Every time I open a box from a collection I've purchased, I find some booklets (also called pamphlets) that have wonderful material, but I'm sure have been overlooked by many, especially those that are looking for the "latest & greatest" items coming out. Honestly, some of the best routines and magical thinking can be found in booklets already in print.
I will give you an example. About 15 years ago, my goal was to perform the needles from mouth, because I had been inspired by a photo of Harry Houdini, in the first magic book I ever bought.
I had a requirement for my show, in that I couldn't start with anything in my mouth to begin with, and nothing in my mouth once the needles were pulled out strung up.
While digging through piles of old booklets at Mr Ash's Magic Shop in Chicago, I came across another routine that used a tin pie pan. With a little modification, I found the answer to my problem. That little booklet cost $6.00, yet provided me with a solution that served me well for over 10 years in my corporate shows.
So, what can I recommend to you? Let's start with a few booklets whose author's last names begin with "A".
Table Magic, from Bill Abbott, has some of the routines that put Bill Abbott on the map, such as Flash The Wonder Dog, Ashes Feng Shui, Hot Shot Card Stab Ending, Casey's Crayons, Mental Photograph, and one routine that has since been released as a separate item, The Boyd Mystery Complete.
Who isn't familiar with the name, Michael Ammar? His magic branches from the very easy to complex cups & balls routines. Michael put out a newsletter titled, The Magical Arts Journal. In it he shared routines, but also business tips and lessons to learn. Some were even double issues.
If you've always been fascinated by automaton figures and how they work, take a look at The History of the Automaton Chess-Player in America by George Allen. It covers where it was displayed, who owned it through the years, and other aspects involved with it.
One of the early pioneers of electronic magic was Tony Anverdi. But did you know he was once a clown and a skilled manipulator? An amazing array of his magic can be found in Anverdi's Lezing Seminar Lecture from 1963.
As a collector of all things having to do with ESP cards, I used to love the column in Genii magazine titled OICUFESP by Howard Adams. It ran for quite a few years, and every month a new routine using ESP cards was given. Adams eventually put them all together into a book, but he originally released them as booklets, such as MINDESPA and OICUFESP booklets. There is more material in these booklets than one person could ever need for presenting a routine with ESP cards.
Finally, if you work alone like I do, you are always looking for routines and presentations you can use. One guy that has spent his entire life working alone is Danny Archer, who released two booklets, Working Alone and Still Working Alone. Great routines, and very quality material.
Once again, let me remind you that you do not have to purchase $100 books to find great performance material. Some of the smallest booklets have some of the biggest, best routines to be performed.
Feel free to leave a comment and tell me some of your favorite "hidden gem" booklets. I can't wait to hear about them.
Next time: some authors starting with "B". So, keep reading,