The Lost Works of Bro. John Hamman, 6 Disc DVD set

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The Lost Works of Bro. John Hamman, 6 Disc DVD set

Postby TrevK » Mar 26th, '08, 19:37

The Lost Works of Bro. John Hamman, 6 DVD Set.

Disc 1
The Old Classic
The Knavish Deuces
Revenge on the Pink Panthers
Skipping Jacks
The Axes and the Jaxes
The What and Where Test
The Disobedient Cards
Rooks Tour
Spectator Outdeals Magician…Almost
Twisting Revisited
1-2-3-4 Mates
Eight Ball Queens

Disc 2
The Homing Card
Flash Poker
The Marx Brothers
The Pinochle Trick
The Twins
The Jacks Come Back
Poker Palm Shift
Hippity-Hop Kings
The Lolopolooza Hand
The False Witness
The Ladies Man
Three Guesses
Kings Through The Table
The Multiplying Kings
Do as I do Aces
The Magic Cards

Disc 3
Triple Match
My Lucky Day
Magician Matches Spectator
The Adventures of the Spotted Seven
The Invisible Card
Watch me like a Hawk
Houdini Escapes
Lie Detector Deck
Liar’s Lie
Transperent Cards
Vanishing Cream
Seeing with the Fingertips
The Signed Card
Triple Cross
The Two-Card Trick
Devilish Miracle Retold
Chinese Shuffle

Disc 4
Two-Shuffles Harry
Up the Down Sleeve
The pesky card
Alternative triplet
Cream Rises to the top
Universal Card
Out of Print
Flight of four

Diminishing card to Dollar
Chameleon Blues
Second Deal
Go Fish
Flip Flop Aces
Phoenix Four
Billy the Kid

Disc 5
Seven O’Clock Trick
Computer Deck
Double Take
The Lie Detector case.
Thought card in Case
12345 Peek Thought
Sealed-Room Mystery
Tell-Tale Tongue
Peek Look Think
Magic Box
Opposite Pockets
Royal Gambol
Double-Deal Aces
Double-Deal Vanish
Runic Nines
Blind Chance
Magician Over Gambler
Four Pocket Mirror
The mystic Nine

Disc 6
Homing Card to Ter-ick-ific
Micro-Micro (with Gimmick)
Deck in Parvo
Fabulous Expanding Card
Five Kings Royal
Fourtunate Choice
The Amorphous Ace
1234 Ascanio
Wild all the Way
Final Aces
Thought Cards Across

(Total of 97 card effects over 12 hours)

Published by Houdini Picture Corporation.

Cost: Less than £50, available from (Mike had a sale on at the time and I got 10% off, it only cost me £43.20, thanks Mike!)

Difficulty: From 3 to 4. (All sleights required are explained)
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

Review Context
Before I start the review, I feel it is important to put this disc set in it’s proper context, as I feel without it is easy to jump to a particular conclusion very quickly. Firstly, for the uninitiated, Bro. John Hamman (1927-2000) was one of the twentieth century’s foremost card magicians. If Dai Vernon was the Manchester United of his day, then Brother John, I believe, was the Chelsea or Arsenal. He designed many classic tricks and sleights, including the Hamman count, The Gemini count and the sublime ‘Countback’ move, amongst many others. All these moves I believe are accessible to most of us with some practice. He used full decks, small packet tricks and sometimes gaffed cards. Many of his effects still stand equal when compared with the best of today. Bro. John was a practising Monk, which may explain why he was never caught on camera very much. In 1988, Richard Kaufman was writing a book on Brother John’s magic, ‘The Secrets of Bro. Hamman’ (Kaufman 1989) and after meeting with Bro. John several times, Richard decided to film Bro. John performing his magic. He spent a week filming every day of Brother John performing and then explaining every trick, one after the other. The filming was never intended for anyone else other than Richard to use as a tool when writing his book. These recordings have now been released as the DVD set I am about to review.

Now bearing in mind the above, the one camera used to do the filming was a vintage 1988 Betamax hand held camera with poor sound capabilities and a slow autofocus. What you actually get then for your bucks is a shaky at times film that you often have to put the sound up as Bro. John does not have a loud voice. Also, there is no audience (Some would say that the absence of that annoying L&L lot is a good thing!) as Richard is holding the camera, so Bro. John has to do the spectator bits as well. His head is often cut off in the picture and in order to see what cards are being used Richard will often stop bro. John to actually read them out loud. The view angle is also annoyingly not quite high enough. Now, before you all say that none of this is good enough in today’s world of multiple camera angles and super practice sessions, I would urge you to stop and reflect. This was originally intended to assist Richard Kaufman in writing a book, which I turn to now. The Secrets of Bro. Hamman book (Ibid) I obtained sometime ago and I consider it to be one of the most accessible magic books I have ever bought. It contains almost all the tricks on the DVD set (The Underground Transposition is the only one in the book that does not appear to be on the DVD’s) and includes , in detail, all the sleights you need to do the tricks within. The books style is often to introduce the sleight within a trick and then to follow it with some tricks that also use the same sleight. (For example, The Gemini Count is introduced within The Twins and also used with The Magic Cards and The Pinochle Trick) The way I see it then is like this: I use the book to read and follow the mechanics of each trick and then watch the DVD for extra insight of things such as timing, etc, by the master himself. (My Hamman count has improved immeasurably since getting the DVD’s) Think of it like this: Any young comedy actor could learn much from watching Laurel and hardy films, even though they are a bit scratchy, etc.

Maybe I am biased, but some of Bro. Hammans tricks, such as The Twins, The Magic cards and The Mystic Nine are True classics of card magic that I believe will never lose their impact, regardless of current trends in magic. These recordings therefore need to be put in their historic context and can be extremely valuable in teaching correct technique regardless of their technical frailties. However, I would say my one gripe is that the cover does not actually warn you of what you get for your money, although there is a very informative leaflet inside that does do this.

Overall, this is definitely worth buying if you are interested in learning some card magic from one of the true masters, but my one important proviso is this: Buy the book first as learning just from the DVD’s could be a challenge for some of these tricks.

Book reference: Kaufman, R. (1989) The Secrets of Brother John Hamman. Published by Richard Kaufman and Alan Greenberg. (Also available I believe from:

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Postby geetarfreeek » Mar 27th, '08, 12:11

Great review, I've seen these and I have to say it's worth watching for two reasons. One, to see a true master of his craft at work and two, to see just how rude Richard Kaufman is. I'm with Sadowitz!

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Postby TrevK » Mar 27th, '08, 20:47

Hi geetarfreeek,

your right on both counts. At one point Richard appears to walk in front of the camera with Bro. John in mid trick and appears to mumble something about the room being too hot. (At least thats what I think he says!)


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Postby geetarfreeek » Mar 29th, '08, 15:58

I'm not really one to flame people on t'internet, but Kaufman dosn't do himself any favours. Check out the genii forums and the collected Almanac book.

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Postby geetarfreeek » Mar 29th, '08, 15:59

Actually, I don't want to steer this thread off topic.....

These DVD's are really worth watching to see Hamman do his thing. He's a very clever guy!

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Postby TrevK » Mar 30th, '08, 12:19

The thing with Bro. John is that he has obviously greatly influenced many of the card men today and indeed still does. (I wonder how many tricks use the Hamman count?) Perhaps it's a reflection of the times though that talking about one of the true greats on this thread has only interested yourself. I cannot find any other threads on Brother John, even in the hall of fame topic. (A search for Hamman in this topic finds a thread about the professor, Dai Vernon!).

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Postby geetarfreeek » Apr 11th, '08, 08:53

Sad but maybe true. If he had a deal with Theory 11 it might be different!

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