Don Alan’s (1926-1999) style was relaxed, yet charming. Many of his tricks and routines have been copied, imitated, and adapted over the years and many performers owe a lot to what he brought to the magic world, both in style and technique. This is from the 1960’s, and though I’ve not been able to verify it, I believe it is from “Don Alan’s Magic Ranch,” although if somebody is able to confirm this one way or the other, I’d love the input. Jon Racherbaumer’s book, “In a Class By Himself: The Legacy of Don Alan,” is a great read about the man and his work and is always at hand for me as I’m looking to develop a trick. His timing and patter are as much a science as an art.
Scottish magician Alex Elmsley (1929-2006) was one of the modern greats. His delivery was beautiful in its mastery and if you have the chance to view any of his instructional videos, you will see something even more brilliant. I say this because I’ve watched some of his videos (in this case, “The Magic of Alex Elmsley: The Tahoe Sessions”) at work (during a lunch break, mind you) with headphones on, and while I got everything from his instructions, my co-worker could watch over my shoulder and still, with no sound, not get what Elmsley was doing. Just. Brilliant. A move that Elmsley developed, originally called the Ghost Count, was renamed the Elmsley Count in honor of the man, and it’s a staple in many, if not most, magician’s arsenal today.
Luis Javier and Miguel Angel Cordoba hail from Belgium and perform under the company name of Doble Mandoble (www.doblemandoble.com) and won a first in Comedy Magic at the 2012 FISM in Blackpool for their routine “Les Aneaux Indomptes” (“The Untamed Rings”). I love it when a Linking Rings routine is a comedy of errors, and this is a prime example of that.
I’ve mentioned Shawn Farquhar (www.magichampion.com) a few times before in this blog, but I just realized, even though I may have posted links to some of his routines on Facebook, I haven’t had any of his performances as a Daily Dose. This is one of his signature pieces, “Shape of My Heart,” and it is one of my favorite card magic performances. He used it as the finale to his performance at the 2013 IBM Ring 1 President’s Banquet, and it was a perfect closer to the show.
In addition to being one of the top illusion creators in the business, Jim Steinmeyer (www.jimsteinmeyer.com) is also one of the magic community’s treasures as a historian. Jim doesn’t perform much for the public, but when he does, it usually is for a private event and there’s not much video documentation openly available. This particular video is one Jim put out in conjunction with his outstanding book (seriously, if you are into magic history, it is a required read) “The Last Greatest Magician in the World.”
One of the major contributors to contemporary mentalism is Max Maven (www.maxmaven.com). The man is phenomenal and has a great reputation in the magic community as a person, in general. My early thoughts of mentalism were that it was going to be all dark and creepy, kinda in the oogie-boogie realm, but as I see more and more of it, it’s all about entertainment. In that, Max certainly fits the bill.
My inlaws live in Fort Wayne, IN, home of Stoner’s Funstore (stoners.com), owned by magician Dick Stoner (dickstoner.com) and his wife, De. Knowing full well that one of the gifts I would get for Christmas was a gift certificate to Stoner’s, I had a list in mind of what I might walk out of the shop with on our visit, but more importantly, I looked forward to meeting another outstanding magician. Dick was a regular on the Statler Brothers’ television show and on the Nashville Network and was great to talk to. My favorite trick being the Chinese Linking Rings, I loved having him show me his routine in person and watching videos with him of some of his past performances. As rights to most of his performances are held by the networks involved, what can mainly be found online are the videos he shot demonstrating many of the tricks he sells in his shop, so you lose out in the audience reaction (the televised performances can be found on his two DVDs he has out, though). This, though, is one of the tricks that was at the top of my list, and if I get this routine as smooth as Dick, I will consider it a point of pride in my development. What was a bonus in getting the trick was Dick printing out a copy of his routine to use. This is not a routine I’ll use busking, but it will be great to use in stage and parlor performances.