The Digital Pabular CDRom

Produced by Martin Breese International
Reviewed by Peter Duffie


Pabular was one of the very best close-up magazines and it was published in Britain. It ran for eight volumes and had three editors during its lifetime: Fred Robinson, Walt Less and Stephen Tucker. Eric Mason was the art editor and Nick Bolton was the publisher.

The magazine was launched in September 1974. The first trick in the first issue was a coin routine by Andrew Galloway, the only pupil of the late John Ramsay, and an authority on misdirection. Though very simple in technique, "The Pegasus Coin" was intentionally given prime position in the magazine because of the misdirection involved, and the details were fully revealed for those who wanted to learn more than the mere mechanics. This would set the tone for what was to follow. Under the tight editorial rein of card and close-up expert Fred Robinson, Pabular became one of the most respected journals of its time. Fred was able to coax people to contribute a calibre of material that one wouldn't normally expect for a magazine. When Juan Tamaritz allowed Fred to publish his "Oil & Water" routine in it's entirety, Fred was delighted.

When Fred resigned his position as editor in January 1981, his friend Walt Lees succeeded him. Walt, with his excellent dry sense of humour, continued to maintain the high standard for a period, before handing over the job to Stephen Tucker. Steve continued to produce a quality journal, stamping his personality on it with his quirky editorials.

Although a British journal, the list of contributors reads like an international Whose Who in magic. Top-flight pros like Fred Kaps and Juan Tamaritz shared, not only their magical secrets, but their 'performing" secrets, too. An essay by Fred Kaps on performing magic professionally for laymen was considered by Fred Robinson to be one of Pabular's greatest moments. However, there are literally hundreds of great moments in this magazine.

Other names whose material can be found within these pages, include: Jack Avis, Gaeton Bloom, John Carney, Tony Corinda, Ted Danson, Will Dexter, Bob Driebeek, Shiv Duggal, Peter Duffie, Alex Elmsley, Dominique Duvivier, Cy Endfield, Bob Farmer, Flip, Piet Forton, Roberto Giobbi, Ray Grismer, Paul Hallas, Steve Hamilton, Francis Haxton, Jim Hooper, Basil Horwitz, Charles Hudson, Gentleman Jack, Larry Jennings, Rick Johnsson, Peter Kane, Gerald Kosky, Simon Lovell, Trevor Lewis, Ed Marlo, Bob Ostin, Pat Page, Oscar Pladek, John Ramsay, Bob Read, Rovi, Sam Schwartz, Al Smith, Hans Trixer, Stephen Tucker, Dai Vernon and Tommy Wonder.

Then there are the one-man issues, these include: Roy Walton (2 issues), Phil Goldstein (3 issues), Gordon Bruce, David Carre, Walt Lees and Barrie Richardson.

Digital Dream

Enter Martin Breese. For some years now, full sets of Pabular have been eagerly sought, often exchanging hands for high prices. It seems incredible that this can now be purchased for such a modest price on a single CDROM and viewed electronically on any desktop computer, laptop, or hand-held reader. The file is PDF format, which opens in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Most computer users will already have this, but the CD comes complete with Adobe Acrobat Reader for anyone without.

Search & Research

Following an introduction by Martin Breese and a short article from Ian Keable, you will arrive at the excellent index, compiled by Ian Keable. This is in several sections - each section covering the complete magazine, but in a different way. The first section is hyperlinked and runs in page order. Here you can click on any trick or article and are instantly transported to that page. The other sections of this index, while not hyperlinked, allow you to locate specific contributors, tricks and articles. Here you can either go back to the first section and use the appropriate hyperlink, or you can use the search facility within Adobe Reader - entering a name or page number - to locate the item.

For research, this is the way to go. Before the advent of digital media, how, for example, would you have found the whereabouts of an obscure name merely mentioned somewhere within the pages of an eight-volume magazine? The only way was to read every word in every issue until you found it…if you found it. With this, you simply type in the name you seek, and hit the return key on your keyboard!

There are a small number of items by a certain individual that had to be removed from the digital edition due to unforeseen problems, and while these items certainly would be of value to readers, they constitute only a tiny fraction of the overall content.

Like Martin Breese's previous digital releases (Pentagram and Max Andrews Magic) this is a veritable snip at the price. Even if you're not a fan of digital media (ebooks), for this money you simply cannot go wrong.


Highly recommended.

© Peter Duffie March 2002


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