Big Friday sale

Hugard's Magic Monthly: Volumes V, VI & VII by Jean Hugard, Editor and Publisher

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii November, 2005)


This is the second volume in Magico's reprint of the famed Hugard's Magic Monthly, one of the great conjuring journals of this century. The previous volume (reviewed in Genii , April 1995) received my hearty (and more detailed) endorsement, and this volume continues in the same vein. As with the previous volume, this one includes an index for the three volumes of the magazine it contains, and at the conclusion of the complete set—totalling some 2500 pages in all— Magico will create a new, all- encompassing index for the entire series. There is a wealth of magic here, far too much to detail, including regular columns by Milbourne Christopher, Fred Braue (a particular favorite of mine), Clayton Rawson, and Martin Gardner. There is also a series of origami folds with dollar bills, contributed by Orville Meyer. There are book reviews, news and gossip, historical notes, and countless tricks by contributors including Bert Allerton, Ned Rutledge, Dai Vernon, S. Leo Horowitz, Paul Curry, and many more of equal stature. All of this is guided by the sure hand of Jean Hugard, who always had an eye for good magic, sound principles, and clear writing. There are gleaming pearls strewn throughout the pages, each delighting the reader with its discovery. Martin Gardner suggests, for example, that to justify the change of procedure in the midst of performing Paul Curry's Out of This World, the magician hand the deck to a second spectator to compare their luck with that of the first—after shuffling, of course! Historical treasures abound, including thoughts from Paul Curry as to how he came to invent Out of This World, and a Kellar obituary written by Paul Fleming (first published in Hugard's 27 years after Kellar's death). There is an early description of the Biddle Move, reprinted by Hugard after its first release in Genii in 1947! There is even the Little Wonder Thought Projector by Clayton Rawson, the first description of the hoary "egg-beater card trick," published in July, 1947. And there is a brief but startling mention on page 521 of one "Orla Moody who sticks dollar bills on the ceiling with the chosen card under it." Startling, considering that I have always credited this idea to the great Magic Bartender, J. C. Wagner. Both this and the preceding volume will make great gifts, as many readers tend to put off buying collections of this nature; yet they are truly gifts that keep on giving with new surprises on virtually every page.

"In magic, as in life, you must learn to crawl before you can walk and learn to walk before you can run. Too many would-be magicians try to run before they have even learned to crawl—with disastrous effects." —Jean Hugard_Hugard's Magic Monthly

Here's an interesting note for those fascinated by the technical record: The July, 1947 issue contains several items by Max Katz (grandfather of Ricky Jay), including a double- lift. What is particularly notable about this item is the switchout that Katz describes, which bears a resemblance to the Tamariz Turnover, first published in Pabular and now a favored sleight among experts (and varied in Michael Close's Workers Number 4 [page 83 ]) who realize that how you get out of a double-lift is second in importance only to perfect execution of the initial lift. The difference is that whereas Juan Tamariz turns the double down in book-fashion, Katz tips the double up so that the face of the card is toward the spectator (not unlike Vernon's Loose Lift Display from Lost Inner Secrets Volume One), and then tips the card back down along its original path, away from the performer (not unlike a similar switch-out of Vernon's from the original Inner Secrets series, which was probably, according to my guess, Vernon's follow-up to the Loose Lift). While these differences in direction clearly distinguish Katz's move from that of Tamariz, they both complete the switch-out in similar fashion, with the uppermost card resting outjogged on the tip of the left forefinger. As a related point of interest, in Volume Three of the Fred Braue Notebooks (I'm expecting Volume Seven any day now, along with the publisher's latest medical reports), I found The Braue Turndown, undated but apparently logged in the early 1960s, which amounts to an essentially identical if somewhat less elegant handling to that of the Tamariz switch-out, tied with a completing cut that amounts to a control of the original face card to the top. Without question, Tamariz and Braue came to their versions independently, but the similarity is striking, and the Max Katz contribution in Hugard's provides a conceptual precedent to both. Ain't magic grand!

8-1/2" x 11" cloth-bound; 666 pages; many illustrations; 1994; Publisher: Magico