Cardmagic: the epitome of everything wrong with Card magic.
by Wouldn't you like to know?
First off, I’m not apologising to anyone. Fuck you guys. My bookshelves recently collapsed on me, pinning me under a shitload of books I fucking hate for a few days (A week or two). I needed to eat the pages of my 1st Edition ‘Expert at the Card Table’ (signed by his mentor, yours truly, of course). I’ve come to realise I hate everything and everyone because you all don’t realise how amazing my contributions to existence are.
I alone invented the concept of written word, the act of writing, the idea of concepts and the idea of having ideas. Show me a book that proves otherwise. I AM THE ALMIGHTY, FEAR ME AND MY WRATH OF ROLY POLY RIFFLE DIFFLE MIND FUCKERY.. Oh…. I think I just shat myself.
While trapped under a pile of books (consisting mostly of others works with their names crossed out and mine written over top. As it should be), I came across an older book called “Cardmagic” by Richard Kaufman. I’ve read quite a few of his books, and taught him everything he knows. I’ve taught everyone everything they know. And some things they didn’t. But after reading this book, I kind of wish I had the ability to make myself forget ever reading it. It’s really a piece of shit. As always, there’s the expectation of some good ideas from some excellent magicians, but the ideas are badly applied, or overall just don’t sit well.
The names on the cover, to entice you in, list Ed Marlo, Gene Maze, Ken Krenzel, Derek Dingle and another bunch of no-names… While the names make it seem like there’s worthwhile material in here, overall, there really isn’t. The whole basis of the book is around a fictitious (and far-reaching) premise that Shakespeare secretly wrote notes of new effects and methods in the back of his copy of ‘The Discoverie of Witchcraft’, which Kaufman happened to come across. He then goes on to have regular interviews with Shakespeare and mentions his works throughout the book, bastardising Shakespearian phrases and references to attempt some witty humour. I’d prefer to lick the tit-sweat off a fat man than read these parts.
As a side note, some people may come in and say “ohh, but that’s what was ‘in’ at the time, and it’s just outdated.. don’t be so harsh”. In response, I feel the need to shit directly into my hand and open palm slap someone. I’ve read books from decades earlier and find them more palatable. It seems like during the 70’s and 80’s, people were high off their asses both in and out of magic. Some of the stuff they came out with makes my balls wet. The rest is pretty shite. Seeing a buff Ammar in short-shorts (with Hair) freaks the shit out of me. McBride’s mullet is currently older than most of the modern world. Also, he needs to lose the utility belt. You are not Batman (I am).
Also, I went into this book (as with ‘Cardworks’, another Kaufman title) expecting the calibre of material that I found in his ‘CoinMagic’ book, which is excellent. I don’t give a fuck if you don’t do coins. Get this book. Read Geoff Latta’s material and prepare to piss your pants in excitement.
On that note, I’m also looking forward to the two volumes of Mr Latta’s material that Hermetic Press is doing. First volume will be a compilation of his coin work, and the second volume will be his card work. From the material of his that I have seen and learned, this is the most important thing to happen since me.
.. Moving right along…
The book is fairly haphazard in the contents, like the Regal book. It’s divided into two ‘books’ within the book, and within the first ‘book’, eight sections. What’s the purpose of dividing it up by sections? I have no fucking clue. There’s a sandwich routine next to a switch, next to a Karate card. This reeks of Barry’s inept bullshit imposing ways to do things on Kaufman while he was younger.
… Where are my pants?
HAM AND CHEESE (Mark Levy, Ken Krenzel, Richard Kaufman)
A single phase sandwich effect where the sandwich cards are inserted at two ends of a spread deck and the selection is out jogged (all face down). After squaring, the deck is re-spread and the sandwich cards are now face up around a single card in the middle, which is the selection. It’s an alright effect on paper and there are some discrepancies, but overall the method isn’t good. Some of the integral parts of the method make this effect stand alone, and add complications to other sandwich routines, thus making it a piece of shit. Simon Lovell has a handling using similar concepts, but achieves a much different and slightly better result in his book ‘Simon Says’.
If you’ve seen the Karate coin effect (Based on a Jean Hugard effect called ‘Finger Gimlet’, ‘Coin Magic’, 1935), then imagine it done with a deck. Then it’s just a poor-man’s Card Sword. Minus the fuck-off expensive, fake looking sword. There’s also a suggested handling by Krenzel, but Kaufman openly stated that even after writing it into the book, he has never done it. This kind of sharing of ideas is okay, but unless I’m paying you to piss in my ear, then give me something that adds to the routine, is audience tested, or even worth trying out. It isn’t that fucking hard. How can you adequately write up a technique if you’ve never tried it? Bullshit.
STRANGE HARMONY (A piece of shit by Barry)
A prediction is chosen by a spectator and set aside. 3 cards are picked. The values of these 3 cards are added up and equal the value of the prediction card. The three selections are then shown to have changed to the mates of the prediction, leaving you with four of a kind. I’m not sure where this shitty logic comes in. The bigger effect and impact will be from the three selections changing from random cards to the mates. So the effect in the middle is just trivial filler. I understand that the ending should be the most memorable, but having the middle be super shit makes the average ending better by comparison. It does not make the ending a miracle, just better than what came before it. It’s like shitting your pants and then finding $100 on the ground. You feel better for finding the money, but you’ve still shit yourself. Also, the method is self-obsessed shit.
A version of Triumph using a Zarrow shuffle, and a way to ‘finish’ for the revelation. The idea of using a Zarrow for Triumph must have been fairly unheard of at the time because everyone was so fucking insular. However, I believe I have seen it in print before with the Zarrow method, but I cannot find the source. If you know it, please put a comment down. If not, fuck you. The way to ‘finish’ the routine in this is pretty direct as a method, but not as an effect. There are countless better ways to end this routine from a method standpoint that add extra convincers and displays, which I’ve put below. I’ve seen someone use a similar ‘display’ to illustration 26 on p. 11, but in the context of an ‘Oil and Water’ unmixing of the deck after a push through. I have just given you something awesome that applies to Triumph. Figure it out, fuckholes.
(See ‘Up In Smoke’, 2005, Bill Goodwin, p. 41, ‘Amazing Miracles of Shigeo Takagi’, 1990, Richard Kaufman, p. 47 , ‘FASDIU, part 1’, 1996, Paul Cummins, p. 2)
NUMBER NINE BLUE
This is just the above effect ‘Strange Harmony’ with the deck changing colour at the end. The method is almost verbatim, except for how the prediction card is handled. Waste of my fucking time, and a waste of 2 fucking pages.
MAKE MINE DUNBURY WELL (Jon Racherbaumer)
An “almost non-sleight-of-hand handling” of the ‘Dunbury Delusion’ (Charlie Miller, p.319, ‘Expert Card Technique’, 1940, Jean Hugard & Fred Braue). Almost non-sleight-of-hand is like saying I’m almost not a fuckwit. I’ve liked the idea behind this plot, but the handling and presentation of it has always made me think there is a better way to do it. This is definitely not it. The uncertainty of where one of the cards is during the whole process after the initial display makes the effect messy, and hard to follow. To date, my favourite handlings for this effect are David Ben’s ‘Dunbury Drop’ in his book ‘Tricks’ (2003) and Eddie Fechter’s ‘That’s It’ from his ‘Fechter’ book by Jerry Mentzer (1993). If you know any good ones, tell me. This is one of the classics that shouldn’t turn to shit because people want to fuck it up with random four ace productions and making it sleightless. Grow some fucking balls and diagonal palm shift random objects as they pass by.
A MAZE ING (Gene Maze)
I think the title was intended to be a pun for Gene Maze. Big fucking stretch for the creative genius on that one (says the fucker who switched two letters to become a GOD among men. And my monocle/moustache combo is delicious). I have a lot of respect for Gene Maze and his work on bottom dealing and switches. However, I feel that his work’s under appreciated because barely anyone can find his stuff in print, there’s a lack of people who perform sitting down, and there are other ways to achieve the effect directly without tabled switches. But mostly, everyone is either lazy as fuck or Steve Forte when it comes to good tabled switches. There is no middle ground. Anyways, this is essentially a matrix/ace assembly routine using four aces a blank card, where an isolated ace changes places with the blank card one at a time to all come together. For the finale, the four aces go blank and the blank card has all 4 pips printed on it. For the effort involved, the method is too close to what happens. The final switch is excellent, but the rest of the routine is just ‘eh’.
A CARD IN BILL SWITCH: STANDING
ANOTHER CARD IN BILL SWITCH: STILL STANDING
ONE MORE: THIS TIME SITTING
As the titles imply, these three are related. I honestly have no idea what to do with the first two items. I’ve never come across a good effect where a card is wrapped in money and is required to be switched during the revelation. I have maybe 10-15 effects in mind, ranging from David Williamson to John Bannon where they utilise effects where a card, or cards are wrapped or covered in money for the presentation. Fuck it. The third handling is okay, but is more of a switch-out than a switch-in. And it can be totally done standing. Fuck this…
A DREAM DECK SWITCH, TOO
This item is a follow-up/evolution of Kaufman’s ‘Dream Deck Switch’ from ‘Apocalypse’, 1978, May, No. 5. It’s a pseudo-expose of a deck switch, using a red and blue deck. If you do seated work and love Slydini, then you may appreciate this. Also, you get to see Kaufman’s illustrations of himself with an exposed chest, moustache and white man’s ‘fro. For this style of effect, see ‘West Coast Cooler’ in Jack Carpenter’s ‘Modus Operandi’, 1992, p.123.
SWIVELLEROO PLUS (Richard Kaufman & Jon Racherbaumer)
Using the Leipzig Swivel cut, you reveal a card from the deck (ala Rosini). The ending has become a fairly standard for the revelation, and the Swivel cut can go fuck itself. With a soldering iron.
The Ace, Two, Three and Four of Spades are removed and lost in the deck. They are then revealed one at a time, and then the all 4 Fours are produced. The placement ideas and an idea for putting in some ‘work’ on the go are interesting, but the rest just feels like a bit of fluff. The effect utilises the Swivel cut just taught, as well as a Dingle revelation and a ‘I-have-no-fucking-idea-what-is-going-on’ style revelation for the four of a kind. It’s nothing special for the effect, but look into how Kaufman gets into the effect.
THE WORLD’S FASTEST REVERSE
This effect by Kaufman is considered the starting point of the ‘Inversion’ plot, popularised and improved by James Lewis (improperly credited in Ammar’s ‘Encore II’ in 1981, and then corrected and reprinted in ‘The Magic of Michael Ammar’ book, 1991). This has become a fairly well known plot for card magic and has been used well by people such as Bill Kalush, Chris Kenner and Aaron Fisher. Also, Tony Chang has a fucking bad-ass unpublished handling for this. Go look for it. It’s ok. I’ll wait….. It’s fucking awesome, right? Anyways, back to Kaufman. The effect has both a tabled and standing version. Actually, I’m going to stop here for a mini-rant.
Am I the only fucking person in the world who thinks the ‘Rise-Rise-Rise’ move is the biggest piece of shit in the world? Good tabled palming is something I have a lot of respect for (Such as Bebel from France). This revelation needs to die in a house fire. I mean, fuck.. come on guys.. Seriously?
Anyways, both handlings use a pseudo-explanation before you ‘actually’ do the effect. The tabled version is fairly straightforward and uses one of my favourite moves by Larry Jennings. The standing version uses a bastardised Braue reversal with no credit, and then some unnecessary half-passing. For the effort involved, learn Kalush’s (‘The Fidgeting Card’, 1997, ‘L.I.N.T’, John Luka, p.57), Kenner’s (‘Perversion’, 1992, ‘Totally Out of Control’, Chris Kenner, p.34), or Fisher’s (‘Revolver’ & ‘Revolution No. 9’, ‘The Paper Engine’, 2002, John Lovick, p.26 & p.97).
AND NOW…. SOME FUCKING RANDOM MOVES.
THE W.S. CARD SWITCH
The next few items all need to be done while sitting. The WS is for William Shakespeare, in case you’re wondering. Yes. Kaufman’s still trying to be funny by forcing shitty Shakespearian jabs. Also, he makes up a word.. ‘illogicality’. Actually, he stole that word from me. These switches have something ‘Gene Maze’ about them, but they fall short of the stuff he’s published. The W.S. Card switch is shit. For Gene Mazes’ improved handling, see ‘S.D.L’ Change later on in the book. The Packet Switch is a nice idea IF you delay the ‘drop’, and not do it all at once, and the Cover Switch is a shite version of the Packet switch.
FLOURISH FALSE CUT
I’m not even going to touch this.. it’s a cut then a fucking pass done openly. Seriously. This belongs in the Doug Edwards book. Fuck right off.
A DOUBLE AND TRIPLE LIFT
… mini-rant… ANY DOUBLE LIFT TECHNIQUE CAN BE TRANSFERRED TO A TRIPLE. HOW FUCKING SIMPLE DO YOU THINK WE ARE? Seriously.. I’m raging because I’ve met some magicians who barely know Elmsley counts and multiple lifts, yet support these kinds of books because there’s an expected level of knowledge and expertise from the reader, and then they go and pull this shit as if we’re dumbfucks. Scum of the fucking universe. Anyways, this double technique feels like something the Buck twins would do. Kind of flourishy, but not hard. I’ll stick with my normal turnovers.
THE SEMI-CIRCULAR SWITCH
This was mentioned on thedoubledeal and I think that the idea has potential. It’s as if a flourishy DL and a simple Glide had a lovechild. The end result was then beaten with a sock full of batteries. The ‘unload’ is the part that interested me. The rest is nothing too special. Simon Lovell has a DL similar to this, but I’m assuming independent creation, or he stole it from Kaufman. The latter being the way that most people prefer because scandals are exciting.
THE S.D.L CHANGE (Gene Maze)
As mentioned already, I favour this technique over the previously mentioned ones. They are close, but the Gene Maze handling makes more sense, both in the finer points and the context of when it would actually be used. If you’re one of the many people who has not been able to find the Fulves ‘Packet Switches’ manuscripts or ‘The Gene Maze book’ by Kaufman, then this gives you a good idea on the type of thing you’re missing out on.
TAPS (Bill Simon)
I’m not sure about most people but I love Bill Simon’s work. I started out with the Dover reprints of older magic books (FUCK T. NELSON DOWNS AND THE ART OF MAGIC. HOLY FUCK I HATE YOU. Seriously. Worst book ever.), and I think that they are one of the most inexpensive books if you aren’t able to track down a hardcover edition. This is a one handed jog technique which is good, but I prefer Andrus’ work on jog techniques. Take this idea and apply it to two hands. It’s not a big stretch of the imagination.
SHOOTING STAR (Ken Krenzel)
This is related to Ken Krenzel’s ‘Magic Bullet'(‘The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel, 1978, p.79), which in turn was based on Peter Kane’s ‘Single Shot’ (‘A Card Session with Peter Kane’, 1967, p.12). This is a very cut down version, as a revelation only while the deck is held in a dealing grip. For the effort involved, and the pain involved if you’ve ever practiced/attempted the Krenzel/Kane effect, you are better off to learn a different revelation technique.
FIFTY ONE BELOW (Vincent Sabatino)
This is an interesting idea for a deck switch which, as the writeup in the book states, seems ridiculously familiar. While I say interesting, it is not a ‘HOLY-SHIT’ type of interesting. Just a basic technique described… WHY IS THE ROOM PULSING?!? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE!?
THE SIDESWIPE SHIFT (Russell Barnhart)
I looked at this and really hated it. It’s so fucking unnatural. If you’re familiar with the Finger Palm Pass Improved (Expert Card Technique, p.47) which is credited, then you know enough to realise this move has fuck all potential. I say this simply because any other pass has a better outward appearance than this one. I’m all for ‘breaking the mould’ and discovering better ways to do things, but this is just not worth it.
ONE-HAND MECHANICAL CHANGE (Jon Racherbaumer)
This is Jon Rock-yo-mamma’s take on Marlo’s Mechanical change (‘The Legendary Kabbala’, 1998, p.43, originally given to Racherbaumer by in 1969) with two self-professed ‘improvements’; first, the card to be changed is out jogged and second, the change is one handed. The out jogged condition gives a retention of vision, which can be deceiving, but also leaves room for ‘flashing’ during the change, instead of working square off the deck. The second condition is a load of balls, because in order to get in position, it will take two hands, and following the change, you need to use your other hand. Unless you’re Rene Lavand (who I love) the other hand usually has to get involved or the whole using one hand thing looks unnatural. If the justification is that the other hand is also doing something important that draws attention away, then the sleight wouldn’t need the visual retention aspect and by then, you are just confusing the shit out of your audience. This sleight reminded me of Larry Jennings’ Snap Second deal in ‘The Cardwright'(1988, p.148). If you don’t already have this book, don’t spend more than $60-70 on it, because Mike Maxwell chose some shitty material for this and explained most of it half heartedly. Looking forward to Kaufman’s long overdue collection of Jennings’ work.
This part has a waaaay longer title as it’s not a single sleight or effect, but a short tangent of bullshit on Kaufman ‘translating’ and reimagining Scot’s text to Modern English. This feels very familiar to my re-writing history to make it sound better than it was, except I re-write it all and sell it at 5 times the price. Because I’m a cunt. Kaufman describes what can only be described as applying jog shuffles to a Charlier style shuffle and then a ‘Magician Vs Gambler’ style switch for Aces and Jacks, and some other ideas around indirect controlling of cards to known positions instead of top and bottom. There’s also mention of some work on estimation, torn and restored and revealing a card from a note hidden in a nut. I’m not sure how true to the original Scot text the ideas were, but the note that Kaufman gives refer to more current examples relating to the effects, such as LePaul, Paul Harris, Derek Dingle, Marlo etc. This whole section can be skipped. Load of wanky bullshit.
LOOK MA, JUST ONE HAND! (Ken Krenzel)
This reminds me of a revelation by Paul Rosini. I spent at least an hour searching up a source for this, but could not find it. If you happen to know the Rosini credit, please let me know. Essentially, it is doing the revelation four times with four aces using only one hand. While it’s the same thing four times, the method has some very noteworthy points. It expands how something so simple can be utilised in a number of different ways. Jogs don’t always have to be lifted. That’s all I’m going to say. Look this up.
An in-the-hands cutting to the aces. When I looked at the illustrations, I was VERY interested, as it simply looked like you turned a packet over four times and each time, the face of the packet had a different ace on it. Upon reading the method in full, it let me down. The deck is given a triple cut and an Ace is found. The deck is re-assembled, put back into position, and repeated 3 more times. If you can come up with a handling for the effect I thought it would be originally, keep it. I invented one already and it will be better than yours. Also, the one you come up with is mine too. Since I gave you the idea. Suck it, bitch.
PROGRESS REPORT (Phil Goldstein AKA Max Maven AKA Phil GoldMax AKA Max PhilStein)
Phil/Max has some of the most interesting takes I’ve read. One of my favourite books is Phil’s ‘Focus’ (1990), and I wholeheartedly recommend this. There are some items that require a bullshit amount of preparation/very hard to find and specific gaff combinations, but they are worth it. Plus there are also a large number of items using regular cards. This effect is an updated handling of Vernon’s ‘Twisting the Aces’, where the Joker is introduced and the Aces reverse one at a time.. The main points to focus on in this handling are the counts used (A Five card Jordan, Fulves’ Omega count and an unnamed Five as Five display). The method is very direct, and it has some excellent thinking behind it. The only thing that irks me about it is the ‘Thru-the-fist’ flourishes used between showing the twists.
INERTIAL LOAD (Ed Marlo)
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, if I could only load this card under this large rectangular object, people would really respect me and think I’m cool,”, then look no further. I’ve seen earlier versions of the revelation (‘Expert Card Technique’, 1940, p.302 & ‘Marlo in Spades’, 1947, p.32) but the method is very… unique? I don’t know. It’s just fucked. It’s ballsy, but doable. The problem being that the need to load a card under a fairly large object in such a manner isn’t in high demand. Don’t bother reading it, just look at the illustrations and you’ll see what I mean.
THE REAL GONE ACES TAKE OVER (Jon Racherbaumer)
Jon Barack-O-Bama is back with an Ace assembly using the previous Marlo technique just described. The leader Ace is covered with a magazine, and then the other three Aces are vanished from their respective packets and reappear under the magazine with the leader Ace. I can’t be alone in saying that 99% of Ace assemblies are made for magicians, and the remainder being actual entertaining takes on the plot of cards assembling from one packet to another AKA Cards Across. I’ve seen people like Alan Ackerman do some insanely fuck-off, bullshit hard assemblies which fried me, but I would not perform them for a lay audience unless provoked.
HALO CHANGES COLOR AGAIN
This is just ‘Strange Harmony’/’Number Nine Blue’, but the cards revealed are the Aces and then the deck changes colour. Three effects, same method, just different cards used. Fucking.. hell.. please kill me know.
A RADICAL CHANGE
This is something which is fairly standard now, and I really love. It has roots, as mentioned in the text, in a Tony Kardyro sleight, as well as relations to the Paintbrush change by Roy Walton/Ed Marlo (I’m more inclined to give credit to Roy, see ‘Reflection’ DVD by Bill Goodwin for more history on the related Paintbrush change). Kaufman has taken the change and made it a double change, which has opened up so many possibilities on both the application and visual appearance and use of the change. Bill Goodwin has an excellent effect called ‘A Radical Sandwich’ in his ‘Picking the Carcass Clean’ lecture notes and Chris Kenner utilises it in his ‘InTENcity’ effect in his ‘Totally Out of Control’ book. I have at least 4 effects which use the idea of this move, but in different ways. Some as a covert switch, some as a change. I won’t give that shit out for free though. Learn this if you haven’t already.
THE ARCADIO COLLECTORS (Darwin Ortiz and Richard Kaufman)
This effect utilises the Radical change in the context of a ‘Collectors’ effect. Now, I’m not a picky person (I am.. I’m a huge asshole), but this requires duplicates yet is noted as ‘impromptu’. I’m not one to change the definition of a word (I am, I do it all the time.), but ‘impromptu’ means that there is NO preparation at all, meaning you could borrow the item(s) and perform the effect. I like the revelation to have the selections appear, but the method of how to get to that is fucking terrible. There is a way to make this impromptu, if you follow a similar vein to the method in Regal’s ‘Illegal Collections’. However, for the work involved, it may be safer to find a different way to achieve the same outcome. I have a handling similar to the end result, which is in turn based on a Tyler Wilson effect which no one knows about. Catch me if you can, bitches.
Small tangent time….
So, I just wanted to take a break because this shit is fucking repetitive, but also to highlight a negative point with this book that I mentioned earlier. Kaufman continually refers to Shakespeare and drop in interviews with Shakespeare and gives reference and credit to him. While this, as I mentioned, is intended to be done to appear edgy and literary genius, it confuses the reader, but also just ruins a perfectly good book. The idea of thematic writing in a magic book has been done in a much better way in ‘Trephine’ by Richard Bartram Jr (Rich Aviles knows what I’m talking’ about). Like a band doing a concept album, the writing in ‘Trephine’ does not confuse itself or overlap with the effects. They are kept separate, yet linked, and the writing between effects highlights points around the shortcomings and shit points of magic and magicians today. I may do a review on this book soon, but if you have not got it, I recommend getting it. Plus, I am God, so fucking get it or I’ll smite your fucking family by having their eyelids turn into testicles.
THE SECONDFROMTHETOP CHANGE
As the title implies, it’s a top change using a cover card. I can see this having very narrow applications due to the technique restricting what could be a more covered move with wider use. Kaufman credits the roots of the method being independently worked out by Bill Simon and Ken Krenzel in the 1950’s. Did you also know that Ken Krenzel and Howie Schwarzman also fiddled with Tilt around the same time? Anyways, the technique may be something you’d find useful, but I didn’t give it much thought.
PICKIN’ UP THE PIECES
A handling of the classic LePaul ‘Torn and Restored’, however there is a full restoration rather than just a partial. The only main drawback being that there is no signature, but Kaufman does introduce an interesting idea of a sticker on the selection with a drawing on it visually changing at the same time of the restoration. It does not add to the effect, but it does feel like a ‘lesser’ effect due to no signature making the conditions different. I recommend reading the original LePaul handling (‘The Card Magic of LePaul’, 1949, p.161), and if you like it, then I also recommend looking into Jack Carpenter’s tips for it (‘Modus Operandi’, 1992, p.77) as well as Dr Arturo De Ascanio’s handling for it (‘The Magic of Ascanio Vol. 2’, 2006, p.147).
MASS TRANSIT (Richard Kaufman & Barry)
Using the top change with a cover card, you are able to do an interesting transposition between a card previously placed in your pocket and a selection. This is something that you could use to support another effect, not so much as a standalone. The timing of it reminds me of John Bannon’s ‘Iconoclastic Aces’ (‘Dear Mr Fantasy’, 2004, p.17), as if the effect ends prematurely, but as an effect in itself.
If you are familiar with Paul Harris’ ‘Las Vegas Split’ effect, it is a varied handling using the Secondfromthetop change to aid the method and some gaffs to change the ending. Nothing too special. The display (not the method) reminded me of a Lee Asher effect called ‘The Ripper’, available for free from Lee at that link, or in his ‘Thinking Out Loud’ lecture notes, and Gordon Bruce’s Split Second deal technique (Try and find it.. you’ll find it in a book by another Scottish magician. He is one of the few people I look up to and have the most respect for.)
As the title implies again, this is a cover pass using the turnover pass mechanics. This retains the face card of the deck, which may be something you’d want. For a turnover-style pass that uses a top card cover dynamic, see Jack Carpenter’s ‘Modus Operandi’, 1992, p.41.
This is an odd take on Walton’s ‘Collectors’ plot. Three ‘predictions’ are openly alternated among the four aces which is left on top of the deck in view. Three selections are peeked at by the spectators, and the ‘predictions’ among the aces happen to be the ones peeked at moments ago. The method here lends itself to Krenzel’s ‘Look Ma, One Hand!’ effect earlier in the book, as well as the Turnover Coverpass. I practiced this for a week solid, but the issues I found were finding how to get smoothly from one step to the next without excessive handling or delays during the selection process. If you were to perform it exactly as Kaufman describes it, you will fumble a lot regardless of how much you practice. There is the essence of a good handling in here, but it needs a massive amount of tweaking.
HOFZINSER PREDICTS THE COLLECTORS
Upon reading the opening sentence, I threw this book out an open window and laughed maniacally. I honestly did not think any effect could make me doubt my own dignity and sanity, and I feel stupider for reading this effect. The effect is a mashup of the previous ‘Collectors’ effect, was well as the ‘Strange Harmony’ effect earlier in the book. You perform the effect verbatim, and then the value of the three selections is added up to a total of nine, to which the ‘Collector’ cards are turned over to reveal they are now the four 9’s. I am sorry you had to read that. I crown this the shittiest effect in the history of Horaynia.
I’m not even going to bother.. Card picked, coin placed on face up deck, face card changes to selection. Fuck Rise-Rise-Rise.
ON THE BMT
This is a terrible handling of what is essentially a diminishing lift sequence, showing one card multiple times. My copy of the book has question marks pencilled in around this method. This is the only place these question marks appear in the entire book. That’s how confusing and shitty this is. Some old bastard before me read this and was like “WHAT THE FUCK AM I READING? HOW IS THIS ENTERTAINING?”. I hope I forget this, my brain doesn’t have the capacity for things this shitty.
QUICK: WHICH WAY?
Yet another bullshit hybrid bastardisation of magic. In this, Kaufman combines a diminishing lift with a selection to an All-backs routine with a Four of a kind kicker ending. Not even going to bother. It uses the BMT technique just explained and is confusing as fuck. I don’t know how anyone, magician or layperson, could ever find this entertaining. Even if they were high off their ass.
MONTE FOR THE MALADJUSTED
A monte-style routine using the BMT method, and the kicker ending is that the colour of the cards used changes i.e. Red queens change black, Black aces changes to red. Not a big fan of the method. For a better handling, see Jack Carpenter’s ‘Expert’s Portfolio vol. 1’, 1997, p.41, or Alan Ackerman’s ‘Ackerman 2004’ lecture notes, p.29.
CASSETTE (SIDE A)
CASSETTE (SIDE B)
Like the Regal effect with a pager, this is outdated. A cassette tape is produced from the card case, and when it is played there is a comedic exchange between the performer and the recording. At the end, the recording names the selection. The second version does the same effect, however the recording leads the spectator to a kicker ending where the back of the selection changes colour. Even if this was updated to more current times, like as a song or a phone call on a smart phone, it would still feel a little contrived. See ‘Big Black Arrow’ in Rich Avile’s ‘Above the Fold’, available on trcky.com.
Although Kaufman mentions this is not like ‘Stabbed in the Pack’, it actually is. The action Kaufman describes is more like a Karate chop, and the top portion of the pack flips out onto the table. I personally prefer David Williamson’s handling (‘Stabbed in the Back’ in ‘Williamson’s Wonders’, or even going back as far to Johnny Benzais’ handling in ‘The Best of Benzais’.
THROUGH THICK AND THIN (Gene Maze & Richard Kaufman)
A cards through the table effect. The routine uses some of Gene’s sleights which are taught in his other books, so this is worth reading if you haven’t got them, just for the methods taught. I would recommend getting the Gene Maze card book and his ‘Art of Bottom Dealing’ book at any cost. Trust me, totally worth it. The kicker ending has the final king turning blank and the cutout of a king produced from beneath the table.
PALMS FOR THE POOR
A variation on Alex Elmsley’s ‘Between Your Palms’ effect (originally published in ‘Abra’, June 1952, and reprinted in ‘Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, volume 2’, 1994, p.246). This variation utilises the card case rather than the spectator’s hands (a Roy Walton idea) and a prediction in the card case with an odd-coloured back turns out to have a signature on it. While this does make it seem more impossible, I feel the overall effect is muddied by Kaufman’s handling.
This is actually pretty good idea to build on. It’s a method for revealing a selected card (or any other card-like object) from a sealed envelope. I personally prefer Tyler Wilson’s handling for this in his ‘Reinventing the Real’ book (2010). I won’t give that baby up. Buy his fucking book.
CUTTING REMARKS (Scott Weiser, Les Shore, Darwin Ortiz & Richard Kaufman)
This is a coin-cut style routine, but to be honest I didn’t think that the structure was any good for the finish, where the entire deck is the selected card. It reminds me of Regal’s ‘Failsafe Prediction’, in that the end revelation of the deck being all the same diminishes from the overall effect. In Regal’s, it’s more so because the selection process is drawn out. In this effect, the coin-cut plot is diminished by the fact that every card in the deck is the same as the ‘free’ selection. Having a few random X cards on top of the deck and utilising them without revealing the deck to be all the same would make this effect more impossible, and less of a ‘fuck you’ moment. John Armstrong’s ‘My Lucky Chip’ routine plays better than this one. His routine can be found in ‘Card Magic USA’ which is available as a PDF or oversized soft cover for the same price.
IN CASE YOU’RE PASSING THROUGH
A selected card melts through the cellophane and then through the card case. Kaufman mentions Paul Harris’ ‘Absorbtion’ effect as the starting point, although they are different method wise. The only noteworthy thing in here is a move by Bert Allerton to control the selection. The rest just feels shit.
This may piss some people off, but this effect uses a card with a negative image on it’s face, i.e. the white space is black and the black spots are white. Kaufman inadvertently invented the Black Tiger deck. HAHA! Lawsuit, bitches. The effect is quite good, but the method has restrictions. A selection is made and signed, and placed aside. A ‘negative’ slate the size of a playing card is brought out and is used like a camera. The negative image of the selection appears on the black card. The card is then turned over to change into a normal coloured card, and then the signature is made to appear on the card. The method is clunky, but the idea behind the effect is great. For something along the same lines, see David Acer’s ‘The Camera Never Lies’ in ‘Natural Selections vol. 1’, 1994, p.81.
A VANISHING DECK (Derek Dingle)
An interesting take on the vanishing deck. The method is restricted to certain conditions, and the vanish is more of a kicker to a selection penetrating the card case, and then the card case being shown empty. I like the penetration effect, but not the vanish. For another effect where cards penetrate the cased deck, see Greg Wilson’s ‘Boxspring’ on his ‘Card Stunts’ DVD.
The last part of the book is designated as ‘Stand-up Card magic’. There, I’ve just given you 95% of the methods used for every effect that we’ve just gone through. I almost considered finishing the review here because the last few items are just terrible. They are better suited to parlour settings… let’s see….
An ‘updated’ handling of Cliff Green’s ‘Phoenix Aces’ from ‘Professional Card Magic’ (1961), where the aces are produced one at a time from bare hands. If you really want to learn this, get the previously mentioned Greg Wilson DVD ‘Card Stunts’ where he teaches it as ‘Phoenix Split’. Also, for the Cliff Green fans or people who want his book, Kaufman recently mentioned that he is re-writing Cliff’s book to be republished soon.
A PHOENIX OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR
Essentially the same effect as the last one, but the Aces have different coloured backs at the end. Big. Fucking. Deal. Also, you get to see Kaufman going down on the Ace of Hearts. Shit’s kinky.
BLUES CAUGHT ON A WINDY DAY
Based on Cliff Green’s ‘Flight of the Blues’, which is a cards across using odd coloured backs to make the translocation more visual. It’s essentially making it so that fucking moron’s can watch this and see pretty colours going from one place to the other. Also, there’s a diagram of Kaufman doing an impression of Vishnu on p. 154.
A ‘Diminishing Cards’ effect using some of the most fucked up ideas I’ve ever read. Look at the illustrations before considering reading this. The write-up is so fucked up, so seeing the mess of a method that he performs in the drawings will give you an idea of how much to avoid this. Visually, it should look like a single card held at the fingertips gets smaller and smaller, and then bigger again. Shit’s fucked.
A combinations of “It Shrinks!” as a pseudo-explanation during a Cards to pocket routine. ‘Nuff said.
THE PROVERBIAL HOLE
I think this title originally was ‘The Proverbial Piece of Shit’, but Kaufman ran out of vowels. This reminded me heavily of David Roth’s ‘Portable Hole’ effect from his ‘Expert Coin Magic’ book. This feels kind of … kinky. You proceed to reach into the gaping hole, producing and vanishing the card in the process. I’d prefer to use Jack Carpenter’s ‘Card and Purse Frame’ from ‘Modus Operandi’ (1992) p.73 and avoid the statements of things vanishing then coming out of my hole.
Kaufman notes this is inspired by Dr Sawa’s coin effect of the same name in his book ‘Sawa’s Library of Magic vol. 1 published in the 1980’s. I personally love the Sawa book, but most people hate it and unfortunately none of the proceeding volumes were ever published. This routine comprises of producing and vanishing a card bare handed, and the finale produces a shitload of cards, as if you hit the jackpot on the slot machine. A lot of angle restrictions, and more drawings of Kaufman’s delicious afro, pencil thin moustache and deep V.
THE POLAROID CHANGE
THE CRYSTAL BALL
A colour change where the hands are lifted and dropped during the change. Again, this is written as ‘Stand-up’ magic, but you would need to be standing a long fucking way away to get away with the angles on some of the last few items. The Crystal ball effect uses the Polaroid change to progressively change a card from blank to a printed card, or vice versa. There’s an effect that came out within the last 5 years where this happened and it was a more updated handling for this, but I cannot be fucked trying to find it.
You hold the four aces, then they turn into a single Joker. This utilises a steal from the Polaroid change as a ditch. Meh.
This is a really half assed explanation. Three selections are made and lost, the joker is removed and changes into the three different selections before becoming a blank card. The three selections are then removed from your pocket. The method is shit.
I’m sorry if towards the end this got boring, but I really fucking hate this book overall. It is a waste of space on my shelf, and honestly I wish I never bought it. The bad points terribly outweigh the good points, and at the end of it all, you will get little out of this book if you already know the good points I’ve mentioned so far.
Would I recommend this book? Fuck no.
Because it highlights just how shit some magic can be because of unnecessary mixing/blending of plots or applying the same method from one effect to another to stretch out contributions. This is not a competition. What is published should not be any and every idea that pops into your head. It should be the creme of the crop, or even something you’ve thought up that would be an awesome effect, but never could figure it out. Also, variation for variations sake is a bad idea. I am all for variations if they improve the effect or the method with a purpose that betters it. The amount of bullshit in this book was ridiculous.
Buy a different book on card magic.
Like with most wars, ‘the winning side writes the history books’.
This book is part of magic’s history that should be forgotten and buried.
Now, let me go back to nursing my broken body and cooking up my remaining copies of Erdnase,