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OTHER REVIEWS: Ed Ellis DVD (March 2007)

The Tony Brook Magic Review

Living Legends Jon Racherbaumer and Steve Dacri are subjects of Tony's latest writings
Read Tony Brook's Plans for this feature

September 2006

“A man should value his friends and praise them for their achievements” - Anthony Darkstone

It has been some time since I have changed this section but as our CEO says,” We have a thing about deadlines !”

Besides, there seems to be quite literally hundreds of magic reviews that have proliferated over the last 12 months. Some excellent, some mediocre and some …well, let’s just say ….written by reviewers whose only asset is that they possess a keyboard.

Those of you who kindly read my work on magic will know that I am very objective in my assessments and that I generally follow the rule that if I don’t think something is worth writing about and is just another rip-off or copy I just ignore it.

However, when I come across truly worthwhile material that enhances the Art of Magic then I am happy to lavish praise. It is doubly pleasurable when the people involved our friends of mine.


The more astute Members of The Society of American Magicians will have seen the references made to Steve Dacri and Jon Racherbaumer in the September 2006 issue of M-U-M.

Both gentlemen are considered, (by those of us who have some years of experience) as living legends and icons of the Art of Magic. That means when they offer something to the magic world it would be prudent to pay close attention. Neither gentleman is given to unnecessary hyperbole and after many years of excellent experience as true Professionals, they both have much to offer any serious performer.

Earlier, I mentioned that I was an objective person in my analysis of things. I believe this to be extremely important when assessing and/or evaluating the work of others. I can proudly state that I have never allowed my own personal feelings to cloud or prejudice my professional judgment. Nevertheless, I am happy to also state that when my personal re-actions and objective professional re-actions coincide it is an absolute delight. It gets better when the people involved are good friends as well.

Therefore, it gives me very great pleasure to draw your attention to the recent work of Steve Dacri and Jon Racherbaumer.

I have already written several articles on these gentlemen and I don’t propose to wax lyrical here again. If you haven’t as yet, please check out my “In Conversation with Steve Dacri” by clicking this link. Both Steve have Jon have graced the covers of prestigious Magic magazines and have appeared many times in various articles.

Steve Dacri

In the last few months Steve was on the cover of ‘The Linking Ring’ and on the L&L Publishing brochure and as mentioned earlier, his work was reviewed in the this month’s M-U-M by the equally legendary Bill Palmer.

If you are truly serious about developing your technical and performance skills and simultaneously learning some awesome magic then you should get ‘ The Magic of Steve Dacri- No Filler’.

It is packed with truly great magic but not only……there’s more. Because Steve and his wife Jan are both highly experienced in filming, studio and presentation techniques these DVD’s reflect a level of Professionalism that is rarely found on Magic DVD’s. Those of you who have experience of filming and Production techniques will agree with me that we are watching a Master at work.

I don’t propose to go into elaborate detail about the effects as that has been superbly done elsewhere but I can tell you that someone at L& L must be in a generous mood as they are only charging $99.95 for the 3 DVD set. Worth every penny and more! Is this a blatant plug? You bet it is! Once you see what you get I defy any serious magician not to agree with me.

I had the privilege of watching Steve perform nightly in Vegas and if you teach yourself to perform with coins and sponge balls half as well as him, you will make jaws drop and get more applause than you can handle.


Jon Racherbaumer

Superlatives were invented for Jon Racherbaumer. There are not many people who have been gifted with the skills of a brilliant writer. Even fewer people have the talent to write about Magic and Magicians. Jon Racherbaumer knows how to use words. He knows a great deal about Magic and Magicians. When it comes to writing about Magic and Magicians Jon Racherbaumer is the acknowledged leader.

His name is well known to the magic world and hence also to the readers of The Linking Ring, M-U-M, Magic and Genii. He has written almost 60 books, and to date, over a million meaningful words on magic. He has the unique ability and genius to make the esoteric understandable. He is, without any doubt, the most prolific writer on Magic. With the excellent use of language and vocabulary, he brings passion and value to our ancient art.

I am honored to be on the same Panel of Advisors with him on the Magic Web Channel and it was a distinct honor for me to be on the Close-Up Panel of Judges with him at the SAM 2001 Convention in his home town of New Orleans. Together with my friend and Co-Host Dan Garrett I was proud to feature him on World Class Magic. I am honored to be his friend and Number 1 fan. I have had the privilege of spending fun times with Jon and I enjoy referring to him as The Thesaurus. He has always been a great source of inspiration to me and I'm indebted to him for several reasons.

Jon is a gentleman in every sense of the word. My son and I are indebted to him for his advice and friendship over the years. Not only related to magic but also to other matters. I am honored that Jon has shared his thoughts and indeed his vast encyclopedic knowledge with me on a variety of occasions. When I put together a stacking system based on a card game by Spanish and Portuguese sailors in the 16th Century my first point of reference prior to lecturing was to seek Jon’s opinion. He generously gave of his time and friendship once again to help and advise me on my adaptation of a card force from a formula by Pythagoras.

Right at the top of your favorites make sure you add: www.jonracherbaumer.com

Assuming that you will look at his site and its links anything else I have to say would be simply superfluous.

Tony Brook - Director of International Operations
Magic Web Channel





Ed Ellis Lecture Series - Volume 1 - Materialize

Our Process: Three members of our Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors watched this DVD and their comments were all combined to form this review.

Magic Wand Rating: (Scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent)

Rating of this item: 4 wands

It reminds me of the Sundance Film Festival. Each year, films are submitted to a review board who must select which ones will play at the pretigious film festival. With the advent of low priced video cameras, and computers, and edit programs, almost anyone can become a film maker, and for very little money, produce some sort of film. Amateurs and no-talent people can get into the act just as easily as the truly talented writers and directors. The result is that submissions for the Sundance festival are way beyond the numbers of the previous years.

Almost 3,000 submissions for about 40 slots. And nearly 75% of them are unwatchable. Low quality, poor acting, no production value. The numbers of films coming in were up, and the quality was down. This happens every year.

The magic business - that part of the business that markets and sells products to the magic enthusiast and performers, has been flooded with low-cost, DVD and printed items by names you've never heard of, all professing to be experts in their field, offering to reveal their prized secrets on a DVD product that was made with their very own camera, shot in the living room or kitchen, and edited on their very own computer.

I am not saying that ALL of these products are bad, but let's face it, friends, the products out there today, namely the L&L Publishing series of high-quality, state of the art productions, have set the bar pretty high. People are used to seeing that level of professionalism and production value. When it's not there, a red flag goes up. Several.

This DVD by Ohio magician Ed Ellis, teaches a few clever flourishy moves for you to use, if you want to show off. It also teaches some utility moves with cards, although everything is somene else's, not Ellis. So what you have here is Ellis teaching you his version of a Bruce Cervon (or Peter Kaner or Marlo or others) move. Frankly, I'd rather have the originator teach me himself.

The production values on this are obviously from the low-budget, home-made variety. This is a one camera shoot, with mistakes left in (it's called EDITING, a remarkable invention) and not much going on except for the demonstration, then teaching of move after move after trick after trick. All card tricks. Nothing earth shattering or memorable or anywhere near the "reputation maker" category. Wake me when its over.

Not much here to recommend. Low-end production and home grown computer graphics aside, the material here is said to come from Ellis' very own professional act. That may be, but I find some of it to be too pedestrian to warrant inclusion here. I would hope that anyone who does magic for over 10 years would get good at it, at least good enough to get paid to present it. (conversely, just becasue someone has been doing something for a very long time doesn't automatically mean they are good at it.)

Not necessarily to win awards or become famous, but at least rise to the ranks of restaurant magician and private functions. Ellis clearly sits in this category, and therefore I guess is qualified to put his own routines out there for others to learn. But did Peter Kane give him permission? Or Bruce Cervon? Or anyone?


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