Hugard's Magic Monthly Volumes VIII, IX AND X by Jean Hugard, Editor and Publisher

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii August, 1996)

This is the third in the bound series of reprints of Jean Hugard's famed magic journal, presently in the course of completion by Magico. I reviewed the previous two volumes in the Genii, April 1995 and Genii, November 1995, and if you haven't yet begun your purchase of these volumes, please do yourself the favor of consulting those reviews so as to gain at least a modest grasp of what you have been missing. For those who have wisely and delightedly committed to keeping up this project, no further recommendation will be necessary; by similar token, yet another extended review may not quite be fair to readers already won over. Hence this will be a brief glance at the latest installment, and yet another unfailingly, unabashed endorsement.

"Consoling thought: No statue has ever been erected in honor of a critic nor has any glowing epitaph ever been written in praise of one."—MAGICANA,from Hugard's Magic Monthly

Once again, these pages are filled with eminently practical material, up to Mr. Hugard's typical clear-eyed standard. The list of contributors is another slate of legends: Allerton, Andrus, Annemann, Avis, Baker, Bertram, Braue, Christopher, Collins, Cramer, Curry, Daley, Dexter, Farelli, Gardner, Garcia, Green, Horowitz, James, Jarrow, Kane, Kats, Kosky, Krenzel, Lorraine, Marlo, Meyer, Randi, Rawson, Rusduck, Rutledge, Sands, Scarne, Schulien, Southall, Vernon, et al. Although in these issues, running from June 1950 through May 1953, Fred Braue is no longer a columnist, a new columnist comes on board, the fearless and pseudonymous Frank Joglar, whose "Backstage" column kicks off the very first page with a report from the combined 1950 SAM-IBM convention in Chicago. The mysterious and often outspoken Mr. Joglar often teases the reader in these pages with the concealed knowledge of his secret identity; in June of 1951 he writes, "'Well! Frank Joglar in person,' came a booming voice behind my back the very first day of the convention. I wheeled around. A chubby fellow was greeting a very bewildered thin man with glasses." While Joglar's identity never came to light in the pages of Hugard's Monthly, the identity is no longer a deep secret; nevertheless, first-time readers might well enjoy pondering that puzzle on their own for a rime. (Then again, you might just consult last month's Genii.)

There are delightful historical tidbits, as in a lengthy article, "We Knew Max Malini," compiled by George Kaplan from "friends who had no knowledge of, or particular interest in magic, except in seeing a magician perform, so that the impressions that were so vividly retained of [Malini] and his performances can be taken as being the effect produced on a lay audience." Victor Farelli recounts two stories of Houdini bluffing other magicians with a pseudo-top change and an "invisible" pass. And similarly, there is an anecdote from Stuart Cramer about his friend Stanley Jaks, and such treasures abound throughout.

"In the manipulation of small objects, cigarettes balls, thimbles, etc., it is wise to remember that enough is much better than a feast."—MAGICANA,from Hugard's Magic Monthly

There is no less than a ten-part series devoted exclusively to the subject of sleeving, written by one of the all-time masters, none other than Ross Bertram. There is the first appearance of Harry Lorayne's Spread Control, for many years a staple of Ricky Jay's pet ace-through-king location opener. Martin Gardner contributes an indepth study of red-black shuffles and Victor Farelli describes Odin's work on stripper decks and other than the fact that Volume 10 features a new index by William Broecker (the original indexing having stopped at Volume 9) I'm done talking about this until the next release so go out and buy it and don't make me tell you again!

8 - 1/2" X 11" cloth-hound; 417 pages; many illustrations; 1996; Publisher: Magico