Youre a Green One Mr Minch

The above title means absolutely nothing, but I've always wanted to place it underneath a green-tinted photograph of the jovial CEO of Hermetic Press. Unfortunately, I'm the only one who finds the spoonerism funny, so the heck with it. However, this does offer me the perfect lead in to wish Stephen Minch and all the rest of you a happy, safe, and magical holiday season.

I have a question for you. The year 2000 showed little decrease in the number of products available. The flood of magic information continues unabated. I'm wondering if it is possible for the average magician to read (or watch, in the case of video) and learn even a small percentage of it. So, consider this scenario. I'm holding a dinner party with 12 guests in attendance. I'd like you to come to my house and do some magic for them. What five tricks are you going to perform? You can consider the party as a strolling gig or you can put my guests around the large dinning room table and do your show at one end of the table. (By the way, I'd like to know the specific routine you're using. For example, instead of saying "Chop Cup," say Larry Jennings' Chop Cup routine.) Email your five tricks to me at [email protected]. I'll tally the results and give you a rundown in a future column.

Finally, for those of you figuring out your holiday shopping list let me give you my top five products for the year 2000. First on my list is the massive, three volume set of The James File (Marketplace July 2000). This magnificent tribute to the genius of Stewart James succeeds on every level. There is information for the performer, the hobbyist, the problem-solver, and the historian. These are books that you will return to again and again and each time you'll find something new. Only a Grinch wouldn't be delighted to find these books under the Christmas tree. Buy a set for each of your imaginary friends.

Next on my list are Gary Plants' two new card tricks, "The Impossible Close-up Rising Card," and "The Magnetized Cards" (Marketplace November 2000). I've been having a ball with these two tricks, performing them in the Houdini Lounge in the Monte Carlo Resort. The audience reaction leaves nothing to be desired. In fact, when I visited the Magic Castle one evening in late October, I discovered that stories about my performance of these two tricks had preceded me. I had several requests to perform these at the Castle. These are the best two card tricks of 2000. Nothing else even comes close.

The best coin trick of 2000 is Bob Kohler's "Ultimate 3 Fly" (Marketplace September 2000). The price tag keeps this out of the hands of the dilettante, and the fact that it does require some practice means that many will buy it then toss it in their magic drawer. That suits me just fine. You'd be hard pressed to find a cleaner or more magical handling of this popular coin effect.

For that special someone, consider one of the magic poster reproductions from Nielsen Magic (Marketplace July 2000). The posters are reproduced on canvas, and the results are simply gorgeous. Norm now has the capability of doing larger images as well.

Finally, if you're looking for a gift for someone just getting interested in magic, pick up a copy of The Magic Show by Mark Setteducati and Anne Benkovitz (February 2000). Easily the most ingenious book of 2000, this brilliantly designed tome allows the reader to be both performer and spectator. You simply follow instructions, pulling tabs, turning flaps, and spinning dials. The book does all the work. Even an experienced magician is going to get fooled a couple of times. A wonderful item to leave out on your coffee table.

And if you're looking for some stocking-stuffers, read on. We have a slew of stuff to check out this month.

Card Concepts

By Arthur F. MacTier. 8 x11.5 hardcover. 301 pages. 27 pounds Sterling airmail to US (21 pounds Sterling by sea mail.) Visa, MasterCard, and American Express accepted. From Davenports, 5, 6, & 7 Charing Cross, Underground Arcade, The Strand, London, WC2N 4HZ, England. Fax: 20-7379 8828

So, you're telling me that you've gone through every card trick in The James File, the two bound editions of Apocalypse, all three volumes of Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, and the electronic book Virtual Miracles and you still want more card tricks. Well, why don't you make up some yourself? You can do just that if you study the information in Card Concepts by Arthur F. MacTier. Subtitled An Anthology of Numerical & Sequential Principles within Card Magic, this big book examines the underlying principles of mathematically oriented card tricks. If you've ever wondered why Elmsley's Penelope's Principle works (and if you haven't, shame on you) you'll find a discussion of it here.

Card Concepts contains 31 chapters, each devoted to a different mathematical principle. Included are such topics as the Parity Principle, Stewart James' AAG Principle, the Kruskal Principle, High Card Distributions Probability, George Sands' Prime Number Principle, Matrixing, C.S. Pierce's First and Second Principles, the Cancellation Combination, the CATO Principle, Gene Finnell's Free Cut Principle, Rusduck's Staystack Principle, James' Miraskill Principle, and perhaps the most famous mathematical principles in magic - Norman Gilbreath's First and Second Principles.

The format of each chapter is the same. Mr. MacTier discusses the principle at hand and examines the mathematics behind it. He then offers a card trick that utilizes that principle. For the most part, these are not totally original tricks. Rather, they are re-workings of established routines. Each chapter ends with some further notes and a section of credits.

Card Concepts is an impressive and useful reference volume. It is not meant to be read cover to cover in one sitting. (At least, not by me. Attempting to do so proved to be more effective than Melatonin.) Because each chapter is devoted to just one principle, it is easy to scan the Table of Contents to find the topic you want to read about. Mr. MacTier referenced over 500 books and 1000 magazines in writing this book. A small number of these books and magazines are listed in the Bibliography. Mr. MacTier also includes a page of Magician References. I'm unclear what the function of this page is, because he merely lists 66 magicians in alphabetical order. There is no referencing of magicians to page numbers in the book.

Generally speaking, mathematically based card tricks get a bad rap. To a certain extent this is justified, because many mathematical card tricks look like they are based on mathematics. You know the drill: Think of a number from 5 to 15. Count off that many cards from the top of the deck. Put those cards in your pocket. Transfer the same number of cards from the bottom of the deck to the top. Now deal the deck into four piles. Turn over the top card of each pile. Add the values of the four cards together. Remember that number. Reassemble the deck. Add the number you created by addition to the number of cards that are in your pocket. Count down that number into the deck. The card at that position matches a card that has been in a sealed envelope since the beginning of time. And so on and so forth.

In the same way that digital technique should be invisible to the spectators, mathematical principles should not be obviously apparent. The best mathematical card tricks (such as Stewart James' "Miraskill") produce results that cannot be obtained by any other method. The fact that they are based on mathematical principles is well concealed. These tricks can be made entertaining and can be extremely effective in the right situations.

For those of you who have a desire to work out your own card effects, Card Concepts will be a valuable resource. And those of you who teach mathematics will find lots of interesting topics to spice up your math classes.

Apocalypse Volumes 6 - 10

By Harry Lorayne. 8.5 x 11 hardcover. 744 pages. $79.95 postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 1-800-626-6572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site:

L&L Publishing has just released the second volume in its hardbound reprint of Harry Lorayne's Apocalypse. This book covers Apocalypse Volumes 6-10 (January 1983 to December 1987). As with the first bound volume of Apocalypse, there is a ton of material here. The emphasis is on card and coin magic (totaling 385 effects), but there are also over 100 miscellaneous effects. The list of contributors is stellar: Ed Marlo, J.K. Hartman, Michael Ammar, Ken Krenzel, Larry Jennings, Juan Tamariz, David Ben, Gaetan Bloom, Scotty York, Steve Draun - the list goes on and on.

For the close-up enthusiast who just can't get enough magic, these reprints of Apocalypse are ideal. Whether you're looking for professional caliber material to put into your restaurant/strolling repertoire or you just want to fool your magic buddies with a sneaky variation of a standard effect, you'll find what you seek in Apocalypse.

Misdirection for Close-up Magicians

By Tom Crone. 8.5 x 11 softcover. 67 single-sided pages. $19.95 plus $4 p&h in US ($5 p&h to Canada). From Crone Communication, 3300 Louisiana Ave. S., Dept. 421, Minneapolis, MN 55426. Web site:

Misdirection continues to be a hot topic among magic theorists. The term "misdirection" is, of course, somewhat imprecise. What we are talking about is the controlling of the audience's attention. I may have mentioned this before, but Alex Elmsley offered concise advice on audience management. His two suggestions: 1. Misdirect always. 2. Misdirect away from the possibility of having done something [sneaky].

The definitive work on misdirection has yet to be written. Tom Crone offers an interesting analysis and some useful suggestions in Misdirection for Close-up Magicians. Mr. Crone makes an excellent suggestion for analyzing existing routines in your repertoire. As you examine the routine, ask these two questions: 1. What must not be seen? 2. What might be presumed? Once these questions have been answered thoroughly (that is, you examine each step of the routine), you can begin to develop solutions. Mr. Crone then discusses various types of misdirection and how they can be applied. He explains several routines from his repertoire, and he describes how he has applied misdirective techniques throughout. He also offers a "Misdirection/Presentation Planner" - a worksheet that allows you to plot out both your presentation and your audience management resources.

There were times when I found myself disagreeing with Mr. Crone's assertions (for example, I think his definition of a "subtlety" is incorrect), but there are many ways of looking at this subject, and no one has a claim on "the truth." Several of the photographs are atrocious. Mr. Crone has attempted to fix them by outlining the cards, hands, etc. in black. This did not help.

The average magician has a tough time with a magic theory book. The best way to drive home the theoretical points is to include routines that incorporate the theory and are real foolers. I'm not convinced that the routines in Misdirection for Close-up Magicians are going to inspire magicians to apply themselves to the further study of the subject. (You can read one of Mr. Crone's routines in the September 1999 issue of MAGIC.) However, I do think that Mr. Crone does present information that is of value, even if only as supplement to your study of other theoretical texts. If you have an interest in the subject, Misdirection for Close-up Magicians is worth adding to your library.

The Little Egypt Gazette

By Steve Bryant. Available on CD-ROM. $24 postpaid. From Steve Bryant, 1639 Sycamore Court, Bloomington, IN 47401

Steve Bryant's Little Egypt Gazette was a monthly Internet magazine for magicians that ran from August 1995 to October 1997. The best way to describe it is to quote Steve's own description, "In all, there were 24 issues, containing over 700 pages, 32 magic tricks, 9 interviews, 22 book and video reviews, 20 convention and show reviews, 22 feature articles, 4 poems, 17 staff adventures, and much, much more. All the above was conceived to be entertaining as well as informative, and it often hit the mark." Steve is absolutely correct in his last comment, The Little Egypt Gazette was entertaining and informative, and it presented a refreshing, independent viewpoint on the world of magic. It was also an enormously ambitious undertaking.

Steve is now making available all the issues of The Little Egypt Gazette on a CD-ROM. Here is how it works. You can copy all the files on the CD-ROM into a folder on your hard drive, or you can simply read everything off the CD-ROM drive. (Steve prefers copying the files, but I was able to navigate quickly from the disc. Copying to the hard drive will eat up 8 Megs.) Regardless of how you choose to run the program, you click on a file called magic.html. This will launch your Internet Browser and will bring up the main page. (I tried this with both Internet Explorer and Netscape.) For those of you who still find computers to be a little intimidating, I suggest you click on the words "How to Use This CD." Everybody else will just want to start clicking around on everything available. And there is a lot of information here.

You can either navigate through The Little Egypt Gazette issue by issue, or you can explore the contents by subject matter. In the trick section you'll find routines by Steve Bryant, Steven Youell, Peter Duffie, Paul Harris, Simon Lovell, Danny Dew, Ken Krenzel, Eddie Fields, and Harry Riser. The interviews include conversations with Bonnie Saxe, Danny Orleans (discussing the Eddie Fields Code), Doc Eason, Eddie Fields, Erika Larsen, Peter Duffie, Simon Lovell, Mac King, and Kreskin. The reviews include not only product reviews, but reviews of conventions, Vegas shows, and television programs.

I enjoyed The Little Egypt Gazette very much. I used to read it online during the years when it was regularly published, and I'm very glad to have it today in such a convenient format. And for $24 for 700 pages of content, this is a real steal. Recommended.

(One quick personal comment. Magic publications released in a digital format are easy to copy and distribute illegally. Please be fair to the people who publish in this medium. Don't make copies for your friends. Please.)

Mindbogglers Volumes 1-4

By Dan Harlan. Each volume $29.95. All four for $110. Postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 1-800-626-6572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site:

A few months ago, in my review of The Worst Case Scenario Handbook, I mentioned that anyone who does magic should also have skills in ancillary arts. One of those ancillary arts is the art of the Short Con. It's comforting to know that if the restaurant gigs in your town dry up you can always walk into a bar and make a few bucks by conning the patrons and the bartender with some sneaky bar bets.

I am, of course, being facetious. No one here at MAGIC magazine would suggest that you actually defraud your fellow man. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) However, knowledge of a few clever bar bets, puzzles, and games can certainly liven up things at a bar, a restaurant, or a party. There are lots of these stunts scattered throughout the literature of magic. If you'd like to save yourself the time and trouble of tracking them down, pick up Mindbogglers, the four volume video series by Dan Harlan.

Dan has assembled 120 bar bets, puzzles, cons, and scams, and he presents them in the environments where they would be most effective. The four videos are titled Bar Betchas, Party Puzzlers, Party Games, and Restaurant Riddles. Volume 1 (Bar Betchas) establishes the format of the series. Dan walks into a bar, orders a drink and immediately short changes the bartender (a jovial Jerry Camaro). Dan then scams the fellow sitting next to him with a bunch of bets, most of which involve drinking glasses. Dan then moves to the pool table, where he demonstrates some sneaky pool table hustles. Returning to the bar, Dan demonstrates several more stunts, including the legendary "Signed Bill in the Cash Register" scam. In all, 39 items are demonstrated. The information is presented in a very loose, "you are there," format that gives the viewer a good idea of how the material would play in real life. The other three videos are similar in the way the material is presented.

Dan Harlan does a fine job presenting and explaining these stunts. Most of the items on these videos will be familiar to the well-read magician, but Dan does add some twists and touches of his own. It is certainly convenient to have all the material available in one place. However, because of the large number of items included, these tapes would be prime candidates for conversion to the DVD format. Instant access to any item would be a big help.

If you were simply curious about the Mindbogglers series, I would suggest that you start with Volumes 1 or 4. (If you can shoot a cue ball with any accuracy at all, I would definitely start with Volume 1.) Those with an interest in the subject will certainly want to get all four volumes, and I'm sure that they will find much to satisfy them.

(I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that long-time subscribers to MAGIC have at their disposal one of the greatest resources of ingenious and little-known scams available - Bob Farmer's marvelous Flim-Flam column. Combine Bob's column with Dan's tapes and you could probably put your kids through college.)

Secret Sessions Volumes 1 - 3

From A-1 MagicalMedia. $29.95 postpaid in US, Canada, and overseas surface mail. Overseas air add $7.50. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 1-800-876-8437. Web site:

Bob Kohler and Daryl produced the original Secret Sessions videos, and they represent some of the earliest "homebrew" magic videos. Bob and Daryl would take a camera and some lights to a magic convention. They'd round up the cleverest guys available, and they'd video them demonstrating and explaining one trick. The production values were minimal, but the material was outstanding. A-1 MagicalMedia has combined the three Secret Session videos into a 2-^ hour extravaganza. Performers include Juan Tamariz,

Paul Gertner, Dan Garrett (performing his superb "Four Card Reiteration"), Hiro Sakai, Yuji Wada, Lennart Green, Simon Aronson (with a great quadruple Spellbound routine), Michael Weber, Dan Harlan, and Bill Kalush (who sets the record straight on his fabulous "Fidgetity Card/Inversion" routine).

One of the best aspects of the Secret Sessions video is that it familiarizes you with a lot of different performers. Most of the guys on this tape have released other material in both video and print mediums. If you like what you see here you can track down their other products.

Despite their less than stellar production values, the original Secret Sessions videos were great. Having all of them available on one video is a real bargain. Definitely recommended for the close-up enthusiast.

Treasures Volume 3

By Alexander DeCova. $25. Available from your favorite magic dealer. Dealers should contact Murphy's Magic Supplies, 2689 Citrus Road, Suite B, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 1-800-853-7403. Fax: 916-853-9494. Email: [email protected]. Web site:

A while back, I was very enthusiastic about Alexander DeCova's Treasures Volumes One and Two. A third volume has been released, and like its predecessors it contains clever and practical material.

Only one stand-up routine is offered on Treasures Volume 3, but it's clever method causing a cane to turn into a silk. What Mr. DeCova offers here is a utility device that allows the performer to ditch the cane (after it has vanished) and then retrieve it later for permanent disposal. The other nine routines on Treasures Volume 3 are designed for the close-up worker. The emphasis is on card and coin magic (although there is a funny gag to use with a ballpoint pen). My favorites were: "Hangman Plus," in which a stick-figure vanishes from a pad of paper and appears on the back of a signed playing card; "Ordered Surprise," a trick for the more advanced card magician; and "Slot Machine," a very clever method for Dr. Sawa's famous effect. Unlike Sawa's method, DeCova relies on some sneaky gaffs rather than difficult sleight of hand.

I'm impressed with Alexander DeCova's thinking; his routines contain clever twists that make reconstruction (by laymen or magicians) difficult. Although Mr. DeCova is German, his English is excellent and his explanations are clear. The routines presented on Treasures Volume 3 could certainly become a part of anyone's repertoire.

Marketing Your Magic in the Real World

By Scott Davis. $39.95. To order call 1-888-877-7249. Discover, Visa, and MasterCard accepted.

If you are like me, you have enough books, videos, and tricks to last you through several lifetimes. What you may not have is information on how to market your talents. Scott

Davis has experience as both a magician and a marketer. On the new videotape Marketing Your Magic in the Real World Scott offers practical and useful suggestions on how to generate more work for yourself. Scott presents a logical and down-to-earth method for getting your message out to prospective clients. He discusses press kits, photographs, press releases, and direct mail marketing. In addition, he offers useful resources for color postcards, media packaging, and much more. Whether you are a novice in the field of marketing or you are experienced in the subject, you will find much of value here. For someone who actually wants to make a living as a magician, Marketing Your Magic in the Real World may be the best Christmas gift you could give them. Recommended.


By Martin Lewis. $20 plus $2 p&h in US. From Magikraft, 11639 Sandpiper Court, Moreno Valley, CA. Fax: 909-247-1666 Email: [email protected]. Web site:

As far as magic effects are concerned, it is most often the case that simpler is better. A trick with a clear-cut effect using a recognizable prop can produce a greater reaction than a convoluted, multi-phased routine. Such a clear-cut effect is the venerable Torn and Restored Cigarette Paper. It was a favorite of such great performers as Nate Leipzig and Ross Bertram. Martin Lewis has studied the various methods for this trick and has produced a handling that is remarkable in its cleanliness and effectiveness. Titled Undivided: The Magical Restoration, this effect has been part of Martin's professional repertoire for 24 years. David Copperfield also used this method on one his national television specials. Martin Lewis now offers you the chance to add this routine to your own repertoire.

The effect is familiar, but Martin has added some presentational touches that clarify the effect to the audience. An audience member removes a cigarette paper from a package of papers. He hands the paper to the magician, who clearly shows his hands empty, except for the single sheet of paper. The magician tears the paper into quarters. The magician opens both hands, starfish fashion. A quarter of the paper sticks to the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Holding the hands in this open position achieves three things: it clearly demonstrates that the paper has been torn; it demonstrates that nothing else is concealed in the hands; and it pleasantly frames the performer's face.

The pieces are gathered and crumbled into a small ball. Instantly, the ball is unrolled into a completely restored piece of paper. The paper is laid flat on the right hand and the left hand flicks it into the air, where it flutters gently to the floor. The magician's hands are undeniably empty.

Martin's method combines techniques from several sources. I will testify from personal experience that if you don't know the method you're going to get fooled. Martin's explanation of the effect is very thorough. He discusses very aspect of his handling, including the proper cigarette papers to use. This depth of detail only comes from having performed an effect thousands of times. The trick is not difficult, but it will require practice before you will be able to perform it with the gracefulness of the originator.

Undivided will play for 2 people or 200 people. It is elegant, easy to understand, and completely mystifying. I highly recommend it.

Dean's Box

By Dean Dill. $250 plus $8 p&h in US ($15 p&h overseas). From Dean Dill, 2130 Fairpark Avenue, #110, Los Angeles, CA 90041. Fax: 323-257-7117. Email: [email protected]. Web site:

You may remember Dean Dill's name from a card trick called "Blizzard" (Marketplace, January 1997). "Blizzard" was a trick that completely fooled everyone, and I have had a lot of fun performing it. Dean has a new trick out, and for the past five months he has been frying magicians and laymen with it. It is called "Dean's Box," and you can add my name to the list of people who have been fooled by it.

Dean performed this effect for me at the Magic Castle, and I'm glad I saw him do it, because a description does not do this trick justice. Dean brought a beautiful cherrywood box, measuring 7 inches on a side. The entire front surface of the box is a hinged door that can be opened, allowing a complete view of the interior of the box. On either side of the box are two circular openings. Each of these openings is covered with a little curtain that opens in the middle. This allows objects to be inserted into the box, but does not allow spectators to look into the box from the side. On top of the box is a small, circular trapdoor. On either side of this little door are two notches. These notches allow loops of rope to protrude from the top of the box. Now that you have a general idea of how the box looks, here's what happens.

Dean brings out two pieces of rope - a white rope and a red rope. The ropes and the box can be thoroughly examined. The box is closed. Dean makes a loop in each of the ropes and holds a rope in each hand. The hands enter the box through the side holes. The ends of the ropes are in view the entire time. Dean pokes open the trapdoor in the top and then removes his right hand from the box. His right hand grabs the loops of rope and brings them up through the trapdoor. The trapdoor is closed. The ropes are trapped in the notches and the centers of the ropes are concealed within Dean's right hand. Even though the ends of the ropes were in full view the entire time, when Dean opens his hand it is seen that the ropes are now linked together. Grabbing a rope in each hand, the ropes are withdrawn through the top of the box. The ropes are genuinely linked together and can be examined.

In phase two of the routine the ropes link a second time, under even more impossible conditions. In phase three of the routine a 2-inch diameter ring links itself to a rope, even though the ends of the rope are in view the entire time. (This final phase has an added auditory aspect. Dean shows the ring in his right hand. The hand briefly enters the box through the right hand hole. You hear the ring hit the inside of the box. The box is immediately opened and the ring is on the rope.)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, a description does not begin to do justice to how baffling this trick is. I knew how the first phase worked (it's based on a routine of Paul Curry's) but phases two and three completely nailed me. When you add in the fact that all the props can be thoroughly examined before and after the trick, you have a routine that is going to bother people for a very long time.

Now, let's talk about the downside of "Dean's Box." This is not a cheap routine. With a price tag of $250, the merely curious need not apply. Table-hoppers would have to carry the box from table to table, which would be a minor hassle, but fortunately, only a small performance area on the tabletop is required. (I have been doing it at the Houdini Lounge, but I have the advantage of being able to store props behind the grand piano. Also, since I'm working a bar and not a restaurant, I don't have to worry about the table being too cluttered.) I would imagine that this trick would be of most use to those who entertain guests in their home. The box is very elegant, and would fit in with your other magic collectibles. The trick is not difficult to do - an added bonus for those who do not perform on a regular basis. Those expecting an intricate piece of apparatus will be disappointed. The box is nearly ungaffed. There is one small sneaky thing about the box, but this preparation will never be discovered, even under extensive scrutiny.

For your $250 you get the box, all the necessary props, and a videotape of Dean performing and explaining the routine. (Since making this video Dean has altered the handling of the second phase. He is going to include his new work in a supplemental instruction sheet.) You will have to run through the routine a few times to get comfortable with it. (And please, don't perform this without sufficient practice. It's too good to ruin through lack of preparation.)

I think "Dean's Box" is terrific. It is rare for me to be fooled by a trick, and this trick completely fooled me twice. Even if performed with a pedestrian presentation it would be an amazing mystery. Cloak this trick with a dramatic presentation and you've got something that people will remember for a long time. "Dean's Box" is my pick of the month. Highly recommended.

The Big Finish

By Jay Sankey and Paul Richards. $19.95 plus $3 p&h. From Elmwood Magic, 507 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222. Orders: 1-800-764-2372. Fax: 716-882-0279. Web site:

This new release from Elmwood Magic is actually two different card tricks. In the first trick (created by Jay Sankey) a card is selected. The magician attempts to find it but can only narrow it down to four cards. These four cards are turned face up and placed on the table. They form a jumbo image of the selected card.

The second effect (by Paul Richards) has an effect similar to Phil Goldstein's "B'Wave." The magician holds a packet of four cards and tells the spectators that they are the four kings. A spectator now decides on one of the kings. When the four cards are turned over and dealt face-up on the table, they form a jumbo image of the designated king.

There's nothing wrong with the Sankey effect (although I have the feeling that this is not a new idea, but I can't quote a previous source), but I have been performing the Richard's version with a great deal of success. I would suggest that you use Paul's "afterthought" suggestion and incorporate a half-pass rather than the non-manipulative technique described in the basic instructions.

You receive all the necessary cards to perform both tricks. "The Big Finish" is a nice quick trick whose effect is way out of proportion to the work involved.

Re-Print Copy Cards

By John H. Zander. Each trick is $8. From Magic Smith, 23192 Alcalde, Suite H, Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Fax: 949-452-0763. Web site:

Way back in the early 1970's, packet tricks surged in popularity. Everybody and his brother worked out ways to get as much mileage as possible out of every conceivable group of gaffed cards. I loved packet tricks back then. I love them less now. Today, if I'm going to do a trick with a small group of cards, I'll remove those cards from the deck proper, and return them to the deck when I'm done. My days of carrying around little plastic wallets filled with packet tricks are pretty much gone.

I still perform a packet trick or two. (For example, "The Big Finish," reviewed above is sort of a packet trick. When I do it, I remove four legitimate cards from the deck, switch them for the gaffed set, and then do the trick.) I like "The Big Finish" for the same reason I like "B'Wave." The effect is very direct and easy to understand. I'm not as enthusiastic about "Re-Print" and "Copy Cards." Both effects involve the printing of a selected card onto a group of blank cards. I would detail the effect of each trick, but that would take up too much space, and this is part of the problem. On the front cover of the "Re-Print" instructions the effect is described and this description takes up about 150 words. That's a lot of words just to explain what happens.

There's nothing really wrong with either of these tricks. Mr. Zander claims he uses both to great effect, and I don't dispute that. But to my mind, there are better card tricks out there, tricks that don't require you to carry around packets of cards, and tricks that are more convincing and less convoluted.

On the plus side, neither of these tricks requires difficult sleights. All the cards can be examined at the finish of each routine. I suggest you visit the Magic Smith web site and read a full description of these two tricks. If the effects appeal to you, it may be worth it for you to risk $8 apiece on them. Unfortunately, I can think of better ways to spend $16.

Obie O'Brien's Jumbo Version of Passing the Buck

From Kee-West Promotions. $25. Available from Obie O'Brien, 50079 Smith Lane, Redwood, NY 13679. Fax: 315-482-9068. Email: [email protected]

Larry West performed his wonderful money trick "Passing the Buck" for me in Washington, DC in 1979. The trick was later published in The Linking Ring. The magician shows four one-dollar bills. In the process of explaining a swindle, the bills are counted as $8 (by counting them front and back). Then the bills suddenly turn into $18 -a one-dollar bill, a two-dollar bill, a five-dollar bill, and a ten-dollar bill.

As wonderful as Larry's trick is, I felt it suffered from one big drawback - people really wanted to examine the bills. This they could not do. Consequently, as much as I liked the trick I never performed it in a close-up situation. However, it occurred to me that if I used jumbo bills the trick would be perfect for a stand-up show, a situation where the audience rarely examines the magician's props. I found jumbo bills, and the trick has been a part of my stand-up show for many years. (My patter and handling can be found in Workers #3.)

Magicians who have wanted to add this trick to their stand-up repertoires have had difficulty finding the jumbo bills. (Apparently, the jumbo bills were easy to find when I started doing the trick years ago; today they are scarce.) Now Obie O'Brien is offering "Passing the Buck" in both Canadian and American jumbo currency. I have only seen the Canadian version, and the bills Obie provides are 9.25 inches long and 4 inches tall. Each bill is laminated. Because of the method of lamination, it may be necessary to clean the bills before performing. Also, it may be necessary to use some talcum powder on the bills to facilitate some of the moves. Included are two routines, Obie O'Brien's presentation, and the original Larry West version. The original West routine used 1, 2, 5, and 10-dollar bills. The bills Obie provides you are 10, 20, 50 and 100-dollar bills.

For those of you who have been looking for bills for this trick and are now jumping up and down with excitement, I'm afraid I'm going to have to throw a bucket of water on the festivities. First, if the intent is to use this routine as part of a stand-up show, the bills Obie provides are way too small. The bills I use are 13 inches long and 5.75 inches tall, and even at this size there is sometimes a visibility problem when performing for a big audience. If you are planning to use the Canadian currency version of the trick, you'll have to be very careful with the handling, since Canadian money is multi-colored and does not have a white border. If you are planning to use these bills in a close-up situation you may have some audience management problems. When using real money there is a great deal of heat on the bills; people want to examine the money. If you are using jumbo bills there is even a greater suspicion, since the bills are obviously a magician's prop.

So, here's the problem. "Passing the Buck" is a great trick, but the bills Obie is providing are way too small for stand-up work. You could use them close-up, but they are going to attract so much heat that you'd be better off making up the trick with real money. I wish I could be more enthusiastic, but I'm afraid that purchasers of this product are going to be disappointed.

CD Rainbow

By Jeff Brown. $12.95 postpaid in US. From Jeff Brown, 135 W. Second Street, Juneau, Alaska 99801. Web site:

Recently, CDs have become a popular prop for the stage manipulator. If you are already using CDs in your act, "CD Rainbow" by Jeff Brown may serve as a useful, brief interlude during your manipulations.

The effect is this. The magician shows a CD. Turning so the light catches the surface of the CD, the magician comments on the rainbow of light that reflects from the shiny side of the CD. Reaching into the hole of the CD the magician produces a rainbow streamer (about 34 inches long). The streamer is pushed back into the hole and it immediately vanishes. The CD is shown front and back.

Mr. Brown provides the CD, the rainbow streamer, and some brief instructions. There is one other gaff that is necessary, but since this is a standard device, the odds are that you already have one in your possession. I have no doubt that "CD Rainbow" would be a pretty effect in a routine of CD effects, but I have one big problem with the trick as it is sold. In the instructions, Mr. Brown suggests that you place the CD on top of the closed left fist. You then reach into the hole (and of course, into the well formed by your left fist) and extract the streamer. I do not think that this is a particularly effect way to do this trick. Placing the CD flat on top of your fist puts the edge of the CD toward the audience, making it difficult for them to appreciate what's happening. It would be more effective if the left hand held the CD at the fingertips so the CD was facing the audience. Unfortunately, you will have to figure out your own way to accomplish this. (I improvised a satisfactory solution in about 30 seconds.)

If you are already using CDs in your act, "CD Rainbow" could easily be added to your show. Just be aware that you will probably have to rework the handling.

Dominique Duvivier - Printing

Printing - $19.95 postpaid in US, Canada, and overseas surface mail. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Orders: 800-8768437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site:

Available from A-1MagicalMedia is Dominique Duvivier's "Printing." You are provided with an instructional video and all the necessary props. A packet of cards is shown. All the cards are face down. As they are counted from hand to hand one of the cards turns face up. This is continued until four cards have turned face up. They are the four Tens. The other four cards are shown to have blank faces. Suddenly the cards start acting like a Xerox machine. Faces copy, backs copy, cards are misprinted, one card takes on the color of the close-up mat, and the last card takes on the image of the card case. At the end everything can be examined.

This is a very visual routine that is not difficult to do. The only thing you need to know is that one card has a green back. Duvivier uses a green close-up mat, and the green card apparently takes on the color of the mat. If you don't use a green mat, you'll have to figure out some other green object to use. (Duvivier offers several suggestions on the videotape.) If you like packet tricks, "Printing" is one of the better ones.

Important Information Department

In my review of Personal Magic Volume 1, Eric Lewis' notebook on CD-ROM (Marketplace October, 2000), I mentioned that in attempting to print out pages from the notebook the page numbers were cut off on the bottom. Martin Lewis emailed me, "I should have mentioned in the "Read Me" File that the page numbers are cut off by the default preferences of Adobe Acrobat Reader - my mistake. This can be changed within the Reader by opening the general preference dialog window, (File --> Preferences --> General) and checking the box marked 'Display page to edge.' Everything should print correctly then." This information removes my only quibble from this fine product.

It's Not Magic, But.

I usually find one or two new Origami books a year. Dover Publications has just released a new book that magicians should find quite useful. Dollar Bill Animals in Origami by John Montroll (ISBN 0-486-41157-5) contains 32 amazing dollar bill folds. Included are a starfish, a seahorse, an owl, a parrot, a penguin, a sitting cat, a turtle, a triceratops, a rabbit, a unicorn, a rhinoceros, and many more. Many of Montroll's models are not for the faint of heart; his complex models can be very challenging. My suggestion is to practice the folds with large sheets of paper (cut to dollar bill proportions) before you attempt them with a real bill. If you enjoy origami, I know you'll find this book to be a welcome addition to your library.

Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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