Posted on Leave a comment

The Magic Memories (163)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Quick Revelations – Vernon One-handed Shift Production; Shadow Theory; Visiting Giobbi; The Missing Link: How Houdini Named Buster Keaton; Hilarious Last Word

These are The Magic Memories 163, gone online Sunday, February 11th, 2024, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, and 2023, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Quick Revelations – Vernon One-handed Shift Production

Here is something for those who like to flick their fingers.

As I am sifting through thousands of notes in my notebooks to find interesting material for my upcoming Unexpected Agenda, I hit on the following item, dated August 1989, and which was inspired by reading and practicing a One-handed Shift by Dai Vernon that starts out from an Altman Trap. This unusual Shift, very few seem to know and even less use it, is described on p. 25 of Stephen Minch’s The Vernon Chronicles Vol. 1 – The Lost Inner Secrets. 

If you are a Vernon fan, or simply enjoy refined card magic in all its aspects, I highly recommend you get all four volumes: The first three are on Vernon’s magic, the fourth is a biography – these are among the books in my library I read several times…

Coming back to the “Shift”: It is the fastest  One-hand Pass I know, and as you can see here, it can be put to other good uses than to merely restore the cut, which very probably was its original intention (maybe done as the other hand reaches for a glass, or puts the ante into the pot).

Here is a quick run-through: Control the selection to the bottom of deck which is held in Dealing Position. Gently riffle its inner end, thereby obtaining an Altman Trap (a break held by the heel of the left thumb).

Start the first part of Vernon’s “One-handed Shift”.

When the former bottom portion flops back, insert the left thumb between the packets; the left thumb then drags the bottom card of the upper packet to the left and flips it face up on the closing deck. The selection now rests face up on the face down deck and can for instance be one-hand spin-dealt to the table.

Here is yet another application of this Shift you might want to explore: Do the old gag of shuffling the cards with a Riffle Shuffle in the Air and then extending the deck toward a spectator, saying, “Would you please cut the deck?” As she reaches for the deck, give it a One-handed Cut, “Thank you, that’s enough.” Done with kindness, to paraphrase David Devant, this will always produce merriment.

However, by using the Vernon One-handed Shift, instead of the traditional Charlier Cut, you will notice that you can see the full face of the shifting packet’s bottom card, and you can then catch a break between the packets as they close; use both hands to facilitate the final square-up.

You now have a known card in the approximate center of the deck, located by a break, which you can use as a force card, a key card, or anything else.

Shadow Theory

Years ago Tamariz mentioned the “Shadow Theory” to me, the fact that if you turn slightly sideways to display something on a stage, rather than doing so full-front, it will be seen better from far away.

The first time this most useful idea saw publication was in my own Stand-up Card Magic, p. 16, there still called “Shadow Rule”. Seven years later (a magic number!), in Sharing Secrets, I discussed it in more detail, calling it “The Shadow Theory”.

I was reminded of this when I saw the drawing below, published in the puzzle section of a popular Swiss magazine: You had to find the shadow that matched the drawing.

“The Shadow Theory”

And maybe you are now reminded of this concept, too… if you apply it, it will make your magic better, promised.

Visiting Giobbi

It is said that if you read, you are never lonely. And if you write books has even more far-reaching consequences.

One of the pleasures of being an author of magic books is the meeting of readers at conventions, club meetings etc. Meanwhile, so it seems, there are several generations of magicians, many of whom started their career with my Card College books… the disadvantage of this is, of course, that it makes me old🙂

Another benefit is that books make friends. I am reminded of Jean Paul who said, “Books are merely thick letters to friends”.  So, I keep making new friends with every book that goes out into the small world of magic (which has meanwhile become a big world, I should add…).

And then there are the “old friends” , most younger than I, who visit with me regularly. Below is a photo of Denis Behr from Munich, Germany, and Lorenz Schär from Berne, Switzerland, who joined me for a rich lunch and an afternoon of magic.

RG, Denis Behr, Lorenz Schär in a session break

Both gentlemen are talented far above average, and do some superb magic.

Both are also authors of books, and if you enter their names in Google (always add “magic” after entering a magician’s name!) you will find them. Denis wrote three books, and Lorenz one, all in English, and all are original and good.

The Missing Link: How Houdini Named Buster Keaton

The video clip, which was brought to my attention by my friend Marco Aimone, is interesting for various reasons.

First, it connects Houdini to Buster Keaton – notice at the beginning how Houdini gave him the name “Buster”.

Second, witness yet another use Artificial Intelligence can be put to.

Third, it is fun and instructional.

Hilarious Last Word

The clip below popped up as I was looking for a term that was not included in Behr’s Magic Archives, only for insiders, no comment 🙂

Wish you all a successful and happy week,

Roberto Giobbi

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.