Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic and the Orange Stars

by Keith Pascal

 

Super Coin Magic Improvement

Even though I have learned a lot of my magic on my own, I did at various times, taken magic lessons.

My first round of lessons was through The Oregon Museum Of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Eugene, Oregon. (Now, the main museum is in Portland, Oregon.)

But the lessons where I improved the most with sleight of hand … specifically, coin magic, occurred in my mid teens.

When I was 14-15 years old, I took magic lessons from Jim Richardson, a mindreader who performed on the college circuit. He’s the one who made sure that I was really doing the tricks right … that they looked smooth. (No wonder he was such a stickler to details — his buddies were Jerry Andrus, Ray Hyman, and Dwight Vance.)

Anyway, sadly, at the end of my second year with him, he moved away, having finished graduate school, but before he left, he unloaded a couple of boxes of magic on me. (He also gifted me a “bronze” ho-tai statue of his that I had admired.)

 

Boxes of Magic and Magic Books

In the boxes, we some tricks, and … some books.

One of the best treasures was a hardback copy of Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic, what many consider THE encyclopedia of coin magic.

The only problem with the book was that it was all marked up. Many of the tricks either had orange, hi-lighter stars near the title or some point in the text, or they had pencil stars. And there were underlined passages, left and right.

These were obviously his notes on what he wanted to practice.

I felt as though I was privy to his pet tricks. And those are the ones that I practiced the most. Or those are the ones that I practiced, period.

 

Practiced Coin Magic Until Smooth

I practiced the coin moves that I liked for years. I was practicing the Jim Richardson set.

Years later, I became a high school teacher, and saw all the ways that people teach (teaching methodologies), I started to discover patterns of teaching.

Good lessons plans had a flow to them. You could “just tell.”

One day, I picked up my worn copy of Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic, and looked once again at the orange stars.

And it clicked.

All of a sudden, I realized that the notes … the underlined passages … the orange and penciled stars … all of that in Bobo’s Coin Magic and some of the other books … these were not his notes to himself.

He had left me with lesson plans for me!

I had several year’s worth of lessons outlined for me in books.

I especially valued the lessons in Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic. Those tricks really became the foundation of the coin magician that I am today.

As a matter of fact, I still perform most of the impromptu, quick tricks that I learned from Bobo’s.

After all, I almost always have a coin or two on me.

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