Remembering Dennis Loomis
Books for stage and stand-up magicians are few and far between. Even scarcer are books that offer practical, real-world advice – advice that can save the reader time, money, and heartache.
Lisa and I are pleased to announce the publication of an ebook that magnificently fills this void: The Real Deal – A Magician Prepares by Dennis Loomis.
Dennis Loomis was the real deal; he was a full-time professional magician for more than forty years. More than that, though, he was one of the very few general practitioners in magic. He did it all: stage illusions, escapes, stand-up shows, school assemblies, and close-up magic. He was also a magic dealer. Throughout all of that, he maintained the soul of a passionate amateur; he enthusiastically loved all forms of conjuring.
I met Dennis in the late 1970s or early ‘80s. Our paths only crossed occasionally; he lived on the West Coast, and in those days I lived in Indiana. I think I helped to pump up his enthusiasm for memorized-deck work, which I was known for from convention appearances and lectures in the mid and late 1990s. At those conventions, I had suggested to Dennis how valuable it would be to preserve the astonishing amount of practical information he had acquired during his years of performing. He agreed, but said when it came to writing, he procrastinated too much.
More than a decade later, I was able to persuade Dennis to write a magazine column for me. He did so for four years, contributing two columns – A Magician Prepares and The Skinny Kid with the Overbite (reminiscences about Doug Henning). It had been Dennis’s desire to assemble these columns into a book; unfortunately, he left the planet before that goal was accomplished.
Through the kind cooperation of Dennis’s brother, Kim Eppard, this ebook is now available, and it is a treasure-trove of useful, valuable information.
The book begins with three chapters of practical suggestions – “Preparing for the Show,” “Sound Advice” (information on microphones and sound systems), and “Mark Your Way” (how to use crib sheets, notes, and identifying marks to avoid mistakes). There are eighteen chapters of routines for stage and stand-up, including The Twentieth Century Scarves, the Full-light Spirit Séance Breakthrough (Dennis’s method allows for a more convincing handling of the cloth), The Simplex Salt Pour (three methods), Making All of the Alcohol in the World Disappear (a unique use of the Multiplying Bottles prop), Neil Foster’s Miniature Indian Rope Trick, Improved-Improved Jumbo Jest, The Balloon Show, the Wellington Magic Switchboard, The Double Penetration (of a scarf through a cane), Loomis’s Himber Ring Routine, the Ron Leonard/Doug Henning Livestock Production, Tri-color Ropes and Knots, Jumbo Three Card Monte, Seven Keys to Baldpate, The Engagement Ring Production, Histed Heisted (plus suggestions on mastering a memorized deck), the Tip-over Box, and much more.
But that’s not all. You’ll also find great stories of life and work on the road, a Foreword by Gene Anderson, an interview I conducted with Dennis in 2012, and a big chapter of stories about Dennis’s friendship with Doug Henning. (Even though this is a chapter of reminiscences, Dennis tips some great work on one of magic’s most popular illusions.)
This is an ebook you will return to again and again. As with our other recent publications, The Real Deal – A Magician Prepares comes to you in both EPUB and PDF formats.
Even if you never perform any of the routines in this ebook, you’ll find ideas you can apply to your own material. This, of course, is the great gift an experienced professional can bequeath to the magic community. Dennis did the work; he identified the problems, solved them, and shared the solutions. I wish he was still around to continue that process, but I’m grateful for what he left behind. As you work your way through this ebook, I know you’ll feel that way, too.