Harry Levine Up Close and Poisonal

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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Rather than the standard biography, I thought I would mention just a few casual observations I have made of Harry during the last six months we have been preparing this issue. Some of them were gleaned from conversations we have had. Others were mumbled under my breath with my hand over the mouthpiece of the phone.

Harry makes his living with a deck of cards. He performs card tricks 4 to 8 hours a day in trade shows. He spends the rest of his time trying to convince others that he should be spending 4 to 8 hours a day doing card tricks in trade shows. His clients include Titleist, Fidelity Investments, NEC, Thrifty Car Rental, and now, The Trapdoor.

For the beauty contest crowd, he is 5 feet 7 and some odd inches tall, 28 years old, and doesn't have a favorite color. He received a magic set when he was six and "threw it out instantly because the stuff was too easy."

His long range ambition is to buy the island next door to Marlon Brando's and to be known in his old age as the Guy Jarrett of card magic. When I asked him why he chose card magic as an occupation, he asked me, "What, get a real job?"

Several years ago, he made the comment to me that The Trapdoor was the only magazine crazy enough to publish his material. He also said that it was the only outlet he would trust to do justice to the real work. I published several of his items between 1987 and 1989. I had forgotten how much work it had been. (My therapist says I was repressing...)

Working with him over the last half year (has it only been 181.62 days?) has been a real pleasure..

. for him. For me, it has been an endless repetition of answering the phone and hearing, "Hi Steve. Got your pen handy?" He is indeed fortunate that the point of said pen wouldn 't fit through the phone line. The most often heard phrase uttered during the course of preparing this issue was "Just one more thing Steve..." Did I mention that Harry is a perfectionist — or completely anal. In any case, professional help would help.

You may think I'm exaggerating, but as I type this, the phone is ringing again. He is already drafting changes for things I haven't even written yet. I had to buy a new computer j u st to deal with him. I've ordered an unlisted phone number. I'm livingunder an assumed name. Themanisnuts!He'smakingmenuts. I'mfed up! I want out of here — back to my normal healthy life.Don't read this stuff. It will only cause me to have to go through this again. I'm finished! I'm going to go develop a taste for cigarettes. If you want to get in touch with me, contact the Federal Editor Relocation Program.

. .. And he lived happily ever after.

The Trapdoor

Published by Trapdoor Productions Written & Illustrated by Steve Beam Cover design by Lisa Weedman

Copyright 1992 by Steven L. Beam 407 Carrington Drive Knightdale, NC 27545

All rights reserved.

The Hurricane Change Harry Levine

I have had the pleasure in these pages of printing five of the most unique color changes ever printed. These include Dan Garrett's Knuckle Busting Ultra Garrett Spinning One-Hand Lateral Palm Platform Card Transformation (with Triple Change Option) (#36), Chris Ball's Blender (#9), Harry Levine's Revolution Change (#27, page 470) and his Multiple Minus One Bottom Change (#27, page 467). I am no stranger to color changes. In 1982,1 published an entire book on color chan ge s—The Changing of The Cards. Suffice it to say that I know a good transformation when I see one.

This is not one. This is a great transformation. Picture the possibilities. Pass your empty hand over the pack and ihecard on the face changes to another card. Repeat the move, and there is another change to another card. Repeat as desired. Each time, the card on the face changes to an entirely different card. At any time, you may change the face card back to any identity it has previously held. There is no noise and there are virtually no angles. This is miracle!

Now for the down side. It is not easy. Learning the move will take you many hours. Perfecting it so that it works 100% will take you many more. Several pieces form the whole, and leaving out any of the pieces will multiply the required hours spent on the move.

There are many variables, some of which may vary depending upon the size of your hands. Harry has small hands and this looks like a miracle in his hands. I have medium to large hands and it works nicely inmymitts. You will have some experimenting ahead of you to find just the right pressure points. You will be rewarded with one of the prettiest and most versatile changes in existence.

I have spent a lot of time with the all-important details. I could have written this up in a page or two, but you would never have learned it fully. Take your time, this is worth it! I wasn't doing it for my health. The point in time where you decide that all this work isn't worth it should immediately precede the point in time when you decide it is.

Background. To help you grasp the theory of what will happen, picture the Erdnase color change (first method) done diagonally backwards. In its simplest form, you are going to make two diagonal passes over the pack to affect the change. During the right hand's first pass from forewardright to back left (assuming the pack is held in the left hand) you will steal the second card from the face out the near left diagonal corner of the pack. On the return pass, from back left to forewardright, you will deposit the stolen card on top of the pack.

Several other changes have been based upon the original Erdnase change. Refer to The Annotated Erdnase for a listing of six of them. One of the things that makes Harry' s change so alarming is the fact that the card is stolen as the hand makes a diagonal pass over the pack. In most palms, steals, and related actions, the card is removed in a linear fashion, the lines of the pack aligning with the lines of the palmed card. That is, the card is pushed or pulled either vertically or horizontally. It doesn't seem possible that the card could be stolen diagonally. It fools the eyes and fools the mind.

In addition, the steal is unlike any standard method of card stealing. It is guaranteed to keep you working and reward you with a prize worth presenting.

The Work. Start with a good deck of cards. Now, reread the last sentence. If you are trying to learn this move with an old deck, it will take twice as long. (Remember the two years you spent in the fifth grade?) Once learned, the change can be performed with an old deck all you wish. For now, we are both running short on time so I would suggest you reach for the deck you keep on the top shelf, away from visiting magicians.

I will also add one caution against cheap cards. You will find that cheap cards will talk when doing the change. While you may chose not to listen to their conversations, it's much easier just to part with the extra fifty cents to avoid the problem altogether.

Hold your new, expensive deck face up in your left hand in dealing position. Your left forefinger is curled up over the far short edge. Your left thumb rests on the far left corner. Obtain a left pinky break under the top (face) card of the pack. You can use the pinky count to get the break or Harvey Rosenthal's Pop Up from #34. (For multiples and later variations, you will need the pinky count. Harvey's move works very well when executing the simplest of the changes — changing the top card to the card second from the top.)

The Swivel. By applying pressure with your left thumb and second finger, you are going to take possession of the broken card in what can best be described as a spider grip. By dragging the pad of your second finger forward against the right edge of the broken card, you will find you can pivot the card on the fulcrum formed by the left thumb. Your left first finger must move forward slightly to allow the card to protrude slightly over the far edge of the pack. Figure one is an exaggerated snapshot taken at the end of the swivel action.

To square the pack and return the swiveled card, pull the card flush with your left forefinger. Your third finger assists in the action by pushing the card to the left, flush with the pack. Practice swiveling the card back and forth using the thumb as the fulcrum. You must have complete control over this swivel for the change to work with any regularity.

When you start practicing the change, you will learn how much you will need swivel the top card(s) out of the way to allow you to gain purchase on the the card you are to steal. Too little brief and you

Figure 2

The "sputer'* marks the part of the hand which contacts tfte$eC0ttdmr4,_

Figure 2

The "sputer'* marks the part of the hand which contacts tfte$eC0ttdmr4,_

won't be able to steal the card. Too much brief and there will be excessive movement and flashing from the spectator's point of view. Harry suggests using the same size brief you use for a second deal. (Since this is open to interpretation, we' 11 all join in thanking him for his helpful suggestion later.)

The Steal. Assume the starting position, with a break under the card on the face of the pack. Place your right hand over the pack. Do not start the swivel action until the right hand completely covers it. If the spectators detect any movement on the part of the left hand, the illusion will be ruined.

As soon as the deck is covered, execute the swivel. This exposes the near left corner of the second card from the face. Lower the pad of the right thumb onto this card. See figure 2 for the part of the right hand I place on the exposed portion of the card. (Your position may vary slightly based upon the size of your hands — but not much.) Figure 3 shows an exposed

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