In 1980, or thereabouts, I seriously considered selling this effect, just as presented here, for fifteen dollars. The text that follows was the proposed ad copy. I was warned at the time that I was not well enough known in magic to get away with this kind of marketing approach. As a result, magic did without the effect until I released a version in my 1989 lecture notes, Stop Fooling Us! (page 39). See what happens when I listen to nay-sayers.
Since 1972 (when I first revealed "Forgery" to the magic community), despite a number of effects that have appeared that clearly derive from it, I feel "Forgery" itself stands as a powerful piece of thoroughly audience-tested magic that can be a most effective addition to almost any close-up act.
if you don't perform MAGIC, don't bother to read this/
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I've heard people say, "I don't like card tricks." Many more people are too polite to say it but think it. Women are, or are supposed to be, most commonly of that persuasion: They'll watch, but be bored. Once in a while a new effect comes along that defies these prejudices. I'm proud to say this is such an occasion. I'm not talking about a new premise or a new method for an old one, but a new effect. Like most good effects the premise is clear and succinct:
"Two cards physically merge into one." That's new!
Is this new effect any good? Well, I've performed it no less then a thousand times and never, not once, has the response been less than tremendous. On at least one occasion it has yielded an instant, spontaneous, standing ovation. Not bad for a card trick, huh?
In the more than fifteen years since its creation I've shared this effect with a few others, working professionals all. Their reactions have been universally enthusiastic to say the least. Perhaps for that reason, Derek Dingle was kind enough to contribute a handling variation. Frank Garcia was generous in contributing a touch of his. Both Phil Goldstein and Danny Tong, who have performed the effect for their audiences to considerable response, have shared their thoughts as well. All are included.
I don't want to sing the praises of this effect too loudly. So many ads I've read, seen or heard claim that "Our_is the greatest..." This ad is obviously no different, but I'm not simply saying it. I'm going to prove it.
Here's my offer: Order forgery, learn it, practice it and perform it ten times before ten different audiences. If you're not satisfied with the reactions you get, if you don't feel it's worth every penny you paid, send it back and I'll refund your money. You'll have the secret free. No one to my knowledge has ever offered a deal like this for a magic effect. I feel safe in doing so. I'm quite sure that the feeling of reward you get for the enjoyment you bring your audiences will convince you that this is among the greatest of close-up effects, if not effects in general, you will ever perform. Send $ 15.00 cash, check or money order. Send it today. I've only printed a limited quantity and do not anticipate reprinting.
I wrote those words in 1980 with the enthusiasm of someone who had performed the effect to amazing response from innumerable audiences. I will admit to a bit of advertising hyperbole but by and large I stand by all but one statement made in the ad. "Forgery" is without doubt an exceptional piece of magic; it isn't the greatest effect in all of close-up magic. While that is not precisely what the ad says, it does strongly suggest it. What follows is what you would have gotten for your fifteen dollars. It includes material that has not appeared in print before, plus a reprint of the version that previously appeared in my lecture notes. I believe now, as I did then, that this effect is worth fifteen dollars at least. I probably should adjust for inflation, but what price greatness?
EFFECT: A selected card whose face is signed by a spectator merges with an odd-backed card signed by the performer, making a single card with a signature on each side.
REQUIREMENTS: A deck of blue-backed cards plus two additional red-backed cards. These cards should not only have red backs but be of a different back design. (I believe it is generally a good idea to use cards of a different back design as well as a different color. The change is greater and you never know when you'll run into a color-blind person. It is a fairly common malady among men.) You'll also need a felt-tipped pen that will write on a card. (A Sharpie or photographic markers work best in my experience.)
SETUP: Place one of the red-backed cards on the bottom of the blue-backed deck and the other red-backed card in your pocket. Do not use court cards. The card on the bottom of the deck should have your initials on its back, in the forward left-hand corner. It will look more or less like Figure 1. The felt-tipped pen should be handy.
Shuffle the deck, keeping the bottom card on the bottom. Be careful not to allow your audience to see either the face or back of that card. The simplest way, though not necessarily the most deceptive, is to Hindu Shuffle, pulling the blocks off the top until about three-quarters of the deck is exhausted. Drop the remainder on top but secure a fourth-finger break. Square up, retaining the break. Cut or Double Cut to the break and repeat the entire sequence until you sense your spectator is satisfied that the deck is well mixed.
With the bottom card in its original position, state, "Since you're satisfied that the deck is thoroughly mixed—we'll use the card that happens to be on the bottom."
3 Turn the deck face up into dealing position and show the spectator and the rest of the audience the bottom card. Have the spectator sign the card while it remains on the face of the deck. You can allow the spectator to take the deck from you if you feel she won't remove the card. Allow the ink to dry before turning the deck face down.
NOTE: This may seem an unusual practice to you as a magician. One ordinarily gives the spectator the card to sign rather than the deck. Remember that lay people have no preconceived notions about how a card should be signed. Some may worry about handing the deck to the spectator for signing. Remember, the spectator has no reason to suspect anything at this point in the effect; she is highly unlikely to want to examine the card.
You will note that I've referred to the spectator as she. This does not preclude you performing the effect for a male. Throughout this book I will use the female pronoun in those effects that I prefer to perform for females, and the male pronoun in those effects I prefer to perform for males. This may not be politically correct but it is pragmatic.
4 Take the red-backed card out of your pocket without showing its face. Place it face down on the top of the face-down deck. Openly initial the back of the card in the forward left-hand corner. Try to make your initials look as much like those on the other red-backed card (the one on the bottom of the deck) as possible.
5 Remind the spectators of the situation. Then, with the right hand, take the deck by its ends from above (a position often incorrctly called "Biddle Grip"; we shall call it Overhand Grip in this volume), rotate your hand palm up and show the card on the face of the deck (the spectator's card). Turn the deck face down.
6 Reach under the deck with your left fingers and secredy slide the bottom card slighdy to the right by making contact with the left side of its face. Apply upward pressure on the card second from the bottom and draw it from the bottom as though it were the bottom card of the deck. Do this slowly, as it is a quite convincing and natural procedure. (This is a slight variation of Vernon's Side Glide from Expert Card Technique, 1940, page 123.) Figure 2 shows the the card believed to be the spectator's being drawn 2 from beneath the deck. The card seen jogged to the right at the bottom cannot be seen from the front because of the screening right hand. Openly place the card on top of the deck, above your signed card. Square the deck.
Cut the deck, positioning the spectators card above yours with one card between them in the middle of the deck. This is explained with the line, "If I cut the deck like this, it puts them closer together. And if I give the deck a little squeeze, like this, I put them very close together indeed."
Spread the deck slowly between your hands until you reach the spectator's card with your initials on the back. Be careful not to flash the back of the second red card (two cards below). Figure 3 shows the way the deck is spread so that you get as much warning as possible of when the spectator's card is about to show.
Place the red-backed card face down on the table. Turn all the cards above the spectator's card face up and spread them to your right on the table. Turn all the cards below the spectator's card face up and spread them to your left on the table.
Turn over the face-down card with your initials on the back to reveal the spectator's name on the face. Acknowledge the audience's appreciation and give the card to the spectator as a souvenir.
NOTE: You are left with a red-backed card in the deck. Dispose of it as you see fit. (See Clean-Up Procedures following Method 3.)
The preceding description is "Forgery" at its simplest. In this form it relies heavily on inference for its success. Each of the following methods replaces an inferred state with a more convincingly demonstrated state.
REQUIREMENTS: The same as for Method 1: two red-backed cards, one of which is initialed, and a felt-tipped pen.
SET-UP: Place one red-backed card into your pocket. The other red-backed card should be palmed in the left hand (use Full Palm, Gambler's Flat Palm or Gambler's Cop, depending on angles). The felt-tipped pen should be handy.
Hand out the deck to be shuffled and cut by the spectator. Upon receiving it back, secretly add the palmed card to the bottom. Thus, the only difference between the first method and this one is that the spectator is permitted to shuffle while you hold out the card. This will have considerable appeal for some performers.
METHOD 3 (Preferred Method) FINAL
This is the method I previously included in my lecture notes. It is the version I have most often performed. While it is slightly more demanding technically than Methods 1 and 2, with a modicum of practice it is well within the capabilities of most performers.
REQUIREMENTS: A deck of blue-backed cards and a card wallet like those used for business cards. It should contain at least a few red-backed cards. These cards should not only have red backs but should be of a different back design.
SET-UP: The wallet with the extra cards inside and one pre-initialed card outside—face to the wallet, its back closest to your body—is in your left inside jacket or shirt pocket or, alternately, in your left outside jacket pocket. Your initials should be in the upper left corner of the card as it rests in your pocket. The marker should be in your left shirt pocket or your left inside jacket pocket.
Offer the deck to be shuffled and cut by a spectator (preferably female). While that's being done, place your right hand into your pocket and take out the wallet. The red-backed card should be kept hidden behind it. You can do this by taking the wallet into left-hand dealing position, with the palm turned down. Keeping the card hidden, drop your left hand to your side and get a fourth-finger break between the card and the wallet (Figure 4).
Before accepting the deck back from the spectator have it cut and the cut completed on the table. With your right hand only, pick up the deck in Overhand Grip. You then explain, "This is an effect done with a deck of cards..." as you gesture slightly with the deck in your right hand. Continue, "a little wallet..." Gesture slightly with the wallet. Then, as if remembering something, bring the left hand fairly quickly toward the right and place the deck onto the wallet. The left hand turns palm up under the deck to hide the card on the wallet as it is added to the bottom of the deck (Figures 5 and 6 show the deck and wallet being brought together). With your right hand, immediately reach into your jacket pocket and remove the pen. Lay it on the table. Continue your patter with, "and a pen." Take the deck back, holding it in Overhand Grip in the right hand, and use your left hand to lay the wallet on the table. Explain, "In the wallet there's a card. You will notice that the back of the card does not match the deck. It's my card, but first you must have a card."
3 Take the deck into left-hand Dealing Grip. Announce that you will run your (left) thumb down the corner of the deck and the spectator is to call "Stop" when she likes. Do so, slowly. Lift off all the cards above the spot at which you were stopped. Start to place them under the left-hand packet from the near right corner. As you do so, use your left fourth finger to pull down the bottom card (or a few cards) of the left-hand packet. Be careful to avoid flashing the bottom card of the deck. It is vulnerable from the right unless you tilt the right edge of the deck down until just before the packets meet. Most of all, the sequence must be practiced for smoothness. If it appears at all awkward, suspicion will be aroused. In any event, this cuts the deck but leaves the bottom card intact. It's the reverse of a Bottom Slip Cut. (This is the Pull-Down—first described in Ireland's Card and Coin Manipulation 1935, page 9—applied to a cut, an idea that probably began with Ed Mario.) Finally, turn the deck face up and show the bottom card. Have the spectator sign the card on the face. Allow the ink to dry or blow on it if you like, then turn the deck face down.
4 Remove a red-backed card from your wallet without showing its face. Place it face down on the top of the deck. Openly initial the back of the card in the forward left-hand corner, making your initials look as much like those on the other red-backed card (the one on the bottom of the deck) as possible.
5 Remind the spectators of the situation. With your right hand, take the deck into Overhand Grip and rotate your hand palm up, showing the card at the face of the deck (the spectator's card). Turn the deck face down.
6 Reach under the deck with your left fingers and secretly slide the bottom card slightly to the right by contacting the left side of its face. Apply upward pressure on the edge of the card second from the bottom and draw it out as though it were the bottom card of the deck. Do this slowly. (This is the same slight variation of Vernon's Side Glide from Expert Card Technique referred to in Method 1.) Place the card on top of the deck, above your signed card and square the deck.
7 Conclude the effect in the same manner followed in the previous methods.
Since I usually use this effect as a closer—yes, it's that strong—I don't have the problem of cleaning up. The problem is not difficult in any case. There is only one extra card in the deck and it sits second from the top of the left-hand spread. Pick that spread up first and place it, still face up, in left-hand dealing position. Place the other half on top of it, also face up. (If you'd like, you can Double Cut the rear card to the face of the deck. This will leave the red-backed card at the rear of the face-up deck.) As you square the deck, take a break above the lower two cards (the break should be taken above one card if you've done the Double Cut). Hold the break with your right thumb at the rear. With your right hand holding the deck from above, move it down over the wallet lying on the table. Pick up the wallet, adding the card(s) onto it, and place the wallet and the card(s) into your left hand, in dealing position. This may necessitate sliding the wallet off the table. The left hand turns palm down as it moves from under the deck, taking the wallet and the card(s) below the break. Place the wallet and stolen card(s) into your left outside jacket pocket. This leaves the deck clean, though perhaps short a card. I wouldn't worry about the lost card as you can always retrieve it later. As I've said, no real problem.
NOTE: It should be obvious that any combination of these three methods can be used. The method I have most often used is Method 3. Ideally, you should be able to perform all methods with equal facility. You can then choose your method (none is very difficult), adapting to the performing conditions and the audience.
I made quite an impression on some of the best card men in the country when I first performed "Forgery" for them. They were impressed enough to create some alternate handlings. I present some of them here for your consideration.
Goldstein and Tong Tip
In 1974, I received a letter from Phil Goldstein (Max Maven) to whom I had earlier shown the effect. In the letter he informed me that both he and Danny Tong preferred using a Gambler's Cop as suggested in Method 2. Since they are both seasoned, working professionals, I am driven to assume there is something of particular merit to that approach. I recommend you try it when the angles are right. It's about as easy as anyone could ask to load from Gambler's Cop. Try it. It's more a matter of guts than skill.
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