Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WMF Harry Lorayne, Not Really!

Who the hell is Harry Lorayne and what has he become? I used to know Harry Lorayne only as the publisher of the "Apocalypse", a magic magazine which ran monthly for 20 years. This was only possible through the constant input by other magicians who regularly contributed their magic creations to be published by Harry Lorayne. While reading it two things became obvious. 1st: Harry really has an eerie ability to teach magic in written words. 2nd: He is absolutely full of himself. The way he "improved" on the tricks of others and constantly referred to his "mind" and his "knowledge" and that he is rarely wrong were not signs of modesty.

Modesty is a word that totally not describes Harry Lorayne. Here are some others: Understatement, dignity, frugality and discreet.

Harry has always been a loud mouthed, opinionated man with an ego problem seemingly driven by inferiority complexes. But also a man who is smart, a workaholic, a very good magic teacher and someone with a great understanding of magic.

And that is just what I get when reading the Apocalypse. But things changed radically so it seems when Harry got an Internet connection. And a whole new ugly side of Harry Lorayne was brought to my attention. His hustler like behavior at the Magic Café. Almost every post he does is a sales pitch for at least one of his books. So you can add sleazy salesman to the list. That is my opinion, simply because that is not a way a fair seller does business.

It seems like Harry Lorayne has not understood how the Internet works. It is not well placed advertisement if anyone can see the spamming of:

"Out of This Universe and Impromptu Out of This World, both in The Classic Collection, Volume 1. How "in the world" can you go wrong?! HL."

"I taught the Curry Turnover Change back in my first book - in 1962, been using it ever since - and it sure isn't obvious in my hands - or in the hands of others all over the world, etc. Please, speak for yourself - and you might even pick up The Classic Collection, Vol. 1, go to the Close-Up Card Magic section, and learn the move. HL."

"You can find my The Scoop Change in the Reputation-Makers section of The Classic Collection, volume 2."

"My The Lorayne Force is surefire - Martin Nash used it ALL the time."

"Yes; on Volume 1 of my 4-volume "Best Ever" DVD set, my Lorayne Force is used for a "sandwich" effect - the basic move is taught there. HL."

Enough is enough... I heard that when we get older the ability to filter shit gets weaker and weaker. If this is so, Harry has lost it.

He is just a naked man with no more secrets. His character traits are open for all to see and all we see is a grumpy old man who seems unable to cope with the fact that he is not the Messiah of magic and that his prime is over.

So is he a WMF? No... I pity him.

And to those who are pissed off at him... here is a saying my grandma used to give me: "Before you take an advise, take a look where the advise comes from." The same holds true for nasty comments and just mean spirited words.


Kevin Chou said...

Good post, I agree with this. He is prolific as a writer and a great magician, but my god he needs to tone down his ego. I recall a conversation on the Cafe about having to "respect" him like we would a celebrity, like Paul McCartney. Bad analogy - Paul McCartney is humble, kind, and easy going.

Well, I may not like him as a person, but I sure like his magic.

Einmaliger said...

Great article! Next time someone asks about HL, I'll refer him to this explanation. Pretty much sums up everything you need to know about him. I, too, respect him for his books and contributions to the art. However, for his person I have a strong dislike for him for exactly the reasons given in this article.

the Minutemen said...

Maybe he got too many books left in his warehouse that he needs to sell them.

Who wants a big book of card trick these days? We are now in the age of instant download impractical effect age thanks to our fellow magicians...

Roland said...

You know what, you may actually have a point there. I can imagine that when it was time to print these books his ego might have said something like "a million" then reality sold only a few thousand. Now he needs to pimp the sales of his books in order to get rid of them. Might actually be true!

Julian said...

Good Good POST!! this old man always is triying to sell his books and the worst part is that they are hell out of expensive!!
BTW its weird that the user of the magic cafe dont bash him! in any other forum people will thell him what he is , a old money greedy

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, but one thing it doesn't completely convey is Harry's sheer belligerence. He's got as big a chip on his shoulder as anyone I've ever encountered on the Internet -- famous or anonymous.

In addition to scanning threads in the Magic Cafe for any opportunity to promote himself and hawk his wares, he also watches like a hawk for anything he perceives as a slight -- then reacts in the petty, immature manner of a schoolboy on a playground. The "offense" might be as mild as someone saying "I think Harry's handling of this effect in this particular video goes too fast," or "I've never heard of (something from one of his books)" -- and he's instantly in name-calling mode, belittling and condescending to the "offender."

Or there can be no offense at all -- not even a criticism by any stretch of the imagination -- just a misreading by Harry, simply because he's always looking so hard for any reason to fly off the handle. If you say anything about Harry that's not strictly worshipful, you're running the risk of setting him off.

He recently "threatened" someone who ran afoul of him with never helping that person in any way -- but I've never actually seen Harry *help* anyone on The Magic Cafe. He doesn't really participate or contribute to that message board in any way. I recently looked at Harry's posts for the previous 30 days on the Cafe. In three pages of results, at least 90 percent of his posts were either self-promoting plugs or angry, childish responses to people he thought had slighted him.

I can't believe a grown man -- let alone one as mature as Harry -- could think he's doing himself any favors. I'm sure his terrible attitude loses him as many customers as his incessant self-promotion gains him. His classic "The Magic Book" was one of my favorite works on magic when I was a kid. It's ample evidence that he's a gifted magician and an excellent teacher...but I will never, ever buy anything of his in the future. I can't imagine I'm alone in that.

I toyed with the idea of reporting some of Harry's more bellicose rants to the management of The Magic Cafe. Then I noticed that this pattern of behavior goes back at least to 2006. So it's clear no one at the Cafe has any intention of doing anything about it.

It's a shame. And it's proof of the old adage that says you should never meet your heroes.

Anonymous said...

All of you complete and utter pricks are truly non-entities.

You are unheard of in the world of magic.

If the lot of you together were put into a room of laymen against Lorayne with just a pack of cards, I know who'd demolish the audience and who'd be going home early to bed.

His books are expensive? Sorry? I've used Lorayne's material for just over 30 years working as a professional magician - and I've probably earned enough in fees to pay for these books a million times over.

Jealousy - that's all I can put it down to. Until you can achieve what Lorayne has achieved then there's an easy option..............PUT up or fucking SHUT up you mugs!

Justin said...

Hey buddy, not sure if you actually bothered to read the post or not, but if you did you'd know that Roland's bashing neither Lorayne's material nor his performing abilities. The point of the post is that he's a massive cockhead, especially with his discovery of the internet. Just read any Cafe post of his ever.

Am I jealous of an old guy having dominion over the Magic Cafe? No. Shoot me when that day comes.

Barry Allen said...

Justin - I wasn't exactly knocking Roland as I can see that the guy clearly has talent.

My angst was primarily aimed at some of the comments above from, no doubt 'hobbyists' that have never contributed anything whatsoever to the art of magic other than pathetic little jibes at a true LEGEND of our art.

These comments are typical of 'Magical Masturbators' - a.k.a. geeks that sit in their bedrooms; lonely and friendless, learning the latest trashy piece of card juggling.

Harry Lorayne has truly earned the respect of thousands of people. He is a brilliant author, teacher and a dynamic performer. Yet I read idiotic comments such as [Quote]: "who wants a big book of card tricks these days".

Well, I'll tell you who does. The fucking mugs that post their piss poor attempts at card magic on YouTube and rate themselves as 'card men'. Ask them to perform card magic in front of a group of guys down the local bar, and their boxers would be on a hot wash before you could say the words Bicycle Deck.

I know that Harry has a rant on The Magic Cafe - but that's why a lot of us love him. He doesn't suffer mugs and, if someone is talking out of their arse, he tells them so. And fair play to him for doing so. Yes, he promotes his products. But anyone that reads the Green Forum will tell you that he isn't the only one. It's awash with self-promotion. The difference is, Lorayne's magic has stood the test of time. It's commercial material - not the latest little 'brain fart' from some twat who then doctors a YouTube vid to make it look better than it really is!

So there you go - take him or leave him. As far as I'm concerned, Lorayne's material has given me a bloody decent living since 1979 - so hopefully you'll accept why I hold the man is such high esteem.

Justin said...

Barry, I don't hold the man in high esteem. His material, yes. The man himself? Not at all. I respect him for putting out Apocalypse, which wasn't the best magazine around, but it had some great material in it. It's one thing to not suffer fools--it's another to just be a flat-out dick. The amount of sods gargling his balls at the Cafe is at once hilarious and depressing.

And by the way, you completely took Minutemen's words out of context. His full post was:

"Maybe he got too many books left in his warehouse that he needs to sell them.

Who wants a big book of card trick these days? We are now in the age of instant download impractical effect age thanks to our fellow magicians..."

Idiotic? Bah. Very true.

Barry Allen said...

What ran for 20 years during the time of Apocalypse that bettered it? Oh hang on, surely you aren't talking about the monthly, errr quarterly, sorry, six monthly, errrr make that yearly - 'Richard's Almanak' are you?

If I was you I wouldn't bother even reading The Magic Cafe because if you think that Harry Lorayne is the only guy to have numerous tongues up his arse, then you are sadly mistaken. Anyone that get's given VIP status on the M.C. get's more than their fair share of imbeciles hanging onto their every word - get over it mate.

Said it before and I'll say it again. The vast majority of people dislike Harry Lorayne because of one reason.


And do you know something? This is a free World; but I won't hold my breath waiting for someone to come along that can better his achievements to date! ;-)

Justin said...

This jealousy argument is so old and lazy and fallacious. Plus, it's the very first thing his lackeys (and the man himself) jump to when he is criticized. Get a new argument, because it simply doesn't make sense. Jealous of what? Doing card tricks for Woody Allen in Naples? Putting out a well-received magazine? Having a good memory? He's achieved a lot in his life, but to say there hasn't been any other magician to come along and "better" him is silly.

As for better magazines that ran parallel to Apocalypse: Pabular, Opus, The Trapdoor, Marlo's, Racherbaumer's, Fulves's, Ibidem.

Quality over quantity.

Barry Allen said...


Pabular? Are you SERIOUS! A magazine aimed at the typical self-opinionated finger flingers of that era. The type of magicians that were in a little London Magic Circle Clique and thought themselves better than most; Johnny Johnson, Fred Robinson, Chris Powell, Justin Highham even? ;-)

A bunch of guys that were the apparent 'elite' of the London magic scene BUT none of which I EVER seemed to rub shoulders with commercially. I wonder why? In actual fact, a vast number of magicians that I've worked with during my life have been totally divorced from magical societies and other magicians. I wonder why?

As for the other publications - not aware that they were all produced MONTHLY AND for a period spanning some 20 years. Wonder why? Marlo banging on about 30 variations of spreading a card off the top of the pack (zzzzzzzz); Racherbaumer so far up Marlo's arse it makes the pro-Lorayne guys on The Magic Cafe pale into insignificance. The Trapdoor....errrrm ran for how many editions exactly? Fulves - never read his stuff so, in fairness, can't comment.

Onto the jealousy issue. Justin - I don't need to get a new argument because I truly believe it is the MAIN argument. Bear in mind, that 'Lorayne bashing' was around for a number of decades before the internet fella; and I'd even guess long before you were actually born.

And who by I wonder? Primarily from people that love the politics of magic. People who don't earn sod all performing professionally (other than for the fraternity itself - i.e. magic for other magicians). People that have never handled a stag crowd or a group of pissed-up guys at a rugby club. People that think it's more important to know a thousand different ways of controlling a card when, in reality, you only really need to know one (and do it well).

Quality over quantity? Agreed. But WHERE is the 'quality' within the aforementioned publications (other than, as mentioned previously, material for the magical masturbators to cream over)!

Clearly we are miles apart. I no longer attend magic clubs, conventions or spend time with other magicians. Why? Because the magical fraternity is now awash with complete and utter twats. Guys that haven't got the first idea of how to become a commercial performer; even if their sad little lives depended upon it.

Any way, I won't be revisiting this thread as I've got nothing more to say.

That said, thanks for the time corresponding. I wish you well old chap - despite the fact we have vastly different opinions.

Justin said...

Yes, everything you just said, but the opposite. Ha.

Thanks to you, too.

Anonymous said...

wow people, chillax and be real, does everyone talk like this about their 86 year old grampa who sit s in a rocking chair spits chew and is rude all time and repetatively talks about the same story over and over, if so people need to learn what going back to the roots is all about.

ya he's a grumpy old man, tell me you'll act any different when your creeping near 90. Everyone needs to remember he's getting closer to the end of his rope and the only thing he has to hold onto now is his prior feats. My one goal if I could accomplish anything before I died would be to have my name known for doing something great and by that point in my life if I accomplished what this man has I would be upset about any belittling that would arise ecspecially if I gave away all my secrets to shortly after be disrespected and talked about in negative context by the same people that use my strategies and secrets.

So give him a break, ya he's old, grumpy, and repetative but it's part of being old and his book sales is probably the only money he has coming in at that age, so ya I would plug it every time I'd get a chance, exspecially when his techniques work unlike a lot of the products that are out there. I could see being pissed off if it was the developer of Rosetta Stone or something but for real, everyone talking crap about him as a person are the people I would never want to befriend because you are the people who kick a man while he's down to get rid of dead weight.

Intensely Magic said...


Harry Lorayne was an opinionated, rude, asshole well before he lost his mind. He deserves no quarter at this point.


The Smiling Mule said...

As Barry Allen is a big Paul Gordon fan, his attitude towards Harry is no surprise.

Now, I would never lump Harry in with Gordon... yes Harry has also made his name publishing other people's stuff but, mostly, he puts their name on the book or trick in question.

In spite of what Harry has or has not contributed to magic, only a blind fool can not see that his behavior has gone well beyond "not suffering mugs." It is absolutely his right to act like an asshole and who are we to tell him not to, but this strange kind of hero worship in flatly denying that he gets on like a prick is simply ignorant.

Harry has put out some great stuff, AND he acts like an obnoxious prick on the interwebs. I like him. Not so hard, is it?

Incidentally, he is much better known for his memory demonstrations than any performance with a pack of cards. Unfortunately though (at least when in his talking-to-magicians- mode) he claims the memory systems to be his own and gets crabby with anyone who dares comment on the origin of the system he favors. This is sad.

As with many card tricks, he has done a great job popularizing the ROTH memory system. His memory books are great, he has added a few personal twists and he backs it up with actually being able to DO the stuff superbly.

But anybody who knows anything about memory systems, or takes a little time to research the field, will recognize very quickly that his whole system is lifted directly out of the Roth Memory Course published ten years before he was born. Of course, the ideas go back further, but Roth's chapters, philosophy and specific techniques are mirrored almost identically in the Lorayne books.

And it is NOT a case of independent reinvention, as the copied aspects go right down the the specific letter/digit codes used in a particular technique for remembering numbers.