for the lecture I think it would be best to just message Rudy and he can send you the link to watch it. 
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #8 
       Nah; I'd rather not!
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
     Re: this statement --- "... only real complaint is that he tends to use God's Name quite frequently, which I found unnecessary and disappointing."   Sure glad that that's the only "real complaint."  But - reason I mention it - I can't watch the lecture - I am a terrible computer person; really - can someone remind me when/where/how I "used God's name quite frequently"?  I just don't recall why/when I would do so. 


I've watched the lecture all the way through a couple of times. (Not in a single setting! I can't be still that long.) Not once was I even vaguely offended by any language used. It was English. It was understandable. It was unscripted - well, the session itself was unscripted even if some of the patter was.

Some folks are offended by certain words and phrases and that's the way it is. I tend to agree with George Carlin when he says that there are no bad words, only bad thoughts and bad intentions. (I paraphrase.)

If Ender was upset by the use of his preferred deity's names, that's too bad. At least it did not appear to interfere with his overall enjoyment and praise of the lecture. Had Harry frequently used Thor's name, or Ganesha's, I doubt he would have blinked an eye. Regardless, he is a wonderful reviewer and I enjoy reading his work. 

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Reply with quote  #10 
I think we're drifting into another discussion here, rather than the item under review.

Like everybody else, I have a few thoughts and whatnot on "language," but another thread, perhaps.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #11 
    Still can't recall where/how/when I used God's name frequently. Can someone give me an example or three?
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #12 
    I guess no one else saw/heard those mentions of God's name "frequently."
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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
    I guess no one else saw/heard those mentions of God's name "frequently."


He might be referring to your use of "my God!" as an exclamation etc...
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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
    Still can't recall where/how/when I used God's name frequently. Can someone give me an example or three?

To illustrate, here are two examples in the final revelation during the performance of The Greatest Card Handler (a fantastic and stunning trick).  See around 2 min 21 sec and 2 min 29 sec in this clip:



The same occurs in numerous other instances throughout the lecture, both in performance and teaching, usually at moments surrounding the revelation.  I concede that saying OMG is quite common on TV and radio, and that most people won't find this offensive.  But like several others on this forum (including Rudy himself, I believe), I am a practicing Christian.  I like to use God's name with respect and find it disconcerting when He is referred to for the purpose of emphasis or to express surprise.  Being a Christian doesn't mean that I'm a religious nut case, but it does mean that I try to live my life according to the principles of the Bible.  This includes the commandment about how God's Name is to be used, but also the many other principles which I imagine that most of us value and share, such as honesty, integrity, reliability, contentment, and more, and as part of that I also want to treat other people with the utmost courtesy, respect, gentleness, and kindness.

Since I wrote the review and was asked to explain what I meant, I didn't feel right leaving the question without any response. But I really don't see a need to discuss this further, because it was only a very minor point made in my review, so I will not comment more about it in this thread.  I agree with the suggestion that if anyone really sees a need to interact further on this point, they should move discussion elsewhere, and could always start a new thread in The Open Forum.  And as I said, it was really the only minus I mentioned, and I'd like to think that even people who disagree with me on this point can look past this one sentence, and that the lingering impression that readers take away from my lengthy review is the overwhelming praise, gushing enthusiasm, and positive comments that I share about the lecture and interview.

So let's get back on track and talk more about Harry's great Jaw Droppers lecture.  I'm curious to hear from others what you thought of the selection of material that was included.  In my view, I think it's a very good selection, and does represent some of his more popular tricks, like HaLo Aces, Magician versus Gambler, Numero Uno, and Fantastic Ace Assembly.  I also love Blown Further Away and That's The Truth, both of which have very engaging and interactive presentations, making them fun to perform with spectators. 

Some other favourites didn't make it in, like Lazy Man's Card Trick, Out Of This Universe, Stop!, Lorayne's Poker Deal, Foursome, and some of Harry Lorayne's many other great Ace routines like Apex Aces and Aces Wild.  But even in a long two and a half hour lecture, only so much material can be included, and I think that what was covered was very solid. 

There's terrific material here, and not only are there some gems that the intermediate performer like myself can easily learn, but there's also a great deal of value in just watching Harry's lively performances, and seeing a true entertainer at work.

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"Instead of attempting to learn a great number of tricks, concentrate upon a few good tricks and master them so that their technique and their presentation is so excellent that those who see them will want to see them again." -Expert Card Technique
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Harrisgagnon

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Reply with quote  #15 
On different subjects... My favorite trick is this lecture was That's the Truth! I personally have a lot of fun performing this for people. Anyone have any favorites?
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #16 
      Interesting - quite a few have told me that they'd love to do That's The Truth! but the "setting" during performance is a bit complicated for them. So - I've devised a much simpler way to do it - and that will be in AND FINALLY!  (Thanks for the plug opportunity!)
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Reply with quote  #17 
Hi All,

I love the very thorough review that EndersGame did of Harry's lecture. I know that he put a lot of time, thought and energy into it. 

Most of you know that I'm the pastor of a church here in Forest Grove (if you're interested, you can watch my sermons on Vimeo.) Here's the message that I shared at Easter.

 

With that said, I didn't even notice that Harry said "God" in a way that might appear to some as excessive. We all view things through a certain lens and I don't fault EndersGame for mentioning that it bugged him a bit. I often look up parental reviews when I'm planning a movie night for our family. I'm grateful for those reviewers. In some cases, the reviewer will say that a movie will have certain expletives including cr*p. To some people, cr*p is not a big deal, while others do. Mentioning that particular word in the review will be helpful to some, while others will shrug their shoulders.  EndersGame is just being a good reviewer.

As he said, I hope we'll focus on how amazing he thinks that Harry is and how awesome his lecture was.

** Thanks EndersGame!!

Rudy


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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #18 
   Oh, my God! Such silliness.
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #19 
You said it, Harry!
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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
   Oh, my God! Such silliness.


I see what you did there, Harry 😉

I hope that all is well with you!

Rudy

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Reply with quote  #21 
I spoke with God this morning. Nice chat... but He couldn't stop talking about Harry! Harry this, Harry that... Steve, how does Harry do THAT!
"Sorry God," I said, "You're just going to have to buy the lecture to find out."

Ender, A million thanks for the review. This lecture is one I will be studying intensely as I travel this year. I am so swamped right now with my Siddhartha-style liquidation of my possessions, I've only had a chance to skim your article but, unless you've already done so, I believe this high quality piece of writing should be submitted to Magic Magazine.





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Reply with quote  #22 
Stevie...

Magic Magazine is no more... did you mean Genii Magazine or any other magic magazine?

And yes I agree this review is worthy of being published in a magazine...

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EndersGame

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Reply with quote  #23 
Thanks for the positive feedback and kind words.  I'm not sure that Harry Lorayne would want an article published about him in a magic magazine though would he?  Just kidding[smile]

I believe Luigimar is right about Magic Magazine, however - it's last issue was published in November 2016.

But I'd be willing to consider getting this to appear in print somewhere; after all, the more people that get to hear about the Jaw Droppers lecture the better.  And I think that the younger generation of magicians can really benefit from learning about Harry Lorayne and his significant contributions to magic, while the older generation of magicians will appreciate a tribute to a magic great that they already respect and admire. 

If anyone has any suggestions for how to go about doing that, or has contacts in the industry, or can point me in the right direction as to a publication that might be interested in publishing this kind of material, or has a name that I could contact or email, please send me a private message.

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"Instead of attempting to learn a great number of tricks, concentrate upon a few good tricks and master them so that their technique and their presentation is so excellent that those who see them will want to see them again." -Expert Card Technique
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #24 
    So - I've received quite a few calls asking me what I thought of the lecture and of the review above. Well, as I said, I think, a few times above - I really don't want to watch the lecture. The review is "beautiful."

       Now, I really don't want to get into it but when I say that I don't want to watch it I'm always asked why not. Well - because I hate the way I look now! That's basically it. Just check some of the photos of me in the review - check some of my performances/teachings in my "Best Ever" 4-vol. DVD set, check the "piece" of me on the Tonight Show, etc. I was a good looking guy!!  I just don't like the way I look now - nor do I particularly like the way I sound compared to the way I used to sound. Growing old sucks!!
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #25 
Harry, without wax I say that you look remarkable for your age. Speaking from my vantage point of the middle of my 58th trip around the sun, I can only hope to look and act half as good as you should I make it to 75, much less 93! Hang in there, sir, we want you around for a lot longer!

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #26 
   Thanks so much, Av, for "them kind words." But the key words are "for your age."  Yeah, I guess I look okay for someone in his nineties - I just avoid looking in the mirror when I can.  (Ahh, to be 58 again!!!)
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