Beginner’s Study 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Welcome to the Beginner’s Study! Here you will find high-quality material that is within the technical ability of virtually all magician’s. It is important to note that while this place is specifically designed for the magical novice in mind, we strive to include material that is strong enough for even the seasoned professional.

July 1998


As Explained By Her Father

The two ultimate loves of my life, my wife Susan,and my daughter, do not share the same enthusiasm for magic that I do. They have, nevertheless, developed some impressive effects of their own from time to time. The beautiful impromptu levitation I am about to describe was created by my daughter Jennifer. At the time, she was just ‘goofing around’ when she first pulled the stunt on me. I immediately saw the strength of what she had discovered.

This effect is the levitation of a twenty ounce bottle of Coca-Cola.. complete with liquid and all! No gimmicks of any kind are used, and it may be done anywhere, at any time.

The illustration shows the newest 20 ounce bottle of Coke. It is the style with the easy grip shape. You will find that the label, which is approximately two inches wide, is recessed just off center of the length of the bottle. This label is made of extremely strong, thin plastic material.

To perform the impromptu levitation you will need to first remove the cap from the bottle, and consume just a bit of the contents. This should lower the liquid level about an inch and a half. Now, with the bottle held as shown in the right or left hand, the thumb presses inward on the plastic just below the bottom edge of the label, causing the plastic to indent. This in turn creates a small gap at the bottom of the label under which the thumb is worked. A slight side to side will allow you to gradually slip the thumb about three quarters of an inch under the plastic band. (see fig.#1)

With your thumb inserted under the band, you may release your grip on the bottle, spreading thumb and fingers wide. Your free hand, which is near to the bottle, mirrors the actions of the controlling hand. The hands move forward and upward, as if trying to capture the floating bottle.

By carefully watching your angles to those watching what is going on, the bottle actually seems to be drifting off in mid-air.

You may capture and re-release the bottle several times, but do not over play this. It is best too, if you secretly transfer the bottle from hand to hand, switching off on which thumbs are under the label at any given time. Alternating in this way throws off any suspicions the spectators may have had.

The dark color of the beverage conceals the true condition of the thumb and label…and the fact that it is a borrowed bottle which is very nearly full of liquid eliminates any thoughts of a hole or opening of some sort near the back is being employed.

Just think of the innocence of this effect. Think of the impact it has. Although the basic idea is not new, this method truly is! You have only to try it out for yourself to see how well it plays. I first offered it to the members of the S.A.M. via the pages of MUM magazine in September of 1995. I am proud to now share it with the members of I.C.O.M on behalf of my daughter Jenny.


August 1998

Old Dogs, New Tricks
Part #3

AutoMatic Two-To-One Ropes
Bobby J. Gallo

This is part three in an ongoing effort to re-vitalize magic of the past. Parts one & two can be found in their entirety in the I.C.O.M Archives. They are definitely worth checking out.

The modus operandi of this effect dates back at least one hundred years. It has been used by countless children and even a few amateur/professionals throughout the years. As a matter of fact, it can be found in literally hundreds of beginners books on magic. So why is it here if it can be found so many other places? Simple…We are updating this classic effect using different materials. This makes it an effect suited to beginners, but effective enough for professional performances, and as an added bonus, suitable for stage performance as well.

The effect is VERY straight forward. Two ‘one foot’ pieces of rope are seen held by the finger-tips. The performer proves this by pointing out that there is indeed four ends. Two of the ends are placed in a spectators hand. They are then asked to close their hand loosely around the ropes and turn their hand over. The magician then takes the remaining two ends that are “dangling” from the spectators hand and with a few magical incantations, asks the person to slowly open their hand. the ropes are seen to have magically joined themselves into one long two foot piece!

In the classic version of this effect, string (of the “twine” type) is used. In our version, we are going to use a material never before incorporated into this effect. Namely, a seamstress material called “CABLE CORD”. This can be purchased by the yard in most craft or material stores for about sixty cents (US) a yard. It is mainly used for making pillows, curtains, draperies, comforters, upholstered furnishings, etc. I bought 10 Yards of it for around $5.99. Size ‘200 works best for visibility purposes and enables the effect to go from the string trick class to the rope trick class.

You will need one two foot piece (see fig.#1). Do yourself a favor and tape the ends with the invisible “Scotch type” tape to keep the ends from unravelling. Cable cord seems to do this a lot!

What makes this type of cord suitable for this effect is the fact that it can be separated in the middle with the fingers (see fig.#2).

Figs.#1 & #2

After this is done. Take each side of the loop you have formed and twist them up into what appears to be just two innocent ends of rope. A joint will be formed right where the two rope ends meet the main body of the rope. A close-up view of the joint can be seen (see fig #4).

After this is done, hold the rope at the joint so the thumb covers the joint and makes it appear that you are holding two genuinely cut pieces of rope (see fig. #5).

Figs. #3 & 4#

Now you are ready to perform this mini-miracle. Proceed as stated in the above description. Do not make a big deal out of the fact that you are holding two pieces of rope. Let the visual evidence speak for itself. When placing the joint in the spectators hand, be sure to keep a finger over the joint until the spectator closes their hand. This is to ensure that they will not see the secret. Then, as they turn their hand over you grasp each end of the rope that is in view and give it a gentle tug. This causes the joint to dissolve in the persons hand and return to its natural state. Some will actually say that they FELT the rope join together, and in a way..THEY HAVE!

After the restoration, immediately, twirl and tug of the rope. This will appear to the audience that you are merely proving that the joined rope is solid. But is also serves the purpose of re-twisting the segments of the rope so that they appear un-bothered. If you do not do this, the center of the rope may look a bit uneven after the joining and will arouse suspicion.

So that’s it! Try it, you will be amazed at how effective it is. I use it in roving, trade show, and kid show situations professionally and it has proven to be a very clean and dependable effect.

September 1998

The Perfect Card Trick !?
Bobby J. Gallo

I know, I know, the title seems to be a bit of a stretch. The last time I gave a routine a grandiose title such as this was on Ultimate Magic Rap Vol. #1 when I entitled a card trick, “Magician’s Masterpiece”! Is this in the same league as that gem? Maybe, maybe not. You will have to decide. However, it will be curious to see by the end of this lesson, whether or not you may be wondering if this title may indeed be true. And if it is…..This piece of chicanery is PRICELESS.

What makes this really great is the fact that ANYONE, even the beginner who shuns card tricks can perform this feat! And it really is a FEAT. How can this be you ask? Well, before I go into the explanation, let me tell you how this came about.

I was sitting at a long table with my students when I asked them, if there were a PERFECT card trick. I mean a REALLY perfect card trick. What would it be? The following was the general answer that was given to me by most present (I’m not counting the one who stated that an entire pack of cards flying around the room through the air singly would be the perfect trick….kids….sheesh). Here, according to my students is a brief outline of the perfect card trick. Let’s see if you agree.

  • No gimmicked decks such as a Svengali or Stripper deck. The deck must be fully examinable.
  • The card must be FREELY selected, no forcing of ANY kind.
  • It must be returned to the deck without ANY kind of controls. Once it is in the deck, the cards must be fairly squared up. No BREAKS.
  • The cards must be shuffled and cut. Then cut again, and again, and again.
  • The magician then must be able to locate the card….WITHOUT EVER LOOKING AT THE FACES.
  • Throw in a BLINDFOLD and you will have yourself the PERFECT CARD TRICK!

WOW! Now that is what I call a laundry list of impossible circumstances! But is it? The answer will not only surprise you, it will knock you out with its simplicity & sheer audacity. Ready? here we go.

Effect: The magician states that he will perform the world’s most perfect card trick. A deck of cards is introduced, shuffled by an audience member who also takes out any card they choose. The magician takes back the deck and has the card returned to the center of same. The cards are now fairly squared and shuffled. Then legitimately cut many times. The card is really, really lost.

A blind fold is then introduced and the magician puts it on. He is then handed the deck which he continues to cut while blindfolded!

The blindfolded magician then takes the deck and ribbon spreads the cards face down onto the table.

The magi then holds his hands above the cards as if trying to get strange vibrations. He then starts to eliminate sections of the ribbon spread until only two cards remain. After much concentration he lifts one card up and turns it over dramatically. IT IS THE SELECTED CARD. Smelling salts are passed around for those who have fainted.

Working: I always tell my students that there is one price you must pay in order to be a magician. That is the sad fact that once the secret is learned, you will never be fooled by that trick again. Unless of course you have a memory lapse. But that being a very unlikely scenario, I would ask that you now please re-read the effect before I tell you the clever secret to this trick. Because once you learn it, you will probably say, you’ve got to be kidding! that is all there is to it? It’s too easy! It will never work! So please, humor me and re-read the Effect now…Click here.

Did you do it??? No? Ok, I’ll wait…

Did it? Great! Now on to the method.

Method: When the description of the effect stated that this trick used a completely un-gimmicked deck, that is true…almost. At least, not in the caliber of a Svengali or Electric Deck. The gaff is the same one that is used for “Magician’s Masterpiece” On Ultimate Magic Rap Vol.#1.* It is the Corner Short.

To make this card, you will need to take a joker and trim a little of the card stock off of two diagonal corners of the card. “Just slightly enough so that the corners are just a bit more rounded than the other two. Properly done, the audience can handle the deck with complete freedom and they will never be able to detect its presents. I have even laid out two cards in front of my students on a table ASKING them to tell me the difference between the two. It took them TEN MINUTES to spot the shaved corners. But to the trained eye, it is obvious.

The card prepared this way can be used for virtually hundred of effects but has classically been used for controlling one or more cards. For our purposes, we are going to use it in a way seldom, if ever before incorporated. And that is as a “Reverse Key Card”.

For those just starting in magic, a key card is a card that is placed just above the selected card. The cards then may be cut an infinite number of times without disturbing the order. Then when the performer runs through the deck. He knows that the card following the key card is the selection.

In most routines, the magician has to run through the deck looking at the faces to located the key card. Alternately, the Corner Short card is used to locate the card by riffling the cards with the thumb. When the cards stop with a ‘snap’ the magician knows that the selection is the next card.

In this method we are going to do neither. We are going to use the Corner Short as a “Visual” locater card. In this regard the trick is innovative.

  • Now, start with the Short Card on the bottom of the deck and proceed to have the card selected stressing the FREE CHOICE that the audience member has.
  • After the cards is noted by the audience, have it returned to the top of the deck and undercut the bottom half of the deck bringing the Corner Short card to a position above the selected card. If the cards have been shuffled by an audience member prior to the trick, riffle the cards and give them a final cut bringing the short card to the bottom of the deck.
  • Openly and carefully square the cards up. This gives the audience the impression that you are in no way controlling the card via sleight-of-hand.
  • Execute a false-shuffle if you wish. Or you can do what Ted Anneman, a famous mentalist used to do. Have the spectator give the cards a couple of ‘genuine’ overhand shuffles! Ted stated that there was an 8 out of 10 chance that the key card ‘would not’ be separated from the rest of the cards. Yes….it’s risky.
  • Have the cards legitimately cut many times by the audience. The more the better.
  • Have your self blindfolded. The method for this can be found in the I.C.O.M Archives entitled X-Ray Vision round two! Although, the blindfold is not at all necessary for the success of this feat.
  • The rest is just pure showmanship. Once the cards are ribbon spread, look for the corner short (the next card is the selection). The section of the ribbon spread cards containing this Corner Short should be eliminated early on so that you are REALLY clean. Since you know that the next card following the Corner Short is the selection, take your time building up to the climax to get the maximum effect. And also let me reiterate from past lessons. Always distance the time between the method and the climax. This way the audience is less likely to re-construct possible methods in their minds.

That’s it! The Perfect Card Trick !?….You decide.

* This tricks makes an excellent follow-up to Magician’s Masterpiece the do to the fact that they use the exact same gimmick and have sightly different effects.


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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