January Ring Meeting Report


Ring #320


Of the International Brotherhood of Magicians


President – Eddie Tobey   Vice President George Buckley  


Secretary – Dennis Phillips   Treasurer – David Clauss


Sergeant at Arms – Jim Champion




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Hopefully this Spring, when heat is not needed. we will hold a Ring meeting at the Swannanoa mansion.




January, 2011 meeting


Power was out at the Church so the meeting was moved to the Boardwalk Café.  Our thanks to Steve Pittella, owner of the Boardwalk Café.  Members in attendance: Ed Tobey, Wes Iseli, John Coleman, David Clauss, Steve Pittella, Jim Oberg, Richard Gimbert, and George Buckley.


President Ed Tobey started the meeting at 7:38pm with a report on updates to the possible Peter Monicup lecture and/or workshop.  Date and place to be determined.


Vice President George Buckley reported on the Ring Gmail, Google+, Facebook and Twitter accounts for the ring.  He also reported on public service announcements to several area magazines, newspapers, and radio stations.  Treasure David Clauss reported on dues and active members.  Vice President requested an updated list of members with current address, phone number and email be sent out to active members.  A phone tree will be set up for cases like tonight with the meeting location changing at the last minute.


Old business included President Ed’ show in Harrisonburg with 75+ in attendance.  George reported on First Night Virginia with member Eric Jones performing at the Omni.  Wes Iseli reported on his First Night Culpepper show at the Culpepper Country Club.  He also reported on his new born daughter Lana who was born on the 28th of December.  Jim Oberg reported on his show at Mockingbird.  


New Business include Wes forwarding a lecture invitation from Jeffery Williams for his “The lecture your Mother never gave you” tour.  Wes showed members his “Impossible Bottle” and his Blog spot where his is selling them.  Ed reminded member of the upcoming IBM Convention in Norfolk on July 3rd through 7th.  Meeting was closed @ 8:27.


The magic theme for the evening was “Restorations”.  Wes Iseli performed and taught the cut and restored rope routine from his stage show.  He taught members the cut and restored rope, pop a knot, and professors’ nightmare.  Next he performed and taught his torn and restored laundry ticket routine.  Jim Oberg performed and taught his version of a torn and restored $100 bill.  John Coleman performed his routine where he teaches the spectator a torn and restored napkin.  David Clauss performed a torn and restored card with a flash restoration by Alexander De Cova from Magic Magazine.  Wes performed Karol Fox and Tom Mullica’s torn and restored card.  Meeting ended at 9:55pm.


George Buckley,


 reporting for Dennis Phillips who was in Florida attending his brother’s funeral.


 Dennis’ Deliberations……………    Comment and Editorial


It was the dead of winter here and I was out of school, so I decided to get back on my project of converting the rest of my VHS tapes to DVDs. This is so they will last and be playable for as long as I am alive. I have a collection on David Ginn videos, some given to me and some I bought from him at lectures. I expected to just start the recording and walk away but to my surprise, they all were incredibly fun to watch. Maybe I am in my second childhood? I also went a looked at my collection of David Ginn books.


They give me a new respect for Ginn. He has long been a kind of magic joke to many magicians as “the guy who gets kids screaming” and someone who magicians typecast as a low-brow kid’s performer and book huckster. I am certain that the mantle of “King of Korn” in some way passed from Karroll Fox to Ginn.  But, of course, everyone has copied something from him.




As I watched the tapes, I got to thinking that if you ignored his thick Georgia accent (“ doin’ good in skee ooool”) and his complete lack of parsimony in his patter, he is a very lovable and entertaining performer. Ginn is very likable and instantly interesting! That is a quality of real merit.  I know that he copies and refines other people’s work but his pacing and unified presentation is great. In fact, in an earlier age of magic, he would have been a lot more main stream.   Bobo had the same kind of act and market but probably, in his day, a bit more respect.


Ginn is a big guy and has a physically clumsy image on stage. He is also geeky elfish looking and I think that this visual persona adds to his appeal. Audiences like to laugh at funny looking people.  In Ginn’s case, he talks like an excited Southern Baptist preacher which makes the physical comedy and gags even more funny.  I am actually complimenting him because his image and actions match his target market and act.  Ginn is on the chunky side whereas Bobo was emaciated looking. They both just look and move funny.  


Ginn has the guts to do every trick in the catalog.  It is probably because he has to have a different show every year since he plays to the same Georgia market and audience.   This necessity caused him to develop different presentations and a wealth of material.  He found another outlet and revenue source in selling the information to other magicians.


After 3 hours of Ginn on tape, I began to think the way he thinks.  I was going through a Dollar Store and saw a large wooden cooking spoon. I thought, “Hey, I can take this and paint the handle like a magic wand and leave the spoon part plain wood.  I can hand it to the kid with the spoon part hidden in my hand and when he takes the other end; I can release my hand so everyone can see it is just a wooden spoon. Then I will say, “Here take my magic wand and don’t stir anything up! Okay, give me that back before you cook up any mischief!”    You get the idea! You can borrow the idea. It cost me $1.00 to make.     I love how Ginn took stuff that I passed over at magic flea markets for a dollar and made it a funny bit of business.   


I have known David since the early 70s and always appreciated what he did.  Every time we meet now we share our old story of how we met back in the days when indoor malls regularly had magic stage shows.  I was doing Whistlestop, my local kid’s show on WBTV (about 1973) and I heard that “David Ginn” was doing his Magic Mall show at SouthPark Mall.  I finished taping my show on TV in the late afternoon and headed over to the Mall.  I was still in my baggage boy costume from the show. 


I got to the mall and Ginn was just going on so I slithered up on the side and joined the standing crowd.   He needed a volunteer for the Sub Trunk. I guess I looked like a good volunteer because he called on me.  He said, “Let’s give him a round of applause and the crowd broke into loud applause and cheers. They recognized me from Whistlestop.  I got on stage and a few kids screamed out my name, “Dennis!”   Ginn was a bit shaken and asked, “Am I supposed to know you? They do.”  I just said, “Yep, they know me”.  He asked after hearing them scream my name, “Your name must be Dennis?” I said “yes” another big cheer went up.   He was puzzled but went on with the routine…especially the part about me stepping inside when the girl is inside.  Every once in a while I would mumble softly in a stage whisper, “Nice Abbotts box”, “Faster than Richiardi”… He would giggle and kept on. He knew that I was “in the know” and relaxed.  After the show, a crowd gathered around me, due to my fame from TV, and when they were gone, I went over to him and explained the story. We exchanged a few Atlanta stories. Duke Stern had worked for a hardware store, which had a magic counter and back then Abe Dickson was touring with his big show, Presto.  That SouthPark Mall show was my introduction to Ginn.


A tip of my hat to Ginn… he has been around for a long and successful career and vastly under-rated as a performer.


Christmas themed tricks in your Holiday shows… A friend in Charlotte, North Carolina used: Santa Cookies and milk. 


 “Wizzy Dizzy Milk”. It was an early 60s Supreme trick and sold here back then by Abbotts. I do not think it is in production by Abbotts any more. It was a box with a lid on the top and on the bottom. You started out pouring milk in the top and then rotating the box end for end and opening up the bottom and pouring milk in that and then back to the top and finally pulling out a full ungimmicked glass of milk which you either drink or pour out.  Nothing was ever spilled! 


The secret was the glass inside was in a wire ring and it would swivel by the two pins on the side that went into holes in the side of the box.  The act of turning over the box still kept it upright because of gravity! You were just swiveling the box while the glass inside stayed upright! 


Some other Christmas themed tricks and routines:


-A Thumb Tip Holiday colors streamer is produced and vanished


-Fire pan to a Foam Christmas tree


-A Santa Hat Tear with a kid, then a Sponge Star routine–(like sponge balls) then from the Santa hat they have been wearing a Holiday Color Mouth coil is produced–they get to pull it out….


Of course, you can always spend money on something like “Hippity-Hop Santas” or a Christmas Stocking Egg Bag.  My only Christmas themed prop is a 36 inch Santa Silk. I don’t like spending money on props that only get used once a year.  I put the money into a good Reindeer Mascot costume that I offer as part of the package. They provide the volunteer to wear it.


I hope you have worked up a few “love” routines for your Valentines Day shows!  Anything with flowers and a story of love works.  I do an effect like Paul Romhany’s Dream Prediction


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjAl6ohPBUw   where I have predicted what happened on a married couple’s first date!  A middle age couple works fine with this. I end by giving a rose to the husband to give to his wife. This is a one-man routine and I am sure that most of you can figure out the method.


Let me know your ideas on any Holiday themed effect as well as posting it right here.


Dennis Phillips








About blueridgemagiciansring320

Secretary of Ring 320 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians located in the Western Virginia.
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