Who was Ed Marlo?
With the re-release of David Solomon's documentary "It's All In The Cards" we take a look at the protagonist of the movie, the magician that created well over 2.000 routines of card magic, the one and only Ed Marlo.
"It's All In The Cards" will be released as a download on July 2nd on BIGBLINDMEDIA and will contain:
Part 1: The History
- Documentary of Ed Marlo's life in card magic.
- Historic footage of Ed Marlo performing a collection of his original card effects and sleight of hand (including Devilish Miracle, Unbelievable Aces and Cards To Pocket, Open Prediction and 8 perfect riffle Faro Shuffles).
- First-hand stories highlighting Marlo's unique personality.
- Performer's Biographies.
Part 2: The Card Effects
- Marlo's students perform and explain card effects inspired by their mentor.
- Bonus historic footage of Ed Marlo, Charlie Miller and Dai Vernon at the Magic Castle in the Palace of Mystery. Circa 1983 filmed by James Lewis.
Born in 1913 in Chicago, Edward Stephen Malkowski carved out a livelihood as a skilled tool and die maker. However, it was under the name "Ed Marlo" that he would attain fame within the realm of magic, establishing himself as an insatiably curious investigator and practitioner of card magic. It is worth noting that Marlo's recognition stemmed primarily from his deep understanding and exploration of the art rather than his prowess as a performing entertainer.
Throughout the history of magic, numerous notable amateur innovators have emerged, akin to the Victorian card maestro Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, whose profound influence continues to resonate in the hands of countless card magic enthusiasts. Ian Swiss says that, "amateurs create, professionals select." While significant innovations often originate from amateurs, it is the discernment and endorsement of professionals that elevate certain material to the forefront, making it accessible to both the public and fellow magicians, thus receiving recognition from the wider magic community.
Malkowski's initial published contributions emerged in The Tops magazine in 1937. In these early instances, he was attributed as Edward (Marko) Malkowski. However, his first booklet, Pasteboard Presto, bearing the byline Ed Marlo, appeared either in 1938 or 1940, and from that point forward, Ed Marlo became the name under which he published extensively, amassing a staggering volume of work.
Marlo's output was nothing short of prodigious, as evidenced by the extensive bibliography encompassing seventy books. This list, a testament to his productivity, excludes numerous contributions to magic journals, marketed tricks accompanied by manuscripts, as well as Marlo's contributions to other publications and books penned by his frequent collaborator, Jon Racherbaumer. Collectively, Marlo's contributions amount to thousands of published works, illustrating the magnitude of his creative output.
Marlo's deepest passion resided in the realm of playing card magic, transcending mere enthusiasm and reaching the level of an all-consuming fixation. According to David Solomon, one of Marlo's devoted followers, the maestro's thoughts were perpetually occupied by card magic during his waking moments. Solomon, who had the privilege of having Marlo as his best man at his wedding, further revealed that Marlo possessed an unwavering desire to create an extensive repertoire of magical techniques. In pursuit of this unattainable goal—an authentic obsession—Marlo dedicated countless hours to the development and refinement of an infinite array of technical variations. Remarkably, he diligently documented each and every one of these variants and ideas. Solomon aptly remarked, "I don't believe he could discern which solutions were his finest, hence he chose to share them all with the world."
An aspect of Marlo's repertoire that often goes unnoticed, mainly due to the limited number of individuals who had the privilege of witnessing his performances, is his exceptional technical prowess. With an unwavering commitment to practice that mirrored his dedication to study and documentation, Marlo possessed the ability to flawlessly execute an impressive array of sleight-of-hand techniques. While a portion of his filmed performances surfaced years after they were captured, today we have greater accessibility to some of his work through video recordings. It is truly worthwhile to explore and appreciate these recordings, as they contain moments that can leave one utterly astonished.
Above is a segment from the upcoming re-release of "It's All In The Cards". In this 17 minute clip you can hear David Solomon talk about Marlo's technique and share with you some insight on what was going on at the time and how Marlo would go about filming and performing.
David has also shared with us 7 stories about Marlo which you might not have heard of. You can listen to these together with more interesting stuff in the "Creating Magic" interview that we did with him last week.
"It's All In The Cards" drops on 2nd of July.