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MARCUS
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I am going to purchase 1 of the volumes of this series, any input on which would be the wisest choice? Do they go in order, and/or any other comments would be a great help. Thanks in advance,

Mark



p.s Paul Harris "Art of Astonishment" the book Smile
Prophet
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I have vol. 1 and really like it a lot.

I don’t use much from it right now but plan to down the road. From what I have heard, each book can stand alone so you don’t need to refer to vol. 1 for help on stuff from vol. 2/3. Smile



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While they're all loaded with great stuff, I find Volumes 1 and 2 more useful than 3. Also Volume 2 seems to have the most overlap with PH's Stars of Magic videos, if you want to use them too.
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
Stephen Long
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I must be the world’s biggest fan of this set of books, I cannot choose one over the other, therefore I would VERY highly suggest you buy the set (which would be cheaper in the long run if you intended to buy all three eventually, anyway.)



Anyway, since you intend to buy only one.

Here’s a break down of my favourite effects from this incredible set of books:



Volume one:



BACKLASH (p29) - a spectator signs the front and back of a card. The card with the signature is clearly seen to be placed in your pocket. With no palming the card jumps back to the deck and then back to your pocket. As a finale the spectator sandwiches the card between her/his hands and the signature on the back of the card has changed to YOUR signature. (If you get volume one, private message me about a handling I find more effective)

An excellent effect - all you need to do is hold a thumb break and have a decent double lift.



APPLE (p35) - unscrew an apple cleanly into to halves. Screw it back together and throw it to the spectator to eat.



THINK OF A CARD (p67) - excellent effect. Borrow a deck for this one, (if you want)

As the cards are spread face up, you request that a spectator think of a card. A quick shuffle of the deck, (if you want)

You then spread the deck towards you and out jog one of the cards announcing this to be the thought-of card. The spectator annouces her/his card, you close up the deck and turn over the up jogged card. It’s their card.



BIZZARE TWIST (p101) - Only 3 cards are used, 2 red aces and the ace of spades. The ace of spades is sandwiched face down, crossways, in between the two aces. Instantly and visibly it turns face up.

(The effect can be repeated with a colour changing back.)



RE SET (p137) - the best packet trick I know of (which may not be saying much, but it is still an excellent effect). The aces and jacks are removed from a deck.

NOTHING ELSE IS USED.

The jacks are placed on the table. The aces in your hands turn, one at a time into the four jacks and then back again into the four aces. The tabled packet is picked up - it’s the four jacks which were seen in your hands only a moment ago.



STAPLED (p167) - Two jokers which are shown to be stapled back to back are given to a spectator to hold. A card is selected and signed and instantly transformed into one of the jokers. Stapled to the other joker is the signed card. An absolute killer that I’m just learning. Cannot recommend it highly enough.



INVISIBLE RISING CARD (p207) - Invisible deck effect with a NORMAL DECK OF CARDS.



WILSON’S 411 (p277) - Someone picks a random object off a coffee table and a random number from a phone book. The number is dialed by the spectator and the person who picks up is asked to name any object in the world. They happen to name the object picked up from the coffee table.



VANISH 5000 (p285) - Vanish all the sugar from a sugar packet in your fist with a little preparation but no thumb tip. I’ve done this so many times. Excellent reactions and no one suspects a thing.



Volume 2:



COUNTERFEIT SPECTATOR (p13) - As performed by Mr. Blaine. A dollar bill is borrowed, one of the signatures is rubbed and the spectators name appears in it's place.

You won’t have the editing facilities to do this as well as Blaine ( Smile ) but you’ll get reactions just as good and better.



THE FLUFFER DECK (p47) - You spread a deck face down. All the backs are shown to be normal. You sign the spectator’s name across the back of one of the cards. The name vanishes. The cards are spread yet again. Written in marker across the back of the deck is their name. A remarkable effect, especially if you can find out someone’s name with out them knowing you know it...



McGIMMICK (p49) - Levitate a McDonalds milkshake with just the one finger. Then how about vanishing it all together? Sounds impressive? It is.



FIZZ MASTER (p63) - completely impromptu, excellent in party situations. Two completely unopened carbonated canned drinks are found, chosen, whatever by anyone. You have not been near them. One of them is shaken hard by a spectator, the other one is calmly placed on a nearby table or held by another (unexcitable) spectator. The shaken canned drink is opened. Nothing happens. Take a sip of it if you’d like. The unshaken can is opened... WOOOOOOOOSH.

Coke everywhere (advisable to do this trick outside). NO switches are needed. Both cans remain in full view of everyone the whole time. Very nice trick.



OSMOSIS (p91) - One of my favourite ever card tricks (I believe Magicman is out there somewhere chasing after this one). I won’t go into detail because we will be here a while. Basically you take two (prepared or unprepared cards, I know which I prefer) and tear holes in them. You link them, try to unlink them by tearing bits and pieces off that SHOULD unlink them. They remain inexplicably linked together. Eventually you are left with the two "frames" of the cards linked through each other. You tear one of the frames which lets you take the two apart. When the frames are handed out for examination both are found to be completely intact. Harris makes a joke about

selling them off at auction. Ho.



CELLOPHANE SURPRISE (p173) – Tear open the cellophane and poke a hole in a packet of cigarettes, and take one out. Then toss the placket on the table. All has mysteriously healed…



ENGLAND’S PENETRATION (p197) – You drop a dime (or a five pence piece, after all, this is England’s penetration) THROUGH a spectators hand. That’s about it. Very nice though.



SLIDING INK (p199) – A spectator initials the back of a selected card. The ink is shown to be completely dry and totally non-removable. The performer then visibly slides the initials off the card “throws” them into the air and catches them on the back of another card. The initials are then, very visibly, slid back on to the original selection which is handed out for examination. Ever since reading this, it has become one of my favourite effects.



THE FLOATING DECK (p241) – the entire upper half of the deck (which can be borrowed) is caused to float about 2 inches into the air. There are no gimmicks or threads for this one. Just a normal deck of cards.



FLUTTER (p299) – a John Kennedy effect. You vanish a coin which is found under a paper napkin. This happens a few more times. You attempt to vanish the coin one last time but the audience catches you sneaking the coin up into your mouth. Suddenly, the napkin changes into a quarter, and between your lips is found a napkin. There’s also a cool thing at the end of book two which teaches you to make your very own “complete deck of cards inside a bottle.” This is not a trick. I have tried it and it is far, far from easy. Apparently Harry Eng, creator of the idea, can get $500 per bottle. Impressive.



Volume 3:



HOT CHOCOLATE (p21) – You pull out a folded empty candy bar wrapper from your wallet. You give a quick blow into the wrapper and inflate it into a real chocolate bar. Harris jokes that “suddenly, everyone wants to be your best friend.” That’s very true.



THE ANYTHING DECK (p23) – this effect is so awesome I am going to quote Harris’ description directly from the book:

“For reasons unknown you remove a secret packet of cards from your wallet and secure them under the card case. You then get a seeker to dig deep into their soul and come up with a personal, meaningful magic word. Let’s say her'his magic word is “Rose”.

You use “Rose” to help you locate a selected card, then reveal that the name of the card is also written on the card case. You’re a mighty fine card guesser. But what about the secret packet? You slowly, cleanly and openly spread the packet to display large bold letters inked onto the back of the cards… spelling out a single word: Rose.”



BAT FISHING (p37) – a spectator pulls out a bill from his/her pocket and sets it on table/bed/floor (depending on location).

He/she then draws 8 cards freely from the deck and places them on top of the bill. The spectator puts the cards back into the case and is asked to turn over the 8 cards he/she just selected and compare them to the serial number on the bill. They match. The method is devastatingly simple and wonderful for big reactions.



LEAF (p53) – you pluck a leaf from someone else’s house plant. The leaf is marked on one side with the initials of a witness. The marked leaf is restored to the plant from whence it came and carries on living… wonderful.



THE BIZARE VANISH (p57) – another wonderful effect. Comes very close to “real” magic.

A playing card instantly vanishes from a spectators pinched thumb and forefinger. They see it and feel it vanish. This is truly delightful and makes a wonderful routine with Bizarre Twist from book 1.



GUTS (p91) – a no palming, non-gimmicked wallet, signed card to wallet effect. The face up signed selection is pushed through the deck and openly transformed into an indifferent card. The signed card is found, with NO palming, inside your wallet.



HI THERE BABY CAKES (p105) – you tell a spectator (anyone you fancy) to write your name on the back of one card and your number on the back of another. She/he puts her/his hand over one card, you the other. She/he lifts up her/his hand – in HER/HIS handwriting, on the SAME card is written both your name and your number. Harris recommends telling her/him that you can’t use the card for anything else now, so she/he might as well keep it. And, by the way, if she/he ever wants to know how the name and number got on the same card, or if she/he just wants someone to talk to, she/he should feel free to give you a call. I’m ashamed to admit I have used this.

Am delighted to report it was extremely successful.



BIZARRE SHRINK (p129) – same effect as ‘Bizarre Vanish’ but instead of the card vanishing, it shrinks to half it's size.



A HEFTY PENETRATION (p143) – A freely selected (and signed if you wish) card is selected. The deck is placed inside one of those transparent, resealable sandwich bags. The selected card is grabbed inside and is seen to ‘melt’ right through the bag. Everything can be examined. Totally impromptu with any deck and any sandwich bag.



THE HEDONISTS MAKE UP ALL THE RULES (p147) – a card trick without using a deck of cards. Do it any time any where. All you need is a couple of scraps of paper and something to write with. The performer writes the name of a card on a piece of paper and sets it aside unseen. The spectator chooses, of his/her apparent own free will, a value and a suit. The prediction matches. Harris describes this effect as “rarely less than great and often miraculous.” Extremely difficult to do.



WHACK YOUR PACK (p207) – an excellent close up game. Extremely fun for both performer and spectator. I won’t go into details, but it’s an excellent effect. One of those classic ‘magician appears to have lost but is one miraculous step ahead’ kind of tricks.

Volume 3 also has an excellent Hot-Shot cut (simplified from Daryl’s), and an excellent “invisible palm” trick. It probably has more flourishes and coin magic than the other two, if you’re into that sort of thing.



There we have it. I hope you have gained something useful from this.

The above are nothing more than my personal favourites.

There are plenty of little ‘gems’ you will find in any one of the books that you buy.

Once again, I would sell my car (if I had one) to buy the whole set as opposed to just one.

There is no ‘wrong’ decision in choosing one of these books.

You have already made the right one in choosing to get one in the first place.

Hope I’ve helped.

Let me know which one you get.

Gonz

Smile



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Bernard Sim
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Wow, that was a great post Gonzolo. I've got Vol 2 & 3. I particularly like the coins across routine called PDQ. Been using it recently. Smile
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MARCUS
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gonzolo Thanks for the advice and the great reply, I couldn’t sell the car to buy the set but at least I sold all 4 tires on it so I will buy vol. 1 & 2.

Again thanks for the reply.

mark Smile
Ian Rowland
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Terrific post, Gonz. I agree with you about these books and how magnificent they are.
www.ianrowland.com . Working Magic.
Bernard Sim
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Hey Marcus, might as well sell the steering wheel and get vol 3 Smile Smile Smile
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cardguy
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I just received the whole AoA set, and after browsing through the books I can't help but feel disappointed.....THAT I DIDN'T BUY THESE BOOKS SOONER!!! This stuff is unbelievable. I'm totally hooked. I can't put these books down. Somebody help me or I won't get any sleep this week!!! Smile Smile Smile
Frank G. a.k.a. Cardguy
Stephen Long
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Cardguy,
I haven't slept since I first received them.
Check out the effect "Backlash" in (I think it's)
book 1.

You'll need to read the effect to understand the following, but I have (I believe) a more powerful ending to the effect:
The performer signs his initials across the back of another card and rubs it against the spectator's sandwiched hands.
The performer now has the spec's signature on the back of his/her card.
The spec now has the performer's signature on the back of hers/his.

I have performed both Harris' version and my own and have found that, although both reactions are outstanding, the 'signature switch' REALLY gets them.
PM me if you'd like my minor alternative handling.
If not, you can probably figure it out, it's not hard.

SO HAPPY you got these books.
They are the foundations for all my card magic today.
And Harris' writing style is simply delightful.

Let me know what your favourite effects turn out to be as I still haven't finished wading through them, despite how long I've had them.

Huzzah!
:dance: Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
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Michael Peterson
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I recently purchased these from Flourish Dude, He gave me a fantastic deal on all 3 & I am a very happy man!

Tons of great material, you could go the rest of your life with just these 3 books & you would be very well off.

Smile
cardguy
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Gonz,
The first routine I learned was Bizarre Twist. I love it. I prefer the one handed version though. But, I can't even begin to tell you what my favorite tricks are, because there are so many of them that are amazing, and I have been overwhelmed so far. Give me some time to wade through the books and I'll get back to you. (Although I already know that The Anything Deck is a trick I will perform for the rest of my life). I will take a look at Backlash and get back to you on that also.

PS - If anybody reading this has been considering buying this set of books, then what are you waiting for! I'll admit that I was skeptical after hearing all this stuff about Paul Harris and the AOA set. I thought it was all hype like most things in magic. Boy was I wrong. This past week I stepped into another realm of magic. Anybody who is skeptical about these books should change their mind right now! Save your pennies and buy the whole set to get the full experience. It's truly an investment that will last you a lifetime. Smile
Frank G. a.k.a. Cardguy
James Fortune
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The effects described sound wonderful but are they commercial?

What I mean by this is - are they practical for, say, table-hopping.

Are you actually using them in front of paying customers?

Just asking Smile
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James

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Sir Atfus
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Don't forget GALAXY on volume 3. This trick is the bomb. My brother who is very hard to impress was totally blown away.
Jeff
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I like "Shape of Astonishment" from vol one.
If you do table work, you should be opening with this effect. It ties in with the resturant theme perfectly.

I love these books!

Jeff
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Mark Ennis
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Although I do not own the Art of Astonishment tapes, I think he is one of the most clever guys that ever got into magic. I don't like everything he does, but some of the stuff he has created is absolutely incredible.
ME
cardguy
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To James Fortune:
The AOA book set contains plenty of commercial magic. Actually, you'll be surprised at how commercial they really are after reading the effects. Some of them sound impossible to pull off, but once you read the methods you will realize they are very practical indeed.
Frank G. a.k.a. Cardguy
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James,

I can tell you without fear of contradiction that there are HUNDREDS of pros who use Paul Harris material in their real-world repertoires.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Darrin Cook
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Mr. Fortune (and others),

At the restaurant I have been doing Paul's table-hopping set from page 45 of the A of A, Vol. 1. The mini-set, consisting of the vanishing deck, Bizarre Twist, and Solid Deception, is very strong, and almost instantly became one of my favorites.

I also perform John Lovick's version of "Reset." It uses 8 ungaffed cards, which I keep in my shirt pocket, ready to go at a moment's notice.

I am a huge Paul Harris fan, and also have all of his videos. His magic is geared toward practicality, without the lapping, sleeving, topiting, elaborate-FISM-act-that no one-could-ever-do-anywhere-else sort of nonsense.
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I now carry Bizarre Shrink with me in my wallet.
An absolute killer and resets instantly if you're into table hopping.

For those of you who don't know the effect, it is as follows:
Spectator pinches a card (sandwiched face up between two jokers) in their fingers.
The jokers are pulled away.
Instantly and visibly the card shrinks to half its original size.
The spectator is left holding a tiny and perfectly examinable "quasi-card" (to coin a phrase)

This is a great effect for those times when someone asks you to "show us a trick."

I, too, use the ungimmicked reset.
Personally, I like to take the cards from the deck, just so the spectators know that there is nothing dodgy about them.
However you perform it, it gets wonderful reactions.

Gotta love Harris' stuff.
It is undeniably delightful.

Gonz
:carrot: Smile
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