Given the title of this book, Karl Norman: 40 Years at the Forks, you might be led to believe that it's a biography on Karl Norman -- but not quite! It is actually a collection of some of Karl's best routines he used during his magic career; most, if not all of the routines being featured in his act while bartending at the Forks Hotel bar in Buffalo, New York.
The book kicks off, and ends, with letters (the Foreword, Introduction, and After-Words) from some of Karl's close friends, and there's even a miniature autobiography tossed in there for good measure. Before picking up this book, I, personally, had never heard of Karl Norman. Afterwards, I wish I knew even more because he sounds like he was a pretty great guy who incorporated magic into his life wherever possible.
The routines in this book highlight that last part. I've heard, and have seen, several of the magic tricks that are highlighted in this book... but none of them presented in this way. These are all tricks that he's put his own spin on, his own handling and even a different way of presenting them. I always love seeing this done with magic because it makes me reflect back on tricks that I may have said "that's good, but it doesn't fit my style" or "I don't know about that one" -- some tricks can pack a wallop, and if you can adapt them to you, well you might just have a winner!
In Card Routine for the Bar - including Think of a Card 1, the introduction sets me in the right frame of mind for the remainder of the book:
So not only are we getting Karl's spin on routines (some of which may actually be his own creation), but the book starts out with a "by the way, you can adapt this to your own style." I love it!
Overall, this book was a fairly quick read. It is well written in that I didn't need to keep re-reading sections to figure out if I'm doing things right, and most of the routines aren't too difficult to pull off. In fact, his idea for a custom key card is so nice, I've already made one so I can get used to the feel!
If you can find a copy of this book, you won't be disappointed!
Where to buy?
Last I checked, you should be able to pick up Karl Norman at Don's Magic & Books. The last price tag I saw for this book was set at $15.00.
Contents of Karl Norman
- Foreword by Doc Eason
- Introduction by Mike Porstmann
- Autobiography by Karl Norman
- Card Routine for the Bar - Including Think of a Card 1
- Pick One Out in Your Mind - Think of a Card 2
- Pass Finesse
- Spring Fever
- Photo Parade
- Card on the Ceiling
- Key Card Routines
- Follow-Up Routine
- The Coin Collection
- Follow Up to The Coin Collection
- Coin in the Bottle
- Coins and Silk and Ring and Wand!
- Bill in the Cigarette
- Impromptu Torn & Restored Cigarette
- Colour Changing Knives
- The Linking Pins
- Matchboxes Routine
- Multiplying Rabbits
- Ring Flight
- Ring and Rope Routine
- Sucker Egg - Easy Method
- The Polish Rocket
- The Carnival Loop
- The Three Shell Game
- After-Words by Anthony Brahams
- Photo Parade Captions