Monday, February 13, 2006

It's Always a "Kind'da Magic @ Hocus Pocus"

Howdy Gang! Each week I ask all of you to add tips and let me know that you actually read this Blog. Well, since I haven't gotten too many tips from those of who you that read this blog. I am happy to say that during the phone orders I take, I have gotten words of thanks for writing each week. Thank You. This blog is here for all of us to share and grow from. Hopefully I will be able to chat up some more of my friends to share tips and ideas.

This week a real special guest Jeff Hobson. Next week I will beginning to share some that also feature ongoing magic ideas for new tricks. I'll give you a tease right now... if you haven't visited this site checkout Some of the writers to this site include Kenton Knepper, Peter Marucci and Shane. Shane has two great new books that we sell at Hocus Pocus called Automata and Pentalogy. Peter always has great simple magical ideas, this month has one you have to read and it already has become a keep it in your wallet effect that I already use. Kenton has many ideas and performance concepts.

By the way make sure you read Paul's Blog on Friday!!!!

This Weeks Picks

Just to let you know that the "Hottest Seller" this year so far is Melting Point. Next to Criss Angel DVD's, Melting Point is moving out the door faster then we can get them in.

Magic Postcards

A series of reproductions of some of magic's greatest art work are now in the form of postcards. The magi's posters, now postcard size include Alexander, Houdini, Kellar and Thurston. The price is so cheap for 32 cards 4 each of the 8 designs. Mike has already framed them for his new home (pic on Paul's Blog last week) I just hope this same company that makes these cards does more vintage posters, such as Ching Ling Soo, Blackstone, and even a few modern guys like Mark Wilson, Doug Henning, David Copperfield but one could only hope. Makers listern to this humble magi and make another set.

Jumbo 3 Card Monte

One of my favorite effects was watching Harry Anderson perform his 3 Card Monte effect. Harry (as in Mike Caveny's Book) explained that he used to make these cards by hand. Now our friend Gary Summers makes these cards for a 3 Card Routine. Gary has taken the hard work of making each of these crafted card. If the sample is the same as what I had seen, an extra tip you can do is get some clear contact paper to cover then to make them last longer. My tip and suggest to those who buy these from us.

Superhandz XB DVD

Out of Germany, with the help of some of magi's of USA comes the hottest manipulations DVD for card guys in a long time. Featuring a new guy named Q and the likes of Daryl and Jeff McBride, they take you on a card workers journey. Exploring fancy moves and techniques that most of us had to learn from books, this DVD is a visional delight. There are ideas also that have never been published in any book. So many moves, and techniques that you need to see the list on the website of all the great ideas taught on this DVD.

Secrets of a Escamoteur

From the files of magic's secrets creative writers, Harry Riser. "Secrets of a Escamoteur ( pronouced S ca mon tour ) continues the writings of Harry Riser. Ideas in this book are the cutting edge of magic even if its based on ideas from long ago. Comments from close friends like Johnny Thompson, Teller, Mike Close, Jon Racherbaumer, Charlie Miller give credit to the genuis that is Mr. Riser. Egg Bag ideas, over 45 card ideals, Linking Ring routine simply done with 3 rings and much more are some of the ideals in this one of a kind and limited printed book.

This Weeks Tips

This week I am proud to have good friend and comedy magic star Jeff Hobson share his years of knowledge with all of you. What kind of guy is Jeff. Well, besides being one of the most funny working pro's he is also a giving guy. If most of you know I was a regular performer at the Excalibur Hotel Casino Court Jester Stage with my own show. Now next to our family free stage is the "Thunder Down Under" Theatre. Jeff was coming in to do his own show in between the Aussie male reveue. At the time my opening effect was from his "Jeff Hobson Live" video (a tape you need to own!). I just thought "Oh great I will have to change my show a bit". Well, I told Jeff I was doing his Silk to Apple routine and I asked "Do I need to cut it since your working in the same building I am." He was more then wonderful to say "You can keep doing it, I am doing a different show."
What a Pro and Nice guy!!!

Ladies and Gentleman..........
Jeff Hobson

Hi Tony and greetings from Las Vegas!
It has been estimated that magic is the second most "published" hobby in the world surpassed only by photography. Imagine the countless books of magic penned throughout just the past half-century and now includes the plethura of video and DVD instruction! Just incredible.
My advise is but a drop-in-the-bucket compared to what has preceded me however, I believe my performances, in numbers only, should speak for themselves. There are many amateur magi's who make up quite a bulk of the newest moves and inovative tricks, but very few who can pass on their words of wisdom that you can literally "take to the bank". I hope and trust that some of you will take the experienced pro's words very seriously and apply them to your own magical world.
(this is why I write this Blog each week..tony)
I have heard throughout my early years in magic that a magician can only hope to perfect but a few tricks; ones that would be his signature effects. I believe it was the late, great Jay Marshall who set the number at six. As a young magi, I had scoffed at the thought. Now, I know him to be correct. To truly have an effect which you have mastered takes a great deal of dedication. By the time you perfect a trick generally you're already bored of it. Actually, it is that exact gauge that I use. When I have gotten to the point where I hardly have to think about the mechanics or patter, I know I'm getting close to being really good at it. At the point at which I am daydreaming whilst performing a piece of magic, it is then I am confident that the effect is mastered. Also, we are assuming, that the effect is entertaining too! Of course, I have a list of about forty effects that I could present in any given program, but only five that I could say are ones that are on my "A" list. Those are the ones that are my favorite, gets the greatest audience reaction, and those that I have been performing the longest. I estimate that I have performed my Egg Bag routine approximately 20,000 times.
There are magicians I know that pride themselves on constantly changing their shows. They have a different list of tricks for different situations and audiences. I'm not saying that's a bad idea. I, myself, am constantly torn between trying something new to test my creativity and just sticking to what I know works every time. It usually takes me 6 months to two years of research to try a new effect to find if it's really good for me or not. I also know after just 3 performances whether I'll keep it on my "good" list. Usually, those tricks which I deem worthy are ones that cross over for multiple uses. Using the Egg Bag again as my example, I perform it most every opportunity given whether it be a children's show, a ladies luncheon or as a part of my regular Las Vegas performances. The mechanics of the routine generally do not change, I just simply alter the presentation. This way, I have my "signature" trick that I'm known for, being presented virtually everywhere I perform. When I host a Las Vegas review show, I perform the Egg Bag. When I go on a cruise ship, I perform the Egg Bag. When I do auto shows or fairs (10 shows per day!), I perform the Egg Bag. I think you get the idea. Am I bored of the Egg Bag? . . . yes I am. However, I am always in great anticipation of the looks of the faces of my audience that witness it and am appreciative of the reputation that it has given me. The trick is not for me as it once was. It's for the audience.
In summation, take your time in choosing your effects. Nurture the ones that "feel" right and the audience enjoys.

If you've chosen the right one, you'll find you can perform it anywhere, in any situation and at any time. My apologies to the illusionists. A magician doesn't need a constant change of reportise unless his audience never changes. The few exceptions would be having a weekly television show like Paul Daniels, a "regular" strolling entertainer at one bar or restaurant, or a cruise ship magician that is required to perform three times for the same audience. Other than these examples, the bulk of us don't need to worry much about that. Take your lifetime mastering a just a few pieces of magic until they're perfect. Your audience will know the difference and you'll be set apart from the rest. THAT, folks, you can take to the bank!
Jeff Hobson
February 13, 2006

Thank you my friend for sharing your years of wisdom and knowldege with our Hocus Pocus family. If you don't understand what great ideas Jeff has taken the time to share with you, its time to get out of the business and take up stamp collecting! Only Kidding

Want to share a tip? Write me for this Blog at:

My Thanks to the great likes of Bill Abbott, Barry Mitchell, Jeff Hobson for their guest blogging tips and Thank you all for making Hocus-Pocus your choice for you magic products and knowledge and growth as a performer.

Tony Blanco

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