To The Editor:
Do you call it a “silk” or a “handkerchief” or something else?
Magician’s often display a piece of cloth made of silk or some synthetic blend. The wave it before the audience and sometimes need to identify it for some reason. This is whence the “silk” versus “handkerchief” debate arises. We have performed exhaustive research into the topic and some of our long-time readers will no doubt recall our six-volume set on the topic, Silks, Hanks or Cloth: A Complete History published through Magic Text, our failed (we are not afraid to admit it) hard-bound publishing division in 1998.
We didn’t see this whole internet thing taking off and never thought a book could be made available in electronic format. We were confused at the time by the onrush of so many alternatives for information distribution so we figured we’d take the safe path and publish our books the old-fashioned way; in leather-bound, handmade tomes illustrated in the same style as the Book of Kells. The shipping cost was very high – the set weighed some weight in British “stones” or metric or something.
The other thing that hurt sales was the threatened injunction from Tom Hanks – who is a nice guy but has aggressive lawyers – to stop the publication for fear that folks would assume erroneously that we were using his name to indicate some kind of connection to or endorsement by the then Academy Award® winning actor. That was not our purpose – of course.
In fact the first book of the six-book set specifically pointed out how “Hanks” should not be used as a term because it could be confused with a person or even an actor.
For our other books, Magic Wand Handling: Safety and Security (a three-volume set with illustration set by a comic book writer from Tokyo) did very well but couldn’t make up for the losses we suffered with the first set. Magic Text went out of business in 1990 and we were despondent – the two are not related. We tend to be despondent and so this was just more of the normal but now with a reason to be despondent.
We had to lay-off twelve Irish illustrators and one Japanese comic book illustrator.
They all took it well – or so we thought – until they all filed wrongful termination claims against us. While we were despondent to be sued, we were so impressed by the beautiful way they illustrated their claims, that our souls were lifted as we settled for a confidential amount.