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The Magic Memories (131)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Solution to photo riddle; With compliments from Gary Plants (Criss-Cross Force subtlety).

These are The Magic Memories 131, gone online Sunday, July 2nd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

As you are reading this – provided you do so before, after or instead of going to church, on Sunday, July 2nd – I’m holding a Masterclass in Luxemburg on four subjects, in four 90-minute workshops (Session 1: Stand-up Card Magic; Session 2: The Five Operational Principles of Card Magic: Focus on Controls; Session 3: The Best Self-working Card Tricks; Session 4: How to Find Your Own Presentation; Final Bonus Session: Q & A, photos, diploma).

BTW: If you are a small or large group of interested people, I should be pleased to come wherever you are, and give a one- or two-day  Masterclass, on the subjects listed above or on any other of the 60 plus subjects I have at hand. You can always reach me through “infos/contacts” on my webshop

Solution to Photo Riddle

Several wrote in two ask for the names of those represented in last week’s “celebrity photo” 🙂

OK, below it is, and the gentlemen are: (standing from left to right) Howard Hamburg, David Malek, John Gaughan, Mike Perovich; (seated from left to right) Alfonso Aceituno, unknown, Max Maven.

The photo was taken by Joan Lawton at her home in Los Angeles, June 4th, 2016, after I had given a full-day Masterclass on the subject of “Mental magic with cards for magicians (not mentalists)” to a group of ten people (not the ones depicted on the photo…).

Max Maven with unknown magicians at Joan Lawtons, Los Angeles, 2016

With Compliments From Gary Plants

As announced last week, due to my absence, today’s The Magic Memories were going to pause, BUT thanks to a visit by my dear friend Gary Plants and his wife Debbie the week-end before, I’m pleased to say that Gary gave in to my request and kindly contributed an item from his most recent lecture notes.

Debbie & Gary Plants with Giobbi, Basel June 2023

For those who do not know Gary Plants (impossible!), here is what came as the result of me asking ChatGPT “to write 200 words on Gary Plants, magician”:

Gary Plants is a highly skilled magician, captivating lecturer, and a master of trick cards. With his expertise in the realm of card magic, he has made a significant impact in the magic community. Plants’ proficiency lies in his ability to create and design trick cards that enable magicians to perform astonishing illusions.
As a magician, Plants has developed a repertoire of mind-boggling tricks using his innovative trick cards. His performances leave audiences in awe as he effortlessly manipulates the deck, producing astonishing effects that defy logic. His skillful execution and flawless presentation have earned him a well-deserved reputation as one of the foremost experts in the field.
In addition to his prowess as a performer, Plants is also a highly sought-after lecturer. He shares his extensive knowledge and experience with fellow magicians through workshops and seminars. With a charismatic and engaging teaching style, he imparts valuable techniques, theories, and insights into the art of card magic. His lectures are known for inspiring and empowering aspiring magicians, providing them with the tools they need to elevate their own performances.

Gary Plants’ dedication to the craft of magic, his inventive approach to trick cards, and his ability to captivate and educate through his lectures have solidified his position as a respected figure in the world of magic. His contributions continue to shape and elevate the art form, leaving a lasting legacy for generations of magicians to come.

Gary’s contribution below is from his most recent Lecture Notes 2023 Pebblepalooza – Gary Plants Presents SOMETHING OLD SOMETHING NEW, and is titled:


Years ago, Michael Skinner showed me a nice subtlety on the criss cross force. He had the force card on the bottom of the deck. He said, “In a minute, I’m going to ask you to cut the cards.” As he said this, he did a slip cut, carrying the bottom half of the deck forwards along with the top card of the deck. Then he took the remaining packet and placed it across the lower portion of the deck, like we all do with the criss cross force.

This action keeps the force card on the bottom of the deck, but it looks as if you’ve cut the deck. Michael then walked away from the table 2-3 feet and then says “OK, go ahead and square up the cards and give them a cut, like I just showed you.”

The spectator squares up the cards and gives them a straight cut, performing the criss cross force.

The walking away and leaving the deck in an unsquared look gives this force a whole different look. This action looks great and seems extremely fair. I love the idea, but I did not care for the slip cut action. I have never seen it done when the slip cut wasn’t detected (by magicians anyway).

I came up with two other ways to use Mike’s finesse without the slip cut action.

Method 1:

The force card starts on the bottom of the deck. You say, “Here in a second I’m going to ask you to cut the cards.” As soon as you say this, you’re going to do the Dai Vernon Cold Deck Cut up to the point where you are ready to do the final cut. You will be left holding a break near the center of the deck. As you are doing this Vernon Cold Deck Cut, you continue saying, “I don’t want you to do a fancy cut like this, just do one straight cut and then set these cards over on top. Do you understand?” After they say yes, you walk away from the table slightly and watch that they do the cut correctly. If they seem to be confused about the unsquared packet, tell them to just “straighten up the cards.”

Method 2

You do one riffle shuffle keeping the force card on the bottom of the deck. You say “In a minute I’m going to ask you to give the deck a cut.”

As you’re saying this, you’re going to undercut the bottom half of the deck with your right hand and you are going to do a simple stripping action, but the first strip is going to come off of the bottom of the cards in your right hand. You’re going to slightly jog this first strip a little to the right. Continue finishing up the stripping action.

As you square up, you’re going to get a break underneath the jogged first packet.

Now you’re in the same position as you were when you did the Vernon Cold deck cut and you finish up the same way.

It’s really just two different actions of getting the force card into the center of the deck. The first method uses a cutting action and the second method uses a stripping action.

Finishing up the demonstration and walking away and asking the spectator to go ahead and straighten up the cards adds a great deal of deception to the criss cross force.

Thank you, Michael Skinner.

Next week-end I will be off to the Spanish national convention, but will have one item that some of you should like 🙂

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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