A Lifetime in Magic
The Abbott Manufacturing Co., (1960)
Magician - Biography
Abbott, Percy: A Lifetime in Magic, 1886 - 1960
©1960, 2002 The Abbott Magic Manufacturing Co., MI
Paper, perfect-bound, 188 pages
Comments: An wonderful autobiography by Percy Abbott of the Abbott Manufacturing Co and his start in Australia. It only covers up to 1960, so does not cover much of the Abbott Manufacturing Company's prime days, however! The updated 2002 version of this book also includes the full text of Percy's "Magic for Magician's". Illustrated with B&W photos and drawings.
Contents: As this is a two-in-one book, each section is page numbered separately.
Part 1: A Lifetime In Magic
1 B&W Photo of Percy Abbott: likely around 1960
2 Memories: Intro by Greg Bordner
4 Dedication: to Gladys (his wife)
5 Foreword: by Sid Lorraine
13 The Chrystal Lantern: Percy's start and some memories of Chung Ling Soo and some famous stage illusions
23 Comedy Snake Basket: Abbott's Snake Basket and some discussion of the presentation of magic
28 Lost in the Bush - Australia: Early years away from Sydney and performing in small towns
36 Ventriloquism in Java: for people who have never seen a vent-doll before!
40 Clock Dial and Gambling: Provides some insight into the challenges of selling a show, and how Percy was able to take advantage of the situations before him (not always to great success!)
44 My Last Escape Dive: the dangers of not having adequate preparation time!
48 Magic in the Cockpits: no not planes, but Rooster-Fighting pits! Also, dealing with illness as one of the hazards of travel.
57 Phantasma: putting on an equisite Ghost Show
60 Japanese Repeats: doing the same show for the same "assistants"
61 Horace Goldin in Shanghai: Percy meets Goldin
64 Jensen In Australia Stage Thermometer: The Great Jensen's (later known as Dante) shows and a comedy prop Percy made for him
70 De Biere's Thumb Tip: Percy's "cocky" approach vents some magic competition; a bit on repetition of the same effects
74 Oswald Williams "Box of Tricks": how a magician cleverly modified old tricks, but they look all the same to the layman
76 Chinese Egg Act: an act that Mr. Abbott could not duplicate
77 The Lifting of the Steel Spikes: some discussion on the "stealing" of ideas in the magic circles
81 The Nicola Show: one of the greats
83 Fooling the Bookers: Nicola getting what he wanted
86 Inside Siberia: Percy's stint in Russia, and a dangerous one at that!
89 Sawing a Woman: everyone wanted this illusion
99 Carnival & Jensen: some time in New York
102 Magic in Japan: tough work!
103 The Silver Mines of Korea: more rewarding, though gruelling
107 Arrested in Cochin China: passport troubles and a unique Chinese act
111 The Walking Ball Trick: brief explanation of a trick by the Magicians of Ceylon
111 Stranded: in the USA of all places
114 Harry Thurston Show: Harry and Howard contrasted, and Percy's experience "helping" Harry's show as long as he could bear it!
126 Magic in Schools: easier fare in Indiana
128 The Family Arives: Harry Blackstone, Percy's wife Gladys, and more family. Autobiography concludes in part with the admission that Percy has "said little about the years of The Abbott Magic Co."; and this would have been great to hear about!
Part 2: Abbott's Magic for Magicians, Occidental and Oriental Mysteries
1 B&W Photo
4 Foreword by W.W. Durbin, President of I.B.M.
5 A Few Words from the Author: Percy Abbott
9 Finger Tip Card Production: from a palm
9 It Hasn't Started Yet: a comedy card effect
10 Mental Masterpiece: cards pass from one packet of cards to another, with a mentalism effect in the middle!
13 Double-Over Card Steal: bring selection to top of deck
14 Testing Strength: Magician magically removes selection from deck although held tightly by spectator
15 The Game of Thirty-One: a gambling game
17 Thirty Cards: cards from pocket to pocket with comedy
19 The Twitching Muscle: card revealed by a muscle twitch
20 Two to Four Ball Move: move for multiplying billard balls
20 Novel Four Ball Production: another move
21 Mouth Ball Move: a false swallow for the multiplying balls
21 The Last Ball Move: a vanish
22 Closed Fist Ball Move: another billiard ball vanish
22 Four Thimble Vanish: four thimbles placed in left hand from right hand fingertips vanish
23 Passing Thimbles: four thimbles pass one at a time from right to left hand fingertips
23 Body Load: to produce object from spectator's coat
24 Disappearing and Reappearing Coin Stand: coins vanish as removed from stand, then reappear after showing both sides
25 The Hairy Match: a "hair" pulls the end off a burnt match
26 Comedy Penetration: wand through glass illusion
26 The Repeat Candle: candle and silk trick
27 Vanish of Grains of Rice: grains of rice vanish as thrown in the air
28 An Egg Bag Move: spectator stomps on bag to show it empty
28 Chinese Pagodas: for stage
37 The Lung-Tester: red handkerchief changes to green in boy's mouth
38 Dry Wine: Wine poured into container turns to handkerchief and container is dry
39 A Novel Load: to produce a small object from a hat or newspaper
40 Wine and Water: Wine to Sherry to Water in two passes
40 Clink Coins: a second coin joins a first held by a spectator inside a handkerchief
41 Double Effect Silk Transposition: for the stage
42 Flash Cigarette: a gag with flash paper
42 Handkerchief Box: snappy production of multiple handkerchiefs
43 The Haunted House: stage illusion
45 Strait-Jacket Fake: to help get out of the jacket
45 The A.B.C. of Ventriloquism: a few basic tips provided
46 Chapeaugraphy: hat folding
46 Oriental Section
46 Chinese Double Bowl Production and Five Trays: large production from the Oriental robe
49 Chinese Bowl Effects: introduction
49 - Chinese Rice Bowls: briefly described
50 - Water Effect: Water poured from bowl to bowl, but then dry (briefly explained)
50 - Seed Bowls: overflow of seeds produced
50 - Frog to Fish Bowl: Frog turns into fish
51 - Egg to Frog Bowl: egg placed on floor is covered with bowl and lifted to reveal frog
51 Colored Powders: Any color can be removed even though powders are mixed in water
52 Single Chinese Bowl Production: a smaller variation
52 Seed Vase Vanish: seeds vanish and reappear in vase
53 Double Lighted Lamp Production: another production
53 Chinese Release: a load for a stack of bowls
53 Chinese Stack of Bowls Production: another production
55 Large Fish Bowl and Plate Production: yet another
55 Suspended Vase: vasae suspended by a cord
56 Chinese Plate Spinning: how it is done
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Percy Abbott (1886-1960)
Born May 3 in Australia, later became a U.S. citizen.
Date of Death: 26 August 1960, Colon, Michigan, USA. (heart ailment)
Co-founded the Blackstone Magic Company in Colon, Michigan with Harry Blackstone Sr. from 1929-1931.
Founded the Abbott Magic & Novelty Co. with partner Recil Bordner in 1933.
Abbott's Get-Together is held yearly in Colon, Michigan.
Publisher of TOPS Magazine.