The Trade Show Handbook by Bud Dietrich and Dick Jarrow

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This is a pretty old book on Trade Show Magic and in fact is one of the first I ever read. It was written by Bud Dietrich and Dick Jarrow.  Dietrich was a leading trade show magician with a sterling reputation. Mind you,  I still remember one thing that I heard which I always remembered about him. He did many shows for Hoyle Playing Cards which were manufactured by Stancraft.  In fact he was known as “Mr Hoyle” and he was certainly one of the most important trade show magicians around at that time. Now,  in the seventies I also did trade show work for Hoyle when the product line was first introduced to Canada.

Naturally I asked about Bud Dietrich and one rep complained, “Bud was great but there was only one problem. We couldn’t get him to stop because he was such a ham!. The salesmen couldn’t get a word in edgeways!”  I have always remembered that remark in my own work and make sure I don’t get in the way myself! After all the main purpose of a trade show magician is not so much the entertainment but to assist the sales people by gathering a crowd and conveying the features and benefits of the product to the attendees in an entertaining manner.

Having said this Bud Dietrich must have done something right since he was always busy and was one of the highest paid performers in this particular field.

But back to the book. Alas I don’t know much if anything about the other author Dick Jarrow so regrettably I can’t tell you much about him.

I was never able to get much out of the book when it first came out as the concept of performing magic at a trade show was not familiar to me and the book was written as if I should know all about it already. However, much later on the book made more sense to me and as a result became more useful. It talks about microphones, sales meetings and hospitality rooms and other kindred subjects. I think one feature of the book which no other book of this kind possesses is that it actually has a few chapters for the exhibitor who books the magician rather than for the performer himself.

As usual the book tells you nothing about how to book the show in the first place.

Overall, a book that deserves to be in the library of every trade show magician.

Trade Shows-An Inside Insight by Frances Marshall

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I have always rather liked this book. A little dated perhaps as it was written a long time ago but the information is valuable nevertheless. It is was originally part of a larger book written for magicians known as “The Success Book” but was later published on it’s own. And a very good little book it is too. It describes the essence of trade show magic in the seventies and eighties but a lot of the information is still relevant today.

It talks about how much to charge (in those days!), attracting the crowd, how to use attention getting techniques and much more. There are comments and articles by the magicians who were the trade show giants of the day such as Eddie Tullock, Bud Dietrich, Harry Lorayne, Mike Rogers etc; however, I think the best contribution is not by a magician but by an agent who used to book the magicians into the trade shows in the first place. He posted his contribution anonymously but it is generally accepted that it was Bob Snodell. This contribution alone is worth the price of the book for the insight and wisdom it contains.

There is not much information about getting the trade show in the  first place but as I have mentioned in a previous post this is a  weakness in most of these books. However the book I will talk about in my next post certainly addresses this and I look forward to telling  you all about it.