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The Magic Memories (15)

Hello everyone!

Here we are, at the 15th episode of The Magic Memories, gone online on SUN, April 11th, 00:07 o’clock.

Today’s session will be short and sweet, the main reason being that Barbara and I are working (almost) around the clock to finish my upcoming book. I’m currently implementing all the corrections and suggestions I received from Max Pritchard, my second proofreader, who must have worked a week full-time to work through all the tricks and techniques, research sources and historical facts, checking literary references and making around a thousand annotations and suggestions of how to improve the text, a Herculean task. I’ve mentioned the work that goes around a book in my 13th post, but now I’m living it in a full immersion. Another full day and the content is ready to be printed on paper, then another 3 days at least to check everything from photos, to titles, layout, and of course the complete text one last time. After that we’ll tackle the covers (see below!), and in about 10 days it should go to the printer’s, in Florence, Italy, supervised by my good friend and publisher Francesco Mugnai and his Florence Art Edizioni.

Signing your book with a Montblanc Heritage 1912 and Irish Green ink

However, we are still struggling with the title, and that’s were you can come in, if you wish. I will have a free copy of the book, duly signed to your name and shipped free of charge to any part of the world, to anyone who can come up with a title for the book that we will use. So, here is an open competition, and anyone can participate. These are some of the facts you should know:

  • CLICK HERE to see our latest design idea – the PDF shows the front cover and two versions of the back cover. The current title-idea is “Of Secrets”, but I’m looking for a better title.
  • Titles I had to eliminate are “Sleight-of-Mind” and “Beyond Secrets”, because they’ve been already used by others.
  • Titles I have eliminated and which are therefore not eligible are:
    • 52 Secrets
    • Essential Secrets
    • Real Secrets
    • True Secrets
    • Of Secrets

As you can see I tend toward “Secret” in the title, but this can be changed completely or made part of a longer title.

The subtitle is fix (unless someone comes up with something really genial): “The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic”

As for the content, here is once again the link to the current “Table of Content” that gives you a first general idea (CLICK HERE).

The idea of the book is to identify the most important “theories”, i.e. conceptual ideas in magic and describe them on one single page, on the left side of the open book. On the opposite right page I’ll have a trick, technique or other idea illustrating the practical use of the concept described. There will be 53 such double-pages, including dozens of tricks etc. Plus there will be several essays on the subject, various lists of the fundamental concepts in magic, a rich bibliography, a short chapter with recommended books on the subject, with my comments.

CLICK HERE to see an example for such a double-page, which forms the core-content of the book. When you open the PDF in your PDF-Reader app, use the double-page view  to see how it will appear.

You can send your suggestions directly to me at giobbi@bluewin.ch. I will very briefly answer all incoming mail – if you don’t get an answer within 48 hours, it means I did not receive your email, so please, send again.

OK, folks, that’s it for today. If all goes well I’ll be done with the book by next week-end, and I’ll be able to spend some time talking a magic trick or related subject. Until then, have a great week!

 

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The Magic Memories (14)

Hello everyone!

Here we are, The Magic Memories no. 14, gone online on SUN, 4th April, 2021, at 0:007h.

Roberto Giobbi practicing…in 2002

Today’s offering is a 2-minute video clip of me performing my handling of Peter Kane’s “Jazz Aces”. The original has become a classic of modern card magic and has seen endless variations. If you are interested, you can stay another short 20 minutes and listen to a few thoughts of mine regarding the various construction levels of the trick. I do not discuss all the problems there are, of course, as I assume only few would be interested, but those who are can reach me anytime for online coaching lessons at giobbi@bluewin.ch.

To watch the Kane-Giobbi “Jazz Aces” performance and discussion CLICK HERE.

PS: Please don’t write in to say that the camera goes out of focus occasionally, or that there is too much white, or that the cards reflect; I know all this. And if you ask why I don’t fix it, well, consider the question a Koan to think about 🙂

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The Magic Memories (13)

Hello everyone!

This is the 13th installment of The Magic Memories, gone public on SUN 28th MAR, 0:07 o’clock. We are putting the finishing touches to our latest book, now tentatively titled Beyond Secrets – The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic; more about this at the end of this post.

Today’s topic is one I’ve touched upon in my Secret Newsletter #6 (18th APR 2020), namely Barbara’s Orimotos. Meanwhile, she has reached black-belt status and teaches her skills to others in courses. Her magic-relevant output has now reached eight, considered a lucky number in the Asian cultures, and I thought it might make for an attractive change to have a little virtual exhibition of her works. Here they are:

1. The Dai Vernon Book of Magic

 

2. The Magic Spell 1 – Abracadabra
3. The Magic Spell 2 – Hokuspokus
4. The Four Suits
5. The Joker
6. It’s Magic
7. A Winning Hand – Royal Flush
8. Magic Top Hat

If you want to know more about this fascinating craft of Orimoto simply look it up in the Internet. But briefly: Each book is unique and entirely hand-made. Every page is incised with scissors, and then its elements folded in accordingly. The inside of the covers are decorated to match the theme of the Orimoto, e.g. “7. The Winning Hand -Royal Flush” shows the beautiful back design of the “Superior Brand” by The Expert Playing Card Co. Depending on the style, an Orimoto takes several days of work. Barbara sells some of them, from $150 upward plus shipping – if you’re interested send me a mail (please only if you are seriously interested).

Beyond Secrets – The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic

Mike Vance, my first proof-reader, sent in his corrections and suggestions which have taken us about 10 hours to install, not counting his 40-plus hours of wading through the texts. This is just a very small part of what happens below the water-level of the magic-book-iceberg. When you think all is done, you’ll have to invest another ca. 100 hours until it goes to the printer (more for big books). On a recent count I realized that I have now 57 different lectures. One of them, which I gave only twice, once in Paris and once in Torino, deals with the process from the idea of a book to the moment it lands in front of the reader. If you are not in this business you cannot imagine even in your wildest dreams how much work and time goes into a professionally produced book. If you knew, you would insist on paying it twice as much, at least 🙂 One day I’ll write about this, for as far as I know nobody has done so in the world of magic before.

Each time I come to talk about this, I’m reminded what Schopenhauer once wrote: “My books have never earned me anything, but they have saved me a lot.” In this sense I can honestly say that my books have given me great satisfaction, made me meet some wonderful people and have taken me to places and events I will always cherish in my memory. There are lots of stories I could tell, but one comes spontaneously to mind: When I went to see the Penn & Teller show in Las Vegas with Barbara and our boys Rafael and Miro years ago, courtesy of Johnny and Pam Thompson, we stayed after the show to make photos. At some point Penn looked at me, came closer and said, “Hey, you are Roberto Giobbi, I read your column in Genii!” Maybe he even said, “…I have your books!” Anyway, it made my day.

Back to the book: it is now going to my second proof-reader Max Pritchard, we’ll install his suggestions after a week or so, then I’ll print the complete book on paper to do a final look-through, and then off it goes to the printer, hopefully right after Easter, and if all goes well it should reach me at the beginning of May. The idea of the book is to identify and describe 52 (of course!) of the most important and inlfuential concepts in magic and to illustrate them with a good trick, a technique or other very practical example. So, this will be a book for those who seek to better understand the essence of magic, and at the same time learn some top-notch professional material. I believe this has never been done before, and I look very much forward to what you’ll have to say. CLICK HERE to get a peek at the table of contents. More next week.

Have a splendid week!

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The Magic Memories (12)

Hello everyone!

This is the 12th part of The Magic Memories, online on SUN 21st March, as always exactly at 0:07!

Renate Lurz, Roberto Giobbi, Sepp Holzer (1986, Munich)

I received quite a few comments on last week’s post (“Inside Out” in Magic magazine) and especially about me writing that the two coin tricks had never seen publication before. The protesters are right: although the only write-up was in Magic magazine, the little routine also exists as a video recording, and it will be my offering to you for this week. If you are interested about a bit of background information before you watch it, here is the story:

In 1986 Heinz Lurz and Joseph Holzer, both from Munich, Germany, asked me to do three instructional videos with them. At that time I was still 27, not married, no children, no house. Which inevitably reminds me of Zorbas’ (Anthony Quinn) famous quote in answer to a journalist’s question if he’s married: “Am I not a man? And is not a man stupid? I’m a man, so I’m married. Wife, children, house–everything. The full catastrophe.” And whenever the word “stupid” comes up I cannot but smile at Einstein’s equally famous and unfortunately true statement, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Anyway, I followed their call and travelled from Basel to Munich, stayed four days with Heinz and his family, and in three days we taped three one-hour long videos, one on close-up, one on cards and one on gambling themed card tricks, which where then sold as VHS cassettes at 150 Deutschmark each! These were among the very first instructional tapes to appear on the magic market, and the first of its kind in German language. The taping took place in Heinz Lurz’s basement, which he had turned out into a small filming studio. The equipment at that time was quite expensive, so there was only one camera, however, the video eventually showed three camera settings. How was that possible? Yes, you guessed it. I had to perform the whole show and explanation part three times in a row, all recorded by the same camera, of course, and then they would paste the relevant sections together in the final edit, which was also done on expensive equipment and took a lot of know-how and time. We really had to work for the little money that eventually came in – I can’t remember how much I received, but it can’t have been much.

Remember, I was aged 27 then (35 years ago!), a year before turning professional, and when I recently looked at the recording myself it felt like another life. I feel a bit embarrassed about a few things, but then decided to look at this simply as a document of the past and to forgive myself – I hope you will, too. The language I speak is German, actually German in a Swiss-German regional variant, as linguists would say. So, if you don’t understand what I’m saying don’t worry, you don’t miss much 🙂 but I suspect that even the coin experts among you will find the second part of the routine interesting, where the coins travel from my left hand to the glass held in my right hand; you’ll notice that the right hand never holds the glass in the “typical” position…

To watch the 3-minute performance CLICK HERE – enjoy, and have a prosperous week!

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The Magic Memories (11)

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the 11th episode of The Magic Memories, gone online on SUN, 14th MAR at 0:07 CET.

Me 20 years younger! (photo Zitzelsperger)

Twenty years ago, almost to the day, Stan Allen of MAGIC magazine (and convention!) fame called me up and asked me if I would be willing to take over for one month their then trick-column “Inside Out” of May (2001). I agreed, and the result was a 12-page “magazine inside the magazine”, similar to Charlie Miller’s “Magicana” in Genii, but a bit longer…

This will be my offering to you for this month, and I hope you’ll like it, at least some of it. Those who are familiar with my published work will notice that a few of the items, those pertaining to cards, went into some of my later publications, Card College 5 and Card College Lightest. The two coin routines, however, were never released in any other format, and since I’ve received some lovely feedback for my take on Shigeo Tagaki’s “Coin Assembly”/”Coinvergence” (see “The Magic Memories 08”) I thought I’d let you into a little more of my “coin work” 🙂

To read CLICK HERE. Enjoy!

Teaser: I’ve finished writing my latest book, and Barbara did some beautiful work on the layout. The tentative title is 52 Secrets, sub-titled The Most Important and Influential Concepts in Magic.  It’s now going to the proof-readers, and if all goes well we go to print in a few weeks to make it available before the summer holidays. I’ll have more information next week 🙂

BTW: These blog-post-texts do not go to my proof-readers, they’re published as I write them, just in case you native speakers of English out there have been wondering about this or that strange way of putting something…and the odd typo…

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The Magic Memories (10)

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the 10th installment of The Magic Memories on SUN, FEB 7th, 0:07 sharp (or as Juan Tamariz likes to say at the Escorial Card Conferences, “…o’clock!”)

This week I had a Skype Session, one of several, with my good friend Jesús Etcheverry of Ascanio-books fame. He performed his lovely “Bilbo’s Off-color Ace Assembly” for me. It reminded me of a routine which used to be Lennart Green’s favorite Giobbi-routine. Each time we met he asked me, “Roberto, do that trick with the Aces for me!” This brings back lots of memories of the times spent with Lennart, doubtless one of the few living geniuses of our beloved art, and of course many an anecdote which I might relate on some other occasion. We do occasionally converse over the phone, but I’m infinitively sad that we have not been able to meet personally for years now.

Lennart & Roberto sharing a Swiss Fondue after a card session & before the next

Anyway, on a happier note, this week’s item is my interpretation of Max Maven’s “Picasso Aces” from his book Focus (Hermetic Press 1990) which he published under his real name Phil Goldstein. I renamed the trick “Miro Aces” as it differs in several Details of Handling, and because of my son Miro Alessandro. It is from a private recording I made for Lennart in 1993 on the occasion of his visit to my ancient home in Reinach, Switzerland. This is performance only;  the explanation is on a 65-minute DVD which was part of the Collector’s Edition of Card Magic Masterclass published by Vanishing Inc. in 2018, and of course you’ll find the Maven-Goldstein original handling in his book.

As most recordings of this type the quality is so-so but good enough to see and understand all the necessary. You’ll appreciate the great complexity of techniques and subtleties, I hope. I think this trick alone, if discussed in detail, would fill a lecture. Doing a lecture on one trick only has always been a dream of mine, and actually I did it, once, but that’s again another (amusing) story 🙂

To watch “Miro Aces” CLICK HERE.

Enjoy – and then have a good week!

PS-Trivia: Speaking of “Picasso Aces”, did you know that Picasso’s full name is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso? Note the “Nepomuk”…

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The Magic Memories (09)

Hello Everyone!

This is number nine in the series of The Magic Memories, and I’d like to share an interview I did years ago with my dear friend Dave Solomon of Chicago.

David and me at Escorial with Toni Cachadiña and Jesús Etcheverry

I met David for the first time in the summer of 1996 at Ginny and Simon Aronson’s home,  where I stayed in the guest room of their amazing apartment (actually three!) on the n-th floor of a magnificent building overseeing Lake Michigan. Hank Moorehouse had booked me for the SAM convention in Las Vegas, where I performed and lectured on the stage of Bally’s Casino – so I’m one of the few who can justly say to have performed in Las Vegas with a contract and a fee 🙂

Simon Aronson, whom I only knew by reputation, had heard that I’m at the convention. Imagine my surprise when I came back to my hotel room and had a message on the answering machine of the room phone (that was before mobile phones and Internet) by Simon inviting me to stay with Ginny and him when in Chicago. That’s true magic! Dave and I hadn’t met before, so it was another surprise when on a Sunday morning he came to see me at Aronson’s, with a  baguette under his arm, and a bag with delicious cheese and a bottle of Opus One in his hands! You can imagine the magic session that followed…

After that we met several times in Europe, at the Escorial Card Conference, and he and his lovely wife Madeleine visited with us in Switzerland, and I went to see them several times in Chicago, staying at their home. The sessions we had with Jimmy Nuzzo, Simon Aronson, John Bannon and the Chicago boys, the visit at Schulien’s, and my lectures and talks I gave at Marshall’s magic shop shall always stay in my memory. The meeting with Jay Marshall and Eddie Fields , well, that’s another story.

Years later I sent Dave several questions in various categories, and he answered in written form. The text was then translated into German and published in MAGIE, the organ of the MZvD (Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland – the German Magic Circle), with about 3’000 members this is Europe’s largest magic club.

The English version of this interview has never seen print, and I hope you enjoy it – CLICK HERE to read and/or download the PDF.

Have a good week!

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The Magic Memories (08)

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the 8th installment of The Magic Memories. Today I would like to share a beautiful little coin routine with you that I used to do quite a bit as part of my formal close-up program, and still perform occasionally. Although some of you might think that I only do cards, my interests in magic are quite broad. My professional stand-up act for parlor and stage actually has only one card trick, and my close-up act is about fifty-fifty cards and other instruments. When I was young, starting magic at age fourteen, I did almost every trick from the standard magic books, including magic with small apparatus, which I built myself (how else?). At some point I even had a manipulation act with Billiard Ball Routine, Dancing Cane etc. and with it passed my entry exam in the Magic Circle of Switzerland in 1977 in St. Gallen.

This clip I have for you today was recorded at Giacomo Bertini’s “European Close-up Symposium” in Milan, Italy, in 2012, as part of an instructional video project which had only very limited circulation. I’m publishing it here to save it from being forgotten, as I believe you will find it contains a few interesting bits and pieces. It’s a short routine built around Shigeo Tagaki’s piece “Coin Assembly”. This is performance only. If you are interested to learn Tagaki’s original routine, you will find it in Richard Kaufman’s The Miracles of Shigeo Tagaki, an excellent book. You can download my teach-in of the assembly trick from Chris Wasshuber’s library.com. Too be redirected to his webshop CLICK HERE. The assisting spectator, by the way, is Alain Iannone,  one of Italy’s top close-up professionals.

…the last coin of “Coinvergence”.

To watch the performance of “Coinvergence” CLICK HERE.

Enjoy!

PS Trivia: For all fans of Ian Fleming’s James Bond, the scheduled uploading function of WordPress, the software used for these posts,  finally works. Therefore, the new posts will go online every Sunday precisely at 0:07! Big thank you to my friend and webmaster Andrea Pancotti and his Prestigiazione.it.

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The Magic Memories (07)

Hello everyone!

We are at the 7th episode of The Magic Memories, and for a change let’s do a card trick, a simple one at that, but as Confucius should have said, “Simplicity is the privilege of the masters”. Unfortunately he failed to say it, so he left it to me to pronounce 🙂

If you are reading this you very likely own or have heard of my Light Trilogy, which was the result of years of studying tricks that do not need any sleight-of-hand, but still had one or various elements, which made them interesting for the student who wanted to broaden his understanding of magic and at the same time add a few good pieces to his active repertoire. If you’d like to know more about this subject, please reread my forewords, especial the one in Card College Light, but also the one in Card College Lightest (the one with the Bocuse fried eggs, which in the New World they call “Eggs Sunny Side Up”).
When I wrote and published the first volume in German in 1988, 33 years ago as of this writing, there called Roberto Light, it didn’t occur to me in my wildest dreams that one day it would become a bestseller and  be translated into eight languages, which is not so bad for a magic book, but of course would make Dan Brown laugh out loud.
The first piece in the third book , Card College Lightest, is called “Einstein’s Card Trick,” even though Professor Einstein had nothing to do with it, but my dear friend Richard Vollmer of Strasburg had. In corresponding with him—Richard, not Albert—about this trick, the issue of how to handle the initial phase was brought up. As is usually the case, after a few days I received a nice letter from Richard, as Richard and I must be among the last letter-writers on this planet, in which he detailed a procedure that would make the beginning of the piece smoother and safer. Some might still prefer the version as it is described in Card College Lightest, and that’s perfectly fine, but I would like to use this blog to bring you what Richard and I think is an interesting variation. For those who don’t have the book, don’t fear, as the following description is completely self-contained.
Einstein – Zweistein
Richard’s trick relies on two principles. The first is a wonderful mathematical control commonly called the “automatic placement.” Scotland’s Peter Duffie has pointed out what is so far its earliest identified application: “Number Trick” by Van Osdol, in W. F. (Rufus) Steele’s 50 Tricks You Can Do, Chicago, 1946, p. 56. Steele introduces the piece by writing, “This trick is an old timer … ,” which tends to confirm some experts’ opinion that the principle, while not readily documented, goes back many more years. The second principle is an idea based on work by the brilliant British magician, Alex Elmsley. (See Elmsley’s “7-16”, first published in his September 1957 lecture notes Low Cunning, then in fuller form in Ibidem, No 13, March 1958, and also in Minch’s The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Volume I, 1999. After the first time you’ve performed this trick and find that you simply do not understand how it works, given all the variables determined by an audience member, you may come to understand the title.
Effect: Using a procedure the performer ascribes to the Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein, a member of the audience finds a card noted by him earlier in a most unusual and astonishing way.
Method: The first nice feature about this piece is that it doesn’t require any preparation whatsoever and can be done at any time with any deck. In fact, you can do this trick with the worst cards available and the deck needn’t even be complete. It is a good thing for any performer to have at least three such card tricks in his or her repertoire—so this could be one of them. [Note for notetakers: Open a note now in your note taking app or start a new section in your paper notebook, and there make a list of all the tricks you know, which can be performed with a sub-optimal deck; as a sub-category make a list of tricks that can be performed with a incomplete sub-optimal deck.]
Start by delivering what is my favorite line in this trick, “Do you know the Einstein card trick? I can assure you it is relatively good.” Yes, I know, verrrry funny… As soon as the audience has recuperated from this hilarity (or maybe not), continue, “Most people know Einstein as a gifted physicist. However, only a few people are aware he had a special interest in magic—and he invented an extraordinary and entertaining experiment, which I would like to perform for you now.” We call this “artistic license”…
Hand the deck to someone to shuffle thoroughly and then cut.
In the original version you now had to give your helper ten cards, but in this variation you can simply instruct the spectator to cut off about a quarter of the deck. In order for this variation of the trick to work, the packet cut off must contain at least eight and not more than 16 cards. To ensure this, you can ask your spectator to shuffle the deck and then cut it into two equal halves. Then ask him to cut each packet in half once more. The spectator is then asked to choose any one of the four packets.
Let’s break for a moment here and have a closer look at this situation. A challenge in this type of trick is to find some kind of justification—humorous, serious, or pseudo-scientific—for doing the things that are necessary in order for the principle to work. This is the penalty so-called “self-working tricks” exact: they require actions that are unusual or lengthy. All of these procedures require motivation. It doesn’t so much matter what this motivation is as long as it makes sense, even though this sense can be nonsensical, like in a fairy tale or in a sci-fi story, both of which can be fantastic, but respect consistency in theme and continuity.
To justify the above-mentioned selection procedure you could, for example, state, “An ordinary magician would now simply ask you to think of a card. But Einstein, of course, being a world-famous scientist, would do it differently. And I will do it exactly as he did.” You can easily recognize that, strictly speaking, this does not explain why it has to be done this way, but the words and the actions lead elegantly into each other and prevent the spectators from feeling that something is not the way it should be. The spectator has neither time nor reason to protest and is automatically led from one step to the next. Maybe some school of thought would call this a hypnotic structure? A most interesting and useful concept of elegance in deception hides behind this example and we might elaborate on it in some other time. For now, let’s leave it at this. As I said, this is just an idea, and you are cordially invited to find something of your own.
Back to the trick: the spectator has chosen a packet. Ask him to thoroughly shuffle and cut it and eventually look at the card on the face of his chosen packet. Let’s assume this card to be the Eight of Hearts. Make it crystal clear by explicitly mentioning it, that nobody can know how many cards he is holding (1), what cards they are (2) and in what order they are (3). These are three statements, all of which are true—although the number of cards is limited due to the cutting procedure used, so we have a half-truth—the last two statements are unconditionally true and will therefore override the limitation of the first statement. This is another concept of linguistic and logic deception that would require a more detailed inspection, but we’ll leave it as another open door to a room into which you may step at your own leisure. [Note-takers will open another note, describe the concept briefly, name it the “Principle of Partial Truth”, and then find several other examples in order to install it as a skill for future application in one’s own work, as this is of course the aim of the whole exercice. Or wait for my upcoming book 52 Theories…]
With his card still on the bottom of the packet, proceed with your instructions, “And because this trick was created by Einstein, in homage we will spell the name of this great scientist.” Following your instructions, your helper looses his selection in the packet by spelling “Einstein” and transferring two cards for each letter from the top to the bottom of the packet (not one card as in the original version). The two cards can be taken together, which doesn’t change their order, or one on top of the other, which reverses their order, then put on the bottom. The fact that two cards are taken for each letter is explained by saying that the two corresponds to the “2” in the formula E=MC2, of course. Everybody who understands the Theory of Relativity will agree with this; for all the rest (that’s all of us except Einstein and a very few others) it will suffice to believe what we say here.
Recap (briefly!), “Because I have no idea how many cards you have, I also cannot know where your card is located. If you had cut more cards or fewer, your card would be at a completely different position.” Allow this to sink in, as it is true. “And there is absolutely no way I could know which card is yours.”
Continue, “Before Einstein became famous, he invented the Australian deal, which later led him to his theory of relativity. It goes like this.” Ask your helper to deal the top card of his packet face down onto the table. Have him then move the next card to the bottom of his packet. Once again have him deal the top card onto the table, then transfer the next one beneath the packet. He continues in this way until he holds only one card. Again, in this procedure, with one card out of two being eliminated, explain that this is so because the two refers to the “2” in the formula: “Obvious, Watson, obvious!” You can choose to do the dealing yourself, actually I recommend you do, to avoid mistakes and keep up the rhythm.
All that is left for you to do is to underscore the impossibility of the remaining card being his. But when your helper turns his card up, it is exactly the one he noted earlier. Einstein the genius has won again (and should be renamed Zweistein).
As Richard wrote at the end of his letter to me: “Easy, neat and cute, isn’t it?”
Lest I Forget … Carefully study the words I have chosen in the suggested text above. Then use the ideas you find in them to write your own presentation. This spoken staging ensures that your helper does and thinks what you wish him to. It will appear to many that you have somehow manipulated a freely thought-of card. In truth, you don’t know the identity of the selection; you merely rely on its position in the packet. Isn’t the psychology of magic subtle? I would like to point out to anyone who likes to experiment that this trick works not only with the name “Einstein,” but with any word that contains eight letters. Armed with this knowledge, you can now develop your own unique presentation for this effect.
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The Magic Memories (06)

Hello everyone!

This is the sixth installment of The Magic Memories, and it is dedicated to the memory of Dany Ray (1921-1989).

From 1976 to 1983 Dutch entertainer Lou van Burg moderated a TV show titled “Varieté, Varieté” for German TV (ZDF) with numerous artists, among others some of the top magicians of the time. This show has French prestidigitator Dany Ray as guest, and you can see him perform his international cabaret act, with which he toured the best places around the world.

He starts with Miser’s Dream, a routine which is perfectly constructed and paced for the nightclub situation: he begins to music, in 20 seconds establishes himself, the instruments and the effect. Then goes into the audience with just the right amount of interaction and amusing and astonishing coin productions, only to finish back on stage. Just by this routine alone  you can recognize that here is a consummate professional at work.

He then does “The Jumping Flower” from Bert Allerton’s The Close-up Magician (USA 1958) as an in-between. If you are a performer, especially of close-up, I can warmly recommend this book which has some outstanding material and advice for any professional. The effect is short and visual. I’ve tried several methods to emulate it, but never got to make it work the way it looks with Dany Ray. I think it is one of the best pieces of its genre and could still be successful today.

The next trick is the infamous “Bra Trick” which today cannot be performed anymore. However, in its time, and in a nightclub, it worked very well. You can see the lady’s spontaneous positive reaction, of course, very much due to Dany Ray’s adorable personality and the fact that the bra has three cups; I’ve never seen this before or after, and it is a brilliant idea that in my opinion takes the sting out of the situation and made it a perfect trick for the time and the place (remember we’re in the Seventies, 50 years ago). Notice the way he brings the lady up on stage and dismisses her elegantly. The vanish of the silk is very efficient and once again shows how Dany Ray superbly married sleight-of-hand to apparatus magic. You can find the vanish in Harold Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic Volume 1 (p. 290),  an extraordinary compendium, not only for material, which is fantastic to say the least, but also for the illustrations and lettering (!) of Francis B. Martineau.

The table for the “Passe Passe Bottles” is the one by Ken Brooke, and I find it hilarious. I bet that sales of that table must have soared to the sky after having seen Dany Ray do it, but probably only very few have used it more than once or twice, if at all, since its performance is very difficult from a presentational point of view. And Dany Ray’s presentation is just masterful: study the management, the before, during and after, with the recall, just brilliant for my taste, that’s situational comedy par excellence. Even if you don’t understand German you should be able to appreciate the routining, timing and presentation of this great classic.

Dany Ray performed his act in several languages, always with his charming French accent. Here he speaks fairly good German, with some very amusing French interjections, and with a split-second timing and outstanding comedic talent. At the same time you can see his great technical skill – this man had chops!

I had the great pleasure of seeing him perform in a nightclub in my hometown of Basel, the “Clara Varieté”, I believe it was a Sunday afternoon show. Later we went for dinner and drinks, along with a few other members of the magic club of Basel, but he spent the whole time with me. I must have been 19 or 20 at that time, a complete unknown, but already very enthusiastically practicing the hard stuff from the Hugard and Ganson books. I remember that he performed Marlo’s “Miracle Aces” for me and of course completely fooled me. He was kind enough to show and explain several more advanced pieces, and I was very impressed by his knowledge and great technical skill. He definitely was an amateur at heart, but an extraordinary professional on stage. I greatly regret that he passed away so early and that I never met him again. I will always remember him.

To enjoy Dany Ray’s cabaret act CLICK HERE.

Have a good week!

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