Art of Magic

Observations by Bill Simon

Specialization

This is an age of specialists. The specialization in magic runs the gamut from a full evening performer to the one who has only thirty seconds to dress up a quick television commercial. The magical specialty we are concerned with in this work is that of cards.

Sleight of hand is, perhaps, the most intriguing branch of magic, and cards are probably the most interesting branch of sleight of hand. This is undoubtedly due to the challenge factor: Cards, and their endless possibilities.

I’m going to discuss various aspects of cards, card magic, and magic in general. These are many thoughts I’ve had or developed on the subjects, and I’ll try to resent these observations as I have probably done hundreds of times during conversations I’ve had with other magicians.

The Importance of Practice

In almost every magic book, and inevitably one which discusses sleight of hand, something is mentioned about the necessity for practice. The subject of practice can be thrown away in a terse paragraph, or it can be written into half a book. The best thing I ever read about practicing and practice habits was in Jack Merlin’s excellent card book: “. . . And a Pack of Cards.” Merlin wrote that he practiced because he enjoyed practicing.  It wasn’t a labor, it was love—of magic—and a personal pleasure (maybe even entertainment) that Merlin derived. This is the way it should be. If you wish to develop the ability to excel at something as technical as cards, you must practice; if you must force yourself to it, you are going to get little out of it; if you find that you dislike practice and cannot get at it, then why not adjust your magical interests to the many fields that require a minimum of practice effort?

Practice is necessary only to the extent that you are suitably prepared to perform properly a particular trick or tricks. Doing tricks badly not only ruins good magic, but will embarrass the would-be performer. Never attempt a trick you aren’t perfectly well able to perform confidently.

Practice doesn’t mean the attempt to do a difficult maneuver in a difficult manner: practice means perfecting sleights and moves so that they are cleanly and indetectably done. You may practice “right” or practice “wrong.” If you practice “right,” this means that you have analyzed the move you wish to learn and you have adapted the move to your own hands. You should understand a move thoroughly before you practice it, so that you know before what end result you are trying to accomplish. Otherwise, you may put a lot of time into learning something, and by this oversight, learn the incorrect method of doing the particular move. To learn to do it correctly would now become twice as difficult, for not only have you spent a lot of time learning to do it incorrectly, but you must break down the habit pattern you have developed, and create the correct one. An example of practicing “wrong,” would be to misinterpret, let us say, the position and motion of the deck as explained in the chapter on the Second Deal. After spending much time practicing, you would find that the move is not performed cleanly. To go back and relearn it, and re-practice it, would take a lot of time besides making all the time previously spent on the move, worthless. Don’t overlook this advice: When you practice, be certain you have the correct information so that you do not practice “wrong.” A small amount of time spent properly investigating the hand position, or angle, or timing on a particular move, will save hours of “wrong” practice.

The Necessity of Trial

An effect, in print, seems (many times) to be a dull and uninteresting sequence of events. To appreciate any of these tricks, you must run through and see what they look like in action. It may seem dry to read: “A card is selected, replaced in the deck, and later found in the magician’s pocket,” but in doing this type of effect, a terrific and somewhat impossible action is performed by the magician. The audience sees it as a live, inexplicable event, not as a description printed unimaginatively in black and white.

Understanding Theory

To appreciate an effect best, you should understand thoroughly the theories upon which it has been based. In some tricks, I have given an explanation of the theory behind the trick instead of an explanation of the trick as you would perform it before an audience. For example, the Coincidence effect, Chapter I, is explained by using an arrangement of cards you would not possibly use before your audience. This is done simply to present the working action of the effect before you in as clear a manner as possible. Understand the theories and your effects will have a full and free flowing spontaneity that smacks of unpremeditated Magic.

The Importance of Studying Simple Moves

Never overestimate a move or your ability to perform it. Even the so-called “easy” moves are often done very poorly. I remember hearing Dr. Daley remark that there were perhaps only five men in the United States who could perform the Glide properly. At first thought, you may think this observation too pessimistic, for certainly the Glide is simple of operation. True, but it can still be performed poorly. How many times have you seen a magician use the Glide in a trick? And of these times, how many times was it done in such a manner that you weren’t aware of its being done? Possibly never! Too many magicians take a move as simple as the Glide for granted because of its ease of operation. They may think they are getting away with it, but in most cases they only succeed in fooling themselves. Learn every move so that you perform it in as natural a way as possible. Let me illustrate this point.

To do the Glide naturally, first hold the deck in Glide position. Now actually remove the bottom card of the deck, as you normally would remove it. Reproduce these exact movements when you actually do the Glide, and you will be doing the move correctly. Perfect imitation of the normal procedure results in the best sleight of hand.

Naturalness of handling is the result for which you must strive. When drawing a card from the bottom of the deck, and when apparently drawing a card from the bottom of the deck, (gliding) both handlings should be as alike as possible. A good way to acquire naturalness is always to go through them without using the necessary moves to accomplish the effect. Perform it as if you did not need sleight of hand to assist you in accomplishing it. In this way, you will be able to observe what the normal actions should be—what your audience will apparently see. This is the visual goal you must reproduce.

Manipulation

Card workers have been partaking in an endless argument: should a card magician do flourishes and manipulations; or only card effects? Will one weaken the other? Are they complimentary? This argument will probably never be fully determined. It is all a matter of individual taste. I know of one card man who will not fan the deck for a selection of a card. He feels that any display of skill with cards will detract from the strength of his effects. I know of another who precedes all of his effects with a quick display of one-handed cuts, fans, manipulations and arm-spreads. Who is right? I imagine they both are. Personally, I don’t do many flourishes or manipulations. This may be due to the fact that I have little use for these things, as most of my card work is done close-up with little chance or opportunity of displaying these peculiar skills. I do feel, however, that cards should always be handled neatly, and that certain so-called flourishes add rather subtract from certain effects. I don’t think that fan productions, and other manipulative routines are appropriate to the performance of close-up effects with cards. Manipulations are rather impersonal exhibitions of certain skills with cards—they usually lack plots. An example would simply be that in performing armspreads the spectators get little actual effect, but do appreciate the jugglery and skill involved. It is up to the individual to decide which is the best policy to follow, but keep in mind that anything done well (be it with a deck of cards, or a machinist’s lathe) is invariably of interest to people.

Technicalities

Cards and card magic are, as subjects, as involved and technical as almost any branch of engineering. If you were to give a layman two books, one on engineering, and the other on cards (for example, Expert Card Technique, or The Expert at The Card Table), the layman would find them both equally difficult to his untrained mind. Realize that magic in general, and cards in particular, are complete and intensive subjects. They have their own language, their own technical descriptions, their own formulae, their own symbols, and every other possible tool of an independent study or profession.

Appreciating this you can better acknowledge that thorough understanding and mastery of the subject must be obtained before you would attempt to utilize any of the principles. After all, you wouldn’t expect a student of physics to branch out and start independent studies an experiments before he had a background in the subject. Why then, should a student of magic attempt to perform before he understands the subject and develops the ability to handle it properly?

Maskelyne wrote that magic is an art, and most decidedly so, because by its performance, the stimulation of illusion is activated. If a magician fails to stimulate the experiencing of illusion for his spectators, then he fails as a magician and his magic fails as an art. I must agree with these thoughts written by Maskelyne so many years ago. Can you imagine an individual going to a concert and listening to a great artist like Menuhin; then visualize this party securing a violin and attempting to duplicate this master’s skill? Of course, this is ludicrous; yet, how many magicians see a trick and immediately attempt to perform it? How could a magician possibly expect to get as much out of a trick as a performer who has thoroughly learned it, practiced it, made it a part of himself? What sort of illusion could he create as he’d stutter and jerk through an unrehearsed, badly performed effect?

The aphorism, “Art is in the doing,” still holds true. But before art, there must be the learning-studying-practicing elements.

The Art of Presentation

Jean Hugard, who has done such an excellent job in editing this work, has given most of the patter and presentations with each effect. I don’t want to overlook Jean’s excellent work, but I would recommend that you adapt his suggestions to suit yourself. What is ideal for one performer may be stilted for another. This also holds true when applied to misdirection. A gesture or mannerism that is natural to one person, may be obvious or noticeable when used by someone else. Scarne, one of our best card men, has his ever-present cigar. Perhaps reaching for a match, or flicking off the ash fits him perfectly for misdirection in certain effects. In Scarne’s hands, this is natural, for the cigar, and its needs, are a part of him and his make-up. If someone else were to use the same gestures, they might not fit. Consider this when you present an effect. Adapt the presentation and misdirection to suit yourself.

In considering misdirection, I’m reminded of an amusing incident. An excellent card man and several magicians were having a “session” together one night. The card man wanted to reverse the bottom card, and to do this undetected. This is a difficult maneuver when it must be performed under the relentless gaze of many magicians’ eyes. Actually, a reversed card was to be used in this magician’s next trick, but the success of the trick depended upon the spectators not suspecting a previously reversed card. He reversed the card by telling a joke! This is how he went about it. He told an amusing story, and when the punch line came, he seemed to enjoy it as much as the people he was telling it to. He laughed and raised his hands (which, incidentally, happened to be holding the deck of cards) almost to head-height in a full, laughing gesture; it was at this instant that he reversed the card!

I don’t suggest that you, or anyone else, adopt this method for reversing a card; but I want to point out that this man was confronted with a problem (performing a detectable maneuver under scrutiny) and he solved it with exceptional resourcefulness. He baffled practically everyone present—primarily because no one could figure out how he reversed the card.

Spontaneous Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness will depend upon your imagination or experience. If you are naturally resourceful there is probably no situation from which you cannot extricate yourself, but regardless of how clever you may be with a deck of cards, or how much time you spend on a particular trick, you can never foretell when something may not work as you had anticipated. For example, your spectator may be the “wise-guy” type, or the challenge type. Or, you may lose control of the cards; perhaps the deck will slip and scatter. Anyone of a hundred things may interfere with a particular trick. If you are resourceful, you can bring the effect smoothly to a satisfactory conclusion. If you do not possess natural resourcefulness, you should attempt to develop it in yourself to some degree. Charles Hopkins wrote a book that will give the student a certain amount of background in this sort of thing: “Outs, Precautions, and Challenges.” Reading it will teach you several dependable devices you may call upon to come to your rescue at some unexpected moment. Experience, however, will be your best teacher.

An interesting way to prepare yourself for unexpected incidents is to assume that you were doing a certain trick and something (any defeating action) occurred that would interfere with the successful conclusion of your trick. Starting from that point, say: “What can I do now to end this trick successfully?” Then, simply think out as many possible ways as you can. Take the best way you have discovered, smooth it out, and tuck it away in the back of your mind for use in a future emergency.

Conjuror vs. Gambler

Professional gamblers are legendary for their skill, really a professional card cheat possesses an extremely high degree of skill in a very limited field. He may, perhaps, only use two moves in his entire lifetime, but these he either practices or uses every day, and does them as perfectly as possible. All his time and effort (practice time, and practice effort) are devoted to keeping these moves “alive.” The professional fears growing “stale,” and mustn’t allow himself to slip. In instances, you may find a professional with great versatility. He may have perfected many or possibly all gambling moves with a deck of cards, but this is in the minority of cases, because talent of this kind is largely wasted. The professional gambler is generally interested only in learning and doing the things that “get the money.”

I am mentioning this specialization, in moves, so that you may realize and understand why the professional gambler is exceptional in what he does with cards. Keep in mind, he usually does a limited number of things. Apply the professional’s principles to yourself. Do well whatever you desire; don’t learn and practice things for which you have little or no use. In this way, you will build up a repertoire consisting of strong effects well-performed. Any trick done well is worth many times any trick done poorly. This invites the statement: a poor trick, done well, is worth many, many times a good trick done badly. This can be argued pro and con, but in the final analysis, when you do a good trick badly you have nothing; when you do a poor trick well, you don’t have a good trick, but you do have a trick. The ideal situation is to do all your tricks well, and attempt to do only the better, more effective tricks.

The Best Magic

In a basic pamphlet I wrote, “Controlled Miracles” I suggested that the best magic was that which combined sleight of hand with subtlety. I am still convinced that this combination produces the most effective magic. An effect overburdened with sleight of hand is usually cumbersome to perform and quite involved. An effect completely subtle in nature is usually dull in effect. Sleight of hand effects are usually (so far as effect is concerned) sharp, clear, piercing, and direct. By combining sleight of hand with subtlety we try to blend the effectiveness of sleight of hand with the ease of performance the subtle method permits.

Handling

Good handling is worth far more, from the viewpoint of deception, than good sleight of hand. Handling is the act of doing or performing a sleight or move under the guise of performing some open action. A simple example of handling would be this: assume you wanted to get a break over the four bottom cards.  To do this by sleight of hand, you would probably be holding the deck squared in your left hand; you would then thumb count the four cards from the bottom of the deck with your right thumb at the rear of the deck, performing the “count” action, and you would then secure the break with your left little finger. To get the same result with handling, you would spread the deck face down from left to right between your hands saying, for example: “It is impossible for me to know the position of any card in the deck at this point, isn’t it?” As the cards are spread from left to right, you would run through them until near the bottom, then secure a break with your left little finger over the four bottom cards, the deck still spread, and then square the deck up into the left hand, retaining your break. The result would be the same. You would have your break over the four bottom cards; but using handling is not only safer, and easier, it is also more natural. By using the pure sleight of hand method to accomplish this, you could possibly miss (two cards may stick together during your thumb count, giving you a break at five instead of four cards). Using sleight of hand also necessitates a move. Whenever you can eliminate a move, you usually make the effect easier for the spectators to follow and simpler to perform.

Cultivating Originality in Presentation

In all the card work you do, as well as whatever tricks you may secure by reading this book, adapt all of the tricks to yourself and experiment to see if you can’t make them simpler, more direct, easier to handle according to your own standards. By doing this, you will find yourself doing magic which is better adapted to your own personality.

Unprepared Cards

One principle that I have used as a guiding point in writing this book is to restrict the material to effects done with ordinary playing cards. I have no fetish against using outside gimmicks or devices, nor do I beat the drums against using trick decks. It is just that I feel it only fair, in writing a book on cards, to keep it within the scope of ordinary cards, because an encroachment on the possibilities of trick cards is unfair the reader. Card tricks, with trick cards or decks are complete in themselves and anything I could say or write about them would not add very much to what has already been done with them. One thought persists, however, and that is that most effects possible with trick cards or decks can be reproduced with ordinary cards. Of course, this is assuming that the effect done with a trick deck is of such a nature as to give laymen the impression that an ordinary deck is used. For example, in using a Stripper Deck, you may get the effect of apparently cutting to the four aces, or a spectator’s card, or whatever you wish. These same effects may be reproduced with an ordinary deck. The laymen should have no suspicion that a trick deck is used when utilizing the Stripper Deck. On the other hand, if you were to do a trick with the Svengali Deck, the laymen, upon seeing all the different cards of the deck suddenly change into one card, would assume that no ordinary deck was used. And this effect, of course, could not be reproduced with an ordinary deck.

I have made several statements in this commentary which may invite argument, such as this last mentioned. I think it is a good quality for statements to be of controversial nature in a book of this sort; as a matter of fact, if this weren’t so, then many of the statements would be so obviously understood, that they would not be worth mentioning. I know many will come up with comments that there are certain effects which can’t be reproduced, exactly, with ordinary cards. I take the stand that mast effects can be reproduced, with the qualification that it must be of such a nature as to give the impression that only ordinary cards are used. You may not be able to reproduce the color changing deck effect if you were only to use an ordinary deck of 52 playing cards with no extra devices, but when spectators see a color changing deck routine, they may be completely mystified as to the method involved, but you can be certain that they are aware of the fact that something other than an ordinary deck was utilized in accomplishing the effect.

Present Day Sophistication

You must not underestimate the observation powers of your audience. Today’s audiences are more sophisticated than they were years ago. The best in entertainment of all kinds is available to them merely by a turning of a dial on a radio or television set. Not only is the best of entertainment theirs for the asking, but it is offered in such profuse quantity, that after a short time, it is amazing how selective audiences become.

Years ago, the bulk of our population didn’t and couldn’t come into contact with the latest songsmiths, the finest gagsters, and the more brilliant dramatic presentations. Today, audiences are well informed. They have advanced far beyond the once estimated mental-audience age of twelve. You can’t expect them to believe that your magical effects are done by highly secret, unnatural means.  In fact, your best approach is to entertain your audience with magic or cards being your medium. Don’t run the risk of insulting the intelligence of your audience.

Audience Participation

The most effective tricks are those in which your audience takes an active part. For example, when the card is selected let the deck be held in their hands, or let them do the shuffling, or permit your spectator to hold the deck as you “conjure” the ambitious card to the top of the deck. These minor points make an ordinary card trick many times more effective than if the magician were to have the deck well engulfed in his own clutch during the entire course of a trick. Play up the “fairness” angle, underplay the “working” moments when you must have the deck under your control or must perform some manipulation.

All of these touches must be added by the individual. Examples of them will be found in some of the effects described in this volume, but it is up to the individual to adopt these points to suit his own presentations.

Patter

I have already suggested that patter be adopted to the individual. If you are fortunate enough to have the amusing style of Karrell Fox, by all means strive for comedy in your presentations. If you have the dynamic style of Francis Carlyle, punch home your effects. Dai Vernon, for example, has a smooth, pleasant manner, which is somewhat disarming, for you don’t expect the surprise you experience when the effect unfolds and some completely inexplicable result confronts you. Don’t step out of your own character or personality (or the character or personality you are building). A comedian who suddenly turns somber, or a serious performer suddenly turned comic, many times catches his audience unprepared for the change, and the result can be disappointing.

I remember seeing a tall, dark-haired magician, who is clever with cards, do an ambitious card effect. This man, who has a scholarly manner and appearance, started talking to the cards (as part of his presentation) and conversed with the ambitious card, commanding it to certain things. He then went through the motions of “invisibly winding up the deck” so that the ambitious card could be spirited to the top. I don’t know whether his presentation was to be amusing or something else, but it was funny in a sad way. He was attempting a “cute” type of presentation which would have been extremely effective in the hands of a boy of ten; done by him, it just didn’t come off. The spectators didn’t know whether he was joking, or serious. They got the impression that he was “working down” to them and they were unimpressed, uncomfortable, and unhappy because of it.

It is quite logical to tell a story with an effect, even a fanciful tale, but don’t present “poltergeists, spooks, fairies, etc.,” to your audience in a credible manner. If you want to bring in unnatural things, plainly tell your spectators that “this is a tale as I heard it,” instead of “this is as it is.” Don’t do tricks  “to” your audience; do tricks “for” them.

I wrote that Francis Carlyle is a dynamic performer. This is very true. One of the main reasons for his success is that he emphasizes, re-emphasizes, and over-emphasizes his effects. When he performs, there can be no doubt as to what the effect is: what has occurred. He makes his effects clear-cut, straightforward, and positively certain. If he changes a red card into a black card, you can be sure that everyone is fully aware of what the card was before the change, and what the card has changed to. How many times have you seen a magician do the English penny and half-dollar transposition? Or a transposition of two cards? And how many times has the effect been so blurred and indefinite that the spectators weren’t even aware of what has taken place? Well, this can never happen when Carlyle performs. Everyone watching is clearly told what he is doing (or apparently doing); they clearly watch the progression of the effect, and they are definitely aware of what has (or what has apparently) transpired when the effect is concluded. For example, in doing a simple card transposition, Carlyle would say:  “I am handing you the Ace of Spades. Now hold it tightly in your hands. Do you know what card you are holding? (Spectator nods.)  It is the Ace of Spades, isn’t it? (Spectator says “Yes”.) Now, I will hold the 5H in my hand. (Shows it, and holds face down in his hand.) What card do you hold? (Spectator says “Ace of Spades”.) And what card do I hold? (Spectator says “Five of Hearts”.) Now, is there any possible doubt in your mind that you now hold the Ace and I hold the five? (How could there possibly be, with all this emphasis?) Watch, when I snap my card, it will actually change places with yours. (He snaps card and cards are shown to have transposed).” Climax!

The effect is clear and definite. In reading his patter, it may appear childishly simple; but years of experience have proved to Carlyle that nothing, in an effect, must be taken for granted. Everything must be so clear that there can be no doubt as to what is happening. Follow Carlyle’s practice, and your effects will be stronger.

Poker Card vs. Bridge Cards

Many magicians insist that one size card is superior over another size. Actually, you should use whatever size cards you find easiest to handle. Everyone’s hand is shaped differently, and the texture and moistures differ as well. Each must adopt according to his own individual needs. Personally, I prefer poker-sized cards over bridge sized cards, for the following reasons:

  1. They are slightly larger and therefore have greater visibility over the smaller cards when performing for large groups.
  2. Because of their extra width, they are easier to riffle-shuffle.
  3. They fit my palm more snugly than bridge sized cards
  4. The standard brands of poker-sized cards are usually manufactured on finer stock, and are better finished. Thus, the poker sized cards usually last longer, and have more life in them.
  5. If I were only to practice and use bridge-sized cards, when offered a poker-sized deck to do tricks with a borrowed pack, I would experience greater difficulty in using the larger cards. After using poker sized cards, bridge cards feel small and easier to handle; after using only bridge sized cards, the poker cards feel much too large, and it is difficult to use them if one is trained to the smaller cards.
  6. Much gambling work, such as crimps and waves, are held better in poker cards than in bridge cards. One of the reasons for this is that the extra width of the poker sized cards gives a greater surface to “put the work in”; the “work” is usually less detectable on the broader card.

These reasons are just a few factors which influence my use of poker sized cards, but keep this thought in mind: regardless of what my reasons for using poker sized cards are, these may not outweigh the disadvantages this sized card has for you. The important thing, in making your choice, will depend upon the size, shape, and texture of your hand, and your particular needs.

Accessories

Dr. Jaks, one of our finest mentalists, has a genius for adapting and using unique props in his close-up presentations. In a certain card effect, he shows a box which is obviously antique in nature, and he says that he found it in a bazaar when he was in Egypt. The box is then used as a prop, a piece of setting, for the effect. It is surprising how people are intrigued by something of this nature. When unusual objects, which bespeak of age, mystery, and far-off places are used, many simple effects are glamorized. An ordinary effect becomes far more interesting and intriguing when performed with this “build-up.” Don’t underestimate the power these novel additions will add to your effects. Some of our most wonderful card artists have adopted novelties wherever possible.

Dai Vernon told me of an amusing idea he employed years ago. When asked to do some card work, the genial Vernon would say: “For this particular effect, I must borrow someone’s glasses; anyone’s will do, but I must wear a pair of glasses.” He would then borrow the glasses, put them on, and perform some wonderful card miracle. One of the additional puzzling features of Vernon’s effect would be “why did he need a pair of glasses to do this?” You may be certain that Vernon didn’t need the use of glasses, but he got a kick out of doing the trick with glasses on, thus creating an additional problem in the minds of the spectators. As a matter of fact, Vernon said that in instances where he would borrow glasses from some generous but very myopic person, he would do this effect practically devoid of any semblance of normal sight, and thus add to his own difficulties!

Novelty may be added in many forms other than props or devices. For example, the addition of some gambler’s jargon and expressions will add color and prestige to your gambling routines. A little research will give you the necessary information. Knowledge of the history of playing cards, their first functions, their development, etc., will prove topical in your card work.

Whatever may enhance your performance, should be adopted. Make up your mind now whether you want to be a magician with a deck of cards, or “a guy who does some card tricks.” If you want to be recognized as the former, don’t neglect small details. Take the time and extra effort necessary to add so much to your effects.

Originality

Most of today’s motion pictures include something to the effect that “any relation to persons living or dead is purely coincidental” in the title reels. Most of today’s magic books include “all of the things in this book are believed to be original, but many times two or more magicians have the same thoughts, etc.” This is the point, I imagine, where I must “declare myself.”

To avoid misunderstandings as to the material in this book, I believe that most of the items have been developed by myself, or in collaboration with other magicians. Credit will be given wherever justified.

Of course, I have borrowed starting points in many of my effects and moves from the “Ocean of Magic” which is “public property.”

I feel that by making a trick stronger in effect, or easier to perform, I am justified in claiming the origin of whatever I have added to the particular effect. If my ideas prove to be similar to another’s, I am certain that we both should feel no doubts or losses. I have come by most of my ideas during research, study, by trial-and-error, and by chance. These four modes, I am sure, have governed inventions far more important than card tricks.

I write all this as a sort of protection, not that I think that it is important, but because it is necessary in all subjects which are as prolific as card magic.

In all technical books there must be a starting point. As has been pointed out, cards must be considered a detailed and technical study. This is not a basic book on cards, therefore it must be taken for granted that the student has some knowledge of cards, magic, tricks, or card tricks. (Assuming that the avid student has no knowledge of these things, I still am sure that a careful study will result in his getting much out of this book.) This is so that you will understand why certain very basic moves have not been given. For instance, I feel it would be unfair to take valuable space in describing the double-lift when this has been done so many times before, and probably in better fashion than I could present. I have described moves where I feel that the move is new, and more important, worthwhile. I don’t feel justified in describing standard or well-known moves, or moves that are available in the excellent texts already written on the subject. You will find: “Use your favorite method to do this,” in some places; after all, you may find “your favorite method” as desirable or more desirable than the method given herein. In brief, you are urged to make whatever changes in the effects necessary to improve them or make them easier for you to handle. Do not hesitate to make whatever adjustments you feel will improve an effect. You will find all of the effects completely described, and the handling I personally use on most of them. Make my methods your starting point.  In this way, you will develop better magic.

Simon, Bill. Effective Card Magic, pg. 13. Louis Tannen, 1952.

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