That Paul Harris has changed the face of close-up magic is undisputed. That Paul Harris continues to be relevant in 2009 is also undisputed. But there’s a lot going on here, so let’s be candid.
Paul Harris burst onto the scene in the mid 70s with a totally new brand of close-up magic. Unlike anyone who came before him, Paul’s material was playful, topological, and way, way outside the box. For the first time, playing cards weren’t suits and numbers—they were pieces of paper that could be torn, linked, peeled, and split. They took on personalities and became vacuum cleaners or damsels in distress. They were inspiring.
Today Paul Harris is a different guy. He’s dropped this playfulness in favor of a much more minimalistic style. His work is focused completely on the effect and the moment and, unfortunately, not at all on the magician. It’s the David Blaine/street magic approach, and we get that, but we prefer vintage Paul Harris.
So while Paul continues to be relevant, know that his line of products today is very different than the Paul Harris who made his mark in the annals of close-up magic.
Which brings us to The Art of Astonishment. These books are a TREMENDOUS value, and represent the complete canon his early books and booklets. These books are SO MUCH FUN to read, and the tricks are really cool. They are unlike anything you’ve read, we’re sure, and the style he uses is fun and easy to follow. The trilogy also features what was, at the time, “new” material that represents a sea change in Paul’s outfit. Some of this stuff is great too, and some of it is more indicative of his current output. You’re getting a good range.
These books are modern classics that are on the shelves of all serious magic students. But what you’re buying here is a neat, remastered set of all the old Paul Harris books. If you were to collect them all one by one, it would cost hundreds of dollars. Here, you’re saving money, getting all his best tricks in three volumes, and getting 73 new pieces to boot.
In the age of DVDs, we can’t emphasize enough that books are a MUCH BETTER VALUE. For substantially less than Paul’s new DVD series, you’re getting over 200 classic effects. TWO HUNDRED EFFECTS. Compared to the new DVD series, where it’s far less than 50? This series is a fantastic value, and one that you’ll enjoy forever.