Modern magic, a practical treatise on the art of conjuring, by prof. Hoffmann

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According to PBS documentary, Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, this is the book that Johnny Carson had as a child. He studied it to learn magic tricks. He debuted as "The Great Carsoni" at age 14. He performed at local picnics and country fairs. On rare occasions, he performed magic tricks on the Tonight Show. 


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Page viii - It is better, on this account, in graduating the bottle, to make two scratches as represented in the drawing, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the curve : this prevents any future mistake.
Page 33 - The first rule to be borne in mind by the aspirant is this: 'Never tell your audience beforehand what you are going to do.' If you do so you at once give their vigilance the direction which it is most necessary to avoid, and increase tenfold the chances of detection. We will give an illustration. There is a very good trick in which the performer, after borrowing a handkerchief, gives it to some one to hold.
Page 208 - The first, which we only mention for the sake of completeness, as it is now superseded by later and better inventions, consists of a small circular tin tray, with a round hole or well in the centre, of about an inch and a half in diameter and a quarter of an inch in depth. The lines of the pattern are so arranged as to make this cavity as little noticeable as possible.
Page 48 - These words suggest, as you will readily see, eight, king, three, ten, two, seven, nine, five, queen, four, ace, six, knave.
Page 124 - He is appropriately rebuked, and thrust down again by the professor, upon which he immediately reappears in a proper attitude. Sometimes a card, after coming up half way, begins to retire again, but at the command of the performer starts afresh, and rises completely out of the pack. These apparently surprising effects are produced by very simple means.
Page 131 - ... again stand it upright, but with the other end upwards ; or, if challenged, allow the audience themselves to choose a card, which you cause to stand alone with equal facility. The secret lies in the use of a very small and simple piece of apparatus, being, in fact, merely a strip of tin or sheet brass, an inch and a half in length, and five-eighths of an inch in width, bent at a shade less than a right angle — say 85° ; its shorter arm being onethird of its length. On the outer surface of...
Page 126 - ... are forced and returned as already mentioned ; but the performer, as he reaches his table, adroitly exchanges the forcing pack for another already prepared, and placed on the servante if a regular conjuring-table is used, or, if not, concealed behind some object on the table. This pack is prepared as follows : — The last six cards are arranged with the thread travelling in and out between them, just as the six cards in the hinder compartment were in the older form of the trick. A knot is made...
Page 33 - ... transformation is exhibited, the opportunity of detection will have already passed away. It follows, as a practical consequence of this first rule, that you should never perform the same trick twice on the same evening. The best trick loses half its effect on repetition, but besides this, the audience know precisely what is coming, and have all their faculties directed to find out at what point you cheated their eyes on the first occasion.
Page 124 - If the thread be pulled, the three cards named will rise in succession, beginning with the hindmost — viz., the seven of diamonds. The three indifferent cards are put in as partitions, or fulcrums, for the thread to run over. If these partitions were omitted, the three chosen cards would rise all together. The thread may be drawn in various ways. Sometimes this is done by the performer himself, standing behind or beside the table. Another plan is to have the thread attached to a small cylindrical...
Page 157 - ... of the mechanical phenomena, while in solid bodies both the attractive and repulsive are evident. Thus, if we place a heavy weight on the top of a vertical iron bar, its length will be diminished. If the weight be removed, the atoms, by repulsion, will spring back to their original distances; and this may be repeated any number of times with the same result, provided the weight is not so great as to cause any permanent change, which consists in a new arrangement of the atoms. If we now suspend...

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