Illusionist’s Bookshelf

A recent workshop we offered here at the Las Vegas Magic School featured the Grand Illusions of the Pendragons. Our 2nd annual “Focus on Grand Illusion” was a fun and informative event. We had 13 magicians, men and women from all over the USA attending the 3 day

Jonathan and Charlotte brought a few of their actual working stage illusions with them for a “hands-on” learning experience that will be long remembered.

This month I’ve taken off my shelf a few of my favorite books on stage

Here they are….

Robert Olson — Illusion Builder to Fu-Manchu (David Bamberg)
Robert Olson — The Complete Life of Howard Franklin Thurston
Robert Olson — The World’s Greatest Magician, A Tribute to Howard Thurston

I like the Robert Olsen books for their abundance of illustrations and their historic overview of Thurston’s magic. Howard Thurston was one of the first magicians I encountered when I started my magic quest and I have been inspired by his mix of grand illusion and manipulative magic.

The Great Stage Illusions of James Hodges, Vol. 1 published by Georges Proust
Hodges’ illustrations are extremely sensuous and help me remember that grand illusion can be a highly erotic art form.

S.H. Sharpe — Conjurers’ Mechanical Secrets
S.H. Sharpe — Conjurers’ Optical Secrets

Mechanical and Optical are my favorite books for the “Conjurors’ secret series” by Sharpe. I often refer to it when designing black art sequences and have a suspicion that Jim Steinmeyer has spent a great deal of time in the mirror sections of “optical.” These books are a must for any serious student of grand illusion!

David Bamberg — Illusion Show
Not a book of tricks, but a journal of the ups and downs of one of the world’s top illusionists. Real stories of the trials of the times in the life of a master… and just how difficult it was to fabricate the floating ball, a fascinating look into the politics and poetry of magic.

Prof. S.K. Vasantha Kumar — Illusionseseme
This spiral binder is full of off-beat ideas, with whimsical illustrations. It is a unique look at what could be possible if you have the guts to go it without blue-prints.

Mike Caveny & William Rauscher — Servais LeRoy, Monarch of Mystery
One of my favorites, inspirational and a heartbreaking ending… read it and weep!

Mike Caveny — Carter the Great
Carter is a shrewd businessman and his life is filled with complex twists and turns…take note of the “rules for hiring magic assistants”

Mike Caveny and Bill Miesel — Kellar’s Wonders
I got my copy years ago. This is the best book on “small and portable” grand illusion ever written. When you come to my home, I will let you spend time with it.

Eugene Poinc — Imagination: The Illusions of Eugene Poinc
Eugene Poinc — Illusions for Princes or Paupers

Poinc’s books are not practical “tried and tested routines” but I get inspiration reading his novel ideas. His unique artistic style moves me to express more of my personal style in the design of grand illusion props.

Paul Osborne — Illusions: Evolution and the Revolution of the Magic Box
History, mystery and a few cool ideas. I like Osborn for his style, even if the “blue-prints” are sometimes difficult to decipher.

Harbin — Magic of Robert Harbin
This is by far the treasure of my magic book collection.

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