Oddly, I think that’s cool, because I often don’t even agree with me all the time. If my posts take the thoughts of my readers in another direction, angle and perspective, then I consider that a form of flattery. I’m as much flattered when people don’t agree with me as when they do.
One welcome contrarian is the reader who wrote me a letter in reaction to an earlier post. His name is Amando “Sonny” Narvaez. He sent me his contrary view after reading my post titled “My List of the Same Magic Tricks.”
Read his take on the subject and be enlightened by his thoughts:
I think an important point that is being overlooked in this discussion is not whether the tricks per se should be weeded out, but whether the performer needs to look for some innovative way to present it.
Here are some points to consider:
1. The classic tricks are classic because people enjoy seeing them. It’s like the way people like to listen to songs that are golden oldies. It makes them feel good and is entertaining when done well.
2. Some of the items in your list (e.g. Appearing Cane, Vanishing Cane, Throw Streamers) are not really routines. They are effects that are usually part of a routine. The appearing cane by itself is not a routine. In my act, I use the appearing cane to vanish a silk in 20th century silks, as shown in this video:
I use the vanishing cane as the climax to my dancing cane routine:
I have done magic in places where people are more interested in drinking and picking up a date than in watching a magic act. But when my act began, they were highly vocal in expressing their delight and enjoyment.
3. Levent is one of the top magicians performing today. What does he do in his act? The standards–billiard balls, linking rings, sympathetic silks–a lot of the classics. And believe me–Levent gets a strong reaction to his act! And he gets paid the big bucks!
4. Audiences jump to premature conclusions when they see a magic act. If you take out a deck of cards, regardless of what you’re going to do, some of them will say “I’ve seen that trick before.” You can do the perfect pure sleight of hand routine and they will think to themselves “That’s a deck of TV Magic Cards.” But they will still be entertained if you do your job right.
5. Every magician has a Magic Coloring Book. But if you could see the way I present it where it is _part of a routine_ and not just a trick all by itself, you would see that the routine gets a great reaction from the kids as well as adults. (If you want to look it up, you will find my coloring book routine in the March 1984 issue of _Linking Ring_. Phil Willmarth was very complimentary about the way I routined it. A magician who learned my routine from a lecture I did told me later that when he did the routine and listened to an audio recording of his show, the coloring book routine he learned in my lecture got the best reaction of all the routines he did.)
Note: Even people who have a deck of TV Magic Cards can be fooled by a magician using a Svengali deck if he puts some thought into it.
—– Amado “Sonny” Narvaez
Thanks, Sonny, for sharing your thoughts.