THE EVOLUTION OF MAGIC WORLD PART 1
Having been in our magic world for over 50 years as a hobbyist and in the magic business since 1975, this “old feller” has seen a lot of changes! None as quick or impactive as the last five years. My evaluation will cover this period of time as most all “magi” are well aware of all the changes in the 20th century. When we first started as a dealer, there was a organization called; The MDA (Magic Dealers Assoc,) and it was filled with all of the names that I associated with in my early years. I considered it an honor to be with names that I grew into magic with.
Phil Thomas, Yogi Magic Mart, Harold Rice of Rice Silks, Owen Magic Supreme, Harold Martin, Gene DeVoe, Al Goshmand, Haines House of Cards, Genii magazine, Bob Kline, Ben Stone, and on & on. They were all honorable men and shops!
I was taught early on that one wouldn’t “Pinch” another dealer’s magic effect! The reason was simple, as there was honor and ethics with most of the MDA members. Plus, the magic market was not that big, so when a dealer would come out with an item and it was a copy of another dealer, a call from that dealer quickly resolved the situation.
I never thought that just a magic trick, of any type, was worth stealing and making a copy of! It just didn’t make sense with all of what is out there back in those times, and more so today! Stealing an effect was a BIG thing back then! Yes, we were accidentally involved with a couple of issues then, and we always told the dealer that we would desist and we did! It was impossible then and more so now, to be aware of ALL of the effects that are out there in magic world. Now, there comes to attention that many variations also come from one effect as well.
Is this a copy of the original and is it alright? That is “zee” question. Some say no and some say yes! Tough problem. And especially IF it is an effect that has been off the market for years. We have purchased items from creators, that are way different than the original, but still IF it wasn’t for the original, would the creator have enhanced it?
Tough call. I had one person call me awhile back that said he was the one who created that effect 25 years ago and we shouldn’t have sold it? But it was an item that I was not aware. Yes, it possible, as NO dealer knows it all.
What we do now, when an item is in question, after receiving a call about it, is to check it out and do research on the item. IF & when we find that it was not a copy, we stand our ground and prove to the compliant that he-she was wrong. But if they are right, we phase out the item quickly.
Very few effects are patented in our world. Some are, like Rocco’s D’Light! So legally, there is nothing one can do if your item is “ripped off” or copied. Instructions & routines are copyrighted, like books, but the creative juices that came up with the effect finds that it is too expensive to procure a patent!
So it is in today’s magic world, that there are many, many variations and copies of effects out there. There has never been as much magic material out there as there is now and it’s coming from all over the world.
Someone said, as you know, that there isn’t much that is entirely new in our world, But, when there is…it is a winner. Two instances; Rocco’ D’ Light and Marc Antoine’s Flash are examples in points.
But in Rocco’s case, China has already “ripped it off” at a cheap price! So much to say for the Chinese, as their culture doesn’t have much ethics in it for items around the world.
China also “ripped off” Yigal Mesika’s Tarantula as well,at an unbelievable price as well.
You can’t sue them or stop then in China. So, the magic customers all over the world are supporting this type of behavior as China sells the effects much cheaper as they do with toasters, appliances and all other items that are sold at the “mass merchants” – but quality is almost always an issue along with shipping problems. American’s, as do most folks, like a bargain and that’s why they buy “Made in China.” But with magic, in the end, a bargain is not a bargain as we have found through our research. I’m not sure, though, that when it comes to artistic goods, like magic goods and even though it’s only a trick, that it still is NOT right to do so.
It seems that all over the world there are those who don’t care about this. I’m not sure it will change. But this I do know. For the ones who are hard working performers and dealers, whether part time or full time, it sure as heck doesn’t make their profession and love any easier.
Do yourself a favor, for your edification, take a look at Genii magazine and MAGIC magazine 6-10 years back or longer. Look at the ads from dealers back then and now take a look at both magazines and see how many are still in business? You will be shocked.
“It ain’t easy Mc Gee”. Though being a magic dealer is one of the most gratifying experiences I have had in my life and don’t regret a second of it! The many friends we’ve made and the customer base we have, plus travel all over the world to meet other people with the passion I have. The most honorable “around the world dealers” we have met and do business with are; Ton Onosaka-Japan, Yuji Yamamoto-Japan, George Proust-France, Harold Voit-Germany, Dante-Italy, who are all fine gentlemen.
There are honorable magic dealers and those who are not honorable. Always were and always will be! There are magic dealers who “play the game fairly” and those who do not. The “wheels of justice grind slowly and slowly” but grind they do! The one law of business and nature is; “You get back what you put into something in both good and bad! Their objective is to grind out sales regardless of who they hurt and how they take advantage. As evident this year. Some of them get onto trouble for not playing the game fairly. But this happens in all businesses. Why wouldn’t it happen in magic?
It would seem that the national fraternities would get involved with ethics and honor as they both have an ethics committee, but alas, they don’t! It would seem that the magic magazines, as hard as it is, would also have a policy of protecting rights when and IF they are sure. In fairness, I know that both magazines do try their best to protect “rights’ and I, personally know for a fact, that MAGIC magazine came to our help a few years ago with one of our exclusive lines. (Thanks Stan!)
Wanting to keep this column short, I will close now and be assured that what I say above is not that I am on a “band wagon”, I want to point out how the magic art has changed since 1975 and this is the first bit on those changes.
How magic dealing has changed?
How performing has changed?
How the magic aficionado has changed.
Watch for Part 2
Thanks – Joe Stevens