Beginner’s Study 1/00-6/00


Here it is! Part II of the marketed magic of Bobby J. Gallo! What is funny about this effect is that when it was originated over 15 years ago, I had no idea that there were similar methods out in the magical world. I really thought I had an original method never before discovered! However, many magicians after purchasing my effect claimed that my handling was actually superior than most. So here it is……BJG

JUNE 2000

(Quite possibly the most direct and effective version of Ring Flight)
Bobby J. Gallo

The Wizard borrows any finger ring from the audience. After certain by-play on the part of the performer, the ring is wrapped in a handkerchief and held by the spectator! (that’s right the spectator actually feels the ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Then the wrapped ring is tapped by a pencil and vanished right before the spectator’s unbelieving eyes!.

The performer then patters that the ring is in mid-flight transit from the handkerchief to his pocket.

A small handsome key case is now taken out of said pocket, shown on both sides, and is completely sealed. It is unzipped and opened in front of the spectator, and as impossible as it may seem, THE RING IS SECURELY FASTENED TO A HOOK ON THE INSIDE OF THE CASE! FEATURE EFFECT THAT IS WITHOUT PEER!


Obtain a small leather key case. The kind that can be zipped up the side and has small hooks for fastening the keys inside. You must have the kind with hooks! No other variety of key case will work. I used to supply a really nice genuine leather case with the trick when I marketed it years ago which back then sold for $10.00. The only preparation is to take one hook inside of the case near the middle and open it more than the others so that and object such as a key or ring (heh, heh) can be easily slipped on and off the particular hook easily. This hook is now stuck up, out of the case so that it hangs outside and is clipped to the front of either the shirt or inside jacket pocket. In other words, have the whole case inside the pocket with the opened hook clipped on the top edge of the pocket.

You also need the special handkerchief ring vanish. This is easily made by dropping either a ring of your own or a metal washer into a devil’s handkerchief and your all set.

The case is in your pocket with hook on top. and the devil’s hank is in your right jacket pocket, or on your table.


Start by Pattering that you are going to give everyone a flying lesson. You ask to borrow a ring, then having obtained it you display it while taking out the handkerchief with the other hand. You then make a switch under the hank, letting the spectator feel the duplicate ring instead of the real ring! Palm the real ring, (either in the classic palm or finger palm) put hand under the coat to get a pencil. At this point, you are actually hooking the ring into the key case hook in one continuous motion as you take out the pencil. Practice this move thoroughly because it happens to be the most important move of the effect. The spectator’s attention must not be drawn to it but rather just think that you were actually trying to obtain a pen or pencil. (use a pencil or small magic wand. Pens leak and will ruin your shirt!)

After having obtained the pencil, you execute the ring vanish. Take the devil’s hanky by the corner and shake it. Thus proving that rings really do fly. The just do so invisibly. (hank can either be held by the spectator the whole time or placed on the table, the latter is the safest but it is not as effective.) After a little bit more by-play, reach undercoat, grasping the key case, and holding the clipped ring that is sticking out well into palm position.

Bring the key case out making sure that none see that the ring is in your palm. Rotate the case showing that it is sealed. Unzip the case and turn the case over. At the same time, the keys are dropping* you remove hand covering ring, This makes it look like the ring dropped out of the case along with keys. Ask the spectator to identify his ring, and bow to thunderous applause.

Note: when taking the ring out of the case to hand back to the spectator, make it look like your having a small bit of trouble taking the ring off the hook, thus proving that the ring was tightly in the case, to begin with. (That’s Magic!)

* (oh, I forgot to mention. Go to your local hardware store and get a bunch of those neat multi-colored blank keys and fasten them to the other un-gimmicked hooks in the case. This makes for dynamite and showy presentation when you finally fling open the case at the climax!)

Additional ways of obtaining the spectator’s ring.

I. Abbotts Ring Box.(available at Abbotts Magic Mfg.)
2. The old thimble move. (Magic without apparatus by Camille Gaulter, Tarbell Course or I.C.O.M Sleight of Hand Gallery)
3. The Devils Cannister. (No longer available, but was a great method for the stage. I just didn’t like the asbestos lining)

End Notes: The method of Modus Operandi used in this effect is based on an idea I found out later, was originally used by Karrel Fox. But in his version, a Trifold case is used. This version in this utter miracle uses the zipper case. Making the effect, handling, and the impact on the audience different to certain degrees.

Try this at your next kid show! I used to give out monster rings as inexpensive prizes to the kids. Since they were all different colors, I could then borrow one, have the color noted, and proceed with the trick. The kids LOVED it! (Hey, maybe I should do this again? hmmmmm.)

Always take care when borrowing a spectator’s ring. In this day and age, it is not uncommon for someone to claim that you damaged the ring that they lent you. How to eliminate this risk? Unfortunately, there is little you can do other than 1. not perform the effect. or 2. have your own collection of inexpensive rings in a small box (similar to the kid show method), have the spectator choose one, and proceed with the effect. Is this method just as effective? Probably not unless you have a stellar presentation, but it is a lot safer!

Please practice this at least a dozen times before performing it. Such an effect does not deserve anything less.

According to the late Al Koran, whose magical genius is legendary, the perfect place for a ring flight is either in the middle of your act or to close it. It is that Powerful.

May 2000

This month as well as next month I will be featuring two “previously marketed effects” of mine from a decade ago. These two effects are actually the two “first” effects I ever released and both were well received within the magic community. I have included the “actual instruction sheets” from the effects with the only addition being the inclusion of instructions on making the necessary props. I hope you enjoy them…BJG

(Visible Card Index Wallet)
Bobby J. Gallo

You will need to obtain an inexpensive bill-fold type wallet. These can be found at any dollar store and are usually made out of vinyl to look like leather. The inside must have the obligatory plastic sleeves where pictures, credit cards, and identification usually reside.

Now, take scissors and cut a small “V” notch in each of the plastic sleeves so that any card or slip placed into the sleeve can be easily removed in a few seconds without fumbling. Do this with all the sleeves. Cutting the notches in locations that will make it easy for you to locate them when the time comes. Then fill the sleeves with pictures, cards, or I.D. to make the wallet look genuine and normal.

The wizard displays a handsome leatherette wallet. Out of this wallet he shows a prediction business card, back towards the audience. He replaces the card in the wallet for all to see. The Wizard then asks the spectator to choose any ESP symbol, color or single-digit number*. When they finally do this, the prediction card is taken out of the wallet AND IT IS SHOWN TO BE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT IN MATCHING THE SPECTATOR’S CHOICE!!! (Remember, the choice by the spectator is Free) “NO FORCES”

This effect seems to good to be true. To the audience, there seems to be no way that trickery exists. But remember the unique construction of the wallet, you will see that the windows that normally carry your credit card, pictures and I.D. Are now a visible Index that lies right under the spectators nose. First you will need a number of your own business cards. Put on them a number of ESP symbols etc (* as above). Then load each one into one of the windows in the wallet. On the reverse side of the card, put a card, picture or I.D. in the window so that it covers the the prediction side. repeat this procedure with all the windows Now make a duplicate set of the E.S.P symbols, etc. for your performance. You are now set to perform an impossibility.

Spread your second set is prepared cards out on your table or if working on a platform have your assistant hold them up high. Use a great deal of showmanship in having one of the symbols selected and placed into the wallet. Tell the audience that you are doing this merely to show that you cannot tamper with it in any way (which is exactly what you ARE doing!).

When it is finally known that a decision is reached and the secret move has taken place, ask the spectator if he is really satisfied with his choice. What you are really doing is locating his card in the index and pulling it out while you are pattering.

After you locate the card, take the phony prediction and slide it into the back of the sleeve into the inner lining of the wallet (this should just take a few moments) Now close the wallet around the correct prediction that you have taken out of the index. bring the wallet down to the table and slide it out. Proceed to show that you are correct and bow.

This is one of those moves that takes so long to explain but in reality, takes just a few moments. Try it and you’ll see. It is one of the cleanest prediction effects possible.


  • Show phony prediction, back towards the audience.
  • Place in the wallet in back inner lining sleeve out of sight or wherever you can hide it quickly.
  • Ask spectator to make a choice.
  • Locate the choice in the index and pull it out in the two blinks of an eye.
  • Reveal it to the audience and be prepared for millions of screaming fans!

April 2000

The Card Putter
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is an effect that is equally effective with kids as it is for adults for two entirely different reasons. Just do me one favor. Before you jump ahead to read the method, please visualize the effect that it would have on an audience.

The magician has a card selected from a shuffled deck and returned to same. The deck is again shuffled and then tossed face down on the floor where the cards are scattered with the performers foot over an area of about 4 ft. square.

A golf putter is then introduced. If performing for children, this can be a miniature golf putter. What child cannot relate to miniature golf? Of course you would tailor your presentation accordingly.

The performer then places a golf ball on the floor and with a great deal of concentration, puts the ball toward the cards where it then comes to rest on or near one card. The other cards are then cleared away very fairly and slowly so there is no mistake as to which card the ball is resting upon. When that card is picked up and turned around, it is seen to be the selected card!!! This blows them away big time!

Don’t hate me for the simplicity of this stellar presentation that can actually play on the largest of stages! Besides the putter and ball, it uses a one-way forcing deck! (deck where all the cards are the same) Yep, that’s it! So it doesn’t matter where the ball lands when you put it. It will always be the selected card. Sneaky huh?

So with the phenomenal popularity of golf these days, do yourself a favor and give this a try. And if by chance you work in country clubs, Card Putter is the absolute best trick on the planet.

Well, it looks like it didn’t take too long to explain this one, but sometimes the real good tricks are the simple ones. That doesn’t mean this will not take some practice hitting the ball so that it will at least stop rolling within your 4-foot circle. And since the method is so easy, I expect each and everyone reading this to put together an academy award-winning presentation for it!

Remember, this I.C.O.M Beginner’s Study trick may become the highlight of your show, and that would be a real hole in one!

March 2000

Easy Encore Card Stab
Bobby J. Gallo

In his book “Professional Presentations – Supreme”, The late great Al Koran explains the routine that he used as his encore effect. The one trick that could top even his closing effect. It was a card trick called The ENCORE CARD STAB. It went something like this. A spectator would select a card and place it in his pocket. Al would then say that he could not locate the card due to the fact that the spectator was holding it so instead he would find the card that was opposite the card in the audience members’ pocket. For instance, if the card was the five of clubs he would locate the five of spades, etc. etc. After much by-play, he would pick-up a butter-knife from one of the tables (these were always available due to the fact that he was a supper-club magician). He would then thrust it into the pack locating the card that was opposite the spectator’s, then revealing it with as much drama as he could muster.

I will not reveal “his” method because it is not my ethical right to do so. If you want to learn Al’s method you will have to locate the very hard to find, now out of a print copy of “Professional Presentations” to do so. But even if you had the good fortune to find a copy (it’s one of my favorites), good luck. Why do I say that? Well, being very intrigued by the fact that there existed a card trick that had the power to act as an encore, I set out to learn it and put it to use. When I read Al’s method I nearly fell over from shock. It was incredibly involved, made the use of a “stacked deck”, using the butter knife as a “shiner”, and a method of locating the opposite card that was anything but dependable. So much so that Al gave “outs” in the likely event that the trick did not even work! But hey, that’s the price you pay for a miracle I guess!

That being the case, I set out to develop the exact same presentation but with a method that would work 100% of the time so that I could devote all of my effort to the presentation. This is what I came up with.

To perform this trick, merely locate two opposite cards (let’s say the five of clubs and the five of spades). Place one on top of the deck in preparation for the “Slip-Cut Force” (See I.C.O.M Forcing Primer in the Archives), and the other five anywhere in the deck with sizable “Crimps”(See I.C.O.M Glossary) in the corners of the card.

Now, “False Shuffle” the cards keeping the top card intact. Execute the Slip-force, have it noted and ask the spectator to place it in his pocket. Now take a butter-knife (always use a dull knife. Even Al was wise enough to point this out in his book!) Hold the deck by the ends and you will easily spot the crimps in the card you are looking for. Guide the knife blade slowly under the card (easy due to the crimps) and insert it. Now cut the deck at this point and have the audience note the card that you “randomly?” cut to. Then have the audience name the card that “should” be in the spectator’s pocket. Have him/her take out the card and dramatically reveal it to the audience……….. I think Al is smiling!

February 2000

Impromptu Marked Deck
Bobby J. Gallo

At first reading, the I.C.O.M members may dismiss the method as being “too simple”. Indeed, this lesson is more about a “method”, “technique” or “modus operandi” than it is a particular trick. But please keep in mind that this way of gaining knowledge of a selected card has been used by no less a legend than England’s celebrated Al Koran who used it with teacups rather than playing cards. It has also appeared in ancient texts such as “Hermann’s Wizards Manual” So we know that it is at least 100 years old.

The magician asks a spectator to select a card from a shuffled deck and note it’s value. He/she is then asked to hand it to the magician “face down” in the magician’s palm. The magician takes a moment to study the weight of the card and then asks the spectator to take it back and bury it into the deck of cards. The cards are now shuffled.

The cards are taken by the magician and dealt onto the table slowly and deliberately. The magician taking time to carefully weigh each one in the hand. At one point the performer stops, dramatically turns over a card and it proves to be the selection!

Requirements and method:
Needed is a “well-worn deck of cards”. You will notice that after a bit of handling, most decks of cards will develop all sorts of markings on the faces and backs. You might say that they turn themselves into an impromptu MARKED DECK! and that is the secret.

The key to success in this method is to perform this slowly (dramatically). Once the spectator selects a card and you have it placed face down on your palm, you pretend to note the weight of the card. You are in fact examining the back of the card for any telltale mark! With a little practice, this becomes very easy. I myself have used this method in gambling demonstrations and found it to be VERY effective. The rest is just pure showmanship.

It is easy for me to see why this would be such a popular method 100 years ago. I imagine new decks of playing cards were harder to come by (not to mention expensive) and thus almost all of the decks’ magicians used would be prime for this trick. But in our modern-day and age, this is a gem that is perfectly suited to those occasions where you would borrow a deck of cards from a friend or at a party. Little do they know that they indeed have in their possession a professional MARKED deck of cards…

January 2000

“Magic Under Cover Work”
Ronald J. Dayton

What a bizarre title for a discussion of magic…wouldn’t you agree!? But it seemed logical enough to me when you consider I intend to talk about silks. They are, after all, the most widely used object with which to cover another prop I can think of other than the hands themselves.

I would imagine that the number of effects created for, and using silks in combination with other props is surpassed only by the number of card effects we have at our disposal. Silks are so beautiful and elegant by nature, they hold strong appeal for all individuals in your audience. In particular, they are enjoyed by women. This is important for the performer because you want to include and please as many spectators as possible. Things of a more romantic nature tend to draw the ladies more deeply into your routine.

Those among you who have never worked with silks before may well wonder just that the range of their potential may be. Some members of the magic community who are more knowledgeable than I may disagree…but I firmly believe that the purchase of a number of quality silks in varying sizes and weights may well be one of the most significant purchases you can make for yourself. Your first purchase however should be the three-volume set of books…Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic. This is a veritable treasure trove of information. You will learn not only hundreds of effects…but more importantly, the care and handling of your silks. That knowledge alone will allow you to protect your investment in silks, and they could well last you your entire performing career.

Silks will achieve almost any effect you can name in magic. They are used in color changes and blendo effect, productions, vanishes, transpositions…burned and restored, cut and restored. Performers have presented growing and shrinking silks, silk fountains, animated and self-tying silks. Color choice effects fall into the realm of mentalism. Silks have been transformed into liquids, caught at fingertips, floated and danced in mid-air. When tied to a cord or ribbon length, silks of different colors will visibly release themselves when their color is named. Silks have penetrated rings and ropes, cards, coins, and wands…and in turn, have been penetrated by wands and burning candles themselves. Printed drawings on silks have visibly changed while the corners were held at the fingertips of the hands.

Almost every object you can name within reason has either vanished, transformed, or been produced from beneath a silk. In certain card effects, silks have been created to reveal the value of the chosen card. Beautiful Dragon Silks have graced the stages, and been used as foulards for the floating Zombie Ball. Dramatic dancing silk routines have been presented by men such as Copperfield. Classics such as the Sympathetic Silks, and Patriotic Silk Blendo effects as well as presentations such as Soft Soap routines have been offered for our enjoyment. Incredibly beautiful printed silks and streamers have been used as backdrops for the grand finales to large stage productions.

There are also many marvelous ways in which to ‘gimmick’ a silk to enhance or indeed, enable you to create a given effect. One of the first to come to mind of course is the thread attachment. The hem of a silk will also allow thin wires and things of this nature to be inserted. Snap fasteners, velcro, and magnets may be positioned where needed on the silk to facilitate its attachment to another object, silk or pull. I have an opening silk production at fingertips of my own creation in which one end of several rolled silks are attached to each fingernail of my hand with rubber cement. A bit extreme perhaps…but, very effective and unexpected.

Silks of course may be altered by sewing in special pockets or forming the halved silk into a container itself. Many brilliant pieces of magic are made possible by attaching the end of a reel to a silk. Entire booklets have been produced on the subject, and are readily available through your favorite dealer. Booklets are also available detailing entire routines with silks and related objects. With a bit of work and thought, entire acts can be created around the majestic silk.

This entire discussion may well seem a bit trite to those who have been around magic for a while… but I felt it was a worthwhile topic to bring to the attention of those among you who are just learning to walk before they can run. The economics of the purchase of silks…quality silks, may dictate that you buy only one or two at a time…and gradually build your supply. The good ones are not cheap. But as with any quality prop…your investment will be repaid many fold. The silk is one of the most diversified articles of magic I can think of. It may be combined with a greater number of other props than any I can think of. And, as I have stated earlier…there is not one effect I can name which the proper silk or streamer will not achieve.

Buying ‘tricks’ is the initial compelling thought in the mind of most beginning magicians…but in all honesty…it is not the best way to go. A single trick, unlike a specific prop or utility device, is nothing more than a single trick. Very few can be expanded upon to give the novice magician good dollar value. Things such as a thumb tip…top-it, a wand, silks, ropes, rings, certain mechanical coins, and cards all provide good value as physical props. They are tools to be used with the most valuable purchase you can make in my estimation…and that is BOOKS ! Videotapes are an excellent second choice as well.

This is where the very heart of magic can be discovered. Books are the element that allows you to breath life into the physical props you have gathered. And the physical props we assemble have a definite order of value and range as well, which will be discovered as your knowledge of the art increases. It is our task to determine their worth to us as individuals and performers. I am certain that silks will be very, very high on the list.


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.

Beginner’s Study 7/99-12/99


December 1999

“Slippery When Wet” Aces
Bobby J. Gallo

The performer asks if there are any “Poker Players” in the audience. Whatever the answer, four spectators are selected and asked to stand with the performer in a circle. The magician then takes a deck of playing cards and shows them all to be mixed and ordinary. He then asks each spectator to select a card by saying stop while the magician riffles through the cards with his thumb. He also instructs them that as each card is selected, they are not to look at it but rather to extend their arm keeping the card face down so the identity remains hidden until all of the cards have been selected.

After all four cards have been selected, the magician says, “on the count of three, turn all of your cards face-up!” One, Two, Three! When the cards are finally turned face-up it is seen that the spectators have all selected the four aces!

Simplicity itself! To start, all four aces are on the top of the deck in no particular order. I just fan out the cards keeping the top stock hidden while showing the spectators that all are mixed. You can even stack the deck with them looking on stating that you are actually stacking the deck the way gamblers do and after you are done you will proceed to give them a gambling demonstration! This works great and actually enhances the trick!

You then proceed to slip-force (hence the title of this trick) the four top aces. That is all there is to it! To see an explanation of the slip-force, please see Bobby J. Gallo’s The World’s Quickest Card Trick” in the I.C.O.M Archives. I have also included a stop-action photo from the sleight-of-hand gallery below for further illustration.

Try this, you will be amazed at the reaction!

November 1999

Portrait of a Stand-Up Card Routine
Bobby J. Gallo

Over the past three years, I have given you some of the very routines that I have developed and currently use. I have also talked about routining and my theories concerning certain types of magic.

That being said I would like to present to you my current stand-up card routine that I use in all college and adult venues. Not to say that children would not understand it, but I think it is better suited to those who do not need that visual gag every thirty seconds the way kids do.

The beauty of this routine is the fact that almost all of the components have either already been explained in I.C.O.M. and are therefore available n the archives, or are common knowledge. What is unique is the routining and the way that each effect flows into the next. I hope you give it a try.

Materials needed:

  • A deck of playing cards.
  • The popular prop, “The Magician’s Insurance Policy.” Cost about $3.00. Place this in your upper jacket pocket prior to starting the routine.

Routine as the audience sees it:

The magician asks for the assistance of two audience members. Remember Commando Magic? having two people up on stage makes something as small as a card trick into a large presentation.

One spectator stands to the performers right the other to the left. A deck of cards is introduced and the spectators are asked if they would like to see the “World’s Quickest Card Trick?” (See I.C.O.M Archives) After they say yes, execute the routine as per the instructions in the archives. And to answer the question for those who already know the routine, YES, it works GREAT on stage!

After that is finished ask the audience if they would like to see it again! Naturally, they will say yes because they want to catch what you are doing the second time around. But this time you need to do two things.

  • Force the card that matches the inside of the insurance policy that you have in your pocket.
  • Have any other card selected by riffling the cards in the same way you did while forcing the other two cards to maintain routine consistency.
  • Have both cards replaced making sure that you place a key card onto the FREELY SELECTED card.

So at this point, you look at one spectator who has the Insurance Policy Force card and states that you can name the selected card even faster than before!

Now intentionally miscall the card. When the spectator says you are wrong, say “well I’ll get the second card right, so two out of three ain’t bad!” Now look through the deck and set it up for the “Ultra-Simplified Spelling Trick” (See I.C.O.M Archives). After this card appears to be wrong give the spectators a long look of disdain. This will get a big laugh.

Then proceed to take out the insurance policy, ask the spectator to name their card, open the policy to display the superjumbo version of their card, and get your first round of applause.

Now ask the second spectator to name their card. When they do, execute the spelling move, dropping the cards on the floor in a rapid showy manner as you spell out the selected card. When you come to the selection, pause and slowly turn it over, you will get the biggest gasp and the loudest round of applause imaginable and you will have performed a truly entertaining routine of magic. Since the cards litter the stage, I have actually used this routine as a closer to avoid the possibility of another spectator (or myself) slipping on the cards during later routines. But I feel that without the dropping of the cards to the floor, the routine will really lack a bit of drama.

Just make sure to clean up the cards after the show<G>.

October 1999

I think this is an excellent introduction to “thinking creatively” in magic. It is here in the beginner’s study to familiarize the novice with new and different approaches to magic and how he or she can develop that skill. However, this is something that EVERYONE should read because it is so clever….Ron, do you ever stop being to brilliant?….BJG

” Magic Off The Rack “
Ronald J. Dayton

Just as so often in the past, I would like to approach you with a series of ideas. You may or may not want to consider them. That decision is your own. But for my part, I would feel a bit remiss if I did not at least bring them to your attention.

For quite some time, I have been deliberating over the notion of presenting an entire program based on ‘ wearable’ magic…things we either wear directly as clothing and adornments…or objects normally carried with you as part and parcel of being fully dressed. Hence the title, Magic Off The Rack.

Let’s begin our assessment of the situation by beginning with actual articles of clothing. A person could perform a version of the cut and restored necktie…shirt pulling and vest turning. A clever booklet available from many dealers has titled ” Your Buttons Are Loose.” It is a complete comedy routine in which a loose button is noticed on your jacket. When a different, secure button is pulled, the loose button is drawn into place. Through a series of clever thread hook-ups, several buttons in succession are handled in like manner as the situation for the performer gets funnier and funnier.

In a related effect…buttons may be ripped from a spectator’s jacket to be quickly restored to their original condition with just a bit of magic. Bill Wisch has a brilliant routine in which he tears the belt loop right off the pants of an unsuspecting spectator, then restores it by the powers of his skillful magic.

Shoes have been used as containers for brilliantly thought out dove productions…not to mention the production of a large chunk of rock by another well-known comedy performer. Marketed effects have included routines in which the very socks you are wearing change color. Then too, we have had an era, less politically correct than present times, in which underwear tricks were popular… Each respective article of clothing appearing ala the Sympathetic Silks effect, tied between two silks.

Tina Lenert has achieved a reputation making a career performing a magical mime act involving strong influences of clothing and jewelry. Young newcomers to magic perform amazing magical costume changes in the seeming blink of an eye. Very visual. Very powerful and memorable magic.

Of course, during the era of white gloves, top hats and tails…each of these articles of dress was used to the benefit of dove workers and masters of sleight of hand all through Europe and across the pond. Their scarves and ascots still provide cover and misdirection to this day for some of the most incredible magic we will ever see. Livestock, candles, flowers, and brimming glasses of wine appear as if from a mist…then vanish just as mysteriously. White gloves changed color…vanished or even became living doves when tossed out toward the audience. And lest we forget…the natural backdrop of white, the very gloves he wore, added elegance beyond measure to the skillful work of Cardini.

The inner linings of pants pockets…pleats formed in trouser legs…the cuffs of pants and the rolled recesses of shirt sleeves have all had their place in magic, not to mention the vast assembly of droppers and holders concealed by the drape of the clothing itself. Lapels of jackets and the turn of a shirt collar all concealed this object or that. Special slits in clothing allowed the skilled manipulator to make steals undetectable to the human eye.

For decades beyond counting, oriental and Hindu performers relied on gowns and robes to act as cover for their magical deeds. Japanese performers and early street conjurors of Europe relied on apron like servantes into which to ditch small items, or from which to steal them as well.

Bowler Hats were penetrated by fingers and cigars as well as large die glasses of liquid. Fedoras of the ’40s were used for card and coin tricks too. The wide bands on the outside as well as the sweatband within were all secret places of concealment. Cakes were baked in them by magic too. Not bad for a borrowed prop!

The canes carried by formally dressed performers take on a life of their own. They appear, vanish, change color, become burning torches or brilliant silks….or dance with a spirit all their own as he releases his hold and gives them free rein.

Not only the clothes but the accessories that go with them are important factors in magic. Handkerchiefs and effects using them fill volumes of printed text. Silk work is an art form all its own. Belts have been suspended on skyhooks or used in coiled games of chance. Neck chains have linked and formed into long blended strands. Finger rings vanish, link, penetrate ropes…and appear in tightly sealed nested boxes. They fly invisibly to key chains or on to wands held tightly at each end by a spectator’s own hands. Pocket watches and wristwatches form the basis for some very classic effects. Bracelets, bangles, and even tie tacks and money clips have all been used in one way or another. Eyeglasses and fountain pens…even the flowers that adorn our labels have been a part of magic…as well as the wallets, coin purses, and handbags we may have with us given our gender. There is little which, with a bit of imagination, cannot be used either in an impromptu manner or prearranged/gimmicked which cannot be used in walk-on magic. Just consider the scope of the few things we have already touched upon!

Take a moment to inventory the objects you presently have on you as you read this article and the pieces of clothing you are wearing. Consider which might be used to generate an effect if you had to do one at this very moment. Consider too the ploys, sleights, and subtle subterfuges you presently know and have at your disposal. I would not hesitate to state, a matter of factly, that you could easily do at least a fifteen-minute spot of impromptu magic with just a bit of thought. This is without even going to the ever-present coins and bills we carry upon out person daily.

Ties and bracelets…shoelaces and finger ring…handkerchiefs and pens/pencils, business cards and pocket knives…all you need do is to put the combinations together in your mind. There have been hundreds of brilliant combinations offered in books over the decades. Draw upon this wealth of knowledge to strengthen your own creativity…then advance on your own. There are many more pieces of brilliance yet to be discovered. Make at least one of them your own!

Co-Directors Note’s: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…WOW!…BJG

September 1999

“Twisted Again”
Bobby J. Gallo

I have no doubt that anyone reading this has seen the small and very frustrating wire puzzles pictured above. We have all won them as consolation prizes from various carny games at the county fair. Usually, they are labeled as “Magic Tricks” even though they have no similarities to anything that can be classified as an illusion or sleight of hand.

The problem with these items is that there is virtually no use for them as far as performing so they almost always end up in the back of your magic drawer. As a matter of fact, I would wager that if you go to yours right now, you will find a few of these little things rattling around in the back somewhere.

I had a full gross of these puzzles lying around my office for about five years. I did not want to give them out as party favors or give them to my magic class students because they are impossible to teach. As a matter of fact, they are nearly impossible to do at all.

So why are they the subject of a lesson? Because upon thinking of uses for them, I came up with a premise that could be made into a real interesting close-up routine.

The magician shows a small wire puzzle that is locked together and talks about his fond memories of winning it at a carnival fair during his childhood. Upon displaying it, he hands it to a spectator with the request that the spectator solve it and separate the two pieces. The spectator finds this to be a daunting task and instead of taking up the rest of the performance time, the magician proposes a quicker way to solve the dilemma.

The magician takes back the puzzle, holds it in his closed fist, and then making a squeezing motion, opens his hand to reveal that the pieces are now separate and all may be examined!

There are two ways to accomplish this. For either method, you will need two identical sets of wire puzzles. This will cost you about 50 cents! Not bad for a close-up trick that will rank up there with the best of them!

The first method involves the act of “classic palming” the two separate puzzle pieces while the two joined pieces are displayed. As the joined puzzle is picked up it is “finger-palmed” in the same hand as the classic palmed separated puzzle. The hand is squeezed being careful not to mix up the two sets of puzzles. The separated pieces are then dropped onto the table. The joined puzzle can then be ditched using the old pencil ploy. Go to the pocket for a pencil or small magic wand to wave over the puzzle, then when the magic is complete, take the pencil with the finger-palmed pieces and drop them all in pocket taking care that they do not “talk”. The classic-palmed puzzle can also start out finger palmed and the latter puzzle classic palmed later if you prefer. This may feel more natural to some.

The second method involves the use of a bandanna and a rubber band. Here we are going to use the classic coin vanish as a switch for the puzzles.

Take the rubber band and put it around the first and middle fingers of the right hand. Hold the bandanna in the same hand draping over the hand that has the rubber band. Now follow this carefully. Classic-palm the separated puzzle pieces THROUGH the handkerchief in the right hand. At the same time form a well in the bandanna inside of the rubber band.

Open the fingers that the rubber band is wrapped around and stick the joined puzzle into the bandanna, When the rubber band is slipped off the fingers, a pouch is formed around the puzzle keeping it trapped within the cloth.

Shake the separated puzzle out of the bandanna and while the spectators are gasping in amazement, but the bandanna away and you are clean.

In my mind, this is better is some ways than that of a straight solid through solid effect because the audience will think that you actually CAN dis-assemble the puzzles with only one hand in a mere matter of seconds and that is VERY impressive. It also serves to misdirect them away from the real secret of having two sets of puzzles since it in theory is indeed possible to separate the pieces.

Also, if the two identical puzzles you purchase are already joined together, that means you will have to solve one set and separate them…Good luck! Heh, heh.

How is this for being creative Ron????????

August 1999

I would like to address two situations that I hear about quite a bit. One of them involve performance of card tricks and the other is how to approach a person to perform close-up magic.

These are just my humble opinions but I feel the need to discuss them because of their relative importance….Bill Wisch

Those Bad Ole’ Card Tricks
Bill Wisch

You hear or will hear it said that card tricks aren’t for everyone and most women can’t stand them.

I defy anyone to show me a good card trick that I don’t enjoy!

The emphasis is on GOOD!…a GOOD card trick.

The old line is “there are no bad tricks…just bad magicians.” In a sense I agree with that blunt generalization but only after several things are mentioned. First, there ARE no bad tricks…just boring…dull…lifeless…drawn-out…out-of-context…poorly presented tricks that only are bad because they are being performed with no purpose and/or involvement story, for the wrong person, at the wrong time, at the wrong place, with the wrong prop(s)…that’s all!

Second, a magical performer is only as good as his confidence will allow. When someone begins magic they get a true gift that doesn’t happen in any other art except magic…the ability to get results and mystify someone without knowing why or how. Why do you think they make gimmicks and box tricks? The prop will work the mystery itself and the performer will get most if not all of the credit. Lucky us, and I must say, I truly enjoyed that benefit when I first started out. However, once someone stays around for a while and discovers that there are many facets to this art that “ain’t” going to be easy and will be very time consuming, well then, that person must decide if it’s all worth it. I find that if someone knows they can handle any situation in their respective field then they are confident and do exceptional work. The same holds true in magic. Without confidence you’re going nowhere, Jack, and who wants to be a nervous wreck every time they stand in front of a spectator with a trick and a secret?

Well, before I get too far off track, let me mention still another thing…fit!
An effect must FIT a performer. When you try on a piece of clothing you notice how it looks and feels and then you make a judgment whether you like it or not, right? The same holds true in magic, but how many times do we just grab the first thing we see on the proverbial rack…put it on and then go off to the most important occasion of the year looking like the emperor in his birthday suit? And then we expect everyone to tell us how great our clothes look even though we make into Kelly, Jr. look like he’s right out of a page in GQ.

I’ll say it again….I defy anyone to show me a good card trick that I don’t enjoy. In fact, I defy anyone to show a good card trick to ANYBODY that won’t be enjoyed! Everybody loves playing cards. They might have different reasons why but millions of decks of playing cards aren’t manufactured and sold every year without everyone wanting to use them, play with them or just marvel at what they can do for and with them. Everybody loves them!

One more thing…when you can do five GOOD card tricks that fit you and are simple to watch and perform with justification and emotional involvement included, just do one or two for any specific audience. When you can do five thousand, six hundred and forty eight GOOD card tricks that fit you and are simple to watch and perform with justification and emotional involvement included, just do one or two for any specific audience. Then do something else magical. After all, even though the emperor had a wardrobe fit for a king, he could only wear one birthday suit at a time.

The Approach
Bill Wisch

You’re loaded for bear…every pocket is ready and they’re playing your song. You actually have people in a room or place that you can perform some magic tricks for. Granted you don’t know if they’re going to like you, in fact they may be ready to chew your thumb tip off when you , heaven forbid, attempt to show them a trick. Everything’s up in the air. The question is, how can you keep present circumstances or situations from raining on your parade of mystery and pleasures of wonder? Very simple…perform something magical.

“Can I help you?” A salesperson in a store might ask you that in a pleasant way. Or you may be familiar with certain salespeople that approach you in a store and just scare the hell out you. Some are just that way! You’re not sure what they’re going to do or say. You can just feel that they’re going to make your life miserable until you get your carcass out of the store and breathe a sigh of relief. Your only recourse is to give them the magic words…”I’m just looking, thanks.” If, after the magic words, they don’t leave you alone then you will get annoyed and rightfully so.

Magicians seem to affect certain people the same way. One scenario…you’re out for that long-awaited dinner…the kids have a great baby sitter. You have the whole evening. You just got a raise and can afford this high priced meal with all the trimmings. Your wife thinks you’re Prince Charming (again) because you finally got the chance to get dressed up, take her out and wine and dine her. The only thing you know you want at this point is a great dinner with the chance to chat and be together. Now this guy in a bulging tuxedo and/or with an armload of stuff or a briefcase comes along and asks you if you’d like to see a magic trick. You probably don’t even realize you want to be entertained by this guy and try to buzz him off. Or you may be like some folks and be nice enough to say OK and hope it doesn’t spoil the mood. Then, depending on whether you like the magician or not and what you ascertain his or her skill level to be, you may actually enjoy it and want to see more (except card tricks…everybody hates them!).

When you ask the prospective spectators if they want to watch you while they’re having a deep conversation about the world situation and they try to buzz you off with those other magic words, “no thanks”, your only recourse is to politely be on your way without them ever having the golden opportunity of watching you and your magic. What a shame…especially since you really aren’t a bad person and actually like kids, go out of your way to help people and aren’t trying to sell them anything.

I have the answer and it has worked for me for almost thirty years. I don’t ask them anything. I don’t carry arms full of stuff or have bulging pockets. I just walk up and say, “Would you do me a favor?”, then I do my very best production of something (usually a silver dollar – people love money!)…and say, “Would you take a look at this?”…and I hand it to them. They take the coin and look at it…and I’m on my way. They know I’m a magician…they’re involved before they even realize it…without them feeling pushed into it.

Granted, there have been times when I could sense that they really weren’t interested at that moment, or that they were in the middle of World War Three, or for whatever reason, they said those magic words, “no thanks.” In that case, I just thank them and move along knowing that I gave it my best shot. But, truthfully I can say it hasn’t happened more than ten times in all these years…honestly! And best of all, I then get the chance to do at least one or two more effects for them and they actually get the chance to enjoy my work, which, thankfully, helps to make their time and occasion more enjoyable and memorable. Everybody wins!

The old saying in sales is, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get and you can’t lose what you haven’t got.” Well, that doesn’t hold true in magic. I believe it should be…” if you don’t DO, they don’t WATCH and you can’t fool’em if you don’t rule’em.”

The real secret on making an approach, I believe, is not to give them the chance to say no without actually seeing you do at least one thing. It’s not the end of the world if you carry a prop or two, or even a briefcase or portable table. I know some performers who prefer and thrive that way. It works for them. But all you have to do is go up and say something like, “You may find this interesting”, or “You want to see something really neat?”, and while you’re saying it just do a one-step effect (a production usually works best).

This approach will not only make it easier for your audience to appreciate and get involved in what you’re doing, but it will virtually eliminate those “awkward” moments when we are in effect saying, “Can I help you?”

July 1999

Little Yellow Squishy Things
Bobby J. Gallo

Many magicians that teach, never seem to share the material that they actually use in their own personal acts. Why I really don’t know. The chances of magicians crossing paths with the same material seem to be slim. However, it should also be noted that the student should always strive to be original. Copying another’s style is one sure way to magical obscurity. One can never duplicate another’s act to perfection. Only magicians own creations will ever have that spark of
star quality

That being said, it seems that I have been sharing my entire act, piece by piece on I.C.O.M. The reason for this is simple. The lessons I give here WORK, plain and simple. And the following is the fruit of many years of performing.

It seems that there are almost as many sponge ball routines as there are card tricks…Well…maybe not, but you get my point. Some multi-step routines are so involved that I cannot imagine anyone not getting the least bit confused when they are supposed to be entertained. The sponge ball vanishes, goes to the pocket, penetrates the hand, etc. etc. etc. And what about that unwritten rule that says sponge balls are only for a close-up?

In this lesson, I will try to show the student that the best sponge ball routines are the ones that are kept simple. Unless of course, you are performing before other magicians who THRIVE on complications. Laymen just want to be entertained.

I perform sponge balls in my stand-up show. I use them in just about every single performance and they are part of my “Ultimate Show-According to Me” found in the I.C.O.M Archives”. When other magicians criticize me for doing so, I just point out that CARDINI used to perform billiard ball manipulations on stage which just happen to be the same size as sponge balls and they have no problem being seen even from the back of the deepest auditorium. Furthermore, Nate Leipzig used to perform THIMBLE MANIPULATION on the stages of large vaudevillian theatres. Yes, Sponge balls are perfectly suited to stand-up use.

The Beauty of this presentation lies in it’s simplicity

Magician asks for the assistance of an audience member. When they arrive on the stage the magician ask them to identify a small yellow ball that he is holding. The only other piece of magical equipment that the audience sees is a standard magic wand tucked under the left armpit.

Regardless of what the audience says about the ball, you tell them that it is a “little yellow squishy ball.”(or whatever color you are using) and if they would be so kind, hold on to it very tightly and remember, ” DON’T LET ME GET IT!”

The magician then places the ball into the audience member’s hand and quickly removes it before they have a chance to close their hand. This comedy interlude is repeated several more times until the spectator is finally allowed to hold the ball.

A second ball is introduced and placed in the performers left hand. The right hand takes the wand out from under the left armpit and waves it over the left hand. Upon opening the left hand it is seen that the ball has vanished. The spectator is then asked how many balls they are holding. When they answer “one” the magician asks them to open their hand and it is seen that they are now holding both balls!

The magician picks up both balls and displays them to the wildly cheering crowd and places them back into the spectator’s hand with the request that they hold them even tighter than before and please, not to let the magician slip anything else into their hands when they are not looking!

A third ball is introduced and the former process is repeated. When the spectator opens their hand it is seen that they now holds all three balls! The Performer again displays them and motions for the audience to give the assisting spectator a big hand.

Many magicians reading this that are already familiar with sponge balls will be saying right about now, “that’s it?” It seems way to simple to be any good. Though many of you who have seen my lecture know that I do a great many routines that are very involved, such as my ring and rope routine. This is a vast departure that needs to be examined. Let me address a few points before I go on to the workings.

  • There are many reading this that have never handled or performed sponge balls. And though I use this routine professionally, it is also a great entry-level routine for the novice. This is after all, the Beginner’s Study <G>.
  • There are subtleties that the astute reader will notice. And that is the REAL subject of this lesson anyway.
  • One must remember that when performing any close-up type trick on the platform that many moves MUST be eliminated in order for the effect to be appreciated by a large crowd. Too many moves too easily get lost or are simply not seen.

What type of sponge balls to use? Goshman’s super soft seems to be the best for almost all applications. These come in many sizes. I use 2 inches, but you can use whatever you are comfortable with. The bigger the better for visibility. Additionally, the super-soft feature makes multiple balls in the spectator’s hands virtually undetectable.

I will bullet point the rest of the routine for the sake of clarity.

  • Four sponge balls are in the performer’s case, on the table behind another prop, or in the performer’s pocket. Let’s use the case method.
  • One ball is “finger palmed”. The next ball is grasped in the same hand as the finger palmed ball. The visible ball is held at fingertips concealing the hidden ball inside of the curled second, third, and fourth fingers.
  • The magic wand is picked up and held under the left armpit. (if you are left-handed, just switch positions.)
  • The spectator is asked to hold the ball. Here we use the same method described in the I.C.O.M archives entitled, “Peter Explained” to make the spectator psychologically keep from opening the hand prematurely. For a complete description of this method developed by myself and used with sponge rabbits, please refer to that lesson. You can see that it works equally as well with sponge balls.
  • The third ball is picked up. Remember, at this point, the spectators are aware of only the two.
  • It is vanished by using a false placement. This is done by pretending to place the ball in the left hand. The ball is retained in the right and the move is covered by IMMEDIATELY grasping the magic want that is under the left armpit and tapping the left hand that the audience believes holds the second? ball. The wand also gives justification to keep the right hand closed that now contains the “third ball”. This is a move similar to the one used in the famous Benson Bowl Routine.
  • The spectator is then asked to open their hands “slowly”. The ball vanished from your hand and traveled to theirs…first miracle.
  • The hand containing the vanished ball now picks up the fourth, (which the audience believes is the third.
  • The process is repeated verbatim. Yes, you can break one of the magician’s codes and repeat a trick here. Just keep it brisk.
  • The second ball travels to the spectator’s hand.
  • Motion for applause. Take all the balls and put them back in the case along with the extra ball still finger palmed.
  • Sometimes as an encore, I keep the last ball finger palmed upon putting them away if I see a child wearing a baseball cap. Which I then subsequently borrow and produce the ball out of.

Final Notes:
If you try this just the way I have outlined it you may find that any other vanishes, transpositions, productions, or penetrations of the sponge balls only served to act as “overkill”. Again, this is where layman are concerned. Magicians may be a different story. Then again, maybe not.


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.

Beginner’s Study 4/99-6/99


Beginner’s Study 4/99-6/99

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

June 1999

“Beyond Magic”
(A simple card trick)
Bobby J. Gallo

Continuing with our analysis of classic effects, I am excited to bring you this next effect. No one really knows the origin of the basic trick, suffice to say that it can be found in dozens of beginner’s books on magic. So why are we making a lesson out of it? Simple. I wish to show you how I have adapted a beginner’s effect to actually work in a professional repertoire.

I will not only give you the basic effect here but my actual routine. I will leave it up to your own conscience as to whether or not you wish to use my presentation in your own performances or develop your own. I am releasing the routine solely to educate I.C.O.M members in the art of routine development.

The magician fans out a deck of cards to the audience stating that if he were to have the audience merely “pick-a-card” and then find it, that would be a good trick. But he intends to do is not only magic but “Beyond Magic”!

He then has a person actually pick a card look at it and place it on top of the deck. After cutting the deck and squaring it up he places it on the table again stating that merely looking through the deck to find the card is good, but the audience is fortunate enough to see something much more incredible. “When I snap my fingers,” says the wizard, a card is going to jump out of the deck, flip itself over, and put itself back inside the deck telling me where your card is! Such a feat would not just be ordinary magic, but Beyond Magic, wouldn’t you agree?

The magician then snaps his fingers and immediately asks if the audience saw the card do its magical acrobatics. When the audience replies in the negative, the magician says, “Sorry, I should have told you not to blink, the card travels slightly slower than the speed of sound”.

“Well, if the card did everything I said it would, there would be a reversed card in the deck right? But when I fanned out the deck at the beginning of this experiment, did you see any reversed cards? No? then let’s see if there is one in there now”. The magician then ribbon spreads the cards on the table and lo and behold one card is reversed! “Is this your card asks the performer?” When the audience replies ‘no’ the magician says “Ahhh, but I didn’t say that it would be, I said it would tell me where your card is. What denomination is the card?….a five? Let’s see”. The magician then counts five cards to the left the five, turns over the next card and it is found to be the selection! “That is what we in the magical world call a trick that is truly “Beyond Magic!”

What is the method? You merely take a five-spot and place it face up five cards from the bottom of the deck. That’s the set-up. Then You fan the cards out making sure to keep the face-up five hidden in the bottom stock of cards which really is not that difficult. Then have the selection placed on top of the deck and cut the cards. You may also use a Hindu Shuffle or Vernon key-Card Placement to make it a bit more deceiving.

Then just go through the presentation. The trick practically works itself, but the presentation makes it into a veritable miracle in the eyes of the audience.

A couple of side notes:
Only use cards with a white border for this trick, I have found that no matter how hard you try, if the cards have a solid color background other than white, the edges of the reversed card will show.

When cutting the cards, be sure to use a false-cut rather than a genuine one so as not to accidentally cut in-between the five-card stack.

Also, you may not believe this, but I have found this trick to be so powerful, that I actually decided to use its name “Beyond Magic” as the name for my act which I currently use on all of the promotional materials.

May 1999

Almost Anything Through Table
Bobby J. Gallo

Materials Required, a napkin, and an object large enough to cover a coin.

A funny thing happened to me on my last trade show trip. I was contracted to perform not only on the trade show floor but at a private party after hours. This is the case in many circumstances whereas a professional magician, you are asked to entertain important clients in a more intimate atmosphere than during a large public show. In this case, the company actually rented an entire cafe to throw their party with “yours truly” as the featured entertainment!

I performed for nearly three hours straight for somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred people. The evening was coming to a close when my employer asked me to perform one more dynamite effect for very special friends of his. Truth be known, I was completely spent as far as material. In the three hours I performed, I exhausted my entire program of close-up magic and even did a few stand-up illusions such as a neat impromptu levitation. Even though I did not want to disappoint my employer, I reluctantly declined, but no such luck. He said with a face that meant it, I HAD to do one more effect, AND it must be the best one of the night! Oh, brother!, I had already done my strongest close-up material! What now?

Thinking about what I already had on me I had two choices, Coins or Cards. I really did not think they wanted to see another card trick so I took out one of the half dollars that I normally use for my coins across routine and I stated that “the most amazing thing I could do “if it worked” would be to pass a coin through a table that I do not own”. As I said this, I lifted the coin high in the air and slammed it down (actually, not very hard) on the hard oak table where is struck with a loud “snap”! Upon lifting my hand the coin was no longer there! I reached under the table and reproduced it. This was greeted with appreciative gasps. I thought that after this spur-of-the-moment miracle my job was done. But then one of the clients brought a friend over with the plea that I “do it again” for him! Knowing the magician’s code I told him that it was not possible. I cannot repeat a trick twice. They insisted I declined, they insisted, I said no, they insisted, and then…so did my employer!

So I made them a deal, I will pass the coin through the table one more time if they all agree that this WILL be the finale of the evening. They agreed, so I then told then that the only problem is that to pass the coin through the table a second time, I will need something heavy to push it through with because as we speak, the table is “healing itself” from the last time I performed this and now it’s going to give me much more resistance (they actually seemed to buy that line!).

So I looked around and the only other thing on the table was a small votive cocktail table candle. I took the candle and blew it out. Then knocked on the coin with it a couple of times pretending that something was supposed to happen that was not. I then stated, “I need something to cover it, I think the light in here is too bright” (the light in the place was actually so low, you could get away with a lot! but it was a funny line). I then took a cocktail napkin and wrapped it over the unlit candle. After knocking on the coin with the candle a few more times I told them that I think it would work this time.

I then positioned the candle over the coin, and with a deep breath, raised my hand high over the candle and slammed my hand down crushing the napkin! I lifted the napkin to reveal to the stunned guests that the candle, not the coin had penetrated the table! I then reached under the table and re-produced the candle. And stated, “Sorry, I knew I couldn’t get the coin through the table a second time. That was the wrong trick, this is where the candle goes through instead!

Everyone FREAKED OUT! I was of course asked to do it again and was even offered good money to do so, I’m not kidding, they took out twenty-dollar bills and said that I could have it all to do it one more time. I graciously thanked them for their generosity, got up, and left. It was probably one of the biggest reactions I ever got from a close-up trick.

I’m now booked to do another private party out of state in July because of that one trick.

Method: Experienced magicians will recognize upon reading the above that at the correct time, the candle was secretly “Lapped” in a manner normally associated with a glass or salt shaker. So the purpose of this lesson is not only to familiarize the novice with the technique of lapping but to illustrate to magicians of all levels how this technique can be done impromptu with many different objects that may be at hand on any given occasion. Many magicians, myself included, get caught up in thinking that certain moves MUST always be done with the object that made them famous. In this case a glass or salt shaker. But that does not need to be the case. Many times magic, if it is spontaneous, is at its strongest as far as audience impact.

To perform this routine you will need three things. (1) A cocktail napkin or cloth restaurant napkin large enough to drape over the object you wish to vanish with plenty of room to spare. (2) The object you wish to vanish. This should be something that is not easily breakable should the object fall off of your lap onto the floor. This routine has been done a drinking glass, but I have known seasoned professionals that have broken them doing this trick, so stay with something that is safe. (3) A coin the size of a quarter or larger.

I think the act of starting with “the coin through table routine” prior to the act of passing the subsequent larger object through the table is very important. This gives added misdirection to the routine because if the audience believes that you are going to pass the coin through the table a second time, why would they ever suspect that you are going to pass the larger object through instead???

The Moves, Phase One: The coin through table move is similar to one described in the now-classic, Sachs Sleight of Hand. The coin is held in the right hand, then transferred to the left hand which then knocks it on the table a few times to prove that both it and the table are solid. On a later try, instead of the right hand transferring the coin to the left hand, it makes a false placement. Here you can merely pretend to place it in the left hand while secretly retaining it in the right, or you can use any one of the myriads of coin vanishing moves, a few of which are described in the I.C.O.M Sleight of hand gallery. The hand containing the coin is brought under the table while the left hand that pretends to hold the coin, brings the actual coin onto the table. Now here is the important move. As you pretend to pass the coin through the table with the left hand, the coin under the table is simultaneously knocked against the underside of the table completing the illusion that the left hand contains the coin and is knocking it against the top of the table. This is an audio illusion as opposed to an optical illusion. The left hand then rubs the spot where you are pretending to pass the coin through. Lift the left hand slowly to show that the coin is gone. Bring the right hand containing the coin out from under the table showing the coin magically passed through the tabletop.

The Moves, Phase Two: The second phase features the Lapping move. After you have stunned them with the coin through table, you can stop right there or proceed by stating that it is impossible for you to do it a second time unless you first use a larger object to force it through. Tell them that is just how it works, plain and simple. Or that it is magical physics, you can think of something I’m sure!<G>.

Forming the napkin around the object

The object is covered with the napkin and after you form the latter around the object, in my case it was a candle, you knock the coin a couple of times with the object. Again, not to hard especially if you do not own the table!

Each time you knock the coin with the covered larger object, you bring the object back to the edge of the table over your lap to apparently look closely at the coin. Bring it over your lap twice without yet executing the Lapping move. On the third time, however, the right hand secretly comes up from underneath the table and grabs the covered large object and lowers it into the lap. Do not drop the object into the lap. That is how things break!

The napkin at this point should still retain the form of the object and the audience will believe that the object is still contained therein.

The lapping move from Magician’s point of view…Kind of!
(Note how the hand lowers the object rather than just letting it drop into the lap)

Then say something to the effect that “this isn’t going to work” and suddenly crush the napkin over the coin showing that it was not the coin that went through the table, but the larger object!

Then get ready to sign autographs!

April 1999

The Card-Board Illusion
Bobby J. Gallo



It’s happened to all of us. You are starting out in magic and you really want to perform some big shows in front of a large audience, but there is one small problem. You cannot afford all of those large props that you see the magicians on television performing. You need something that is large enough to capture the audience’s interest, but it must be something that you can readily make at home.

This month’s lesson is an actual routine that I performed for my initiation show for S.A.M Assembly 168 around the year 1983 at the landmark ‘Lamplighter Restaurant in New Jersey’. I created it to fill the need for a really big prop that would fill the rear of the stage, was easy and cost-effective to make, but also had the impact of a serious magic effect. It worked very well and even though it is nearly two decades later, I would still use it if the need arose.

A large blackboard is seen sitting on an easel on stage. It seems to be about four feet across by two feet in height. On it are pasted 52 playing cards in straight rows. There is no apparent order to the cards. They just seem to be haphazardly pasted on the blackboard in what you could call a “Shuffled Fashion”.

The performer then addresses the audience. He shows them the board and states that it is able to transmit psychic messages to him/her. He then takes out an ordinary deck of playing cards and has them examined and shuffled. One is then selected, noted, and returned to the deck. The magician then hands a large pad to the person who selected the card and asks them to write the name of the card onto the pad. After this is done, a second spectator is asked to the stage. The second spectator is asked to look at the pad and then very slowly run their fingers across the cards until the magician dramatically says “STOP!”

The magician then states that he saw a red light that is visible only to him when the spectator ran his finger over the one card that this finger now rest on. When pad is turned over it is seen that the card chosen by the first spectator and the card the magician told the second spectator to stop on IS THE VERY SAME CARD!…………Cool

This is one of those effects that is truly ALL EFFECT! You will go to a little trouble to make up all the props needed and the only reason for them is stage dressing! Yep, the props play a very little role in how the trick is done. And why you ask? The reason is simple. All you have to do in order to pull off this miracle is merely FORCE ONE PLAYING CARD! (See I.C.O.M Archives 10/98: Forcing Techniques-A Primer)Remember, this is a lesson on how you can take a simple concept such as forcing a card and allow it to play on the largest stage. If you were to have a card forced and then merely revealed, it has virtually no impact on a large audience. What you need to do is “translate” that effect and “enlarge” it so that it can be appreciated by the entire crowd. The fact that the secret is so simple actually works in your favor because you now have all the opportunity in the world to be creative and concentrate on your presentation. After all, that is what it is all about..isn’t it?

The board can be made up very simply. All you need is a large piece of cardboard the dimensions stated above or like I used, a piece of sheet paneling. I spray painted it black and took an old used deck of cards and pasted them onto the board. I think I used rubber cement, but any good paste that will not ruin the cards will do. I then used applied a coat of clear lacquer over the surface to protect the cards from the wear and tear of the many venues I play.

You can make this as simple or as elaborate as you like. You may even wish to hinge the board in the center to make it easier to transport. Another idea would be to “sandwich” the cards in- between the paneling sheet and a clear sheet of plexiglass. That would be a little more complicated, but if you are contemplating performing a great deal of shows with it, it’s well worth it. But no matter what you finally decide on as far as the construction of the board is concerned, remember, the purpose is to make this card trick look really BIG even though the secret of the effect is very small (the forcing of a playing card).

There is an offbeat thing about this effect that I will never forget. I was approached on an occasion by a SAM member named Bob Pierce who goes by the name of Mr. Patchpockets. He took one look at the Card-board and said, “That is one neat looking trick!” Because that is another plus to this prop, it really dresses the stage nicely.

The pad is thrown into the mix so that the spectator cannot change their mind and try to throw you off during the performance which in this day and age is so often the case. It also allows for a dramatic climax when you turn it around to reveal that it is indeed the same card that you had the second spectator stop on.

The rest of the routine should be self-explanatory but I will outline it anyway.

  • The Card-Board is resting on the easel onstage and is introduced to the audience.
  • A playing card is selected (actually forced…..the trick is done!)
  • The card is then written boldly in a magic marker on a large pad by the spectator who chose the card and is then held face-down by same.
  • A second spectator is invited to the stage to look at the pad. (having two spectators make the act look even bigger!)
  • The second spectator is asked to very slowly run their fingers over the rows of cards until you say stop.
  • Look like you are concentrating very hard then when they reach the forced card, you say STOP! in your most dramatic voice! (if they accidentally go past the correct card before you had the chance to stop them, don’t worry, just have them reverse directions and stop them accordingly, I had to do this once during a show)
  • Have the second spectator call aloud the card you have stopped them at.
  • Take the pad from the first spectator and show it to the audience. THE CARDS MATCH!

A dramatic finish to the world’s easiest


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.

Beginner’s Study 1/99-3/99

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

January 1999

Supersonic Mathematics

Bobby J. Gallo

When I was a beginner to magic, I shunned mathematical tricks. To me, they seemed very transparent and not very mystifying. As I got older and joined a few magic organizations, I was amazed at how many of my magical peers would fool me with this very genre of magic! It seems I was mistaken to think that this branch of magic should be overlooked. On the contrary, I now feel that all magicians should have at least two or three good mathematical tricks in their heads for impromptu and even formal show applications. Here is a wonderful example.


The magician asks a spectator to write down two rows of numbers, each row containing five figures….For example, lets suppose they write down the following:

2, 3, 6, 9, 7
4, 1, 6, 5, 2

The magician then writes down a third row of numbers under these and asks the spectator to write down a fourth. The performer tops it off with writing down a fifth! Pretending to go into a psychic trance, the performer takes a quick look at the figures and writes down a prediction of a piece of paper witch is then given to another spectator to hold.

“What I am about to show you is a feat of Supersonic Thought” says the magician.

“Computers are said to be able to perform thousands of calculations per second, but I am here tonight to prove that there still is no power like the that of the human mind!” He then asks the spectator to add the figures and call out the total. After the total is announced the magician asks the spectator to open up the prediction and read aloud the number contained therein. To everyone’s amazement, the same number just summed up by the assisting spectator!


When the magician writes down the third and fifth rows of numbers, he puts down numbers that will total 9 when added to the number just above it. Therefore, if the second row were 4, 1, 6, 5, 2, the wizard would write 5, 8, 3, 4, 7, for the third line. The 4 and 5, 1 and 8, 6 and 3, 5 and 4, and 2 and 7 all total 9.

If this is done, the grand total can always be figured out in a jiffy by subtracting 2 from the right-hand number of the first line and placing 2 in front of the first number of the first line.

Sound confusing?????

Here is an example:

Audience writes- 2, 3, 6, 9, 7
Audience writes- 4, 1, 6, 5, 2
Magician writes- 5, 8, 3, 4, 7
Audience writes- 8, 4, 3, 2, 1
Magician writes- 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

Total: 2 2 3, 6 9 5

With a little practice you will be able to do this quickly and without hesitation. The important thing is to make it look as though you are merely writing down random sums after the spectator has done so. Try not to make it look like you are adding anything in your head until the climax of the routine. And even then, do it fast so that you convince them that you have a computer like brain!

Ta Da!………………..

February 1999

The Eleventh Finger
Bobby J. Gallo

For those of you who may know this ancient magic trick/gag you may be thinking, “What is Bobby J. doing by making this old thing the subject of an actual lesson?” And for those of you who have never seen this before, after reading further you may think the exact same thing!

Before I go on, I’m am going to explain the effect, then the method. After that please keep reading, because you will not believe what I am going to tell you next!

Magician holds up both hands and asks the spectator how many fingers on both of his hands. The spectator naturally replies “TEN” The magician says “WRONG, I HAVE ELEVEN FINGERS!”
The performer upon counting his fingers proves his claim by counting each finger singly and slowly and comes up with ELEVEN!

Too easy for words! First, hold up both hands. Now you are going to start counting backwards starting with the pinky of the right hand. Grab that pinky and say , “ten”, then nine, eight, seven, six…..(stop here, you will notice you have exhausted all of the fingers on that hand) now hold up your left hand and say “PLUS FIVE EQUALS ELEVEN!”


This will be greeted with a mixture of laughter, moans, groans, and sometimes even puzzlement.

Now, remember when I said that I had something else to tell you? Well, how about if I told you that I actually do this in professional performances as an ENCORE piece? Think I have flipped my lid yet? Well, not only do I use it for just that, furthermore, it comprises about 10% percent of my 45 minute show! ALL WITH A ROUTINE THAT REQUIRES NO PROPS…..HEH…HEH!

Now let me explain to you how I get away with it as an encore. After the finale of my show, I ask the kids if they would like to see an encore? When they scream yes, I then tell them, that instead of performing another trick, I will TEACH them a trick that they can do themselves!… See where I’m going?

I then go through the routine and when I am finished, not only have I done an entertaining trick/gag, but I have given them an item that they will perform for their family and friends for months after the show. That gives me FREE publicity and I haven’t even exposed any real magic secrets in the process. It costs me nothing, works every time and there are NO PROPS!

How many things can you say that about?…. Hmmmmmmmmm?

Furthermore, at a very recent high profile private engagement I actually performed this trick/gag for corporate executives. How high profile you ask? Let’s just say it was in a private box suite at Boston’s famous Fleet Center during a recent Boston Bruin’s vs. Ottowa Senator’s hockey game, for very important clients of mine.

After I just blew them away with my Commando Four Ace Routine, I closed with this finger trick/gag. It got howls! And that fact that one guy didn’t even get it made the situation even funnier! It was a great way to get offstage…

Don’t overlook the value of trick/gags. The most famous of which is certainly, SLYDINI’S PAPER BALLS OVER THE HEAD. If played right, they have real entertainment value.

March 1999

The Pendulum Swingeth
Bobby J. Gallo

What I am offering this month is nothing short of a classic. the Late great Al Koran, who was one of England’s most famous mentalists made a feature out of this anomaly. For years and years, it has been used to tell whether or not pregnant farm animals would bear male of female offspring. And to this day, even though scientists have a pretty good grasp of how it works, no one is 100% certain of its modus operandi.

I’m talking about the pendulum. The apparatus is simple. All you need is a decent length of string with a weight of some kind attached to the end. This can be a fishing weight, a ring (which is what Al used) or anything else.When the string end is wrapped around the finger “once” and held motionless the performer can make it swing back and forth or in circles upon command and without any perceivable motion whatsoever!

What is the secret? The surprising fact of the matter is that there is none! It just works, plain and simple. Is it real magic? Unlikely, but it may come really close. Scientists think that your thought creates a physical reaction or response so slight that it is not readily noticeable even by the keenest observer. I tend to agree with this, but for years and years and years, midwives swore that this aided them in determining the gender of an unborn child. Also, the power of the pendulum has been documented as far back as the ancient Egyptians. There have been alleged cases of pendulums going into motion on their own without even being suspended from a finger but rather from a pencil balanced in-between two bottles!(this hasn’t yet worked for me <G>) So you never know!

Obviously there is a great close-up trick here by just making the pendulum swing. But with a little theatre thrown in, it can be made into a professional-quality winner. I will give one routine and leave you to develop more with your own creative juices.

Here is an example of how creative you can become with objects to use as a pendulum. I purchased this beautiful hand-blown glass bauble from a street vendor while on a performance tour. The colors in the glass and the gold chain it is attached to gives it a mysterious feel that helps to enhance the overall routines. Always keep your eye out for such props. It’s like finding treasure!

Now, how do we take this natural wonder and make it into an entertaining routine. Gee, just sitting here I can think of dozens of ways. And I’m sure if I asked Ron Dayton, he would come up with thousands of ways!!!!!

Here is a good one. Have a five of index cards at hand. Hand them out to four men in the audience and one lady. However, when handing out the card to the lady, be sure to nick the corner of the card with your nail so you can later identify it. Then have them all write a word on the paper.Not their name!

Have them fold their slips in half and put them on the table. Have another spectator mix them up. Then spread them out and without opening any of them. Casually locate the one with the nail nick. As you go over each card with the pendulum in hand, make the ‘effort?’ to have the pendulum swing in a straight back and forth line over the slips that belong to the men and in a wide circle over the one with the nail nick which is the one belonging to to woman. Always give the pendulum ample time to get going. Concentrate and don’t be in a rush. This not only helps to get the thing going, but adds drama to the presentation as well.

Then dramatically pick up that slip and show that through the power of the pendulum you have located the woman’s slip of paper.

Al Koran Presentation

Here is a brief outline of how the late great Al Koran used the pendulum as one of his most talked about table demonstrations.

In his now very hard to find book “Professional Presentations, Supreme Magic, England.” Al uses six people and six blank business cards. (there is a promotional idea!) He then borrows a wedding ring and ties it on the end of a piece of string. I personally do not like borrowing rings for fear that someone may claim that I damaged it in some way, but other performers are perfectly comfortable with it.

He then has them write some kind of word on the cards and has them torn in half and scattered face-down on the table. The pendulum is then able to match-up the torn halves. What is the method? Why the nail nick of course! Just be sure to nick both ends of the card in the same position before handing them out. This seems to me to be one of the best possible tricks with business cards. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the best possible close-up tricks as well!

If you can ever find a copy of the book mentioned above, it is worth grabbing. In it, Al gives his whole presentation including patter! Hopefully, someone will re-publish it. I consider it one of the top ten magic books of all time right up there with Dai Vernons treatise on Max Malini.

Pendulum magic has many advantages not the least of which is that fact that you can pass the pendulum out for examination for there are no secrets to find! Have the spectator try it and if they succeed, the magic grows ever stronger!

The only down side to this is the fact that at certain times it simply will not work and may need a bit of prodding….<G> Also, it is not a quick effect, you need to have a captive audience to proceed with a presentation like this.

For further study of pendulum use in actual magical routines I refer the reader to The Magic Pendulum By George B. Anderson, Magic Inc. This book contains an entire act using the pendulum and some slips of paper (my kind of stuff). Well worth checking out.

Try this, it can be a real reputation maker!

Mike is a good “Internet” friend of mine that I have known for a few years now. He is an executive assistant for the Microsoft Network’s Magic and Illusion Forum ™. Along with Melody Goldstein who is a fantastic webmaster over there. I recommend giving them a visit if you have an MSN account….BJG

Finishing Touches on
Supersonic Mathematics

Mike Durant

I like the simplicity of the Supersonic Mathematics, but just one suggestion that to me would make it seem more “magical” … maybe

What I was thinking would be to make a small sequence change. Rather than have two audience rows followed by a magician row followed by an audience row finally magician (i.e. a/a/m/a/m), I was thinking about a/m/a/m/a. It seems more … ahhh “regular” and the audience has the last line making it seem “fairer”? more “magical”?

The only down side I see to that is that the “key” row is the last row … and if the answer and the “block” are shown together (like when someone pulls the calculator to add them) the “resemblance” may become more obvious … unless you went from bottom to top … hhhmmmmm … wha-cha think??


Thanks Mike for those great observations. As always, if anyone has any comments, suggestions or improvements to the lessons, send them to us and we will publish them if they work….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 1997,1998,1999 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.

Beginner’s Study 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Beginners’s Study 10/98-12/98

October 1998

Forcing Techniques
(A Primer)
Bobby J. Gallo

When I teach, I study my students very carefully. I do not believe in teaching the same things to everyone. I follow the same line of reasoning that the old secret societies used to adhere to (Masons, Kof C, etc.) and that is to teach only those things the individual student is ready to learn. If I feel the student is just in magic class for innocent fun or mere curiosity, that is fine. But that being the case, that person learns a regimen of tricks that may potentially be found on the back of a cereal box. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, some of this material is actually very good and a person can be very busy learning this magic alone. If the person turns out to be a serious amateur at the very least, I now know that this is a person who will likely keep the secrets of magic to him or herself. They are then rewarded with secrets that I feel are more valuable. Or should I say CONCEPTS!

The concept of FORCING is just such an area of magic that I feel should be relegated only to those who are serious about the art. We magicians often fail to realize that the vast majority of layman have absolutely no idea whatsoever that a magician has the ability to influence them in what appears to be a free choice of objects. This is a very powerful thing indeed! I consider the concept of forcing to be one of, if not THE most guarded secrets of magic from my perspective. Therefore, this lesson may indeed be one of the most important the beginning magician can read and study.

Now that I have that out of my system, let me discuss exactly what forcing is. The I.C.O.M Online Magician’s Glossary defines forcing as: Force/Forcing (card): The ability of a performer to make a spectator unwittingly choose an object secretly selected by the magician. One of the most guarded secrets in magic.

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that, if a magician can expertly force an object, the potential for magical effects are virtually limitless. The basis of what could be 1/3 of all card magic is based on forcing of one way or another. Forcing, should be learned by all serious magicians, and once learned, only used in select tricks where you want the most powerful mystical punch. Do not over use forcing…

Forcing can safely be divided into two main categories that we will now discuss.

  • The Forcing of a Playing Card or Number of Cards.
  • The Forcing of a Random Object.

Magicians have been forcing playing cards since the times predating Robert Houdin. However, the of forcing random objects such as silks, coins, food articles, furniture, blimps and moon rocks, though sometimes practiced in various routines, is the exception rather than the rule. Cards are by enlarge are the favorite object of forcing by magicians.

Since the subject of card forcing is so expansive, I am going to start with some example methods of forcing random objects. For the sake of expediency, We will for the time being, leave out the forcing of furniture, blimps and moon rocks <G>.

Before I get into actual methods, I would like to first say that to try and cover all techniques in this lesson would be next to impossible. I will not list all the different methods in what is essentially a ‘primer’ on forcing. This is just a different animal than than something like my earlier Torn Corner Techniques, I.C.O.M Archives, where I was able to be fairly comprehensive. If one wants the entire gamut of forces, I could do no better than to recommend, 202 Methods of Forcing by Annemann, Max Holden 1933. This book may still be available and if the student is interested, may be procured through I.C.O.M for a nominal fee.

But do you need 202 methods?…the answer is NO. You may need only about three or four your entire magical career. I will now do my best to give you the most popular and widely used forces that should serve you well.

Methods for Forcing Random Objects

1.Fortunately for the I.C.O.M student there is an original method for forcing random objects that is only available right here in the archives entitled The Force Of A Spell by Ronald J. Dayton. I encourage all that are interested in forcing to find it in the archives, learn it and use it. It is a brilliant way to force just about anything.

2.The second is the famous and much over used method called Equivoque’. (see I.C.O.M Magician’s Glossary) This method is also called “Magician’s Choice” or “Process of Elimination”. In this method, the spectator has a seemingly free choice of any object on a table. The reality is that they have no choice at all. The magician uses a psychological ruse to make them feel that it was a free selection. Let me illustrate with the following example. Warning: this may be a bit confusing!

Object: The magician wants to force a banana on the spectator for the old pre-sliced banana trick!

  • Four fruits on the table: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana
  • Spectator is asked to point to two objects. (notice I did not say “choose” two objects)
  • If the spectator point to the Lemon and the Banana, the performer eliminates the other two fruits leaving the banana and the other fruit. However, if the spectator selects say the Lemon and the apple, the performer removes those fruits. In other words, the object is that no matter which fruit the spectator selects, the banana must always stay on the table. since you never specified what it means by the spectator selecting the two objects, they naturally assume that what ever you do is fair and above board.
  • Now that you have two fruit on the table, say the banana and the apple, you do it again, but employ another subtle ploy. Say, “now out of these two, point to another one”. If they point to the apple, eliminate it and say “that leaves us with the banana”. If they point to the banana, say “You have freely selected the banana”.

3. The next is an old time counting force that is ultra simple to use but very effective. This time we will use six fruits: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana…Kiwi…Peach

Object: The Magician wants to Force the Orange. The set-up must be that the Orange is the third object from the left of the performer.

  • The performer states that he will have the spectator select an object on the table. but in order to have a totally random selection, the spectator is asked merely to give the performer a number from one to six.
  • If the spectator says “one” The performer will spell “one” starting from his left, O-N-E. This lands the performers finger on the orange.
  • The same thing happens if the spectator says T-W-O.
  • Three is the best. The performer then merely counts three from his left, landing on the orange.
  • If four is stated, the performer counts from his right (spectators left) landing on the orange.
  • If five is uttered, the magician spells it starting from his right F-I-V-E. Landing on the orange.
  • Finally, if it is six, the magician spells it starting from his left as in one and two. Starting from his left landing on the orange. S-I-X

4. The last method I will mention is this section deals with use of mechanical devises to force. The popular prop that has been exploited by clown magicians who want to do magic, The Change Bag. This is an excellent way to force small objects. Just have all duplicate objects in one half and a variety of different ones in the other half. Show the different ones and an otherwise empty bag. Drop them all in, make the switch and have a spectator reach in without looking and randomly (?) select an object. Since they are really now all the same, you cannot fail.

To force larger objects this way, Blimps or Large Buildings* for example, Just write the names on slips of paper and proceed as described above.

Methods for Forcing Playing Cards

As I said before, there are almost more ways to force things than one can count and that especially holds true with playing cards. That being said, card forcing can also be divided into two main categories.

  • Forces using a gimmicked (trick) deck of cards.
  • Forces using an ordinary everyday deck of cards.

1. It would not be wise to sit here and explain the working of all the different trick decks on the market. Suffice to say that there are many and some are indeed better than others. Among the classics are:

  • The Svengali Deck
  • The Rough and Smooth Deck
  • The Stripper (Shaved) Deck, (this deck is not ordinarily used for forcing but can with great effect)
  • The One-Way Deck (all cards are the same except for the top and bottom cards)
  • 50/50 Deck (half of the deck are all the same, half are different so that they can be shown)
  • Three-Way Force Deck (each third of the deck consists of the same cards. Used to force three different cards on one or more spectators)
  • Yes, there are more! Incidentally, All of these decks can be purchased through I.C.O.M if desired. Check out our online catalog or e-mail us for prices and availabilities.

2. However, the ambitious magician can dispense with trick decks altogether and be equally effective using a plain old ordinary deck. However, I must state that there is NOTHING WRONG with using a trick deck to force. The only caveat is that there may be times when a crude spectator may grab the deck from the magicians hands. In this case the magician is sunk unless he is using a subtlely gaffed deck such as the stripper (shaved) deck.

We will now examine several classic forcing methods using an ordinary, and semi-ordinary deck. The list is as follows.

  • The Classic Force
  • The Hindu Shuffle Force
  • The Countdown Force
  • The Cross-Cut Force
  • The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force
  • The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*

The Classic Force:

This Classic force may have been the original and is a ‘force’ in every sense of the word, for the spectator is quite literally FORCED to take the card the magician has predetermined. It works like this.

  • The card to be forced is noted and controlled to the top via any number of methods. Once there, the deck is cut. At this point the cards are not completely squared but rather, the spot where the force card lies is held with a pinky break (done by inserting the pinky above the force card hidden and unknown to the audience). The magician notes where the card lies and holds the cards out in a fan. When the magician asked the spectator to take a card he guides the center of the deck, where the force card is, smoothly positioned towards the spectators hands. If you pick a good spectator, they will take the card that is nonchalantly guided to them. That is the classic force.

    In my own work, I have found it to be too risky and not 100% sure-fire. But there are those who swear by this force. Problem is, I’ve never met them.

The Hindu Shuffle Force:

This may be the most popular impromptu force of its kind. And what makes it effective is the fact that it is fairly easy to do “if done properly”. I will tell you how to obtain instructions for the classic method and then I will outline my twist that seems to make it a bit better?

The rather short but complete method for using the hindu force can be found complete with photo illustrations in the I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery.

After reading that description, I would like to relate to the student the method that I actually developed “before” I ever learned to do the classic version of the Hindu Shuffle. This method serves me well to this day.

  • Start by having the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Then instead of grabbing off chunks of card stock as in the original method, thumb off single cards instead.
  • Start slowly then gradually gain speed. After the spectator says “stop”, hold up the remainder of the top stock top let them glimpse the force card.

If this seems a bit unclear, please refer to the Sleight-Of Hand Gallery and read the description of the original method first.

The Countdown Force:

I include this force because it is VERY popular among my beginning students due to its ultra simplicity if not its sheer audacity. Actually, I have fooled a great many people myself with this one.

  • Have the force card on top of the deck.
  • Ask the spectator to name any number from one to ten.
  • Assuming the number was five, ask them to do exactly what you are about to do when you hand them the cards. Proceed to count five cards singly into a neat pile as you count. One, Two, Three, Four, Five.
  • After you have finished, take the pile and replace the cards on top of the deck. What you have done is actually reverse the order of the cards so that the force card is now the fifth card from the top of the deck!
  • Give the spectator the cards and ask them to now do what you did, counting down five cards, the number that THEY chose, and look at the fifth card (the original top force card).
  • Reveal the card as desired.

The Cross-Cut Force:

This force can have no higher praise than to state that it is a favorite of Bill Wisch and has been used on television years ago by none other than the legendary Orson Wells!

  • Have the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Tell the audience member to cut the deck anywhere they wish to make two piles.
  • Then to take one pile (the one with the force card) and place it cross-wise onto the other pile.
  • Talk to them for a bit and distract them from what just happened.
  • Then tell them to raise the top pile and peek at the card on the bottom it. (they will assume that this is where they cut the deck and not realize that this was the bottom card, your forced card!

The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force:

The reason that these two are nearly last is because I do not intend to fully explain them here. Rather, I am recommending them for study. You may find both of these forces already expounded upon in the archives and are still available free as of this writing. The Corner Short* can be found explained in a routine called The Perfect Card Trick!? I.C.O.M Archives, as well as on Ultimate Magic Rap Volume #1 Audio Lecture Tape. The Slip Force can be found in a gem called The World’s Quickest Card Trick I.C.O.M Archives.

Also, as a final note on this subject, having the deck prepared with a corner short is what I consider to be a semi-ordinary deck.

The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*:

This force can be found this month in the Advanced Lab, Check it out!

Basic Sample Routine Using The Card Force As A Vehicle

Before the show starts, remove a duplicate card of the one you intend to force and seal it in an envelope. Then hand this envelope from a string on the far end of the stage where the audience can see it the entire time.

  • Now proceed to force the card that matches the duplicate that is inside the envelope.
  • Have the spectator show it around and place it back into the deck.
  • Shuffle the deck and have the spectator do the same.
  • Take the deck back and pretend to look for it, intentionally failing several times.
  • Tell the audience that do to the fact that you could not find the card, the assisting spectator will get a consolation prize.
  • Go to the far end of the stage and openly take the envelope down and proceed to hand it to the assisting spectator.
  • Have THEM open it up and look inside.
  • After they discover their card, have them show it to the audience and take your bows.

So that it! You now have the means by which many professional magicians have made and are making their livings. Please respect our art and cherish what is contained herein….Thank you!

*This will be the subject of yet another magic technique manuscript coming soon

Levitation Effects for Beginner’s
Bobby J. Gallo

This next offering originally appeared as a Virtual Magic Lesson ™ and is transcribed here for the benefit of all I.C.O.M students…BJG

If you are interested in levitation effects.  There are six as of this writing in the “Archives”.

1)Go Into the Archives and look for the following routines: Kid Show Konservatory: The Stiff Handkerchief Re-Done. 9/97, Streamlined Rising Egg. & In the Beginners Study: The Oldest Dog Of Them All. 2/98: 11/97 Cane Suspension under a section entitled “quickies” & An Experiment in Personal Magnetism. 7/98 The Jennifer Dayton Impromptu Bottle Levitation.

If you have any problems finding the material, let me know and I will walk through the process of accessing the forums. But suffice to say, you just have to click on the appropriate forums to get in.

2)The following is a routine created just for you!  I hope you will like it.

Practical Floating Dollar Bill.
Bobby J.Gallo

(This routine is loosely based on one by a magician named Jean Hugard)

One of the most popular floating effects of the last decade undoubtedly is the “Floating Dollar Bill”  Of course, depending on where you live you will be able to use “any” paper currency that is available.

The method used by most magicians calls for “Invisible thread”.  This enables the magician to perform the effect in very close quarters without the thread being seen, as most effects of this type “use” thread as the means of levitation.  Yes, the old saying that its done with strings is generally true!…especially in this case.

Now, I realize that in some countries it may be impossible to get the same thread that is used by most magicians.  That’s OK, the fact of the matter is, Invisible thread is very hard to work with, and not very dependable anyway.

What I recommend is finding the finest possible black or gray silk thread. This will work fine as well as be considerably stronger as far as breakage. An important fact one must consider when doing thread effects.  It is also much easier to work with since, unlike invisible thread “you” can see it. But properly presented, your audience will not.  After all, the famous “Dancing Cane” uses rather “heavy” thread and it still is not seen from a platform.


From a regular playing card or very stiff paper, cut out two very small pieces and cut small slits in them.  Knot both ends of a six to eight foot length of the silk thread and place each knotted ends into the slitted card pieces.  Now, place two small dabs of tacky wax to each knotted end or in the USA we have a form of all purpose non-toxic putty called “Fun Tack” that sticks to most anything and is removed easily.  Perhaps you have something similar in where you live, check your local stationer for something that can be used.

Now hat you have your magic levitation set-up and your currency note,  you are ready to do a beautiful floating effect.

Before your performance, fix one end of the thread set-up to the back of a chair, bring the other end around to the front of the chair but do not affix that end to anything yet. Just put it on the seat of the chair in preparation of doing your final set-up right in front of the spectators eyes! Display your Bill or borrow one (which is always more impressive).

Now lay the bill on the chair next to the free end of the thread.  Move the chair as though you are looking for a good place to put it.  This is done so that you can easily grasp the free end of the thread along with the dollar bill together without the knowledge of the audience.  Now, at this point it is important to be sure that the thread is not running under the chair and is free of all obstructions.

Now make believe you are fixing your hair and in the process, attach the free end of the thread to your collar.  In rehearsal you will find the best way of doing this.  You may want to attach some “Velcro” to this end of the thread which will attach to another piece previously attached to the collar. Or you may wish to put a loop of thread on the free end and loop it around your ear.  Some magicians have even attached the free end of the thread to a cotton ball and stuck that in the ear.  But that would be very visible and we do not advocate sticking things in your ear.  But it is mentioned here to give you an idea of how things like this can be accomplished.   
Of course there is always the easiest method of all.  That is to have the thread hooked to yourself from the beginning and simply perform your show being careful not to let it get in your way.

Now that the thread is running from your collar to the chair, take the bill and place it so that it touches the top of the thread.  In performance, you must make the audience believe that you are merely holding the bill out in empty space. After all, they must not know that there is a thread running in-between you and the chair.  Crumble the bill up around the thread so that the bill wrapped around the thread. The audience thinks you merely crumbled the bill up at arms length.

Rest the crumbled bill on your palm, make some mystic passes over it with your hand.  Use your best acting ability. Now gradually tighten the thread by very slowly moving your body backwards.  The bill will slowly rise out of your palm and into the air where it will remain suspended defying the laws of gravity!

Now you may pass your hands over and around the floating bill.  You may take a large ring or your magic wand and pass it all around to show the absence of strings (?)  Making sure you do not really touch the string.  You will be surprised at how  much you can do this without ever disturbing the floating dollar.

By nodding the head imperceptibly, you can raise and lower the bill, adding music will also be a major addition to the effect that will create a great atmosphere.

Lastly, be sure to do this in dim light with your audience a sufficient distance from you.  Tell them that if they are not at least (?) feet from you, the mystic aura will not materialize and the experiment will not work.

In closing, I feel that I would be remiss if I did not at least point out some classic magic levitation effects and where to obtain them in the event that you do not feel that this lessons effect is for you.

  • The Zombie: The classic levitation effect. The magician floats a silver ball above a foulard. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Miracle Ball: A less expensive version of the Zombie ball. Also Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Dancing Hankerchief: To be the subject of a future I.C.O.M lesson, watch for it!
  • The Spooky Rising Ball: Similar to “Streamlined Rising Egg” found in the archives, however, no palming is involved with this method. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Rising Cards: A Classic of Magic. Impromptu methods to be the subject of future I.C.O.M lessons.
  • The Floating Glass: A gimmicked version of the “Jennifer Dayton Impromptu bottle levitation”. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Floating Light Bulb: The illusion that the legendary Blackstone made famous! Available through I.C.O.M

There are others that we will also cover in the times ahead. In the meantime, I think that you have a lot to work with here.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Bobby J. Gallo 

Note: This Virtual Lesson is for I.C.O.M members only, and may be used for future I.C.O.M forums. Copyright 1998 International Conservatory Of Magic

November 1998

Bobby J. Gallo

This trick is coming to you fresh. What do I mean by that? Well, most of the time, authors of effects, including myself, will tell you that what they are sharing has been developed through years of trial and error. This is not the case with this lesson. As a matter of fact, this effect and its method, for myself, have been discovered within three weeks of this writing. So that being the case, let me back track three weeks to give you a look at events as they transpired. And in doing so, teach you the routine in the process.

Three weeks ago I found myself outside of Atlanta Georgia performing at the University Of Georgia. Part of my “Sharing The Magical Spotlight ‘With You’ Tour”. As with all of my college dates, I am engaged to perform for one solid hour. Any college performer can tell you, that when working in these extremely difficult venues, only the best and most foolproof magic should be used. The college circuit is an extremely discriminating market, and you have to be very, very good to work it.

My show was going very well that night. As a matter of fact, it was going so well that I lost control of my pacing and found myself rushing through routines because of the adrenaline rush I was getting due to the great response of the audience. Come to think of it, I’ve just decided, pacing should, and will be the subject of a future lesson. It is very important.

I had gone through my entire show and knew that I had only “one more” routine to perform, and that was my closing number. Well, when I looked up at the clock I discovered that I still had fifteen minutes to go! Whoops!, my closing number runs just under 9 minutes. Uh, Oh, what to do? I could not run the show short. I travelled about 600 miles and the school was paying a nice amount of money for the show. I was obligated to give them a solid hour. All I had left were the playing cards I had in my pocket, and one deck on the table.

Ok, I know lots of tricks right? But what can I do on a stage? During the time I was pattering to the audience and asked someone to the stage, (I knew I would need a spectator no matter what I did) I needed to decide on a trick. I considered Joe Karsons “World’s Fastest Card Trick” But that involved making sport of the assisting audience member. And I did not get a good vibe during this show concerning that particular trick. The person was almost at the stage when the old classic, You-Do-As-I-Do popped into my head. No time to waste, I had to do it. Only problem was, I HAD NEVER BEFORE PERFORMED THAT TRICK! I said to myself, how hard could it be, it only involved the use of a key card. A concept I am well familiar with.

Here we go, I gave one deck to the spectator and one kept one for myself. I asked the spectator to shuffle the cards. (which by the way she did expertly!) I did the same. We then exchanged decks. Oh no, I forgot to peek at the bottom card of my deck before I handed it to her to note the key card! No Problem… I told her that “we had to place psychic vibes into the cards or the experiment would not work”. I told her to “take the deck and give it another shuffle!!! and another!!!” Now I said, “hold the deck up to your head like me.”(See Fig.#1) I held up the deck with the bottom card facing her and she did the same. HER KEY CARD WAS STARING ME IN THE FACE! I did all I could to not burst out laughing. After we chanted a little, which as very funny, I asked her to “look through her deck and pick out a card, any card.” I told her I would do the same. In my case it made no difference which card I selected.

Fig. #1

After she selected a card I asked her to do as I did and “place the card on top of her deck. Cut the cards, again, again, again, Now, lets switch decks. I told her to go through my deck and located her card as I would go through her deck and locate my card.” I simply looked for the key card that I spotted when she held the deck up earlier, and knew the next card would be her chosen selection.

We both held our cards out backs to the audience when I said “on the count of three, we are both going to turn our cards over at the same time to see what we have each selected. One…two…three…!” When we turned our cards over and they matched. THE CROWD WENT NUTS…I MEAN THEY WENT WILD! I could not believe that this effect was so unbelievably strong. Two weeks later, I did it again at another college. Russell Sage College in Troy New York. I got the same reaction. Only there I had a little miracle take place. When the spectator looked through my deck to find her card, It wasn’t there! The deck just so happened to be missing card and it was the spectators selection! So in the eyes of the audience, not only did I find the spectators card, but I made it vanish from my deck as well! If only that could happen at a magician’s convention, they would be following me around for years wondering how I did that!

So, Why do I call this You-Do-As-I-Adieu? The key is in the word Adieu, or goodbye. This trick is so strong you can close a show with it. In other words, do it, then say goodbye! Go through this story, and try it out. You will love it. Want a brief overview? Ok…

  • Have Two Decks of Cards, one for you, and one for the spectator.
  • Both Shuffle.
  • Exchange decks.
  • Shuffle again.
  • Hold decks up to foreheads and chant an ancient mantra, noting the bottom card (key card) of the spectators deck. This is my stumbled upon variation which allows the cards to be shuffled after the decks have been switched.
  • Both select a card (remember, yours doesn’t matter).
  • Place cards on top of decks, cut three times.
  • Exchange decks again.
  • Look through cards for your respective selections. (you look for key card, card following key is the spectators choice. Take it out).
  • Hold cards out with backs towards the audience. On the count of three turn them over.
  • Watch the faces of the audience, jaws drop followed by standing ovation.
  • Send letters of thank you to Bobby J. Gallo! (just kidding…send e-mail!)

Co-Director’s Notes: This next lesson originated as a “Virtual Magic Lesson” for one of our students overseas. Over there, they have only heard about the linking card effect. So with that in mind, I developed what I believe is an original handling of the effect. I do however, give credits where I felt appropriate. I hope you enjoy and use it…BJG

Devil’s Play-Link
Bobby J. Gallo

Fig: #4

The following linking card routine contains elements from virtually all who have tread the “trendy” premise of applying the classic “Linking Ring” effect to playing cards.

Among those who should be credited off the top would be Paul Harris and an English magician named “Crabtree” who marketed a manuscript version of the linking cards around the same time the Harris version was released years ago. I believe it was called “The Crabtree Connection”. The date of publication escapes me. It was released through Supreme who is now defunct. Portions of this handling are also credited to Ed Marlo and a generous amount of work done by “yours truly”.

Two cards cards are removed from a deck and are folded in half “width-wise””. Now either a pair of scissors are used to cut out a large hole in the center of both cards (see: Fig #1.). Alternately, you may rip the cards manually, but this is more difficult and not as neat looking. This being done, the magician is left with two pasteboard card-rings. (nothing like an onion ring) The magician now proceeds link and unlink the rings. A third card may introduced and all three are made to penetrate one another. At the end, the cards may be examined.

Fig #1.

You will need a duplicate card of the one you are going to use as your linking “key card”. With this, you need to tear or cut a small slit in the side as you will see in the graphic, (see: Fig #1.). Place this card into the deck proper and take the duplicate and make an ungimmicked ring with it. Place this under the table on the lap ready to do a switch at the end of the routine. The creative student may also wish to use the switch of their choice to accomplish this.

Fig #2.

In performance, remove the card with the slit from the deck as well as an indifferent one holding both as though you were holding only “one” card. Then proceed to cut (recommended) or tear out the centers to create your “ring” cards. Unfold the cards being sure to hide the key card slit in-between the forefinger and thumb.

To perform the first link, hold both cards as in (Fig #2.), By sliding the ungimmicked card onto the “key Card” you can easily link it on. I’m am sure that the student will probably find a “feel” that will best suit him as far as linking an unlinking goes (Fig #3).

Now after you have exhausted all the moves you would like to use, (recommended reading would be “Rings In Your fingers” by Dariel Fitzkee) it is time for the climax which is handing all out for examination. This can be done in two ways.

1) Do not hand them out at all! This is done by applying a light coat of rubber cement to the edged of the slit and “tearing” the cards. (you are going to need beveled edged which are not achieved when cutting). After the routine, press the edges together to “seal the cards together” A nice finish could be to leave the cards linked and then display them on the tip of your finger letting them get a close “look”.

2) Perform a switch, switching the ungimmicked card on your lap for the gimmicked one. An easy way to accomplish this is to lean over the table to hand the ungimmicked card (with the right hand) to one person to examine while the left hand containing the gimmicked card goes below the table and makes the switch.

3) My favorite conclusion is to use a GAG ending that I stumbled upon. After all of the moves are completed I ask the spectators if they would like to examine the cards. After the say YES, (and they always do) I proceed to say, “Sure, no problem, because I have nothing to hide as these are truly ordinary playing cards, you see they even rip like everyday playing cards!” I then proceed to tear them to shreds and sprinkle them on the table in front of the spectator inviting them to examine the remains all they want! Not only does this get a laugh, but it leaves you CLEAN! Think about it…

This routine can also be performed using a third card to make it even more showy and involved (see Fig. #4). In a way, this makes takes the heat off the “key card” even further due to the fact that there is an extra card for the spectators to watch.

Fig. #3

December 1998

Ultra-Simplified Spelling Trick
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is a dynamite, professional quality effect that literally knocks people out. I have used this in my close-up program for years and recently made its way into Bill Wisch’s bag of tricks as well. So that tells you how effective it must be.

Effect: The performer states that he is going to perform the “classic feat of all card magic”. The one where the spectator picks a card and the magician finds it. Easy right? Well, things are not always as they seem says the magician.

A card is selected and returned to the deck. The deck is cut and shuffled. Then the magician, upon running through the cards, takes a card out and with a triumphant look on his face, throws it down onto the table stating that it is the very card that the spectator selected. His glory is short lived however, the audience informs the magician that the card is the wrong one!

The wonder worker then states that when he messes up this trick there is only one recourse of action and that is to have the card find itself!

The performer now asks the spectator to reveal the identity of the card. Upon doing so, the magician WITHOUT ANY SLEIGHT-OF-HAND OR MOVES AT ALL, takes the deck and spells the name of the card. Dealing one card onto the table for every letter of the name. When the last letter is reached, the magician turns the card over and it is indeed the selected card…The crowd roars!

A deck of playing cards.

Method: This really is an easy effect to do. All that is needed is to glimpse the bottom card (key card) after the shuffled deck is handed back to you. Once the card is selected have it returned and undercut the bottom half of the deck so that the key card lands directly above the selection. I prefer to use the Vernon key card placement, but merely cutting the cards will do.

After the card has been selected and returned (with the key card cut to the top of the selection) proceed as in the description. You may even false shuffle and false cut the deck if you desire but in truth, I never do.

Look through the cards until you come to the key card. From there you know that the card just to the right of the key card is the selection. Let’s say for example that it is the six of clubs. Starting with the six, spell the card mentally going from right to left card by card. It must look to the audience as though you are still trying to locate the spectators card. Little do they know you are actually setting up the trick right in front of thier eyes!!!

. Now as soon as you come to the last card that spells the six of clubs, throw out the very next card as the one you pretend to think is the selection. As they look at this card, cut the deck at this point and you will find that the selected card is now at the very last letter when the six of clubs is spelled out. And that is all there is to it!


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.

Beginner’s Study 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

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

July 1998


As Explained By Her Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 1998

Old Dogs, New Tricks
Part #3

AutoMatic Two-To-One Ropes
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figs.#1 & #2

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

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

Figs. #3 & 4#

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

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

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

September 1998

The Perfect Card Trick !?
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you do it??? No? Ok, I’ll wait…

Did it? Great! Now on to the method.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Beginner’s Study 4/98-6/98


Beginner’s Study 4/98-6/98

April 1998

Multiplying Bills Perfected
Bobby J. Gallo

If this effect looks vaguely familiar, it is because a very sparse version of it currently appears in the I.C.O.M Cyber-Magic Textbook(tm) I.C.O.M Magic for beginners. So why am I making it the subject of an actual I.C.O.M lesson? Well, let me tell you a very short story….

Every so often Bill Wisch and myself meet at a small coffee shop to discuss all things I.C.O.M. Many of you already know this since I have said it before. Well, recently, We were discussing tricks with dollar bills since that is soon to be a subject of a video tape we at I.C.O.M are producing in the not to distant future. During our conversation I asked Bill if he ever saw the dollar trick that I developed to teach my magic class students. Bill said no…..So I proceeded to take a dollar bill from my wallet, crumble it up into a small ball, and rip the ball in half. Bill looked at me like I was crazy. He’s right, I am, but that’s another story…….I then took each half of the ripped dollar and rubbed them on my forearms while chanting and ancient tibetan mantra. Now the whole place was looking at me like I’m nuts…But that’s okay, I’m used to it. After all of my academy award winning acting was through, I proceeded to un-ravel the two halves of the dollar I previously ripped apart and to Bill’s amazement (and believe me, to amaze Bill is a reward all in itself) the two pieces were now two complete, whole dollar bills, wrinkled, yes, but none the worse for wear.

It was Bill’s enthusiasm for this effect that inspired me to give it further thought. Sure, It has always amazed my students before I taught it to them, but for some reason, I never thought it was strong enough for adults. I was wrong! To further prove this point, I recently introduced the effect at a trade show where it was knocking people out! All from a trick that is within reach of “any” beginner.

It even proved stronger than effects that require more advanced sleight-of-hand. Perhaps it is because of the simplicity of the premise or the straight forward workings I am about to explain. Whatever the reason, try this and it will become one of your favorite impromptu effects. And all it uses are two ordinary dollar bills and a lot of nerve. Go figure…………

As stated above, this uses two ordinary dollar bills. One is crumbled into a ball in your pocket, and another is placed into your pocket un-crumbled along side. An alternate way to do it would be to have the crumbled ball finger-palmed and then ask for the loan of a dollar. Either way is fine. If you are using the first method. Go to the pocket and finger-palm the crumbled dollar as you remove the ordinary one. Display the dollar bill remarking that it is similar to any a person may have.

Note at this point that the when holding the bill, your thumb and fore-finger are holding the bill while the other three fingers are curled in concealing the crumbled bill. Notice now that if you were normally holding a dollar at your fingertips “without” a duplicate finger-palmed, your hand would look the exact same way! Think about it, this is what “sells” the effect. From the audiences point of view, everything looks normal and above board. The natural in-curling of the three fingers now gives you an excellent opportunity to finger-palm an object un-noticed and un-suspected. For in all truth, they still do not know what you are about to do. Keep it that way, DO NOT TELL THEM THAT YOU INTEND TO RIP THE DOLLAR IN HALF AND MULTIPLY IT! Surprise is everything in this effect.

Now there is another subtlety that is mega important in the next step. Without the left hand coming anywhere near the right hand that is displaying the dollar at the finger-tips with the duplicate finger-palmed, do a one-handed crumble.(a sleight pertinent only to this trick) Meaning, crumble the dollar up so that is ends up right next to the dollar that is now in finger-palm. You will now notice something remarkable. If you take the two dollars out of your hand and hold them together between the thumb and fore-finger, they look just like a single crumbled dollar. THIS IS A VERY CONVINCING STRONG POINT OF THE EFFECT! An illusion in the truest sense of the word. The hands can now be shown otherwise empty, Another strong point!

Now that everyone thinks that you have merely taken a dollar, crumbled it up and are now just holding it at your finger-tips you proceed to do something that will make most people cringe. Hold each end of the ball. In reality, you are holding one dollar in one hand, and another dollar in another hand, keeping both bills together so it appears as if you are merely holding a single dollar with both hands.

Now you are going to make it appear that you are ripping a single dollar in half. To do this, instead of merely separating the dollars apart, (that would not be very convincing due to the fact that there is no noise) You separate the bills at the same time rubbing them against each other. In other words, the right hand holding one dollar is moved forward, while the left hand holding the other dollar is moved backwards. The friction of the two dollars rubbing against each other creates a ripping sound. It must appear as if you are actually ripping the dollar in two. With this ripping sound, it is an effective illusion.

After the groans of what it appears you have just done, you want to let a small amount of time lapse before the restoration. “Always distance the climax from the sleight” So make the most of it and do a little acting. I myself take each piece, rub them on my forearms, chant, etc. (And you thought I was just saying that in the story to be funny…I was serious?!) After you are done. SLOWLY unravel each dollar and look for the stunned expressions on the spectators faces.

Wow, this is so good, I am having second thoughts about teaching it to my students….<G>

May 1998

Note: This material is not only recommended to beginners, but highly valuable to advanced magicians as well…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

On page 239 of ” The Amateur Magician’s Handbook ” Mr. Hay begins a brief discussion on silks, and on page 241 touches on the washing and care of same. Very few details are given. There are specifics which should be followed, and these may be found in detail in Vol. 1 of Harold R. Rice’sEncyclopedia Of Silk Magic.” Mr. Rice was an expert in the field…and the best advice in my estimation ever given on the care of silks is in this text.

Mr. Hay mentions on page 242 that magician John Mulholland folded and ironed his white silks like ordinary linen handkerchiefs, and removed them from his breast pocket in that condition. Well and good during performances perhaps, although I am doubtful it is ever good to fold and iron any silk. It is definitely not recommended to fold and store any silk for a period of time. The fold or crease made in the silk will weaken and break after a while. That is, in a good quality silk. It is best to know the blend of fibers your ‘silk’ is comprised of… different weight or momme silks are best for certain effects.

For my own silks I have used a variation of an idea offered in the Rice text. The washed and ironed silks are laid flat, then rolled on to a cardboard tube such as taken from an empty wax paper roll. This keeps the silks nice and smooth without creating any folds or creases. The rolled silks are then slipped in to a mailing tube, and the end closed with the tube cap. Everything is kept safe and secure until needed. Mark the outside of the tube to indicate special silks. Card silks, blendo, rainbow etc.

The three volume set of the ” Encyclopedia Of Silk Magic “ is an absolute MUST purchase for any student of magic who is serious about the pursuit of excellence, and a strong knowledge and background in silk magic. It is, quite literally, an art form all its own in the world of magic.

Henry Hay also talks about a device called a Thumb Tip on page 258 in the section Small Gimmicks and Fakes.

The distinction between a gimmick and a fake ( or, feke in earlier old English text ) is important. I think he did a good job of explaining it…and find it interesting that both the thumb tip and the mirror glass should be hard to classify.

Thumb tips are possibly the most universal device, and one of the most powerful pieces of equipment at the modern magician’s disposal. This little something, which is both seen and unseen at various stages of a given routine, is indispensable to the beginning novice magician, and the well seasoned professional as well. The only possible difference I can see between the two is the degree of understanding in regard to the full potential of the thumb tip.

This is not a toy, nor is it a throw-away novelty you show around to prove how ‘clever’ you are. It is a secret device, simplistic though it may be, which will enable you to create veritable miracles right before the very eyes of your audience.

The Thumb Tip is exactly what it claims to be. It is a false section made to resemble a human thumb, and is worn like a cap on the end of the performer’s thumb. The one described by Mr. Hay was an early style, being made from aluminum and painted a light tannish brown on the outside. Most tips are made for caucasian skin matches. People of color must strive to modify their own for a better concealment. Some lady performers have even glued false fingernails on theirs ( small size tips ) to give it a more natural appearance.

You may now purchase tips still made in the original way of aluminum, or ones of rubber, and still others of very high grade semi flexible plastic. These are known as Vernet Tips, and are the best presently available. Thumb tips can also be purchased in a variety of sizes. This is important for the fit given each performer. It is also important when considering the size or amount of the object or substance to be put in to the tip.

Thumb tips were popular in their metal form for the vanish of a lit cigarette years ago. This could also be done with the rubber or plastic tips by placing a small piece of wet sponge in the end of the tip.

Holes can be made in the plastic tips for various ribbon or string effects. Magnets can be glued into the tip for still other possibilities. Tips can be modified to become nail-writers for special mental effects. Thumb tips can be used in conjunction with various rattle-bar style effects, or in salt vanishes / long salt pour routines.

Gary Darwin has written an incredible book called ” Darwin’s Thumb Tip Miracles ” I believe, and Melbourne Christopher developed many fine routines in his book ” Thumb Tip Magic.” Inquire about these authors with your favorite magic dealer to expand your use and knowledge of the thumb tip. It’s an investment you will never regret.

Once you begin to understand the applications thumb tips have, new worlds of creativity will open themselves to you. You will see them as means to vanishes, productions, restorations, color changes, transformations, transpositions, mentalism, livestock, levitations and suspensions etc. You may even begin to visualize the possibility of things not actually being thumb tips, but which can be used as one. Thimbles, film cartridges, caps from large felt tip marking pens, rubber office supply tips for sorting papers, lip stick cases caps etc. You do not, of course, show these in their entirety as for the final full front display with a thumb tip…but when concealed, for all intent and purposes, you might as well be using a tip. They can be equally effective. And best of all, they may be readily available to you as an impromptu gimmick if you are on your toes and recognize them for what they can become. Some clever performers in the past have even modified the object they intend to vanish, into a makeshift thumb tip. In otherwords, the object was self vanishing, stolen away on the end of your thumb. Clever beyond belief.

Finger tips and sixth fingers are in another class of magic. The Rice’s ” Encyclopedia Of Silk Magic “ discuss uses for these at some length, but for the most part, they are relegated to magic

history. The nice thing about history is, it seems to repeat itself! Modern performers should take it upon themselves to learn about the methods and effects of the past…then up date these basic ideas so they may become the unexpected miracles of today!

I should mention too yet another book on thumb tips, and that was written fairly recently by the creative genius, Steve Dusheck. He has many new and wonderful approaches to the thumb tip. It is available from your favorite dealer, or via. Jim Klein at the American Magic Company.

The very best video I have ever seen concerning the thumb tip was produced by L & L Publishing. Clever and skillful manipulations are explained by their creator, Bernard Bilis. We’re talking state of the art handlings! Extremely innovative. Exceptionally deceptive!

Comedy Thumb-Tip Routine Idea!

Here is one last thing I would like to have you consider in this Odds ‘n Ends dialogue. On page 243 of ” The Amateur Magician’s Handbook “, the piece of apparatus, the Drumhead Tube is discussed. But lets forget the drumhead paper cap and rings, and the torpedo load gimmick as well. What if you have just a simple tube, large enough to reach down into, and you want to do a comedy production??

One idea I had, and which may have already been mentioned briefly in previous text, was to be wearing a large ( obviously large ) gauze bandage wrap around one thumb or finger. Showing the tube empty by peering at the audience through it, you proceed to reach down into it and begin immediately producing yards and yards of cloth streamer. Quickly, the audience will realize that you are actually pulling the bandage from the hand that holds the lower end of the tube.

Another possible idea would be to reach in to the tube, and pull out a large, colorful tie. Again, it registers with the audience that you have actually pulled your own clip-on tie off and up through the tube.

As a concluding production to this outlandish routine, the final item is a pair of suspenders. These have not actually been worn by you at the time, but rather, are up the sleeve of the arm holding the tube. As a kicker, it is unexpected, and should get a good laugh.

The best performers are serious about their magic, but you do not necessarily have to present it in a serious vein.

June 1998

Torn Corner Techniques
“Or the card to wallet for those who don’t like to sweat”
Bobby J. Gallo

Many top professionals consider the “signed card to wallet” to be one of the strongest possible effects in magic. Indeed, it is strong. There are however, certain drawbacks in developing a solid method of getting the signed selection into the wallet under all circumstances. To do this effect, one must master the technique of palming a card, then time the insertion of same into a wallet without fumbling. Couple that with the fact that the effect has extremely bad angle problems, and you end up with a routine that is dynamite in effect but is not 100% reliable.

Upon playing with the idea, I have found that in the minds of the spectator, there is a concept that proves every bit as strong, and has the added feature of being very practical. Yes…I’m talking about the Torn Corner Concept.

The basic premise goes something like this. The magician has a card freely selected, then torn to pieces by the spectator. These pieces are then vanished leaving only one piece behind. (an alternate scenario has the spectator taking one piece of the card prior to the vanishment) The card is then found fully restored in some sort of container except for the fact that a corner is missing. The grand climax comes when the corner held by the spectator fits exactly.

One may say that this method even has an advantage over signed card routines due to the fact that there is an additional magic effect at play here. That being a restoration in addition to the transposition.

There are many ways to accomplish this effect. This lesson is to stimulate your thinking so that you may develop a way of performing this bewildering effect using anycombination of methods I am going to share with you.

Step: 1
Pick a card…Any card !

Since this method of discovery involves the destruction and restoration of the chosen card. Two duplicate cards to match the selection are needed. One card for selection, the second card for discovery, and the third to maintain a 52 card deck so the performer may use the deck for subsequent routines (especially valuable in trade show and roving work).

The veteran magician will have already guessed that the chosen card must be “forced”. That is to say that the magician has controlled one the of the duplicates so that the spectator has no choice but to take it rather than an indifferent card.

There are a number of ways to do this. The easiest and in many cases the safest way is with a mechanical “Force” deck. Many force decks exist, but the most popular among prop-oriented magicians are the “one-way” deck, in which 50% of the deck consist of the same card. Another is the famed “Svengali” deck, or long and short deck. In this case, every other card is a duplicate which may be forced via a very clever principle involved. Both decks are available through the I.C.O.M Online catalog.

There are a number of ideal ways to force a card via sleight-of-hand. This is the way I do it and feel that I myself become a bit more confident knowing that if a rude audience members decided to grab the deck out of my hands,(which they sometimes do) they will find nothing but an ordinary deck of playing cards. To find some excellent sleight-of-hand methods of forcing a card, please consult the Amateur Magicians Handbook as well as the I.C.O.M Sleight of hand gallery.

Step #2
Tell it where to go !

Next you must find a suitable receptacle for the insertion of the torn corner card. The variations of this are truly limited only by your imagination. Two items past magicians have used are oranges and lemons. This is done by burrowing a tube-like hole in one end, then folding the card tightly and inserting it into the fruit. By holding the set-up citrus with the hole side facing your palm it appears to be ordinary.

One can also use the magicians force “equivoque” to force the set-up fruit from among a basket full of un-gimmicked ones.

This choice is quite messy not to mention a big hassle due to the fact that the set-up has to be done close to show-time or either the fruit will rot or the card will become so soggy, that the effect will ultimately suffer. On the flip side, it is arguably the most effective presentation for the torn corner since it is theoretically impossible for a card to have grown inside a fruit. At least, that is what the spectator thinks. And this type of effect has made the reputation of more than one top pro so it is a proven premise.

Other containers are possible. Sealed cans have been, and are being marketed with the duplicate already sealed inside. This is an expensive but effective way to go. However, maybe not effective as the “produce” methods.

A very practical and classy method would be to have the card appear inside a sealed zippered wallet. Since the card is inside from the start. You can relax and forget about the risky palming of the card as in the signed card routines and concentrate on your presentation. This is also the best way to go for trade shows and other venues where you need to re-set your show quickly and load another card. I have used this method myself during corporate work where I loaded and set-up the routine about twenty times during the course of the day with subsequent performances. It works like a charm. It is also important to note that I also included a sealed envelope inside the wallet. Again, because I did not have to load the card in DURING the routine, no rubber cement seals werenecessary as in the signed versions of the card to wallet.

Step #4
They were there a minute ago?

After you have chosen a “force” method as well as a destination for the restored chosen card, you must now decide on the most important aspect of all. How to magically dispose of the torn pieces? Now, remember, a single torn piece has to be left over to prove to the audience that the restored card is also the original that was selected. That all important corner piece can be obtained in one of two ways. The performer has to decide which.

1) The corner can either be palmed or introduced secretly into the duplicate pieces and merely plucked out by the performer and given to the spectator.

2) A riskier version would be to secretly introduce the torn corner on top of the pieces that the performer is holding and then tell the spectator to take a piece and “hope” that they take the top piece without giving you a hard time.

3) Have the corner piece “left over” after all the other pieces have vanished. (this is the method I use)

Now that you have decided upon a method wherein the corner piece is left over, you now must find a way to vanish all the other pieces. This can be accomplished in any one of a hundred ways. I will outline a few of the more popular, practical, and classic ways.

1.The hanky ploy: This is where all the pieces are placed in a well made in a handkerchief with the fingers. A rubber band is snapped around the well. (unknown to the audience) The hank is whisked away and the pieces have vanished. (only method #1 or #2 for obtaining the corner can be used with this method)

2.The use of a thumb-tip with or without a hanky. Here is an idea that I have played with but never actually put into practice. It is called the “Thumb-Tip Switching Device” (for lack of a better name) What you do is insert a piece of stiff material into the thumb-tip so that is runs right down the center. It must be attached to the inner walls of the tip and must stick out of the tip end about a “quarter inch” or so. (metric equivalent?) Now, the torn piece that matches the restored card in already in “one side” of the tip. The torn pieces go into the other side. The tip being in your closed fist at the time. The “wall” is shifted from one side of the tip to the other much like the switching envelope mentioned later in this lesson. As an afterthought as described above, take a piece out of the tip. (actually the one there from the start) and had it to the spectator. Vanish the rest of the pieces using standard thumb-tip moves.

3.The use of a “flap-type” card Box (All methods for obtaining the corner may be used)

4.The use of a Himber wallet or other switching device.

5.A double walled switching envelope made by inserting a makeshift wall into a small manila pay envelope, using a cut piece from an additional envelope. The prepared envelope can now either be shown empty after switching the wall from one side of the envelope to another. Squeezing the sides keeps the envelope sides taught and the pieces trapped inside. Or the envelope may be burned which completely destroys the envelope and evidence.. (adult magicians “only” to use this second method)

Now you are all set to actually perform this amazing effect. Here is a step by step synopsis of a routine using the technique.

  • Magician sets up routine by tearing the corner of a card and placing the larger portion into a lemon.
  • He then takes the small torn corner and places it into one side of a standard card box.
  • He walks out onstage (I know this was not necessary to say but I like dramatics)
  • Card is selected (forced)
  • Card is torn into pieces.
  • Card pieces are placed into card box.
  • Magician says an incantation, waves hands, dancers come out and distract the audience, for what reason…..I don’t know!
  • Card box is opened and all the pieces are seen to have vanished save for “one”(Hee…Heee)
  • Lemon is introduced as a prize for spectator. Magician cuts lemon open and finds a card. Magician points out that it is selected card, completely restored except for the fact that a corner is missing.
  • Magician show that the corner left over from the vanished pieces matches exactly. Magician bows to thunderous applause. Agents storm the dressing room looking to book magician on several late night talk shows.

I hope you enjoy your new found fame.


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.

Beginner’s Study 1/98-3/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Beginner’s Study 1/98-3/98

January 1998

The Oldest Dog Of Them All!
Bobby J. Gallo
The following routine is literally as old as the “magical” hills. The decision and inspiration for including it here is credited to Ron Dayton who wrote this months piece “Old Dog, New Trick” in the ICOM Kid Show Konservatory”. This is my contribution to the quest for the revitalization of ancient magic effects. And I’m sure any seasoned magic pro will agree, there is no older effect than the one I am about to share with you now.

What makes this the subject of this months lesson is also the fact that I am currently featuring this in both my close-up and kid shows! So, if you think this is all “smoke and mirrors” Think again!

The old dog I am referring to is the classic magnetized wand. It has been featured in countless beginners books on magic as well as cereal boxes since what seems to be the beginning of time. In truth, it is the kind of trick that probably “was” done with one prop or another since the modus operandi is so simple.

The basic effect is the demonstration of anti-gravity. Any object from a magician’s wand to a pencil can be made to suspend from the palm of the magician’s hand with no gimmicks what-so-ever. The basic moves of the feat are as follows.

Display the wand remarking to the audience that it is totally ordinary and un-gimmicked. (is a magician’s wand ever really ordinary? Hmmmm….) Now, explain that if you hold the wand in your hand, then grab your wrist, upon opening the hand the wand remains miraculously suspended.

Fig#2 shows the behind the scenes maneuver that makes it all possible. The right hand index finger hold the wand against the palm of the left hand keeping it from falling. This is done secretly at the point when the right hand grasps the left wrist.

Fig #2
For all intensive purposes, the trick can end right here as it has been time since time immemorial. However, that will result in one or all of the following scenarios.

  • You have performed what is truthfully a mediocre trick. But hey, the kids like it!
  • 50% of the spectators will know what you are doing, no matter how smooth you do it.
  • “You” will be pretty disappointed that this is the end of this months lesson! “We can’t have that!”

Fortunately, The Routine can be expanded to make it a real mind-blower! This is how. Instead of trying to persuade the audience with the fact that the wand is actually clinging to your hand, make a pseudo magic lesson out of it like I do. (I was told be several leading magicians not to release this routine, but I’m going to anyway. I.C.O.Mer’s are worth it!)

Start by saying that you will teach the audience how to do a magic trick themselves. Go through the above motions right up to the point where the wand is suspended. Now, ask the audience if they know how it is done. If they say no, you may end the trick right here without exposing the method if you prefer. But if they “do” know what you are doing, I feel that in this rare case, it is proper to expose the method for the greater impact of the pending climax.

Proceed to remove your finger from the wand, leaving it genuinely suspended in mid-air! See Fig #3

How is this done you ask? Answer next month………No, just kidding! It is done with a ploy that is not new. Much like the trick itself. It was performed and featured by the great Max Malini in his full evening show. He used to do this during his stage show with a couple of cigars. In Vernon’s book, Malini And His Magic (Supreme, Out of Print) Malini had a moist eperdermis (skin), with which he could press his hands to almost any light object which then would allow them to cling to his hands with no gimmicks what-so-ever!

Upon learning this I realized that most magicians after about fifteen minutes of performing sleight-of-hand find their skin in this condition. Slightly moist and damp due to natural perspiration.
You will also need a very light magic wand. Actually, I have found that the wands available in the I.C.O.M Online Catalog work perfectly! (I know this sounds like a commercial plug but it also happens to be true!) Merely grasp the wand in a tight fist, then slowly open the fingers. The wand will cling to your hand! The spectators will freak at this point. Close your hand, and hand out the wand for examination. Do not repeat the effect!

Bill Wisch pointed out that there is some interesting psychology happening here at this point. The suspension of the wand at the climax point is actually strengthened by the fact that the previous exposure of the old method seems to dispel any notion that the wand is capable of any type of self-suspension at all. Hence, when the climax point is reached, it seems all that more impossible.

Performers who still have trouble performing the effect, fear not. The famous Eddie Joseph, one of India’s legendary magi’s had a solution. He would levitate small objects using a small loop of cellophane tape. This can be stolen from just about anywhere during your performance since the sticky nature of tape allows it to be its own servante!

Other magicians have talked about the use of moist hands to levitate objects such as the late Al Koran and others. Try it! it works, But remember. When displaying the wand in its suspended state, do it for a short period only. Remember, Less is more! Then immediately hand it out for examination. You may have your hands immediately examined as well provided you are not using the tape method (if you are, you may develop a way to ditch the tape before having your hands examined).

Also, if you do not want to use a magic wand, try a no.#2 pencil, a plastic drinking straw, or any other ordinary object that is long, light and slender. To close, look at Fig#3. There is no tape or gimmicks at all causing this wand suspension. In a way, it is as close to real magic as you can get. Think about it………….

Fig #3

February 1998

Peter Explained
Bobby J. Gallo
If a person were to ask me what the most challenging aspect of being an I.C.O.M instructor is, it would most likely be the decision of what to showcase in the Beginner’s Study each month. What do I show people that are just starting their relationship with magic? What can be beneficial to beginner as well as seasoned magicians who pop into the forum? What is interesting? What is entertaining? what is practical? What is fun?

I believe that this month I have satisfied all of the above criteria with a lesson that is long overdue in the world of magic. A complete handling for the multiplying bunnies! This single effect has been a staple of the close-up artist’s repertoire for years, and has been called the greatest close-up effect ever devised by more than one top professional. Even I must confess, it is one of, if not “the” favorite effect of my audiences. Rarely, does an effect make someone scream with surprise and delight the way the multiplying bunnies do. So strong is this effect if performed properly, that if I could only have ten close-up effects, the rabbits would be one of them.

The unfortunate thing is, when most magicians get them, beginner and professional alike, they end up the the rear of the magic drawer. Why?, because they never come with adequate instructions. So here now, are the moves and information that have made the multiplying rabbits a hit for me at roving engagements and trade shows form coast to coast!

What Type Of Rabbits To Use?

There are basically three types of rabbits on the market and dozens of objects that can be used in place of the rabbits. Bill Wisch in his own unique routine uses little sponge blocks. I have seen gremlins, dragons, frogs, even mini gargoyles! But for me, the bunnies are the standard.The basic Adams set works fine for most purposes, but the professional may want to consider either the Goshman “Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits”, or “Norm Neilsons 3D Multiplying Rabbits”. I formally used the Neilson Rabbits, but they are expensive, don’t last forever, and there is a slight risk involved when they are in the spectators hand which I will explain later. But they look really good and are by far the most attractive set available. The Goshman set are what I currently use. They hold up well, give you more rabbits than you need for the routine and are reasonably priced. The drawback is that they don’t look too much like rabbits unless you point it out, a fact that needs to be cleared up in your presentation. The set also comes with a controversial item which I would prefer they left out. Nuff said on that point.

All is all, get a set of the Adams “Peter Rabbit Goes to Town” It truly is as good as the rest for most performers, and will cost under $5.00. How can you go wrong?


For illustration purposes, I am using my set of Neilson Rabbits, you may learn the same moves with any set you may have. See Fig #1.

Start with the entire set of rabbits in your right jacket pocket. Unless your are left handed, then switch pockets accordingly. You may also use your right trouser pocket, but I have found that in many cases, the trouser pocket does not afford you the room that you need to effectively gain the other baby rabbits during a very critical move. The jacket pocket is therefore recommended.

Obtain the two adult rabbits displaying them to the audience while you patter about the fact that the magician never does a show without his rabbits. I have a very involved patter line here that I have developed. It is up to you to be creative and start off by making you audience interested in the routine by using the inherent appearance of the sponge bunnies to an entertaining advantage. An edge that sponge balls do not have! Think about it…

This is your opportunity to have the audience examine the rabbits and discover that there is nothing fishy about them other than the fact that they are holding fake rabbits! At this time you should also be casually showing them that your hands are otherwise, completely empty. This is a very important point that is overlooked with some other rabbits routines. Some instructions tell you to have the baby rabbits finger palmed from the start of the routine. Big mistake! The miracle happens in the minds of the spectators when they have convinced themselves that you never had anything but two rabbits at all times!

Fig #1:
This is a set of top-of-the-line Neilson 3D Rabbits. But any set will suffice.


Now you must execute what I call a “ROLL VANISH”. Start with one rabbit held at the right hand finger-tips. As the right hand comes over to the left, and the tip of the rabbit begins to touch the left palm, the rabbit is then rolled into the left palm. Then the rabbit is immediately finger palmed back out into the right hand. See Fig #2:

Fig #2:
Rabbit being rolled into the left palm.
During this action, the left hand simultaneously turns palm down and is formed into a fist. The right hand contains the finger-palmed rabbit. Again to reiterate. The rabbit is rolled into the left palm with the right hand which immediately finger-palms the rabbit back out. The left hand during this action turns palm down and the rabbit remains in right hand finger palm. The whole move takes less than a second. At this point I usually use the right hand that contains the finger palmed rabbit to point to the left hand which supposedly contains the bunny.


Now, pick up the remaining bunny with the right hand that now contains the finger-palmed bunny in preparation for what I call the the “CONDITIONED HOLD”. This is the most critical move in the entire routine.

The problem with most sponge routines has always been the question of how to keep the spectators hand closed until the climax, or in the case of this routine, climaxes. Another classic problem has also been having the spectator close their hand fast enough so that they do not see that you are loading multiple objects into their hand. This innovative move eliminates all these problems and more! It is a powerful technique that can be applied to any routine where a spectator must hold a magical object that must be hidden until the end of the routine.

To perform this very psychological move, you must first ask the spectator to hold the other bunny. However, as you go to place the bunny into their hand, immediately snatch it back out! They will look surprised. Do it again, this time you will notice that they will try to grab the rabbit by closing their hand. What you are doing, is conditioning them to grab the rabbit and hold it tightly once they get it. This may seem like you are teasing them a bit, (and you are!) but it is a sure fire way for them to hold onto the rabbits. You will also notice that they will do it so fast, that you will now be able to load in the finger palmed bunny with the visible bunny and the spectator will ensure that the move is well hidden! Do this several times before the load. Finally letting them get the rabbit along with the finger palmed second bunny. Immediately have them turn their fist over and keep it closed. See Fig: #3:

Fig: #3:
In this shot, the finger-palmed rabbit along with the visible rabbit are loaded into the spectators hand using the “CONDITIONED HOLD”. Notice that he right hand pretends to hold the second bunny that is now loaded in the spectators hand.


Now you are all set for the first mind-blowing miracle! Reach into the pocket containing the baby bunnies under the guise of getting “woofle-dust”, and finger palm “all” of them! You now come out of the pocket with the imaginary dust and sprinkle it over the your right hand that is supposedly containing the second rabbit. With a great amount of showmanship, dramatically open the hand revealing that your rabbit has vanished. Have the spectator open their hand and find that the rabbit has travelled over to them! In many cases, this effect alone is enough and you could theoretically stop right here, but the main event yet to come.

Step #4

This time take both” of the rabbits, one in each hand and remark that this time you would like them to hold both rabbits so hold them even tighter than before. (another psychological ploy designed to entice them to keep their hand closed tightly).

Place “all” rabbits into the spectators hand using the hand that “does not”contain any rabbits to gently facilitate closure of the spectators hand. Then have them place their hand palm down onto the table-top.

Right hand gently facilitates closure of the spectators hand to cover the giant load of rabbits. As you can see, it creates perfect cover and prevents any flashes of the rabbits from being seen.

Step #5

Now you are all in position for the grand finale of all close-up magic! Talk to the spectator and ask any questions pertaining to what happens when you put a mama and a papa rabbit into the same hand? or something similar. The point is to “distance” the climax production of the rabbits with the actual loading procedure. This is one of the most important points in magic. It is megaimportant to follow this guideline in any routine so as to expel any notion in the spectators mind that the time when they closed their hand hand anything to do with the fact that there is now a handful of rabbits jumping out all over the table! So let at least thirty seconds elapse from the time the rabbit were loaded to the time the spectator opens their hand. Thirty seconds can be a long time during a close-up routine so be creative with you presentation.

Now after you have entertained your audience with your witty banter, it is time for the big finish. Play this up with all the fervor you can muster. As you ask them the question of what may be happening in their hand, look them in the eye and wait for he answer. Regardless of what their answer is, have them slowly turn their hand palm up and open it as you exclaim, (and it is very important to exclaim this in a loud voice to strengthen the climax) BABIES!

You will be stunned yourself at the reaction! This routine is a perfect closer to a close-up routine. As you will see by experimentation, nothing is really strong enough to follow it.

In closing, please heed this warning. Never repeat this trick! The psychological ploys involved in the various steps only works once. You have been warned!

March 1998

“Knotty Coin”

This month I would like to give our members a nice transposition effect that will familiarize them with act of mixing two effects together to get on solid routine. In this case, as I have stated already, we are going to perform a transposition. Meaning, we are going to make an object (a marked coin) vanish from one place, only to end up in another location.

The performer borrows a coin from a spectator, and the coin is marked for future identification. It is always best to use a “Sharpie ™” brand marker or wax crayon for this. The coin is then placed inside an envelope. A handkerchief or bandanna is then shown to the audience. The performer proceeds to twist it up and tie a knot in the center. After the knotted hank is placed in a location within view of the entire audience, the envelope is taken, then torn up to show that the coin has vanished. An audience member then unties the knot in the hank only to find the missing marked coin inside it. Sound good? It is!


This routine uses an old method for vanishing small objects called the “slit envelope”. It is made by merely cutting a small slit just large enough for the coin to pass through in one end of the bottom fold of a regulation size envelope.

Start by having a duplicate coin finger-palmed (See I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery Fig: #17). Then borrow a coin of similar size and have it marked for identification or easier yet, just have the date noted. Now you are about to execute a false placement. Show the marked coin in the right hand, (the hand finger-palming the duplicate) and pretend to place it in the left hand, actually releasing the palmed duplicate coin and retaining the marked coin in the hand.

Place the duplicate on the table.(Make sure it is well out of reach of the spectators. You may get a trouble maker who would like to again examine the coin after the switch is made) Now, get your handkerchief and as you obtain it, grasp it by two diagonally opposite corners, concealing the coin behind one corner with the right thumb. Give the hank a revolving motion forming it into a tube. Bring the left hand side over to the right, and at the same time release the coin into the tube so it slides down into the center of the hank.

Tie a knot in the center of the hank, and place it somewhere in full view of the audience. Pick up the coin and slit envelope from the table and drop the duplicate coin into it. Seal it up and turn the envelope so the coin slides down the bottom, out of the slit and into your palm. Go to your pocket for some magic dust, a wand, etc. Taking the opportunity to dispose of the palmed coin there.

To enhance the climax, you may cut out a thick piece of opaque paper and drop it into the envelope prior to the performance. After the coin in pocketed, hold the envelope up to the light so they “think” they see the coin! Then proceed to destroy their envelope and re-produce the marked coin from the knot in the hank.

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.

Beginner’s Study 10/97-12/97


Beginner’s Study 10/97-12/97

October 1997

The Traveling Ghost Hank
Bobby J. Gallo
In honor of the Halloween season, I’m presenting two effects for beginners with a Halloween theme. The first is an effect that can be used with great success anytime of the year. Kid show performers will be especially pleased with this routine since it is a natural follow-up to the “*Stiff Hank Re-done” routine found last month in the Kids Show Konservatory.

Materials Needed:

  • Two white pocket handkerchiefs
  • Performer must be wearing pants with front pockets that can be pulled out to show that they are empty.


Explain to the audience that your handkerchief not only stands up and bends by itself, (*Stiff Hank Re-done) but it can travel invisibly through he air as most ghosts can!

The performer pulls out both of his pockets and shows them to be empty. He then places the hank in his right pants pocket after pushing them both back in. Then after a quick snap of the fingers, the pocket is pulled out again only to show that the hank has vanished!

Watching the invisible ghost travel through the air, the magician looks into his left pocket and pulls out the hank!

The process is repeated only to have the ghost hank fly back to his right pocket. For a finale, the hank is pushed back into his pocket and made to completely vanish! No trace is to be found…..


You will notice upon examination of your pockets, that in the inside upper corner of each pocket is a small space in which you can place a tightly folded handkerchief. When the pockets are pulled out, the hank will remain hidden and appear to have vanished. This is an old dodge, used to make a hank disappear but is seldom used today. A more complete description of the move can be found in Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic Vol #1.

Before the presentation, a hank has been previously placed in the upper corner of the performer’s left hand pocket. Now proceed as described in the presentation above.

After performing any previous hank effect. Tell your story, roll the hank up and place it in the right hand pocket being sure to place it is the upper corner. Pull out the pocket proper and it will have vanished. The rest of the routine is self-explanatory.

Practice this in front of the mirror and you will see how effective it really is. Also, rehearse the move of putting the hank into your upper pocket to ensure the (sleight?) operation is smooth and just appears as if you are placing it in there.

Played correctly, this can be a feature effect!

The Witches of Pasteboard
Bobby J. Gallo
This is a card trick loosely based on a routine by Jean Hugard called “Poker Player’s Picnic” found in “Royal Road to Card Magic“. This is a simplified handling of the effect that is perfect for beginners. For our advanced students, you may wish to consult “Royal Road to Card Magic” in order to incorporate more advanced handlings.

In the classic version of the effect, the trick is performed using the four aces. We are substituting them for the four queens that will represent witches. Also dispensed is the “overhand shuffle” as a means by which to control the cards.

Materials Needed:

  • A deck of cards with all four queens on top of the deck.

Effect: after the cards have been dealt a number of times, all the queens end up on top of the piles!


With all the queens on top of the deck, explain to the spectator that the Witches of Pasteboard are going to make an appearance! Ask him to divide the deck into four piles and to place them on the table in a row starting from left to right. The queens are now on top of the right hand pile.

Have the spectator pickup the first (left hand) pile, deal off three cards and place them aside. Now he deals a card from the same pile onto each of the remaining piles on the table.

The process is then repeated with the remaining piles.

At the conclusion the the dealing, turn over the top card of each piles and the witches (queens) have appeared!

Notes: This may sound like a simple card trick, and it is! But do not let that fool you. I have amazed many people with it and I’m sure you will too! We call this the “Too close to the trees syndrome” Sometimes, even simple methods such as this fool people as much as more advanced card magic due to the fact that many times spectators are looking for sleights and gimmicks so much that they overlook what is happening right in front of them.

I am leaving the presentation up to the student. What I’ve done is given you the premise and method. Be creative and make the most of it!

November 1997

This month I thought it best to expound upon the following effects that fall into the close-up category. After the standard explanations, I will add “notes” at the end of the routines for added insight.

Coin Transposition

The magician wraps a quarter in a handkerchief and gives it to a spectator to hold. He then wraps up a half dollar in a second handkerchief, which he hands to a second spectator. The spectators unfold the handkerchiefs and the coins are found to have changed places.


The secret is in the fact that you use of two half dollars. You conceal one of these in you right hand, gripping it in thumb palm position before starting the trick. The other quarter and the half are placed on a table in full view.

Pick up the quarter in your right hand, place it in the center of a handkerchief, and pretend to wrap it up. Before folding over part of the handkerchief however, drop the concealed half dollar into it and remove the quarter, tucking it into the palm previously occupied by the half dollar*. Give the handkerchief to the spectator. Now pick up the half and pretend to wrap it up in a second handkerchief, but substitute the concealed quarter for it in the same way that the previous change was effected. When the handkerchiefs are unfolded, the coins will have changed places.

Notes: *”The Coin Production Move” Fig:20-21; found in the I.C.O.M sleight of hand gallery is an excellent way to switch the coins. Hold the visible coin at the fingertips, and upon placing it in the hank, drop the thumb palmed coin instead. Now, bring the fingers in to tuck the visible coin into thumb palm position. Proceed as stated above.

Double Penny

An old forgotten method of multiplying coins. Also, a really good quick trick.


The magician holds a penny between his right thumb and their and shows it to the audience. He takes it in his left hand, exhibits it, and returns it to his right hand. He then places it on the palm of his left hand and rubs it with his right fingertips. It is suddenly seen to double itself, there being two pennies in the left hand.

The moves in the trick are as follows. Have two pennies in your right trouser pocket before starting. Remove them both with your right hand, retaining one in finger clip position while your hand is still in the pocket. Bring the other penny out, held between the tip of your thumb and first finger. Take it in your left hand immediately, and pass it back and forth from one hand to the other a few times, displaying it to the audience. Put the visible penny on the center of your left palm. Then rub it with your right fingertips and as you do, let the hidden penny drop into your left palm. Remove the right hand, and close the left. Then open the left hand to show the two pennies.

Notes: The finger clip sleight is only one method for obtaining the desired effect. Practice with different palming techniques to determine the best method for YOU. This trick may sound a bit over-simplified, but do not let that fool you. It works.

Jumping Dice Spots

Honestly, this may be one of the best tricks you will ever learn if you practice, rehearse, then practice it again. (The I.C.O.M Inner Sanctum, Magician’s Code #2) Followed by giving it a good try before several spectators. It astounds people! How much so? Suffice to say that I have used professionally for a number of years for high paying corporate clients. It is here in the I.C.O.M beginners study to help the student acquaint him/herself with this basic sleight called the “paddle move”.

The earliest record I could find of the effect is in “Sachs Sleight of Hand, pages 74-76”. Since then, it has appeared in literally countless texts including “The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic by Martin Gardner page 139”. It is recommended that the student consult these texts if possible for further information. Though it is so effective, over the years I have noticed one very surprising thing…..No one performs this routine using dice the way it was originally designed and intended,……….. except me! Most use paddles, gimmicked pocket knives, etc. All are well and good. As a matter of fact, even I have used these peculiar props and still do on occasion. However, the old dice method is vastly superior in all ways. “Why you may ask?”

  • Dice are truly common objects. More have handled dice due to the popularity of board games than have handled pen knives, not to mention paddles! WHAT IS A PADDLE TO A LAYMAN ANYWAY? At best (or worst) it is a not-so-pleasant object from ones childhood! Think about it………..
  • They are examinable. Color changing pen knives are not. Unless you make a switch. But that requires another move that is unnecessary when you can use the dice. Also, after the switch, do you really want to be handing out knives for examination, no matter how small? I think not…….
  • The fact that they are NOT gimmicks is the fact that makes them almost angle proof. You just can’t beat using the dice.

Method: Hold two regulation dice between the thumb and forefinger with the three and one facing the audience. First see that on the underside of each are the corresponding 3 & 1. A roll of the thumb and the spots apparently jump, using a variation of the classic paddle move. “The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic by Martin Gardner page 280” (Variation: Just use one die and have the spots change when showing the front and back spots to the audience) An important tip is to make sure your whole are moves when showing both sides of the dice. When executing the paddle move, the arm itself turns up and down along with the dice. This move must be done quickly but smoothly, and must not be OVERDONE or the move will look suspicious.

“Sachs Sleight of Hand” contains some excellent variations of the effect that turn this simple but amazing stunt into a full-blown close-up routine. Included in that text is a way to overcome the occasional over zealous spectator who insists they saw you twist your fingers when in reality, they did not! Sachs recommends, after showing both sides of the dice using the paddle move, to have the spectator hold your fingers so they cannot move. Then merely turn the dice over while being held and the change will have been effected! Since the move was performed before you were held the trick ‘persay’ is already done…The book also has some additional effects that must be studied to be appreciated.

An interesting variation is to purchase and use the novelty ‘playing card dice’ found in magic and joke shops. These dice work very well with the move and provide an interesting twist by adding a unique prop as well as a whole new vista of presentation possibilities. This is another effect that I would classify as “Commando Magic”*. The reason is that is is self-contained, effective, can be done anywhere, and even though it involves a genuine sleight, it is virtually angle proof. Tricks like this are rare, and when we come across them in the I.C.O.M lessons, I will always point out it’s possible Commando Magic characteristics.

Addendum for advanced students:

In my trade show experience, I have found the following routine to be of great value.

Start by having two ordinary dice in your right hand pants pocket and have one poker die in your left hand pants pocket.

Start by bringing out, then holding the two dice in the standard position as explained above. Do not worry about what numbers are showing and where the opposite numbers sit. Perform the routine as stated. However, as you are performing the moves, the left hand reaches into the left hand pants pocket and classic palms the poker die (finger palm may also be used). Then after the routine is seemingly complete, drop one die onto the table and repeat the moves using only one die. After mock surprise that the magic is still working, perform a false placement while pretending the transference of the real die in the right hand to the left. The die is retained in the right and the poker die in the left is handed to the spectator to examine. I have found that nine times out of ten, the spectator does not look at the transformed die right away giving the magician ample time to dispose of the real die. The look on the spectators face will be one of shock and delight!

*Read Bobby J. Gallo’s series “Commando Magic” in the I.C.O.M Spotlight.


“Just a few tricks and stunts you can work on to add to your list of magical knowledge
Warm Coin Trick
While blindfolded or looking away, have the spectator choose any of five to ten pennies, nickels or dimes on a table, hold it tightly in their fist and concentrate on the date. Then have them toss all of the coins into a hat or similar receptacle. You then remove the chosen one!

During the handling process, the chosen coin absorbs heat form the spectators hand. You merely locate the warm coin and remove it form the hat!

Easiest Of All Coin Vanishes
A coin placed in a handkerchief vanishes instantly. A rubber band is secretly placed around the ends of the fingers and is covered by the hanky. The coin is placed in the hanky proper. The rubber band is released to form a pocket around the coin. Shake the hanky to show the coin has vanished. Be sure not to shake the hanky too much or the coin may dislodge.

Notes: This is a surprisingly effective little vanish for just about any small object. It is especially fine when done to music due to the fact that the audience cannot ask to examine the hank. I have found that there is a trick to the handling that may prove useful. Wrap the rubber band around the middle three fingers of the right hand. The hand can then show the hank around with little fear of the band being detected. When the hank is draped over the right hand, the right thumb comes up and is inserted into the band along with all three middle fingers. The fingers are then spread apart making the pocket in the hank. After the insertion of the object to be vanished, the hank should be whipped away from the right hand with a graced flourish to indicate the vanish and immediately disposed of in a receptacle.

Addendum (December 1997): After the publication of this effect, the method was exposed on national television. I do not know whether or not this will have any effect upon its impact in front of an audience, only a trial will show that. But is does illustrate a point. This effect was strong enough to be featured on that TV show, thus proving my earlier point that it “is” effective.

Vanishing Crayon Move
Hold crayon (object) in right hand. Slide right hand along the object toward the left hand. Object appears to vanish into closed fist, but is really retained in right hand by the thumb. Always keep the back of the right hand in a natural position with the back towards your audience.

Notes: A little known fact that is describes in the ICOM Online lessons is that most all classic cigarette moves can be adapted for family audiences by using crayons instead! They are almost the same size and width.

Break a pretzel rod with a dollar bill
Spectator holds the pretzel rod between hold hands. (make sure they don’t eat it!) Hold the dollar in a clenched fist. On the quick downward swoop, extend the forefinger shattering the pretzel rod. Apparently, the dollar does it. Be sure to clean up the mess after the show!

Notes: This stunt may look familiar to some seasoned magicians. For years it was written up to be done with a pencil instead of a pretzel rod. However, I have known too many magicians that not only could not break a modern day pencil this way, but have injured their fingers in the process! Just goes to show how a classic premise that does not work can be made into a fine trick by altering the materials.

Cane Suspension
A cane stands straight up on the floor, sways, etc. with no apparent means of support. It rests on a fine black thread that runs between the knees as the performer is seated. This can be pinned into place just prior to the performance. Walk carefully to a seat in the center stage so that you do not break the thread. Cane may be handed for immediate examination. After the routine, break the thread and continue with your show.

One of the inexpensive “bamboo” canes that are given out as prizes at carnivals work great, as do wooden dancing canes available at most dance studio shops.

Notes: This may be a much more convincing demonstration than a “dancing cane” due to the fact that less motion takes place. The actual suspension should only be for a few moments. Remember, Less is more!

Impromptu Mental Mystery
Here is a fine stunt contributed to me by a friend. Before the presentation write on a piece of paper, :Why 7?” That is your prediction. Then proceed to instruct the spectator to make the following calculations.

  • What is 1+1 ? (Two)
  • What is 2+2 ? (Four)
  • What is 4+4 ? (Eight)
  • What is 16+16 ? (Thirty Two)
  • Now count backwards from 12 to 5.
  • Ask person to choose one of the numbers from 5 to 12. They should pick 7 !

December 1997

An Experiment in Personal Magnetism
To perform this effect you must be wearing a ring. Also required is a paper clip. (in the past this effect was done with a toothpick, however, the paper clip is flat and has a larger surface area that seems to work better for the effects. It would be beneficial to paint the clip with flesh colored paint to mask the silvery tone.

Place the paper clip under the scratching surface of an ordinary book of matches. Before the routine, these are placed anywhere convenient for the performer.

Pick up the book of matches with paper clip side down. Now place the matchbook across the fingers. As you do, let the toothpick slide under your ring. (If you use the toothpick method, be sure to “Blunt” the ends of the toothpick so you do not end up with a giant splinter!) Turn hand over and matches apparently cling to the fingers. Remove the matches leaving the paper clip under the ring. As long as you keep your hand in motion, with the back of the hand towards the audience. The clip will be well hidden.

With the clip in place, you are ready to levitate almost any light, thin object.

A grand finale could be the old time multi-card suspension. Start with one card under gimmick. Then build around it until there is a stack of card clung to the hand.

Notes: This effect is recommended for situations where the audience is seated a slight distance from you. It is not recommended for close-up performance.

The Moving Ring
The magician holds out his left hand and shows a ring on the his finger. A spectator is given the ring to examine. The performer replaces the ring on his hand and asks a spectator to hold his left fingertips. He then puts a handkerchief over his left hand and, lifting it off an instant later, the ring is found to be laying on the back of his left hand. This happens instantly, despite the fact that the spectator has held the performer’s fingertips the entire time, making it impossible for the wizard to remove the ring from his finger.

In this trick you use a half ring that is exactly like the upper half of the real ring. Get two identical inexpensive rings and have a jeweler cut one in half., You are now all set.

When you start the trick, have the half ring in your left-hand coat pocket, the real ring is on your left third finger. Take off the real ring and have it examined. While the audience is looking at it, put your left hand in your coat pocket and get the half ring on the underside of your left third finger. The sides of the gimmick must be bent slightly so it will remain firmly in position.

Take back the real ring in your right hand and pretend to slide it onto your left third finger. During this, have your right side toward the audience, and keep the palm of your left hand turned toward them. Instead of putting the ring on your finger, you hold it in right finger palm position and then turn your left hand back uppermost to show the half ring. The audience will be convinced that the real ring is on your finger.

Ask the on stage spectator to hold your left fingertips and then throw your handkerchief over your left hand and the spectator’s hand. Put your right hand beneath the handkerchief and put the real ring on the back of your left hand. Then grip the half ring and hold it in finger palm, withdraw your right hand. Then immediately take away the handkerchief with the same hand and draw it away from the left hand, revealing the real ring. Put the handkerchief in your pocket along with the gimmick.

Notes: If you are wondering about the unique nature of this effect and how well it can play in front of an audience consider this. It recently came to my attention that the Great Herrmann used a similar effect to this and considered it one of his “pet” tricks. Yes, it will take a little time and effort procuring the ring gimmick, but then you will have a routine that no one else is doing. In magic, that is priceless!

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.

Beginner’s Study 7/97-9/97


Beginner’s Study 7/97-9/97

Lesson #1
Thought of the month

What is magic?

By Bobby J. Gallo
Lets start our first lesson by talking about what magic is. Magic is the art of mystification. It tries to mystify, right? But why do people want to be mystified? Is is because they want a sense of wonder in their life?….Maybe….or is it because they would like to be entertained?….absolutely! Magic is a form of entertainment as well as an artform. Just as dance is, and just as music is.

So when we perform magic, it is paramount that we do it so that it entertains, not just mystifies. How do we achieve that? There are a number of ways, but the first would be what we call, “The Presentation” Throughout the course, we will talk as much about presentation as we will about secrets because the two go hand-in-hand when it comes to making a polished performance.

Presentation is the art of presenting our magic in an entertaining manner so that people will want to watch pieces How do we do this? There are many ways and each must find his/her own special niche. Some use interesting stories (this is a very easy way), some use comedy situations, others use dance and music. There really is no right or wrong method, however certain parameters should always be observed in order to maintain the integrity of our art. What can these be? For instance, material that is in bad taste is frowned upon by most working pros. Even in a comedy club venue, I myself have proven through countless performances that big laughs are possible by working clean. Also, never sacrifice the mystery element for the sake of entertainment. In other words, do not expose the secret of a trick just to get a laugh. Trust me, it will get the laugh, but you will be destroying a valuable piece of magic in the process and will degrade magic as a whole before that entire audience.

The bottom line is simple, the key factor that should always steer you is the golden rule of presentation, “Be Yourself” Do not try to copy others and you can’t lose. But in all your presentations, use good judgment.

The Ten Pile Trick
Materials needed:

  1. One deck of regular playing cards
  2. One piece of paper
  3. One pen, pencil, or thin marker

Effect: The magician places three piles of cards onto the table. No matter what pile is freely selected by the spectator, the magician proves that he predicted the outcome in advance!

This trick is all presentation, but will fool almost everyone. It is what we call a prediction effect. That is to say, it convinces the spectators that it is indeed possible for a magician to predict the future. To start, write on the paper these words exactly as you read them. “You will select the the TEN pile”(see example). Next remove all the tens from the deck and place them in a pile on the table face down. Next remove any ten cards and place them face down alongside of the four tens on the table. Lastly, remove from the deck any amount of cards that amount to ten when added. For instance, a five, a two, and a three. You are all set to perform your first miracle!

The simple secret is that no matter which pile is chosen, the magician will always be correct.

Presentation outline: Take out the paper stating that before the show you wrote down a prediction of what pile the spectator will select. (or you may do this on the spot). Display the three piles stating that even though it is impossible to know in advance what pile the spectator will pick, you have nonetheless proven it can be done. Place the paper where everyone can see it and proceed to have the spectator select any pile.

If they select the pile with the four tens state, “Look you have selected the pile with all the tens in it. If we look at the other two piles, we can see that there are no tens present at all. Please open my prediction and read it.” They will find that it reads “You will select the TEN pile” you have done it! You predicted in advance which pile the spectator selected!

If they select the pile that contains ten cards, DO NOT show the faces of any of the cards! Merely count the other two piles first stating, “This pile contains only four cards (actually the four tens), This pile contains only three cards,(the cards that add up to ten), But this pile has ten cards total.”(slowly and dramatically count all of the cards down onto the table. Then proceed to allow the spectator to read the prediction).

Lastly, if they happen to pick the pile that adds up to ten, here is what you do. Show the faces of the pile that has ten cards in it stating that if you totaled the cards up you get a large number, (proceed to do this). “But you happened to select this pile and they add up to ten. Please read my prediction.” In this last case scenario, do not show the faces of the pile that contains all four tens. That could possibly be an obvious tip off as to how the trick works.

Final notes: As you have seen, this trick does not require any sleight-of-hand or practice as far as the workings are concerned. This leaves you free to develop an entertaining presentation. Ideas may include acting the part of a psychic when writing the prediction or telling a dramatic story about odds and probabilities, etc. The ideas are endless, so go for it, and make the ten card trick something your audience will remember for a long time! Also, do not repeat this trick, the audience will surely discover the secret if you do…

Many magician’s dismiss mathematical principles in magic due to what they term as their obvious modus operandi. That does not have to be the case. With proper presentation, these oddities can be reputation makers. Blackstone Sr. used to perform a trick similar to the one below, and he was a legend.

Mathematical Card Revelation
Ask someone to think of any card. Mentally double its face value. (Jack 11, Queen 12, and King 13) Add 3 and multiply by 5. Finally, ask that the value of the suit of the card be added. (Clubs 1, Diamonds 2, Hearts 3, Spades 4) and the result told to you. You may now name the card by merely subtracting 15 from this total. The right hand digit shows the suit. The next one (or two) the value of the card.

What type of cards to use? Even though the above routine can be done with virtually any household deck of cards. It is generally advisable to purchase a new deck of better grade playing cards. All playing cards come in two sizes. Bridge size and poker size. In England, cards are of a different size altogether so if you are taking the course from the UK, use what is available. Though some may prefer bridge size due to the fact that they are slightly smaller and thus better suited to smaller hands, most professional magicians use poker size. Therefore, it may be best to get used to the larger size from the start, but that is a personal decision.

Lesson #1
Lessons in Sleight-of-Hand
The purest form of magic is sleight-of-hand. Even with the myriad of apparatus available and all of the “so called” self-working effects on the market, the foundation of all magic is solid sleight-of hand.

But why learn sleight-of-hand when there exists all of the other methods?

There are a number of reasons. When you perform, it will be interesting to note the audience reaction when a performer exhibits pure sleight-of-hand skill as opposed to something mechanical. They are not only bewildered by the magic produced by these manipulations, but are equally impressed by the obvious skill involved.

Another reason that sleights are so appealing is due to the fact that they usually deal with simple ungimmicked objects. Things like cards, coins, thimbles, balls, silk scarves, rings, and cigarettes. (even though this last object isn’t very popular these days).

A good sleight-of-hand magician never has to worry about being caught using a gimmick, because generally there aren’t any! Even if there is one, it is usually very minor when compared to something like a production box or a similar piece of apparatus.

When learning sleights, the moves may seem difficult at first. Do not be discouraged. With perseverance, they will become “second nature” in time. Not to mention the fact that the freedom and fun are worth the effort.

The Vanishment of a Coin
The basic sleight of hand mystery that can be done anywhere, anytime! There are dozens of ways to do this, but we will start out with the most basic.

The sleight necessary for this effect is called “the thumb palm”. There are almost as many ways of palming* a coin as there are of making the coin vanish. The thumb palm requires that you place the coin in the palm of your hand near the crotch of your thumb. Then by the simple act of clipping the coin with the thumb of the same hand, you conceal the coin there.

Now, obtain a coin the size of a half or silver dollar depending on what feels more comfortable to you. A quarter will also work. Start by calling attention to the coin and hand it out for examination if you prefer. Then take the coin and place it in the position near the crotch of your thumb as described above. You are now going to pretend to place the coin into your left hand. But what actually happens, is that as you turn the hand containing the coin over, you clip the coin into thumb palm. Done smoothly, it will look at though you merely transferred the coin from one hand to the other.

Remember to always keep the hand containing the coin in a natural position. The hand should look the same with the coin palmed as it would should you be concealing nothing at all. This takes time, so do not be discouraged as first. Your patience will be well rewarded. You are now set to reproduce the coin from the spectators ear, the air, from behind the leg, or merely go to your pocket for a prop and leave the coin there for a complete vanish.

*Definition: Palming:

  1. The act the concealing a small object in the hand unaware to the audience. (See “Palming” in The ICOM Online Glossary. Also, See pages 126-127. Amateur Magician’s Handbook)

Presentation Problem #1: You have just finished performing the Ten Card Trick or The Vanishment of a Coin to a thunderous standing ovation and your audience begs you to do it again, what do you do?

Answer: next month!

Them Bones!
This is a fantastic impromptu style magic trick that can be performed under virtually any conditions.

Materials needed:

  1. Three ordinary dice
  2. A piece of paper and writing utensil for spectator to add figures on. (optional)

Effect: Show the three dice to the audience stating that that these are dice you would not want to play a game with. why?… they’re psychic! Watch…

Turn your back to the spectator and instruct them to roll all the dice , then add up the numbers showing on the tops of all three dice.

Then tell them to pick one die up and to add the number on the bottom of the die to the previous total.

Then tell them to roll the single die that they are holding onto the table again. This time, to add the number showing on top of the die to the total.

Turn around, take all the dice from the table, holding them up to your head and then, very dramatically and with a lot of flair, reveal the number they are thinking of!

Method: Before you pick up the dice, add the numbers showing on the tops of all three dice. Then proceed to add seven to your total for the final answer. That’s all there is to it!


  1. After turning around, spectator rolls all three dice and adds the numbers shown on their top faces.
  2. Spectator then picks up one die and adds the number showing on its bottom face.
  3. Have spectator roll this same die again and add the number showing on the top face for a grand total.
  4. Turn around, look at the dice on the table, add seven to the total showing on the top three faces and announce that number for the climax…

Final Notes: This trick has one inherent problem. You have to trust the spectator. We live in an age where many people like to see the magician in a predicament. So it is important to try to pick a person to help you with this that will be honest and will concentrate on your instructions. The best way to do this is to simply state beforehand that, if they do not cooperate entirely with you throughout the effect it is not your fault and as a result they will miss a fascinating piece of psychic magic.

September 1997

Thought of the month

What is “Real” Magic?

By Bobby J. Gallo
In my last lesson I talked about what magic is in terms of a performing art. This month I would like to talk about magic in the eyes of the spectator. When we perform, what is our ultimate goal? Is it show the audience how much money we have spent on large props and paraphernalia? Hardly… Is it to show how much raw skill we possess? Perhaps… Or is it something deeper, say, to suspend their disbelief for a moment so that they begin to doubt their senses and in that instant, actually believe in magic? Wouldn’t that be something!…

In my new monthly series entitled “Commando Magic” found the the “ICOM Spotlight”, I talk at length about the folly of performing with large props unless you are an illusionist with adequate financial backing and a proper venue in which to perform these “mechanical marvels”. However, since that publication is being released in installments over many months, I felt it necessary to give a brief overview of points I feel are important enough to relate to our students in this, the second lesson in the beginners study.

If one studies the history of magic over the millennia, the student cannot help but be struck with the notion that magic as a performing art was never meant to be performed with much of the boxes and stage toys that adorn many a modern magician’s act. The classic image of a magician with his mythical “bag of tricks” is not as much of a fantasy as one might imagine. In truth, magicians from the shaman of old, to the street performers of europe, to the fakirs of India, to the roving carpet bag magicians of the 1700’s, all used to perform acts “if you will” out of containers not much different than that of the stereotypical “bag of tricks”.

Large grand illusions seem to have sprung up late in the 1800’s and onwards until the vaudeville era with the large shows of Hermann, Kellar, Thurston and many of the other old time greats. These spectacular shows seemed to die out with the decline of vaudeville only to be replaced by supper clubs where the cabaret act evolved. These acts, although born of conditions where the entertainer often found himself surrounded by tables as well as the band, bore striking resemblances to the styles of the past itinerant magicians of history.

It is interesting how many of the old time magicians viewed magic. If the aspiring magician dreams of one day being a world class illusionist, he/she may well take heed of an example set forth by one of the all time greats in magic, The Great Nicola. When faced with replacing his entire illusion show after losing it in a ship sinking accident in 1939, decided instead, to continue his performing career as a children’s entertainer performing a standard kids show! He would have loved the ICOM Online Kid Show Konservatory!

The great irony as I see it, is that in my opinion as well as the opinions of many “working” performers is that it isn’t even necessary to use such large devices. In the eye’s of the audience, the fewer the props, the greater the impact of the magic. After all, if you were a “real” magician, would you need all those props? In your I.C.O.M textbook, the Amateur Magician’s Handbook, Henry Hay talks about this subject with great expertise. I recommend you read and absorb it.

So what is “Real Magic”? Simply put, it is magic that is reduced to its lowest common denominator. No complicated steps, no large props, and a straight forward plot. The image is that of a magic man waving his wand and making magic happen plain and simple, that is the image to strive for. That is what your audience wants to see and believe.

The following trick is one that I term a “Commando Magic” trick. Why?, because, despite its simplicity, it contains all of the elements of good fool-proof magic. This is a trick that I do probably, twenty or thirty times in the course of a trade-show or roving engagement when I am working professionally. Though I feel it is a professional routine, I am offering it here in the beginners forum to acquaint the student with yet another sleight and at the same time, demonstrating how a single sleight can be made into a superb entertaining routine. Best of all., to a layman, it appears to be real magic. Try it and you’ll see.

Bobby J. Gallo’s Worlds Quickest Card Trick!

There have been a lot of tricks that have claimed to be the “world’s fastest”. If this isn’t “the” fastest, it is certainty one of the top ten! This is the first card trick that I do in my close-up and roving shows and sometimes the only one. Finger-flingers and techno-purists will be disappointed with this trick because it does not call for the triple-backhanded Albanian multiple side shift steal or similar “meant for magician only sleights”. But the routine is entertaining, it’s all presentation. Frankly, to my experience, this blows spectators away more than many of the more advanced card magic that I do. One additional point to be made is that is quick. Hence the name! In this television age, it helps to have magic that is fast, furious, and to the point. The vast majority of layman’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be.

This trick is a routine based on only one sleight called the “Slip-force”. (See “forcing a card” in the ICOM Online Glossary. Also, See pages 40-43. Amateur Magician’s Handbook)

Effect: the magician announces that he is going to perform the “world’s quickest card trick” and than faster than the spectator can look at the card, that magician names it!

Start with having a borrowed deck shuffled then cut. Remarking, I’m going to start out by doing the world’s quickest card trick! Not the world’s second., or the world’s third, but what everyone? That’s right, the world’s quickest card trick! Please take this deck and shuffle it. Make sure that they’re all mixed. did you do that? let me see, Wow, you really messed these up good! oh well, I’m going to riffle up the edges of the cards up with my thumb. like this. (illustrate) All you have to do is say stop at any point and that will be your selected card, fair enough? great, ready…..go. (magician riffles and spectator say’s stop) great! Take the card where you told me to stop, look at the “Nine of Clubs” and put it back. (Or whatever the card happens to be.) Wait!…..was that the card?… It was?… I told you it was the world’s quickest trick!, it’s already over!

Workings: After the spectator has shuffled the cards, you look through them. Merely, note the top card. Then hold the deck in the left hand in the “Mechanics Grip riffle down the side of the deck with the left thumb and when the spectator say’s stop, grasp the riffled up bulk of the deck with the right hand. Maintain pressure on the top card with the left second, third, and fourth fingers. Then as you lift away the top portion of the deck, the top card slides onto the remainder of the deck held in the left hand. The audience is led to believe that they are selecting the card that lies at the point where they told you to stop. A perfect illusion! The rest of the trick is all presentation!

Make sure you rehearse this move well to avoid exposure. It must be done quickly and smoothly.

Look for the Slip-Force to be depicted in the “I.C.O.M Sleight Of Hand Gallery” soon!


A self-working card masterpiece that fools magicians
(Not to be confused with the “Ten Pile Trick” explained in last month’s lesson.)
This routine is what I consider, “buried treasure”. About fifteen years ago I obtained a brown paper bag at a magic auction. In it were a few bits and pieces of tricks as well as a worn out type written piece of paper with a single card trick on it. There was no author, no date, as a matter of fact, no information whatsoever on who developed or published this effect. Just the trick itself. Normally I thought that it was just a piece of garbage like the rest of the trash contained in the old lunch bag. But after I read it, I realized that this was pretty good! I then performed the routine to some fellow magician friends and they were knocked out! So much so, that one of them actually threatened me with physical violence if I did not explain the method to him! (I wonder if he was joking?)

The trick from that manuscript was outdated and in need of serious work in terms of subtleties and routining. I have added what I feel are the critical elements that elevate this basic mathematical trick into a truly magical routine.

If anyone out in “magicland” knows the originator of the basic principle, please let us know so that we may give proper credit where credit is due. I have included this trick here in the “Beginners Study” because though it is a dynamite effect, it is so easy to do, it is inappropriate for the Advanced Lab”. So I.C.O.Mer’s here for the first time is the gem with which I have fooled countless layman and magicians alike. I call it TEN.

Effect: A deck of ordinary playing cards are handed to a spectator. After a few minor instructions by the magician, the spectator is asked to think of a card. Under seemingly impossible circumstances the magician names the card!

Workings: Hand the a deck of 52 cards to a spectator. (You must not use the jokers for this effect. Also, the deck must contain all 52 cards!) Have the deck examined and shuffled as many times as desired by the spectator. Multiple shuffling only serves to increase the impossibility of the effect.

Now make this statement. “To prove to all of us present that the cards are indeed ordinary and well shuffled, would you please count onto the table, face-up, and in a nice neat pile, 26 cards, exactly half of the deck”.

As the spectator is doing this, secretly count along to your self the number of cards being dealt onto the table. As they are doing this note and memorize the 7th card. This is the card you will reveal later during the climax of the routine. After a few more cards are dealt, casually state that you’ll even look away while they are doing this. This is a very strong piece of psychological misdirection. I have found that nine times out of ten, the spectators will swear you never saw any cards and that you looked away before they even began counting! In the old manuscript the instructions were for the magician to write a prediction at this point, I have found that it is stronger to verbally reveal the card at the end. Remember, your sharper audience members will realize that if you write a prediction at this point, then just before the prediction was written, you must have somehow gained the knowledge of the card. This situation never arises if they are left in the dark as to what you ultimately intend to do during the course of the entire routine.

Now after the spectator is finished counting, ask them if they are satisfied that everything is fair and above board. When they say yes, tell them to place the pile face down and to the side. Do not draw undo attention to this pile.

Now ask the spectator to look through the deck and remove any three cards and place them on the table face-up for all to see. After this is done, tell them that in order for you to get the “psychic vibrations in balance“, that all the cards equal TEN. How do we do this? Simple… If the card is a ten or picture card, it is already equal to TEN therefore you do nothing with that card, just leave it on the table next to the other two. (This makes sense, for in certain card games, all picture cards equal ten, so this is rarely questioned) If the other cards are lower than ten, the spectator must deal a number of cards into a pile beneath the selected card in an amount needed to make the selection equal ten. For example. If the card dealt is an ace, nine cards are dealt beneath it. If the card is a five, five additional cards are dealt beneath it. An so on. When this is done, the remainder of the cards are placed onto the 26 cards already on the table so all the remaining of the cards are in a neat face-down pile. Be sure not to disturb the order of these cards!

Now reiterate that the spectator shuffled the cards and had a free choice as to what cards to place on the table. After they agree, ask them to total up the cards they selected. For example, and ace, a five, and a two. The total will be eight. Ask the spectator to count down eight cards and to look at the eighth card. This is the card you have memorized at the start of the routine!

Then reveal it in any manner you wish.

Note: Once while performing this trick, a spectator actually gave me a great line to use in the event anyone questions why you need to deal cards beneath the selections. He said “That’s the smoke screen!” He was implying that in his eye’s, this step was done for misdirection purposes. In actuality, that is what makes the trick work. Try this routine, you’ll like it. In my estimation, it is the best trick of its type ever created.

A brief note concerning the “Lessons in Sleight-of-Hand”
Last month we began a series on sleights and the proper way to execute them. However, with the advent the the “Amateur Magician’s Handbook being made an official I.C.O.M Online textbook, we feel that this is no longer necessary due to the fact that most basic sleights are already covered in the text. Also, with the development of the I.C.O.M Online Sleight-of-Hand Gallery located in the library, an additional reason to cease the series became apparent. We will instead be offering additional routines and material to fill the gap created by this decision. We feel it will benefit the student of I.C.O.M Online to a great degree.

Alpha & Omega Dominoes

Not too long ago Bill Wisch and I met at a coffee shop to discuss all things I.C.O.M related. After a about and hour, a cup of coffee and a muffin, I pulled out a box of dominoes and proceeded to show Bill a mental routine. At the conclusion, he had but one thing to say, THAT’S MAGIC! Coming from Bill Wisch that is high praise indeed. Here is the routine that inspires such a comment from a world-class magician such as he.

Effect: A set of regulation dominoes is shown and mixed thoroughly. A spectator is asked to arrange the dominoes in one continuous line, matching the numbers end to end with the next domino. for example, the three would connect with a three on another domino and so on. As this is being done the magician writes a prediction, folds it and puts it aside. After the spectator is finished you ask them to name the numbers on both ends of the chain. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end so to speak. When they do, you open your prediction and they match!

This trick may be repeated with a different outcome every time!

Workings: Before the spectator begins to arrange the dominoes, take one and remove it secretly. Be sure it has two different numbers, not one where the numbers are repeated. The two numbers on the to are your prediction. The rest is automatic. When repeating the trick, secretly replace the domino and remove another to make your new prediction. If extra dominoes are left after the spectator completes their task, just use the numbers on the existing chain and discard the extras, the prediction should still prove to be true.

Answer to Presentation Problem #1: Just follow rule #3 of the Magician’s Code and you can’t go wrong! Yes I know it sounds simplistic, but many times true wisdom often is…

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.