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The Magic Memories (48)

Hi everyone!

Here are The Magic Memories #48, gone online SUN, 28th November, at 0:07h.

Last Minute…

The publication of this post was seriously in danger due to the arrival of a new family member: The Cat!

As you can see in the photo below, he not only obstructed the writing but took it over completely (now I have an excuse for all typos…).

“The Cat”, ca. 2 years old, has been brought in by Barbara from an animal house and after a few days took over the new house, ours. Finding a name was a lengthy process, but after all magician’s names (Vernon, Marlo, Malini, Professor etc.) as well as card sleights (Curry Turnover, Double Lift etc.) were categorically refused by the family, “Jimmy” was adopted. Below you can see Jimmy at work 🙂

Follow the Leader

I’m back from my trip to Italy and wanted to give you a report, but when I asked my good friend Claudio Viotto what I should post today, he felt it should be a video, as the last posts were a bit text-heavy. He’s absolutely right, of course. Therefore I’ve opted to extract a video clip from my own DVD Simply Amazing, produced and published by Penguin Magic.

This is a performance-only clip of one of my “self-working” versions of the famous “Follow the Leader” plot. Yes, I have several, and the theme has inspired some of the hottest names in the world of magic. The ball started rolling when Dai Vernon’s version saw light in 1938 in Greater Magic, although the plot is older and comes from Europe. There is written evidence that a German amateur magician and author of various interesting publications, Dr. Reinhard Rohnstein, mentioned the plot in a letter to Vienna’s Ottokar Fischer (a book by Magic Christian can be expected soon). Faucett Ross saw this and told Dai Vernon, who then released his very first method in Five Close-up Problems in 1933. But it was only after it was published in Greater Magic that it really caught on. The title itself, of course, originates in an old children’s game.

Forgive this little excursion into the genesis of this classic, and there is a lot more to it, which you might want to research on your own if you wish. I simply keep coming back on these historical contexts because it shows the wonderful complexity of what we’re doing. I truly believe that knowing about such things, even though often only superficially, helps us perform our magic with more dignity: The resulting competence is felt by any intelligent audience – I’m firmly convinced of this.

Back to today’s offering: I originally concocted this sequence when in 1995 I wrote Roberto Super-Light (Card College Lightest), immediately following the release of Grosse Kartenschule 3&4 (Card College) from 1994. Anecdotically, let me tell you that writing the Card College books 3 and 4 was such a Herculean task that took me almost 2 years of intensive work. When the files went off to the printer’s I felt like after a Marathon: It is impossible to stop right away, you have to run a bit more before coming to a halt. So, in the wake of Card College 3&4 I wrote this third book in the Light-series.

If you’re interested, the detailed explanation of the piece you’re about to watch can be found on my DVD Simply Amazing, produced by Penguin Magic, obtainable from my webshop (, from Penguin Magic, or from your favorite dealer (192 minutes with six professional-caliber routines performed and taught in detail). You can also get it as a download, but only from the Penguin Magic webshop.

But even if you don’t have the DVD-Download, or don’t want to invest the little money to get it, there is quite a bit to be learned simply from watching the 4-minute performance. Notice how contact is made with the audience after Dan Harlan’s announcement, how the eye contact is constantly renewed, how the deck “appears” in the hands without fumbling, how the theme is introduced. Here I should explain that the lengthy prologue is meant to frame all six tricks that are performed in a ca. 35-minute show one after the other. So, I tried to link them thematically – you’ll understand this better if you watch the whole performance.

There is something I do differently today than when I recorded the video: See “The Space-Information Continuum” in Sharing Secrets (p. 102). In the video I do what everyone is doing: I pick up the face down card from the packet and move forward to the leader card as I turn it over. In the new handling I will pause with the newly face-up card, holding it still in the space above its face-down packet for a few seconds. You’ll notice the difference: Now the color of the face-up card will rub off on the face-down packet, and in their imagination the audience will “see” that the cards in the face-down packet have the same color as the card displayed. Only now do I drop the card on the face-up leader packet. (This is an idea Barcelona’s Gabi Pareras told me in a session, and I’ve been using it ever since, and so should you. I consider Gabi one of the few geniuses of magic who has left us far too early. My prediction is that he will get the award for “Theory and Philosophy” posthum at the upcoming FISM convention.)

You might like the beginning phase, or you might not, but you will be forced to think about it. Remember that this video was shot with the intent of presenting self-working methods to classic tricks. If, however, you have the knowledge and skill, you should by all means use them to change modules of the trick.

The most difficult part of the trick is to obtain absolute clarity of the Initial Situation (see Sharing Secrets, p. 50), without being neither too slow nor too fast, but just right. Another challenge is how to manage the repetitive nature of the effects: This is done by changes in procedure as well as by pauses and changes in pacing.

This piece really looks externally simple, but harbors great complexity, as Miguel de Unamuno would have said.

To watch me perform “Follow the Leader” as described in Card College Lightest (p. 26), CLICK HERE.

Wish you all a successful week!

Roberto Giobbi

1 thought on “The Magic Memories (48)

  1. I look forward to your Sunday posts with eager anticipation and have never been let down. I took a serious interest in magic when I was 15, that was 1951 yes Ive been around a long time but magic has not been my only interest. Playing golf most of my adult life and owning and running a small business meant that’s magic time was`precious. Recently I made a couple of purchases from you, Sharing Secrets and Simply Amazing, not for the tricks but the how and the why. So for whatever time I have left you and I will spend it together improving my very small repertoire to be the best that it can be.
    Many thanks once again
    Kind regards
    Brian. Catlin.

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