Sadowitz roots for “Open Triumph”

So it turns out that the casual display used by Dani DaOrtiz in his Open Triumph trick can be found in Jerry Sadowitz’s’ Crimp Magazine under the title of “Psychological Triumph” in issue 47! I personally prefer Dani DaOrtizs’ handling which is much easier and more causal, but credit must go to Mr Sadowitz for the display.

It’s a great idea and so so convincing..

Jerry Sadowitz – to publish or not to publish?

It was great to see Roland of the Weekly Magic Failure and Daily Card Trick blogs mentioning Jerry Sadowitz. I envy Rolands obviously recent discovery of Sadowiz’s material and remember how great it was to discover it for the first time myself – a feeling I got the first time I discovered the Walton books. Highly magical cleverly structured genius routines.

I’ve written before about how I consider Jerry Sadowitz to be the top card man in the world today – not just creatively but also technically. Those of you who have seen him perform will have witnessed flawlessly executed magic performed with apparent ease. Card magic is rarely seen on British TV today and when it is the performer (somewhat understandably) chooses easy stuff. The early 90’s hosted a couple of magic series which Sadowitz performed on and he performed no easy stuff. In fact he was performing incredibly hard routines (The Beast With Two Backs etc.), passes, half passes and bottom deals invisibly on television. Some people reading Walton question the difficulty of some of the tricks and think them unusable – this is the stuff Jerry was doing on television. I doubt anyone would even attempt this level if faced with a TV appearance now. I’m not saying they should, just that I respect Sadowitz’s fearlessness and refusal to “dumb down” so to speak. He understands that sleights are used as a tool to create magic and that if a difficult sleight gives a more direct and magical effect then surely you should use it.

One thing which anyone will have discovered when trying to find videos of Jerry online is the lack of them. For someone with exceptional skill he is seemingly very shy about clips of him appearing online – they are removed by him within days. Personally I fail to see what harm this does as it only enables people to discover his material, appreciate the routines and recognise and be thankful for Jerry’s advancement of magic. He must see it differently. His magazine “The Crimp” is worth it’s weight in gold if you can track it down – I don’t own a full collection but he ones I do have are full of some of the best card magic I’ve ever read – no joke. The magazine was freely available via his website for a long time but due to Jerry feeling that people were ripping off the material he has restricted the sale to only those who he trusts. I think this is a real shame and in many ways may actually be doing more harm than he realises.

By restricting the publication of his material it makes it very difficult to make a stand as far as crediting is concerned, at least from when it was restricted onwards. For example lets say that I discover a great idea which I’m sure has never seen print before, decide to publish it and do so. What I don’t realise is that this idea was published some months before in the Crimp. You can bet that I would be accused of plagiarism by Jerry despite that fact that the first published source is unobtainable. Is there a better solution? I can understand that Jerry wants to establish his material but not make it readily known but it must be one extreme or the other. Either keep it to yourself and don’t get involved or publish it all freely so that people can properly credit and enjoy the material.

To quote Jerry himself from the Crimp when talking about elitism in magic and what he calls “secrets merchants” –

You have something good of your own? Knowledge that progresses magic? Then speak up – or forever sit in your little seat, in your special circle for special children, spreading your mouldering cheese and monkey nuts.

By restricting the sale of his magazine is he inadvertently becoming what he seemingly hates? I’d love to hear what you guys think about this.

Sadowitz seems to be having a comeback with his standup comedy so is it time we saw a comeback with his magic? I hope so.


For those of you that do Jerry Sadowitz’s “Ipcress” from Contempory Card Magic – during the Vernon Multiple shift pick up an extra face down card above the 2. When you come to the Victor change part you’ll have to add one more card but at the end of the trick you can cleanly spread to show the A, 2 and 3 without having to hide any reversed cards.

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”

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.

An Underused Move #1 – The Push-off Double Deal

The double deal, I think, is a highly underused move in card magic and yet has lots of potential for great effects. I first read of the idea of dealing doubles in Expert Card Technique where it is described as a double lift of the top and bottom cards. I’ve only ever seen this done invisibly by one person and that was used as a turnover double not as a deal to the table. This deal is also best suited for small packets rather than a full deck.

The double deal that I want to talk about here is a deal of the top two cards of the deck (i.e a push off double). I first read this in Jerry Sadowitz and Peter Duffie’s book “Inspirations”, in which Sadowitz includes a whole chapter on this deal and its uses. He describes many excellent effects which I’m not going to describe here as I want you to buy the book! There’s one routine in particular called “Three, four, five etc” which I would love to see someone do well.

After playing with the move for only a short time you’ll begin to see uses for it. Here’s a small trick using the move which is awful (for a start there’s too much attention on the deal) but I hope it shows you what can be done with it.

An underused move will become a regular (ish) feature – including a bad trick by me for each move! Next up will be Marlo’s “Visual Retention Change”…

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.

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.