Showing posts with label David Ben. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Ben. Show all posts

Monday, June 17, 2019

Germain's Water Jars

In my quest to finish my podcast on Germain the Wizard, I failed to include one rather significant routine. That routine is Germain's Egyptian Water Jars. It's a very unusual routine, and a very difficult routine. It's been said that only Germain was able to 'pull the magic' out of it*.  What was this mystery?

Stuart Cramer in his book, Germain the Wizard & His Legerdermain, says that this was the trick Germain was best known for, but also the one effect that Germain disliked the most. Where the inspiration for the trick came from is not recorded. If I might speculate however, in 1906, Germain was in England and was known to spend many off hours sight seeing and visiting museums. Of special interest to him were the Egyptian collections. Perhaps seeing items from one of these collections led him to the idea.  He also had another Egyptian effect in the show, Rhadama, The Bride of the Nile, which involved a mummy and a sarcophagus. The mummy comes to life and dances around and then returns to the sarcophagus where it is seen to almost instantly turn back into the wrapped mummy.  In 1918, Germain put this illusion up for sale and I do not know it's whereabouts today.

As for the Egyptian Water Jars. Here is the effect: Six Large Nickel plated Jars are shown to be empty and placed upside down on a thin table made of glass. Then one at a time, each jar fills with water, which is poured into an aquarium or tub. In the case of the tub, it would later be picked up and turned over to show the water had changed to confetti.

In 1909, an unauthorized version of the trick hit the market. In 1910, Germain loaned his set of Jars to Martinka so that they could produce them and sell them officially. This was a rarity to Germain, as he was usually very guarded with this methods and secrets. In truth, he was guarded here too because he didn't  give Martinka the full 'work' on the Egyptian Water Jars. As with much magic, there is more  here than the audience knows and together an incredible illusion was created.

I mentioned earlier that 'no magician had been able to pull any magic' out of the Water Jars, other than Germain. That is not exactly true. Many years after Germain died, David Ben was creating a show called simply, The Conjurer. Among the mysteries to be presented was the Germain Water Jars. As it turns out, David Ben, borrowed a set of Water Jars from Jay Marshall and had them reproduced. The Jars that Marshall had were one of the rare Martinka sets. But I have no doubt that David Ben was able to pull the magic from this wonderful prop and present a truly fantastic mystery.

If you'd like to learn more about Karl Germain and his incredible magic, please check out my podcast #25 on the life of Germain the Wizard.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Magic Collectors Weekend Report

I'm not sure if I've had a guest blogger on here, or if I have it's been a while. My friend Blair Marshall who is a great Magician/Illusionist from Canada, attended the Magic Collectors Weekend, and I asked him if he could share his experience with the readers of I discovered that John Cox from had a guest blogger do a write up for his site as well. I decided to wait a couple days before I put this up to give folks enough time to see his write-up. I purposely chose to use a similar format, but have done my best to give you different photos and different content.

And now, Take It Away Blair...

Mike Caveney started the day by doing an awesome job telling The Egyptian Hall story to the gathering here in Montreal for the Magic Collectors Weekend. Egyptian Hall was the magic collection of David Price Jr.. To read more about Egyptian Hall, follow this link

What an amazing kick-off to our day at the McCord Museum and the opening weekend of their Illusions: The Art of Magic exhibit. Prepare to see some really incredible images I took during my time at the exhibit!

Here are some of the photos of the amazing magic poster collection at the Montreal McCord Musuem we saw during the Magic Collectors Weekend. The exhibit represents approx. 10% of their collection. They are beautifully displayed and the exhibition halls are well themed. A big thank-you to Christian Vachon, the poster collection curator, for the love, care, and attention to detail that he gave to this amazing exhibit. BRAVO CHRISTIAN, BRAVO McCORD!!!

If those pictures were part of the 10%, what else is there??? As part of the MCW we were taken "behind the scenes" by the magic poster collection curator Christian Vachon and down into the vault where we saw some amazing HUGE posters . Merci Christian!

The attendees to the MCW were taken to the library by Geneviève Déziel of the Montreal McCord Musuem where we got to view some of the Houdini artifacts from the collection (not shown to the public).

This is the former student union hall where it is said Houdini gave his last talk to the McGill students on spirit mediums, he died just a few days later.

The museum may eventually do a Houdini exhibit.

We did not know the programming for the Magic Collector's Weekend here in Montreal.  Little did I know that the Friday evening event was about the early years of Doug Henning. After an opening talk by Michael Grandinetti, the stage was taken over by Brian Lumley and Maya (Lesley Fitzpatrick-Walker ), two of Doug's very close friends and assistants from the "Spellbound" days and on. Brian was a carpenter (still is) and built sets and props for Spellbound.  Maya was part of a two woman magic act called Mars and Mayo who worked with Doug.

I had met Doug Henning prior to them in 1969/70, and I had performed on a magic convention show with Maya and Mars in 1977. So it was great meet them and to reconnect with Maya again. (ed note: To read more about Maya, visit her site where she talks about Doug

On Saturday evening, after the show The Allan Slaight Awards were given out. To read more about the awards please visit

Julie Eng and David Ben, along with their support team, did an awesome job pulling together the Magic Collectors Weekend here in Montreal, folks from all over the world attended, making it truly an international event. Thanks Julie and Ben!!!!!
Blair Marshall and Julie Eng
 Thanks BLAIR for the great photos and report!!! Also, please go to to see all the wonderful articles and videos of magic history they offer and subscribe to their magazine. Also, visit   to learn more about the exhibit.
And finally, Please check out John Cox's site to get even more perspective on the weekend..