I.B.M. Member Profile

Chuck Smart

We used to say in Vietnam, "It's just a hobby"

About Charles Smart

The usual starts: gifted Henry Hay's book Learn Magic, along with silver dollars, by great grandmother; later purchased dye tube and silks, haunted hank. Learned French Drop and a few palms, etc. early 60's. Occasional visits to local magic shops for tricks involving coins, silks, and the animation of props. I once bought a plastic egg from Louis Tannen. Our friends Ed and Carol from Princeton Grad School were also magic fans, and every year since we attend their party where a close-up magician performs.


There follows a cut and paste biography; if you wish, scroll down to “Retired again 2015”.



Graduated from High School 1964, accepted Rutgers. Brother Zeta Psi, Rowed Freshman Heavyweights.


1965-71 USMC, 1 and 1/2 tours RVN Mar 66 - Oct 67, PUC 9th MT Bn Prairie1 for example, Semper Fi. Usually the Corpsman sewed us up in the field, but I needed surgery once in 1967 so the First Sergeant wrote me up. Since the draft-dodging hippies ran the local paper and took great delight in frightening parents, I refused the award, which ended my plan to become Commandant of the Marine Corps. Apparently, the Corps takes a dim view of refusing awards.


Married long-time sweetheart Susan Rollison 1969. She still puts up with me.


1971 BA Geology, BS Mechanical Engineering Rutgers, Magna Cum Laude, Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma. Worked at Cities Service Research and Shell Oil Exploration: Edwards Plateau vic. Kerrville TX seismic prospecting in subsurface Ellenburger Formation for Oil and Gas.


1974 MA Geology and Geophysics Princeton, 1972 - 76 Kenya and 1976 -77 Ethiopia Rift Valley Research. One discovery made the cover of Science.


Son Christopher born 1981, Son Philip born 1984.


Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia 1978 - 1988 biostratigraphy and sedimentary genesis in Campanian Judith River Formation in Montana and the biostratigraphy of the Willwood Fm. near Graybull, Wyoming.


1989 - 1992 Supervised environmental cleanup and water purification plant design, construction and operation on Superfund Sites . Senior Quality Control Engineer for OHM Corporation.


Same work for my own company 1993-2004. New Jersey Licensed Water Treatment Plant Operator, then retired.


Susan put up with me at home for three weeks, then found a want ad for a Geology-Hydrology Professor at small state university, see https://www.kean.edu/~csmart/


Retired again 2015. We now have five grandchildren. In retirement I keep occupied with hobbies, and since Feb 2020 do mostly indoor hobbies including amateur magic. Favorite teacher/author/ video producer Bill Tarr, rip. For modern YouTube instructors, I follow Nadjib Haffaf see here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCtm3fBa8-cZbbuoPAwYcVg.


I hope to get better at thimbles and have purchased all of Joe Mogar's stuff (book, DVD, still more thimbles). Nice fellow, very generous.


As to amateur magic, I grade myself enthusiasm A+, skill C-. For example, I can reliably palm and transfer thimbles only with 1st and second fingers, maybe the third, never back and forth to/from the pinkie. Even with index and middle fingers I cheat with a little wax to help adhesion. Still looking for thimbles that fit, so I own almost all that exist. Some of the wood ones are best for me, but not Berland's.


I have one thumb tip that fits, and a lot more that don't. I collect pulls/hold outs/drops. I like invisible thread levitation, but don't use the reels I own. Instead I pick out one fiber and set up beforehand. I own magnetic rings, but consider them too noisy, even padded with tape.


I enjoy coin illusions, but still can't do more than simple palms.  I guess my connective tissue/tendons are too tight. For example, I never could turn my pinkie finger past my thumb without forcing it.


That's enough.