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Steve Brooks
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The magic universe is full of magician's who perform around the globe at various skill levels. A large number of these performers are professionals who not only earn a living entertaining laypeople, but lecture and teach other performers who are still working to perfect their magical skills. This teaching is normally accomplished by writing books, lecturing for groups at clubs and conventions or by producing the ever popular dvd.

Now while many of these professionals are great at creating mystery and wonder for their paying audience's, few actually have the skills necessary to successfully teach someone else the workings of their trade.

You must realize there is a big difference between correctly executing the moves required in any given trick before a live audience, and standing in front of a group of lifeless camera's while you attempt to teach the technical requirements, discuss the psychology involved and perhaps even talk about history to magician's for such a demonstration. We are talking night and day here and very few magicians's are able to succeed in both of these area's.

It is my own personal opinion that professional magician JOHN CARNEY is proficient at doing both - performing AND teaching. From a performing stand point, John has traveled the world, amazing audience's in city after city. In addition, whether he is working private parties, performing on television or even appearing in commercial's for major corporations, John has slowly and methodically fined tuned his act to what can only be described as sweet perfection. Smile

In between all this real world experience, John has managed to find time and lectured for thousands of magicians who are eager to listen to one of the finest performers in the world. An avid and devoted student of Dai Vernon, John truly has something noteworthy to say and more importantly, the credentials to back up his own unique point of view.

Indeed, between writing-up various sets of notes for use on the lecture circuit, John has gotten two best selling books under his belt. Carneycopia, which was written by the ever prolific Stephen Minch (of Hermetic Press fame), and more recently; The Book of Secrets, which John authored and published himself. Both of these works have been well received by the magical community at large, and both volumes have seen multiple printings.

Having said all that, I felt it only fitting to give you a sense of John's background before I actually got into the specifics of his teaching dvd's. For many of you, no history lesson on JOHN CARNEY is needed. However, for you beginner's out there, I would encourage you to pay close attention. Smile


The Video of Secrets Volume 1 by John Carney


Disc Description: Five routines from THE BOOK OF SECRETS. This DVD contains John's practical handling of the cigars from the purse, two little known linking ring moves, his take on the classic miser's dream, a humorous ball routine using grapes, and variations on one of the best and most visual card tricks ever: Leipzig's Opener.

As stated in the above ad copy, the disc essentially covers five different items. For some, that may not seem like a lot of magic, but when you consider the fact that John explores each trick thoroughly, you'll quickly realize that there is plenty to keep you busy for quite some time.
That said, I would like to talk a little about the DVD contents and what you can expect. Smile

Just a Cigar

Shot in a studio and using one assistant, John performs some amazing magic using a cigar and a very tiny purse.
At the start, a large cigar is produced from a purse much too small to conceal such an item, then the fun begins as John is able to make the cigar vanish and re-appear at will. This is a nice routine and John makes the learning process enjoyable as well. The one comment I will make, is that while John suggests making the cigar yourself and then searching for the proper purse to use, (now that is certainly an option that all you woodshop prodigies out there might consider) the rest of you would do better in paying a visit to John Rogers' website. There you'll find both the cigar and a purse readily available and made to last you a lifetime. Smile


This is a fun bit using two linking rings. John goes through a series of the usual links, but ends with an amazing sequence whereby he tosses one ring in the air and links the second ring as the first ring falls - very nice.
John talks about two forgotten Chinese linking ring moves during the explanation, which I thought was interesting, and you may as well. The ideas and advice that John gives us is enough incentive for most of you to dust off your own set of rings currently hanging in your magic closet.

Money for Nothing

Inspired by a film clip that John once saw of Al Flosso, (with a little bit of inspiration taken from Charlie Miller) and what you get is Mr. Carney performing a well thought out Misers Dream routine in front of a live audience using a Paul Fox bucket. Very entertaining. John teaches you everything you need in order to start amazing your own audiences', and believe it or not, I think that you'll find that this routine is not difficult to learn.

Off the Vine

Using a napkin and some grapes, John is able to mystify and entertain an entire room of people. During the performance, he attempts to eat all the grapes, but his supply never ends. This has a lot of potential for those who's magic is on the comedic side of the fence. As with the previous tricks, John explains all the work and then some.

Leipzig - Skinner Surprise

Carney does not hide the fact that this routine is based on Dai Vernon's tribute to Leipzig's classic opener. Indeed, John discusses the plot and history while diving straight into all the juicy details. Not for the beginner, but seasoned practitioners of the pasteboards will certainly appreciate this fine addition to an already great DVD. Smile

The video quality is excellent, and I found no problems with any of the sounds or music on the disc. This was obviously shot with high end cameras manned by folks who know what they are doing. That says alot, considering some of the home brewed DVD's I've seen magic hacks attempting to peddle to unsuspecting neophytes.

I think it is important too mention that this disc is based on John Carney's best selling The Book of Secrets.
Though the DVD is great as a stand alone item, if used in conjunction with the book, you have a real masterpiece.

Having said all that, I'll end this by saying the effects are all taught well, and John has a very quite way about him that is very likeable. Because of this personality, viewing this disc was a real pleasure. I enjoyed all the performance's and feel like John's teaching style allowed me to walk away with some new magical tools that will help me build a better magic foundation for my own performance's. I also believe that this will hold true for anyone who takes the time to watch and study this disc. Highly recommended. Smile

My rating:


The Video of Secrets Volume 2 by John Carney


Disc Description: This DVD contains five more ideas from THE BOOK OF SECRETS. John explains several very visual methods for vanishing a handkerchief, a variation of the classic Victor-Vernon routine with five coins and a champagne glass, a most efficient control of several cards, a hybrid of the Rosini and Ramsay thimble routines, and the classic cards up the sleeve using the entire deck, with a surprise finish.

Like the first volume, this second offering showcases five different tricks. Again, taken from the pages of THE BOOK OF SECRETS, John performs - then explains all the little details necessary for a flawless presentation of the material covered. Let's take a quick peek at what you get. Smile

Rubbed Away

A very nice routine where a handkerchief is tied into a knot, and the knot slowly dissolves before the amazed eyes of a studio audience. While simple in concept, John is able to make this a truly mystifying piece of magic, much to the delight of his spectators. The routine ends with the hanky rolled into a ball which quickly vanishes. A great routine.
During the explanation section of the disc, we are taught several different methods of achieving the desired result and John has left nothing out. I like. Smile

Silver and Glass

Again, shot before a studio audience, John causes a multitude of half dollars to magically vanish, only to appear inside an elegant wine glass. The routine ends with the coins being nicely displayed in his hands, and the audience showing their appreciation with thunderous applause. This is basically Dai Vernon's routine with the touch of Carney thrown in for good measure. Very pretty, and with John's teaching style, well within the skill level of the average magician. Worth a look. Smile

Multiple Slip

Okay, this is basically a four ace trick, but I thought it was visual and something that a layperson would enjoy.
John has a spectator place the four aces in different parts of the deck, then in an instant, John magically produces the four aces using his other hand. The entire trick runs under thirty seconds, but is definately something you might consider learning to do, especially for those times when you're asked to do a quick one, as it were. Smile

Thimble Collection

Using a genuine metal thimble (as opposed to the wooden ones magicians have used for years), John proceeds to do some nice productions, until finally all the fingers on his right hand each display a thimble. Then one at a time, the thimbles magically vanish and appear on the fingers of his left hand. Finally, the thimbles are given as a keepsake to an audience member, who quickly realizes that what she [ithought was in her hand, has now mysteriously vanished. Based on classic thimble magic, I thought John presented a good solid routine that was magical for the audience and very entertaining. As with all the tricks on this disc, John takes great pains to teach you all the work.

Up My Sleeve

Carney has taken the notion of using the entire pack of cards ala Expert At The Cardtable, and ends up with a fantastic routine which I feel is the highlight of the DVD.
First, John produces a deck of cards seemingly out of thin air (much to the surprise of his audience), then has a card selected by an audience member. This is accomplished while John slowly dribbles the cards from one hand to the other. Then, as John is searching for the selection, cards are continuously being produced from various locations (Jacket pocket, shirt collar, etc). As more cards are being produced, the deck in his other hand continues to shrink in size. There is a really nice moment where the audience visually see's their card sneak across John's chest, very funny. Finally, there is only one card, and naturally it's the card that was chosen by the spectator. Presented very well, and explained even better. This routine alone is worth the price of the disc. Smile

Like the material in volume one, Carney does an excellent job of both performing and teaching - nothing is left to chance. Again, for the serious student, the best possible situation would be to watch the disc and read the book as well. Using both of these, you'll no doubt have some powerful magic to present before an audience. What's more, you'll be able to do so with a better understanding of the effects, and your spectators are sure to notice.
Finally, the video images are good, and the sound works just fine, even for us older folks. Highly recommended. Smile

My rating:


Carney on Ramsay: Lessons in Misdirection


Disc Description: John Ramsay was one of the world's greatest exponents of visual and psychological misdirection. His most famous application of these ideas was in his brilliant Cylinder and Coins and Coins in the Hat. John Carney is one of Ramsay's greatest admirers, owing much to that master teacher. In this enlightening video, John offers his insights and interpretations of the Ramsay technique, explaining concepts which may be applied in tricks of every description, from close-up magic to stage illusion. Here are the real secrets of sleight of hand; how to effectively apply knowledge of the machinations of the spectator's mind and eye toward a more perfect illusion. These are lessons for all who wish to understand the art and science of misdirection.

Practically anyone seriously involved in the magical arts (especially those who specialize in close-up magic) has no doubt heard the name John Ramsay. If you haven't, I would highly suggest you seek out the books The Ramsay Classics, The Ramsay Legend and The Ramsay Finale, all written by Andrew Galloway. These are must own volumes and belong in every performers private library. These books will not only teach you some classic's of magic, but more importantly, help expand your thinking into areas that frankly, you may not have previously given any thought too.

That said, John Carney has taken two of John Ramsay's classic tricks, the Cylinder and Coins and the Coins in the Hat, and made them the focus of this DVD. The following is but a taste of what's in store for you. Smile

Cylinder and Coins

A classic of magic, the performer vanishes several coins, which then mysteriously appear underneath a piece of cork, which has been covered by a cylinder resting on the table in full view of the audience. Originally known as the Cap and Pence, I'm sure that a good percentage of magician's have seen this trick performed. However, it is my own personal belief that very few practitioners of the art can actually present this piece of magic in an entertaining manner, if at all. You see, the trick is very technically demanding. The performer will need to perfect several skills in order to successfully pull this trick off. Not only is flawless sleight of hand required, but a good sound understanding of body language, timing and framing. All of these skills are pretty much prerequisites to mastering this routine. Add to that, the idea that this trick was essentially designed by Ramsay to fool magician's and was not really structured with a layperson in mind, and you really have your work cut out for you. Should you decide to learn this, be warned that many months of hard work are ahead of you - though the rewards will be well worth the effort that you place into learning this masterpiece. Smile

Having said all that, John does an absolutely outstanding job in performing, and then teaching the viewer how to present this routine properly. Everything is covered and John has left nothing out. John begins by explaining the Ramsay philosophy, which by the way, is the very foundation of this routine - extremely important.

Then, John covers everything you will need in the way of props, with his own pointers and ideas thrown in to help you choose the correct materials. The trick can be done with silver dollars or halfs, your choice. I personally think Morgan dollars really add an extra touch of class here, but that's just me. Speaking of specialized props, I can think of nobody better qualified then Jamie Schoolcraft for making you the proper coin set.

Next, John explores and explains all the required moves you will need to know - and WHY. This is done step by step, and in such a way that even a beginner will at least grasp the basics here, while seasoned professionals will follow along with ease. If you ever thought about learning this routine, now you have the opportunity. Smile

Coins in the Hat

The performer begins by introducing an empty hat and then begins producing several coins, which appear and are then placed inside the hat. Yet another magic classic and again, Carney really delivers the goods here. John has taken Ramsay's brilliant thinking and added a few ideas of his own. For you purists out there, rest assured that John has not commited any sacrilege. What little touches that he has added will appeal to most of you and I thought his thinking in this matter was very logical and certainly seemed warranted. It is also noteworthy in saying that John extensively covers both the Ramsay Subletey and the Ramsay Vanish during the explanation, and I really appreciated the time he spent doing so and I think you will too. This particular trick is worth your serious consideration.

In conclusion I will state that the DVD is not done as nice (bells and whistles wise) as the previously reviewed titles, but then again, John does not hide this fact. He explains that the information he is presenting seemed to be the important ingrediant here, and I can hardly argue the point. The video picture is fine, as is the sound track, so no worries there. All in all, a great disc that covers some classic's of magic. Highly recommended. Smile

My rating:


On Palming by John Carney


Disc Description: Many of the most powerful effects in card magic require the palming of a playing card. Yet nothing else strikes fear in the heart of the uninitiated as much as this prospect. The fear itself is the single greatest obstacle to effective palming.
Fear not, for John Carney is acknowledged as one of the finest sleight of hand artists and teachers in the world. In this instructional DVD he gives you practical tips and effective techniques for stealing, concealing and controlling playing cards. This information is indispensable to students of pure and amazing card magic.


  • Palming Fundamentals
  • Erdnase Top Palm
  • Arthur Finley Steal
  • Erdnase Bottom Palm
  • The Side Steal
  • Vernon Flat Palm
  • The Cop
  • Vernon Top Palm
  • Diagonal Palm Shift
  • Vernon Hand Washing
  • Small Packet Bottom
  • Tenkai-esque
  • Erdnase Color Change
  • Palming Management


This latest offering from John Carney could easily be summed up as sort of a EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT PALMING BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK type of thing. And arguably, John pretty much covers everything that the student should know in regards to this deadly sleight, and then some. Smile

John begins by discussing the history of the sleight in print, as written by various authors, including such classic books as Revelations (Vernon) and Expert at the Card Table (Erdnase). From there, John begins to ask (then answer) such questions as; Which hand to use?, Position of the card?, Position of the hand?, When do you palm?, Using mis-direction and How do you replace a palmed card?.

Along the way John demonstrates, and THEN teaches us the proper handling as applied to a particular situation or set of circumstances. Even more important, John emphasizes that the way you approach palming is as important as to the technique itself. This section of the disc is invaluable to beginners (and the rest of us as well) who may be a bit gunshy as it were. Neophytes would do well to pay close attention to what John has to say here. Smile

As with Carney's previous DVD titles, the picture quality is excellent, the sound is fine and there is a lot of great learning material on the disc. If you are seeking out new effects, forget it - you'll find none here. What you will find is expert instruction and guidance that is almost guaranteed to make you a more confident and better performer in general.Those of you who are still intimidated by the palm, you need to purchase this disc as soon as possible! By the time you have viewed this disc several times, you'll wonder how you ever managed to perform magic without this skill.
This is a great DVD that belongs in the library of anyone who has ever wanted to secretly palm a playing card.
Highly recommended! Smile

My rating:

Suggested retail is $38.00 each (overseas $43.00) or all 4 dvd's for just $130.00 Postpaid! (overseas $145.00 Postpaid)
California residents: add 8.25% sales tax

Available EXCLUSIVELY from:

Carney Magic

Phone: (818) 789-5646

You may email John Carney at:

Visit John's website to order while online:

Click here!
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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