Some Dont’s For Young Magicians from 1906


DON’T forget that each movement which is familiar and even bare-faced, to you, is hidden and unknown to your audience.

DON’T hurry, your programme will astonish just as much in twenty minutes as it will in ten, probably more!

DON’T imagine that because the great so-and-so used a certain method it is the only proper way, and that to be a conjuror you must acquire it. The only proper way is the way that best suits you and your audience.

DON’T forget that most curtains fall about six feet from the footlights. Keep your flowers, ribbons, etc well back from curtain, for the sake of the next turn. A dramatic vocalist doesn’t like to find himself wading amongst spring flowers and coloured paper ribbon at every step, and it is not calculated to impress his audience either!

DON’T give a show without careful inquiry as to “what the last man did”? It may save you from repeating his programme.

DON’T occupy more than your allotted time; if you have ten minutes, use ten minutes and not twenty. You may seriously upset programme arrangements by disregarding this.

DON’T, if you can possibly avoid it, ever go behind you tables, work from the side, and if you cannot secure your load or feke gracefully and naturally expect by going behind, don’t do it that way at all, try another. To work half hidden behind a stage table has no magical appearance and leads an audience to suspect traps, etc, where none exist.

DON’T forget to try your tables, etc, upon a new stage, before the show. Some stages have a nasty ‘rake’ down to the footlights, and your table may need propping to keep your stuff from rolling off at every turn.

DON’T forget to go “prospecting” before showing in a new hall or theatre. Set your stage and go up into gallery or balcony, and test for yourself if all is as it should be. You want to mystify all your audience not apart of them.

DON’T put of your stage setting until the last moment “because you do it every night” some time you may have a mishap and consequent delay, and a rushed up show is usually a bad one.

DON’T forget that a civil word to stage hands, etc, may earn you a helping and willing hand when you are most in want of it.

Published in The Magician. July 20th 1906