Illusion Show by David Bamberg (AKA Fu Manchu)

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Illusion Show by David Bamberg (AKA Fu Manchu)

Postby sleightlycrazy » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:52 am



Since this isn't a book on tricks, I hope it's alright with everyone if I deviate from the standard Review template. To share the basic information, Illusion Show is roughly fifty dollars and is a fantastic read for magicians of all levels.

Illusion Show is mainly an autobiography by the most successful illusionist in South America during the previous century. The introduction and foreword to the book reveal that Bamberg wasn't entirely sure how he wanted to structure the book, and his writing doesn't have perfect grammar or syntax. It really doesn't matter; while reading the book, I was simply too engrossed to care for such minor things.

The first third or so of the book describes David's youth. Being the son of Okito, David was fortunate enough to meet and work with many of the greats of the early twentieth century. I'm jealous that at my age, he'd already made friends with the top names at the time. Bamberg's writing style is fun, so it's a delight to read about his spying on his father to learn about magic, working with Zancig at small theaters, and showing off his "connections" to his friends. He even steals a trick from under Houdini's nose at one point.

David's transformation from the kid behind the scenes to illusionist Fu Manchu feels very quick since he spent more than half of his life as said character. Due to the massive amounts of performances he gave, it feels like the show itself is secondary to his travels and experiences. Reading about Fu's struggles and successes is simply wonderful. Fu conveys the feelings of his experiences very clearly; the reader feels the brief terror or encountering foot long spiders and deadly millipedes, the comfort of exotic Brazil, and the awkward glory of being praised by intellectuals in Madrid. Bamberg creates a very vivid portrait of his life that is both inspiring and intimidating. To go through the hard work he did is insane, yet the ecstasy of his successes almost makes it seem justified.

Really, the book is just too good to summarize in a review. Get it. Read it. Love it.

10/10

As a side note, he described the David Abbott floating ball and how Okito went through many different balls to see which one fit him best. His final solution is quite interesting.

Currently Reading "House of Mystery" (Abbott, Teller), Tarbell, Everything I can on busking
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Illusion Show

Postby Allen Tipton » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:44 pm

I purchased it back in 1988 and it is indeed a fascinating read.Anyone interested in Magic's History..this is a must.
Even away from our History it is still a great read.
Although there are no secrets as such revealed, just read between the lines.

Other readers might also buy Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu by Robert E Olsen.
This is the story of Edmund Spreer. who was david Bamberg's friend, assistant, illusion builder and full partner, working for him over 30 years.
It is full secrets with plans, drawings, photographs, posters, backstage stories: a real tribute to 'the Last of the Geat Illusion Builders'.
219 pages long and oublished in 1986 by Morris Costume Co., Charlotte, NC- Philip Morris
It is dedicated to Fu Manchu.

Some of Bamberg's (Spanish language) films in which he performs Magic,
are now available on dvd. Contact Todd Karr, The Miracle Factory

Allen Tipton

PS Slightly Crazy: I would love to read 'House of Mystery' Is it still only available from Penn?
I missed out on the original David Abbott book-- still have the publictity blurb.

Began magic at 9 in 1942. Joined Staffs M.S at 13. Nottm.Guild of M. (8 times President. Prog Director 20years)IBM. Awarded Magician of Month 1980 By Intern. Pres. IBM for reproducing Dante's Sim Sala Bim. Writes Dear Magician column for Abra. Mag.
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Postby sleightlycrazy » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:30 pm

Although no secrets were directly revealed, Fu did describe how Okito made his floating ball. Searching for information about the ball, I found that many people at the Magic Cafe were searching (apparently unsuccessfully) for Okito's method of making the ball. I'm using the final part of it to make my own.

I'll try to get my hands on Illusion Builder, it looks very interesting, though I'm not really into big illusions.

The Miracle Factory website gives directions to get the book from Teller. There are a couple copies on ebay right now as well. If you're planning on seeing Penn and Teller's live show in Vegas, they sell copies there too.

I actually got my hands on a couple copies of the 1977 Abbott book. Needless to say, I treasure them dearly and am always on the lookout for another copy (it's unhealthy, I know). If it isn't any trouble would you be able to scan the blurb and send it to me? Thanks.

Currently Reading "House of Mystery" (Abbott, Teller), Tarbell, Everything I can on busking
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Illusion Show

Postby Allen Tipton » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:25 pm

The Spreer book has quite a lot of information on the Okito Ball including his take on the order of the Okito/Fu Manchu routine.

Allen Tipton

Began magic at 9 in 1942. Joined Staffs M.S at 13. Nottm.Guild of M. (8 times President. Prog Director 20years)IBM. Awarded Magician of Month 1980 By Intern. Pres. IBM for reproducing Dante's Sim Sala Bim. Writes Dear Magician column for Abra. Mag.
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