The Magnetized Cards

Once again I feel I must mention the genius of Edward Victor – this time we look at his solution to the magnetized cards trick. In the previous post on Edward Victor I included a photo which shows him performing his magnetized card effect. What the photo doesn’t show is that his hand could be turned completely upside down and the cards (approx 24 of them) would remain in position. What I like about this version compared to the others is that it uses no gimmick at all! This is a sleight of hand method only.

Although somewhat tricky to start with, once you’ve got the hang of it the trick is very easy to perform. In light of the fact that the setting up of all the cards happens in front of the spectator and that in order to hide the secret you would have to turn away from them for the first few cards, I prefer to just do it openly and present it more of a balancing stunt than a mystical magical effect.

“The Magnetized Cards – (Sleight-of-Hand Method)” can be found in the Magic of the hands trilogy.

Wikipedia and Magic

The majority of magic related Wikipedia articles are really bad.  For a start, try looking up some of the masters-

Dai VernonRoy WaltonAlex ElmsleyEd Marlo

They’re badly formatted and contain niggling inaccuracies. The Vernon one isn’t too bad but most of the information seems to be taken straight from the David Ben book (which is excellent by the way). The Roy Walton article seems to be a list of all of his tricks and the Elmsley and Marlo one’s are too short. New magicians reading these won’t get an accurate idea of what these men actually did for card magic.

Looking through some other articles I found explanations of the side steal and the classic pass! Both in an article on sleight of hand and both completely unnecessary. The side steal one even has a photo! In another article there’s even some descriptions of palms. The card manipulation article is just shit.

Solution? The badly explained techniques should be removed (the alternative is to make them better which would be a lot worse) and the biographical articles should be expanded and improved upon so people can find out how why these men are considered the masters.

The Bent Corner Subtlety

The use of the bent corner in the 3 card Monte is genius on so many levels. It allows the spectator to defeat their own logic – they are utterly convinced that they know the identity of the bent card. The bend is sometimes put in openly and other times “by accident” but is removed and added to another card in seconds.

What I want to discuss here is the use of this subtlety outside of the 3 Card Monte trick. The only thing in my library I can find is Dai Vernon’s “The Bent Corner Prediction” from Inner Secrets of Card Magic. A brilliant card at any number trick using a switch of a bent card. Does anyone else know of any other tricks where this subtlety is used?

I’ve been experimenting and come up with a couple of nice uses for this subtlety which I’ll share with you soon.

Dai Vernon and Bruce Cervon at Auction


MagicWeek brings us the news that some of Dai Vernon and Bruce Cervon’s personal possessions and props are up for auction next year.

I don’t know about you, but I hate to think of this stuff ending up in the grubby hands of a private collector (which unfortunately will probably be the case).

These things belong in a museum somewhere, somewhere where anyone who’s interested in the history of magic can appreciate them.

The auction starts on 30/01/2010. ….if only I had the money…

Dani DaOrtiz

I’ve only fairly recently discovered Dani DaOrtiz after looking through some YouTube videos. He’s funny, original and highly entertaining as these clips will prove. He’s kind of like a  cross between Tamariz and Lennart Green and I really feel like those of us who only speak English are missing out on some excellent effects and ideas just because we can’t read spanish (DaOrtiz publishes a magic magazine – ElManuscrito).

Have a look for other videos of him on YouTube – they’re great. This is the sort of stuff that should be booked for closeup at Blackpool.

An Underused Move #3 – The Edward Victor Change

edwardvictorThis great change is the invention of British sleight of hand genius Edward Victor (1887 – 1964). He’s somewhat overlooked in the world of card magic, yet the sleights he invented are brilliant. Look through the pages of his “Magic of the Hands” trilogy and you will find a sleight akin to the Convincing Control and a false riffle shuffle scarily similar to Marlo’s (?) Shank shuffle. There’s also a move called “The Book Return” which is essentially the same as the four for four switch which is currently doing the rounds. The move under discussion is a startlingly visual change of a card as it is removed from the pack or as it is tapped with the fingers of the hand.

Two great tricks which use the move to great effect are Peter Duffie’s “Colour Change Collectors” from “Inspriations” and Jerry Sadowitz’s “Ipcress” from “Contemporary Card Magic”.

Click here to see Roger Curzon (an underground British legend) perform the change at 1:10.

As usual, an idea of mine using the change – it’s not a trick but an application of the move to a triumph type effect.

To end, some words of wisdom from the opening page of “The Magic of the Hands” –

The Rules of the Sleight-of-Hand Artist Are three, and all others are vain; The first and second are “practice,” And the third one is “practice again.”

To gain access to the trick section you must enter a password. The password is the title of the trick on page 130 of The Complete Walton Volume 1.

Billy the Scotsman and Improvisational Magic

I was in the pub last week and one of the men playing on the local darts team saw me playing with a pack of cards. It didn’t take long for him to approach me and ask me if I’d like to see a trick. I said that I’d love to and he began to shuffle the cards. Next, he placed the cards on the table and asked me to name any card. “The six of clubs” I said. He cut the deck and turned the cards over…..the four of hearts. “If that’d have been right you’d have S**t yourself!” he said. I admit that the whole time I was expecting this real miracle but it was still really funny that he gave it a try.

I spent a little time with him and it turned out that he’d never studied card magic at all but had come up with a few ideas himself which he performs for people. He could do an alright false overhand shuffle (not using injogs but by kind of keeping track of a block) and he knew to remember and retain the bottom card just in case someone named that when doing the trick he showed me. Sometimes he’d have hit it and the spectators would have been baffled, when he didn’t, it was still funny. It was well worth trying.

He then showed me that he sometimes arranges prominent court cards and the ace of spade on top of the deck and asks someone to name any card – more often than not he can then produce it almost instantly. These ideas aren’t groundbreaking or even original but it’s great that he had thought about them and was prepared to try them out without ever reading a book on card magic.

He ended by asking me to thoroughly shuffle the cards, which I did and select two cards. I turned them over and they were a 7 and a 9. He asked me what was next in the sequence to which I said 11 (a jack). “Would you be impressed if I could produce three jacks from the pack you just shuffled?” I said that I would and handed him the pack – which he shuffled once and turned over the top three cards…..three jacks.

The method? – He secretly removed them (which I didn’t see!) and added them on when I handed him the pack. It wasn’t invisible but I think he would have gotten away with it when doing it for laymen. What’s amazing about this is the ingenuity – he had never studied card magic yet had come up with these ideas himself. Even the selection of two cards and me naming the next in sequence was completely improvised and brilliant.

The point of this post really wasn’t just for me to share a really cool experience but also to highlight how its good to sometimes take risks and improvise now and again. Even just remembering the top and bottom cards and having a known card reversed in the center can become a real miracle. As for Billy – he’s a Scot so it must be in his blood.