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I've read Harry Loraynes close up card magic three times now and tried out every effect except for two as one requires you to be in a pitch black room with no light and the other needs a lengthy setup which I would never do as I like to work impromptu.

Rather than say "I think this book is great" or "I think this book is a load of old nonsense" without saying why; which is how reviews usually go, I'm going to use a yard stick to weigh up the pros and cons of each effect in the book. I have one or two issues regarding the writing style and the lack of any credits but we'll get to that later, for now let's look at the effects.

To start off here's an interesting quote from the Royal Road you should keep in mind while reading through the trick reviews:

"A good card trick - and by that we mean a card trick which entertains, surprises, amuses, and puzzles an audience- has certain attributes:

1. It has a simpe plot. It must not be confusing to those who watch.
2. The modus operandi is simple.
3. It is interesting.
4. It has a surprising denouement(sic)."

To start off, the book has a foreword by Dai Vernon and quickly moves on to an introduction by Harry Lorayne. Here Harry states:

"There's no need to build up each effect first. In most cases, I've gone right into the effect, method and presentation. I hope you agree this makes for easier reading."

I'd have to disagree with this as having the effect explained to you before you read the method allows you to understand what the method is trying to achieve. Without this the reader is confused as to what is going on and is left in doubt as to the point of the actions right up until the end of the explanation.

Then he goes onto say something which I found quite interesting to say the least.

"The biggest chore in writing a book on magic is giving credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, it would involve digging deep into magical history to find out who belongs to which move, and who originated what.
I have no desire to write a history of magic but I have given credit when ever and wherever I could."

So basically Mister Lorayne couldn't care less about crediting anyone. You will find absolutely no references to ANY texts throughout the entire book apart from a couple of plugs to his own books. You are also left to believe that all the uncredited material is original with Harry Lorayne which it is most certainly not. Digging deep into magical history is all very well and good but he hasn't even cracked the surface!

So anyway, on with the tricks.

Chapter 1 - Necessary sleights

Hindu Shuffle - Well described handling

Faro Shuffle - Reading this with the mindset of someone who has never came across this shuffle before I think you'd have some trouble understanding what is to be achieved by the faro shuffle. No mention is given to the exactness of the weaves, only that "if you gently force the two halves toward each other - they should butt, or interweave". No mention of Out or In shuffles, etc.

Jog Shuffle - well described basic mechanics, which is just as well because this is used extensively throughout.

double lift palm - I don't like this very much, it looks unnatural and is difficult to execute and is also very limited as to its use. I would prefer to do a strike second, place it face up in the centre and use Marlo/Collin's misdirection palm as you push it flush. (It's also added here as a filler move as it's not used anywhere in the book.)

CHAPTER II - Effective Card Mysteries

Location Supreme - This is the first of many pick a card and I find it tricks. It uses an interesting key idea to keep track of the selected cards but there's absolutely no plot! In effect three cards are selected and cut into the deck. You run through the deck and find the three cards. As a climax, two cards are selected and found in the same manner.

Two Card Reverse - Nice version of the reversed card plot, very nice misdirection half pass idea which is worth remembering.

Salt-Less - The second plotless trick, you pick a card I find it.

Aces Wild - Interesting do as I do effect. However, there's no reason for putting the face down cards into the face up halves then spreading them only to remove the face down cards before you show they are aces. Lorayne says at the start (almost begrudgingly) that someone said it was based on an original idea of Ron Johnson. No reference is given so no way to check the differences.

Revelation - This is almost unbelievably a direct lift from Royal Road to Card Magic. The trick in question being "design for laughter". No credit is given and the only difference is that you put coins on the three cards.

Stab Two - Interesting card stab effect using estimation. Too much jog shuffling for my tastes though.

The Sloppy Card Trick - This is a pick a card and I find it trick where the plot seems to be dealing the entire deck into several piles, gathering them up and then dealing down to a named number. Can't say I care for dealing tricks, especially if the only outcome is a weak revelation.

Coincidentally Yours - This is a layout effect where you find 3 four of a kinds. I didn't like this, too many illogical moments for me. The way the routine is structured makes it confusing to an audience and I must say I really despise the old, "Oh look, a three. That means I deal down three cards and I find an ace." Reading this effect shows me where Paul Gordon gets most of his ideas.

Take me to your leader - A Walter Cummings effect. This is a clever four ace assembly effect using crimps to ensure a casual handling. Sadly, Lorayne sloppily credits near the end with reference to the Braue addition saying, "I believe, is called the 'Add-On.'" Oh well.

Lorayne's ambitious card routine - Credit's missed: "Tommy Tucker's bluff pass", "one handed top change from Expert Card Technique", "Dai Vernon's paint brush change", "the push through and cut deeper idea from Royal Road to Card Magic." Credits aside, this is one of the worst ambitious card routines I've ever read. Why? There're so many phases it's close to being patronising to the spectators. In the third phase you openly place the card second from the top and then do a double lift. This in and of itself practically exposes the whole method behind the trick. There's also nothing new or original (even for its time).

In an act of outrageousness in the afterthoughts you are told to not hold a break below the top two cards after openly placing it second from the top as its "too obvious." Break or no break it IS obvious and is an excellent example of how the double lift should not be used.

Little Fella' - Big Fella' - This is a direct lift from the Pallbearer's Review/Daley's Notebooks. The effect is "automatic poker" by Vernon and Judah. No credit.

Stop! - This is very risky. I must say, I don't care for tricks involving people thinking of numbers or the whole deck being dealt out for seemingly no reason.

Impossibility - Interesting way of using a key card in a face down spread but I don't like that whole pick a card and I find it premise on which the effect is based.

Quinella! - [U]Another[/U] pick a card I find it trick, however the revelations of the two chosen cards is quite visually striking though not original.

No Looking - An ingenious mentalism effect by Alex Elmsley, this is a fine example of proper construction leaving you several steps ahead allowing for a truly inexplicable effect!

In the side pocket - This is another risky item. The overall effect is that of Vernon's "out of sight out of mind" (no mention), however it doesn't always work so I'd prefer to use the Vernon method. You could actually use the pocket idea with Vernon's trick which could add a nice presentational aspect. But as it stands you could end up looking very foolish if and when the trick fails.

Out of this universe - In this version of Out of this world in which almost unbelievably no mention is made of Paul Curry the deck is dealt out not once, not twice, but a total of three times and shuffled so many times that people may lose the will to live before you get to the end.

The ending is confusing and lacks the clarity of Paul Curry's original creation. This is a distinct step back in terms of both method and effect. This is perhaps one of the best examples of a trick being killed by improvement.

Red-Black set up - A good idea for setting the deck in red/black order, I like it.

This is mind reading? - Even though this is essentially another pick a card and I find it trick I quite like this. I like the way in which the selection is taken and shuffled (not cut) into the deck by the spectator all while your back is turned.

The Apex Ace - 88 pages into the book and we find the first off beat effect.

This is a smart effect by Fank Garcia in which cards vanish from the top of the deck, though I would much prefer to use Karl Fulves' Nickel switch load from Packet Switches one or even a Jordan count to setup for the vanishes as it's not quite so see through as the method given.

Ose's Addition - This is a nice addition ot the apex ace by Jay Ose which gets away from the multiple lift sequence at the end of the Apex Ace and extends the effect allowing for a multiple sandwich finish.

Ose's Cut - An easy and deceptive triple table cut by Jay Ose. I like it. It's on a similar vein as the Erdnase "to the dealer" cut from Expert at the Card Table.


Chapter III - Novel Card Mysteries

Automatic Mind reading - This is a do as I do effect which though good, also adds a move to the equation; the double lift. The original do as I do is superior as the same effect is created with no moves at all. Also it's the same in appearance because you still have to swap the decks over anyway except in this version you don't end clean.

Revolving Aces This is a good spectator finds the aces effect by Herb Zarrow using the Henry Christ force (no credit), I like this as it's direct, off beat and has a simple and decieving method.

Force Prediction - This is just magician's choice to force a prediction, it's a bit round the houses really and reminds me of the 21 card trick.

Tell my fortune - I'm not familiar with the centre tear so can't comment.

3 for the money - Lorayne openly admits this isn't very good, so why include it?

This is a god awful pick a card and I find it trick using an 'indicator card'. It requires several outs.

Three again - This is the same as the last effect, except this time you give the deck two riffle shuffles before going through the motions of finding the card. It's dull and plotless.

Three times and out - Same as the preceeding two except this time there is a chance that the spectator might choose the locator card, this bores me almost as much as the last two.

Fourtitude - Another pick a card and I find it trick, this time two cards are selected. This uses the faro shuffle to get a cheap revelation using another 'indicator' card. I really hate these sort of tricks, It is, as Vernon would say, "showing how clever you are." It's not magical. Even Mister Lorayne says it's not a good trick even going on to say "but we can't do a miracle every time can we?" Why not? Why settle with a bad trick when there are so many good one? This is a filler trick and I don't like it.

Sam-Ultaneous - If you like mathematical tricks you'll like this one, it has an ingenious method but I don't like it very much. There's too much work involved for not all that great an effect.

Two-Together - A slightly tweaked version of Sam-ultaneous I don't care much for this one either. Why? The effect is that two random cards the spectators are thinking of are dealt out at the same time from two halves of a deck. However, the cards are forced by getting them to cut packets of cards and count them then remember the card at that number. No matter how you handle it the spectators will conclude that you must somehow know how many cards he cut off (even though you don't know). Also there is no by-play. Absolutely nothing of interest happens until the very end which is bad as the effects takes some time to perform.

Flash Aces - Lorayne arrogantly prefaces this trick by saying that someone told him it was very similar to someone else's effect. He disagrees but gives no reference to allow you to make a decision.

This is a bluff four ace control which is quite effective and easy to do.

Spread Control - A bold idea which even though looks like it wouldn't fool a blind man, it does actually work quite well.

Personally Yours - Another (yes another!) pick a card and I find it trick using your own or a spectator's business card to allow the spectators to apparently find their own selection. It uses an interesting handling of the bottom slip cut which is worth remembering.

Through The Table - Fantastic effect by J Benzais. This is what good card magic is all about. An interesting plot cloaked in a subtle and direct method which never fails to deceive. In effect a selected card penetrates through the table into the spectator's hand. Great trick!

Calculated Risk - This is just Dai Vernon's trick that cannot be explained under the guise of a variation.

Mathematical Affinity - This is an unclear effect whose method can only be described as a mathematical monstrosity. After wading through the 8 page explanation you may lose the will to live.

Magnetic Reversals - An interesting reversed card, prediction, location effect by Ken Krenzel which uses an interesting placement cut which is worth remembering, Lorayne fails to credit Henry Christ for his force yet again!

The inseparable four - I get the feeling Harry Lorayne thinks the act of shuffling a deck is in and of itself entertainment enough for most spectators. In this effect you shuffle four kings into four packets of cards, then shuffle the whole deck and then show that the kings are still together in the centre. Yes, very good why not just say, "Check out my false shuffle everybody!" There's again no plot to this trick.

Sensitive Touch - Another pick a card I find it trick. Here the selected card goes to your pocket. To misdirect for the palm, various packets and single cards are dealt to the table for no reason whatsoever, this is a ridiculous trick again with next to no plot and an exceedingly indirect method.

For a good card to pocket effect check out "day tripper" by Peter Duffie or any of the numberous card to pocket effects by Alex Elmsley

Lorayne's Poker deal - A trick with a plot!.. Hurrah!.. This is a pretty standard fair poker demonstration. It's not particularly difficult, the presentation is good and the effect packs a wallop.

The moving pencil - An interesting psychological force which though doesn't always work, does look extremely fair when it does.

Vernon's Aces - A Dai Vernon control of four cards. This isn't an effect it's a control of four cards but it's written up as if it's an effect by itself. If you use it as an effect it's not magical, you're simply showing; as Dai Vernon would say "how clever you are". The control itself is very clever and convincing. The write up is ambiguous as Lorayne likes to call the top of face up fans the bottom card, which can cause headaches.

Fan Prediction #1 - A classic Alex Elmsley trick with an ingenious method and a direct effect!

Fan Prediction #2 - The force used here called "the Lorayne force" is the Hofzinser force from Hofzinser's Card Conjuring. The effect however is as direct as the last one though I prefer the previous version as it can be done standing.

Sympathetic Packs - I'm not much for two deck tricks but this is a nice prediction type effect with an interesting kicker ending.

Mated! - This is a good trick where a spectator locates the mates of two random card. However the cut at the end isn't needed. Simply control the two mates to the bottom and do the force, apparantly lay the face down selection with the inserted face up card aside, do the force again and there you go. Adding a cut adds clutter to the effect and makes the effect obvious to the spectators, ie "Oh, I see how it's done. He does it when he cuts the cards. Ahh!"

Reverse Location - Basically the same as Mated except here you're making it appear that the spectator finds two selectoins with a face up card. As before, this uses the illogical cutting sequence which can easily be removed to strengthen the effect which I described above.

Blackout! - I didn't read this

The spectator estimates - Here you use a bottom retention cut to get a weak gag effect of showing the bottom card, cutting the deck then showing the card is still on the bottom. This falls under "showing how clever you are"

Card Sandwich - A sandwich trick where a selection appear to vanish only to appear face down in the centre between two queens. This isn't particularly earth shattering, but as sandwich tricks go it's ok.

Lost and found aces - Vanish and production of the aces using illogical moves like the Braue reversal (no credit) and then a cutting sequence which may make you look dememented. You have to reach far over to your right, cut some cards, come back placing the deck in your hand, reach over for the cut packet, come back flip it onto the deck, place the packet on the table again. This sequence is done 3 times.. As Dai Vernon would say "it's bad theatre" and "there's no reason for it".

Lazy man's card trick - This trick is a simple card location done completely by the spectator who cuts the deck many times and you say where the card lies in the deck. The method is so subtle no one will be able to backtrack it. Simply brilliant. This is an Al Koran trick.

Challenge Aces - A well structured entertaining homing card trick with a surprise ending. This is a great trick by Bill Simon. It's what card magic should be, not a bunch of shuffling, cutting, dealing and messing about with indicator cards and boring plotless pick a card tricks.

Push Thru Change - I don't know if this is original with Lorayne but if it is then my hat goes off to him. This is a stunning change of four cards for four other. A great application of the plunger principle. I like this idea a lot.

Push through poker - An interesting effect using the push through change where you almost get a royal flush in hearts but one card is the ace of spades. You then change the hearts into spades to conclude. Nice effect.



Turnover change - An in depth description of the Curry turnover change. I can't see anyone having a problem learning the move from the description.

The little card that wasn't there - I don't like this as it's one of those effects where the magician acts as if the spectator is either lying, stupid or both. You repeatedly show the spectator a number of cards asking if they are his, [u]eventually[/u] you discard some, leaving one in his hand, the selection.

Plunge thru - You illiminate cards using the push thru change. Really this is just another pick a card and I find it trick. How many of them do you need?

Mental amazement - This could be good, but it suffers from some sloppy thinking. In effect one card is placed on the table as you try to read the spectator's mind. He tells you the card he was thinking of, now you mess about with the deck showing the card isn't there (no credit to Martin Gardner for his vanish) and then after a lot of stalling you turn over the card. It drags the trick out without a need. Also the Curry change is not a good idea here as you have no excuse for the wierd turnover. A better idea would be to use Harvey Rosenthal's unloading move (Packet Switches III) for a double lift to turn the card over cleanly.

Chango Cards - two cards change places. A good if rather obvious application of the Curry change.

Prediction Extraordinaire - I don't like the method here, the effect is good; a double prediction. Using the Curry change seems a bit risky though. I'd prefer to have the two predictions on top. Second deal to the spectator's number then scoop up the dealt cards and fairly deal to some other number using the second deal when you reach the spectator's number.

1-2-3-4 - This is a great little ace assembly by Bill Simon and Paul Curry. However, I don't like the initial display of the aces as it's suspicious to take the aces out, display them, put them back on top them deal them out again. It looks overt and it is! A better way would be to use a Ramsay idea in that you tell them the truth!.. "tell them the truth that will floor them". So show the aces and so the load as before but don't displace the aces you want two indifferents above them. Say, "A lot of magicians start this trick by showing the aces like this, then they place them back on top and deal them out like so"... (pause).. "but I think that's suspicious so I don't do that" (gather up the cards left to right) "I deal them out face up like this" (turn packet face up, now bottom deal to the right end, deal a top to the left, deal a bottom to the right and a top of the left. Credit Note - "The face up bottom deal first appeared in Charlie Millers book "an evening with Charlie Miller", this idea was later used by Peter Kane in his aptly named "classic ace assembly" from his booklet "A card session with Peter Kane". In issue 17 of the crimp Jerry Sadowitz expanded upon the face up bottom deal idea by applying it to small packets in various subtle and truly excellent ways." ).

4-3-2-1 - This is a variation on the last 1-2-3-4 effect. I don't like this very much, there is too much bad theatre. ie. Putting the deck down, messing with the packets, picking up the deck, putting it down again. There's no economy of motion. It's also discrepant. The idea the effect is based on to make the assembly more logical is flawed as it is just as illogical to put 3 on one ace 2 on another 1 on the next and none on the last. At least when you put 3 on each you have uniformity of action, also you need to do the turnover change twice in this version whereas it was only used once in the previous version. So not only is the structure not as good, there's also more work involved. The descrepancy assumes the audience is either stupid or not paying attention. For a better version using a similar idea see Alex Elmsley's 1002nd aces in which no cards are placed on the aces and the assembly happens in a spectator's hand.

Random Thoughts - Some thoughts on the change

Absolutely free force - this doesn't work as your right hand isn't occupied while doing the change.

Quickie Prediction - Simple and effective prediction effect

Cross over change - You need to be able to do the turnover change in both hands for this. That's beyond me so I can only say that for me it's impractical but only because I have long finger nails on my right hand.

variation change and Stud Poker - This is an in the hands method of doing the change by Francis Carlyle... This is a good idea but I think I'd rather just do a top change as it's easier with less chance of flashing the swicthed card and a lot easier to misdirect from.

The stud poker effect assumes you know the rules to stud poker or open poker. I don't so can't comment.

Four in hand - What's the point in getting the aces to the top only immediately cut them back to the bottom again??... Ridiculous!

This is a confusing and badly constructed routine. Four cards are selected and then found by cutting to them, their cards change to aces and the four selections are removed from your pockets. However, the method is awful and the presentation confusing to the spectators and makes them look foolish and/or stupid. The palm loads are done with no reasoning behind putting your hands in your pockets, several times.

Automatic Mindreading #2 - Two deck effects. I didn't read it, as I don't do two deck effects.

On Spectator's Hand - A transposition between the spectator's hand and your own. This is a good effect though shame about the duplicate.

Torn corner Transposition - Basically the same as the previous trick but you use an envelope and tear the corner off one of the cards. The envelope in this case is gilding the lily just a bit and is not really needed.

Red ace - black ace - This is Daley's last trick (again, no credit) a version by Herb Zarrow. I'm in two minds about this. The crossing over of the hands is unnatural but the staggering of the effect is good as it has good suspense.

No credit given to Dr Daley for his transposition concept and no credit given to J.N.Hofzinser for his two card catch idea.

Fantasia - Too much of a setup to be practical so I didn't bother wading through the explanation

Just (Business) cards - Some tricks with business cards.

spirit writes - An interesting prediction efect using business cards.

Flash printing - Off beat way to introduce a business card.

Multiple Change - A decent, if rather awkward variant for the turnover change allowing you to change multiple cards.

Ambitious aces - A direct handling for the ace assembly plot using the multiple change.

The Travelling Jewels - A two card transposition wrapped up in the a story about jewel thieves. The effect is ok, but the method is a tad brutal for my tastes and it's hard to follow as you are using random non-descript cards.

Lorayne's Challenge - This is a stop trick using the Johnny Benzai's Card Cop. As a stop trick this is a good one. However, he could have at least told the reader that JB stands for Johnny Benzais.


Then to conclude there is a Last word section which urges the reader to change nothing and do the effects exactly as they are written. To me it comes off as patronising.

Admittedly there are a number of excellent tricks in this book but sadly the number is extremely small considering the fact that the book contains 82 effects. There is a [u]lot[/u] of filler material in here, the book is marred by a blatant disregard for any form of proper crediting. This is summed up in the description for Lorayne's ambitious card trick where he refers to Tommy Tucker's bluff pass by saying "here's a move I don't know the name of." (With a foreword by Dai Vernon, he obviously knows people knowledgeable enough to have been able to ask someone the name.) Failure to give proper crediting leaves the reader with the belief that what they are reading is the sole creation of the writer. You may not care about this but I do. If you have no intention to give credit to your sources of inspiration or the ideas that you are using then you shouldn't be writing a book in the first place! Fact!

Throughout the book I couldn't help but feel as if I was being talked down to "do a false shuffle if you can".. "I wouldn't advise that you do this".. etc. To me the mark of a good book is whether I could use the majority of the material, not, and I stress not that I find one useable item. If I had the opportunity to buy this book again, I would pass it up. You may love this book and that's fine. Opinions are merely that; but for me, I didn't like it.

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That was an excellent review, I don't think anyone could ask for a more thorough review. Based on this, and having skimmed the book, I am definitely not going to buy it. Interestingly enough though, Harry's videos are all very well credited.

As for the length of the review, I certainly hope you went to that length to be thorough and well balanced. One gets the feeling you felt you had to do this for having a general disliking to the book.
Ricky B
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Congratulations on spelling out exactly why you didn't like the book. By addressing individual effects and saying what you did not like about them, others who like the book, or at least a particular effect, will be able to respond with specificity. Who knows, maybe they will point out something that you missed in reviewing an effect and you will change your opinion.

Many card men praise this book; you are one of the few to pan this book. You are brave to differ with the majority!

As for Harry's refusal to describe the effect first (or even last!), I (and many others) agree that it's annoying at best and confusing at worst. That is one of the reasons reviews like yours are helpful, though a fair description by a more enthusiastic reviewer might be even more helpful. There's so much hype in reviewing effects (and even sleights) that it's hard to be motivated to learn anything that doesn't promise you will be able to start a new religion with it <g>.

I have a comment that ties into some points that you made. A lot of Harry's effects involve a lot of shuffling or dealing or counting cards. This will not work for some people for the simple reason of dead time. For Harry, there is no dead time. He talks a blue streak while he is doing all this card handling, and he gets away with it. I didn't realize this until I had studied his "Best Teacher Ever" video series and tried to do some of the effects. For the less voluble (that includes me), more pointed effects work better.

As to crediting others, I think you're being a bit unfair. Although my edition of the book has a 1976 copyright date, the first edition was published in 1962. In the introduction, Dai Vernon purports to have read the book. In the foreword, Harry says Cardini read the manuscript. You would think that if either one of them knew of originators who were not properly credited, he would have mentioned them to Harry. So if Vernon and Cardini did not know who had originated uncredited items, it might not have been so easy to find out.

Since 1962, it seems to me that there has been a greater emphasis placed on crediting the originators of sleights and effects, even more so in recent years. For example, I have read that Expert Card Technique not only failed to credit some creators, but it also published their effects without their permission! Credits are few and far between in Royal Road to Card Magic.

Speaking of RRTCM, let's discuss "Revelation," which you say "is almost unbelievably a direct lift from Royal Road to card magic."

You say that "the only difference is that you put coins on the three cards." Not so. In addition to the coins, he has the spectator pick a number from one to ten and the chosen card is found at that number from the top of the deck (when it is presumably under one of the cards with a coin on it).

This is a different effect. If all Harry did was add the coins, I would call it a handling. But with the chosen card being found at selected number from the top of the deck, it's more than just a handling.

Yes, there is no question in my mind that Harry was inspired by "Design for Laughter," but it's not a direct lift (or almost a direct lift). Should Harry have credited RRTCM? Yes. This is not an obscure source. Did he intentionally omit the credit? I don't think so. It might be that Harry learned it before RRTCM published it, and RRTCM may also be at fault for failure to credit the originator.

This is an example why a review from a more enthusiastic reviewer might be more helpful to some. This is not a criticism of your review. You are entitled to call them as you see them, and you are entitled to think Harry's change to Design for Laughter is inconsequential.

You say, "Out of this universe - In this version of Out of this world in which almost unbelievably no mention is made of Paul Curry..." You are right that he does not mention Paul Curry, but he does mention Out of This World. And it is obvious from the title of the effect and the text that he assumes the reader knows about OOTW and therefore that Paul Curry invented it.

For reasons you mention, I have never tried OOTU, but others have and have praised it highly. Have you actually tried the effect on laymen and found the spectators falling asleep, or did you assume that it would have that effect? OOTW took a while to get going when it was first released because magicians read the effect and decided it was too dull. It was not until some magicians actually tried the effect and spread the word that it took off.

I don't share your objections to Harry's description of the faro shuffle. In CUCM, Harry says that a book could be written about the faro shuffle (and has) but he doesn't want to get into it that deeply. Since in and out faros don't have a place in the effects that Harry writes about in the book, I can't fault him for not going into greater detail.

I tried learning the faro from the book and got a start. Then I got Marlo's book on the Faro shuffle and learned it from there. But I have seen a number of posters on Magic Café and elsewhere say that they learned the faro from CUCM. So the description works for some people.

I'm sure others will have comments about other criticisms you have made. So I will look to see what they say, particularly about effects that you have no regard for. You apparently don't like "you pick a card and I find it effects" because there seems to be no point to it. Fair enough, but tell me, what the heck is the point of finding four Aces? Too much of any one type of effect is deadly.

I'm just going from memory here, but I believe that Lazy Man's Card Trick, Lorayne's Poker Deal, and Through the Table all made it into Ammar's Easy to Master Card Miracles video series. That's not a bad track record for a 40-year old book.

Larry Barnowsky
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The pushthrough change is original to Harry Lorayne and in fact was attribited to him in Dai Vernon's Further Secrets of Card Magic and Ganson spelled his name wrong. This book is 40 years old and to some it may not seem a big deal. I can assure you when this came out it was a great book for its time. I think there is more good usable material in this old book then in most new books on card magic.
Out Of This Universe I find to be a killer effect. Challenge Aces and Apex Ace are great effects. I do a version of Challenge Aces which I developed and use it all the time because there is so much magic there.
As far as not giving proper credit or documenting ideas and moves, that could be said of Tarbell, Garcia and many other authors. Perhaps he should have creditied more people, but that adds pages and I would rather have more magic and less bibliography and footnotes.
I disagree with most of your criticisms of the individual effects. That's your opinion and I do not mean to invalidate it but to let you know there are people out there who think your assessment is wrong. Close Up Card Magic is a classic that should be studied by anyone interested in card magic.
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Hey, I could never even remotely get into "Royal Road", and there are many books I've just found absolutely nothing useful (to me) in. "Close Up Card Magic" happens to be one of my all-time favorites, but that doesn't mean Euan has to like it, and I give him or her lots of credit for actually 1) having read the book and 2) being able to back up every issue taken with it. When it all comes down to it, some people like one thing and some like another, and that's what makes life fun.
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I'm not "panning" the book Smile there are some excellent items in there, like for example "Loraynes poker deal", "challenge aces", "lazy mans card trick", "push thru change", "apex ace", "1-2-3-4", "through the table". But that's a handful of effects out of the massive wealth of material it contains. Perhaps if this was the first book I had read, before I cut my teeth on the likes of Roy Walton, Alex Elmsley, <top secret>, Peter Duffie, Dai Vernon, etc. Then maybe I would like this too.

Oh and re the faro shuffle.. I didn't mean you wouldn't be able to learn the mechanics of it, just that you wouldn't know that the shuffle was meant to be a perfect one.

If I had just came out saying "This is a book largely filled with pick a card tricks with only a handful of belters along the way and as a whole I didn't like it" you would have all mentioned the same handful of effects I've just mentioned above and said it was a fantastic book.. I tried to be as honest as possible in the review and there lies the trouble.. Whether a person likes something or not is purely a personal thing. For example, if I like peanut butter and you don't and you tell me I'm wrong for liking it, why am I wrong for liking it? Know what I mean?

It would be interesting to hear what peoples idea of why they deem a book to be great or not..

--Euan Smile
Paul Menzel
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I don't think it's necessary that we all like the same books and same effects. In fact, I think it's better if we don't or we'd all end up performing the same effects. Variety can be a good thing.

Related to the crediting/naming issue, what Harry Lorayne calls "Lorayne's Poker Deal" appears in Scarne on Card Tricks under another name (credited only as a favorite of particular magicians) years before Close Up Card Magic was published. The effect is the same, the presentation only somewhat different, yet he put his name on it, and yes, until I came across it in Scarne's book, had me giving him credit! I'm not a fan of poker demonstrations, but this is one I perform regularly with outstanding results.

Unless someone can show me that Harry Lorayne actually originated the effect, I'm done giving him credit for it.
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Big Fella, Lil Fella is actually a Walter Gibson effect.

Also, Coincidentally Yours plays very well for lay audiences (with a bit of modification).

I like alot of effects from this book. I think it is Harry's best book.
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On 2003-09-28 10:12, Paul Menzel wrote:

Related to the crediting/naming issue, what Harry Lorayne calls "Lorayne's Poker Deal" appears in Scarne on Card Tricks under another name (credited only as a favorite of particular magicians) years before Close Up Card Magic was published. The effect is the same, the presentation only somewhat different, yet he put his name on it, and yes, until I came across it in Scarne's book, had me giving him credit! I'm not a fan of poker demonstrations, but this is one I perform regularly with outstanding results.

Unless someone can show me that Harry Lorayne actually originated the effect, I'm done giving him credit for it.

I believe this is actually the Marlo/Gardner Poker Deal. It's a fooler and it's a GREAT trick for practicing your bottom deal since it's done openly. If you get oohs and ahs when you reveal the aces in your hand, your bottom deal is getting better.

Regarding Harry's "perform these exactly as written" comments, I no longer find these as patronizing as I once did. What turned me around was when someone explained the rationale behind the Ron Bauer Private Studies Series. If you're given an audience tested script, you shouldn't mess with it "just because". Now, if you have a lot of performing experience, you may be able to make changes immediately. Being less experienced myself, I'm inclined to try it as written. That patter, or the rhythm of that patter may be what makes the trick "work". Performing the trick as written may be the only way to see how the patter works with the trick; insight which would THEN allow you to mess around with it. Of course, other people's experience may vary.

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Many thanks for taking the time to go through the entire book and then to type the review. Lots of your time was involved.

One of the things I've gotten out of the review is that I'm going to go back and look specifically at the items you <did> like because those more likely are worth the effort. Thanks for the push. Smile

One thing I'll have to <slightly> disagree with you about: I've done OOTU for twenty years and it does kill <if performed effectively>. Is it better than OOTW? Probably not...but I have more fun doing it, which counts for something! Smile

I have a good story explaining all the dealing and I do the shuffling myself to save time. And I keep it moving. Usual spekky comment? "No ******* way!"

With that said, what <similar> routine do I like better? Daryl's "Double-Dazzling Triumph". Don't ask how they're similar but they are to me. [again: Smile ]

Until later, thanks again for the review!!! This represents the best use of this forum, in opposition to those who complain about not having video demos of new tricks or about not getting their wallet the day they want it...

Best wishes to you, Euan,

Steve H Smile Smile Smile

ps: Your observation about HaLo's declining to print the "Effect:" at the beginning of each routine has been discussed by many. I agree with your complaint.

Harry's comment that he doesn't do it because the reader may skip over the routine further reveals a unfortunate attitude, either as a condescending parent who doesn't think the child can make any of their own decisions or as a selfish writer who spent time writing something and is going to make you, by God, read the whole **** thing, even if it <is> something you would never use in a million years. This ubiquitous omission led to a long-time feud between Harry and Ellison "Penny" Poland, author of WONDERFUL ROUTINES OF MAGIC. At least by now we know that there aren't going to be effect descriptions at the beginnings of Harry's tricks, now are there?
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Cameron Roat
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Thanks for the thorough review, Euan. I agree with you on most of your points. I, too, dislike the writing style. I usually read a book from cover to cover as soon as I get it. I never skip over items, regardless of the effect, and I would raher it was given first.

I also found few items I would use in this book. However, I did find a couple, and for $18, I think the book was worth it overall.
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Cameron makes a key point. The book retails for 18 bucks. Even if you only get six or seven effects you like out of it as Euan did, books of its size and content now days are selling for $35-$60! Six effects at $18 is $3 each--certain magic shops are selling individual routines with no props for $10-$20!

I like the effects Euan named as well as several others. This is not my favorite book, but it does contain a lot of good stuff. Euan is most CERTAINLY allowed to voice his opinion and disagree. Some will think he's right on the mark, others will think he's off-base. Bottom line: Who cares? Different strokes for different folks and all that. As long as as an opinion is informed and intelligent, I enjoy reading a point of view that differ from my own and considering WHY I disagree with it. Occasionally it may even change my mind!

As an aside, it has always been interesting to me in the case of Harry (and I REALLY like him and his writing!), that he always talks about how memory is his business and that he has the best-trained memory in the world, but he can never remember where he got a trick or an idea for a trick...
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I just finished reading the entire book...and I LOVED IT! Yes, it isn't the best written book, and yes, the effects aren't mindblowing but there are at least 10 items I would use in least and that outweighs the great price. Highly recommended.
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A very fair review, Euan. Thanks for taking the time. I have the book & got my money's worth from it. Smile Smile
Greg Arce
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This was what I considered my first "hard" book in magic... something that had more than self-working magic. I have some great memories of doing various effects from it.
I know STOP! was mentioned in the opening review... well, I've devasted a room of magicians with this effect. It's risky, but I love taking that risk.
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
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Excellent Review Smile

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STOP! oh my gosh...yes risky. it can be killer...but I need more guts than blizzard to do this
Greg Arce
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David, take a chance... you'll be happy you did. Let me describe the situation that I spoke of earlier. I was in the Hat & Hare room in the Castle one night. It was a slow night and about a half dozen or so young magicians came on down to hang out. I had already been doing various sets with two other guys so I had done enough entertaining for the evening. I went to the back of the room and sat partially in the dark. The guys started showing off their stuff and about a half hour into it one of the guys does a kind of mental magic effect. Well, one of my friends piped in, "Greg does some amazing things with cards. You want to show them something?" He looked back at me in the dark and I said "Sure."
I never moved from my seat and I was sort of stretched out between two seats like watching a ball game. I had them shuffle their own cards and proceeded to do STOP! When I screamed for them to stop with the card they had in their hand and then they turned it around and it was it... well, you can imagine the looks on their faces and the words that came out of their mouth. At that moment I felt like I could have taken on Derren Brown, David Blaine and any of the other guys. It was a great feeling.
So give it a shot.
Greg Smile
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
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Greg..the one thing I don't really like about the trick is the part where you ask them for either 4, 5 or 6 piles. how do you justify why it must be one of those 3 numbers. it has a mathematical feel to it.
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GREAT story. Loved it!
What a feeling that must have been.
Good for you Smile
Ted (Leondo)
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