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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Big and the Small » » McCombical Deck Routining (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

bahamagician
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Hi all,

I am having a bit of a problem with my McCombical deck routine. I am performing this on stage basically as per the instructions. Unfortunately, this isn't really getting the response that I am wanting. I bring one spectator on stage, tell them that they are going to get the chance to win $100 if my prediction is wrong. When the prediction is revealed, I am only recieving soft polite applause and the assisting spectator is left sitting in the chair with no idea what has transpired.

So basically I am asking two questions. How can I improve the audience reaction at the climax of the trick and what can I do so that the assisting spectator experiences more of the routine? A friend of mine has suggested bringing up a second spectator to hold the prediction so that he/she might recieve the applause when the card is revealed. Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

-=Chris
Danny Hustle
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Build it up and I would dump the $100 bill bit. Is that how uncle Billy did it? It is not written up that way in the instructions I have.

Anyhoo- the $100 thing is probably what is killing it. When you offer money and then don't let the spectator win the audience will resent you unless you are really, really, funny.

For a long time I did the routine the exact opposite way of the instructions showing my card having screwed up first and then letting the spectator save the day by revealing their card after mine. I would build the hell out of it and say to the spectator, "If you get this right that audience is going to applaud like crazy for YOU!

This will get them/you the gigantic round of applause you desire. Sure they are clapping for her (I always use a woman)but once you lead lead her off you will take the bow. Smile

The only issue is you need really strong audience management to keep her from revealing before you do. You need to find a way that works for you to get her to keep from turning that card until you ask her.

Making your helper the hero instead of the sucker will always gain your more applause and likability from your audience.

McCombical prediction is a great trick, it is very, very, simple to execute, and it takes a hell of a lot of work to make it play. It is a personality piece. You really need to have a lot of jokes and one liners to make it play well.

That's my 2 cents YMMV

Best,

Dan-
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bahamagician
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Thanks Danny. I had added the $100 bit to keep interest in the routine. I was trying to find some sort of hook. I will probably take it out. I am a bit confused as to how you routined yours. You let the spectator pick a card and then you pick the prediction card? How is it that you show your card first? Could you go into more detail? Thanks again.

-=Chris
Danny Hustle
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Nope, the spectator selects the prediction card from the all the same deck.

What is different is I turn my card over first showing the WRONG card. I am the idiot, not the spectator. I then look at the spectator to save me by changing their card to match MY mistake.
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Mac_Stone
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Danny, you are a genious! How do you come up with these great ideas?
SoCalPro
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In a nut shell, minus all the comedy bits..I bring two helpers on stage. Guy and Girl. I present the 2 decks and have the girl touch one. Whatever she chooses, I put the force deck back on the table. I then ask them to verify that they are all different. First the guy, then the girl, then the whole audience. I then show the audience the card that I think the guy will choose. I give that card to the girl to hold against her tummy. I then pick up the force deck and ask the guy to verify that all the cards have RED BACKS. I do this while showing the audience the front's of the cards, showing all Ace of Hearts. This gets a good laugh. I then ask the girl to "concentrate, think about your card, send your card to his mind, help him pick the right card." I then have him touch one. I give him that card. I reiterate that he had a free choice, again showing the force cards to the audience. I then ask him to name his card. "Six of Spades" he says. I say, "No really, stop messing around, this is MY funny show. What is your card, really?" He then repeats Six of Spades. I then tell him that on three, turn the Ace of Hearts around. 1,2,3!! It's the Six of Sades. "DOH!!!!" I then have the girl turn her card around revealing the 2 matching cards and I have the audience give THEM a round of applause. Smile

JIM
bahamagician
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Thanks for the help guys. Both of you have really opened my eyes to the routine. I believe that to get the reaction that I want, I have to somehow direct that applause to my assistant(s). Both of your ideas accomplish that. I like Danny's routine but since the resort I perform at caters to couples only, I think Jims routine may work better for that venue. I will rework my routine and try it again on Sunday. Thanks again guys.
Ron Reid
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Hi Chris:

Here's a little bit more information for you. I have found it very difficult coming up with original material - starting from scratch and creating something from ground zero. I have always preferred looking to the masters and standing on their broad creative shoulders, using their excllent material as a starting point for my own routines. I have two examples that might help you.

First, there is a very good McCombical Deck routine by David Regal; the routine is in an old publication called Magical Arts Journal which is probably very hard to get. I don't think David ever put it in any of his books. If he doesn't have any objections, I can scan it and email it to you. I used David's script/premise for many years.

Second, I'll share something I did about a year ago. I loved Bill Malone's routine for the Invisible deck - he teaches his routine on one of his L&L DVDs. The basic premise is that the spectator is going to do the trick, and if he/she does it correctly, the audience will give him/her a standing ovation. I loved the routine, but didn't want to do an invisible deck, so I adapted the script/routine to McCombical Deck. The routining is excellent, and has a tremendous build to it, resulting in a standing ovation every single time. Bill Malone has much to say about the "standing ovation" part, so it worth getting the DVD and studying.

In the last year, I changed to this routine I like it even better. I still think David Regal's routine is excellent - it is an example of using peaks and valleys when routining, so it's worth studying, even if you don't plan on using his scrpt/routine.

Anyway, that's just some more information to give you in addition to the excellent ideas by Jim and Danny.

Ron
bahamagician
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Ron,

You must have read my mind. I just watched the Malone DVD again this week and was thinking of using this idea for my routine. Seeing that this is one of my middle effects, it may improve the applause for the remaining routines. Do you do the bit about you and the spectator practicing the night before and getting in place or do you just use the ending bit about if this works the spec would deserve a standing ovation? Has this really been getting a good response? What if you use two people like Jim mentioned, do you think that idea would still work?

Also, as you mentioned, if it is okay, I would love to get a copy of David Regal's handling of the McCombical deck. I have heard good things about it but I have never actually seen what it is. What else would you expect from Mr. Regal other that superb ideas and routines.

Thanks for your help Ron.

-=Chris
Ron Reid
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Hi Chris:

Funny that you've been thinking about the Malone routine too - I think it's an easy transition from Invisible Deck. I include the part about spectator and me getting together the night before. I also do the build up...I changed the part about turning into an angry mob and beating up the spectator if he gets it wrong. I usually use a female, so I changed it to "booing her off the stage" if she gets it wrong. I always ask the host/hostess for the name of a good natured woman and choose her. I have found I really have to emphasize "standing ovation" a couple times so that the audience knows when to stand; the first time I did this, I was too subtle, and didn't get the standing ovation. Now, I get it everytime. Of course, it's not for me, but for the helper.

I basically sat down in front of the TV and wrote the script as I watched the DVD. I then took the script and worked on it, changing parts. There is a terrific bit I got from Pete Biro's column in Genii Magazine many years ago - it's a perfect bit for this routine. I'm sure I saved my script and can send that to you as well.

I use this routine as my second-to-last piece.

Ron
David Regal
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Hi -

Yes, you can distribute my routine for the McCombical Decks from Magical Arts Journal. I love that trick, and it's a real workhorse (I did it for years with the comedy group I was with), but without playing the beats just right it of course falls flat. Billy wrote EXCELLENT instructions that usually come with the commercially available sets, but not always.

The effect has a built-in structure:

a) The magician announces an experiment in ESP and brings a volunteer to the stage.
b) The magician shows the audience (but not the volunteer) the face of a prediction card from a red-backed deck and places it aside, where it remains back to audience but in full view.
c) The magician shows the audience the faces of the cards from a blue-backed deck - every one is a duplicate of the prediction. Apparantly, the magician is going to put one over on the volunteer, but the audience is being let in on the joke.
d) The volunteer "freely selects" a card from the force deck and holds it against her chest, back to audience.
e) The magician recaps the fair conditions and tells the volunteer to shout out the name of the card against her chest. She shouts out the wrong card. The beat that follows is the one often screwed up by magicians, but Billy's instructions explain this moment perfectly.
f) The magician turns over the prediciton card, which now, happily, matches the "wrong" card.

My article on the trick has my patter, beats, jokes, blocking, etc. and goes on for some pages, but the above beats are the foundation of the trick.
bahamagician
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Thanks for your generosity David. I look forward to reading your routine. Unfortunately the instructions that I recieved with the deck were not the ones written by Mr. McComb (at least as far as I can tell). It really would have helped to see exactly how he structured the routine. Like you said, I have been having problems with the last phase of the trick where I turn over my prediction card. I don't think I have been setting up that moment properly.

Ron, I PM'ed you my contact information, I look forward to your email.

I know I have said this already but thanks a bunch guys I really appreciate all of your help.

-=Chris
Ron Reid
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Thanks, David. That's very generous of you.

Ron
nola
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I know that this post almost four months late for this thread, but...
I recently purchased my first McCombical Prediction and the instruction sheet that came with my set was very sparse.

Does anyone have the original McComb instructions?

Thank You,
nola

P.S. Mr. Reid, I'd love to see Mr. Regal's Routine if it's still available.

Thank You
Stevethomas
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Nola,

If you want Regal's routine, look up about 3 posts. How did you miss it? You can make this effect stronger by using a couple for the effect. Their cards will always match...they're a couple. AND, you'll get tons of "awwwww"s from the audience.

Steve
gadfly3d
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Here a two ideas I have used to add a kick to the ending

1. I made up a set to match one of the cards from the thin find the lady and could show the mistake and get an instant change to the correct card/
2. Also I made up a set to match a long card, which I also made in Jumbo.

Hope these stimulate some thought.

Gil Scott
Brent McLeod
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I just follow Billys ideas that come with the routine & always gets a good laugh & good applause
rioslautaro
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You cand find David's routine here http://www.ammarmagic.com/maj-v1-issues-......112.html
Brent McLeod
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This routine David has mentioned always plays strong and if you have fun with the audience
who think the've caught you out-comedy arises.its great routine....

I use this in theatres and clubs and the delay revelation at the end of McCombical deck
that Billy mentions in his instructions plays so strong...
Dennis Loomis
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1943 - 2013
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Billy McComb abandoned the original McCombical Deck Method very early in his career. His new version was called Jumbo Jest. I came up with my own version of it which I've used for years. The Effect is the same, mind you, but there is less to carry around and no Rough and Smooth cards. I wrote up the history of the effect and my variation in my column in MUM for February of 2010.

I agree with those of you that called this is a Killer routine; the credit goes to Billy. He was an excellent performer, a great creator of magic, as well as being a fine author and an entertaining raconteur.

Dennis Loomis
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
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