Welcome to Cardopolis Newsletter and a big thank you to all who donated via the Buy Me a Coffee website. With any luck, one day we’ll have a real coffee together. Meanwhile, supporters will find extra material on the Buy Me a Coffee platform as a thank you for their efforts. I posted an idea yesterday so do check the site if you haven’t already done so.
JACK MCMILLEN CARD RISE
Expert Card Technique, by Hugard & Braue, remains a source of incredible inspiration. When I first read it I was particularly intrigued by the chapter devoted to the Rising Card. It features several impromptu handlings by Jack McMillen including his famous Plunger Rising Card. However, I could never get the One-hand Plunger Rising Cards to work nor the Witchcraft Card Rise. So I sort of smooshed them together to create the handling described here.
Here is the explanation. One point that might be helpful is that I am holding the deck in the left hand for the rise. But others might prefer to hold the deck in the right hand, especially if you are right-handed. This is because the right hand is the stronger of the two and might help keep the deck better under control. Try it and see.
Some books are worth returning to time and time again, none more so than the works of Edward Victor. He was a professional shadowgrapher but he had an equal passion for sleight of hand, and his Magic of the Hands trilogy (1937 - 1946) is packed with effects and techniques that are still worth studying. I like that Edward Victor enjoyed a gimmick as much as he enjoyed practising some knuckle-busting sleight. Put them together and you have a very deceptive combination. The following is a riff on Victor’s A Move for the Rising Card, from More Magic of the Hands (1940).
THE GLASS CEILING
Who hasn’t sat at a glass-topped table and wondered how to put a card through it? Ever since Bob Hummer put a card on the outside of a window, magicians have sought ways to make that an everyday trick. Despite many methods having been developed, it’s never really become a permanent part of the repertoire. We appear to have reached the limit that is determined by effect vs convenience. However, social media has given magicians a new platform to work upon and the following would look pretty good on Instagram. There are no gimmicks or preparation. The card can be signed. It looks good not only on camera but for anyone sitting beside you at a glass-topped table. For a bigger audience, you might want to try a stand-up version using an open patio door or French window. More pleasing is the fact that the method goes back to something Dr Elliott shared with fellow magicians, having been taught it by a crooked gambler. That’s enough blather. Here is the trick.
Before we leave the Card Thru Glass, let me outline my thinking about this particular handling. You could steal a card from the full deck, but I personally find this more difficult. For that reason I need to begin the trick with a small packet of cards. Rather than simply start with a packet, I allow the spectator to decide the size of the packet by calling stop on a card. The size of the packet is therefore a byproduct of the selection process. The remainder of the deck is put on top of the table. This provides a constant reminder that there is an unbroken glass surface.
I suggest twisting the packet of cards on the table because this gives slightly more cover for the reproduction of the back-palmed card. Also it means the card doesn’t have to be reproduced exactly in line with the packet above it. This is a difficult thing to do, the twisted packet means the cards don’t have to align. Finally, how do you reveal the penetration? The simplest thing I came up with was sliding the cards away one by one. There’s a certain element of suspense and the penetration comes as a surprise. I have no idea whether any of this thinking improves the trick but I do it in the hope of building a clear structure and at the same time minimising the work required.
COIN & PEN
The idea of using a coin and pen in a routine together is very common now. David Williamson does it wonderfully well. Richard McDougall has a great routine too. The following handling was inspired by a much older trick by Roger Klause called Will-O’-The-Wisp and described in The Gen (Feb, 1964). I was a kid when I read it and utterly captivated by the idea of vanishing a coin completely and being able to show both hands empty. I never did master the trick. There are angle problems you can’t cover when you are at school. Instead, I developed the following piece of jiggery-pokery.
The first part was included in a lecture, my first and only, for the Mahatma Magic Society in Liverpool, circa 1975. The second part came from a vanishing pencil trick someone showed me at school. I modified that trick and later published it in Talon magazine. Together they make a reasonable combination. The demonstration here is given at the table but you have a lot more freedom of movement if you use it as a stand up trick. Apologies for the lack of playing cards used in this Cardopolis video.
If you are new to Cardopolis, you can find all back issues online at Cardopolis Newsletter. Subscribe to have it drop in your inbox approximately once a month. Or follow the Cardopolis Instagram to be alerted to new issues. Supporters via Buy Me a Coffee get additional emails. Nothing fancy. Just thoughts on other material that happens to cross my mind. As ever, comments are welcome on anything published here. That’s it for now, thank you and see you next time.