Racherbaumer





We welcome a brilliant column by one of magic’s all time best thinkers and writers. Jon Racherbaumer. He does it again with his fabulous ability, to give us an insight to the "real works" of our magic art. I’m sure you will agree with what he has to say to us and I’m also sure that you will agree with what I’ve said in the first sentence of this preface!

Enjoy! Joe Stevens


EFFECTS, KICKERS, AND CLOSERS

Jon Racherbaumer

Back in the day, magicians simply performed tricks. As time passed, the word “tricks” became contaminated with negative shadings of meaning. Performers became reluctant to utter the word. They were led to believe that “tricks” were things you “pulled” on spectators. Spectators, to use current a vernacular, were “played” by “tricksters” who aimed to “fool” them rather than please them. They turned lay people into “fools.” Therefore, magicians sought another term and started calling their presentations “effects”—a strange word as far as the laity is concerned. Nevertheless, the term stuck. Magic books promulgated the term. Dealers jumped in. After all, it proved to be far more successful than what old-timers called effects. They were known to utter opening lines like this: “For my first experiment…” This unfortunately suggested that what they were doing was merely a test or trial run, its outcome uncertain or, worse, dubious. There was a mousy tentativeness to “experiment.” After all, aren’t magicians supposed to be supremely confident? Don’t they know what they are doing?

Another term that has somehow lost some of its luster is "kicker." Back in the later 60s, card tricks had to have another, unexpected ending. One climax was not enough. And these secondary and tertiary endings had to be sudden and lethal. They had to be as forceful as a swift kick. The sound of the word is vivid. The hard "k,” coupled with “ick” is explosive. You can feel its physical forcefulness. In the past, socialites got their “kicks from champagne…” Also, consider this:

After relating a fascinating story we say, "…and here’s the kicker!"

One plays poker. All bets are waged. Then a player pauses and "kicks" in, raising the ante.

A "kicker" is a follow-up thrill, a chop-block to the brain…

A "kick" is a charge…

A "kicker" recharges…

Too many "kickers" cause enchantments to "kick off."

Some "kickers" serve to kick-start a show.

Cockney kiddies (at birthday parties) require "kicking up a dido."

The late, great Derek Dingle back in the 70s was King of the Kickers, the godfather of kick-ass climaxes, who consistently doubling up the double-whammies.

Mike Rogers hated kickers. In fact, he made me “kick" the habit of adding "kickers" in 1981. Yet some nights I meditate on the first time I saw Derek Dingle perform "Color Triumphant," reliving how it "kicked my butt" and feeling the warm rush of cognitive dissonance as it filled the void between my ears. I was fooled, duped, and played. I was supremely tricked. It was a beautiful thing…

Here is a presentation for those of you who have bought Masuda’s “Wow.”

HOFZINSER MEETS THE WOW FACTOR

Jon Racherbaumer

This combines a Marlo version of the Hofzinser Lost Ace problem with the “Wow” gimmick that makes the final transformation of the Eight that has the same suit as the selection into the actual selection spectacularly visual.

Requirements: A regular deck of cards, a Sharpie pen, and the Wow gimmick. Every Wow gimmick shows a different card. Therefore, the four principal cards used instead of Eights must match the value-card in the gimmick. In my gimmick, the card is the 8H.

Set-up: Arrange all of the 13 Heart cards (except for the regular 8H) in no particular order on top of the deck. Next, arrange the Eights in this order from the top: 8D – 8S – 8C – 8H. Show the Eights and as you square them face down against the top of the deck, unload the 8H on top.

Table the deck face down and perform a casual straight cut to centralize the Heart slug. R Explain that you will remove one of the Eights without looking and will insert it into the transparent envelope (Wow gimmick).

Place the 4H face down into the gimmick and leave the gimmick on the table with the back of the 4H showing.

Ask the spectator to concentrate on the suit of his selection. Then turn the other three Eights face up, saying that the chosen suit is not Clubs, Spades, or Diamonds.

Pick up the Wow gimmick and turn it over to show the Eight of Hearts. Finally, ask the spectator to name his signed selection. When he does, cause the 8H to visibly change into the signed selection. Remove it from the Wow gimmick and let the spectator examine it.

Ribbon spread the deck and gesture toward the center of the spread and ask someone to remove a card (not the 8H on top). This forces a Heart card; however, the apparent freedom of choice will not arouse suspicion that a specific card is being forced. Assume that the Four of Hearts is selected.

Have the selection signed on the face and returned to the deck. Then control and palm it in your most deceptive manner. Place the deck aside and direct the audience’s attention to the supposed tabled Eights. As you scoop them up, secretly add the palmed 4H and immediately spread the cards to show four. Everything seems copacetic.

Pick up the cards and spread them again, taking two in each hand. Reassemble these pairs so that the selection ends up second from the top and the 4H ends up at the face.

Say, “Think of the Eight that has the same suit as your card.” As you say this, perform a quick face-up Elmsley Count, flip the packet face down, and hand it to the spectator. Pretend to mix the Eights, keeping track of the 4H.

Explain that you will remove one of the Eights without looking and will insert it into the transparent envelope (Wow gimmick). Place the 4H face down into the gimmick and leave the gimmick on the table with the back of the 4H showing.

Ask the spectator to concentrate on the suit of his selection. Then turn the other three Eights face up, saying that the chosen suit is not Clubs, Spades, or Diamonds.

Pick up the Wow gimmick and turn it over to show the Eight of Hearts. Finally, ask the spectator to name his signed selection. When he does, cause the 8H to visibly change into the signed selection. Remove it from the Wow gimmick and let the spectator examine it.

If you want to take the trouble you can use Marlo’s Dream Method, which permits you to apparently ask no questions regarding the mentally selected suit.

Place the Eights face down on the table and control the selection to the top of the deck. Have the spectator mix the Eights face down. As he does so, use this misdirection to palm off and glimpse the selection. Ask the spectator to table the Eights face down. As you scoop them up, secretly add the selection on top.

Explain that you will further mix the Eights. Quickly reverse-count the cards as four twice. The selection will end up second from the top during this supposed mixing process. Say, “You could have chosen any one of these Eights.”

Spread the cards, outjogging the second one, and holding the last two as one. Remove the outjogged selection and place it face down on the table and say, “I think this is the Eight you are thinking of.”

Without adjusting any cards, hold the fan so that only you can see the faces. If you do not see the Eight of Hearts that matches the suit of the selection that you already know, then this Eight is already concealed.

Turn the fan toward the spectator to show that his named Eight of Hearts is not there. Point to the face-down card in front of him and say, “Your chosen card is there!”

Pick up the face-down 4H without showing its face and insert it face down into the transparent envelope (Wow gimmick). Place the 4H face down into the gimmick and then turn it over to show the Eight of Hearts.

Finally, ask the spectator to name his signed selection. When he does, cause the 8H to visibly change into the signed 4H. Remove it from the Wow gimmick and let the spectator examine it.

Onward…