Harry Lorayne (born 1926) is an American magician and a memory-training specialist and writer who was called "The Yoda of Memory Training" by Time magazine. He is well known for his mnemonic demonstrations and has appeared on numerous television shows including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. His book The Memory Book was a New York Times bestseller. His card magic, especially his innovations in card sleights, is widely emulated by amateur and professional magicians.
Life and career
He grew up in New York's Lower East Side and he learned sleight of hand at the Hamilton Fish Park in the 1930s. At age 18, he began to perform as a table magician at Billy Reed's Little Club at 70 E. 55th St. in New York. The actor Victor Jory, noted for his role as a magician detective, was a regular visitor to the club. Lorayne started performing memory tricks for Jory and Jory's enthusiastic response changed Lorayne's approach to performing.
He began appearing on national television in 1958 (after hosting a local show of his own in 1951, The Prof. Magic Show), first on I've Got a Secret, where he demonstrated his ability to remember everybody's name in the audience and later appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and numerous other television shows including Jack Paar, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Regis Philbin Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, That's Incredible, David Susskind. He was a regular performer (24 times) on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
To demonstrate his memory, Harry Lorayne would stand beside the president of the club he was visiting and be introduced to each member. The number of members of a club could reach up to 1,500. After an hour and a half, Lorayne would speak about memory for about 20 minutes and then ask if anyone had a question. He promised that he would pay any questioner whose name he could not remember a thousand dollars. He always remembered the names of every member of the audience. Lorayne also made news by memorizing and recalling information from phone books with no errors. On just about every public appearance demonstrating his memory abilities, he would meet all the people in the audience, then he would open his show by asking all the people he met to please stand. He'd ask them to sit down as, and if, he pointed to each person and said his or her name. He sat down everyone in the audience. He had a memory school in New York employing such instructors as Darwin Ortiz. His video course (MEMORY POWER) was used as part of the training of many top corporations.
Writer and publisher
Harry Lorayne is a prolific author of memory training books intended for the public, as well as writing books for professional magicians. His ''The Memory Book'' has sold over two million copies, whilst in Chronicles: Volume One, Bob Dylan writes that he read Lorayne's book shortly before breaking through as a music star after finding it in the book collection of a friend.
"Harry Lorayne is the most influential author, publisher, and teacher of magic routines in the world today," according to Randy Wakeman.
For twenty years, Lorayne wrote and published the monthly magazine Apocalypse. He is also a columnist for Genii magazine.
- How To Develop a Super Power Memory (1957)
- Harry Lorayne's Secrets of Mind Power (1961)
- Close-Up Card Magic (1962)
- Personal Secrets (1964)
- The Harry Lorayne Memory Isometrics Course (1968)
- My Favorite Card Tricks (1965)
- Dingle's Deceptions (1966)
- Miracle Math (1966)
- Best of Bill-fooled (1967)
- Deck-Sterity (1967)
- Reputation-Makers (1971)
- Tarbell #7 (1972)
- The Great Divide (1972)
- Good Memory - Good Student! A Guide to Remembering What To Learn (1972)
- Rim Shots (1973)
- Afterthoughts (1975)
- The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play (1974)
- The Epitome Location (1976)
- Remembering People (The Key To Success) (1976)
- The Magic Book (1977)
- The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel (1978)
- Quantum Leaps (1979)
- Best of Friends, Vol. 1 (1982)
- Memory Makes Money (1985)
- Best of Friends, Vol. 2 (1985)
- Star Quality (1987)
- Page-A-Minute Memory Book (1987)
- Super Memory, Super Student: How to Raise Your Grades in 30 Days (1990)
- Trend Setters (1990)
- Doug Edwards Packs A Wallop (1997)
- Complete Guide To Memory Mastery (1998)
- The Himber Wallet Book (1998)
- Personal Collection (2001)
- How to get Rich Using the power of your mind (2003)
- The Classic Collection, Volume 1 (contains Close-Up Card Magic, Personal Secrets, My Favorite Card Tricks, Deck-Sterity, The Epitome Location) (2005)
- Ageless Memory: Simple Secrets for Keeping Your Brain Young (2007)
- Best of Friends, Vol. 3 (2007)
- The Classic Collection, Volume 2 (containing Reputation-Makers, Rim Shots, Afterthoughts) (2008)
- The Classic Collection, Volume 3 (contains Quantum Leaps, Trend Setters, Dingle's Deceptions, The Great Divide) (2010)
- Special Effects (2011)
- The Classic Collection, Volume 4 (containing The Magic Book, Star Quality, The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel) (2012)
- Before I Forget (memoirs/autobiography) (2013)
- The Classic Collection, Volume 5 (containing Doug Edwards Packs A Wallop, The Himber Wallet Book, Mathematical Wizardry) (2014)
- Apocalypse Magazine - 1978-1997
- Genii Magazine
Harry Lorayne has been at the centre of a controversy for many years regarding accusation of theft of material. It is claimed that Harry publishes other magician's material and either fails to credit them or renames them after himself. One example is the Bottom Slip Cut which was showed to Harry by Derek Dingle. This move was then published in Rim Shots (1973 p. 131) as the "Halo Bottom Slip Cut". "Halo" is an abbreviation of "Harry Lorayne".