Fred Kaps

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Fred Kaps

Cover of Genii (1960)
BornAbraham Pieter Adrianus Bongers
June 08, 1926
Dutchland
DiedJuly 22, 1980 (age 54)
Resting placeYarden Crematorium Daelwijck, Utrecht, Nederland
NationalityDutch
Fred Kaps (June 8, 1926 - July 22, 1980) was a Dutch magician born Abraham Pieter Adrianus Bongers that won the FISM Grand Prix world champion three times (1950 - 1955 - 1961). Kaps performed for the royal families of both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


He was the creator of numerous original effects including his version of the color-changing silks. Another popular effect he often performed was the Long Pour salt trick, in which he poured a little salt on his empty hand, made the hand into a fist, then poured an "endless" supply of salt from his fist onto the floor, and as part of his act he would exhibit facial expressions of great surprise and disbelief, as he would, seemingly unsuccessfully, try to desperately stop the flow.

Contents

Biography

He was born in Utrecht and grew interested in magic through performances by local hairdresser and amateur magician Verschragen, who often tried effects on his customers. Kaps would go home and practice until he knew how to perform these effects himself. Later, he would marry his daughter, Nel Verschragen.

After finishing his high school education, his father wanted him to work as an artist in advertising, but Bram wanted to turn his hobby into his profession. Using the name Valdini, he performed at weddings and parties and as Mystica he performed for Dutch soldiers. When he had to serve in the military himself, he was put into the "cabaret group". He went to Indonesia where he retained his passion for magic through several performances.

After his time in the military it was hard for him to get a job, until he won the Grand Prix, a magic world championship, which was the start of worldwide performances. He was the guy who had the unenviable job of following the Beatles when they made their debut appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" February 9, 1964. Some 73 million viewers tuned in to watch Fred Kaps.

He was a protégé of Henk Vermeyden, the owner of a magic studio in Amsterdam, who also trained several other world champions.

Kaps became the FISM national magic champion twice in Arnhem 1950 and Enschede (1959) and he was the first person to win the world championship three times in Barcelona (1950), Amsterdam (1955) and Liège (1961).

Along with his appearance (spotless suit and white shirt), sleight of hand was Kaps' trademark. He would practice an effect for weeks before he dared to perform it live. He performed both stage illusions and close-up magic using a variety of props like playing cards, candles, coins, balls, dice and silks.

Quotes

  • "Do you want to Mystify? Or entertain? Or both?" - lecture notes (1973)
  • "Effect should come first. Method second." - lecture notes (1973)


Memorial

During a closed party on March 9, 2005, a memorial was revealed in front of the house in Utrecht were he used to live to honor Kaps' contributions to magic.

Awards

  • FISM: GRAND PRIX:
    • 1950 Barcelona - Fred Kaps "Mystica", the Netherlands
    • 1955 Amsterdam - Fred Kaps, the Netherlands
    • 1961 Liege - Fred Kaps, the Netherlands
  • Masters Fellowship from Academy of Magical Arts

References

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