Convincing Control

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Edward Marlo

This technique is an easy, convincing method for controlling a selected card to the bottom of the deck. It is a technical variation of a bottom control that appeared in The New Tops (June - 1966) in the article titled, "The Prayer Cull." It also uses some basic ideas from "The Moveable Card Pass."

Method: Spread the deck and have a card selected. Square the cards, then re-spread them so that your right hand will have a spread of cards as they are separated for the return of the selection. The right-hand spread of cards should be made so that the left end has several distinctly single cards neatly and uniformly spread. (Fig. 1 )

The selection is returned on top of the left-hand portion of cards. Your left thumb pushes the selection and a few other cards below it slightly to the right. The selection should be in advance of the others. Your left hand is Straddle Gripping its cards.

Your right hand now approaches the left-hand packet. The single card from the right-hand spread is placed in conjunction with the selection. That is, it is placed onto but not completely covering it. (Fig. 2)

At this stage, your left second and third fingertips are pressing against the selection from underneath. Your left thumb contacts the card above or to the right of the selection. This card is the first card of the right-hand spread. Your extended right fingers support the spread from underneath.

The next action is important. As your hands move together to close up the spread, your left thumb pulls back on the card above or to the right of the selection. Your left fingers (below) simultaneously press and push the selection to the right. Your hands will meet in a "prayer position" with the deck in a stepped condition. If the top section or right-hand section was moved away, you can see that the selection is held in place by the top card. This top card, as far as the audience is concerned, is apparently the selection. (Fig.3 )

Fig. 3 selection

Fig. 3 selection

As soon as the condition shown in Figure 3 is reached, both hands slightly separate. (Fig. 4)

In the drawing this separation is slightly exaggerated. The space between the packets at the upper end would not normally exist. The sections separate far enough so that the projecting card from the right-hand portion comes to rest on the left-hand portion. As soon as the position shown in Figure 4 is reached, your right hand relaxes. This causes the side-jogged selection to swing down. (Fig. 5 a back-end view of the action.)

Both hands move towards each other as the selection slides to the bottom of the deck. The deck is then immediately squared in the conventional manner. Your patter to accompany these natural actions is: "Keep your eyes on your card..." The card sidejogged to the left of the right-hand section is assumed to be the selection. (Fig. 4) There should not be any perceptible pauses. Everything should be fluid.

You may find that moving your left hand slightly to the left works better. Others may prefer their right hand to move. The next action provides more misdirection for the move.

Have a card selected and return it so that you are in the starting position. (Fig. 1) Your left second and third fingertips touch the underside of the selection. Lift both hands so that the faces of the cards are toward the spectator. As you move the cards upwards, pull back the card above the selection to the left with your left thumb. The spectator can still see the face of their selection, which is held stationary with your left fingertips.

into opening (swings down)

After the card is noted, lower your hands and perform the under-the-spread mechanics. Move the right-hand section outward and contact the inner left corner of the supposed selection with your left thumb. (Fig. 6). Lower the right-hand cards, leaving the supposed selection outjogged. (Fig. 7) Square the cards, then slowly push the outjogged decoy-card flush.

Over the years, this technique generated a great deal of controversial debate. In an effort to clarify some of the confusion (without adding to it), I wrote an essay called "Of Convincing Control." If you add it to what is essayed in Jennings '67, you can sort out the conclusions and draw your own. What follows is my original commentary:

A card-move seems singular. Yet a card-move consists of many moves or movements, involving many components. There are several, interacting parts. This pluralism, though obvious to analysts, is usually disregarded because it is easier, more convenient, and less tedious to lump everything together. It is more comfortable to call such a lumped amalgam a (singular) "move." The preferred hyphenate ("card-move") suggests these constituent parts and sensitizes readers about what is really involved and what entails a so-called "move."

To complicate matters, the contentious question of paternity becomes confusing because of what is involved. All the movements or mechanics that occur during execution of a "move," rarely devised by one person, are difficult to sort out. All the components involved in these mechanics are also rarely devised by one person. Individuals may hit upon a basic concept or idea, but card-moves ultimately become evolved entities; and the creative continuum which surely exists is not always easy to chart.

The basic concept for "Convincing Control" started out in a rudimentary way. Over time is was tweaked, finessed, modified, expanded, refined, enhanced, and so on. So, how did it begin?

Controlling a card to the bottom from a spread is rooted in the Hofzinser Spread Control. The notion of switching a selection for an indifferent card while it is apparently upjogged can be traced to Edward Victor.1 The spectator points to a

1 Edward Victor's "Card In The Aces" was part of the Willane series published in 1945, specifically Methods For Miracles - Number Eight. This series was re-published as Willane's Complete Methods For Miracles (1985), p. 83.

June 15, 1966

(See Notes of 1945, "Moveable Card Pass")

card in a face-down spread, then the spread is raised and tilted back so that the spectator can see the face of his selection. The spread is lowered again and the supposed selection is transferred to the top as the actual selection is slid to the right and under the spread so that it ends up on the bottom when the cards are squared.2 I was shown this technique in 1965 by Edward J. Adams of New Orleans; however, he could not cite any references or precursors. Another magician showed him the action. This technique did not feature the action of outjogging the supposed selection. This was independently devised by Larry Jennings in the early 60's.

Jennings showed Marlo his handling of an Under-the-Spread Bottom Control (With An Upjog) at a convention in St. Louis. Marlo, seeing relations between what Jennings had developed and some of his own finesses, went home and experimented. In 1966, Marlo worked out the finessed details of the "Moveable Card Pass"3 and "The Prayer Cull." 4 These components and some of the same mechanics could be applied to controlling a card to the bottom as another card is outjogged. He could also justify re-describing these finessed mechanics and stake a claim to how they were combined. When he published this "combination," he did not mention Jennings' idea of outjogging the substitute card Marlo called the result "Convincing Control."

Marlo showed me "Convincing Control" in 1967. 5 He also showed it to a few others in Chicago, including Allan Ackerman. In 1969, Marlo knew that Ackerman was going to publish a book of effects and sleights. He became leery of being scooped by Ackerman and Jennings. Therefore, he gave me "Convincing Control" to publish in The Hierophant. It appeared in Hierophant #3 in March of 1970. Allan Ackerman eventually published his first book, Magic Mafia Effects, the same year. Jennings, still keeping his handling sub rosa, was left in the cold.

Ackerman wrote in his book that the technique was "a variation of Ed Marlo's improvement of the Hofzinser card pass" and called it "A Card Pass." (p. 29) He later published two variations: "Ackerman Varies Kelly" in The Esoterist (1971), p. 15 and "New Convincing Control" in Here's My Card (1978). These are finessed,

2 Willane wrote the explanation of this technique, but it is not entirely clear exactly how the supposedly selection is placed on top or to the right end of the spread. He writes that this card is "unmistakably taken" (my italics), but it is unclear which hand, thumb, or fingers does this "take" and "placement." The all-important dual-action of raising and lowering the spread for the selection to be noted provides the broader action that blurs the smaller actions of the displacement that permits the switch.

3 This technique is dated 1945 in Marlo's personal notes. There is an illustration on p. 40 of J.N. Hofzinser's Card Conjuring (1931)by Fischer and Sharpe that looks like a Moveable Pass, but the exact handling is much different. The illustration suggests that the selection is pulled out and slid to the right so that it ends up on top. But the selection is in the center with a pinky break above it. The right section of cards to taken and placed under the left section. The top card is Slip Cut above the selection.

4 "The Prayer Cull" was published in The New Tops (June-1966), taken from personal notes dated February 16, 1964. It was re-published in M.I.N.T. - Volume One (1988), p. 232.

5 This occurred at Clarke Crandall's bar in Chicago, a place where the Marlovian Inner Circle met regularly in the 60's. The mainstay group at the time consisted of Marlo, Al Sharpe, Art Weygandt, Ray Korrell, Jimmy Nuzzo, Carmen D'Amico, and Millard Lichter. Jon Racherbaumer attended these sessions whenever he flew in from New Orleans for a visit. Many moves and tricks were tipped and discussed in this dark, secluded bar long before they were published.

technical variations of the basic technique.6 Due to these published sources, plus limited word-of-mouth, the "move" was kicked around the late 70's and early 80's. Harvey Rosenthal's "Outjogged Placement" was published in Packet Switches: Part Three by Karl Fulves in 1977 and more variant movements and finessed actions were added to the mix. Fulves alluded to only The Esoterist, adding that "the ideas and techniques used in the Outjogged Placement are quite different from published handlings, have greater flexibility and can be used repeatedly without causing suspicion." 7 Larry Jennings remained uncredited, unpublished. Frank Simon entered the game when he published Versatile Card Magic in 1983. 8 Most of this book is devoted to handlings of the "Convincing Control." Daryl, who was highly visible at the time, used the technique explained in Simon's book and showed it around wherever he performed and lectured. He applied it to" The Out-of-Body Experience" and many magicians asked about the control-placement used in this trick. The trick was eventually printed in For Your Entertainment Pleasure (1982), p. 62. Therein, Stephen Minch explains and credits Frank Simon's variant handling of Marlo's "Convincing Control."

Here is the interesting part. The variants by Simon and Ackerman using a "double," combined with an under-the-spread action as a substitute-card is outjogged is the original handling devised by Larry Jennings. Things come full circle.

Marlo published more approaches in Marlo's Magazine - Volume 5 (1984) and Ackerman continued his experimentation in Las Vegas Kardma (1994), p. 50, adding "Ackerman Varies Kelly to a Full Bottom Palm."

The important feature by Larry Jennings is that the card-switch is made in situ and the selection is secretly placed on the bottom or at any position near the bottom as the spread is squared. Versions that side-jog or up-jog a "double" are easier to perform than Marlo's version first published in The Hierophant. However, the card shown to the spectator in Marlo's original technical variation of Jennings' technique is singular when the spread is lifted and tilted back. After it is lowered, the supposed selection is still singular. This makes a difference if the spectator is "burning" the action at this point.

The original Jennings handling, including all its finesses and variants, will be published in his new book. Students who want to sort out the details of "Convincing Control" can examine the references cited in this article. Many cardmen contributed bits and pieces. There are many people to credit, especially the unsung Jennings. We can only speculate about what Hofzinser would say if

6 Keep in mind that the basic technique has components by Hofzinser and Edward Victor. The outjogging idea belongs to Jennings. Ackerman, Marlo, and others used these components.

7 Fulves did not mention previous, related sources by Hofzinser, Victor, Jennings, Marlo, or Ackerman. He did mention in his Introduction that Rosenthal's handling was described to J.K. Hartman via telephone. We do not know who called Jerry, but Fulves points out that Hartman subsequently published a handling without acknowledging Rosenthal's prior claims. Hartman called his variant technique "Pushover Switch" which was later published in one of his private manuscripts and later in Card Craft (1991), p. 69.

8 This book is relatively difficult to obtain. It is on the waiting "want list" of many used book dealers. It is a beautifully produced, hard-cover book of 154 pages with 111 superb photographs by Frank Simon, who was a first-rate photographer and cinematographer. It was published by Magical Publications. (Mike Caveney)

he were alive today. Perhaps he would advise against upjogging the supposed selection and then pushing it flush? If the supposed selection is upjogged, why not remove it —which was ostensibly the reason it was upjogged in the first place? Perhaps he would ask, "Why upjog a card? Who are you trying to convince? Why not use my control and be done with it?" Since most magicians rarely heed good advice, my guess is that Hofzinser would have said nothing.

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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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