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  • Judge Brown

Creativity and the Pandemic

Updated: May 25, 2023

During the early days of COVID-19, my friend Lynn Miner suggested I try my hand at writing the "Hocus Pocus Parade" for IBM's Linking Ring magazine. He volunteered to edit the section and advised that Tony Dunn would be available to conjure up some of his fine illustrations. We approached editor Sammy Smith with a special request: could the section be called a "One-Magician Parade" rather than the traditional "One-Man Parade"? Sammy agreed, and we were on our way.

The project proved both a welcome diversion and a creative challenge: Recognizing that magicians would be locked down for some time, we focused on effects that would play well in the virtual space, and could be crafted from materials on hand. In some cases we drew on old effects - such as a reworking of the Princess Card trick (which dates back to the days of T. Nelson Downs) and MacGyver Monte (an update of an ancient effect I learned at age 11), and added an enhancement of Michael Ammar's "Baby Doll Hand" and a color changing deck using Theory 11 cards. To fill out the issue, I created "The Prelude Wand," using an easy-to-build gimmicked wand, and variations of the Crazy Compass and "MyPhone" routines I had developed for Vanish magazine. Each of the pieces could be performed in frame on Zoom and other platforms. We offered downloads, printables and video links. several of which you can see here:

How did it turn out? The issue came out in October 2020, and I was very proud of the result. The layout was just beautiful and the reaction quite good. In fact, Ryan Pilling invited me as a guest on the inaugural episode of "Inside the Ring" to discuss and perform several of the effects featured in the magazine.

However, I never expected what arrived today:

Many thanks to Lynn Miner, Sammy Smith and the folks at the IBM for this remarkable honor.

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