Performing the World’s Fastest Card Trick

Inspired by the comments on the previous post I found this photo of Joe Karson performing his signature card trick whilst researching the history of the routine.


The Worlds Fastest Card Trick (1948)

I have an obsession with old magic manuscripts and I love digging out hidden gems from within them. I recently managed to get my hands on a small booklet by Joe Karson which explains the feature trick in his act – a comedy piece in which the performer attempts to do the fastest card trick in the world – a selected card is returned, shuffled in to the pack and found almost straight away after the cards are placed behind the magicians back.

The comedy comes from the fact that the trick is routined in such a way that at first the spectator returns the card without looking at it, then they forget to return the card to the pack. A third card is chosen only this time the spectator forgets the card! Finally a card is produced – only this times it’s the wrong one. To end the trick this card magically changes into the selected card.

Technique wise it needs nothing more that a top change – all the fun is in the presentation which I think a modern performer could pull off with great success.

Joe Karson writes in the introduction –

The WORLD’S FASTEST CARD TRICK has earned more laughs for me in my act (so called) than any other comedy trick that I have ever had. I sincerely hope that it will do the same for you.

For more about Joe Karson (inventor of “Zombie”) click here. The booklet is also available as a download from Lybrary – click here.