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Steve Brooks
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Zerox by Roddy McGhie



Description / Ad Copy: Print thought of cards as though you had a tiny photocopy machine in your pocket. This is the kind of magic your spectators can’t look away from. The cards actually light up while the ink prints on the blank cards. This is Zerox by Roddy McGhie.


The performer introduces some double blank cards and explains that these have special photocopying technology built right into them. From an ordinary deck, one card is selected, and another is remembered. One of the double blank cards are touched to the selected card. Suddenly a light zips across the back of the blank card, and when it’s turned over, the face of the selected card is printed. The light shines again, apparently from the card itself, and the back prints as well. The freshly printed card is now placed face down in the hand of the spectator who is only thinking of a card. The light shines for the third time, and when the card is turned over, the thought of card is double printed onto the face of the card in their hand

Zerox is the kind of trick only Rhoddy McGhie could create. This take on Daryl’s Presto Printo effect features a magical light that everyone associates with photocopying. The appearance of the light is just as magical as the printing itself. You are going to get huge reactions with the specially made gimmicks that make both the light and the printing possible. The sleights involved are simple to do, and the gimmicks make this charming trick so much fun to perform. Print your spectator's thoughts with Zerox by Rhoddy McGhie.

"I'm a big fan of commercial card magic that's different from what most performers are doing. This trick checks all my boxes for fun, uniqueness and ease of use. Roddy has done it again!" - Adam Wilber

"Zerox is fun, quirky, and clever, just like everything Roddy creates. The McGhie Dynasty is upon us, and I know where my loyalties lie" - Eric Stevens

"This is why I love Roddy. Such a fun presentation that audiences will love and remember combined with super visual" - Noel Qualter


In 1909 magician Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser had some great ideas that appeared in The Art of Magic. Included within its pages was an effect called Everywhere and Nowhere. A row of cards turns into duplicates of a chosen card. There are several variations that are explained including one using an assistant. Also included was T. Nelson Downs' The General Card, in which several spectators choose a card, they are all the same, the entire deck is shown the same and then different again.

In 1958 magician Paul LePaul put together and illustrated a book of card effects using ordinary playing cards that were created by his close friend Brother John Hamman. The title of the book is The Card Magic of Bro. John Hamman S.M. Now considered a classic, you might still find a copy floating around on eBay or from in PDF & EPUB format. I mention this book because one of the great tricks within its pages was The Mystic Nine. This is not only a great effect, but it is further worth mentioning because it is the first trick making use of the Hamman Count (a false count) and the basic premise of what later would become known as Wild Card. It should also be noted that unlike Wild Card, Bro. John Hamman's The Mystic Nine used ordinary cards.

Later in 1962 British magician Peter Kane invented a trick that he named Watch the Ace! which was obviously a take on Hammans The Mystic Nine. It appeared in Hugard's Magic Monthly (April 1962, Vol 19, No. 8, page 89). Magician Frank Garcia eventually took this effect, made some changes to it, and his handling was released by Louis Tannen as Wild Card - it became an instant classic of card magic. Magician and creator Wesley James has an effect called Watch the Wild Ace in his book Enchantments which uses elements of both aforementioned effects.

In any case, many years after the release of Garcia's Wild Card French magician Dominique Duvivier came up with a trick simply called Printing. It is my understanding that American magician Daryl liked the effect so much that he began purchasing the special cards needed direct from Dominique Duvivier to sell at his lectures. Soon after Daryl developed a much simpler handling of his own and had special cards printed by The United States Playing Card co. in the form of Bicycle® Rider Backed™ playing cards. Daryl's reworked trick quickly became known as
Presto Printo


The above graphic depicts the special cards which are included with Daryl's Presto Printo. Come to think of it, I believe the set Daryl gave to me in the late nineties actually had a couple of extra cards but that is pretty much a moot point at this late date. At any rate, gimmick cards of this nature were practically unheard of in those days and this made the trick even more spectacular. Easy to do and really did mind boggle a lay audience to be sure.

In 2001 magician and creator Ron Bauer released an effect called Xerox Money. This trick was Monograph #18 in Mr. Bauer's now famous
Private Studies Series
. The magician explains to his audience that he has come into possession of a supply of high-tech Xerox paper and begins printing his own money! Although not a card trick, It is a printing / duplicating type effect and therefore goes along with the aforementioned tricks and certainly warrants referencing here.

Having said all of that, I felt it prudent to mention a little back history of these sorts of ideas before discussing Scottish magician Roddy McGhie's creation ZEROX. Now while ZEROX is not exactly the same as the previously mentioned tricks, there is no doubt in my mind that it was certainly inspired by one or more of them. Please don't misunderstand me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining inspiration from another source. After all, when new tricks are created we really do often ride on the shoulders of those before us - that's a fact.

ZEROX plays out exactly as seen in the above demo video and is accurately described in the ad copy as well. The magician (that's you) seemingly prints the selections chosen by spectators just like a real photo copy device. The audience even see's the typical light appear as the magicians hands pass over previously blank cards...It's a miracle!

You receive everything you need to begin performing straight away. Special cards, a clever gimmick (which produces the light) and access to a twenty-six minute instructional video. During the video Mr. McGhie takes you step by step in learning the effect and does a fine job at that. There really are no special or difficult moves to learn. This is really all about presentation. By the way, if you already own Daryl's Presto Printo then it is easy to incorporate those cards with ZEROX as well, how fortuitous says I.

Are there any cons? The only negative I can find is the fact that eventually the light gimmick will most certainly run out of go-go juice and unfortunately this is not addressed in the instructional video and it really should have been. Even so, I'm pretty confident one can find a precision Phillips screwdriver that will allow you to remove the four tiny screws so you can replace the batteries inside. I have not needed to do this thus far, but obviously this will eventually become necessary. That said, if changing batteries does not frighten you then I do not hesitate in recommending you give this trick your serious consideration. This really is a good routine. Smile

My rating:


Suggested retail: $29.95 USD

Available directly from:

Penguin Magic
3299 Monier Circle, Unit A
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742

Call us at: 1-800-880-2592 / International Dial: +1 707-317-6733


Questions? Comments?


"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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