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Fork Full of Appetizers Review

Official Review

January 28th, 2003 8:02pm
Reviewed by David Acer
Eddie Fechter was one of the finest bar magicians of his time, so it comes as no surprise that the convention that bears his name (Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic) would draw a line-up of registrants who share, if not a measure of his otherworldly ability to entertain an audience, at least some part of the philosophy that leads to it.

This book, compiled by Bill Miesel and published in 1982, was the first of a planned series to boast contributions from these talented attendees, and since most were (and are) expert proponents of real-world magic, it contains a disproportionately high amount of practical, usable material. What it does not contain are wildly original plots or techniques - this is food for the common man, strictly meat and potatoes. But it's good food, hardy food, food you can sink your teeth into, and, quite frankly, I enjoyed every tasty bite.

Divided into three chapters, "Cards," "Coins" and "Miscellaneous Close-Up Magic," there are 35 items ranging from virtually self-working (Ed Eckl's excellent, "Joe's Trick") to moderately difficult (David Walker's elaborate "Progressive Blues").

Among my favorites are the aforementioned "Joe's Trick," an easy, impromptu card routine in which a spectator counts down to a card in a quick (!), seemingly random manner, whereupon this proves to match a prediction. Harry Carroll's "Unknown" and Tony Econ's "Blazing Saddles" are two simple, engaging transpositions involving chosen cards. Bob Farmer's "Double-Dazzling Slop Shuffle Triumph" is a simplified, in-the-hands version of Daryl's inspired effect that takes nothing away from the original save the need for a table. Bob Haines' "Any Card - Any Wallet" is likely the "sleeper" of the book, a reputation-maker for anyone who works under classic bar conditions. Ray Mertz's "Mirror Twist" is one of the better packet tricks around, and was a mainstay of his close-up act for many years. Bill Miesel's "Water and Oil Barons" is one of the tightest Oil and Water routines you are apt to see, and has a nice kicker ending that might even take your fellow magi by surprise. Gene Anderson's "Son of Morning" is a lovely vanish of a burnt match. Bob Fullmer's "The Orange Chop" makes clever use of a concentrated orange juice container as a Chop Cup, a fine way to bring the effect into the real world (though I emplore you - PLEASE don't use the recommended puns, such as "Orange you glad you're going to see this?" Contrary to popular belief, puns are NOT the highest form of humor - they're the surest route to unemployment!). And on and on...

Apart from the tricks themselves, this book is also full of little pearls of wisdom that may enrich your current repertoire, such as Mike Hillburger's simple, effective approach to engendering an Ace Assembly with emotional hook by asking a female spectator's name at the outset (let's say it's Christa), then from that point on, referring to the trick as "Christa's Four Ace Trick." Or Tom Mullica's hilarious verbal revelation of a chosen card ("Did you know that black ink is heavier than red ink? It feels like a heavy card. A red card. Is it a club? Is it above a Seven? Is it the Three of Diamonds?").

I love this book. It's chock full of magic by savvy, working magicians, and twenty years after its initial publication, it is still well worth your attention.

David Acer

Product info for Fork Full of Appetizers

Author: Miesel, Bill
Publisher: Obie Obrien
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $15.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

This book is a collection of effects from the attendees at Fetcher's Finger Flinging Frolic (the original Close-Up Magic Convention). There are thirty-five powerful effects from Phil Goldstein, Tom Mullica, Gene Anderson, Mike O'Dowd, Tom Gagnon, Meir Yedid, Bob Follmer, and many more. They are all close-up and commercial effects which you will use. This is a great little book, which contains sixty-six pages and it is spiral bound. 1982

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