Private Studies, Numbers 1 Through 6 by Ron Bauer

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii August, 1998)

These little, minimally produced manuscripts each describe one trick, a routine developed and/or described by Ron Bauer. Each item ranges from eight to twelve pages, each with one or two (and in one case, three) pages of illustrations. Each one costs ten dollars. Number One is a presentation for the Gadabout Coins from Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, essentially a two-in-the-hand-one-in-the-pocket routine with coins. Number Two is a version of Peter Kane's Gypsy Curse, the trick that eventually became popularized as Frank Garcia's Wild Card. Number Three is Tony Chaudhuri's presentation for the U.F. Grant handling of Paul Curry's Out of This World. Number Four is a coin routine combining the Han Ping Chien and the plot known as Thieves and Sheep. Number Five is a version of the short change bill trick sometimes known as Hornswaggled but using the Vernon gimmick popularized by Ray Grismer in his trick known as Shorty. Number Six is a presentation and handling for a Roy Johnson packet trick.

I suggest you save your money and study the original versions of these tricks; in most cases you may already have them on your shelves, and where you don't, you usually get a whole big bookful of other stuff when you buy them. Don't get me wrong, these presentations are consistently serviceable, and sometimes offer useful little tidbits of advice and thinking like "An audience ... takes its cues not from the trick, but from the person doing the trick," and "Telling a story is always easier with props. That's one of the advantages of being a magician." But these nuggets of wisdom are nevertheless being attached to very old tricks that have very little new to offer, accompanied by presentations that are certainly serviceable but far from earthshaking. If you put these six tricks together they would sell for sixty dollars. If you added thirty or forty more you might accumulate enough to put out your average thirty-five dollar book. Someone has an inflated idea of the value of these little manuscripts, but even though I have no particular complaint about the material otherwise, that someone is not me.

4-1/2" X 5-1/2" up to 12 pages with illustrations; Publisher: Magic By Mail