Tut ifflira

li^JBiw) HIS sccrct reverse resembles Larry Jennings s Larreverse, but with the LePaul mw&xA ^X)ttom deal grafted to it. The curious feature of this sleight is that it allows a mrc>yP previously reversed card to be reversed again in the very action of seemingly righting it. Since the roots of the sleight are in the Larreverse, Til modesdy call it the Wondereverse, thus assuring me my niche in magical history.

I lie sleight requires a small preparation: Turn the bottom card of the face-down dcck face up, and a second card face up near the center of the pack.

Hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing grip. Then sway or bevel it somewhat to the right, causing die top of die deck to overhang die bottom on die right side. With your left fingertips, secretly rightjog the bottom (reversed) card about half an inch and gently curl its right side up against the beveled edge of the pack (Figure l).This positioning is easily accomplished as the deck is placed into the left hand. Stretch your left forefinger (which is lowered in the illustration to expose the position of the bottom card) along the front of the pack, protecting the jogged card from view. This is the LePaul bottom-dealing grip.

With your left thumb, push the top cards straight to the right, spreading them into your palm-up right hand. Continue to spread the cards from left to right until the reversed card near center comes into view. When you see the card, push it a bit to the right, along with the face-down card direcdy beneath it; then stop spreading. Your intention with this maneuver is to push the exposed face-tip card and its downstairs neighbor to the right in reasonably close register. They do not have to be in perfect alignment; just close.

The moment the left thumb has pushed these two cards over, break the spread above the face-up card and separate the hands. The right hand supports the spread top half of the pack that rested above the reversed card (Figure 2).

As the spread is split, curl the left second finger secredy in under the left-hand spread and use it to push the rightjogged bottom card about half an inch farther to the right, bringing it into alignment with the rightjogged double on top of the spread. Again, alignment need

removed from che pack) and place it onto the deck Put the deck in its case and the case in the correcr pocket. You are ready for the next round.

One shouldn't overlook, though, that in walk-around settings some people may follow you from group to group or otherwise witness several performances. Having such persons observe a different card than that thev saw replaced in the envelope come from it at the next performance can raise undesirable questions. To avoid this problem, I prepare three or four envelopes, and take them out in a packet at each performance. 1 then choose one, place it on the table and put the rest away. Seeing that you have several envelopes with cards in them explains to the repeat spectator how you are able to wager with different cards each time.

FFECTS wherein something goes wrong, after which the magician corrects the //HHkN siniation, are commonly called sucker tricksby magicians. I find this to he a rather jy^Bv^ ugly term. It suggests that the spectators are all nothing but suckers. Unfortu-v^M nately more than a few magicians regard their audiences as stupid, half blind and insensitive. You know them. When they cxccutc a sleight poorly they say, "It doesn't matter. The audience never notices that." I don t think their audiences are stupid, half blind and insensitive, but rather that...

Now, I know that the term stoker trick is not always meant in a pejorative sense. Its a term we have grown accustomed to using to define this type of effect. Nevertheless, I feel that using negative words can, even when we use them without conscious ill will, eventually creep into our subconscious and influence our thoughts and feelings. Deep down inside ourselves it might influence us to think less generously about our audiences. 1 think it is very important to choose die right words for diings, and wherever possible diese words should be positive, so that they help us to think correctly. In magic, many things are called by unfortunate names that make it too easy for us to think of ourselves and odiers in uncharitable and incorrect ways. With that in inind, I prefer to call these "sucker" type ellects fuilurejjects.

Often, when a failureffcct is performed, it is patendy obvious that the magician is only pretending that the cffcct has gone wrong. Acting this part convincingly is extremely difficult. A bit later I will explain some of the requirements for persuasively feigning failure. For now let s assume the effect is credibly played.

Unfortunately, among magicians a widely held dogma concerning failureffects asserts that spectators enjoy seeing the magician in trouble. Well, I woiu say this is wrong, for in some cases it cleady is true. It will be especially so if the audience doesn't like die magician, if he projects an attitude of "I'm clever and you're lools," showing oil his cunning. This is a type of magic in which all the magician has 10 offer Ills spectators is rhar he knows the secrets and they don't. In such cases, I too would relish seeing the performer fall flat on his face. 1 low nice it is when a trick attempted by this smug fellow goes wrong! I might even laugh. However, when I realize that all this was a ploy planned from the beginning, that I've been led down rhe garden path by a sucker effect, when this irritating person with all his smart little tricks again demonstrates his presumptuous superiority—well, I would hate him even more than before. I might even feel embarrassed; and—I might laugh to disguise my embarrassment!

I suspect a large number of magicians do magic as a form of therapy. They seem to have an inferiority complex of sorts, and they use magic as a compensating tool. After all, with magic they can do things their spectators cant. This type of magician, I suspect, is particularly attracted to sucker tricks in which the audience thinks they see through the deception, only to have die magician spring his glorious trap: "Haha, gotcha!" A perfect way to uplift ones inferiority complex, isn't it!

If you arc one of these individuals, I suggest that you seek your therapy in some other form. Magic is not an antidote for personality deficiencies and shouldn't be used as one. This is particularly the case when magic is performed for an audience. In the same sense that spectators aren't there to serve as clapping cattle, just to make you feel good, neither are they there to give you a feeling of superiority because you can do things they cant.

By the way, spectators don't care in the least that you can do certain things that they cannot. This sort of power game—demanding respect because you have certain capabilities—might have worked fifty years ago, but today few people accept such posturing. Respect for authority, for status, largely disappeared in the Sixties. Today one gains for more regard through an ability to impart something meaningful to someone else than through a demonstration of abilities others don't possess. Most people don't carc if you can demonstrate spccial skills; in fact they may even resent the idea, if that is all you display to them. Why, after all, should they care about you and your performance if all it amounts to is an exhibition of skill or cleverness? What meaning, what benefit, does that have for them?

Further, should such a demonstration of superiority raise even a mild dislike, the audience will of course secretly enjoy it when something goes wrong. In extreme eases, with an audience that is less than polite, the spectators may even laugh out loud ar the performer. In ones blindness one can interpret this as success. And moments later, when the trick docs turn out right, and the performer has "got them" again— Sure, the audience might give him a round of polite applause. Many spectators may even laugh (from embarrassment?). Yes, one can interpret this as success, too. But if it is really...

I Iowever, suppose that you choose not to behave like an idiot, that you have something more to offer the spectators than showing them you can do things diey cannot. Suppose that the audience genuinely likes you. Kven then, there is a profound negative aspect to hilureffects; an aspect brought to my attention years ago by Sam Schwartz. Sam told mc why he never docs failurcffccts, and his reasons arc quite sound.

His point is this. The audience loves you; then something goes "wrong" during your show. Now a spectator (someone who likes you) doesn't know that the failure is planned, and he thinks that you really are in trouble. You know as well as I do how unpleasant it is watching someone present a bad show. The sympathetic spectator starts to feel sorry for you, and he can quickly find rhe situation becoming embarrassing. Consequendy he becomes uneasy. In orhei words, this person is generously feeling compassion for you.

Now, after having reached this emotional state, it suddenly becomes clear to the spectator that it was all a setup, and that he invested his emotions in you for no worthwhile reason. You made him feel bad for nothing. You made him feel sorry for you for nothing. You cheated him!

Perhaps he may laugh at the situation, but he won t laugh from his heart. He will simply laugh to hide his embarrassment. As I see it, although die audience may be laughing, its debatable if all this will increase their love for you. After all, do you like it when someone stimulates your concern, just for a joke? Do you enjoy it when people cry wolf?

If you are still at that pitifuJly low level of magic where you are only showing off your capabilities ("Look at what I can dof), if that is all you have to offer, then it's probably best not to perform at all. Certainly you should stay away from failureffects, where swaggering becomes all the more obvious and only further encourages die audience to dislike you. At the same time you will likely lower your spectators opinion of magic too. Please don't do it! Failureffects are among die most difficult presentations to perform successfully!

Having said all this, there is no question that failureffects can often be quite success-fid. This success isn't surprising, since failureffects intrinsically involve one of die strongest of fundamental theatrical elements, conflict. Yet, I find that many failureffects also inher-endy present problems; serious problems diat arc easily overlooked and can do a lot of harm. Often, despite the element of conflict, failureffects aren'r effective at all.

Why not?

You may disagree with me here. Its possible that you arc using one or more failureffects in your show, and that they reap plenty of laughter and strong reactions. However, these effects have negative aspccts that may not be immediately apparent, but can easily outweigh the obvious benefits. The matter is much more complex than one might at first think. So it's important for us to be aware of these dangers and difficulties if we are to do a good job.

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