MIKE BORNSTEIN'S "TRIUMPH OUTDONE", Written by Walt Lees, illustrated by Eric Mason. Soft Covers, 56 pages. Ten effects on the Triumph Theme, and an extra "bonus" chapter non-Triumph ideas. Price £3.25 post paid (overseas extra) available from Walt Lees.
Magicians who grumble every time "yet another card book" puts in an appearance, will no doubt really go to town on this one, since, not only is it a card book, but the main content is confined to just a single effect! This effect is Dai Vernon's Triumph — a brief description of which follows for the benefit of anyone not familiar with the notion.
Triumph is basically an effect in which a deck of cards is split in half, and riffle shuffled.
However immediately prior to the shuffle, one half is turned face-up, whilst the other half is left face-down. Minus any cheating, the resultant mixture is a deck consisting of face-up and facedown cards thoroughly enmeshed. A few magic words (or similar) soon puts everything to rights, and, without any apparent effort on the part of the performer, the deck magically untangles itself, and the cards are seen to be all facing the same way — just as they were before the riffle shuffle. Usually to embellish this ground-floor effect, a selected card (or cards) is seen to be the only one still facing the wrong way. Sometimes it's not a selected card, but the four aces or kings, or queens, or a poker hand or
well, the endings are almost limitless. Suffice to say, the face-up/face-down mix and the subsequent correction are a sub-plot in a larger tableau.
Returning to the Bornstein book, the foregoing is what we have here. As mentioned already, no less than ten variations of Triumph are offered. All require basic card handling ability, and most require familiarity with the basic Triumph approach: Pull Through and Strip Out False Riffle Shuffles. Interestingly none feature the currently popular Shank or Zarrow Shuffles. References are given to assist anyone not at ease with these techniques.
All the effects are eminently practical, mostly of an impromptu, or nearly impromptu nature. Some of the effects, I felt, suffered a little from over-handling, the best example of this being perhaps the first item in the book — "Topsy Turvey Aces". An awful lot of unnecessary proving precedes the main event. This first trick introduces the "M.B. SHIFT", and sets the trend for the rest of the book. The basic effect is there, alongside the style and quality of handling required. Description of individual effects is really superfluous, since our earlier resume really covered the main outline.
The "M.B. SHIFT" rears its head in most of the routines, but is not, as the title perhaps suggests, a version of the Pass or even a Multiple Shift. Rather, it is a subtle, and quite easy, transfer of a card or cards from on half-deck to another.
One of Triumph's most recent additions, the Daryl Martinez "Puerto-Rican Display" pops up a couple of times, but, surprisingly without credit. As most cardmen will attest, the Display is quite strong, and anyone inventing the move would be quick to claim credit (although Martinez was a bit slow doing so). In this instance, no such claim is made, and, in fact no mention of origin is offered. For a book that is really quite strong on credit-lines, this is an interesting omission.__
The "Bonus" section of the book is a quartet of unrelated ideas. Quite why it has been added to a book whose very title details the general contents is unclear. The One-Hand Multiple Card Palm is not something anyone will learn in five minutes, but is worthy of study. The same goes for a version of the interlocked fingers card production — a trifle out of place in what is a Close-Up book. 'Your Favourite Ace' is actually a coin trick of the Matrix variety, but highlights an Okito-type Boston Box. Strong stuff, but your classic palm needs to be up to scratch. The Okito Box is a natural for Matrix, but so far has not been overused. The best idea in the book is the "Vanishing Deck". The title says it all. It's the kind of thing magicians love to read, but will hesitate to use, preferring to wait for someone else to fool them with it. Some publishers, I feel sure, would have put this idea out in expanded format in a single booklet — and not without some justification. Here, though, it's almost thrown away.
At the price the book is very good value, but a lot depends, of course, on how interested the reader is in Triumph. Card Nuts will devour it anyway, whatever the content, in the never ending search for new ideas. Clearly written text from Walt Lees, fine illustrations from (Pabular's own) Eric Mason, and, overall, strong card magic make for a good production. Triumph outdone? Perhaps. But the Vanishing Deck gets the real first prize. Verdict: Recommended, but with the reservations already hinted at and actually quoted.
The New York Magic Symposium. Close-Up Collection One. Written and illustrated by Richard Kaufman. Price 20 dollars plus 3.50 dollars for foreign orders or 1.50 U.S. Available from New York Magic Symposium, P.O.Box 169, Rockville Centre, New York 11571 or various dealers.
How does this Kaufman do it? Over the last few years, he has continually bombarded the fraternity with a seemingly endless succession of top quality material, beautifully written, illustrated and presented at very reasonable prices. He must either be a superman, or completely insane.
New York Magic Symposium, held in August 1982. To these have been added a list of big name guest contributors, making up part two.
The whole thing reads like a sort of up to date "Stars of Magic" (the complete bound volume). It is packed with brilliant, innovative, material. I am not going to mention any of the individual ideas or presentations. If I had to single out one favourite item, I could not. They are all so good that the reader is spoilt for choice.
One wonders how long Kaufman is going to be able to keep up this constant stream of both quality and quantity. In the meantime, buy this book, if you like good magic and value for money. Highly recommended.
Geoffrey Williams' "Two Ring Linking Ring Routine" Published by J & D Enterprises 23145 Bigler Street, Woodland Hüls CA 91364 U.S.A. Available from Martin Breese Ltd. 31, Richmond Way, Hammersmith, London W.14. Price £4.25 post paid in U.K.
This is a small book of some twelve typeset pages. It is nicely produced and well illustrated by David Grenewetzki.
Strictly speaking, although only two rings — a single and a key — are used for the routine, it is really a three ring presentation. The third ring being the performer's wrist watch, which somehow becomes embroiled in the actions. The presentation is a comedy one and for larger audiences, there is a bonus section, which consists of linking a ring onto the microphone cable, by cutting and restoring the latter.
Whilst not everybody's cup of tea, this is an off beat, commercial routine, which has obviously been thoroughly audience tested. I could see somebody like Bob Read getting a lot of mileage out of it.
This roughly hundred page book, with its imposing hard, black and silver covers, contains some twenty six items, by a list of contributors that reads like a who's who of magic.
The contributors, to part one of the book, were all star performers booked for the Premier 1
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