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80 years of Gardner magic.

The magician and historian Max Maven poignantly eulogized Martin Gardner in his article "In Memoriam" in the July 2010 issue of GENII magazine (pp. 24- 25). Commenting on the diverse interests of Gardner in non-fiction, puzzles, recreational mathematics, philosophy, games, skepticism, word play and magic, Maven noted: "So far as is known, the final Gardner publication during his lifetime was a magic trick that he contributed to the May 2010 issues of Word Ways, a quarterly journal with a small but fervent readership. I will mention, without humility, that the trick was based on one of mine--which in turn was based on one of Martin's."

We concur with Mr. Maven. We mailed the May issue Saturday morning May 8th and were informed by several Australian readers that their copies were received on Saturday May 15th. Gardner died on Saturday May 22 after complaining about difficulties in breathing and being rushed to a Norman, Oklahoma hospital that morning. He was mentally alert until the end.

We asked our webmaster David S. Dillon and later William Kalush of The Conjuring Arts Research Center for help in locating Gardner's first magic publication. They both reported that it was in the May 1930 issue of The Sphinx, a magic magazine. Save for an earlier letter to the editor, this is regarded as the first article published by Gardner on any topic. A full span of 80 years to the month. Of course Gardner has several works currently in production and these will appear posthumously for some time to come (many in Word Ways).

Gardner had given us in 2008 written permission to publish anything he has written and we exercise that privilege now by reprinting his first magic trick and rerunning his last.

From The Sphinx, May 1930:

New Color Divination by Martin Gardner

Here's a variation of the old crayon in tube gag.

Instead of crayons, small balls of colored gum are used, and any type of container in which to place them. The gum sells for a penny a ball in almost every barber shop. The trick is accomplished by slightly moistening the forefinger and rubbing it over the bail while behind the performer's back The color of the gum will come off on the finger where it is noticed when the tube (or whatever container you are using) is brought to the forehead. The trick is a good one to pull downtown when near a ball-gum vending machine, as it is entirely impromptu.

(From Word Ways, May 2010)

ANSWERS AND SOLUTIONS

WAR

JEREMIAH FARRELL

KAREN FARRELL

Indianapolis, Indiana

COPYRIGHT 2010 Jeremiah Farrell
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Martin Gardner
Author:Farrell, Jeremiah; Farrell, Karen
Publication:Word Ways
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2010
Words:507
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