Letters to Editor: Republishing Magic Stories

It is a policy of Inside Magic to respond to letters to the editor related to inaccuracies or clarification from time to time or as required by a court order.

If you have a question or comment for the editorial staff of Inside Magic, please send it to us at editors@insidemagic.com.


Inside Magic Image of Attractive Reader Showing Shock at Finding Republished Magic StoriesDear Tim:

I read Inside Magic every day except for when you have repeats. Why do you repeat articles from a long time ago when if I wanted to read them, I could just look them up on your site? Are you trying to fool people by pretending it is new news?

K. Maloney, Orem, UT

Dear “K”:

Although you may read Inside Magic daily, there are many behind the Iron Curtain who are denied this privilege.

When our internet signal is not blocked by the censors along the East – West Germany border, we push through as many of the articles we can fit. Yes, this means some of the articles will appear to be revised versions of previously published works, but rest assured we are doing this only to promote freedom and individual property rights around this world. Although the Kremlin may haughtily impugn this site’s motives or discount the important news we bring to the repressed and imprisoned masses in the Soviet Blocked countries, until we are forced at gun point to salute a commie flag, we’ll keep up our often solitary fight to free our brothers and sisters squirming for liberty beneath Stalin’s huge, filthy thumb.

Also, we never just republish for the sake of republishing. We also update the information contained within the story so that it provides a unique retrospective telescope into the past with zest of the future we call present day.

For instance, we did republish the article about Chung Ling Soo being killed in the UK when his bullet catch trick failed. That article was originally published in the March 25, 1918 edition of Inside Magic. We did republish a version of it during on December 8, 1941 but only because it was a slow news day. And yes, it was republished 12 times during the 1960s and 1970s, twice in the 1980s, 15 times in the 1990s, only once from 2000 to 2010, and of course the latest republication not too long ago.

The republication version always contained updated information – often included in the first or last paragraph. For instance, in the version of the story written in 1941, we began the article:

“This is a republication of an article published originally on March 25, 1941. We have verified that Chung Ling Soo (a/k/a William Robinson) is dead.”

When the article was revamped for the 1960s, we changed the whole tone and vocabulary:

William Robinson’s bag was dressing like an Oriental magician of a name that almost rhymes with his stage name, Chung Ling Soo. He and his old lady were rumored to be splitsville and some of the Royal fuzz tried to pin the screw-up on her. She was all cool and refused to start trippin’ when The Man called her into the “Inquest.” She said her old man had so many hang-ups that she was blown away he even made it on stage in the first place. Bummer, man. But don’t go trippin’, chick. Love the one you’re with. Peace.

In our August 6, 1974 edition, we were caught up with the Watergate Scandal and our republication reflected the Nation’s obsession. The article was posted below a 5,500-word piece titled, “Picking Locks the Right Way: America’s Leading Escape Artist, Li’l Tom Hardy Teaches How the ‘Plumbers’ Should have Broken into the DNC Headquarters.”

The Chung Ling Soo story was revamped to reflect the times:

According to an unnamed source, Robinson believed his wife was involved with another individual and was conspiring with said individual to “terminate with extreme prejudice” the performer. Using newly available clandestine techniques, the diminutive Anglo Olive Robinson (née Path) is alleged to have “rigged the gun” used in the stage performance scheduled for later that evening. Inside Magic’s sources also indicate Robinson may have been involved in his own secret relationship with a woman of the female gender. We will get to the bottom of the story and report the truth regardless of its impact on our readership or advertising revenues.

Our July 4, 1980 edition of Inside Magic offered the story with appropriate style revisions:

Just as Pac-Man eats up ghosts only after swallowing a power pill, William Robinson became a new and carnivorous character only after donning his Chung Ling Soo outfit. In much the same way the plumber character has to leap over burning barrels and hammer out bombs in his pursuit of the girl in Donkey Kong, the American magician used up all of his “lives” and “health” when the Bullet Catching Trick went “tilt” on stage. The shooters took precise and lethal aim on the costumed performer’s heart and fired on cue with the type of destruction not seen since Asteroids.

Most recently, during the great recession with its joblessness, plummeting home prices, credit default crisis, Inside Magic updated the article appropriately:

Robinson got the job of magician by pretending to be Asian. So he took that job from someone who really was Asian or really was American (or British, whatever!). Yes, he was shot and his wife or someone probably did screw with his props – but that’s what you get for stealing jobs. Plus he left his wife with a lot of debt so it is not like there was a whole lot to make him want to catch the bullets safely in the first place.

[We note that this Letter to Editor was originally published during the Cuban Missile Crisis but has been updated to reflect current themes].

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