School Daze by Roy Walton

Anyone who can get their hands on old copies of Steve Hamilton’s Profile Magazine will have a real winner on their hands. This version of Henry Christ’s “Sum and Difference” has been blessed with the Walton touch and was published in Profile Issue 5, December 1991.

This is one of many excellent effects hidden within the pages of Profile, a magic magaine which should definately be republished.

Bad attitude in Magic

At every gathering of magicians I’ve been to I’m always surprised how many people have such a bad attitude towards magic. Instead of seeing it as an amazing art that requires much practise and study, they think it’s all about out doing one another and possessing secrets.

I’ve met many ‘magicians’ who know next to nothing about card magic yet they portray themselves as incredibly knowledgable, even though they must know there is so much more for them to learn. It annoys me a lot, why can’t we be more humble? When magicians get together they should be helping each other to improve their magic by offering advice and pointing out where others may be going wrong – not trying to show off and fool each other.

Most of this seems to come from the younger generation of magicians (although not exclusively) and I think a lot of it is due to them not learning properly. The current market of constant new releases and tempting one trick downloads are distracting them away from the classic texts which would really improve their magic. They’re constantly focussed on the next ‘method’ with which to try and impress people.

We should be encouraging fellow magicians to learn and study the work of the masters (Vernon, Walton, Elmsley etc.) and try to inspire others to do the same.

Paul Daniels on Max Malini

When the BBC documentary “The History of Magic” was first shown I remember being annoyed at this clip. Paul Daniels performing poor sleight of hand whilst professing to have thoroughly researched Max Malini. He obviously never watched the Vernon Revelations series (and yet still calls himself a magician!) in which The Professor explains actually witnessing the colour change Malini used. Daniels is talking utter nonsense.

Oh and by the way – I never knew Paul Daniels invented a colour change in the 1970’s, does anyone know the name of this or where it’s published? 😉

Thinking backwards

One of my favourite card effects is “The Smiling Mule” by Roy Walton, a spectator names any card in the deck and it instantly appears between two face up aces in the centre of the deck. I suggest you look it up for the method but it does involve the use of a gag/sucker situation at the start which enables you to find the named card.

Darwin Ortiz published a “variation” of this trick in Scams and Fantasies which he calls “The Last Laugh” and the thinking is all backwards. Let me explain. In Darwin’s variation he decides to eliminate the impromptu nature of the Walton original method and substitute a memorized deck instead! This seems ridiculous and is a classic example of variation for the sake of variation. Instead of improving on the routine he decides to make it more complicated (thereby also limiting it to an opening effect or in a set of effects also using such as setup). In the original the secret action takes place when the audience is laughing and think the trick is over, in Darwin’s version the gag element is reduced and you also have to pinky count to the position of the named card in the stack. Unnecessarily complex in my opinion.

He does defend his reasoning at the end of the effect –

“…The Walton effect is impromptu but requires that you spread through the deck face up to locate the named card. I feel that this could, in retrospect, provide a clue to the method”

I disagree. Performed properly the culling of the card is not noticed as the spectators are reacting to the gag part of the trick and believe the trick to be over. Here’s a clip of Darwin performing the trick. He gets lucky in this clip as the women names the top card of the deck. As for his performance in general – he’s hardly putting this theories from Strong Magic into practice.

Two books you should all own

The Complete Walton Volumes 1&2. I cannot stress how important it is to own these two books. In terms of close up card magic Roy Walton is one of less than a handful of magicians to advance the art of card magic since Dai Vernon. His effects are magnificantly structured and most importantly, extremely entertaining to a lay audience. He is the creator of, amongst other things, the collectors plot, card warp, oil and queens, trigger, the spread half pass as well as countless other classic moves and tricks.

These two volumes contain all of Roy’s previously published booklets (Vol. 1) as well as a collection of effects that have seen print in magzines (Vol. 2) . If you love card magic and don’t own these books you should be ashamed of yourself.

To paraphrase Jerry Sadowitz from his BBC show “The Paulbearer’s Review” –

“Many people have asked if we can get Roy Walton onto the Roy Walton Moment….the best we could do was find a picture of his son

Buy them.

Wordle meets Magic

Erdnase Wordle

A word cloud of the complete text of “The Expert at the Card Table”. The larger the word the more that word occurs within the text. If anything this show just how precise Erdnase’s descriptions are.

Here’s one of Hofzinsers Card Conjuring –

Hofzinser's Card Conjuring Wordle

Anyone wanting to create there own visit Wordle here. It’d be great to do one of all of Harry Lorayne’s posts on the Magic Cafe. Imagine, standing tall and large amongst an array of words the letter “I”.