This issue of The Little Egypt Gazette is for serious card men and beer drinkers only. This is the magazine Larry Jennings was gonna publish, but even he didn't have the cojones. This hard-hitting, no-nonsense journal is for the Real Man who can stand his ground at the bar of the Magic Castle's Grand Salon, quaff six or eight Heinekens, flawlessly execute "Open Travelers" or "Slow Motion Aces," and then walk out into the Hollywood night with that great-looking babe who came in with the low-cut black velvet dress and the English accent. If you aren't this guy, if you don't know your Erdnase bottom palm from an ace in the hole, then amscray back to your TV Magic Card tricks and your fruity drinks with little umbrellas.
Welcome to the November issue of The Little Egypt Gazette. It's a special "Light" issue -- there is no extended book review or card trick -- and is being offered as we take a break to catch up on a few real life obligations. This issue contains a few news items and other comments that would have become stale if we had waited until the next real issue in December. If this is the first issue of the magazine you've ever seen, please turn back to the September and October issues for a better idea of what this project is all about.

PENDRAGONS ON PBS -- Raise a glass of your favorite amber brew to the Pendragons, who appeared on PBS's Cincinnati Pops Holiday: Halloween, on Wednesday, October 30, with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops orchestra. The show allotted this striking couple a solid 9 minutes and 21 seconds of air time, in which they presented three illusions: the "Theater Surreal," "Clearly Impossible," and "Metamorphosis." The first item, new to me, consisted of a small box theater on a very thin table. From this Jonathan produced two large white dogs and Charlotte. How the heck Charlotte had herself folded up inside that thing completely baffles me. I am similarly baffled by their see-through sawing effect. If they had struck a deal with the devil to present real magic in the guise of stage conjuring, it couldn't look much better than this. They concluded with their lightning rendition of "Metamorphosis." Someone on the EG expressed concern that the orchestra had a clear view of how "Metamorphosis" worked. I was more interested in whether they had a clear view of the costume change, something we all almost witnessed a few years ago on the In Search of Houdini special. The Pendragons are always pushing the envelope, and this Halloween outing was a classic case in point.

HOUSTON NEWS -- Exactly a year ago this issue we had the pleasure of spotlighting Richard Hatch and Charlie Randall, the proprietors of H & R Magic Books, and purveyors of one of the largest collections of new and used books around today. Their latest List 15 arrived a few weeks ago and is packed with temptations, including virtually all of the new and forthcoming books, some of which I've not seen advertised anywhere else, numerous lecture notes from all the recent conventions, and 749 used titles. Of the new books, Richard and Charlie offer special deals on the multi-volume works, including a package price for both the L & L and Richard Kaufman reprints of the Ellis Stanyon MAGIC magazine, along with package deals on complete sets of the new Paul Harris books, all the Mike Close Workers books, all four currently available Hugard's Magic Monthly volumes, The Books of Wonder, and so on. The list is $3 from H & R Magic Books, 3702 Cyril Drive, Humble, TX 77396-4032. Regarding other Houston news: with Sir Charles in town, things are looking up again for the Rockets, but that recent double overtime loss to the Lakers must have been painful. A book order might cheer the boys up and keep them from drinking so much.

MAIL WATCH -- Two additional dealer "lists" of considerable interest arrived here recently. The first, from Stevens Magic Emporium, is Joe's new video catalog, a slick 92-page catalog of over 485 titles. (If you are one of the astronauts who gets picked for the Mars mission, you might have enough time on the trip to watch all these!) The big news in this catalog is that Joe has reduced the price on all his Greater Magic videos to a very fair $35. Years ago I lobbied for lower video prices, arguing that videos were not priced competitively with books. I'm happy to note that virtually all video producers have finally realized this. Although the Greater Magic videos were always more affordable than the competition, this new price moves them into the Extremely Desirable range. If you owned any in the past or have watched them running at Desert Magic Seminars, you know they are superbly produced, and there is no better time than now to extend your collection. You can access Stevens Magic Emporium from our Links page.

The second item is the new full-color catalog from Louis Falanga of L & L Publishing, featuring hot material both from L & L and from others. This catalog returns to a magazine format in that it contains, along with the merchandise, essays and material by Michael Ammar, Jim Sisti, Alex Elmsley, and an especially strong article by Jeff McBride. The hot new items, and the first time I've seen them advertised, are the Vernon Inner Card Trilogy and the new Michael Skinner Classic Sampler. See additional mentions below in "Ho Ho Ho." You can access L & L Publishing from our Links page.

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK -- Be sure to check our Links page for a new online magic magazine called 52, subtitled "The Journal of Card Magic." This is a gorgeous, high tech entry to what is still a limited list, and it's so damn good that Richard Robinson and I are going to meet at some neutral pub and get wasted. The current issue features numerous card tricks by the likes of Jon Racherbaumer, Phil Goldstein, and Paul Cummins, and all the material is strong. Entrance to the entire magazine is passworded, via a clue such as we usually use here, except that you don't have to as finicky with upper and lower case as I require you to be. (It must be magic.) The modest editor -- his name currently appears nowhere in the issue -- is Robert Gregory-Browne, and his taste in card magic, his design sense, and his technical special effects well deserve your attention. Note that he does require Netscape 3.0 or a similarly robust browser for you to enjoy this magazine. Robert mentions that he welcomes card tricks and articles about card magic.

IN THE WORKS -- It's always of interest to hear of new books in the works. In addition to publishing a pile of new books recently (see "Ho Ho Ho" below) and editing/publishing The Looking Glass, Richard Kaufman recently voyaged up to Toronto to tape 65 tricks by Jay Sankey for Richard's third book with him, and entertained Jerry Andrus at home where he taped 90 tricks and sleights for a new book with Jerry. A collectors' convention in Boston also turned up lots of DeLand stuff for that book. Although all promise to be excellent, younger magicians who have not lately had access to the writings of Jerry Andrus are especially in for a treat.

URL UPGRADE -- Suzanne, the Minneapolis-based magician whose online brochure we've been praising ever since this magazine started, recently acquired her own domain name, (Rumor is that she had to change her URL because Golem was e-mailing his pathetic affections to her daily. Joycee Beck finally sold her own computer over the same issue.) If you had previously bookmarked Suzanne's page, it's time to update your bookmark. If you haven't visited with Suzanne on the web recently, our current Links page will take you there.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays, by Steve Martin. 150 pp. $20, from Grove Press. Note: All performance rights are reserved; performance requires advance permission and payment of royalties or other terms. This slim volume -- certainly one of the most entertaining books I've read in a while -- contains four brief plays by Steve Martin, a magician who also writes, directs, does standup comedy and television appearances, and acts in movies (as with most magicians, the day job keeps him pretty busy). Longest of the four is Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the highly successful play that was produced in Chicago featuring a meeting between a young Albert Einstein and a young Pablo Picasso at the birth of the 20th century. In addition to this and a dark little comedy called WASP, there are two extremely brief one-acts of special appeal to magicians -- The Zig-Zag Woman and Patter for the Floating Lady. The first concerns a young woman who stands around inside the Robert Harbin illusion in order to attract a young man. The Twister illusion also figures into the plot. Patter for the Floating Lady chronicles the last moments between a magician and his girlfriend-assistant, and utilizes the Steinmeyer pole levitation. Both these plays are excellent examples of how something meaningful can be wrought from commonplace magic props.

Darwin's Inexpensive Illusions, by Gary Darwin. Foreword by Lance Burton. 25 pp. $30. I've not seen this advertised, and I obtained mine from H & R Magic Books. Illusions are a difficult proposition: they require special transportation, staging, lighting, music, angle considerations, trained assistants, and considerable show business talent that transcends that required of closeup workers. They are also quite expensive to build or purchase. While he can't help you with all the ancillary requirements that burden the would-be illusionist, Gary Darwin comes to the rescue regarding price. In this slim softback book, and relying on two basic illusion principles, Gary sketches the detailed workings of over 40 illusions via over 150 illustrations. The entire book is hand lettered and drawn, of sufficient clarity and enthusiasm that the budding illusionist should have no trouble mocking up these items and trying them. As we mentioned last month, both Lance Burton and Melinda started their illusion phases with hand-built illusions, and you can too. (But a big hint: in addition to needing a lot of talent, it also helps if you look as good as Lance or Melinda!)

Just build one of these inexpensive illusions, hire a beautiful assistant, and you're ready for the big time. Uh, Golem, how about another Bud Light?

There are only 37 shopping days left until Christmas, and 'tis the season for book lovers. If your new supermodel trophy wife is begging you for hints as to what you would like under the tree this year (I swear this is the last issue I'll write under the influence), you might offer the following suggestions:

The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser by Ed Brown, $45 from Richard Kaufman. (Autographed slipcased edition: $90) 270 pp. Forewords by John Thompson and Charlie Miller, with over 400 drawings by Earle Oakes. Due from the printer on December 12 (it's there now), this major new work will feature eight coin routines, Harry's golf ball routine and close-up billiard ball routine, "Hornswoggled Revisited," "Walnuts and Glass," and card tricks including the likes of "Five-Card Monte," "Erdnase Aces," "Marked Cards and Dealer's School" (including Harry's most cherished secret: his marked deck), and "Devilish Miracle Revisited." This is the first large collection of Harry Riser material and is long overdue.

The Art of Astonishment by Paul Harris, from A-1 Multimedia. $125 for the three-volume set, each over 300 pp. How can you not want this one? 222 effects, 73 of which are new. Over 2000 illustrations. And it's Paul Harris. As a young man in San Diego, I had the fun of watching Chuck Martinez and his rather wacky friend Paul impress the magic world with those first Paul Harris books. Today, some of my most requested effects, and the most fun for me to do, are Paul's.

Michael Skinner Classic Sampler, from L & L Publishing. $35 (Signed slipcased edition: $79.95) 120 pp. Not the mega-book we might have hoped for, but at 27 effects this is still the largest collection of Skinner material to date and should find a wide and highly satisfied audience.

Dai Vernon's Inner Card Trilogy, from L & L Publishing. $35. (Limited edition, slipcased, signed by Dai Vernon -- via Ouija board???: $150) 240 pp. This is the reprint of the original Ganson books -- Inner Secrets of Card Magic, More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, and Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic. These are mandatory reading for anyone interested in card magic.

Magie Duvivier, by Jon Racherbaumer, from Richard Kaufman. $40. 179 pp. Reviewed in our September issue. Easy, fun material from a rather surreal French magician.

Hugard's Magic Monthly, Volumes 11,12, and 13, from Magico in New York or your favorite dealer. $49.95. 440 pp. These Hugard's reprints have been terrific fun, one of the best magazine reprints since The Phoenix and The New Phoenix. Check with H & R Magic Books for a great package deal.

Stanyon's Famous Magazine: Magic. OK -- either three volumes, slipcased with a 50-page index and rare color print from Richard Kaufman for $250 (only 50 sets left) or a single volume from L & L Publishing for $125. Check the ads and figure out which edition is right for you. Collectors can turn to H & R Magic Books for a package offer. Regardless, this 1900 to 1921 journal is filled with thousands of tricks and articles that convey the breadth of stage, parlor, and close-up magic in turn-of-the-century England.

The Books of Wonder by Tommy Wonder and Stephen Minch, from Hermetic Press, Inc. $90 for the two-volume set. Approximately 340 pp. each volume. This highly popular set sold out in its first five weeks this summer, but was just reprinted a week ago. Get it before it happens again. (Note: With so many hot new books coming out this season, Stephen Minch opted to hold off release of anything new in December. But watch next year for new offerings in the Giobbi Card College series, plus books by Ken Krenzel, Milt Kort, and Juan Tamariz.)

Workers 5, by Michael Close. $40 from your favorite dealer. Mike reports this is selling like crazy, and he hasn't even advertised it yet. 170 pp., the largest of the series with more than two dozen routines plus Mike's incisive essays. Especially of interest for Mike's memorized deck routines. This is supposedly the last of the Workers series. Check H & R Magic Books for a package deal on the entire set.

Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram ($45) and Bertram on Sleight of Hand ($65). From Lee Jacobs Productions. Two fine books reprinted this year. Check last month's "Oil and Water" routine for a sample effect.

The Expositor, by William Frederick Pinchbeck. $45 from Stevens Magic Emporium. The first truly American magic book. Explains the secret of the learned pig. (Volume 2 will explain the secret of fireproof women?)

Sleight of Mouth, by Harry Allen. $20 from L & L Publishing. "A collection of hilarious one-liners." Some read this book and screamed bloody murder. I read it and laughed. Recently reprinted.

The Web, by Jim Pace. $10 from L & L Publishing. This is the only card trick/prop on this list, and it's a honey. The effect is too shocking to foist on strangers, but this is a great card trick if you want to scare the hell out of your friends.

Illustrated History of Magic, by Milbourne and Maurine Christopher. Foreword by David Copperfield. $49.98 from Heinemann (available in general book stores). This is a hardback reprint, very nicely done in a new format, of the 1973 Christopher book. Maurine Christopher has added a new Chapter 23: MDavid agic Superstars Poised for the 21st Century. This chapter includes articles and photos of David Copperfield, Siegfried and Roy, Paul Daniels, Lance Burton, Melinda (nice photos!), Ricky Jay, Princess Tenko, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Jeff McBride, and Doug Henning.

David Copperfield's Beyond Imagination -- "more original fiction by the master illusionist and 16 literary masters." $23 from HarperPrism. Last year's David Copperfield's Tales of the Impossible clearly sold well enough to warrant a sequel. My favorite title in this one is "The Fall of the House of Escher."

And if you really want to impress the love goddess in your life, don't fail to show off your magical literary taste by mentioning Little Egypt Card Tricks ($22) or Little Egypt Gazette: The Lecture 96 ($15), available here (Steve Bryant, 1639 Sycamore Court, Bloomington IN 47401). Both contain astonishing material you will do.

I hope you all took out a deck of cards and tried last month's "Oil and Water" effect by Danny Dew. I presented the trick verbatim from the Ross Bertram book, but didn't comment on how I actually perform it. My presentation involves mentioning the fact that Rene Lavand popularized the effect a few years ago, but that I "have to use two hands." I then perform it more or less a la Lavand ("I can't do it any slower . . . ") until the final phase. Rather than palm off the extra card as Danny Dew explains, I simply set the entire packet back on the deck, conveniently ditching the extra card. Then, "If I could do it with one hand . . ." I use one hand and turn the top eight cards face up, red, red , red, red, black, black, black, black. This is the end of the effect. If it's an informal situation, I then have the option of letting a little time pass and adding one more phase as an encore. For that I use the third phase of Dai Vernon's "Oil Slick" in The Vernon Chronicles/The Lost Inner Secrets, Volume One, by Stephen Minch. There is some beautiful cheating in this phase and it's easy to do.

If you don't like the above finish, another alternative to the palm-a-card-off/do-it-in-their-hands finish of Danny Dew's is to ask the spectator to hold out her hand. Deal the top four red cards face up into her hand. Then flip the black cards face up in your hand and spread them, holding the last two as one. Then place your packet face down onto the face-down deck and take the red cards from the spectator and place them on top.

Miss Farnsworth, our buxom administrative assistant who left us this year to perfect her tan, recently jetted into Las Vegas to fill in for Phoebe for a week in "The Levitation." As she was floating above the Monte Carlo's stage, Lance, hovering comfortably beneath her, mentioned that his new 1997 calendar is available, for $13 including shipping. Call (800) 626-9673.

As for the rest of us, the youthful Columbine is off to Oklahoma for the holidays, and the warehouse where we paste up these issues is inexplicably lonely without her. Over a six-pack of Bud Light, Golem and I kicked around various ideas for this November issue, including whether or not to run the diagrams for Jim Steinmeyer's Origami Box or to save them for the April issue, but the beer took over and we wound up retiring to a far end of the loft, where, despite some scary sputtering and humming from Golem's antique TV set, we managed to tune in a Clint Eastwood film festival. Boys will be boys.

The best magician for holding his ground at the bar at the Magic Castle and performing absolutely lovely card magic is Larry Jennings, and I wrote this issue with him in mind. One of my prized possessions is a Heineken bottle containing a four of hearts with my name on it, a souvenir of watching Larry do his famous "Card in the Beer Bottle" effect for me one night at the Castle.

I hope to be in Louisville on November 23-24 to attend Magic Dealer Days, a mini-convention put on by Collectors Workshop, Al's Magic (Al Cohen), and Stevens Magic Emporium. Entrance is only $10, so please show up and say hi if you are in the Louisville area. This is at the Holiday Inn Louisville South, 3317 Fern Valley Road, Louisville KY (502) 964-3311 for reservations. Call Rich Bloch at (202) 364-3020 for details.

In closing, don't forget to set your VCRs for The World's Greatest Magic III on November 27 (the night before Thanksgiving) on NBC from 8-10 P.M. This should be one of the best yet.

Happy Thanksgiving.

A JSB Creations product
Copyright© 1996 by Steve Bryant
Send your cards and letters to