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 There are 11 books in this series which all adorn red hard bound covers and clear plastic mylar jackets (except for volume 8 which was a binder supplement). These books all feature a color section which shows the beautiful magic apparatus, posters, and illusions of the past. There are also a number of supplemental books including 2 bound supplements which are part of Volume 8 and Laboratories of Legerdemain, which were later republished with added material as Volume 11.

These books serve to provide information to collectors, builders, and historians of magic. The books have all been issued individually with the exception of volumes 6,7, and 8 which were issued as a set which included a box for all 8 volumes. It is apparent that at the time these were intended to be the final volumes, however, volumes 9 through 11 have been subsequently issued as well. A smaller, sturdier box was issued to house Volumes 9 and 10 and supplements. I suppose one could conclude that the Classic Magic with Apparatus is complete as the newer projects Ultimate Okito, Ultimate Okito Addendum, and Ultimate Thayer are being issued in a distinctly different green cloth.

These books have a wealth of information including the classics of magic apparatus with line drawings and color photographs showing different versions of the effects produced by various magic companies world-wide. Here’s quick run down of the major volumes:

The Oriental Magic of the Bambergs (Volume one) – 1973

This is the 228 page book that started the important series of apparatus books and yet it is not clear it was intended to be the first of series as it dons no volume number. The first section is biographical detailing the Bamberg and Okito history which has many photographs of the Bamberg family. The apparatus sections follow which include descriptions of the magic apparatus and historical references to performance of the effect and each is well illustrated. The first 3 apparatus sections are organized by the time period in which from early 1900’s in New York to 1940’s working with Joe Berg and the 1950’s where Okito team up to make apparatus with Don Redmon. The book also covers productions, the Okito floating ball, and Illusions of Fu-Manchu. 1000 copies printed.

Classic Magic with Apparatus (Volume 2) - 1976

This is the smallest of all the volumes with 208 pages. This volume covers block magic, drawer boxes, mirrors, cages, and has a section with miscellaneous magic. The blocks section is nearly half the book with various types of die boxes and other classics such as Squeeze-away blocks Vampire Block, Bewildering Blocks, and many more. This book includes 11 pages of full color photographs. 1000 copies printed.  

More Classic Magic with Apparatus (Volume 3) - 1976

Volume 3 is divided into 7 major sections. Chapter 1 is over 100 pages of card apparatus such rising card tricks, Find the Lady, Demon’s Head, Card Swords, and many others. Next is Coin Magic which covers many popular effect such as coin trays, coin wands, coin boxes, coin ladders, and more. Nest of Boxes is the subject of Chapter 3, which covers both assistant and no- assistant methods. The chapter on change bags covers the classic changes bags as well as changing trays and the exchange canister. In the Potpourri section there is some spill-over from Volume 2 including more block magic, cages, and more. Chapter 6 expands upon volume 1 with more Okito magic including 9 effects such as the leg chopper, various livestock productions, and more. The final chapter covers magic posters, which includes 41 color pages of posters. At the end, are 26 full color pages of magic apparatus. The books contains 361 total pages and also had 1000 total copies printed.

Further Classic Magic with Apparatus (Volume 4) – 1982 

This volume starts with an article on magic collectors and goes on to the “Okito Show” where the tricks and flow of the show are discussed in detail. Next up is “Rice and Confetti” apparatus including rice vanish chest, checker cabinet, rice tubes and more. “Balls, Bells, and Eggs” covers ball vases, billiard ball tricks (cabinets, stands), cups and ball, and many more. The Additions section covers some tricks from previous volumes categories such as more coin, card, block, and miscellaneous magic. The color section is extensive with well over 60 pages including picture of collections and individual tricks described in the preceding sections. 346 total pages. 700 copies printed.

Still Further Classic Magic with Apparatus (Volume 5) – 1985

This is one of the largest volumes of the series and had substantially fewer volumes printed (estimated at approximately 550). This is often the volume collectors are missing due to the relatively low number printed. It starts as Volume 4 does with more on magic collections with many black and white photograph of various collections. Next up is “Liquid and Fish” apparatus covering standards such as lotas, milk pictures, fish bowl productions, and more. The “Clock and Watches” section covers vanishing alarm clocks, Stull watches, watch and clock stands, and more. The next section is “Candles” where vanishing, floating, and haunted candles are explained among other things. The “More Additions” section features miscellaneous tricks with blocks, coins, cards and more. The largest section is dedicated to “Spiritualistic Effects” which features among other things rapping hand, spirit clock, talking Buddha, “Doctor Q Slates”, and talking skulls. The book concludes with a section of magic by Hofzinser and section on magic tokens. The color section contains over 40 pages of photographs. 423 total pages. 

Final Classic Magic with Apparatus (Volume 6) – 1986

This is one of the largest volumes (416 pages) of the Classic Magic series of which 76 pages are in full color. Chapter one begins with flower magic including the famous Okito Redmon Square Circle flower production and various spring Botanias. “Fastest Flower Vanish” by Marshall vanishes the flowers and decorative pot instantly and without cover.(“Silks and Flags” is next describes a number of standard classics as well as some more obscure tricks. “Drum Head Tube”, “Silk Pedestal”, “Genie Tube”, “Handkerchief (Jap) Box”, “Silk Cabby”, and the “Fall Away Box” are just a few of standard classic that are covered. Also included is the “Mignon Production” by Okito and number of other effects made famous through the fine FG Thayer company such as “Cut and Restored Necktie” box and the “Oriental Tubes of Mystery.”

Chapter 3 covers “Bottles” and covers the standards made famous by P&L, Abbott’s, Thayer and many others. The Haenchen “Wine Box” is a die box variation with a cleverly built glass, bottle, and box to achieve the effect. “Bewildering Bottles” by Himber is a passe passe bottles variation with several unexpected twists. “Lamps and Radios” includes various vanishes and productions of lamps and radios which includes different types and methods. “Guns and Rifles” covers various effects including firearms used to vanish silks or make items appear. “Shooting through a Woman”(Chapter 6 on “Covers, Tubes and Vases” includes some utility covers that make items appear, change, or vanish in quick order. “Transposition of Balls” uses spring balls and gimmicked covers to achieve the magic. “Ball Tube” involves the use of a clever gimmick to facilitate the vanish of a single ball from the bottom of a clear tube. This section also covers a variety of special vases covered such as Riedel’s “Mandarin Production Box” and the “Rabbit Box” by Townhouse.(‘Final Addition” is a collection of miscellaneous effects that could have appeared in previous volumes under a more descriptive category but were likely discovered too late in the game. “Baffo Box” is a ring in orange trick made by Thayer. “Appearing Block” is a cleverly made with some distinct improvements over the basic shell method. “Triple Cage Canister” is where 3 separate bird cages are produced from an apparently empty canister. “Marvellous Picture Frame” is the appearance of borrowed watches, ring, and plate which is followed by visible plate restoration. “Triple Die Box” is a variation on the classic by Will Goldston. This section ends with a historical discussion on gimmicked coins. Next follows one of the most extensive color sections of all the volumes which is nearly double that of Volume 5.

Classic Magic Index (Volume 7) – 1986

While this book does serve as an index to the first 7 volumes of the series, it also has quite a bit new content as well. It starts with a section on the Magic of Jon Martin which includes, some articles as well as some in depth coverage of the rapping hand. “Parasols and Canes” is the next section, which discusses favorites mutilated parasol and the dancing cane. “Micro Magic” is a discussion on various small creations from masters such as Eddy Taytelbaum. “Dizzy Domino’s”, ”The Mummy”, “Figures of Foo”, and “Taytelbomb” are just a few of them. The chapter on illusions focuses mostly of stage size apparatus of Thayer and a few other makers. “Odd and Ends” is another grab bag of tricks which includes Haenchen’s “Haunted Hut of Madagaskia”, Peerless Block Mystery, Brema Rice Bowls and more. The color section has 32 pages including magician letterheads and the apparatus and illusions feature in the preceding sections.

Classic Magic Supplement (Volume 8) – 1986/1989

The supplement volumes vary from all the rest of set in that it is a bind in which inserts were to be inserted. There we only the following inserts ever produced: “The Okito Timeline”, “ Forcing Books and Book Tests”, and the “F.G. Thayer” supplement. Each is fairly short ranging from 12-20 pages and including black and white photographs.(It seems that Albo gave up on the 3 hole binder inserts quickly, in favor of, 2 separately bound softcover supplements. There is a maroon colored cover volume called simply “Magic Supplement” on the outside cover. This book is 108 pages and has errata pages for all the preceding volumes. There is also the “Conradi Program” section which describes the 15 minute water and fire bowls act. There are also a number of magic apparatus entries not previously included in other volumes such as alarm clock vanish and reproduction, Holmes production tube, and many others. There is also 16 pages of full color photographs. Total pages are 108. There was also produced a gray covered supplement “Classic Magic Supplement II” which is 167 pages. This edition cover the “Blue Phantom”, “Doc Nixon Checker Cabinet”, “Thayer Flower Production”, “Holmes Production Clocks”, and includes a modest 8 page color section.

Additional Classic Magic with Apparatus (Volume 9) – 1998

After a long wait, Volume 9 emerged as an outlet of newly discovered, old magic that Albo has come across in the past several years. This volume also marked the beginning of the “Laboratories of Legedemain” series with the “Magic of Austria” and “Magic of Holland” featuring the magic of Hofzinser, Klingl, Okito and more. The “Magic of Holland” is nearly a book on its own with nearly 100 pages describing tricks and accessories such as “Okito’s Wonder Screen Production”, “Canary Production Cage”, “Oktio Tables”, “Girl on Ribbon Vanish”, “Redmon-Okito Rabbit Production”, “Mysterious Buddha” and more. Next sup is the “Now and Then” section with an assortment of apparatus such as Mikado’s “Silk Flight”, “Novelty Billiard Ball Stands”, “Coins in the Glass”, “Japanese Inexhaustible Box”, “Talking Skull” and “Walking through a Ribbon” mini-illusion. Color section contains 28 pages with 320 pages in all.

History and Mystery of Magic (Volume 10) – 2001

This is departure from the typical Albo book in that nearly 200 of the 444 total pages are dedicated to history rather than apparatus. The history chapter includes the following sections:

Annals of the Priests, Magi, Jugglers, and Sorcerers - 2000 BC to 500 BC The Ancient Art of Magic 500 BC-500 AD(World History - 476 A.D-1500 A.D.(The Father of Modern Day Magic – 1400-1700

Believe in Magic – 1600-1900 Now and Then – 1900-1950(Back into the Future – 1950-2050

Chapter 2, New-Old Magic, has an assortment of apparatus including “miracle Frame”, “Pigeon Transposition”, “Himber Pail”, and more. Chapter 3 is dedicated to French Magic Set by Jacques Voignier. Chapter 4 is an article on “The Writing of Wizards, 18 Milestones in the Literature of Magic” by Byron Walker. Chapter 5 is all about the “Micro Magic of Eddy Taytelbaum” by Gene Gonzalez. Finally, the last chapter covers Unusual and Stock Magic Posters” by Dom DiMento. There are 42 full color pages dedicated to magic posters and 57 color pages dedicated apparatus and magic sets.

Laboratories of Legerdemain (Volume 11) – 2005

This truly may be the final volume of the classic magic series and represents reprinted material from several soft cover editions of “Magic by Country” series of books consisting of: America, France, Germany, and England. The format of these books or chapters is a bit different in that the apparatus is described in words and has accompanying color photographs but typically there are no line drawings. Albo solved a problem for some collectors by reprinting these since certain one were scare and hard to find.

To make it interesting for those who already had the 4 soft cover editions, a chapter 5 was added to include more material that was not previously published including “Thayer Revisted.” It is interesting that this volume was limited to only 300 copies so that limits the possible full sets of the classic magic series at 300.




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