Al Koran's Legacy
Review by David Lindgreen
Al Koran (1914-1972)
was an English hairdresser with a keen interest in magic and
mind-reading. In just a short time, he gained a fine reputation, but
alas, when he travelled to USA in an attempt to build a career there,
he failed. He left some very fine effects, of which the most
well-known are Ring Flite, The Gold Medallion and the so-called Koran
Deck. We are lucky that most of his tricks were published in magic
magazines, especially in Pentagram but also in books. In collaboration
with Jack Lamonte, he wrote Mastered Amazement; still, his most famous
books, Professional Presentations and Al Koran's Legacy, were written
by Hugh Miller. Besides the two books mentioned above, Martin Breese
has had The Magic of Al Koran published.
Of more importance to
us, here and now, is the fact that the same Martin Breese owns the
copyright to practically all old English magic magazines and a number
of books as well, which has enabled him to re-publish Al Koran's
Legacy including some supplemental stuff which he found in some of
Lewis Ganson's books. The result is an extremely fine book.
Koran's tricks are
uncluttered, which means that he heads straight towards the goal, and
the methods are just as uncomplicated so, apart from a few card
tricks, you won't find anything which demands finger-breaking
sleights. Nevertheless, during the showing of an effect, all the small
things fit into one another like cogwheels in a clock-work, there is
no hesitating or fumbling. Unfortunately, Koran's accompanying
'patter', which played a major role in his presentation, is not
included. Let's take a closer look at the tricks which are all
intended for close-up work or the small stage.
It is only fit and
proper that the book open with The Five Star Prediction, still one of
the very best tricks around and sufficiently strong to be the closing
trick of your program: A spectator is handed a pack of cards, face-up,
and starts dealing the cards down onto the table top. He continues
until he decides to stop. The performer points to an envelope which
has been lying on the table, in full view, from before the start of
the effect. The envelope is opened, a card is shaken out and proves to
be a duplicate of the chosen card. Even today, so many years later, it
is still one of the funniest tricks for a lay audience.
Another routine which
will floor any audience is Twenty Card Memory. Twenty spectators
select a card each; the cards are returned to the pack which is placed
into a jacket pocket. When the cards are selected, each spectator is
given a number between one and twenty. Now the performer says a
number, and the spectator whose number he mentions tells those present
the name of his card. Standing on the stage, blind-folded, the
magician puts his hand into the side pocket and withdraws the named
card. This is continued until all cards have been named and produced.
A whale of an effect Ė and easy, too.
t is also here that
you find the legendary The Gold Medallion. Three spectators each names
a number which, when put together, constitute a number with three
ciphers. The conjuror shows a little box and taking out a gold
medallion from its interior, he hands it to a spectator. When
encouraged to do so, the spectators turns the medallion around, and
upon the back of it he finds that very number inscribed.