Tops Article


It is hard for me to accept that it was almost fifty years ago that then-editor of Abbott's The New TOPS Magazine Neil Foster and I talked about me submitting a monthly column covering stage illusions for the publication. I was an eager ---but very young--- magician who had an avid interest in this field that was, you should know, not very popular at that time. I believe I was drawn to it because I enjoyed the theatrical aspects of being a magician:

Telling fanciful stories --- Why would a magician put a woman in a cabinet, insert blades through it and make her middle torso disappear? There had to be a reason. I made them up.

Using evocative music --- Nothing sets the mood faster than the music accompanying magic. With a few notes the audience can already 'feel' the mood of the act.

Selecting colorful costuming --- A Chinese princess, a mid-eastern harem girl, a space age lady astronaut. Teenage boys just imagine those possibilities.

Imagining a setting --- If you're describing the execution room in a dungeon of a crumbling castle, shouldn't you have something more than plain blue, gray or black curtains on the stage?

And so I pecked out my thoughts on a manual typewriter and sent them over to Colon monthly. I was always honest. That sometimes got me into trouble (re: the Clowns As Magicians controversy in the 1980s). But, you knew how I felt about something.

I wasn't always right. I look back at some columns and think, "Did I actually write that?"

The drawings and blueprints for magic's grand stage illusions have always been easy to obtain. But, real "inside" information about them has not been readily available. Only someone who has performed Abbott's Shredder or their Spectacular Finale many times really has the experience to write about it and share learned wisdom. You might never desire either prop, but you can learn about them and extrapolate that knowledge to something else.

Abbott's has gathered all those columns for you so they are all in one place.

Within them are written passages I am proud of and some I'd rather forget (or wish I'd used a Faber typewriter eraser on!).

I believe it is safe to say that I am sure you will find some valuable lessons, still true after all these years.


David Seebach

David Seebach's Wonders of Magic