Tales From The Uncanny Scot. A book to treasure.
Tales From The Uncanny Scot. By Ron Wilson.
I was excited to see that this gem of a magic book is once again available for purchase; I have enjoyed it immensely and consider it one of the very finest additions to my library in many years. Ron Wilson was not just a wonderful performing magician, but also a fascinating storyteller and in this book the Uncanny Scot tells some tales that will entertain and intrigue every lover of magic. It is my pleasure to wholeheartedly recommend this publication.
Ron Wilson was part of the very earliest years at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. His reminisces share intimate stories about one of the most exciting and creative eras in the history of magic. In a time when bookshelves in magic dens are groaning under the weight of magic books containing “new” tricks and moves, there haven’t been nearly enough books such as this one. People whose names are legendary in magic circles become close to being flesh and blood when we read these tales. It is a rare and special opportunity.
The joy of “Tales from the Uncanny Scot” is the way that Wilson shines a light on the fascinating characters that populated the Magic Castle in those formative days. Memoirs like this are way too few and far between, and in covering the personal history of our art they create a living, breathing framework to put important elements into focus. A man of quiet integrity and charm, Ron was on the spot when things were happening at the Castle and we are extremely lucky that his memories have been captured on paper for us to share.
I joined the Magic Castle in early 1974, and even then with my “late” arrival on the scene, was all too aware of how many people and events that had been instrumental to the formation of this contemporary mecca of magic I had missed. More recent members are familiar with those early groundbreakers in an ever less direct manner than me. This book brings these people to life in a vivid and colorful manner that amuses, entertains and educates you on every page.
Ron was a friend and confidant of some of the most legendary figures in the magic world and his intimate stories of magical icons such as: Dai Vernon, Bruce Cervon, Doug Henning, Charlie Miller, Cary Grant, Larry Jennings, Jay Ose, Mike Skinner, Orson Welles, Shimada and Tony Slydini are priceless. That list is just the tip of the magical iceberg; Ron’s friendships included both the famous and the infamous from those halcyon days when the framework of contemporary magic was being forged behind the fabled walls of 7001 Franklin Avenue.
From the moment Wilson traveled to Los Angeles to become part of the fledgling Magic Castle he became a large part of the living heart and fabric of that ongoing magical dream. Ron was not only President of the Magic Castle but one of its most highly awarded performers, before becoming the talent booker for the club. In all these capacities his dedication to high standards and qualities made him one of the key architects to the ongoing success of the club as it enters its second half-century of excellence. You will be fascinated following Wilson’s personalized timeline of the people who brought this dream to fruition.
“Tales from the Uncanny Scot” was a labor of love not only in the writing but also in the publishing and it comes complete with a multitude of original and unique photographs, many of which are being seen for the first time. However, what is a book on magic that doesn’t teach you at least one trick? A delightful bonus to this published edition is a DVD that features Ron himself teaching R. Paul Wilson his award winning card trick “The Highland Hop,” and showing Paul the intricacies of his method for the second deal. There are also rare clips of Ron’s stage show filmed live at the Magic Castle.
I was lucky enough to have a tiny part in the aftermath to Wilson’s book, and the bonus DVD includes me conducting a live interview with Ron where we discuss some of the stories contained in the pages of “Tales…” I also persuaded Ron to share some personal details about himself during the interview and they make a nice addition to his reminisces about his many friends.
There are copies of the book currently available at the website http://uncannyscot.weebly.com and when they are gone there will likely be no further reprints, so I highly suggest you grab this piece of history while you can. The standard edition is a 196 page hardbound book with dust jacket and DVD, which retails for 45 dollars. There are also a few copies of the Collector’s Edition of 100 that has a distinctive maroon hardcover and has been personally hand-signed by Ron Wilson.