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Eric Fry
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There is a clever variation, attributed to Cardini, on the usual spelling trick. It's not impromptu. But after the spectator mentally chooses from among six cards, the spectator can shuffle the deck, yet the card will still spell out.

As with a lot of the tricks in the book, if you know sleight of hand you can heighten the trick. For example, a false shuffle and use of the riffle force to break the deck at the six-card stack gives the impression that the six cards were chosen at random. And remember, don't ever look at the faces of the cards.

I thought I read once that Scarne didn't actually write the book. Anyone know anything about that?
ScotDeerie
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Hi everyone,
I'm new to the list and to magic. I'm trying to get together a library and some simple tricks together to teach my nephew (age 11). Would this be a good book for us to look at? We have the basic magic books on order and will start there, of course, but is this one I should bookmark for later? Can it be used fairly early on by a beginner or is it best left to experienced folks?

Thx,
ScotDeerie
the fritz
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Yes, Scott. This book is aimed at beginners because all the sleights have been removed from the tricks in the book. I would suggest this be one of the first books you purchase... and it's pretty inexpensive! I've always thought that if I had to choose only five books to keep with me for the rest of my life, this would be one of them (along with a Bible, The Royal Road to Card Magic, The Magic Book by Harry Lorayne, and one other one... perhaps The Card Magic of Nick Trost?). I digress-- you'll do just fine purchasing a copy of this book. Highly recommended for anyone into magic, but especially for beginners. I'm sure you'll get lots of seconds from others in this thread. Good luck Scott!
magicupclose
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I agree with the poker deal, laymen are amazed & simple to perform, just build it up with presentation & people won't play cards with you!
Picard
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Quote:
On 2007-09-13 17:23, the fritz wrote:
Yes, Scott. This book is aimed at beginners because all the sleights have been removed from the tricks in the book. I would suggest this be one of the first books you purchase... and it's pretty inexpensive! I've always thought that if I had to choose only five books to keep with me for the rest of my life, this would be one of them (along with a Bible, The Royal Road to Card Magic, The Magic Book by Harry Lorayne, and one other one... perhaps The Card Magic of Nick Trost?). I digress-- you'll do just fine purchasing a copy of this book. Highly recommended for anyone into magic, but especially for beginners. I'm sure you'll get lots of seconds from others in this thread. Good luck Scott!

I must say I do not agree with you. Even though this book does seem as it's for beginners, I found that most of the effects are not impressive at all if performed exactly as written in a book. (and that's how beginners will perform them)
I did find that book has some nice ideas that could be integrated in a more deceptive routine but that does require knowledge of at least some basic sleights and even more importantly the ability to create - and that's something that beginners lack.
There are of course few really good effects that could (almost) stand alone nicely but with some sleights (or at least some false shuffles, cuts etc.) they become even more impressive.
Let's not forget that Scarne's goal in writing this book was to make it as sleightless as possible and that meant eliminating even the most basic sleights which every card magician should know.
I don't use this book to learn new effects, I just read it from time to time as an inspiration.
cristo
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Quote:
On 2007-09-14 07:13, Picard wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-09-13 17:23, the fritz wrote:
Yes, Scott. This book is aimed at beginners because all the sleights have been removed from the tricks in the book. I would suggest this be one of the first books you purchase... and it's pretty inexpensive! I've always thought that if I had to choose only five books to keep with me for the rest of my life, this would be one of them (along with a Bible, The Royal Road to Card Magic, The Magic Book by Harry Lorayne, and one other one... perhaps The Card Magic of Nick Trost?). I digress-- you'll do just fine purchasing a copy of this book. Highly recommended for anyone into magic, but especially for beginners. I'm sure you'll get lots of seconds from others in this thread. Good luck Scott!

I must say I do not agree with you. Even though this book does seem as it's for beginners, I found that most of the effects are not impressive at all if performed exactly as written in a book. (and that's how beginners will perform them)
I did find that book has some nice ideas that could be integrated in a more deceptive routine but that does require knowledge of at least some basic sleights and even more importantly the ability to create - and that's something that beginners lack.
There are of course few really good effects that could (almost) stand alone nicely but with some sleights (or at least some false shuffles, cuts etc.) they become even more impressive.
Let's not forget that Scarne's goal in writing this book was to make it as sleightless as possible and that meant eliminating even the most basic sleights which every card magician should know.
I don't use this book to learn new effects, I just read it from time to time as an inspiration.


That's an interesting viewpoint.

I guess the elimination of sleights and requirements for greater skill may in fact have "watered down" the power of some of the effects.

But it is that very lack of sleights in the book which makes it beginner suitable - beginners can't do all that stuff!

So, the result may well be that beginners can't do effects that are as impressive as ones that contain sleights - but that shouldn't be a surprise, should it?
the fritz
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Picard,

I respect your opinion, however I still believe the book is aimed at beginners.

One reason I believe this book is for beginner's comes from Scarne's introduction to the book. In my opinion, advice like "Never reveal how a trick is done" or "never repeat a trick for the same audience" is clearly directed toward someone new to performing card tricks. Scarne knew, as well as the rest of us who have performed before, that the temptation to reveal a secret or repeat a trick because people are dying to know how you did it can be overwhelming. Seasoned performers know why Scarne gives this advice.

Another reason I believe this book was originally intended for beginners is because Scarne mentions in his introduction, that he deliberately placed the simpler tricks at the beginning of the book and the more advanced ones near the end. Hugard and Braue also use this technique in their "Royal Road to Card Magic" because they know it is the most efficient way for a beginner to progress toward becoming an expert technician in card magic. This tells me Scarne had beginning card magicians or just someone interested in performing card tricks in mind when he wrote the book. He even quotes a statistic about people who've played card games before attempting a trick with cards.

Finally, as far as performing the tricks competently goes, Scarne talks about including "stories" to go along with the tricks, urging the performer to present the patter as written. In my mind, this book is definitely aimed at beginners.
Picard
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Quote:
On 2007-09-14 09:50, cristo wrote:
So, the result may well be that beginners can't do effects that are as impressive as ones that contain sleights - but that shouldn't be a surprise, should it?

I think they can, but you won't find that kind of material in Scarne's book.
It was one of my first magic books, in fact I already knew some moves when I first started reading it. I was skipping through many stacked card effects (since I wasn't even able to pull off a decent false shuffle at the time) and those few impromptu ones that caught my attention - well they didn't go to well. I performed them perfectly in a technical sense but they looked very automatic and boring in my hands and it's simply because I did them exactly as written there. Now that I know more (and I don't mean more about sleight of hand only but generally more about magic and how it should be presented) I have found it much easier to spot weak spots of the effects in the book and cover them with some sleights or at least some kind of misdirection (including more interesting and more convincing patter than the one suggested in book).
So yes, I still stand behind my opinion: some of the effects in the book do have potential but ONLY in the hands of at least a bit more experienced card handler then the average amateur. The effects in the book are generally NOT strong, actually some of them are very weak but it's ideas that make this book valuable to me. I am not sure what makes it valuable to complete beginners... And I think that being beginner does not excuse somebody for performing unimpressive and weak magic.
the fritz
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Picard,

I definitely agree that many (if not all) of the tricks in the book can be made better with some appropriately used sleight-of-hand. I also think your opinion that experienced performers will do the material more justice than beginners is right on the money.

Unfortunately, beginners have to start somewhere (as you and I have) and that somewhere is always the inexcusable place of "performing unimpressive and weak magic." I think that's part of the learning experience. That being said, I'd rather have the unimpressive and weak magic be from a beginner's book instead of being something involving sleight-of-hand in which the performer unwittingly gives away secrets by performing poorly. Just out of curiosity, do you remember which trick you performed first? I don't remember which one I did, but I cringe to think how bad it must've looked!
jquackc
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I am not only a performer but a collecter of magic effects. I spend some of my time taking a break from practicing my working material just to search and practice other tricks, from difficult to "self-working". Scarne on Cards is as great book if your a collector of card tricks... there are some classics and even a card trick in there by Houdini. These "see through" tricks are great and fry laymen just as easily as ambitious card. If your a card trick collector than you should have this on your bookshelf (after reading through it of course).
JC

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It's coming...QUACK... a new ebook from the fallible mind of JC... April 2048... groundbreaking material... limited edition... only 200 will be sold. Starting at $47... Preorder your copy toda
Turk
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Quote:
On 2007-09-13 09:22, ScotDeerie wrote:
Hi everyone,
I'm new to the list and to magic. I'm trying to get together a library and some simple tricks together to teach my nephew (age 11). Would this be a good book for us to look at? We have the basic magic books on order and will start there, of course, but is this one I should bookmark for later? Can it be used fairly early on by a beginner or is it best left to experienced folks?

Thx,
ScotDeerie


First of all, Scot, welcome to the Magic Café. I hope that you enjoy your stay here.

BTW, it would be helpful to members if you enanbled the PM function in your profile. By doing so, you might find that members would be more willing to share more details with you that might not be appropriate on a public forum.

As for the Scarne book, I stumbled across a copy of it in a used book store and purchased it--particularly because Scarne mentioned that he had taken killer tricks from many experts and then reworked them to remove the sleights and to allow the performer to concentrate on presentaion.

I love this book so much that I buy 2nd and 3rd copies of it just to have it around so that I can give it out to friends of mine who are just starting out in magic. Just yesterday, I purchased yet another copy of the book here off of the Café.

What I especially love is being in the magic store (where the owner has/had 2-3 copies of the book that he had acquired from estate sales. Some of the finger-flingers might ask if the book is "any good" or they might have read the forward and seen that the book mentions that the sleights have been removed and then derisively "talk the book down" because it has no sleights in it. I then perform a few of the effects in the book without telling them where the effect(s) came from. When they ask where the effect came from and I point out the Scarne book, their jaws drop open in amazement. (I'm kind of like the Prego Spaghetti Sauce ad--"It in there".)

Now, its true that in order for the "tricks" in the book to garner any appreciable reaction, you should come up with your own entertaining presentations. The tricks will stand alone but, combined with an entertaining presentation, takes them to a new level and changes them from "tricks" into "effects" and/or "routines".

Picard is correct that the tricks as taught by Scarne are rather lean on presentation scripting but that is the beauty of it because this fact frees you up to come up with your own unique presentations. At the same time, it also lets beginners "immediately get into performing" (some interesting very credible magic tricks).

Just, IMHO. Hope this helps you in your evaluation of the book.

Mike
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This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
cristo
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On 2007-09-24 22:50, Turk wrote:
I then perform a few of the effects in the book without telling them where the effect(s) came from. When they ask where the effect came from and I point out the Scarne book, their jaws drop open in amazement. (I'm kind of like the Prego Spaghetti Sauce ad--"It in there".)



Care to name any of those effects which you like from the book? They don't as a rule read very impressively, so I'm hoping to try out some that others have found to be good ones.
Steve Landavazo
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I have had Scarne's book for years and it is AWESOME! Years ago this was considered by many the definitive work on card magic! It should be in everyone's library. You will use and appreciate many of the great effects in this publication! My favorite is the, "Do As I Do" version with one deck. Get it!

Stever
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Steve Landavazo
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Also Houdini's Affinity In Numbers is a classic...

Stever
Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway!
Scott Cram
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Stewart James' "Miraskill" is in a class of its own. It's part of the basis of David Williamson's "Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret", and the Stewart James books have a great chapter called "Miraschool", in which the trick is taken to incredible new directions (including an ESP card, no-take-away version that's different each time you do it!).

Among my other favorite routines:
The Uninvited Joker
Future Deck
Einstein and the Magician
The Si Stebbins routines
Hands-Off Miracle
The Wizard
Scarne's Drunken Poker Deal
Piano Card Trick

BTW - I also have a least favorite. It's Egg A La Card, which is the close-up equivalent of the Hindu Rope Trick. Nobody has seen it themselves, but everybody seems to know someone who has seen it.
airship
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I have almost 50 bookmark tabs stuck in my copy of this book. Smile
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Steve Landavazo
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Did you know Scarne compiled his card book along with his magic tricks in one volume. Just some useless trivia for those that care...

Stever
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At the moment my favorite ones are "The upside down Deck" and "Traveling Aces", but I have to read it almost entirely...there are, I know, many many treasures to discover...!
the fritz
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Looking back at posts I made almost five years ago, I am still of the same opinion about the effects in this book. It is probably my favorite magic book and the only one in my library that I go through from cover to cover every year. I even have a gambling set I perform that is completely impromptu and the basic effects (with a few tweaks) come straight out of this book. I have yet to find an equal to this book (for self working effects anyway)!
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