Category: Letters to Editor

Inside Magic Letters to the Editer

It is the stated and occasionally followed policy of Inside Magic to publish letters to the editor.  If you have a question for the editor of this esteemed virtual news outlet, please send your comments or questions to editor@insidemagic.com.  While the editor is not always available or conscious, when he is, he is really on his game. 

Dear Sir or Madam:

In your most recent blog post, you commented that Harry Houdini was dead.  I wondered why you would mention this well-known factoid.  Were you just in need of space to be taken up or was this supposed to be real news for the “professional” magician?  What was the point?  Are there people who think Harry Houdini is not dead?  Or were you being metaphorical and saying his legacy is dead? Or, maybe you were saying his spirit lives on but his body is dead and buried?  Again, what was the point?  Who else is dead that you should tell us about?  I subscribe to Inside Magic to get the latest news not the late news.  Did you hear that Lindbergh made it to Paris?  He did, he flew solo across the Atlantic.  That’s all. Pick it up, please.

Editor’s Response:

It has been a while since we commented on the living or non-living status of Harry Houdini but your email reminds us that it is about time to again remind readers that Harry Houdini died at 1:26 on October 31, 1926 at Grace Receiving Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.  The cause of his death was ruled an accident resulting from a blow received several days earlier in Montreal whilst reclining in his dressing room.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his widow and surviving family.  There is discussion of having yearly séances in honor of Houdini and to test the theories of spiritualism against which he fought so valiantly.

The Lindbergh news is not really magic related and so that was probably why we didn’t pick up on it – that is our bad and we accept the blame.  Good for him.  We hope his experience will be positive for all interested in flying.

Ironically, “Pick it Up, Please” was the title of our first top 100 hit in 1972.  It was actually the B-side of “Don’t Litter, Bug!” but got much more radio play thanks to our great A&R man, Zanzo O’Hara.  We peaked at 47 with the 45 RPM record and still receive royalties from it.  It was sampled on Eminem’s Marshal Mather’s “The Way I Am” track on his groundbreaking “The Marshal Mathers’ LP.”  Eminem said he loved the “funk and instructive tone to the bridge on our 45.”  That was good enough for us.  It was also used as the background sound for a movie about a carnival funhouse that is haunted by bad people.  We don’t know why they used it.  There was nothing funky or instructive about the scene in which it was used.  A woman and man, each younger than 21, get on the ride and look at each other before the cart in which they are riding goes through the front “gate” of the fun house.  They never return but part of their clothes return, albeit blood stained.

Continue reading “Inside Magic Letters to the Editer”

Errors and Retractions from Inside Magic

[It is the policy of Inside Magic to provide notice of any revisions, updates, fixes or corrections to our posts; no matter how embarrassing.  We have been publishing since 2002 (on the internet) and before that in a paper format sent to readers of Boy’s Life’s display ads.  Bottom line: we have a lot of errors.  Here is the next installment.]

In the June 2, 1996 edition, we used the word “squeak” in a way that could offend rodents.  We apologize and note the trick described and reviewed is no longer available.

In the August 15, 1997 edition, we mislabeled a photo of Harry Houdini as Hairy Houdini.  We have apologized by means of Ouija® Board and still await his response.

In the January 23, 1998 edition, we described a trick as “the best trick in the world.”  It turned out it wasn’t a trick and certainly not the best trick and we apologize to those involved in the still unsolved criminal case.

In the March 17, 2001 edition, a guest columnist provided approximately 20 links to an off-shore casino and sports-betting site.  We received no income from this and deleted it  right around the time we figured out we weren’t getting any money.

In the December 25, 2002 “Christmas” edition, we mistakenly referred to Santa Claus as “Satan’s Claws.”  That was a spelling error forced upon us by unknown spirits and we have since moved from that spooky house up the lane, by the woods.

In the July 4, 2006 edition, we just totally messed up.  The whole issue was filled with errors, bad advice about fireworks, improper anime using fireworks in a way that was correctly described by readers as “bad” or “not safe.” Really that edition should have been scrapped but we had our first advertiser in it (Black Cat Firecrackers®) and since the off-shore casino thing fell through we were desperate and “sore afeared” that we let it stay up.  It is still available on Internet Archive, we think.  Don’t read it.

In the February 19, 2010 edition, we suggested ways to use rabbits in magic effects that readers found “unacceptable” and “gross.”  To be fair, it wasn’t our writing.  This was during our cut-and-paste just anything we found that had the word magic in it.  We learned there is a difference between the kind of magic Magicians do and the kind of magic performed by sorcerers.

In the September 3, 2015 “Back to School” edition, we incorrectly suggested that “all milk but skim milk” contained unknown ingredients sure to give consumers an unattractive humpback.  This was based on our misreading of an article in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Are Kids Putting too Much in their Backpacks?”  We have apologized to dairy farmers through our other website, InsideUdders.com.

In the May 13, 2018 edition, we provided instructions to build an effect called “The Time Travel Machine.”  Unfortunately, it turned out not to be a trick but an actual time travel machine.  We have apologized to the  Large Hadron Collider scientists and the Thompson family (including the darling little Emily) through our other website, Inside DIY Quantum Physics Machines.com.

In an upcoming edition (November 23, 2019), we will make a mistake involving the importance of oxygen for various activities (primarily breathing and allowing the propagation of fire – especially when it comes to lighting Black Cat Firecrackers®).  We will regret the error.

Inside Magic Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor are published on an infrequent basis due to the infrequent receipt of correspondence we receive requiring a response.  We think the issues regarding our weight, loss of hair, inability to speak without a noticeable slur after five in the afternoon have been well-debated and do not warrant further exploration in this semi-public forum.  The tens of readers of Inside Magic have spoken and we have listened.  They want letters to the editor that are about substantive issues of the day in the world of magic.  And so, we turn now to those letters received in the very recent past.

Dear Tim:

You were in West Hollywood, before that in Mystic Hollow, Michigan and now you say you are in a town called Mystic Hollow, California.  Is it possible that you are making this all up or are you in some kind of witness protection program for magicians?  Also, is Mac King’s name short for something?

— A concerned reader

Dear Concerned:

Thank you for your close attention to our peripatetic nature and concern for our alleged involvement in bringing down one of the biggest cartels in fanning powder and roughing liquid black market history.  We do not consider ourselves to be heroes; although that title has been bandied about where things are normally bandied.  Despite the offer of witness protection from the federal and state authorities, we elected to remain in the public eye.  Now that those who perpetrated the horrible acts that resulted from poorly constituted fanning powder or inconsistently mixed roughing fluid have been locked up, we can again emerge to accept the accolades normally accorded folks of our ilk.  Of course, that was about ten years ago and we’re still waiting.  In fact, we’re starting to think the accolades are not going to come other than some random bandying in the bandy parlors that still exist (virtual and otherwise).

To be honest, we are beginning to doubt the praise for our heroism will ever arrive at the front door of our double-wide here in Mystic Hollow, California.  We have more information we are willing to share about Magician’s Wax being illegally imported from farms that abuse the poor magicians from whom the cultivated ear wax is extracted.  Tales of generic Q-Tips and over-farming will leave juries in abject horror but will remain in our vaults until we can be assured that the nation’s law enforcement officials will be ready to take on this anathema.

As for Mac King’s name, we think that’s his name.  Maybe Mac is short for something or a nickname.  Like how people call Santa Claus, “Santa” but it was “St. Nicholas.”

 

Dear Timmy:

How much does it cost to get into magic?

—  Earnest Questioner

 

Dear Ernie:

The best thing about Magic is that it costs nothing to start.  You can do magic with cards, coins, toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, other peoples’ cards, coins or tubes.  We heard a story of a magician who started with literally nothing and ended up with a full evening show by learning the magic he could do with borrowed items and doing them well.  He was tipped for his work, saved his money and bought props; eventually hired an assistant (and later married her) and found an agent to book him into shows around the Midwest. True, his agent ended up marrying his assistant and left him destitute but he still had his skills.  We heard from him last week.  He worked his way back up and will be doing shows again.

So Magic costs nothing but time and perhaps your livelihood and personal happiness (but that is a worse case scenario) and it is something you will always have with you.  In many ways it is like riding a bike.  You never forget the skills you learned.  The ability to perform sleights of hand or how to engage and entertain an audience remain forever.  And unlike riding a bike, you don’t need a bike.  People will lend you a bike to watch you do tricks with their bike and pay you money for the pleasure of watching you do things with their property.  Harry Houdini once said – in quote we are now making up – “Magic is the one art that rewards the artist’s practice and preparation by making his work invisible.”

 

Dear Tim:

What is your favorite Magic-film to watch?

—  D. Dugger

Dear Addy:

We love the movie Houdini starring Tony Curtis.  It was the film that really got us hooked on the Houdini myth and later Houdini history.  We weren’t disillusioned to learn that the film took liberties with the true story but more intrigued about the man that lived a life so large that films would be made about him.

It is interesting that you qualified your question by asking our favorite film “to watch.”  We have several favorite magic films that we do not like to watch.  We like to look at the posters, read about them on IMDB and dream about what they could have been.  Most of the recent magician-oriented films fit that bill.  The posters and promotion looked so wonderful that we just knew a great movie could be made.  It was a pity in almost every case that the producers, writers and directors did not agree with us and decided to make movies that seemed to stray from the magic theme that made them enticing.

We also like movies based on the life of Topo Gigio; focusing on his time after his success on the Ed Sullivan show.  He went on to open two nightclubs in Miami (one is still standing) and had an infamous running feud with former boxing great Jake LaMotta – although they were very good friends in real life.  Many people still don’t know that he was a great inventor and developed a way of making more predictable kidney dialysis protocols.  He received a patent in 1974 for his work on the modern milling of whole grain.  He was a prolific writer and many credit him for the Harry Potter story idea first penned for a literary quarterly published by the University of Mississippi.

Inside Magic Letters to Editor Answered

As required under the new California Conjurers and Variety Artists Correspondence Act of 2019, Inside Magic will publish appropriate letters to the editor on a periodic (but not less than, as required by the CCVACA “once every once in a while”) basis. 

Today is just such an every once in a while.

We welcome your letters in any form or language.

 

Dear Ed.

The last two articles you wrote, “Houdini Passes” and “Thurston to End Railroad Travel” have both been downers.  Why not write the funny stuff you used to write like “Cups-N-Balls? We thought you said ‘Cubs-n-Falls!’” or “Pharoh’s Funnies Discovered in Hieroglyphics.”  Those were truly funny posts.  The pictures were even funny with the little bear cubs slipping on ice wearing magician top hats.

Ishmael (call me “Ishmael”)

Dear  Ishmael:

From the condition of the envelope in which we received your missive, it is apparent that your letter was quite old.  First, it was in an envelope; second, it was written on parchment with a whale bone or ivory pen; third, it was sent as a message in a bottle.

Inside Magic has gone through changes since the early whaling days in the Colonies. Yes, we used to be funnier: poking fun at King George III; laughing about the poor quality of silver Cups-N-Balls sets produced by the Revere shop in Boston; as well as making mirth about the discovery of Oxygen as a needed gas for life and that discovery’s use in animal balloons – then made of leather.

But we became more serious after the battle for independence from England, the Civil War and the Great Depression.  See, “Brother Can You Spare a Penny & Dime Trick?” or “Entertaining in Soup Lines – a New Market Opportunity?”

We livened up – for the troops – in WWI and WWII times and even had Atomic-based humor during the Cold War.  See, “GI Wow!” and “Pulling Mammals from Your Helmet.”

Since entering the Internet Age, we have tried to stay consistently funny.  Sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing but still trying.

We hope if you are still alive, you have caught up on the latest jokey Inside Magic and found favor in your now antiquated and whale blubber cholesterol coated heart for this web site.

Dear Editor Tim:

You said you were going to review that trick where the bird crosses its heart and then the chosen card appears?  What’s the story with that?

Laurence

 

Dear Laurence:

Thank you for writing us daily (and sometimes more than daily) to ask about things we have promised (or in your belief have promised to do).

We have a special rule on our computer’s email system just for your well-considered, often multi-paged and illustrated emails in which you point out our failings, errors in speling and grammer that’s badder than you expect.

We also appreciate your sign-offs with quotes you attribute to Elvis Presley; even though we question the provenance of the quotes.  For instance, we doubt Elvis ever claimed “Celion Dione” had “the best voice ever,” or that “Santa’s elves should form an onion (sic),” or “Magic is like what mystery would look like if you squinted.”

We agree that Elvis had strong feelings about working conditions of the common man but doubt he ever opined on Santa’s elves.  Additionally, it was common knowledge that Elvis was referring to the sun when he talked about “squinting” and describing what not to do in a total eclipse.

We will have a full review in an upcoming post.  No need to ask us when or how many dogs we have ever owned, or why we think we have a right to write.  Those have already been asked in your earlier emails and are noted.

Dear Darling Timmy:

Do you like baked goods?  Can I bring you some?  I make good bake goods for you to eat and you will like them.  See the baked good I can make by clicking here: [Link Omitted]

Witth oven fresh love,

Alexandria (Your Pasty Chef)

Continue reading “Inside Magic Letters to Editor Answered”

Inside Magic Letters to the Editor

Inside Magic, being a responsible location for the very latest Magic News, responds to comments and questions posed by our tens of readers as required by court order or when there is no real magic news to report on any given day. 

Today is just such a day.

Dear Inside Magic:

The name of this blog led me to believe it is a good source for interior decorating tips. I read the entire post twice and found not a word about interior decorating.

Editor’s Response:

Thank you for your kind email comment.  For our first twenty years we were dedicated to interior decorating tips.  See for example:

“Your Furniture Choices Can Determine Your Life Path,” June 1, 1973

“End Tables and Doilies: A Dangerous Combination or Essential for Living,” August 18, 1978

“Why Persian Rugs Lead to Static Electricity Death,” December 7, 1979

“Cats on Furniture: Decoration or Scratching Worry,” May 9, 1980

“Pizza in the Formal Dining Room: Experts Say ‘Sure’,” September 9, 1985

“High Backed Chairs and Their Effect on Your Horoscope,” November 11, 1990

“Why We Don’t Like Embroidery – A Six Installment Examination,” April 1-6, 1995 (Nominated for Pulitzer)

“Lemon Pledge, the Smell of Death?” June 6, 1999

“Chippendales: Dancers of Bad Design?” October 31, 2002 (Led to Litigation and Costly Settlement with both Furniture Association of America and a Male Dance Troup)

“Keep Your Area Rugs in the Area with Magnets, November 25, 2007 (Nominated for Magnet News (Feature Category)

“Nick Knacks – Why Knock What Works?” March 15, 2010 (Caesar Day Award Nominee (Least Relevant Category))

We did move to magic related news in 2011 to avoid litigation and an on-going (later settled) investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for false domain name use.  “Inside Magic must include news of Magic (whether of the occult or by professional magicians doing magic tricks for entertainment purposes).

Our lawyers suggested we focus on magic by professional magicians rather than the occult to avoid further litigation by psychics and occult practitioners (“Voodoo may or may not be real but the risk is not worth the Google Ad money.”)  At the time, we were dejected and in debt to our legal counsel.  We attempted to pay with free magic shows for their children but the offer was rejected; which coincidentally, led to further dejection.

Continue reading “Inside Magic Letters to the Editor”

Inside Magic Letters to the Editor

We receive letters and emails from readers.  Often we share our responses with other readers.  Sometimes, we just read them and try to find our “happy place” while rocking back and forth and clutching our hair.  Here are some of the most recently received inquiries and our responses.  If you have a question, send it to question@insidemagic.com.  It may get published.

Dear Magic Man, Jr.: How do they do that trick where the ball floats and then vanishes or lights on fire?

Editor: Thank you for your question.  As you may know, we try to avoid exposing the secrets of magic here on Inside Magic.  So we won’t reveal the method but your question did cause us to look into the history of the trick you described so eloquently.

The effect was first found in a rough draft of Professor Hoffman’s Modern Magic under the title “Ball Flying and then on Fire before Vanishing.”  Hoffman got into a hard-fought battle with his publisher over the trick.  The book exposed many of the classic secrets of magic but the publisher was dead-set against exposing this particular illusion.

“Whilst we have no objection to giving away the secret to many tricks that make up the routines of working performers who depend upon secrecy to make a living, we object to lifting the veil on this vaguely described and likely never performed illusion.  It just does not seem, to us, to be in the cricket spirit.”

“Cricket” can be used as a synonym for “fair” or “appropriate” and that sense of the word is derived from the game of the same name played by unfathomable rules over the course of days and reported on the BBC shortwave broadcasts we hear at night due to a misalignment in our jaw and the resultant proximity of two silver filings.

But according to some scholars of a magical bent, the publisher was referring not to the game but insect.

At the time of Professor Hoffman’s writing, cricket fighting (or “Grasshoppering” as it was called on some of the colonial island nations) was all the rage in the British pubs and smaller arenas.  A “sport” similar to cock or dog fighting, the activity brought the bloody battle to those who could not afford the larger animals.  It was considered a more appropriate activity because anyone could find or breed crickets and thus participate.  Charles Darwin observed, “the elite pastime of raising cocks or terriers holds no sway for this man.  Give me a common tettigoniidae and a wager, and I am a happy sailor.” (See Darwin’s Dairies here.)

The Darwin quote points out an interesting twist on the story.  The British “cricket” is actually what we in the United States call a katydid or grasshopper.

In a typical cricket fight, participants would paint the backs of up to five crickets at a time and drop them into the circular arena with the entries of at least two other teams.  The battle would ensue for a period of time tied directly to the relative humidity of the venue.  On a humid night, the fight could be as long as five hours.  On a very dry night, the winners could be declared in five minutes. Continue reading “Inside Magic Letters to the Editor”

Submit Your News and We’re So Sorry

Oh boy, is our face red.

We have a “Submit to Inside Magic” button at the top of every page.  It has been there since we first started Inside Magic in the late 1940s.  The country was getting back to work, the big wars were over, neighborhoods were building, cars had big fins and transistors were just a pipe dream.

When the button was first installed, we received a couple of submissions – some were even magic related.  But we haven’t heard much since.

We had our crack IT staff check things out and we learned tonight why they are called “crack” – but that is a different issue – and we learned why we haven’t seen any submissions.  The staff had the submissions routed to an old website we no longer use: PocketFishermanKnock-Offs.com.

We hadn’t checked that site since the cease and desist letters from Ron Popeil’s blood-thirsty lawyers.

We are so sorry.

The server was filled with news releases, story suggestions, fully written essays and interview suggestions.  Some of them were quite good but are now out of date.

If you have a story, a suggestion, a press release, essay or interview suggestion, please resubmit it for consideration by our previously under-worked editorial staff.

If you previously submitted your news and thought we ignored you, please accept our most sincere apologies.  As a small but earnest magic news daily, we cannot afford to alienate a single reader and it was never our intention to give that impression.

Here is to new beginnings!  Click the button above or this link.

Letters to the Editor: Church of Inside Magic®

It is the policy of Inside Magic to publish letters to the editor when necessary to fill gaps in our front page or when required by court order. Letters to the editor should be addressed to, ironically, editor@insidemagic.com. Inside Magic reserves the right to modify, shorten, lengthen or completely change the sent correspondence and, if necessary, include funny pictures to take away from the seriousness of same.

My Lordship:

Greetings in the name of our Lord, I am (Mrs) *** ******, a widow to Late ****, I am 34 years old, I am now a new religious convert … My late husband was killed with his business associate and during the period of our marriage we couldn’t produce any child.

My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his business and wealth. I now decided to divide part of this wealth, to contribute to the development of the church in Asia, Africa, America and Europe.

I selected your church after visiting the website and I prayed over it, I am willing to donate the sum of US$5,000 000.00 (Five Million US Dollars) to your Church for the development of your church and also for the less privileged.

Please, do not reply me if you have the intention of using this fund for personal use. Please If I reach you as I am hopeful I will, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable my LAWYER conclude the legal duty.

Also to be sent to me is the biodata page of your international passport or drivers licence as a proper identification.

You can reach me on my alternative email box easily: mrs.***@yahoo.com

I await your soonest reply as you could.

Inside Magic’s Reply:

Dear Mrs. *****:

Although we did not know your husband all that well – in fact, we barely remember him from our days in your home community but that is no doubt the regrettable effect of our weeks of hard work and tireless efforts to do noble things in that strange land he called home – we are happy to accept your offer of $5,000,000.00 for our yet to be formed Church. (We will start the forming as soon as your funds arrive, don’t you worry your little head about that).

We certainly agree that the funds should not be used for our personal vanities but dedicated exclusively to The Church of Inside Magic® and its dedicated staff of very pious clergy; with a special emphasis on improving the lives of those who would travel so far to worship at our yet to be built gold and ivory altar.

As you know, The Church of Inside Magic® emphasizes the inner-being and eschews those in this sad epoch who worship the outer, false entities. Consequently, you are no doubt aware we do not permit our clergy or the lay ministry to carry any form of identification including a drivers’ license (or licensce) and certainly would never allow our images to be captured for the purpose of recordation through the alleged “passport” system foisted upon the clueless masses as a means of emphasizing the outer, shell of humanness to the detriment of the inner soul of personness.

We suspect your request that we send our drivers’ license (or licence) and international passport was merely a test to see if we were indeed true to our faith. We were and remain so. Continue reading “Letters to the Editor: Church of Inside Magic®”

Don Timoteo Answers Your Magic Questions

[Questions for Don Timoteo – Magic Expert – can be about any aspect of magic including escapes, big stage illusion shows, little tiny close-up magic, and even so-called psychic magic.  Send your question to DT@insidemagic.com and we will pass them along to the Master].

As you know, because of my fame I have worked around the world performing for standing room audiences as well as many theaters where there were chairs for everyone — but just enough.

My expertise in magic is second to none, as you know. And yet I offer this help to you, the questioning mob of pubic magicians. Why? Does Don Timoteo make money doing this?

A little, but not enough to put up with some of the questions I receive or the ridicule thrusted on me like a Watchtower Magazine through the slightly opened door to my inner-most soul.

The other professionals, like that reindeer with the glowing nose, do not like me to be different.  “Oh, Don Timoteo, you should be like us.  You should never reveal the secrets to our art to the common magician.  That is like throwing the baby pig out with its pearl-wearing babysitter!”

Don Timoteo does not care.  He does not hear much of it and that which he hears he does not understand.

So bring your questions to Don Timoteo.  I promise on my honor that so long as you show reverence for my incredible talent, and historic place in history, you will be fine. You will not be faced with the wrath like someone who sticks his face in a pie-throwing booth at the Wrath Festival.

I know many men would like me to tell all of my secrets of love or the conquests my secrets have earned.  But I am first a gentleman and would never reveal the what has been secreted by me and my many lovers.

So, instead, I answer questions about magic.  Love’s magic is a secret I will not reveal.

Senior Timoteo:
What is fanning powder and where can I buy it other than at the magic store? They rip me off there.  Everything is more expensive because they say, “you’re not really buying the props, you’re buying the secret.” So if it’s just powder that helps you fan cards, what’s the secret that I’d pay an extra $5.00 for?
By the way, I loved you on The Flinging Nun with Sally Fields.  Yes, I am that old! I liked her before she was in Forrest Gump or Sybil.
Your Fan, N. Warner Douglas, IA

Don Timoteo Responds:

My friend.  From your first name, Norman, I know you are not Spanish and so the subtle but oh so impotent differences between titles is probably of little meaning to your head.

I am not “Senior Timoteo” but Don Timoteo.  I am thinking you meant to say “Señor Timoteo” but even this would have been wrong and to another man with much less class and noble heritage, it would have been the last words you said.  I am the fifth generation of my family’s royal tradition. I am a Don, of noble birth. My family’s tree is thick and filled with leaves.  It traces back to España and the mystery of the love that clings to the Spanish land like a scared two-year-old clings to his mother’s thick, hairy leg. Continue reading “Don Timoteo Answers Your Magic Questions”

Inside Magic’s Corrections

When required by court order or circumstances that would somehow improve our stature in the magic community, Inside Magic will issue retractions, corrections and amendments in response to verified complaints by real people who have been offended or injured in some manner by our writing.

The April 1, 2005 "April Fools Edition" of Inside Magic was written as a parody and should not have been taken as literally representing the truth. We assumed most magicians would know it is unsafe to snort fanning powder or make mixed drinks with "magicians' milk." Because of a few kids who were smart enough to sound out the words in that edition but lacked the common sense to not really swallow razor blades, we had to wait until 2012 for the statute of limitations to run and issue this correction.

Despite the apparently real photograph shown in our July 22, 2010 column "Magicians on the Go" we had no evidence the world famous magician pictured was suffering gastric and intestinal distress as the image indicated. We used a trial version of Photoshop to place the magician in a port-a-let with the door apparently blown off by a horrific gas explosion. We thought this was obvious because the magician's hair was still in place in the image and everyone knows he wears a toupee.

Contrary to the thrust of our September 15, 2008 story, "Guess What Disease" the two magicians identified in the article were not suffering any malady and, to the best of our knowledge, are healthy as a horse and a cow respectively. To be fair, we never said they had a specific disease, only that they looked "sick and gross like they swallowed the gross end of decaying pig carcass." That could have been interpreted to mean they looked normal for them or that we were just concerned about their health. To suggest that the story was a method of besmirching their good name is an over-reach.

As far as we know, there is no evidence to suggest Harry Houdini faked his own death to marry a marionette or, for that matter, any type of puppet used by popular entertainers of the day. We were just speculating what he could have done if he wanted to sneak out of his marriage to meet his well-known fetishistic needs. We regret any misunderstanding arising from the August 11, 2011 article, "Houdini Faked His Own Death to Marry a Prop."

In our "Best of Las Vegas" column of December 12, 2004, we inadvertently provided the wrong address for the Magic of Vegas Theatre. Frankly we were surprised it took until last week for anyone to complain about the mix-up and even more surprised that magicians visiting Las Vegas would mistake the establishment at the address given for a theater for performing arts. We also apologize for any part we played in establishing the tradition of appreciative magic fans stuffing dollar bills into the waistbands of close-up performers in Las Vegas and The Magic Castle.

The answer to our 1996 Fourth of July Magic Crossword Puzzle for Clue 22(Down) should have been "bunny." The clue was "what a magician has hidden in his clothing." We regret the error and are frankly troubled by some of the answers proposed by our readers.

Because we did not conduct our own research but printed verbatim the press release we received, the article "Tony Spain Makes Island Nation of Guam Vanish" was incorrect. Guam remained intact and Tony's press release was a total fabrication with no basis in reality. Similarly, the articles, "Tony Spain Cures Warts in New Dinner Show," "Tony Spain Licks Own Elbow," and "Tony Spain Found Not Guilty in Mayonnaise Smuggling Trial" were not properly fact-checked and were all fabrications of Mystic Hollow's own Tony Spain.