Richard: The Amazing Miracles
Of Shigeo Takagi
©1990 Richard Kaufman and Alan Greenberg
(Illustrated by: Ton Onosaka)
120 pages, Hardcover
Image from Kaufman & Co.
Comments: (Jason Mauney) I have always admired Japanese magic and this book has only enhanced my appreciation for it. Takagi, the "Dai Vernon" of Japanese magic, has included quite a range of material. There is close-up, stand-up, and stage magic. I think you will find his approaches refreshing.
Contents: (note, numbers are not page numbers)
01 Foreword: By Max Maven
02 Devilishly Direct: Takagi's approach to the Marlo/D'Amico "Devilish Miracle". Two spectators select cards and remember them. Five indifferent cards are displayed to the audience, and one spectator sees his card. A moment later the card vanishes from the packet and reappears reversed in the deck. The other chosen card is discovered reversed in the packet.
03 Takagi's Coins Across: One of my favorites. Very different from most coins across. This three-phase routine starts with eight coins then dwindles down to four coins in the last phase.
04 Wild Time: Takagi's version of the Peter Kane/Frank Garcia "Wild Card" routine. Six Jokers, when touched by the "wild" Two of Hearts, change into matching twos. I am not familiar with many "Wild Card" routines but this one seems to have some nice changes and displays.
05 The Wild Blanks: Five cards are shown to be blank on both sides and are placed on the table in a row. You add your signature to one of the cards and magically transfer it to the other four cards. Again, Takagi has some nice false displays in this routine.
06 The Solid Cup: Takagi's one cup and ball routine. A wooden cup and wand are displayed. A small ball is produced from the end of the wand. The ball is vanished several times and repeatedly reappears beneath the cup. Then a large ball appears underneath the cup, but the cup is then shown to be solid. Then the ball is apparently pushed back in the cup. The cup is then unscrewed to show the ball inside! Must be seated to perform but can be adapted with some thought for stand-up work.
07 Trans-Purse-Sition: A small leather purse is opened and four coins are spilled from it: three half dollars and a Chinese coin. The Chinese coin is replaced inside the purse, which is then snapped shut. The three half dollars are held in the hand. Instantly the half dollars change into the Chinese coin. When the purse is opened, the half dollars are inside. What I really like about this routine is the fact that it uses no extra coins or gimmicks but is not extremely hard to do. Also includes a description of Takagi's Purse Steal.
08 Trans-Purse-Tation: Another routine using Takagi's Purse Steal. Four coins are placed inside a small coin purse and magically fly out one at a time. Sort of a coin box routine without the box. Again, no gimmicks or extra coins, and some of the steals are extremely clever.
09 The Ghostly Silk: Two ungimmicked silks magically pass through each other. A stand-up trick that is short and sweet.
10 Who Cuts First?: Takagi's solution to "The Spectator Cuts To The Aces". A simplistic approach.
11 ScissoRope: A prelude to a "Cut and Restored" rope routine. A pair of scissors penetrate a rope.
12 The Leaping Silk: Another penetration with a silk and a rope this time. The silk is tied onto a rope held by a spectator. You pass another rope through the silk and it magically penetrates onto your rope.
13 Total Triumph: Includes Takagi's handling of Larry Jenning's Convincing Control, Tenkai's Optical False Shuffle and Daryl's Triumph Cutting Display.
14 Rising Triumph: Similar to Total Triumph but with a Rising Card ending.
15 Color-Shift Triumph: A color-changing deck routine combined with Triumph. Surprisingly, it's very easy to do and you end clean.
16 The Oriental Coins: This routine has no American counterpart. Two small bowls and four coins are displayed. The coins vanish and appear between the bowls one at a time. In the second part, the coins fly from hand to hand individually, then in pairs, and finally quadruple in number. Not very difficult either.
17 The Double Thought: A prediction effect that includes Takagi's deceptive handling of the Double Lift (somewhat similar to the Stuart Gordon Double Lift). A card chosen by the spectator proves to be the mate of a card set aside earlier.
18 Convergence: The highlight of the book for me. Using only four cards and four coins; the coins gather under one card. The cards are used as more than just covers in this version.
19 Rope, Knots, and A Wand: A rope is tied around a wand repeatedly, yet still penetrates at the end.
20 Double Cut and Restored Rope: A very good handling of the classic effect. Very well suited for stand-up shows.
21 Monte With Four: A Monte routine with four cards. Can be used with poker or jumbo sized cards.
22 Do As I Do Rope Routine: An excellent rope routine. Imagine having false knots on your rope and the rope being held by your spectator.
23 Chinese Rubber Band Mystery: A different handling for the classic Broken and Restored rubber band.
24 A Beautiful Thumb Tie: Everything you need to know about thumb ties. Takagi has done a lot of thinking in this area.
25 Owan To Tama (Japanese Cups And Balls): Very different from any American routine. Many techniques are used that are not familiar to those of us in the West.
26 New Era Linking Rings: I am not familiar with that many linking ring routines so I cannot respond to this routine's claim that it offers new insights and techniques. But it does seem to be a very good and well thought-out routine.