While the Tannen’s Magic catalogue was a hefty hard back book, The Abbott’s Magic catalogue was a giant Paper back TOME of a book at 11 inches high and 8 and a half wide. My dad bought this for me brand new in 1987 and I would flip through it endlessly.
The Abbott’s catalogue doesn’t have the prices listed. Instead it has a separate “Price List” inserted that lists the price of each trick. Some sort of sales psychology going on here. (Or the editor forgot to include the prices!)
I always wanted this one on the right: The Shirt Pulling Trick. The trick is exactly what the picture shows. You reach down someone’s suit jacket and with a YANK their dress shirt comes straight out with their suit jacket still in place. Man I read that and I thought, “That sounds almost criminal. I LOVE IT.” A lot of Magic can walk the fine line between entertainment and larceny. For example one famous trick is “The Watch Steal”. The magician cleverly sneaks the spectators watch of their wrist without them knowing. Then when it’s returned to them they are flabbergasted. However criminals might use the same technique and NOT give the watch back. See the comparison?
Don’t you love how the magician in this picture is dressed? Like he’s the best dressed person in the room. I had a nice set of these color changing pocket knives when I about 9 years old. To this day, and in the right hands, I think it’s still one of the best close up effects anyone can do. A pocket knife is an ordinary object and I love tricks that use ordinary objects. Also this trick uses a knife and I love knives. I especially did when I was a 9 year old boy. The effect is this: You show a little black pocket knife on both sides. As you pass it through your hand it turns WHITE. On both sides. You demonstrate it again and it turns black again. Then the knife can be handed out for examination. And there’s no trick “color changing wood on the knife. It really switches colors. Amazing trick.
I love how this page sells you as a performer and not the actual product. “If it’s laughs you want…”, of course I want laughs. We all want laughs. The product here is a comedy funnel that you tilt someones ear towards or hold under their elbow and water pours out of the bottom of the funnel. It is very funny, again, in the right hands.
This last one on the left always got me wondering. And entire ENCYCLOPEDIA of suspensions and levitations!? Of different ways to float people? And float your self?!?! SIGN. ME. UP. I wanted this so bad.
I wanted so much in this book when I was 9. I would fall asleep dreaming about the amazing things I saw and read. Here’s some more pics at the bottom for you to flip through. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Till next time…