There are many books out there that would be considered "hidden gems", but I am focusing on booklets and pamphlets in this post.
I opened up the boxes of booklets and pamphlets from authors that start with "B". Here's what I found:
One of my magic friends here in Minnesota, Norm Barnhart, has been performing for many years, and has written a whole lot of books and booklets. He helped assemble Dick Oslund's book, The Road Scholar. He has written 100s of articles for Laughmakers, for Clowns of America, Linking Ring and other publications. He has also written many of his own books of performance material, including Comedy Magic with Balloons, Comedy Balloon Hats, Cool Kid Show Magic and even a few DVDs of routines.
Ron Bauer has written a series of in-depth study guides titled, Ron Bauer Private Studies. It is made up of 24 different routines that her teaches every minute detail of, as if you were sitting with him, learning from him. There are titles covering the Egg Bag, Gypsy Curse, Charlie Miller's Left-Handed Hank, Short Changed routines, and 20 others. The illustrations are some of the best out there, done by Sandra Kort. I regularly get various titles through my place, and currently have 6 different ones in stock.
Next, I will admit I wasn't a huge fan of Eugene Burger, until I met him at AbraCORNdabra just prior to him passing away. Don't misunderstand me, but I was never into the "mysterious, esoteric ways in which we reach into the inner shaman" stuff that many others are. I just like good magic, and Eugene has published some of the best magic routines over the years. I met Eugene 5 or 6 times over the years, and what I saw differently the last time I saw him, was that he wanted you to "become the best magician you could be," instead of becoming another mysterious or bizarre performer. He was just so relaxed and kind. I watched him perform Ben Blau's Unfazed ESP matching routine, and it was absolutely amazing. Playful and fun.
Well, I always try to keep some of Eugene Burger's books and booklets in stock, but they move quite fast when I do get them in. If you haven't seen Eugene Burger: Final Secrets, by Lawrence Hass, it is my favorite Burger book of all time.
I don't hear his name come up as often as I used to, but Rafael Benatar is someone that I used to read about regularly in various magic magazines, in convention reports and lecture descriptions. Rafael currently lives in Madrid, Spain, but has travelled the world presenting his magic. Three Professional Card Routines is just one of the two items I currently have in stock. He is known for his elegant card magic, but he also is creative in other aspects of magic, as seen HERE.
Leo Behnke needs no introduction, but for those few that haven't heard the name, I'll tell a little about him.
He managed the magic shop at Disneyland, and taught Steve Martin some of his first tricks. He was the curator of David Copperfield's magic collection for years. He had his own ad agency, Magic Touch, for years, and along with that wrote many magic books and booklets. I love the in depth writing he has done in Cues: Variations of the Second Sight Act. He wrote a great 56-page booklet on Three Card Monte. He also is a very nice guy, and has helped many performers hone their acts to perfection. I actually saw him at the Magic Castle one year, taking notes for a performer that had assembled a new act. Within a year, that performer started showing up on television specials and national tours. Leo really knows his stuff.
John Breeds is from the UK, and may not be as well known here in the United States. However, he's been performing for many years, and has released some really valuable writings for magicians.
Funny Tricks and Clever Bits is filled with exactly that: Funny tricks and clever bits that can be easily added into your show. Nothing is a pipe dream; these are really routines that John has used over the years. He teaches you how to make any props necessary (and the illustrations are really good), and then goes on to teach you how to get the most value from each routine by adding in funny patter, short quips and comments, and utilizing every ounce of performing value possible from each routine.
My final hidden gem, though many know about him, is Bruce Bernstein, from the Chicago area. He has learned alongside many Chicago greats including Ed Marlo and Eugene Burger. The first time I met Bruce, he floored our local mentalism group with a routine titled, "Psych-Out, A Psychological Game of Poker." If you are familiar with a 10-Card Poker Deal, Bruce has taken this routine and advanced it beyond what I was able to come up with any possible solution when I saw it. It was multi-phased, and every phase ruled out how the previous portions could have been done. I bought my own copy that day, and spent some time learning it, and then performing it. It is a stunner.
Bruce has written quite a few books and booklets, most of which I've had through my shop multiple times. Currently I have THESE TITLES in stock.
Well, that about wraps up this Hidden Gems post, consisting of authors whose last name starts with "B". There are many others, but these are just some of the highlights you may not be familiar with. Have you searched for your favorite author yet?
Until next time, keep reading and studying your magic books.
Don's Magic & Books