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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Magicians and Their Fanning Decks (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Anatole
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I am trying to put together a list of magicians and the fanning decks that they used over the course of their careers. Below is what I have so far.

If anyone can think of other decks that have been used for exhibition card fans, please mention them in the comments and who used them.

Mainstream Store Fanning Decks (i.e. available from public stores like Walgreens, Woolworth's, Kresge etc) such as
---the Walgreens Pegasus decks used by Cardini
---the Park Avenue deck used by Cardini (before he discovered the Walgreens deck) and also by Goodlette Dodson in his book
---the Alf Cooke Indian decks used by Joe Cossari and Jean Valton
---the Waddington deck used by Channing Pollock
---the Whitman deck used by Channing Pollock
---the Thomas de la Rue decks used by Lewis Ganson and Carlo Tornedo

Magic Dealer Decks
---the ZBB deck used by Zina Bennett (marketed by Abbott's Magic)
---the Zinab Deck marketed by Abbott and used by Zina Bennett and Sonny Narvaez (marketed by Abbott's Magic)
---the Tenyo deck used by Shimada
---the Magic Christian Fanning Decks marketed by Piatnik
---the Cossari deck used by Joe Cossari and Haruhiko Nagisa (marketed by U.S. Playing Cards)
---the Fanorama deck used by Joe Cossari (designed by Ed Mishell and marketed by U.S. Playing Cards)
---the Carto-Color Deck from A. Mayette of Paris used by Rene Lavand
---the Unique Studios deck used by Johnny Hart, Denny Haney, Andre Kole and others (marketed by Harry Stanley's Unique Studios)
---the Harry Anderson Fanning Deck
---the Art of Play Cardini Peau Doux decks

I'm guessing there may be other decks that I'm not aware of.

I would also be interested in
---any historical information--such as who first realized that decks with pictures and no borders on their backs would make pleasing designs
---which magic dealer first marketed their own fanning deck
---any books on exhibition card fans (i.e. _Exhibition Card Fans_ by Goodlette Dodson book, _Card Fan-Tasies_ by Edward Love; _Routined Manipulations_ and _A New Look at Card Fans_ by Lewis Ganson

Thanks for any comments/leads/corrections. I may use the resulting info for a magazine article and/or a lecture/multimedia presentation or book.

Magical regards,

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Topper2
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Basic Card Technique by Anthony Norman has a decent chapter on card fanning. Expert Manipulation of Playing Cards, which was Ganson's first book, has a better treatment of the topic than Routined Manipulations. Ganson also did a pamphlet for Supreme entitled Fan Finale (which I see is still available: http://www.magicinc.net/fanfinalebylewisganson.aspx)

Joe Cossari wrote a pamphlet with details of one or two moves I've not seen mentioned elsewhere. In particular he described his 'rising moon' effect where a second fan, with different design, rises up from behind the fan being exhibited. Unfortunately the way he describes it renders it impossible to do! I had to work out my own way of achieving the effect. The Flourishman mentions his own version in his Encyclopedia of card flourishes but sadly he doesn't describe it as his book is intended for card juggling and not card magic; so he doesn't mention exhibition card fans of back designs at all, and even states that for the 'S' fan you should do two half fans, one in each hand, and hold them together. That seems bonkers to me! (Though I do understand his rational namely that using a smudge fan for the lower portion of the 'S' is not a perfect fan by his definition).
Bill Hegbli
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This has been discussed previously on the Café, and I even posted a picture of my favorite deck from Japan that is not imported to the U.S.

Favorite is only asking for an opinion, and any opinion is only true for the person mentioning it. I have several decks from all over the world, and many are no longer available. As long as it has a linen finish, and a design that can be seen from an distance when fanned, that is all that counts as it is only seen for a few seconds.

I think today, you have to find a way to point out the or point up the design created some how to your audience. As in this new world, I don't believe it will have the impact on an audience like it did back in the Vaudeville days. Just look at the YouTube videos, and see all the finger gyrations that the current young population think is good card work. Just a few months ago, there was a girl on Penn and Teller, doing fancy cuts of a deck of cards using all here fingers. Nothing to do with magic, just skill that she said she was working on for many years. I believe the video is now on YouTube. And of course she did not win, as it is only skilled Manipulation of a deck of playing cards and nothing to do with magic. Some of her flinging, I was amazed that she did not drop one playing card.

Finding the right music is even more important to a demonstration of card manipulation.
Topper2
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As a guess I'd say that the art of fanning playing cards to display different designs on the backs probably started with the introduction and spread of bridge size cards; these became increasingly available with a multitude of fancy back designs as the popularity of games like bridge and whist took off in the first half of the twentieth century (before TV came along and killed off card evenings to a large extent).

The problem always was trying to find cards without a border that had sufficient difference in design and colour in all four corners to give good contrast to colour change effects. Usually this was an insurmountable problem, you'd find a pack that had three corners different but the fourth corner just wasn't quite different enough. The Indian back cards by Alf Cooke were ideal quality and very cheap to buy in any Woolworths in the U.K. and they came about as close as you could get at that time (the 1950s) but it wasn't until Harry Stanley commissioned Alf Cooke to produce a pack specially designed for fanning (which required a huge order to make it possible) that we got a genuine fanning pack (the early 1960s I believe). Sadly Alf Cooke were taken over and went out of business in the late 1960s which helped kill off bridge cards for conjuring in the U.K. as magicians more and more had to rely upon American imports because the available Waddington cards were just not as good as the old Alf Cookes.

I've no idea when fanning cards first became available in other countries.
Anatole
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The Arrco Company deck shown at this link makes some nice fans. I discovered it in either a Woolworth's or a Kresge store back in the 1960's.
https://www.facebook.com/338764602812514......&theater

In general, I think any deck that makes at last one striking design when fanned is great. The two decks that Channing Pollock used--the Waddington and the Whitman decks--were very limited in the designs they made. Cardini's Peau Doux deck was also limited in the design possibilities.

The greatest reaction I ever got with an exhibition card fan was when I was a student at the University of North Carolina in the 1970's. Some of my friends enjoyed playing card games like bridge and hearts. One of the girls had a deck with no border and a colorful back design, and she and her friends were amazed when I did a pressure fan that showed a beautiful design. I followed up with a simple card trick using the one-way back principle.

----- Amado 'Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Bill Hegbli
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United States Playing Card Company bought up all the other playing card manufacturers during their change over years ago. They have had a hard time staying in business all these years.

Waddington cards I always liked, they were more pliable to shuffle.

Piatnik playing cards came out with a large selection of Fanning Decks years ago 1981, When I was in Los Angeles California years ago, I stopped into a magic shop and bought up a dozen decks. They are very nice for fanning Decks, sold under the name Magic christian Fanning Cards.

I personally don't care for the Joe Cossari deck, as the colors are so dark, you would need very strong lighting to actually see the colors. I have his manuscript as well.
Anatole
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I like the Joe Cossari fanning deck, and after I saw Haruhiko Nagisa's act with it, I positively loved it! You can see Nagisa's routine at the 1:15 spot of this promo video on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dONVO-uS7iM&t=6s

As I've pointed out before, the Cossari fanning deck incorporates some of the design features of the Peau Doux deck that was favored by Cardini.

When it comes to contrast, I think the Unique Studios fanning deck has the absolute best contrast--thanks no doubt to Lewis Ganson's input when the deck was designed.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
George Ledo
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I've never understood card fanning, in and of itself, in a manipulation routine. I guess it can look pretty, but it's not magic, which is supposedly what the rest of the routine is.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Topper2
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As a footnote, I should add that Alf Cooke were taken over by Waddingtons who closed the Cooke works and transferred the business to their own factory. Waddingtons continued to produce the Harry Stanley back design but it was on their own card stock. These were the fanning decks that were being sold in the 1970s by Ron MacMillan's International Studio and possibly Supreme as well.

Waddington cards have four indices, instead of two, and distinctly different face designs, the Jokers and Ace of Spades are entirely different from Alf Cooke. I've never owned the Waddington version of these fanning cards as I had a few decks of the originals that lasted really well, thus I can't be sure whether the later run of fanning cards had the Waddington or Alf Cooke face design, but I do know that the card stock of Waddingtons was never as highly regarded as the Alf Cooke version.
Anatole
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Re George's comment that "I've never understood card fanning, in and of itself, in a manipulation routine. I guess it can look pretty, but it's not magic, which is supposedly what the rest of the routine is."

Properly and thoughtfully presented, some card fanning can look very magical.
Here are some examples:
1. Color-changing fans: If the colors on the four corners of the back are high-contrast, then the color-change can be very striking and magical-looking.
2. Diminishing cards: A sleight-of-hand diminishing cards effect can look magical--especially if you incorporate some of the ideas from Lewis Ganson's diminishing cards routine from _Expert Manipulation of Playing Cards_ where, as the fan diminishes, you pull cards of varying sizes out of the diminished fan to "prove" that the cards are shrinking.
3. Dr. Zina B. Bennett's "Zinab Deck." This deck is basically a deck of 52 standard cards and jokers that can be fanned and shown blank on both sides, and then converts into a deck with colorful backs that could be used legitimately in casual card games like Poker or "Go Fish" and for many standard "pick-a-card" tricks. The Zinab Deck creates an effect similar to "Mental Photography," but with a basically normal deck at the end. In my close-up and platform performances, I follow up the Zinab fanning routine with standard card tricks ranging from a "Four Ace Trick" to my award-winning "Wolfgang the Mind-Reading Puppet" routine. I fan the deck blank on both sides. Then I show an artist's palette with splotches of color on it. I touch a wand to the palette and then to the fanned deck, and magically the colors from the palette appear on one side of the fan while the other side is still blank. I flip the artist palette to the other side and show a random spread of miniature cards. I touch the wand to the spread of cards and then touch the wand to the deck again, whereupon the other side of the fan is shown to display faces of all 52 cards. I make sure a face card is the top card of the fan so that the best contrast is seen.

I also think lay audiences, having learned about "TV Magic Cards," realize when they see a magician fan cards, that there is skill involved. Lay audiences are also familiar with mathematical tricks like "The 21 Card Trick"--and when they see a magician fan a deck of cards, they realize that "Here's a person who has studied magic as an art, not as a hobby."

It helps, too, if some humor is incorporated into the presentation. in addition to doing card fans, I do what I call "The World's Only Collection of Fancy Card Cuts and Shuffles." It's a presentation with effects like "The Russian Shuffle" (just springing the cards), the Charlier Cut--i.e. The Jewish Cut ("the passover), and the Slop Shuffle with a card reveal. (I truly think that the average lay person can't tell the difference between the Slop Shuffle card trick and Triumph. The effect is basically the same. And the Slop Shuffle version can be done walk around while table-hopping.)

One last anecdote. In the late 1960's I was a college student and one day in one of the co-ed dorms some of my fellow students who heard that I was a magician handed me a deck of cards that they had been playing "Hearts" with and asked me to do a couple of tricks. The deck happened to be one with no white border and a colorful back design. My friends' eyes popped out of their sockets when they saw the intricate designs that their otherwise mundane deck made when I fanned it. I did two or three tricks and then gave the cards back. I knew when to stop.

Magical regards,
----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
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