Parlor magic is done for larger audiences than close-up magic (which is for a few people or even one person) and for smaller audiences than stage magic. In parlor magic, the performer is usually standing and on the same level as the audience, which may be seated on chairs or even on the floor. According to the Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians by T.A. Waters, "The phrase [parlor magic] is often used as a pejorative to imply that an effect under discussion is not suitable for professional performance." Also, many magicians consider the term "parlor" to be old fashioned and limiting, since this type of magic is often done in rooms much larger than the traditional parlor, or even outdoors. A better term for this branch of magic may be "platform," "club" or "cabaret."
Most so-called "birthday-party magicians" perform magic which fits into this classification. These tricks include the "Miser's Dream" (where a seemingly endless supply of coins is produced from thin air), sucker tricks (like the "die box", where a giant die is put in a two-compartment box; the magician makes it vanish but the audience believe he simply shifts it to the other compartment; eventually the magician opens both sides of the box and the die is gone; it has appeared in a previously-empty hat); audience participation tricks (like the breakaway wand, where a wand remains rigid for the magician but falls apart every time the volunteer touches it); production effects (like the square circle, in which a bottomless, topless box with a screened front encloses a bottomless, topless cylinder. Both are shown empty and put together again; the magician then produces large quantities of silk scarves, fruit, bottles, and so on from the "empty" cylinder, inside the square box); and so on. There are countless effects that could be considered as fitting into this classification.
Parlor, or club, magicians generally work without assistants and within a few miles of their homes (unlike stage magicians, who may have several in their crew - both backstage and on stage - and may travel thousands of miles between jobs). This is because payment is less for parlor magicians (but still generally more than for close-up performers). Performances of this category of magic include civic and fraternal organizations, business groups, private parties, youth groups, church societies, public dinners, and similar venues.
Parlor magicians are not as well known to the general public (if at all) as stage magicians such as David Copperfield and Lance Burton. Parlor or platform magicians include people such as Americans John Mulholland, Steve Cohen and Larry White, who is also the former magic editor of MUM magazine; Europeans Fred Kaps and Alan Shaxon.
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