The Art of Magic
Reading this you will quickly realize it is not so much what the magician does that makes him great, but instead how he does it. To simply know how the magician accomplishes his magic is nothing--it is the manner in which he presents his performance before an audience. All of the great magicians have had something associated with their performances, something special that makes them stand out from the others. For Blackstone, both Senior and Junior it was and are the Vanishing Birdcage, the Dancing Handkerchief and Comedy Rope Tie while picking the pockets of spectators from the audience assisting on stage.
For Houdini it was his spectacular escape from a straight jacket, and at various times in his career the escape from a giant milk can filled with water and later his original water torture cell. For Dante it was his presentation of his Backstage Illusion. Everybody in the audience thought they saw how it was done, but in the end he fooled them all with a surprise finish. Dante was also noted for his Lazy Magician where he sat on a chair smoking a cigar while female assistants brought out a cane, rope and silk scarves. In a lazy manner he performed magic. It was his personality that projected. Cardini was known for his suave presentation manipulating playing cards while wearing white gloves and Channing Pollock for producing white fluttering doves out of nowhere. To have a violin and sheet music does not make a person qualified to take a seat with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
The same applies to magic. To have a deck of cards and several silk scarves does not make one a magician. All of the people you read about in this book have dedicated their lives to perfecting their art. The presentation of magic in a theatrical form is n art. The study of magic and its application is a science. To a real professional magician, they never call their magic a "trick." It is always an effect which is short for theatrical effect. For it is the overall presentation and end result, the way it appears to the viewing audience that qualifies it as an art. Magic and its presentation is a form of affecting people's emotions through drama. In presenting each effect, the magician is telling a story. As the story unfolds, the emotions of the people in the audience in the form of dreams are told. Things a magician performs fulfills a basic fundamental desire in each person, either on a conscience or subconscious level. Channing Pollock once said that he felt magic represented power; at least on somewhat of an artificial level.
In the best presentation, the Art of magic expresses desire, wishes, dreams and a balance with reality on a symbolic form, and the balance with the natural laws of science. Theatrically a magician must be a good actor, because the magical effect (or play) does not in itself play out the plot. The great magician must project personality, style, timing, voice inflection, and all the other qualities of a great actor. The father of modern magic, Robert-Houdin of France said, "A magician is playing the part of a man who works miracles ." How much can a magician do with the theatrical form of magic? Where can he draw his art? Here are the basic concepts in magic when you approach it as a science.