Secrets from the repertoire of a professional close-up magician
by Diamond Jim Tyler
Diamond Jim Productions, 2000
What a gem this is! Pockets Full of Miracles is a book that describes nearly thirty performance pieces from the repertoire of a working pro. Not only does it describe the tricks in great detail, it also explains how to present them for maximum entertainment value.
In almost every case, Diamond Jim provides his full presentation, including what to say and why, pointers on timing and misdirection, spectator’s thoughts and expectations at certain critical points, and other performing details. The result is a book that could very well serve as a course in how to become a professional — and highly entertaining — close-up magician.
In fact, that is exactly Diamond Jim’s vision. He wrote the book with the beginner in mind, providing detailed technical explanations, a thorough and extensive glossary of magic terms, and even encouragement and reassurance whenever the beginner might feel uncomfortable following his instructions.
But don’t think that Pockets Full of Miracles is strictly for beginners. The magic in these pages is surprising, hard-hitting, novel, imaginative, sometimes dramatic, often hilarious, and always highly entertaining. Even professionals will find items worth adding to their repertoire.
In The Gunslinger, a card several feet away gets knocked over by a shot from an imaginary revolver — and bears a bullet hole to prove it. In Baseball Diamond, you fail to guess the name of a selected baseball player, but make good by dumping a regulation baseball from the card case… bearing the signature of the selected player. The FBI Trick is a comedy thumbcuff escape, much like the stage version done with handcuffs. In Diamond Back, you correctly predict a word, then produce the item that the word represents — it’s both spooky and funny.
There are several animation items: a drinking straw jumps from hand to hand, a cardbox behaves like the Animated Matchbox, a card stands up and flips over on you outstretched hand. There are some eerie items, bordering on Bizarre magic: a spoon bends, giving off smoke; a version of the ashes on forearm that reveals a selected Tarot card; crystals change colour in the hands, à la Spellbound.
There are quite a few more items, the highlight being The Birthday Bill, which Diamond Jim rightfully calls the most commercial item in the book. In the course of teaching the person with the birthday a trick with a dollar bill, something happens to the bill that will surprise and delight the spectator, and guarantee that the bill will be kept and treasured for years.
Books that provide full presentations in addition to trick descriptions, especially when the material has been honed for years ‘in the trenches’, are a rarity and worth their weight in gold for working magicians. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, get Pockets Full of Miracles — you’ll be glad you did.
The original hardcover edition of Pockets Full of Miracles is out of print, but Dover Publications will be releasing a softcover edition in June 2011. Pockets Full of Miracles is also available as a DVD. Check with your favourite dealer or order directly from Diamond Jim: www.diamond-jim.com.