Alan Bursky - Think a Drink

Alan Bursky - Think a Drink

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A break in my schedule has allowed me to catch up with some reading and research and I would like to draw your attention to an item that has particularly caught my attention. It seems I always get nice responses from my readers when I cast my somewhat jaundiced eyes over the latest releases to the magic community and this is a trick I feel rather strongly about.

There are a handful of tricks that are guaranteed to be audience favorites due to their very nature. These effects become classics and are generally performed by a great many performers. Sometimes you get a classic trick that is not often seen performed live by magicians and its impact is better classified in the ‘legendary’ category. Think-A- Drink is one such effect. I have only seen the effect performed once when Earl Nelson, presented his version of Alan Wakeling’s Bar Act. It totally knocked me out.

There are more versions and names for this effect than you can shake a martini at, but I will continue to refer to it in this brief article as Think-A-Drink which was the title given to it by the man who was so identified with it that it became part of his name—Charles “Think-A-Drink Hoffman. While Hoffman didn’t invent the trick he certainly perfected it to the degree that he definitively came to ‘own’ it in a performing sense. However I personally rather like the title that French magician Ryss gave the effect, ‘Le Barman de Satan!”

Billy McComb always used to say that when a magician was looking for a signature piece of magic to perform he would do well to focus on tricks that are complicated to master and rather painstaking to perform and you would find a lot fewer performers presenting the effect in public. Think-A-Drink certainly comes into this category. If you are looking for a classic piece of magic that will stick in an audience’s mind then this trick comes high on any objective list you could make, just ask Steve Cohen how he feels about it. Even better Think-A-Drink has a plotline that can be summed up in a sentence. “The magician poured out all kinds of drinks from a single container—and we even got to drink them!” The best tricks are the ones that can be summed up this easily.

An excellent source book of information was just published that gathers together most of the important aspects of this routine. The book is called ‘Alan Bursky Presents Think-A-Drink,’ and it contains eleven previously published routines, some fascinating articles and personal memoirs concerning this particular effect. The book has been meticulously researched and it does a wonderful job of making its information relevant and useful to any contemporary magician.

On a very practical level the final chapter detailing the various resources needed to perform the mechanics of the trick is probably worth the price of the book if you decide to add the trick to your repetoire. If you purchase this book and read it intelligently you can add the Think-A-Drink to your show, which is quite something to say about a trick that has made as many reputations as this one. I am equally sure there are many magical historians and hobbyists who will be excited to read the book just to add to their knowledge about this somewhat forgotten classic.

The book is published in an electronic edition contained on a digital disc that can be read in a very effective PDF format on your computer. The design and graphics in the book are the work of co-publisher Steve Mitchell and coupled with the classic magic artwork they make the book a delightful read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to share my opinion with you. I hope there are more volumes in this series to be released.

Table of Contents
Introduction: Alan Bursky 4
Foreword: Jim Steinmeyer 6
Charles Hoffman: Alton Sharpe 8
Levit Liquido: Charles Hoffman 11
Liquid Magic: “Think-A-Drink” Hoffman: Gary R. Brown 13
Charles “Think-A-Drink” Hoffman: Alton Sharpe 16
From Keg to Kettle: Jay Palmer 19
Think A Drink Hoffman: Bev Bergeron 29
More Magical Mysteries: David Devant 33
The Accommodating Kettle: Jim Steinmeyer 35
Martineau’s Six Drink Cocktail Shaker! 39
Water To Wine And Beer: “Think-A-Drink” Hoffman 43
Drinks From Pitchers: Jay Palmer
Section One: Chevalier Ernest Thorn 45
Section Two: Mademoiselle Margo 48
Section Three: Ryss—The Magic Barman 50
Correction Mr. Palmer, Please: Burling Hull 52
Section Four: Alvata 55
Section Five: Merv Taylor 57
Any Drink Called For: Caryl S. Fleming Version 59
A Complete Bar Act!!!: Thayer Studios 63
Forty Drinks Out Of One Bottle: Burling Hull 68
Resources 74
Acknowledgements 75