Past M-U-M Issues
The Unconventional Mind of Paul Draper - Mentalist Magician and Anthropologist
by David Goodsell
Not long ago, Paul Draper was performing his stage show in a large theater in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. He brought a man up from the audience and, as he always does, he engaged him in conversation. This way the spectator becomes comfortable with Paul, and the audience gets to know the spectator. In doing so, he is treated as a person, and not a prop. He truly becomes their representative; thus, the entire audience is engaged.
“Where are you from?” Paul asked.
“Iran,” the man replied.
“Are you Sufi, Sunni, or Shi’a?”
“I am Sufi,” he said.
“Oh, you’re my favorite,” said Paul, “the singing, dancing, Mystical Muslims.”
The man laughed, and said, “Yes.”
“My best friend from childhood is half Iranian, said Paul. “His father’s family was from there.”
Paul then addressed the audience directly. He said, “Look! It takes Utah for the Jew and the Iranian to be best friends, and that is the solution to the Middle East!”
Turning back to his new friend Paul said, “You and I, here, on this stage, we can be friends starting now; and we can be friends tomorrow and forever.”
The man smiled and said, “Can I hug you?”
Paul said yes and gave him a hug in front of over a thousand people.
McDonald Birch: The Master Magician
By Tom Ewing
I never intended to write a book on McDonald and Mabel Birch. Of course, as someone interested in the history of the conjuring arts, I was aware of Birch and his wife. I even have one of their posters promoting “Princess the Vanishing Pony.” And I knew Charles McCall, a fellow historian, professor of political science at the University of California, Bakersfield, and all-time fan of the Birches. Charles was the one writing the book on the Birches; at collectors’ meeting friends would ask Charles how it was coming. He always replied that he needed to do a little more research and then he’d start writing. His untimely death in 2013 prevented him from writing that book.
Knowing how easily precious research and files can be lost after a person’s death, I reached out to his executor and urged him not to let all of Charles’s research be disbursed or destroyed. Eventually we reached an agreement and he turned over all of it to me with no provision that a book be written. However, once I saw the multiple scrapbooks and six linear feet of hanging files, I knew the book was there to be written. Charles had interviewed everyone who ever worked on the Birch show, friends, relatives, collectors, and other historians; he had extracted every bit of material online or in print. He just hadn’t written a manuscript. But now, the book that Charles planned to write has been published.
Virtual Assembly 1.1
By Dr. Joel Zaritsky
Assembly V1.1 is the first virtual assembly of The Society of American Magicians; you can attend every month from the comfort of your home! Back in October 2015, the regional vice-presidents had an online meeting and a question arose: How do we give those Society of American Magicians members who aren’t near an assembly the opportunity to get together on a monthly basis? Dick Bowman (now president-elect) and Steven Finkelstein, both part of the S.A.M. Future Committee, conducted a study of the members. Over forty-five percent of the members do not belong to an assembly, mostly due to distance, lack of transportation, or an inability to attend. How could we reach out to all these people to allow them to feel part of the Society? It was imperative that each and every member felt a sense of belonging. One of the main requests from the members was leveraging technology with online seminars, video conferences, and virtual meetings. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it!”
Inside the Outerbridges
By Bruce Kalver
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” — Albert Einstein
How does a ballerina in Germany come to meet an aspiring magician in Canada to become one of the top touring illusion-show duos in North America? How does a departed chicken play into a great publicity extravaganza? What is the inspiration behind creating a show that comes from the heart and is not just a demonstration of cool tricks? This story is not a straight path but rather a windy road of fate and serendipity. Ted and Marion Outerbridge both had a lives of accomplishment of their own. When they met, it was a magical moment in time.