It was great to see Roland of the Weekly Magic Failure and Daily Card Trick blogs mentioning Jerry Sadowitz. I envy Rolands obviously recent discovery of Sadowiz’s material and remember how great it was to discover it for the first time myself – a feeling I got the first time I discovered the Walton books. Highly magical cleverly structured genius routines.
I’ve written before about how I consider Jerry Sadowitz to be the top card man in the world today – not just creatively but also technically. Those of you who have seen him perform will have witnessed flawlessly executed magic performed with apparent ease. Card magic is rarely seen on British TV today and when it is the performer (somewhat understandably) chooses easy stuff. The early 90’s hosted a couple of magic series which Sadowitz performed on and he performed no easy stuff. In fact he was performing incredibly hard routines (The Beast With Two Backs etc.), passes, half passes and bottom deals invisibly on television. Some people reading Walton question the difficulty of some of the tricks and think them unusable – this is the stuff Jerry was doing on television. I doubt anyone would even attempt this level if faced with a TV appearance now. I’m not saying they should, just that I respect Sadowitz’s fearlessness and refusal to “dumb down” so to speak. He understands that sleights are used as a tool to create magic and that if a difficult sleight gives a more direct and magical effect then surely you should use it.
One thing which anyone will have discovered when trying to find videos of Jerry online is the lack of them. For someone with exceptional skill he is seemingly very shy about clips of him appearing online – they are removed by him within days. Personally I fail to see what harm this does as it only enables people to discover his material, appreciate the routines and recognise and be thankful for Jerry’s advancement of magic. He must see it differently. His magazine “The Crimp” is worth it’s weight in gold if you can track it down – I don’t own a full collection but he ones I do have are full of some of the best card magic I’ve ever read – no joke. The magazine was freely available via his website for a long time but due to Jerry feeling that people were ripping off the material he has restricted the sale to only those who he trusts. I think this is a real shame and in many ways may actually be doing more harm than he realises.
By restricting the publication of his material it makes it very difficult to make a stand as far as crediting is concerned, at least from when it was restricted onwards. For example lets say that I discover a great idea which I’m sure has never seen print before, decide to publish it and do so. What I don’t realise is that this idea was published some months before in the Crimp. You can bet that I would be accused of plagiarism by Jerry despite that fact that the first published source is unobtainable. Is there a better solution? I can understand that Jerry wants to establish his material but not make it readily known but it must be one extreme or the other. Either keep it to yourself and don’t get involved or publish it all freely so that people can properly credit and enjoy the material.
To quote Jerry himself from the Crimp when talking about elitism in magic and what he calls “secrets merchants” –
You have something good of your own? Knowledge that progresses magic? Then speak up – or forever sit in your little seat, in your special circle for special children, spreading your mouldering cheese and monkey nuts.
By restricting the sale of his magazine is he inadvertently becoming what he seemingly hates? I’d love to hear what you guys think about this.
Sadowitz seems to be having a comeback with his standup comedy so is it time we saw a comeback with his magic? I hope so.