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APRIL 2014

Page 36
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 3
Michael Close
Editor Emeritus
David Goodsell
Associate Editor
W.S. Duncan
Proofreader & Copy Editor
Lindsay Smith
Art Director
Lisa Close
Society of American Magicians,
6838 N. Alpine Dr.
Parker, CO 80134
Copyright 2012
Subscription is through membership
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should be addressed to:
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4 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
APRIL 2014
M-U-M (ISSN 00475300 USPS 323580) is published monthly for $40 per year by The Society of American Magicians,
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to M-U-M, c/o Manon Rodriguez, P.O. Box 505, Parker, CO 80134.
Volume 103 Number 11
24 Illusions of Grandeur by David Seebach
26 I Left My Cards at Home by Steve Marshall
28 The Dotted Line by Don Theo III
32 Hit the Road by Scott Alexander
34 For Your Consideration by George Parker
36 COVER STORY by Christian Painter
40 From The Carter Repertoire by Christopher Carter
42 Nielsen Gallery by Tom Ewing
44 Messing With Your Mind by Christopher Carter
46 Not Just Kid Stuff by Jim Kleefeld
49 Tech Tricks by Bruce Kalver
50 The High Road by Mick Ayres
52 Mysteries of the Houdini Grave by Dean Carnegie
54 Ebook Nook: The Award-Winning Magic of John Cornelius
58 Cheats and Deceptions by Antonio M. Cabral
60 Informed Opinion New Product Reviews
68 Salon de Magie by Ken Klosterman
69 Inside Straight by Norman Beck
70 Basil the Bafing by Alan Wassilak
70 The Deans Diary by George Schindler
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 5
6 From the Editors Desk
8 From the Presidents Desk
11 M-U-M Assembly News
22 Good Cheer List
23 Broken Wands
31 Newsworthy
69 Our Advertisers
Editors Desk
Last month I told you that Christian Painter was ending his
mentalism column, Mental Breakdown, but will continue to con-
tribute to the magazine with a different column that will begin
in May. I am very happy to announce that Christopher Carter,
the gentleman lighting up the front cover, will be taking over the
mentalism column, and he is eminently qualifed to do so.
If you dont know who Christopher Carter is, dont feel bad.
Chris doesnt spend a lot time at magic conventions or writing
for magic publications; hes too busy working as one of the up-
per-echelon performers on the college circuit. Christian Painter
suggested Chris to take over the mentalism column, and he also
wrote this months cover story. In addition, Chris contributed
three tricks; two can be found following the cover story, and the
third is in his frst column.
I am delighted that Christopher Carter has joined the M-U-M
team, and I know you will fnd his column to be useful and in-
Speaking of tricks (yes, I am the Prince of Segues), consider
this scenario. You are invited to a small party at a friends house.
The conversation turns to psychic phenomena. You offer to
demonstrate a few interesting experiments. Using a borrowed
deck of cards, a borrowed handkerchief, some borrowed writing
materials, and a borrowed cat, you are able to perform a thirty-
minute show that includes design duplication, the psychic sorting
of cards from a genuinely shuffed deck, a manifestation of a
ghost under a handkerchief, and a spooky rising card effect in
which the selected cards rise from a glass. Everything you need
to accomplish these effects can be carried in your pockets: a
small stack of business cards, a peek wallet (if you want to do the
trick with the cat), and two very small gaffs.
Heres my question to you: Considering that all these effects
can be done with a minimum of sleight-of-hand ability, how much
would this set of effects be worth to you? Twenty-fve dollars?
Fifty dollars? With the way magic is marketed these days (and the
plethora of one-trick DVDs that sell for thirty bucks), youd pay a
hundred bucks or so for this information.
Heres the good news: Youll fnd all these routines in this
issue of M-U-M. Where are these effects in the magazine? Im not
going to tell you. Read and youll fnd them. I urge you to carefully
read through each issue of M-U-M. In addition to practical advice
that will make you a better magician and interesting discussions
on magic theory, youll also fnd some great tricks.
And speaking of magic theory (the Prince strikes again), take
a look at George Parkers For Your Consideration column this
month. The suggestion George offers may be a little diffcult to
wrap your head around, but I think I understand what hes getting
at. Stop for a moment, turn to Georges column (page 34), read
through it once or twice, and then come back. Ill wait.
I had to go through Georges column a couple of times before
I began to understand what he is going for, and I think hes on to
something. His point is that when you want to bring something
into existence (a magic show, a vacation, a book, or whatever) the
fact that you tend to visualize the entire thing can overwhelm you
and render you incapable of action. You see the big picture and
the goal seems unattainable. I have experienced this.
Instead of seeing the big picture, ask yourself what are the
essential components of your desired goal. Then fgure out a way
to achieve a smaller version of that, a creation that still encom-
passes the essential components you desire. In doing this you
give yourself a feeling of accomplishment and this good feeling
energizes you to continue the process.
For example, suppose you watch Mac Kings act (which Lisa,
Ava, and I did last weekend). You see this seamless construction,
with all the great magic and the myriad of jokes and callbacks,
and you think, Id like to construct an act like that, but how in
the world would I go about doing that? The answer is, you cant
write an act like in one shot, and neither did Mac. It was the slow
accrual of little bits and fnesses and refnements over many years
that got the act to that point. If you tried to write it all in one shot,
youd get frustrated and overwhelmed, and youd give up.
Youd be better served by asking what components of a
Mac-like act youd like to include and then designing just one
routine a routine that contains those elements. This is doable,
and if you can accomplish that, you will gain satisfaction and it
will energize you to continue.
Thats my take on Georges article. I look forward to seeing
how he applies this technique to a magic trick in his column next
RVP Eric DeCamps is doing a terrifc job with his North
Atlantic Region Newsletter. The Spring 2014 edition was
eighteen pages long and contained articles on holiday events and
Margaret Steeles shows in China, a review of Nothing to Hide,
and a trick from Steve Cohen. The articles on the Houdini grave
site on M-U-M this month on page 52 came from this issue of the
Compeer Dave Eisler emailed me with the suggestion that
assembly secretaries include information on upcoming special
events in their assembly reports. In this way, a compeer traveling
in the neighborhood of an assembly could make plans to attend
those events. I agree that this is a fne idea. However, dont
plug events that will happen within thirty days of submitting
your report. The information will be outdated by the time the
magazine reaches our members.
Michael with Mac King and his newest fan Ava Close
6 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Michael Close


APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 7
Dal Sanders
Presidents Desk
This month I am writing this article in a hotel in Tucson,
Arizona. We have just fnished the Spring National Council
Meeting and I am happy to report that great progress was made
in planning the future of The Society of American Magicians.
There are many exciting things in the works, but before I mention
any of them I would like to thank Tucson Assembly 136 for being
such fantastic hosts.
I have a long history with Assembly 136. Twenty-fve years
ago I brought my illusion show to the Gaslight Theater in Tucson
for a two-week run. The owners of the theater had just converted
the old Jerry Lewis movie house into a theater, and we were to
be the inaugural act. We arrived in Tucson a week early to hang
curtains and lights. I did not reach out to local magicians before
arriving and no one except the theater owners knew we were
coming in early. Before the engine of our truck cooled, members
of Assembly 136 were there to welcome us to town, to help us
unload, and to take us to lunch. The theater extended our run for
eight weeks and my cast and I took advantage of that time to build
lifelong friendships with the Tucson magicians.
When I was asked where I would hold our Spring National
Council Meeting I did not hesitate to suggest Tucson. Assembly
President John Redmon volunteered to set up transportation for
National Council Members between the airport and the hotel and
everyone received gift bags when we checked into the hotel. They
also treated the line offcers to a wonderful dinner and I loved
the way they split up and put different members among all of
the thirty National Council Members so that we all got to know
various assembly members. Thank you to all the members of
Assembly 136 for making our visit fantastic.
I have often said that the Tucson Assembly is one of the friend-
liest groups in the S.A.M. and they proved me right; but thats
not all they do right. The Tucson Assembly also mentors young
magicians. They have an annual public show that they produce,
but just because you are a member does not mean that you will
get the chance perform on stage. The more experienced members
work with the newer magicians to help them develop their act.
Many young members are asked to work backstage or as ushers
while they are developing. This spirit of mentoring and appren-
ticeship is a wonderful way to grow as a magician.
We were also thrilled to be invited to Roland Sarlot and Susan
Eyeds wonderful show, Carnival of Illusion. This top-rated
attraction is revitalizing magic by blending their international
travel theme with all the charms of a vaudeville-inspired road
show. Carnival of Illusion is a night of magic, mystery and well,
oooh la la!
Magic is very popular in Tucson; we also got to visit with
another magic club. The University of Arizona sponsors an in-
dependent student magic club. The membership is diverse with
a wide variety of skill sets. There are card people, coin people,
stage magicians, and mentalists, and their abilities range from
beginner to those with years of experience. You shouldnt be
surprised that they all work together and encourage each other
to grow and improve their skills. There are over ffty members
of the group and they regularly have over thirty people attending
the weekly meetingsyes you read that right, this university-
sponsored magic club meets weekly.
I am happy to report that President-Elect Ice McDonald,
S.A.M. Assembly 136 offcers Michael DeSchalit and John
Redmon, and I got to visit with this club to promote The Society
of American Magicians. Thanks to Emory Williams for setting
this visit up for us. Moving forward, Assembly 136 is going to
adopt the University of Arizona Magic Club. It was refresh-
ing to see this group of young people who were so excited about
John Apperson is stepping down as Convention Chairman. He
has a lot on his plate and he needs to take care of other issues in
his life. John has literally turned our conventions around. It is no
secret that the national S.A.M. conventions had been losing money
before he took over. Under his leadership all of our conventions
have been proftable. We are very sad to lose John as chairman but
the good news is that John has been training his replacement. I
appointed Mark Weidhaas as the new Convention Chairman and I
am happy to report that the National Council ratifed my appoint-
ment. We feel confdent that Mark is the one S.A.M. member with
the experience and energy to fll Johns rather large shoes. Im
sure that all of you join me in thanking John for a job well done
and congratulating Mark on his new position.
Many other important things happened at the National Council
Meeting. First of all, we are developing a mutually benefcial re-
lationship with a new television network that will make our flm
and tape library available to S.A.M. members over a variety of
platforms. This same network will also make other magic-relat-
ed broadcasts available to S.A.M. members. There will be much
more information about this in the coming months.
In other National Council news, we are developing training
modules and opportunities for offcers of local assemblies. We
hope to work with some of the biggest names in magic to accom-
plish this. We are also moving ahead with our Mining for Gems
video project and several other new benefts for S.A.M. members.
This is a great time to be a member of the worlds oldest and most
prestigious magic organization.
I was also happy to
represent the S.A.M. in
England at the Blackpool
Magicians Convention.
This is an amazing event
with a reported 3,800
registered magicians and
over 150 dealers. This
convention is amazing.
When I was in England
I had the great privilege
of visiting the Magic
Circle in London. I was
proud to recognize a UK
compeer and to award her
with a Presidential Citation. Mandy Davis certainly deserves rec-
ognition. She is the S.A.M. International Deputy for the United
Kingdom, Liaison to the Magic Circle, and a National Council
Member. She has also helped out the S.Y.M. by working with the
kids on W.O.W. (Weekend of Wonder). I was able to take the stage
at the Magic Circle to present this recognition before their weekly
meeting. Please join with me and thank Mandy for all of the great
work she does and congratulate her for receiving the Presidential
Citationthe highest award offered by the S.A.M.
Mandy Davis receiving
presidential citation
8 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
S.A.M. National Offcers
Dean: George Schindler, 1735 East 26th St.,
Brooklyn, NY 11229, (718) 336-0605, Fax (718)
627-1397, showbiz10@aol.com
President: Dal Sanders, 3316 Northaven Rd,
Dallas, TX 75229 (214) 902-9200,
President Elect: Kenrick ICE McDonald, P.O.
Box 341034, Los Angeles, CA 90034,
(310) 559-8968, ICE@MagicSam.com
First Vice President: David Bowers,
(717) 414-7574, David@MagicSam.com
Second Vice President: Jeffrey Sikora, (402)
339-6726 Jeff@MagicSam.com
Secretary: Marlene Clark, 274 Church Street,
#6B, Guilford, CT 06437, (203) 689-5730,
Skype: marlene.clark, Marlene@MagicSam.com
Treasurer: Eric Lampert, (215) 939-5555,
Regional Vice Presidents
New England: CT MA RI NH ME VT
Joseph Caulfeld (603) 654-6022,
North Atlantic: NY NJ
Eric DeCamps, (718) 896-5861,
Mid Atlantic: PA DE MD VAWV DC
Phil Milstead, (703) 481-5271,
South Atlantic: FL AL GA MS NC SC
Debbie Leifer (404) 630-1120
Central Plains: KY TN OH IN MI
Steven A. Spence, (317) 722-0429
Shaun Rivera, (618) 781-8621
South Central States: TX AR OK NM LA
Michael Tallon, (210) 341-6959
Southwest: CA AZ NV HI
Ron Ishimaru, (808) 428-6019,
Northwest: WA OR UT ID CO AK WY MT
James Russell, (360) 682-6648
Canada: Rod Chow (604) 669-7777
Society of Young Magicians Director:
Jann Wherry Goodsell, 329 West 1750 North,
Orem, Utah 84057 (801) 376-0353.
Living Past
National Presidents
Bradley M. Jacobs, Richard L. Gustafson, Roy A.
Snyder, Bruce W. Fletcher, James E.
Zachary, David R. Goodsell, Fr. Cyprian Murray,
Michael D. Douglass, George Schindler, Dan
Rodriguez, Dan Garrett, Donald F. Oltz Jr., Craig
Dickson, Loren C. Lind, Gary D. Hughes, Harry
Monti, Jann Wherry Goodsell, Warren J. Kaps,
Ed Thomas, Jay Gorham, John Apperson, Richard
M. Dooley, Andy Dallas, Maria Ibez, Bruce
Kalver, Mike Miller, Mark Weidhaas, Vinny
Grosso, J. Christopher Bontjes
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 9
Society of American Magicians Monthly News
APRIL 2014 Volume 103, Number 11
and use the easy submission form to fle your report
PA 1 Magic Table meets at the
Edison Caf on 47th Street in
Times Square. We start around
12:30 sharing magic. Many others
gather at Caf Rustico on 35th
Street off Fifth Avenue for lunch
and magic on Saturdays.
Our monthly meeting was on
February 7th. First up was the
presentation of the PA 1 SYM
David Oliver Award to magician
Ben Zabin by President David
Adamovich. Ben got a great round
of applause and later performed
for the assembly. Also receiving
presidential awards were Rene
Clement and Paul Hsiao for their
wonderful work on Magic Week,
performing in a large show in
Chinatown. Producer of this years
annual show, PP Ken Ferst, told us
about this years Salute to Magic.
The show will be on May 17th at
the Queens Theatre at the site of
the old Worlds Fairs. That history
will be part of the six-person show
as well as the wonderful Jay Scott
Berry as the emcee and the closer,
Jeff McBride.
Then it was time for the after-
meeting event, which was a great
lecture by Greg Wilson. His wit
and smart effects were a delight.
His pickpocket routine using PP
Ken Schwabe as a victim was
only topped by his chip on the
shoulder workings with Richard
Bossong for its fast pace, high
energy, and sheer entertain-
ment. A great end to our monthly
On Friday evening February
21st Doug Edwards presented the
Workshop at the Gemini Dinner.
We bring old effect to show Doug
to stump him but it never happens.
Doug did An Aldo Colombini
effect as a tribute to his old friend,
performing a wonderful rope effect
Knotty Knot. He did a Dr. Jaks
routine and some amazing effects
using loops. He performed these
effects and then taught us all. His
workshops are terrifc.
On Saturday, February 22, a
memorial for Georges Weill was
held at the UN Chapel here in NYC.
President Throwdini conducted
the PA 1 Broken Wand Ceremony
after asking all magicians from
the S.A.M. and I.B.M. to stand. It
was well attended. Past President
Ken Schwabe did the actual
breaking of the wand, saying a few
words about his old friend. Behind
them on the altar were Georges
ffty-year certifcate for member-
ship in the Parent Assembly and
the playing cards he last used. We
will all miss him at our meetings
and especially our workshops
Tom Klem
Parent Assembly 1 meets the frst
Friday of the month at Mount Sinai
Hospital 1425 Madison Avenue in
Manhattan. Contact Tom Klem
sampa1nyc@gmail.com (212) 725
5258 www.sampa1.com for more
The theme of the night was bar
or impromptu magic. Corky
LaVallee began the performances
with a teach-in of Charlie Fryes
ESPionage, a trick released by
Card Shark. Corky asked Stu
Bacon frst to put down one
card from a shuffed pile of ESP
cards. Corky proceeded to match
up each card that Stu turned over
from Corkys set of ESP cards.
We all could have predicted how
things were likely to end up, but
Corkys presentation wowed us
throughout to make it less predict-
able and very enjoyable. Tamaka
presented three brass cylinders.
We saw and heard a pellet
placed inside of one cylinder. Then
Tamaka shuffed the cylinders
(ala NY street hustle style) and
asked someone to guess where
the cylinder with the pellet had
landed. Low and behold, we could
never guess correctly. Each time
they were picked up and shaken,
we heard silence. Tamaka even-
tually opened up all the cylinders
and shazam (as Rob Shapiro
cried out), each cylinder had a
pellet inside.
Walt Johnson frst demon-
strated the way corks pinched
between fngers and thumbs of
both hands could pass through
each other great combination
of bar/impromptu magic. Then
Walt showed how to print business
cards from blank cards using
his palm printer. Walts fnale
revealed how to use a rubber band
to pass between Terrie Cardozas
clenched tight fngers with ease.
Rich Seguine displayed the way
three cups and some rolled up
toilet paper could be utilized to
perform Cup and Balls. His encore
employed bottle caps shifting from
one pile to another. Rob Shapiro
confrmed dice had many magical
uses. He had Terrie place three
dice in a glass and then covered it
with a napkin. Terrie added up the
total of the dice displayed on the
bottom of the glass and it matched
Robs prediction each time Terrie
opted to roll the dice into the
Hippo Lau preceded his magic
dollar levitation trick with a funny
joke that really made us believe
his trick. He left us laughing and
amazed at the use of fairy dust.
Stus frst trick centered on a paper
clock he drew that enabled him
to predict a card every time no
matter where the clock started.
Then Stu continued by showing
us how a pair of Aces was able to
fnd its mates. Corky concluded
the evening with another variation
of Stus mate fnding card routine.
Rob Shapiro
Golden Gate Assembly 2 meets
frst Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at
Community Room of Taraval
Police Station, 2345 24th Avenue,
San Francisco. Contact Tamaka
Tamaka3715@aol.com (415)
531-9332 https://www.facebook.
com/groups/249018441875771/ for
more details.
CHICAGO, IL After our
January meeting was canceled
due to severe weather, Assembly
3 roared back in February with
Magic from M-U-M night. The
evening started with a FaceTime
call from our RVP, Shaun Rivera.
Compeer Rivera shared with us
several gems he found among the
pages of M-U-M from the likes of
Bob Farmer and Chris Mayhew,
prompting several members to
resolve to read through their back
catalog of magazines.
The evenings topic was inspired
by and in tribute to Most Illustri-
ous President Neil Tobin on the
occasion of his appearance on the
February 2014 cover of M-U-M.
Neil himself presented an original
routine based on a Milbourne
Christopher effect he called
Money Spell or Love Spell.
Other presenters included Dave
Lyons and his Bank Night routine,
Nathan Colwell and his Linking
Rings, Gordon Gluffs tribute
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 11
Ben Zabin receiving the
PA#1 David Oliver Award
from President Throwdini
Hippo Lau levitates a dollar
FaceTime with our RVP Shaun
Rivera, teaching effects from
12 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Assembly News
to Larry Jennings, and John
Sturks 31-Day Coin Vanish (to be
continued next meeting).
We were excited to have two
new members sign up to join
the assembly this meeting. We
are fred up and energized, and
looking forward to a big year for
Assembly 3! John Sturk
Assembly 3 meets the fourth
Monday of each month at 7:30pm
at the Pilgrim Congregational
Church, 460 Lake Street, Oak
Park, IL. Contact John Sturk
john@johnsturk.com (773)
6339219 www.magicalchicago.
com for more details.
Our February meeting featured
our annual auction in addition
to two superb mini-lectures on
close-up magic and silk magic.
Prior to beginning the festivi-
ties, Assembly 4 President Brian
Hurlburt conducted a brief
business meeting during which
he announced the sad news of the
recent passing of our friend Aldo
Colombini who was beloved by
so many. This wonderful man and
his special magic will be deeply
missed by all. Our hearts go out
to Rachel; both she and Aldo will
remain in our prayers.
Following the business meeting,
our members were treated to two
excellent mini-lectures. The frst
mini-lecture on silk magic was
presented by George Hample and
PNP Dick Gustafson. George
taught everyone his handling of
the Dye Tube as well as several
fne effects using colored silks
and a rolled up tube of paper. Dick
then demonstrated such classics as
Silk Through Wand, The Cords of
Phantasia, and The Sympathetic
Silks. The lecture was a whirlwind
overview of silk magic presented
by two of the fnest practitioners
of that genre of magic. The second
mini-lecture was a spirited presen-
tation on close-up magic presented
by Eric Johnson and Jeff Carson.
Eric deftly executed an amazing
Four Ace routine as well as a fne
coin routine, both of which he
taught to the membership. Jeff then
did his own variation on Twisted
Sister and demonstrated just
how much fun one can get out of
Mark Youngs Amazing Jumping
Arrow. Both mini-lectures were
full of practical, sure-fre material.
After the mini-lectures, we had
our annual auction for which
S.A.M. National Historian Tom
Ewing ably served as the auction-
eer. Tom, who recently started
his own magic auction online
with David Halverstadt, was the
perfect man for the job. He not
only provided detailed spot-on
information for each lot, but also
infused the entire process with
his own unique sense of humor.
Over the course of the evening,
many great bargains were to be
had including an original unused
Joe Carson Zombie that few away
for only $12.00. A vintage U.F.
Grant Passe Passe Champagne
Bottle effect that was in mint
condition was literally stolen for
$10.00. Also, a solid gold set of
unused walnut shells for the Shell
Game valued at over $100.00 went
for only $30.00. The bargains
to be had were amazing and
almost everyone walked away
with something very special.
Peter Cuddihy
James Wobensmith Assembly
4 meets third Thursday at 7:00
p.m. at the Bustleton Memorial
Post, 810 (American Legion) 9151
Old Newtown Road. Contact ()
Information: www.sam4.org for
more details. for more details.
a large turnout with many guests
for our February meeting, wedged
in between the bouts of winter
storms. Joe Harsanyi led off our
performances with Fourtitude
from Harry Loraynes Close-up
Card Magic. We welcomed back
guest Les Albert, who demon-
strated his face-up classic force
(to fnd the one red-backer in a
blue deck) followed by a two-card
match and a tricky Ace routine.
Craig Feinstein showed us how to
double your money with a paddle
(no tricky paddle moves; it uses
mirrors). He followed with a
close enough card fnd. Jay
Silverman performed a four-card
match he learned from George
Woo. Jeff Eline performed a
stunning and mystifying rising
card from within a silk. We
welcomed Dennis French as a
full member and he showed us a
fne Chop Cup routine that he did
while in the Navy. Guest Jefferson
Rose did one of the card routines
he performs in a Springfeld, VA,
restaurant. Guest Jared Raitzyk
demonstrated Chris Kenners
Rising Card App on an iPhone.
Prez Andy London (sorry Im
late, just came from an animal
rights bull roast) used his lucky
number (13) to fnd all four Aces,
after which all the other cards
turned blank.
Three guests from the Johns
Hopkins University Magic Club
(Mike Bledsoe, Trevor Plumer,
and Ronann Carrero) showed us
some fne card magic. Mike taught
a nice fan fourish shuffe, Trevor
did the Biddle Trick, and Ronann
a nice card reveal. Howard Katz,
who generously provides his
Magic Warehouse as our venue,
performed a just learned
mental card reveal. Ralph Fowler
performed his Haunted Matchbox-
es (which he hand crafts). Dean
Joe Bruno treated us to his second
ever showing of an effect hes
been working on for six months
in which four pocketed Kings turn
one-by-one into the four Aces.
He followed with his excellent
improved version of A Royal
Exchange (originally by Edward
Victor, 1937). Mentalist Oneil
Banks performed a two-deck card
prediction in which one spectator
predicted the card chosen by the
other. Our closing act was Peter
Wood, moving around a punched
hole in a signed card. Huh? Howd
he do that?
As usual, there was a substan-
tial amount of card magic in the
front room before the meeting
started and still more magic in
little groups after the meeting
ended. If youre in the area on
frst Thursdays come join the fun!
Eric Hoffman
The Kellar/Thurston Assembly
6 meets every frst Thursday at
8:00 pm at the Magic Warehouse,
11419 Cronridge Drive suite #10
in Owings Mills, Maryland. 410-
561-0777. Contact Andy London
alondon@comcast.net or www.
baltimoresam.com for more
On February 3, 2014, Nathan
Kranzo gave us a great lecture.
Nathan performed his stand-up
coin magic, Mene Tekel effects,
Tru-Test, and many more! We
really enjoyed Nathans comedy
magic and mind reading lecture
and you will too.
Just ten days later on the 13th
(lucky for us), Morgan Strebler
came to visit our assembly. We
were treated to a performance
by Morgan covering: Spectator
Failure, Sympathetic Reaction,
Thought Reading, Thought
Transmission, Predictions, and
Hypnotism! Jill Schmitt(Silly
Jilly), Larry Lucy, Adam Putman,
Columbus Smith, Greg Lewis, and
Sandy Weis were willing partici-
pants on stage.
Morgan followed this up with a
rare lecture including a variety
of his own effects: Liquid Metal,
Molten, The Closer, and Super
Comic Comic, to name a few.
You too can see what it was like
at Assembly8.com and when
you visit St. Louis next, come on
by and visit us too. We always
welcome fellow magicians.
See you all at the combined IBM/
SAM/FISM convention here in
July! Dan Todd
Assembly 8 meets at Mount Tabor
United Church of Christ, which is
located at 6520 Arsenal in Saint
Louis, Missouri 63139. Contact
Dick Blowers rmblowers@
aol.com (213) 846-8468 http://
Assembly8.com for more details.
DALLAS, TX Vice President
Frank Seltzer was out of town, so
Mark Jensen took the role of acting
vice president. The only visitor of
the night was Kris Slocum, who
was attending for the frst time.
Mark Jensen started the night by
showing a rare Jinx subscription
renewal postcard. The story was
that the customer would rub the
back of the black cat on the card
three times and send it in, without
any message, and somehow the
subscription would be renewed.
Mark discussed the rarity of the
cards, the history behind them,
and some of the theories of how
they worked.
The club then watched a docu-
mentary directed by Shelley
Jenkins on the Long Beach
Mystics (thanks go out to Shelley
for giving us permission to screen
the flm). The Mystics were
perhaps one of the most success-
ful young magician clubs in magic
history. Many of the members of
the Mystics went on to become
some of the most infuential per-
formers in magic today. The
magicians and jugglers inter-
viewed thought that their time in
the club was invaluable. Despite
the unparalleled success of the
Mystics, many of the members felt
that it is highly unlikely in todays
environment that a similar club
would ever be successful.
But that didnt stop the DMC
from having a discussion on how
we as a club could get the Young
Magicians Club both revitalized
The Incomparable George
Hample (left) and PNP Dick
Gustafson (right) Demonstrat-
ing Silk Through Wand
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 13
Assembly News
and fourishing. Brainstorming
included branding, electronic
media including YouTube and
Skype, and encouraging the kids
by setting discrete performance
goals (such as a yearly show).
After the discussion and a break,
Derrell Allen stepped up to
perform. Derrel was assisted by
audience member Geneva, who
was asked to provide her date of
birth. Derrel then produced a small
fortune teller calendar book, and
turned to her birthday. The book
described her personality and also
gave the name of a playing card,
the King of Clubs. Interestingly,
when Geneva was asked to cut a
deck of cards, she randomly cut
to you guessed it the King of
Next up was Mike Williams.
Mike has been working on his
pickpocketing skills, and wanted
to demonstrate on visitor Kris. He
asked Kris to place a deck of cards
in his pocket, and then had the
audience randomly select a card.
Mike managed to secretly remove
the deck, reverse the selected card,
and replace it in Kriss pocket
without anyone observing.
The Dallas Magic Club, Assembly
13, meets the third Tuesday of the
month at 7:00 PM at Theatre 166,
Crosspointe Community Center
in Carrollton, Texas. Contact
Reade Quinton reade.quinton@
gmail.com (972) 4000195 www.
dallasmagic.org for more details.
been a cold and snowy winter in
Massachusetts. Pipes broke in the
Magic Barn, causing Assembly
16 to move its meeting to Peters
Raceway, a magical place of slot
car racetracks and on the night of
our January/February meetings a
wonderful place to meet.
During the January/February
meeting we had three terrifc
lectures. The frst lecture was in
conjunction with a visit from visit
from President Dal Sanders. Dal
showed us many wonderful chil-
drens effects suitable for holiday
school performances as well adult
functions. Dal was great.
Our next lecturer was a very
pleasant surprise. Gregory Wilson
dropped in on a snowy Sunday
evening. The word was passed
to the magic community, but the
threat of snow kept many away.
Those of us who braved the
elements were rewarded with great
conversation and terrifc magic.
The session lasted till midnight
followed by a long snowy drive.
Well worth it.
The following evening was the
long awaited lecture by Kainoa
Harbottle this lecture had been
cancelled because of snow. Unfor-
tunately Kainoa did not get to visit
the barn because the plumbing
was not repaired. Kainoa has a
very engaging personality and
extraordinary skill. He showed
us his Pendulum Hanging Coins,
Flying Wombat, Deja Flew,
Daleys Conformed Twins,
Trifecta, and Like Mike. A fast
paced high octane entertaining
lecture. Fantastic!!
Well the snow still falls and
one more winter lecture to look
forward to. For those in the
area, come visit Assembly 16.
Joe Berman
Assembly 16 meets on the frst
Monday of the month at the Magic
Barn in Ashland, MA at 7:00
PM Contact Dennis Pimenta,
pimentad1@aol.com (508)
883-3575 sam16.com for more
National President Dal Sanders
arrived from sunny Dallas, TX, to
snowy Florence, MA, to present
P.J. Pinsonnault with a well
deserved Presidential Citation.
Congrats PJ! We appreciate all
you do. Afterwards, Dal installed
our new offcers: President,
Rich Gilbert; V. President, Len
Nadeau; Secretary, Karen Gibson;
Treasure, P.J. Pinsonnault; and
Sergeant at Arms, Ed Kazar.
Special guests, Past National
President Rich Dooley, MI, Dan
Sclare of Assembly 21, and Jonas
Cain of Assembly 104 helped us
celebrate. Peter Lenis did some
walk-around magic, while Rich
Gilbert got the food set up. Thanks
guys. You did a fantastic job,
as well as all the members who
brought their favorite dishes.
Next up was a silent auction and
raffe. Just about everyone went
home with some new magic. Dean
Tom Gentile emceed the event and
introduced Dave Dimock, who
dressed up as a professor giving us
a lesson in number magic. Jonas
Cain did an impromptu comical
card routine, while a new student
of magic, Dylan Lasanti, wowed
us with his comical version of
the Professors Nightmare. Our
own Jeff Pyzocha and his lovely
assistant Lucy Godet closed the
evening with a beautiful version
of Snow Storm in China.
Our monthly meeting had Bob
Caroll making us check our restau-
rant bill totals. Somehow he had
the right amount $39.12. PJ did his
version of a Dave Copperfeld Ace
production. Ed Kazar used color-
changing silks in three bags for a
prediction. Tom Gentile fxed his
wifes Valentine necklace using
Scott Corels Whimsical Wonder
Bag. Latest member Jonathan
Mauterer showed us his card skills
as well as Joe Bedar working with
a rainbow deck. Dylan also did
his spin on the Cups and Balls.
Late night lots of fun as always.
Karen Gibson
Dr. I.R. Calkins Assembly 17
meets the frst Friday of every
month at 7 pm at Rich Pinsonaults
RP Magic Shop: 69 East Street;
Ludlow, MA Contact Rich Gilbert
rgilbertmagic@yahoo.com (413)
for more details.
HOUSTON, TX Houstons
February meeting was flled with
magic and fun. Our teach-in
session was on packet tricks,
but this month, we didnt teach
them, we performed them. A
contest was held for the top
three packet trick performances.
Bob Smith was frst, and had guest
Kim Lampkin and Marti Stein
help out as Michael Closes Clones
was performed. This culture
media shock performance was
a wild ride with Bob at the helm,
and a good one.
Randy Stulken had Scott Wells
select a city from a series of
cards and was able to discern
which city Scott had chosen. Dick
Olson showed us how easy it
was to read marked cards, as the
backs and then faces of a series
of playing cards changed in
front of our eyes. Jamie Salinas
held a Tarot card reading session
with guest Kim Lampkin that
had an unexpected ending that
became the talk of the evening.
Scott Wells involved a miniature
Mona Lisa painting to reveal a card
randomly chosen by a spectator.
Dustin Grey was able to properly
discern the two cards removed
from packets held by Shane Wilson
and Scott Wells. Shane Wilsons
very nice Oil and Water routine
was as smooth as ever. The winner
was Bob Smith and his crazy pre-
sentation. Scott Wells and Shane
Wilson took second and third. The
donated prizes were great as well
as the magic.
Scott Wells began our perfor-
mances as Miles Root read a card
prediction written on a card box
fap. After Miless selection was
seen not to match, the written pre-
diction did, miraculously. Jamie
Salinas correctly discerned guest
Adrians car color, which he had
not even driven to the meeting.
JoHan McElroy had Marti Stein
freely select a card from a pack.
After much interaction, John
pulled out a silk with the card
printed in its center. David Hinken
penetrated the pips of a card
through a card America held in
her hands.
Jeff Lanes had a literal blockbust-
er start, a mystical card predic-
tion middle, and a literal smoking
fnish to his nice presentation.
Caesar Trujillos attempt to fnd
guest Kim Lampkins chosen card
resorted to magic as he changed
the mistaken card for Kims
chosen card, instantaneously and
in full view of everyone. Bob
Smith showed that Miles Roots
favorite miniature card cereal box
selection was the only choice that
had a blue back, all others being
red backed. Miles Root
Assembly 19 meets the frst
Monday of every month at
the International Alliance of
Theatrical State Employees
Local 51 Meeting Hall, 3030
North Freeway, Houston, TX. A
teaching lecture begins at 7:30
pm with the meeting beginning
at 8:00 pm. Contact Miles Root
milesroot@aol.com (281) 3347508
houstonmagic.com for more
month a short meeting. The
theme was to do a trick or routine
using a string, rope, or cord. Jason
Abate started off with a good ring-
on-string routine. As a bonus he
treated us to a card trick: A blue-
backed deck came out of a red card
box. A selected card changed to a
red back, and then the entire deck
changed to red backs.
Jason Abate starts his routine
Mike Williams proves his
pickpocket skills
14 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Assembly News
Soll Levine bought a lot of fower
magic recently and he showed us
some of his acquisitions. One of
his articulating fowers found a
selected card. He demonstrated a
blooming fower, and a drooping
one, and one that could change
color under a hanky. Lastly, he
produced a bouquet from a temple
screen. Jon Cap used a velvet
cord and a borrowed wedding
ring to do a ring/string routine,
but an entirely different one from
Jasons. It was Ring Leader by
Greg Wilson. Dana T. Ring
Assembly 21 meets at Angelos
on Main, 289 South Main Street,
West Hartford Connecticut
meets on second Mondays except
December Contact Dana T.
Ring dana@danaring.com (860)
523-9888 for more details.
Attendees of the February 17th
meeting of Assembly 22 were
saddened to learn of the very
recent and sudden passing of Aldo
Colombini, a one-time Southern
California resident and a periodic
lecturer for our assembly. A short
business meeting included the
second reading and election into
membership of Brian Regalbuto.
Congratulations, Brian. The
program for the evening was the
annual close-up contest to vie for
a coveted trophy won in years past
by such as Dai Vernon and Albert
Goshman. Producing the program
were last years dual winners, Tom
Meseroll and Henry Springer.
Fourteen members participated in
the show and contest.
Opening the show was Michael
Mezmer with a unique and
original storytelling presentation.
Michael typically sets a mood and
performs effects with a hint of the
supernatural. Jim Militello next
presented a nice set of card effects.
Howard Hamburg, a Los Angeles
magician with a preeminent repu-
tation as a card worker around
the Magic Castle, performed
next. Howard did not disappoint.
Act four was Bob Altman doing
some four Ace card effects and a
six quarter Coins Across routine.
Bill Perron was next up using his
magic ray gun to vanish a deck of
cards while leaving a selected and
signed card that had been buried
in the deck. Our sixth performer
was Matt Savin, who made a
valiant attempt to fnd a selected
card from a deck placed in a Telsa
Energy Bag. Our fnal act before
intermission was Mike Perovich.
Mike performed a selection of
unique magic, as always, that
included a coin box described by
Professor Hoffmann. The beauti-
fully made prop was constructed
by Mike in his woodshop.
John Engman opened the second
half of the show with Sympa-
thetic Match Boxes, a Chop Cup
routine and John Fedkos Ultimate
Ace Routine. Harrison Lampert
was next with several nice card
effects. Our next performer was
Bob Bolivar, a frequent Magic
Castle performer, who presented
several nice card effects and a
coin manipulation routine. New
member Brian Regalbuto did a
nice job performing a set of card
effects. Hugo Avila followed, also
doing some very nice card effects
in preparation for his Magic Castle
audition. The thirteenth performer
was David Yee doing an impres-
sive act with sponge balls, the
Gypsy Thread, and an Ambitious
Card routine. Closing the show
was Bill Yamane who amazed
everyone with his featured effect,
Hitchcock, a Joshua Jay card
trick with some real surprises.
Steven L. Jennings
Southern California Assembly
22 meets the third Monday each
month at 8:00 PM, St. Thomas
More Parish Hall, 2510 South
Fremont Avenue, Alhambra,
California Contact Ed Thomas
magicmred@earthlink.net (213)
382-8504 for more details.
month the regularly scheduled
meeting was replaced by our
annual S.A.M./I.B.M. Magic
Winter Spectacular. Producer
compeer Barry Rice once again
put together an outstanding show.
Jamahl Keyes performed a so-
phisticated stage magic set timed
perfectly to music. Taylor Martin
performed several of his fan
favorite pieces as his 18th century
alter ego, Rodney the Younger.
Finally, the show was capped
off by Ryan Siebert, performing
some of his wonderful sleight-
of-hand magical miracles.
Those of us who braved the
cold wintery elements had a
wonderful time enjoying the
warmth of some hot magic.
Steven A. Spence
Assembly 31 meets the frst
Monday of each month at
7:00 p.m. at Irvington United
Methodist Church, 30 Audubon
Rd., on the east side of the City
unless otherwise announced. If
the frst Monday conficts with
a holiday weekend, we postpone
the meeting one week. Contact
Taylor Martin kazoo23@aol.com
(317) 432-1320 sam31.com for
more details.
Lynchburg, VA There was a
good turnout at our Assemblys
February meeting; very good for
the small Assembly that we are.
President Patrick Hubble called
the meeting to order and Associate
Member Carl Hoegerl, visiting
for the frst time, was introduced
to members. There was a discus-
sion about an assembly objective
of performing public shows in the
coming year. Then it was on to the
There wasnt the usual monthly
theme this time, but an open forum
during which members shared
their own choice of magic. Bob
Wallin, in remembrance of Aldo
Colombini, performed Never Say
Dice, an effect with three cards
changing according to three dice
and a kicker ending by producing
a royal fush. Bob also demonstrat-
ed Out of There, an effect by Gary
John Jennings shared Mental
Rescue a Vosburgh Lyons card
effect from the book My Best by
J. G. Thompson. Glen Rae, our
assemblys resident mentalist ex-
traordinaire, determined the name
of a thought-of movie from
numerous titles listed on cards set
out before a spectator.
Mike Kinnaird performed with
a borrowed rubber band and
demonstrated an invisible force
by showing a ring moving up the
band in defance of gravity. Our
young member, Trevor Albright,
performed next and was able to
determine three selected cards
through one quick dealing-down
of the deck. The entertainment for
the evening fnished as Bob Staton
presented a cleverly done coin
trick with a quarter and a penny.
As a fnal note, thanks Carl for
fnding us and we look forward
to seeing you again at future
meetings. This is a reminder that
Assembly 32 welcomes all persons
interested in magical entertain-
ment and encourages compeers to
contact us if there are questions
or if directions are needed.
John Jennings
Assembly 32 meets most months
on the third Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
at Tharp Funeral Home, 220
Breezewood Drive, Lynchburg,
VA. Contact John Jennings
investigatefre@aol.com (434)
851-6240 for more details.
evening began with a jolly bit of
good news (sorry, I just fnished
watching an episode of The
Avengers.) One of our members
will be appearing at the Magic
Castle in the coming weeks. We
are certainly all waiting to hear
what that was like, and any other
magical news that he may have for
Our speaker tonight was Mr.
David Kaye, otherwise known
as Silly Billy. For those who may
think that entertaining children
can be just an afterthought, we
learned that quite a bit of thought
actually goes into enthralling the
wee ones.
He lectured on the different
types of routines there are for
children, then went on to explain
what that all entails. With video
of him with an actual pint-sized
audience, we could see just how
this information can play out for
real. A running gag, that for adults
can be repetitious, becomes even
funnier for children.
He explained that action should
occur quite frequently to hold
their attention. He broke down
the number of different elements
that can go into a routine, which
are a lot more than you think.
Knowledge is power, and with
that reasoning, empowering the
kids, whether they are actual as-
sistants on stage, or just sitting in
the audience, can make a world
of difference in how they enjoy
the show. They turn from being
merely spectators to participants.
Mr. Kaye went on to explain a
few different tricks, noting that
kids magic can sometimes be a
bit proppy. One effect, titled
Sneaker Juice, would most likely
be scoffed at by the Downton
Abbey crowd, but it was funny
nonetheless. Sometimes you
just gotta slip on the prover-
bial banana peel! Thank you Mr.
Kaye for a defnitely fun evening.
Darryl Bielski
Assembly 35 meetings are held
at the Milanese Restaurant in
Poughkeepsie, NY. Typically,
meetings are held every 2nd
Tuesday of each month. Contact
Joel Zaritsky jizdds@optonline.
net (845) 546-1559 www.sam35.
com for more details.
High Magicians Society decided
to do something new for the month
of February this year. President
Matt Brandt decided on Plastic
Night, because most magicians
start out with these inexpensive
magic tricks. So to celebrate
these humble beginnings, all club
members were asked to bring
along their favorite piece of plastic
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 15
Assembly News
magic to perform. It gave a great
chance for enthusiasts to try their
hand at performing in front of the
Treasurer Dave Elstun said it
reminded him of his favorite trick
from years past that was tied into
the television program from the
1960s, My Favorite Martian.
Uncle Martins spaceship would
foat magically up and down on
a string and then stop on your
command. An act that was mes-
merizing and memorable for a
child no doubt. Professional Mark
Strivings had no trouble in mes-
merizing young child Preston
Housely with his favorite plastic
magic, the Snapper, that bullet-
shaped piece of plastic with the
rubber bands that every beginner
tends to avoid. It was actually sen-
sational when performed well.
The mesmerizing continued
as Gene Gordon took the lads
hard earned quarter and made it
disappear, only to have it reappear
in a box tied up with rubber bands
and string in a bag set to the side of
the room. His own father, Rodney
Housely, had the boy rolling in
the isles with a comedy rendition
of Pen through Frame. Between
the three of them they had young
Preston delighted and giggling all
for $2.99. It had been many years
for club member Glenn Prouix to
try out his Shang-hi tube and he
had a couple technical diffculties
with it. But when it was up and
running it was a plastic miracle to
say the least.
Professional comedy magician
and speaker Brad Montgomery
provided a little coin and plastic
combination while club members
Marty Jewell, John Luong, and
Dale Clyncke had a wonderful
evening of laughter not to mention
supplying their own plastic along
the way. We saw Cups and Balls
done with little plastic fower pots
and pom-poms, not to mention
a killer routine of one snazzy
Hot Rod. The evening was best
summed up by television science
magic guru Steve Spangler who
said as he pulled a bowl of plastic
thumbs from an apparent paper
bag, I feel like this is a bad
Zeezos dream. Connie Elstun
Assembly meets the second
Thursday of the Month at
Riverpointe Senior Center in
Littleton Colorado. Contact
Secretary Connie Elstun connie@
comedymagicbunny.com (303)
9334118 www.milehighmagicians.
com for more details.
members of Assembly 47 would
like to give their sincere condo-
lences to Rachel Colombini for the
sudden loss of Aldo. We made a
club donation and hope other clubs
follow suit.)
After a brief discussion of
upcoming lectures and our
close-up contest at the April
meeting, we moved on to magic!
The theme was to pull something
out of your junk drawer and do it.
What a cross section of magic! Jeff
Blood performed a fne trick using
a 52-on-1 card as a prediction and
the vanishing deck, so popular
several years ago. Why was that
in the junk drawer? Professor
Rem used what appeared to be
gummy bear planes to show how
one and then several became lost
in the Bermuda Triangle. Joel
Greenwich, our newest member,
had a card selected and put back
in a topsy-turvy shuffed deck. A
picture was taken of a spectator
holding it (with members in the
shot, too) and it was found that
only the selection was right side
up. A triumphantly cheeky trick
with a camera phone!
Don Aman had several members
shuffe a deck and placed a pre-
diction on top of it. The last
member who shuffed opened the
prediction and it matched the top
card of the deck. Vern Massey,
soon to be our newest member,
performed the Crazy Cube from
S.S. Adams fame. President JP
Lacey performed Tenyos Whats
Next with a very interesting patter
theme, never really mentioning the
dice aspect of it. Sante DiCarlo did
a tribute to Aldo Colombini using
jumbo cards with Aldos famous
Pick Me, Pick Me Not. Check this
out on the Internet! Finally, Mike
Ihrig performed a Japanese Tenyo
trick, Tenyo Mahono (Magic)
Scratch Card. I forgot how to do
it and was lucky to fnish it! Hope
the weather favors your magic.
Spring will be here soon! Mike
Assembly 47 meets the third
Tuesday September thru May
at 7:00 PM in the St Josephs
School, 39 Gebhardt Rd, Penfeld,
NY 14526. Contact Mike Ihrig
ihrigmagic@aol.com (585)
377-1566 www.sam47.com for
more details.
On Wednesday, February 12, 2014,
Assembly 49 held its monthly
meeting. The theme was Any
Trick. After a moment of silence
for the passing of Aldo Colombini,
the meeting continued.
Selected cards were selected on
a couple of occasions and, sur-
prisingly, they were found. Henry
Epstein found his spectators card
by fring a gun at the pack being
held by the spectator and the
chosen card had a bullet hole
in it. Sid Marcus found a chosen
card in a picture frame previously
shown with nothing in it.
Al Callus did a card effect
wherein ten cards counted out by
a spectator somehow wound up as
nine; some of the cards were then
tossed aside and there were still
nine cards when the remainder
was counted. Billy Byron told a
story using cards. He called it The
Jack Brothers. Four Jacks vanish
from a jail cell which looked
suspiciously like a plastic card box
and reappeared one in each of four
piles of cards, which also turn out
to be not only the four suits but
they were in numerical order.
Marvin Freed performed a Three
Card Monte effect that started out
as two red Aces and one black Ace
and ended up vice-versa.
Marvin Putterman predicted
six numbers written on previ-
ously selected cards only using
one or two numbers that were
on the reverse side of the cards.
Mark Horowitz demonstrated the
Coloring Book effect, which was
offered as a prize in our raffe.
Kevin Chen tore a borrowed
bill up and then restored it. Phil
Labush turned fve one-dollar
bills into different denominations
using real bills. Vinnie Rosenblu-
th performed the classic Misers
Dream and Coins Across. Billy
Assembly 49 meets on the
second Wednesday of each
month at the Northwest Focal
Point Senior Center, 6009 NW
10th. Street, Margate, FL. 33061
Contact Billy Byron billybyron@
comcast.net (954) 522-1466 www.
for more details.
February 6, 2014, Brother John
Hamman Assembly 52 held its
monthly meeting at LaMad-
eleine Restaurant. President Don
Moravits welcomed everyone and
also thanked everyone for braving
the elements and coming out on
such a cold night. In spite of the
weather, we had ffteen in atten-
dance, including members and
Tonights theme was Cast a
Shadow or Valentines Day.
Starting off the performances was
Don Moravits, who performed a
card effect by Baskin Jones called
Unbelievable. Ray Adams, with
the help from his wife, Barbara,
did a Scotch and Soda routine.
Joe Libby had James Dusek
assist him with a book test, and
San Manfredo performed a nice
Coin Penetration through a Brass
Slug. Dwayne Stanton performed
Pocket Change, and Michael
Tallon fooled us with the ubiqui-
tous Four King Trick. Ed Solomon
told us a story about Cyrus Single-
tree, and Doug Gorman closed
with Triumph.
Paul Mims delighted us all with a
marvelous ffteen-minute close-up
show. He began with the passage
of silver, a Coins Across routine
employing the infamous Cross
of India. He then produced four
Aces ala John Scarne, and then
used those Aces in his rendition
of Hofzinsers Aces. Next was a
smooth and very deceptive per-
formance of David Williamsons
Ring and Rope Routine. He closed
with a wonderful Cups and Balls
routine, strongly infuenced by the
work of Dai Vernon. Thanks, Paul,
for a truly professional and very
entertaining show.
Door Prize winners were Ray
Adams, Joe Libby, and Dwayne
Stanton. Ray won Aldo Colom-
binis CD Rope In, Joe won a
delicious box of Pecan Caramel
Clusters, and Dwayne won Throw
Brother John Hamman Assembly
52 meets at 7:30 p.m. on the frst
Thursday of the month at La
Madeleine Restaurant, located at
722 N.W. Loop 410. The restaurant
is inside Loop 410 on the access
road between Blanco Rd. and
San Pedro. For more information,
contact douggorman@att.net.
PORTLAND, OR Februarys
meeting of Assembly 59 featured
Bob (Paddlemove) Eaton, The
Man With Over 7,000 Perfor-
mances, displaying his collection
of hand-crafted paddles and crafty
hand paddle moves. Jay Freder-
icks next taught a mentalism effect
based on the dual-reality principle.
Following the teach-in a brief
(very brief) business meeting took
place. As composed and organized
as ever, VP Brian Adams stood in
for President Mel Anderson who
Mark Strivings mesmerizing
young Preston Housely
16 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Assembly News
was recuperating from shoulder
Showtime featured Randy
Stumman doing a coin effect,
Glen Bledsoe doing a mind-read-
ing effect, and Tom Waldrop per-
forming an effect using magical
We had fve visitors, who I
believe we thoroughly entertained
if not completely baffed. In all
other ways a splendid and relaxing
time was had by all. A good way
to spend a rainy February evening.
Glen L. Bledsoe
Assembly 59 meets on the fourth
Wednesday of each month except
Jul/Aug/Dec at The Beaverton
Elks, 3500 SW 104th, Beaverton,
OR 97005. Contact Glen L.
Bledsoe glenbledsoe@mac.
com (503) 967-9151 http://www.
sam59portland.org/ for more
Twenty three members and guests
attended our February meeting.
After the business portion was
concluded Pres. Roy Allen Fischer
and Past Pres. Rick Del Vecchio
presented the I.B.M. Ring 45
Magician of the Year award to
Mio Rodriguez for his outstanding
magical career. Emcee Ronsted
brought Mio back to the stage to
open the evenings entertainment.
Mio invited Daisi Hernandez to
think of a card and then proceeded
to pluck it from his pocket. He
followed with a breathtaking
rendition of ambitious signed card.
Mio continued with Coins Across,
Matrix, and concluded by fnding
Daisis signed card (10H) inside a
bowl of candy.
Our ring mentor Fantasio had
guest Alex pick a card (AH)
and lose back into the deck. He
produced a card (8H) from thin air
and asked Alex to identify it. When
that failed Fantasio snapped the
card and the pips fell off revealing
it to be the original card (AH).
Mentalist Richard Mark had two
volunteers, Oswaldo and Rubin,
each take an unknown quantity
of word/symbol cards and shuffe
them. When asked to secretly
withdraw one card Richard was
able to predict the word love
and the circle symbol. Richard
repeated the effect with different
cards chosen and concluded by
divining the number of cards each
volunteer held.
Our newest junior member
Daniel Espinosa delighted us by
having guest Alex pick a card (3S)
and return it to the deck. Daniel
held a fame under a blank piece
of paper upon which the name of
the card slowly appeared. Another
card (7C) was picked and lost
in the deck. Daniel dropped the
deck into a paper bag and thrust
a knife through the bag capturing
the chosen card on the blade. He
concluded by placing a dime and
a penny into Alexs hand. When
the hand reopened only the penny
remained and the dime was found
inside Mio Rodriguezs pocket.
Mio Rodriguez returned for an
encore by having Dick Tansey
cut the deck several times and
covering the resulting top card
with his hand. Mio was able to
divine that Dick had selected the
(6D). Mio then fnished with an
outstanding book test with the
help of Daniel Espinosa. The
show was closed by Billy Byron
with his hilarious rendition of
ladys nite out and fnishing with
three cups of plastic beads that
mixed together and then magically
separated. Ron Olmsted
Assembly 76 meets the frst
Thursday each month 7:30
PM at the South Miami Elks
Lodge, 6304 SW 78th Str., South
Miami, FL Contact Ron Olmsted
ronsted@aol.com (305) 235-2272
for more details.
Despite the cold weather and the
snow, the meeting went on this
month with a great turnout for
our lecture by Margaret Steele.
Our esteemed member and RVP
Eric DeCamps bestowed to Ms.
Steele an Award of Excellence for
her contributions she has given in
the feld of magic for the S.A.M.
Let me start this by saying we
were very pleased to have this
wondrous visit from Margaret
Steele with her discussion on the
impact that the late, great Adelaide
Herrmann and her life, which
had a great and positive impact
on future magicians both male
and female. After many lecturers
throughout the years, it was re-
freshing to have Ms. Steele give
an amazing lecture flled with
insights, rare photos, and later
some of her work on video that, on
a whole, was right up there with
the level of a university seminar!
One of the little known facts about
Ms. Herrmann: she even knew
the Houdinis. Of course Margaret
fnished her time with two of
her favorite pieces: Her Linking
Rings Act and her tribute to Tony
Slydini: The Paper Balls and Box.
For more information on Adelaide
Herrmann (if you dont own a
time machine), is to have Margaret
herself lecture for your club or
order her wonderful book on the
late Adelaide Herrmanns life.
Before closing, The Long Island
Mystics are very saddened by the
loss of one of our S.A.M. brothers,
Aldo Colombini. We had him and
Rachael Wild Colombini here
to give their Second Farewell
lecture a few short months ago
and we had an amazing time. One
moment out of that happy time
was when Aldo said, Everyone
is so sad about John Calvert
passing away. My God, he was a
102! He lived a very full life. We
all laughed at his insight on what
it was to live and to have a good
life. Although much shorter than
any of us wanted, Aldo did live
an amazing and happy life. RIP,
Aldo. Lou Johnson
Long Island Mystics Assembly
77 meets at 7:30PM on the
second Monday of the month
at The Community United
Methodist Church. Contact Lou
Johnson loucircus@aol.com (516)
978-7735 www.limystics.org for
more details.
Our topic this month was Rope
Magic! Marvin Mathena started
us off with a gospel rope trick.
Marvin showed us four ropes,
yellow, red, black, and white, ex-
plaining with the song: Jesus
loves the little children, All the
children of the world; Red, yellow,
black and white, They are precious
in His sight. Then he went on to
add that sometimes people may
think that one color may be more
loved than the other, which would
not be true, Marvin then tied all
of the ropes together, explaining
God made them all the same, as
he wrapped the ropes around his
hand and unwrapped them to show
them all as one!
Bill Brang performed Patriotic
Ropes, with red, white, and blue
ropes joining together as one.
Then Bill did the Linking Ropes,
three ropes tied each in a circle,
linking them together and taking
them apart! Next up was Jim
Placido with his great rope routine;
I never get tired of this one! Jim
has one long rope, asking how
many ends are on it, then shows
its one circular rope with no ends,
pulls out a short rope, to make a
long rope with two ends, then
three ends, then four. Showing
two ropes of equal length, Jim
pulls one end to make it back into
a single long rope!
Tony Saputo had a rope with four
knots on it, wrapped it around his
hand, when he unwrapped it the
knots were gone! We had a guest
with us, Don, didnt catch his last
name, who also brought a Ring on
a Rope trick, where he had a tied
rope and put a solid metal ring
on, then untied the rope, having
a short rope, to show the ring on
a continuous rope. Then Bill and
Karl Rabe with a comedy rope act
of a cut and restored rope trick.
Jim Folkl did another cut and
restored, showing a little different
way, where he pulls the middle of
the rope up with his scissors. Jim
Ruth fnished up with a Professors
Nightmare, ending with one long
rope! This was a very productive
meeting; Ill just tie it up here!
Randy A. Smith
Hank Moorehouse Assembly 88
meets second Wednesday at 7PM,
Faith Lutheran Church, 1255 East
Forest Ave, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Contact Randy A. Smith randy.
remarkable@gmail.com (313)
562-3875 www.aamagic.org for
more details.
Jimmy Yoshida Aloha Assembly
89 held its annual offcer induction
dinner meeting on January 8. Off-
ciating the ceremonial changeover
and installation of offcers was
Fred Professor Fun Ball, who
has been doing that job for more
years than anyone can remember.
Outgoing President Glen Bailey
welcomed new President Michael
Kekoa Erickson. Other offcers
remained in their positions: V.P.
Harvey Ouchi, Treasurer James
Lee, Secretary Mike Lynch, and
Sgt-at Arms Robert Bobs Pizza
Festa. Mahalo, Glen, for your
dedicated service as President
to the assembly and magic
Margaret Steele and
Eric DeCamps
(photo credit Mike Maione)
Bill Brang performing
Linking Ropes
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 17
Assembly News
community. President Kekoa
works with John Hirokawa at
The Magic of Polynesia; we are
excited about the year ahead that
he planned for us.
In 2013, we were fortunate to
have lectures by Mark Mason,
Kozmo, Losander, Jay Scott Berry,
and David Ginn, who has been to
Hawaii many times and joined us
once again in January.
At our installation dinner show,
performers made the evening in-
teresting. Yona Chock, magician
and storyteller, spun a Chinese
fairy tale about a giant pearl and
illustrated it with a large foating
pearl a la Zombie Ball. James
Lee performed his tried and true
Linking Colored Ropes and Color
Changing Discs. Veteran profes-
sional magician, writer, creator,
and reviewer for M-U-M, Curtis
Kam, introduced a new type of
Chinese Sticks constructed from
two Kendama toys (the latest craze
to hit Hawaii). Harvey Ouchi
performed a Card to Pocket effect
climaxed by a deck to pocket
Southwest Region VP Ron
Ishimaru performed an effect and
reading with Tarot Cards based on
Tony Chriss The Path Taken and
cold reading. Kekoa performed a
unique and entertaining fve-min-
ute rope routine with infuences
from Tabary and Richard Sanders.
He then concluded his perfor-
mance with an elegant take on
the vanishing Coke bottle routine
with a surprise appearance of a
full glass of wine at the end, infu-
enced by Fielding West. In short,
a good time was had by all and no
one went home hungry.
The Hawaii group meets on the
frst Wednesday of every month.
Please visit us if you are in town.
Mike Lynch
Assembly 89 meets 1st Wednesday
of each month 7PM at Kalihi-
Palama Library.
The February, 2014 meeting was
held in the Cheater
Floor at Rod Chows
new offce in Vancouver
Chinatown. Lon
Mandrake remarked
that a previous meeting
at Rods was in his
Worlds Narrowest
Building and this time
it was in his Shortest
Congratulations to
this years Assembly
95 award recipients:
Dennis Hewson Carl
Hemeon Award of
Excellence, and Tony
Chris Kazoleas Mandrake
Trophy for Outstanding Show-
manship. Thank you to Tony for
providing, setting up, and running
all his professional staging,
sound and lights for the fabulous
Assembly 95 Magic Dinner Live
2014, emceed by Shawn Farquhar
and starring the Victoria Magic
Circle: Murray Hatfeld (emcee),
Eric Bedard, Dave Atwood,
Shane King, and Chris Yuill, and
for the standing ovation Victoria
exchange show starring the
S.A.M. #95 All Stars of Magic:
Ray Roch (emcee), Rod Chow,
Lon Mandrake, Henry Tom, Steve
Dickson and Tony Chris.
Rod awarded S.A.M. insignia
gifts of marked decks, cleaning
cloths, and rabbit stress relievers
to the top ticket sellers: Rod Chow,
Lon Mandrake, Ray Roch, Steve
Dickson, and Henry Tom. Lon
also received a Wolfs Magic trick
for winning the special one week
sales campaign.
After enjoying some delicious
Chinatown food, the evening
of travel-themed magic began.
Ray Roch started off by sharing
some travel knowledge on the
proper use of a mic stand with
his demonstration of Professors
Nightmare. Steve Dickson showed
his technique for counting the
ropes, and then fnished with a
travel joke. Henry Tom said that
he was just back from Hawaii, and
then showed the travelling elastic
bands. Rod instantly changed
US to Canadian currency and
likewise with foreign currency.
Jens Henriksen performed what
he called a sawing a woman in
half by using a torn and restored
newspaper with the newspaper
as the cabinet and the silk as
woman. Juan Garcia had Ray
Roch volunteer his fnger to insert
in Juans fnger chopper, and Juan
said if it does not work, Rays
piece of fnger would travel to
the foor. Anthony Young showed
travelling elastic bands on his
fngers, and a foating US dollar
bill. Lon received laughter for
his senior memory joke. Tony
showed a stabbed card trick that he
learned while traveling to Ontario.
Rod Chow
The Carl Hemeon Assembly No.
95 meets the frst Tuesday of
each month at members homes.
Contact Rod Chow rod@rodchow.
com (604) 669-7777 www.sam95.
com for more details.
The Wednesday, February 5th,
meeting of Assembly 104 was
destined for something. Perhaps it
wasnt greatness or lengthiness in
the annals of our sometimes time-
consuming indulgences. No, not
even tedium for those non-paste-
board lovers who fdget through
card lectures. This one was
destined for whiteout, El Blanco
snow. With New England weather
continuing to deliver snowstorms
enough to freeze us
into a permanent
picture postcard, our
February meeting
had to be cancelled.
We credit President
Bill Jensen for the
prudent decision to
opt for safety and
keep us all snug in
our beds. It was yet
another night when
even the snowmen
turned blue.
While we continue
to swing our shovels
and an unrelenting
winter rolls on, there
remains good news on the magical
front. With our planned dinner
meeting at the Prince House
being rescheduled and the March
5 meeting now slated for pot luck
feasting, Cambridge luminary
Steve Kradolfer has stepped up
to the party plate. Steve, formerly
booked for the Meeting that
Wasnt, has generously resched-
uled to perform at our March
meeting. Further good news
comes from President Bill Jensen,
recently sidelined by an ice fall. He
plans to attend in March as does
104s beloved teacher, Len Lazar,
himself nursing health issues.
Although not able to gather
together on February 5, Assembly
104 compeers remained magically
active; a few kept gigs going
despite the winter blasts. Vice
President Ed Gardner, Sergeant-
at-Arms J Hubbard, and Royal
Sorrell all managed to make the
snowy journey to Rochester, New
York, to participate in Twist and
Shouts annual balloon extrava-
ganza. Among the wonders J and
Eddie reported were the balloon
fashion show and the ffty-
thousand balloon Jack and the
Beanstalk, constructed by sev-
enty-fve twisters. Eddie also con-
tributed that more snow fell during
his seemingly longer return drive.
It was a frustration brightened
only by the sight of dogs alongside
the streets of Connecticut being
chipped off hydrants.
Jim Loscutoff, our most daring
compeer, managed to turn his
back altogether on our wintry
misery, fying with wife Debbie
to South America. Freed of bulky
parka and mittens, with pockets
stuffed with extra thumbs, Jim
performed for market keepers
and school children in Peru and
Ecuador. He said the locals truly
enjoyed his color changing cards,
vanishing salt, and rubber band
magic. Jim also reported spotting
a Magic Tree House on the west
side of the Amazon. Or was it just
the water? Bob Forrest
Assembly 104 meets the frst
Wednesday of each month,
September-June, 7 p.m., at the
First Baptist Church of Salem,
292 Lafayette Street, Salem,
Massachusetts. Contact Bob
Forrest captainalbrightsq1@
comcast.net (339) 227-0797 www.
sam104.com for more details.
Somerset assembly has had
nice turn outs the past couple of
months, which is very exciting.
In January, our theme for both
the SYM and SAM groups was
new magic. There was a lot of
new magic that was purchased for
Christmas that made their debut.
For the adults we had an addition-
al discussion on the importance of
sound systems in our shows. We
all had our sound systems with
us and there was good discussion
on MP3 players, music controls,
etc. A lot was learned and ideas
We are also looking at venues
that may be interested in having
our club put on a magic show.
Our February meeting sadly was
canceled because of a snowstorm;
Rod Chows Cheater Floor - (L-R) Jens
Henriksen, Anthony Young, Steve Dickson,
Ray Roch, Dennis Hewson, Henry Tom,
Juan Garcia, Lon Mandrake, Rod Chow and
Tony Chris Kazoleas
2014 S.A.M. Assembly 89 Offcer, L-
R,Sgt-at Arms Bob Festa, Treasurer
James Lee, V.P. Harvey Ouchi, Pres
Michael Erickson, SWRVP Ron Ishimaru
18 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Assembly News
we look forward to getting back
together in March. We always
welcome visitors to our meetings
if you are ever in the area.
Dan Miller
The James Swoger Assembly 108
meets at 6:00 pm for the SYM and
7:00 pm for the adults every third
Monday at Wheeler Bros. Inc.
Contact Dan Miller millermagic@
centurylink.net (814) 733-4978 for
more details.
Thursday, February 13, 2014, four
members and one guest braved
a blizzard to attend a lecture by
Paul Draper from Las Vegas. Paul
had driven almost three hours
through the storm to make it to
our scheduled lecture, (the show
must go on), so the least we could
do was give him an audience, even
if it was the smallest audience he
will probably have on this lecture
tour. As is his normal practice,
Paul let the attendees select the
topics for this lecture allowing
each person to pick at least two
topics to be discussed. Because
half of the audience were profes-
sional performers they opted to
talk about a good mix of business
and marketing techniques, the
importance of perception in a
clients mind, and also the benefts
of marketing effects, teaching
videos, etc., to other performers
and the realities of doing that.
We also discussed the realities of
getting a show in a place like Las
Vegas these days and the deals
others have made to open shows
there. Nothing was held back
and Paul answered all questions
confdently and very articulately.
Because Paul Draper is primarily
a mentalist, we also discussed the
art of cold vs. hot reading, how
to rehearse mentalism, and a few
quick, yet simple and amazing,
tricks to do on TV and radio. He
also performed and explained
several other effects that fried the
brains of all in attendance. After
seeing his lecture and meeting
him, it is easy to see why Paul
Draper is so successful. All in all
it was a great lecture and highly
Joe Homecheck, SAM Assembly
110 meets 2nd Thursdays, 7:00pm,
at Johns Diner, 146 Sheraton
Drive, New Cumberland, PA
17070. Email: Secretary@sam110.
Januarys annual Assembly 112
installation banquet was held in
the Concord Elks Lodge to kick
off the new year. The event was
an enormous success thanks to
the efforts of several members
most especially Bonnie Wright,
who did much of the organizing
and who arranged for the excellent
catering. We were also pleased
to see a number of Elks in the
audience as well as members of
the Oakland Magic Circle.
Pre-show amusements included
contests, a silent auction for
several sets of coins provided by
James Lind, and a raffe for some
fantastic items, many of which
were donated by our good friend,
Paul Gross, owner of the Hocus
Pocus Magic Shop.
First order of business was the
installation of the newly elected
board members for 2014. Larry
Zappo Wright took the reins
from outgoing president Douglass
Kovacich, who was later recog-
nized with a plaque for his fve
consecutive years as assembly
president. Dinner was then served,
and afterwards it was time for the
Douglass the MagicMan started
the show with several tricks,
including a bit of mind reading
with jumbo cards and his famous
Houdini-inspired handcuff
escape. Following Douglass,
magician Phil Ackerly, named
Best Magician in the Bay Area
fve years in a row by Parents
magazine, came to the stage to
entertain the audience with his
mixture of magic, mentalism, and
comedy. In an amazing fnale to
his performance, Phil removed
his outer clothing to reveal a mul-
ticolored gym outft that perfectly
matched a drawing earlier colored
in by an assistant from the
audience, green socks and all.
Festivities included the an-
nouncement of winners for the
2013 competitions held at various
times during the year, including
Erich Biggs, Ric and Kara Ewing,
Douglass the MagicMan, Bill
Marquardt, Zappo, Carole Yvonne
Kula, Roy Porfdo, Bob Holdridge,
and a visitor from Assembly 72,
Mary Mowder.
Magician of the Year for 2014
went to Roy Porfdo in recog-
nition of his dedication to the
art of magic and his hard work
throughout the previous year.
Jerry Barrilleaux and Reggie,
his wooden partner, were added
to our assemblys Wall of Fame.
PNP Loren Lind was recognized
for his many years of service
with the bestowment of Honorary
Lifetime Member status. Awards
acknowledging twenty-fve and
ffty years of membership in the
S.A.M. were given to Lance Snead
and Roy Porfdo, respectively.
Bill Marquardt
Diablo Assembly #112 meets on the
third Wednesday of every month at
the VFW building in Pleasant Hill,
California. Contact Larry Wright
(925) 685-5129 http://sam112.com/
for more details.
February meeting opened with
presentations of lapel pins and
certifcates of appreciation for the
S.A.M. Veterans Entertainment
Program for George Buckley, Wes
Iseli, David Clauss, and David
Feng. All four performed for
veterans and staff at the Hunter
Holmes McGuire VA Medical
Center in Richmond for National
Magic Week.
Sergeant at Arms Daniel Hall
held the Coins teach-in for
our S.Y.M. members Ashley
and Elizabeth Schmitz. Daniel
gave hands on learning about the
French Drop, fnger and classic
palm, the Bobo switch, and some
incredible retention subtleties, as
well as performing his Chaotic
Coins routine.
Our business meeting started
with George Buckley present-
ing the second draft of our new
by-laws. The location of our
future meetings was next. Everette
Anderson has kindly volunteered
the meeting room at the Pepsi-
Cola Bottling Company for all
future meetings. This was gladly
seconded by all members.
The theme for February was
Productions. Wes Iseli started us
off by showing us his coin case,
a fshing tackle box that holds his
vast collection of coins. Wes then
showed us an excellent Copper/
Silver practice routine. Wes then
set up his handmade table, made
from a leaf bag holder from
Lowes. Next, he showed us his
handmade card press and followed
with his card manipulation routine
from his professional stage show.
He shared his method for back
palming and showed us his top
hat set-up for his diminishing card
routine, which he performed to a
rousing applause. Tom Olshefski
followed with his excellent inter-
pretation of Joshua Jays Inferno
and a wonderful explanation of
magicians choice. David Clauss
followed with Toastmaster, his
production of a glass of wine from
an empty USPS Priority Mail
Members then broke into
groups and worked on various
card and coin routines as well as
exploring the evenings routines
and methods. An excellent night
of entertainment and learning was
enjoyed by all. Bethany Hall
Assembly 115 meets on the frst
Friday of every month starting at
7:00 pm at the Pepsi-Cola Bottling
Company Building at, 1150 Pepsi
Place, Charlottesville, VA 22901.
Contact George Buckley
gbbuckley@mac.com (434)
409-2643 for more details.
NASHUA, NH New England
snow has not slowed down the
Granite State Conjurers. We have
booked two upcoming lectures.
On April 16, 2014, Sandy Rhodes
will present his lecture, The Down
Home Mother Earth Approach
to Magic at 7:00 p.m. at Black
Sword Estate. And on June 18,
2014, Craig Browning will give
his lecture, Understanding the
Difference between Mentalism
and Magic at 7:00 p.m. at Black
Sword Estate. For more informa-
Paul Draper lecture
Veterans Program
Improbable ending to Phil
Ackerlys hilarious
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 19
Assembly News
tion about either of these lectures,
contact Assembly 118 at sam.
Assembly 118 meets on the
third Wednesday of each month
at 7:00 p.m. at Black Sword
Estate, 126 Perham Corner Rd.
Lyndeborough, NH 03082. Our
venue rotates, so contact us frst.
Contact Robert Granville sam.
nashua@gmail.com (603) 505
8749 http://sam118.com for more
January meeting opened with a
discussion of membership benefts
of both the I.B.M. and S.A.M. at
their standard and their discount
levels of membership.
Jim Percy opened the meeting
with his version of Crazy Mans
Handcuffs. Chris Bontjes jumped
in with his Jumping Rubber bands
and wet our appetites with a
Joker Sandwich. Roy Stoutenbor-
ough showed a routine he calls I
Forget. Professor Higgins took the
stage with a Burning Bill, Bills
Across, and showed us the results
of his fnger exercise by tearing a
quarter in half, which would leave
him with two-eighths, I believe.
Mathew Hunter performed his
Four Pile trick and Andy Dallas
closed out the magic with Missing
Think and a Matchless Matchbox.
As usual, the discussion was more
varied, entertaining, and informa-
tive than I can do justice here. Ya
gotta come to the meetings for the
good stuff.
See ya at the meeting.
Ken Barham
Assembly 120, Andy Dallas
Assembly meets the third
Wednesday at 7pm, (except Nov.
and Dec.) For location call Jim
Percy at 217-494-2222 or Ken
Barham Sec, 2318 Winchester Dr,
Champaign, IL 61821. 217-841-
5616 email: Kebram@aol.com
annual holiday Dinner and In-
stallation of Offcers was held
on February 12 at the Playwright
Pub Restaurant in Hamden, Con-
necticut. After a delicious dinner,
outgoing president Jeff Doskos
welcomed members and guests,
and reviewed the accomplish-
ments of our assembly during
2013, especially in reaching
out to the community. In April,
several members of Assembly 127
did a charity show for Healing
Newtown, in Newtown, Con-
necticut, after the December
2012 shooting tragedy. Jeff did
walk-around magic for Voices
for Heroes in Danbury, and in
Hartford for the Power of Peace
festival. Adam Parisi performed at
An Evening of Pink for a cancer
charity. We also had three lectures
last year and contributed magic
books to the Wallingford, Con-
necticut, Library during Magic
We held a short business meeting
during dessert. We had a moment
of silent prayer for the passing of
Aldo Colombini. After a report
from NEMCON Chairman Bill
Hoagland, National S.A.M.
Secretary Marlene Clark (a
member of Assembly 127) swore
in the 2014 Slate of Offcers:
President David Wyskiel; Vice-
President Lisa Gagne; Treasurer
Michael Gagne; and Secretary
Adam Parisi.
Dinner Chairman Bill Hoagland
introduced incoming president
David Wyskiel, who provided
the evenings entertainment
The Power of the Mind. Daves
assistant Haley Comet
was blindfold and the pair did a
comedy blindfold act with obvious
corny code words to identify
objects held by spectators. To
involve everyone in the audience,
each person was given a packet of
four cards; after mixing the cards,
all the spectators had the same suit
card face up in their packet.
After a spectator signed a playing
card, Dave caused the entire
deck to appear inside a blown-up
balloon. He then visually removed
one card the selected card pen-
etrating the balloon.
Several routines Dave performed
involved outftting an assistant
with appropriate costumes. Mike
Gagne played a Dickens character
to Daves Scrooge in a wallet
and bill trick; Frank Karrass was
dressed as a snowman. Dave
predicted which item of the
costume would remain after three
were removed by Franks wife,
Sharon. Adam Parisi, costumed
as Superman, helped Dave with
several rope routines. Dave even
brought his own coat rack on
which to hang the clothes! Wyskiel
closed the show with a strong ESP
routine involving fve spectators,
including our waitress, Chris!
Our thanks to Dinner Chairman
Bill Hoagland, Dave Wyskiel,
Jeff Doskos, and all who helped
make our dinner a success.Dick
Assembly 127 meets on the
third Tuesday of each month
at the First United Methodist
Church, 941 Old Rock Hill Road,
Wallingford, Conn. Contact Dick
Hodes richardhodes@att.net (203)
287-1635 www.magicsam127.org
for more details.
DANBURY, CT President
Magic Mo sid not make this
meeting. MOs ankle and heel are
still on the mend after a very bad
break. Attending members signed
get well cards for Magic Mo and
Russ. The meeting came to order
and a silent prayer was said by our
members and guests for Aldo. RIP
Master Magician, Friend, and Hu-
Bruillo Durand presented a three-
four card Monte effect with cards
changing back to Queens and
then Fours. Vice President Magic
Marty gave a
few highlights
of his Assembly
35, Al Baker
Clubs lecturer
Silly Billy.
Empower your
audience, adult
or children,
involve them
in your Magic.
The lecture
was great; Silly
Billy earned his
lecture fee.
V.P. Magic
Marty followed
thru with a Silly
Billy Hot Dog
pull out routine, a great sight gag
and fnally showed off his new
poster and stand from Vista Print
Poster Photo.
Magic by members: Michael
Bochar presented a work in
progress, frst time performing,
His true love, torn and restored
vintage photo, with a wonderful
heartfelt story. A great routine.
Tony Spiro presented a ballooned
twist really special three balloons
into a motorcycle. Des surprised
us with a different way to present
an ABC effect using three blocks
in an antique piece of magic. One
block vanishes and re-appears in
a bag. Bongo the Silent Magician
presented a number of circus
photos. Tom Demoth Is a new
guest to our club and performed a
few card effects. Magic Marty
Assembly 131 Danbury Top
Hatters meet Methodist Church,
Clapboard Ridge Rd, Danbury
CT Contact Magic Marty
magicmarty@aol.com (845)
7978363 for more details.
miffed would you be if you sat
through a two-hour lecture and
watched the guy up front only
demonstrate maybe two or three
card tricks and a rope routine?
Chances are you wouldnt be
terribly impressed unless the
lecturer was Tony Noice.
He isnt a name you know from
write-ups in the magic journals,
or a pro making the club circuit
with a table-full of props for sale.
A member of the Fort Myers
Magicians Association, Tony
makes his living primarily as an
actor and teacher of acting, but
also as a magician at corporate
Some twenty-fve members
showed up to see Tony take a
break from his instructors role at
an Illinois college where hes on
the theater faculty. Almost before
we knew it, Tony had everyone
mumbling buh-duh-guh to
loosen up our tongues and saying
good morning to one another
with different infections to
indicate various attitudes.
The idea was to impress upon us
the truth of the familiar saying,
A magician is merely an actor
playing the part of a magician.
Magic Marty Poster
a la Kellar
Assembly 127 2014 Slate of Offcers from left:
National S.A.M. Secretary Marlene Clark;
President David Wyskiel; Vice-President Lisa
Gagne; Secretary Adam Parisi; Treasurer
Michael Gagne
20 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Assembly News
So its necessary for anyone who
can do magic to be convincing
in his onstage role. That means
having a reason in your mind for
every action. About to do a card
revelation? When you say such a
simple thing as Take a card, you
should be thinking, because in a
minute Im going to do something
amazing with it. Noice explained
that there should be real intention
behind everything thats said or
done. Effective magic requires
more than merely going through
the sequence of moves needed for
the trick.
If a routine is learned from a
DVD, he stressed, the magician
has to be careful not to lazily start
imitating Bill Malone, say, or
Tommy Wonder. Learn the moves,
yes; but work out a presentation
that suits your own personality He
demonstrated with a performance
of Mexican Poker, a ten-card deal
thats done by Harry Anderson and
others. Noices version ends with
the spectator having his choice of
either one of two Jonah cards, so
the magician wins in any case.
All in all, it was a different and
thoroughly enjoyable evening
and the only thing offered for sale
was Noices forty-fve pages of
lecture notes. Since they included
detailed explanations of the
various card and rope effects, they
were snapped up at $5 each.
Before the magic, a quick
virtually unanimous election
found President Tony Dunn
handing the 2014 gavel to Tom
McVey. Don Dunn
FMMA Assembly 150 meets at 7
pm. every 2nd Tuesday at Myerlee
Manor on Winkler Rd., Fort
Naples. Contact Richard Payne
richardhpayne@aol.com (239)
963-9104 for more details.
January for Port St. Lucies Donald
E. Lea Assembly 172 started off
with Jack Durjans recommenda-
tion that future meetings start off
with a thirty-minute workshop
starting at 7:00 p.m. We all agree;
its a great opportunity to exchange
ideas, work on projects, and a
great warm-up for the mayhem
that follows (generally referred to
as The Business Meeting).
That being said (and The
Business Meeting being out of the
way) it was time for some magic.
James Offenhartz, our most recent
inductee into the inner circle,
led off the nights entertainment
with his personalized rendition
of a classic card effect, Cops and
Robbers. James followed with
another card trick, and ended with
a broken and restored toothpick
Danny Eisen then asked yours
truly to assist with a Heavy
Pencil routine that turned out to
be just too cool. Nice job, Danny!
Dan Warnke and Doug Latshaw
collaborated on a card effect
utilizing the 10/20 Force and then
Doug explained just how it all
fell in to place. The 10/20 Force,
with which I was unfamiliar,
turned out to be rather effcient in
its workings and very practical.
Thanks, Doug.
Harley Salas, one of our guests
for the evening, presented several
variations on the Ambitious
Card, went on to present Pulse,
and then came back with another
Ambitious Card. Cant wait to sign
him up! The guys got talent! Matt
Musgrave closed out the evening
with an Out to Lunch variation
utilizing his business card and
then fnished with a very clean
Card Penetration.
And so the evening ended with
everyone thinking to themselves:
That was a great meeting. Cant
wait till February. Neither can I!
See ya there! Dean F. Devitt
Assembly 172 meets the
fourth Tuesday of every
month(except December)
at 7:00pm at The Saint Lucie
Lanes on US1 in Port St. Lucie
Florida. Contact Dean F. Devitt
at quindar46@yahoo.com or call
(772) 332-8412 for more details.
professor would have a real
nightmare watching this one.
Mitch Geier starts his routine with
a large spool of rope and asks a
spectator to help him cut three
equal pieces. Between the cutting
and the by-play, Mitch sets himself
up for the Professors Nightmare.
After doing the standard handling
and a couple of snip snips, Mitch
ends up with three ropes of the
same length, ungimmicked, and
ready to hand out as a souvenir
to the audience. This is the
best version of the Professors
Nightmare that I have ever seen.
Our February meeting was
dedicated to this effect. Mitch,
who developed his skills from
years of performing comedy
magic in Las Vegas, did a hands
on, step-by-step workshop on the
Professors Nightmare. A room
full of magicians, each with three
ropes in their hands, followed
along. This particular workshop
was videotaped and will be put on
our assemblys streaming video
library. Our video library is a
unique beneft and available to
all of our assembly members for
online viewing.
In the open magic portion of our
meeting, Scott Berlinger started
off with the Butterfy Effect. Les
the Mentalist did an effect showing
the different thinking between the
right and left sides of the brain.
Our Rocco went up front with a
hole in his pants that suddenly dis-
appeared. He followed that with
an image duplication effect and
the Ian Rowland effect, Thetalia.
Dean Hank Strasser followed the
evenings theme, which is not
required during open magic, with
a rope effect.
Reba showed an effect using the
Five of Hearts as a locator card
to fnd the selection. She was
supported by both Les and Keith
with variations on that presen-
tation. President Stephan Sloan
fnished the night with two new
effects he had purchased, Voucher
and Dean Dills Beads. It was a
good night with a lot to learn and a
lot of magic to see. Moreover, that
is what assembly meetings are for.
Duane Lafin will be lecturing at
our April meeting which will be
open to guests. Hope you can be
there. David Zboray
Assembly 181 meets the frst
Thursday of every month at
the First United Methodist
Church, 187 Stockton Street,
Hightstown, NJ 08520. Contact
Stephan Sloan lands10@
optonline.net (732) 757-5337
www.magicsam181.com/ for more
OREM, UT Our February
theme was Magic You Love in
recognition of Valentines Day,
and the love of the art was fully
Jason Carling started off the
night with some nice manipulation
involving fowers, billiard balls, a
little juggling, and a silk fountain
to dove. In his hands, Tootsie
Pops changed into a Sharpie pen,
a cane changed to silks handker-
chiefs, and a large silk and paper
streamers were produced from
three other handkerchiefs.
Mont Dutson got us all choked
up as he scarfed up a trick with
three silks in a tube with a clever
ending: they came down Tide.
He then had a spectator slide his
business card into a fanned deck
to select some cards. The card
selected was correctly predicted
on a clock printed on his business
card. He thee made spots on his
Delben Domino change only to
end the hole thing in an amusing
Walter Webb changed things up
with a very sweet poem on a Val-
entines theme he had memorized,
actually the lyrics from a song
from the Broadway musical
Wicked. Visitor Jon Meservy
showed his impressive card skills
by performing Clutch by Oz
Perleman. Steve Dawson vanished
then reproduced a ketchup bottle,
then another, then a ton of silks,
followed by a giant two-foot tall
ketchup bottle.
Magical Dave Johnson performed
an excellent torn and restored
newspaper while trying unsuc-
cessfully to teach two spectators
along the way. Theron Christensen
performed a very different cup
and ball routine using only two
brass cups, ending with a sponge
ball segment.
The very inventive Curtis
Hickman showed his latest
creation, a version of Out of This
World using coins instead of
cards, aided by a chess-themed
story. Cameron Smith showed
his performance expertise with a
very novel Professors Nightmare
routine with many clever new
moves and audience participation.
He really showed a deep under-
standing of the principles involved.
He then wowed the crowd with his
amazing fork bending routine.
All in all a great night of magic, and
we hope our very talented visitors
will return and join our assembly.
Steve Dawson
Assembly 188 meets the second
Thursday of each month at
the Courtyard Jamestown,
3352 North 100 East in Provo,
Utah. Contact Brian South
brian@teachbymagic.com (801)
916-2442 utahmagicclub.org
for more details.
YONKERS, NY Through the
gracious hospitality of the Catholic
Slovak Club in Yonkers, New
York, we have free use of their
hall for our monthly meetings. In
return, we provide a performer for
their Christmas party, their July
picnic, and then a show for their
adult members once a year. This
was the night (February 19) to do
just that and it was a blast!
Fr. Brennan was the emcee and
Mitch Geier creating
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 21
Assembly News
opened with his presentation of
Metamorpho. Jim Stranges was
the frst act and he began with
a mental effect with multi-col-
ored balls. Whichever color the
spectator picked, he was able to
match it. He followed with the
34 prediction.
The emcee offered with the
Chinese Sticks. Next up was Frank
Reyes with a stage size version
of Clearly Mental, then brought
gasps of wonder when he had two
visitors shuffe and cut a set of
Jumbo split cards resulting in both
people holding matching halves of
the same card.
Ted Lee is a one-of-a-kind en-
tertainer who always seems to
get lost while doing an effect,
only to conclude with a surprise
ending. So his Five Card Repeat
with jumbo cards, tossing the
throw-away cards into a box with
three front sides (!), ended with
not fve cards but ffteen cards left,
all tossed into the box which was
promptly shown to be empty. Go
Fr. Brennan then shared his
version of Goshmans Then There
Were Four, then introduced our
youngest member, Charlini
who opened with the Needle thru
Balloon, then a glass of water that
turned into Instant Snow, and
fnally his excellent presentation
of a signed card that vanishes from
the deck to appear in the perform-
ers shoe. Charley is a natural and
we enjoy watching him grow.
The show concluded with
Andrew Beiber doing, among
others, a brilliant book test
followed by his timed straitjacket
escape done to music with a count-
down conclusion. And he made it!
The members of both the
assembly and the host club agreed
that it was of our best shows ever
and well deserved by our hosts.
Fr. Dermot Brennan
Assembly 194 meets on the
third Wednesday of each month
(except July and August) at
7:30 PM at the Slovak Catholic
Club on Lockwood Avenue,
Yonkers, NY. Contact Fr. Dermot
Brennan mbrdermot@aol.com
(718) 601-1030 for more details.
Louisville Magic Club met on
February 18 for Marc Salems
lecture Why I Dont Lecture to
Magicians and Mentalists. Marc
is an award-winning mentalist
who has performed on Broadway,
at the Sidney opera house, and
other places around the world.
The TV show 60 Minutes did a
segment on him in 2008 in which
he nearly made a believer of Mike
Wallace. Marcs promo material
states that you have a lecture
like no other. Unfortunately,
that turned out to be too true for
the wrong reasons. His bus trip
from Memphis to Louisville was
forty minutes late, the lecture got
started half an hour late, and Marc
was scrambling all evening to fnd
his props and needed items from
his suitcase and duffe bags with
his back turned to his audience.
In his own words, he was dis-
combobulated. He did, however,
graciously give free copies of his
lecture notes to the thirty-fve or
so members in attendance.
As for the lecture itself,
Marc shared his philosophy of
mentalism and performed several
effects, including the prediction
of the weather using the weather-
map page from USA Today, the
prediction on a printed receipt
of the cost of an item chosen and
priced by the audience, a version
of Bank Night using no gimmicks,
and a couple of book tests (the
four-Ace trick of mentalists). He
closed his lecture by showing the
ffteen-minute segment of his
60 Minutes performance and
interview by Mike Wallace. No
one wants to give negative reviews
of lectures; but comments by club
members as we left confrmed
that this lecture was too long, too
rambling, and lacking in much
magic. Perhaps if Marc had taken
an earlier bus from Memphis, this
review might have been much
more positive.
Upcoming events include lectures
by Bruce Amato on March 18th and
Eric Roumestan on March 31st.
Roger L. Omanson
Assembly 215 meets at 7:00 p.m.
on various dates, but usually
the frst Tuesday of each month,
at the Kosair Community
Center on Eastern Parkway.
Contact Roger L. Omanson
rlomanson@gmail.com (502)
296-6577 www.lmcmagic.com for
more details.
though a bad storm threatened the
area, the Lakeland wizards were
out in force for another night of
magic. President Jerry Kardos put
us through our meeting with his
usual effciency. We discussed the
Masters of Illusion show coming
to town next week in addition to
lecture options before starting the
Our snowbird member Larry
Rose started us off with his
magical wallet that changed from
ones, fves, tens, twenties, and
ffties with a fick of the wrist. He
then showed us a cute card effect
in which kids were mixed up yet
still arrived on the right school
bus. Marty Bristow next showed
us his card through bill wallet.
We worked on different methods
for making it more deceptive and
easier to work. Jerry was back
with a display idea for the Houdini
lock puzzles everyone seemed to
have gotten for Christmas then
showed us a neat effect where
Martys card became scorched
onto another card, including ac-
companying mysterious smoke.
Mike Peterson amused us with a
no-set-up version of the McDonald
Aces with a borrowed deck that
went smooth as silk.
Clean-up batter was scribe Al
DAlfonso with his history lesson
on the bullet catch. The serious
talk concluded with a real demon-
stration with a marshmallow gun
shot by Navy Vet Ed McGowan.
Al caught Eds signed marshmal-
low in his mouth to the amusement
of the crowd. I think its safe to say
the I-Hop hasnt seen that tasty
trick before. Its also safe to say
that time in Central Florida would
be better with a trip to see the
wacky wizards of Assembly 266.
Al DAlfonso
Jim Zachary Assembly 266 meets
the second Wednesday of the
month at 7PM at the Lakeland
I-Hop at Rt 98 & I-4 Contact
Al DAlfonso keeper0499@
embarqmail.com (321) 4373814 for
more details.
PMMC met again after everyone
dug out after the big snowstorms
that hit the northeast. We started
our meeting with some clever
close-up performances, and then
some business, which included
plans for our next telethon
spotlight, and upcoming lectures
and conventions. Torn And
Restored was tonights theme.
Jimmy Pagan was our frst
performer and it was great to see
him back. First Jimmy showed us
his sponge ball routine, then he
performed his Split Two dollar
Bill effect, in which a two-dollar
bill becomes two one-dollar bills,
and then back. He then did a bit of
Mentalism with El Numero.
Jordan Benoit was up next and
took us through his Aero Dynamic
and Multiplying Sponge Balls.
This is Jordans own take on the
sponge balls with a clever clown
nose bit at the end of the routine.
Great job!
S. Patrick did his thing next and
showed us one of his creations,
Safety Dominoes. S. then switched
gears and performed Hes Not
There by Jamie Dawes. S. told
a story about fnding a strange
picture in a home that always
seemed to move. The picture
was torn up and thrown out, but
the pieces seemed to come back
the next day. When the picture
pieces were put back together, it
was shown that one of the family
members in the picture actually
vanished. S. then told the rest of
the story, which explained that the
man who was missing actually did
vanish and was never found.
Joseph Raven is our psychic
detective and showed us a routine
he calls Restoring Families. It is
based on a Nick Trost card routine
in which you take about ten cards,
split them in half, mix them up,
and have two spectators remember
a piece. Then miraculously the
pieces match.
The fnal spot on the bill belonged
to Odes Odhner. Odes has been
going back through the original
Tarbell series for work on a
current project. In the frst volume
of Tarbell, lesson 15, page 297 is
the Torn and Restored Chinese
Papers, or the Chinese Laundry
Ticket. Odes wove a story about
a man who was contemplating
selling his soul to the devil by
signing the contract. He thought
better of it, tore up the paper, and
threw it out. The mans son, eager
to show his dad that he learned
to write his name in school, in-
nocently took the paper out of the
trash, unrolled it, which magically
was restored, and wrote his name
on the contract with disastrous
results. S. Patrick
The PMMC, Assembly 277,
meet every third Friday at the
Art Space Gallery at 18 N. 7th
St. Stroudsburg PA. 18360. We
also hold a workshop meeting on
the frst Monday of each month.
Visit - www.pmmc.webs.com for
all the details. Contact S. Patrick
damagician@verizon.net (570)
242-6821 www.pmmc.webs.com
for more details.
The Mysterious Odes Odhner
Good Cheer List
Please take a minute to spread a few words of cheer with a card or note to one of our less fortunate members. Send additions, changes,
or deletions to: Anthony Antonelly, Chairman, Sick and Convalescent Committee, (215) 820-3192 ext. 1512. magicforfun60@aol.com
Roger Barr
883 B Leverpool Circle,
Manchester, NJ 08759
Daniel Cudennec
Dany Trick
225, Stang-ar-Veil-
dan-Traon, Mellac-29300,
Quimperle, France
Dan A. Dorsey
98 Woodvalley Dr.
Fayetteville, GA 30215
Joseph H. (Ben) Grant
400 Commonwealth Ave, Unit 9
Warwick, RI 02886
Charlie Gross
16745 Gertrude Street,
Omaha, NE 60136-3023
Roy Horn
c/o Siegfried & Roy
1639 N Valley Drive,
Las Vegas, NV 89108
Bob King
304 Suburban Court,
Rochester, NY 14620
Stanley R. Kramien
11205 SW Summerfeld Dr.
Apt 161
Tigard, OR 97224-3391
Richard Laneau
4020 55th St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33709
George Gilbert Lott
1725 Great Hill Rd.
Guilford, CT 06437
Frank J. McNaughton, Sr
1926 Apple Street,
Williamsport, PA 17701
James J. Morrisey
24 Grove St.
Wayland, MA 01788
Anthony Murphy
11 Angel Rd.,
North Reading, MA 01864
Nahmen Nissen
PO Box 1856
Colfax, CA 95713-1856
Allen Okawa
2101 Nuuanu Ave., Tower 1,
Honolulu, HI 96817
David Oliver
141 Audaubon Rd. #201
Weymouth, MA 02188
Larry Poague
34221 West 90 Circle
Desota, KS 66108
Jim Relyea
241 W. Lakeshore
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Harry Riser
11755 N. Michigan Rd #313
Zionsville, IN 46077
Pat Ryan
43 Fairbanks Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428
Matt Savin
P.O. Box 7693
Alhambra, CA 91802-7533
Sybill Simons
65 West 95 St. Apt 3A
New York, NY 10025
Mario Susi
6 Bristol Rd.
W. Peabody, MA 01960
Jack White
4288 Arguello St.
San Diego, CA 92103
Jim Zachary
2801 South Creek Drive
Mulberry, FL 33860
22 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Assembly News
February we had a wonderful
turnout for our Anniversary.
Attending the meeting were
members from the UCLA Magic
Club and some of our S.Y.M
members. The night began with
a warm and heartfelt speech by
our founder and secretary Les, ex-
pressing warm sentiments towards
the entire assembly and the people
who make it happen, especially
with all the strength, love and
support from his wonderful wife
We started our night with cel-
ebrating and announcing that
Satori of S.Y.M was accepted into
the McBride School of Magic on a
partial scholarship. To help make
the magic happen we were proud
to award him with a little magic of
our own to make this dream come
true. Congratulations Satori! We
then went full steam ahead with
Fix a Trick. Everyone who
performed was given gentle, but
helpful input on how to perfect his
or her future performances. The
frst to perform was Sam from the
UCLA Magic Club. He showed
us his needle swallowing dem-
onstration. So unless you know
how to do this, do not try this
at home! This set the stage and
made everyone else step up their
bar. Next, Randall, also from the
UCLA Magic Club, performed the
thread through the needle.
After all our needle tricks, we
were entertained by mentalism.
Our former president Frank did
card predictions on his magical
tablet. Phil expanded on the elec-
tronics theme by using a phone
to call a prediction line. For
further predictions, Rual read
the mind of Emma (SYM), by
giving us predictions of her past,
present, and future. Mike from
UCLA Magic Club was reading
the minds of Emma and Roy. For a
change of pace, Christopher, with
Dans assistance performed his
own rendition of You Do as I Do.
After, Emma of SYM performed
the Color Block Escape. And the
night concluded with Bill per-
forming with his mystical ropes.
William Dow Jr.
Assembly 291 meets on the
second Tuesday of the month
at the OPICA Adult Day Care
Facility, 11759 Missouri Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90025, on the
south side of the park. Please enter
through the patio area on the north
side of the building. Contact Les
Cooper Cooperl@ucla.edu (310)
473-1820 www.westsidewizards.
org for more details.
GREELEY, CO During a
brief February business meeting
over lunch, three future meeting
dates were changed: to April 19
for a lecture by Mark Strivings, to
June 7, and to October 18. Under
Shows, Lloyd Worley reported
being booked to give a library
The program theme was broadly
defned Impromptu Magic.
Teagan Brown opened, perform-
ing three effects from Ellusionist:
the Loyal (signed) Coin Vanish,
and two ring routines by Justin
Miller, Divorce and Lightspeed.
Paul Noffsinger gave a fascinating
presentation. He cut to the Aces,
and then explained how. The long
side of each Ace had been subtly
shaved and was located by his
thumbnail. He passed around his
deck with its four almost-invisible
examples of the precision work his
new card cutter could do. Brian
Hallisey did an impactful card
routine (Wayne Dobsons Devas-
tation deck and wallet). Tim Pen-
dergast recommended both Joshua
Jays Magic: the Complete Course
and the versatile iForce app for
smart phones. Jim Pope presented
two effects, a napkin penetration,
and a nicely done Three Way Test
one-ahead prediction effect from
Mark Wilsons Complete Book of
In a change of pace, Ron Dutton
enthusiastically recommended the
quality and wide range of prices
on the brand-new Haversat &
Ewing Gallerie magic auctions.
He described the two principals
and his recent experience buying
from their inaugural auction.
Jaret Anderson performed a
card-reversed-in-deck effect.
James Lopez contributed two
routines, a mathematical number
prediction revealed on Teagan
Browns cell phone, and a skillful
performance of an impromptu
Coins Across. Lew The Great
Loudini Wymisner presented and
taught very well his combination
of the Free Will billet effect and a
European Prediction Book. Then
he exhibited the breath-taking
Tora Arm Chopper. Gary Hickox
did a nifty Penetrating Straws.
Alex Acosta closed with the
transposition wallet he uses in
presenting his stunning business
cards, which he designed
himself. They are full color on a
black feld, and with his tuxedo
jacket (over blue jeans) outlined
in white to separate his image
from the background. They
picture him in front of fames, in
dynamic, highly dramatic action.
Ron Dutton
The Dr. Ronald P. Dutton
Assembly 292 usually meets
at Kennys Steak House, 3502
West 10th Street (corner of 35th
Avenue) at 11:00 A.M. (lunch
optional), on the second Saturday
of the month. Contact Jim Pope
jlp1616@comcast.net (970)
339-3277 www.SAM292.com for
more details.
Gary Hickox (left) burns
Teagan Browns ring effect
Parent Assembly 1 mourns the passing
of Georges Weill, who was a ffty-six-year
member of the Society. Georges was born
in Strasburg, France, on April 9, 1926. He
received a degree in engineering from Ecole
Polytechnique and later received his PhD in
physics from Universite de Paris in 1955.
In 1960 Georges immigrated to the United
States, where he received a doctorate in
mathematics from UCLA. He spent his pro-
fessional life in academia, doing research at
Harvard and Yale. He then spent thirty-fve
years teaching at NYU Polytechnic, where he
was named Professor Emeritus.
Throughout all his academic work, his per-
formances of magic as Magic Michael Edson
kept him active on the New York magic scene,
where he attended all the magic clubs and
He was a mild mannered, soft spoken
gentleman, who retained his French accent.
Georges loved to cook and was adventurous;
he collected DVDs and books on card magic.
He died peacefully at his home in Roosevelt
Island. A broken wand service was performed
by MI David Adamovich at a memorial service
in February.
George Schindler
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 23
Broken Wands
Fire! Fire!
The subject of this months column is not a recommended ac-
quisition for the novice illusionistor for just about any other il-
lusionist, either. Its not the danger element. Its more the practical
element, as you will understand as you read.
Way back in 1970 when I was building up my repertoire of stage
illusions, it seemed only natural (!) that I would want a cremation
effect. Abbotts Magic, in Colon, Michigan, was constructing
most of my props in those days, and their catalog had featured the
item for decades, boasting they could supply the apparatus just
as Percy did for the Harry Thurston show! (Remember that in the
1920s Howard Thurston was a more famous magician than Harry
Houdini. Howards brother, Harry, however, did not have the same
performing skills of his brother, but he had that magic Thurston
name.) From vintage photos, it appears to me that spook show
performer Bill Neff used the Abbott model, too.
I saved and then sent $525 to Abbotts for the illusion, request-
ing only that it be made long enough to accommodate the rather
tall assistant I had at the time. Borrowing my dads station wagon
some weeks later, I made the 250-mile (one way) drive to Colon
to pick it up.
It was a regular black beauty, a lacquered plywood box on
silver pipe legs with the indication of coffn handles stenciled on
its sides. It came with a freproof skeleton, constructed mostly
out of durable asbestos with a skull fashioned from the life-size
plastic kit that has been a hobby shop staple for decades. A little
pan between the skeletons legs was for a mysterious powder
Abbotts called Red Fire. When ignited it burned like a highway
fare and, I suspect, thats exactly what it was, a ground-up fare.
The hinged sides and ends came off, the skeleton on its panel
could be inverted for packing, and, of course, the pipe legs could
be unscrewed. The lid had one-inch holes for smoke and fames to
escape and there were multiple vertical slits on the long sides that
would glow from the inferno within.
In addition to the Red Fire, we cut up old mattress pads
and dipped them in something fammable (gasoline back then!),
wrung them out, and then placed them about the skeleton. No one
has ever doubted the reality of fre when I have presented this act.
Ive always employed plenty of fames.
A Game of Categories
If a Crystal Casket is a production and a Sword Box is a mu-
tilation and an Aga is a levitation and a Mascot Moth is a disap-
pearance, what is Burned Alive? Its a vanishing act, but youd be
better off with a DeKolta Chair or a Phantom Cage if you need
someone to disappear. I learned early on that audience members
expected the assistant to somehow reappear un-scorched, similar
to appearing back in one piece after a Sawing illusion. If you un-
derstand the working of the cremation act, you already know that
she cannot pop up out of the casket. You have to strike the illusion
for her to get out.
I liked the fact that she was gone. I usually put this at the end
of a show (lots of leftover smoke you know) and then it was easy
not to see that assistant again. This did bother some folks; I recall
more than a few youngsters worried that a person really had been
burned up before their eyes. Perhaps it taught some not to play
with matches.
This effect was used at every one of my university magic shows
in the 1970s and it caused a bit of a stir one year. A new assistant in
the show was aghast at the frst dress rehearsal when we actually
lit the fre. She hadnt comprehended what we were staging. She
voiced her deep feelings at the post-rehearsal meeting. Nobody
supported her opinion and she became very angry, quitting on the
spot, and stalking off without even removing her costume!
She then went on a campaign to warn the public about the
content of my show; our major daily newspaper called to interview
me. I explained I was doing nothing new; this was the illusions
sixth consecutive year in the show. The campus newspaper also
followed up on her tirade.
I learned a lesson: That was the frst year that all our perfor-
mances sold out. To this day Ive looked for another gimmick to
stir up a tempest-in-a-teapot controversy about my show.
A local casket company gave me four real coffn handles and
we added them to the Abbott prop. They added dimension and
looked better than the stenciled suggestions.
As you might imagine, all that burning was hard on the prop.
Periodically the skull would explode, I assume from air expanding
in its sealed interior. I would call Recil Bordner at Abbotts and
have them construct another freproof skull for $25. And I had
no case for it. So by late 1977 I realized that this should be one of
the illusions that should be replaced with something a little more
I contacted Californias Owen Magic Supreme and placed an
order for their version that they called Burning Alive Cremation.
It represented a $4,000 investment for me plus the cost of a sturdy
ATA case and air freight.
The unit I received was very similar to the Abbott model. The
prop, though, was not painted. It was stained a rich color and had a
nicely curved coffn-like top. That extra space in the lid concealed
the Owen-supplied skeleton (another asbestos and rope-asbestos
sculpture), which allowed the openings on the long sides to be
large ovals. The spectators could now see the victim sliding into
the casket. There was a sliding panel arrangement that masked
the drop of the girl and the lowering of the skeleton. We no longer
used Red Fire. Our fuel was now Coleman Lantern Fuel. It was
more deceptive than my previous version and it looked really
This illusion, with nicely designed wooden legs, comes apart
effciently and quickly and packs into a single ATA case. Id guess
the total weight to be about 200 pounds. I approached a local un-
dertaker and bought a heavy vinyl, zippered, body bag from
him for the skeleton. I do not recall what that item cost, but I do
remember him asking me whether I wanted a new or used bag. I
chose new. He might have been pulling my leg.
We all know now that asbestos is not exactly user friendly.
However, the skeleton gets blackened pretty quickly from the
fames; we have repainted ours dozens of times with cans of cheap
spray paint. Im convinced that those nasty particles of asbestos
have been thoroughly sealed in layers of enamel.
And, of course, this is not an illusion we use very often.
Its a natural for Halloween shows, if you have a venue with a
curtain or a means of rolling the faming illusion out of view to
24 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
by David Seebach
retrieve the assistant. The fre, although intense, only burns for
seconds since the scraps of soaked mattress padding are quickly
consumed; when theyre gone, theres nothing left to burn. The
person who prepares this illusion must squeeze the pads out so
that there are no little streams or trails of fammable liquid. Es-
sentially we have about a half-dozen wicks.
Owens Alan Zagorsky still offers this prop, but it now looks
even more like an actual coffn. He has made it so no real fre
is used. Youve no doubt seen the torches that are a bit of wispy
fabric, a couple of focused colored lights, and a fan. They look
great, but I do like the act of having an actual faming torch to
ignite the coffns interior with fames leaping up. For a torch I
bought a jugglers prop designed for fre.
In the 1980s when I performed twice-nightly shows at Mil-
waukees Summerfest, I featured my Burning Alive Cremation
at the end of the late show, which began at either 9:00 or 10:00
p.m. It was like a sideshow blow off feature. I issued a warning
that it wasnt for everybody. They had already seen my full
show. Sometimes Id see parents gather up youngsters and hustle
them away, but most everybody remained. At the moment I lit the
torch (with the assistant already inside the illusion), all the stage
lighting would be turned off. These were outdoor shows so it was
always dark. We were on a stage without curtains. Everything was
masonry and cement. We had no fre worries.
The only illumination now was from the fre of the act. It was
dramatic and sensational.
After the sides fell away and the audience saw the assistants
supposed remains, we left the stage. Through an offstage micro-
phone I thanked everyone and then suggested they take one last
look at the best barbecued ribs at Summerfest. At that point we
played Roy Rogers singing Happy Trails.
Michigans outr magician, Bob Kramer, was famous for this
act. He had a fancy prop that employed a very deceptive base and
he did the cremation everywhere. It must have been his signature
effect. From time to time Id be employed for a function that hed
previously appeared at. Are you doing that fre trick? I was
always asked.
But, times have changed. I dont think audiences have
turned on this illusion, but few venues will permit a cigarette
or a candle, much less a faming coffn. We have never had a
mishap, but you cannot forget that its a real fre and for at least
thirty to forty seconds theres a lot of it!
I have performed it with two assistants, one who gets in and
the other who helps stage everything, but I prefer two outside
assistants plus the victim. For years it was always at the end of
the show, but we changed things at Halloween and put it in the
opening sequence. It was effective in the opening and allowed
me a very good laugh line. As the curtain fell, I spoke for the frst
time. What were you expecting, a happy ending?
Of course, you should have a fre extinguisher handy. Weve
never had to use one. No one has ever suffered a burn, although
Ive lost some hair on my hands and arms and suffered a singed
eyebrow from the initial explosive eruption when I place the torch
into the enclosed prop where volatile fumes had been accumulat-
When the curtain comes down, or the prop is rolled off to an
out-of-sight area, the tray on which the skeleton lies is lifted up
and set down so the assistant can be helped out. And, you should
help her since its very likely she would grab onto the prop to get
up and much of it will have a sooty residue. A pair of pliers, or
tongs, will be all that you need to lift up any remaining bits of
burning padding. Drop them in a bucket. Always wash the interior
of the illusion before packing it up. Paint the skeleton with fat
white paint and use some fat black on the skulls eye sockets and
A Funny Failure
Back in about 1983 I was asked to appear in a New York City
fashion show for the hair industry. They demanded this illusion
and wanted it performed with one of their hair models. The show
was at a big Manhattan hotel in their ballroom; there were TV
cameras everywhere and lots of special effects. The model for the
illusion was quite afraid of the fre element. I had arrived in the
Big Apple with my male assistant, none other than Brett Daniels.
We set up the gear and walked the model, the producer, and the
director through it. Everything seemed fne. They did my hair,
too, and applied ghastly makeup to me. This was going to be
some sort of Bride of the Devil scene. Guess who I played! I
remember walking out of the hotel on Broadway before showtime
with this gruesome countenance. But, it was New York; nobody
noticed me.
As we neared the time for the sequence, they carpeted the stage
with fog and we rolled the gassed up illusion to its position.
Then all the lights went out due to some power failure in the
ballroom. We were told to freeze in place. It took many minutes
to get rolling again with the lights back on. The model implored
me to keep talking to her (I had no lines and wasnt miked). I did,
softly saying, Everythings alright. Youre safe. Dont worry.
The problem was that l-o-n-g wait. All the fuel had evaporated
away and some of the CO2 fog had gotten into the illusion as well.
When I lit the torch it sputtered a bit, but not much of anything
ignited inside the illusion. I fnally dropped the torch in so thered
be some fre. I recall Brett and I quickly packed up, found some
Popeyes chicken, and left Manhattan the same night, motoring
back to Wisconsin.
This column wont be useful to many readers, but I hope it
offers an interesting lesson. Its a sensational illusion that folks do
talk about. I dont think they fgure it out. Theyre stunned when
shes gone and doesnt show back up.
If youd like to add your own opinion, or memories of seeing
someone perform this, Id be delighted to hear from you.
David A Seebach
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 25
Burning Alive - 2003
26 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
By Steve Marshall
I Left My Cards at Home
His full name is Hiromasa Fukai,
but most magicians know him simply as
Fukai, the happy-go-lucky Japanese
magician who is well known at magic
conventions and gatherings around the
world. Whether performing, lecturing, or
demonstrating his original effects behind
his dealers table, he exudes his brand of
happy magic to all.
Originally from Osaka, Japan, Fukais
love for magic began when he was just
eight years old and his uncle made one
of his school pencils disappear. When his
uncle wouldnt tell him where the pencil
went, young Fukai decided to be patient
and wait until he saw his uncle take off his
jacket. As soon as the coast was clear he
went and looked inside the jacket and dis-
covered an elastic pull with a clip to hold
a pencil. I made my own gimmick, put
it in my Japanese school uniform jacket,
and wore it to school the next day. I made
a pencil vanish and the kids exclaimed,
Wow, Fukai. It gave me a good feeling.
The amazing thing about Fukai is
that he still has the curiosity that he had
as an eight-year-old boy. Whenever I am
in Osaka, I love hanging out and going
shopping with him. Although we have
never been into a proper magic shop
together he makes every shop seem
like it has the potential to be a magic
shop especially a toy store, where he is
constantly picking up toys (he loves elec-
tronic ones), trying to fgure out ways that
he can modify them to make them into a
magic trick. One of his best selling items, a
toy police car with fashing lights and loud
siren sounds that go off when it is rolled
over a selected playing card, started out in
a toy store; after Fukais modifcations, it
became a product for magic shops.
Fukai is also well known for being one
half of the award-winning magic team of
Fukai and Kimika. Fukai and his lovely
wife Kimika have presented their amazing
parasol act around the world. They won
second place in general magic at FISM
in Madrid, Spain, in 1985, and have also
appeared on numerous television shows,
including the famous Paul Daniels Magic
Show in England. At this time the London
Times praised Fukai and Kimika as an
original magician who has never been seen
Today Fukai has his own studio in
Osaka where he teaches young, up-and-
coming magicians and designs and creates
his own original magic products. He is
also well known these days as an advisor
for magic conventions and shows around
Asia. He is also a sought-after judge and
advisor for the larger magic competitions.
As I write this Fukai is in China
working on some new products. Fukai
shows no signs of slowing down; he will
continue to spread his brand of happy
magic around the world for many years
to come.
This is a fun and novel way to show
both of your hands empty and then produce
several pieces of paper money instantly
without the use of any gimmicks.
To do the routine that follows you will
need three pieces of paper currency that
are about the same size; one piece should
be from a different country than the
other two. I will use a one-thousand yen
(Japanese) bill and two twenty-dollar (US)
Begin with the single, odd bill and fold
it into a Z shape. Dont do it proportion-
ately; you want the two outer sections to
be slightly longer than the middle section
so the edges will stick out a bit. Photo 1
shows the Z fold and Photo 2 shows how
the edge sticks out, about the width of the
border. (If you fip the bill over, the edge
on the other side should stick out about the
same width.)
Now the bill will be Z folded once
again from top to bottom in the same
fashion so that the top and bottom portions
are slightly longer than the center portion
(Photo 3). If you pick up the bill and
examine it in this folded condition, you
will discover that it is very easy to fnd the
top two corners of the bill; if you pull them
outwards at the same time, the bill will
completely pop open.
Now place the two twenty-dollar bills
together and fold them, as one, into the
same style packet.
Place the two packets into your right
hand in fnger palm position, with the
single folded bill on top and the doubly-
folded bills underneath (Photo 4).
Photo 3
Photo credit: Sandy Chang
Photo 1
Photo 2
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 27
Bring your hands up with their backs
toward the audience as you say, I fnd it
very interesting that in different countries
and in different cultures around the world,
there are different hand gestures to convey
the meaning for money.
Bring the left hand up to your left side,
palm towards the audience; at the same
time bring your right hand up and place
the right fngertips (being careful not
to fash the bills) behind your left hand.
Touch the palm of your left hand with your
right thumb (Photo 5). Say, In Africa,
the thumb scratches the palm of the hand
to signify money. (Suit actions to words
here and move your thumb back and forth
across your palm.)
In Hong Kong, it is done like this.
Bring both of your hands out in front of
you as in Photo 6 and run your thumbs
back and forth across the tops of your fn-
gertips. In Japan the hands are placed
together like this. Bring both your hands
up with the palms pressed together as in
Photo 7.
But the most important thing is that
you get the money! As you say these
words, point your fngertips towards the
audience, separating them a bit at the base
of the palms. Insert your thumbs into your
hands so that you can peel the single bill
out (Photo 8). Find the corners and pop it
open on the word money. (Photo 9 shows
your view with the doubly-folded bills
back in right fnger palm position.) Drop
the bill onto the table.
You can now bring your hands back
together and bring the second packet into
position as you say, The great thing
about knowing these international hand
gestures is that you can get money
wherever you need it. Open the double
bill as one and say, And as much as you
need! As you say this last line, slide the
second bill up from behind the front one
with your thumbs, showing you have just
doubled your money! (Photos 10-12 show
this last sequence.)
Note, when Fukai does this routine, he
uses two ffty-dollar bills at the end. When
he frst opens the two ffties as one he says,
In America I can even get a hundred
bucks! When someone points out that its
only a ffty, he spreads the two bills apart
and says, No, its a hundred! (This is a
very nice fnale for the routine but, unfor-
tunately, I could only fnd the two twenties
here in Japan to take the photos!)
I think that a lot of people will fnd uses
for the way the money is folded, making it
easy to open quickly. You could even start
with a single play-money bill and then
produce two real bills, or just use it as a
means to produce a few bills, rapidly, one
at a time. The thing I like most about this
routine is the very logical way (demon-
strating the hand gestures for money) that
you are able to ostensibly show both hands
empty without calling attention to the fact
that you are doing so. Also, since there
are no gimmicks involved, it lends itself
greatly to impromptu performances. Have
fun playing around with this one!
Photo 8
Photo 9
Photo 6
Photo 5
Photo 4
Photo 10
Photo 11
Photo 12
Photo 7
Blocking. Thats a word and idea that
we dont often see in effect tutorials, yet it
can be vital to making a mediocre routine
into a memorable miracle.
Blocking is not just a football
procedure, it is also a theatrical term. It
basically means where you stand and at
what time you and your fellow actors stand
or move during a performance.
Many stage actors will not really learn
their lines until they have gone through
the blocking rehearsals, during which the
director tells them to cross stage left or
to cheat to center. These moments of
movement during a scene make it much
easier for the actors to learn the lines
because they have tangible anchors
spread about the stage. For example, they
know that they need to say the line about
Aunt Molly while they are walking toward
the freplace.
Blocking is also very important in sales
situations. Lets pretend you are attempting
to sell a home security system to a young
couple. You are in their home after doing
an evaluation or estimate; when it is time
to seal the deal all three of you gather and
sit at the circular dining room table.
Here at the dining room table is where
you are going to make the offer and (you
hope) win the sale. As a wise salesperson,
you will have them sitting side by side with
you across the table.
Many tableside sales have been lost
because the two spouses are seated across
from each other with the salesperson
inadvertently becoming the apex of the
triangle. This creates the unfortunate
Ping Pong Scenario, which means that
while the salesperson is trying to maintain
eye contact with both people, he is moving
his head in a no direction.
One of the frst lessons in sales is to
build a yes momentum. Shaking your
head in the up and down yes movement
as you ask them questions that you know
they will answer yes to makes it easier
for them to give you that fnal yes at the
end. Swinging your head back and forth
in a no motion doesnt just cut down
on the yes momentum you hope to
create, it also causes you to miss out on
the non-verbal facial expressions that your
two prospective clients could be making
outside of your feld of vision. You may
totally miss an eye roll or a smile, or even
a thumbs-up gesture.
With all of this in mind, blocking should
not be ignored as an important element
in both theatre and sales. Therefore, as
mystery artists who deal with an art that
rests so much of its power on misdirection,
blocking should be a vital part of our
process of creating effects.
In a theatre production, one character is
told to go one way and stand somewhere,
while another character stays put. Maybe a
third character goes from standing in front
of a chair to sitting down upon it. Blocking
isnt just about moving across the stage.
It can also be about different levels while
standing in the same spot. Maybe an actor
will be asked to stand straight up out of his
or her chair at a moment in the script. A
blocking direction could also be something
as simple as leaning over a table with the
palms placed openly upon it.
As mystery artists, we are usually
blocking for one. That is to say, in scripting
and blocking, we only really consider
where we are going to cross the stage, or
turn to the right, or gesture, or point to a
prop or area of focus.
Most magic and mentalism perfor-
mances involve having volunteers or
spectators from the audience join the
performer on stage. The participants stage
movements should be an important part of
the performers blocking, because with
appropriate instruction and management,
they can become ersatz actors following
your stage direction in real time, thereby
creating the stage picture that best delivers
the fnal moment and message of your
We have all seen a stage or parlor effect
performed by one of our fellow brethren
during which we thought, Ah, that was
nice, but it would look so much better if
that spectator was a little more to the right
and the other spectator was just a little
more center stage.
In addition to scripting and our own
personal stage movements, little things
like proper stage placements of our new
friends can transform a cute routine into
a miracle.
I would like to offer some simple
stage blocking nomenclature that I hope
will be of beneft to you whether you are
performing a Cards Across routine for
your host and hostess or meeting with a
C.E.O. and event organizer while offering
your services for their upcoming holiday
Stage Left: A common stage direction
is for the performer to cross stage left.
This simply means that wherever you are
on stage, you walk to your left. Extreme
stage left would be the very left edge of
the performance space.
Stage Right: The same thing but in the
opposite direction.
Upstage: This refers to the back of the
stage, or towards the back curtain.
Downstage: Again, this is the opposite
direction, so you would move towards the
audience, or toward the front of the stage,
close to the audience.
Here is some fun trivia that will help
you to remember Upstage/Downstage.
The theater stages in the beginning of the
twentieth century were raked, meaning
they sloped downwards from the back
of the stage to the front. This gave the
audience a better view of the entire stage.
And as great of an idea as it was, the older
or more portly the performer was the more
diffcult it became to saunter nonchalantly
around on what could be used these days as
a skateboard ramp. In fact, the idea of the
raked stage totally killed that wonderful
underground play Grannys Special
Chair and the Lovely Family of Legless
Somewhere along the way, some
28 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
By Don Theo III
The Dotted Line
brilliant stage architect came up with the
idea of raking the audience members
seats and leaving the stage fat. And there
you have the origin of stadium seating.
(My friend Mick Ayres told me that card
magicians will often rake the table by
using a couple of books to raise the back
legs a little; this allows the audience to
easily identify cards lying fat on the
While the terms Ive included are
quite rudimentary, one can probably sense
that they can provide the performer with
pretty specifc movement architecture. An
example would be The actor says x line
and then crosses up stage left. Set pieces
and design can offer additional assistance
to make the movements more precise.
For instance, after a particular moment,
a performer is directed to cross up stage
left to the bookshelf.
There are legions of books on the
subject of stagecraft and books on such a
subject should be an important part of any
performers libraryespecially if you are
directing yourself or if you are blocking an
intimate performance.
There are a two other pieces of blocking
verbiage to briefy mention. These are not
used much in modern theatre, but will
come in handy with what we do.
House Left: Think of it this way, its to
the left from the audiences point of view
(and thus is the same as Stage Right).
House Right: To the right from the
audiences point of view.
Its rare for theatre actors to concern
themselves with house directions
because they normally remain on stage,
well in defense of the fourth wall. However,
as variety performers, we often do fnd
ourselves offstage and among the audience
members, so these terms are worth noting.
This information applies to all in
this business; the performer who stands
beside a restaurant table has to block his
movements, even though his feet remain
stationary. A good knowledge of tradi-
tional stage direction vocabulary serves as
an effective shorthand when blocking out
Now let us put this information to use.
I have both good and bad news for
you. The good news is that this effect is
powerful, because it builds on something
your guests already believe in before you
have even introduced it to them. The bad
news is, you wont be able to do it at every
booking but you will be glad to have it in
your arsenal. This is ideal for private house
parties or for when an acquaintance asks
you to do something.
Gathered around with a gaggle of
attentive companions, the conversation
lends itself to the powerful psychic
abilities shared between pets and
their owners. While talking about the
connection between pets and their owners,
you hand a pen and pad to the owner of
an animal. I fnd this works best with
cats and cat owners. Ask her to think of
something she can draw that might have
some signifcance to Millie (which, for
explanation purposes, is the name of the
helpers cat).
The pet owner is asked to make the
drawing so that nobody else can see the
image, and then to crumple it up before
placing it in a pocket on her person.
It is clear that there is no way anybody
but the original artist can know what has
been drawn. The pet owner/artist is asked
to take the feline into a separate room,
unfurl the pocketed paper, and show it to
Millie, making sure she gets a good fve
seconds of eye contact with the image.
While she is doing so, you tell a couple
of quick stories about dogs, parrots, and
such to the rest of those assembled. Its
a great idea to ask those around you to
tell a story of their own pet/owner eerie
experiences. Trust me; if they have a pet,
then they have a story.
After a few minutes, Millie and the
human reenter the room. Ask the owner
to hold Millie up so that you can make
eye contact with her. After about ffteen
seconds (seen the Notes at the end of this
write-up) of pure silence, you pick up a
piece of paper and draw an image, which
you then fold or crumple up and set aside.
The pet owner is asked to bring her
drawing out of her pocket and open it up.
Your own drawing is opened up by one
of the other spectators; they are shown to
match perfectly.
First, a brief method description, then a
little bit of extra ninja work.
The method employs the use of an
impression device.
Put yourself in the shoes of a willing
participant or volunteer. If you draw
something, put it in your pocket, and
then, after a few seconds of hemming
and hawing, a performer duplicates your
drawing, are you going to think it was a
psychic experience? Maybe, but most
likely you will think that in some way
the performer was able to see what you
drew. However, if there is this big, wide
presentational chasm that involves a cat
placed in isolation, then the heat is drawn
away from the procedure.
There are many great impression
devices that can be used. Likewise, many
other peek methods can be employed.
Personally, I choose to use an impression
device because I never make physical
contact with the original drawing. My
favorite device is John Riggss Beautiful
Butterfy Notepad, which is an innocuous
memo pad. When handled well, it escapes
any notion of suspicion.
There are several DIY impression
devices out there that you can fnd. The
main thing to keep in mind is that it should
in no way look like a prop. So dont pull
it out of a velour bag or have it bedazzled
with plastic store gems.
The rest, as they say, is acting and
This is a great example of using your
spectators as willing actors who adhere to
your stage direction. You have Millie and
the artist exit stage left. You remain with the
rest of the spectators in the audience. This
is a good time to engage them by asking
them to tell about strange experiences they
have had with their pets. If they are not too
talkative, you will fnd a good resource for
material at the end of this article. Either
way, you have plenty of time, thanks to
your blocking, to take another piece of
paper from the pad while getting the peek
you need to complete the effect. This is
where personal blocking comes into play.
No need to rush it. (Remember, you are the
To add a level of intrigue and mystery
to the routine, before Millie is sent off with
her keeper, its fun to ask questions that
make it seem as though you are doing a
psychological reading on the feline before
sending it away. Fun questions I like to use
are: Is Millie active or is she more laid
back? Does she prefer chicken or tuna?
When was the last time she dismissed a
male suitor? How old is she? How long
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 29
has she had insomnia? You can play these
questions seriously or for comic relief,
based on your character and the venue.
Heres something that a mentor of
mine brought to my attention. The pen
that you use for the drawings can be one
of the common disposable ballpoint/biro
pens. Its an easy thing to keep the cap
(with a little bit of loose catnip within it)
on the non-writing end. Upon leaving
the engagement, fnd an opportunity to
uncap the top and sprinkle the catnip into
a corner. Well after your departure, you
may get a phone call asking what you did
to their previously calm kitty cat. (Based
on personal experience, this works about
three times out of fve, so you probably
should not try it.)
Obviously, you do not have to use a
cat. Ive used iguanas, dogs, goldfsh, and
an ex-wife. Another thing Ive been doing
lately is asking the artist/pet owner to hold
the animal up to a mirror and show it the
mirror image. Of course when I do this, I
draw a reverse of the image for the reveal.
Whether or not you ever use Cats Eye
as originally conceived, I hope this helps
to give you inspiration in how blocking,
whether traditional or tangential, can
help to add countless levels to your next
experience in performance.
Notes: One last thing, for the brave.
Before even picking up a pen, I often spend
a good ninety seconds staring into the cats
eyes after asking for silence from everyone
present. This is a moment worth building.
They are thinking, There is no way he is
actually doing this.
And then you do.
If you are looking for some strong
evidentiary anecdotes to push the
conversation along, there are some very
intriguing pet-psychic anecdotes within
the works of Rupert Sheldrake, especially
his book Dogs That Know When Their
Owners are Coming Home. This book
is a treasure trove of short case studies
of animals that seem to have exhibited
psychic experiences between themselves
and their owners.
30 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
The Dotted Line
We Made Your Job a Little Easier
Go to www.mum-magazine.com and click on Easy Report Submission. Youll be taken to a page
with a form that makes submitting your assembly report a breeze. Simply fll in the required felds and
paste in your report from your word processor. Upload a photo and a caption if are submitting one.
Then hit Submit Form. Youre done, and your report comes to us in format that makes our job a lot
easier, too.
North Atlantic
Award of Excellence
Presented to Compeer Alan
Ace Greenberg
On February 11, 2014, distinguished compeer Alan
Ace Greenberg was presented with the North Atlantic
Region Award of Excellence by RVP Eric DeCamps.
The award was given in grateful appreciation of his
forty-three years of service to The Society of American
Magicians, his advancement of the Art of Magic
for his twenty years of publishing the most highly
respected books in the feld that document for future
generations the work of many of magics greatest
artists, and for his innumerable philanthropic
Congratulations to Alan Ace Greenberg for
exemplifying the S.A.M. mission statement and spirit.
Exposed & Fearless
PNP Vinny Grosso previewed his new show Exposed
& Fearless in Saratoga, New York, on March 3, 2014.
The show is based on his book project of the same name
that he successfully launched through Kickstarter.com.
Exposed & Fearless ofers a diferent slant on a magic
performance. The routines are based on friends of
Vinny who really do some amazing things not tricks
at all. The show also explores common fears and how
they can be used to motivate rather than deter from
accomplishing something really great.
The New York City premiere on March 21, 2014 at the
Gene Frankel Theatre was sold out through Kickstarter;
two additional shows were added on March 22, 2014.
To learn more about the book and the show go to
Photo Credit: Mr. D Photography/Krest Winchester
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 31
This has probably happened to every
performer who travels by air. You get
off the plane and head down to baggage
claim. All the passengers on your fight
get their bags except for you. Your bag is
lost somewhere in the land of misplaced
luggage. Your show is in eight hours and
you have no props. What are you going to
do now?
There have been two times in my
career when I have arrived at my destina-
tion and my show equipment did not. The
frst time this happened to me was when I
was working for Norwegian Cruise Lines
in Hawaii. I got to the ship and, although
my clothes bag had arrived, my show
stuff did not. It was one of my frst times
working for this particular cruise line and
I wanted to make a good impression, so I
was in a panic. Luckily, my clothes arrived
so I didnt have to worry about that part.
I just had to come up with a show but
not just a show, an entertaining and varied
forty-fve-minute performance that would
leave a good impression. On cruise ships,
you live or die by the passenger comment
cards. So I had to deliver a good show.
The second time it happened was in
Italy. Jenny and I went to do a show on
Princess Cruise Lines and none of our
checked baggage showed up. We waited at
the airport for our bags to come in until we
could wait no longer and fnally had to go
to the ship. We were in Livorno, Italy, with
no clothes but the ones on our backs, and
no props to do a show. The next day we
had to search around the small Italian town
where we ported to fnd clothes to wear.
This was not an easy task since European
sizes are much different than US sizes. We
grabbed the essentials. I bought a black
jacket, dress shoes, a little black dress
for Jenny and the necessary toiletries and
make-up to clean ourselves up and get us
stage ready. I wasnt as freaked out about
the act because this was the second time
this had happened and (having learned
from my experience with Norwegian in
Hawaii) I had the jump on putting together
a guerrilla magic show. Ill tell you what I
did so if you fnd yourself in this situation
on the road, maybe you can use these ideas
for yourself.
My hunting and foraging began. The
frst priority was to get my hands on a few
decks of cards. If all else failed, I knew I
could do forty-fve minutes with a deck of
cards. If I used varied tricks like Six Card
Repeat, Cards Across, Torn and Restored
Card, card in mouth, multiple selection,
and Ambitious Card, it would at least be a
decent show. But this was a big stage with
a thousand people; since Im not Ricky Jay,
an all card show would probably have
played fat. I began to think about what
really entertaining routines I had in my
repertoire that I could construct on the
fy with things I found in my surround-
A trip to the medical center got me
some fesh-colored medical tape where,
when combined with some heavy duty
aluminum foil from the ships galley, made
for a rather crude but effective thumb tip
for the Cigarette in Coat Routine. A rubber
glove served as a rubber cover for my glass
production I do at the end of the routine. I
pull a full glass of water out of the sleeve,
which makes a nice fnish to the Cigarette
in Coat.
The onboard liquor store was able to
loan me a Crown Royal Bag, the front desk
gave me some envelopes, and the ship's
galley produced a lemon and a table knife,
so I was able to do the Steve Spill version
of the Bill in Lemon combined with
Seabrookes Bank Night. This became the
heart of the show, because I knew I could
get a lot of time out of the comedy byplay
with the spectator. This Bill in Lemon
bit eventually evolved into my Final Cut
I also used the envelopes from the front
desk and two souvenir decks of playing
cards to construct a version of Zens Cards
Across. This routine became a regular
part of my show and a few years later I
marketed it as Super Fly.
With a linen table napkin, a twisted wire
coat hanger, and a giant ball of aluminum
foil I was able to construct a rather nice
Zombie ball. Since I had my music tracks
with me, I could do my Zombie routine. A
trip to the coffee shop was able to provide
me with two glasses that I modifed with
a pair of scissors borrowed from the front
desk. With the soundtrack I had and
these cups I was able to perform my Shoe
Business routine.
Thanks to Bob Cassidys Memorized
Deck routine, I was able to play a really
big stand-up mentalism memory experi-
ment segment with cards. This type of
trick with its build and pacing always gets
a good reaction and made a nice closer to
the show.
I fgured I might as well tell the truth
and get a little automatic sympathy from
the audience. I walked out on stage and
proceeded to tell them that my stuff had
not arrived and that I couldnt do any
magic for them. They laughed and thought
I was kidding. I had to work to convince
them that this wasnt a set up. I then pulled
out three oranges and said, Instead of
magic, Ill be doing some juggling. I
proceeded to juggle the three oranges and
said, Lets just try some magic with things
I can borrow from you guys. I was off and
running. I borrowed a jacket, a shoe, and
some money; it looked like this was the
way the show was supposed to go. They
thought it was all part of the act. I couldnt
believe how much reaction I was getting
with hardly any props at all. And at the end
of the show I received a standing ovation.
I learned a valuable lesson out of these
two experiences. Always bring a change
of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on
baggage, and even though you may not be
able to carry all your props for your show
on the plane in the main cabin, you should
carry some things with you that you can
use to bust out a forty-fve-minute show if
need be. This is why I now carry what I
call my emergency show kit. Check out
next months column to fnd out whats in
32 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
With Scott Alexander, Puck,
Jenny Alexander, and Adam Ace
Hit The Road
A Concept for Your
Magic (Part 1)
[This column is an adaptation of my essay
about TheSurvivalVersion that appeared
as chapter 16 of Gift Magic: Performances
that Leave People with a Souvenir, edited
by Lawrence Hass, Theory and Art of
Magic Press, 2010, pages 135-141.]
I am lazy. I like to binge watch
my favorite TV shows with a nice cup
of hot tea and cookies. Thats highly
inconvenient, since I also have a strong
desire to perform at a high level. And
thats not going to happen without turning
the TV off and taking action. I know Im
not the only one who suffers from this type
of procrastination. In the early 90s, this
really started to bother me and I developed
a strategy that helped me to overcome my
laziness. I called it TheSurvivalVersion.
It will help you to dream as if anything
is possible, which will get you highly
excited. You wont compromise that vision
by dialing it down. Instead, you will retain
the essence and become highly inventive
in order to execute an essential version
of your ultimate vision with whatever is
available to you now.
I will frst explain the general idea.
After that I will go into applying the
strategy to magic. Next month, in part two,
I will offer you a description and some
illustrations of my SurvivalVersion of the
Torn and Restored Card plot.
The Concept
Many people dont dare to dream up
their lives, and so they cannot live their
dreams. Im not talking about huge dreams,
like putting a man on Saturn or anything
like that. Im talking about events you
wholeheartedly want to happen in your life.
We often shut down the process of freely
fantasizing about what we would love to see
happen. Even before we allow ourselves to
envision what we truly want to happen, we
start to worry about what we would need to
make it come true. We start to get worked
up about a lack of knowledge, skills, or
talent. Or were afraid that we may not have
the funds, time, or energy to achieve our
goals. All of these things are only a means
to an end. TheSurvivalVersion stimulates
you to focus on the end result and act on
it instantly without worrying about the
ideal conditions. It combines two powerful
creative principles:
Urgency is the mother of all invention.
Limitation is the mother of all
TheSurvivalVersion forces you to stick
to your essential vision and make it come
true using whats already there. Here are
the steps you take:
1) Vision. Imagine having a hundred
billion dollars, or living in a world where
money is no issue whatsoever. Or imagine
walking through a magical garden where
every fantasy immediately materializes.
Then create what Ive started to call a
valuable memory of your own future. This
means that you fantasize about a moment
in time in the future for which you truly
long, for something that you really want
to happen. Create a vivid picture in your
mind. If you dont feel an inner urgency,
adapt your vision. Delete anything you
dont want to be part of it. Add anything
that makes it more interesting and exciting.
2) Essence. In your mind, distill the
essential ingredients in this movie or
picture. What aspects must be present?
What properties cannot be omitted? These
essentials can be material in nature such as
a specifc object, a color, or a shape. But
also think of other kinds of properties such
as a certain atmosphere, a specifc person,
an emotion, or anything you feel cannot be
left out. Limit it to fve or seven items or
you will lose focus.
3) Action TheSurvivalVersion. Create
a micro-version of this vision in your actual
life. Include all of the ingredients that you
discovered in Step 2. Try not to spend
money. Try to do it immediately. Look
around you and force yourself to use what
is already there. Be inventive. Improvise.
Find a way to prototype your own future
into your present life.
4) Learn. What worked? What didnt?
Did the action change your vision?
Start planning the next action including
everything you learned.
Two Examples
Example 1: Suppose you crave for
a vacation. Start imagining the ideal
vacation. Maybe you imagine going to
Barbados. You see yourself having great
dinners, meeting interesting people, having
a couple of days at the beach, reading a
good book, keeping your own schedule.
Once you have done that, look at these
pictures in your mind and ask yourself:
What cannot be omitted? What elements
do I really need to be there for it to be the
ideal vacation? Maybe you feel that having
time on your hands is essential, and also
reading a good book. Maybe you think that
wearing khaki shorts will add substantially
to your overall experience. Now create
a SurvivalVersion of that vacation. Plan
a day and a night off, and if you cannot
do that, plan half a day and a night. Put
on your shorts, pick up a good book, and
turn off your cell phone, computer, and
anything else that could possibly interfere
with your free space.
This may very well satisfy you. Your
vision of spending a whole vacation may
have just symbolized your need for some
time off. Or maybe its just a pre-phase
of really spending a couple of weeks in
Example 2: Someone told me, I want
to spend more time with my kids. I said,
Pretend you have a zillion dollars. What
would you love to do with them? After a
while he said, I would like to spend one
night in the Sahara with them. I did it once.
I asked, What is essential in this
image? He said, My kids need to be
there; the sand and the starry night; our
family atmosphere of playfulness. Oh, and
a few minutes of deep silence. I remember
that being very impressive.
Now he needed to create a
SurvivalVersion keeping these elements
in place, so I asked him, What could
34 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
By George Parker
For Your Consideration
you do over the next few days? He
answered, Well, I suppose I could go to
the beach. I started to limit him, But
what if I wouldnt allow you to leave your
house? I could do something around the
sandbox. I pushed him even further, And
what if you had to create this experience in
your house? He paused and then said, I
could pick up some sand at Home Depot,
put up the Christmas lights, and create the
right atmosphere for the kids.
I told him, Dont think this is too
weird. You will have achieved your initial
goal in a very memorable way. And you
can always decide to take it to the next
level. Or use this technique to actually do
something fun with your kids regularly.
A SurvivalVersion may seem trivial at
frst view. Im not going to pretend Im
in the Sahara while Im in my sandbox.
How childish! Or, I really need my
vacation and Im not going to take a day
off and pretend Im in Barbados! You
must understand that TheSurvivalVersion
allows you to think big and take action
without compromising your vision. It helps
you to get real with what you truly desire.
That usually generates much more energy
than sitting around whining about what
you cant do.
Creation and Reaction
To clarify this just a bit more, consider
the difference between a reactive state
of mind and a creative state of mind.
Reaction and Creation have the exact
same letters. But the slight difference
in the order of the letters amounts to an
enormous difference in how we live and
For example, a reactive sailor will frst
listen to the weather forecast; then based
upon what he hears he will then determine
his goals. But a creative sailor will envision
his goal frst, then listen to the weather
forecast because it will provide him with
information he needs to determine his
In a reactive state of mind we look at
the world as a collection of unchangeable
facts that have to be coped with as they
come. But in a creative state of mind we
see the world as the ever-transforming
result of our individual and collective
ideas and actions.
A reactive mind looks at ones life and
perceives facts. A creative mind looks
at ones life and sees possibilities. A
reactive mind generates ideas about the
future based on past and current reality.
A creative mind generates ideas based on
what it wants to be real. And it trusts that
those very visions will start a learning
process that will make those visions come
true. Both types of awareness look at the
same world but have a completely different
experience of it.
In a reactive state of mind you will
always need compromises because you
are very attached to current reality. But
in a creative state of mind you will keep
inventing new realities, including rein-
venting yourself, until it coincides with
your vision.
TheSurvivalVersion of something, of
course, fnds its roots in the creative state
of mind.
TheSurvivalVersion to
Your Magic
I frst published TheSurvivalVersion
concept in my Big Book of Creativity
(published by Archipel, 2004); it is also
discussed in The Creation Game (2008), a
card game I created to help people shape
their lives in the way they want. But Ive
been applying it to my magic from the very
beginning. Here is the application:
1) Vision. Visualize the ideal routine or
show for you. Imagine what kind of magic
you would perform if there were no limits,
no technical problems, and no budget
limitations. This doesnt mean to imagine
yourself as a real magician; I suppose you
could go for that kind of a grand fantasy,
but for me, thats not much of a creative
trigger. Instead, I try to think smaller and
more specifc; for example, I want to mess
with the minds of my audience in a playful
way. Or I want to create a suspenseful act,
or do a hilarious routine and juxtapose it
with a creepy one. Or I want to invent a
David Lynch kind of storyline. Visualize
whatever you like, but keep fantasizing
until you are truly excited about it. It can
be a routine, a whole show, a single effect,
an outft, a prop, or a method.
2) Essence. Just as a true alchemist,
distill the essential ingredients. What is
essential in this routine, effect, or show
that you have envisioned? This is not an
easy question to answer. The nature of
the essential ingredients may vary. And
there will be a different set of essentials
in every project. Also, after having done
a SurvivalVersion, your idea of what
is essential will develop. When I came
up with my frst theater show, The Fifth
Element, the effects, props, music, and
lighting were not essential. However, the
non-linear structure was, as well as the
goal that it would be a one-man show. In
another project Im currently developing,
the challenge is to use one deck of cards;
every effect should have a different
premise and use the cards in a different
way; and I shall use progressively fewer
Here is a list of some considerations that
may help you determine what is essential:
the way it affects the audience (emotion-
ally, mentally, physically)
a specifc prop or quality of a prop
(weight, size, shape, etc.)
the number of people for whom you
should be able to perform it
a method you really want to use
sound and music
a stage picture
a certain category of effects (produc-
tions, vanishes, transformations, etc.).
You can use the works of Sam Sharpe or
Dariel Fitzkee as guides.
a specifc story you want to tell
3) Action TheSurvivalVersion. Focus
on the essential aspects of your vision
and create something you can do/perform
within twenty-four hours. For The Fifth
Element I did a card routine that followed
the non-linear structure I had envisioned.
Further, I used a bunch of effects from
my existing repertoire, but I disrupted
their previous structure. And for the
all card show, I created a short routine
including several different premises with
cards. When you are stuck and start to
rethink the whole thing, be aware that this
is an often-used and well-camoufaged
procrastination strategy. It appears you
are moving forward but most of the time
you are not. Doing is a great way of
thinking. Once you have created your frst
SurvivalVersion youll see why.
4) Learn. You will get reactions and
new thoughts based on Step 3. Use this
feedback and everything you learned
to take your act closer to your vision. If
everything went well, rehearse your act
until it overlaps with your vision. If there
were parts that didnt work out as you
hoped, refne or redefne your vision. Or
refne/redefne your next action.
Next month I will describe an illustrated
SurvivalVersion of the Torn and Restored
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 35
few years back, my wife and I were sitting in a hip,
stylish theater in Chicago, waiting for the show to
begin. The show was produced by and starred Chicago
mentalist Christopher Carter. The stage was flled
with a sprinkling of interesting props; posters of
various mentalists through the ages were hung behind,
like a backdrop to the show. Christopher entered the
performing area and orchestrated a fast-paced, multi-phased
mind reading revelation that used various people from the
audience. At its conclusion, he held the audience in the palm
of his hand.
The show was a whirlwind of impressive feats. Throughout
the show he used the posters as a road map as he explained the
history of mentalism. His command of the stage and his well
placed humorous quips endeared him to the audience. As the
show progressed, something went awry. A spectator, an elderly
man, seemed unsure of the card he selected. Christopher tried
to salvage the mans memory, but to no avail. Would this piece
end in failure?
Christopher smiled and reached inside his jacket and pulled
out a stack of envelopes. Assuring the man and the audience
that reading minds is not an exact science, he continued to
36 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Messes with Your Mind
By Christian Painter
work with the befuddled gentleman. Christopher kept the
moment light; if he was feeling any pressure it never showed
on his face. He joked with the man; unexpectedly, what looked
like failure ended with booming applause a demonstration of
a professional at work.
The show concluded with a skillful blindfold act. Christo-
pher stood in the middle of the stage; a strong beam of light
from above encircled his body. He eyes had been covered with
silver dollars, tape, and a blindfold. His fngers crunched up
paper and his mind probed the thoughts of the audience. My
wife and I could hear the audible gasps from the people around
us as he revealed their hidden secrets. At the show we attended
the audience gave him a standing ovation. But that was not the
Afterwards, Christopher had a question-and-answer session
with the audience. More than half of the crowd stayed for the
intriguing after-show. Christopher explained to the audience
that his interest in all things mind reading came from his youth
and watching his uncle playing cards:
I would stay up late to watch my uncle play poker; to put
it bluntly, he stunk! When he tried to bluff he would become
extremely nervous and twist his wedding band. When I
returned home, I described this to my mother. She, a therapist,
explained that what I was seeing was body language at work,
and she gave me some books on the subject. Here was born
my lifelong interest in psychology and human behavior, which
later led to an interest in hypnosis, and eventually my interest
in mentalism.
People peppered Christopher with all kinds of questions
and he expertly answered each one without committing to any
false notions; yet, he kept alive the mystery of what he just ac-
complished. It was very enjoyable to watch. At the time, my
wife and I did not know Christopher personally, so we simply
left without talking with him. However, we fully enjoyed the
A couple of years later, while working the college market,
we did get to meet and become friends with this dynamic
performer, mainly because he is a juggernaut in the college
entertainment feld. He has won numerous awards in his feld
and is considered one of the busiest acts in the college market.
He logs in over one hundred and ffty shows a year just in the
colleges alone. This does not include his corporate, speaking,
and theater engagements. However, how this all began might
surprise you.
Like nearly everybody of my generation, my interest in
magic was sparked by a TV Magic Set that came as a birthday
gift around the age of ten, he recalled. I was hooked. My
major passion as a teen was sleight of hand. I took the Chavez
course via correspondence and also was passionate about
close-up card magic. When I was in seventh grade my parents
took me to see The Amazing Kreskin. He lived up to his billing,
but I didnt think about mentalism for a long time after that.
My primary infuence in the feld of mentalism was Glenn
Falkenstein, whose blindfold act inspired me to develop my
Certain that I wanted to become a professional magician, I
took a double major in theater and business in college. Near the
end of my senior year, however, I started to have cold feet about
going pro, so I applied for a PhD program in Theater History
and Criticism, a track that would eventually lead to teaching
theater at the university level. I spent the next four years
pretending to be a scholar.
It became clear early on that academia wasnt the life for
me. I enjoyed being a graduate student, and my grades were
good, but my heart just wasnt in it. I began developing my
close-up magic and my stage show. My close-up repertoire
was primarily card magic. During this period I developed
and published a routine called Cold Fusion, which became the
inspiration for Doc Easons The Anniversary Waltz. My stage
show, however, was a mix of magic, mentalism, and hypnosis.
In 1990, weeks after fnishing my course work for my
doctorate, my wife and I packed up and moved to Chicago. I
had no intention of fnishing my dissertation. My only intent
was to go into magic.
At frst I performed close-up in restaurants and did my
mentalism show for social events, primarily sweet sixteen
parties and bar mitzvahs. This went on for three years, by
which point it had become clear to me that I much preferred
stage performance to close-up; I made the decision to move
into mentalism and hypnosis exclusively.
At frst, succeeding as a mentalist was extremely diffcult.
I did reasonably well with social events, but was too young to
be taken seriously as a corporate performer. So I put my greater
emphasis on the hypnosis show, and I kept very busy in the fair
and festival market. But my passion was mentalism; in 1994,
I made the decision to try to break into the college campus
This career move was about to change his life. Christopher
struggled the frst year. Going it alone and booking your own
shows is diffcult work, especially at a young age. During his
second year working the college market he was picked up by a
small agency. This helped him get more traction in the market.
He was also was starting to get noticed by other colleges and
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 37
other agencies. In his third year, he caught the eye of a major
agency. Under the larger agency he began to move at light
speed. He went from doing thirty shows a year to over one
hundred and ffty shows a year.
College campuses are a niche market, much like cruises.
The people who specialize in them tend to be not very well
known to the rest of the magic world. Added to this is the fact
that Christopher was simply too busy during those years to
participate in any fraternal organizations; as far as magicians
were concerned, he had dropped off the radar.
However, he didnt fall off the radar of the entertainment
world. In 1999 and 2000 he made a series of appearances on
daytime television shows, including The Martin Short Show
and fve appearances on the syndicated Donny and Marie
Show. He also began to be nominated yearly for awards within
the campus market. Over the next several years, he received the
Campus Activities Award for Entertainer of the Year, Best Male
Artist, Best Performing Artist, and Best Novelty Artist. Some
of these he received multiple times. In the campus market, each
campus rates the artists who have performed. Christopher has
been consistently ranked among the top fve novelty acts for
eighteen years.
For those unfamiliar with the college market, or for
performers who want to break into that market, the impression
may be that it is all glamour and spotlights. I asked Christopher
to discuss the realities of this career choice. Many performers
who think about getting into the college market imagine it to be
a glamorous feld, where every night they will be performing
in a beautiful theater, he replied. That does happen
occasionally. Most of the time, the venue will be a ballroom
within the student union. Sometimes the venue will be a
cafeteria or a gymnasium. Sometimes the audience will be in
front of you, but sometimes you may be nearly surrounded.
What I have learned from the diversity of performing situ-
ations is to be fexible. I have staged my show so that I can do
it surrounded if necessary, and one-handed if I need to use a
handheld mic with no stand. I have also learned to stage my
show so that I can expand to fll almost any available space.
Flexibility is important for another reason. College shows
are mostly booked and planned by a committee of students.
Not being professionals, they can easily be overwhelmed when
an act has a lot of technical requirements. My approach has
been to keep things as simple as possible and to always make
sure they understand that I can work with whatever they have.
As far as making a mentalism show play for a large audience,
there isnt only one secret. Many years ago, a friend told me
that the problem with mentalism is that there isnt anything to
look at. Around this same time, Jerry Seinfeld was selling out
huge theaters with his standup comedy performances. I recall
thinking, I bet Seinfelds audiences dont complain that the
problem with standup comedy is that theres nothing to look at.
So, while spectacle can be nice, the notion that you require it to
play to a large audience is just silly.
What you need, above all, is clarity. The audience has to
be able to understand exactly what is happening, even if they
cant see it. I try to write my script as if Im writing for radio.
My goal is to have every audience member be able to follow
the effects, even if their eyes are closed. I want them to be able
to see the show in their mind. This means that the effects must
be simple and direct, and that the language must be precise.
Its important to be both seen and heard, but if it came down
to a choice between the two, its more important for me to be
Because of his vast experience with the college market,
I wondered if Christopher had any insights about college
students as an audience. One of the great pleasures of
performing for students is that, unlike audiences at corporate
events, they are at your show because they want to be there, he
replied. One of the great challenges, though, is that they have
a shorter attention span than older audiences. As a result, my
show has become faster-paced than most mentalism shows. I
also tend to be lighter and funnier than most mentalists. Im not
a comedian, but Im far from a mysterious or serious presence
College students seem to have a built-in ability to sense
pretense. If they think you are trying to be somebody you
are not, or trying to act like one of them, theyll turn on you.
Because of this, I never use any stock lines or material, and I
make it clear that I understand, like, and respect young people,
but I dont try to be one of them.
In creating college shows, I fnd that I can be a lot more
theatrical than I can for corporate shows. College students are
willing to go on whatever journey I feel like taking them on.
Also, the humor can be a lot edgier for a college crowd than for
a corporate group.
On the other hand, college students seem to be almost
incapable of appreciating more subtle material. Its common,
for example, for a mentalist to deliberately get close rather
than dead on when revealing a thought. Supposedly this makes
you more believable. I fnd that it works for corporate groups,
but many times college students simply think you got it wrong.
However, the single biggest challenge in working for
college students is creating an authentic performing persona.
If your character is at all phony, if it looks to them like youre
38 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
trying to be something youre not, theyll rebel. In particular,
if youre an older performer, you cant act as if youre trying
to be one of the students. You cant use their slang, or dress in
their style of clothes. At the same time, they have to believe
that you understand and respect their culture.
As with any working pro, along with fnesse and polish
that are acquired there are also stories from the trenches. I
asked Chris if he had any particular favorites. The craziest
things that have happened to me onstage revolve around the
mind reading segment of my act. People secretly write down
personal details about their lives and I fgure out what theyre
thinking of. This is a classic mentalism effect, but I have a
unique spin on it. Anyhow, it always amazes me how personal
people are willing to get with their information. I know its
because they dont think Im going to fgure it out. One time I
accidentally exposed that a guy was cheating on his girlfriend.
I didnt mean to, but it ended up with both women aware of his
cheating and the guy running out of the room.
There have also been some rather touching experiences.
I once had a guy use my mindreading act as an opportunity
to propose to his girlfriend. He had written down, Im going
to propose. Without going into detail about how I knew that
(I have my own methods for this), I responded by having him
stand up and turn to his girlfriend. I said to her, I can tell you
two have a really close relationship. He has something really
important he wants to say to you right now. Happily, she said
After two decades of dominating the college market,
Christopher is ready to branch out, from performing to
speaking. I developed a lecture program for college campuses
called Student Body Language. In the wired world that
young people inhabit, nonverbal communication skills are
becoming increasing diffcult to acquire. My program
exposes college students to the importance of nonverbal
communication and teaches them how to use body language
to achieve success in their academic and social lives. My
speaking engagements now account for around a ffth of my
Christopher Carter is a thinker. Ive had many fascinating
conversations with Christopher over the years, ranging from
character development, show structure, billet work, to the best
vacation spots, best whiskey or scotch, and the best movies to
watch. You can bet that he will always have an angle that you
didnt think about, which is why I wanted him to take over the
mentalism column in M-U-M. It took some arm twisting, but I
think you will enjoy the many years of his experience and the
clarity of his thinking.
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 39
Christopher Carter
on Stage Mentalism
and the College Market
All good mentalism is character based, so under-
standing your character is by far the most important
thing in creating a stage mentalism show. Since the
best characters are simply extensions of the perform-
ers authentic personality, establishing your character
means understanding yourself, which is probably the
most diffcult thing of all to accomplish.
Obviously, anyone planning on performing pro-
fessionally should have a good grounding in the
classic mentalism texts, which including Annemanns
Practical Mental Effects, Corindas Thirteen Steps
to Mentalism, Bascom Joness Magick, Bruce Bern-
steins Unreal, and Bob Cassidys Art of Mentalism.
Competition in the college market is ferocious,
but thats probably true for every market. What
makes the college market unique, in my experience,
is that the buyers have seen all your competitors.
The members of the student activities committees
go to conferences where they watch scores of acts
showcase. As a result, they know the key material in
almost everybodys show. To succeed, you have to
offer something they havent seen before. You cant
go in with stock material and patter and expect to get
I have three suggestions. First, study what
material your competition is using, and then use
anything but those routines. I wish I had done that
earlier in my career; things would have progressed
much faster. Second, see your primary job as being
the personal entertainer for the committee that hires
you. If they like you, theyll have you back. Third, be
so easy to work with they wouldnt think of hiring
anybody else.
As far as marketing your show, the best marketing
is always word of mouth. Luckily, student activities
advisors talk to each other frequently about who
theyve had on campus and who was good; if you
consistently get great reviews, the word will spread.
Beyond that, attending conferences is the most
effective form of promotion. There are two major as-
sociations in the campus market: NACA and APCA.
Both of these associations hold a series of conferenc-
es during which student activities committees can
watch acts showcase; they can also meet the acts in a
tradeshow environment.
Having a good agent is also very important. Its
extremely diffcult to both tour and do the hard work
of selling yourself. Ive been with one of the top
agencies in the business for most of my career.
You should be aware that the conferences have
a real meat-market atmosphere. Word of mouth and
my agents marketing efforts have meant that I dont
have to go to the conferences very often. Ive been
very lucky in that regard.
I frst published this in the Linking Ring
in 1993, although I had been doing it for
quite a few years before that. The effect is
a design duplication in which nothing is
ever drawn. Instead, the design is merely
thought of. At its core is an elaborate
psychological force that occurs over two
stages, resulting in a drawing so detailed
that the psychological methods behind its
force are well hidden.
One virtue of this force is that it is, for
all intents, foolproof. It has never failed
me in performance, and I have used it
thousands of times. Consequently, it can be
effective both in real-time or as a pre-show
tool. Ill describe its use in real-time.
I take a small stack of business cards
(roughly twenty-fve) and draw geometric
shapes on them. I use as many different
shapes as I can think of, including paral-
lelograms, hexagons, rectangles, conic
sections, parabolas, and some I dont even
know the names of. Most important, I
draw a square on one card and an equilat-
eral triangle (with sides of the same length
as the sides of the square) on another. I
then stack the cards with the square on top,
the triangle beneath, and all the rest below
that. I should also mention that I draw all
the cards by hand, very roughly. I dont
like them to look pre-printed.
Pulling out the stack, I approach part
of the audience and demonstrate that Ive
drawn every geometric shape I could
think of on the back of my business cards.
Spreading the cards, I ask an audience
member to touch one. I break the stack at
that location and allow her to peek at, and
concentrate on, the image she selected.
In reality, I have forced the image of the
square via an under the spread force.
For those not familiar with card sleights, it
goes like this: As I spread the cards from
my left hand to my right, I start by dealing
off the top card (the square). The next card
goes on top of it, but separated a little
bit. All the remaining cards are spread
beneath this second card, in such a way
that the square remains beneath the spread.
When a card in the spread is touched, it is
a simple matter to break the stack at that
point, and square all the cards in the right
hand, allowing the square to remain under-
neath the entire stock. Then I lift the cards
in the right hand face on to the audience,
showing the square. If this doesnt make
sense, just ask somebody who does card
tricks to show you the force. Its really
simple! Having asked her to concentrate
on the image she has touched, I repeat the
procedure, this time forcing the triangle.
An important point is that I dont just
show the images to the one person who
touches the business cards; I actually show
them to the portion of the audience in
the general vicinity of my helper. Having
done so, I say to the group, Youre con-
centrating on some random shapes. Can
any of you put them together so they make
a picture of something? Something rec-
ognizable! Inevitably the frst person to
nod will have created a picture of a house.
Usually it isnt necessary to even say
something recognizable. Just look for
the frst person to respond without hesita-
tion. Thats the house!
I have the person who has responded
stand up, and I ask her to look at me and
imagine that there is a huge piece of paper
suspended in midair between the two of
us. She is to mentally draw her picture,
just as if she were a fve year old making
a drawing for her mommys refrigerator.
But, I tell her, add detail! Flesh it out. Add
whatever detail is necessary to make it a
whole scene in her imagination. Picking
up a dry-erase board, I watch her eyes and
begin to draw, describing at the same time
what I am drawing. First, I draw a horizon-
tal line across the bottom (this will eventu-
ally be the ground). Then I draw the peak
of the roof. Next, I draw a path leading up
the house, and then windows and a door.
(With these, I say, What are these, eyes?
No, I know what they are.) Then I say,
I see a sort of fuid shape off to the side.
Whats this? A tree? and Whats this on
top? Wispy. Is that smoke?
As I said, I am describing elements
of the drawing as I make it, and as I look
into the helpers eyes, but I dont show the
drawing to the audience yet. While all this
is happening, I am getting constant confr-
mation from the helper. Finally, I ask her
to describe to the audience the drawing
shes made in her mind, using as much
detail as possible. Usually she will say, I
drew a house, with two windows, a door,
a walkway up to the front, and a chimney
on top. She will almost always forget to
mention the tree. At this point I will say,
But you really were thinking of more than
that, werent you? Off to the side, didnt you
picture a tree? She will say yes, at which
point I turn the drawing around, showing
that it matches her description perfectly.
A fnal note is that, when I have
her stand up and picture her drawing, I
will often state, If I asked you to draw
something, just off the top of your head,
you might come up with something like a
smiley face or a stick fgure. But youve
created an image based on random associ-
ation, so theres nothing psychological or
predictable about it. And then I silently
laugh my ass off!
Thats the nuts and bolts of it, next
come the variations.
Variation 1: In one-on-one situations,
I will often hand a spectator a small pad,
have her hold it toward herself, and ask
her to draw a simple geometric shape.
If by pencil reading I see she has drawn
a square, I ask her to make another. This
time if I see she has drawn a triangle, I
will continue with the GeoPsycho force.
Otherwise, Ill just reveal her shapes.
Variation 2: I draw the shapes with
marker on an 8 by 11 piece of paper, and
then I fold each sheet into fourths. I place
the square and the triangle in one side of
a clear plastic change bag, and all the rest
of the geometric shapes (drawn on similar-
sized paper) in the other side. I bring two
people onstage, explaining that each of
the sheets has a different geometric shape
drawn on it, and the audience will decide,
via process of elimination, which they get.
Going through the audience, I ask people to
remove sheets, ensuring that they all take
from the side of the bag that doesnt have
the square or triangle. Going back up on
stage, I have my two helpers each take one
for him/herself, which of course will mean
that they end up with the square and the
triangle. I tell the audience to open their
sheets and show them around, explain-
ing that they have a random assortment of
shapes. Turning my back, I ask the onstage
helpers to show theirs to the audience,
asking the audience to make a picture by
combining the two shapes. From here I
continue to do the GeoPsycho force, and
I end by revealing my divination of the
picture the entire audience is thinking of.
Variation 3: From a stack, I hand a blank
business card to an onstage helper, asking
her to make a drawing. The remaining
cards are set for GeoPsycho, so I go into
the audience and do the force on another
helper. Returning to the stage (with the
stack in hand) I take out my Sight Unseen
Case and I return the helpers card (with
the drawing face down, of course) into the
case. In reality, I am holding the case on top
of the GeoPsycho stack and I secretly steal
the helpers card back out onto the top of
the GeoPsycho stack. I place a rubber band
around the case and ask her to hold it up
to the light to verify that it is quite impos-
40 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
sible to see through the case. While she is
doing this, my left hand (which is upstage
at this point and is holding the cards) drops
to my side; I secretly fip the top card face
up. As I go to my breast pocket to get
some markers I peek at this card. I leave
the cards in the pocket and bring out the
markers. Handing her a drawing pad and
a marker, we stand back to back and do a
standard drawing dupe. I then turn to the
person in the audience who is thinking of
the house and duplicate her thought-of
drawing as well.
Sometimes (more often than you might
expect) the two people will come up with
the same drawings. This is a gift, because
it can be built up to incredible effect.
Three Monkeys
Effect: Three audience members are
recruited and seated in chairs. They are
asked to close their eyes. The mentalist
taps each man on the head and gives each
a number. To each number he delivers a
different instruction.
To number one he says, When I say
go, you are to cover your eyes with your
hands. To number two he says, When I
say go, you are to cover your mouth with
your hands. And to number three, he says
When I say go you are to cover your ears
with your hands. As he says these things,
the mentalist places signs on easels behind
each of the volunteers. The frst reads, ap-
propriately, See No Evil. The second, of
course, reads, Speak No Evil, and the
third reads, Hear No Evil.
After the instructions are given, the
mentalist addresses the audience, explain-
ing that each person now has in his head
a mental image of a particular action. His
goal, the mentalist declares, is to transfer
that mental image from one mind to
another. The mentalist next mixes up the
signs on the easels behind the volunteers.
Each sign ends up in a fresh location, and
more important, since the volunteers eyes
are closed, there is no way they could know
the new locations of the signs. Incred-
ibly, when the mentalist says, Go, each
volunteer performs the action appropriate
for the new sign behind him.
Underlying Method: When the volun-
teers are given numbers, the audience is
led to believe that each is given a different
number than he really has.
This effect was inspired by Luke
Jermays Touching on Hoy. In that effect,
three volunteers are seated and asked
to close their eyes. During this process
the mentalist secretly touches two of the
volunteers on the shoulder. Once their
eyes are closed, the mentalist moves to
volunteer number one and quite visibly
taps him on the shoulder, saying The
person I touched, you are number one.
The language he uses is ambiguous,
causing not only the person who is being
openly tapped to believe he has been des-
ignated number one, but also the other two
volunteers, who were secretly tapped, to
believe the same thing.
Lukes effect is quite lovely, and (more
important for my purposes) it suggested the
possibility of mislabeling each volunteer
so that each one believed he had been
assigned a number different from what the
audience believes he was assigned.
Working: The three chairs should be
placed no more than about six inches apart.
As the volunteers are seated, the mentalist
stands before them holding up his hand.
Focus your eyes on the tip of my fnger,
he says. Take in a deep, gentle breath of
air. Hold it. And as my fnger drops, close
your eyes.
Stepping behind the chairs, the
mentalist stands behind the volunteer in
position three. (Assuming that the stage-
right chair is position one, the middle chair
is position two, and the stage-left chair
is position three.) The mentalist stands
in profle, facing to stage right. His left
hand hangs casually by his side, while
he gestures with his right. His left hand
is also, conveniently, directly behind the
back of the man in chair three.
The mentalist speaks, From now on,
pay attention to what you feel, because I
will be giving you very specifc instruc-
tions. As he says this, he simply extends
his left middle fnger and pokes the man in
chair three in the back.
This poking action is done very
quickly, and no sooner is it completed, than
the mentalist moves over to a spot behind
position number one and seems to tap that
person on the head. He declares, For
example, the person I touched, you will be
person number one. Remember that. Now
heres your mission. When I say go I want
you to place both hands directly over your
eyes. Wait for me to say go, but for now,
spend a little time visualizing yourself
carrying out this action. In reality the
tap on spectator one is a bluff. Extending
his index and middle fngers, the mentalist
brings his hand down behind the head of
this volunteer, but stops his fngers about
two inches away from actual contact.
He then immediately lifts his hand. The
illusion is convincing, and it appears to the
audience that that person has been desig-
nated number one.
The mentalist immediately turns toward
the person in position two. This brings the
mentalists right hand, now hanging by his
side, directly behind the man in position
number one. With his left hand, he bluff-
taps the man in position two, but this time
he also uses his right hand to secretly touch
the man in position one. The wording this
second time is a bit different from the frst.
He says, The person I am touching now,
you will be number two. Remember that.
And this is your job: When I say go you
are to place both hands over your ears.
For now, picture yourself doing this. See it
vividly in your mind.
From here the mentalist moves in the
direction of position three and repeats the
identical bluff-tap procedure, but this time
secretly tapping the man in position two.
The mentalist states, The person I am
touching now, you are number three. When
I say go, I want you to place both hands
over your mouth. Right now visualize this.
See yourself with both hands over your
In the eyes of the audience, each
volunteer has been given a number
appropriate to the chair he is seated in,
and also an instruction appropriate to the
sign behind him. In reality the volunteers
have been labeled 2, 3, and 1, from the
audiences point of view. The effect will
be brought to a conclusion by moving the
signage to the correct location.
Pointing to the signs, the mentalist says,
Each person now has a specifc action to
perform. At this moment that action exists
only as a mental image. What if I could
wipe that image from one persons mind,
and transfer it to another. Lets take this
one, and try to move it over here. Here
the mentalist moves the See No Evil sign
to the easel at position three, and trades it
for the Speak No Evil sign. Holding that
sign, he says, Now lets take this one, and
move it here. Suiting action to words, he
places that sign in position two, and picks
up the Hear No Evil sign. Continuing, he
says, And lets erase this memory and try
to move it here, as he places that sign in
position one.
The mentalist says, Go! The
spectators perform the gestures they have
been told to perform, but these gestures
now match the position of the mixed-up
signs, thus bringing the effect to a
successful conclusion.
2014 Christopher Carter
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 41
The Nielsen Gallery
42 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Dimensions: Half-sheet - 23 x 33.25 Lithographer: Kinc Lito, Budapest
Artist: Jnos Sebes Date: 1936 Nielsen Rating: Rare
Rodolfo - Skull and Eyes
Magicians everywhere have at some time faced
uncertainty and fear when stepping through the curtain
to perform magic. How much harder must it have been
for Rodolfo, the subject of this months column? His was
the Iron Curtain.
Rodolfo was the stage name taken by Rezso Gacs,
who was born in Budapest, Hungary (home of Houdini),
on May 16, 1911. According to brief biographies of him,
he was born the son of a typesetter. There is no account
of which magic trick lit the spark that ignited a lifetime
career in magic, but it happened when he was thirteen
and was reportedly performed by a Chinese bead vendor.
Rodolfo mastered that elementary trick and while
performing it for his boyhood friends, he was observed
by the Hungarian actor Arpad Odry, who also happened
to be the president of the Hungarian Magicians
Association. He took the young boy on as a pupil and
trained him in the art of magic.
His magic career began in 1930 when he appeared
at the Municipal Grand Circus in Budapest; reports of
his talent spread. His performing proceeded without
interruption until he was drafted for military service in
1940. Soviet Union forces drove the Nazis out of Hungary
at the end of the war and occupied Eastern Europe. In
1956, a spontaneous, month-long nationwide revolt
against the Peoples Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-
imposed policies broke out. After many clashes and
deaths and the promised withdrawal of Soviet troops, the
Politburo changed its mind and crushed the revolution.
Hundreds were killed and many fed the country, but
not Rodolfo, who continued to perform both within his
country and across Europe. During World War II he
performed for injured soldiers in army hospitals. After
the war he worked as a teacher and professor in a school
for the performing arts.
Behind the so-called Iron Curtain, performers were
not allowed to individually book themselves. They had
to do so through a government representative, who also
gave them their dates and pay. Thus any act, whether in
a circus or theater, was booked through, and payment
made to, a communist government agency. The agency
then parceled out to the acts an amount of money they
felt was necessary for the performers needs. Such was
the world in which Rodolfo operated.
Rodolfo never appeared in the United States, but if he
had, the Hungarian government would have taxed him
ten percent of his earnings. He did entertain audiences in
London, Lausanne, Paris, and Berlin. In 1957 he appeared
in the Boxing Day Party on Englands BBC. Assisting
him backstage was his most famous pupil and fellow
Hungarian, George Kovari, who trained under Rodolfo.
His opening effect was the Ribbon Fountain, in which
hundreds of feet of colored ribbon cascade down on to
the stage from a previously empty container.
According to Kovari, Rodolfo was a hard taskmaster
when it came to learning magic. He insisted that Kovari
copy his moves exactly saying, If there was a better way
of doing it, he, Rodolfo, would have found it himself!
Dr. John Henry Grossman, magic historian and
long-time columnist for M-U-M, visited with Rodolfo
in Hungary during a trip through Europe. He and his
wife were feted at the Budapest Association of Hungary
Magicians at the Actors Club. Later Rodolfo took the
Grossmans to the Jewish Hall of Records, where one of
the crumbling books contained the handwritten record
of the birth of Erich Weiss in 1874. This was at a time
when historians were still trying to disprove Houdinis
claim of being born in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Rodolfo performed mentalism, stage magic, and
pickpocketing; he would go through the audience
shaking hands and greeting people and then proceed
back on stage with the watches, wallets, and jewelry of
audience members.
Due to his extensive language abilities he was able to
present his program in eight different languages, and so
was very popular with audiences throughout Europe. He
wrote several books on magic, produced and sold several
magic sets for children, including ones featuring trick
cards bearing his photo, appeared on various television
programs, and in 1962 was elected president of the
Hungarian union for performers/artistes. His obituary
noted that in a country where magic is considered a
second grade art, he achieved every award ever given to
any entertainer.
Even at the age of seventy Rodolfo still practiced
four hours each day in front of a six-foot mirror, making
sure his moves were fawless and invisible. He simply
never stopped practicing. His creed was, The artist who
is satisfed with himself is not an artist anymore. He is
dead. Rodolfo died January 26, 1987, at seventy-fve
years of age.
Tom Ewing
Mentalists constantly ask people if
they want to change their minds. This is
annoying, because changing ones mind
usually has nothing to do with either the
premise or the outcome of the effect. But
if the premise is mind control, if youre
trying to demonstrate your ability to guide
or infuence a participants decisions, how
much more effective would it be if you
could predict not only the fnal decision,
but the one the person originally made?
To promote my college performances,
I will do teasers in the dining hall; I
go table to table performing close-up
mentalism. Some students will inevitably
end up latching onto me, following me
around, in the hopes of seeing the same
effects over and over. Here is a fun wrinkle
specifcally designed to mess with these
Most magicians will know the Ultra
Mental Deck as The Invisible Deck. Its
such a standard effect that Im almost
ashamed that I use it. But if you take away
the schlocky jokes, the effect is a powerful
piece of mentalism. I want to stress that
I do not use Don Alans presentation.
Instead, I present the effect as subliminal
I tell the students that when I left the
previous table I turned a card face down
in the pack. My goal is to infuence them
to come up with that card. I have one
person decide whether the card will be red
or black; another then decides the suit. I
tell the last person that he will decide on
and name the value. However, he has the
opportunity to change his mind. In other
words, if he chooses not to stick with his
card, he may change it to another of the
same suit.
He changes his mind and tells me the
new card. I reiterate his choices and say
to him, Do you think you made these
choices because you wanted to, or because
I wanted you to?
Regardless of his answer, I spread
through the deck and show that one card
is face down. Up until now, things have
progressed according to the standard
presentation, but here the effect takes a
new turn.
Addressing the followers, who may
have seen me perform the standard version
of the effect at other tables, I say, You
wont be surprised if I have successfully
infuenced his choice, but let me show
you how much control I have over him.
Notice that the face-up card right next to
the face-down card was his frst choice.
Pointing to that card, it was, indeed, his
frst choice.
But he didnt stick with that. Instead he
changed his mind. When fipped over, the
face-down card is seen to be his second,
fnal choice. Apparently, I have infuenced
both his choices and the fact that he would
change his mind.
The effect is strong for the people who
see it for the frst time, but its devastating
for those whove seen it repeatedly. They
go back to their original tables and spread
the word about what theyve just witnessed.
I have a confession to make. As
impressive as that scenario is, it rarely
works out that way. What Ive described is
a best case scenario. Im describing it to
make a point: some of the best mentalism
capitalizes on events that happen only by
chance. One of the most important skills
a mentalist can have is the ability to not
only turn chance into magic, but also to tip
the odds so that otherwise chance events
happen more frequently.
You wont get the above scenario all
of the time, or even most of the time, but
you will get it far more often than you
expect. When you do, you can make a real
First youll have to change the standard
setup of the Ultra Mental Deck. Normally,
the cards in the Ultra Mental Deck are
paired so that they total thirteen. In the new
setup, pairs will still total thirteen, but they
will be matched with the same suit. Hearts
will go with Hearts, Spades with Spades,
Clubs with Clubs, and Diamonds with
Diamonds. This is easier to remember, and
it allows for an occasional miracle.
When I tell the spectator that he will
be able to change his mind, I actually limit
the options to any card of the same suit. If,
for example, he chooses the Four of Hearts,
I say, You can keep the Four of Hearts if
you want. But if you want, you can change
it to any of the other Hearts.
The next problem is coaxing the person
to change his mind. My work on this was
inspired by watching a DVD of Chan
Canasta. There are a few strategies I use
to get a person to switch, but the most
important ploy is to imply that I could
easily have anticipated or forced his choice.
If I do that with a male, he will frequently
change his mind.
Also, if there are two males at a table
and it looks like there will be some rivalry
between them, Ill say to one, You will
choose the value of our target, and then to
the other, Once he does, you get to change
his mind. In other words, if you dont like
the card he comes up with, well forget it;
you can change it to one you like better.
This strategy will result in a change of
mind quite frequently.
If he changes his mind to a card that
will hit my target of thirteen (that is, the
value of the frst choice plus the value of
the second choice add to thirteen), I simply
say, Are you satisfed? Then thats your
fnal choice? If I do that, he will almost
always stand pat.
Heres the weird part that I cant explain.
On those occasions when a person changes
his mind, he will change it to a reciprocal
card (that is, one completing the total of
thirteen) an astonishing number of times. I
fnd that slightly less than half of the times
in which a person switches, he will do so to
total thirteen. There is undoubtedly some
psychological explanation for this, though
I dont know what it is. The only thing that
matters is that when it happens, its miracle
time! When it doesnt, well, the Ultra
Mental Deck is still a damn good trick.
44 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
By Christopher Carter
Messing With Your Mind
Not Just Kid Stuff
By Jim Kleefeld
Would you sit down to dinner and eat
a bowl of parsley? No? How about a bowl
of salt? Or a plate of curry? Ive seen some
magic shows that put me in mind of that
scenario, and its all about Bits of Business.
As a magician, your frst step was to
learn a few tricks. Then you bought some
props and read the instructions. Eventu-
ally you learned hundreds or thousands of
tricks. At some point, particularly if you
read, watched, and studied, you heard the
veterans tell you that its not the magic
that counts, its the entertainment. And
then you heard lots of show magicians go
on about how much laughter and response
they get out of those precious and all-
important Bits of Business. Did you
add BoB to your act? Probably so. Those
veteran performers were right. Their Bits
of Business gave their show character
and style and added many laugh points. A
good performer who gets them rolling in
the aisles with Bits of Business is a joy to
But many performers just keep adding
those BoB until there is no time left for
magic and nothing left to add to. They
show their audience an all-blank Coloring
Book. Then they bring up a helper and
do three handshake gags, a trapdoor
joke, twice miscall his name, ask if he
is married, hand him some Vanishing
Crayons, then a Break-away Wand, then
some Nesting Wands, then the Break-away
Fanwhew! By the time they get back to
the Coloring Book, nobody remembers if it
was blank or colored to begin with. These
are the guys who will proudly tell you they
get ffteen minutes out of a Coloring Book.
Yes, they do, but it is an act with way too
much business and not much magic. Their
show is made up of all added spice but no
main dish. Its a dinner of parsley.
So despite the plethora of magic
magazine articles extolling the virtues
of those valuable Bits of Business, and
despite all of the well-intentioned pleas that
entertainment is tantamount, many good
routines get waylaid by extras added in the
name of it gets a good response. Maybe
it is time to analyze exactly what stays in
your show and what would be better left
out. While a great many standard Bits of
Business are funny, often they derail the
effect train. The sidetracks that you pursue
shift people away from your destination.
Preventing the inevitable wreck often
comes down to one simple plan: Keep
Clear Storylines.
For each effect, try to establish a direct
line through the beginning, middle, and
end of the effects plot. This does not mean
that you quit using Bits of Business to
enhance your routines. It does not mean
that you must sacrifce funny extras in
order to present nothing but straightfor-
ward magic, nor that you have to throw
away all of your BoB and work with
nothing but the primary props of a given
trick. In order to keep your storylines
clear, you simply need to decide whether
any given Bit of Business will enhance
or detract from the main sequence. In
that mode, you must examine not just the
classic gags you have used to embellish the
routine, but the trick itself.
Start by examining the core effect.
Think about a good routine you do in
your basic show. Can you describe it in
one sentence? A red silk vanishes and
reappears tied between two blue silks.
Four solid steel rings link and unlink with
each other apparently at will. A nested
cylinder and box are both shown empty,
and many silks are produced from within.
A book is shown to have all blank pages,
then all picture pages, and then all colored
pages. Each of these is a plot for an effect.
Their plots are simple and direct. After
watching each effect, an audience member
can easily describe what happened and
why it was magical. This should be true
for every effect in your show.
When you keep your storylines clear
for each trick in your show, you make
the effect linear, thus easier to follow,
thus more magical. You can add Bits
of Business to the routine, but only if it
enhances the effect and does not detract
from the audiences ability to follow the
event. This premise is particularly true
for childrens shows because of the nature
of childish thinking. As I mentioned last
month, children do not think in the same
way adults do. First, their brains are not
fully formed and developed, so there are
less neural connections. Second, their ex-
periences are limited, so they do not have
the necessary background to see things in
a universal light.
Children slowly develop a sense of
time and sequence through natural events
and predictable care-giving. Typically,
following a family schedule, they wake
up in the morning, have three sequential
meals, and sleep at night. Added regular
events become habitual and a part of their
sense of passing time. In the morning they
get dressed. Lunch is mid-day. Afternoon
means playing outdoors. A snack comes
at 3:00, and a story is read at bedtime. By
age four, they have begun to recognize
chunks of time and account for its passing
or future with increasing language skills.
This afternoon we will play outdoors
after snack time. Tomorrow we go to
see grandma. Last summer we went to
the zoo. They begin to understand time
through sequences of events.
Another common way that children
learn about the sequence of events is
through stories. In most schools and many
homes, adults read books to children.
Kids become familiar with stories and the
sequence of beginning, middle, and end.
A logical sequence is comfortable and
expected. You bring your magic show into
this natural and universal world of linear
time and, in most cases, you bring along the
same familiar and comfortable sequence.
As a childrens magician, you are a story-
teller. Showing the red and blue silks is the
beginning of your story. Vanishing the red
silk is the middle of the story. Reproduc-
ing it marks the end. Because most magic
is visual and shows change, it fts in with
the realm of stories. When you disrupt the
storyline or plot with too many extras,
you have lost the connection between the
beginning and the end.
Some time ago I watched a friends
magic show on video. He had recorded a
performance specifcally to send me for
evaluation and coaching. In one routine, he
displayed red, white, and blue silks and a
change bag. He offered to change the silks
into a fag and then brought up a helper.
46 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Setting the props aside, he shook hands
with the helper and repeatedly bent the
boys elbow as if the handshaking was to
continue. Then he asked the boys name.
He turned to the audience and announced
that the boy would be doing magic, but he
announced the boys name incorrectly. The
audience corrected him. He returned to the
boy and asked him to repeat his name. He
repeated his announcement about doing
the trick, but said the wrong name again.
Then he moved the boy to the other side of
the stage and asked him to hold a silk, but
he dropped it on the foor before the boy
could grasp it. He repeated that. Then he
placed the silk on top of the boys head.
I would use up all of my allotted column
space if I continued to describe the rest
of the antics, but you get the idea. Colors
were mis-called, silks went in and out of
the bag several times, and fags came out
in mixed-up colors. Lots of funny business
occurred, but very little magic. Ironi-
cally, the Mis-Made Flag is a routine with
built-in magical tangents that actually
work, so the added bits were unnecessary.
Magically changing three scarves to a mis-
colored fag is a funny extra bit, but it is in
keeping with the original premise of trying
to make the silks into a genuine fag.
The point of this story is that when
that magician asked for my critique of his
show, he mentioned that I probably would
not have any notes on his Mis-Made Flag
routine because he knew it was solid. He
has been using it for years and he gets lots
of reaction. I did hear reactions, but they
did not sound positive to me. What I heard
was a lot of simple screaming, plus some
kids yelling that he had screwed up, one
voice stating that he was stupid, and even
a loud get on with it. The reaction was
indeed loud and vociferous. But noise is
not appreciation. Although they might not
have been able to verbalize it, a portion
of the audience lost track of what was
happening. The routine would have been
much better if he had been able to keep his
storyline clear.
Ive written in a previous column about
engaging children, and how important it is
to allow them to interact. If you go back
and reread that piece, you will see that
despite its many interactions, the routine
with six cloth bags follows a straightfor-
ward story line. Engaging children by
sidetracking with Bits of Business that do
not assist the plot will not help you or your
routines. Consider the endgame for each
of your routines individually. What is the
denouement of the piece? It should be a
singular magical event. Your audience can
laugh, wonder, and be amazed, but only
if they get the point of your presentation.
Without a focus to your effect, all you get
is noise.
It is not diffcult to keep clear storylines,
but you must use some discipline. First,
review the entire effect as it is designed.
Some tricks, while baffing to magicians,
are simply too complex for the audience
to appreciate. Some are poorly designed
with a meandering plot. Take the classic
Dove Pan baking trick. You put several
ingredients into a pan, light it, cap it with
a lid, and presto! A cake appears. The in-
gredients should be logical and show a
linear process that leads to the production.
Now, what happens if you add some more
ingredients, then stir them with a magic
wand that breaks apart? It may be funny
in the moment, but the incongruity breaks
the plot. If this is a quick bit and you im-
mediately add more ingredients, you have
brought the plot back on track. But if you
continue to stop and start the process by
producing a bakers hat, showing a bag that
changes into an apron, and vanishing your
can of vanilla, very soon, there is no plot
left to follow. Your audience will have lost
track of the plot. You can produce a cake at
the end, but the impact becomes muddled,
perhaps even lost.
So decide whether each action in your
routine is necessary or distracting. If, in
your Run, Rabbit Run routine, you decided
it would be fun to have the little guy vanish
a foam carrot while going between houses,
rethink that. If you present a Multiplying
Bananas segment right in the middle of
your Farmyard Frolics presentation, try
another way. Yes, you can keep many of
your beloved BoB, and still use them to
engage children. But move them to the
front or between effects. Cut a few if you
have many.
Here are some examples of standard
BoB. Rather than place these bits into the
middle of trick plots, separate each one out
as a mini-bit in its own right. These pre-
sentational suggestions will show how to
arrange them in order to keep clear story-
Breakaway Wand or Multiplying
Wands (Figure 1): Ask a helper to come
forward. Tell her you will need her to
help you with some magic, and ask if she
has ever used a real magic wand before.
Whatever she says, bring out the wand,
display it proudly, and announce that it is
an expensive and valuable tool you reserve
for special volunteers. As you start to hand
it to the helper, let it break. Repeat that
once. Then put it away and retrieve the
tricks props.
Golden Fun Shears (Figure 2): Hand
your helper child some regular scissors.
Have him cut the rope where you need it.
Restore the rope and get him a round of
applause. Before he leaves, mention that
he must be good with scissors, so maybe
he can help you with a pair that has been
causing you trouble. Bring out the Golden
Fun Shears and have them stick closed,
stick open, and fall apart. Get the boy to
agree that these scissors do cause trouble.
Vanish them magically.
Handshake Gags (Figure 3): Ask if
the audience wants to see one of their own
perform some magic. Choose someone to
come forward. Make a polite introduction
and do your handshake gag. Do it three
times and then drop it. Introduce your
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 47
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
next effect, display the necessary props,
and let the child help make the magic
happen. Either do a different handshake
gag with every helper, or dont do another
handshake gag in the show. Pick a good
one and let it stand on its own; more than
one iteration of the same gag wastes time
and loses the attention of the audience.
Feather Duster (Figure 4): Bring out
a closed Die Box or Square Circle. Blow
some dust off of it. Produce a feather
duster and dust the prop. Ask a child up
to help you get the trick ready. Dust the
childs arms, head, underarms, and knees.
Send him back to his seat with the duster
inadvertently stuck to his back. Bring him
back up, dust the prop one more time, and
then vanish the duster. Find it on your own
back and vanish it again. Now you can
introduce the prop and proceed with the
Puppet (Figure 5): Use your puppet as
a variety act break. Finish and close out
one magic routine. Introduce the puppet
as a friend or companion. Give a few solid
minutes of great comedy dialogue. Have
him participate in a self-contained trick or
routine, such as the Stiff Rope. Close the
effect and put away the puppets magic
prop. Return the puppet to his quarters
and introduce a new effect.
There are lots of great Bits of Business
in kid show magic: verbal, non-verbal, situ-
ational, common props, outrageous props,
childrens name gags, and more. Please
dont take my inclusion of these specifc
effects and BoB as the best or only ones to
use. In fact, some are becoming outdated or
overused, and you may not want to put any
of them in your show. But consider these as
well-known examples and apply the sug-
gestions above to your own BoB. Rethink
what types of entertainment extras you
use and where you put them in your show.
Remember that each trick is like a story
and that you need to keep a clear line from
beginning to middle to end.
Like parsley, salt, and curry, Bits of
Business are added ingredients. They
are the seasonings that make an entree
of magic more interesting, desirable, and
tasty. Too little makes for bland fare. Too
much prevents anyone from enjoying
the dish. But you can season your show
properly if you work to Keep Clear Story-
48 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Figure 4
Figure 5
Not Just Kid Stuff
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 49
Make Me Float!
If you ever saw the shows
of S.A.M. Ambassadors David
Copperfeld or Lance Burton
in Las Vegas, you may have
had a picture taken of yourself
being levitated by the master
magicians. Of course it was
just an optical illusion souvenir
photo. The illusion was accom-
plished by use of a sideways
cutout of the performer and
turning the photo sideways after
it was taken. If you want to see
the workings, go to:
ht t p: // www. decept ology.
Its a great way to get people to spread the word about your
show and to remember your name. You know that if they take
the photo, they will spread it on social media. If you do a lot of
public shows, it may be worth investing in this cool gimmick.
I found a company that makes great personal cutouts in
any size; their pricing is not out of line for most magicians. For
around $100 you can have a clone of yourself. The company,
www.partystandups.com, will take the photo that you send
and create a cut-out standup from it. They have lots of options,
such as cardboard or plastic, matte fnish, and variable produc-
tion time. It usually takes about a week to get it.
While you are there, look around at their other unique
products, such as eight-foot wall fabric graphics or custom
Deceptive Fun
While you are looking at the David Copperfeld foating,
have a look around deceptology.com and put in the search term
magic. They have lots of interesting articles that are magic
Okay, Make My Pencil Float!
If youve ever seen
the Levitating Pencil
toy but didnt want to
spend the money on it, an
amazing scientist from
India, Arvind Gupta,
has fgured out a way
to make one in minutes
with recycled products and some ring magnets. Its a nice
thing to keep in your magic room or offce. An old fip-fop
sandal, a broken CD, a pencil, and some ceramic ring magnets
help the pencil foat. The complete instructions are here:
A creative magician can turn the pencil into a lady and the
foor magnets into a couch to have a traditional magic levita-
tion. This is a fun project, not just for you, but also for your
kids. If you decide to try this, Id love to see some photos of
your efforts.
The Matrix Force
The frst time I saw a forcing
matrix was in an old Walter
Gibson book. I know that youve
seen these before. You show a 5
x 5 square of numbers. Circle a
number and then cross off the
numbers in the same row and
column. Circle another number
and continue until there are no
numbers to pick. Add together
all the circled numbers and that
will be your forced number. The matrix in the photo forces the
number 57.
The website deceptionary.com has a beautifully simple
method to create your own forcing matrix. Follow their simple
instructions and you will be able to do this in a matter of
minutes. I laugh at how easy it is to make. Tons of uses for this
including book tests, predictions, and object choices. The link
to creating your own forcing matrixes is: www.deceptionary.
Time to Fool the Magician
I know how this works.
I think I do. Well, maybe.
Heres a trick that will fool
many of you. Youve seen
David Blaine riffe through
the cards asking a spectator to
remember one. Then he tells
the spectator the card. He does
it really well. Hes the best at
this effect that Ive ever seen.
This app does it better! The
app fips through a virtual
deck as you remember a card. Then it tells you the card. Mind
Reader is fun to play with. When was the last time you were
fooled? There are many apps called Mind Reader so be sure
to download the one with the logo shown. Thanks to Facebook
friend Marvin Silbermintz for turning me on to this. I cant stop
playing with it. Mind Reader is available on the iTunes App
Store for free.
Bruce is always on the lookout for computer magic, iPhone/
iPod Touch apps, and tech toys that can be used in magic
applications. If you have any suggestions for future columns,
write to Bruce at SAMtalkBruce@cox.net.
David foats Erica Larsen
In a perfect world, every new magician
would be mentored by an experienced
entertainer until that youngster had a
general but healthy knowledge of the
various branches stretching out from the
tree of magic. In a more perfect world, the
enthusiasts would be assigned a qualifed
veteran who would advise on the nuances
of effective performing. In the most perfect
world, a cranky old taskmaster would lock
the novice in a room with some props,
paper, pencil and perhaps a sandwich
and refuse freedom until it was learned
that a conjurer only becomes worthy of
the stage through the hard work of study,
practice, scripting, rehearsal, and fnally,
performance itself. Until those dues are
paid, that little upstart is just faking it.
Yes, I am joking a little. Still, theres
a huge ring of truth in the idea.
There isnt a dancer, singer, actor, or
musician worth his or her salt who steps
on stage without devoting hours and
hours to that same hard work. If they did
not, then the lack of preparation would
be obvious. Magicians, however, seem to
believe they are the exception to this rule.
Our stores and dealers rooms are packed
with effects boasting of simplicity and
how owning the prop will make you a
star. Are we so foolish to believe there is
such a thing as talent in a box? Acceptance
from an audience does not come because a
magician knows a secret or three. It comes
because a magician has put in the time and
work required to present that secret in a
way that connects with the guests on an
emotional level. As a conjurer, you must
tweak the audiences imagination with an
unbelievable proposal, show them proof of
your claim, make it relevant to their lives,
and give them a reason to believe. That is
what flls their eyes with amazement and
their minds with wonder. That is what
makes you a magician and entertainer.
That is what earns you a spot on the stage.
When creating your own effects or
adapting an existing presentation to
your stage character, the goal is to make
a connection. The conjuring market is
already fooded with far too many effects
and magicians that seem to serve no other
purpose except to declare, Look at what I
can do. To be fair, there is a defnite place
for those effects when the performer needs
to make a surprising, quick impression
perhaps as an opening statement. However,
to actually connect with people requires far
more than one fashy stunt after another.
That is not performing; it is demonstrating.
There is nothing wrong with demonstrating
magic as long as you are standing behind
a counter. However, our discussion today
is about respecting the people who have,
in one form or another, paid for the show.
So then, how does a conjurer connect
with the guests? Begin by adopting a
character role that is identifable to the
audience. This isnt to say your character
has to be immediately familiar, but it must
be clear within the frst few moments of
your show. The identity of your character
will help you choose effects for your act
that build upon one another in logical ways
until you reach the strongest, climactic
fnale. For now, just choose to be warm,
friendly, and egoless while we explore
a simple example of connecting with the
The parlor conjurer unseals a new deck
of cards and shuffes it while reminisc-
ing about how we have all, at one point or
another in our lives, made a game of trying
to cut to specifc cards. By way of illustra-
tion, the performer looks at the face-down
deck, ponders it for a moment, and says the
word, Red. He then successfully cuts to
a red card. This is repeated twice more and
each time the named color is the correct
one, even though the performer is making
random cuts. Every guests reaction to
the frst card is, So what? Take a wild
guess and anyone is right half the time.
Their reaction to the second card is less
indifferent, Hmm this guy is lucky.
Their reaction to the third card is far more
focused, Wait a minute. How is he doing
that? The deck is shuffed again, this time
by one of the guests. The performer boldly
declares, Black, red, red, red, black. The
guest deals fve cards face up to the table
and each color is in the correct order.
In this simple example the conjurer
has, with little effort, hit the audiences
nostalgic buttons, tweaked their curiosity,
drawn them in closer, and left them
baffed. The method is basic. When a fresh
deck is opened the cards are grouped in
their respective suits. Split the deck near
the center and table shuffe the halves
together once. The pack now has the red
cards in the top half and the black cards
in the bottom so cutting to any red or
black card is easy. Once the frst phase
is done, give the deck a few more table
shuffes; then pick the deck up and give it
a quick overhand shuffe as well. As you
do, run the frst fve cards off the face of
the deck and note the color order. Jog the
ffth card and continue to overhand shuffe.
Look up at your guest and ask, Do you
know how shuffe cards like this? Square
the deck and use the jogged card to easily
palm off the top fve cards. Hand the deck
to your guest for shuffing. When the deck
is replaced on the table, shift it closer to
the center and replace the packet as you do.
Again, ponder the deck then name the fve
colors in order. The guest deals the cards
face up one by one to show the accuracy of
your declaration.
As a stand-alone magic effect, this
presentation is not exactly miraculous.
However, it does add considerable punch
to the theatrical atmosphere in the room,
and it makes a statement about who
you are. Your character is revealed as a
charming fellow who has learned he can
do something clever and has discovered
how to exploit this thing in surprising
50 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
The High Road
script writing, character
development, and act construction
for the modern conjuror
By Mick Ayres
ways. A little humility can go a long way
towards endearing you to an audience.
Now is a good time to reinforce this
small connection. What if you were to
somehow transfer this ability of yours
to the guests? What if they could divide
the colors of the deck themselves? A
presentation like that would exploit your
established theme. Blending the minor
effect seamlessly into the stronger effect
creates a grander showpiece presentation
that transforms a baffing mystery into
an emotional experience for everyone
in the room. This isnt just people sitting
around watching some guy do a card trick
anymore. Now this is personal. This is
Obviously, Paul Currys classic effect
Out Of This World would meet our
needs; however, Currys effect (and its
myriad variations) requires the pack to
be prearranged. Unfortunately, our pack
has been shuffed several times already.
Furthermore, a presentation of Out Of This
World separates all the red cards from the
black cards in the deck. We only need the
guest to separate enough cards to prove
our point.
Here is a solution that features a
shuffed deck, no sleights, and no switches.
Pick up the deck and say, I have
learned that trusting my instincts is easier
said than done. However if youll pardon
another clich practice makes perfect.
I cant tell you how many hours I spent
saying red and black before I relaxed
and started getting more hits than not. The
truth is anyone can do this with practice.
To be honest, some cards work better than
others. Ill get them for you.
As you look through the deck, pause
when you come to the frst red/black pair
of cards and remove all the cards before
this pair. Now fnd the next red/black
pair and remove all the cards between
these two pairs. Keep going and remove
any cards that interrupt the repeating
red/black pattern. On average, you will
remove about twenty cards or so and leave
behind half a pack alternating in red/black
order; this is more than enough to meet our
needs. The guests attention will be on the
growing pile on the table as they wonder
what is special about those cards; it wont
be on the remainder of the deck. For now,
discard these remaining cards by placing
them face up off to one side of the table.
Hand the pile of practice cards to
your guest with instructions to shuffe
them face down. Remove the top card of
the pile and hold it up so your guest cannot
see the face but everyone else can. Say,
First, take a deep breath and relax your
mind. I chose you for this because I felt
there were a couple of people in the room
who would be good at this and you are one
of them. Trust me, trust yourself, and trust
the audience. We all want you to succeed,
okay? This card is either red or black.
Trust your instincts and call it as you will.
Since this is a 50/50 proposition, your
guest is going to be right half the time. The
results are often surprising. I once had a
fellow guess correctly on nine consecutive
cards before he missed one; even I was
wondering if he had some kind of gift.
Be encouraging with every hit. Discard
the misses with little comment because
this is just a practice run after all. If the
guest gets far more wrong than right, you
can still salvage it by saying, Im still
impressed, because instincts are tricky
things. But now that you know feelings can
lie sometimes, you know what to do.
Assemble all the special cards together
and give them to the guest. Ask her to mix
them again and drop them face up on top
of the remainder of the deck. While she is
shuffing, glance at the stacked portion and
remember the color of the top card. Once
she has assembled the deck, turn the whole
deck face down and shift it to a spot on her
side of the table.
Say, Lets exploit your instincts even
further. We need someone else who can do
this, too. Trust yourself and select someone
you think can do the job. The new guest
is brought up and introduced. Look at this
gentleman and say, Since you are new to
this, well simplify the experiment even
further. Choose red or black. The color
black is chosen. Say, That is the only
color you will focus on. She will focus only
on red.
Remember the color of the card you
noted a moment ago? A card of the opposite
color is now on top of the deck. Look at the
guest who chose that color and say, Well
begin with you. Listen carefully. Stare at
the top card of the deck for a moment. If
you think it is your color, remove the card
and put it face down in front of you. If
you are not sure, dont worry; just make a
discard pile right here. Point to any spot
on the table. Keep the cards face down so
your decisions right or wrong will not
distract you. Wait until this guest makes a
decision and moves the top card.
Address the other guest and say, You
will now do the same thing for your color.
Go back and forth, each of you taking a
turn. During this process, comment and
speculate about their choices. Since the
colors alternate in the upper half of the
pack, each guest will only handle cards of
their chosen color.
When the personal piles and the
discard pile all have six or seven cards in
them, stop everything and say, Thats
enough to know whether this is working
or not. First, lets see these cards no one
wanted. The discard pile is shown as a
random assortment of red and black cards.
Drop these cards face down on top of the
balance of the deck.
Look at the new guest and ask,
Remind us of the color you chose to focus
on and show us your selections. All his
cards match the chosen color. Get excited
because this is a powerful and surprising
moment for him. Address the frst guest
and say, Wow, think of the odds! How did
you do with the other color? These cards
are also direct hits.
Spread the deck face up on the table to
show a well-mixed pack of cards.
You have delivered a baffing
presentation that defnes your character and
connects intimately with your guests by
exploiting a bit of nostalgia and empowering
them far beyond their expectations
and no one had to pick a card.
Welcome to My World copyright 2006
by Mick Ayres. Inspiration credits to
Lewis Joness Curry for Three published
in Seventh Heaven. Mick welcomes
input and dialogue and can be reached at
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 51
With the passing of another anniversary of the death of Harry
Houdini, I thought Id share some interesting information about
his gravesite. His grave has been in the news most recently due
to the wonderful work of Dick Brookss and Dorothy Diedrichs
Houdini Museum located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The
museum took on the responsibility to restore the Houdini bust
at the gravesite.
Lets take a trip back in time. Its 1885 and Houdinis half
brother Armin/Herman has died of tuberculosis. Young Erich
offered up his entire lifes savings ($10) towards his half-broth-
ers funeral. Herman had a typically shaped tombstone with a
rounded top. Seven years later, in 1892, Houdinis father dies
and is buried next to Herman in the Machpelah Cemetery in
Queens, New York. The father was given a tall, pillar-shaped
tombstone; to the right is Hermans tombstone (Photo 1).
In 1913, Houdinis mother Cecelia Weiss passes away.
Those familiar with the Houdini story know how this affected
him and altered the course of his life. Cecelia was also buried in
this plot and her name was added to the large pillar tombstone.
Houdini was devastated by the loss of his mother. He
visited the grave often and eventually came upon an idea of
buying a larger family plot and erecting a monument to the
Weiss family. This was called the exedra, which literally
means resting place. The design was done by noted architect
Oscar Teale, who was also an amateur magician and friend
of Houdinis. The fnal cost of the monument was $40,000; it
was installed at Machpelah Cemetery on October 1, 1916
(Photo 2).
Oscar Teale later served as the fourth president of The
Society of American Magicians and wrote a book called Higher
Magic. It was rumored that Oscar Teale was also Houdinis
ghost writer on a number of projects including A Magician
Among the Spirits.
An interesting addition to the exedra was the inclusion on
each side of the monument of part of the original Weiss Grave.
On the far left is the gravestone face for Cecelia Weiss. On the
far right is the gravestone face for his father Mayer Samuel
Weiss. (See the map of the cemetery on the next page for details.)
Another unique feature is the emblem of the Society of
American Magicians which is in the center of the monument just
below the bust of Houdini. Harry Houdini served as president
of the Society for several years and was the current president
when he died in 1926. I cant help but wonder if the emblem was
added after Houdinis death. It wouldnt make sense to have
it on there in 1916 when the monument was erected. Photo 2
shows Houdini sitting on the exedra as it was being built, and
no circular hole is there for the emblem. So it was likely added
Houdini had his family moved to the new site and made
arrangements for the rest of his family to be buried there upon
their individual deaths. However, the only spouse who was
accorded a grave was Bess Houdini. Her name was added to
Houdinis gravestone, but in fact, she is not there. Because
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo by Dick Brooks
Mysteries of the Houdini Grave By Dean Carnegie
52 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Bess was Catholic and Machpelah is a Jewish cemetery, she
is buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New
York, about thirty-fve miles north of Machpelah.
Houdini did not want his brother Leopold buried there
because of the personal feud they were having. But apparently,
Leopold is there, though his gravestone is not. Houdinis sister
Gladys is also buried there, but her gravestone is missing as
well. Those two stones were taken out after being vandalized.
There are nine members of the Weiss family buried in that
plot: Mayer Samuel (father, 1829-1892), Cecelia (mother, 1841-
1913), Herman (1863-1885), William (brother, 1872-1925),
Houdini (1874-1926), Nathan (1870-1927), Theo/Dash Hardeen
(brother, 1876-1945), C. Gladys Weiss (sister, 1882-1959), and
fnally Dr. Leopold Weiss (1879-1962).
But there is a tenth person buried in the cemetery who is
never mentioned. Perhaps people have forgotten about her.
Hannah Steiner, Cecelias mother is buried there. Houdini
had her disinterred and then placed next to Cecelia sometime
between 1913-1916 as a birthday gift to his mother. Strange,
sure, but this was Houdini. There is a gravestone there that
reads Grandmother 1821-1887. This was Houdinis maternal
grandmother. She is between one of the marble benches and
Hermans grave.
It is reported that Houdini paid for perpetual care of his
family plot, but there are no records to support this claim.
Assembly 1 took on the duty of overseer of the plot while the
national organization fnanced the upkeep.
But for reasons that remain cloudy, it was stopped in 2006.
However, others, like the Houdini Museum, contributed
greatly to the gravesite and are responsible for the restoration
of the bust, which now adorns the site once again.
I do have a fear that Machpelah may someday end up like
Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia. That is why I am very
pleased that the National Council decided to reestablish funding
for the maintenance of the gravesite.
There is no doubt that the S.A.M. and the general magic
community owes a great debt to the most iconic magician of all
time to care for his grave.
S.A.M. National Council
Unanimously Votes to Maintain
the Weiss/Houdini Gravesite
By Eric DeCamps
At the 2013 autumn meeting, the S.A.M. National Council
unanimously voted to provide fnancial funding for the mainte-
nance of the Houdini gravesite. Our national organization had
provided the fnancial backing to maintain the gravesite in the
past. However, that was mistakenly stopped in 2006. Thankful-
ly, the association for the cemetery still provided select services
to maintain the plot without compensation.
Interestingly enough, during his lifetime Houdini privately
funded the cleaning and restoration of many gravesites of
notable magicians throughout the world. It is only ftting that
the S.A.M. take the responsibility of maintaining his gravesite,
especially since Houdini is single-handedly responsible for
expanding the S.A.M. from a local club of magicians in New
York City into a strong and vibrant national organization of
In addition, the Weiss/Houdini gravesite is the only
gravesite known to signifcantly display our S.A.M. Logo and
Seal, further proving Houdinis commitment to the S.A.M.,
even after his death.
This recommitment by the S.A.M. to the Weiss/Houdini
gravesite would have not been possible if it werent for two
people who showed the same tenacity as Houdini did when he
helped expand the S.A.M.: Dick Brooks and Dorothy Dietrich.
With unrelenting passion they brought this issue to the forefront
of our national organization. We also need to thank S.A.M.
National 1st Vice-President David Bowers for taking the
baton from Dick and Dorothy and bringing it to the National
Councils attention. And a special thank you to Most Illustrious
Dal Sanders for his spirited backing of this important issue.
I would be remiss if I did not thank our Most Illustrious for
naming me chairman of the newly formed National Houdini
Gravesite Committee. I am fortunate to have the following
compeers who have agreed to serve with me on the committee:
Joseph Devlin, Thomas Solomon, William Gleason, Joseph
Caulfeld, Kathy Caulfeld, Charles Siebert, and Peter DeLuca.
An important thing that we all have to keep in mind, and it is
paramount to Machpelah Cemetery, is maintaining the sanctity
and dignity of the entire cemetery. While the Weiss/Houdini
gravesite is very important to us, the entire cemetery and the
thousands buried there are just as important to the Machpelah
Association. We need to keep that in mind whenever we visit
the gravesite.
I see this new obligation taken on by our National Council
as a genuine humanitarian effort to preserve not only the legacy
of Houdini, but our legacy as an organization as well. It will be
a real mitzvah for the generations of magicians to come. I am
honored and very proud to be part of this new chapter in the
history of the S.A.M.
Heres an aerial map of the Houdini gravesite in Machpelah
Cemetery in Queens, New York. Its based on my visit to the
site. - Tom Interval, Interval Magic (San Diego, CA). The
photo of the Houdini exedra (seen at bottom of the illustra-
tion): Ron Chicken, Houdini Museum (Scranton, PA)
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 53
54 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
I met John Cornelius in 1976; we both worked close-up at the
I.B.M. convention in Evansville, Indiana. This was the frst magic
convention I had ever performed at, and also the frst one I had
ever attended. My participation was due to the efforts of Indiana
magicians Ray Mangel and Bob Hurt. The other four close-up
workers were Steve Dacri, Ken de Courcy, Rick Johnsson, and
Scotty York.
One of the real joys of this convention was hanging out with
Cornelius; the magic he created was unlike any I had seen at the
time (or have seen since). At this particular convention he was
frying everyone with a demonstration of what he called a slow
coin. This was his presentation for doing the muscle pass. No one
had seen anything like this. I immediately went home and began
practicing. A month later, I saw John again at the Midwest Magic
Jubilee in Kansas City. (At this convention I met John Carney,
Roger Klause, and Larry Jennings.) John took me aside and said,
Heres something cool. He proceeded to show me the coin that
falls up. He had taken the muscle pass, turned it ninety degrees,
and blew everybody away with it. Now, of course, this is consid-
ered a standard thing, but forty years ago the ability to shoot a half
dollar into the air was something special.
John created and sold some wonderful effects over the years.
You can still fnd some of them at his website (www.johncornelius.
com/magic.html). Unfortunately, he has been ripped off
mercilessly; consequently, John has stepped back from the magic
world. This is the magic worlds loss. However, he does show up
at conventions occasionally, although it seems he rarely stays for
an entire convention.
The Award-Winning Magic of John Cornelius is a big collec-
tion of most of Johns creative output up to the time of publication
(2001). In it youll fnd the complete workings of Johns Fickle
Nickel (used by Doug Henning to open one of his TV specials),
the Cornelius Card System, the Oh Calcutta Shuffe, the Winter
Change, Spring Set, and his entire award-winning FISM card act.
One routine that is near and dear to me is My Ladys Ring, which
I morphed into a routine that I called You Axed for It.
The effects excerpted for this months Ebook Nook will give
some insight into Johns offbeat creativity. If you ignored this
book when it frst came out, you should defnitely get the ebook.
Some wonderful magic awaits you there.
My thanks to L&L Publishing for allowing these excerpts to
appear in M-U-M. Michael Close
There was a brief time, when a gallon of gasoline cost less
than a days wages, during which it seemed everyone spent much
of their time balancing coins on their elbows. The challenge was,
ostensibly, to bring the arm down and catch the coins in midair.
Increasing the number of coins in the stack made the feat pro-
portionally more diffcult, until at last it became nearly impos-
sible to balance the coins at all, let alone catch them. The greater
challenge may have been to avoid looking foolish while doing it,
but fnally the fad subsided, along with disco, wide lapels, and
good customer service.
Roger Klause, ever eager to throw the boys for a loop, began
doing the stunt on occasion except with a minor variation: After
adeptly catching the coins, which clinked solidly as he snatched
them from the air, he opened his hand to show it completely
empty. The coins had vanished! His presentation has necessarily
changed with the times, evolving from Have you tried the stunt
where...? to Remember when people used to...?
This is Johns variation on Rogers effect one of transforma-
tion instead of a vanish. Here, when you catch the quarters in the
air, you open your hand to reveal a cluster of pennies instead. The
effect is strong and sure to surprise.
To prepare, obtain three quarters and three pennies, some ma-
gicians wax, and an instant bonding glue, such as Krazy Glue.
On two of the quarters, place a small dab of magicians wax
on one side. Put these quarters, separated, in your right trouser
pocket. Now take the
third quarter and glue
it to your left arm
just above your elbow
(Figure 1). Use a very
small amount of glue
and no one gets hurt.
Dont worry; it can
be removed later with
nail polish remover or
some acetone-based
solvent. (If you happen to have skin allergies to these chemical
compounds, please dont send us your medical bills.) The pennies
go in your left pants pocket. Roll your sleeves down, button your
cuffs, and youre ready.
Later, when youre hanging around (preferably next to a sign
that says No Loitering), tell your prospective audience that you
would like to show them an amazing stunt. Unbutton your cuffs
and roll both sleeves up one turn only. Push your right sleeve up
past your elbow; your left arm wont come into play until later.
Place each hand into your pants pockets, searching for change.
Take all three pennies in your left hand, holding them loosely in
fnger palm. As this hand comes out, your right hand brings one
of the quarters into view. Take this coin at your left fngertips as
you raise your right arm
in cocked position
(Figure 2). Place the
quarter on your arm
just above your elbow.
When ready, snap
your right arm out,
catching the coin in
the air. The best way
to ensure success is to
spring from the knees
slightly just before the snap. This will cause the coin to move
upward a little, suspending it in the air long enough for you to
make your catch.
Excerpt From:
The Award-Winning Magic
of John Cornelius
Written By:
Lance Pierce
Ebook, 194 pages
Available From:
Photo 1
Photo 2
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 55
Say, I can even do it left-handed! Take the quarter again
with your left fngers and use your right hand to push (not roll)
your left sleeve up past your elbow. Turn to your left slightly and
take the quarter with your right hand as you bring your left arm
up. As it rises, your right hand comes to meet it, to prevent the
quarter already there from coming into view too early. Pretend to
place the quarter on your arm and bring your hand away, showing
the glued quarter instead. The waxed quarter is concealed in your
relaxed right hand and your left arm appears ready to catch the
coin on its elbow.
Say, Ill even make it more diffcult. Reach in your pocket
with your right hand and apparently remove another quarter, really
bringing forth the one hidden in your hand. Place this coin onto
the quarter on your elbow, frmly fxing the two with the wax.
Reach in your pocket again and bring out the third quarter, placing
it delicately on the stack. As you do, press the coins together so all
three now bond
to each other.
Spring and
snap your left
arm out as if
catching the
coins. The
pennies in your
hand create the
perfect sound
of catching the
coins. Bring your
right hand in front of you, palm up, and pour the pennies from
your otherwise empty left hand. At this point, since your right
side mainly faces the audience, you can turn the left hand over to
show both sides (Figure 3). You will fnd that your arm will not
turn nearly as much as your hand, and the quarters will remain
safely concealed behind. To end, lower your left arm, which will
allow your sleeve to fall down, covering the quarters. Button your
cuffs again and you have all the time in the world to clean up later
at your convenience.
In this routine, a cocktail sword is threaded onto a straw,
which a spectator holds from both ends. Another spectator holds
the sword. Nevertheless, the objects penetrate each other and are
magically released!
You will need an opaque handkerchief, a cocktail straw,
and two cocktail swords. Because you want this to appear as
impromptu as possible,
when everyone at your
table has received their
drink orders, you have
already obtained two
cocktail swords by
some devious manner.
One goes in a conve-
nient pocket, with your
handkerchief. Prepare
the other by breaking
the guard between your fngers, creating a slit in the plastic
handle (Figure 1). This can be done furtively at the table, or you
can retire for a moment to the restroom to set the gaff. Once the
work is in the sword, casually place it on the table in front of you
and continue your social interaction.
When you feel the time is right, ask for the loan of your friends
cocktail straw. Looking around the table, set your attention on
your sword, pick it up,
and thread the straw
through its handle.
The minute fracture
in the handle is practi-
cally invisible and will
escape notice. Ask your
friend to hold the straw
by its end, trapping the
sword on it (Figure 2).
Reach in your pocket for your handkerchief, fnger-palming
the other sword in the process (if youve forgotten your hand-
kerchief, a cocktail napkin is an acceptable substitute). Open
the handkerchief and drape it over the sword and straw, leaving
the spectators hands uncovered (Figure 3). Say, Now we know
that the sword is frmly
linked to the straw...
Reach under the hand-
kerchief with both
hands and tug lightly
on the prepared sword
as you put the shaft of
the other sword through
its handle (Figure 4, in
which the handkerchief
is removed for clarity).
The spectator holding
the straw understands
that you are doing this
only to emphasize the
condition of the sword
and straw. Immediately
bring both hands from
beneath the handker-
chief, showing them
empty. The swords
remain securely settled
together beneath the
cloth. Finish your
sentence by saying, ...
and there is no way it
can escape unharmed
as long as you keep a
tight hold on the ends.
Move one hand
beneath the handker-
chief again and grasp
the hilt of the unpre-
pared sword. With the
thumb and fngers of
your other hand, locate
the point of this sword
through the cloth and
ask another spectator
to pinch it frmly here.
(Figure 5 shows what the spectators see; Figure 6 shows the actual
situation with the handkerchief removed.) Take both of your hands
away. Ask the spectator to pull gently on the sword to make sure
Photo 3
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
56 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
its still linked.
When youve built suffcient drama, reach under the handker-
chief with both hands, grasp the guard of the prepared sword, and
open its fracture just far enough to pass over the straw. As soon as
it is free, fnger-palm the gimmick as you take the handkerchief
away. One spectator is holding only the straw, the other the hand-
kerchief and the sword, with no clue about how the penetration
took place. Either pocket the gimmick along with your handker-
chief or lap it at a relaxed moment.
Walter Wilson contributed a method for the exact reverse of
this effect, putting a sword onto a straw, in a Linking Ring parade
(Cocktail Sword and Straw, November 1982, page 58). Combining
the two could make for an effective routine and may establish a
well-deserved reputation among your peers.
Here is an odd effect: The materialization of something solid
were not sure what inside the folds of a handkerchief. Yet,
when the cloth is opened, there is nothing there. This is an (appar-
ently) impromptu version of Glorpy, the Gerkulating Ghost, frst
marketed in 1963, and still available from dealers under various
names. For an interesting history of this effect and its various
permutations, see Max Mavens article A Brief History of It in
the May 2000 issue of MAGIC magazine.
First, go to your local hardware store (a phrase that could
have become a subtitle
of Johns lectures as
well as this book) and
purchase some Romex
12/2 electrical wire.
This is a thick gauge
wire in a protective
coating; you only need
about a three-inch
length. When you have
the appropriate piece, take a pair of needle-nosed pliers, pull the
copper wire out of the sleeve, and throw it away. Its the thick
sleeve you want, and this sleeve is the modus for the effect. John
has found that aquarium or surgical tubing will also work well
(Figure 1).
Sit at a table with a tablecloth (to keep things from sliding
around later). With the
gimmick fnger-palmed
in your right hand
(Figure 2), borrow a
handkerchief from
a kind spectator and
offer to show him a
ghost. You see, you
say, there are always
ghosts in the air ev-
erywhere you go; theyre made of ectoplasm. The easiest way to
catch one is to form a ghost trap. Lay the cloth fat on the table,
one corner nearest you, so youre looking at a diamond-shaped
polygon before you. Grasp this near corner with your right hand,
folding it over and toward the center. Set the corner down in the
middle of the hanky, allowing the gimmick to fall from your hand
onto the hanky as you do.
With your left hand, fold the left corner over and onto the
center, momentarily covering your right hand, which you im-
mediately withdraw. This prevents the spectators from seeing
the object youve placed there. Fold the right corner over next,
followed by the far corner.
Now that we have the trap, all we need is to gather some
ectoplasm. Lift the top layers of the cloth with your left hand.
Reach into the air
with your right hand,
showing it empty, and
pretend to grab some
ectoplasm and place it
within the folds of the
handkerchief. Repeat
this action two or three
times. On one of your
trips into the handker-
chief, bend the gimmick in half at its middle (Figure 3). Hold it
down like this, as your left hand takes over outside the cloth and
holds the gimmick so you can remove your hand.
Use your fat palms to smooth out the fabric (Figure 4), which
will make the cloth taut and continue the pressure on the Romex
sleeve. When your
hands are near the edge
of the hanky, slowly
release the pressure,
allowing the gimmick
to straighten up beneath
the cloth. To your spec-
tators, the center of the
handkerchief will mys-
teriously rise. See,
you say, thats a ghost, believe it or not, and contrary to what
people believe about ghosts, its really quite solid.
Place your fat right hand on top of the gimmick and move it
around in circles (Figure 5). This gives the curious illusion that
whatever object may be under the cloth is spherical. To further
emphasize its solidity,
take a spoon, pen,
comb, or some nearby
object, and tap it frmly
on top. The gimmick
will not fall and you
appear to be striking
something quite solid.
But we have to
return it to where it
came from before we bring the forces of doom on us, so we take
out the ectoplasm. Lift the top layers of the hank again with your
left hand, reach in the folds with your right hand (pretending to
remove the stuff), and throw it back out in the air. When your
hand goes in the last
time, use your thumb
to kick the gimmick
straight back, out of
the hanky, off the table,
and in your lap (Figure
6). If you wish, you
can pretend to hand
different spectators
some ectoplasm, on the
last stroke removing the gimmick and placing it in your pocket,
saving some ectoplasm for yourself.
Photo 1
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 2
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 57
Many handkerchiefs will have enough body that they will
retain the general shape of the ghost, even after the gimmick
has gone. If that is the case here, slowly press it down, fattening
the cloth, then cleanly unfold the handkerchief and give it back to
the spectator, thanking him and reminding him to launder it as
quickly as possible. D. D. Home would be proud.
Just how many methods have there been for the Rising Card?
The amount of thought alone that has gone into the effect should
validate it; this version is nearly self-working yet quite baffing.
Here, three cards are selected and the deck is placed upright in a
drinking glass. In succession, each selection rises from the deck,
after which the audience may examine the glass and all the cards.
John frst noticed years ago that the tacky surface of a childs
rubber ball (commonly called a super ball) can be used to move
playing cards. He frst showed his handling to Derek Dingle years
ago and since then it has become a very popular underground
approach to the rising card effect. [Dereks handling appeared in
The Complete Works of Derek Dingle, page 115.] His handling
(and all the others) put the upright deck in the hand with the ball
behind it. By squeezing slightly, the ball would roll, pushing the
rear card of the deck straight upwards. This new application of the
principle makes the handling even easier while possibly increas-
ing the deceptiveness.
First, obtain a super ball that is approximately one inch in
diameter, a length of strong black thread, a needle, and a button.
Tie the thread frmly to the button and, about four inches away,
secure the needle at its other end. Next, jam the needle into the
center of the super ball (Figure 1). If it comes out the other side,
thats okay, just snip off the excess.
Now place the
super ball in the
bottom of a dark
colored or opaque
drinking glass. The
thread and button
hang over the rim
behind the glass,
away from the audi-
ences view (Figure
2). The glass rests
on the table in
front of you while
you perform other
routines. When
ready, have three
cards selected and
returned to the deck.
You must control the
three cards to the top
of the deck (dare we
say it?) by your favorite method. The cards can be placed simul-
taneously in the deck and brought to the top by a multiple shift or
returned individually and controlled with a variety of techniques
just get them there.
Once the selections are in position (lets assume youve con-
trolled them in frst, second, and third order from the top of the
deck), pick up the glass with your right hand and place the deck
upright in it, faces to the audience. As you place the deck in the
glass, tilt the glass back toward you slightly; this will ensure the
ball rolls to the near side and ends up behind the pack (Figure 3).
To make the frst card rise, place your right thumb on the
button while you magically wave your left hand around the glass.
Ask the frst spectator the name of his card. When he tells you,
pull down on the button, which will pull the ball up inside the
glass, dragging the top card of the deck with it (Figure 4). It helps
to tilt the glass backwards again just a tad. From the front, the card
appears to rise from somewhere within the pack; the audience
cannot distinguish that its coming from the rear.
When the card has risen to its full height, take hold of it with
your left hand and tilt the glass forward a little. This way, you can
remove the card without dragging the ball out of the glass with it.
Keeping your thumb on the button, let it slide back up, lowering
the ball to the bottom of the glass again. Place the selection on
the table.
For the second and third selections, repeat the mechanics
exactly, causing each card to rise. After youve removed the
third selection, hold your left hand palm up and invert the glass
onto it. The deck will fall into your left hand, the ball and button
assembly landing on your palm behind it (Figure 5). Show the
glass around and hand it out, then take the deck in your right hand
and fan it before setting on the table for examination. Your left
hand continues holding the ball, button, and thread, which you
secretly dispose of at an opportune moment.
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
This month I thought Id delve into
something a little more conceptual.
Whenever Im pondering a trick whether
its something Im learning from a book
or DVD, or something Im in the process
of creating, or an item Im reviewing for
M-U-M I have certain criteria in mind.
Some are personal, and some I think are
worth broader consideration.
In his book Designing Miracles,
Darwin Ortiz addresses the two levels of
reality in a magic trick: the outer reality,
which is everything the audience sees and
perceives, and the inner reality, which is
everything the performer deals with to
make the trick work. On the surface, these
may seem like fancy-pants terms for
method and effect, but theres more to
it. Darwin points out that any component
of a method has two jobs to do: accomplish
some secret goal, and to create an outward
illusion. In other words, the inner and
outer realities are acting simultaneously.
At every point in a trick, you have to
consider whats happening on both levels
at the same time.
After a while, I realized Id started
incorporating those ideas in my evaluation
of different tricks. Typically, a creator or
teacher of an effect will describe parts of
the method as being important selling
points. Magic marketplace ad copy is full
of these descriptors, usually dispelling
or eliminating certain techniques. No
force! No palming! No gaffs! Use
your own deck! What became apparent
to me was that, depending whether the
element in question related to the inner
or outer reality, I could point to a part
of a trick and determine whether this
selling point was a strength, or merely a
To me, a convenience is anything
about the trick that improves it for the
performer (easier sleights, no complicated
set-ups, etc..). A strength, on the other
hand, is anything that improves it for the
audience (impressive conditions, humor or
entertainment value, maximized impact,
Take performing Card to Wallet with
a Mullica wallet. The fact that you dont
have to palm or wear a jacket is convenient
for the performer who doesnt typically do
either of those things. The real strength of
the Mullica wallet, however, is the fact that
it doesnt have to be out of sight or even on
the performers person to load a card into
it. It can be in full view, isolated from both
the proceedings and the performer, right
up until you produce the card.
The fact that you can show your hands
empty could also be a strength (offset
a little by the fact that you have to bring
the deck over to the wallet or vice versa),
but if youre palming well and at the
right time, theyll think your hands are
empty anyway. As far as the audience is
concerned, the fact that youre not palming
shouldnt make a difference. The fact that
you can make the card appear in a wallet
that someone else has been holding the
entire time does make a difference.
For another example, a lot of comments
about the Tamariz stack are about how
easy (or not) it is to get into from new deck
order. Getting into the stack from a newly-
opened deck is very convenient if you
happen to get handed a lot of unopened
decks. However, most memorized deck
workers simply set the deck up ahead of
time. On top of which, theres a whole
chapter in Mnemonica about how to get
into the stack (or any stack) on the fy, or
back into the stack after having the cards
shuffed. All three of these options should
appear identical to your audience, so the
only difference is in how easy it is for
you, the performer. Being able to get back
into new deck order from the (apparently
shuffed) arrangement, on the other hand,
is what Tamariz describes as one of the
most powerful climaxes possible for a card
routine in other words, a tremendous
One place where the distinction gets
tricky is where the two realities overlap.
As Ascanio said, Theres nothing more
overwhelming than the truth. The
audience needs to believe that the deck is
genuinely shuffed, and it really is. They
need your hands to be empty, and they
really are. Magic is supposed to look
effortless, and the best way to do that is to
not expend any effort. However, the only
way that works is if the element in question
is something the audience actually cares
Heres an example from my own
experience. A while back I devised what
I thought was a pretty clever (and strong)
two-card mental effect. Part of the method
involved clocking the deck, which like any
technique is hard to make look effortless
if youre not fuent with it. But I liked
the idea that it allowed me to do the trick
from a shuffed deck, so I devised a script
that gave me funny things to say while I
over-clocked my mental processors doing
the required math. Typically, I consider
allowing the audience to shuffe the deck
in the beginning to be a strength, because
I can emphasize my lack of control.
However, what I forgot was that this trick
isnt about control. Its about divination. I
was emphasizing the wrong thing, because
in reality being able to do the effect from a
shuffed deck was convenient for me.
After a while, I realized I could
spare myself a lot of headache by doing
the trick from my memorized stack.
The important part of the trick being
able to get the necessary information
quickly and without veins bursting in my
forehead became much easier, and the
trick became a lot stronger as a result.
Its tempting to worry about someone
suspecting the deck is prearranged, but
as many practitioners of memorized deck
magic point out, if handled properly there
should be no difference to an audience
between a genuinely shuffed deck and a
prearranged one. So while it was better
58 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
By Antonio M. Cabral
Cheats & Deceptions
(For Entertainment Purposes Only)
for me to feel like I could go into the trick
at any time with any deck, its better for
my audiences to use a method that allows
me to divine their thoughts in the blink of
an eye. You might argue that I chose the
easier method; I prefer to think of it as
having displaced the work from having to
do it in front of the audience (clocking the
deck) to having done it well ahead of time
(memorizing my stack). It also freed me
up to focus on the funny script, which in
this case became just as important as the
Practicality is a good concept to have
in the mix. There are plenty of tricks in
which the effect is absolutely worth the
work, but the effort involved is impractical
for everyday use. If I were getting set for
a formal show for some CEOs birthday
party or going on a late-night talk show,
Id absolutely take the time to freeze a
card into a block of ice for a trick. Its not
something Im going to try to do whenever
I casually go out to the pub or to a party
with friends. In practice, there are only so
many gaffs Im willing to carry around or
ring in, and if you tell me I have to make
up a whole separate stacked and gaffed
deck for one trick, forget it. But these are
absolutely matters of my own convenience
barring the fact that the best way for
me to convince my audiences that I can
perform miracles with regular cards is to
actually use regular cards.
Another place where the distinction
between an outward strength and an
inward convenience blurs is when the
effect is delayed. In card magic, there are
tricks that you cant go into on the spur
of the moment, but along the course of
two or three semi-related tricks, you can
set up for, and end with, a big climax of
some kind. This is related to something
Darwin refers to in Designing Miracles as
the composite perfect method. Here, this
one trick might have a beneft to you the
performer that the audience is never aware
of, but allows you to perform a follow-up
miracle that becomes that much more
For example, its convenient for you
the performer that a trick might allow
you to have the deck shuffed, and then
cull the Aces or a big group of cards for
the next trick. You might have the deck
genuinely shuffed and still preserve
a large or full-deck setup for some
blockbuster gambling demo or memorized
deck miracle. Or a trick might allow the
deck to be spread on the table and seen
to be normal and all one color, while also
allowing you to switch it in for a Rainbow
Deck or a blank-faced deck.
These are all handy things to be able
to do over the course of a trick or two.
But they dont turn into strengths from
the audiences viewpoint until you follow
those tricks with those other, whiz-bang
killer climaxes. Likewise, those killer
closer tricks might be very strong, but they
become stronger because, by preceding
those tricks with the others, youre
apparently ready to produce miracles,
anytime, anywhere, any deck, Bobs your
uncle, before you can say Jack Robinson.
These arent hard and fast rules, but
as I said they are criteria to help evaluate
tricks and methods. Sometimes the results
will be different for different people. For
someone profcient with clocking the
deck, my original method for the two-card
divination I mentioned might be just as
effective from the audiences viewpoint
as the memorized deck version. In that
case, since the effect would be the same,
the differences in the methods become less
Another example is the Rusduck
Zensational arrangement, which allows
you to perform Mike Zenss Any Poker
Hand Called For, a very powerful
demonstration of card cheating prowess.
This arrangement is built into the Aronson
stack, and as such is a very strong feature
of that particular stack. If I wanted to
use the Zensational stack, I would do a
terrifc routine of Darwin Ortizs, Shark
Attack (from Scams & Fantasies with
Cards), that allows me to perform the trick
from a genuinely shuffed deck. As such,
having the effect built into the Aronson
stack ceased to become a strength or a
convenience of that arrangement for me.
(And, as I alluded to before, since the
trick is about controlling cards, allowing
the audience to genuinely shuffe the deck
before you produce or deal any poker hand
they ask for is a very strong feature of
Darwins routine.)
These distinctions arent limited to
card tricks, of course. In coin magic, you
might be in a position to choose between
a Coins Across effect that uses a shell, a
fipper coin, or some other gaff, and one
that doesnt. Since most coin workers work
with their own coins, its no more or less
convenient to carry the gaff as opposed to
the extra coin. The gaff might allow you
to cleanly vanish a coin or coins at some
point in the trick, which is another point
where the audiences perception (the coin is
really gone) matches your actual situation
(the coin was never there, so youre not
trying to hide it in a palm of some kind).
So you might fnd yourself evaluating the
trick on whether or not you want the coin
to vanish cleanly in your hand, or in an
audience participants hand. (Ill leave it to
you to decide which is the stronger option.)
Likewise, theres an ongoing debate about
whether bill switches should use a thumb
tip or not. Im actually working on a tip-less
bill switch myself, but Im well aware of
why I made that decision (convenience)
and what Im giving up for it (strength).
I hope this gives you a useful
perspective on judging new tricks. Its
the most effective one: from the outside,
looking in.
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 59
Compiled and Edited by W. S. Duncan
Available from: www.essentialmagiccollection.com
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $150.00

I am rather old school in that
I still prefer to learn magic from
the written word. And so my
library of magic-related DVDs
is rather meager when compared
to the collections of my fellow
magi. I rarely invest in them, and
the lions share of the DVDs I do
possess were either gifts or review
copies. So it must say something
that, when I heard that the folks
over at Essential Magic were
going to release a four-volume
set devoted to the magic of
David Williamson, I didnt think
twice about plunking down the cash and purchasing a
copy of my very own. And I dont even do card tricks.
And that is the reason why this portion of the review will be
focused on volumes one and three of this set, leaving the remaining
two discs, which concern themselves to effects utilizing playing
cards and the requisite manipulation and sleights thereof, to Bill
Duncan, a fellow reviewer better versed in the handling of paste-
boards than I.
So where to begin? Perhaps at the beginning would be best, a
situation made easier by the fact that I am tasked with reviewing
the frst disc, which is devoted to the routines in Mr. William-
sons professional show. While there is a card trick or four in this
section, all of the material presented is from Mr. Williamsons
stand-up act, which features many of his signature routines.
All of the routines are performed in a small theater in front of
a live audience at an undisclosed location somewhere in Portugal.
While there are some minor, albeit humorous, diffculties com-
municating with the audience due to Mr. Williamson's inability
to speak or understand Portuguese, he valiantly overcomes this
minor handicap in his own capricious manner, clearly demon-
strating along the way that magic is indeed a universal language.
My interest in obtaining this set was primarily to see the per-
formance and handling of the Hindu Needle Trick and (being the
Cups and Balls junkie that I am), Mr. Williamsons two-cup Cups
and Balls routine. His stand-up set begins with the former and
ends with the latter. Between the two I was regaled with perfor-
mances of a ring and rope routine suitable for stage, a diabolically
clever torn and restored card effect that, even though its a card
trick, is going to fnd a place in my repertoire, his take on the
classic card in mouth trick, two more card effects (Aunt Marys
Terrible Secret and Funner Color Stunner) as well as his handling
tips for the old Rocky Raccoon spring puppet.
As mentioned before, the performance sequence took place in
a theater in front of, as far as I can determine, a non-magician
audience. So one gets a feel as to how the material plays in the
real world, and especially how this material plays if youre David
Williamson. The explanation sequences are all shot in the now
familiar Essential Magic recording studio. As with all of Essential
Magics releases, it is a quality product featuring a multi-camera
shoot, excellent sound quality, and superb editing. All of the ex-
planations are clear and concise, allowing even ham-handed, fum-
ble-fngered card workers like me to clearly see what Ive been
doing wrong all these years.
Also included on disc one is part of a four-part interview of
Mr. Williamson by Luis de Matos, a blooper reel, and a behind-
the-scenes look at the taping of Ridiculous.
Disc three is titled Non Card Work. This, I believe, is some
sort of code for Coin Tricks, because most of this disc concerns
itself with tricks utilizing metallic currency. There are nine of
them in all. My favorites, or at least the ones that appeal to me, are
the Coin in Bottle and his handling of Michael Ammars routine
for Pencil through Coin. Those more sleight-inclined than me
shant be disappointed, because there is plenty here for them as
well, including a Matrix, a Coins Across, and a bare-handed coin
vanish to name just a few. For the non-coin guys, Mr. Williamson
tips his handling of the Gypsy Thread. He also shows us a unique
handling of the thumb-tip silk vanish that will fool those in the
know and a couple of great routines using silverware. He fnishes
off the segment with his signature Saline Solution salt vanish.
The routines are performed in front of an audience and then
explained in detail in the studio. All of the explanatory segments
are presented in David Williamsons irrepressible playful style,
and are loaded with anecdotes and tips drawn from over thirty
years of performing experience. These are DVDs that you will
watch again and again not just for the tricks, but for the priceless
insights Mr. Williamson has to offer on the performance of magic.
Theyre just a lot of fun to watch.
The disc concludes with part three of the David Williamson
interview and also includes a gag reel from FISM 2000, and a
curious but highly amusing travelogue that documents Mr.
Williamsons wild antics all amid the environs of Portugal. David
Williamson is a towering fgure in the world of magic (yes, Ive
been trying to work in that height joke for the entire review) and
this excellent DVD set goes far in documenting his many contri-
butions to the art of magic. Payne
On rare occasions, a new product arrives that deserves a deeper
dive than the usual crop of card tricks and clever gimmicks;
something that requires multiple perspectives. Sometimes, as
when Bill Malone offered an extensive look at the card work of Ed
Marlo, its because of its historical signifcance. And sometimes
its because the performer is expert in too many forms for the
average magical reviewer to have an understanding of all of the
subjects that relate to the material being taught. In this case, both
conditions apply.
The historical signifcance part is that David Williamson has
for more than a quarter of a century been a force in magic, and here
60 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
is a comprehensive record of his work, professionally produced,
while he is at the top of his game. A quarter of a century from
now people will not have to wonder why his name is spoken with
respect. They will be able to see for themselves.
And then theres the variety of work. David Williamson moves
effortlessly between simple, direct effects like spoon bending and
complex multi-phase tricks like his legendary Torn and Restored
Card routine. And he does it while he charms with his silliness and
his winning smile. He does kids parties, improvisational comedy,
platform, cocktail party strolling, and hardcore card magic.
And there is great card magic here, including tricks by a few
of Mr. Williamsons friends that he uses in his professional work,
and an almost complete collection of his published output. Youll
fnd complex multiphase material like Cocktail Dazzler, a routine
designed for walk-around performance and based on classic
themes. Youll also fnd simple plots like Easy Aces, an assembly
that will fool anyone not familiar with it. Youll also see Davids
presentation for the trick many know as Two-Card Monte. Its a
wonderful take on a standard trick that made me love Be Honest
What Is It again.
Theres also a full DVD of David explaining the methods he
uses in his card work. Card guys will fnd detailed professional
tips on classic moves like the top change, the pinky count, and the
diagonal palm shift. Getting the real work on classic methods like
these, from someone who uses them all the time, is invaluable to
anyone who aspires to master them.
There are also confessions. I wont spoil that surprise for
you, but I didnt expect to hear about Joseph Campbells Heros
Journey from silly old Dave, and it made me very happy. I had
the good fortune to see a midnight lecture Mr. Williamson gave
at Stan Kramiens place in Oregon a few years back. He started
his talk by saying that many contemporary lecturers like to
talk about magic theory, but that when he was a kid attending
lectures a lecture would consist of a guy who would do a trick
and then tell you how it was done. He told us he would only do
that, because he wasnt much of theory guy. He then proceeded
to give one of the best theory lectures Ive ever seen. He spent
about an hour on one trick, his Torn and Restored Card routine.
He taught this complex and brilliant piece of card magic with such
detail and insight into how people watch magic that the kids who
clapped when he said he wasnt going to talk about theory didnt
even notice they were learning concepts that they would someday
apply to all the magic they do.
So there, in ffteen hundred words or so, is a brief overview
of what you get in Ridiculous. Weve only scratched the surface.
There are still surprises to be had, music videos, interviews,
and even David reviewing some of his favorite magic books. It
probably goes without saying that both Payne and I recommend
Ridiculous for pretty much anyone who likes to perform, study, or
watch magic. So what are you waiting for? Get it. W.S. Duncan
Available from: www.vernetmagic.com
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $110.00

I was excited to get my hands on Opening Doors, the new
three-DVD set from Vernet on what card magicians refer to as
The Trick That Cannot Be Explained. Part of the reason was that
I knew of Henry Evans reputation as a master of this trick, so I
was looking forward to seeing his
performances. The other part was
genuine curiosity as to what was
going to be taught. While the set
fell short of being the encyclope-
dic resource I expected it to be, it
does manage to impart some very
good and important information
on the subject. Like the trick itself,
the DVD set ends up being in some
ways more, and in some ways less,
than the sum of its parts.
The Trick That Cant Be
Explained is part of the amazing
legacy of Dai Vernon, and is, no pun intended, hard to explain.
You cant say what the effect is, because there is no set effect. You
cant say what the method is, because there is no set method and
in many ways, theres no method at all. Simply put, The Trick
That Cant Be Explained is the art of improvising with a deck
of cards. Maybe the performer makes a prediction, or maybe an
audience member chooses a card, or names a card, or a four of
a kind. Then the performer has to fnd a pathway to a miracu-
lous conclusion matching the prediction or fnding the named
cards based solely on the information that the order of the cards
gives him. The performer (ideally) doesnt handle or manipulate
the cards at all, relying on confdence and a fnely-honed ability
to equivoque to pull a miracle out of literal thin air. Sometimes
the result is a miracle, sometimes its a pretty good card trick;
sometimes its merely a decent card trick. Sometimes its a bang;
sometimes its a whimper.
For a trick that cant be explained, there are actually quite a
few places to learn about The Trick That Cant Be Explained in the
literature. The trick was christened in Dai Vernons More Inner
Secrets of Card Magic, but theres also Ed Marlos Unexpected
Prediction in Expert Card Conjuring (beautifully performed on
Bill Malones Malone Meets Marlo DVDs), Martin Nashs A
Hard Ace to Follow, and a few improvisational effects in Harry
Loraynes Close-Up Card Magic. More recently, Michael Close
provided approaches using a memorized deck in the Jazzin
chapter of Workers Five, Roberto Giobbi has offered up some
thoughts in his book Confdences, Darwin Ortiz discusses the trick
in Designing Miracles, and Eric Mead contributed some outstand-
ing thoughts in his book Tangled Web. And yet, the only real way
to learn the trick is to jump off the cliff and try it. The write-ups
offer up a lot of there might be and maybe you could, but you
just dont know until the cards are staring you in the face and
youre out there without a net. The Trick That Cant Be Explained
is The Effect That Cant Be Described and The Method That Cant
Be Taught. It just has to be done.
So what does Henry Evans have to contribute on the subject?
For starters, he is very clearly an expert improviser with cards.
The frst disc of Opening Doors features four different perfor-
mances in four different settings, all largely improvised. Evanss
facility with his improvisational toolkit is not a little astounding.
At no time do you ever get the sense that hes thinking on his
feet. Comparing the performances, you get to see what he does
the same way every time, and what he does differently, which
is a set of lessons on its own. Following those performances, he
sits down with another magician and attempts to detail exactly
how he made his way through the frst studio performance, which
yields a few interesting insights. On disc two, he starts discussing
some of his concrete techniques in detail and the theory behind
them, and offers some specifc, self-contained effects incorporat-
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 61
ing those techniques as well as some non-improvisational effects.
Disc three discusses some of the presentational aspects of the
trick, where your audiences reaction to the trick relies as much (if
not more) on how you talk about it as it does on what you actually
Evanss approach to these performances is very smart: he ap-
proaches it like a jazz musician approaches a solo, which is to
say, he gives himself a framework on which to hang his impro-
visations. He starts with a non-improvisational effect, and tries
to build to his ending well in advance. (Michael Close and Eric
Mead have expressed similar thinking on the subject.) If I had to
pick a single most useful technique of his, it would be his ability
to very rapidly count quantities of cards in a spread, and to do so
while speaking to his audience. He describes some tips on both
abilities, and while itll take a lot of experience to get as good as
Henry Evans with them, theyre abilities that will pay dividends
to the serious card magician.
Another valuable skill discussed is the aforementioned pre-
sentational side. One of the frst rules of theatrical improvisation
is to say yes to anything and everything that comes your way.
Nothing is wrong or a mistake. Evanss confdence in present-
ing even the most minor of miracles is apparent in all of his per-
formances, and is illustrated further with a trick that I at frst
didnt understand. He demonstrates the apparent ability to roll any
number he wants on a pair of dice. I wasnt sure what I was seeing,
but it seemed impressive. As it turns out, Evans just rolls the dice
and whatever total he gets, he can immediately explain why he
rolled it as if it was his intention all along. As a trick, its lame, but
as an exercise in equivocal double-talk, its a valuable skill for the
card magician who wants to appear to be in control at all times.
The biggest problem with the Opening Doors set is, in fact, one
of language. The discs were recorded in Spanish and overdubbed
with an English language voiceover. Unfortunately, theres only
one person doing the voiceover, and during the back and forth
explanation segments it gets diffcult to separate out whos saying
what. On top of which, the translations employed are confusing
more often than they ought to be. A prime example is right in the
DVD copy, which states that Opening Doors makes the impos-
sible to show and teach you something that is (almost) impossible
to be taught. I have no idea what that means, but having listened
to the explanations I cant argue with it.
I cant say that this DVD is going to teach you The Trick
That Cant Be Explained any better than whats already in print,
because the best teacher of the trick is experience with the trick.
I certainly wouldnt recommend building an entire performance
out of the trick the way Evans does. Few and far between are the
performers with enough knowledge and experience to not only
pull off a single improvised trick, but to build an entire impro-
vised routine with the appropriate shape and build. When you
throw yourself on the mercy of fate and chance, you run the risk of
delivering a performance that may be to the best of your abilities,
but less than your potential, to deliver maximum entertainment
for your audience. (Rene Lavand has noted, I never improvise
out of respect for my audience.)
On the other hand, viewing these DVDs I was reminded of
another classic card text, Charles Hopkinss Outs, Precautions,
and Challenges. On those unfortunate occasions when improvi-
sation is your only way out of a sticky situation, the techniques
described on these DVDs will put you in position to walk away
from a crash landing when your parachute fails. The ability to
immediately read a deck and fnd a satisfying conclusion to a
botched trick, to perform mental tasks while talking, and the
sheer ability to sling baloney until they believe its grade-A prime
rib will carry a performer far in the art of card conjuring. Much
like performing the trick itself, the valuable information is there
on the discs. Youre just going to have to tease it out. If you have
serious interest in this style of performance, this set will be a
valuable resource.
Available from: www.HermeticPress.com
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $40.00
Finally, at long last, the big book of
Mayhew is here. Mayhews the bomb,
baby, and aint no arguing about it. Ive
met the Mayhew, done card tricks with
him, and have laughed off valuable
body parts watching him perform.
If you havent had that last experi-
ence, add it to your bucket list. Steve
Mayhew is one of those very rare per-
formers who can walk the razors edge
he takes sleight of hand seriously, he
takes comedy seriously, and the results
are both hilarious and magical. He
creates sophisticated sleight-of-hand
effects that are all about the audience and how hes going to make
them love him. Even while hes dealing seconds and calling them
middles, or dealing bottoms and calling them seconds, or even
before, when hes at home coming up with a good reason for doing
something as dippy as either of those things, hes doing it all for
the audience. And, since youll actually fnd good uses for both
of these odd concepts in the book, it turns out hes been doing it
for us, too.
Steve has mastered just enough tough sleight of hand to be ab-
solutely fearless in front of an audience. This allows him to open
his shows with the offer, Ill do any trick you can think of with this
deck of cards, confdent that he can make good on that promise.
In the book, he explains how he accomplishes this, and how one
can use that offer as a lead-in to a routine in which the spectators
fnd the four Aces. That said, you might be wondering if you have
the card handling (or audience handling) skills necessary to do the
material in this book. The answer ismostly. Most of the material
requires a facility with the usual controls, palms, side steals, and
double lifts, and some of it is nearly self-working. In fact, Steve
tips a sleight-less way to cull a four of a kind from a shuffed deck,
while its being shuffed, His Old Lazy Fat Guy Deck Switch is
pretty much as advertised.
To do the really good stuff, however, youll want to have a
workable classic pass, a second deal, and the ability to deal just
one card, once, from the middle. Youll also have to understand
how to make an audience laugh. But none of this is any reason
to avoid this book. If you do not already have these skills, Steve
offers valuable tips on most of them, and the magic provides
ample incentive to learn the others. There are false deals and
elaborate farces. Spectators cut to the Aces, and are made to hug
you. Brazen palming and passing are covered by presentational
gambits that are just as reckless. Not everyone can do this sort of
thing, but everyone should at least try.
If you already have a Mayhew routine in your repertoire, its
likely Freedom (although you probably learned it under a different
62 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
name, since variations have been published by Allan Ackerman,
Darwin Ortiz, Jack Carpenter, and others), in which the performer
demonstrates his ability to deal cards from the middle, second
from the middle, eleven-teen from the top, and anywhere, while
hes really dealing seconds, essentially performing Triumph, and
rallying the crowd to stick it to the man whos keeping us down
by making us always deal from the top. Its the sort of gambling
demo that audiences understand and enjoy, even if they dont
gamble. Its also simple to get into, easy to remember, and can
be presented in any number of ways. (Mayhew provides two pre-
sentations.) In addition, you get a variation by Allan Ackerman
and Simon Aronson that adds extra impact for gambling savvy
Another standout is Uber Ultimate Gardner-Marlo in which
Steve takes a serious gambling technique that he and Jack
Carpenter came up with (which allows you to riffe stack even
though the spectator is the one whos shuffing) and applies it to a
routine in which the spectator gets to cheat (he actually shuffes
the deck and then deals his hand off the bottom) and win. On the
second round, he even deals a winning hand to his partner. Like
Freedom, this routine is also followed by an outstanding variation
it inspired, this time by Jason England and Tomas Blomberg.
Mayhews penchant for turning tricks on their heads is also
evident in his take on Currys Out of This World. The participants
have no idea what theyre doing, as they offer the fanned deck to
each other so that cards can be chosen and placed on the table.
Even though the deck was in their hands, it turns out that they
have unwittingly separated it into reds and blacks.
About half of the material is gambling themed, and there are
false dealing demos that are, in fact, false, and some that are real.
If youre drawn to this sort of stuff, youll be happy to hear that
he has included Labyrinth Blackjack, in which the spectator deals
out as many hands of head-to-head blackjack as he likes, he plays
as well as he can, and he always loses. You do nothing but sit
smugly, play the cards dealt to you, and win every time. Its all in
the stack. Gambling fans will also be amazed by The Way of All
Flesh, in which Mayhew and Tony Cabral have combined Topsy
Turvy Aces with the Gilbreath principle and the mechanics of a
punch deal to create an effect in which the spectator shuffes and
mixes the cards face up and face down, but when you deal out the
deck, you get all the face-down cards, and theyre given the entire
suit of Spades. Yes, its a sexy perfect bridge deal, perhaps the
only sexy bridge deal.
While were still talking about Triumph, magicians will
enjoy Regressive Triumph, which is a Triumph in which the deck,
which is a face-up/face-down mess, rights itself gradually, about a
third at a time, until it is all facing one way, except for the selected
card. Another favorite is Dolores in a Meadow, which is The Trick
that Fooled Houdini, if it were painted by Salvador Dali.
And everyone, even the mentalists, should like Wet or
Black?, which is (as far as I know) a new effect in card magic. The
spectator freely cuts the deck into eight separate packets and then
makes one fnal decision, red or black. Whichever he names, and
it is a free choice, the top cards of all the packets are that color.
The presentation is really funny, and the effect is stunning.
While all of that is weird and wonderful, the two standouts for
me were Full Frontal Conus and Das Kapital. The Conus Aces is
literally one of the oldest tricks in the book. Hailing from a time
when magicians dared to taunt and challenge their audiences, it
is essentially a series of sucker tricks a daunting test of a per-
formers presentational chops. You tell the audience that youre
going to deal the Aces to the table, but you dont. You deal off the
bottom, or you cut the deck before the deal, actions that they see
and call you on. When you show that the Aces really are on the
table, they are surprised and defeated. Whether they enjoy that
experience enough to take the bait the next time depends on the
performers skill. Reasonable performers like Michael Skinner
abandoned this aspect of the routine, opting to perform just the
climax, in which the Aces vanish from beneath the spectators
hand. Only Bruce Cervon and Steve Mayhew have risen to the
challenge of foisting this experience, in all its mischievous glory,
on modern audiences. The way that Mayhew has constructed this
experience, and the small but important changes he has made,
make this routine a master class in audience management. This
challenge has tempted me for many years, and now, thanks to
Mayhew, I am fnally able to present it without coming off like
too much of a jerk. Like many of the other routines in the book,
there is much to learn here even if you never perform this particu-
lar effect.
And then theres his bill routine. This is a worker. There
are tips in here that will put money in the pockets of just about
every strolling or table-hopping pro. The entire piece plays in
close-up, parlor, or stand-up, and its not just good enough to ft
into your working set, its better. This is the routine that cost me
the aforementioned body parts, the price of laughing so hard.
You schmooze a woman, and her date pays for it. You change a
single into a fve, and give it to her. You change some poor saps
twenty into a one, and give it away. You offer to make the poor
guy feel better, and you do, but you dont give him any money. In
the end, the guys out twenty bucks, but hell just laugh and hug
you for it. (One hopes.) In the end, you toss a hundred dollar bill
into the crowd, and it disappears. This is the best way to vanish
a hundred, ever. Context is everything, and I wont spoil the gag
by tipping it here. Youll have to get the book to see it, and apply
it to your own borrowed bill routine.
John Lovicks writing is clear, thoughtful, and captures
Mayhews playfulness. The title, Mayhew: What Women Want is
a tipoff, and trick titles like A Balloon, A Cartwheel, and a Pony
Ride carry that tilted perspective all the way through. This book is
as much fun to read as the material is fun to perform. The crediting
is excellent, and while John Lovick is no slouch as a comedy
writer, I sense the presence of the Mayhew himself throughout
most of it. The author(s) also give a large tip of the hat to Steven
Hobbs, because many of the descriptions were frst written by him
for inclusion in his now-vanished Labyrinth magazine.
All in all, the magic is magical. The comedy is funny. The
methods are inspired, and inspiring. I dont know what more you
could ask from a book, but whatever it is, you dont need it. Buy
this book and enjoy it.
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price: $80.00
If you watched Fox News Sunday one morning last February,
you saw mentalist Gerard Senehi bewilder host Chris Wallace and
others with a version of Chris Philpottss superb mental effect The
100th Monkey, a baffing mind reading routine that combines ty-
poglycemia (the overlapping of two images so that one image is
apparent at close range and the other image at long range) and dual
reality (scripting that leads the audience to believe one meaning
while a helper from that same audience believes something
different). The 100th Monkey principle is a questionable but in-
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 63
triguing scientifc possi-
bility that the collective
learning of a group of
people can be trans-
ferred to another person
by some form of extra
sensory perception.
In The 100th
Monkey effect, a card
with a single word on
it, such as the name of a
month or a country, is shown to the audience. A random volunteer
from the audience, who was brought to the stage at the beginning
of the routine and who has not seen the card, is asked to think of a
month or country by reading the collective minds of the audience;
he is to write that information down. They match!
Philpotts has also used this with three people on stage at the
same time, each thinking of a different topic (country, month,
etc.), which is very impressive. The concept is the same for all
three as for one. It uses special cards, some of which are provided,
and others are provided for, but it is not a self-working trick. It
will require performance skills and showmanship on your part.
Maybe you have mastered those already! Most of us can improve,
and Philpotts will help us do that.
In addition to the instructional DVD and the necessary props,
Philpotts has provided a forty-three-page PDF document with
excellent instructions, including several variations possible with
this effect, as well as the script he uses. Because what you say can
make a big difference in the impact of the trick, it is crucial for you
to study the scripting, and the accompanying commentary. You
dont have to use it, but you should use the principles explained.
Thanks for all that, Chris! This is some of the best writing on tips,
techniques, and the theory of presentation of mentalism out there
today, and should inspire us to seek more elsewhere. Indeed, this
is so much more than a mere set of instructions.
But thats not all. In a ten-page chapter of the PDF, Chris
discusses ways to use the 100th Monkey Principle with ideas from
Banacheks Psychological Subtleties series and ideas from Rich
Bloch, Paul Draper, and others. Included is an essay on what to do
when a trick doesnt work that is great reading.
Two other effects are included and demonstrated. In Speech-
less, we are asked, What would it be like if a spectator could
read a word on a card one minute and then the next could not, for
the lettering had changed from a word to gibberish? Same card.
No switches! This is an excellent concept, a clever variation on
typoglycemia, and looks good on the instructional DVD. It will be
fun for your audience.
But thats still not all. What if four audience volunteers each
use a card to think of something different, say a month, a piece of
furniture, an emotion, and a country. What if you could not only
reveal what the four words are but who is holding which card?
Youre darn right that would be a great trick. And it is. Good stuff!
By the way, the DVD also contains a folder flled with a ton of
JPG images that you can print out at home or at your local printer
in whatever size works best for you.
If you understand really good mentalism you will appreci-
ate the possibilities with the concepts presented here. Where the
norm is to offer quick-and-dirty instructions, most often lacking
any performance motivation, yet alone subtlety, Chris Philpotts
has not short-changed us in any way. This is some of the best
watching and reading you will fnd, and a gift to working mental-
ists. Worth every penny! Bravo!
Available from: www.alakazam.co.uk
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $80.00
Alakazam Magics Extractor
gimmick has been around for a
while and has generated some con-
siderable buzz, and rightfully so.
Its an amazing utility gimmick
that allows you unbelievable
control over a playing card cleanly
inserted into the middle of a cased
deck by an audience member.
Since I was unfamiliar with this
gimmick before receiving the
current version for review, I thought it would
be useful to talk about the gimmick itself for those who might
not know what the fuss is about, and then talk about the improve-
ments in the latest version.
The inspiration for this gimmick is Daryls classic Ultimate
Ambition deck. Right away this justifes the expense, as like
Daryls effect this is not the sort of gimmick you can quickly
whip up at your kitchen table. And while Daryls deck is half the
price, its designed for one specifc purpose. The Extractor, on
the other hand, is designed to be a utility item. Also, one of the
very nice features of the new version is that it can stand in for any
style of cards you choose to use in performance. It made watching
the second instructional DVD very amusing, as a considerable
amount of time is spent describing the delicate surgery that had
been required to redress the gimmick in another style card case.
Now, you simply remove the gimmick from the box provided,
take whatever box you want and a cover card to match, cut a slit
in the case, put the cover card on the gimmick and Bobs your
uncle. Heck, you dont even need the cover card, really. A true
mark of a utility item is its versatility. This feature also allows
you to pull the deck partway out of the case before having the
card inserted, which creates the nice impression that youre still
holding a normal deck of cards.
And this brings me to what the darn thing actually does. With
the Extractor, you have a card chosen in some manner, removed
from the deck, and signed. The card is then replaced into the
middle of the cased deck, and the gimmick immediately delivers
the cards outside the case to be stolen away. Its an incredibly
guileless and honest-looking procedure, and at the same time as-
toundingly easy. I didnt once have to fght with the card as it
made its way through the gimmick. And you can have someone
else insert the card wherever they like into the pack the card is
in your total control.
A point driven home many times on the DVD is that, once
that card goes into the middle of the cased deck, the fap shut,
and the box put away, your audience is convinced that the card is
out of your control. This just makes the ease with which you have
control over that card that much more powerful. In fact, Id more
liken this to a good card-loading wallet, but in reverse. Not a lot
of gimmicks are that strong or useful.
Having said that, unlike a loading wallet, you wouldnt use
this more than once in a given set; youd use this as the control in
some big kick-em-in-the-face closing trick. A loading wallet can
be secretly used to reveal a prediction, or a mystery card, or as
64 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
an impossible location for the card to appear. The Extractor, frst
and foremost, is a diabolical card control. Most of the applications
offered on these DVDs are card to impossible location effects,
in which the card leaves the original cased deck and appears
somewhere else: an opposite pocket, your wallet, an envelope, or
even another deck (including a very nice sealed deck application).
Of course, most of these impossible translocations could be ac-
complished with a normal deck and good old-fashioned palming.
In fact, almost all of the Extractor versions involve palming the
card from one place to another. To be fair, these are probably some
of the easiest palms and loads youll ever attempt, because they
happen inside your pockets, and the presence of the card case
precludes any way that you could be palming. And the routines are
structured such that you surreptitiously load the card way before
the reveal, which creates a very strong impression. And obviously,
at some point you have to switch the deck in play for the Extractor
gimmick, but the switch taught is probably the easiest and most
powerful one available to the card magician, and the misdirection
involved is incredibly strong.
There are also a few more subtle things the Extractor allows
you to do. For example, it allows you to glimpse the card as you
put the case away. In fact, many of the effects offered throw in that
extra mind-reading element as another extra hit in the middle
of whatever impossible translocation youre performing. In actual
practice, its probably best used sparingly depending on the effect.
More intriguing is the ability to secretly write on the face of the
selection. These types of applications make this a gimmick worth
Some of the applications offered are a little overwrought. For
example, theres a version of Darwin Ortizs Harry in Your Pocket
that requires two decks (one a forcing deck), plus the Extractor, and
happens in the performers pocket. The original requires only one
ordinary deck and is performed in an audience members pocket;
I dont see the Extractor version as an improvement. Also, taken
as a whole, the effects taught give an impression of sameness; you
employ the Extractor, then you fgure out the wackiest place you
can think of for that card to end up, and, by the way, you can name
the card, too.
Its a gimmick with a lot of immediate potential, and I believe
even more creative potential. At $80 a pop, it might not be the
sort of thing for the casual or even serious amateur, but for a
creative professional this could defnitely be the foundation of a
reputation-making effect or three. And the versatility of the new
and improved version makes it even handier. I recommend it for
anyone looking to seriously gob smack his audience.
Available from Philly Magic
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $20.00
Ever since Bill Kalush created the borrowed ring and rubber
band effect and Michael Ammar popularized it, this type of
routine has become virtually essential for the professional
close-up performer. It is a non-card, non-coin, impromptu sleight-
of-hand effect with ordinary objects, yet the magic that can be
created with these two objects is simply astounding. Philadelphia
wizard Michael Scanzello has researched almost everything in
print on the subject, developed his own handling, and created the
defnitive routine for Ring on Band.
The disc includes about twenty
very stretchy rubber bands (which
you will need for the advanced
moves) and a practice ring
(although almost any wed-
ding-type band will do).
There is a four-phase ring and
rubber band routine described.
The phases are called strand by
strand, slow motion, dangling
link, and lost link. All of them are
excellent. Following that is what Michael
calls the Master Link. Any one of these will
stand alone if you want a quick, visual miracle.
There are also a couple of bonus sections that detail variations
using borrowed key rings, hair ties, bracelets, and even pretzels!
Two additional routines are included. One is the full work on
Arthur Setteringtons penetrating bands (commonly known as
Crazy Mans Handcuffs) using rubber bands only. The other is
Scanzellos version of a borrowed ring in shoe, using a ring only.
Of course, you need to be wearing shoes.
Mastering the moves is not an easy task. You will have to
put in the necessary time and practice. Fortunately, the disc is
extremely detailed, and the explanations are usually repeated with
a different angle. The videography is about as good as it gets. And
the credits, joyfully, are about as complete as possible, listing all
sorts of contributors to rubber band magic related to the routines
A lot of work went into this product, and the price is very
reasonable. You can fnd the demo video on YouTube. Armed
with two DVDs, namely, Scanzellos Pi: Ring on Band and Joe
Rindfeischs Jumper, you will have material that will put you far
ahead of the curve in rubber band magic. You should have fgured
out by now that the Pi in the title of the DVD does not refer to a
dessert, but rather to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to
its diameter. Now thats irrational.
Available from: www.SansMinds.com
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $35.00
As usual with releases from SansMinds, the DVD is well shot
and disc navigation is nicely done. Here
is the basic effect: The performer
introduces a coupon book, similar
to the ones you fnd in many com-
munities. The performer fips
through the book, showing many
different coupons in several col-
or-coded sections. The performer
looks away; the spectator is told to
insert a fnger into the book as the
performer fips through the pages. The
book is opened at that spot and the spectator
is asked to remember some of the details printed on
the coupon. The book is closed hiding the selected coupon from
view. Bit by bit the performer is able to pull thoughts from the
spectators mind, revealing details of the coupon. Names, smells
associated with the business, a menu, and more can be revealed,
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 65
eventually ending with the actual name of the business.
The effect is very easy to do from the performers perspective.
I performed it for a friend and he was impressed. The specially
printed coupon book looks legitimate, but it cannot be examined
by the spectator either before or after the effect. While the book
looks good, the coupons inside are all for sound-alike companies
(Burger Queen instead of Burger King and Orangebees instead of
Applebees.) However, they dont get to examine the book and the
speed of fipping probably prevents them from noticing this. Also
the book is much thinner than the coupon books I am familiar
with in my community. On the plus side, the book is of a size that
makes it easy to carry in your pocket. Another presentation is
included that ends up with two people each thinking of the same
coupon. While I dont see this being used by professional mental-
ists, I think this is an interesting piece for magicians looking to
add a mentalism favor to their magic and I can recommend it with
these caveats.
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Retail Price $28.99
It seems as if there
are a million versions of
the Monte effect, a gam-
bling-themed routine
in which the object is
to fnd or follow the
money card. Its a con
made famous by the
street hustlers in New
York City. Now make
that a million and one versions. Rob Brumley has created another
version of this effect using a special gimmicked card.
The effect is simple and the base routine is short and sweet.
Three Jokers are shown along with one Queen of Hearts. One
Joker is removed to make it easier for the marks to keep track of
the Queen. The Queen is placed in the middle of the two Jokers,
but as it is removed face down, it is turned over and shown to be
a Joker. The process is repeated in a seemingly fairer manner,
but again the Queen is found to be a Joker. For the fnal phase,
all of the cards are held face up with the Queen in the middle of
the Jokers. As they are dropped to the table, the Queen visibly
changes to a Joker in mid-air, and the extra Joker that was placed
aside from the very beginning is found to be the Queen.
Does it really look that good? Yes. Is the routine that direct
and simple to follow? Yes. Can the cards be examined? No. Well
three of them can be inspected, but not the gimmicked card. Is
this a problem? It can be. This routine requires good audience
management to draw the attention away from the gimmick and to
the revelation of the Queen, which was previously shown to be a
Joker. This is not a diffcult task, but there will be times when the
spectators will want to examine all of the cards. Youll want to
get to know your audience a bit before pulling this out, so you can
judge how grabby they might be.
Included on the DVD are additional handlings, and an addi-
tional change. The instructions are easy to follow, because this
is designed for the beginner and intermediate card worker. The
gimmick is well made and should last a long time. The visual
effect is fantastic, but you will have to decide if the heat on the
gimmicked card is something you can deal with. If you like Monte
effects, do not mind using a gimmicked card, and love visual card
magic, then you should invest the small amount of time needed
to master this routine along with the expense of purchasing this
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $85.30
Ive been a Cups and Balls nut for
years. I have collected not only sets
of cups, but routines as well. I really
enjoy cultural variations on the classic,
and began working on the Indian Cups
and Balls after reading Charlie Millers
routine many years ago in Genii
magazine. Finding the cups was not so
easy at the time, so I experimented with
several existing found cups. Among
them were several different sets of egg
cups. Now, here is a new product by
Dutch magician Leo Smetsers that uses
the same props.
On the DVD, Smetsers teaches his routine, which is fairly
simple and direct. More important, Smetsers has provided a fnish
that I had never contemplated, eggs actually appearing in the
cups. This is both good and bad. On the good side, it is a very
rapid and surprising fnish, because the eggs are sitting in the cups
as they are turned upright. On the bad side, the handling is a bit
cozy and, to me, a bit obvious. This may be because the cameras
eye cannot be misdirected; in person it might fy by most specta-
tors. The techniques used for most of the routine are the same as
in traditional Indian Cups and Balls, but the routine itself is quite
different in structure and presentation.
The DVD is well done from both the visual and audio point of
view. Smetsers is a good teacher and gets his points across well.
In addition to the DVD, all of the props you require are provided.
These include three metal egg cups, all of the balls needed, and
the three really nice fake eggs for the fnale. All is contained
within a burlap sack that you can use to transport the whole lot
for performances.
I found the routine to be of interest and, if you are a lover of the
Cups and Balls, you probably will, too. The price is a bit high for
the curious, but considering that all of the props are provided, it is
reasonably good value for money. Recommended.
Distributed by Murphys Magic Supplies
Price $29.95
I made a promise to myself that I would never again say
anything negative about a product; I would be nice. And I am going
to hold true to that, and let the facts speak for me. Faceshifter is
the same gimmick that Mark Mason came out with over a decade
ago. Masons trick is called 2wenty1, and is very good. Faceshift-
er is a much weaker version. Faceshifter, and I quote, is an im-
66 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
possible two card transpo that you can
easily carry with you anywhere.
The performer presents two
cards to his spectators and the
switch happens right in front
of the spectators eyes. The
card can even be on the spec-
tators hand when the switch
happens! It is a jaw-dropping
effect that is easy to perform and
resets instantly.
You cant do the trick the way
they sell it, because they only send you the
gimmicked card and you must provide a second card
in order to do it. I think for $30 they could include the material to
do the effect. The actual DVD clocks in at less than nine minutes,
with another 1:20 of instruction on how to make the gimmick. Did
I mention it is Mark Masons gimmick?
The DVD has no audio, only subtitles with music in the back-
ground. This is a pet peeve of mine. If I want to listen to music I
will put in a music CD. If I want to learn magic I want to hear and
see the magic, not look at subtitles.
Along with the main effect they teach two other routines that
have no presentation. Both can be done without the gimmick;
one is a version of the coin effect Three Fly, and the other is a
version of the Biddle Trick. Neither impressed me enough to write
anything more.
Oh, one last thing, did I mention that this gimmick is by Mark
Mason, and that he put out a good trick called 2wenty1 (read it as
21) that he sells for $20? You should buy that trick. Its a good
Available from: www.rsvpmagic.com
Price $114.35 or $147.03 with the WOW Gimmick

In 2006, or thereabouts, the ever
inventive and exceptionally clever
Katsuya Masuda released the WOW
gimmick to the magic community.
The trick was so named, at least
according to legend, because when
he showed it to fellow magician
Lance Burton the single word
response he received from him was,
There was a good reason for
Lances response; magic rarely is as
visually stunning as this. For those
of you who have been living under a
rock for the last few years and have
yet to experience WOW, the basic effect is the visually inexpli-
cable transformation of one playing card into another. Its quite
amazing to behold so amazing that youll fnd yourself doing it
over and over again, simply for your own amusement and delight.
Unfortunately, as incredible as this effect is to watch, it has
a major setback. The transformation is achieved by placing the
card into an odd-looking transparent plastic holder. For some this
wasnt an issue. But for others it presented an un-scalable hurdle
the justifcation of having to employ such a strange looking plastic
sleeve to accomplish the amazing miracle. Many felt, rightly so,
that the audience would credit the toy-like object, rather than the
skill of the magician, with the cards transformation.
So, if youre one of those folks who, after a long afternoon of
amusing themselves watching a card visibly change itself from
one to another and then back again before pitching the device into
to the depths of your bottomless drawer of unused magic props,
go and dig it out because the folks at RSVPmagic have come up
with a near perfect solution for use with the WOW Gimmick: the
Taking an idea from Luke Darcy, they have created a unique
card in wallet routine that employs the WOW gimmick. The
Wowlett is a leather billfold in which the WOW gimmick acts as
the ID window. A cleverly hidden slot on the Wowletts outside
allows you to easily secretly slip a palmed card behind the
gimmick. This allows you to show one card in the wallet and then
have it visibly transform into a second (signed) card right before
the spectators' astonished eyes.
The Wowlett is well made out of leather, and even though it
lacks a place to keep bills, there are slots for credit cards and even
a small change purse on the outside. So, if you live in a cashless
world living off debit and credit cards, you could use the Wowlett
as your everyday billfold.
The Wowlet is accompanied by a very well-produced DVD
that walks you step by step through several routines, ideas, and al-
ternative handlings for the Wowlett even one that doesnt involve
having to palm the card. But, like all card to wallet routines, the
best, most baffing ones require you learn, if not master this
valuable skill. So if at present you dont palm cards, this would be
a good trick to inspire you to learn. Its not the best Card in Wallet
routine out there. But of all the wallets Ive worked with this is one
of the easiest to load Ive come across.
Now for the particulars: The wallet is well made and the reset
time is instantaneous. The angles are good. You should be able
to do this surrounded, making it a great feat for strolling or res-
taurant work. The basic Wowlett doesnt come with the WOW
gimmick. If you dont already own one, youll either have to
obtain one separately, or buy the more expensive Wowlett that
comes with one. The WOW gimmick just slips into the Wowlett,
so it can be easily removed if you still wish to use it by itself in
another routine. (We recommend the one Paul Gertner teaches in
his lectures.)
The only diffculty I had with this was getting the card to change
smoothly with a minimal amount of fddling. But then I have large
thumbs, and I bite my nails, which hindered the operation of the
gimmick. However, after a bit of rehearsal, the leather softened
up enough to allow even big thumbed me to operate it with ease.
If youre looking for a unique and visually stunning card to wallet
routine, the Wowlett might be just the thing.
If you wish to have your product reviewed,
please send it to:

Bill Duncan
P.O. Box 50562
Bellevue, WA 98015-0562
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 67
By Ken Klosterman
French magician Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, the
acknowledged Father of Modern Conjuring, also created an
amazing array of what have come to be called Mystery Clocks.
These clocks were deceptive because the means by which the
hands moved and the clock kept time was an utter mystery to the
uninitiated then, and even now. Many featured transparent glass
faces set atop ornate gilded bases. Others featured glass dials
atop a glass pillar. In both cases, the animation of the clock was
completely hidden.
In his show, Robert-Houdin also used a second type, which
has been described as an Obedient Clock. He identifed it
in his program as La Pendule Arienne, the Aerial Clock, also
sometimes called the Cabalistic Clock. He was not the frst to
perform such an effect, even though he indicated in his memoirs
that he introduced it in 1847.
There are descriptions of such an obedient clock in Die
Gaukeltasche (The Pocketbag of Illusion) by Hofrath von
Eckhartshausen, published in Munich in 1791. It is possible
that Breslaw presented such a clock in 1778 and 1781, as did
Katterfelto in 1782.
Robert-Houdins presentation of the Aerial Clock was
succinctly described by Lascelles Wraxall in material he added
to his translation of Houdins Memoirs:
A transparent clock dial with a single hand was suspended by
two thin cords. Hanging beneath the dial was an attractive crystal
bell. The clocks hand moved at Robert-Houdins command to
any time a spectator chose, and the bell sounded the appropriate
hour. The clock and bell were passed among the audience for
examination both before and after the feat. Finally, the magician
gave the onlooker one end of a short cord; a hook was attached
to the other end. The bell was put on the hook. Yet the bell still
sounded whenever a spectator wished.
Wraxall was either mistaken or telling a good story, for the
clock dial could be shown to the audience, but only the hand and
the bell could actually be handed out for examination. The
addition of the bell below the dial was apparently an innovation
by Robert-Houdin. Such bells were often presented by themselves
as mysterious signaling devices, especially in the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries when spirit manifestations were
a very popular feature. Given the ingenuity of Robert-Houdins
devices of all kinds, we can assume that his method of controlling
the Aerial Clock was highly innovative, if not an entirely new
Many methods have been used to control the movement of the
clock hand. The most basic
was thread wrapped around
a hub in the center of the dial
that received a spindle on
the back of an arrow-shaped
hand. Another was to edge-
rotate a front disk of glass
with the hand on it, laid over
a stationery second disk
with the numbers painted
on, much like some magical
Others depended on
moving a concealed magnet
to affect a magnetized
hand; controlling a coiled
spring by a start-stop brake
activated by a thread or an
electromagnet; concealed
clockwork activated by a
hidden pendulum, spring, or descending weight; or a sliding
counterweight on the back of the hand that was positioned to
cause the hand to come to rest at a particular number after being
spun. This last invention, or at least signifcant improvement,
is credited to Robert-Houdins contemporary, Johann Hofzinser.
Examination of the apparatus in the Salon de Magie reveals
that the hand is operated by a small key-wound, spring-driven
clockwork motor concealed in the ball at the top of the dial.
However, the starting and stopping of the clockwork is controlled
by an electromagnet, which is powered by wires running through
each of the suspended cords to a hook that engages the ring in
the ball at the top of the dial. When current is applied to the
electromagnet, it withdraws a post that allows a fywheel in the
clockwork to spin, which rotates a narrow gear-driven drum.
A loop of very fne thread wound around this drum runs to
a rotating collar in the hub on the dial that receives the spindle
of the clock hand. When current is stopped, the electromagnet
releases the post, which moves in to stop the fywheel.
The clock in the Salon de Magie is defnitely a Houdin-type
clock, and appears to match a clock once in the Charles Larson
collection. It is attributed to a French magic dealer of the period
1860-1890, probably Voisin.
68 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
Treasures from
the Salon de Magie
Relationships at the end of the day, that is what
it all comes down to. I have learned a great deal about
relationships over the last four months, and I have found that
some were better than others. There is a saying from Iceland
that makes the point: You never know who your friends are
until the ice breaks.
I had many great things happen to me while I was off on
my medical vacation. I want to share a very special one
with you that involved two guys, Steve and George. Their full
names are Stephan Pyles and George Majdalani, and they own
and run two restaurants here in Dallas: Stephan Pyles and
Stampede 66. Stephan Pyles is my girlfriends favorite place
to eat in Dallas. We go there for special events and whenever
I need to get out of the doghouse; consequently, we eat there
a great deal. We have our own table, waiter, and captain. We
know all the staff by name, as well as the two owners and their
families. When I say we are regulars, I really mean it.
Brain surgery, however, will put a damper on going out to
eat. Twelve hours in the operating room will knock anybody
down; per doctor's orders I was a prisoner in my own house.
I was only allowed to be driven to the doctors offce and
back home again. George told us that if we needed anything
food wise to call him and he would deliver it. One night my
girlfriend suggested that we call George and order dinner.
We called and the next night George himself showed up; his
partner Stephen was out of town or he would have come as
George came in, set up the table, and brought everything
that was needed to cook supper; he served us just like we were
at the restaurant. I eat out a great deal and have had many
great, memorable meals, but this one was at the top of the list.
Was the food outstanding? Yes. Had I eaten the same menu
prior to this? Many times. What made it so memorable? The
fact that one of the owners of one of the top places to eat in
the United States took the time to make a house call and cook
for two people who could not come to dine with him; this was
really special. Had it not happened, we would still eat there
just as often, but I can think of nothing that has ever happened
or could ever happen that would endear me to a business es-
tablishment any more than this gesture of kindness.
When it was raining in my world, George didnt just bring
an umbrella; he brought a ray of sunshine that I will never
forget nor be able to repay. The nice thing is that no repayment
is possible. After the meal I asked George for the check; there
wasnt one. I was told that he didnt charge for his services,
and I cried. Please, if you do magic and you have a chance
to go do a magic show for someone under the weather, do so.
They will be thankful for your kindness and generosity more
than you will ever know. I know in my situation that we will
only ever have one special place to eat in Dallas, and that will
not be subject to change.
If you ever come to Dallas and want someplace really
special to eat, go to Stephan Pyles at 1807 Ross Avenue. Ask
for table 52; tell them Norman sent you and you will learn
what real customer service is. At the end of the day, this is
what we do as magicians; we provide customer service.
APRIL 2014 - M-U-M Magazine 69
A House of Fire 4
B. Happie Entertainment 30
Bob Kohler Magic 33
Burgoon Magic 9
Christian Painter 48
Concept Magic 69
Genii Magazine 10
George Parker 31
Hermetic Press 45
IBM/SAM Convention 2014 72
Jim Kleefeld 3
Joe Mogar - Magic Stars 59
LaRock's Fun & Magic Outlet 2
MiX16 Apps by Gregor Krasevec 3
S.A.M. Life Membership 71
S.A.M. on Twitter 9
S.A.M. on Twitter 59
Show-Biz Services 9
The Magic Bakery 7
T. Myers 3
Tony Cabral 23
By George Schindler
At the time that I made my frst appearance on television, very
few people had TV sets. I was on a Sunday afternoon childrens
show called Chiselcrimp in the Land of Anything. The eight-year-
old emcee introduced me as follows, Here is George the Mee-oo
Lets skip ahead to 1971, when I had the opportunity to do the
Dick Cavett show; the night before my appearance, I received a
cancellation call. It seems that President Nixon had arranged for
the Chinese Ping Pong Team to visit New York, and they bumped
me off that show.
In New York, Joe Franklin was always kind enough to let the
S.A.M. plug our Salute to Magic on his local TV show; we had
arranged one show on which I was to be his guest host. I got to the
studio in the morning, where I met George Kreskin in the green
room. A few minutes later, Joe apologized and cancelled my spot,
since Kreskin did not want to appear on a show with a magician.
In 1976, Reiss Games hired a remarkable lady named Estelle
Endler, who set up some wonderful PR events; the company sent
me around the U.S. promoting their magic products and my book.
Estelle had me doing early TV morning spots in the major cities
where there were department stores featuring the Reiss magic
sets. I remember doing the rising cards and a sawing in half on
Dialing for Dollars, Bowling for Dollars, Good Morning, and
dozens of early morning news shows.
At CBS in Los Angeles, I got a network spot with Dinah
Shore. We were doing magic on a breakfast set. I was asked to
check the table props, and as I did so, I cheated. I secretly shoved
a half dollar into a dinner roll, which saved me from having to
palm it and load it at airtime. I was off to Philadelphia that same
year, where we taped the Mike Douglas show. It was one of the
most memorable days in my life, as I met and appeared with Mark
Wilson, Johnny Thompson, and Harry Blackstone Jr. Douglas
was asked to wear a ring so I could borrow it for my Coin in Ring
effect, but being TV, the bit was cut; I ended up picking up a bottle
with a soda straw. Mike still wanted to know why he had to wear
the ring. On that same day I met Tom and Sherrie, whose bird act
was cut from the show entirely.
What prompted these memories was a 1099 tax form I received
from NBC. One Tuesday I got a call from the prop manager at
Saturday Night Live; he needed an illusion for Saturdays show.
They were doing a bit in which actress Melissa McCarthy had to
be changed into a ham. It had to be quick. I usually recommend
the rental of standard effects, but there was nothing like this that
we could have in a few days.
I came up with an idea I often used at corporate sales meetings.
Working with the phone and fax I got the SNL fabricator to make
up a hula-hoop type of ring with a six-foot cloth hanging from the
top with a slit in the back. Melissa steps into the ring on the foor,
two assistants lift it, and when they drop it, she is gone.
I was picked up by an NBC limo and arrived at the studio
on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The prop had to be ready at 7 p.m. that
night for rehearsal. It fnally arrived at 6:55 p.m. Melissa is a pro
and is a quick study. Too much time was needed to ring in the
ham, so I changed the staging so that she was already in the ring
standing in front of the ham and the cloth, which was raised knee
high to cover it. Rehearsal went great, and the trick fooled the
camera crew. I left (not by limo, but on the subway) and quickly
emailed, called, and sent Facebook notes to my friends so they
could watch the bit. You guessed right. The trick never aired. It
was two minutes too long. And all I have was the great memory
and, oh yes, the check for my consultation.
70 M-U-M Magazine - APRIL 2014
The Dean's Diary