27 May 2016

Charlie “Mad Dog” Miller. A Magician on a Mission.

Either you care or you don’t.  Charlie Miller cared.

Ricky Jay considers him to be the finest exponent of pure sleight of hand in the last hundred years. Dai Vernon, Michael Skinner, Johnny Thompson and John Carney agree.  His version of The Ring and Stick, Misers Dream, Cups and Balls and Egg Bag are pure gold.  Most of the material in Expert Card Technique was created by Charlie Miller.

John Carney tells how Miller took a minor miracle from Sachs Sleight of Hand and with a few touches turned it into a masterpiece.  Johnny Thompsom relates how he caught Miller in bed one night practicing in the dark.  He was a die hard student of sleight of hand, but as he got older he became less tolerant of  the “Magician’s Magician.”  For Charlie Miller, the real value of magic came from entertaining the public.

Miller and Vernon

With Dai Vernon

Charlie Miller and Magicana

From 1964 to 1978 Charlie Miller wrote Magicana, a column in Genii Magazine.   He introduced new tricks, offered practical advice and commented on the state of magic.  Reading through these articles, one senses a temperamental guy who had no time for posers or hacks.  When something bothered “Mad Dog” Miller, he let his readers know.

Charlie Miller

Charlie Miller

From Magicana:

“These poor chaps who think that all that has to be done to be a magician is to practice a trick a couple of times and then go out and do it is perhaps the reason magic is not an “Art”.  And it wont be until such characters decide to present magic properly.”

“Skill without charm and personality for the magician is like having a date with a window store mannequin.  I hope the conceited little ass that said he didn’t need personality reads this.”

“I truly believe that a magic show is only as exciting as the magician.”



Charlie Miller and Johnny Thompson

With Johnny Thompson


“It is only when you are comfortable with your tricks that your personalty can come across.

“The most effective of all card tricks is the color change.”

“It is impossible in a lifetime to truly present more than a score of tricks.  By this I mean it is very hard to present good solid magic without much time and practice in order that the magician will really impress his audience.”



“If magicians would always keep the viewpoint of the audience rather than brother magicians, three-quarters of the ungodly, complicated and miserable card tricks would go down into oblivion.” 

“The audience is not really interested in subtle stuff.  They are interested in the effect as a whole.”  

“I am not a good dancer.  I don’t even consider myself a pretty good dancer.  However, I am a good faker.  And magic has taught me enough to know that it’s better to do a few steps well than to try and master everything in the book.” 

Listen to what Harry Riser has to say about the great Charlie Miller:



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