Now having the necessary knowledge for example let us assume the card is in the tenth position from the left side of the bottom row. . both packets are assembled with the BOTTOM PACKET UNDER THE TOP ROW PACKET. ALL CARDS ARE FACE UPWARDS WHEN ASSEMBLED AFTER WHICH BOTH PACKETS ARE NOW ONE AND THE COMPLETE PACK IS TURNED FACE DOWN. Thus the predicted card is in Tenth position from the top of the face down pack. . similarly the card can be positioned in the tenth place from the bottom of the face down pack and armed with this knowledge the performer can bring the effect to a logical conclusion. The foregoing will be obvious to those prepared to try out the Vernon routine using this two row spread as nothing is lost and everything to be gained on the performer's side.
I have explained the above to a number of cardmen and also demonstrated the simplicity of working — the results have been pleasing.
In the Spectator version. . the prediction is made by the spectator and the routine evolves without the magician having knowledge of the predicted card until this is disclosed by the spectator at the end.
In order to bring about this variation we use a gimmicked card case which is apparently another pack of cards not being used by the performer at this time. I believe the principle is the brainchild of A1 Koran. The case is cut away at the rear and also the pack of cards with the exception of about the top Ten cards each have their middles removed before being replaced in the faked card case.
This faked case method is widely known. . the idea being that when the spectator makes his prediction this is written on the blank side of a business card and the magician then removes the faked case from his pocket, placing the case down onto the table with the open side next to the table. . the magician opens the case flap and allows the spectator to place his prediction card in the centre of the pack of cards. (See sketch). Then the magician merely tilts up the pack to show the remainder of the audience and obtains the name of the predicted card reading through the opening in the back of the card case. The case is then left on the table so that the spectators can see the prediction which should protrude from the case about half an inch. . for ease of removal at the end.
The routine as outlined earlier is now performed using the two row spread and as the performer in reality knows the name of the predicted card he is thus able to control the card as in the normal routine. Once the card from the pack has been arrived at as in the normal routine.. spectator is allowed to remove the business card from the faked pack on the table. . all attention is drawn to the prediction as performer replaces pack into his side pocket. The prediction is read out to match the card. . the difference being the prediction was made without apparent influence by the performer.
To begin with — a couple of items of news which are now history. First, the winner of the IBM (British Ring) close-up competition last September was Ken Hawes. In this issue Ken has contributed an article on Close-Upping which contains a wealth of advice to aspirants to the field of commercial close-yp magic. This article together with the one on the same subject by Tommy Wonder who also works close-up professionally (see September issue) should put beginners on the right path and save them from what could be embarassing situatipns due to lack of experience.
More recently — it is now the middle of March — the Magic Circle 'Close-up Competition' was won by Jim Adams with Walter B. Graham second and Johnny Johnston third. The first two performed standing with the last mentioned being seated. Whether or not there is some advantage in standing when performing for these events is a moot point, but it does seem that stand-up performers are mostly the winners in these events, so if anyone is competition-orientated it may be a point worthy of consideration when building their programme for such events. It is certainly an advantage in one respect — the response from the audience will be greater when they all can see what the performer is doing and that is not always the case when all the action is on his table top. However objective the judges may be in allocating marks for originality, technique, artistry etc they will be influenced by the applause a performer receives. This can be extremely important in influencing the decision of the judges whe, as almost without exception, there is no provision made for specifically
allotting marks for audience appreciation.
For several months now Len Neil has been performing at Shakespeare's Tavern and Playhouse. This engagement resulted in his being booked on a commercial promotion project covering the larger towns and cities of Canada. This tour led to further engagements of a similar nature on the continent of Europe and one in Hollywood. This was surprising news to me as he had never revealed during our many meetings that magic was more than just a hobby — he did the occasional magical society show and also a close-up spot on a couple of Pabular evenings at the Magic Circle. He was equally surprised by some comments which appeared in this column regarding performing for non-magicians and was concerned that the observations made would upset some of what he called 'purists'.
During the conversation Len made it quite clear that the requirements of the professional performer at Shakespeare's Tavern differed radically from what is seen at magic clubs. Finesse is completely out of the question and tricks requiring that anything at all to be placed on the table were completely out of the question. He summed up by saying that the magical content of the performance however well performed was insufficient to ensure success. To succeed the performer had to sell himself, to sell entertainment and if promoting a commodity sell that also. This assessment of what qualities are essential equipment for those who perform in the above and similar establishments will no doubt cause pains of anguish to those who regard magic as an art form. No such pains are suffered by the practising performer because his work fails to reach some hypothetical artistic heights. He is concerned with making his offering as entertaining as possible to his audience — that is what he is being paid to do. He may, or may not attempt to inject some artistry into his performance, but to impose his own conceptions of what he considers the art of magic to be, at the expense of the entertainment value of his act would be a retrograde step, detrimental to his personal success as a professional entertainer — which is what a magician is, or should be.
The Blackpool Magic Society's 28th Annual One-day Convention was as usual a great success. Unfortunately I was unable to make it, but thanks to Walt Lees who stepped in at the last moment and looked after our readers interests (between beers) at the Pabular stand.
Being unable to attend was especially disappointing as I missed the previous evening's events — the Fiesta of Magic. This was part of the Society's contribution to the Ken Brooke Testimonial Fund they launched as a token of their appreciation of Ken's service to the magical world and his twenty years connection with the Blackpool Convention, both as a dealer and performer. To survive for twenty years as a dealer in magic is a fairly rare accomplishment — to retire with so many friends and wellwishers is positively unique.
Last January Ken invited me to his home to spend a few hours with Fred Kaps. Much reminiscing and just one trick — Fred turned a two dollar bill into two single dollar bills which then changed into coins of that value. It was great to see him in good form and looking so well after being seriously ill. Within weeks the news came that he was back in hospital and we hope and trust that it will not be for long.
Sadly this has prevented Fred from attending a special show arranged by Joe Stevens in which he was to have been honoured and presented by Dai Vernon and Slydini — a great disappointment to all concerned.
The show must go on. To help towards this end Philippe Fiahlo and Bob Read will be travelling out to Las Vegas Desert, the former with some five hours of films and the latter with a couple of new gags. Incidentally the next issue will-be the first of many to include a copy of a print from Bob's collection.
All for now.
Put your thumb tip on and bend your thumb into the hand curling the fingers round it gripping it tightly as shown in sketch. Pressure the thumb out of the tip to displace the air which will cause a loud 'plop'.
To induce a smile in children of all ages — point your first finger and aim it at your victim. At the sound of the 'plop' they may duck, but will most certainly shy giving you time to re-insert the thumb, and show the hand empty if you are brave enough.
Try putting your finger in a bottle and pulling it out again. Better still — find a dyke with a hole in it — remember it is the effect that counts.
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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.