Advanced Lab 1/00-6/00


Advanced Lab 1/00-6/00

You are now in the section devoted “challenging magic”. This forum features top effects that usually require a higher degree of sleight-of-hand to accomplish their ultimate goal. It may also contain effects that are a bit more advanced as far as presentation, overall difficulty of execution, or unique props that need to be made or obtained. Overall, this is magic of the highest quality that all are welcomed to try and perfect. This is the forum that makes the master magician…

June 2000

Ronald J. Dayton

Found on page 82 of Bruce Elliott’s incredible 1959 book, “Professional Magic Made Easy “ was an effect called Honeycutter. This was a very fast, interest—sustaining commercial, follow—the— leader’ type card handling created by a gentleman named Al Honeycutt.

I’m not sure if my version is any cuter than Mr. Honeycutt’s or not. I’ve not been able to make the conclusion any more direct than his, but I have eliminated the lifts and turnover counts he employed.

When you are performing Honey—cuter, the spectator removes the eight cards you will be using from the deck themselves. In fact, the spectator is involved in this effect from beginning to end since the patter allows them to interact vith the performer several times during the routine.

You begin by tossing the cased deck out on the table and asking that the spectator open the case, remove the cards, then look for the four kings and four aces. They are requested to remove the kings and place them in a face down packet in front of you to your left. Next, they are to find the four aces and place them to your right, also in a face down packet. This done, they are now told to replace the remainder of the deck in the case, close the case and set it to one side for a while.

To my way of thinking…if each packet of cards has been taken from the deck, then tabled in separate packets by the spectator himself, there should be no further reason to show or in essence, count the cards again individually. You should be able to simply place the packets together and continue with your routine.

This is a way to do exactly that in a rather convincing manner, without using lifts, turnovers or drop additions. Begin by picking up the left hand packet, the kings….turn them face up and show them by fanning them between the hands. As the cards are closed and held in the left hand, you retain a little finger break between the second and third cards. The right hand now picks up the packet to the right, the four aces. You fan these cards in the right hand. Then, to close the packet, you tap the long edge of the cards nearest the R.H. little finger against the table top. But, you keep enough pressure on the cards so the face card of the fan does not close flush with the packet. It extents fanned or slightly jogged about a quarter of an inch or more beyond the other three cards. Now, as the hands are brought together, seemingly in the action of simply placing the four aces on the front of the four kings packet in the left hand, the first three aces go into the break of the left hand cards and the jogged ace slides on to the front of the top two kings. The packet of eight cards are now squared and held in the left hand.

The packet in the left hand is now turned face down and held in the left hand in dealer’s position.

The top two cards of the left hand packet are now thumbed off into the right hand. You draw attention to a spot on the table to your left. Point to the spot vith the right hand cards, slightly fanned and tipped so their faces may be seen. The right hand then returns to the left and two more cards are thumbed off the left hand packet, being taken BELOW the two already in the right hand. Without showing the faces of the cards in the right hand, they are now dropped face down on to the spot you indicated on the table to your left. You say, “ The four kings will go here.”

The left hand now thumbs the top card of the remaining four it holds face down into the right hand. You turn the right hand card over so its face may be seen and point to a spot on the table to your right. Tap the spot with the card, then turn the card face down and drop it on the spot as you say, “ The aces will go here.” During this action, the left hand tips to flash the face card of the remaining three it holds. This will also be an ace. The left hand cards are now dropped face down on top of the tabled card to your right.

You have now set the stage for a fast paced series of events. The audience has cleanly seen both the four aces and the four kings displayed. They believe they know their positions on the table. The kings to your left, the aces to your right. Now the magic can begin.

You tell the spectator you are going to say the names of the cards as you handle them. After you give them the nod, they are to repeat the names of the cards in exactly the same way.

You slide the left hand packet from the table with your right hand and place it face down in the left hand. You say KINGS. The tabled right hand packet is now slid to the left, taking the position previously occupied by the kings. You say, ACES. As your right hand rests above this newly positioned left hand packet, you nod toward the spectator. They say KINGS. You turn the top card over and place it face up to one side. It is a king. Your left hand now tips to flash the front card of its packet. it is an Ace. You nod, and the spectator says ACE. The right hand removes this front card and tables it face up. The card directly below it is seen to be another ace. The packet is now tabled, face down to your right.

The actions are repeated a second time. Tabled packet to your left is removed and held face down in the left hand as you call them kings. The right hand packet is shifted to the left near the face up king. You nod. Spectator says KINGS. Top card of left hand tabled packet is turned over, and it indeed is a king. Left hand tips to flash front card of packet it holds. It is an ace. Nod, and spectator says ACE as you remove this front card and table it face up with the other tabled ace. The cards remaining in the left hand are now tabled face down next to the first two face up aces to your right.

Actions are repeated a third time. Removal of the left hand packet and shifting of the right. Top card of the new left hand packet is turned over, it is a king. The cards in the left hand are turned over to show the front card…. it is an ace, but the card directly above it is a king, and you do not want them to see this card at this time. Simply pull the ace away in the right hand, turning it fully face up while simultaneously turning the king face down with the left hand. Table the face up ace with the others to your right, and place the face down king next to that packet.

The final reveal involves no ‘handling’ at all. The cards are already in position. Simply slide the face down left hand card off the table face down into your left hand, and then transpose the face down right hand card to the left beside the three face up kings. Name the face down cards as you do so, king and ace. Nod to the spectator. They say king as you turn over the left hand card. It is a king. They say ace, and you turn over and table the final card held in your left hand. It is an ace, and is placed face up on the table to your right with the other three aces.

One by one, each of eight cards have transposed themselves from one position to another. It seems as if the power of suggestion… the fact that the spectator names the cards after the packets have been shifted, somehow has the power to WILL the cards to change. This is an excellent foundation upon which to build your patter. The effect is so strong, and so direct, people won’t believe their eyes. If you get the chance to read the original handling in the Elliott book, please do so. I am by no means saying my version is better. All I have done is to modify the handling so “1 am more comfortable with it. Not being a card—worker by any means…I need all the help I can get. This method transforms the Honeycutter effect into one I can and will perform.

May 2000

You may or may not have noticed that there isn’t much (if any) chemical magic in I.C.O.M. But when a real winner comes along, it’s worth inclusion. This is a great effect and one worth the consideration of the professional looking for something different in the realm of comedy magic. There are just two words of advice I need to mention before you dive into this egg-strodinary trick (sorry, I had to !) 1. If you are under 18 and reading this, please follow this rule. Never experiment with chemical magic unless accompanied by an adult. 2. One comedy line in the following routine may be a bit “politically incorrect”* perform it at your own risk! <G>…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

This is a tongue—in—cheek effect which begins with the selection of a playing card. After the card has been chosen by an audience member, remembered, and returned to and lost in the deck, you sort of matter—of—factly mention that magic isn’t the only thing you do. For their edification, you show the audience a round egg dish…the type with indentations for holding several eggs. You proceed to tell the audience that you are also an amateur inventor on the side, and that this is your latest creation. All of the eggs are WHITE hard—boiled eggs, but, each one has the name of a different color; RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE and YELLOW printed boldly on it in black felt tip marker. You announce that these are Easter Eggs for color—blind people!*

The dish of eggs is placed upon your table, and while you turn your back, a member of the audience is to come forward and point to one of the colors. He is then to spell its name, moving one egg and one letter at a time in a clock—wise direction around the dish until he comes to a second egg. He is then to spell the name of THAT color, clock-wise in the same manner until he comes to a third and final egg. He is then asked to pick up and remove that egg, and to notify you that he has completed his task.

You turn, approach the table, and without looking at the remaining eggs, you place the dish out of sight, or off to one side for a moment. Your thoughts now return to the card which had been selected earlier. You ask the spectator who made the selection to name his choice. The spectator who made the random choice of one of the eggs is asked to hold that egg up to his forehead and concentrate on the card just named. You bring out a small, clear glass bowl. The spectator is asked to crack and peel the egg he holds. When he does.. .ON THE ACTUAL WHITE OF THE EGG, he will find printed the name of the previously selected card!!

EXPLANATION: This is a combination of a spelling color force of my own creation and a chemical method for writing on the interior surface of a hard—boiled egg which appeared in the Fawcett Book release, “ 100 Houdini Tricks You Can Do “, by Joseph Dunninger. This appeared in paperback in 1954.

Let’s begin with the egg writing since it is the most amazing aspect of this effect. The solution consists of one ounce of ALUM dissolved in one pint of VINEGAR. Using a small paint brush, print the name of the card to be forced C 10—D, K—H, 4—C etc ) on the egg shell of a RAW egg. When completely dry, and no sign of the writing remains, boil the egg for twelve to fifteen minutes. That’s all there is to it.

Mark this egg once it has cooled with the felt tip marker. Print the word GREEN in bold lettering. This will be your force egg. As long as you still have the water on the boil, prepare four additional hard—boiled eggs. When these are drained and cooled, mark them RED, BLUE, ORANGE and YELLOW respectively.

When the eggs are placed into the egg dish, place the blue egg first. To its right, red, then yellow, green and orange. Now, when a free selection is made and its name spelled to to arrive at a second color.., and this new color is spelled out to arrive at a third, that final egg will always be the green egg.. .the only one marked by chemicals to reveal the force card.

You may use any type force you choose for the card. Slip Force, Count Force, Fan Force, Cut Deeper Force etc. I use the latter quite often. You may also arrange the eggs in another order on the plate if you wish, and the Color Spell Force will still work. For this alternate set—up begin with the Red egg, followed to its right by Blue, Green, Orange and yellow. Only this and the previous order given will work. Any other arrangement of the eggs will not bring forth the green egg as an end result every time.

My reason for choosing to use the round egg dish is to eliminate any error on the part of the spectator in the manner and direction in which the colors are to be spelled to. Eggs in a row upon the table may be more confusing than organized in a dish. The clock- wise spelling becomes much easier to control.

Lastly.. .1 would like to comment on the visible markings on the eggs. I opted to print the colors on white eggs for two reasons. First of all, I felt the notion of having invented Easter Eggs for color blind people was pretty funny. Secondly, I could have dyed the eggs in Easter colors.. .but I didn’t know how the dye would work in combination with the alum/vinegar solution painted on the shell earlier. In other words, I’ve just been too lazy to test the colored eggs out for myself. I’m hoping, if you are interested…you will try this out for yourself.

April 2000

Well Ladies and Gents, without further adieu we bring an effect that is worth “TWICE” your I.C.O.M membership and that is no joke! Ron was saving this for a special contest but decided to give it to our lucky membership. This may be the finest routine of its kind ever published so dig in and thank Ron on the message board when you get the chance…BJG

A Full Routine and Incredible Concept
Ronald J. Dayton

Several props are lying upon your table. There is a sheet of paper upon which a listing of names has been professionally printed. There is also a pen or pencil, a note pad, and a standard security envelope.

You give an account of a private party you had recently been hired to perform at. The hosts, Lincoln and Jillian Potter supplied a list of the guests who would be present. The list named twelve couples and all of their children. The total number of people attending the party, including the Potters and their two children came to fifty people…husbands and wives, sons and daughters.

When you are escorted out of the room, a member of the audience is shown the guest list. They are to choose any name on the list they wish. Any individual first name. They then write this name on a slip of paper from the note pad, place the slip into the security envelope and seal same. When the name was chosen it was shown to the others in the group.

Your assistant then places the security envelope at the back top edge of the Guest List and secures it with a paper clip. The spectator then places the sheet with attached envelope on the table. Envelope is below, list is on top.

The security envelope prevents any view of the folded slip inside it. Only the list of names is visible to the performer when he returns. The spectator is asked to concentrate on the name they chose. The performer eventually announces the image of a family name he is getting. In time, without asking any questions, he is able to correctly reveal the chosen name.

At first glance, this may all seem a bit complicated, but, once you begin to really understand the principle, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is. The complete GUESTLIST, properly printed is given with this explanation. You will also find a step-by-step, five-part instruction sheet that should make everything clear.

Let’s look at the instruction sheet first. Figure *1 shows four paper clips positioned on a sheet of paper. Every clip has two curl ends, a larger long end, and a smaller short end. These can be slipped on to a card or sheet of paper in one of four ways. Figure one shows the visual clip code for the categories of the people who can be selected. They will either be one of the husbands, a wife, or one of their children…son or daughter. The position of the clip on the paper will tell you which it is.

Item *2 on the instruction sheet explains that you have five different color paper clips at your disposal. You’ll recall that the paper slip is not on the table at the start. One of each clip is in a different pocket on your assistant’s person. They have memorized which pocket contains which color clip.

Each color has a certain number of letters in its spelling. The letters in the color match the letters in the names on the Guestlist. So depending upon the color of the clip, and the way it is facing on the paper, you will be coded the sex and adult or adolescent status of the person, and the number of letters in their first name.

That’s great you say, but how do I discover which of the fifty names has been selected? Instruction figure *3 explains this. Look at the guest list. You’ll see that GUESTLIST is printed at the top center of the page. As shown in Fig. 3, depending upon if the curl end of the clip is nearest the G, the center T, or the far right-hand T in the word GUEST LIST…you are told if the name appears in group A, B or C of the list.

You have twelve couples listed. This is broken down into three groups of four as shown in Fig. 4. Group A runs from Riley to Randall, group B from Bates to Stolks, and Group C from McConroy to Yardley. Dots at left margin denote the start of the new group.

All of the actual guests can be coded with either a red, blue, green or yellow paper clip. The silver paper clip codes the Potter family. It can be anywhere near the center of the top edge. You need only know it is silver for Potter, and which direction it faces, large or small curl to denote the sex of the adult or child.

Step number six on the instruction sheet gives four examples. The words GUESTLIST appear just as on the actual list. The first clip is red. It Is near the letter G, and the large curl end is open side to the right. The name it codes is Hal Riley. In the second example, the clip is green. a small curl end is open to the left. This is a girl. The clip is near the center of the words GUESTLIST, coding group B. Green has five letters. The only five letter girls name in group B is Renee In example three, the blue clip is large curl end open to the left. This indicates a wife. The clip is near the last T in the word List, coding group C. The wife in that group with four letters ( blue ) is Joan Yardley. The last example is a silver slip, so we know it is one of the Potters. It is a small curl end to the right, so its a boy. The chosen name is their son, Gregory.

While you are out of the room, your assistant sees the name that is chosen., so she knows if it is a husband, wife, son or daughter. She also knows the number of letters in the name, and that tells her which color clip to take from which pocket. The name is written down by the spectator, the paper folded and placed into a security envelope and sealed. The assistant then affixes the envelope to the back of the GUESTLIST sheet, using the proper color clip with the proper curl end turned the proper way at the front of the page…and the clip positioned in the right place over the words GUEST LIST. When the performer enters, he is looking directly at the list of names and at the clip. The clip instantly tells him if it is a husband, wife, son, or daughter that has been chosen. The placement over the words Guest List tells him which group he has to look at, top four names, center four, or last four of the twelve invited couples. The color of the clip tells him the number of letters in the name of the person he seeks. A quick look at the names in the proper group will provide him with an answer.

The exception to all of this is of course, the Potter family. Someone may or may not select one of their names. If they do, the silver clip and the way the curl end faces tells you everything.

As I said in the beginning, this looks much more complicated than it really is. When I first explained it to my twenty-year-old daughter, it didn’t make sense to her. Then we ran through it several times using the actual clips, and in about five minutes, she was revealing the names I had chosen randomly from the list.

I showed the effect to my wife Susan as well, and she suggested it might be used as a Who Done It? type plot in a mystery presentation. Not a bad idea at all. The detective is given a list of suspects and the audience gets to select the name of the guilty party.

My thanks to my daughter Jennifer for assisting me in sorting out all the needed names on the list after the wee hours of the morning had taken their toll on me. Without her sharp mind and eye, this effect would never have been correctly completed.

Who would ever think that a lowly paper clip could transmit so much coded information. When you look at the list, it really does seem impossible. But properly read, it works every time without error. Work with it yourself and discover how simple it is.


Couples -_____________________________________________________________Children

HAL and BRENDA RILEY_______________________________________________ _RANDY and GAIL

JACOB and SUE SCHMIDT_______________________________________________NICHOL and AMY

BRAD and CAROL TAYBRICK____________________________________________PETE

ROBERT and BETH RANDALL____________________________________________NANCY and DAN

DANIEL and DEE BATES________________________________________________ TOM, PAM and CHERYL

TOM and TAMERA MONTEL_____________________________________________MARCUS and RENEE

HANK and JUNE GARRETT_______________________________________________JANE and FRANK

LARRY and KATHY STOLKS_____________________________________________DEAN

.TED and SANDRA McCONROY__________________________________________KIM BETH and VIOLET

SIDNEY and JOY TIMMS________________________________________________

RANDY and NANCY DAVIS_____________________________________________OTTO and MANDY

PETE and JOAN YARDLEY______________________________________________OLIVER and TIM

*LINCOLN and JILLIAN POTTER_________________________________________CYNTHIA and GREGORY

* Hosts
DATE:_____________ TIME: __________ PLACE:

March 2000

Ronald J. Dayton

A short time ago, magic lost one of its finest with the death of Larry Jennings. Although I never met the man, I was acutely aware of his prominence and skill in the art. As a performer, innovator and inventor…he exemplified excellence. One of the best of the best.

A friend of mine recently shared a Jennings creation with me. It was an effect in which three playing cards were used. Two with like color backs, and one different. The odd card, when placed at the bottom of the packet of three would magically penetrate to the center, becoming sandwiched between the two like back cards. It could also travel from the center to the outside back in a mysterious manner. The method was simplicity itself. It was the handling and performance that ‘sold’ the effect and gave it strength.

The version my friend had shown to me was not the original Jennings card. The routine was based on Jennings moves, but the card and. the way it had been gimmicked ( one of the like backed cards gave it a locking quality. In other words, the gimmicked section could be handled more casually. This was an innovation of friend Rich Walker.

If you have been an online friend of I.C.O.M for a while, or are familiar with any of my work, or the MUM COLUMN… YOU KNOW I can’t resist ‘tinkering’ with ideas that are new to me.

The illustration shows my version or takes on the Jennings card. Mine is a court card which has been slit half its length down the right inner framework which surrounds the image of the king, then horizontally through the center to the other side, and then down the left hand framing border as indicated by the ‘STEP’ shaped path of the dotted line. With the card on its side, the cut resembles the letter “Z”.

This gimmicked card is one of the two similar backed cards. In the stack, this card is the center card, and the bottom card is the odd backed card.

By turning the odd backed •card perpendicular to the packet from below, its long edge can be slipped up into the top cut section of the gimmicked card. Pushing the odd card to the left, then pulling it to the left with the left hand, and simultaneously swinging or pivoting the card upward…you will discover it is now sandwiched between the two like backed cards. Reversing the procedure will make it travel back to the bottom of the packet.

Thanks to the design of the cut made in the gimmicked card, the slit is well concealed. It also allows for a card that has no break in its side or top borders. Properly handled, this card may be shown quite freely, front and back without revealing the secret passage.

I know that the explanation for any handling has been very brief.. .but you have the basics, and I want you to experience the fun of working with the cards in hand, and discovering what they can do for yourself!

You will find ways for holding and handling the cards which are most suited to only you. How to push the card. How to lift or swing it. Which moves are angle proof, and which need to be guarded? And don’t forget, if your two like backed cards are also court cards of the same value, you can inter—change them, and make the odd card seem to go from the back to the middle, and end up on the face of the packet. Enjoy!

February 2000

About a year ago I asked Ron to start this series because I knew that any magic school worth it’s salt would need to address the classic props of magic to anyone wishing to pursue the art. Such a series would be a cornerstone of the school and be a reference tool that magicians would use for years to come.

Well, my expectations were surpassed far more than I could have imagined. Over the last year, Ron has taken nearly every classic of magic and written and exhaustive treatise on each. These are quite frankly the finest lessons EVER written on these subjects. I have never seen the likes before and imagine never will again. I.C.O.M is so fortunate to have Ron and his outstanding insights and the student has been given knowledge more precious than platinum.

That being said. It is with great pleasure to present the FINAL installment in this series (unless of course, he gives me another one <G>). And appropriately, it is about the most famous symbol of our art. “The Magic Wand”. The series is now complete and the school can now focus on narrower issues. Thanks again Ron, you are truly one of a kind…BJG

” The WANDer Of It All “
Ronald J. Dayton

Welcome to another session of my seemingly aimless rambling thoughts on a particular subject of my own choosing. This month I would like to discuss the wands of every conceivable style and function I can think of. And to what end you might well ask. Because I am hoping to enlighten those of the newest members of our ranks…and give them some sort of idea what is available to them, and what has been available in the past. Please keep sight of the fact that I most certainly am no expert in the field…but I have read my share of dealer ads in the past…so to that extent…and that extent only, I am qualified.

The magician’s wand is a specialized tool…whether it is gimmicked or altered to afford one particular function or not. Even if it is nothing more than a branch from a tree…a chopstick, or a breadstick…its power lies in what the audience believes it is empowered to do. The wand and its ability to assist in producing miracles are a part of the psyche of modern man. Since the days of wizards of yore, the magic wand has been a mythical symbol. People relate to it, and within their inner spirit, the reason it has the ability to do the impossible.

As a prop alone, the wand is indispensable as a means of affording misdirection, both in a physical and psychological sense. Standard wands and smaller pocket wands allow the performer to lap, pocket, switch, or steal objects at will under the pretense of simply going to his pocket or case for the wand. An action as effective as Dai Vernon’s wand spin is an illusion in and of itself… and one which in the hands of a skilled performer can create absolute miracles.

As I have stated earlier, perhaps a bit too simplistically, a wand, under impromptu circumstances can consist of a variety of things. Depending upon how you present a given object as being a wand will determine the audience’s acceptance or rejection of it. In an oriental routine, you can easily get away with using a chopstick. In restaurant work, very likely a straw, table knife, breadstick will suffice and be accepted, especially if you are working in a light-hearted manner. For comedy work, there are a whole host of wands available. We have the Flat Wand, Spring Wand, Crooked Wand, Feather Duster Wand, Spoon handle and plumber’s plunger wands, Nesting Wands, Break Away Wands, Sponge Wands, Confusing Wands, Color Changing Wands, Zebra Wands, Assistant Diploma Wands and the like.

In the past…wands had a more serious beginning. The standard wand was between fourteen to sixteen inches in length and about a half-inch or so in diameter, usually black with white or silver tips. P&L manufactured special paper shells that allowed the stage performers of the day to present an effective version of the vanishing wand. Special wands called Handkerchief Wands could vanish a silk from within a paper cone. Wands assisted in card rises, flower productions and were sometimes also employed as part of a full stage fountain of water display in which jets of water would spew forth from various objects touched by the wand, and from the wand tip itself.

Wands could seeming to penetrate borrowed hats and coats without injuring them. They could rise or spring from the performer’s hands at will. Some hollow wands were used to produce color changes of liquids…others provided the secret hiding place for necessary somethings in ribbon restorations.

In the forties, special catalyn wands were used much as the modern appearing flag poles are employed. The white tip section appeared to be a cigarette when the flattened band of wand material was rolled in a specific manner. When released, the plastic unrolled rapidly, then re-formed mid-air into the standard wand shape. Spectacular to say the least! As technology moved forward, wands that fired an exploding cap ( Bang Wands ) were created, as well as wands that shot forward burning flash paper in a blinding burst of light. All of these have their place…but each must be handled with the care their potential ability for harm dictates. I was once told of a careless performer who was doing a lecture and used a flash wand with abandon. He actually set it off while pointing it toward people in the front row. The resulting flame hit an elderly gentleman seated there, and the fire literally burned a visible hole in his shirt! By some miracle, the shot did not hit him in the face or eyes.

Other less dangerous wands I might mention were also devised for specialized reasons. Some wands have a small extending pinpoint at one end to facilitate the breaking of balloons in various effects. Some have strong magnets within their tips for card rises, mental effects, etc. Some very clever applications indeed. Some wands are spring-loaded, and hollow, allowing them to secretly insert objects into things such as raw eggs…objects such as rolled bills. Then too, there are wands designed to conceal and visibly produce coins from the air.

When I was very young…one of the first styles of wands I ever purchased via a mail-order catalog was the amazing five-in-one wand. I believe it is still available today. Well, as a matter of point…the wand was quite well made, and very sturdy. But I would caution any person purchasing a piece of apparatus which claims to do ‘ too many ‘ things…to take the claims with a grain of salt. I found, on a personal level, that this marvelous wand did two of the five things very well. When all is said and done…that really isn’t all that bad! <G>

I have no doubt that there are certain styles of wands that have escaped my memory. If you have a sincere interest in discovering more…I strongly urge you to try to get your hands on some old magic catalogs. Investigate newer catalogs as well, because innovators are providing new and exciting props all the time. The history of the wand is a fascinating journey. I urge the serious student of magic to look into it further. The search will provide you with valuable background knowledge to advance your progress. I am certain, since I am not a scholar, that I have missed things you might want to know. But I do most sincerely hope that this has been an enjoyable first step for you to take.

January 2000

Five Perfect Paddle Puzzles
(for lack of a better name)
Bobby J. Gallo

If there is one thing that really annoys me, it is that you often see very important and valuable sleights explained in children’s magic kits. I have always said that there are many appropriate tricks for kids, but since it is cost-effective to manufacture simple props that involve sleights, the self-working tricks get fewer and fewer. Such is the current state of the paddle.

The paddle, which used the related “paddle move” is a sleight that dates back at least to the 1800s (GEE, THAT’S TWO CENTURIES AGO! <G>) It has been the move by which countless magicians have made reputations and even I use the paddle move for no less than three routines in my close-up program.

All that being said, I realized that I.C.O.M has never really dedicated a lesson to the paddle complete with routines to stimulate the students thinking. So here to start the new millennium, are five perfect paddle puzzles.

To make a paddle of your own, we should look back to the old days and use the original prop. A dull butter knife. Even the plastic kind used at picnics will work great so long as it is not of the “see-thru” variety. Experiment and I am sure you will find other props to use this timeless principle with.

To execute the paddle move, please refer to Jumping Dice Spots In The I.C .O.M Archives. The same move is used there except with dice. If you have any problems, please feel free to use a virtual lesson or consult the classic book, Sach’s Sleight Of Hand-Dover Edition (available in the online catalog).

The following is a list of five effective tricks for use with your butter knife paddle.

  • Effect #1: You write a number on a piece of paper and the number appears on the blade of the butter knife.

    Method: Before the trick, either write the number with a magic marker on one side of the butter knife blade. Best to use the plastic butter knife for this due to the fact that it is disposable. And if possible, write the number in longhand. This seems to add a certain “something” to the revelation. If you only have a regular metal butter knife and do not want to permanently ruin the blade with the magic marker, just cover the spot on the butter knife blade with “Invisible type Scotch Tape” and write the number on the tape. This way the number (tape) can always be removed in desired. Perform the paddle move to show the butter knife blade blank on both sides then after the magical gesture, turn it over without the move to show the writing has appeared.
  • Effect #2: The spectator writes a number from one to 20 on a piece of paper. You tear up the paper and the number appears on the butter knife blade.

    Method: Prepare 20 plastic butter knives with numbers written on them from one to twenty and have them indexed in your pocket. Proceed as above. Yes, this takes a bit of work, but imagine the effect it will have on the audience!
  • Effect #3: The spectator selects three different numbers which he writes down. You give him a simple arithmetic problem. He folds up the paper so you cannot see the answer and places it in his pocket. The butter knife is shown blank and with a magical gesture, the answer appears on the butter knife blade.

    Method: Prepare the butter knife by writing 1-1/2 on the blade. Have the spectator write three DIFFERENT numbers on a piece of paper (without you seeing them). For example, he writes-682. Tell him to REVERSE his figures-(286). Tell him to subtract the smaller figures from the larger-682 minus 286 equal 396. Tell him to take the MIDDLE figure of his answer (9) and divide it by 2-(4-1/2). Now tell him to subtract 3 and his answer is 1-1/2! Follow the above formula and it works every time with one exception. Sometimes his answer will come out in TWO figures instead of three. If it does, the answer will ALWAYS be 99. In that case, you say, “Take either figure”.
  • Effect #4: You have a friend in the audience. Prepare the butter knife by writing their initials on one side of the butter knife blade. Proceed as above.
  • Effect #5: Here is a risky one but if you have an “out” why not try it? But the odds are 10 to 1 in your favor if you do it this way. Say, “Think of a number BETWEEN 1 and 4. (do not say, FROM 1 to 4). Psychologists will tell you it’s 10 to 1 he’ll think of the number 3. Write 3 on the butter knife blade. You’ll be surprised to learn that it works almost every time. Want it to work every time? Then use effect #2 and get to work!!!<G>


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 1997,1998,1999,2000 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

Advanced Lab 7/99-12/99


December 1999

I LOVE THIS! Not only is this a great trick, but it is especially beneficial to our students overseas who have little access to magical props. All you have to do is print these cards out, stick them to computer discs and you are ready to go! Thanks Mike for an OUTSTANDING trick!…BJG

Fastest Brain on Earth
Mike Fordice

You hand out 4 computer disks and explain that you can calculate faster than a computer. Ask your “computer operator” to think of a number from 1 to 15. If that number appears on the disk they are to put it into the “disk drive” (your handheld palm up to accept disks). They must insert the disks right side up (so you can read the numbers). After all, disks go into the computer only one way. Immediately after they finish inserting the last disk, you tell them the number they were thinking of!

Simply add the red numbers in the upper left corner of each disk they give you. That’s the thought-of number. FAST—FAST—FAST! Enjoy!

© 1999 Michael W. Fordice, PhD
Manufacturing rights reserved.

Editors Note: Unfortunately due to the passage of time and changing technology, the picture files needed to perform this effect got corrupted and lost. Since Mike as since passed, we are no longer able to replace them.

November 1999

” Kickin the Can “
( Expanded version )
Ronald J. Dayton

One definite advantage of having lived as long as I have is that you get to see a lot of things come and go. Modern technology offers us opportunities which are literally mind-boggling… and the future holds the promise of very nearly anything we dare to dream.

My childhood was that of modest, middle income means. We never had a lot of things… but the things we had were valued. Then too, we didn’t live in poverty…so that and our health was a lot to be thankful for. The kids on the block were rich in another sense. They had that rare gift…the ability to be inventive…to devise ways to entertain themselves when games purchased in the stores were not to be had. Warm summer evenings were spent playing hide and seek and kick the can.

Why am I relating all of this to you? I have done so as a ’roundabout way to eventually get to them of this month’s topic. Whenever I brainstorm an effect or prop…I usually say I am ‘kicking’ around a few ideas. This month, I have chosen to take a look at something called The Pea Can. So in a way, you might say that I am going to mentally ‘ kick the can ‘. <G> The basic effect of the Pea Can is more than a little risque. At best, it is a little cute, and a little naughty too. It was very popular in the 1950s. We had just won the respect of the free world by defeating our enemies in World War II, and civilians and service personnel as well looked forward to building new lives in the prosperity we now had. It was an era when novelties and practical jokes were all the rage. The Pea Can be very much at home in this environment.

The Pea Can is a novelty more than a trick. There is a transformation involved…but the real thrust of the prop is more of a prank than a mystery. It is, to say the least, a strange combination of emotions. What is most amazing to me is the fact that although the apparatus cost very little, the quality of the components was first class.

The short version of the explanation is this. A small, tubular-shaped can is displayed. It was if memory serves…about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and about two inches tall. The can be closed at one end, and open at the other.

A person was asked to hold out their outstretched hand. The can, being marked with a small label…similar to that of a can of peas in a grocery store, was inverted, and a tiny green rubber pea poured into the waiting palm. The pea was then casually dropped back into the can. You then state that by magic, you will cause the pea to change. A bit of a gesture over the can…and when its contents were again dumped out…the spectator was shocked to find a small puddle of liquid had been poured into their hand. After a moment…it registered what the ‘pea’ had been changed to…bringing laughs all around from those who were watching.

As I mentioned in a previous paragraph…the component parts of the Pea Can be exceptionally well made. The prop, in reality, consisted of two metal tube-like cans. The outer one which was always visible, and an inner one which was about one third the length of the larger tube. The mouth of the larger tube was straight, the opening of the hidden tube had been turned down just a bit. When the inner tube was within the outer…the the top edge was seamless and didn’t betray a thing.

The secret to the effect of course was to have placed a measured amount of liquid into the larger tube prior to presenting it. The inner tube was then pushed into place, forming a snug seal. The rubber pea was then dropped into the top opening, and you were all set to perform.

During the display of the Pea Can after the rubber pea had been replaced…the fingertip of the right-hand second finger entered the can briefly, and stole the smaller tube away…wearing it like a false fingertip. Under misdirection of the liquid reveal…it was an easy matter to ditch the smaller tube. The Pea Can be then able to be examined without fear of discovering the trickery involved.

Students of I.C.O.M will no doubt be able to devise different handlings for the Pea Can. Perhaps you would like to present it as a Portable Orchard type effect. A seed rather than a rubber pea is dumped from the can. An orange seed or even several apple seeds might be used. The seed(s) are returned to the can, and then by magic…changed into the juice of the fruit the seeds had come from. The liquid of course is poured into a shot glass held by the spectator…not into their hand.

A length of string which had been snipped into multiple short pieces could be tucked into the can, and transformed into a restored length. Silver glitter poured into the can might well be transformed into a stack of miniature coins. All one needs do is to begin thinking in terms of objects which will fit into the chambers of the can to enable themselves to better create new uses for the Pea Can.
A thought which came to mind this week is to actually drop a green rubber pea into the can. The surprise comes when a Pecan nut is dumped out of the container instead of the liquid they might suspect. Pea Can, Pecan…alright, it’s an obvious play on words… <G> I couldn’t resist.

As I began considering the Pea Can as a subject…I also began to wonder what other props in magic use a variation of this basic nesting container method. Some of the things I am about to list may surprise you. In some instances…I may be completely off base. I leave it to you to make that call / find connections of your own.

I think an important factor to include in your examination of relationships of apparatus is the secret container itself. Is it something which is initially inside the outer container? Is it fully removed, or only partially? Is it in a remote position from the visible container…then secretly introduced inside as a loaded chamber? Is the hidden tube disguised as something else…and in full view at the onset? In other words, is it used as a fake and is then used as an inner tube!?

One piece of apparatus which I believe is closely related to the Pea Can is the Flag Tube. This prop is precision machined. It has an outer tube which is closed at one end…a hidden inner tube…and a secret on the cap. The cap is eventually used to steal away the inner tube, allowing a number of silks to be transformed into a flag.

As an example of a piece of equipment that falls into the remote container category…we might well consider the gimmick for the Drum Head Tube. This too is a precision fit. it is a smaller inner tube-like container of sorts that is secretly introduced into the outer tube as a production source. The outer tube is open at both ends..but during the routine, sheets of tissue are affixed with metal bands, transforming it into a tube closed at both ends! Two other pieces of apparatus in which a remote container is introduced are the Dove Pan, and the Coffee Vase.

Examples of tube-like containers in which the secret inner tube is partially removed are the Bill Tube, and the Devil’s Coin Box. One allows an object to be secretly added to the outer container…the The other allows an object to be removed.

I mentioned too that there are pieces of equipment in which the inner tube is at first displayed openly as a fake…remote from the outer tube. I would name the Chinese Fire Cracker effect, Candle to Salt, Nickles to Dimes Tube, and possibly even the Stack of Quarters as candidates that apply.

It is interesting, I think, to look at the similarities and the differences in the examples given. Some may be a bit of a stretch…but not a long one. There are definite connections, and I think the inventors devised their creations based on association. They took a known principle and did a spin on it. I believe that if you do the same…you will be able to create new effects of your very own. After all…if magic stopped dead in its tracks with the ‘first’ of anything…and no one sought to improve upon it…the scope of our art would be very limited indeed.

Co-Directors Notes: You did it again Ron, Awesome!…BJG

October 1999

Keep Your Eyes Open When
A Magical Effect
Mike Fordice

The magician announces that he is about to do a card trick that is so spectacular that it requires it’s own stage. He then produces a polished maple board (5.5 x 3.5 inches) and places it on the close-up mat. He then places the deck of cards on the stage (see photo #1). The deck is shuffled, a random card is selected, and returned to the deck. The magician shows that the selected card is not on the top or bottom of the deck. The deck is returned to the stage. He then announces that simply by slapping the deck, he will cause the selected card to appear on the face of the deck having already shown that the selected is not there. With the deck on the stage, the performer slaps the deck hard and dramatically. Picking up the deck shows that the selected card is NOT on the face as promised. The performer hands the deck to the spectator who selected the card and asks him/her to find the card. The card is missing; in fact, there are only 51 cards remaining. The performed, who has not been a happy camper for the past few seconds, turns the board over and shows that the selected card appears painted onto the board!

The title of this effect has little to do with the effect. The real lesson is that magic is all around you. I found the boards (small cutting boards) at a flea market years ago. There were 2 of them in perfect condition. They had the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds painted on one side. This effect is reminiscent of Schulein’s card through the tablecloth and was certainly inspired by that. (For the record, I’ve seen Charlie Schulein [recently passed] perform that effect at their restaurant in Chicago.) Great effect, laymen go wild.

Now I realize that you’re not all going to have these cool boards that I have. So what. Keep your eyes open! Create your own. Use something else. A book, a tablet, a slate, etc.

Here’s the basic routine from the card handler¹s point of view.

1. Force the Ace of Clubs (or Diamonds).

2. When the card is returned to the deck, control to top, palm off, and lap. This leaves 51 cards in the deck.

3. Show top and bottom few cards of the deck. Return deck to stage.

4. Slap the deck. Or you can have the spectator slap the deck. Or do some psychic thing.

5. Announce that the card is now on the face of the deck. Show! Not there! Act disappointed. Hand the deck to the spectator and ask him/her to find the selected card. Not there. Only 51 cards.

6. Turn over the board and show that the card not only went through the deck, but also painted itself onto the board.



photo #2

Ok, Ok, Just “one more” object through table effect! But what an addition it is! A version of shaker through table unlike any other! You’ll love this…BJG

September 1999

Shaker Through Table With A Spicy Twist.
Ronald J. Dayton

Audiences and magicians alike enjoy effects which are variations on classics or themes they have already seen. The ‘twist’ is what creates the interest.., and if it is seen that the plot is beginning to shift from the norm, their interest is held even more intensely.

This variation will take a bit of work.. .but the performer willing to put some time and effort, and even additional thought into its development, will have a wonderful effect.

You will need the following materials: One clear glass salt shaker filled with salt, and an identical shaker filled with pepper; several sturdy paper napkins, a felt tip marking pen, some magician’s wax, some additional salt…and one of those small bean bag ashtrays which are weighted to sit on the arm of a chair without falling off.

EFFECT: Performer displays a salt shaker full of salt, a small stack of paper napkins, and a marking pen upon his table. He asks for the loan of a quarter. The person offering the same is asked to mark the coin with the marker on either side as he sees fit. The pen is returned to your inside jacket pocket, and the magic may begin.

The coin is turned marked side down upon your table. It is then covered by setting the salt shaker on top of it. The shaker is then in turn covered by forming one of the paper napkins over and around it as in the standard shaker through table handling seen in recent I.C.O.M lessons particularly “Almost Anything Through Table” by Bobby J. Gallo.

You talk for a while about the possibilities of causing a solid object to vanish without a trace.. .as if by magic! You tell your audience that, without touching it, you will attempt to cause the coin which was just marked and placed on the center of the table to vanish completely. Make a gesture toward the covered shaker, and lift it from where the coin was. To ‘their surprise, the coin is still there! Absolutely NOTHING has happened!

Once again, you set the covered shaker over the coin, and again, you make the mystical gesture. The covered shaker is lifted. The coin is gone. Your left-hand reaches under the table, and when it comes back to the top of the table, it is seen to be clutching a fist full of salt. The right hand uncovers the shaker.. .and it is now seen to be filled with pepper! The pepper shaker is set to one side, and the salt in the left hand is transferred to the right. As you very slowly and deliberately sift through the salt…you eventually discover a coin within the grains. It is cleaned off a bit, and then shown to be the marked and borrowed coin!

METHOD: This entire set-up is not that far removed from the standard in which the coin is used as a ploy to secretly hold their attention as the hand with the covered shaker moves to the rear edge of the table and laps same. The differences here are the penetration and switch of salt for pepper, and the actual vanish of the coin and eventual discovery within the penetrated fist-full of salt.

To prepare, all properties mentioned as being on the table earlier are in place. In addition, the weighted bean-bag ash try has been filled with a quantity of salt and is resting on your right leg, near the knee. The pepper shaker is in your lap. A bit of magicians wax has been applied to the bottom of this shaker.

The coin is borrowed and marked, covered with the salt shaker, and the salt shaker in turn covered with the paper napkin…forming the same to assume and hold the shape of the shaker. On the first lift of the salt shaker, it is carried back toward the rear edge of the table, and lapped. The left hand has previously gotten hold of the pepper shaker and loads this back up under the napkin, similar to the way in which a load is introduced up into the cups during a cups and balls routine.

This newly covered pepper shaker with the waxed bottom is now set down on top of the borrowed coin. Of course, with the second lift of the covered shaker, the coin appears to have vanished. In a knowing manner, you reach under the table with your left hand, grasping the ash-tray, and dumping a quantity of salt into your left hand. The ashtray is held by the first finger and thumb of the hand during this action, allowing the remaining fingers to close around as large a quantity of salt as possible. On the return, the ash-tray is also lapped.

The left hand comes to the top of the table and opens a bit to reveal the salt. The right hand uncovers the shaker and reveals the pepper. As the shaker is picked up near the bottom to more fully display the contents, the second finger curls in under the bottom and steals the coin away into the right hand. The shaker is set aside, and the salt from the left hand is poured or dumped into the right. All that remains is the final reveal of the actually marked coin. Under the pretense of cleaning some of the salt from the coin, the excess wax is also removed.

This is a powerful and unexpected series of events. The public domain shaker through the table has been elevated to something they had not yet seen before. With the right timing and proper misdirection… this may well be the effect they talk about most after your close-up performance.

Isn’t that a goal worth working towards!?

August 1999

This is a real lesson in magic using one of my all time favorite subjects in magic…thimble work…BJG

” Son Of Thimble “
Ronald J. Dayton

Lesson # 47, pp. 73 of Vol. 4 of the ” Tarbell Course In Magic “…compiled and bound in hardcover by Louis Tannen, deals with a specialized branch of magic once known as Thumb-mography… thimble work. For the longest time, I wondered why they ever created such a term. Years later…it dawned on me that the probable reason was that the thumb palm played such an important role in thimble manipulation. That explanation may or may not be accurate…but it makes a lot of sense to me. If anyone knows the answer for sure, please feel free to write.

Thimble work had a definite hey-day…a time when it’s popularity peaked. Now, for years, you seldom see anyone performing it. What a golden opportunity to the newcomer to magic to begin a renaissance of the art!

I have noted, with more than casual interest, that ads for new age thimbles have begun to appear. Taking advantage of microelectronics…these new thimbles light up…quite literally. I do not own a set, but I can well imagine the high degree of visibility and interest they would generate in a properly lit setting.

The Tarbell Course hits many of the highlights of thimble work…and explains all the basics. Some very creative thinking was involved in the development of many of the effects outlined in the text. I think it is a marvelous place to start for any person seriously considering thimble work. Even legendary manipulators of the past, such as Cardini, used thimbles in their routines. The ones Mr. Pitchford used were encrusted with rhinestones to add both glitz and visibility. But be they metal, wood or plastic…thimbles are a viable part of the realm of

Thimbles can of course be modified and gimmicked as most any other prop can be. They can be very specialized…or common, off the store shelf variety. Aside from thimbles that were created for a specific effect or handling capability…the vast majority of the ‘magic’ of the art relies on subtle sleights and misdirection. For the most part, you could say, thimble work is the sort of thing the purists and finger-flingers love.

In the past, thimble fakes have been made from silver foil paper to facilitate barehanded vanishes, drilled and threaded for visible jumping and stacking at fingertips, gimmicked with hooks and elastic line for vanishes…provided with special holders and droppers. Jumbo thimbles were created for the finale’ to certain routines. Special moves and steals were created to facilitate the work. Thimbles not only appeared and disappeared at will…they also grew, changed color, and even penetrated through a borrowed handkerchief. One very creative use for thimbles which I am certain will appeal to several of you, was too routine the manipulations into a complete Miser’s Dream effect. This is explained in the Tarbell book as well.

Here is what is believed to be an original sleight employing a thimble. The thimble is on the tip of the left-hand first finger. The finger is poked into the right-hand fist at the thumb side. The left first finger enters the fist… The left thumb goes under the right thumb…and is hidden from view below the right hand. The extended left second, third and fourth fingers rest above the curled right-hand fingers.

At the moment the left first finger is pulled from within the loose right-hand fist, the left-hand fingers pivot upward, and point toward the ceiling for just an instant…as if showing the hand is empty. In that brief moment, the left thumb enters the thimble from below through the opening provided by the loosely formed right fist. The left fingers now pivot back down toward the back of the right hand and make a gentle rubbing motion. This is when the left thumb bends in toward the left palm…concealing the presence of the thimble it has stolen.

The left-hand pull away just a bit as the right-hand fist turns palm side up…then slowly opens\ to reveal the thimble has vanished. The left hand then approaches…thumb going below the back of the open right hand, extended fingers brushing and caressing across the center of the right palm, and slowly moving toward the right fingertips. When the left first finger reaches the fleshy base of the right fingers during this stroking motion…the right-hand turns palm down…the right thumb grips the thimble on the left thumb and pulls is free as the left-hand moves back toward the left and away from the right hand. Left-hand turns palm up as it leaves the right…showing without actually stating it, that it too is empty. Thimble in the right hand is manipulated and turned so the right first finger may bend and enter the thimble opening. Looking upward and to your left…the right-hand swings upward and catches the elusive thimble at the fingertip.

There have been many, many thimble sleights developed over the years. Based on that fact, I cannot say with certainty that the sleight outlined above is absolutely original. If it isn’t, at least is makes for a reference point in understanding some of the ploys used in thimble manipulation. It might also make an interesting steal for a false fingertip in certain instances. Something to think about.

Also, take some time to consider thimble-like objects you might use when an actual thimble is not available to you. Performers must often ‘think on their feet’…replacing one thing for another when requested to ‘ do a trick for us ‘, at very short notice.

Thimble like caps could easily be covered with bandages, creating the illusion of an injury moving from digit to digit. Caps from certain felt tip pens could be used in place of a thimble. Toy stores sell items called ‘ finger puppets ‘…these too would make interesting replacements for the standard thimble. The characters of the puppets could interact, and help you weave a tale quite different from the norm.

If this sort of manipulation appeals to you…then please do not hesitate to actively seek sources of information from dealers, collectors, and older members of the magic community. There really is a wealth of information out there if you have the desire to look for it. Thimble work is so old…it will seem new to generations of today. With a little effort…you could be on the ground floor of something really refreshing.

This may seem like a shameless product plug, but in our online magic catalog, we sell some excellent manipulation thimbles under the title, FOUR THIMBLES, they work well and are very inexpensive…….BJG

July 1999

Hey! Whats with the new banner??? Trust me, its all good news. With the growth of I.C.O.M, we have had a number of people send in fantastic submissions. Well, after the membership rate decrease a few months back, we made it it a policy to have only “One” item per month, per forum. Well, we have now decided to make certain months, DOUBLE FEATURE months is various forums. Consider it a BONUS from us to you…BJG

Gimmicked Card Month!

” Improved Diagonal Move “
Ron Dayton

This photo helps to show the construction of the gimmicked card.

Over ten years ago, I created an effect called Diagonal Move. It was an effect in which you displayed a playing card front and back, then used your first and second fingers to magically punch a genuine hole in one corner. Using the first finger of the hand at the hole end, the hole was magically pushed or moved to the opposite diagonal corner of the card.

What I am about to describe to you is an improved version of the original. If you are serious, and you can read ( which you obviously can )…by following the instructions I am about to give, you can provide yourself with a ten dollar trick, for pennies.

One picture or court card, king, queen, or jack. One indifferent card with matching back design optional. An X-acto or craft knife, glue stick, hole punch, and some patience.

On a cutting surface, place the court card face up. Note that the card is framed by a thin black or blue line around the image of the figure ( King, queen, or jack ). With the short end nearest you, take the x-acto knife and make the following cuts along the black framing line.

Begin at the upper left-hand short end corner of the card, right near the index for the card value, and make a cut straight along with the frame to the opposite corner, then down the frame for half the length of the card. Make sure the cut is clean and all the way through the card., then turn the card end for end, still face up, and repeat the same cut at the new end and side.

Take the glue stick and apply glue to the back of the card, around or near the outer edge, about a quarter of an inch wide, and not extending into the image or framework of the card. Now place the indifferent card face to back with the cut card, align and press together so the two cards appear as one.

Now take the hole punch ( after cards are firmly glued together ) and insert the thinner or bottom jaw under one of the corner flaps created in the court card. That is, the punch goes in between the court flap and the solid indifferent card back. Push it in about half an inch, then punch a hole in the solid back card, save the punch out button. Do the same to the opposite diagonal corner flap. Lastly, take each of the buttons to punch outs, apply some glue to the front sides, position, and press the buttons into the punch out holes you have created.

Properly done, the card will look ungimmicked and normal at a glance once all is dry, from front or back.

With flaps pressed shut, the card may be casually shown front and back. Now, hold the back up card at the left diagonal corner, the short end nearest audience…thumb covering button at this end. Right diagonal corner nearest you is now clipped between right hand first and second fingers. With a slight levering upward, the flap at this end is opened wide enough to slip the right-hand second finger between the two segments of the card. Right-hand first finger then swings to the right and allows the flesh of the second finger to be seen through the hole.

Right-hand thumb now covers the visible hole as right-hand second finger extracts itself and allows the flap to close again. Thumb then seems to slide the hold across the back of the card to the opposite diagonal corner, left hand releasing its hold as the right-hand thumb approaches, right-hand fingers beneath the card. The left hand now moves to the end nearest you and thumb cover button opening at that end.

The left hand now swings its end of the card to the left, full around so the hand positions are now as they were at the start. Left hand holding the card at frond left corner, right hand holding it at rear right corner. Right thumb covers button at its end, then right-hand second finger secretly slips into the right rear flap, creating a hole. Right thumb lifts and moves to the right to reveal the same.

Right thumb again covers the hole, right second finger extracts itself from the flap, and card may now be shown solid, front, and back once again.

I hand made hundreds of these in the late ’70s, early ’80s and sold them via Louis Tannens Inc. Since this is now being sold via another dealer, and not under my auspices, I sincerely hope you will make your own, and put it through its paces.

Special thanks to Brad Wiley for this excellent submission, It’s a real winner!
(Good Luck with the magic club!)

c. by Colin Wayne and Brad

A blue-backed deck is fanned and is shown front and back. A card is freely selected by the spectator and is placed face up between two face-down cards. The selected card then magically and visibly “melts” through one of the cards and ends up on the bottom of the two red-backed cards. The spectator’s card is then turned over to reveal that it’s back has changed colors, it is now a red-backed card!

You will notice that the deck comprises of 26 blue-backed cards and 26 red-backed cards. The FACES of the blue-backed cards are roughed and the BACKS of the red-backed cards are roughed. With the roughed sides paired together, fanning or overhand shuffling will NOT reveal the secret of this set-up. Also needed for this effect are two red-backed cards, one of which has a slit 4/5 of the way through it from it’s long edge.

Show the two red backed cards freely, front and back, hiding the slit with your thumb and first finger. Now place these two cards on the table to one side, allowing the ungaffed card to cover the
back of the card with the slit, (face down)

Take out the blue-backed deck of cards from their box. Give them an overhand shuffle or two. Fan them, showing both sides. With the deck, FACE UP ask the spectator to TOUCH any one of the 52 cards, and if she is happy with it, cut the deck so that the chosen card is now FACE UP on top of the deck Remove the TOP CARD ONLY (it is actually a red backer) and place it on the table FACE UP-do not show the back at this time. Now return the rest of the pack to the box, saying the rest of the cards are no longer needed. (optional) Pick up the FACE-UP card and place it between the two FACE DOWN cards on the table, making sure to get it into position ‘between’ the slit. Draw attention to the fact that the card is now sandwiched between the two FACE DOWN red-backed cards.

With the thumb on the top card, rotate it quickly so that it is now positioned horizontally and covering the ends of the other two cards. Push the horizontal card up, or away from you slowly. As you do this, the spectator will see the middle card “melt” through to the bottom.

Say that because the heat generated by the rubbing of the cards has caused it tp actually melt through, but the heat has also caused something else ‘strange’ to happen… The ink on the blue-backed card has changed and taken on the color of the two red-backed cards. At this point, turn the specs card over to reveal the back has magically changed from blue to red!

Copyright by Colin Wayne and Brad Wiley 1999


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 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

Advanced Lab 4/99-6/99


You are now in the section devoted “challenging magic”. This forum features top effects that usually require a higher degree of sleight-of-hand to accomplish their ultimate goal. It may also contain effects that are a bit more advanced as far as presentation, overall difficulty of execution, or unique props that need to be made or obtained. Overall, this is magic of the highest quality that all are welcomed to try and perfect. This is the forum that makes the master magician…

June 1999

We’re going to do something a little off-beat here in the Advanced Lab this month. Since many “advanced” magicians are working pro’s, we are going to use this lesson to give a little theory about a professional matter…BJG

“The PK Factor”
Bill Wisch

This article is more for performing magicians than anyone else. I just thought it would be a good topic to mention something about.

Most magicians don’t consider a very important element when it comes to booking a show and getting paid what they’re worth for a performance. Also, the general public has no idea, for the most part, that there are levels of performance and it’s tough, sometimes, to educate them to this fact without sounding like you’re putting down fellow performers or just chewing on a few sour grapes. Hopefully you’ll get something from this and have an easier time, both in your mind and in your possible client’s mind, about where you are in the entertainment chain, magic wise.

The letter P stands for Performance or Presentation. The letter K stands for Knowledge. I believe that when someone pays for a show, the fee shouldn’t only be for your performance but also for the knowledge to achieve that performance or presentation.

A doctor charges, not just to fix you up, but for the knowledge to be able to fix you up. Same with a lawyer…or a plumber…or any number of other service businesses. You pay for the service and for the knowledge of the service.

The fact that you hire the proven lawyer or a doctor who is a specialist assures you of the finest possible results. Well, I don’t see it being any different for magicians, or any entertainers for that matter.

And yet, the phone rings and the voice on the other end freaks out when you quote a price far exceeding what they thought you would quote. Then you feel you have to back down or feel threatened that you’ll lose the job if you don’t lower your price. Or you give a discount if they want two shows…or if they want you for a longer time. Well, think about this…how many years have you studied? How many lectures have you attended? How much equipment have you tried…or books have you read…just to get the 45 minutes or so you offer the customer as your act? How much thought have you incorporated into the show? How much will it take to put on the show? How much time will it take to get to and return from the show?

If you have approached your profession the same way a lawyer or doctor or plumber or electrician or any other service person would, especially if you have some success and experience that makes you stand out, then why can’t you charge more for the knowledge you’ve acquired as well as for the actual performance or presentation? The plumber says he charges $10 to fix the pipe and $90
for knowing HOW to fix it. Anybody can tinker. But to know WHERE and HOW to tinker is the key.

Don’t get me wrong. You shouldn’t charge some outrageous fee when the customer can’t pay it. I know a number of professionals that boast big bucks from clients. I mean BIG bucks! Maybe it’s true, but I sometimes tend to think they stretch it a little (or a lot!)because after doing paid shows of one type or another for the last 28 years, I find that, for the most part, there is a ceiling that a customer can afford and if you try to go above that you’ll probably be sitting home wondering why John J. Public isn’t ringing your phone off the hook. That’s especially true with the birthday party performer. Bobby agrees totally. Use common sense! If you over charge you’re not only going to lose some work (maybe a lot!) but also scare off some folks from even calling you or any other magician in the furture. They might not say it to you but it’s true.

Now, it’s back to the other side of the coin. Charge what you feel you’re worth. The PK factor, if taken literally and applied to yourself in a no-nonsense, pragmatic fashion, will probably raise your prices a little (maybe even a lot) to at least get you to that ceiling I mentioned. It’s always a tough call and what you charge will be up to you anyway, but just sit in a nice chair sometime without your favorite magazine or book or trick and just muse over the PK factor and how it applies in your case. I believe you should get paid for both the performance of your show as well as for your KNOWLEDGE to put on that show the way you do.

Any questions or comments? E-mail me and we can make a virtual lesson out of it.

May 1999

( Of Work!)
Ronald J. Dayton

I.C.O.M members who joined our ranks during the early stages of the school’s growth already know of my love of magic involving letters and words. Those of you who are newcomers can find this out by browsing the archives. The case in point is this effect, which may be considered an exercise if you will. It may not fit the needs of an actual working performer…but as an example, it shows some of the thought process in developing a new trick.

The premise of the effect is a long slip of paper which is shown to the audience. The word which is printed on the slip in large, bold letters relates directly to the story the performer is weaving.

The performer tells of his desire to write a book about his exploits in magic…a story of his travels, successes, and failures. He claims it was an autobiographical work! This is the word printed in lower—case letters across the strip of paper.

As the story continues, he says he took the work to a printer. The chief editor was a guy named Al. As this is said, the performer has removed large scissors from his inside jacket pocket. He uses it to point to the last two letters in the word.. .a, 1.. .Al. There seemed to be bad chemistry between Al and him right from the start. The first words out of Al’s mouth were, “ There’s no such word as autobiographical. This work is autobiographic in nature! “ And he made his first cut. With this comment, you snip away the letters al from the left end of the paper.

You ramble on, telling the audience how, as Al read through the manuscript, his comments became more and more graphic. Then, as you pause for a moment, you make your next cut between the letters ‘o and g’. Allow the word ‘graphic to fall to the floor as you retain the section of the slip with the letters ‘autobio’’ still intact.

Then you say…” Oh… ( as you snip away the outermost letter o from the slip ) I don’t know…
(snipping away the letter i as you say I)…Al wasn’t leaving me much of a story at all.”

You now have the letters autob remaining on the slip you hold. The back of the slip has been prepared with a double coat of rubber— cement which has been allowed to dry and was then dusted with a coating of talcum powder. This preparation is made so the paper may be folded in half down the middle of the letter ‘t’, and the strip cut ala Will DeCeives Clippo effect. As you cut only the letter ‘t’ from the middle of the strip you say, “ All the cuts Al was making made me angry.. .but it seemed to suit him to a tee!’

The strip is now opened out and shown to be restored. The letters which remain in a row are auob. You then conclude by saying…

By the time Al was done, there was nothing left to tell. No, really. the entire body of work had disappeared as if by magic. It was gone!” As you say the word gone, you slowly turn the auob slip upsidedown. The letters magically change to read…GONE!


April 1999

Introduction to the Marlo effect

Here it is folks! The long awaited release of what may be the last previously un-released Ed-Marlo effect! This is pure gold and exclusive to I.C.O.M members. If you were to buy this effect already made up as a packet trick, you would easily pay $10.00-$12.00 for it.

Is this simple to make up and perform? Nope! But any who are familiar with Ed Marlo effects know that his material was never too easy. But hey, that’s why it here and not in the beginner’s forum.

We only ask that you keep this extremely rare gem within the confines at I.C.O.M. However, we do encourage you to blow-them-away with it at the next magic club meeting! And if they ask where you learned it, tell them that they have to join I.C.O.M to find out. Hey, if they join, we’ll give you a bonus six months anyway…you can’t beat that! ….BJG

Edward Marlo

Edward Marlo, Stapled Routine

BACKGROUND: My initial contact with Mr. Marlo began as a result of having viewed one of his videotapes of original card material. I happened to notice that the positioning of one of the cards in an effect was completely contrary to what it should be if the illusion being created could actually be done. I didn’t know how Mr. Marlo would react to being told about this, but I took a chance and wrote to him, explaining what I had seen. He replied in very short order and was very cordial and pleased with what I told him.

Although we never met in person, we did begin a brief period of correspondence. Sadly, he passed away within a year of the exchange has begun.

At one point-in-time, I explained the effect of mine to him which was called The Siamese Cards. It was based on a Karl Fulves challenge ( unsolved problem ) titled ” Iron Curtain “, which was offered in Interlocutor *50. My solution, The Siamese Cards appeared in my first One Man Parade in The Linking Ring, March 1990.

The basic effect was this: Two playing cards are removed from the top of the deck and tossed face up, one at a time, onto your table. The two cards are eventually placed together, then pivoted at right angles to one another, forming a cross shape. The cards, lying in this formation on your table are then covered by the left hand. A stapler is set on top of the left hand. You press it down as if to staple something THRU the hand. The stapler is set aside.. and when the left-hand lifts from the covered cards, they are now found to be magically stapled together. After a bit of by-play, the cards are offered for examination. Construction…


Bottom Right Hand Card Shows The Strips Of Double Sided Tape

METHOD: In order to accomplish this highly visual stapled card routine, you will need three sets of duplicate cards. Three 4S and three lOD as outlined in the Marlo routine. As far as actual ‘materials’ go to construct the necessary cards, you will need the following; the required cards, a stapler w/staples, Scotch tape, carpet tape, scissors, pen, Xacto knife, a bit of magician’s wax, and several indifferent cards.

Begin by taking one of the indifferent cards ( shown in the illustrations as the AC ) and carefully mark and cut a disc from the center, Fig. 1. I positioned a dime on the card and traced around it with a pen prior to cutting. The piece removed will be called piece “A”. From a second indifferent card you must now cut a second disc. This one, Disc “B”, is one and one eighth inch diameter. Place a couple of dabs of magician’s wax on this disc as indicated by the x’s, then slide the disc under the AC, centering and positioning it in the smaller hole, Fig. 2. Now, apply some wax to the FRONT of smaller disc “A”, then position this into the dime-size hole and press into place.

Take the lOD and place it face down on the back of the AC. Holding the two cards neatly squared, the stapler is slipped over the ends of the cards and a have a staple affixed in the center of the card horizontally.

Apply four thin strips of double-stick carpet tape on the face of the ace, Remove the backing paper and set the card aside for a moment.

Slip the face-down 4S into the stapler and staple the card so the staple runs parallel with the length of the card, Put a small strip of Scotch tape over the back of the staple. This will prevent the two staples in the moving assembly from getting hung up. Lastly, align the 4S over the AC, pressing the carpet tape firmly to the back of the 4S. The finished product, in pivoted condition, will appear as in Fig. 3.

Read and follow the construction instructions carefully and you will end up with a beautifully made gimmicked card set.

A second set of cards consisting of a duplicate lOD and 4S are actually stapled together in a criss-cross fashion and clipped as suggested by Mr. Marlo under the jacket. These are the cards which are switched in for eventual examination by the curious. The third set of duplicates is, of course, the ungimmicked cards shown as singles at the top of the deck.

I have been told in the past that if Scotch tape, and tape, in general, had never been invented.. .I would never be able to invent a trick. And I realize that many of the readers.. especially the purists, may find my methods too heavy-handed, and taboo to their tastes. But this effect, and especially the Marlo handling, may actually pique the interest of some. For those of you energetic enough to construct a set, I think you will be pleased.

The following routine is based on one by Ronald J. Dayton.

(1) Required are the Dayton gimmicked cards. Assume these are the 4S and lOD. On top of the deck, have two loose duplicates with the lOD on top and 45 at second. The stapled cards have the 4S as face card. This gimmick is placed on top of deck thus over the regular lOD and 4S. Place any regular card on top of the 4 card set-up.

(2) A duplicate permanently stapled pair, with 4S as the face card1 is placed in a clip on the outside of the right inside coat pocket. The face of the stapled cards is away from the body. You are now set to perform the following routine.

(3) You can false shuffle the deck if you wish. Eventually, hold the deck so it faces spectators as you double cut top card to the bottom. Still holding top of deck from view of audience the right thumb lifts up 4 cards at inner end, then moves them upward. Right hand grasps outer end of the cards and turns them over and face up on top of deck with a left fourth finger tip break held below them.

(4) The left thumb deals over the face card, which is taken by right hand, to display the 4S in the right hand and lOD on top of deck. Right hand places its 4S along side the lOD. The cards, still spread, are now turned face down, sidewise to the left, while left hand tips inward to conceal the top of the deck.

(5) Right thumb, at inner end, lifts up only the two stapled cards with right four fingers on top of card to cover the staple. Left hand places the deck into the left side coat pocket.

(6) Right hand places the cards onto the left fingers which now also cover the staple at the face. The left hand turns inwards to display the face of the card(s) towards the audience. The left thumb covers the staple at the back. The right hand is free to pivot the top card to right angles.

(7) The left hand turns palm down with fingers covering the staple. Right hand picks up the stapler and apparently staples the cards thru the fingers. Once the cards are stapled the left fingers and thumb move to the left. Left hand now displays a staple apparently going thru both cards. The cards can be shifted from hand to hand. End up with cards face up. The right hand grasps the face card, double card, by the ends. The left fingers and thumb grasp the ends of the lower single card. The left and right hands now pull in opposite directions, downward and upward, which convincingly shows the cards really stapled together.

(8) End up with the left hand holding the cards, faces toward audience, with left fingers on the face and thumb at the back. You now start to put the cards into your right inside coat pocket. Once under the coat the left hand quickly dumps its cards into the pocket then at once grasps the permanetly stapled cards and comes out apparently still holding the original cards. Toss these aside to the table and pay no attention to them. DON’T offer them for inspection. The curious will eventually pick them up.

(9) The left hand goes to the outside left coat pocket to get the deck. ‘While there the left thumb deals off the top duplicate cards to leave them in the pocket. You can now continue with other card effects if you wish.


All manufacturing & reproduction rights to this effect & routine are retained by Ronald J. Dayton & The International Conservatory Of Magic-Copyright 1999


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 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

Advanced Lab 1/99-3/99

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

January 1999


It is with a great sense of pride that this month’s offering is presented. I believe you will find “Blended Bands” to be the ultimate “finale” to the “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” routine, or as a strong, visual piece of impromptu magic which stands well on its own.

The effect is one of two rubber bands becoming linked, then magically blending into one single band held at your fingertips. Jeff Campbell, the owner of The Joke Shop in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is the creative genius behind the effect. A long-time friend, Jeff has been most generous, indeed, in consenting to share his latest pet effect. During a visit to his shop several months ago, Jeff performed his band routine for me. It was incredible and fooled me completely. Like watching Monday Night Football, I asked if I might see an instant replay. The second time around was even more baffling than the first!

There’s no doubt in my mind that you will thank yourself for taking the time to read The Advanced Lab this month. Here are the 12 simple steps used in creating the total illusion.

Figure 1. Starting position. One #16 band is stretched between the thumb and first finger of each hand. During the instant in which the spectator’s gaze is diverted from your hands, a series of fluid moves take place.

Figure 2. The left-hand approaches the right-hand palm. The back of the right-hand shields the action from the spectators.

Figure 3. The left-hand fingertips tilt downward, secretly releasing the band.

Figure 4. The left hand immediately pivots to a palm-up position, and the thumb and first finger are inserted into the right-hand band.

Figure 5. The left-hand pull away from the right-hand palm.

Figure 6. The left hand begins giving the band a clockwise twist

Figure 7. At the completion of this twisting action, the band should appear as illustrated. The left hand is moved up and down, creating the illusion of freedom of movement between the two bands.

Figure 8. As this “rubbing” action between the two bands continues, the hands begin to part.

Figure 9. The right hand rotates to the position shown as the hands part. The bands now appear to be linked, one within the other. The right-hand thumb and first finger are now inserted into the loop, taking A at a, and Bat b.

Figure 10. The pretended transfer of the left-hand band creates a convincing image shown.

Figure 11. The left-hand thumb and first finger grasp both band sections, pull them free of the right hand, and display them. With a gentle rubbing motion…

Figure 12. A startling transformation is revealed. The doubled loop is allowed to untwist, one end falling free. Suspended from the left-hand thumb, the two bands have seemingly blended into one long band. The hand is otherwise empty, and you are left clean.

You will need to work with this handling until a sense of relaxed confidence is achieved. There must be no hesitation on your part during its performance. Each move must be smooth, well-timed, and fluid. Your efforts will be rewarded many-fold. Jeff has performed this effect close-up, and also as part of “walk-around” performances, always with great success.

Now that you’ve read this far, and have studied the drawings, maybe you’d like to take a few minutes out of your day to drop Jeff a line. I’m certain he’d appreciate hearing your comment /suggestion. The address is: Jeff Campbell, do The Joke Shop, 265 W. Main Street, Waukesha, WI 53186. Thanks, Jeff!

February 1999

Another Opening Stab
Mike Fordice


Steve Beam’s “Opening Stab” is presented on Michael Ammar’s Easy to Master Card Miracles #3. When I saw the effect, I was interested in and began working with it. What I’m presenting is a modification of the effect that I find to be quick and effective.

For teaching purposes (and to agree with the photos) we’ll use the following setup. Place the 4 of diamonds (4D) on the face of the deck. On the top of the deck place the 2 of diamonds (2D) and then the 3 of diamonds (3D) on top of that.

So the set up (holding the deck face down) is 3D, 2D, rest of deck, 4D on the face.

What You Do:
Begin with any false shuffles and/or cuts that retain the top and bottom of the deck. Force the top card of the deck (3D) by your favorite method (I couldn’t resist!). I use J.C. Wagner’s Slip Force (described on Doc Eason’s Bar Magic video, vol. 2). Request the spectator not to show the card to anyone and to return the card any place in the deck he desires. Have him place it so that it sticks out about half the length of the card (Photo #1). Make it very clear that the spectator decided on the position of the card. Allow him to move it up or down into another position.

Photo #1

Hesitate for a moment (a little acting here) and tell him that you’ve decided to let everyone see the card. To reverse the card you will perform Bill Simon’s Prophecy Move (The Effective Card Magic of Bill Simon, 1952). As in Photo #2, with your palm up right hand grab all the cards above the protruding card.

Photo #2

Turn your hand towards your body and clip the protruding card with your thumb (Photo #3).

Photo #3

Turn your hand away from your body (Photo #4) and place the (formerly) bottom portion of the deck on top (Photo #5).

Photo #4

Photo #5

You have effectively cut the deck and reversed the selection. Push the selection into the deck and say that there is, of course, one face-up card. Fan the cards to show this (Photo #6).

Photo #6

Describe (again) that the position to which the card was returned was totally determined by the spectator. Remove the face up card and the 2 face down cards on either side. Place these on the mat; place the deck aside. Reveal that even though the position was random, the spectator placed the card in perfect sequence; 2D, 3D, 4D (Photo #7). Congratulate the spectator on his great job!

Photo #7

Well there you have it! Here’s a couple of additional ideas for this effect. While working with this, I noticed that it is fairly simple to get into this in an impromptu fashion. You can almost always find at least 2 of the cards you need for the set up close to the bottom of a shuffled deck. For example, I just took a shuffled deck. The bottom card is 8S and the fifth from the bottom is 10S. So all I need to find is 9S. The 9S was about a quarter of the way up the deck. Get all 3 to the bottom; set the highest card (10S) on the bottom; the lowest (8S) on the top, and the middle value (9S) on top of that. You’re set to go. Play with this; interesting in itself!

And finally we have the Casino or Blackjack version of the effect. Use the 6, 7, and 8 of any suit. Not only is the selection in perfect sequence, but the 3 cards add up to 21; a sure winner!

Also, special thanks to my wife, Tanya, who took all the pictures with our new digital camera. She thinks this version beats the heck out of the original.

March 1999

The Power of the Shadow
Mike Fordice

This is an effect I’ve known for years, but don’t have any idea to whom it really belongs. Maybe someone will be able to tell us who originated this idea. It uses one slight; the Elmsley Count. When I first saw it, I remember thinking that this effect will convince you to learn the Elmsley Count if you don’t already know it. The effect is basically a transformation. So, grab your cards and let’s take it for a spin.

Set up
The effect uses 8 cards. I perform it with the sixes and nines. Remove the sixes and nines from your deck and separate them into red and black (any order). Place the 4 red cards face down to your left in a small spread. The 4 black cards go to the right, also in a small face-down spread.

Note: The following photos are from the performers point of view.

Phase I
Switch the second card from the 2 spreads. (Take a peek and you¹ll see that the left group is now red, red, black, red while the right group is black, black, red, black‹perfectly set for the counts.) Loosely close the 2 spreads and cast a shadow over the 2 piles with your hands indicating that there is great power in the shadow. Now square the left pile, turn it face up and perform an Elmsley Count showing 4 red cards. Turn face down, spread, and place back on the table to your left. Repeat with the right pile showing 4 black cards. Even though you switched 2 cards, the groups remain all red and all black.

Phase II
This time switch the top 2 cards from each spread. This puts you back to the red, red, black, red position at the left and black, black, red, black at the right. As in Phase I, repeat the shadow and the counts to show all red at the left and all black at the right. Even though you¹ve switch a total of 3 cards, the groups remain all red and all black!

Phase III
This time, switch the lower 3 cards from each spread. Cast another shadow and tell your amazed spectators that even though you¹ve switch 1 + 2 + 3 cards for a total of six, that the cards on the left are now all black. Turn over the spread and display. (No count here!) And all the cards on the right are all red. Turn over and display. A total transformation has occurred!


Part of the I.C.O.M Philosophy is to bring you, not only new magic, but forgotton magic. The following was sent to Ron Dayton by a friend of his in the hopes that someone out there can recognize the inventor of this brilliant card force. In the mean time. Here it is for you the student!…BJG

The Lost Card Force
Ronald J. Dayton / Jeff Campbell

From the archives found in somebody’s basement, attic, or under the couch cushions.

If I could give tribute to the original creator of this idea I most certainly would, but alas, I can’t. Somewhere in history, some creative minds originated the following concept, but for now, I’ll just have to refer to him as the Great Anon. If you should have information as to the origin of this effect, I’d enjoy hearing from you.

This effect, which even lacks a name, is a great method for forcing a card either for a “prediction” or for any other trick where you need to know in advance the outcome. It can be performed with a borrowed deck (always a plus), requires only some good acting on your part, and a little careful instruction to your volunteer.

Here’s the basic effect: A deck of cards is fanned and casually shown on both sides. The spectator
is then asked to take the deck, and place behind his/her back. (If seated at a table, they may hold the cards under the table instead). They will turn the top card over (remember…they can’t see the cards, you can’t see the cards, nobody can see the cards as this is being done) and place it in the center of the deck. They will then cut the deck one, two, three times (more if they wish). Next, they will place the deck face down on the table. The magician names the card that their face-up card is adjacent to. In other words, the magician will name the card they located when placing their card into the deck.

I hope you followed that! If not, follow the instructions, and just like the effect itself, everything will work out.

SETUP: 1. Turn the second from the top card face up in the deck.

2. Turn the second card from the bottom of the deck face up, and NOTE THE CARD IN THE DECK IT IS FACING! The face-down card it is facing will be your force or prediction card.

PERFORMANCE: Explain that you’re going to try a little experiment. Introduce the deck of cards and fan/split the deck as you casually show both sides. (Be careful not to expose the two overturned cards.)

Explain that to make the effect more difficult, no-one will be able to see what card he/she will be selecting. Instruct them to place the face-down deck behind their back.

Once the deck is behind their back (or under the table if seated), your instructions and acting skill will either make or break the effect. The following constitutes the heart of the effect:

1. Tell them, “I’d like you to take the top card and insert it into the deck, somewhere near the center.” While this is being done, keep right on talking. Give them enough time (as you talk) to finish their task, and then ask “did you do it?” They will acknowledge the fact that they did.

2. Here’s where acting and sincerity play a key role. You continue by saying, “okay, good! You took the top card (pause giving them time to nod their head yes), you turned it over, and placed it in the center of the deck…..good…….”

If you played this right, they should interrupt you by telling you that they didn’t turn the card over. When you get this comment, apologize for not making your instructions clear. No big deal!

3. “Okay, let’s start over.” (The cards should still be behind their back or under the table. Remember, now the top card is a face-up card position during your setup). “Take the top card, TURN IT OVER, and insert it near the center of the deck. Now, cut and square the deck. Cut and square again. And, one more time, please. Now you may place the deck on the table.”

4. The deck is now face-down on the table. You ask them “how are we going to know which card you buried in the deck?” Their response should indicate that it will be the only face-up card within the deck. You then ask them, “wouldn’t it be great if we knew the exact spot in the deck in which you would place your card?” As you say this, start spreading the cards to expose the face-up card.

5. When the face-up card is exposed to view, you continue: “This is the card you turned over and placed in the middle of the deck. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you placed it right next to the (name of card)?” As you say this, produce a piece of paper or napkin on which you had written the name of the “forced”

card. Let them see your prediction, and then turn over the card on top of “their” card. Of course, it matches your prediction. WOW!

Again, this is by no means a new card effect, but you would be surprised at the impact it has on an audience. You might also be surprised by the impact it has on many of your magi friends!


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 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced 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.

Advanced Lab 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 10/98-12/98

When Mike first approached me on this and told me that he had a dynamite force that he has floored “heavyweights” in magic with, I was very interested. Now, I didn’t know what he was about to do, but I had just written a primer on forcing myself and “no way” I thought, was he going to fool me with it. Well folks, you live and you learn! Floor me he did! and now here it is for you to floor others with…Gee Wiz, I thought only Bill Wisch could do that to me<G>…BJG

Johann Neopmuk Hofzinser

(June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875)

Fordice/Hofzinser Force
Mike Fordice

This month I’m going to share an intriguing force with you. It is based on an idea from Johann Neopmuk Hofzinser (June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875). Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find a lot more on forcing. Next month I’ll give you a use for this force.

There are books and books written on forces. I probably use about a dozen different forces depending on several things (including my mood!). The force I’m about to teach you is most useful when the “selected” card is to be returned to the deck and lost so that only one person knows the value of the card.

Also we have a few photographs of the mechanics of this force in action. Bobby J. Gallo took these pictures of me doing the force when we attended the Danny Archer Lecture at SAM #161 recently. These photos are from the spectator’s point of view.

1. Begin with the card to be forced on the top of the deck. Get it there any way you like. Perform false shuffles and/or false cuts to retain the force card on the top of the deck. These false shuffles are really easy as you are controlling only one card. Hold the cards face down in your left hand.

2. Using your left thumb, push the top card of the pack (the force card) into your right hand. Push off a second card, and then a third card. Figure #1 shows the position just as the third card is grabbed by the right thumb (left side of photo). The force card is the bottom card of the three shown at the left. This should appear as though the cards are being counted from left to right.

Figure #1

3. Now begin pushing cards with the left thumb to the right; taking them into the right hand without reversing the order. Push the cards off as a spread so that several individual cards are visible. Figure #2 shows the position at this point. The first 3 cards are completely covered by this spread.

Figure #2

4. Have the spectator touch any card in the spread. Break the spread at this point and close the spread by taping the spread again the remainder of the deck. Figure #3.

Figure #3

5. Lift your right hand to the spectator can see the card he “selected” which is actually the force card. Stress that the spectator must remember the card as he/she is the only person in the world who know the value!

Practice this so it looks like you simply spread the cards, the spectator touched a card, and you showed him his selection.

Next month we’ll put this to use!

UNUSUAL! But Good! That is how I can describe this next lesson in the simplest possible terms. And a true lesson it is! Not only is this effective magic that the student can make up with only a small amount of effort, but it gives yet another insight into the creative mind at work. Due to the fact that it uses marbles. It “could” have been equally at home in the “Kid Show Konservatory”. I fully realize that this is a huge departure from the normal card and coin effects that we normally share with you, but diversity of magic is important. I think you are going to like this one. I do!…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

The mechanics for Roller Box first appeared in print in Dec.of 1995 within the pages of MUM Magazine. I made it part of my regular column, ‘ Dayton’s Deceptive Thoughts’. It seems the idea made an impression on master wood-crafter Clarence S. Miller. He later sent me a finished piece of equipment made entirely of fine hard woods, complete with brass knobs on the drawer.

The ingenious addition he made to the box was a means by which the large marbles placed inside of it could be shown to move freely within the drawer, or, seem to vanish or change color via the Roller Box Principle. Mr. Miller is making and marketing these superb boxes. If you are a serious student of magic, or an avid collector of magic equipment, I urge you to contact him for availability and prices. His address is:

Clarence S. Miller, 354 Broadway, Irvine, KY 40336-1281.

I am, however, putting the cart before the horse. The real story begins in late 1993 or early 1994. A friend of mine, Larry White, had sent several random items for me to ‘tinker’ with, and see if a magic application could be found for the. One of the items were several clear lucite spheres, approximately one half inch in diameter.

I placed one of the spheres into the drawer of a small empty box for matches. The drawer would close without revealing a noticeable ‘bulge’. A big, unexpected surprise came when I pushed the drawer open about three quarters of the way out in the opposite direction. It appeared to be empty! Then I pushed it open the other way, and it still looked empty. The ball seemed to have vanished. The light pressure of the outer sleeve caused the ball to maintain a rather centered position within the box, no matter which way the the drawer was opened, or in which direction the box was held. Horizontally or in perpendicular position, the action remained the same.

Try this for yourself after having found the correct size ball and drawer box with which to work. Experiment with the applications. You’ll find that you can do vanishes and productions, color changes, transformations, and even transpositions if two boxes and balls are used. Consider your possibilities. Think about the combination of different balls with different objects. Perhaps a ball can be changed to a silk? A ball to a cube or die? A hard ball for a sponge ball?

As an example, consider this. Find and use a proper diameter cork ball or small ‘super ball’ in conjunction with a finger ring. Having the ball already in the box, and then keeping it hidden from view as you place a borrowed finger ring into the box will give you a Rattle Box and ring vanish all in one.

This is a marvelous little creation which was stumbled upon purely by accident. It is something both the amateur and working pro can make use of. I believe it has such strength that I wanted to share it with the members of I.C.O.M, just as I had with other magicians previously. I don’t want it to fall by the way-side, or be lost within the pages of a magazine among others stacked on a shelf.

We here at I.C.O.M strive to be innovators to the magic community. Though we realize that we are the sole source of magic to many around the world, we like to think that the magic learned here is not of the variety that is imitated all throughout the magic fraternity. Heaven knows there is enough of that! The following is believed to be an original sleight. Learn it and fool the “all-knowing ones” at your next club meeting, or use it as yet another move for you adoring audiences…BJG

The Curl Back Reversal
Ronald J. Dayton

The face down deck is held in the left hand…tilted at a slight angle so its back is toward the spectators.а The left thumb is at the center of the top long edge and the second, third and fourth are at the opposite long edge.а The left hand first finger is curled and pressed against the center of the face of the deck.

The right hand comes over the deck and grasps it in the following manner.а The right thumb is at the end nearest you…the second and third fingers are at the opposite end, and the first and fourth fingers are at either side, near the corners.

In that moment that the right hand covers the back of the deck, the left hand fingers pull down the long edge of the face card at this side and pull it back toward the left thumb…bending or curling the card in a sort of “U” shape side to side.а In the same instant, the left hand first finger straightens toward the right.а The card becomes clipped momentarily between the left hand first and second fingers, and automatically turns over.

The fingers of the left hand press the reversed card against the deck as the left hand first fingers pulls out from between the card and the deck,а toward the front LH corner of the pack.а As soon as the reversal has been accomplished, the deck is cut and the cut completed.

There will be a slightа ‘flicking’ sound when the card turns over.а This can be minimized by using an older deck…by executing the reversal while on the move…or by making a comment at the moment of the reversal.

It will be up to each individual to determine the worth of this move for themselves.а I believe that, at the proper time, and under the right conditions,а it can be a help in achieving a desired effect.

To a certain degree, it has elements of my Reversal Cull which appeared in MUM a number of years ago, and which no one ever disputed as being original.

” The King’s Sword – Excalibur “
Ronald J. Dayton

EFFECT:аа Two items are seen lying on the performer’s table…a cased deck of cards, and a small plastic cocktail pick…the kind which are made of plastic, and resemble small swords.

You remove the cards from the case, and set the case aside.а The deck is held face down upon the palm of the right hand.а Right thumb holds deck at the top.а A card is chosen by a member of the audience.а It is replaced on top of the deck, and the cards cut and the cut completed. The spectator is now asked to pick up the tiny sword, and push it into the deck, somewhere near the center.а This done, the deck is tabled.

You make a magical gesture over the deck with the right hand, then pick the deck up with one hand at either end, and the sword protruding at the top long edge of the pack.а You now ask the spectator to remove the sword.а As they try, they find it difficult to pull from the deck. Eventually, they are able to, but as they do, a card is seen to emerge with it.а The sword is found to be embedded in the card itselfа This card may be given to the spectator if you wish as a momento of your performance.а The deck itself is otherwise clean.

METHOD:а You will need a deck of cards and case, a duplicate of the card you intend to force, a scissors, two duplicate plastic sword picks, rubber cement in applicator brush bottle.

Begin with one of the swords, the rubber cement, and one of the duplicate cards, and an indifferent card.аа If you intend to give the Excalibur card away at each performance, it is a good idea to purchase a matching Pinochle deck, and make several at a time.

Take the duplicate of the force card and apply a coat of rubber cement to the back and allow to dry.а Rubber cement is also applied to the front of the indifferent card and set aside to dry. Coat the blade of the plastic sword on both sides and allow to dry…then assemble the two cards, sandwiching the swordа between them at the center of one long edge. Take care to press the cards firmly together on either side of the blade, so it appears to actually be embedded in a single card.

Take your scissors and cut a slit half way down the side of the card case,а to allow the deck with protruding card to be slipped inside.а Place the gimmicked card face down on the front of the pack, with sword extending to the right.а Put deck into case and close case, and you’re ready
to perform.

HANDLING:аа The case is lying on your close-up mat with the sword handle facing toward you. The second plastic sword is just to the left, and in plain view.а Remove the cards from the case and hold them on the palm of the right hand.а The handle is clipped between and concealed by theа right hand first and second fingers.а The top card of the face down deck is the card you intend to force.а Execute the Cut Deeper Force, allowing the blocks of cards to be lifted directly from the deck while you hold it in the right hand. Allow the spectator to take their ‘selected card’.а While they show their card, you reassemble the deck. They then place their card back on top, you cut and complete the cut.а As the top half is placed under the bottom half, the gimmicked card becomes positioned somewhere near the center of the deck.

The spectator is now asked to pick up the small plastic sword. The deck is held with the free long edge facing them, and they are asked to insert the sword somewhere near the middle., pushing it in up to the hilt. This is the point where the ‘moves’ begin.а I will attempt to make them
as clear as possible.

аааа The left hand approaches the left long side of the deck.а The first and second fingersа are at the left corner of the end furthest from you, the thumb at the left corner nearest you.а As you turn so the front end of the deck is toward the spectators, the left third and fourth fingersа which are curled along the left side of the deck, clip the handle of the free sword between them.аа The left third finger then curls intoward the palm a bit more, pulling and pivoting the swordа free from the deck and lifting it up toward the left palm.а In the same instant, the right hand shifts positions, disengaging from its hold on the gimmicked sword handle.а It simply holds the deck at the right hand fork of the thumb at the forward right edge.

аааа The right hand little finger curls inward and against the front of the deck as theа first, second and third fingers grasp the left long side of the deck under cover of the left hand.а In one move, the left hand begins to move away as the right hand turns palm down and tables the deck.а Due to the way in which the right hand is holding the deck,а the pack is automatically tabled, face up, with the gimmicked sword still at the right side, just as it should be if an actual turn over of the free sword had been executed.

You lap the free sword in the left hand as the right hand gestures over the tabled deck.а You then pick the deck up between the hands, one at each end, with the back of the deck facing the audience, sword at center of top long edge.а Pressure from your hold will prevent them from extracting the sword at first.а After a try or two, relax the pressure, and allow the amazement to begin.а They will pull the sword from the deck, but a card comes with it.а The clincher comes when they not only discover it is their chosen card…but that the sword is now embeddedа right in it, and cannot be removed!!

Your patter begins at the point where they have just inserted the free sword into the deck.а This is where you weave the tale of King Arthur, and the power that all swords have been given since that ancient time.а You will find that this is a powerful, unexpected version of a classic card location theme.а It will cost only pennies to produce, and the props may be used over and over again if you so desire.а By having extra sets of the gimmicked card ready, you have the option of giving the card away at each performance, or, having different sets readyа for possible repeat engagements.а Enjoy!!

November 1998

Co-Directors Notes: If I told you that this was a long awaited I.C.O.M release, you would probably not believe me. But nevertheless, it is! Word of this effect was leaked out of I.C.O.M headquarters some time ago and there are those who are thrilled that they are finally going to have what can only be termed as a trick “in good taste”…BJG

Good Magic, No Matter How You Slice It!
Ronald J. Dayton

This is one of my strangest ideas in quite some time.. .but, it really does work nicely. It involves tried and true principles which are used in an unusual way. A deck of cards which is placed between two slices of bread is sure to attract attention.. and hold it as well.

You will need a deck of cards in their case, a brown paper lunch bag, two clear plastic sandwich bags, and two slices of bread. The only preparation you have made to the deck of cards is to insure that the two cards you wish to force are on top. All remaining props are ungimmicked. Place the deck in to one clear zip-lock bag, and the bread slices in the other. These two bags are then placed inside your brown paper bag, then the top is folded shut.

The brown bag and its contents are on your table from the start of your performance, just off to your left side, but in full view. When you are ready, you glance at the bag as if noticing it is there for the first time. With a sheepish grin, you comment…” Some people think every magician has a ‘bag of tricks’.. but this one is just my lunch.”

Moving the bag nearer, you open it and peer in. You then remove the bread package first.. .and then the deck of cards. The cards will be unexpected. Explain that you’ll have to work up an appetite first by doing a couple of card tricks.

Taking the deck from within the zip-lock and removing it from its case you proceed by asking a spectator to think of any number from one to twenty. Prior to this, you may shuffle the deck, making sure you do not disturb the position of the top two cards. When the number is given to you, you count that many cards face down on the table. Picking this smaller packet up, it is immediately replaced on top of the deck. Now you again count off the number of cards chosen. The last card of the count is shown to the spectator, and he is told to remember it. You do not look at it. The selected ( forced ) card is tabled face down for a moment as you add the small tabled packet of discards back on top of the deck. Now, the chosen card is apparently placed in the center of the pack, but in reality, you slip it on to the front of the deck. The squared up deck is now tabled, face down.

The second force is achieved by using the Cut Deeper Force. This will give a second spectator the second card originally on the top of the deck at the start. The spectator memorizes it, and you replace the card on top of the deck. Give the deck a series of false shuffles and cuts, retaining the two selections on the front and top of the deck respectively.

Now comes the second surprise. You remove the slices of bread from their zip-lock bag and form a sandwich by actually placing the deck between the two slices.

The sandwich is held in the right hand with fingers below and thumb at top center. You comment that there is way too much filling between the bread, and so, with a quick forward jerking swing of the hand, most of the cards are ejected out on to the table.

You now lie the sandwich on the table. The left hand slides the top slice off, and a single card is seen lying on the slice below. You ask spectator *1 what their card was. You then turn the visible card over, and, it IS THEIR SELECTION!

The left hand replaces its slice of bread and you pick the sandwich up as if to take a bite. Then you remember that a second

card had been chosen as well. Lying the sandwich down once again, the left hand lifts away the top slice. There, face up on the lower slice of bread is the remaining chosen card: You’ll have just performed a card trick the audience will really remember. They’ll eat it up.. .with relish!

NOTE: Those of you well versed in magic will recognize that this is a version of a friction grip location of two cards. The only difference is that the cards are held between two slices of bread rather than just the fingers and thumbs of the hand. BUT… the bread gives full cover. It conceals the fact that two cards are sandwiched between them. As you slide the top slice back toward you, the upper card of the two will come with it, allowing the left thumb to get under the slice and lift the card away with the bread.

When you replace the top slice and later lift the sandwich as if to take a bite.. as it is tabled again, it is secretly turned over. You then execute the slide and lift of the new top slice for the final reveal of the second card. The slices of bread make everything pretty automatic.

I have no preference as to the type of bread you want to use. Day old is probably best. It’s a bit firmer, and easier to handle without tearing. Those of you watching your weight, or with health problems may want to use seven grain, or low fat. The option is yours, but remember please… .no butter!

Additional Co-Directors Notes:

  • There is a trick presently on the market that uses FOAM bread slices. If this can be found, the prop may be adapted, with some changes to the above routine.
  • In the beginning I told you that this was an anticipated routine. If you didn’t believe me, tune is next month. We will be featuring variations of this from noted magician, Joseph K. Schmidt! Watch for it…

Co-Directors Notes: I can go on and on about the constant quality of Fordice material. Here is an example of creative thinking and routining at its finest. If you want a pro routine, you got it, right here!…BJG

Group Mind Reading
Mike Fordice

This is an effect to be performed when there is an obvious leader of a group present. I have performed this for the president of a company, the director of sales training at a graduation dinner for sales trainees, the pastor of a church, the soccer coach at the end-of-season awards party, etc. I’ve also performed it (with some modification) for a cousin of my mother-in-law at a surprise 75th birthday party.

The obvious leader (victim) randomly selects a card from a shuffled deck. The card in immediately returned to the deck, the deck shuffled, and returned to the case. As the victim concentrates on the selected card, the entire gathering is able to read his/her mind and announce the identity of the card.

A deck of cards. The Fordice/Hofzinser Force I taught last month. A way of informing the audience the identity of the selected card. For this I use a large (8 x 11 inch) 3 of diamonds. This large card is actually a silk-producing item called “Silk-Dimension” from Tricks Co., Ltd. in Japan. You can use a jumbo card, make a sign, etc.

Ask the victim to join you on stage. Discuss the importance of communication in his/her position as (president, coach, pastor, etc) and that there are various kinds of communicationЛwritten, verbal, body language, etc. What most of us forget about is mental communication or telepathy. (You have to specifically adapt this presentation to your particular situation; this is only a brief description to get you started.) Tell him/her that because of his/her special and important position as _____, you would like to try an experiment in mental communication.

Bring out the deck with the 3 of diamonds on top. Do a false shuffle retaining the 3D on top and force the card using The Fordice/Hofzinser force (see last month). Have the victim glance at the card and tell him/her that it is important to remember the card. Return the card to the deck; shuffle and return the deck to the case. Impress upon the victim that he/she is the ONLY person in the world who knows the identity of the cardЛand that this is an awesome responsibility.

Describe that you are not going to determine the identity of the card, but that the entire group is going to do that! (build this up) At this point I usually offer the victim a chair. I do this primarily so the victim is a bit out of the way as I bring out the large card (or sign) for the audience. Ask the victim to close his/her eyes and concentrate on a visual image of the card–first concentrate on the color of the cardЛred or black. Then prompt the audience to reveal the color of the card–red.

Next ask the victim to concentrate on the suit of the card. Since the audience selected the color red, the suit must be hearts or diamonds. Prompt the audience to reveal diamonds.

Next, we have to work on the value of the card, but do this in 2 steps. Ask the victim to concentrate on the value of the selected cardЛwas it high or low? Again prompt the audience to reveal high or low. Finally, and in the same manner, have the audience reveal the value of the card.

At the end, there is an option. You can show the large card to the victim or can elect not to show it. Most of the time, I show the large card. This leaves the victim scratching his/her head as you take your bows and accept your applause.

When I performed this at the 75th birthday party I did not have my large card. So I grabbed a coloring pad and crayons from one of the kids in attendance and made up a sign showing the 3D.

What I thought would be great fun would be to do this at a large corporate meeting that has rear-screen projection. You would need to 35 mm slide of the 3D (or other card) and have that projected as you proceed with the effect.

Enjoy! And let us know about your successes with this and the other wonderful effects here on I.C.O.M.

December 1998

Noted Magician Joseph K.Schmidt has submitted the following thoughts and patter for I.C.O.M. These are his ideas for a possible handling of the Sandwiched Card Trick described last month…the one in which the two chosen cards become trapped between two slices of bread.

” Bread Sandwich …A Second Bite”
Joseph K. Schmidt

As an alternate handling for the Dayton Sandwiched Card effect…one might well consider having the spectators who chose the cards write the name of their favorite sandwich ingredient on their card with a felt tip marking pen, rather than their name. Once this is done, they may also have free choice of any two slices of bread from a loaf. ” When most people want to catch a mouse, they usually use cheese in their traps. Here in Germany…we use ‘speck’ or bacon. It has the same fatal attraction for the mice. Well I am going to try to use the favorite sandwich fillings you have written on the cards to try to ‘trap’ the chosen cards in this sandwich. “

Just as in the Dayton version, the full deck is placed between the slices of bread. The bread is given a shake, and most of the cards come out from the center. As far as selection and control goes, you could simply take the two ‘fixings’ cards and drop them on top….double undercut one to the face. False shuffle, retaining the cards in place. This is easily done if a riffle shuffle is used.

Another control handling would be to add the two cards to the face of the deck, double cut both to the back of the still face up deck. Hindu Shuffle without disturbing the two cards. Later, turn the deck face down and double cut one to the bottom. This is a Stewart James idea from Tops magazine years ago

The whole premise of this effect is unusual and fun. Maybe you will agree that the use of fillings rather than spectator names on the cards lends itself well to the over-all novelty.

Coming next month
Yes…One more version of the Sandwiched Card Trick!

” Mind Implosion “
Ronald J. Dayton

Keeping track of a simple series of numbers and words dosen’ create a serious problem for the average person. We do it everyday while dealing with names and phone numbers, area codes and addresses. But what I am offering to I.C.O.M members who enjoy the challenge of numbers and words is an ‘apparent’ presentation of a super memory. It makes a nice lead-in effect to other mental routines. Best of all, it requires no memorization at all! This frees the performer to concentrate completely on presentation.

The effect depends upon the selection of specific words…the use of the fact that certain numbers, when arranged properly, and turned upside down, resemble the letters in certain words. The third aspect of this effect is the use of a special method of forcing a word which was originally devised for an earlier effect.

Please look at list “A” first. These specific words are printed on

one side of a piece of stiff white stock. The list begins with the number 37817 followed by the word Scripture, and then the word Bible. List “A” ends with the number 54915 followed by the words : SOFT, SIGHS.

Your job is to convince the aududiencethat you have not only memorized all of the numbers on the list printed on both sides of the posterboard stock…but that you know the word immediately to the right ofthe number,and the word associated with it further to the right. In total, that would amount to memorizing 258 random words and numbers, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Look again at the number 37818 and the words Scripture and Bible. If you turn the number upside down, the last 8 is to your left. The number eight resembles a B…the 1 is an I, the second 8 is another B. Finally, the resupinated number 7 looks like an L, and the 3 resembles an E. When you put them all together, they code or reveal to you the second
word…BIBLE !

Word List “A” consists of every other word on the list having the capability of revealing the second word to you in this way. In other words, when you begin, a piece of stiff posterboard stock is shown to have a series of numbers and words printed on both sides. One side is list “A” and the opposite side is list “B”. There are 86 number lines available. You ask them to choose any number from 1 to 86. If they pick an odd number, you lay the list down with “A” side up and ask them to silently count to their number. If it is not on that side, they are to turn the slip over and continue on the other side. No matter what odd number they select…it will always bring them to one of the special word and number lines. If they choose an even number, side “B” is left uppermost, and same instructions given.

The numbers and letters are as follow:

1 = I, 3 = E, 4 = H, 5 = S, 7 = L, 8 = B, 9 = G, and 0 = O

What the audience assumes, incorrectly, is that the five digit number has been memorized to tell you the first word of the two. The impression that you want to create is that you’ve memorized the numbers, and the word first listed, and the word associated with the first word. If you can accomplish this, you will have a radically mind blowing effect at your disposal.

In your patter, explain that something as basic as the numbers for a lottery are used because the possible combinations are mathematically staggering. Much in the same way basic musical notes have been used for centuries to be combined in variations to create every piece of music that has ever been committed to paper. The possible combinations of numbers and letters in the words of the experiment you are about to embark upon would severely test the most powerful computers of our day.

To begin the routine, the list, the small slip of paper and a pencil are on your table. You ask for the help of a member of the audience in an experiment of the mind. Once they have joined you at your side, they are shown the list casually on both sides. You explain that the list consists of 86 five digit numbers, 86 random words, and 86 related words…a total of 258 basic pieces of information to commit to memory…compounded by the staggering mathematical possibilities of number and letter combinations. They are then asked to choose a number from 1 to 86. As soon as they announce it, you lay the list down on the table correct side up…and step away from the table a few paces with your back turned to the assistant, but positioned so the rest of the audience can see what you do.

Tell the spectator to carefully count to the number position he has selected. If necessary to arrive at that position, they may turn the slip over and continue counting on the other side. when they reach the chosen position, they are to jot down the five digit number they have arrived at on the small slip of paper. They are then to hand this small slip, and the pencil to you.

They are told that just to the right of the five digit number they will see a word. They are asked to concentrate on this word for a moment. You then ask them to clear their mind, and concentrate on the associated or related word immediately to the right of the first word. After a moment,you write something on the slip of paper with the pencil. The slip is then handed to another member of the audience.

The spectator is asked to name the final, related word he has been thinking of. He does. The member of the audience who was just handed the small slip of paper moments ago is now asked to stand and announce the word you had devined and pprinted on the slip. The two words are a perfect match.

There is quite a bit of psycology employed in this effect. The choice of words to emphasize the mathematical possibilities…the supposed use of ‘random’ words, and associated words. It is a strong point that the assistant, not you is the one to jot the five digit number down on the slip of paper…and a strong conclusion when a second member of the audience confirms the match of the written and thought-of word.

The premise for this effect was placed in a notebook over seven years ago, waiting for a method which would allow it to blossom to its full potential. The discovery of the Turn Over Force, with two sections of the same list printed on either side of a slip of paper allowed me to complete the process. Whey ‘you’ come up with a possible effect, make a record of it as well. If the effect cannot be done as you envision it at present, prehaps in time, just as in this instance, amethod will reveal itself. Never abandon a thought.

LIST “A” ( Odd Numbers )

37818-Scripture, Bible
41903-Umbrella, Rain
73817-Attorney, Libel
52168-Television, Shows
57738-Wedding, Bells
70319-Travel, Maps
50705-Singer, Solos
34110-Trees, Limbs
57714-Incline, Hills
61775-Doctors, Pills
50715-Farmer, Silos
39316-Beverage, Java
57719-Fish, Gills
47505-Speed, Races
53045-Laces, Shoes
77244-Mechanic, Tools
55178-Joy, Bliss
34613-Chimney, Roofs
39718-Ships, Bilge
51916-Magic, Wands
57718-Debts, Bills
75146-Boxing, Match
57108-Sterilize, Boils
33408-Chess- Pawns
39317-King, Liege
48373-Eye- Chart
55378-Priest, Bless
35107-Romeo, Juliet
53105-Heels, Soles
79307-Caramel, Apple
55079-Lustre, Gloss
47379-Time, Clock
57734-Devil, Hells
53414-Daily, Paper
57715-Window, Sills
34006-Dentist, Tooth
53907-Cabins, Loges
53709-Light, Bulbs
35007-Hardware, Loose
35107-Hammer, Nails
50907-Company, Logos
47739-Phone, Calls
54915-Soft, Sighs

LIST “B” ( Even Numbers )

66503-Keys, Locks
53751-Emerald, Isles
34357-Ribbon, Bows
35009-Gander, Goose
35908-Marching, Bands
35380-Overweight, Obese
76044-Criminal, Jails
38079-World, Globe
53915-Diamond, Mines
39315-Midieval, Siege
91745-Spider, Webs
58078-Fatty, Blobs
51391-Flag, Staff
53704-Donut, Holes
35591-Library, Books
07734-Greeting, Hello
91531-French, Fries
53507-Gamble, Loses
77203-Numbers, Math
53504-Firemen, Hoses
50153-Knife, Slice
50045-Flies, Shoos
39388-Walking, Stick
53807-Ears, Lobes
03605-Cowboy, Rodeo
53145-Avoids, Shies
59363-Shuttle, Space
77345-Turtle, Shell
77034-Present, Gifts
54914-Lows, Highs
52145-Salad, Bowls
35108-Potato, Boise
37066-Jet, Plane
53708-Cotton, Boles
53780-Baby, Diaper
53080-Woodwinds, Oboes
37606-Thunder, Storm
00791-Eskimo, Igloo
37660-Wicker, Basket
39138-Tan, Beige
53970-Rocking, Chair
53790-Stares, Ogles
00793-Wrist, Watch


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 reproduced 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.

Advanced Lab 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 7/98-9/98

You are now in the section devoted “challenging magic”. This forum features top effects that usually require a higher degree of sleight-of-hand to accomplish their ultimate goal. It may also contain effects that are a bit more advanced as far as presentation, overall difficulty of execution, or unique props that need to be made or obtained. Overall, this is magic of the highest quality that all are welcomed to try and perfect. This is the forum that makes the master magician…

July 1998

Twin Influence
Mike Fordice

At the February 1984 meeting of SAM Assembly #168, President Ed Yankowich there presented an interesting card effect. Ed mentioned that this was not an original effect and that he did not remember the source. The effect did not have a name, so I have picked the name “Twin Influence.” At that time, I prepared a description of the effect. Now, some 14 years later I still like the effect, so here it is!

Two cards which are freely chosen by two spectators are removed from a deck of cards (may be borrowed and/or shuffled by spectators). The performer deals cards from the pack until each spectator calls stop and the chosen cards are inserted face up into the deck. When the deck is spread the two cards are seen face up (as returned to the deck). The two face-up cards are removed with the card directly above (ie, face to face cards). Those cards match the chosen cards, same value and same color!!

All that is needed is one deck of cards. The deck may be borrowed. If you wish it may be shuffled by the spectators.

After the deck is shuffled, request the first spectator to name a card. With the faces toward you, remove that card from the deck and place it face up on the table in front of you. At the same time and as part of the same process move the matching value/color card to the face of the deck. Do not show this card.

Request a second spectator to name a card. Remove that card and place it on the table next to the first chosen card. This time you move the matching value/color card to the top of the deck.

Assume that the first card was the Queen of Hearts and the second card was the Four of Clubs (both freely selected by the spectators) . Those two cards are now on the table. In your hand is the rest of the deck with the Queen of Diamonds on the bottom of the deck and the Four of Spaces on the top.

If you desire, a false shuffle could be performed here. Hold the deck face down in your left hand and begin to slowly deal off cards one-at-a-time. Ask the first spectator to tell you to stop where she/he would like the selection returned to the deck When she/he stops you, place her/his card face up in the deck and then place the rest of the top of the face-up card. Pick up the deck and repeat this process with the second chosen card. This will put the matching value/color card above that card.

Spread the deck to find the two selected cards face up. Indicate that while the two spectators believe that they both chose their cards and picked the return positions with out any outside influence, you actually did influence both spectators not only in their selections, but also in the positions at which they called stop. This is demonstrated to be the case as you show that both of the chosen cards are located in the spread adjacent to their matching value/color cards!

Ronald J.Dayton

EFFECT:  A penny, held flat between the first finger and thumb of the left hand near one edge is displayed so the date upon it may be read.  The coin is openly placed on the back of the right hand thumb which has been bent and pressed against the pad of the right hand first finger. The thumb is positioned to flick or spin any coin placed upon it high into the air.

The coin is placed head side down.  It is then openly flicked into the air by the right thumb.Your right palm is held flat and open,  thumb extend to one side,  the hand waiting to catch the coin as it falls.  This is done…the fingers of the hand closing over the coin.  When the hand opens again, a spectator picks up the penny and examines the date.  By some force of magic, the coin has been tossed into another dimension. The date of the coin is now different from what it was at the start!!

METHOD:  Members of I.C.O.M  may remember a means I described earlier in which a small coin placed on the palm of the hand  could be vanished by simply having a bit of wax on the thumb nail of that hand…or, even rubber cement applied to both the coin and the back of the thumb.(See I.C.O.M Archives “Old Dogs, New Tricks”)  This is the same idea,  expanded upon, and modified to create a totally different effect.

Most all of us have a penny shell from the childhood block and coin effect.  That’s where a penny, which is lying upon your table, is covered with a magical block and the coin mysteriously changes into a dime.  Unless you use this on a regular basis ( and there’s no reason you shouldn’t )…take the penny shell and file off about three-quarters of its rim.  This gives you a partial shell which may be placed on top of another heads up penny.  The method should be becoming clear.

Both the partial coin shell and the thumb have been treated in advance with rubber cement. When the coin assembly is placed on the right thumb, it goes head side down.  When you go through the flicking action, the partial shell remains, concealed behind the extended thumb…and the  new coin sails up into the air. 

It’s magic! No, really…this is a very strong effect IF you pay attention to angles, and don’t get
forgetful with your thumb.The shell by the way may be stolen back into the hand by turning the hand over, bending the thumb in toward the palm, and  pulling the coin off with  your fingers\ while they are examining the caught coin. 

Home Work: Are there any other applications you can devise for this??

August 1998

Ronald J. Dayton
Larry White

EFFECT: A playing card is displayed. A large, vinyl paper clip….let’s say its color is yellow…is clipped to the top center end of the card. The assembly is held by the end of the clip between the thumb and first finger.

In a very slow and deliberate manner, the card is turned over to show the other side of the clip, as well as the back of the card. You state that you have another clip in your pocket…and that in just a moment…you will cause it to fly to the card, and the clip which is on the card will travel invisibly to your pocket.

Believe it or not, in the blink of an eye, that is exactly what appears to happen! In less time than it takes for me to tell of it…you are holding the very same card, but it now has a black paper clip attached to it. The card and clip are again shown slowly on both sides. When you reach into your pocket…lo and behold…you remove the yellow clip.

METHOD: This remarkable effect would never have come to be if not for an almost accidental collaboration between Larry White and myself. For quite some time, Larry and I had been corresponding, and kicking ideas around. A couple of years ago, I mentioned something I was working on which was not quite falling into place.

What I had done was to take a laundry marker pen and used it to color a light colored vinyl paper clip black. Then I reposition the clip, and did the same to the new side which was showing. I could then clip the piece on the card in yet another way, and still have a yellow side showing. But I didn’t have a move. Much of the work had to be done
under cover of the fingers.

Well, to make a long story even longer…Larry had the move, and no effect to go with it. It was fate! We combined the clip and the move, and the fantastic transposition was born.

But while I’ve been rambling on…you’ve been wondering just how in the world it is accomplished. Here is the real works:

Take a jumbo vinyl paper clip ( for best spectator visibility ) and slip it on to the end of a playing card. Do not push it on all the way. Allow about one quarter of an inch of the end of the clip to extend beyond the end of the card. Now, take your marking pen and carefully blacken all of the side of the clip which is visible…get as close to the card as possible. Darken the end of the clip as well…then turn the card over and do the opposite side in the same way. Allow to dry thoroughly …then repeat several more times. The preparation of the clip is then done (see fig.#1). If you can find or suggest any clear coating material for the clip…I would like to hear about it. As it stands, after a few performances…the clip must be re-darkened.

To get the yellow surface of the clip to show without removing it from the card…we must use Larry’s move. Hold the extended end of the clip between the thumb and first finger of the right hand. Hold firmly. Then grasp the opposite end of the card with your free hand, and turn the card over. It will only go in one direction…but turn it will. And when it has turned…the yellow side of the clip will have been revealed!!

So there you have the incredible secret! So simple, yet so powerful! When you begin the routine, the yellow side is showing, and the extra matching yellow clip is in your right pants pocket. The clip is pulled away from the card that quarter of an inch we mentioned before…and the thumb and first finger of the right hand conceal the small black portion of clip that otherwise shows. You go through your build up, and then, with a simultaneous action, the left hand revolves the card and the right hand pushes the clip all the way on to the card, and then releases its grip and drops to your side. The card now, when turned slowly to show both sides, will reveal a solid black paper clip. You the smile, and glance at your right pocket. The empty right hand goes to same, and brings out the yellow clip. It looks like a miracle!!

As you can see, the re-set takes only an instant. This is great for those who do restaurant work. Drop the yellow clip in the pocket, revolve the card…pull the clip back just a hair, and you’re good to go

I’ve given many effects to the magic community…but this, this is a real gem. I sincerely hope some of you will take the time to make one of these for yourself. You won’t regret that you did.

The construction of the clips (gimmicked clips shown on one side only)

Special thanks to Jeff Brown of the great State of Alaska for this fine “Comedy Card Effect”. For the magician looking for something a little offbeat and different, you can hardly do better than this for sheer entertainment value…BJG

Hello from Alaska! Here’s the effect that I sent to Ron. Hope you like it. It was developed for my friend’s Mosquito Circus, kind of like a Flea Circus.

Ralph, The Card Finding Mosquito
Jeff Brown

EFFECT: A card is selected and signed by an audience member. A small decorative box is displayed containing Ralph. Ralph, a very rare and expensive mosquito, trained for over ten years in the art of card magic, will find the selected card. As the deck is riffled in the air, Ralph indeed locates it. However, as the deck is spread, it is discovered that Ralph has been crushed on the back of the signed card!

WORKING: Using a Sharpie marking pen and your best illustrative skills, draw a black spot with wings on the back of a card. After it dries, place it on the bottom of the deck. Hindu shuffle the cards and invite the spectator to say stop at any time. Display the card and have it signed. Just don’t let Ralph see it. Using the Kelly Bottom Placement, control the card to the bottom of the deck. Holding both the top and bottom cards, overhand shuffle the deck, leaving the signed card second from the top. Double lift to show, “This is how a normal magician would find the card, but that’s too easy for Ralph.” Cut the deck, leaving the signed card approximately in the middle.

Build up the drama and have the spectator “release” Ralph. Follow Ralph’s “flight” with the deck, and at the appropriate time, riffle down and quickly SLAP the top of the deck and smile. The smile then melts into a look of shock as you realize you’ve crushed Ralph.

Spread the deck to show the “remains” of Ralph on the back of a card. Flip it over to show that indeed Ralph has located the card!

“It’s how he would have wanted to go.”

Well, that’s it! It’s gotten a few laughs, a then when it’s really their signed card, it turns to
amazement. Thanks for checking it out!

Change the world a chuckle at a time!
Jeff Brown

Co-Directors Notes: This my friends is a hot effect. Think of the possibilities and you will realize that Ron has just handed us yet another ground-breaking concept with potential only limited by your imagination…BJG

September 1998

The Force Of A Spell
Ronald J. Dayton

What would you think if I told you it is possible to FORCE a predetermined color of a silk which lies in a row upon your table with four other different color silks by simply having a free selection of one of the colors.. spelling its color out letter by letter until you come to a second random color silk, then repeating until a third random color is arrived at? Would you be impressed??

What if I were to tell you that this simple principle could be used to force names of drinks, foods, countries or gems.. would that impress you? Well, impressed or not, this is all based on a spelling force I have been experimenting with.. .and am about to share with you at this time.

As an example, here are the basics for an effect you might well call Color Choice 20th Century Silks. Five silks are lying in a row upon your table. Their order from left to right are RED, BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW and ORANGE. No matter which silk is pointed to from the performer’s side of the table.. .if you spell its name letter-by-letter beginning with the silk immediately to its left, and spell in a clock-wise direction until you come to a new color or position, then repeat the action by spelling the color of the second silk arrived at again in a clock-wise direction.. .the color you will ultimately land on is GREEN. This seemingly randomly selected silk is then picked up and vanished only to reappear tied between two previously shown Silks via the 20th Century Silks effect.

As a variation on a theme, let’s playfully call the next effect Mixed Vegetables. In this version, five packets of seeds are lying in a row on your mat. From left to right they are LETTUCE, CORN, BEETS, CELERY and PEPPERS. Using the same double spelling sequence, the force word you will land on in this instance is BEETS. Reaching into a paper grocery bag which has been on your table from the start, you remove a can of beets. The bag is then shown to be empty, proving your premonition was correct.

A third variation will be called Mixed Drinks. It has nothing to do with alcoholic beverages however. Cards with the names of several drinks are lying on a row upon your table. Again, the paper bag is visible to one side. The drinks named from left to right are; JUICES, TEA, MILK, COCOA and COFFEE. The drink which is forced via the double spelling system is COCOA. The bag contains a tin of the same.

Cards with images of flags and the names of countries may also be used to force ne particular country. As an example, the names from left to right might be; TURKEY, USA, PERU, ITALY and RUSSIA. Once again, the five letter name, or ITALY is the name which is forced upon the spectator. A replica of the nations flag may then be produced from a production tube or box.

You can also force particular gems such as those which are set into rings. Five finger rings are lying in a row upon your table. Left to right their order is DIAMOND, ONYX, PEARL, RUBIES and SAPPHIRE. The ring which is forced is the PEARL.

I have simply given a method and then followed by making several suggestions for possible presentational avenues to take. You will spell the colors or names in the prescribed manner from your side of the table while initially working with this effect. You will then have to discover for yourself the direction and procedure used if the spectator does the spelling from THEIR side of the table. It is your option to choose which side of the table the spelling is done from. I will not confuse the action further by trying to explain the differences.. .they become evident as you work with it.

As a final example, let’s take one last look at the gem stone force. You’ll recall the order of the rings was DIAMOND, ONYX, PEARL, RUBIES and SAPPHIRE. We will assume the first chosen gem was ONYX. Spelling letter-by-letter in a clock-wise direction from the performer’s side of the table. Touching the diamond you say 0, on sapphire you say N, touching rubies you spell Y, and as you touch pearl you spell X completing the word ONYX. Now the word PEARL is spelled in the same clockwise manner beginning on the word onyx.. the five letter spelling brings you right back to the word PEARL. The force word is PEARL.

These examples simply indicate the variety you can devise for yourself by finding other words and objects which may be listed and spelled to to create a force situation. The order of these cards or objects can be changed around. New positioning will often upset the system, and result in truly random names being arrived at for different spellings. This is a great way to show the spectator what you want done, and how to do it, without revealing your system. Then, when you are ready to do the force, the names or objects are put in to correct left to right order so the desired word, name or object is chosen.

A Sequence for September 1998
Mike Fordice

Well, that’s not much of a name; I can’t seem to think of anything cleverer. But, in fact, that’s what it really is; a sequence of effects. I’ve been using this for a long time with various modifications. What I’m presenting is the current version. Since a minor set-up is required, I use this as an opening effect.

Set Up:
On top of deck a 6 card set up: red ace face down, red ace face up, black ace face down, black ace face up, 4 of spades, 3 of spades. Flip the deck over and look for a black deuce making sure it’s the 2 of spades. To be safe, move the 2 of clubs towards the top of the deck. You want to be sure that when you look at the cards face up, the first black deuce you see is the 2 of spades. Case the deck.

Phase I: Snap Ace Production
Begin by describing to your audience that magicians love to do tricks with the 4 aces. Explain that you want to be more efficient and will use 2 deuces. After all 2 + 2 equals the same thing as 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. 2 deuces, 4 aces what’s the difference? As you describe this, you can do a false shuffle. Also you can dribble the cards from hand to hand. With minor care, the 2 face-up cards will not been seen.

Turn deck face up and remove the 2 of spades and a red deuce (either one); place then face up on the table. Turn the deck face down.

Get a break under the face-to-face red aces (easy because of the reversed card). Pick up the red deuce and place is on top of the deck so you are now holding a break below 3 cards (face up red deuce, face down red ace, face up red ace). Grab the right side of the 3 cards with your right hand–thumb above and 1st and 2nd fingers below. Press down with your thumb so the red deuce curves inwards a little. Move the left edge of the 3 cards right and left a couple of times. Then bring the left edge of the 3 cards all the way to the right; touching your left finger. Then angle the 3 cards perpendicular to the deck at the right edge of the deck, and fairly forcibly let the 2 cards on the left (the red deuce and the red ace that was face down) fall (actually pushed) onto the deck as you snap off the other red ace. You should hear a “snap.” This leaves 2 red aces showing one on top of the deck and the other in your right hand. Drop both of them onto the table. You’ve “divided” the deuce into 2 one’s.

Slip cut the red deuce to the center of the deck leaving the face-to-face black aces on the top. Explain that if you could do this with the red Aces, it’s worth a try with the black cards. Repeat the above procedure with the black deuce. You now have the 4 aces on the table! Place the deck aside.

(Take a peak at the deck; you have the 2, 4, 3 of spades on top. These will be used later in this sequence–this was a neat way of being way ahead for later.)

Phase II: 4-Ace Routines
You can do what ever you like with 4 aces during this portion of the sequence. I would, however, suggest NOT doing Vernon’s ‘Twisting the Aces’ because of the final phase of this sequence. Here’s what I do.

Phase IIa
I begin this phase with ‘Overture’ from Phil Goldstein’s book Focus (Hermetic Press; Seattle, Washington; 1990). This is a great example of the old adage: if you want to hide something, put it in a book; and if you really want to hide it, put it as the first trick in the book. You’ll find ‘Overture’ on page 3 of Focus!

Since it is published, this is a brief description. Place the red aces face-up between the 2 face-down black aces. Explain that you have sandwiched the face-up red aces between the face-down black aces. (I think that you really have to stress this situation.)

Perform a Jordan Count to show that nothing has changed. (Not true: order now is face-down black, face-up red, face-down black, face-up red).

Explain that the real magic is about to occur as you do a Vernon Through-the-Fist Flourish. (see Goldstein’s book for details).

Now perform an Elmsley Count to display the 2 black aces face-up sandwiched between the face down red aces. Spread and display. A total transposition has occurred!

Phase IIb
Next I proceed to something directly from I.C.O.M., with a presentation idea. Take a look at the October – December 1997 Advances Lab Archives for ‘Solid Gold Transposition.’ This reminded me of ‘The Last Trick of Dr. Jacob Daley’ (see Lewis Ganson’s ‘The Dai Vernon Book of Magic’ reprinted by L&L Publishing, 1994, page 210 – 214 for a detailed description). For the student, also look at Tarbell, Vol. 5, p 129 – 131 for a similar effect by Milbourne Christopher. And…the idea was expanded by Larry Jennings in ‘The Cardwright’ (L&L Publishing, 1988). (Who said I have too many magic books???)

At the end of Phase IIa you hold the 2 black aces face-up sandwiched between the 2 face-down red aces. Flip the red aces over so that all 4 aces are face up and move the bottom red ace between the 2 black aces to alternate colors.

While the actual suits do not matter, I¹m going to describe what follows with a particular sequence, so set your 4 aces as follows. From the face (all 4 aces face-up) diamond, club, heart, spade.

Flip the packet face down and shuffle them. What you really do is run 5 cards (one at a time) as if you were doing an overhand shuffle. The aces are now heart, club, diamond, spade (from the top to bottom). Take 2 cards in each hand and briefly display them. Reassemble the 4-card packet and get a break below the second card while doing this.

Do a double turnover displaying the Ace of Clubs. Turn the double and remove the top card placing it into the spectator¹s hand. They will believe that this is the Ace of Clubs (actually, it¹s the Ace of Hearts).

Now do the Solid Gold Transposition count. The cards are now diamond, spade, club from the top. Do a double turnover (push off or buckle) to show the Ace of Spades. Flip the double face down and remove the top card which the spectator will assume is the Ace of Spades (really the Ace of Diamonds).

Here¹s the fun part: Place the ‘Ace of Spades’ above the card in their hand (covering about 60% of their card, but do not let go) and ask them if you should place the Spade on top. Then move it below the card in their hand and ask if you should put it on the bottom. Move the card from top to bottom several times. Finally place it below the first card they hold.

At this point snap your fingers and ask if they felt anything. Ask where the Ace of Spades is-top or bottom. They will respond bottom. You say: No, it¹s here on top, as you flip over the top card in your hand. Flip over the club with the spade. And…you have the red aces! As they look at their red aces (should have been black) this is often good for a

Phase III
I conclude this sequence with an effect called ‘Maxi-Twist 1-2-3-4’ by Roger Smith. I found this in a manuscript from the mid-70¹s.

Begin by placing the 4 aces in club, heart, spade, diamond order from the face (face up). Pick up the deck and get a break under the top 3 cards (the 2, 4, 3 of spade that were set earlier). Lay the face-up aces maintaining a break below 7 cards. As you lift the packet a little off the deck with the right thumb, grip the next card. You now hold a break with 8 cards; a small break between the packet of 7 and the 8th card. You now perform Marlo’s Atfus Move. Thumb the Ace of Clubs onto the deck and regrip it below the packet in your right hand. Next, thumb off the Ace of Hearts and regrip it under the break. As you square the packet against your left thumb, drop everything below the break onto the top of the deck. This is covered by the face-up (8th) card you took earlier. Now thumb off the Ace of Spades and take it below the packet. Place the deck aside being careful not to expose the 2 face-up aces. Square the packet.

As a checkpoint, the packet consists of 5 cards: Ace of Diamonds (face up), 2 of Spades (face down), 4 of Spades (face down), 3 of Spades (face down), and Ace of Spades (face up).

You now will go through a series that turns the aces face down, one by one. You need a little ‘magic’ before you perform each step. I hold the packet in a Biddle Grip and tap it on the table. You could do a twist, or you could hold them by the long edges and give them a little buckle/snap. I like the light tap!

After the first tap, do an Elmsley count to show that the first ace has turned face down.

Tap again, and hold the cards in Biddle Grip. Thumb each card into the left hand placing each on top of the previous. The last card is a double. This shows 2 face-up aces and 2 face-down cards. Close the spread. Order of cards: 4S (face down), 3S (face down), 2S (face down), AS (face up), AD (face up).

Tap again, and hold the cards in Biddle Grip. Thumb the top card into the left hand. Next, draw off the bottom card onto the card in the left hand and then thumb over the top card of the right-hand packet. This gives you a fan of 3 cards in your left hand (AD in the center between 2 face-down cards) and a double in your right hand. Place the double in-jogged on the right face-down card of the 3-card fan holding it in place with your left thumb. Regrip the right card and the in-jogged double with your right fingers and take the 2 left cards in your left fingers. Place the AD (face up) on top of the out-jogged card in your right hand, but below the double and then place the final face-down card in your left hand on top of the whole thing. Square up all the face-down cards leaving the AD out-jogged. Let a spectator push the AD into the packet. Order of cards: 4S (face down), 2S (face down), AS (face up), AD (face up), 3S (face down).

One more tap and do an Elmsley count to show all 4 aces have turned face down.

Tell your audience that very often “people want to know how you do this” and that you’ll show them. Tell them it’s done with 4 cards. Here you hold the cards in right-hand Biddle Grip and thumb them one by one into your left hand. This leaves you with a face-up Ace of Spades in your right hand (actually a double). Carefully place this on the table and then DRAMATICALLY, begin to turn over the cards in your hand as you count 1, 2, 3, 4 revealing the 2, 3, and 4 of Spades! Saying that’s 1, that’s 2, that’s 3, and that¹s 4.

Clean up by dropping all the face up cards on the pack. This gives you an excuse to ‘play’ with the deck for a bit as you turn all cards face down. Shuffle and you¹re ready for your next card effects.


Co-Directors Notes: Thanks a million Mike! That lesson obviously took a lot of time and effort to write. I’m sure all of our card-loving I.C.O.M technicians will have a great time leaning the various sequences involved. I dare say that by the time they have this routine down pat, it will be time for October’s lessons <G>…BJG


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.

Advanced Lab 4/98-6/98


Advanced Lab 4/98-6/98

April 1998

I.C.O.M Is thrilled to present a NEW principle in card magic. This is a reputation maker for any who wish to develop it. The real wonder of this trick in not just in the title, but in the fact that in all the years of magical history, no one has ever thought of this before. Mega Kudos’s to Ron for providing this first-class educational effect exclusively to I.C.O.M members. Just goes to show you the brilliant mental workings of the man we call Ron. We are all lucky and grateful to have him on our team….BJG

(The Card Trick With a Twist…Half Twist That Is!)
Ronald J. Dayton

One of the first self-working card tricks I can remember learning involved a row of several face up cards on a table. While your back was turned, someone was to turn one of the cards around, end-for-end. When you again faced them, you were able to name the card they turned.

The method was very, very simple. Certain cards within the deck are one-way cards. That is, the way in which they are printed will have the majority of pips at one end of the card, or pointing in one direction. Take a five of clubs for example. Three of the clubs on the card are pointing toward one end, two toward the other. If you were to have say, seven one way cards lying in a row upon your table, and someone secretly turned one of them a half turn end for end, you would be able to tell at a glance which card had been moved.

Years later, I now found myself wondering if this principle might not be done with a full deck. Don’t ask me why. It’s just one of those questions I find myself asking myself!

The first thing I had to do was to take a careful look and see how many cards in a deck were actually one way cards. I was surprised to find that if I included the jokers, there were twenty-four cards. But how does a person go about interspersing the cards in a deck of fifty-four cards (jokers included remember) when one portion consists of twenty-four cards and the remainder equals thirty? This was a problem which turned my initial question into a real challenge.

First of all, let’s take a look at the one-way cards in a deck. They are: AH, AS, AC, 3H, 35, 3C, 5H, 55, SC, 6H, 6S, 6C, 7H, 7s, 7C, 7D, 8H, 8S, 8C, 9H, 9s, 9C, joker, joker.

Study these cards and become very familiar with what makes them a one way card, and in which direction they must all face so they will all read as one way cards at a glance, and any reversal of any card can be instantly detected. Then, with all the one way cards stacked in a packet, all facing in the proper direction, you may begin assembling your deck.

I will put the one way cards you will be reading in ( ) in the lay out chart I am about to offer. An explanation of WHY only certain ones are being used will follow later. The order is as follows:

(AH), 2C, 6H, (6C), 3H, 4C, (AS), 5D, QC, (7S), lOD, 4D, (5C), 2S, KD, (6S), 3D, 4S, (7D), 9D, QD, (7C), JS, JH, (8C), QH, 1OH, (3C), KS, 2H, (3S), KC, KH, (9S), 6D, AD, (AC), lOS, 4H, ( joker ), 2D, JC, (5S) 8D, 10C, (8S), QS, JD, (9C), 5H, 7H, ( joker ), 8H, 9H

As you can see, in order to make the alternating order of the deck follow the sequence of one way card followed by two ordinary cards, I chose to eliminate all hearts EXCEPT the AH, as a one way card. You must train yourself to look at all of the hearts except the AH, and see them as an ordinary card, and not a one way!!

The title, The One Way Wonder Deck, is of course said in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Today, just as in decades past, many effects were built up for better sales by using grandiose titles. Naturally, you would want to purchase the secret to a miracle rather than an everyday, run-of-the-mill effect. But even though the set-up for this particular deck may not be a wonder*…it IS an effective exercise in learning how to think your way through the creation of an effect.

We have taken an older principle and tried to expand upon it. We’ve looked at the variables, and the things which needed to be modified to make it work. Now we will look at what the actual handling will be.

With the deck set-up in the order given in the previous chart, AH being the top card of the deck, the 9H at the front of the deck… you are ready to put the deck through its paces.

Since the deck runs in an endless chain, you may feel free to cut and complete the cut as often as you like. It will not disturb the order of the cards.

Cut the deck several times, completing the cut each time. Explain to the spectator that while you turn your back, he is to cut the deck at any point he chooses, then look at the card on the front of the packet he lifts away. He is then to turn the packet he holds clock-wise, a half turn end-for end, then replace it on top of the lower half. The full deck is squared up so no clue is given to where his chosen card is.**

Now, when you turn again to face the audience, you are able to pick up the deck, run through it from hand-to-hand, and eventually, name their chosen card.

You already know the answer. As you are looking through the cards, you are looking for the first one way card in reverse order (facing the wrong way) within the deck. When you come to it, you know one of three things. IT may be the cut to card the spectator glimpsed, or one of the two cards immediately before it. In other words, you have three cards to consider…only one of which is the chosen card. Play the revelation of the card in a humorous manner. Pull one of the three from the deck, and ask if it is there card. If they say no…slip it back into the pack at a different point in mock disgust. Do it again with a second choice. If you fail, it will only get funnier to your audience. Eventually, you will be down to one and only one card of the three. You will succeed…and they will applaud your determination.

With the proper handling, this can be turned into a funny and commercial effect. But the real thrust of my offering this to you was to emphasize the thought process involved in attempting to devise a new effect. Take a look at it for yourself. Perhaps there is something more which I may have missed. Explore the possibilities and see what it will do.

* I beg to differ. This can be a killer principle in the right hands….Ron may a bit too modest here! BJG

**An alternate handling would be for the magician to have the deck in his possession the entire time. When the card is selected, the magician secretly reverses the deck and then has the card returned. This is similar to the handling of a card when selected from, and returned to a stripper deck. BJG

May 1998

We are very pleased to introduce an advanced handling of Ron’s deck that was graciously contributed by Paul Hallas. An I.C.O.M member from the United Kingdom. This is worth serious study.

Thoughts On The “One Way Wonder Deck”
Paul Hallas

Looked at Ron’s One Way Deck idea. Here’s an idea for that. Cut the middle card of the three possibilities to the bottom of the deck. Show it as their card, if they say “No” feign surprise, “No, what card did you look at?” Turn the deck down, if the card they name is the one below the card shown, do a glide and apparently remove it to the table commenting “One down only 51 to go!” Dribble the cards from hand to hand, ask the name of the card again then click your fingers over the tabled card and have them turn it over.

If the card they name is now the top card of the deck, say, “Not only have I found your card I’ve magically changed it to the (name the bottom card just shown). Do a color change to “change” it back and prove you weren’t kidding. Or take the bottom card and drop it face up on top and do Al Smith’s P.C. Change.

Another idea for a selection procedure, with the deck tabled, have the spectator cut the deck and complete the cut. Pick up the deck and hold it in dealing position, instruct the spectator, “This time I want you to cut off a portion of cards and remember the face card like this” cut some cards and look at the face card yourself for a few seconds to illustrate then replace them. As the spectator cuts off some cards you table those in your hand in the following manner; the thumb goes underneath the left edge of the remaining cards and starts to lever them upwards, the fingertips grip them against the thumbtip and the hand revolves palm down placing the cards on the table. This is like the Carslyle paddle move usually done with business cards to show both sides the same but here you’re not drawing attention to that just tabling the cards. Don’t even look at your hand as you do it, just ask the spectator if he has his card in mind. This simple movement, over in a second has reversed the orientation of these cards.

Instruct the spectator to replace his cards and straighten up the deck. Have him give the deck another straight cut and complete it for good measure. The cards start and finish on the table, your handling of them seems unimportant, seemingly just to demonstrate what they were to do so is
easily forgettable.

Pass these thoughts onto your members if you wish or bin them*, whatever. Hope you had a good Easter,
Best wishes,

*Many thanks Paul! By the way…we could never “bin” brilliant ideas like yours!…BJG

I.C.O.M is pleased to introduce a series of excellent moves by Remon van Scheijen of Holland. Remon produced all of the following photos himself. This took a lot of work and we would like to extend our congratulations on such a wonderful job!!!…BJG

The Swing Cut To Bottom Palm
Remon van Scheijen.

This is my second contribution to card magic on the Internet. Unlike my first contribution (a triple false cut). This one comes with a trick. This Cut to palm is designed for one special trick I’ve put in my repertoire. Because I’m a lousy side stealer, I was looking for a easy palm. While I have no difficulty performing it, to write the explanation was a hard task, but read on. If you have any questions on this trick or palm, just e-mail me with your question(s). I hope to answer satisfactory. The making of the pictures was the hardest task because everything goes in one smooth move. Well Let’s go on to the explanation.

Goal: While pattering chit-chat you perform a simple swing-cut. In the act of cutting the deck you palm the bottom card into the right hand and establish a left pinky break to keep the top card under control.


If you look at picture 1 through 4 you’ll see some stages in which a swing cut is made.

Picture 1: The deck is cut in half with the index finger of the right hand and swiveled to the left (a standard swing cut).

Picture 2: The bottom half of the deck goes on top of the left hand packet.

Picture 3: The cut is completed and the deck is squared.

Picture 4: Conclusion: The deck is back in the right hand in Biddle position and a card is palmed in the same hand. And you’ve established a thumb break at the position of the top card.

Now see how it looks at the underside. In picture 5 you see the beginning of the swing cut it self. The right hand swivels the top half to the left. The left hand is not in the picture for clarification purposes. The right hand receives the packet as in picture 1.

In picture 6 the left hand receives the right hand bottom packet. This is the moment that you almost palm the entire card. The middle finger of the left hand pushes the bottom card back to the right hand. The pinky of the right hand is used as a pivot point. This is to control the card automatically to the standard palm position. At the same moment the left hand pinky enters between the two packets to prepare for a coming pinky break. This is the hardest part of the trick so practice, practice, practice, and when you’ve got the feeling just practice one more time. Remember the bottom card should be sliding in position. It’s not the force that you use but the smoothness that does the trick.

Now in picture 7 you can see why I prefer this palm above a side steal. in the side steal I do 1 in 10 times there is a click when the card comes loose from the center. If you know Daryll’s video tape of the side steal he explains that sometimes you can hear the magician side stealing across the room. Well this move prevents me for clicking it because when the right hand packet enters the left hand the two packets are still separated, this way the card slides more easily to the right hand palm position. It’s very difficult to explain for me because I’m dutch, and don’t know the right words to choose here. Anyway, most important is that the card is palmed just a moment AFTER you finish the cut so before placing the packets together. The thumb of the left hand and the index finger of the right hand holds the top packet (formally the bottom packet) steady. This way you prevent the cards from shattering through the room. The thumb of the right hand is also holding the the top packet.

Now finish the cut by squaring the packets together. The pinky break to control the top card is established easily because the pinky was already where it should be. Because the right thumb was holding the the top packet only you can transfer the pinky break directly to a thumb break. Cool ah. This leaves the left hand free. And the finish should like figure 8. My patter through this sequence is :” What would you like to see? you’re card fly through the air invisible or would you like to see it fly visible”. Well anyway the trick and explanation are coming up so the sentence will make sense in a moment.

Figure 9 The recap. Look at the freeze action. 1. Right pinky is used as pivot point 2. Left pinky enters between the packet before they are closed. 3. Left middle finger is sliding the bottom card. In the Picture, I hold the deck at an angle. Something you must NOT, I repeat, NOT do. But it’s a nice try. Hope you can follow the explanation. “If not then don’t do the trick”.

2Card flight.
Remon van Scheijen

Two cards are selected by two spectators. When the crowd is asked if they would like to see a card fly visible or invisible the magicians compromises and shows both ways. First invisible and finally visible. Both ways are very impressive and if you do it with the right attitude they’ll be talking about you for a long time. I’m interested in a English patter line so make one up and email me. Well bla bla bla here is the explanation.

How to:

First let two spectators pick two cards and let them sign if you want with a magic marker. Control both cards to the bottom of the deck in you’re favorite way. I use the overhand shuffle (I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery) Fig.#24 or Hindu shuffle control Fig. #53. I like to control cards as simple as possible. So don’t use fancy stuff because that will be coming up next.

When the cards are on the bottom of the deck you ask the crowd if they’ll like to see a card fly visible through the air or invisible. At the same time you perform the Swing cut to palm. The patter line is the misdirection. So you control while spectator 2 is still signing his card. Take the magic marker back. Control the second card to the bottom in a easy quick way. For the second control I use a tilt to bottom but I don’t put it on the bottom but let it slip above the first selection, an easy task if you now tilt to bottom. Ask them, involve them, look at them and wait for response. If you do it right there will be too much misdirection which will be pleasant. You should notice that if you need the misdirection for this sleight you should not perform the trick but practice till you can read the newspaper, and perform the cut palm smooth at the same time.

No matter what the spectator’s response you say ” OK OK I’ll compromise” (sometimes this is funny because everybody for example said they wanted it to see a visible flight). Continue “I’ll show you both. First Invisible then visible”.

You’ve got the packet in the left hand with a pinky break above the top card. And the first selection palmed in right hand.

Now here is the use for the pinky break. You’re going to perform a stretch cut which is going to put the selected card that is not palmed in you’re hand back to the bottom. As soon as you perform the stretch cut the palmed card is bend away from the palm just as in the invisible color change. The right hand index finger snaps the card in to view while the left hand is completing the stretch cut. The back of the selection will show if done proper. Ask the spectator to tell the card he or she choose and show you found it.

The second selection is back again on the bottom of the deck. To let it fly visible I use the HOT-SHOT Cut from Daryll’s Encyclopedia of card magic video series. I’m not going to make the effort to explain it because I think you should make the effort to buy the tape (Look for the HOT-SHOT Cut). It’s one of the best investments in magic I’ve made so far. Daryll does a very good explanation of this sleight. At the end of the page you can see a freeze action of this sleight. It looks like the card comes from the middle of the deck and it fly’s through the air. The right hand catches the card. WOW!. Don’t think it’s hard to do. Once you’ve got the feeling it’s easy. Well enough praising the lord. When you perform it well the spectators will gasp for 30 minutes and they’ll think you take of like Copperfield. Hope you enjoy the trick.

Stretch cut from pinky break.

The stretch cut from a pinky break is not difficult at all if you can perform the stretch cut. The only difference is that you cant use you’re pinky and thumb at the same time. Picture 1 shows the first part, the left hand holds the deck with a pinky break between the selection and the top card. The right hand has the first selection palmed.

In reality the right hand hangs loose along you’re side. In picture 1 you see both hands close together for explanation purpose only. The stretch cut you’re about to make is the misdirection for the card palmed in the right hand.

Picture 2 shows that first the left thumb is going to begin the stretch cut. The break established by the pinky is been taken over by the thumb. Only short after this you can leave the pinky to begin the stretch cut as in picture 2.

Fig 3,4 and 5 shows the performance of the stretch cut. After this give the left hand a throwing action with a shake. At the same time the right hand reaches in the air where the card should be if it really flew through the air and produce the card as told before. Everything goes in a quick action. It’s like you’re picking a card from thin air.

Anyway this little change on the stretch cut will be quickly learned if you can already perform the needed cut. If you concentrate on producing the selection and you don’t have to worry about the stretch cut then it looks really cool. Please if you got suggestions or a way to perform anything at all in a more simple way I would like to receive you’re comment. Hope to read something from you in my email.*

*You may reach Remon by using the Virtual Lesson Link below or through the VM link page on the Inner Sanctum Main Page. Also, look for more of Remon in the June edition of the I.C.O.M Advanced Lab!

June 1998

Those lucky enough to be I.C.O.M members at this time will be thrilled with the following effect. Rarely does a strong trick like this come out when the subject matter is so hot in the public eye. We thank Ron Dayton for sharing this fine performance piece with us. Due to the popularity of the movie, this effect may be the feature of your close-up show! Make the most of it!….BJG

“The Unsinkable Card Trick”
Ronald J. Dayton

People seem to enjoy magic with a look, feel, or theme they can relate to.  Many times, you may draw upon popular stories or events of the time  to inspire just such an effect.  Recently, the movie, Titanic has been one of the largest grossing movies of all time.  It’s difficult to find a person who hasn’t seen it…and since it is in the minds and on the lips of so many, I felt it might be a good premise for an effect.

As you no doubt already know, there is a strong  romantic theme built into the movie, designed to act as a sub-plot, and means to endear the viewer to the main characters.  It is an important element in the card effect I am about to offer as well.

EFFECT:  a  deck of cards is lying face down upon your close-up mat.  A single card, the Queen of Hearts  is propped  face up, at an angle,  against the end of the pack nearest the audience.  The card is picked up and turned over, revealing a brilliant blue, heart shaped gem stone affixed to the center back of the card.

After pattering for a while about the lovely lady adorned by the icy -blue jewel, the card is placed face down on the deck.  A lady from the audience is asked to assist by pressing down upon the jeweled heart with her finger.  In that instant, the magic happens!

When the card is removed from the deck and turned over, it is seen to be an entirely different card.  The Queen has obviously been lost when the ship went down.

Picking the deck up, it is held face down at one end between the thumb and fingers of the left hand.  The left thumb is on top, fingers below.  Using the right hand thumb, the free end of the deck is given a quick riffle.  Mysteriously, a card partially emerges from the deck. without removing or revealing it, the deck is turned end for end, and the opposite end is riffled in the same manner.  Yet another card emerges.

Not one to be perplexed, you explain that it is known the mighty ship went down in Two pieces…and were found in different areas of the ocean floor.  So it is with the missing card.  One by one, the card s?  are removed, and revealed to be torn portions of a single card.  These pieces are placed face down upon your mat.  When the matching pieces are turned over, they are found to be the vanished  lady.

METHOD:  The top card of the deck has a bit of magician’s wax or post-a-note glue on its back.  A duplicate queen has been torn in half earlier and placed face down  at opposite ends within the deck.

The vanish of the queen is automatic once it is placed on top of the adhesive top card. When you riffle the end of the deck…the half section will also automatically try to shoot from within it.  In essence,  other than for the romantic patter line you must devise for this, you have a highly visual, self-working effect.  This gives you freedom to concentrate on presentation.

The gem-like heart shaped plastic stones are available at any large craft store.  Simply use a bit of  glue to mount it to the back of the Q-H.  Enjoy!

Other thoughts and variations,

As a variation on the manner in which the queen of hearts is vanished, you might want to consider this.  The propped up queen is actually two cards displayed as one.  The queen is directly in front of the gem stone indifferent card.  The card on the top of the deck is still prepared as in the original version.

The difference in this instance is, after you place the doubles on top of the deck, and the lady from the audience presses down upon the jewel…she may then remove the top card herself  to make the discovery that the lady is gone!!   Much better, wouldn’t you agree.!?

The queen and the third card are now the attached doubles. With the female assistant holding the ungimmicked single , indifferent gem card….you are free to casually lift and reveal a few extra random cards from the top of the deck.  This is a convincing show that indeed, the queen has vanished.

I must say that I REALLY like this routine. Even though it will take a small amount of preparation, I can see this being a real reputation maker. So without further adieu, I.C.O.M is proud to present…Remon….Round Two!…..BJG

Remon van Scheijen

Effect: The magician is at a party and a birthday man/woman is asked to participate in a trick the magician made especially for him/her.

He takes out a deck of cards. 7 envelopes which are sealed with each a telephone number inside. A matchbox which contains some matches.

He asks the spectator to take a random card from the deck and put it in his right back pocket without looking at it. The magician proceeds asking the spectator to take a random number of matches from the box. The number of matches choose is used to count to the envelope of his/her choice. The magician asks him to keep the envelope and proceeds by showing what is in the envelopes he didn’t choose. When the spectator opens his envelope it shows a telephone number which he should dial. On the other side a answering machine is telling that he has the king of clubs in his pocket. When the spectator is looking in his pocket it shows to be the right card.

– A deck of 52 Different cards (normal deck)
– 7 Envelopes or folded papers which bears the following messages:

#1: Every telephone number. (In Holland 06-8008 is a telephone number you can dial to get information about somebody’s telephone number you are searching, this is why I wrote 06-8008 on the card. You should fill in the number of you’re local information number).

#2: Disturbed number. On the paper are all kind of numbers criss-crossed written over the paper.

#3: #900 number. Write a 1-900-Astrology or (???) number on the page.

#4: Time. Write the telephone number on the paper that will say the time when you dial it. In Holland it is 06-8002.

#5: Alarm. write 911. in Holland it is 112.

#6: Secret number. Do not write a number in this case only write down the text. This will be a good gag in you’re patter line.

#7: ?(question mark). Here you write down you’re own home number.

It’s obvious that the spectator will end up with card number 7. This is the force envelope

An answering machine connected on you’re own telephone number which contains a message to the man/woman. Something like :”Hello Michael and for the card in you’re right back pocket it is the King of Clubs just like you are”. If it is a girl you could say something with a Queen of hearts. In any case you should make you’re own message. Poems, Songs etc etc everything can be on the message.

The Matchbox which should contain exactly 11 matches.


This is a trick I made up for an adult birthday party of a good friend of mine. When I performed the trick everybody went nuts and talked about it for hours. The biggest surprise for me was to hear everybody saw the trick like a mental one something I had not foretold myself. In any case I have performed the trick several times now and due to its simplicity it has a great impact on the audience.


Take out the deck of cards, matchbox, and the envelopes. Tell the spectator that you will perform a trick you invented especially for him. Ask the rest of the audience to create a circle around the spectator and listen carefully (try to be emotional so everybody will be quit and all can appreciate the effect most).

You must have your force card on top of the deck (King of clubs). Force the king of clubs to the spectator in you’re favorite way. But don’t use a quick force like the riffle force or something alike. I like to use the Cut-Deeper force for this particular trick. Tell him not to look at the card but put it in his back pocket immediately.

Now the matches are used to determine a number. To force the number card I used a trick from the book Scarne on Card tricks. The trick is called It’s a Natural. Place the envelopes as a group on the table the envelope which contains your phone number should be lying third from the top. After the spectator removed a number of matches you count them to yourself. That’s all there is to it. the rest of the trick is worked by using either the number remaining in the box or the number that the spectator took out the box, and by counting the envelopes face up or face down.

Counting the envelopes will always be done by putting a counted card to the bottom of the heap again. Here are examples which are covering the force.

A) If the spectator removes 0 Matches then use the matches in the box 11 will be the key number. Count the envelopes (force envelope third from top) and take the card after the counted 11 cards this will be the telephone card.

B)If the spectator takes all matches out say ok we use that number which will be 11 to determine the envelope. Do the same thing as in example A.

C) 1 match is taken out the box. Use the remaining 10 matches turn over the envelope heap and count down to the tenth card which will be the force envelope.

D) 10 matches are removed. Use the removed matches and proceed as in example C.

E) Nine or two matches. Count down two envelopes and take the third.

F) eight or three matches. Count down to the third card take the third.

G) Seven or four matches. Use the number four. Turn over the envelopes and count to four and take the fifth card.

H) Six or five. Use the number five. Turn over the envelopes and count to the fifth cards.

In any case the spectator winds up with the force envelope. Now open the envelopes he didn’t choose and show what he missed and make a gag about all the telephone numbers that you should dial if you had chosen that envelope. Than let him open his envelope and say the question mark means that you should dial the number to find out what it means.

There is no noise and everybody will be concentrating and straining there ears to hear what there is on the other side of the phone. Perform the trick to see what kind of reaction you will get.

Easy Mentalism.

If you have any comment or suggestions to this trick email me.

Remon van Scheijen.

The Daily Hot Shot.


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 copywrite 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.

Advanced Lab 1/98-3/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 1/98-3/98

January 1998

Tip Of The Wand
Bill Wisch

“With NOT At!”

This month I’d like to mention something about performance styles. Working with other magicians is a joy for me. I don’t get jealous (I used to) anymore because I know that I could never, ever do even a single effect they do like they do. BUT, they can never, ever do an effect that I do like I do. That seems like a nice trade-off. I can live with that.

Anyway, getting back to the topic. I see many effects and routines performed by other magicians at conventions or multiple performer situations and always feel uncomfortable when I see performers working AT an audience or spectator. By that I mean a constant banter of patter…much of it just filler…usually overly dramatic and perceived as “contrived” by the spectator(s). It’s almost like the magician is “patronizing” the spectator. To say “overpowering” would be more of a suitable description. “Do this”…”Give me the clean hand”…”I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do”…these are examples.I have witnessed many other approaches similar to these. Also any and all double-meaning lines don’t play well with a lot of people, despite what you may think (or hope). “Over show-bizzing” may be a good term for what I see many times. Granted, the people love the magician and the magic, but have mentioned to me ON THEIR OWN when I perform that the other magician(s) “came on too strong”. I’m not saying that I have this problem licked and I am aware of at least 38,762 things that I must improve before I’ll be happy with my work, but this over-doing of the dramatic is a reality and can be a “put-off” to some people. Give it some thought.
No one likes to be “put on”, or “talked down-to”. I believe that working WITH the audience as opposed to working AT them is a much better approach and it seems to make the magic more “magical” if you can believe it. That’s my Tip Of The Wand for January. Happy New Year and here’s hoping that 1998 will be the best year of your life!

Advanced Coin Vanishment Sleight

Steve Forster

It is a real pleasure to have this contribution by accomplished magician Steve Forster. The title for this little gem was created by us, but all the rest is his, including the dynamite illustrations! Try this new variation for vanishing a coin. You will find it to be a valuable asset in your magical arsenal!…BJG

  • Hold coin at the top, pinched between thumb and index finger, with the other three fingers curled in.
  • Place bottom edge of coin onto open left hand at the juncture of palm and fingers. See Fig #1.
  • Simultaneously curl left fingers towards palm and allow coin to lay flat onto left palm.
  • just before coin touches palm, insert right pinky between coin and palm. See Fig #2 for exposed view. Left fingers should be shielding pinky action. At this point, make sure the side of the middle bone of the left pinky is in contact with the top of the middle bone of the right hand ring-finger.
  • Note that by moving the right ring-finger forward, the coin can be grasped between the ring and pinky fingers. Do so. Then, by curling the two fingers with the coin inwards, the coin can be brought into the right hand. Do this and while doing so, turn the left hand over with the motion of the left hand starting from the shoulder. (this will cause the left elbow to extend slightly leftwards)
  • Simultaneously, bring the left elbow towards your body while turning the closed, supposedly coin containing left hand palm up while moving the left hand towards your face. Move face to left hand. (to look at fist) Move right hand with coin to edge of table or lap to dispose of same.
  • Make an appropriate gesture, or an in-appropriate one if it suites you!, and show the left hand empty.

If you have performed this properly, woman will faint or otherwise become noticeably upset and men will wonder if you can make their wives disappear…

An Interesting Prediction
Ronald J. Dayton

What in the world makes this prediction any more interesting than any other? I’m glad you asked!

This particular prediction uses props, which once made, may be used over and over again. Secondly, this prediction, unlike any other of which I am aware, makes use of ‘ tongue twisters ‘. This prediction, although employing fairly straight forward mentalism, creates a ‘fun’ atmosphere for the audience. And lastly, you may use the Magician’s Choice force in the routine, or try a slightly different count force I have offered.

THE PREMISE: Five sheets of paper, one colored, the other four white are lying on your close-up mat in a row. The colored sheet has been folded in to quarters and is furthest to your left. There is a slight space, then the row of four white packets, also folded into quarters follows from left to right.

The colored packet contains a prediction word. Each of the white packets contains a printed tongue twister. Spectator # one selects one of the white packets. This is given to him, still unopened. A second spectator is given the remaining three packets and asked to open each, and read what is printed on them.

You now announce that indeed, all four packets had a tongue twister on it…and you had a premonition of a single word which would trip spectator # one up as he read his chosen packet aloud quickly four times in, a row. They are now asked to open the packet they chose The tongue twister is read aloud rapidly four times in a row and amazingly, the spectator slips up on one word. They are now asked to take and open the colored folded packet. The word they read on the colored sheet of paper is the same as the one they mis- pronounced while saying their tongue twister.

THE WORKING: Everything is set-up as explained above. The first white packet ( the one to your left ) has the following tongue twister printed upon it: THE BIG BLACK BUG BLED BLUE BLOOD. The second packet has this: SALLY SELLS SEA SHELLS DOWN BY THE SEA SHORE. Packet three reads: RUBBER BABY BUGGY BUMPERS, and number four contains: HOW MANY CHUCKS COULD A WOOD CHUCK CHUCK IF A WOOD CHUCK COULD CHUCK WOOD.

The word which is concealed within the folded prediction packet is BUG. Your task now is to force the spectator to choose or appear to choose packet number one.

You may, as mentioned earlier, simply use the Magician’s Choice Force. I will now explain an alternative Counting Force which may appeal to you.

You point out that four white packets are used for the selection. They are then to call out a number from one to four, and you will SPELL to the packets to be taken. It is important that you say it in just that way…to the packets to be taken. This could imply that you will take, or remove the packets spelled off…or, it could mean you will take the packet spelled to. It is this double meaning possibility you want to leave in their minds.

If they say ONE, you begin your spelling at the far right and spell off o-n-e. You then push these first three right hand packets off to your front right, leaving only packet # 1 in place.

If they say two, the handling is exactly the same. For the number three, begin your count at the left. T-H-R-E-E spelling will bring you right back to packet # 1. Push it forward to spectator number one and push the remaining three toward spectator # 2. And lastly, for F-0-U-R you simply begin spelling at the right and end up on packet number one at the far left. In each instance the spectator is forced the first left hand packet.

When they try to say this unusual tongue twister four times in a row quickly, trust me, they will trip up on the word BUG. Try it, and you will see that it works. Most importantly…have fun with this effect. If done at a party, the other guests will enjoy seeing the two spectators try to make it through the series of tongue twisters. It immediately changes things to a very relaxed atmosphere. And as mentalism goes, this is a decidedly different approach from the usual serious, almost scientific premises. Enjoy!

February 1998

Ronald J. Dayton
On page 267 of ” The Amateur Magician’s Handbook, Mr. Hay gives a nice, concise explanation of the basics for constructing and handling an Egg Bag. I have always enjoyed seeing a performer who is smooth with humor, and good at handling an audience do an egg bag routine. It always has positive results. Young and old alike seem to enjoy the antics of the elusive egg.

Many performers over the years have given thought to the egg bag. The market has seen the advent of mesh egg bags, fez shaped bags, Santa hats for use with an ornament rather than an egg. And U.F. Grant took the concept to the ultimate logical end, causing the bag itself to change into a funny looking chicken at the end of the routine.

In each of the above instances though, the bag may have been modified in some way, but it essentially was still used for what amounts to a standard egg bag routine. What I am proposing is that if you are considering an egg bag routine, perhaps you can expand its image so it can incorporate the use of several other props and effects.

An Egg Bag is exactly what it states…a bag which carries or in which an egg or eggs is found. But what if you found coins rather than eggs in it, wouldn’t it then be called a Money Bag?!

I see by the glimmer in your eye, you get my drift. A bag, designed to look like a Brink’s Money Bag complete with dollar sign printed on the front, and a light chain and lock used as a draw string would look very nice. When used with jumbo coins for visibility on stage, the thinking performer could easily slip into a full Miser’s Dream routine via the Coin Bag. The close-up worker could use the bag for a jumbo coin routine, then, with a well timed load, do the finale’ production of a huge mock gold bar.

In a similar way, a coin could be marked by a spectator, then vanished only to be found later in a nested set of boxes which had been produced from under the Money Bag/Coin Bag.

Given some thought, it appears that the basic Egg Bag premise can definitely be expanded. I have an additional thought for you to consider in this regard, but first, let me digress to the Egg Bag itself for a moment. Just a thought. What if, at the seeming end of your routine, you produce the egg from the bag and take your bow. As you do, the hand holding the bag swings down and behind your leg where a small but heavy cast frying pan is suspended. The pan is secretly loaded in an instant into the bag which is immediately brought forward. I think this would make for a very memorable finale’. The pan could even be stolen from the back of an assistant as they stand beside you with an egg carton to place the egg/eggs you have produced safely in. Or, another option would be to switch the bag completely for another at the back of your assistant. The method is there for you to work out. Give it some thought.

What other things are bags or bag shaped that might work into an expanded routine? What about a Marble Pouch? Years ago, every school yard had areas for marble players to ply their skills. Now days, the beautiful spheres we vied for then as children are costly collector’s items. I think it would be pleasing for an audience to re-live their childhood with a routine based on that theme. The ‘marble’ might well be a large shooter, (actually, a billiard ball) which would later multiply at your fingertips. The ball might then transform to sponge, and yet another full routine developed. I think there is a lot of potential there for the person willing to work with it a bit. Color changes, vanishes, productions, transformations, you could well run the full gambit of magic with some effort on your part.

Think of things that come in a bag. The list is huge. Consider how these items might be put to use for you. Cookies, chips, pretzels hardware, small toys, craft items, etc., etc.

Other than having things contained in them when they are purchased, some bag shaped containers are used to cover things. The first thing that came to mind…and the thing which inspired the thoughts you are now reading, are the covers golfers use on the heads of their clubs. Tiger Woods has one which looks like a small tiger hand-puppet. These covers would make a unique and clever lead-in to a combined routine with golf balls and golf clubs.

First of all, the golf ball becomes your substitute for the egg. You can go through many of the original moves using the ball rather than the egg…but at the end, the ball can be used for a whole host of things. It can become the multiplying golf balls, or, the diminishing ball. The club which the bag initially covered can become a dancing cane, or it can be made to vanish when rolled in a sheet of newspaper. Actually, it could do both effects if you make a convincing looking club from a marketed plastic cane with the addition of a latex or foam, or even cardboard club head. The cane club vanishes as per the instructions given, and the dancing cane simply depends upon finding the proper balance point and attaching the secret something. Neither of the routines need be lengthy or elaborate. They are just icing on the cake for your basic bag routine.

If you cover a regulation club with the bag, the club can be used in conjunction with the flag used to mark the hole you are playing ( a silk ) for a series of visual penetrations of the club.

A bag made to look like a flour sack could be used in a visible baking routine. The end product being a muffin made from plaster, plastic or rubber. They even have realistic paper-mache’ bakery available in many variety stores. Keep your eyes peeled for this sort of thing.

Be alert for unique or useful items in magic catalogs too which can be incorporated in the routine you devise. Spring Bills for example would make a wonderful final load for the Money Bag idea offered earlier. Bags are also used to cover parking meters. Perhaps you could produce toy cars ( match box style ) from a Meter Bag?!

Even though we have been discussing Egg Bags, this all goes back to what I said when Mr. Hay touched on the Card Box and Card Frame. Take the concept and change it so it has a more casual look, or logical patter theme behind it. This will often make the old, look new.

Use your own imagination and creativity. That, after all, is what I am trying to get you to do. In the world of magic, to be different from all the rest, you must strive to do your own thinking. How many times have you seen a clever move, novel effect, or heard a catchy phrase and said to yourself…” Boy, I wish I had thought of that!” Well, you could have…but someone beat you to it. Don’t just sit there and do what is handed to you.

Enough of my ranting about. Forgive me. I just want you to get the very most out of magic that you possibly can.

Tobacco comes in pouches. The egg bag could now lead to the production of a pipe, and this in turn could develop into the multiplying pipes, or any number of silk and smoking apparatus created by Sam Berland.

Gold Fish come in a clear plastic bag at carnivals…what possibilities do you find here?

If you have seen the text on creativity, you will already understand that what I am saying is to not limit yourself when it comes to thinking of possibilities. A gold fish theme would involve the use of liquids. Why not incorporate a visible fishing routine… or production from a thumb-tip, with a Foo Can or Lotta Bowl? Perhaps the clear bag would give way to a clear fronted, mesh bag type modification…or a bag which is clear on the bottom but still has a darker wide band around the opening. With a jumbo thumb tip, you wouldn’t need a gimmicked bag at all. What an incredible giveaway gift at the end of a routine…a live gold fish in an ungimmicked plastic bag!

If you are an older individual, and have been involved in magic for a while…take any one of these ideas…or different ones you may devise, and run with them. If you are younger, and need a bit of help…I’m sure you can find a dealer or magic enthusiast who will be happy to help you create a routine of your own.

Remember to keep it simple, direct, and real. Story lines people can relate to, or which generate interest to them, are best. As a final for instance…groceries come in bags too. What could you produce…radishes, turnips, plums?? Perhaps a Bananna Bag, and a full multiplying Bananna routine, pickles or hot dogs?! The latex doubles for each of these items are available on the magic market.

That’s all for now my friend. I don’t want to bore you with any.more. chatter. Many possible themes have been offered. Now it is up to you to decide what you want to do with them. Have fun!

March 1998

“Color Cup Transposition”
Ronald J. Dayton
Three plastic cups, each of the same size and shape, are lying on their sides upon your table. The open mouths of the cups are toward the audience. The cups are completely empty. Sitting directly in front of the cups are three sponge balls. One ball in front of each cup. So far, nothing new, right!? Well, what if I told you that each of the cups, and its matching ball, are a different color! Kind of spices things up a bit, doesn’t it? Not only that…but before the magic begins…the spectator himself places the balls under their respective cups. The red ball under the red cup, yellow under yellow, and blue under blue. The cups are not lifted again until the final reveal. And when that does happen, the red ball is under the yellow cup the blue under the red at the opposite side of the table, and the yellow ball is under the blue plastic cup.

All of this happens, seemingly without using a move of any kind, but thanks to my association with Jeffrey L. Campbell, some very subtle trickery is used.

A number of years ago I entered Jeff Campbell’s magic shop in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I had devised an effect I thought he might like to see. It was a chop cup routine…but one that used a clear plastic cup. With that initial idea, we worked our way toward the material what was eventually released in book form as The Crystal Cups.

The whole premise was based on the fact that in a three shell game, the newer sponge rubber ‘pea’ will work under and out of the shell by simply sliding the shell in one direction or another. The pea may be ejected in to the waiting hand, or, under another shell. The Crystal Cups used this principle in some very clever ways. The book is available through Paul Diamond’s Magic, or other dealers. You might want to take a look.

It dawned on me that the traditional cups and balls might be offered an additional bit of business if cups and balls of different colors were used. By simply having an extra blue sponge ball palmed in your left hand…a very visual triple transposition could be performed.

The red and yellow cups are positioned as outlined in the opening paragraph, rather close together just to your left. A bit to the right the blue cup lies on its side with its matching blue ball directly in front of it.

You ask the spectator to assist. They are to place the red and yellow balls under their respective cups. This done, and with the cups nearly touching one another, the left hand grasps the red cup down near the table, and the right hand takes hold of the yellow cup in like fashion. The edges of the little fingers of each hand are resting on the table. You then simply shift or slide the cups a few inches to your left. In that moment, the palmed blue ball in the left hand is allowed to slide under the red cup…the red ball emerges and goes under the yellow cup, and the yellow ball comes out
from under the yellow cup and is retrieved by the right hand. I know it sounds incredible…but if the sponge balls are pliant enough, that’s exactly what will happen. You now ask that they place the visible blue ball under the blue cup. Then, grasping the cup at both sides between your hands, it too is shifted slightly to the side…but this time, the movement is to the right, separating that cup from the other two by an even greater distance. But the side slide will automatically load the palmed yellow ball under the blue cup, and eject the blue ball into the left hand.

Ditch the palmed blue ball in your pocket as you go to it for a mini wand. Wave the wand over the cups…then allow the spectator to lift each cup for the final reveal.

You are left clean, with only the three different color sponge balls, each having seemed to fly invisibly to a different color cup. The fact that you so briefly shifted the cups will be forgotten. The strong point being that the spectators will remember THEY handled the cups and balls at the start and conclusion of the effect!

Finding the proper cups and balls may not be easy. You might try the various color NERF balls currently on the market. The cups will be much easier. Medium size drinking tumblers come in many colors. Or, in a pinch, you might try a garden supply center and use smaller plastic flower pots.

This effect is visually stunning, and completely unexpected. With the mis-direction of the final color reveal…just think of the loads you may be able to shift into the cups for your finale. If using flower pots, carnations in red, yellow and blue might be a nice touch. The ladies in your audience would love it!

Work with the cup shift and loading and unloading of the balls. Watch your angles. Use eye contact to help divert the spectator’s gaze. Better he is watching your face than your hands!

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 copywrite 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 and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.


Advanced Lab 10/97-12/97


Advanced Lab 10/97-12/97

“T.I.P. of the Wand” – October 1997

“Repetition…The Mother of Learning.”
By Bill Wisch

I first heard that line…“repetition is the mother of learning”, from Tom Hopkins, the famous sales trainer. It hit me like a ton of bricks! Why try to rediscover the wheel every time you need something new or different? Take the effects you already do and polish them, re-work them…play with them. By doing the same effects over and over, you not only make them part of you but you also allow for a more creative freedom in what you say and how you perform it.

I work at the Caesar’s Resorts in the Pocono’s in Pa. every Friday and Sunday for four hours, each day. I’ve been there since the spring and have literally performed every effect in my pockets hundreds of times. Believe me when I say you’re never done. You never have a total lock on every effect in every situation. I know that most will blow them away 99% of the time, but I enjoy always trying different ideas and presentations to get even more close to perfection.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s fun and crucial to always be trying new material and different effects. What I’m saying is not to ever stop repeating and repeating your present effects. A great friend, outstanding magician and past mentor, Francis Walsh (brother of Audley Walsh, the world famous magician and gambling authority) once told me another bit of advice that I never forgot…”after the proper amount of practice, if a trick doesn’t work the first time in your performance, make whatever changes you can and try it again. If it doesn’t work again throw it away. Try something else”.

Selecting tricks and effects in magic is like selecting clothing…everyone needs a different size. You wouldn’t be happy with a size 46 jacket if you need a size 40, right? The same thing holds through with the magic you do. It’s as much a part of your personality as the clothing you wear and the attitude you project.

The point of all this is that the effects that work for you are worth the repetition, since you already know they work for you. One final thought, not to be taken literally but to be pondered at least…never change your tricks…just change your audience!

Solid Gold Transposition

Co-Director’s Note: The following is a “Virtual Lesson” that was sent by Bill Wisch to a very talented I.C.O.M student interested in transposition effects. After trying it myself, it was so good! I have transcribed it here for all I.C.O.M with Bill’s permission.

Bobby J. Gallo

Please work the routine with a deck of cards in-hand as you follow these step-by-step instructions.

  • Four aces…alternate colors…square them up and turn them over.
  • Double lift and show them..replace and lay down the top card onto the person’s hand.
  • Carefully! Do this…Count three in this fashion…Count top card of the three as one, count second and third as 2 & 3 BUT, only push the top card from left to right hand singly and then place the second and third card ON TOP of the Single card as you count two and three.
  • Double Lift again showing matching colors to the spectators ace.
  • Put top card on top of the spectators card. Explain that you will cause the cards to change places when you snap your fingers. Do this in a manner as if you’re going to cause the two cards on the spectators hand to change.
  • Snap Your fingers and ask if he/she felt the switch. If they say no, you say dramatically…”I DID!” and turn your two cards over. If they say yes, you say…”GOOD”…ME TOO!” and turn over your cards.

I use it in many heavy situations and KNOW it knocks out even the most callous spectator. You’ll be seeing a lot of color changes and more transpositions coming in I.C.O.M in the near future.

Take Care!

I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician

Part #2

As the endnote concluding the article on Setting implies, arbitrarily separating the components of theatrical production, like the academic separating of the united and living systems of the human body, for purpose of anatomical study, is not to be done in reality, without killing the patient or the performance. Setting is character, is acting, is costume, is make-up, is action, is blocking, is business, is properties (props), is plot and story line, is climax, is denouement, is lighting, is sound, is special effects, is encore, is coaching, and is directing. All components of the theatre are interrelated and integrated, in order to produce living theatre.

Dr. OM’s DEVIL’S DICTIONARY* is a continuing feature of this series of articles which purpose is to provide the reader with a vocabulary, a glossary of terms of Magical Theatre.

A RUNNING ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY* *will be provided, as relevant to the subject matter of each article, and later will be collected in alphabetical order, as a reference tool for members of ICOM. The first items in the Bibliography related to Part I, setting are:

Gassner, John. PRODUCING THE PLAY. WITH THE NEW SCENE TECHNICIANS HANDBOOK by Philip Barber. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. New York, 1953.
(An excellent general introduction by Sterling Professor of Playwriting, Yale University)

(Outstanding. A must on every serious magician;s bookshelf.)

Parker, W. Oren and Harvey K. Smith. SCENE DESIGN AND STAGE LIGHTING. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. New York, 1968.
(Herein lie the nitty-gritty practical details of scene design and construction and stage lighting. Truly hands-on information.)


The magician who does not provide a setting for his performance will have to settle for the accidental setting which is already there. A prepared setting, on the other hand, manifests the place for the character to enter; the world of the magical drama; the environment for wondrous things to happen.

Having provided the audience with powerful hints about the magician-character prior to his entrance, by means of the visual setting which, as well, establishes the TONE and MOOD of the performance, the magician-actor makes his first entrance into his imaginary world of magic.

The magician’s character may be himself, as in real life; and idealized version of himself, bigger or smaller than in real life; or an altogether assumed PERSONA. An assumed persona may in time become the magician’s own true self, or, at least, an ALTER EGO.

The COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE was the improvised ITALIAN COMEDY performed AD LIB, but on the firm underpinnings of stock characters, stock plots, and stock lines. The Commedia dell’ Atre players of the middle ages chose, or were assigned, a single part which they played exclusively throughout their entire theatrical career and real lives. Pulcinella (Punch) was always Pulcinella; Harlequin was always Harlequin; Columbina; and II Capitano was always II Capitano; and so it went among the many other stock characters of the Commedia.

Becoming the characters the players portrayed was not restricted to on stage appearances, alone; the actors actually became the characters they portrayed in real life. They dressed the dress, walked the walk, and talked the talk of their characters, every moment of their lives. They literally came to be their characters.

The Commedia actors were, of course, comedians whose origins might be traceable back to Aristophanes, the writer of comedic satyrical plays, in ancient Greece and to his counterparts Plautus and Terrence, in ancient Rome. The Commedia throughout the middle ages, was constituted of bands of roaming players. During the renaissance, they traveled, from Italy, across France and England, where first Shakespeare and later, during the neoclassical period, Moliere were influenced by them. The English Comedy of Manners of the eighteen century and comedic writers of the nineteenth century such as Oscar Wilde picked up Where Shakespeare and the French Moliere left off.

In modern times, the slapstick characters of the Commedia dell’Arte descend as the great commedians of the modern age: Chaplain, Laurel and Hardy, Toto (in Italy), Cantinflas (in Mexico), Fernandel (in France), Marcel Marcau (in France), W.C. Fields, Harpo Marx, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, and Art Carney; and the great comedic magician’s: CARDINI, CARL BALLENTINE, JOHNNY THOMPSON, and JUAN TAMARIZ (in Spain) were distilled through the British Music Hall and Vaudville, perhaps themselves unaware of their origins.

What makes them great is the uniqueness of the characters they portray. All artists, even Mozart, began by imitating their heros, but they synthesize what they borrow with that which is unique within themselves.

A performing artist must seek within himself for his stage character. The SELF consists as well, of family influences: a father, a brother, an uncle, or a friend. The psychological ingredients which go together, constitute a COMPOSITE CHARACTER; the principle component of which, is the background and experience deriving from the personal life of the magician-actor, coupled with his physical appearance, and his vicarious experience resultant of his reading, theatre going, and studying. Konstantin Stanislavski repeated over and over again, in both his writings and his teachings, that an ARTIST OF THE THEATRE, his term for ACTOR, must be “a man of education.” Magicians should think of themselves as specialized artists of the theatre.

In the legitimate theatre, actors spurn type casting, but recognize the futility of casting against type. A short, middle aged, chubby actor is not likely to make a believable suave romantic lead. Although there are exceptions to every case, the character assumed should be appropriate to the physical reality of the actor-magician. Not that Mel Books could not play a part appropriate to a robert Redford; but no without deliberately changing the originality intended tone, mood, and genre of the production: tragedy would become comedy, and there is nothing wrong with that, if that is what is intended. Unintended shifts of the genre from tragedy to comedy, however, result in nothing more than theatrical disasters. In magical theatre, Juan Tamariz cannot do a Channing Pollack without intending comedy.

Konstantin Stanislavsky was the leading modern proponent of an actor’s seeking within himself to find the emotion he wishes to register through his character, by recalling an actual past life experience with that emotion. If an actor wishes to portray love for an actress on stage, he must dig into his past to evoke the feeling of love he felt for a woman in real life. If a magician-actor does not believe that the magic he is performing is really happening, the magic will not happen for the audience. Only that which is believed by the magician, will be believed by the magical theatre audience. The audience cannot be fooled, but must be made to believe, because the magician believes.

The inner self of the performer prevents his becoming a mere clone of his artistic influences, his heros, and audiences do expect and demand originality. The necessary imitation of the novice in art, is not acceptable in the professional. Originality is not the only attribute a professional magician must possess, but without originality all other attributes such as skill of magicianship and skill of acting do not add up to become artistic magical theatre.

The prevailing point of view among the majority of modern magicians is that the magical performer should appear as an ordinary guy, as himself, perhaps, e.g., Mark Wilson. If such is true, then he must certainly be extraordinary in his ordinariness. The opposing minority point of view is that the magician should appear as an extraordinary man possessed of extraordinary powers, e.g., David Copperfield; yet another minority point of view in that the magician should appear as a less that ordinary man, an anti-hero, e.g., a slightly tipsy character, or a fumbling and bumbling character, who is accidentally able to perform magic, or upon whom the magic happens beyond his control, e.g., Cardini.

There is no controversy here, given the realization that there are different strokes for different folks and whatever works, works. Character and style are, after all, functions of individual suitability and personal choice.

Whatever the character choice might be, ordinary guy, or wizard it had better grasp audience attention from the first moment on stage. A lesson might be applied here from the master himself, the Bard, Shakespeare, who grasps audience attention with his three witches chanting a spell on Macbeth, over their witches’ brew. Even though the audience has never before seen the character, he had better be recognized, accepted, and welcomed for what he is: familiar yet novel, ingratiating, magnetic, amusing, interesting, charismatic, awesome, sympathetic, mysterious, or frightening; it matters not, so long as the audience does not have to figure out, but immediately KNOWS the character.

On the other side of acting from comedic acting, are actors who perform in tragedies, modern problem plays, and melodramas, as tragic characters, Actors so engaged come out of the same traditions as do commedians, but from the darker side of tragedy dating back to ancient Greece.

Notice that the term SERIOUS has not been used to differentiate between comedy and tragedy, because both are serious, in fact, a great comedy will as seriously treat the stuff of life as will a great tragedy. Great comedy will equally wrench the heart. Think of Chaplain’s kitten. Dr. OM does not subscribe to the term PROBLEM PLAY, because he sees the modern problem play as a modern tragedy, even though it does not conform with the description of tragedy in ARISTOTLE’S POETICS. Dr, Om believes that Aristotle would alter his description, if he were making his observations at the onset of the twenty-first century, instead of about four-hundred B.C.

Distinctions often made between the Stanislavskian method actors emerging from actor’s studio and the Technical actors who, as some would have it, merely don a part like a completely covering animal costume. How absurd. Both a technical actor of the stature of Marlon Brando, find the characters they portray and the emotions they emit within themselves. Eventually, method, whether called method or not, evolves into technique, after long practice of the acting art, and the characters and emotions can be made manifest, at the push of an inner button.

In magical theatre, the distinctiveness between comedy and tragedy are better termed: COMEDIC MAGICAL THEATRE and DRAMATIC MAGICAL THEATRE, and will, therefore, henceforth be employed, as coined by DR.OM for this present series of articles on stagecraft and showmanship. Of course, the DRAMATIC MAGICIAN will not be absent of humor and will introduce COMIC RELIEF, just as did Shakespeare in his tragedies. Some of the historical masters of Dramatic MAgical Theatre are: Robert Houdin, the father of modern magic, The Herrmanns, Keller, Thurston, Ching Ling Foo, Ching Ling Soo, Lafayette, Houdini, Blackstone, and Dante.

Even as the identity of the character must be established in the first few seconds on stage, so too must the magic begin immediately or the magician will lose his audience, because they are expecting to see magic. The magic performed should be an integral part of the ACTION, which is the subject of Part III, to follow.


Chekhov, Michael, With a preface by Yul Brynner TO THE ACTOR on the Technique of Acting. Harper and Row, Publishers. New York. 1953 (An Important study for the performing artist)

Christopher, Milbourne. THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF MAGIC. Thomas E. Crowell Company. New York. 1973 (Whenever Dr.OM approaches a new subject of study, the first thing he does is read the history of the field, in order to provide himself with the necessary background for understanding. There is no better history of stage magic than Christopher’s. Highly recommended reading.)

McGaw, Charles. ACTING IS BELIEVING. Holt, Rineharty, and Winston, New York, 1955. (Let the title speak for itself)

Nelms, Henning, MAGIC AND SHOWMANSHIP A handbook for Conjurers. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. 1969. (Right on the mark for magical theatre production. Nelms is both an artist of the theatre and a magician.)

Stanislavsky, Konstantin. AN ACTOR PREPARES. Theatre Arts, Inc. 1936. ( The Bible for performing artists)

Stanislavsky, Konstantin. STANISLAVSKY ON THE ART OF THE STAGE. Hill and Wang. New York. 1961. (More from the master)

Be sure to check out new additions to Dr.OM’s Devils Dictionary for October.

Co-Director’s Note: Those of you who have read the above have already realized that this is a serious educational piece. You would find no more quality were you to take a university course in theatre, for that is what Dr.OM is!, a genuine college professor. Therefore, some terminology may be a bit advanced even for the professional ICOM’er. So Dr.OM has graciously provided a short glossary of terms he frequently uses which can be found in the I.C.O.M Library page next to our standard magician’s glossary.
*Be sure to check out the I.C.O.M Online Library for Dr.Om’s “Devils Dictionary”, a list of theatrical terms worth learning…
** Will also be found in the I.C.O.M Library as a permanent reference.

November 1997

“T.I.P. of the Wand” – November 1997

“The M.A.G.I.C. Word of Showmanship”
by Bill Wisch
This month I would like to begin a series about a most important topic…showmanship.

I will lay the ground-work this month and give you a workable definition. Then in the following months I will expound on the different elements and their practice.

In the late 70’s I did a performance that really opened my eyes…not the magic…but the REVIEW.

The review was in the Linking Ring, I believe, and it stated that my technique was fine, but I lacked showmanship. After I picked up my ego and dusted it off, I began wondering what this “showmanship” was all about and how I could add some to my performances. I looked and looked but there was nothing on the subject. I read “Showmanship for Magicians” by Henning Nelms, and was surprised that the book dealt mainly with ROUTINES rather than showmanship. Next I checked out my Linking Ring and M-U-M collections (going back reasonably far) and noticed that any article or information written about showmanship was quite off the mark as far as developing it or, for that matter, even telling what it was.

I had to serve jury duty at the time and while waiting around for cases I had two weeks to just read one book after another. I decided to read about the great showmen I had heard about and see if there were any traits that were prevalent in them all that gave them the ability to be master showmen.

Of course, Houdini was my first choice. Then George M. Cohan. Next came P.T. Barnum. Now when I say I read books I mean I was a total fanatic about the subject. I really wanted to research each of these gentlemen and analyze their careers.

After reading the biography(ies) and any other information I could find (including going to the Barnum Museum in Connecticut, I came to the conclusion that I must first define showmanship, because nobody had, at least I couldn’t find anybody that could. I asked dozens and dozens of salespeople and everyone would give me a RESULT (i.e.. pazazz; excitement; entertainment, etc.), but not a true definition. I checked the dictionaries and there wasn’t a definition. When I looked up the word, it said…”see show” and that was it. Well, I put in a bit of time thinking of what I felt was the definition, according to the greats I had just investigated and, fortunately, a workable definition came along.

Once you can define it the whole term takes on a different light. Here is my definition (which, by the way, is now used in the Webster’s New World Dictionary: “Showmanship is that quality of performance or display that CREATES and SUSTAINS dramatic interest”! That’s it! I knew it was it because I then could go back and reinvestigate the showmen I had studied and find links from showmanship prowess to dramatic interest.

I’m going to close this month’s installment for now, but I promise that in the next few months you will learn how to create and sustain dramatic interest so easily and so efficiently, that you won’t recognize your work, regardless of what type of show or performance you give. I am genuinely excited about giving you these “secrets” because I KNOW they work! I spent six years doing presentation/demonstrations in the early 80’s for some of the top corporations in America. Believe me when I say the material I presented was , I’m proud to say, cutting-edge and of great value to literally thousands of sales pros in the USA…I have =the testimonial letters to prove it!

So get ready to start the show…manship. See you next month.

The Ring and Wand
Bobby J. Gallo
One of the all time classic effects of close-up magic. This is the one premise that many magicians have built reputations on. The following is a version that is within the technical abilities of most readers. As always, when it comes to routines of this advanced nature, we are here to answer any questions.


The magician borrows a ring as he displays his magic wand. He wraps the ring in a handkerchief and then asks a spectator to hold the two ends of the wand after it has been examined.

He asks another spectator to feel the ring inside the handkerchief to confirm that it is there and to announce to the other audience members present that all is fair.

Next the magician places the handkerchief over and partially around the wand and pulls it swiftly toward him. As the hank comes away, the ring is seen to have penetrated onto the wand!

The effect is done with the use of an extra ring, which you have in your pocket at the beginning. It is a simple matter to obtain an imitation gold band wedding ring that will closely match one that someone is wearing in the audience. In reality, I do not like borrowing rings from the audience and would personally take one off my own finger, have it examined, and perform the trick with that. It is just as effective and you do not run the risk of damaging someone’s ring. After all, gold is a very soft metal.

When ready to perform the trick, get this ring into your right hand and grip it in finger palm position. ICOM Sleight of hand gallery Fig, #17. Take the borrowed ring in your right hand, holding it between the tips of the fingers. Spread the handkerchief over your left palm. Then act as though you are going to put the borrowed ring in the center of the handkerchief but, instead, drop the concealed ring onto the handkerchief and close your left fingers and thumb around it concealing the ring inside. At the same time, classic calm borrowed ring into your right hand.

Take the handkerchief in your right hand and straighten its folds, then give it to a spectator to hold (if the ring is borrowed, do not give it to the person who lent you the ring! They may peek inside the hank and you are sunk!). Pick up the wand in your left hand and transfer it to your right hand, sliding it through the center of the ring held in your partially closed right hand. Keep hold of the wand with your right hand, which is closed around the center portion of the same.

Pick up the handkerchief in your left hand and at the same time ask a spectator to hold the two ends of the wand Ask another spectator to feel the ring inside of the handkerchief and tell the audience that it is indeed there.

Then let the handkerchief lay on the wand beside your right hand. Push it over to cover the ring on the wand, simultaneously taking your right hand from the wand. Then draw your left hand, still holding the handkerchief, quickly away from the wand. This will cause the borrowed ring to spin around the wand, and will reveal it to the audience. This is the focal point of the routine, play it up dramatically! Ask the spectator to remove the ring from the wand and use the inherent misdirection to“pocket” the duplicate ring.

These are bold moves practice them well. With the proper pacing, you will never get caught with the duplicate ring.

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician

Part #3


Once a character has entered the enviroment provided by the setting, ACTION can take place. The magician will most certainly be the PROTAGONIST (principle character) of his magical theatre production, and his professional assistant, or assistants chosen from the audience, may be seen as as the ANTAGONISTS (minor or secondary characters) as may the audience, itself, when interacting with the magician. Action in magical theatre is both ACTIVE (the magician performing alone) and INTERACTIVE (the magician engageing with trained assistants or with the audience as a whole). Assistants drawn from the audience, become psychologically representitive of the larger audience, as a single personification of the audience.

NON-INTERACTIVE magical performance, if there is such, is DISPLAY MAGIC, i.e., the magical artist exhibits his feats of skill and wonder, for the audience to witness without engagement, but not without INVOLEMENT. The audience becomes involved much as it would witnessing a performance of legitimate theatre, dance, or music. If the magician does not feel the electicity (VIBES) from the audience, his performance is not working, even as display magic.

The term ANTAGONIST does not necessarily mean adversarial, although it might. A love story, in book or on stage might invlove a protagonsist, e.g: HE, with an antagonsit, e.g: SHE, in the most amiable and loving way, and the resulting CONFLICT would not mean confliction in the common parlance, but the DRAMATIC TENSION developing from the circumstances surrounding the lovers. So too, the magical artist, his assistants, and audience become involved in the interplay of the conflict of his drama, resulting in a theatrical experience without animosity (unless expresssly intended for comical or dramatic purposes). Of course, theory in the ideal is no guarantee against the occasional heckler, nor the adversarial relationship between magician and audience in CHALLANGE MAGIC. Dr. OM does not subscribe to challange magic, it is not his SHTICK, but, again, different strokes for different folks. Nontheless, to Dr.OM, Magic is ENTERTAINMENT.

Professional assistants should be engaged in the area of action and conflict, not merely wander on and off stage delivering and removing furniture and props. Assistant who do so, are functioning as stage hands, not actors, In legitimate theatre performed without MASKING or CURTAINS, the stage hands are either dressed in black and perform thier tasks vivibly before the audience, as part of the action of the play. Classic examples of expert actor-assistant dramatic interaction with the magician are to be found in Cardini’s Swan Walker, his wife, dressed as a bell hop; Johnny Thompson’s (The Great Tomsoni’s) Pam, his wife; and David Copperfield’s legion of supporting actresses and dancers, not his wives.

Truly fortunate is the successful master magician who can afford the professional services of scene designers and crews, sophisticated lighting and special effects, stage managers and make-up artists, costumes and elaborate settings and stage machinery, coaches and directors, producers, and agents. The journeyman magician, on the other hand, must go it on his own, and is, most of the time, his own PR man, driver, and roady, as well.

There are, of course, magicians of all sorts and purposes; each with his own special brand of magic. Working up an original act and sticking to it is the answer. No one can do it all. Competing with all other magicians and trying to learn thousands of tricks is to create a Frankenstein monster in the mind, with which no one could compete. The magician artist should be entirely himself and be highly selective in assembling his own personal magical repertoire. He should work up a character and an act which is unique unto himself. The focus of Dr. OM’s articles Is primarily upon stage magic. However? applcation to close-up and walk-around magic has been noted. let it be observed, as well, that there are ancillary applications of showmanship and magicianship. As a teacher In the classroom, Dr. OM has employed magical effects to illuminate subject matter in courses taught in ancient world literature and poetry; and sometimes, only to effect a change of pace and stimulate student attention.

Successful businessmen and salesmen have used magical entertainment of clients with good results, as have bartenders, entertainers in general, and all manner of professionals. Dr. OMrs dentist entertains and readys children patients with magic. The

General principles of stage magic can be applied to any pragmatic useof magical entertainment adding another dimension of personality and talent recognition to the layman professional, as perceived by his clients; another level of respect and regard; an ice breaker.

The ICOM course in magic is a superb pathway to accomplishment, both for the professional and aspirant magician, and the general practitioner.

STAGE PRESENCE is acquired by both nature and nuture; a performer is either born with stage presence, like a John Barrymore, and/or learns it through careful attention to his PHYSICAL LIFE (bodylanguage) Being born with the magnificant stage voice of a Joseph Dunninger & is a great gift, but careful attention to VERBAL LIFE and training of the voice is another area of education for the magician-artist. The study of ventriloquism is an aspect of a magician’s verbal life which carries over into stage voice projection and the development of good speech. Remember that even the greatest had their strengths and greater strengths (certainly not weaknesses). John Barrymore’s exquisite voice and profile surpassed his ability in stage movement; Helen Hayes’ movement surpassed her vocal attributes. Dr. OM, many years ago had the honor to write a newspaper review of Helen Hayes, In her perforanance in Luigi Pkandello’s COSI E SI VI CREDE (It’s so, if you think so). In that performance, Miss Hayes excecuted an impossible cross from upstage left to down stage right. Witnessing her cross was worth the evening in itself. The way she broke the cross, paused, turned, gesticulated and then went on again was, as they say, a piece of art. That Helen Hayes had been a dancer in her earlier days is no coincidence. An this happened at the Helen Hayes Theatre named for her. By the way, a performer of magical theatre should read many plays in a pursuit of a deep understanding of stage composition. Pirandeflo’s plays might be a good place to start. His plays deal with the conflict between illusion and reality. In his youth, Dr. OM learned much about magical theatre from having directed several Pirandello plays: CECE, I’M DREAMING, BUT AM I? and THE MAN WITH A FLOWER IN HIS MOUTH. Kopit’s DAD, POOR DAD, MAMA HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET, AND I’M FEELING SO SAD is another great school for studying theatre akin to magical theatre, as is Strindberg’s DREAM PLAY. Magical theatre is, after all, a species of the school of SURREALISM.

Fortunately, continuing education courses, college courses, academy studies, and private studies are usually easily accessible, at least in urban areas. For studies in magicianship, there is, most happily ICOM. Where there is a will there is a way. T. Nelson Downs became an expert coin manipulator during his spare time on the job, as a telegrapher, as did Thomas A. Edison, as a telegrapher, lay the groundworks for many of his future inventions during his spare moments, as a telegrapher. Thinkng out and imaging the verbal and physical life of a performance is an excellent way to prepare for physical practice and rehearsal. Dr. OM speant many hours at the table with his acting casts before putting a play on the boards for rehearsal. The verbal life of a part
MOTIVATES the physical life andshould always be studied first.

Be sure to check out the ICOM Library for additions to the Devil’s Dictionary as well as the “TWELVE COMMANDEMENTS FOR A SOUNDER VERBAL LIFE” Both by Dr. OM!
NOTE: ACTION will be continued in the next issue, and will include Bibilographical entries and: 21 STEPS TOWARD STRONGER PHYSICAL LIFE. In the ICOM Library, Dr. OM section!

December 1997


Ronald J. Dayton

This simple little effect is something I played around with in 1992. It is based on the old magic spot card effect in which, depending upon how the card was turned, and which spots were covered at any given time by the fingers of the hand, the spots would visibly grow in number. In this version, a gummed foil star is seen in one corner of a blank card. The star magically travels along the bottom edge to the center of the card.. .then to the opposite corner. In the end, the star vanishes completely, and is found attached to the back of a playing card previously selected by the spectator.

Place a blank (white both sides) playing card, or white cardboard cut to the size of a playing card in front of you on your working surface. Attach a foil star (color of your choice, but all three stars must match in color) at both the upper and lower left corners. Space them in about one quarter inch from each left edge. Now turn the card over end for end away from you and attach the third star at the center edge nearest you. That’s all there is to it.

Following the simple illustrations, figures 1 through 13, you can work through the moves with card in hand. To begin with, it is held as shown in Fig. 1. Single star faces you, left first finger covers the top corner star at the front. Only the lower left front corner star is visible. with a smooth turn-over action of the card and hand, figures 2 and 3, the card is seemingly pushed through the hand by the left thumb, Fig. 4, and as the card emerges, the star is seen to have moved to the front center edge. The card is now transfered to the other hand, the right hand taking it at point X and displaying it as in fig. 5.

The right hand now pivots back toward you, and the thumb again pushes the card through to the little finger side, figures 5,6,7 and 8. This time, as the card ernerges,the star has traveled to the opposite corner. The left hand first finger and thumb momentarily grasp the partially extending card at Y as the right hand moves across the top front 1/3 until the fingers of the right hand are covering the star at that top front right hand corner and the card can be held as in Fig. 9 by the right hand (This is your view.)

The final turn over is shown in figures 10, 11 and 12. As the card begins to emerge, the lower or front end is blank. It appears as if the star has vanished! The left hand thumb and first finger once again grasp the card at corner 2 ( thumb on tip, finger below) as the right hand moves across the top edge until the first finger covers the center star at that point. The card may now be displayed as in Fig. 13, double stars facing you, first finger covering the single top center star at the front. The card appears to be blank.

Put the card away, then have spectator turn over their earlier selection. On the back they will find the missing star! This, of course is a fourth star which you placed on the card you would force on them during the routine. It’s fast, clean, and has an unexpected climax. Enjoy working with it, and make it all you can!


Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician. Part IV December 1997

Part #4
ACTION, continued

When performing a part in the high school. play, Margie automatically smoothes her hair back with her hand, not as the character she is portraying, but as herself, the audience knows Margie, not her character, is commiting the gesture, which, therefore, intrudes upon tile action of the play. When Bette Davis smoothes back her hair in a film, the gesture is seen by the audience to be made by her character, because at that precise moment the gesture means something in the context of the performance, reveals that which is on the mind of the character, and is unobtrusively part of the flow of the action of the play.

When a magician commits a gesture on stage, it should be MOTIVATED by the action of the magical play he is performing and by the character he is effecting. Just as the provided setting or unprovided bare stage is visible to the audience, so too is every physical motion. of the actor-magician. Every movement should, therefore, be intended, planned, practiced, and rehearsed, as a meaningfully contributing element of his performance, including motion meant to be misdirective.

The actor-magician must stay in character; BE the character, throughout the entire performance, even when interacting with the audience. Consistently BEING the character prevents the magician actor’s street existence from intruding upon his stage existence. The two modes of existence are not the same. The audience knows that they are not the same and can tell them apart. Even when the magician actor’s street existence is the archetype for his stage existence, the two are not synonymous; the street existence must be transmuted into the street-stage existence, or inevitably intrude upon the dramatic experience. The magician-actor himself eventually BECOMES his PERSONA.

Action must develop into PLOT or STORY LINE. Nothing is more unsatisfying in a performance, than a magician executing a series of unrelated “TRICKS” which do not constitute a story line posessing a beginning, a middle, and an end. A magical performance without story line becomes a series of athletic feats, rather than meaningful magical effects which forward the plot of a magical play. Magical performance is not to be seen as a sport, but as a play or playlet, if it is a shorter, let us say, twelve minute ACT. Magical effects should not be seen as a mere exhibition of skill, but as an integral part of the action, As sport oriented as the American is, most fans would soon tire with the mere exhibition of skill. without the drama of the game. Few fans would care to see a basketball star dribble a ball about the court all evening long, without meaningful, motivated action; without the dramatic plot of the game; without having posed the DRAMATIC QUESTION: Which team will win; which team will lose?

The routining of magical effects must be planned, such as each effect contributes to the story of the action arid plot to compose a cohesive play. Story line is not exclusive to stage magic, alone. Close-up magic is drama in miniature, for which the same tenets hold, as in stage magic. The difference is a matter of size. A close-up pad, a table top, a small portion of floor space, or, in stand-up and walk-around-magic, a limited area of room space, serve as the stage, and the magician is still on stage. Anything less than a dramatic presentation results in the execution of mere “TRICKS” or PUZZLES which usually annoy, rather than entertain..

The audience does not want to be made to feel foolish, or to be made to feel that quiz questions are being presented. Whether they consciously know it or not, they want to be drawn into the petit drama of close-up magic, and experience the performance, as if it were, in fact, a full stage production with a plot providing suspense. The question left in their minds should be a DRAMATIC QUESTION, not: how did he do it? Granted, part of the audience experience is in trying to figure out how the magic is effected, but only after the performance. During the performance the audience should be so caught up in the illusionary drama that they share, rather than compete with the magician. In order to share an illusion, the magician must be caught up in it himself. Technically, the experience is made possible through dramaturgy seamlessly fused with magicianship, such that the magical effects do not stick out of the play, but are entirely parts of the play. There is no better misdirection than audience attention. being drawn. away from the mechanics of magicianship by the drama of magical theatre–that’s art. Being so caught up by the drama, the audience has neither time nor scope of attention to figure out on-the-spot how the magician is doing what he does, instead, the audience is drawn into the wonderful. world of shared illusion, rather than witnessing an exhibition of avowed trickery..

Let it be known that everything discussed in Dr. OM’s series of articles should be regarded as objectives toward which to strive, not necessarily to be fully realized. Dr. OM, himself, makes no pretensions about having achieved all objectives, in his own act, nor has he ever witnessed an absolutely perfect magical production, even by the greatest of magicians. Close-to-perfect can be most satisfying, however. Magical Theatre is perhaps more a goal than a scored goal, but in striving to refine, the product gets better and better, in. an approach TOWARD perfection, through planned practice, rehearsal, and performance. Performance is a testing and experimental. learning experience for any performing artist: the moment of truth. A magical theatre piece should be an incremental composition. with as little left to chance as possible, Remember that only perfectability, not perfection is given to man. Dr. OM speaks as a student of drama, not as one who pretends to know the absolute truth. Of one thing he is quite sure: Magical. Theatre is a specialized genre (type, or kind) of the Art of Theatre, in general; and, that which applies to all drama, applies to the drama of magic.

The art of routining individual. magical effects and sequencing them so that they flow into one another, as part of the action and plot, are treated by ICOM’s master magicians. Herein, Dr. OM intends to deal only with the staging context of magical presentation; to deal more with the theatrical aspects, than with the aspects of magicianship. Magical Theatre is a high art when performed at best; an an which holds its place among all the other arts; a most serious endeavor.

The student is urged to early formulate the attitude of the artist, at the very beginning of studies of the art of magical performance. Dr. OM has often been left breathless by the performances of artist magicians of the calibre of BILL WISCH and BOBBY J.GALLO. This is what magicians must ultimately strive for: to leave the audience breathless.

Any rule of art may be broken, if broken awaredly, intentionally, artistically, and beautifully. In order to consciously, productively, and positively break the rules, the rules must be known. The
unaware and accidental breaking of a rule can result in good effect, but rarely. Accident most often is disasterous. When an unhappy accident occurs, it should be discarded; when a happy accident occurs, it should be incorporated in subsequent performances, as an item of growth. There is an old adage among magicians: Study the basics; the basics will never let you down.

*NOTE: Writing thoughts down on paper is a marvelous way to organize and clarify thinking. For the purpose of encouraging members of ICOM to do so, Dr, OM. invites those interested to write to him to express their views on stagecraft and showmanship. Letters will be considered for inclusion, in part or in whole, at the end of each of Dr. OM,s articles, in a new feature section entitled LETTERS TO DR. OM. When appropriate, Dr. OM will respond, comment, or answer questions in an italicised subnote. Dr. Om can hardly wait to hear from you.


Co-Directors Note: This is fantastic! I sincerely hope all who read these golden pages take advantage of this one-of-a-kind opportunity Dr. OM has presented. BJG

“T.I.P. of the Wand” – November 1997

Using The Elbow As A Servante.

I realize that I began a series about showmanship in November and I decided to delay continuance until January to begin the new year and have everything in a new volume of I.C.O.M archives. So next month we’ll delve into some neat stuff and set sail on our “showmanship”.

In 1975, when I began lecturing, one of the most unique offerings (I was told) was the material I introduced on using your elbow as a servante. I’d like to expound on that a bit and also introduce the concept to you.

ELBOW: from the English word “ell” which was a variable measure to the early weavers. It was the distance from the fingertips to the crook, or “bow” of the arm.

Well, since we, magicians, are weavers of illusion we should make use of this unexplored attribute.
There have been an effect here or there using the elbow, mostly for concealment, but as a servante, it seems to have never been effected. Why not? When you sit down you “create” your lap, don’t you? But when you stand you don’t have a lap. Why not “create” a mini-lap (or laps)? Your elbows are perfect to be put into service for just such a task.

I used the technique(s) I will teach to you for a while before introducing them. They work! And they work deceptively well! I’ll keep it simple and basic this time around and expound on it in future months from time to time. There is so much to be written about this that I actually planned a hardcover book entitled “JOINT VENTURES” back in the late 70’s, but finances and others projects didn’t allow the proper job to be done (I had over 550 photos of effects and routines using the techniques!).

Scenario: You walk up to a table and look relaxed, arms folded. You ask if the spectators would like to see something really “neat”. Both hands are empty and you casually reach up into the air and lick out “something” invisible. You give it to a spectator to hold and examine. Naturally they play along. After “examination” you take the object back and make it visible. Believe me, your hands are always empty…you can have sleeves rolled up…you never go to the pockets and still come up with a coin or knife, ball, deck of cards or anything else of similar size.


1) The object to be loaded is in RH finger palm position. The object (ball, knife, coin, etc.) is taken from the pocket just before the effect is to begin.

2) Cross the arms naturally. If the object was finger palmed in the RH that would put it onto the base of the left bicep just above the bend or crease. Naturally, the right fingers conceal the object while the arms are folded.

3) You can approach a table or small group in this relaxed position without any suspicion whatsoever.

The RH leaves the object on the left arm as the arms unfold. It is gripped firmly between the left bicep and forearm. The right arm can now be removed and used to “pluck” an invisible something from the air while the left hand is in open position, with left arm slightly bent retaining pressure on the object and keeping it from view at the same time. Be sure to keep your angles in mind if the object is a little oversized.

The object has been loaded secretly into the elbow. Naturalness is the key throughout the technique. Try the moves your self and eventually, after a bit of practice, you’ll be able to cross your arms and load the item exactly like you would casually fold your arms. It’s like any other magical technique or sleight…make it part of you.

1) After handing out the invisible something to be examined, fold the arms again. This time the RH, instead of being flat on the left bicep, is held in a loose fist between the arm and body. The opening between the thumb and index finger is directly below the object in the elbow.

2) Relax the left arm a bit and the object will drop right into the right fist.

3) As soon as the object has fallen safely into the right fist the hand (with the object) makes a magical gesture as if grabbing something in the air.

4) The RH drops the “something” into the LH. You actually  DO put the object into the LH without the audience realizing it.

5) The LH closes over the object without allowing a flash. Now the RH makes a waving gesture at the supposed empty left fist and the hand opens to disclose the object.

NOTES: The elbow-servant technique should prove quite useful in magical performances, both stage  and close-up. The applications are completely unlimited.

If you use the techniques with your own natural style and manner, the spectators will be completely mystified. Also, the moves can be used to help provide cover at times for the lapping performer at a table…think about it
There are quite a number of stand-up rest positions. This folding of the arms is only one method of using stand-up rest positions. More to follow. Happy New Year!

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 copywrite 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 and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Advanced Lab 7/97-9/97


Advanced Lab 7/97-9/97

Lesson #1


Bill Wisch 7/1/97
“Beauty of style, of grace, of harmony and of good rhythm is based on absolute simplicity.” This profound statement made by the Greek Philosopher, Theophrastus, more than 2000 years ago is still and always will be absolutely true.

I would like to give a few opinions about the subject, this month, the first of I.C.O.M Online. Simplicity is the opposite of complexity. If you think about actions and words as being the tools we use in the art of magic, then keeping them simple would be the best policy. Believe me…it is.

To discuss why is not to experience why. If you have ever wanted to learn a classic of magic, more than likely it has very few steps and a rather simple and easy-to-follow patter line. When you experience the reaction to a classic you realize why the effect is indeed a classic. It maintains attention, interest, excitement and fantasy throughout.

Complexity, on the other hand, usually leads to boredom,lack of interest and inattention on the part of the spectator. Why? Because usually the performer him or herself is so involved in details that the artistry of the acting and the spontaneity of the performance get as far along the yellow brick road as the toll booth.

Think about how you like to see magic done. To the point with the magic just occurring, I would suppose. I know that the more a magic effect, routine or show appeals to me the more direct and involving it is. This is all common sense so far but it amazes me how few performers really create the artistry and excitement of the magic.

There must be some sort of list of rules about lifting a magic performance out of the mundane or boring state? Yes, there is, and simplicity comes at the top.

I taught literally thousands of salespeople about showmanship and selling during the 1980’s. There was no list of rules about creating showmanship at the time so I had to research and create a list myself. This material has proven to be stunning in application and believe me when I say that anyone can use the five elements I found predominant with fantastic results. I plan to teach everything about the subject in the lessons ahead, possibly as a series, so I’m excited about the opportunity to share these secrets with you at I.C.O.M Online, but for now I only mention the fact that keeping a sales presentation simple is one of the most valuable techniques used by the top producers in any selling venue.

Any magic that you now do, just analyze sometime. See if you can’t break things down and get rid of all unnecessary actions and words. You’ll be surprised at the results in interest. Also, it isn’t a bad idea to check out a few books on selling and on acting if you’re really serious about developing your magic into powerful and dramatic performances.

So many magicians, clowns, entertainers, use magic as a “throw-a-way”. It’s no wonder that the general public has little respect for the art. In Europe and other parts of the world magic is reverently performed and artfully prepared. Magicians are looked up to as stars as opposed to little more than a hobbyist with a few secret props or clever strategies.

Please don’t misread my feelings. In magic anything goes to get the effect, but if effects are kept to a simple conclusion and if spectators don’t have to sit through minute after minute of cluttered mayhem, the artistry almost has to show itself.

I once was given the opportunity to write a few words about my teacher, Slydini. His main performance strategy was simplicity of action and word. This was taken to a high art by the great master and even though I’ll never attain that level*, I certainly was amazed and captivated by it.

Theophrastus and Slydini had much in common…they were both right. Keep everything you do and say simple and, believe me, you’ll have a lot more fun…and so will your audience.

*Co-directors comment: Magicians and audiences the world over would argue this point!

Advanced Lesson #2

Stick it in your ear!

By Bill Wisch
This is a “nifty” vanish and reappearance of a small coin of object.

It is most ideally performed with no sleeves or with them rolled up. I’ll describe it with a dime.

Step 1:

The left hand holds a dime at the fingertips.(index finger, second finger and thumb). The right hand comes over to take it and pretends to do just that. However, the dime stays behind and the right hand comes away pretending to be holding the dime.

NOTE: The best way to practice any pretend move or sleight in magic is to actually do the real action several times first. Pay special note to how your fingers, hands, arms, etc. carry out the particular action. Now duplicate the actions exactly when you pretend. This practice technique works and is a valuable lesson because the art if magic comes from the craft of your actions and words.

Step 2:

Bend the left arm at the elbow as if you are going to look at the elbow itself. Notice that the hand comes up to the vicinity of the left ear and the right fingertips(supposedly holding the dime) come to the left elbow/forearm. Now if you can coordinate both actions at the same time so that right (empty) fingertips contact the left arm at the exact same moment, you will have the timing sequence.

NOTE: At the end of both, coordinated movements, try to have the dime (in the left hand) in the opening of the ear. Practice this a few times until it becomes normal to you.

Step #3

The right hand pretends to rub the coin into the left forearm. At the same time the left hand moves away from the ear and is open. All the attention is on the left elbow and right hand rubbing motion.

NOTE: Take your time. Give the spectators a chance to see what you are doing. One of the most violated rules in this art is the tendency to rush through actions. Rushing your magic is one habit you do not want to acquire. Try watching a two hour movie in fast forward on you VCR…get the point?

Step #4

The hands are separated and the coin is gone. The spectators never catch the coin in the ear. You’ll find that having the coin in the ear is a strange sensation at first but the coin stays safely lodged. provided that no quick motion or leaning over is done.

NOTE: Again…take you time at this point and show that the hands are completely empty.

Step #5

Now comes the retrieval of the dime. The left arm bend again as before and the right fingertips go to the same instant that the right fingertips go to the same spot above the left elbow on the forearm. At the exact same instant that the right fingertips get to the forearm the left fingertips take the coin from the ear. All the attention is on the forearm.

Step #6

Without delay, the right arm bends and the left fingertips (with the hidden coin) go to the right elbow and produce the coin as if pulling it right out of the skin of the right forearm.


I have used quarters, nickels, and pennies and also two or even three coins one after the other. The misdirection* is so strong with this effect that the reaction to it will astound you.

I have chosen this effect to open this section of I.C.O.M Online not only to give one of the finest tricks that I use constantly (ask thousands of witnesses…you may be one of them) but to show that expensive props and complicated routines are not necessary to create the magic. It’s not what you do but how you do it. I plan to give many outstanding items to our students in the coming years but this gem will always be the classic effect of “Simplicity” in any mind. I hope you work on and enjoy it.

Co-directors comment: Readers that have reviewed this month’s beginners study would have seen how to make a coin vanish using a tried and true basic sleight of hand method. This routine in the advanced lab is a perfect example of how the same effect can be brought up several higher levels magically and made even more bewildering and exciting using creativity, subtlety and thought.

*Definition: Misdirection:

  1. An action of interest capturing the audience attention.

The Classic Corner

Thoughts on the classic “X-Ray Deck”

Bobby J. Gallo

As stated earlier, there are no tricks like the classic tricks. However, is it possible for a trick to be a classic when it is rarely performed?. I think it is. One such routine that stands out in my mind is the classic “X-Ray Deck”. This gimmicked deck has been around for almost a hundred years. Vernon in various instances even talked about this deck back in his early days. It has been purchased by thousands of magicians over the decades only to be relegated to the dark recesses of the bottoms of most magicians magic drawers.

The purpose of this lesson is to relate the impact of this particular deck. If performed properly, this is the only card trick you need to do in a close-up act. Which, by the way, is fortunate, because the “X-Ray Deck” can only be used for one basic effect. The revelation of a freely selected playing card.

Do “I” use this effect?, truthfully I will say that I only use it on occasion. My repertoire consists mainly of sleight-of-hand. Many working magicians will tell you, sleights are arguably the best route to go. but even when working pure*, gimmicks have their place. I myself after roving* for around three hours, start to lose a bit of coordination due to the natural fatigue that is often associated with doing 500 double lifts, 200 palms, and 700 forces!. So when those times come, the “X-Ray Deck” more than fills the bill.

The “X-Ray Deck” comes with very basic instructions, hence the need for this lesson. Rather than making your own, we encourage you to buy a deck that is ready to go. It really isn’t worth the trouble of making it yourself. That is to assume that you do not already have one. (I’m sure half of the magicians reading this are searching for theirs as I speak!). To our knowledge, a tried and tested handling has never before been taught, so here for the first time is a professional handling of, “The X-Ray Deck!”

The “X-Ray Deck” is divided into two sections. 26 regular cards, and 26 cards that are gimmicked by having an oval shaped hole punched into the upper left hand corners of the cards. This clever secret allows the performer to glimpse* a selected card that is inserted into the gimmicked half of the deck only to revealed in some way at a later time. Fig #1 shows the construction of the cards.

Start by having the deck assembled with all the gimmicks on top of the deck and all the regular cards beneath them with the JOKER being the the first card on top of the bottom stack. This card can then be transferred to the bottom of the gimmicked stack when the halves are separated. See Fig.#2

Start by showing the deck to be all mixed and different to the audience by fanning the cards out, keeping the deck positioned to that the holes are held towards the body. As you fan through the deck locate the joker and cut the deck at this point keeping the joker with the gimmicked half which you retain while giving the spectators the un-gimmicked half. If the spectator requests that he/she takes the other half state that “it isn’t possible due to the fact that this half contains a very magical friend that will aid me in the feat of magic!”

Have the spectator look over their cards selecting any that they choose. (A point that makes this routine “very” strong!) then, while your head is turned, they are to place their card face down into your half. Make sure you maintain a tight grip on your cards so that the cards maintain a squared appearance throughout this process. This also aids in keeping the cards in “your” hands not the spectators!

Now comes a bit of showmanship. With your head still turned, openly square the cards stating that by doing so, you have completely removed the possibility of finding the card and it is now totally lost in your half. (this is what is called “Magician’s logic*”)

Now, turn your half of the deck toward you so that the faces of the cards face the body and the gimmicked corners are in the upper left hand corner of the deck. Then proceed to remove the joker, displaying it to the audience and creating a line*, something like, this is my friend, the joker, he likes to have fun, but tonight he’ll be serious and tell me what card you are thinking of. Hold the joker up to your ear and listen, but at this point, do not be tempted to look at the deck and glimpse the card. You will have enough time for that, just keep acting at this point. Pretend that you are not getting any vibrations or that the joker isn’t telling you anything. Replace the card on the face of the pack once again. casually show it around stating that at this point in time you cannot reveal the card due to the fact that the joker won’t cooperate. Ask the spectator to ask the joker, maybe he/she will have better luck! (this always gets a laugh!)

After seeing that spectators are not having any luck comes the critical move. Turn the joker towards yourself and scold the card for embarrassing you in this routine(don’t scare the kids now!). While you are doing this, use your left thumb to slide the joker slightly to the right leaving the upper left hand corners of the cards exposed for just a second. The selected card will be staring you right in the face through the cut-out holes!

At this point, get the message, and reveal the card in any entertaining manner you wish. Go through the cards, remove the selected card and you are already to do the routine at the next table!

Note: We strongly suggest that you visit your local magic shop and purchase one of these decks from them, however, we will be stocking these in the I.C.O.M Online catalog for those who do not have a shop locally.


  • Working pure: Performing magic utilizing sleight-of-hand as the main form of modus-operandi.
  • Roving: A style of performance where the entertainer strolls around to small groups of spectators exhibiting close-up magic rather than a set stand-up program.
  • Glimpse: A technique used by magicians as well as card sharps to gain the identity of a particular playing card chosen by a spectator or dealt during a card game.
  • Magician’s Logic: Reasonings that the magician uses to persuade an audience that a given routine is fair and above board. This technique aids in misdirection and keeps the spectators from questioning certain handlings in the effect.
  • Line: A scripted piece of speech used by an entertainer to give justification to a trick or routine.

September 1997

X-Ray Vision “Round Two”
Bobby J. Gallo
One of my favorite effects in magic is x-ray vision. In his book, “The Trick Brain”, X-ray Vision or seeing through matter would be part of Fitzkees 19 basic effects of magic. He would have classified it as effect number thirteen “Physical Anomaly”.

The effect is very strong. It is one of the few experiments a conjurer can undertake that actually gives him/her the appearance of supernatural powers. Perhaps this is because we have witnessed superheroes use this “super power” if you will, in comic books and on television. Nevertheless, it has great appeal with audiences and never ceases to amaze me that so few entertainers actually use this type of act in their show. Then again, maybe we should all be thankful of that fact.

In last months lesson, I gave a routine to be used with the classic x-ray deck. Though it is a fine routine, I wanted to touch upon how a similar effect may be applied to stage presentations with the same or even increased effect.

Effect: The magician after being legitimately blindfolded is able to name a single, or number of ordinary playing cards freely selected and placed in a spectators pocket.

Needed: A bandanna handkerchief and a pack of cards.

Working: The main secret of the effect is the way you are blindfolded. When the bandanna is folded and tied around your head, it appears as if there is a very thick layer of material obscuring your vision. However, before the the actual application of the bandanna, you have folded it in a very special way to facilitate vision.

Start by laying the bandanna on your table and accordion pleat each end towards the center without ever reaching it. What you are left with is a thin layer of cloth in the center of the bandanna that can be seen through. Fortunately, you have second avenue with which you can see as well.

After the application of the bandanna around your head, covering your eye’s, look down. You will notice that you have a line of vision unobscured down the sides of your nose. Do not let the spectator tie the handkerchief on. Only the performer should do it. Remember, they are not aware of what you are about to attempt, so there is no reason whatsoever for them to suspect that you are trying to see “through” the bandanna.

Now, after you are blindfolded, take the cards out of your pocket and hand them to the spectator. Have them remove any card that they choose and hand it to you. Take this opportunity to glimpse the card down the side of your nose. Use the transparency feature only to make sure that the volunteer from the audience isn’t trying to foul up your performance in any way. This is the first application to my knowledge of a magical secret being used to keep an audience in check!

Have the spectator place the card in his/her pocket. Use you magical powers to look into their pocket and pick out the card. Repeat the moves again for additional cards. The trick is mainly presentation, so make the most of it.

I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

Part #1

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician
As in the case of artists in all of the performing arts, inclusive but not limited to theatre, dance, and music, the magical enthusiast who would move from the role of hobbyist to the role of performer is no exception. Magical entertainment is an art which requires both magicianship and showmanship. This first series of articles by Dr. OM considers the magical theatre arts components of setting, characterization, acting, costuming, make-up, action, stage blocking, stage business with and without magical props, plot and storyline, climax, denouement, lighting, sound, special effects, encore, coaching, and direction. Dr. OM’s intention is to objectively submit varying points of view on each component, and while expressing his own preferences leave the final judgments and choices to the reader, in terms of the reader’s own personal preference of presentation style.

Professional magicians should appear on a bare stage with few of no stage furnishings and perform magic as would a real magician. This modern contention is at odds with the great magical performers of the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century who performed on elaborately set stages and employed colorful and conventionally magical looking stage furnishings and properties. Dr.OM contends that herein lies the essential stylistic choice of the modern magical entertainer subject of course, to the liberating or restricting demands of the venues in which the magician performs and costs of production.

Clearly, complex stage trappings are difficult to transfer into small platform, floor show, or parlor staging areas. The number of performances per day, logistics of the venues, and transportability are additional considerations of the allowable elaborativenessess of setting. Cruise ship magicians frequently must prepare themselves for staging area entrances in narrow ship’s passage ways. Itinerant magicians performing in private homes, social clubs, corporate hotel banquet halls, restaurants, comedy clubs, school auditoriums, and night clubs each have particular restrictions placed upon them. this present series of articles predicates ideal proscenium stage conditions. As a matter of course each performer must trim down that which is possible under ideal stage conditions to suit the restrictive demands of each actual venue.

The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as a bare stage or bare staging area. If left unaltered by settings, the stage or room in which the magician performs will retain its original visual character, into which environment the magician enters as a visitor reinforced only by his costume and properties. Pulling the audience into his magical world is effected psychologically by the artist magician. Where and when possible, limited stage lighting, if only a follow spot, will provide focus upon that magical world. Otherwise, the magician must depend entirely upon his personality, charisma, stage presence, magnetism, wit, and skill while surrounded by found objects, furnishings, and natural light foreign to the magical world he must create and into which his invited audience must willingly enter in a suspension of disbelief.

On the other hand, stage settings visually and concretely establish the environment of the magician’s magical world. Stage settings set the tone and the mood of a magical theatrical production into which, as the father of modern magic, Houdin, pointed out, the magician enters as an actor playing the part of a magician. Stage setting includes not only scenery or back drop but also stylized stage furnishings and properties which are consistent with the character which the actor/magician is portraying. The portrayed character appears as the protagonist of the magical theatre piece. The protagonist may be a hero, as in the case of David Copperfield, or an anti-hero, as in the case of Johnny Thompson. The hero magician is an actor performing the part of a real magician possessed of real magical powers. The magical anti-hero must be a comedic magician who frequently fails in his attempts to invoke magic.

Dr.OM, himself, chooses to be a comedic magician, an anti-hero, a magician in trouble, a bungler, and a fumbler upon whom the magic happens to his own surprise, rather than the wizard performer of actual magical feats. Of course, as Shakespeare exemplified, if you can first make them laugh and then make them cry–that’s good too! Confessedly, Dr.OM is beyond middle age, rather portly, balding, and neither young nor handsome enough to assume a persona of the kinds assumed by David Copperfield or Lance Burton. Later in the article dealing with characterization more will be discussed about the choice of character appropriate to the physical appearance of the actor magician. In the context of this present discussion of stage setting, characterization inevitably must be mentioned, because the setting does much to establish the character of the actor-magician for the audience. Be it said that the choice of character must be left to the reader on his own terms and in accordance with his own self image.

Having chosen his anti-heroic character, Dr.OM constructs and decorates all components of his stage settings including: scenery, furniture, and props; unless, items such as silks, balls, and linking rings are readily available, given careful and thoughtful selection, in the commercial market place. Generally however, appearing before an audience in a store-bought setting, which has that slick and sterile look of sameness with other magician’s store bought settings, is as lamentable as smiling at an audience with store bought teeth; not that that can’t be done by the right actor portraying the right character. In art anything is possible. However, nothing can beat a lovingly wrought setting which bears the personal stamp of the magician himself as actor-character. Therefore, the serious magical performer must be a jack-of-all-theatrical trades and must acquire education and skills in set design and construction, as well as all of the other components of magical theatre production. The demands are great, but you can ,meet them, and must, because setting provides the place for the magic to happen.

Co-Director’s Note: Those of you who have read the above have already realized that this is a serious educational piece. You would find no more quality were you to take a university course in theatre, for that is what Dr.OM is!, a genuine college professor. Therefore, some terminology may be a bit advanced even for the professional I.C.O.M’er. So Dr.OM has graciously provided a short glossary of terms he frequently uses which can be found in the I.C.O.M Library page next to our standard magician’s glossary.
Be sure to check out the I.C.O.M Online Library for Dr.Om’s “Devils Dictionary”, a list of theatrical terms worth learning…

“T.I.P. of the Wand” – September 1997
By Bill Wisch
“Misdirection…it’s all an act!”
This is the second article I’ve done for I.C.O.M concerning theory. The first subject was, I believe, a most valuable one, since simplicity is vital to the interest level during magical performance.This month I’d like to cover another subject of great importance…misdirection. I consider it the life’s blood of sleight-of-hand-performance.

In 1995 I had the pleasure and honor to lecture in New York City for Assembly #1 for some of the finest and most knowledgeable magicians anywhere. When they asked me to appear they wanted me to cover something that would be new and pertain to the ideas and methods of the great Tony Slydini. I must say I wrestled with what I’d do for quite some time. Then, almost out of nowhere, I remembered what everyone had always said about Slydini…the fact that he was the “master of misdirection”. I knew it, but actually did not know for certain what it was that he did differently from other magicians that actually made him the master of misdirection.

At the lecture I asked the magicians what they felt was the meaning of misdirection. After they got done with the strange looks they actually realized I was serious. One person said it was getting a spectator to look in a different place from where the secret action was taking place. Another said misdirection was an action that took attention to where you, as the performer, wanted it to be. There are, I’m sure, many versions of the same thought…that misdirection takes something someplace. But taking attention away from or to someplace or whatever you do with it is actually a result rather than a cause. In other words…WHAT IS IT THAT TAKES THE ATTENTION AWAY? Most magicians accept the cause rather than the effect…I was one of them.

Slydini was a fantastic actor. His acting ability was so developed that his mannerisms, words and actions always fit his personality perfectly. I believe that the real definition of misdirection is simply ACTING. Think about it. When you move an object from one place to another the audience will follow the action with their eyes. If you move that object in a manner that is suspicious then the audience will become suspicious. If you move that object in a natural manner then the audience will not pay it any mind or think anything was abnormal. Now, if something must be accomplished that you don’t want discovered, then in order to carry out the task, secretly you must act normally with another action; by the other hand; the eyes; the turn of the head; body shifting…ANY normal action that people will notice instead of the secret action. That’s where the acting comes in.

Slydini acted so naturally that any secret action went totally unnoticed…even after having seen the effect many times or even being shown the secret! When you see the term misdirection printed in the instructions for a magic effect or routine try substituting the word ACTING. In fact, the best advice I can give about misdirection is the same I mentioned to the S.A.M.assembly during that lecture…take notice of how you normally do things. It sounds ridiculous but pay strict attention to how you perform natural actions…moving an object…picking up an object…placing an object down…ANY natural action you perform when you do you magic. It’s absolutely amazing how easy it is to divert attention when you think of it as doing a natural action as opposed to having to just DO something to get attention. I remember Slydini freaking out when he saw a well known magician lap a ball during a cup and ball routine by just bringing his hand back to the edge of the table while he moved the other hand. It was on a TV show we were watching and Slydini yelled out, “he didn’t even move his body forward when he moved the object with the other hand!”. The magician had simply moved the hand to the edge of the table and dropped the ball into his lap, and even though he moved another object while he did that,everyone in the viewing audience, magicians and lay people alike, saw and noticed the lapping move.

I could probably beat this premise to death…maybe I already have, but I certainly expect to continue discussing this topic from time to time as other thoughts and ideas come to me. I just wanted to get the basic thought to you so you could think about it at your leisure. One thing for certain…there was a reason Slydini was the master of misdirection…it was all an act. He was a masterful actor and the misdirection just came naturally. It will for you too if you give it some serious thought.

Beginning this month you notice that I have entitled this page “T.I.P. of the Wand.”The T.I.P. is an acronym for “Theory In Practice”. I’d like to make this a monthly discussion of a piece of magical theory being put into actual practice…

The Riding Angel Penetration
“A World-Class Feature Close-Up Mystery in the Miracle Class!

Ronald J. Dayton
I will be the first to admit that the name given to this effect is a bit bizarre. But once you understand the working method behind it all, things may seem a bit more logical.

This is the way the effect appears to your audience. First of all, an ungimmicked wine glass is standing to your left on the close-up mat. This is a stemmed goblet, approximately four inches in height. The interior of the glass itself is about two and one quarter inches deep. The opening of the mouth is nearly two inches wide. The base is slightly larger in width.*

In your right hand you are holding a cased deck of Bicycle Rider Back playing cards. The deck is held at one end between the first finger and thumb of the hand.

You ask for a loan of a quarter. The coin is received in your left hand and openly tabled. You casually show the card case in your right hand front and back then the case is carefully placed over the mouth of the wine glass. Both hands are used to position it. The case effectively makes entry into the glass impossible.

The borrowed coin is now picked up in the right hand. The right hand moves over to and above the cased deck. With a quick tap, the fingers of the right hand bring their coin down on the top of the case. In that instant, the quarter is seen to visibly penetrate the ungimmicked case and fall into the bottom of the wine glass. The right hand lifts and is seen to be empty.

The card case is lifted from the mouth of the glass and is set down on your table. The glass is taken by the left hand, and the coin is poured into the waiting right hand. You then transfer the coin to your left hand after setting the glass aside. The coin, glass and card case may be freely examined if so desired.

METHOD: First of all, it is important to note that the color of the ink on the back design of any given deck of cards is usually not as dark as the matching design printed on the back of the card case itself. It will be necessary for you to make a color photo copy of the card case you intend to use. Open the case and carefully remove the cello cover. Now carefully disassemble the case…opening out both top and bottom flaps so the case may be flattened. In this flattened state, make a color copy of the back design on the case. Reassemble the case. Put the deck back in and slip on the cello covering.

Looking at the card design you have copied you will see two circular areas which have the image of a cupid or angel riding a bicycle within. These circle are very nearly the exact same size as a U.S. quarter. Place a square of carpet tape on the back of the color copy sheet so it is in the same area as the two angel circles. Now, with a good pair of scissors, carefully cut each of the rider back circles out. Make the cut just above or outside of the thin blue line within the circle. Once this is done, peel the backing off from one of the circles and adhere the rider back circle to the tail side of the quarter. You special gimmick is complete. Keep the backing paper on the second circle and retain this as a spare gimmick.

Just before you’re ready to perform this effect, position the circle gimmick over the lower circle on the card case. This is the one opposite the top flap. The first finger of the right hand rests on the chest of the angle, the thumb grips the deck at the opposite side or front of the deck.

With the visible wine glass in place upon your table, the loan of a quarter is made. You follow through as explained earlier. Casually flashing the card case front and back will not reveal its secret. Now, using both hands, carefully set the coin and case on the mouth of the glass. The tip of the right hand first finger can assist in pushing the coin edge flush with the outer surface of the glass. You now pretend to pick the quarter up off the table with your right hand. In reality, it is lapped. The hand now moves over the top of the case, and with a downward tap it is pressed against the case. This tap dislodges the hidden coin which will fall, nine times out of ten, heads side up in the bottom of the glass with your left hand, covering the interior of the glass briefly until you know the result of the coin fall.

The empty right hand is shown casually, then it lifts the case off from the mouth of the glass and sets the cards aside. While this is being done, the left hand goes to the lap and retrieves the borrowed coin. The left hand then lifts the glass and pours the gimmicked coin into the waiting right hand. Using a shuttle pass once the glass has been tabled, you seemingly place it into the left hand. The gimmicked coin is lapped, and the borrowed coin is tossed from the left hand on to the table. Everything may now be examined.

An alternate handling..the borrowed coin is actually picked up by the right hand and openly placed on top of the card case. Now, when you make the tapping motion, the fingertips of the right hand come down on the deck dislodging the gimmicked coin. The right hand fingers momentarily cover the borrowed coin. The thumb of the right hand now pulls the coin back, down and around the edge of the case, and flat against the underside or back of the case. This is a bold but pretty move if you take the time to perfect it.

The case is now picked up by the right hand in a simultaneous action and placed on to the left hand. This deposits the borrowed quarter right where you want it, on the palm of the left hand.

The left hand then tables the card case and immediately reaches to pick up the glass by its stem. The visible coin is poured into the right hand. Left hand tables the glass, then the right hand shuttle passes the gimmicked coin, seeming to place it into the left. In reality, the gimmicked coin is retained in the right and lapped as the borrowed coin in the left is then displayed. Again, you are clean, and all props may be examined if you so desire.

If the gimmicked coin should have happened to have fallen gimmick side up during this handling, simply execute the cover move with the left hand. Lift the case and borrowed coin from the glass with the right hand. Table the case and lap the coin. Do a full turn over the glass with the left hand to unsure the gimmick comes up tail side up on the right hand. Set the glass aside. Secretly get the borrowed coin with the left hand as the gimmick is displayed in the right. Pretend to transfer the coin in the right hand to the left. Lap the gimmick and toss the genuine coin out for examination or simply return it to its owner.

If you would like, Bill Wisch has suggested holding the gimmick secretly in place with a rubber band which is around the deck from the start. This is a great idea. It allows you to carry the set deck in your pocket. Remove the wine glass from your case…and the deck from your right hand pocket. Openly remove the band, retaining the gimmick behind as explained earlier.

Make the gimmick coins in both red and blue. This offers you variety…and often, you are able to borrow the deck itself, and the host will be amazed at what you can do with it.

Try this effect many times for yourself, and then for a handful of friends you trust. Work out the angles and handling ploys. Find out for yourself if you’d rather use the left hand covering ploy of the glass in every instance or not. In all fairness, it would probably be best to do so rather than tip the working method.

The rounded bottom of the glass I have described seems to control the coin rather well. That is not to say that you shouldn’t try a variety of glasses to find which will and will not work. Never take one suggestion as THE rule of thumb. You must find your own individual way to success.

*Of course you may experiment with different types of glasses and cups. Young magicians may find it difficult to obtain a wine glass therefore any plastic drinking cup will suffice.

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