Ross Bertram: Master Magician


Ross and Msgr. Foy spent a great deal of time together. Msgr. Foy, perhaps recognizing the fragility of the man, motivated Ross to work on a book of his own magic, and with Msgr. Foy’s help, it became Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram

PreviewRoss Bertram
Left: Ross Bertram with his book Magic & Methods. Right: Msgr. Vincent Foy.

This book was a compilation of many of the routines Ross had contributed to other publications over the years as well as many unpublished routines. Ross would dictate the basics of each routine to Msgr. Foy who would then put it into prose. Ross set up all of the photography and enlisted his wife, Helen, to take the pictures. The photographs were remarkably clear because Ross used portrait size negatives rather than 35mm in order to capture greater detail in each image.

The book was also filled with anecdotes about Ross and his friends, in particular Dai Vernon and Faucett Ross. The photograph of Faucett Ross, Dai Vernon and Ross Bertram on the dedication page is indicative of Ross’ photographic magic. The photo originally featured Sid Lorraine with Vernon and Ross Bertram. It was taken in Buffalo during Vernon’s $1000 Lecture Tour. Ross took a photograph of Faucett Ross and used it to replace Sid Lorraine. If one looks closely, you can see a horizontal line at the knees of Faucett Ross and the spray of Sid Lorraine’s white hair blending in with the wallpaper behind Faucett Ross’ head. Sid Lorraine was not amused.

Top: original photo. Bottom: Retouched photo by Ross Bertram.

The book was published by Lloyd Jones and was extremely well received. It contained many superb routines for both close up, platform and stage including his work on Coins Through the Table, the long pour salt routine, the Egg Bag, the Egg on Fan and the Paul Fox Rising Cards.  It also included Vernon’s detailed description of Allen Kennedy’s center deal.