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The Life & Magic of Stewart James (1908-1996)


Three Companions Who Never Were (Part 1)

The lesson here seems to be, the next time a problem is attacked, instead of thinking in a straight line, try thinking in a triangle.

— Stewart James

The triangle, or the “try-angle” (as James is fond of calling it), is ubiquitous in his creative strategy work.  He realized that thinking outside of the box, or in a non-linear fashion, leads to innovation.  The three graphics below are each a simplified representation of the three-step process Stewart James discussed in relation to his trick “Audio-Hypnosis".


The second step of the magician’s tripartite approach is the stage at which he would employ a thought-starter such as the “Twelve Keys to All From The Pyramids“ (just discussed) or, in this example, the “Three Companions Who Never Where.” 

As the top visual above indicates, James would sit across from his imaginary collaborators – Rigonally, Faxton and Kardova – and receive suggestions for a trick like “Audio-Hypnosis” from them.  (For more regarding The Trio, please see “51 Faces North”).  This second stage in his creative process bridged the gap between his initial analysis of a trick concept (step 1) and his final, personal twist on its performance (step 3):

Notice how the points of the “try-angle” in the diagram of step one use the generic terms “plot,” “method” and “effect.”  In step two, Rigonally, Faxton and Kardova propose multiple suggestions for those categories.  Finally, by step three, James has selected “unusual sound” for the plot, “hypnotism” as the effect and a “vanishing cigarette” tube for the method.  In all three graphics, his mind is reaching out, branching out, in triangular movements to determine the most original and efficient way to perform the trick desired.





Copyright © 2007 Joe Culpepper and Magicana. All rights reserved.