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.


6 Responses to Wikipedia and Magic

  1. Joe Mckay says:


    Firstly – I really love your blog… It is great to see some respect paid to the greatest card Genius in the history of magic! Anyway – I am the guy who put most of the tricks on to the Roy Walton wikipedia page. I was working on a list of all of his published works and decided to ‘dump’ it all on wikipedia. Anyway – I wanted to include some ‘colour’ pieces saying exactly why Roy is so important to card magic. But – it was difficult since all the guys who run Wikipedia no nothing about magic and have never heard of Roy. Unless you can back up what you say with a citation from another site, it is difficult to keep it on the page. For along time they took down the whole list of card tricks as well since apparently such information wasn’t of any use. The list is incomplete in a number of areas but I am not worried since one of the world’s greatest card men is working on THE list of his works. That will be far better than my efforts! I have a couple of other points I want to add but I will do that below…

    All the best,

    Joe Mckay

    • blendomagic says:

      Thanks, I agree about Roy Walton, I’d consider him and Dai Vernon to be the two most important people in card magic in the last 100 years, by a long way.

  2. Joe Mckay says:

    Here is a ‘mini review’ that I did for the second volume of THE COMPLETE WALTON. I have already used it on a couple of sites! It may be of interest:

    I should also add that Roy says he has a third volume of material waiting to be published…

    STAGE SHOUT – I love this effect. It is a brilliant method to cause a card to completely vanish. It is easy to do and the structure at work is incredible. You are always one step ahead of the audience…

    TRAVELLING MAN – There is some great thinking at work here. It was one of the tricks that Bill Goodwin chose for David Regal’s ‘Buried In Print’ article in GENII. That article gets my vote for the best article ever. What is great about this trick is that the first stage sets you up to carry out the second stage without any extra moves.

    RIGHT NUMBER – This is one of the strongest tricks you can do with a faro shuffle. Not only that, the deck is left in Stay-Stack order afterwards for further miracles.

    ROUND AND ROUND – I love this effect.This is practically a self-working method for doing a transposition of two packets of cards.

    GAME LAW – This is very interesting. It is the only trick using the Gilbreath Principle I have seen where the spectator can give the deck TWO riffle shuffles!

    COUNT ME IN – I am not a massive fan of this trick, but you should check out the other trick also called COUNT ME IN which can be found in Karl Fulves’ magazine ‘The Chronicles’. That other trick is one of Walton’s best…

    PLAY IT AGAIN – This is a cute variation of the hoary old ‘Piano Card Trick’.

    PALMIST’S PROPHECY – The method for this is diabolical. There is also a cute touch involving the Elmsley Count at the end of the trick. I haven’t seen this ‘one behind’ use for the Elmsley Count before.

    BORDER CROSSING – This is a lovely transposition effect using two decks. It is almost self-working and is repeated twice. There is a sneaky bluff used for the second transposition.

    THE ARRANGEMENT – A clever use for the half pass here. It uses the Stay Stack, so could be used after ‘RIGHT NUMBER’.

    CAROUSEL – This is a lovely variation of one of my favourite self-working tricks.

    IMPERFECT CLONES – This is a good trick and a pretty novel effect. It again uses the properties of an Elmsley Count in a way I haven’t quite seen before.

    CAUGHT IN TIME – This is an ingenious take on ‘The Clock Effect’ that will fool other magicians.

    SEPARATION – This uses a lovely Karl Fulves palm addition. This is a great appliaction of this move. I have heard of a magician using it as a ‘magician fooler’ at the bar of The Magic Castle.

    JORDAN PLUS COLOUR – This is a great trick (re-printed from the first volume for some reason). What pleased me here was to see one of my favourite magicians (Roy Walton) add a clever idea to one of my favourite tricks by another of my favourite creators (Charles Jordan). This is one of those devious tricks that would fool the pants off anyone. Yep, even R. Buckminster Fuller!

    COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE – Again, this is another novel take on The Gilbreath Principle. Good to see more magic squeezed out of this wonderful principle.

    THE WITCH-DOCTORS – This has a nice method and a Paul Harrisy type story/effect. Not to my taste, but your tastes may differ…

    A STRAIGHT SHUFFLE – I have only ever invented three card tricks in my life, and this happened to be one of them. Of course, Roy came up with this about twenty years before me. It is a good effect that was also singled out by Bill Goodwin in ‘Buried In Print’.

    DROP OUTS – This another novel trick which is similar in style to Paul Harris. Perhaps, that is because it is based on a trick by Ron Ferris (who always reminds me of Paul Harris).

    BACK INTO TIME – This is one of only a few card tricks that use the ‘time machine’ concept. Steve Freeman published a variation of this in GENII magazine. It can also be found in one of the Card College books. Personally, I cannot recall how different the variation was to the original.

    RUNAROUND – The best saved to the end… This is my favourite trick in the book and it is a really wonderful effect. There is magic throughout and then a lovely three-way surprise transposition to finish. It really catches people by surprise and looks like real magic. The ending is one of the most beautiful moments in all of card magic…
    However, the effect can be confusing unless done slowly. I would be interested to hear how others present this effect? [THIS IS WHAT I WROTE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO – NOWADAYS ‘STAGESHOUT’ IS MY FAVOURITE EFFECT.]

    I love these books and they are well worth working through. Often the effects are not described – instead we are dropped straight into the descriptions. Also, there are very few illustrations… As such, it is acts as a kind of post-graduate education in both card magic and the ability to read magic books. After you have tackled these books, you will be able to understand the descriptions in any other book of card tricks. That too, is a cool thing to pick up. Thanks, Roy…

    All the best,

    Joe Mckay

    • blendomagic says:

      Thank you very much for posting this, and the other excellent comments Joe. A third volume! I can hardly contain my excitement. I love the idea for The Smiling Mule also. If there’s any ‘colour’ pieces you want to add I’ll more than happily post them on here for you.



  3. Joe Mckay says:

    An idea for use when performing Roy Walton’s THE SMILING MULE…

    Here is a brilliant ‘tip’ for this effect from Euan Bingham. He published it in TWENTY THINGS THAT MARLO DIDN’T PUBLISH. Here is the idea:

    Before the trick takes place he loads 4 or 5 cards into different locations (eg both pockets, the card-case, inside both shoes). When the effect takes place, he has the spectator name any card. Should it be one of the cards that is pre-loaded, he ditches the Roy Walton effect and just shows that the card has vanished from the deck and re-produces it from one of his prepared locations. If such a card is not named, he then just continues with the original Walton trick (which is a great trick by the way). About ten percent of the time such an effect will have a stunning conclusion in which luck is the only method…

    The way I prefer to use it is to simply have a single playing card in my pocket or in the card-case. That way if that card should be named, I can show that the deck contains just 51 cards. That adds to the mystery of how the named card managed to disappear from the deck. Don’t forget also that this trick involves using the 2 RED ACES to catch a named card. As such – you don’t let them name one of those cards. This will increase the odds (slightly) of you fluking on a miracle!

    All the best,

    Joe Mckay

    PS Roy Walton has a new trick called GHOSTLY POKER in the DECMEBER 2009 issue of THE MYSTERY magazine. This is a new magazine put out by MAGIC BOOKS BY POST. I just ordered a copy!

  4. Joe Mckay says:

    One other point. WIKIPEDIA is far too precious about being completely factual and objective. As such it is hard to write with brio about WHY somebody was important. But that isn’t too much of a problem since GENII MAGAZINE have MagicPedia (A wikipedia devoted to magic). So – that site might be better for writing about magic (particularly since there are no wiki-police telling you off and starting fights). A nice touch might be to include links on the wikipeida pages re-directing to the MagicPedia pages. Just an idea… It doesn’t worry me too much since if a new magician wanted information about an important magician then a search through forums like The Magic Cafe and The GENII Forum is probably the best way to go about it…

    All the best,


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