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The following article was printed on MUM Magazine - August 2001, Vol. 91 No. 3

MUM Cover - August 2001This article is printed with permission of David Goodsell, the editor of MUM.
MUM (Magic-Unity-Might) is the official magazine for the Society of American Magicians

A Conversation with Norm Nielsen...
the Art of Magic

MUM: Norm, it is a pleasure to interview you for MUM magazine. Your life has been well chronicled in other publications; however, I am interested in going a step beyond what is found in most features. In this interview I would like to examine your passion for magic, what it is that has made magic a life long pursuit for you as a performer, a craftsman, and now as a collector of rare posters. To begin I pose a simple question (well, maybe not so simple): If we begin with the presumption that for the most part magic is a craft, what does it take to elevate it to art?

Nielsen: Most of us became interested in magic by seeing a magician or witnessing a magic trick, or perhaps by being given a trick deck or magic set. We might have seen an ad for a magic catalog in Boys' Life or Popular Mechanics. This fascinated us. We began to visualize ourselves performing magic and we soon found out that we could amuse someone by doing a trick. Some even realized they could make people laugh! We all realized that we could entertain our friends with magic.

We sought out a magic shop in our town or nearby town. We got books from the library or a magic video. We saw Doug Henning or David Copperfield on television and really got fired up. We began to think of what was good or bad magic.

Norm and Lupe Nielsen with Talma Poster
Norm and Lupe Nielsen admire the Talma poser in their collection.
This poster is reproduced in the poster section in this issue.

Eventually, while some of us pursued magic just as a fascinating hobby, others decided to take it further. This is where the degree of DESIRE comes into play. Anybody can accomplish almost anything according to how much desire they have to attain it. Great desire can overcome any obstacle. We are only limited by what we believe we can or cannot do. When the desire burns you up and you have confidence in your abilities, there is not much that can stop you.

Norm Nielsen and Houdini posters(Left image: Norm in the Houdini alcove. The poster collection is housed in a large building adjacent to Norm's and Lupe's home, and each item is exquisitely mounted and framed.)

When you add to the formula other factors like good looks, charm, charisma and intelligence, you have a performer like Channing Pollock, for instance. But not all of us are blessed with all those qualities; consequently, we have to work harder to find other ways to overcome those shortcomings and it is desire that provides us with the energy to do just that.

I remember when I first saw Neil Foster and later Channing Pollock. They inspired me so much and the desire grew such that I actually imagined myself working the same places they had. The burning desire helped me overcome my shortcomings: I was shy, I had to work very hard to execute the moves, and I wasn't the tall, dark and handsome guy. It was only desire that pulled me through.

Those of you that found you could make people laugh and were inspired after seeing Mac King, Fielding West, Tomsoni, Nick Lewin, Ballantine, George Carl, etc. began doing the same. That kind of inspiration increases your desire and pushes you a little beyond.

Those of you who have a good facility for speaking and the talent for drama probably were inspired by Doug Henning or David Copperfield or Siegfried and Roy or Lance Burton. Performing the "Grand Illusions" can be inspiring on its own.

Another important element after we get our act together and begin doing shows is to find out what our stage IMAGE is. What image do we define? If we try to copy those who inspire us, then we will only be "copy cats." Finding our image can take time and experience. Drama classes can help and improv classes can do wonders. Losing your inhibitions on stage will help you find "who you are" and develop your personality. Then, once you define your image, aspects like costuming, music and staging etc. will fall into place.

Norm Nielsen and SullivanspacerNorm Nielsen - Full Portrait
Above left: Norm with Ed Sullivan. Appearing on the Sullivan Show was a mark of success in that era.
Above right: The dapper Norm Nielsen poses for the camera.

The question often asked is: Is magic a craft or an art? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "Craft" can be defines as "an occupation or trade, especially one requiring manual dexterity. It is a skill or ability in something, especially in handiwork or the arts; proficiency; expertness." "Art" is defined as "the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, color, forms, movements or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty." I think, generally speaking, magic is a craft. Most of us are craftsmen, and there is nothing wrong with that. We constantly try to hone our craft to bring it closer to what we feel is good. There are only a few rare exceptions who have elevated it to an art, such as Rene Lavand, Richiardi and Cardini. A transcendental sense of beauty takes over, and you cannot longer define what they do as something that you just read in a book, bought in a magic shop or even learned as a craft. Their exquisite timing, movements, expressions bring us closer to a sense of aesthetic perfection.

MUM: Interesting. You are saying that success is largely dependent upon desire, the drive to achieve, to work hard, to perfect. For most that path can lead to recognition and acclaim as a master craftsman, as a master magician, if you will. But a master magician is not necessarily an artist. What have you looked for in your own act, Norm? What were your goals? What sets you apart?

Nielsen: Unfortunately I don't have a very good answer for you, simply because I have always done my own thing. Although inspired by others, I never wanted to copy or be like those who inspired me. When I was inspired by Channing and Neil Foster, they instilled in me the goal to work the places they worked. I guess I didn't stop to think that I could not do it, so I blindly fell forward. At each phase of my career, I passionately loved what I was doing. I have always felt that I was so fortunate to have found something (magic) to express myself and to make a good living as well.

One of the things that brings out the best in any performer is the opportunity to work with others of greater talent. I have been extremely fortunate to have worked and become good friends with some of the greatest variety performers in the business such as Francis Brunn, certainly the world's greatest juggler during his reign; Sr. Wences, for me the absolute greatest variety entertainer that I know of; George Carl, the greatest silent comedy act of his time; the Blackwits, the most remarkable couple performing in the tradition of the Black Theatre of Prague, etc. It is as if I was a quarter meter in a race with an Olympic Champion. You know you are not going to be better than he is, but he is going to draw the best out of you. I never had any sense of competition or trying to beat anybody because I always felt outclassed by those around me, which drew the best out of me.

Norm Nielsen performing Floating ViolinMy love for music triggered the whole idea for a musical act. The first idea was to do a playing trumpet in the "zombie" fashion, but I realized that nobody would see the keys moving, and it would lack animation. So I realized that a violin with a moving bow would give it the animation that it needed. Besides, there is the beauty and the mysterious sound of the violin, which is very magical in itself. The first time I put music to the violin, I went to a violinist from Turkey who was visiting Kenosha as part of the Turkish National Symphony. His name was Peti Copez. I asked him to record some music for me. He replied that he was staying at a friend's house, and if I would come over that evening and perform the floating violin for the group of friends he was expecting for dinner, he would be in the other room where he could see me, and play and record the violin as I performed. He, by the way, had a beautiful Amari violin, and played an old Turkish lament of a mother whose son had just died.

(Right image: Norm performing his signature piece, the Floating Violin.)

MUM: Over the years you have produced some masterful pieces of equipment. What makes them special? What was the source of inspiration?

Nielsen: I learned to build magic from Theo Bamberg. After meeting him in the 1950's we became close friends, and when I purchased his trunk of tools, he explained carefully how each tool was used. I wish I had a video of that afternoon. It was absolutely a priceless experience.

In building magic, I have been mostly inspired by the beauty of Okito's magic. Okito's props are in a class by themselves. Every piece is elaborately decorated and finished with old varnish decals, mostly depicting Oriental motifs.

Probably Theo's Checker Cabinet was an achievement for me in learning how to build magic. Here was an Oriental temple, with a pagoda roof and three doors, along with the mystery of the Checker transposition-vanishing from a canister and changing places with a glass of rice. The strength of this trick is in its beauty.

Norm Nielsen with Checker Cabinet(Left image: Examining the fine detail of an Okito Checker Cabinet.)

MUM: Your dove cage is widely respected as certainly one of the finest props in the business. It may be the most copied design in dove cages. Did you give any conscious thought to the artistic merit of the design? What were you trying to accomplish and how do you feel about the final result?

Nielsen: Of course, your first goal as a magician is to be deceptive; therefore, we tried to make the table look as small as possible. Incorporating the wedge principle seemed to be ideal for this. The illusion is to have a 3 inch table appear to be just one inch thick. Adding the silver Mylar reduces the apparent size and the red line makes it look even thinner. I think we have achieved exactly what we were trying to achieve: apparently there is no place for the birds to go, and all that remains is a thin tabletop.

MUM: While not in the same category as your table, and certainly a digression from magic as art, your bottles are "things of beauty" in that they are so realistic and yet vanish easily.

Nielsen: Years ago I used the Vanishing Weller Bottle. I always had to put glycerin on it or wet it to make it look glassy. So I tried putting glossy coats on latex, and actually found one that worked quite well. But when I found out the qualities of vinyl, which includes a glossy exterior and still retains its "memory," I felt I had the ideal material to use for vanishing bottles. The line includes some rather unique bottles, everything from Coke, Ketchup, and Champagne bottles to assorted beer bottles.

MUM: At this point what are your goals as a craftsman?

Nielsen: Actually, I have never thought about that. You learn whatever you need to learn to achieve what you need to achieve. If you need to know something about plastic and have to learn about that, then that is your goal at the time. If you have to make a canister which has a wood turned top, you have to get on the lathe and start spinning. The important thing in building magic is to know the functionality of the prop. You have to understand what the gimmick has to do.

Theo always believed that any magician should be a craftsman, and any craftsman of magic, really needs to understand magic. They work hand in hand.

Norm Nielsen with Hugard's Birth of the PearlspacerNorm Nielsen Photo
Above right: Norm in one of the alcoves of his collection.

Above left: A recent publicity photo.

MUM: Is there something that you would really like to construct?

Nielsen: I enjoy constructing the Okito items, and I am now in the process of making Okito's Triangular Mystery. A couple of these will be decorated with decals made from several of his posters. After this I plan to make a number of Checker Cabinets.

I guess a project I would like to achieve is building the ultimate Asrah, which is only on the drawing board. I hope to add a couple of things to my own act within the next year, but being a little superstitious, I prefer not mention what they are.

MUM: What would be the perfect magic trick?

Nielsen: I think it depends on the performer, doesn't it? There are a few performers that can make any trick into the perfect magic trick. The important thing is that you have to be good at selecting tricks that you can perform well and fit your personality. Also, you have to work on making it palatable to the audience. You can see ten people doing the billiard balls, but only one will be memorable.

MUM: Is the Checker Cabinet a perfect magic trick?

Nielsen: Perfection is not in the trick but in the performer. I wonder how many of us would have any doubt after seeing Okito perform it as to whether it was perfect or not.

MUM: The best of the best, again. What is the most exquisite piece of apparatus you have ever seen?

Nielsen: The Okito Redman Checker cabinet is, for me the most beautiful piece of apparatus I have ever seen. Recently one sold for $8000, and had I had the shekels in my pocket, I would have bought it.

MUM: Let's discuss the art of the poster. What is your all-time favorite poster and why?

Nielsen: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I especially like portraits, partly because they tell me about the individual magicians. To me, portraits are more revealing than other posters, as far as at least suggesting to me something about the performer's personality. One of my favorite posters is the Kellar 3 sheet full length portrait that appears in the full color poster collection elsewhere in this issue. It doesn't show any magic, but apparently, this man, Kellar, was so well known that he did not have to explain who he was or what he did. He generally used the Strobridge Litho Company for his posters.

Thurston Million Dollar MysteryspacerThurston Levitation
The Thurston Million Dollar Mystery poster by the Otis company (above left) is certainly a fine poster.
However, when you puti it along side theStrobridge "Levitation" poster (above right)
you can see the fine craftsmanship of Otis versus the artistry of Strobridge.

MUM: Was Strobridge a commonly known company?

Nielsen: Strobridge was certainly one of the finest lithographers of its time. The most sought after Thurston posters are by Strobridge. Strobridge posters are the Cadillac of posters.

Hanging a Kellar Portrait(Left image: Norm hangs a favorite Kellar poster.)

MUM: We have seen the value of magic posters skyrocket in recent years, and they are popular not only among magician collectors but the general public, as well. I see them advertised by nationally known auction houses and on the internet. How does one determine the value of a poster?

Nielsen: I think the first consideration is the performer. Herrmann posters are probably among the most sought after, because he was the greatest magician of his time. It was even said after he died that: "Magic has died." Of course, Kellar following close behind wouldn't let the American public believe that, and his posters are probably the second most sought after. Howard Thurston came next as the successor to Kellar, and his Strobridge posters, in particular, as very desirable.

The next consideration in selecting a poster is the particular image. This involves the artwork, the particular trick that is depicted, etc. The third, and by no means a minor consideration, is the condition of the poster. Another major factor is the rarity of a particular poster. How many do we know of that are still in existence? Is it a unique piece? Are there two or three or six? I might add at this point that Houdini posters are in a class by themselves as far as desirability, since there are investment companies outside of magic that search for them. So if you have a unique Houdini poster, you have one of the most valuable magic posters in existence.

Regarding condition again, even where paper is missing it is possible to have it replaced and have a fine artist restore the missing parts. When this is done well, you wouldn't even know that the poster had been restored. However, this is expensive and would only be done on a valuable poster.

A display of 3-sheet posters(Image right: Norm with some of the larger posters in his collection.)

MUM: What makes stone lithographs so special? What are some of the mysteries in the world of magic posters? Let's dissect a poster. What makes it better than another?

Nielsen: Stone lithography was the printing method used during the middle of the nineteenth century up until the 1930s and even later, in other countries. Instead of metal plates, as used in more contemporary printing, limestone was used. For instance, a one sheet poster, which is approximately 30" x 40," required one 30" x 40" x 3" block of limestone for each color! If the poster had 4 colors, then four blocks were used, if it had six colors, six blocks would be used, and so on. Beginning with the first stone, the artist would draw directly with a greasy ink on a special kind of water absorbing limestone. The non image areas were treated with gum arabic and well moistened with water, after which the ink was applied with a roller. The oily ink adhered only to the greasy image area and was repelled from the water saturated non image area. The image was then printed with a special press in which a scraper bar was drawn across a sheet of paper laid over the inked up stone. Lighter colors were printed first, followed by the darker ones. The image also had registration marks so that the colors would layer on top of each other during the printing process.

MUM: But why was it so special?

Nielsen: Stone lithography was very common in the past and wasn't particularly special. It was the way advertising was printed. In fact, posters only cost pennies, and most were used as outdoor advertising. The leftovers were thrown away or used as cheap wrapping paper. In fact, I have some posters in my collection – which are worth thousands of dollars today – that were used as wrapping paper in a magic shop. Nowadays, because the printing methods are so different, stone-lithographs have become collectibles and a curiosity. There were many techniques that were employed that cannot be duplicated with the present printing methods. The richness of the colors and the textures are exquisite and they have great depth. You can feel that you can almost touch the skin of the performer on a portrait that is well executed.

To reproduce a three sheet poster today, with the old methods, it would probably cost in the vicinity of $150,000. Is that special?

MUM: Earlier you told us about the Strobridge Litho Company posters. What makes them more desirable than posters by other companies?

Nielsen: It is like comparing a Cadillac to a Ford. Nothing wrong with a Ford, but it does not possess the luxuries of a Cadillac. The Thurston Million Dollar Mystery poster by the Otis company is certainly a fine poster. However, when you put it along side the Strobridge "Do the Spirits Return" poster you can see the fine craftsmanship of Otis versus the artistry of Strobridge. These posters are reproduced on page twenty three.

MUM: It comes down to the skill of the artist, doesn't it. Who were these artists do we know?

Nielsen: The artists employed by the lithographers in general were seldom known, because you would have a different artist for each color: red, blue, yellow and black. In a few cases posters have been signed by the artist.

MUM: Yes, but surely one artist did the original rendering. That would make for some interesting research, wouldn't it? With the increased popularity of posters there seems to be a kind of aura about them. Are there any great poster stories?

Woods Edna PosterNielsen: One great poster story involves George Johnstone: When he was working for Harry Blackstone Sr., he was asked to take a stack of posters and burn them. He asked Pete (Harry's brother) about it, and Pete told him to take out a few if he liked, and burn the rest. It is very sad to hear a story like this, as so few of the early Blackstone posters exist.

Another great poster story is about William Woods. After completing a several month tour of South America and profiting around $14,000, he proceeded with his daughter on a barge to the next town they were working. His wife had traveled ahead by land. The barge sunk and William and his daughter were both drowned. All of the crew survived, but the $14,000 was never found. The posters on board the barge survived and that is how we have a number of stone lithographs of William Woods.

MUM: You have amassed one of the largest private collections of posters in the world. Where are the other great collections?

Nielsen: There are so many collections! David Copperfield's collection is one of the finest, and so are others that belong to Mike Caveney, George Daily, Tad Ware, Ken Trombly, Byron Walker, etc. There are also many great European collections. The Magic Circle has a very impressive poster collection, for instance.

MUM: Your collection is fairly recent. How did you go about it? How do you pursue it today. We are curious about the dealing and trading side of poster collections. How do you make contacts, for example?

Nielsen: About ten years ago, a friend of mine gave me two Fu Manchu posters that were in pieces, out of which I could make one. I framed it and put it up in my office and the image "grew" on me. I then went to an IBM Convention, and Mario Carrandi was there with posters. He had one of Frakson, whom I had known quite well but never knew that he had a poster. That is also where I saw my first Carter 3 sheet poster: "The Priestess of Delphi." Mario was interested in getting a "new fish hooked," and consequently gave me a deal on both posters. And hooked I was!

The fact that we have a website allows people to know about us and to contact us. Sometimes we place ads in magazines or newspapers searching for magic posters, and sometimes we contact people whom we think might have them. Most times, people contact us. Your readers might enjoy seeing our website. It is:

Trading posters is sometimes very difficult since each party feels that the poster or posters that they are trading are more valuable than what the other party is trading. It is extremely satisfying when there is a successful trade where the parties don't try to place an exact value on each poster, and they both end with the poster they want.

Soo - 3-sheet posterMUM: Many of us were thrilled when Charlie and Regina Reynolds published their poster book back in the 1970's. Those books were often taken apart and placed on the walls of "magic rooms." Lee Jacobs has also provided a great service with his inexpensive poster reproductions. However, you have taken this up several notches. Tell us about your poster reproductions.

Nielsen: I find it most satisfying to scan and duplicate some of the finer posters, so that others might share in the enjoyment of the images. This, I believe, does not reduce the value of the original. In fact, I think it creates more demand for posters that people were not even aware of. The original posters are probably worth thousands of dollars. I think these reproductions will create even more of a demand for the original, at least for those who can afford them.

MUM: But what makes them different, Norm. While they are but a fraction of the cost of an original, they still cost several hundred dollars.

Nielsen: To make a reproduction, the original is scanned on a 1:1 basis, so that there is no loss of detail from the original. That computer file can be enhanced, the colors tweaked, and then printed on fine canvas. In some cases, the reproduction will look just as good when placed beside the original. The finer the lithograph, the better quality the reproduction will be. In the past year we invested $40,000 in equipment in order to achieve the finest results. We can scan an image up to 50 inches wide by whatever length, and print it just as wide.

We do have people who have good collections of original posters purchase our reproductions. This is because they love a particular image and, even if they could find the original, they couldn't afford it. We have a passion for the images and we want to share those images with other people. Certainly if someone has a unique poster that people haven't even seen, then there is more demand for the reproductions; this also creates more of a demand for the original. It advertises the original.

MUM: Are there any posters that you desperately want?

Soo - Stage Shooting PosterSoo - Buddha PosterNielsen: The posters I look for now, without too much hope of finding them, are the Herrmanns, Kellars and the early Thurston Strobridge. I am also in search of unusual Chung Ling Soo posters as well as Okito pieces.

MUM: As I entered your living room I was struck by your wonderful collection of Soo posters. Certainly many of these would be considered in the top ten most artistic posters of all time. How many different Soo posters are in your collection and which are your favorites?

Nielsen: We currently have 57 Chung Ling Soo posters. My favorites are: The Soo 3 sheet "Ribbons" (which may be a unique piece), the Golden Horse Dragon, and the Mosaic Portraits.

MUM: Considering your entire collection, what is your absolute favorite poster, the best of the best?

Nielsen: In coIlectors' meetings there is always the question: "If there was a fire and you had the chance to save one piece, what would it be?" I would probably die of a heart attack on the spot, because I couldn't make that decision. I always speak of a poster as one of my favorite ones; it would be difficult, if not impossible, to say that I love one poster more than all the rest. I am looking for the next poster I haven't seen yet in the hopes that it will become my favorite.

MUM: Let's turn back to your life as an international performer. When I think of our generation (you and I are about the same age, Norm) I think of you, Kodell, Marvyn Roy. Great similarities. Elegance and sophistication. Is this the European influence?

Nielsen: When I went to Europe to perform, I was used to the generosity of American audiences who are so receptive and applaud easily. French audiences were different. When I first worked the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris, I allowed the audience to intimidate me. Then I realized that I had to walk on stage as if I owned the stage, and that these people were coming into my home to see me. This was a great learning step in my career.

Marvyn Roy, Jack Kodell and I came from more or less the same time period, when we believed we should dress as well as the best dressed person in the audience. Since our acts were silent, we could work in any country in the world and by dressing in tails or tuxedo, we found we were well accepted anywhere. However, when Doug Henning came along as the flower child in overalls, he endeared himself to the American public like no other magician before him. Later David Copperfield vanished the Statue of Liberty in casual dress. This established a new mode of dressing that has been copied ever since. Also, society has changed considerably, and things have become much more casual.

MUM: But you still perform in formal attire?

Nielsen: This is because I feel comfortable in it. A leopard doesn't change its spots.

MUM: You recently were the featured act in the opening of a new cabaret in Mexico City. How was that?

Performing the Coin LadderNielsen: The cabaret in Mexico was a heart warming experience. The audiences loved magic as if they had not seen it before. I did my regular act for them with the cards, coins, flute and violin. It was exciting for me to work on a daily basis.

MUM: Do you work close-up, Norm?

Nielsen: No, I do not do close-up magic. When Lupe and I are booked in conventions together, I do the stage magic and she does the close-up. I think we both would like to do something together in the future.

MUM: How have your performance goals changed over the years?

Nielsen: I don't know that they have. I am still looking toward doing something new and fresh. Because of the poster and magic business, it has become more difficult now to work steadily as I did before. But I am still working on new things that I hope to introduce soon.

MUM: We can't conclude this interview without asking you to share the Lupe and Norm story. As a romantic at heart, I find that somewhat magical in itself. Maybe Lupe would like to respond to this one.

Lupe: I was born in Panama and became interested in magic at age 6. In fact, the first book I read was a children's magic book I checked out of the library at that time.

As a teenager, I went to my regular school during the morning, went to the National School of Theatre in the afternoons, and performed magic during the weekends. I mostly performed children's magic, did some walk around, and even did some illusions by convincing some of my theatre buddies to help me out. Those were fun days.

I then quit magic and came to the U.S. to get a B.A. degree in Theatre. After that, I became more interested in close up magic and have been working on and off in this field since then. I have also been very fortunate to meet very talented magicians who have been my mentors and friends. I am very grateful to them, as they all have helped me to improve my magic: Ray Goulett, Scotty York, Mike Skinner, Mike Close, and Norm Nielsen, among others.

I met Norm during a Hank Lee Convention in 1989, and spoke a few times on the phone afterwards. After exploring the East Coast of the United States, I decided to go west, and chose Las Vegas as my new home. After admiring one of Nick Ruggiero's Blackstone posters (I used to work for Nick at Collector's Workshop), Nick told me about a few poster collectors, including Norm. When I arrived in Las Vegas, I was just another visitor who came to see Norm and his collection. We went out a few times, and then he asked me if I would be interested in working at Nielsen Magic, as Connie Boyd, who was working for him at the time, would soon be leaving town to become a successful cruise ship magicians. I started working for Norm part time. Eventually, the part time job became a full time job, and we discovered that we had a lot in common. We decided to marry in May of 1998.

At this time I dedicate most of my time to Nielsen Magic, and perform only occasionally. It is great when we go to magic conventions and Norm gets booked for the stage, I get booked for close-up, and we even have a booth in the dealers' room!

MUM: Norm, you and I have been around long enough to have witnessed the dramatic rise in magic as a performing art and favorite form of entertainment. We know that it was like that once before, in the so called "Golden Era" of magic, with the touring stage shows of Thurston, Blackstone and Dante, and magicians at many of the top nightclubs around the country. When we became interested in magic it was on the wane, and then it came back stronger than ever. What does the future hold?

Nielsen: I think the over saturation of magic specials in the United States has decreased the interest in magic today, and the exposure of magic on television has lessened the mystery. There is no secrecy in magic anymore. I first was introduced to magic by a barber, when I was 11 years old, and he would not show me how any tricks were done. Instead, he wanted me to watch him perform. He knew that if I had the desire, I would learn how he was doing them. That is how I began to learn magic. This instilled in me how important it was to keep secrets of magic secret.

How many times have you seen a secret revealed to a layman who then says: "Aaah, is that all?" And then he loses the interest he expressed in the first place. Magic information is now so easily available, in videos, books, the internet, etc., that magic is taken for granted. Younger people don't have to earn the knowledge anymore. Also, there doesn't seem to be any interest in the history of magic. You go to a collector's convention and it is the same group of old guys. Maybe that interest comes later in life.

I think we are in a decline in the popularity of magic. And I think it will be at least a 20 year cycle before it turns again, just as it has in the past. But regardless of this, magic will survive. Whenever good magic is performed, people love it. Wherever you go in the world, it is the same.