JABBERWOCKY The Lost Writings of Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels
by Tony Shiels
Whether you’re into mentalism, mind reading, storytelling, bizarre magick, strange, weird, or spooky magic, then you will delight in Jabberwocky, The Lost Writings of Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels.
“Do you crave amazing audience reactions? Do you relish generating word-of-mouth publicity? Discover Jabberwocky, The Lost Writings of Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels, one man’s quest on how to turn the ordinary into something truly marvelous?”
Back in the early 1960’s, Tony Shiels put away his dove pan and his vanishing wand. Both effects were part of the act that made him money. He knew it wasn’t him and it was the kind of act that bored him sick when he saw other magicians perform. Surely there must be something more to performing magic than the standard effects performed the same way?
Sadly, little has changed since Doc realized this over forty years ago. Do you ever listen to other magicians telling you about their “original” touches?
“I have the cards turn face up instead of face down.” “I use yellow sponge balls because I don’t want to be confused with regular magicians.” “In my routine with the change bag, I have all the silks turn to a Blendo instead of being tied together.”
Well, Tony Shiels knew deep down there was a lot more… that there MUST be a lot more to performing magic than presenting standard stuff in the same way.
He noticed people flocked to the cinema to see horror films. They loved to be frightened… to have their marrow chilled, a shiver running down their spine and their scalp tingling.
But please notice one vitally important point. Look at any horror film or suspense thriller. Suspense cannot be sustained for too long. It must be released. And that release is usually laughter. So, you can mix the bizarre with laughter. I didn’t say comedy. I said laughter and in this case, it usually comes from the situation.
Have you ever seen John Calvert’s version of the Buzz Saw? Technically inferior to all other versions I’ve seen, but it packs more entertainment value than all the others put together. It has suspense, tension, gasps, horror and yet is very, very funny. It is truly an excellent example of magical theater.
Well ‘Doc’ started looking. His quest took him to films, to books – (magic and non-magic) as well as copious correspondence with magicians, authors, and special effects creators in the movie business.
He went looking for answers. Answers to the question, How do you make the ordinary and mundane into something truly marvelous?
Now if you know anything about ‘Doc’ at all, you’ll be aware he found those elusive answers. The routines he developed are in his other published works.
So, what of this book? What secrets does it contain?
Well none in fact (in the first part of the book – there are a lot in part two). Actually, that’s not true… well partly true. There are no secrets to magical effects, tricks, or presentations (apart from one neat idea by Karl Fulves where you totally unsettle someone by convincing them it is in fact yesterday). Travel with ‘Doc’ on his quest, his thoughts, his discussions with others. In that regard, this is a valuable document, especially, if you, like me, like to follow the thought processes behind the development of someone’s performing philosophy.
You get a feel for where they’re coming from, the obstacles encountered and the joy of overcoming them.
These thirteen chapters were written between 1966 and 1967 and published in The Budget, the monthly magazine of The British Ring of the I.B.M. Certainly, at the time, Doc’s views created some controversy. Some thought he should be banned. The performers of clever puzzles who thought by owning the secret made them professional entertainers, squirmed at Doc’s laser-like highlighting of their self-delusion.
To the credit of Ken de Courcy, then editor of The Budget, he published Doc’s contributions.
Details of these only came to light when I was preparing The Shiels Effect for publication. With the help of Professor Eddie Dawes, I was able to track them down. These are truly the lost writings of Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels. Even ‘Doc’ had forgotten about the series.
Here’s what you’ll find as you join Tony Shiels on his quest:
Karl Fulves on how to convince someone that it’s really yesterday. Page 42.
Interview with Martin Gardner on things psychic. Page 30.
Telling ghost stories. Page 7.
A full discussion in whether performers of mental magic should claim to possess genuine psychic powers… and what you should do. Page 5.
What does Chan Canasta think? Doc asks him. Page 24.
The use of an occasional stooge, especially in an impromptu situation, can lead to miracles. When is the right time? Page 42.
What is the kind of showmanship you should be using to give your audiences what they really want? Find out on Page 5.
Author Paul Gallico regularly used magic themes in his books. ‘Doc’ talks to him on the performance of magic. What does he think? Page 36.
Eight experts give you their favorite books on mentalism. Pages 22 – 23.
Doc Shiels confesses. Page 39.
What was it that Bert Reese and Dr. Hooker were able to accomplish psychologically that helped them become legends? An understanding of this psychological principle will help you, too, create incredible word-of-mouth publicity. Page 14.
Ray Harryhausen – top Hollywood special effects creator in the 1960’s gives ‘Doc’ his views on magical theater. Page 34.
Dr. Hooker created a truly legendary show in the world of magic. But what was his secret goal in creating it? Find out on Page 11.
What was it that Orson Welles did on his U.S.O. touring show that so impressed Mickey Hades? Page 38. Incidentally, Harry Blackstone Jr. thought Orson Welles’s show was the best magic show he’d seen.
Going beyond the mundane. Where art and magic meet and how you can elevate your performances. Page 28.
What to inject into your performance that leapfrogs your show over your brother magicians. Page 6.
Do magicians genuinely want to help psychic researchers or are they just looking for a publicity hook? Can you do both? Page 8.
Seven experts on their favorite close-up books. Pages 24 – 25.
The secret used by the most successful mentalists, Bert Reese, the Zancigs, Alexander, the Piddingtons and Chan Canasta. Page 6.
Plus, interviews with David Bamberg (Fu Manchu), Robert Lund, founder of the Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan, and the author J.B. Priestly.
The ‘Doc’ Shiels issue of Invocation Magazine (included by kind permission of Richard Kaufman) with a number of ‘Doc’ routines and thoughts on the performance of mentalism.
Five pages of ‘Doc’ memorabilia.
The Transatlantic E.S.P. Test by Tony Raven and ‘Doc’ Shiels. If you are at an event or party and are expected to do something, then this single effect will leave people talking for weeks.
68 pages plus cover. Perfect bound.