Letters to the Editor and Corrections

It is the policy of Inside Magic to correct errors or omissions within a reasonable time following the alleged error or omission.

Additionally, Inside Magic welcomes correspondence from all readers on subjects related to articles in this journal or other magic-related subjects.

Please note: if you submitted an article for publication between April 25, 1998 and June 14, 2001, you may be entitled to compensation from a settlement currently under consideration by the Honorable Kimba Woods for the Southern District of New York in the class action Leticia Accensia v. Inside Magic, Ltd (A Company Organized Under the Laws of Belize), SDCiv 2003CA1992AA.

While Judge Woods has not yet certified the alleged class for purposes of trial, there has been a Consolidated Discovery Order entered and settlement discussions in lieu of potential class certification are contemplated.

In the August 12, 2002 edition of Inside Magic, Oakland magician Jerry Hirschorn was profiled for his ability to perform a “Six-Card Repeat effect in a close-up environment.” The article noted Mr. Hirschorn could perform the card trick on a table during his work at a local restaurant and “instantly reset.”

Mr. Hirschorn’s “reset” was not instant but because the effect goes on for hours, he simply continues the routine as he moves from table to table. We regret the error. We also morn the passing of Mr. Hirschorn and his brothers in a recent accident but celebrate the recent birth of triplets by his mother, Mrs. Gail White.

Dear Inside Magic:

When I am buying a thumb tip, can I get it sized to my thumb? Also, how can I find one that looks like my skin color?

Adrian Owen, Lexington, KY

Hi Adrian:

We take it you are new to the world of magic from the substance of your question. Like the existence of gravity or the inevitability of a wrong order when using a McDonald’s drive-through window, the use of a thumb tip is an exercise in faith.

You have no doubt heard from more senior magicians that you could wear a thumb tip painted bright red but if you used it correctly, your audience would never notice it. That is true. Too much emphasis is placed on matching the skin color of the tip for fear of detection.

Harry Blackstone, Sr. once tried an experiment where he performed a complete show with a bright red thumb tip in place. He mentioned to magicians later that no one noticed. While historians tend to discount this story’s significance, it has meaning for us today.

(Jim Steinmeyer surveyed the literature concerning Mr. Blackstone’s claim in his critically acclaimed monograph, What’s That On Your Thumb? No, The Other Thumb! An Examination of Thumb Tip Use throughout the History of Magic, (New York: Scribner’s 1987). He noted the following criticisms:

1) Blackstone did not perform any effect during his show in which the thumb tip could be used;

2) Blackstone did not solicit observations from his audience regarding his use or non-use of the utility device;

3) this show was the same show for which Mr. Blackstone received well-deserved praise for safely escorting the entire audience from the theater to safety after he was informed the backstage area was engulfed in flames;

4) Blackstone was wearing, as was his custom, white kid skin gloves over the thumb tip;

5) this particular show was a benefit for the local school for the blind; and

6) the thumb tip in question matched exactly the nail polish he used on every other finger (and, say some scholars, toenails)).

We have found the use of the thumb tip to be an unnerving experience. We are so sure we will be caught either hiding items in, or slipping items from the device that we no longer use it except during our magic shows.

We note the space allotted by the gimmick is rarely sufficient to shoplift anything of value or to secret any contraband across an international border.

once commented that just as a magician should not be considered professional until he had performed 25 times on stage, You should not use a thumb tip until your liver failure has advanced sufficiently to make your skin yellow, like the tip.

The Vernon Chronicles, Vol. 2, Bruce Cervon (Los Angeles: Magic Press 1968) pp 114-113.

Dear Mr. Magico:

Perhaps you can settle an argument I have with my wife. She says was from Canada and I insist, correctly?, he was from Winnipeg. We have a steak dinner riding on this, so your answer will be appreciated.

Kyle Farnsworth, Santa Rosa CA

Dear Mr. Farnsworth:

Ironically, you are both right! Winnipeg was indeed the hometown of the late magic icon that single-handedly brought a renaissance to magic during the 1970s. And Winnipeg is located in Manitoba, a province in Canada.

We don’t promote or encourage the habit responsible for the loss of much of the Hardy Family fortunes, but at the same time we know how great a feeling it is to win a bet against your life-mate for a steak dinner essentially paid for out of the household budget anyway.

You don’t mention in your email whether you and your wife are cousins or some how genetically incapable of understanding the concept of wagering (e.g., you should bet for something you don’t already have), or the interesting complexities of geographical designations (e.g., “a city is a part of a state (or province), which is in turn part of a country”).

We also wonder where you thought Winnipeg was located if not in Canada. Of course, we could ask why your beloved seemed so sure Winnipeg was not the name of some location within the rather large and well-known country we call Canada.

It is so hard to find one’s perfect match in this world, and we rejoice in the belief that you have both found each other.

Mr. So Called Inside Magic:

Who died and left you in charge of magic?

You think you know everything and that everything you write is so clever and witty and relevant.

Does it bother you ever to think there are some who think you are not funny, not clever, and irrelevant?

Should the whole world of magic just be some kind of buffet for you to stick your fat nose into for laughs?

Don’t you ever take anything seriously?

Who ever told you were funny?

Because you are not!

Borusan “Boris” Pendergast, Live Oak FL

Dear Mr. Pendergast:

Your question(s) are significant and deserve a well-considered response.

You initially ask who left us in charge. That’s kind of an interesting story.

Following the fall of the , 17 High Priests of Magic went into exile in a small town in the south of France.

Their hopes for a revival of the once great empire were dashed at the end of the World War I.

Four of the High Priests – Danzo Llomas, Petri Dansk, Vlad Willman, and Oscar Dreveneux — were able to escape from the French town during World War II and made safe passage to Portugal and eventually on to Oak Park, Illinois.

They kept their secrets and took on the lifestyle befitting older foreign gentlemen in a small Midwestern town.

Priests Llomas and Willman were successful as investors in what would later become McDonalds, then based in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Priest Dansk was killed in an accidental (?) fall from an elevated train platform at the Lake Street El platform in Chicago’s Loop district.

In 1974, Priest Dreveneux was the sole remaining High Priest of the Ottoman Empire and was stricken with what we now know to be bacterial meningitis.

The prospect for surviving the illness was slim — he had received antibiotics too late — and he called for his trusted ward, Don Timo.

Don Timo was the name given to young Tom Hardy IV (your author) by the High Priests. Although he came from a long-line of magic performers, he was a commoner in the scheme of magic.

He practiced daily and performed menial tasks for the aging High Priests including laundry, cleaning, spittle control, waxing, and undergarment pressing and cleaning (ironically, in that order).

On his death bed, High Priest Dreveneux called his trusted Don Timo to his quarters. “Don Timo, you will be the successor to the High Priesthood of the Otto . . .” he died before he completed the sentence.

While detractors have suggested this incomplete statement cannot be the basis for our claim to royalty, we think it is sufficient to at least permit our putting on of airs.

As for the humor, we test market every line in our stories with panels of magic readers and non-magic readers and magic non-readers. If the line reads well, we use it.

If it doesn’t, we still use it but attribute it to someone we dislike.

Thanks for your questions.

While you may have meant them as an insult, we don’t take them that way. We are above the name-calling and sniping that often accompanies the less-than-civil debate between magicians.

As you have noted, our humor is more sophisticated, less crass.

In fact, we said that exact same thing when we were with your mother last night! We couldn’t help but be with her, though.

She’s so large, her gravitational force pulled us out of the drive-up window and on to her structurally compromised moped. That’s because she’s fat and she drives a moped!

We always enjoy receiving your notes, suggestions and corrections.

Send them to us at editor@insidemagic.com.

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