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October 2005
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39 entries from November 2005

The Protocols have arrived

Protocols_1 I received my copy of Max Maven's new book 'The Protocols of the Elders of Magic' today and I must say, I'm disappointed. The book is much smaller than I expected, only 13 x 17cms. The colour on the front is sort of a light grey too, nothing like the picture. It is fairly heavy though, for a book that size. Maybe that's the secret?

Oh well, at least with the addition of this book my library is now discerning.


Hobbyist vs Pro

One of the fascinating enigmas in a magician's life is this:

He or she will start doing magic in their spare time and suddenly find themelves doing three or four shows a week. They look at the figures and realise they are earning more money from magic than they are doing their "real job" plus they are turning shows down because of their regular nine to five commitment.

They take the big step, they quit their day job and go "pro".

The work dries up. Suddenly they find themselves sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring and they're lucky to get one show a month.

It may be pretty obvious to you, but a few days ago it suddenly hit me.

While they are working in "the real world" they are interacting and networking a huge number of people. People talk, they talk to other people, they talk to other people... pretty soon everyone knows that you're a magician and they start calling on you for shows. Now if you are reasonably priced and part of a large company like a bank or a telecommunications provider you have hundreds and, indirectly, thousands of potential clients.

Compare this to the professional magician. He or she will talk to agents or other entertainers during the day. Maybe some shopkeepers, a few neighbours or friends... that's it. They sit by the phone wondering why no-one is calling them when they should be out their talking to people... but who? They gave up their network when they quit their day job.

I guess the bottom line is simply. If you want to get lots of work as a magician... don't quit your day job!


Will the real Tim Ellis please stand up?

Today I did what so many before me have done on the internet, I know we all do it but few are willing to admit to it... I googled my own name.

It was a revealation to me to discover the number of different people who are currently using the name 'Tim Ellis' to try to promote themselves! It makes me shudder when I think of how many potential clients we lose when they go to www.TimEllis.net and instead of Tim Ellis the magician, they get Tim Ellis the banjo player instead!

They may be looking to buy our lecture notes, but if they go to this Tim Ellis they'll end up with a book Tim Ellis' war experiences from 1941-1945 with the Canadian Hussars.

If they go here they'll learn that Tim Ellis is a guitar playing professional musician who "weaves his way through Theresa's music in pure 'Ellis signature' fashion", or here I'm an American singer songwriter, and here they'll think I'm a 51 year old, living in the UK writing classical music scores!

I'm a realtor at www.timellisrealtors.com and here I'm an associate professor at the Iowa State University (Dept of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering!)

Here's a picture of me falling off my three wheeler bike in the snow:

Timellis200s

and here I am playing basketball for Kansas Wildcats where they said "like a spider, Tim Ellis is calm, cool and collected until the opening tip when it is time to attack his prey."

022104smbellislb

The domain www.TimEllis.com is, oddly enough, still available for purchase despite the huge number of Tim Ellis wannabees:

  • Here's a list of films I've been art director on.
  • If you'd like to see my award-winning grahic design work, take a look here.
  • You can read some of my poetry on the aptly named site www.pathetic.org here.
  • Here's a montage of various Tim Ellis's found throughout the internet

Timellis

but this is definitely the scariest one:

Tim

Suffice to say, all of these people are using my name under false pretenses. You'll all be hearing from my lawyer!


Trickmasters indeed.

Header1

I came across this site a few days ago. This is how they identify themselves on the website:

Trickmaster LLC, Inc is located in Myrtle Beach, SC. The corporation was formed by partners David Tanner and Roman LePree with a mission to offer competitively priced merchandise with better retail packaging. With over 20 years retail experience, David and Roman have experienced the need to have better point of purchase packaging in a market very overun with subpar packaging. Trickmaster LLC, Inc is an importer, wholesaler and distributor of magician's supplies. Items may be purchased by consumers through their retail outlet Broadway Magic.

Their packaging certainly is excellent. Their products look pretty good too, in fact some looked so familiar I thought I'd better just ask about them in an email. I wrote:

I was wondering whether you obtained permission from and/or credited the relevant inventors of your products:

DANCING HANKY - Steve Duschek (Waltzing Matilda)

KING PEN - Doug Edwards (Wonder Penetration)
GHOST HANKY - Fun Inc. (Glorpy)
FLOATING MATCH - Ben Harris (Cosmosis)
FLOAT FX - James George (ITR)
COIN PENETRATION - Lubor Fiedler (Dental Dam Trick)
HAUNTED BILL - Stefan Schuster (Self Folding Bill)
ROPE TRICK - Hiroshi Kondo (Clean Cut)
ZIG ZAG PENCIL - Hiroshi Kondo (Zig Zag Cigarette)

Their answer was prompt and straight to the point.

No.

Well I guess they get added to the Magic Fakers page...

It's so sad when you see manufacturers, distributors, importers and dealers showing total disregard to the creations of others. MAK Magic, for example, even though we jumped to their defense when Magic Makers Inc. ripped off their 'Strat-O-Sphere' and renamed it 'The Joker Tube', have now come out with a line of appearing products which are blatant copies of Wayne Rogers' appearing broom, appearing shovel etc. Not only are the MAK copies cheap to buy, they are so cheap that anyone seeing the effect will be able to see the method. Their cheaply made products are exposing the method of the quality products brought out by Wayne Rogers.

Interesting isn't it. Look at the Dynamic Coins and the various cheaply made rip-offs. They are usually not precision made like the original, some are even plastic, that they don't stand up to even a cursory examination without revealing the method.

Should the IBM/SAM Ethics Committee be pursuing these manufacturers on the grounds of exposure if they can't get them on theft?


MagicSeen

Mstext

Sean Taylor posted me a copy of this great new glossy magazine out of the UK and edited by Mark Leveridge. You can read all about it here. The current issue has a feature on 'Magic In Australia' and contains tricks from Sean Taylor and myself, along with Sean's Top Ten Aussie Magicians, and ten little known magical facts about Australia he compiled with the aid of Kent Blackmore and Brian McCullagh.

If you're tired of the American slant of MAGIC and Genii, you might like to give MagicSeen a try. Subscribe here.


Qantas - Part 6 - The Wild, Wild West

Qantas17_7 We just returned from a trip to Perth where we did a show for BHP Billiton's International Health & Safety Awards. It was a great show and BHP Billiton REALLY looked after us BUT, once again, Qantas have given us something to blog about...

I read in the paper two days ago about how Qantas had dropped in it's ratings and was now considered #10 in the world's top ten airlines. Fair enough, thought Sue-Anne and I, the service can be a little slack. However, the voters actually liked Qantas' "laid back" in-flight service. What they didn't like was it's "tired old planes". Now we'd not really experienced this, until yesterday.

We left Melbourne at 12.15 and, with time zone changes, should have arrived in Perth at 1.20pm. About two hours into our 4hr 20min flight, the pilot turned around and announced that a gauge was showing some kind of overheating in one of the engines. Of course he assumed it was merely a faulty gauge... but he took us back to Adelaide just in case.

By now we should have landed in Perth, but instead were still 3 hours away in Adelaide. No-one could tell us how long we would be there, whether we could transfer to another flight, or anything, but after a nerve-wracking hour or so we got ourselves onto a flight leaving Adelaide at 4.45pm and arriving in at Perth just before 6pm. That gave us just enough time to do our sound check before the guests got into the ball room. The rest of the passengers on our flight were informed that another plane was coming in from Sydney to take them to Perth at 7pm, and they'd arrive there about 20 minutes before we were scheduled to go on.

Magicians - ever been in this situation? What DO you do? If you can't make the show due to circumstances beyond your control the least you can do is not accept your fee. What about the airfare and accommodation your client has paid for too? Very awkward situation all round...

Anyway thanks only to God we got there in time and did the show (and thanks to the Burswood for upgrading us to a gorgeous room!) but our return journey was still to come.

It didn't bode well when I saw that one Qantas flight to Melbourne was up on the monitors slated to board one hour after it was scheduled to depart... Sure enough, our 1.55pm departure was late too. It arrived at Perth at 1.55 and left an hour later. Why the delay? In Melbourne it had to have a tire changed.

Now I could go on with tales from our friends in Qantas' mechanical area about how 2/3 of their staff were laid off a while ago and there's simply not enough ground staff to look after the planes... but instead I'll simply say that even though a trip might only be 90 minutes flying time, allow at least 6 or 7 hours for Qantas to spend getting their act together.

On this occasion however, there was a little surprise bonus for us. As we sat in the Perth Qantas Club and watched the clock tick across to 1.55pm, in walked Steve Walker (comedy magician from Sydney) and it was GREAT to have a lovely catch-up chat with him. To some extent, we were sorry when they finally called us up to board our belated plane.

Oh, and it's not all bad news for Qantas, the front counter and in-flight service this trip was excellent!


Magic Fakers is working!

Just received a wonderful email from Verne McCarthy of Magic Max which goes to show that most people really do want to do the right thing:

Sir,

I am writing to you regarding John Cornelius's Pen Thru Anything.  You did me a favor, and I wish to thank you for creating your web site.  I came across it by accident one day, and was scanning through it, thinking that it was about time that someone put a web site up like yours.

You see, I'm an inventor of magic, and have about 80 items that are true originals with me.  I too, have been ripped off, and don't enjoy it one bit. You may imagine my horror then, when as I went through your site, I found my own company listed as ripping off John.

I joined Magic Max (then Old Town Magic) in 1991.  It was wholly owned and operated by Dave Eaton.  Dave manufactured a few tricks, and bought everything else from other manufacturers.  The Pen Thru Anything was one of the items that Dave manufactured.

Over the years, I slowly bought into Dave's company, and, eventually, purchased his stock completely.  I am now the sole owner of Magic Max, Inc., and I do not condone rip offs of any nature.  As soon as I saw mention on your web site of the Pen Thru Anything, I took the item that my company was making off the market.

I immediately contacted John, advised him of the situation, and apologized profusely (please feel free to verify this with John).  I requested permission to purchase the item from him, and he graciously assented.  I now have his PERFECT PEN, and am waiting for him to fill his back orders for PEN THROUGH ANYTHING.  In the meantime, the Laser Pen is no longer being marketed on my web site (www.magicmax.com) rather, John's Pen is.

I wanted to thank you for inadvertently bringing this situation to my attention.  Hopefully you will be successful in putting ethics back into magic.

Sincerely,

Verne McCarthy, President, Magic Max, Inc.


Bob Read - 1940-2005

Read_1Message from Todd Karr
Very sad to be the bearer of bad news. Bob Read died today of a heart attack while vacationing in California with his wife Pauline.

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of driving he and Pauline around LA, visiting John Gaughan, Max Maven, and Carl Ballantine. He had a marvelous time and was looking forward to continuing his visit in the US.

Bob was a superb performer, a master of misdirection, an achingly funny humorist, a great writer, and the world's top authority on the history of the Cups and Balls as depicted in prints and artworks.

I had the honor of collaborating with Bob on The Annals of Conjuring in 2001. His humorous essays on the mysterious magic historian Arthur Watson and magic items in The Spectator were brilliant scholarship and fine humor mixed together.

Bob had just lectured at the LA Conference on Magic History and all attendees are, I'm sure, grateful to have had a few last moments with this extraordinary man.

Love and best wishes to Pauline, his partner of three decades.

Best wishes,
Todd Karr


A "real" magic shop!

Conjurers_coll_crest Our friend Julia from Texas let us know about this great site for Harry Potter fans call ALIVAN'S - MAKERS OF FINE HANDCRAFTED MAGIC WANDS. Their wands are sensational, most are in the Harry Potter style but they also have some great magic wands too. You should also check out their HP movie merchandise as well as costumes and even a small selection of magic tricks. It's really quite a magical site!