The Vault – Ambitious Aces by Chris Wood – A Review
(-Plus- a 2nd bonus effect from Mark Lavelle)
Part of the new ‘One Shot series’…
This is the Ad Copy:
What you see is what you get!
Welcome to the Murphy’s Magic Supplies One Shot series!
Each one-shot download is hand-picked from our amazing At The Table lecture series and features one proven powerhouse magic trick — all shot in one continuous take.
That’s right! No edits, no fancy music or effects — just awesome real-time magic from our talented artists.
We consider this a one-effect teaser for the entire lecture. We know that, if like what you see, you will definitely want to check out the artist’s full At The Table lecture!
On this download, Chris Wood teaches you his impossible Ambitious Aces routine. All four aces are lost in the deck and then rise to the top! He repeats this three times and each time it is more fooling than the last. ultimate challenge Ace routine.
If you love this download, be sure to check out Chris Wood’s entire At The Table lecture for an incredible low cost.
Chris, headquartered in southern England, is a former Secretary of the society, a director of the Centre of Magic Arts and a gold star member of The Inner Magic Circle. He is an extremely personable guy.. and a pleasure to watch and listen to…
AMBITIOUS ACES is a very familiar effect, performed by magicians around the world. Chris Wood’s Ambitious Aces is certainly true to form.. but different in so many ways. Ambitious Aces can be heavy on the sleights, but Chris’ version is heavy only on psychological sleights. Don’t know what that means? Buy the video.! (I’m not being flippant..)
This is a three phase routine that brings the Aces to the top three different times.. three different ways. Each phase uses a different method.. yet there is only one true sleight employed.. on the third phase. (I will go ahead and tell you it’s a John Carney Versa Switch, which is NOT a knuckle-buster.)
The ‘sleights’ used to accomplish the first two assemblies are both psychological sleights that make the audience believe you’re doing something you’re not. Chris gives credit for the first two moves to Justin Hines.. from his Non-Automatic Card Tricks booklet. They are slick, no doubt, but probably shouldn’t be repeated for the same audience. They are good enough to fool many magicians the first time around.. as Chris uses skillful verbal misdirection to conceal the dirty work.
Chris credits Aaron Fisher and Harry Lorayne, among others, for some of the well-timed moves that serve as real convincers. A Sadowitz move brings everything to a smooth conclusion.
This effect is shot in one continuous video.. thus the name ‘One Shot’ series. There are NO frills or music.. just the magic and thoughtful instructions. The video and sound are typical Murphy’s Magic quality. The video runs 37 minutes, although there is a second bonus effect included by Bro. Gilbert, featuring Mark Lavelle, and titled Number Pick. I’m thinking it was originally featured on Mark’s At The Table lecture, but I’ve been known to be wrong.. once. So.. Ambitious Aces is 25 minutes and Number Pick is 12 minutes. The download itself is 634 MB…
You will have no problem mastering Ambitious Aces.. with a little practice. I would rate this as an advanced beginner level effect. I like this new concept from Murphy’s.. and I suspect you will too. For six bucks, you can’t afford NOT to buy it. I recommend it to my friends and readers.
The Vault – Presage by Ethan Zack & Michael Blau – A Review
The Ad Copy:
PRESAGE: noun: A sign or warning that portends or foreshadows a future event.
Presage is a devious tool allowing you to predict a thought of word or card. From the minds of Michael Blau & Ethan Zack, two up and comers in the magic world comes a device which can be used in a plethora of commercial & casual routines. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or a hobbyist, Presage is easy to use and guarantees a maximum reaction every time! With bonus performances and tips by Chris Ramsay and detailed explanation on the simple gimmick construction, you’ll be performing this minutes after learning the method.
No thumb writing
No sleight-of-hand required
Great for an opener or closer for strolling
Can be used to predict words, numbers, cards etc…
Be two steps ahead of your spectators at all times so you can concentrate on what matters… being a badass.
PRESAGE by Ethan Zack & Michael Blau has been around for a little while.. but it’s one of those effects that didn’t get as much press as it should in the beginning, and I think it’s time for a revisit.
First, the magi asks the spectator to name a card.. any card. When the card is named there is a comedic moment.. and the magi says “..lets just do it this way”, and thumbs or fans through the deck, asking the spectator to select another card. Once done, the selection is lost back in the deck.
There is a small coin envelope attached with a rubber band to the card box and the magi may, or may not, tell the spec this envelope will play a roll in the effect… eventually.
The magi takes the card box, which also happens to have a couple of post-it notes attached to the back side, and writes a prediction on the note. The magi asked the spec to name his card.. and turns the card box to show the identity of the spectator’s card written on the post-it.
That gets a smile. But we want more than a smile… right?
Almost as an after thought, the magi asks the spectator.. “..oh, remember that card you named when we started this effect.. What was it?”
The spectator say.. ” It was the__ of___”
The magi removes the coin envelope, opens it and slides out a business card/paper with the identity of the FIRST card scribbled on it.
This is when you get your REAL reaction…
A portion of the video is Chris Ramsay.. performing Presage in real time for a spectator. He emphasizes the comedy side of the performance and leaves the tutorial to Ethan and Michael.
This is an effect anyone with the know-how can perform. It does require a certain amount of setup. You’ll need an Exacto knife, a size one coin envelope (or the equivalent), a few sticky notes and a rubber band. A few minutes later.. you’ll be performing Presage.
Watching the video will give you a good idea of the handling.. and whether or not it’s for you. I will say.. it’s definitely for me. It’s easy to perform and sets your spectator up for whatever you want to perform next. Considering the cost.. $9.95.. it’s quite a fair cost.
The guys do a good job of teaching and explaining. The video quality is good, sound is good, and the total length is 23:30.
There are additional tips provided and a second method of performing Presage designed for performers with advanced skills.. as in being familiar enough with one of the primary stacks you know the position of a card after seeing the proceeding card. The only skill you need to know to perform Presage is the ability to force a card, Hindu force or otherwise.
There is a certain amount of setup.. so you cannot immediately perform this effect again. You will need about 30 seconds to yourself. Not a big deal….
Those of you who perform walk-around will enjoy performing Presage. It’s a nice cross between a bit of mental magic and an opportunity to make your spectator smile.
The Vault – Boneless by Sultan Orazaly – A Review
The Ad Copy says:
The section of penetration of objects through matter in magic is one of the most popular. Visual penetrations through matter are few and they can rarely be shown live.
BONELESS is a visual insight that is great for live performances and social media. Never before has such a visual effect been so easy to implement.
I have a soft spot for visual magic. If it happens quick.. and if it looks impossible.. I like to carry it on my person.
If you’ll visit the link at the bottom and watch the video.. you’ll get a good idea of the illusion created by Boneless. Watching the video is a much better way of getting an idea of what to expect. Basically, the magi begins by holding a card in front of his middle and forefinger.. and the card instantly seems to penetrate the fingers and reappear on the back side of the fingers. It’s a very nice illusion.. and not hard to accomplish as the gimmicked card does most the work. Once you have a gimmick created, you could perform Boneless in minutes.
This type magic isn’t for everyone. It’s not what you could call an effect, and it’s hard to find a place for it in a routine. Yet, it gets your spectator’s attention and draws attention to whatever else you may have in a pocket.
Sultan Orazaly has a number of effects on the market.. including Hallucination, Regeneration, ICM, Korobox, Nomad Coin and Elastic Bill. Most are quick effects like Boneless.
There’s an upside.. and a downside.. to effects like this. If you want to open the package and perform it immediately.. you’re out of luck. Since Boneless is an instant download and requires a gimmicked card, there’s a certain amount of DIY involved. Some folks enjoy creating a gaff. It helps to be able to recreate a gaff should yours wear out or break. I’m sure the cost of Boneless would be at least twice as much if the gimmick was pre-made.
On a scale of one to ten, I’d say making a gimmicked card is a 3.8 on the difficulty scale. It’s not too hard.. and is the essence of the trick. Everything is taught in an included video packet… one for performance (2 minutes), one for explanation (7 minutes) and one for construction of the gimmick (10 minutes). None of the videos include vocal instruction, but opt for written video instruction and performance video. You will have a full knowledge of everything you need to know after watching the videos. Nothing out of the ordinary is needed to construct the gimmick. No trips to the hardware store. 😉
Again, watching the performance video shows you precisely what to expect. There were NO surprises.. and if the gimmicked card is constructed as shown, you should have a quick ‘little something’ to create instant interest in what comes next..
I recommend BONELESS for the cost. $9.95 is a small price for a strong gimmick that’s a one-time cost. Learn the secret.. and make all the gimmicks you want….
$9.95 .. From Murphy’s Magic and their Associates..
As long as you’re a fan and a reasonably enthusiastic practitioner of magic, you’re welcome to the latest Magic Roadshow.!! Honestly, I celebrate each of you and hope you get a fraction of the enjoyment from the Roadshow as I get from bringing it to you… Wait… that didn’t sound right. You guys know what I mean..
October is winding down, and if you live in the South of the USofA like me, you could say Summer is winding down. Fall is something we used to experience when I was younger. It’s my favorite time of the year.. and I miss it.
Halloween will be here in less than two weeks and I’ll be forlorn for another year… regretful of all the pranks I could have pulled.. but didn’t. I do take great pleasure though, seeing all the kiddies in full dress. Carolyn and I live on a cul de sac, so we have a lot of kids walking up and down the street. We like kids… They’re good with onions and carrots.
Yes, I’ve been posting stupid memes to Facebook again. Yes, I swayed from all those little puppy videos I loved to post, to videos of penguins fighting, to monkeys throwing poop at zoo patrons, to tigers chasing gazelle through the savanna, to… well.. memes of Trump and Pelosi and McConnell and Schumer. After several sleepless nights, if y’all don’t mind, I’m going back to puppy videos.
I’ll be at TRICS, the Carolina Close-Up Convention, in Charlotte NC the 7-9 of November. I’ll be with friends, and should you have a chance to make it, definitely look me up and lets share an hour or a day.
Really? We’ve been publishing non-stop for fifteen years and you aren’t a subscriber to the Roadshow? Want to make amends and sign up for a totally free subscription? Go to our homepage and put your email address in our form. Simple.. Now, when the next special issue hits this inter-web-information-worldwide-thing, you’ll get your issue one nano-second after I publish it.. Goodness gracious what power we possess. https://magicroadshow.com -or- TEXT – ROADSHOW to 42828 to subscribe!
Joker Sandwich Surprise! – Effect – Paul A. Lelekis
Bob Longe: The Donald Goines Of Magic Writing – Christopher M. Reynolds
The Man With The X-Ray Eyes – Effect – Christopher M. Reynolds
Your French Drop Sucks – Ben Salinas
Breaking Boredom: Addressing What Bores Our Spectators – Donavon Powell
Derren Brown SECRET – A Review – Rick Carruth
How Derren Brown Remade Mind Reading For Skeptics – Article
Mentalism, Mind Reading and the Art of Getting Inside Your Head – TED Talk
The Secret Seven – Technique – Christopher M. Reynolds
Jay Sankey, A Magician Who Vanishes Into His Audience – Interview – Austin Kaiser
Impossible ‘Magic Shake’ Card Trick – Video Tutorial
Always Amazing: True Story of the Life, Death, and Return of Amazing Johnathan – Vid
Golden Years… (No.. not the David Bowie classic..)
Apollo Robbins – A Slight Return… (No.. not my favorite Hendrix tune..)
The Art of Misdirection – Apollo Robbins – TED Talk
From Our Archives: Secrets of the Magus – Interview with Ricky Jay
Quote Investigator – Resource
Pro Card Twirling Tutorial – Video Tutorial
Sweet Simplicity – John Carey – A Review – Rick Carruth
Best Torn and Restored Card Trick Ever.. – Video Tutorial – Daniel Madison
The Trick That CAN Be Explained – Mark Elsdon – A Review – Rick Carruth
SVEN PRO Deck – Invictus Magic – A Review – Rick Carruth
Mortalis Playing Cards – by Area 52 – A Review – Rick Carruth
Magic Shops Around the World – Resource
The Vault – ALTER by Kelvin Chow and Lost Art Magic – A Review – Rick Carruth
The Surprise – Think Nguyen – A Review – Rick Carruth
Evanesce – By Eric Jones – A Review – Rick Carruth
Ghost On The Loose – Article
Sign Up For The Roadshow..
The Really Important Stuff – Resources
“I’ve never consciously tried to keep myself out of anything I write, and I’ve always talked clearly when people interview me. I don’t think my life is too interesting. It’s lived mainly inside my brain.” Martin Gardner
Martin Gardner says he never does any original work, he simply popularizes the work of others.“I’ve never made a discovery myself, unless by accident. If you write glibly, you fool people. When I first met Asimov, I asked him if he was a professor at Boston University.He said no and …. asked me where I got my Ph.D. I said I didn’t have one and he looked startled. ‘You mean you’re in the same racket I am,’ he said, ‘…you just read books by the professors and rewrite them?’ That’s really what I do.” Martin Gardner
(Sally Helgeson, “Every Day,” Bookletter, vol. 3, no. 8, December 6, 1976, p. 3.)
Joker Sandwich Surprise! – Effect
Paul A. Lelekis
This is a quick, fun little impromptu trick that is a great opener. The sleight
involved might seem risky to you…but choreographed properly, it is not only easy to
do, but also fun to do!
Though impromptu, it is a great opener to establish your super-human powers…however, you should NOT play it as though you are being a “show-off” or you might offend people – and not even know it. Just play it as if it is some kind of “dumb kid’s trick”, laugh it off, and quickly move into your next effect. DON’T dwell on the outcome…just move on! The spectators will dwell upon this trick – in their minds! REMEMBER THIS!
Though this type of trick is not new, there are some very nice, salient points that I
would like to punctuate, that make this amazing opener so much fun to perform!
EFFECT: The two Jokers are placed, FACE DOWN, on the table. A card is selected.
The Jokers are picked up, displayed, and then the selection suddenly “pops” into view between the two Jokers!
METHOD: First lay the two Jokers, face down, onto the table a little to your right. Give the deck ONE QUICK riffle or overhand shuffle. Then riffle the outer right corner (or you may dribble the deck into your left hand) until the spectator says, “Stop!” (*See note at end)
When the spectator “stops” you, hold the right packet toward your spectator and
the others, to see. KEEP YOUR RIGHT HAND, over to your right side!
When you have shown everyone the selection, your right hand then moves to your left, toward the left-hand packet in order to replace it back on top.
As your right hand approaches the top of the left-hand packet, your right pinkie
finger will contact the outer right corner of the right-hand packet and act as a fulcrum.
The left index or ring finger will come into contact with the face of the selection,
underneath. Then as the right hand comes over to “cap” the left-hand packet, the
selection will automatically angle-jog to your right and very smoothly, into right hand classic palm. (**See note at end)
By the time the right-hand packet is securely on top of the left-hand packet, the
selection will have been side-stolen into right-hand palm with aid from the left middle finger or ring finger, which is hidden from view. Try out both the left index and ring fingers to see which finger is more efficient…everybody’s hands differ.
The deck is then placed onto the table and spread from left to right with your left
hand as your right hand (with palmed card), casually “adds” the palmed card onto the two face-down Jokers. The left hand slides the packet toward yourself and picks the packet up with the aid of your left hand. Quickly square up the cards.
This side-steal and add-on to the Jokers is VERY deceptive and will even fool
What you need to remember, is as soon as the right hand has placed its packet
on top of the left packet, the right hand THEN remains absolutely still as the left hand then moves forward…all attention will be inexorably drawn to your left hand.
NOTE: For those who have never attempted this type of move before, must remember to relax and don’t look at your hands. Don’t feel guilty and you won’t arouse any suspicion whatsoever. When you finally perform it successfully, it will become easier and easier. You will soon gain confidence and start performing it whenever you can!
It’s a lot like my Card Under Glass routine, (found in my e-book, SHOWCASE MAGIC) which I feel is best one out there. I’ve had magicians ask me to perform it in stages while they wrote the moves down!
– DISPLAY OF THE “TWO” JOKERS –
Note the timing and choreography of the moves below!
After side-stealing the selection into right-hand classic palm, FIRST the left hand,
with the deck, moves forward (remember the right hand now stays still!) and down to the table and begins spreading the cards from the left to right.
AS SOON AS the left hand, with the deck, reaches the table top and begins
spreading, the right hand, with palmed card, THEN casually places it on top of the two face-down Jokers, adding the selection to the top, and drags all three cards to the edge of the table.
By the time you’ve dragged the Jokers (plus selection!) to the table’s edge, your
left hand will have finished spreading the deck and can now assist the right hand to pick up the Joker packet into your right hand.
REMEMBER…the spectators’ eyes will always follow whatever moves first,
and/or whatever moves the fastest. You will be doing BOTH with the above move.
This is actually, very easy to do…but it does require a minimal amount of practice
to choreograph these moves properly. The result will make you smile!
Note the “choreography” of these next moves:
Hold the supposed two jokers, in your left hand, face up. Your right fingers now
pinch the right long side of the packet, pulling the upper-most Joker over to you right-hand fingertips, much as you would hold the cards for an Elmsley Count. The left hand “mirrors” the right hand grip.
The double in your left hand will be aligned and held at your left-hand fingertips,
“mirroring” the right hand’s “Elmsley Count” grip…both thumbs will be on top and your fingers below. You appear to hold two face-up Jokers, one in each hand.
Flick the long sides of the cards and turn both hands over to display the backs of
each card (remember that the left hand holds a double!).
Place the right-hand Joker atop of the left-hand double, BUT only covering about
½ of the right side of the double. Your right middle finger, from beneath, will contact and press against the edge of the left long side of the double.
Your left hand now, turns almost palm up, as the right hand middle finger, flips
the left-hand double, over and face-down, into your left hand. The single Joker in your right hand is casually flicked by your left thumb and laid squarely, face up, upon the face-down double.
Hold the triple packet in right hand Biddle grip and turn your right hand, palm up,
to quickly flash the other Joker, and then palm down again.
The right hand continues to hold the packet in Biddle grip while the left hand next
shifts to “Elmsley Count” grip, with the left thumb on top and fingers below. The left thumb then pinches the packet and slides the top two cards, as a double, to your right, and at the same time slides the bottom card to your left.
Simultaneously, the left index finger underneath, drags the single Joker from
beneath as the right-hand double, uses its left side to flip the left-hand Joker, face up.
Place the right-hand double, on top of the left-hand Joker…but side-jogged to
your right about an inch and a half (about 4 centimeters). Readjust your right hand by moving it to the inner short end of the cards, thumb underneath and fingers on top. Your right thumb should contact both the face-up Joker and the hidden, face of the selection, from UNDERNEATH. Turn the apparently two Jokers so that they face the audience…being careful that you do NOT “flash” the hidden selection.
– THE FINAL REVELATION –
The Jokers should be vertical at this point with the faces toward the spectators. The signed selection will be staring right at you, so be careful of your angles. Wave the Jokers (at your right fingertips) over the tabled spread as your left hand comes over, behind the Jokers, and with your left middle finger, loudly flicks the Jokers.
JUST AS YOU FLICK the Jokers, your right fingers and thumb squeeze the packet and quickly spread them just enough to expose the back of the selection to the spectators – about an inch or so.
It will appear that a face-down card has suddenly jumped into view, between the
Jokers. Time it properly and the sudden appearance of a face-down card between the Jokers will appear VERY magical!
Pull out the face-down card from between the Jokers as you place the Jokers,
down onto the table. Turn the face-down card, face up, to show that the selection has jumped from the deck and between the two Jokers!
*I like to “kid” with the spectators at this point by riffling (or dribbling) the cards too quickly for them to say “Stop!” and then apologize and ask them to say “Stop!”,
again. Riffle or dribble the cards again and either riffle very, very fast, or (if ribbling), just drop the whole deck into your other hand.
The above actions have a two-fold effect…it will make the spectators laugh or
giggle, lightening the atmosphere. It will also cause the spectator to automatically say “Stop!” somewhere near the middle of the deck.
This ploy is not only funny, but will “condition” the spectators to say “Stop!” in a
timely manner. This second result isn’t actually needed here, but if you ever need to riffle force a card, the force will seem very natural and easy to do.
**Side-jogging the signed selection for palming while the spectators are “on alert”, may seem risky, but it is NOT. The selection will automatically swing into side-jog position as your left hand (with the deck) moves forward. The right hand remains still and very easily palms the selection! Try this out. It will make you very confident.
As your left hand moves forward to table and spread the deck, the selection will
almost automatically swing into your STATIONARY right hand. Then, in one fluid motion, your LEFT HAND tables the deck and begins spreading, and THEN your right hand (with the palmed selection) moves to the tabled Jokers. Your right hand DOES NOT MOVE until the spread BEGINS.
This type of misdirection is very, very strong. Get used to doing it in front spectators and you will “own” a very strong technique and you will become very confident in its use. This is what makes magic so much fun!
FURTHER NOTE: This effect is a startling piece of magic and a great opener for your magical set. It also may appear to be contradictory to my Introduction, above. However you MUST keep a “no big deal” attitude as you perform this…it will get a STRONG reaction from your audience but you must appear as though it is no big deal.
Move quickly into your next effect and your spectators will now be VERY attentive. This is where you make them a part of your “magical universe”!
FURTHER, FURTHER NOTE: Though I “play” with the spectators at the beginning with the selection process…it is important to finally have a VERY FAIR selection.
You might quickly spread the deck toward the spectators and let them see the
cards are NOT the same and that the real selection is NOT forced in any way.
Otherwise the spectator might think that you are using a duplicate.
I am a very big practitioner of having cards signed…but not in this effect. It will
“bog” the proceedings down and defeat the purpose of an opener….
Paul’s magic has been featured in many periodicals and magic newsletters around the world. Paul has been honored with seven One-Man Parades in the Linking Ring magazine, 3 Mini-Parades, and he wrote and conducted a Ring Parade for ring 42 in Clearwater…and at the time, ring 42 was the third largest ring in the world with often 200 members in attendance. View all 50+ ebooks at:
Bob Longe: The Donald Goines Of Magic Writing
By Christopher M. Reynolds
On a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, one of the last retail bookstore chains left in the United States, I was browsing through the section on puzzles and games. Sandwiched between volumes of Sodoku puzzles, Texas hold’em poker, Chess, and cryptograms, a book written by an old and familiar author caught my eye.
I purchased the book and then took it to the B&N café to read. I smiled as I flipped through the pages and sipped at my piping hot $12.00 cup of Starbucks coffee. It was like reminiscing with a long lost friend. After removing my tattered spiral-bound notebook and blue, disposable Bic pen from my backpack, I began to write this: a long-overdue fan letter to one of my favorite writers in magic.
For any writer with literary aspirations (snobs such as myself), loving the work of a prolific hack writer is like professing that your favorite gourmet chef is the fry cook at the local Burger King. It shows an apparent lack of taste and culture. While magic might be the worlds second oldest profession, writing for money is a distant third. Literary artists and poets plod slowly and carefully along, word by painstaking word, while hacks happily vomit out whole paragraphs at a rapid pace, and without an ounce of self-consciousness or remorse.
My literary heroes aren’t taught in colleges like the collected works of Victor Hugo, James Joyce, or Fyodor Dostoevsky. The artists that I admire are writers who churn out a penny per word pulp fiction, lurid true crime novels, and bodice-ripping softcore pornography. Men like “Conan The Barbarian” creator, Robert E. Howard. Or women, like romance writer Barbara Cartland. She holds the “Guinness World Record” for having churned out 23 novels in one year. One of the most prolific authors I love is Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. He’s been reputed to have turned out more pulp fiction (and under more pseudonyms) than any pulp writer to ever live; and in a wide variety of genres: travel, adventure, mystery, sci-fi, westerns, aviation, and romance. He also wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller, “Dianetics: The Science Of Mental Health.” Name a genre, and L. Ron Hubbard successfully wrote in it.
One of my other literary anti-heroes is a man named Donald Goines. He was an armed robber, pimp, drug addict, and the epitome of a prolific hack writer. Goines started writing while serving a prison sentence for armed robbery. In six years (1969-1975) Goines turned out 16 paperback novels of low-down, violent, urban crime fiction, and he did it while hopped up on a one-hundred-dollar a day heroin habit.
Goines hailed from the gritty, crime-ridden streets of Detroit Michigan. Twenty-six miles away, less than an hours drive, lies the suburb of Rochester Hills Michigan. There, in the northern outskirts of the metro Detroit area, lived another prolific Michigan author: magic writer Bob Longe.
Bob Longe wasn’t a pimp or a drug addict. He was a high school English teacher. By day he taught the fundamentals of proper grammar, writing, and reading comprehension; by night, he was an ardent magic enthusiast and amateur musician. Then, in the 1990s, at an age where most people say no to life, Bob longe said “Yes”, and became a professional magic writer.
Robert C. Longe was born on November 4, 1928. He caught the magic disease as a youth after witnessing the stage shows of illusionists Blackstone and Dante. After writing a couple of card trick pamphlets in the 1940s, Bob Longe seemed to have disappeared from the magic world, only to turn up again forty years later after he stopped being an English teacher. This time he returned with newfound gusto. While many men slip into a deep depression after retirement, Longe reinvented himself, at the age of 63, as a prolific author of magic books aimed at aspiring beginning amateurs. In 13 years (1991-2004) he wrote 29 books on magic. Some of the titles sitting on my bookshelf are:
It’s an easy slur to say that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Bob longe was living proof that a person can do both. In the magic world, writing and teaching about the art form isn’t looked upon as separate disciplines. One is just a logical extension of the other, and both are encouraged. Bob took the lessons learned from teaching English and successfully applied them to magic.
Bob Longe’s writing on the art of magic isn’t at the level of someone like Ricky Jay. Even the most jaded literary critics are stunned at the level of depth and knowledge in a Ricky Jay book. Or impressed by the journalistic eye for detail in a book written by Jim Steinmeyer. But these two writers delve into the fascinating history of magic and not the standard, “how-to” variety of magic writing that Longe specialized in.
Magic writers like Juan Tamariz and Eugene Burger are magic philosophers and their work transcends the “how-to” genre they write in. They are both beyond the scope of the average magic enthusiast. The words they write are just as well crafted as their methodical routines. Every word and action has a meaning and nothing, down to the last syllable, is left to chance. They are written with extreme seriousness, deep research and original point of view; Tamariz’s books reference film director Alfred Hitchcock, writer Lewis Carroll, cartoonist Tex Avery, and science fiction novels as artistic inspirations. Burger’s books are heavy on Eastern philosophy and religion. Both writers blend analogies of art, music, and spirituality, into their dissertations on magic. They offer new ways to think about illusion.
Bob longe, in comparison, is no magic philosopher. His writing is basic and easy to read. It’s meat and potatoes magic aimed at a mass general audience. And he hits his intended target with the accuracy of Robin Hood shooting his bow and arrow.
He wrote lovingly and to the best of his ability about a subject that was dear and near to his heart. His casual lack of concern or indifference about the supposed “seriousness” of the art form ( and so different from Ricky Jay’s solemn intensity) gives him a certain charm. The definition of a hack is a writer who churns out anything for payment at short notice. The word is used as an unflattering accusation as opposed to a heartfelt compliment. It suggests that the work was done strictly for money, as opposed to any lofty artistic ambitions. Bob longe, by that definition, was no hack, but a magician who wanted to spread the fun of magic to a wider audience.
Most higher-level magic books are notoriously difficult to understand. Your mind is left dizzy with confusion after reading a few pages. Many people give up magic after attempting to learn from them. Bob longe’s writing is clear, simple, concise, and doesn’t rely heavily on illustrations to get his instructions across. Most importantly, Bob Longe books are accessible to anyone; young and old, from age eight to eighty.
On March 17, 2004, at the age of 75, Bob Longe collapsed onto the floor after suffering a heart attack. He was performing for a magic club (IBM ring 287) in Pensacola, Florida. He died in a local hospital later that night. The “Grate” Andy, a family entertainer from Lake Orion, Michigan, remembers Bob as a man who was very generous with his time and knowledge. Magician Keith Raygor from Naples, Florida considered Bob a friend who had an amazing knowledge of many different types of magic and shared his love of the art without hesitation.
Popular, best selling authors come and go. They have their time in the sun and then disappear from the collective memory of the book-buying public. But Bob Longe has endured as a reliable fixture on bookstore shelves for going on thirty years. He’s outlasted big names like Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Carl Hiassen, Dean Koontz and a host of others.
Year after year, someone, somewhere decides to take up magic as a hobby. Many times their decision is made based solely on finding a copy of a Bob Longe book on the local bookstore shelf, or at a thrift store, or a garage sale, or a public library. Anywhere you find books for sale, Bob Longe is guaranteed to pop up like a proverbial bad penny. Only, in this instance, “bad” means good. To paraphrase singer Isaac Hayes from the song “Shaft,” Bob Longe is one “bad” mother.
I freely admit it. Enjoying the writing of Bob longe is no guilty pleasure. The man is my magic writing hero. I love Bob Longe the way that Comic blockhead Charlie Brown loves the less than stellar baseball player Joe Shlabotnik. He may not be the best or the most well-known writer on the subject, but he speaks to me in a way that elite superstars like Dai Vernon, Ricky Jay, or Michael Ammar don’t. I just can’t relate to those men. I’m just an average guy with average abilities; so was Bob Longe.
Bob didn’t write for the applauds of the elite. I know that I’d rather be read by the unwashed masses than a tiny coterie of upper-crust literary snobs. A hack writer is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s hack is another mans, Hemingway. To paraphrase another famous hack writer who appealed to a mass audience, William Shakespeare:
“Bob Longe is dead. Long live Bob Longe!”
Christopher M. Reynolds
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.” .. Elmore Leonard
The Man With The X-Ray Eyes – Effect
By Christopher M. Reynolds
Christopher writes… “While flipping through some old notebooks I stumbled upon this trick I wrote a few years ago. It’s a bit different, but I thought it was funny. We’re told over and over again that, “A magician is an actor, playing the part of someone who performs miracles.” I’ve yet to read a card trick that gives the magician juicy dialogue to perform, as opposed to cheesy patter (a word that I loathe.) This is my attempt to rectify that by adapting an old science fiction movie into a card effect. I like to fancy it more like a one-act play as opposed to a standard card trick. It’s all in the spirit of fun; nothing serious.”
The Man With The X-Ray Eyes By Christopher M. Reynolds
A scientist invents a miracle drug that gives him x-ray vision. What starts out as an experiment, soon becomes an addiction—one with dangerous consequences. This is a card trick adaptation of B-movie impresario, Roger Corman’s, 1963 sci-fi, drive-in movie classic. It has a twist ending that even, M. Night Shyamalan, wouldn’t see coming. It’s gross,…and hilarious.
Magician: World-renowned scientist, Dr. X, develops eye drops intended to increase the range of human vision— to that equal of the mightiest Gods. When testing on animals leads to a dead end, he becomes frustrated and decides to test the drops on himself. The experiments a success and Dr. X is now able to see through peoples clothing— soon being able to see through their skin. This ability leads him to diagnose a deathly ill girl suffering from an incurable mystery disease.
Flush with success, Dr. X, continues to push his experiments to the extreme. The deeper state of vision he wanted to reach has snowballed and grows beyond his control. His vision has gone beyond space and time and he now only sees in lights and textures. Closing his eyes bring no relief and lack of sleep brings on madness.
As the side-effects of the drops turn his eyeballs pitch black, he’s forced to hide behind a pair of dark sunglasses to disguise the horror. The madness intensifies—driving him to the brink of insanity, and eventually leading to Dr. X committing murder. He goes into hiding to evade the law.
One-ahead card reading
Now we finally get to the card trick. This is one of the oldest tricks in the history of magic. The principle can be applied to coins, crumpled up dollar bills, E.S.P. symbols, etc. It’s called the one-ahead principle because you start the trick with advanced knowledge of one of the three cards, but it’s the order in which the cards are revealed that is a complete con.
1.) Secretly palm the top card and remember it. Ask someone to shuffle the deck thoroughly. Let us assume that the palmed card is the Three of Clubs. Ask the spectator to cut the deck a few times. The magician gives the pack one final cut. In doing so, place the palmed card on top of the deck. Instruct the spectator to cut the deck into three piles.
2.) Pay attention to which pile the palmed card (Three of Clubs) occupies as the spectator cuts. It’ll usually be on the left or right pile, depending on which direction the spectator cut the cards. It doesn’t make any difference. Just make sure to remember which pile it’s on. Let us assume the Three of Clubs is on top of the right-hand pile.
Magician: To make a living he first works as a mentalist in a carnival, and then gambling in Las Vegas casinos. Even though you have shuffled and cut the pack, I’ll use the same x-ray vision that Dr. X used, to cheat at poker and blackjack, to reveal the identity of the three top cards.
3.) Stress to your participant that they’ve done all the shuffling and cutting and that you haven’t touched the cards. That’s a bald-faced lie, but at this point, they shouldn’t remember. They should be too enthralled by your B-movie acting skills. Place your first finger on the top card of the left pile. Close your eyes and concentrate, as if the identity of the card is coming to you like a religious experience. Then proclaim:
Magician: This card is the Three of Clubs!
4.) Pick up the top card from the left pile and hold it toward yourself in your left hand, the way you would hold cards during a game. You note the identity of this card. Let us say it’s the King of Hearts. Even though this card is not the Three of clubs (like you claimed it was), smile and seem pleased with yourself like you guessed correctly. Nobody else must see this card.
5.) Place your finger on the middle pile.
Magician: This one is the King of hearts!
6.) Pick up the card of the center pile and place it next to the card in your left hand. Note the identity of this card. Perhaps it’s the Five of Spades. Again, look contented with your guess.
7.) Now put your finger on the last pile. Even though you know the Three of Clubs is the card on top, you miscall this card, calling out the name of the card from the center pile (Five of Spades.)
Magician: And, this last one is, obviously, the Five of Spades!
8.) Pick up the top card of the last pile with your right hand and transfer it to the face of the pair of cards in your left hand.
Magician: If you don’t believe the surreal visions of Dr. X, then see with your own two eyes.
9.) Lower your hand so the volunteer can see the faces of the cards. Thumb off the top face-up card (Three of Clubs) onto the left pile. Then, in continuing action, deal the King of Hearts onto the center pile and the Five of Spades onto the last pile. Three face-down cards, all read by x-ray vision. The spectator will be left flabbergasted. Don’t give your audience enough time to think. Audiences thinking during a magic performance is dangerous. Continue, post-haste, with the dialogue.
Magician: Dr. X leaves Las Vegas and wanders out into the Nevada desert–stumbling upon a fire & brimstone religious tent revival. He’s gone stark raving mad. He interrupts the sermon, claiming to see strange things at the end of the universe, even being able to look into the center of the eye that sees us all: God. The congregation has gone silent and stares in awe.
The holy-roller preacher replies that what he sees are sin and the devil. He quotes the biblical verse…If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out! Dr. X, chooses, like the tragic Greek hero Oedipus, to blind himself rather than see the horror any longer, and violently stabs out his eyes.
10.) Now comes the sick & twisted ending: Eye-Scream by Mac King.
Mac King, on the surface, is a family-friendly comedy magician. In reality, he indulges in some of the wackiest gross-out humor in magic. Read his book, “Tricks With Your Head,” for the full description of this trick and other repulsive stunts.
In this brilliant effect, a fork is jabbed into the magician’s eye and white goo splatters all over the place. Afterward, the magician’s eye is shown uninjured. The secret is something you can find in any I.H.O.P. or Black Bear Diner: a cheap, plastic half-ounce non-dairy creamer; the kind with a foil top (if you don’t know what an I.H.O.P. or Black Bear Diner is, then you don’t live in California. Lucky you!)
Secretly remove the creamer from your pocket and hold in in your left hand in the finger palm position. When ready to perform the stunt, position the creamer in your fist so that its foil top is facing the floor. Pick up a clean fork with your right hand. Cup your left fist over your left eye so that the hidden creamer foil top now faces the spectator. Carefully jab the tines of the fork into the foil end of the creamer and give a gentle squeeze. The white creamy liquid will squirt out of the container and onto the table, leaving your audience thoroughly nauseated.
For those of you who don’t know who, Roger Corman, is, then allow me to educate you. Roger William Corman is the king of the B-movies. He dominated the world of exploitation filmmaking from the 1950s up until the late 1970s. Some of his more notable films include, “A Bucket Of Blood,” “Death Race 2000,“ and “Attack of the Crab Monsters.” He’s directed and/or produced over 200 low-budget independent films and mentored some of the worlds leading cinema auteurs: Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, James Cameron, Jack Nicholson, and a host of others. His most famous film is the man-eating plant, black comedy, “The Little Shop Of Horrors,” which was adapted into a long-running Broadway musical and Hollywood film (starring former magician Steve Martin.) Watch the documentary, “Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel.” to get a better understanding of this renegade film genius. Roger Corman is living proof that it’s not what you do, but how you do it. No matter what art form you’re working in, presentation is everything.
You might be wondering, “What does, Roger Corman, have to do with magic?“ Nothing… absolutely nothing. I’ve met many amateur magicians who have no depth of knowledge about anything but tricks. Don’t be that person. Expose yourself to other art forms and artists besides magic and magicians. Read literature, take a stroll through a museum, watch movies with subtitles. Then, take these new influences and incorporate them into your routines. Set the trend, don’t follow it.
Christopher M. Reynolds
Your French Drop Sucks – Ben Salinas
Don’t feel bad, mine used to suck, too. But it’s not you, really. It’s the way we were all taught. A quick search of the internet proves that we have all been taught to pimp slap this poor little move like it owes us money.
The 6 Deadly Sins of Performing The French Drop:
1 Don’t Muscle-F*ck It – Pardon my French, but this is just a little coin, not a brick. There is no need to smother the coin in a death-grip. Use a light touch to gently grasp the coin. The thumb of the grasping hand should never be shoved through the thumbhole of the holding hand, and worse, project out the other side. Over-acting may work for Jim Carrey, but you’re not Jim Carrey, and his French Drop probably sucks, too.
2 Drop the Left Hand – Yes, I’m assuming you are doing the move right-handed, but I had to pick a side to make it clear, so I picked right. Once you’ve taken the coin, the ‘empty’ hand should drop. It’s EMPTY. Remember? Why would you hold it at your waist in that painful-looking clenched fist?
3 In the Name of All That’s Holy Don’t Point! – Even worse than NOT dropping the left hand is pointing at the right hand. What in the hell are you pointing at?! If you’ve done your job there shouldn’t be anyone in the room who doesn’t think that the coin is in the right hand. By pointing you’re only fooling yourself, and just barely at that.
4 Don’t Look at the Left Hand – What is this obsession magicians have with staring at the unimportant, and totally EMPTY, left hand? Once the coin has been taken, the left hand should be completely out of your mind. Yet, I see so many magicians who can’t help but glance back at the left hand. And you know what happens when you look at it? The audience looks at it, too. Hey, if the magician is looking there something must be going to happen to it. All of your attention should be on the hand that has taken the coin. You eyes should look at the right hand, your head should tilt towards it, your body should lean towards it. With that much of your attention focused on the right hand, the audience will be breathlessly waiting to see what’s so important there. Then they, too, will forget about the left hand.
5 The Adjustment Move – Once you’ve ‘taken’ the coin, do a little adjustment move. Shift the imaginary coin around in your hand a bit, to get it into a better position. This is exactly what you do every day when you pick something up. The object rarely falls into a comfortable position on the first try. A little bounce, a shift of the fingers, or a move of the thumb, all work to convince the audience that the coin is really in there. If you were faking it, why would you be doing that adjustment?
6 Don’t Rush to the Finish – It’s much more fun if we all get there at the same time. Once you’ve taken the coin, don’t immediately open your hand to show it has vanished. If you take the coin in the right hand then suddenly show it gone, it’s painfully obvious that you never really took the coin. Audiences are not as dumb as we would like to think they are. You need a little time between when you do the dirty work and when you reveal the vanish. The longer you wait, the further away that left hand gets in their memory.
To help lock these 6 Deadly Sins in your mind watch this clip from my Amazing Easy To Learn Coin Magic DVD.
You’ve got a lot of un-learning to do, but the work will be well worth it. If you have any question, concerns, comments, or just want to yell at me for not telling you all this sooner, shoot an email to BEN at salinasmagic.com.
Breaking Boredom: What Can We Do To Address What Bores Our Spectators?
On the subject of boring…. Because I am bored as I write this…Why is some Magic boring?
This is a big question and somewhat of a big issue these days. I want to narrow the scope a bit for this particular article and discuss one type of Magic. Why are card tricks boring? Well…
They are not boring by themselves. They are just card tricks. What makes them boring is what the Magician puts into them. Unfortunately, I see a lot of Magicians blaming their Spectators for the boredom they are observing. Specifically, they attribute the boredom to the Spectators “short attention span”. We should do our best to avoid falling into this trap.
While it is a very simple solution that takes the blame off our shoulders, it is rarely, if ever, the actual answer. People have always had attention spans. Even in the past there were people who had the attention span of goldfish. So then, what will make a card trick less boring and elevate the experience?
There are many things we can do, but I want to talk about three that I think can be addressed fairly easily.
Try not to get bogged down with procedural elements. They certainly have their place; however, if they dominate the presentation a Spectator may feel they are seeing something from a walking talking instruction manual. If you cannot figure out a way to make following directions entertaining consider presenting something else. Giving instructions can be difficult to do in an entertaining fashion and, while handy, instruction manuals are not our type of Magic. Try and keep your instructions short and simple so that you have the freedom to engage without the concern of dropped or misunderstood steps.
Are you leading with a card trick? “My Uncle used to show me this one card trick…” is something I have heard many times. Magicians hear this frequently. That is attributable, at least in part, to most Spectators experience when it comes to live Magic is limited to that one card trick (that and coin from ear). You may have to overcome a potential bias caused by seeing that one card trick a thousand times.
Ensure what you are showing them when opening with cards is not going to be something “everyone” has seen or done. Maybe consider avoiding the 21 Card Trick at this point. It dates back to the 1800’s and is VERY well known, so the likelihood of your Uncle and their Uncle knowing it is pretty high.
Try not having a card selected. This is unusual for a Spectator as they are familiar with, “Pick a card.” It automatically changes the perception of what you are doing. Also try not repeating plots. If you already did an Ambitious Card Routine for your Spectator maybe you should consider a Story Based Assembly or a Gambling Demonstration.
We can only do so much to cards (Sleights, Manipulation, Gaffery). We can only do so many basic actions (Transposition, Color Change, Vanish, Production, Change in Configuration, Etc…). This means we need to change our Presentations to achieve variety. There are so many ways to make a base action or Routine unique to you by simply adjusting Presentation. While you are still doing card effects, you are changing up the feel of the card Magic for your Spectator. You are elevating the experience for them. The experience changes from seeing card tricks to seeing card Magic. That difference is important.
Derren Brown SECRET – A Review
Derren Brown’s latest, and perhaps greatest, show just opened on Broadway. I have watched many of his tv specials, originating from the UK, and read several of his published works.. so.. when I was invited to attend a pre-opening show at the Cort Theater in New York, I couldn’t say no.
My wife and I were met at the theater by his publicist and given our press passes. Thankfully, we were seated about seven rows from the stage, so we had an excellent vantage point to watch a performer at his peak. I say that because in 2017 Derren finished a run at the Atlantic Theater Company, performing each show to a sold-out audience. This show was the same show performed in 2017, except on Broadway.. and to a much larger audience.
Written and directed by Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor, with writing by Derren as well, the show certainly featured a proven trio of both actors, directors, and writers. All are highly respected actors and award winners. SECRET is produced by J.J. Abrams, ( Regarding Henry, Forever Young, Armageddon, Cloverfield, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Thomas Kail and Jeffrey Seller of the wildly popular ‘Hamilton’.
Derren frequently calls himself a “psychological illusionist,” and accomplishes his feats with a combination of mind reading, persuasion, and psychological illusion. He prefers to tell the audience most of what he accomplishes is through the art of muscle reading, gesture interpretation, and subliminal suggestions, among other non-psychic feats. He does not claim to be psychic.
I particularly enjoyed watching and listening to the audience as the show progressed. I could hear the whispers and profound theories. Being a fair to middling proponent of magic and mentalism, I had a distinct advantage over most of my neighbors, and yet I was thoroughly entertained throughout the show.
Derren performed a classic array of effects. A couple were effects you might be familiar with; adapted to the stage.. and a couple more were large scale effects designed for a big audience and utilizing several audience members at once. One I recognized as a card effect he changed to use with various photos of audience members.. and another segment, about 20 minutes, entailed Derren interacting with various audience members, giving mini-psychic readings, disclosing facts about their lives he couldn’t reasonably know. Everything ended with the two best effects of the night… his famous ‘drawing’ effect and a grand finale that served one surprise after another, ending with THE SURPRISE.
The audience is ‘sort of..’ sworn to secrecy.. to preserve the integrity of the show for those to follow.. so I don’t think I can be too specific. I did recognize a couple of the earlier effects in the show as being effects I had seen performed on videos. That said.. it didn’t matter. I was involved in watching how he handled the audience, how he spoke to the audience and ‘explained’ some of the supposed psychological nuiances he employed, and how he avoided ‘patter’.
The latter was important to me. It takes a special skill to make an entire show appear as if you’re performing it ‘off the cuff’.. but with special skill and handling. That is a very difficult combination.. and demonstrates a level of professionalism achievable by only a handful of performers.
What I’m saying is… Derren Brown is one of those performers. He is a pro is every sense of the word. And his show is as good as any mentalism type show you will ever attend. If you’re like me.. you missed the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Dunninger, Scarne and Harry Blackstone… Do yourself a favor and DON’T miss Derren Brown..
Review by Rick Carruth
How Derren Brown Remade Mind Reading For Skeptics – Article
By Adam Green.. for The New Yorker – Very intelligent and informative article about the life of one of our most influential performers. More than just a mentalist, Derren pushes far beyond the norm and stretches each performance to the limit.. the limits he sets. Highly original and current, Derren explains the thinking behind his performances and how he differs from his contemporaries.
Mentalism, Mind Reading and the Art of Getting Inside Your Head – TED Talk
“Magic is a great analogy for how we edit reality and form a story — and then mistake that story for the truth,” says psychological illusionist Derren Brown. In a clever talk wrapped around a dazzling mind-reading performance, Brown explores the seductive appeal of finding simple answers to life’s complex and subtle questions.
The Secret Seven – Effect
By Christopher M. Reynolds
“I belong to a very exclusive group of magicians called the “Secret Seven.” In fact, it’s so secret, that I don’t even know the other six members.”- Anonymous magician
In his hysterical memoir “The Game“, author, Neil Strauss, charts his evolution, from dud to stud, when he joins a secret society of womanizing lotharios known as P.U.A.’s ( pick up artists.) His mentor is a tall, gangly magician who goes by the nom de plume “Mystery.” One of the concepts of seduction that, Mystery, teaches Strauss is to differentiate yourself from the “Average Joe”, by having something more interesting to talk about than the cliché, “What do you do for a living,” chit chat. One way of doing this, Mystery claims, is by performing psychic cold reading and other feats of mentalism. Strauss, a freelance writer for “Rolling Stone” magazine, tries out one of his newfound magic tricks on pop star Brittney Spears:
“I’m going to write down a number. And it’s a number between one and ten. What I want you to do is not think at all. You need to trust your instincts. There’s no special ability required to read minds. Just quiet your internal chatter and really listen to your feelings.”
Strauss proceeds to write down a number on a piece of paper and hands it to, Brittney, face down. He then instructs her to tell him the first number that she “feels.” Spears timidly tells him that she’s thinking of the number seven. When she turns the paper over, a big number 7 is staring back at her.
If you have someone randomly choose a number between one and ten, 70% of the time (especially if you rush their decision) the number they think of will be seven. Why is this? Why does this simple number hold such a psychological and visceral appeal? The number seven is the worlds favorite number according to mathematician Alex Bellos. Out of 44,000 people surveyed in his informal poll, 4,000 people named the number seven as their favorite number, far more than any other digit. There’s a human fascination with this number that goes back thousands of years: seven deadly sins, seven days of the week, seven colors of the rainbow, the Seven Wonders Of The World. Phone numbers in the U.S. and many other countries tend to have seven digits( area code notwithstanding.) It’s this combination of cultural, historical, religious, numerical and psychological factors that contribute to the allure of the number 7 and the influence it has over our decisions.
Versions of this trick can be found in numerous magic books; from those used by professionals, like, Banachek’s, “Psychological Subtleties,” all the way down to the “Klutz Book Of Magic.” The trick has been around for eons and is of unknown origin. Every mentalist has their own pet variation on the method. The version your about to read uses the sneaky psychological principle in conjunction with a simple card trick, one that should be familiar to any magician who’s ever read a book on beginning card effects.
A spectator thoroughly shuffles the deck, cuts it, and hands it back to you. You then place the shuffled deck in your shirt breast pocket. After instructing your spectator to think of a number between one and ten, you then instruct the spectator to reveal, out loud, the number they were thinking of. When they tell you that they were thinking of the number seven, you remove four cards from your pocket and place them face down on the table. When you turn over the four cards, it is revealed that you’ve chosen the four 7’s.
Before the trick begins, remove the four 7’s from the pack and put them in your breast pocket.
1.) Give the deck to someone to shuffle and cut.
MAGICIAN: Will you please shuffle the deck three or four times. Now cut it three or four times.
2.) Take the deck from the spectator and put it in your pocket, which already contains the sevens.
MAGICIAN: Take a deep breath and clear your thoughts. What I want you to do now is to trust your instincts. I want you to say the first number that feels right. The first number that comes into your head. Just quiet your internal chatter and really listen to your intuition. Got it? Please say the number out loud. I’m now going to close my eyes and remove four random cards from my pocket.
3.) Remove the four 7’s from your pocket and lay them face down on a table in front of your spectator.
MAGICIAN: According to the science of numerology, the number seven is the seeker, the thinker, and the searcher of truth. The 7 doesn’t take anything at face value. The 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.
4.) Turn over the face-down cards on the table to reveal the four 7’s.
There’s a 30% chance that this trick will fail, but there’s still a way to make it look impressive if you do. Mentalist, Banachek, suggests that the performer be prepared for such circumstances with what he refers to as a “save.” Let us pretend that the spectator chooses the number 2, for instance. You could tell the person that statistics show that most people choose the number seven. Flatter them by saying that their choice shows them to be an original thinker and that they’re someone who doesn’t follow the crowd. Then, proceed with the trick, as planned, or quickly move on to a more foolproof mind reading effect. Mentalism is the one branch of show business where failure can add to the illusion of having legitimate psychic powers.
Jay Sankey, A Magician Who Vanishes Into His Audience – Interview
Austin Kaiser for Medium.com
Great, in-depth interview with Jay Sankey for Medium.com .. Take the time to read this.. and you’ll Thank Austin Kaiser, Medium.com and the Roadshow.. I promise.
“People’s imaginations will bring more value to your show than you can. For example, I tell a story about a ladder and an apple. I saw an apple bounce down a ladder, all twelve steps, and come to rest on the ground. When I tell people that, everybody has their own ladder in mind. Everyone has their own apple.
Someone said, “It’s a good reader that makes a good book.” I believe that.
Whenever there is a way to leave room and welcome people’s imaginations, I do. When I pick up four coins and, one by one, make them vanish into thin air, I don’t say a word. It’s an enormous invitation to people’s imagination to make of it what they will.
Everything we do, including these words I’m saying right now, live on in your memory a beat later. Everything is a memory immediately. Our memories do a beautiful job of recoloring and sketching and morphing things. That’s another place the imagination makes of your show what it will. All performers should leave space and beats for people’s imaginations to invest itself.”
Impossible ‘Magic Shake’ Card Trick – Video Tutorial
Jay Sankey has simplified this classic card trick to make it performable by almost anyone willing to make a minimal amount of effort. I highly recommend you take 15 minutes and watch the video… If you can perform a double lift while holding three cards, you can perform the Magic Shake card trick…
ALWAYS AMAZING: The True Story of the Life, Death, and Return of Amazing Johnathan – Movie/Video
There are currently two documentaries out on the life of the Amazing Johnathan. One is currently being streamed on HULU and the second one, this one, was posted instead on Youtube…
“Always Amazing is the story of The Amazing Johnathan’s storied career as a comedian/magician, the unlikely friendship that was cemented after meeting a 12-year-old boy while on tour in Australia and the unfortunate terminal diagnosis that brought them back together for one last run of shows.”
Starring: The Amazing Johnathan
Featuring: David Copperfield, Penn Jillette, Joel Ozborn
Directed By: Steve Byrne
“My name is Steve Byrne. I’m the director of “Always Amazing”. I met The Amazing Johnathan and his road mgr. Joel Ozborn, in 2000. It was the fist time I ever featured for another comic on the road and a friendship developed amongst us. I was privy to Johnathan and this incredible, loving, hilarious dynamic between he and Joel. When Johnathan was given and terminal diagnosis and retired, I was incredibly hurt to hear of it but when he outlived expectations and made an announcement he was returning to stage, I as a fan and friend, wanted to do a doc and cover it. I reached out to him and he said let’s do it!
That being said, I’d like to address, clarify and correct some disillusioned folks per our film. I’ve not remarked about it in print. I’ve also maintained that myself and our crew needed to stay in our lane and do the best job we can per our film and another film. This is where I will be stating my experiences on the record for all to see…for now.”
(Read more on the site..)
Nothing to download here.. just click the link and enjoy the movie.. 114 minutes…
Golden Years… (No.. not the David Bowie classic..)
Walking into the mall, my hand brushed against my left pants pocket. Immediately I realized I was missing something.. my car keys. They weren’t in my pockets.
Suddenly I feared I must have left them in the car. Frantically, I headed for the parking lot. My wife has scolded me many time for leaving my keys in the car’s ignition. She’s afraid the car could be stolen. As I looked around the parking lot, I realized she was right. My car was nowhere to be found. I immediately called the police, gave them my location, and confessed that I had left my keys in the car.
Then, I made the most difficult call of all – to my Wife.
“I left the keys in the car.. and it’s been stolen.”
There was a prolonged silence on my phone. I thought the call had been disconnected, but then I heard her voice..
“Are you kidding me? I dropped you off..” She said sarcastically.
Now it was my turn to be silent.. Embarrassed, I murmurred..
“Well… just come get me.”
She retorted, “I will.. just as soon as I convince this cop that I didn’t steal your damn car.”
Welcome to the Golden Years…
Apollo Robbins – A Slight Return… (No.. not my favorite Hendrix tune..)
I truly appreciate the interviews conducted by the New Yorker. Each is a very deep study of the performer/politician/writer/singer and well worth your time to read. Each interview is usually front page material for Google search because of the in-depth study. Although this interview with Apollo Robbins was from several years ago, it’s still as interesting now as then..
“He is probably best known for an encounter with Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service detail in 2001. While Carter was at dinner, Robbins struck up a conversation with several of his Secret Service men. Within a few minutes, he had emptied the agents’ pockets of pretty much everything but their guns. Robbins brandished a copy of Carter’s itinerary, and when an agent snatched it back he said, “You don’t have the authorization to see that!” When the agent felt for his badge, Robbins produced it and handed it back. Then he turned to the head of the detail and handed him his watch, his badge, and the keys to the Carter motorcade. ”
The Art of Misdirection – Apollo Robbins – TED Talk
My only regret is.. I wish this TED talt could have been about an hour longer. Sage words from a world class performer.
From Our Archives: Secrets of the Magus – Interview with Ricky Jay
One of the most popular of all New Yorker interviews with a magician was conducted by Mark Singer in 1993 with the highly cognoscente Ricky Jay. Even if you’ve read it before.. now would be a good time to read it again.
As one who likes to toss around a quote or two for my readers, I’ve used Quote Investigator on a number of occasions. The last time I visited to clarify a quote.. I left about a hour later, knowing way more about quotes than any magician should.
“What is the purpose of this website? This records the investigatory work of Garson O’Toole who diligently seeks the truth about quotations. Who really said what? This question often cannot be answered with complete finality, but approximate solutions can be iteratively improved over time.”
“Who uses this website? Articles on the Quote Investigator® website have been cited by journalists and writers at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Washington Post, Slate, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, Real Clear Politics, The Jacksonville Times-Union, NPR, A Way With Words (Public Radio Program), ABC Television News, ABC (Australia), and more.”
“In this 20 minute tutorial, I give you my personal insight on how to successfully twirl cards. Twirling cards can be an excellent addition to your cardistry performance, or give just the right amount of finesse when doing magic.”
In this tutorial, I briefly go over and give tips on the following:
Flicker (the Virts)
Flicker 1.5 (the Virts, Benji Taylor, Sean O.)
Zach’s Flicker (Zach Mueller)
Ferris (Dan and Dave)
Bullet (Andrei Jikh)
Flac (Dan and Dave)
Sweet Simplicity – John Carey – A Review
John Carey and BIGBLINDMEDIA present Sweet Simplicity, a collection of mostly self-working card tricks for those of us who enjoy such indulgences.. The Ad Copy reads:
John Carey has built an international reputation for his streamlined approach to card magic. Simplicity of method and great routining equals great magic that is EASY to do BUT still utterly fooling! On Sweet Simplicity you’ll find ten self working or super easy to do card tricks that will slay any audience. Simple to perform they may be – but the effect on your audience will be KNOCKOUT!
1 in 52 – Carey’s self working streamlined imaginary deck routine is a total worker.
The trick that can be explained – Carey’s spin on a Dai Vernon classic. Devious!
Technicolor Reset – Four blue backed Jokers transpose in slow motion with four red backed Jokers in an exceptionally clean manner and then immediately transpose back in a flash!
Five Oh?! – Semi automatic card magic on steroids, where you get five effects from practically nothing. Super strong and so much fun!
The Perception Shuffle – A self working false shuffle. Yes, you read that right!
Spectator Star – Make your spectator the star as they shuffle, cut and turn over the aces. Boom!
Somewhere over the rainbow – John’s rainbow deck is a thing of beauty. No sleights, just pure subtlety.
Don’t Make Me Cross – Carey’s ungaffed Brainwave effect where the card they think of is the only odd back card – so cheeky and yet SO strong!
Entrapment – A really cool, self working slow motion sandwich effect that you will love using.
One thought One Spell – A very subtle spelling effect you will want to add straight to your repertoire.
The vogue seems to be self-working card tricks. I can understand. There are many out there who do not have the time, or dexterity, to devote to endless hours of practice… yet, they want to be a part of the magic revolution.
The next-to-last time i saw the amazing Daryl was at a magic convention in the South. He spent all his dedicated time for the lecture to performing and teaching several self-working card tricks. You might expect more from such a talented magician, but Daryl understood his audience. When he finished and said..”What I performed is available in a set of lecture notes at my table just off the front of the stage.”.. I sat in my seat and watched as thirty to forty grown men unabashedly rushed, and I mean RUSHED, to the front of the stage to get their copy. They saw the performance.. they saw the power.. and they wanted it…
I often pick up self-working card magic DVD’s in hopes of finding one, and if I’m really lucky.. two effects I can file away in my repertoire. Although primarily for true beginners, I do run across that ocassional unicorn.
SWEET SIMPLICITY is more than a unicorn ( an extremely rare creature ).. it is a little herd of unicorns. Honestly. I can’t disagree with anything in the ad copy. This collection WILL fool most magicians.. not to mention any lay audience.
The description of the ten effects in the ad copy will suffice. I could add a little something, but in all fairness to John I don’t want to give away too much. Here are a few of my thoughts that might add a little something to the review..
1 in 52 – Equivoque force of one of three cards.. This effect is not a magician slayer.. but gets a REALLY good reaction from a lay audience.. A keeper.
The Trick That Can Be Explained – Prediction effect with multiple outs. I would have to call this one a keeper too.
Technicolor Reset – Color Transposition. Strong packet effect. One of the only effects not self-working and could probably be sold as a stand-alone effect. You may not fool many magicians.. but they will certainly applaude your efforts. One of my two favorites..
Five Oh?! – Another Teleportation type effect. A selected card ends up sandwiched. Deck changes to all Jokers. This is a fine study of subtle moves, and is definitely a keeper.
The Perception Shuffle – Inspired by the Paradise Force Cut. Learn to perform this shuffle while looking the spectator in the eyes… and you have another keeper.
Spectator Star – A four Ace trick, as performed by a spectator. Semi-automatic working. Another effect that will slay a lay audience. May not fool most magicians, but they will certainly appreciate your effort.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Another four Aces trick with a kicker. Optical display would work perfectly with Daryl’s Kaleidoscope Cards or a Bicycle Rainbow deck. My other personal favorite.. Love the handling…
Don’t Make Me Cross – Ungaffed Brainwave type effect. The spectator finds the odd card in a mixed deck.
Entrapment – Self working sandwich effect. Nice series of moves to reach a performance climax. Another one the lay audience will never figure out.
One Thought One Spell – A spelling effect you’ll like, even if you’re not crazy about spelling effects..
Sweet Simplicity is available as a DVD or as an instant download, depending on where you purchase it. My copy is a DVD, and if there’s a downside, it’s that there was a lack of info for us reviewers. Short of pulling out a calculator and totaling ten performances and ten explanations, I can’t tell you the length of the DVD. Let’s just say it’s about an hour and ten minutes. Everything about the DVD was typical Bigblindmedia quality… The sound and video were very good, the music was very good.. and the helpers, aside from Liam, were very easy on the eye.. ( I only have one good one..)
Again.. I am very impressed by this collection of effects. This will be one of the best twenty five bucks you’ve spent in a long time. I really enjoy being able to make a firm recommendation of a new product, and Sweet Simplicity gets just that.. If you can’t find at least three or four keepers on this DVD, may I recommend badminton?
Best Torn and Restored Card Trick Ever.. – Video Tutorial
Daniel calls this ‘the best torn and restored card trick ever!’. It’s an original and very in-depth study.. almost one hour long.. but well worth the investment of time and effort.
“This is the most powerful Torn and Restored card trick that I know, and I’m delighted to be sharing it with you today… It really doesn’t get any better than this; the torn card is placed directly into the open hand of the participant and the magic happens right there – it’s fast, direct with a high impact and it simply can’t be figured out! You’ll need some tools for this one and a few extra cards, get comfy and get ready to let it RIP!”
The Trick That CAN Be Explained – Mark Elsdon – A Review
Mentalism? Magic? Magic Theater?.. Mark Elsdon’s latest contribution to magic is all three. The Ad Copy reads:
“The performer introduces a small envelope and says that there is a playing card inside. He places the envelope on the table and never touches it again.
A participant takes the deck out of the box and shuffles it. Then they cut the deck and the top card is immediately turned over. It is, for example, the 7 of Spades. The deck is turned face-up and clearly spread to show that there are no duplicates.
The participant opens the envelope and removes the card inside. It is a perfect match – the 7 of Spades.
AND THERE ARE NO OTHER OUTS – the card in the envelope is ALWAYS the card they choose!
NO sleight-of-hand required. This literally is as easy as it gets!
Alternative endings: You can have a photo of the card posted on your Twitter feed, Instagram or other social media. Or you can WhatsApp or message them at the start and they check the message at the end.”
Based on Dai Vernon’s famous “Trick That Cannot Be Explained”, but not, Mark Elsdon has created a well-designed effect that will definitely surprise the average spectator.
Mark thanks Chan Canasta for the inspiration and thoughts that inspired this effect.
He is a well-regarded mentalist and magician who has a large number of published effects with all the biggies.. and is the author of the Hidden Gems series of books, favored by some of the top performers in all of magic.
“The Trick That Can Be Explained” plays out like this: The performer introduces a card and a small envelope to the spectators. The card is not disclosed.. but openly placed inside the envelope and put on the table, not to be touched until the reveal.
The performer brings out a deck of cards, performs a simple overhand shuffle or two, and ask a spectator to take the deck and repeat the performer’s actions. After doing this, the spectator is asked to place the deck on the table, face down, and give the deck a cut. After completing the cut, the top card is turned over to reveal.. lets say.. a Six of Hearts. The performer flips the decks and ribbon spreads it to show there is only one Six of Hearts in the deck.
After a quick review by the magi.. the card in the envelope is removed by the spectator.. and revealed to be another Six of Hearts. The envelope is examinable.
As always.. I encourage you to go to Murphy’s and watch the trailer to get a good visual idea of this effect.
The outcome is always the same. There is virtually no chance the two cards won’t match… and this can be performed within fifteen minutes of receiving it. There is a setup, but not much. Mark supplies you with everything you need to perform TTTCBE aside from the deck.. which needs to be a standard Bicycle red-backed deck.
The effect is actually so simple it’s hard to write about it in detail. That’s not a bad thing. There are several cards supplied by Mark to make everything work, and a booklet about four pages long that explains everything you need to know.
Thankfully, there’s NO DIY for the magician to perform.. although there IS a small act you may need to perform to make the working slightly smoother. It takes about a minute and requires nothing but fingers.
This is one of those effects that WILL start an argument amongst performers. Some think they know the method – but don’t. Others know the method but don’t want to use it because it ‘may’, in their opinion, not be 100%. And others declare TTTCBE one of their favorite effects of all time.
On the surface.. this is a very nice effect for magicians to perform for a lay audience. It will fool them.. and it will work, regardless of what you read on the forums. My purpose in including this little statement is my dissatisfaction with posters who have NOT bought this effect and DO NOT know precisely how it works, yet insist on expressing their self-important opinions. Mark has included ALL the tools you need to make it work. Those folks who are concerned because they fear it ‘might’ not work 100% of the time are performers who obviously do not own, nor have ever performed, TTTCBE. Those of us who DO actually own and perform this effect don’t have that fear. Hooray for Mark and Boo to the naysayers.
“The Trick That Can Be Explained” is an ideal effect for walk-around and restaurant work. Moving from group to group or table to table gives you all the time you need to get everything in order for your next performance. The reveal can be made to differ from one table to another.. but you will need to make up a couple of gaffs after seeing what Mark does. This is minimal.
There will be those of you who will make this a staple in your act. The ending is a stunner and something you’ll want to do over and over. I hope, if you buy Mark’s effect, you’ll be one of those guys.
SVEN PRO Deck – Invictus Magic – A Review
Suit&Tie Magic kicks off their world-wide product debut by perfecting a classic in card magic! Presenting the Sven Pro! The gimmicked deck like you’ve never seen it before!
It’s difficult to reinvent a classic–especially one as solid as the Svengali deck–but teaming up with Invictus Magic, Suit&Tie has done it! Delivering the world’s smallest cut (to date) in this type of deck!
Expertly crafted with the working magician in mind, these cards are precision-cut to bring magicians the Svengali deck the way it was meant to be made.
Suitable for beginners and professionals alike, these decks boast the best handling on the market! … And did we mention that they handle sideways, too?!
– Professional-grade Svengali deck
– Full step-by-step instructions, from the very basic handlings to advanced routines
– Mind Reading Effect
– Prediction Effect
– Card to Impossible Location
– Ambitious Card with Variations
– Finger Tip Change (Our Favorite)
I’ve been a fan of Svengali decks since… a long time ago. I’m sure many of you bought one near the beginning of your careers, played with it for a while, and then let it slide to the bottom of your junk drawer. I think now one of the main reasons for that happening is we realized you had to perform magic with Bicycle decks, probably rider backs, and these Svengali decks, bridge sized and cheaply made, didn’t fit the bill. I know that was my case.
That said.. I have bought a Bicycle brand Svengali deck or two through the years and, although they felt much better than my earlier decks, I still relegated them to someplace outside my happy place.. ne’er to be used in actual performances.
That’s sad… because the concept is a good one, and you would think someone, somewhere, would create a solid Svengali deck.. one knowledgeable magicians would actually want to use.
SVEN PRO, by Invictus Magic, is THAT deck. Seriously..
Magicians are a picky bunch. There are always a few though who lead the way, and dictate what the majority wants.. or thinks they want. I wish one of the influencers would push the Svengali deck as the next great advent in magic, but it’s not going to happen. What IS going to happen though.. is.. a smart, talented group of performers will buy this deck, master an array of effects not possible with conventional decks, and fool the dickens out of magicians and lay folks alike who do not understand the possibilities of this classic deck.
One of the reasons for this is the care and skill that goes into creating each deck of Sven Pro. Unlike the older decks we’re accustomed to, Suit& Tie Magic, the developers, carefully cut each short card thinner than traditional cards.. and then rounded the edges to make them match the ungaffed cards. When aligned in a deck, you cannot notice the different lengths… at least not during normal use and typical handling.
The other reason, aside from the micro-cut of the short side of the card, is the micro-cut of the LONG side of the gaff cards. Imagine being able to cut the deck from the top OR the side. Imagine being able to dribble the cards. Imagine being able to riffle shuffle the cards or let the spectator freely cut the cards, from any angle. Now your repertoire is greatly enhanced, and one of the major drawbacks of ‘conventional’ svengali decks, the awkward handling, has been eliminated.
Before writing this review I spent about a week informally handling the Sven Pro deck. I sat in my favorite chair and cut, and cut, and cut.. top cuts and side cuts, to see if the shorter cuts affected the outcome. It didn’t. I fanned them, spread them, riffled them and dribbled them.. looking to find that weak point that made a liar out of the ad copy. Again… I didn’t. What can I say?
The one drawback of the svengali deck has always been that it could not be freely examined. I think that one fact alone prevents more magicians from using it than any other. Suit & Tie Magic includes a twenty-five minute instructional video with each deck that includes careful instructions for fanning, shuffling, and spreading the deck to prevent the spectator from feeling a need to manhandle the deck. The video is posted on the Invictus site and you do not have to download it. The url is provided inside the deck packaging wrapper. You won’t learn everything you need to know.. but you WILL learn enough to whet your appetite and send you on a little search for more in-depth info. Now would be a good time to go to Google and search for ‘svengali deck tutorial’ and you should find a couple of good instructional videos. (Magic Makers and Daryl have both made in-depth videos solely teaching effects with svengali decks..)
The instructions are good, considering the overall cost of Sven Pro is less than twenty dollars. Remember, this is a deck that has to be created by hand in a very time-consuming way. I have NO problems with the price, the deck itself, or the quality of the instructions. All effects are taught by Brandon Williams, a very likable and talented guy, and I appreciated the extra efforts put into the video instructions. They didn’t have to.. but they did.. so there…
I want to make one suggestion of my own… Find ways to incorporate the svengali deck into routines with standard decks. You don’t have to pull a hidden deck switch; keep it all out in the open. I usually have three decks on the table when I perform, if space allows, and I’ll tell anyone asking ‘why’ that each deck handles differently and I want to be as professional as possible. Each deck DOES handle differently, so I can say that with confidence.
I will use this deck. I will find ways to incorporate it into routines with conventional decks. I will surprise a few nimble minds who should know better, and I’ll leave them confounded.. and I ain’t telling them nothing… This Svengali Pro thing.. it’s going to be my little secret.
Mortalis Playing Cards – by Area 52 – A Review
Mortalis Playing Cards are both collectible and marked. They are limited to a one-time run of 2000 decks, and will never be re-issued. Here’s the Ad copy:
Mortalis Playing Cards is a deck of premium playing cards printed and manufactured in the USA by the United States Playing Card company. Fully marked, it hides its secrets in plain sight.
Only 2000 decks were printed, and will never be reprinted or restocked.
The optical marking system was designed in such a way that the closer you look, the less you see. It hides in direct sight to the untrained eye. Spectators, and even magicians, cannot identify it up close.
To the trained eye, it takes less than 2 seconds to identify and read a card just from the backs. It’s designed in such a way that the whole system revolves around the working of a clock. If you can read a clock, you can read Mortalis’s secrets. Perfect for close-up!
Printed by the USPCC on their premium stock, then double crushed to perfection along with an embossed air cushion finish. A traditional cut ensures perfect faro shuffles and table work. Saying that the cards handle like a dream is an accurate description.
The custom Court cards were built from the ground up, featuring borderless courts with popping, matching colors. The facial expressions on some cards have been tweaked to give a unique, personal feel. Every deck comes with a double backer, a duplicate card, and a full tutorial on how to read and use the marking system.
Designed by acclaimed artist, designer of the Mint Playing Cards, Christofer Lacoste in Canada, and realized and produced by Area52Magic and Pravar Jain.
As mentioned above, they are printed on USPCC’s premium Bee crushed stock, with a traditional cut and embossed air cushion finish. Intended as a tool for magicians and gamers, as well as a collectible deck for the collector.. only 2000 of these decks were made..
They feel and handle very good, although I did have some trouble performing faro shuffles until I broke the deck in. This is attributable to the edges moreso than the quality of cards. It is also a very common trait of Bicycle brand cards.
As a collectable deck, I give it high marks. I like the overall look, sort of a stylized high-dollar look, and the soft feel I would expect from quality cards. After ten minutes of faros, they were ready to be put to use.
As a marked deck, I give it an exclamation mark.. and a question mark. The marking system involves a series of two ‘marks’ that tell you the value and the suit. They are structured similar to a clock face to make memorization easier. I can’t say ‘easy’, as you will have to invest a little time into learning the method. The ad copy says the average user should learn to identify a card in less than two seconds, and the creator, Pravar Jain, says… you can properly identify any card in ‘under 3-4 seconds’. Although not a deal breaker, we all compute at different levels. If you have reasonably good vision and cipher at a normal rate.. you should be good to go. Just keep in mind you’ll need to perform some drills to get ‘in the groove’..
Like virtually any marking system, (or memorized deck).. certain magicians will love this deck.. There’s not way for me to tell you whether it’s for you. Those who take the time to play with it, explore it’s possibilities, and give it a proper spin.. will appreciate all the work Area52 has put into Mortalis Playing Cards.
**Thanks to my friend Jim Canaday.. who I can freely steal resources from since he and his effervescent wife, Heike, are away in Europe.. https://themagicportal.us
The Vault – ALTER by Kelvin Chow and Lost Art Magic – A Review
This is a very visual card/color change from a highly skilled performer. It’s available as an inexpensive instant download and looks as much like real magic as you’re apt to see. To quote the ad copy:
“Kelvin is an underground sensation in card magic. His magic is so prolific that it has found its way into the repertoires of award-winning performers such as The Illusionist Star, Yu Ho Jin. Kelvin recently performed for over 2 billion people at China’s 2015 New Year’s Spring Festival on CCTV. Needless to say, when Kelvin performs, people listen.
Kelvin has created another brilliant masterpiece with this new and breathtaking color change. Over the years, the move utilized in this change has been deemed too difficult and intimidating, so many have not been able to explore the unlimited possibilities and applications involved with it. Now, through crystal-clear instructions and multiple camera angles, Kelvin demystifies the move and will thoroughly teach you the most visually striking application to date. It’s time to ALTER!”
– No gimmicks. Pure sleight of hand.
– Perform completely surrounded.
Kelvin Chow is the creator of two other commercial effects you may be familiar with.. Quiver and Revolver. He was also one of the standout performers on Penn and Teller’s FOOL US during season 5. One of the effects he performed was ALTER.
This is specifically a color change, although to me it is as much a card change as a color change.. Am I being too picky? Call it what you may, it’s a very good and extremely visual color change. Nothing in the ad copy is misleading. The magic happens so quick it’s possible to perform ALTER from any angle safely.
Simplified.. a card projects from the end of the deck, almost magically, and as the magician takes one finger to spin the card out of the deck, the card changes to another card. It is very visual and you would be encouraged to go to the Murphy’s link and watch the video. It’s short, but it gives you a perfect idea of the visual quality of ALTER.
Although the handling is not overly complicated, I would still classify it as probably more intermediate than beginner. It will take some practice to perfect the handling. It is definitely within the range of the average card guy.
I see this as a handy tool to be used during an effect – and not simply as a demonstration. The magic is so quick the spectator is guaranteed to not have a clue what happened. Watching the video doesn’t give you a clue to the method and the low cost for the instant download is money well spent if you take a little time to learn it.
For the cost and versatility.. I recommend it..
$7.99 From Murphy’s Magic and their fellow retailers..
The Surprise – Think Nguyen – A Review
Exciting new variation of CAAN from Think Nguyen. This is the ad copy:
Every once in a while, a magician comes up with a trick so good, they refuse to share it with anyone but themselves. Enter Think Nguyen’s masterpiece, The Surprise. After months of our begging and pleading that this needed to be shared with the magic community, Think has finally allowed us to publish his most closely guarded secret.
Using a borrowed and freely shuffled deck, this is the most impossible Card At Any Number we’ve ever seen. Describing it in ad copy just doesn’t do it justice, so we’re not even going to try.
Seriously, go watch the trailer.
What you get:
No difficult sleight of hand to learn
No arts and crafts
No stack or memory work
Nothing to add or take away
And definitely NO MAGNETS
If you’re the type of magician that relies on self-working gimmicks as a crutch, this effect is definitely not for you. Yes, Think reveals all the secrets to performing The Surprise, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
When you combine Think’s methods with traditional sleights, congratulations, you’ve just discovered the formula for creating genuine magician foolers.
The most hands-off Card At Any Number, this is The Surprise.
This is one of the more unusual effects I’ve reviewed in the past year or so. I must admit the ad copy is correct.. There are NO gaffs, magnets, or difficult sleight of hand involved.. and that’s the truth.
There IS a certain method to the madness. I may be the wrong guy to review The Surprise because I knew the secret the moment I read the ad copy. I knew the secret because I use the same method to perform an ACAAN I created several years ago. Like Think, I’ve guarded it like the Queen Jewels.. not wanting to share it, but knowing once the secret was revealed there’s no do-over.
This is ALL method and jazz magic. If you’re worried about complicated sleights.. don’t. If you’re concerned you won’t be able to do it.. don’t worry. And if you’re anxious to learn a new method that will give you a new super power.. do buy it.
Watching the video will show you appearance of the effect in its entirety. There’s nothing left out, nothing hidden, and nothing that needs to be done other than what you see. That said, there IS a moment when the magic is done you are not aware of on the video. It is so quick and, usually easy, no one knows what you did… although ‘did’ is almost a misnomer. Buy the video and you’ll understand my cryptic message.
For those of you looking for an instant miracle.. keep looking. There is a little ‘work’ involved in making this complete. Think of it more like forcing a card using a classic force. There is a point where you need to make the effect work, as opposed to it working out itself.
Although my effect differs very much, performance wise, from Thinks.. I hate to see the method made available. But, all is fair in love and war, and the magic community deserves The Surprise. There are so many great magicians out there, I see this being re-worked by fertile minds and transformed into something greater and more startling.
I would be foolish to not recommend The Secret, as it is, in fact, a Secret… a new secret, that will leave you alone in your bed at night.. thinking of the possibilities and confounding your friends over and over. Although this is quite the stunner for the public.. it is also a true magician’s fooler.
The Secret is an instant download. The running time is almost 50 minutes and the video itself is typical Murphy’s Magic quality sound-wise and video-wise.
Eric has created a stand-alone sleight for coin workers that looks like true magic. This is the ad copy:
“Master of Coin Eric Jones offers an amazing new IMPROMPTU coin vanish that is as insane as it is beautiful. Imagine causing a coin to vanish at the fingertips in the most incredible way possible. You can even do this one naked!!! Based on the work for Shoot Ogawa and Apollo Robbins, Eric teaches and novel and unique technique that is just as much fun to practice as it is to perform. This 13 minute download is chock full of excellent technique, professional performing tips that you can add to your arsenal immediately.”
You will learn:
JW Grip Muscle Pass
Evanesce: The basic technique
Professional performance tips
Eric has put his own twist on a popular vanish first created by Shoot Ogawa and Apollo Robbins. He has taken the basic move, improved it, added a unique carry-away, and created something very visually appealing.
Eric readily admits this is not for the faint of heart. He tells us up front that it will take practice to master.. but.. afterwards, you will have something very unique.
Based on a simple false transfer, Evanesce retains the coin in the original hand in a position that is slightly angle sensitive, but not from the front, and will definitely fool anyone other than someone to the extreme side or rear.
He uses a unique muscle pass to move the coin from the concealed position to a position totally invisible to the spectator… either the opposite elbow joint or your shirt pocket. This is one of those sleights you will crave to learn.. and can learn with practice.
If you want a move that will fool not only your audience, but fellow magicians as well, EVANESCE is the perfect instant download. Inexpensive and very well filmed, Eric Jones has created a couple of moves to add something very different to your routine. I truly wish my fingers were twenty years younger… I’d be all over this..!
As usual, I highly recommend visiting Murphy’s site and watching the video. There’s nothing like the visual treatment to give you an appreciation for the techniques.
Remember.. signing up for the Magic Roadshow Journal of Magic is Totally FREE. There is NO obligation and your email is 100% safe. (I don’t even share it with my closes fellow magicians..) You will be notified periodically as new material publishes to the Magic Roadshow site and you can unsubscribe with one click.
That does it for this issue. I hope you found something to help your magic along. Remember, if you have something you would like to see published on the Magic Roadshow site.. send it to: TheMagicRoadshow@gmail.com
C’est La Vie. Until next time...
Rick Carruth / Editor
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.”
** One last note… This is the spot where folks usually publish their disclaimer, and tell you they may receive compensation if you make a purchase through their newsletter. I can’t publish a disclaimer because I am not affiliated with anyone writing for the Magic Roadshow. I support each and every writer/performer/manufacturer, and hope you will do the same. They create the product and I give them a viable platform because I appreciate their effort and their love of our art… That is the full extent of my affiliation, and any opinions I express are my honest opinion, and not a reflection of a commercial relationship…
Should I include a paid endorsement or affiliate site in the Roadshow, it will be followed by (AD) in the title..