OFFICIAL I.C.O.M PAST LESSON ARCHIVE
Beginner’s Study 4/99-6/99
Welcome the I.C.O.M Beginner’s Study! Here you will find high-quality material that is within the technical ability of virtually all magicians. 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.
(A simple card trick)
Bobby J. Gallo
Continuing with our analysis of classic effects, I am excited to bring you this next effect. No one really knows the origin of the basic trick, suffice to say that it can be found in dozens of beginner’s books on magic. So why are we making a lesson out of it? Simple. I wish to show you how I have adapted a beginner’s effect to actually work in a professional repertoire.
I will not only give you the basic effect here but my actual routine. I will leave it up to your own conscience as to whether or not you wish to use my presentation in your own performances or develop your own. I am releasing the routine solely to educate I.C.O.M members in the art of routine development.
The magician fans out a deck of cards to the audience stating that if he were to have the audience merely “pick-a-card” and then find it, that would be a good trick. But he intends to do is not only magic but “Beyond Magic”!
He then has a person actually pick a card look at it and place it on top of the deck. After cutting the deck and squaring it up he places it on the table again stating that merely looking through the deck to find the card is good, but the audience is fortunate enough to see something much more incredible. “When I snap my fingers,” says the wizard, a card is going to jump out of the deck, flip itself over, and put itself back inside the deck telling me where your card is! Such a feat would not just be ordinary magic, but Beyond Magic, wouldn’t you agree?
The magician then snaps his fingers and immediately asks if the audience saw the card do its magical acrobatics. When the audience replies in the negative, the magician says, “Sorry, I should have told you not to blink, the card travels slightly slower than the speed of sound”.
“Well, if the card did everything I said it would, there would be a reversed card in the deck right? But when I fanned out the deck at the beginning of this experiment, did you see any reversed cards? No? then let’s see if there is one in there now”. The magician then ribbon spreads the cards on the table and lo and behold one card is reversed! “Is this your card asks the performer?” When the audience replies ‘no’ the magician says “Ahhh, but I didn’t say that it would be, I said it would tell me where your card is. What denomination is the card?….a five? Let’s see”. The magician then counts five cards to the left the five, turns over the next card and it is found to be the selection! “That is what we in the magical world call a trick that is truly “Beyond Magic!”
What is the method? You merely take a five-spot and place it face up five cards from the bottom of the deck. That’s the set-up. Then You fan the cards out making sure to keep the face-up five hidden in the bottom stock of cards which really is not that difficult. Then have the selection placed on top of the deck and cut the cards. You may also use a Hindu Shuffle or Vernon key-Card Placement to make it a bit more deceiving.
Then just go through the presentation. The trick practically works itself, but the presentation makes it into a veritable miracle in the eyes of the audience.
A couple of side notes:
Only use cards with a white border for this trick, I have found that no matter how hard you try, if the cards have a solid color background other than white, the edges of the reversed card will show.
When cutting the cards, be sure to use a false-cut rather than a genuine one so as not to accidentally cut in-between the five-card stack.
Also, you may not believe this, but I have found this trick to be so powerful, that I actually decided to use its name “Beyond Magic” as the name for my act which I currently use on all of the promotional materials.
Almost Anything Through Table
Bobby J. Gallo
Materials Required, a napkin, and an object large enough to cover a coin.
A funny thing happened to me on my last trade show trip. I was contracted to perform not only on the trade show floor but at a private party after hours. This is the case in many circumstances whereas a professional magician, you are asked to entertain important clients in a more intimate atmosphere than during a large public show. In this case, the company actually rented an entire cafe to throw their party with “yours truly” as the featured entertainment!
I performed for nearly three hours straight for somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred people. The evening was coming to a close when my employer asked me to perform one more dynamite effect for very special friends of his. Truth be known, I was completely spent as far as material. In the three hours I performed, I exhausted my entire program of close-up magic and even did a few stand-up illusions such as a neat impromptu levitation. Even though I did not want to disappoint my employer, I reluctantly declined, but no such luck. He said with a face that meant it, I HAD to do one more effect, AND it must be the best one of the night! Oh, brother!, I had already done my strongest close-up material! What now?
Thinking about what I already had on me I had two choices, Coins or Cards. I really did not think they wanted to see another card trick so I took out one of the half dollars that I normally use for my coins across routine and I stated that “the most amazing thing I could do “if it worked” would be to pass a coin through a table that I do not own”. As I said this, I lifted the coin high in the air and slammed it down (actually, not very hard) on the hard oak table where is struck with a loud “snap”! Upon lifting my hand the coin was no longer there! I reached under the table and reproduced it. This was greeted with appreciative gasps. I thought that after this spur-of-the-moment miracle my job was done. But then one of the clients brought a friend over with the plea that I “do it again” for him! Knowing the magician’s code I told him that it was not possible. I cannot repeat a trick twice. They insisted I declined, they insisted, I said no, they insisted, and then…so did my employer!
So I made them a deal, I will pass the coin through the table one more time if they all agree that this WILL be the finale of the evening. They agreed, so I then told then that the only problem is that to pass the coin through the table a second time, I will need something heavy to push it through with because as we speak, the table is “healing itself” from the last time I performed this and now it’s going to give me much more resistance (they actually seemed to buy that line!).
So I looked around and the only other thing on the table was a small votive cocktail table candle. I took the candle and blew it out. Then knocked on the coin with it a couple of times pretending that something was supposed to happen that was not. I then stated, “I need something to cover it, I think the light in here is too bright” (the light in the place was actually so low, you could get away with a lot! but it was a funny line). I then took a cocktail napkin and wrapped it over the unlit candle. After knocking on the coin with the candle a few more times I told them that I think it would work this time.
I then positioned the candle over the coin, and with a deep breath, raised my hand high over the candle and slammed my hand down crushing the napkin! I lifted the napkin to reveal to the stunned guests that the candle, not the coin had penetrated the table! I then reached under the table and re-produced the candle. And stated, “Sorry, I knew I couldn’t get the coin through the table a second time. That was the wrong trick, this is where the candle goes through instead!
Everyone FREAKED OUT! I was of course asked to do it again and was even offered good money to do so, I’m not kidding, they took out twenty-dollar bills and said that I could have it all to do it one more time. I graciously thanked them for their generosity, got up, and left. It was probably one of the biggest reactions I ever got from a close-up trick.
I’m now booked to do another private party out of state in July because of that one trick.
Method: Experienced magicians will recognize upon reading the above that at the correct time, the candle was secretly “Lapped” in a manner normally associated with a glass or salt shaker. So the purpose of this lesson is not only to familiarize the novice with the technique of lapping but to illustrate to magicians of all levels how this technique can be done impromptu with many different objects that may be at hand on any given occasion. Many magicians, myself included, get caught up in thinking that certain moves MUST always be done with the object that made them famous. In this case a glass or salt shaker. But that does not need to be the case. Many times magic, if it is spontaneous, is at its strongest as far as audience impact.
To perform this routine you will need three things. (1) A cocktail napkin or cloth restaurant napkin large enough to drape over the object you wish to vanish with plenty of room to spare. (2) The object you wish to vanish. This should be something that is not easily breakable should the object fall off of your lap onto the floor. This routine has been done a drinking glass, but I have known seasoned professionals that have broken them doing this trick, so stay with something that is safe. (3) A coin the size of a quarter or larger.
I think the act of starting with “the coin through table routine” prior to the act of passing the subsequent larger object through the table is very important. This gives added misdirection to the routine because if the audience believes that you are going to pass the coin through the table a second time, why would they ever suspect that you are going to pass the larger object through instead???
The Moves, Phase One: The coin through table move is similar to one described in the now-classic, Sachs Sleight of Hand. The coin is held in the right hand, then transferred to the left hand which then knocks it on the table a few times to prove that both it and the table are solid. On a later try, instead of the right hand transferring the coin to the left hand, it makes a false placement. Here you can merely pretend to place it in the left hand while secretly retaining it in the right, or you can use any one of the myriads of coin vanishing moves, a few of which are described in the I.C.O.M Sleight of hand gallery. The hand containing the coin is brought under the table while the left hand that pretends to hold the coin, brings the actual coin onto the table. Now here is the important move. As you pretend to pass the coin through the table with the left hand, the coin under the table is simultaneously knocked against the underside of the table completing the illusion that the left hand contains the coin and is knocking it against the top of the table. This is an audio illusion as opposed to an optical illusion. The left hand then rubs the spot where you are pretending to pass the coin through. Lift the left hand slowly to show that the coin is gone. Bring the right hand containing the coin out from under the table showing the coin magically passed through the tabletop.
The Moves, Phase Two: The second phase features the Lapping move. After you have stunned them with the coin through table, you can stop right there or proceed by stating that it is impossible for you to do it a second time unless you first use a larger object to force it through. Tell them that is just how it works, plain and simple. Or that it is magical physics, you can think of something I’m sure!<G>.
Forming the napkin around the object
The object is covered with the napkin and after you form the latter around the object, in my case it was a candle, you knock the coin a couple of times with the object. Again, not to hard especially if you do not own the table!
Each time you knock the coin with the covered larger object, you bring the object back to the edge of the table over your lap to apparently look closely at the coin. Bring it over your lap twice without yet executing the Lapping move. On the third time, however, the right hand secretly comes up from underneath the table and grabs the covered large object and lowers it into the lap. Do not drop the object into the lap. That is how things break!
The napkin at this point should still retain the form of the object and the audience will believe that the object is still contained therein.
The lapping move from Magician’s point of view…Kind of!
(Note how the hand lowers the object rather than just letting it drop into the lap)
Then say something to the effect that “this isn’t going to work” and suddenly crush the napkin over the coin showing that it was not the coin that went through the table, but the larger object!
Then get ready to sign autographs!
The Card-Board Illusion
Bobby J. Gallo
AN ACTUAL DIGITAL PHOTO OF THE ORIGINAL CARD-BOARD CIRCA 1983
ACTUAL BOARD MEASURES APPROXIMATELY 4 time. ACROSS AND STANDS ON AN EASEL.
It’s happened to all of us. You are starting out in magic and you really want to perform some big shows in front of a large audience, but there is one small problem. You cannot afford all of those large props that you see the magicians on television performing. You need something that is large enough to capture the audience’s interest, but it must be something that you can readily make at home.
This month’s lesson is an actual routine that I performed for my initiation show for S.A.M Assembly 168 around the year 1983 at the landmark ‘Lamplighter Restaurant in New Jersey’. I created it to fill the need for a really big prop that would fill the rear of the stage, was easy and cost-effective to make, but also had the impact of a serious magic effect. It worked very well and even though it is nearly two decades later, I would still use it if the need arose.
A large blackboard is seen sitting on an easel on stage. It seems to be about four feet across by two feet in height. On it are pasted 52 playing cards in straight rows. There is no apparent order to the cards. They just seem to be haphazardly pasted on the blackboard in what you could call a “Shuffled Fashion”.
The performer then addresses the audience. He shows them the board and states that it is able to transmit psychic messages to him/her. He then takes out an ordinary deck of playing cards and has them examined and shuffled. One is then selected, noted, and returned to the deck. The magician then hands a large pad to the person who selected the card and asks them to write the name of the card onto the pad. After this is done, a second spectator is asked to the stage. The second spectator is asked to look at the pad and then very slowly run their fingers across the cards until the magician dramatically says “STOP!”
The magician then states that he saw a red light that is visible only to him when the spectator ran his finger over the one card that this finger now rest on. When pad is turned over it is seen that the card chosen by the first spectator and the card the magician told the second spectator to stop on IS THE VERY SAME CARD!…………Cool
This is one of those effects that is truly ALL EFFECT! You will go to a little trouble to make up all the props needed and the only reason for them is stage dressing! Yep, the props play a very little role in how the trick is done. And why you ask? The reason is simple. All you have to do in order to pull off this miracle is merely FORCE ONE PLAYING CARD! (See I.C.O.M Archives 10/98: Forcing Techniques-A Primer)Remember, this is a lesson on how you can take a simple concept such as forcing a card and allow it to play on the largest stage. If you were to have a card forced and then merely revealed, it has virtually no impact on a large audience. What you need to do is “translate” that effect and “enlarge” it so that it can be appreciated by the entire crowd. The fact that the secret is so simple actually works in your favor because you now have all the opportunity in the world to be creative and concentrate on your presentation. After all, that is what it is all about..isn’t it?
The board can be made up very simply. All you need is a large piece of cardboard the dimensions stated above or like I used, a piece of sheet paneling. I spray painted it black and took an old used deck of cards and pasted them onto the board. I think I used rubber cement, but any good paste that will not ruin the cards will do. I then used applied a coat of clear lacquer over the surface to protect the cards from the wear and tear of the many venues I play.
You can make this as simple or as elaborate as you like. You may even wish to hinge the board in the center to make it easier to transport. Another idea would be to “sandwich” the cards in- between the paneling sheet and a clear sheet of plexiglass. That would be a little more complicated, but if you are contemplating performing a great deal of shows with it, it’s well worth it. But no matter what you finally decide on as far as the construction of the board is concerned, remember, the purpose is to make this card trick look really BIG even though the secret of the effect is very small (the forcing of a playing card).
There is an offbeat thing about this effect that I will never forget. I was approached on an occasion by a SAM member named Bob Pierce who goes by the name of Mr. Patchpockets. He took one look at the Card-board and said, “That is one neat looking trick!” Because that is another plus to this prop, it really dresses the stage nicely.
The pad is thrown into the mix so that the spectator cannot change their mind and try to throw you off during the performance which in this day and age is so often the case. It also allows for a dramatic climax when you turn it around to reveal that it is indeed the same card that you had the second spectator stop on.
The rest of the routine should be self-explanatory but I will outline it anyway.
- The Card-Board is resting on the easel onstage and is introduced to the audience.
- A playing card is selected (actually forced…..the trick is done!)
- The card is then written boldly in a magic marker on a large pad by the spectator who chose the card and is then held face-down by same.
- A second spectator is invited to the stage to look at the pad. (having two spectators make the act look even bigger!)
- The second spectator is asked to very slowly run their fingers over the rows of cards until you say stop.
- Look like you are concentrating very hard then when they reach the forced card, you say STOP! in your most dramatic voice! (if they accidentally go past the correct card before you had the chance to stop them, don’t worry, just have them reverse directions and stop them accordingly, I had to do this once during a show)
- Have the second spectator call aloud the card you have stopped them at.
- Take the pad from the first spectator and show it to the audience. THE CARDS MATCH!