I realize my comments on the Tricks Old and Seldom Seen may seem overly harsh. It was really only one presenter that truly angered me and couple more that caused any real discomfort. I admit I am not a collector in the strict sense. I really don’t collect the physical. My passion is to collect stories and knowledge, much of it in the oral tradition.
So I ask the question, “Why do you collect?”
Are you an accumulator? Piling up pieces of apparatus with little regard. Do just collect because you love the look or workmanship of certain craftsman? Are these props nothing more than pretty dead things to sit on a shelf?
Or do these things represent something more? Do you see the magic that lives inside them, their inanimate corpses waiting to be revived, if only for a moment in time? If you love the props for what they represent, if you have a passion for their stories, then it is your responsibility to communicate it. Care about it. That is all I ask.
It is not on my nature to write without comment but I will try to describe some of the other TOSS presentations with embarrassing anyone. (I mostly add this to appease my adoring fans…okay, fan. Who says I won’t do what a woman asks?)
Bill Spooner performed an Inexhaustible Production Box circa 1907 in which he could assemble and disassemble the box, repeatedly producing silk handkerchiefs. From 1898 he showed the Six Mystic Numbers which allowed him to divine which of six numbered blocks a spectator chose.
MC Tom Ewing (his official rap name) showed off a Disappearing and Reappearing Opium Pipe (much like the old disappearing wand) and a George Johnstone built Nest of Boxes. This included a nice video of George performing the same boxes on Don Alan’s Magic Ranch.
Ken Klosterman followed with an intriguing transposition effect, Humboldt and Globe, originally in the Dell O’Dell collection and circa 1850s. The “Humboldt” appears to be a small bust of a man on a marble base such as you might see in a library. I assume it is Alexander Von Humboldt (d. 1859), noted German naturalist and explorer. The “Globe” was a…um…globe on a spindle style pedestal. The difference in the two objects is striking. They are opposites in form. One wide at the base and narrow on top, the other a narrow base with a wide top. It seems impossible that they could switch places, but they do, when each is hidden from view by a large canister-like cover.
Gale Molovinsky displayed several bead tricks in his collection. I think most commonly seen as the Tibetan Bead Mystery; several large beads are placed individually into a tube and then become mysteriously linked. He showed U.F. Grant’s Uncola where four “random” letter blocks rearrange themselves to spell COKE and a bottle of the soda appears. Also from Grant, Gale, himself, was puzzled by his flat board head vanish.
Tom Ewing returned to demonstrate a clever Handkerchief Penetration. A hank is tacked to a square wooden frame, placed into a bag, and penetrated through the center by a finger or pencil.
Bill McIlhany finished up the program with two beautifully decorated block tricks, a baffling vanishing wooden block that reappears inside an oriental pagoda type box.
More to come....