I try to remain impartial each time I review a magic product on my blog. However, one could argue that this may be impossible for this next review. After all, I’m one of the contributors to Card Magic USA and I sell it on my website. At any rate, this eBook constitutes a big release in the world of downloadable magic media, so I wanted to share my thoughts.
Following the success of Scotland Up-Close, England Up-Close and other collaborative eBooks from UK-based magicians, Peter Duffie decided to compile a collection of card magic from magicians in the United States. The list of 49 contributors reads like a who’s who of magic today. There are over 70 items fully explained on over 280 pages. This is one BIG ebook. Here’s a rundown of some of my favorite effects:
The Lucky Chip (Jon Armstrong)- A spectator selects a card and shuffles it back into the deck. The cards are spread face down and the magician hands someone a poker chip. The volunteer drops the poker chip down at any point in the spread. The cards that the chip touches are arranged into a face down row. Again, the spectator has a free choice of which card to place the chip. The rest of the cards are eliminated.
“Wouldn’t you be impressed if your card was under the poker chip?” the magician asks. The chip is turned over to reveal a duplicate miniature card matching the spectator’s selection. This is the first effect. “Well, you’re probably all wondering about the card that’s still on the table. Go ahead and turn it over.” The spectator’s turn the card face up to reveal the selected card. This is a laymen killer.
Aces Over Easy (John Bannon)- This is a quick and easy production of the four Aces. The cards are shuffled and cut into four packets. An Ace is revealed on the bottom of each packet. The Aces are cut back into the deck. Instantly, they are found reversed together in the center.
Leadership Potential (Tom Frame)- This is a souped-up version of the classic Follow the Leader effect using the Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces. What’s cool about this version is that the spectator getst to freely switch the “Leader” cards from pile to pile and the mates still follow. It is very easy to do and packs a huge impact.
George’s Secret (Cameron Francis)- This is a commercial, albeit illogical trick. A card is selected and lost in the deck. The magician explains that besides being the first president of the United States, George Washington was also a card magician. A borrowed one dollar bill is folded up and waved over the pack. When the bill is unfolded, there is a hole where George’s portrait should be. The cards are spread to reveal his face stuck to the back of a card. Of course, it is the selection. The process is then reversed with George disappearing from the back of the card and landing in his proper place in the middle of the now restored bill.
Predictamation (Joshua Jay)- This has a similar feel to Paul Harris’s “Overkill” effect. A spectator cuts off a small number of cards. The magician shows that he predicted exactly how many cards the spectator would remove. In the process, he also finds the four Aces. While there is a setup involved, the effect is completely self working.
Cycle (Max Maven)- This is a series of three packet tricks with color changing back kickers. They are easy to do and each one has the interesting property that it leaves you setup to begin the next one.
Direct Twisted Collectors (Steve Reynolds)- As the title suggests, this is a very direct version of the Twisted Collectors plot that merges two classics of card magic (Twisting the Aces and Collectors) into one. In effect, three cards are selected and lost in the pack. Four Kings are introduced and the magician demonstrates how he can magically turn the cards face down one at a time. Finally, the Kings are placed onto the deck and the cards are spread. Instantly, three cards are seen to be interlaced among the Kings. Of course, these are the three selections. This type of effect isn’t for everybody, but if it works with your style, I think you’ll find Steve’s method to be superb.
Paparrazzi Packet Trick (Caleb Wiles)- I know I’m a little biased, but this is a very commercial trick. The spectator seemingly selects two cards at random from a small packet. The magician then shows that a different celebrity name is written on the back of each card. He then reveals that he predicted the chosen celebrities from the very start. I really like the playful presentation. The trick is self working and is always a hit at my lectures.
If you’re interested in learning more about Card Magic USA, you can download a detailed table of contents HERE.
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