Foreword by Ed Solomon
HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS!
'MAGICTALES!' is available at last! - six weeks earlier that expected!
Here is a review of the book from Larry White, recently past magical editor for MUM (House Magazine of The Society of American Magicians) and now joint editor of 'Oracle!' The new magazine for Bizarre and Storytelling magicians:
LARRY WHITE’S MAGICTALES REVIEW. (September 1st. 2006)
Sadly, I have just closed the final pages of a book I have anxiously awaited. MAGICTALES, by Leslie Melville.
I closed the last page sadly because I wanted this book to go on forever!
Regular readers of Shadowland will remember my ultra-enthusiastic review of Leslie’s “KISMET.” Here Leslie used one simple mathematical “puzzle” to create a variety of highly commercial and entertaining playlets. Using mostly the same props, KISMET contained routines for children, mixed audience and adults, all having been meticulously honed over many years of performance. Were I still performing I would have added ALL of the KISMET routines to my shows immediately.
Well, now you can have KISMET and much more. You see, the final 64 pages of MAGICTALES contain the entire text of KISMET!
Now let me tell you about the first 101 pages…
If you are looking for new tricks, new gimmicks or original magical inventions you will not find them here. Leslie prefers the old, tried-and-true, tricks most magicians cut their teeth on: Flexible Glass, Twentieth Century Silks, Thumb Tip, rope tricks, Mirror Glass, Egg on Fan, Linking Safety Pins, etc. (But I will say there is one that was new to me, a very clever use for a Ken de Courcy trick).
The upside of this is that this means you probably own the props for the tricks already and all you have to do is dust them off and redress them a bit. This book isn’t about tricks anyway, it’s about how to wrap tricks in fantastic storytelling tales. And Leslie Melville is an absolute genius at doing just that!
Besides the ones in KISMET, you will find seventeen of Leslie’s stories/routines in MAGICTALES. Each one has taken, I would guess, a zillion hours to perfect. Here are brief descriptions of a few of my favorites:
A WITCH, A PILL AND A BOTTLE - This uses the de Courcy trick mentioned above. In brief, a ball is shown that won’t fit in a bottle. A silk is draped over the top of the bottle and the ball is set on top. The silk is pulled aside slowly and the ball drops into the bottle. Simple, yet Leslie’s story, all in rhyme, is played for fun and with facial expressions and acting (all described). This would have me laughing in the aisle.
AHMED’S TERRIBLE TEMPTATION – The 20th Century silks illustrate this irresistible tale of a young prince’s love for a 15 year-old girl. While waiting for her to reach marrying age he sends her a yearly gift. The gift is carried to her by Ahmed and… well, you’ll just have to buy the book to find out what happens. I choose this one to mention because of its description of the 20th Century Silk effect itself. Bill Thompson, proprietor of the House of Secrets and a superb illustrator, has drawn step by-step pictures of how to make and fold the silks. Bill Thompson’s creative drawings and descriptive illustrations are scattered throughout the book and add clarity to the text.
PAINLESS PARKER AND THE NECKLACE OF TEETH! – Don’t you just love that title? Painless was a dentist that plied his trade in the old west in the nineteenth century. He was a P.T. Barnum type character who changed his first name to “Painless” so he could advertise that way, although his techniques were far from painless. He collected the teeth he pulled and eventually made them into a necklace. Got the idea?
WHICH CAME FIRST? – Is an original story/routine for the Egg on Fan. Rather than describe the clever story I want to mention that Leslie includes detailed instructions for preparing the egg skin. Instructions, written from experience, for this process are difficult to find, and again Bill Thompson’s illustrations aid the reader.
Ah, it’s getting to hard to pick my favorites, so here’s a list of the other titles that I toss in just to tempt you…
A YOUNG MAN’S MEETING WITH DEATH
HOW TO EXORCISE A VAMPIRE
THE STRANGE TALE OF MR. TALL AND MR. SMALL
TWO LITTLE EVACUEES
THE FRIENDLY WITCH AND HER LINKING PINS
THE BLUSHING PALMS OF SAMOA
MERLIN’S SIX TAROT REPEAT
THE PRINCE, THE RIDDLES AND THE GOATSKIN
YOUR HAIR WILL BE YOUR FORTUNE
THE MIRACLE OF THE POINSETTIA
POSSESSED – PLUS THE FLIGHT OF THE LITTLE YELLOW POM-POM
(ORACLE readers will be familiar with MERLIN’S SIX TAROT REPEAT which Leslie kindly allowed us to print in issue #1 and POSSESSED and THE FLIGHT OF THE LITTLE YELLOW POM POM in the latest issue. Thank you Leslie.)
But wait! There’s more! The center 16 pages of MAGICTALES is titled, LET US TALK ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING. This is a discussion about how and why stories will enhance your magical performances. Leslie has been a magic-storyteller since the mid 1960’s and he has performed thousands of times in the U.K. He knows this business inside out and he’s a master at it. His thoughts on storytelling magic are golden. This section of his book should be read by everyone with a similar performing inkling.
In summary: MAGICTALES by Leslie Melville is a 170 page, soft-bound 8 1/2 by 11 inch book. The superb artwork is by Bill Thompson. Karl Bartoni assisted with the layout and typesetting, Ed Solomon wrote the Foreword. While many of the routines are directed toward children they will definitely appeal to adults as well because they are so entertaining. This book should be read by every magician who aspires to be an entertaining storyteller. There is a goldmine between these covers. I could not give a book on this subject a higher recommendation.
$39.95. Check out MAGICTALES by
To sum up in just three heartfelt words: BUY THIS BOOK!
Props and products
Have you ever bought a magic book, liked one or more of the routines described and then been frustrated by not being able to source the props required to perform the said routine? - I have many times!
So with that in mind, I have created a 'Products' page where, I am pleased to tell you that you can obtain some of the items that are described in Magictales!
Check out what's available by
To read the original 'Kismet' reviews Click here
For anyone loking for a copy of Magictales Two, I have just found the following on Ebay: