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A Lifetime in Magic

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A Lifetime in Magic
Courtesy of Doug A's Magic Book TOCs
AuthorPercy Abbott
PublisherAbbott Magic & Novelty Co.
Publication Date1960

A Lifetime in Magic is an autobiography by Percy Abbott of the Abbott Magic & Novelty Co. and his start in Australia. It only covers up to 1960, so does not cover much of the Abbott Manufacturing Company's prime days. Illustrated with B&W photos and drawings.

It was reviewed in Genii 1960 November

The updated 2002 version also includes the full text of Abbott's Magic for Magicians.

Contents (2002)

As this is a two-in-one book, each section is page numbered separately.

Part 1: A Lifetime In Magic

1 B&W Photo of Percy Abbott: likely around 1960
2 Memories: Intro by Greg Bordner
4 Dedication: to Gladys (his wife)
5 Foreword: by Sid Lorraine
12 Contents
13 The Chrystal Lantern: Percy's start and some memories of Chung Ling Soo and some famous stage illusions
23 Comedy Snake Basket: Abbott's Snake Basket and some discussion of the presentation of magic
28 Lost in the Bush - Australia: Early years away from Sydney and performing in small towns
36 Ventriloquism in Java: for people who have never seen a vent-doll before!
40 Clock Dial and Gambling: Provides some insight into the challenges of selling a show, and how Percy was able to take advantage of the situations before him (not always to great success!)
44 My Last Escape Dive: the dangers of not having adequate preparation time!
48 Magic in the Cockpits: no not planes, but Rooster-Fighting pits! Also, dealing with illness as one of the hazards of travel.
57 Phantasma: putting on an equisite Ghost Show
60 Japanese Repeats: doing the same show for the same "assistants"
61 Horace Goldin in Shanghai: Percy meets Goldin
64 Jensen In Australia Stage Thermometer: The Great Jensen's (later known as Dante) shows and a comedy prop Percy made for him
70 De Biere's Thumb Tip: Percy's "cocky" approach vents some magic competition; a bit on repetition of the same effects
74 Oswald Williams "Box of Tricks": how a magician cleverly modified old tricks, but they look all the same to the layman
76 Chinese Egg Act: an act that Mr. Abbott could not duplicate
77 The Lifting of the Steel Spikes: some discussion on the "stealing" of ideas in the magic circles
81 The Nicola Show: one of the greats
83 Fooling the Bookers: Nicola getting what he wanted
86 Inside Siberia: Percy's stint in Russia, and a dangerous one at that!
89 Sawing a Woman: everyone wanted this illusion
99 Carnival & Jensen: some time in New York
102 Magic in Japan: tough work!
103 The Silver Mines of Korea: more rewarding, though gruelling
107 Arrested in Cochin China: passport troubles and a unique Chinese act
111 The Walking Ball Trick: brief explanation of a trick by the Magicians of Ceylon
111 Stranded: in the USA of all places
114 Harry Thurston Show: Harry and Howard contrasted, and Percy's experience "helping" Harry's show as long as he could bear it!
126 Magic in Schools: easier fare in Indiana
128 The Family Arives: Harry Blackstone, Percy's wife Gladys, and more family. Autobiography concludes in part with the admission that Percy has "said little about the years of The Abbott Magic Co."; and this would have been great to hear about!

Part 2: Abbott's Magic for Magicians, Occidental and Oriental Mysteries

1 B&W Photo
4 Foreword by W.W. Durbin, President of I.B.M.
5 A Few Words from the Author: Percy Abbott
9 Finger Tip Card Production: from a palm
9 It Hasn't Started Yet: a comedy card effect
10 Mental Masterpiece: cards pass from one packet of cards to another, with a mentalism effect in the middle!
13 Double-Over Card Steal: bring selection to top of deck
14 Testing Strength: Magician magically removes selection from deck although held tightly by spectator
15 The Game of Thirty-One: a gambling game
17 Thirty Cards: cards from pocket to pocket with comedy
19 The Twitching Muscle: card revealed by a muscle twitch
20 Two to Four Ball Move: move for multiplying billard balls
20 Novel Four Ball Production: another move
21 Mouth Ball Move: a false swallow for the multiplying balls
21 The Last Ball Move: a vanish
22 Closed Fist Ball Move: another billiard ball vanish
22 Four Thimble Vanish: four thimbles placed in left hand from right hand fingertips vanish
23 Passing Thimbles: four thimbles pass one at a time from right to left hand fingertips
23 Body Load: to produce object from spectator's coat
24 Disappearing and Reappearing Coin Stand: coins vanish as removed from stand, then reappear after showing both sides
25 The Hairy Match: a "hair" pulls the end off a burnt match
26 Comedy Penetration: wand through glass illusion
26 The Repeat Candle: candle and silk trick
27 Vanish of Grains of Rice: grains of rice vanish as thrown in the air
28 An Egg Bag Move: spectator stomps on bag to show it empty
28 Chinese Pagodas: for stage
37 The Lung-Tester: red handkerchief changes to green in boy's mouth
38 Dry Wine: Wine poured into container turns to handkerchief and container is dry
39 A Novel Load: to produce a small object from a hat or newspaper
40 Wine and Water: Wine to Sherry to Water in two passes
40 Clink Coins: a second coin joins a first held by a spectator inside a handkerchief
41 Double Effect Silk Transposition: for the stage
42 Flash Cigarette: a gag with flash paper
42 Handkerchief Box: snappy production of multiple handkerchiefs
43 The Haunted House: stage illusion
45 Strait-Jacket Fake: to help get out of the jacket
45 The A.B.C. of Ventriloquism: a few basic tips provided
46 Chapeaugraphy: hat folding

46 Oriental Section
46 Chinese Double Bowl Production and Five Trays: large production from the Oriental robe
49 Chinese Bowl Effects: introduction
49 - Chinese Rice Bowls: briefly described
50 - Water Effect: Water poured from bowl to bowl, but then dry (briefly explained)
50 - Seed Bowls: overflow of seeds produced
50 - Frog to Fish Bowl: Frog turns into fish
51 - Egg to Frog Bowl: egg placed on floor is covered with bowl and lifted to reveal frog
51  Colored Powders: Any color can be removed even though powders are mixed in water
52 Single Chinese Bowl Production: a smaller variation
52 Seed Vase Vanish: seeds vanish and reappear in vase
53 Double Lighted Lamp Production:  another production
53 Chinese Release: a load for a stack of bowls
53 Chinese Stack of Bowls Production: another production
55 Large Fish Bowl and Plate Production: yet another
55 Suspended Vase: vasae suspended by a cord
56 Chinese Plate Spinning: how it is done

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