Thanks to Leech

Just wanted to give the heads up to a brilliant effect by Al Leech from “For Card Men Only”, 1949.

The trick, called “A Transposition” is brilliant. The seven of clubs is placed in your pocket and the two red twos removed from the pack. Spectator selects a card which is sandwiched face down between the red twos. With a snap of the fingers you remove the selected card from your pocket and the card between the twos is now the seven of clubs.

The handling is very efficient and there’s a cleanness to the trick – the spectators see the back of a face down card between the twos the whole time and it seems like there’s no way the card could have changed.

Another gem from the book is “Elusive Jacks” which is a nice trick where the black and red jacks keep changing places. This is a book which is definitely worth tracking down if you can find it.

British Pathe – Archive Magical Footage

I love watching old archive footage of magical performances and was delighted to stumble across the website of British Pathe, a site which archives 75 years of British film making. Search for “magician” and “magic” and you’ll find dozens of performances from as early as the 1930’s.

Here’s a clip of a magician called Newman Mond performing a snooker table card revelation from 1939 –


Here’s another clip of magician know as Erikson (there are several clips of him on the site, including him trying to imitate Cardini) –

Erikson 1942

So friends, happy searching and enjoy.

Lennart Green Week – Blog DaOrtiz

Dani DaOrtiz has been having a week-long tribute to Lennart Green on his blog. Here’s a link to the Google translation into English – Click here

You can make out what most of it means although some of the translation is poor. The videos however are in English. The first post in particular is really nice and has some biographical information on Lennart.

51 Faces North

I found this recently and thought it might interest some. One of Stewart James’s solutions to the “51 Faces North” trick. The trick, originally by Paul Curry (The Open Prediction) was revamped by James who gave it several ridiculous conditions which led him to create this.

I’ve read some nice solutions to the Open Prediction, one by Marlo (I forget where now) and the other by Jerry Sadowitz in The Crimp Magazine (Issue 52).

Here’s someone performing one of Marlo’s methods (badly but it’s the best I could find)

Mystery Magazine Issue 2 – A Short Review

Recently received a copy of Mystery Magazine Issue 2. I was very unimpressed to be perfectly honest. The best thing in it by far was the trick by Roy Walton called “Ghostly Poker”. I don’t really enjoy reading about magic competitions and little gatherings. I also hope the standard of the effects get better (I’m obviously excluding the trick by Roy Walton), “Mirror Trick” by Michael Lyth – a jumbo card inside a sparkly frame trick – does anyone seriously present stuff like this these days? “The Long-Distance Card Trick” by Chris Wardle – using a very old number force to force a card – there are much better and stronger over the phone tricks than this.

I was laughing out loud whilst reading the interview with “Dynamo”. When asked about mastering his routines and the books vs DVD debate he replied –

The magic scene as a whole is very formulaic. People use the same ideas, follow the same sorts of paths, routes and so on. The way I look at it, to step out of that box and be different, you have to look elsewhere for your inspiration…I know guys who can do really impressive card magic, stuff that puts me to shame – and I’m pretty good. These are guys who can do all the technical things, but when it comes to performing an effect for somebody, they don’t have a clue.

“Step out of that box and be different” – I don’t see anything unique about him at all – just another Blaine wannabe who uses mostly marketed items anyone can do. “I’m pretty good” – no you’re not. Not only can you not do the technical stuff, you can’t present either. It really annoys me when people assume that just because you actually care about good technique and spend time mastering difficult sleights you must not be able to present anything.

As for “Dynamo” his success is due to the general public not being able to appreciate what good magic is. Some promoter see’s him doing poor magic, doesn’t know what good magic is and signs him up believing him to be good.

As for the magazine – I’ll keep getting it and hope it improves. After all we need a decent British magic magazine.

Magic Get-Togethers

I’ve never been one for joining magic clubs – my experience so far has been mostly negative. I’ve got nothing against them, its just that the ones I’ve attended are usually full of stuck in their way 80 something year old men who like to play with little wooden boxes and wave magic wands. I’m sure many many people really enjoy going to them and I know most magic clubs won’t be like the ones I’ve attended. Maybe I was just really unlucky.

I attended a meeting at one club (and never went again) where the president was so controlling he wouldn’t let people talk amongst themselves, everyone had to address the whole room. I’d much rather just session and discuss the things I like with those there who have a similar interest. Which brings me to the whole point of this post –

A much better way to do things – It’s from a blog run by John Derris.

The Genius of Roy Walton – Guest Post by Joe Mckay

I think it goes back to Origami.

The obsession with how much you can extend a simple material into as many complex and ingenious forms as possible. Bend it, twist it, crease it, fold it. But never cut it. And never cheat with the use of sticky stuff. Glue, tape, staples… All out. The challenge is in meeting the conditions. The task is to tease out the possibilities inherent in a simple piece of paper. I have never been ‘into’ origami but I can recognise it’s charms. Indeed – in some deep sense the two volumes of The Complete Walton belong in the same field. When it comes to experiencing the twin joys of elegance and ingenuity, there is no better place to play.

Unprepared playing cards. Sleights and stacks and nothing else. No gimmicks here. No Cheating. Nothing but two hands, a deck of cards and flash after flash of genius. How much can be done with a simple deck of cards? How can we count the ways in which elegance and ingenuity can be applied to such a simple prop? Well – let’s find out…

Let’s start with Volume One…

But before that let’s start with Jerry Sadowitz.

The greatest performer of card magic in the history of magic. And an amazing creator…

He has ripped apart so many rules in both comedy and magic that it is hard to comprehend his many achievements. One of his traits has being the amount of time he has spent praising Roy Walton on his many national TV appearances. He even had a show called ‘The Roy Walton Moment’. In it he spoke about how incredible the two ‘Complete Walton’ books were. Later – he said he couldn’t find a photograph of Roy, but he did manage to find a picture of his son. The picture was a painting of Jesus Christ.

Another lovely joke he pulled was to have a spectator go through the two Roy Walton books. He would have them mention any effect from the pages of the books. He offered to perform any effect that was chosen. ‘The Overworked Card’ the spectator would ask. Well – that is an interesting trick which also goes by the name of ‘The Collectors’ he would reply. He would then proceed to do the effect that he planned on doing the whole time. Nice joke – but it makes an interesting point. You really can pick any effect from these books at random – and you will always hit upon either a recognised classic or something of real interest. In every Walton effect there is always something to admire. Whether it be a clever twist for an old move (he regularly applies the Elmsley count, half pass, turnover pass and the Gilbreath Principle in unusual ways) or a clever re-working of an old idea. Or maybe some ingenious piece of mathematical elegance. Or a magician fooler. Or a strange new plot which has never being worked before in quite this way. There is always something there. Buried in the small print of his ideas is something that will cause any thinking cardman to pause and catch their breath. To be astonished when learning an effect is wonderful. Roy can do that…

There is something about the structure behind Roy’s thinking which is gorgeous. He will often set up one effect whilst completing another earlier on in the routine. He tightly sets up the method such that the effect can be allowed to unfold later on with extra stages already built into the earlier phases of the method. He plans his effects like a grandmaster executing a sure-fire 6 move checkmate. To watch this thinking unfold is like watching an origami watch be slowly pulled apart. In the folds and creases you see the logic behind the magic. I can understand how it is put together but the wonder is in the creativity that designed it. It all comes together and ticks in the perfect harmony of a singular vision. A vision of how card effects should be constructed. A taste for how method and effect should intertwine in the most effective and ingenious way possible. The shortest distance between any two points may be a straight line. But I find the straight line is rarely the most elegant route. When looking for that route I turn to the maps created by Roy Walton.

I rate the two volumes ‘Complete Walton’ books as the greatest collections of card tricks ever published. I would rate the two volumes of  ‘The Complete Works of Alex Elmsley’ in second place. All well and good, but consider this…

R. Paul Wilson made the interesting point that in any one of the Walton books is more ingeniously constructed effects than in both of the Elmsley books. An intriguing observation – but one which holds up well when one makes the comparison. It is astonishing to consider this. Remember – Alex Elmsley was a bloody genius…

It is part of Roy’s legacy that he has had such an influence on such people as Jerry Sadowitz, Peter Duffie, Gordon Bruce and R. Paul Wilson. But his main influence lies in the hundreds and hundreds of card tricks he has created…

And, sorry – back to Volume One…

My copy of this book is falling apart.

Continue reading “The Genius of Roy Walton – Guest Post by Joe Mckay”

The Cincinnati Force – Ed Marlo

This Marlo force can be found in Racherbaumer’s “Card Finesse” and was allegedly developed after Marlo saw a flourish from the movie “The Cincinnati Kid”. The move is used to force a face down card in a table spread.

Basically the cards are spread face down on the table and the spectator selects anyone – this is the forced card. It’s based on the theory that the spectator will choose the path of least resistance i.e the card in the spread which has slightly more back showing than the rest. I’m not going to describe the technique to achieve this but the move sets this scenario up. If the spectator choses another card then you can simply do a different trick. It’s great because it’s so casual and any suspicion of trickery is eliminated. This is actually very beneficial as it increases the likelihood they will choose the easiest card. If they’re totally convinced it’s a fair selection they won’t mind where they take it from.

If you do the move face up then the chances are that the spectator will think of the most visible card and you can then find a card they are simply thinking of! This is obviously risky as if they don’t think of the force card you’ll have to do some real mind reading! Still, it does work a lot of the time, especially if you make them look at one fairly quickly and have the right attitude.

Great move, well worth looking up.