If you want to know more about today’s version of close-up, street magic, you need to read about Ed Marlo.
Magician Bill Malone (a legend in his own right) talked about his fellow Chicagoan in this report from the Chicago Tribune. Malone recently completed “Malone on Marlo,” a six-DVD set that is probably one of the most comprehensive collections of Marlo’s effects.
The Trib story includes quotes from Eugene Burger, Jamy Ian Swiss and Simon Aronson, and features an outstanding description of the bar-magic scene which, arguably, has shaped the art of close-up magic that we all love:
Burger cited many factors, starting with a daily meet-up of magicians in the 1940s through mid-’50s known as the Chicago Magic Roundtable. Every day, upward of 50 magicians would gather at a restaurant called Drake’s (long gone) in the Loop to share tricks. TV show “Magic Ranch” starring Don Alan, filmed in Chicago and syndicated across the country, also popularized close-up magic as an accessible hobby for amateurs. But a subgenre called bar magic moved this art form from the stage to bars and restaurants, where it went face-to-face with audiences.
The Trib also dished out their picks for the five best card tricks in the world. Not a bad list. How many do you know?