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Topic: Need help keeping it together
Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (Oct 31, 2008 12:10PM)
I have been working for awhile on basic b**k p**m techniques and am struggling a bit. I have built up the finger strenght and control to be able to handle 5-7 bicycle poker sized cards and can move them front and back ok, except that the packet seems to want to shift on me instead of staying square.

Any tips on how to keep the cards flush all the way around so as to minimize flashing?
Message: Posted by: Jeffrey Korst (Oct 31, 2008 12:36PM)
It's mostly just practice. Lots more practice.

One can also use the middle finger to reach up and push the packet.

Keep in mind, though that unless cover is provided, almost no one can do this without flashing. Unless you have cover, I'd strongly advise building the routine without a front to back reverse.

Best regards,

Message: Posted by: trashmanf (Oct 31, 2008 12:52PM)
Do you use fanning powder? this can help keep the cards together.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 31, 2008 01:07PM)
Are you having problem with the front and back b**k p**m technique or just the basic b**k p**m techniques when you are trying to keep the cards together?

BTW if you can do it with 5 - 7 cards it is not sufficient strength yet. In practice you have to be able to b**k p**m 2 - 3 time more than you need for actual performance. This ensures you have more than enough strength for your act.

In my case I practice with 52 cards for my singles productions and split fans but I don't use that many for my act. Just making sure my finger strength is always there when I need it.
Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (Oct 31, 2008 01:14PM)
I'm doing ok with the actual techniques. I need more time to really get them down, but I have the basic form.

The issue comes in when I have say a 5 card packet in front position and want to move them to the back. When I draw middle two fingers back to get the packet clipped properly, the cards get misaligned horiztonally. The fingers drawing over the back and the thumb staying staionary push the top card forward. They almost look like they are in position for a glide or an in jog control type move.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 31, 2008 02:34PM)
This is a common mistake. The two middle fingers movement during the front and back cannot touch the cards. You have to control those two fingers to lift up without touching the cards during the front and back movement. It is all in the finger control. It took me some time but now my two fingers are lifted high enough not to touch the cards during the front and back.
Message: Posted by: Drew Manning (Oct 31, 2008 02:40PM)
Thanks James!

I'll give that a shot. I must say that these are some of the more difficult things I've had to learn. No wonder we give such praise to those who do them well!
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 31, 2008 02:57PM)
You are welcome, Drew Manning.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Nov 1, 2008 03:40PM)
I'm not sure if I understand from the description in the various posts exactly what problem with the BP they're referring to, but from personal experience from when I first learned this manipulation many years ago, I might point out that in the transfer from back to front, the middle finger and ring finger must curl into the palm before the forefinger and little finger do. That creates generous clearance for the middle finger to move up to the top edge of the stock to push it to the base of the palm. In this way, the thumb does not participate in the transfer at all. (That said, I do think some manipulators somehow do use the thumb to help in the transfer--I believe Lou Lancaster demonstrates that technique in his card manipulation video. But I think the thumbless transfer is a little more elegant.)

Although I can do the transfer fairly adroitly, I tend to agree with what Ganson said in _Routined Manipulation Finale_, later put out separately as the monograph _Card Magic by Manipulation_: "I am firmly convinced that no matter how skilfully the [move is done], if no cover is provided... then some members of the audience will see a flash of the cards... I was extremely pleased to read ED MARLO's manuscript _Card Fan Productions_, in which he [ED MARLO] states that he has seen even the best performers permit a flash of the cards, even though he was sitting directly in line with them." If you read the Marlo manuscript, he relates an amusing annecdote where it looked like he finally found a performer--Bil Baird I think--whom Marlo initially thought did the acquitment perfectly.

I enjoy doing the acquitment for practice--and now and then in front of a TV camera since the eye of the camera is in a favorable position--but I never do it in a live performance. On occasion I have done card manipulations in a venue where the band playing my music was behind me and even then felt awkward that the musicians could see the manipulations from behind. But now I take it in stride, sort of like ignoring the fact that stage hands operating the lights, curtains, etc have an exposed view of the entire act.

I will also point out that when I watch other card manipulators of renown on TV, I almost always catch a glimpse of the supposedly hidden cards _even when they're doing the simple production of cards singly.

I will confess, though, that when performing at a magic club meeting, I will sometimes do the acquitment _when a 24" silk is pushed through the fingers_ (see "The Silk Through the Fingers" in Ganson's _Expert Manipulation of Playing Cards_, pages 23-24). The silk provides such good cover that the move can be done nearly in slow motion. I first saw a magician do this move on NBC's "International Showtime_ and worked out the technique for myself. The silk provides excellent cover. But just pulling the silk through the fingers is a strong convincer that nothing is hidden anywhere, even if you don't do an acquitment. (The silk through the fingers is a convincer the way removing the gloves was a convincer in Ganson's manuscript; but wearing gloves did not fit my persona.)

I used to enjoy practicing the acquitment on the stage in the backroom of Earl Edwards' Magic Shop in Norfolk. One of the best compliments I got was from another magician watching me practice. When I did the acquitment, he commented to someone near him, "He's bluffing. He doesn't have any cards in his hand." Needless to say, he was rather surprised when fans of cards continued to appear at my fingertips.

In closing, I'd like to ask other manipulators on the Café if they've heard of an underground manuscript by an obscure manipulator named Andrew Lord titled _Nothing in My Hands: The Truth about the Backpalm_. I think the manuscript was part of a larger work called _The Handbook of Apocryphal Card Sleights_. Allegedly Lord used a few clever dodges that enhanced the illusion that the cards could not be hidden in the hands by any means, sort of like Bill Baird did when Marlo saw him perform. Marlo writes:
-----begin quote-----
"Bill Baird was on the stage of the State Lake Theatre in Chicago doing sleight of hand with cards. The usual fans and productions took place, and then he produced three cards, one at a time. He then started to do the pivot move very slowly, but I couldn't see the cards flash. I got excited, sat on the edge of my seat, and said to myself, 'Here at last is a performer who can really do the pivot without exposing the cards'"--Then he spread his fingers wide apart--he didn't have any cards! He smiled, the audience laughed, and relaxed. So did I, as I blushed to myself for being taken in. But at that moment, from the hand that was so plainly shown devoid of cards, there appeared a fan of cards followed by more fans. I was surprised and so was the audience. They expressed their surprise with a long dran out 'oh'! --After that of course I had to stay for another performance. I then assured myself that he had used an old steal with perfect misdirection. If you are interested in it, look in Howard Thurston's book of Card Tricks, where he explains the same steal using five cards, and which, to my mind, is real magic."
-----end quote-----

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
P.S. Frank Garcia's "Million Dollar Production" on page 113 of _Million Dollar Card Secrets_ provides an extremely clever alternative to the B&F palm. I first saw it done by Sakoh of Japan back in the 70's and he did it _very_ effectively. Sakoh and I were entered in the same contest at an IBM convention at the time (before the Gold Medal was instituted), and I knew he would take first place when I saw him backstage warming up. He spread a deck of cards on his arm in preparation for what I thought would be the standard toss and catch--but when he tossed the spread cards into the air, they changed into a silk! I knew then that I didn't have a chance!
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 2, 2008 07:49AM)
I would be interested in Andrew Lord's underground manuscript -_Nothing in My Hands: The Truth about the Backpalm.

Is it easily available?
Message: Posted by: trashmanf (Nov 2, 2008 02:45PM)
I am also interested in learning some of the more advanced acquittals. Please tell if you know of a good location to purchase them?
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Nov 2, 2008 05:00PM)
I first heard about _The Handbook of Apocryphal Card Sleights_ from a magician who worked the sideshow for Clyde Beatty's circus. Whenever the circuses came to Norfolk, the magicians dropped into Earl Edwards's magic shop where I was a demonstrator. (The first time I saw the $100 bill switch was from a circus equestrian who came into the shop. I think the bill switch manuscript mentions the same performer.) The sideshow magician may have been Jimmy Steele if anyone knows that name. He was also the first person I saw in person who could do the one hand riffle shuffle.

Whoever it was, he shared one of the steals: A stock of cards is in a clip on the right side of the coat (natch) and is stolen while the left hand performs the serpentine silk. Left side of the body is of course toward the audience. I tried that steal a few times at IBM meetings on the stage at Earl's shop and from the comments of people afterwards, I knew that it had fooled them. The misdirection is very strong (greater movement covering the lesser movement and all that).

I remember when I watched magicians like Channing Pollock and Johnny Hart do their card manipulations on TV that I could never catch the steals. Since Harry Stanley was Johnny Hart's agent, and since Lewis Ganson worked for Stanley, it's possible that Hart learned card manipulation from Ganson, although Ganson in his books advocated not using body steals for cards. For billiard balls, yes. But not for cards.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: trashmanf (Nov 4, 2008 02:24PM)
What??? Where would you steal the cards from then if not body loads?

anywhoo another idea occured to me (to the original poster), you can use McBride's technique from the "Mercury card production" on his art of card manipulation DVDs, he produces one card while doing the pivot to cover the rest of them.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Nov 5, 2008 11:39AM)
In answer to the question "Where would you steal the cards from then if not body loads?" Andrew Lord sometimes used a lidded champagne bucket. Attached to the bottom of the lid was a holder where he kept about 20 cards prepped for BP productions. As his act opened he walked out toward the bucket and produced a fan of cards. He lifted the lid to toss the first fan (split) in. After producing two more fans from the remaining stock, he trasnferred the lid frmm the left hand to the right hand so he could put the bucket on top of it (the lid being so designed that the handle on the top could double as a pedestal to hold the bucket.
----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: trashmanf (Nov 5, 2008 06:07PM)
Well I respectfully disagree with the idea of going to a bucket every time you need to steal some cards. I am not a working professional but I do my shows for friends and family without any visible stage props, just me, so you kind of have to have them on your body in that case... plus it is still mystifying as long as your cover is good for the steal, it does not matter where you get them from! I think it'd be more suspicious if you kept grabbing a bucket.