:: May 15th, 2005 :: Issue # 23 :: Rick Carruth / editor
First.. a quick, but heartfelt, 'Welcome' to all the new readers
since last issue. I hope you find a home at the Magic Roadshow -
Journal of Magic.
In this Issue......
:: Interview - Michael Finney
:: Jay Marshall - A tribute
:: Holey Ambition - fr'ee magic
:: Bob Solari - (sponsor)
:: Fr'ee PDF eBook
:: One Behind - digital magic
:: Gospel Magic - resource
:: Dave Dee (sponsor)
:: Musings & contact info/subscribe/unsubscribe
If you enjoy this issue.. tell others! If not.. tell me. EMAIL
Since many of you with hotmail accounts didn't receive your issue
two weeks ago, you may want to consider asking me for one of those
free Gmail accounts I still have available. It's web-based, so you
can access it from virtually any computer.. There's nothing to
download, you simply reply to my invite, pick a user name, and
bookmark your sign-in page. It doesn't interfere with any current
email accounts you now have...
We have a ton of material to cover in this issue.. so let's get it
:: Interview - Michael Finney
Michael Finney is, without a doubt, one of my favorite performers in
all of magic. A master of comedy and sleight of hand, Michael
performs regularly at casinos, comedy clubs, and conventions around
Nominated for 'Magician of the Year' by the Magic Castle, performer
at the recent Presidential Inaugural gala for President Bush, and
Silver Lion Head recipient for excellence in comedy & magic from
Siegfried & Roy - Michael Finney is a pro among pro's..
A regular performer on NBC's 'World's Greatest Magicians' and
'World's Wildest Magic' shows, You would expect Michael to be too
busy to sit down for an interview. But, being one of the most
approachable stars in magic, and someone who goes out of his way to
help others, he found the time to answer our questions..
(Q) I know you are very busy Michael, and I appreciate your effort to
assist me with my humble endeavor..
(A) Hey Rick.. Here 'ya go...
(Q) So Michael, I understand you were bartending when you experienced
that 'magical moment'.. that instant when you saw a co-worker vanish
a cigarette, and you had to know the secret. Do you think of that
moment as being the defining moment of your path - or would you have
found your way into magic via another route?
(A) I would have to say that was the moment. I would have never known
a thing about magic if not for Bob Shaw.
(Q) As a comedy finalist on Star Search with Ed McMahan, when did you
decide to combine comedy and magic, or was it just a natural extension
of your talents?
(A) Long before I was ever on Star Search, I knew comedy and magic
was the way for me to go. I started out as a close up magician, then
I did a dove act. While doing my dove act at the amusement park I
worked on a platform kids show. The comedy magic act came from that
experience. And from then on. (the early 80s) it was comedy magic all
(Q) You make a great living performing only five or six tricks. I
suppose you're proof positive that the presentation is as important
as the magic. How can someone who knows the magic develop a
first-rate act, or is it a gift?
(A) I have been told by more than one person that its not the trick
but the performance. I firmly believe that. So be yourself. If you
love what you do people will see that. If you choose to make a living
at anything it takes practice to develop presentation and confidence.
The only way to do that is to perform every chance you get. Sometimes
the trip is as much fun as the destination.
(Q) Did you really pay a hundred bucks for your first thumb tip?
(A) Yes, I really did pay 100.00 dollars for my first thumb tip. I
believe I paid to learn the secret. It just so happened to be the
thumb tip. Its the best hundred dollars I have ever spent on a magic
trick. Plus it taught me a valuable lesson. Magic is all about
keeping the secret.
(Q) What advice would you offer new magicians who feel a need to be
'perfect' before seeking their first gig?
(A) Perfect is a word that is used way to often. This is an imperfect
world. In magic you can make a small mistake and your in trouble. On
the other hand you can make a small mistake, learn to cover it and
all is well. You can learn to do a trick in the dark to perfection. I
think its the performance that has to be worked on in most cases. So
get out there and perform.
(Q) Do you remember your first gig - and how did you get it?
(A) I do not remember my first gig, I performed as much and as often
as I could in the beginning. So its kind of a blur.
(Q) After performing in restaurants for awhile you moved on to
performing a dove act in an amusement park for three years. That must
have been an unusual experience...
(A) No, to tell you the truth it was just another type of magic
performance. I had read a lot and worked a lot of things out on my
own, So it was another chapter of magic in my life.
A silent act is difficult. I think tougher than talking in many ways.
It was not right for me but at the time it got me through, That's the
beauty of magic.
(Q) From the early eighties to the early nineties you performed a lot
of comedy clubs. Was your act based on magic during that time?
(A) Yes, it was my act. Because it set me apart from the other
comic's. I had and still do have the best of both worlds. To be able
to make people laugh and then once in awhile amaze them with magic,
what's not to like. Its a win win for everyon*e.
(Q) How often do you change your routine - and do you have a regular
(daily) practice routine?
(A) Now most of my work is corporate one nighter's, charity and golf
events, So unless I am going back to a place I have been before I
don't have to change a thing. But I almost never repeat the same
show. Something is always different in each performance.
And no, I do not practice everyday. I have done it for so long I
could do it in my sleep. I do warm up about 15 to 20 minutes before a
show but that's about it.
(Q) When we last spoke in March, you were preparing to go to England
for the first time. How did it go?
(A) England was great. Lori and I both had a great time and can't
wait to go back. I mean it, everyon*e was so nice.
Martin Duffy was a great host. In their words the whole thing was
(Q) I know you've performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood as well
as many of the top casin*os in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. What's
your favorite couple of places to perform and why?
(A) I love any place where people come to be entertained. Most of
these places are in the casin*o resorts. The people who come to these
places want to be entertained. There is a lot of respect in these
venues that I really appreciate. People know their are going to get a
good show and are excited to see the performer do well. I love it.
(Q) You've taken a personal disability, a speech impediment, and
made it work to your advantage. Was there a time when you felt your
disability would hold you back or have you always kept positive about
(A) Ya know I have to give credit to my parents, They never allowed
my brother or myself to feel different in any way. As a kid I got the
worst of it, But only you hear me. I am not aware or was not aware
that I talked or sounded funny until I started listening to my tapes
and even then it took me awhile to hear the words. haha
We are all human. Trying to get along. It is not and never will be a
I just do the best I can whenever I can and tomorrow is another day.
And I have had so many tomorrows. My Life is Blessed.
I am a little sad right now with the passing of Jay Marshall. He was
so kind to me from the moment we met at the Desert Magic seminar in
1986. We became good friends, and, like many others, I will miss him
(Q) You're the only magician I know who has his own foundation - the
Michael Finney Foundation to benefit firefighters and the Pappas
School for homeless children.. In eight years you've donated over
four hundred thousand dollars to your causes. How rewarding must that
(A) Great question to follow up with, Because my life has been so
blessed it seemed only right to try and give back a little to those
in need. I am now with the Gift of Life, A Rotarian group that gets
children with heart problems the attention they need. Operations.
I am a small part of a group of people who are able to help these
children get a second chance at life. It's only right. They are so
young and innocent. It breaks my heart to see a child suffer.
(Q) Your 'Live at Lake Tahoe' three DVD set is one of my all-time
favorites. Volume two is a very personal look at you and your life
both in and out of magic. I get the feeling that L&L publication
couldn't possibily have rehearsed this... Am I right?
(A) You are right. I went into that with everything I could remember
and felt important enough to tell anyone who might be interested. You
have to know the whole story. Its been a life that was not chosen. I
was just going down the road "of life" so to speak.
There have been some things I am not proud of and that never should
have happened. I have to be honest with people. If I' am going tell
you the highs you have hear some of the lows. There is a scale in
life and it must always be balanced. But if you play your cards
right. More often than not the scales will balance in your favor.
(Q) Michael, I know you believe magicians should include their wives
in the 'loop' and make them privy to our little world. You have
made your wife Lori an intrinsic part of the business side of your
magic. Would there be a 'Michael the Magician' without Lori?"
(A) I could not have done what I have done without LORI. She is, and
this may sound corny, the wind beneath my wings. My life jacket, My
seat belt, My pillow, my best frien*d.
Without her there never would have been comic magician Michael
(Q) One last question Michael, you made the mistake of telling my
wife Carolyn that you were scheduled to play golf with her
'beloved' Tom Jones a short while back... If so - please tell me
you kicked his butt...
(A) Lori and I went to Vegas March the 10th, we met up with Don
Felder (from the band the Eagles) and his girlfriend Kathrin. Along
with English soccer great Willie Morgan from the Manchester United.
We all had dinner and then went to see Tom's show.
Willie is a close personal frien*d of Mr. Jones, so after the show we
all went back stage and spent some time with Tom and his manager.
What a nice guy. Very friendly. Sat and had some drinks for almost an
One more magical night in the Life of Michael Finney with so many
more to come.
...And all for 100.00 dollars.
- Thanks again Michael, for taking the time to speak with my GREAT
readers. They deserve the Best... and with you, they got the Best...
- Take care Rick, and thanks for including me in Magic Roadshow.
You can find out more about Michael by visiting his website at....
Michael Finney's 'Live at Lake Tahoe!' is one of my very, very
favorite DVD series. Honestly... This 3-dvd set is an encounter with
a remarkable human being who overcame personal and professional
obstacles to become one of magic's top performers..
I dare say, you can learn more from volumn two of Michaels series
than any three dvd's by almost any other magician. Michael will show
you how he has taken eight or nine tricks and turned them into a
Invaluable information !
:: Jay Marshall - A Tribute
Jay Marshall, known affectionately as the official dean of SAM,
passed away Tuesday May 10th. Just a Michael Finney spoke highly of
Jay, magicians around the world have humorous stories and high praise
for for the greatest comedy magician of his era.
Born and raised in Abington, Mass. , Jay and his wife Francis lived
for many years in Chicago , where they owned Magic Inc. As a former
star at Radio City Music Hall and the Palace in New York City, Jay
made numerous appearances on Broadway and TV, including 14 times on
"The Ed Sullivan Show"...
Read the New York Suns complete article to say 'Good-by' to one of
Magic's true legends..
:: Holey Ambition
Courtesy of David Forrest.
Effect: A signed card continually rises to the top of the deck. For a
finale, the card is left outjogged in a small packet and the rest of
the deck is placed inside the card case. The case is placed on top of
the small packet and the performer draws attention to a hole cut in
the front of the case. With a snap of the fingers the signed card
appears on top of the deck, everyon*e gets to see it arrive through
the hole in the case! A very visual final phase for any ambitious
You will receive two detailed PDF's with instruction on how to make
the simple gimmicks and teaching the required handling.
David is giving this valuable info away to draw attention to his
other magic available through Full52 Productions. Visit the url
below to both download the magic and watch a video performance of
:: Bob Solari Magic Company (sponsor)
I think I've mentioned before that Bob is one of my all-time
favorite sources of original magic. Well, nothing's changed - and
Bob is STILL a personal favorite.
Check out Bob's new Spy Before You bu*y #4, now available with over
one hundred video demonstrations from Bob Solari & Howard Baltus.
Video includes demonstrations of Washout, Ghost Gravel, Glass
Breaking Table, Flashback, Crystal Dove Box, Screwed Bolt and many,
many more tricks.
:: Self Publishing - Immortality on a Budget
One of my favorite site's is Chris Wasshuber's 'Lybrary.com'.
Chris produces ebooks and CD's for magicians around the globe.
Actually, if you have a script that you would like to see published,
contact Chris as see what he can offer you..
If you visit the page below you will find a link to 'Self
Publishing', Tom Stone's excellent shareware ebook that you can
download free, and if you like it, send Tome five buck... and it's
worth every penny. Excellent info on producing your own magic-related
pdf's and performing your own graphic and photo work.
:: One Behind - Digital musings on digital magic
You walk up to someone sitted at their computer. After showing them
other magic tricks online, you then make a confession: you have
memorized the entire internet. To prove it, you have them go to
Google. You then ask them to describe a kooky two word phrase.
Doing some mental calculations, you jot down a number on a piece of
paper and hand it to them. They google the phrase they just came up
with and find that your prediction matches the numer of results
returned! You really have memorized the entire internet and can
search faster than Google!
Now, you say that google has a new feature, it will find a thought of
card. You have them name a playing card out loud. They then ask Google
"What is my playing card?" Every single result that Google gives has
their card in the title.
Finally, to top it all off, you have them think of anything in the
world that they want. You ask Google "What does Mark really want?"
and Google responds with lots of pictures of exactly what they were
Taylor Raphael's excellent digital magic is definitely different.
Unlike the similar 'Boondoogle' featured in an earlier issue,
Taylors 'Agogle 3.0' is a more sophisticated version..
Check it out... http://onebehind.com/tricks/agogle/index.php
:: Gospel Magic
In keeping with my hope to provide everyon*e with something of
interest, I recently ran across 'ProfessorWonder.com'. featuring a
good selection of about twenty very detailed, gospel-related tricks.
'Set FREE', for example, demonstrates how two regular drinking
straws can be twisted and interwined, and then magically separated.
'You can't Surprise God' has numbers selected by a volunteer
adding up wrong, but the magician's prediction still proves to be
the correct answer.
These, and about eighteen other tricks, with more added each month,
give you a good selection of gospel magic to work with if you are
planning a performance at a Church or Synagogue.
Never take any specialized form of magic for granted. you never know
what gems you may uncover. Go directly to the tricks page here...
:: Dave Dee ( sponsor )
Recently I came across a website for magicians created by Dave Dee.
For those of you who don't know, Dave is the marketing expert for
magicians and is the author of the all time best selling 'Ultimate
Insider Secrets Marketing Program For Magicians'.
I can tell you that Dave is the real deal. He went from averaging 3
shows per month to averaging between 25-30 shows a month in only
My contributing editor, David Breth, tells me that Dave's material
has made an amazin*g difference in his career, and I believe
everything David tells me - without question..
But... don't take our word for it, see for yourself..
If you have a site and would like to be a sponsor at the Magic
Roadshow, send me an email and let's negotiate ( I'm easy ) .. I
I've got several other great sources for magic, patiently waiting in
my bookmarks, to be introduced to you..
But, they're going to have to wait. I don't want to spoil you guys!
I think an interview with a world-class performer and seven or eight
top-level finds, including two pdf ebooks, should be enough for this
Email Me with your request, rants, and raves. I love to hear from
you, just to know that my newsletter is making it to it's intended
If you have a suggestion for a resource, let me know what you've
found. And, if you have a magic related article, send it to me (no
attachments please) and let's see if we can't send your ideas to
readers around the world. If it needs a little editing for spelling
or because english isn't your given language, don't worry... I'll
take care of that...
Forward this newsletter on to others, if you have friends you think
may be interested. I enjoy watching my subscriber count rise each
Don't forget to visit my blog. I've put some interesting stuff up
in the past couple of weeks........
Street Magic Bullets.... http://streetmagic.info
Magic Roadshow........ http://magicroadshow.com
May my next issue find you well...
MAGIC ROADSHOW - JOURNAL OF MAGIC..