Well Said: George Goebel

Magic has her own secret ways. The other day, I was browsing through my files when I came across a 1985 issue of Magic Manuscript featuring illusionist George Goebel (1932-2021), who had just passed away a few days earlier at the age of 88. Incidentally, this issue was signed on the front page to a fellow German collector by Goebel, stating “May your life be filled with the Wonders of Magic.”

Inside the issue you will find ten pages dedicated to Goebel, including a portrait and an interview. The latter closes with five basic things he has learned during his magical career. They are all valid, but I like the very last one best:

It’s not in the crates that you carry a magic show, it’s in the spirit of the people that you are working with.

Well said, Mr. Goebel!


 

R.I.P. Siegfried

Today, the magic world is mourning the passing of Siegfried Fischbacher (1939-2021) of Siegfried & Roy fame. According to his sister, who is quoted in German news media, Siegfried passed on peacefully on Wednesday evening local time in Las Vegas. Only a few days ago it had been reported that he had terminal cancer. His partner Roy had succumbed to the COVID-19 beast just a few months ago.

Siegfried was one of the very greatest, who has brought stage magic and illusion, together with Roy and their animals, to new exciting heights. Their role in establishing full evening shows for magicians in Las Vegas, in earning top dollars and in helping transform the notorious gamblers’ city into a family-friendly entertainment place cannot be underestimated. Plus, Siegfried & Roy perfectly embodied the American dream, rising “from rags to riches” by hard work, innovations, and perseverance. And although they became superstars and rubbed shoulders nightly with the even bigger V.I.P.s, they never forgot their humble provenience and remained likeable, accessible fellows, who also helped a lot of budding magicians on their paths.

Watching their spectacular show, laden with showgirls, dragons and elephants, from a front row seat in the early 90s will always remain one of my fondest memories in magic. At one point, I stared at Siegfried in utter disbelief and fascination. By chance, he looked directly at me, his lips slowly and silently forming the words “Look over there,” and he pointed to where Roy was about to reappear a moment later. A magical moment I will always treasure.

Rest in peace, Siegfried, and thank you for your magic “beyond belief.” SARMOTI forever!

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Wittus Witt has outdone himself in putting out a quick, lovely tribute magazine for Siegfried. You can download it for free here!


 

Harry Lorayne, Old and New

Harry Lorayne, the grand old card and memory man, continues to amaze at 90+ years of age!

He has a new book out, More Jaw Droppers!, plus a second edition of Jaw Droppers!. In addition, his updated website now features a lovely array of older photographs from his illustrious career plus friends and family. Have a look over at https://www.harryloraynemagic.com/.

And if you don’t know why Harry is, in fact, his very own force, check it out here!


Favorite Posts of 2020

Oy, 2020 turned out bigger and better than I had anticipated! With “only” about 100 new posts, the total number of visitors and views grew about 80% over 2019, attracting visitors from 90 countries and all continents. By far the most views came again from Germany and the U.S., followed by Austria, the UK and the Netherlands. Thank you all!

Some favorite posts and categories of the past year, according to your direct hits and clicks:

  1. Maybe not too surprisingly, Free Things to Do in Corona Quarantine was a major hit in March and April, when COVID-19 shook the world and lead to many lockdowns. I was quite early in compiling links and suggestions how to spend your enforced “me-time” magically.
  2. From the humor department, my “research” piece on magic tricks displayed on our familiar playing cards in four parts found many readers, and I am very happy about that!
  3. My line of aging interviews, both in English and German, remains a constant favorite, and I will try to add a few more this year.
  4. Also, the categories Magic Art and Tricks & Ideas have gained considerable traction. I certainly need to add more content to these constantly!
  5. “Alles was man man sammeln kann” (which translates as “Anything you could collect”) is still a rather popular German Google search which drives unsuspecting people to my site, hopefully stimulating a few to dive deeper into the wonderful world of magic.

Thank you for your interest and loyalty, your word of mouth and your comments! Please keep returning occasionally in 2021. There’s more in store for you!


Happy New Year! / Frohes Neues Jahr!

Dear readers,

have a joyful and magical New Year!

Please remember: Your magic is a mirror of your effort and your inner self –
the more you put into it, the more you will get out of Magic!

And please stay safe, healthy and optimistic!

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Liebe Leser,

Euch allen ein frohes und zauberhaftes Neues Jahr!

Bitte denkt immer daran: Eure Magie ist ein Spiegel Eures Bemühens und Eurer Seele –
je mehr Ihr davon hineinlegt, umso mehr wird Euch die Zauberkunst auch zurückgeben!

Und bleibt bitte vorsichtig, gesund und optimistisch!

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The Final Curtain in 2020

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Sadly, 2020 saw the passing of quite a few magic heavyweights–performers, authors, collectors, creators, dealers and publishers, among them:

Bevely “Bev” Bergeron

Walter “Zaney” Blaney

Alfred Lee “Al” Cohen

Ger Copper

Louis Falanga

Matthew “Matt” Field

“Roy” Uwe Horn

Claude Isbecque, “Klingsor”

Ken Klosterman

Norman Dale “Norm” Nielsen

Gabi Pareras

Harvey Rosenthal

Marvyn Roy, “Mr. Electric”

Howard “Howie” Schwarzman

Roy Walton

Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, “The Amazing Randi”

Thank you for your wonderful magic, your creative talent, your generosity in driving, teaching, preserving and sharing the beautiful art of magic!

May you all rest in eternal peace.


Merry Christmas!

As recently seen on eBay: a Christmassy image from Edward Victor and his magic hands

Well, here we are, almost at the end of a rather shitty year… Who wouldn’t love to stuff 2020 into their change bag or make it disappear in a giant pyro flash?

Maybe it’s not easy, but let’s try to remain sensible, optimistic and flexible in order to make 2021 a better year, probably even a magical one! A handful of woofledust or patience here and a smile or a thank you there might help.

Have a merry Christmas and happy Holidays!

And a heartfelt thank you for following my humble blog all year from almost all corners of this torn, yet magnificent planet!


 

A Magic Castle Crumbling

Whew, if you want to kill your festive feelings, you may want to read this lengthy investigative piece from the Los Angeles Times about misconduct, racism and sexual harassment at the Magic Castle.

What a sad and disturbing read!

This article comes down on the management like an ungaffed head chopper. And all they can conjure up is some blurb from The Hogwash Castle’s Corporate Handbook of Hollow PR Patter?

Obviously, it’s impossible to judge the facts from the distance, but if only half the allegations were true, the Castle and AMA should probably consider rebranding as Home of Magic’s Master Molestors…

Kudos to Hannibal for speaking up and calling out on the harassers! Let’s hope that he still has a career.

Sadly, magicians have always been masters at making women feel uncomfortable, both on and off stage. Misdirection and misconduct are often linked like Himber rings. So it’s probably not a big surprise to see the Castle portrayed as a haunting place of old, white randy sinners who got stuck in those 60s/70s vibes of heavy drinks, light packet tricks, slick patter and sleazy fingers.

Time for a major Metamorphosis performance!


Addendum as of Dec. 18:

The Magic Castle’s general manager under fire has resigned from his position, as the Los Angeles Times reports.



Rüdiger Deutsch Auction, Part Two

Potter_Deutsch_2

The second part of Rüdiger Deutsch‘s fine and unique collection will be auctioned off by Potter&Potter on October 31. Again, there is a fine catalogue of 100+ pages available than can be downloaded for free here.

A shame to see this collection go and be dispersed all over the magic world, but that’s just the way it is…