On the Svengali Deck

Svengali

By and large, magic forums are a constant source of annoyance and depression to me, paired with an uneasy feeling of waste, both of precious time and positive energy.

On the other hand, there is something new to learn or discover almost every other day, which makes browsing through various forums rather rewarding. For example, like many other majishuns, I had never heard of the fact, until recently, that the French call the Svengali deck “un jeu radio” because of the long and short waves on which radio transmission operates. And what became the “Stripper Deck” much later, started out as the biseauté deck, even in English (see Prof. Hoffmann‘s Modern Magic, for example). Not earth-shattering, but quite fascinating to learn, isn’t it?

Which reminded me of an alternative, unsuspecting Svengali Force I came up with many years ago. I guess it’s likely that others have had the same idea before me, but I haven’t seen it in print yet. Here it is:

1. Divide the Svengali deck into two packets by separating the force cards from the regular cards. Put the regular cards on top of the force bank, all face up.

2. In performance, casually spread through the different cards face up. Then turn the deck face down, cut it at the break and riffle shuffle (or, even better, faro) the two halves together, but without squaring them.

3. Instead, spread them into a huge, even double fan and have a spectator take any card. Naturally, he’ll pick one from the outer bank. It will be one of the force cards.

4. Square the deck and have the selected card replaced anywhere. With the two halves now neatly mixed into each other, you are all set to move into your Svengali routine.*

*If you don’t have one yet, make sure to check out the work of master Svengali pitchman Mark Lewis and his oldie-but-golden booklet, The Long and the Short of it.

Have fun exploring this idea!


For more Tricks & Ideas just click here!


 

Empowering Your Spectator

Pfeile_4

Recently, there was a discussion over at the Genii Forum which impromptu trick you would do if you were handed a deck of cards and were to perform only one thing. This reminded me of three older favorites of mine:

(1) “Gemini Twins” by Karl Fulves – always a stunner! And as a “psychic experiment” great for couples, when both “intuitively” find the mate of their partner’s card. You will find it in his book More Self-Working Card Tricks.

(2) “The Waikiki Shuffle,” a fun card location invented by Bill Murata, to be found in Roberto Giobbi‘s Card College Light.

(3) Francis Carlyle‘s “Upside-Down Deck” from Scarne on Card Tricks. It’s easy, quick, and visual, and you can make the spectator the star, which is almost always a good idea and usually better than the “Look what I can do!” braggadocio approach. Just hand him a magic wand (a worn pencil stub gets a laugh), let him tap the mixed-up deck three times and then reveal 1) his chosen card, 2) your own chosen card in the 3) “triumphed” deck!

Bonus idea: If you hand out as a wand the rod with the gems on opposite ends (from Ken Allen‘s “Jumping Gems”), you can go with the flow right into this routine…

To be more precise, here’s what you could do: Show the rod as a regular mini wand, with gems on both ends on both sides. Proudly point out that over the years you have ascended through the ranks to the status of a full-fledged four-star magic wand holder. A beginner, however, would start with a blank rod (demonstrate it). But as your spectator friend has just accomplished a freakin’ miracle, you promote him to honorary two-star status immediately (demonstrate). So he only needs two more stars on the back of the wand to catch up with you (show four again). End with the warning to always handle such a wand with great care, otherwise some stars may loosen and drop to the other end of the wand (demonstrate and “repair”). Tap your fist and make a palmed coin or sponge ball appear. Put the wand away and continue with your flow.

Performed like this, I feel there is no need to bring out the second or even third rod from “Jumping Gems.”


 

A Surprising Comeback by Ricky Jay

Just a couple of days ago Ricky Jay’s early masterpiece, Cards as Weapons, made a surprising encore on Amazon with a new paperback edition of this long sold-out, highly sought after classic. Prices on the second market for older editions are likely to drop significantly now, I guess.

RickyJayCardsWeapons


Addendum: Some guys over on the Genii Forum think that this is an illegal product and not endorsed by the estate of Ricky Jay. Too bad!

O tempora, o mores!


 

An Expert at the Card Table

KapsCards
YouTube Screenshot

Like many others, I tend to judge Fred Kaps as the best all-around magician I have ever seen. No matter which objects he manipulated, it always looked incredibly smooth and effortless. The impression was enhanced by his likeable persona and the joy – and sometimes astonishment – which he radiated. A shame and a big loss that he passed away so early. But his magic and his legend will live on at least for another couple of decades.

Here’s some rare old TV footage that shows Kaps in his prime in an informal card session. It’s in Dutch, but you will certainly get the magic. Watch the video over on YouBurp and enjoy!


 

The Garcia Grip

Frank Garcia was a man of marvellous magical talent, and, sadly, also a man of some less than wonderful traits when it came to self-aggrandizement and crediting (the lack of it, rather). “Even our Gods have feet of clay,” as someone rightly put it on the Genii’s Forum.

Only recently I discovered this four-part private magic lesson video on YouBurp which gives us, in my view, Frank Garcia at his best with cards, coins, spongeballs, and a truckload full of tips and subtleties that left me in awe and will keep me busy for quite some time! That’s what I call the “Garcia grip” on things.

Enjoy two hours of old-school magic! (And try to ignore Jerky Bob who interferes a bit too often…)

1garcia


 

Trick & Ideas (7): Card to After Eight Box

I have to admit that I am a little bit obsessed with CTIL variations. Here’s a new one I came up with only recently. It’s a „Card to After Eight Box“ effect (or substitute any similar product as long as it gives you mint chocolate thins that come in a sleeve each). As you will notice, a folded card fits well into such a sleeve. Unlike the picture above, they should not peek out.

Preparation: Buy a box, open it carefully and eat about half of the thins immediately. Then load each sleeve with a spare folded card. Reseal the box.

Presentation in less than 130 words: Have the box in plain sight on the table. F***e a card from the deck, have it signed and make it seemingly disappear while doing the MF. Present the sealed box and open it. Hold it up pretty high, so no one can peek inside, and riffle along the sleeves with your first finger as you ask a spectator to say stop. Take out a card-filled sleeve, squeeze the opening together and let a spectator hold it, as you distribute some regular thins from the box. Take the sleeve back, pull it a bit open and let the audience see the folded card. Do the Joro Switch as you apparently dump it out, reveal the signed and transposed card and share some more chocolate with your happy audience.


Find more tricks and ideas here.


Quiz: Show Me Your Hands!

I have to confess a lot of things, related to magic and otherwise. But when it comes to card magic, I am prepared to admit that to me…

1) illustrations are much clearer and thus much more helpful in understanding and learning a move than photographs and

2) it’s fun to compare the personal style and techniques of magic’s great illustrators.

By the way, a fine book which celebrates the art and artists in and around magic is Chuck Romano‘s The Art of Deception from 1997. This tome inspired me to go-a-hunting for a dozen exemplified card illustrations and challenge you to find out from which well-known books and authors on card magic they originated.

So here is the first one from the not too distant past. Take a guess or rush to the better part of your magic book shelf.

Drawn by...?
Drawn by…?

(To be continued)


Erdnasen, aufgeschaut! – Erdnasians, beware!

EngelGenug geträumt, gezögert und vertrödelt – jetzt gehe ich es wirklich an: In spätestens zwölf Monaten soll mein Büchlein fertig sein!

Mehr als 100 Jahre nach S.W. Erdnase wird es höchste Zeit, in ein neues und aufregendes Jahrhundert der Kartenkunst aufzubrechen.

Das hat zwar nichts mit meinem kleinen Werk zu tun, aber es musste hier mal gesagt werden!

Zumindest der vorläufige Titel steht auch schon fest:

ARTHR_DE

(Hinweis: Zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt könnten auch noch Subalterne, Substitute, Suppenkoma oder Sukkulenten Berücksichtigung finden.)

<<>>>

Enough of pondering, procrastination, and idle play – I’m going for it now: In about twelve months my book should be finished!

More than 100 years after Erdnase it’s about time to enter a new and exciting century of expert cardistry.

This is totally unrelated to my little effort, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

I already got a preliminary title down:

ARTHR_ENG

(Full disclosure: Subtleties, submarines, substitutes, subpoena, soup cubes or succulents may also be considered at a later date.)