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Much Ado About Something by Karrell Fox

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


Much Ado About Something

Who that might call themselves "magician" would not know Karrell Fox? The presence and influence of the Foxy One has unmistakably pervaded the culture of magic in our time, and we are all far the better for this fact. An early tradeshow pioneer, a master of all forms of magic and of comedy and children's magic in particular, an icon in Abbott country (read: Colon, Michigan), past president of the IBM, and all-around great guy, Mr. Fox is also the author of ten books over the past half-century, and now brings us his eleventh. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that in 1988, very early in this then budding lecturer's career, some kind and encouraging private and subsequently public words from Mr. Fox (at what was actually our first personal encounter) convinced me to keep my chin up and continue lecturing, thanks to his appreciative and enthusiastic presence amidst an otherwise morose lecture audience.

As a conjuring thinker, creator, and author, Mr. Fox's record is characterized, above all else, by a searing eye for clarity, practicality, and simplicity of method. His is a mind so scintillatingly refreshing that his ideas can blow by you so fast you miss the genius in them. His unique outlook enables him to frequently describe his best ideas in a mere page or even, on occasion, in a paragraph. I remember, years ago, reading about his idea for the egg bag: an ungimmicked bag and a hooked egg. A moment's thought assures you that he must have fooled the heck out of magicians with that one. I have used many of his ideas over the years, and what is remarkable is that they run the gamut of close- up, stage, and even mentalism, as well as his aforementioned talents for comedy and children's magic.

This new volume follows in the style of much of his previous work, filled with chatter, anecdotes, testimonials, photographs, cartoons—it is a scrapbook of the Foxy mind. And also, as before, we are met with sleights, ideas, gags, tricks and routines, from chapters on close-up magic, card magic, mentalism, children's magic, trade-show work, practical how-to ideas for home-made gimmicks and other utility items, and stage magic. You will doubtless find something to stimulate you, something to entertain you, and/or something to use, all within these pages. However, I am compelled to add that I do not consider this book quite up to the par of some of Mr. Fox's earlier works. There are a few too many items here that have seen print in other sources over the years, many far from recent. Frankly, you could do little harm and much benefit to yourself by purchasing anything written by Karrell Fox, but given the choice, I would begin elsewhere in his ouevre, with some of my favorite works like Comedy Ala Card, Clever Like A Fox, Another Book, and For My Next Trick. Doubtless you have encountered Mr. Fox before this in one way or another, but if by some chance you've yet to meet him between the covers of a book, go forth and do so promptly, that you might be better prepared to outfox your audiences.

8-1/2" x 11" perfect bound; 58 pages; illustrated with 62 line drawings; 1994; Published by John Shryock

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