El Duco Part 2

For “El Duco” the invention process evolves. “You must have THREE things in order to develop any product from a theory on paper to a working prototype-CREATIVITY, FANTASY & EXPERIENCE. First, start with the effect itself. What should happen? Second, try to find a solution.” This usually takes between two weeks and six months for Christer. Third, the outcome is not always the way you thought when you started. But then, this combination can take on quite unexpected results that may allow for different applications.” He also draws upon these same three elements to properly choose the type of materials to use that will best create the effect. A variety of metals, silks and fabrics, quality leathers or plastics may be chosen for performance and reliability.

And even if this process is fine-tuned and complete; how well will his ideas be received? Christer first tests the reactions of his wife, Ing Britt. If it pleases her, the invention engine moves forward until it arrives at the destination Christer calls “Practical Magic”. He says, “If it’s too difficult to learn or perform, it goes in the drawer.”

So seeing his inventions in the hands of others, how does he feel? His buyers are 25% full-time, professional performers and 75% part-time magicians. However, the difficulty I see is simple for Christer. He tells me, “THEIR audiences are quite likely the same.” Therefore, an object easily handled, delivered by undetectable means, accompanied with a playful story equals the joy of being baffled. If a performer of any kind can be skillful at all this, then Christer is pleased. Of course, his smile grows wider when the products of his imagination are being displayed!!

There are days, however, when he is blocked and needs to free himself from his mental gymnasium. He goes golfing. If you golf you know this… On the course, the only relative equation involves PAR. In his hometown of Malmo. There are FIVE golf courses. You wouldn’t guess this in your visions of Vikings and Nordic winters, but there are 430 golf clubs in Sweden! Something tells me that Christer has done a serious study of this phenomenon.

As inventors go… “El Duco” is recognized by the general public (some-what) and most definitely by magicians around the world. Perhaps, he tells me, “Because we are not so many.” In truth, there are hundreds, if not thousands of inventors. Most are born out of necessity and no money. And like most magicians who have at least tried to create something for us, our productions only tend to fill a singular need. So, the reality is just as Christer explained, “There are few inventors that have gone beyond this level and continue to create more than just a few items.” Some of Christer’s friends and contemporaries that “transcend” are John Cornelius, John Kennedy, Jay Saley, Lubor Fiedler and Pavel.

But, Christer as “El Duco” may also draw his recognition from the fact that he has been organizing national magic conventions in Sweden for the past 20 years. “A MAGIC WEEKEND” sponsored by the Scandinavian Magic Dealers Association (SMDA) began with only a small group of 75 attendees. Christer’s premise was: “No contests. No banquets. A 2-day event with good lectures and great shows. Also, the registration fee should be low so the people would have money to spend with the Magic Dealers.”

This too is an example of his forward thinking and inventive nature. What began as a two-day event has grown into three. A small group has bloomed into nearly 550 every year AND continues to be held at the Scandic Star Hotel in Lund, just outside Malmo. This hotel has been the ideal choice location, then and now. First, it’s accessible. It’s an easy travel distance for magicians from Sweden, Norway and Denmark, although they certainly host an international guest list. Second, the hotel has its own theatre stage. Everything is under one roof! And Christer has been able to draw international talent as well like John Calvert, Rene Lavand, Jeff McBride, David & Dania, Fertigen Fingers.