Pinky Count

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Philippe Billot » 02/13/05 10:20 AM

Generaly, it seems that Olindo Gallucio was the first to describe the Pinky Count in Genii, Vol 21, N1, Sept 1956, page 15.
But, in working on the Genii Index, I find a trick by Lindahl, entitled Penetrating Vision in which he said : "Simply thumb count or LITTLE FINGER COUNT DOWN to that number."
You can find this in Genii N4, Vol 9, December 1944, page 83.
Do you know other sources ?
Who is Lindahl ?
Philippe Billot
 
Posts: 946
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 02/13/05 12:02 PM

Jason England discovered a 1937 entry in The Fred Braue Notebooks, Volume 2 that describes the pinky count. This predates both of the Genii references.

Cameron
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/13/05 06:17 PM

Hofzinser used his left thumb to riffle down to any card in a memorized stacked deck.
I'm sure many people have been doing the same thing with their little fingers for over a hundred years.
Frankly, I think the Pinky Count is a horror. Most people who do it look like their entire arm suddenly becomes paralyzed during the action. Terrible.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Steve Hook » 02/13/05 08:09 PM

David Williamson does a beautiful job with the Pinkie Count from what I've seen on tape. Isn't it like everything, just a matter of hundreds of repetitions?
Steve Hook
 
Posts: 769
Joined: 10/21/08 11:50 AM
Location: North Carolina, USA

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/13/05 10:33 PM

No, because if hundreds (or thousands) of repetitions was all it took, you would see dozens of guys doing a good pinky count. In fact, most of what you see is arm paralysis, and the entire energy in the performer's body focused on his hand despite his pathetic efforts to divert attention elsewhere.
I didn't say that no one could do it, just that most card guys can't.
And, in fact it isn't necessary--if Vernon, Jennings, Dingle, and Hamman could do wonderful card magic without counting cards with the pinky, so can anyone else.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Chris Aguilar » 02/14/05 01:01 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:

And, in fact it isn't necessary--if Vernon, Jennings, Dingle, and Hamman could do wonderful card magic without counting cards with the pinky, so can anyone else.
And some folks do wonderful card magic without ever using the classic pass.

So does it follow that we should also dismiss that particular seminal sleight as "unnecessary"? ;)
Chris Aguilar
 
Posts: 1543
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Sacramento

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/14/05 08:35 AM

Three of the four guys I named used the Pass regularly.
Your next question?
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby AMCabral » 02/14/05 10:08 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Three of the four guys I named used the Pass regularly.
Your next question?
Answer the first one.

-Tony
User avatar
AMCabral
 
Posts: 168
Joined: 03/13/08 08:59 AM

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/14/05 12:14 PM

The Pinky Count is NOT a seminal sleight.
It's something that has a small group of magicians have been doing over the past 10 years or so and most do it poorly.
Comparing the use of the Pass to the Pinky Count is absurd.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Jason England » 02/14/05 12:27 PM

Just to clarify, I didn't discover the notation in the Braue Notebooks, it was pointed out to me by another magician who wished to remain anonymous.

Jason
Jason England
 
Posts: 238
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 12:31 PM

True... it's not "necessary" (nor is the pass, the double lift, the top change or any other card move) but, I feel, the pinky count is one of cardopia's most underexplored sleights. It gives instant access to any number of cards and/or any card @ any position in the pack (what other sleight provides this?)

A couple shameless plugs:

Those with "Tricks of My Trade" will find a few effects that put the move to good use (Diamond Mine, Coincidice and An Artistic Application.)

If you're interested in learning the sleight... go here;

Conn\'s Close-up Classroom... featuring a pinky count vid-tutorial
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/14/05 01:04 PM

I have more fingers than I have witnessed magicians who did the Pinky Count well.
And, the Pass, Top Change, and Double Lift are all, in my opinion, ABSOLUTELY necessary to do top flight card magic. There are some exceptional cardmen who can do without certain basic sleights, but they are few in number. The truly top level workers do all the tough sleights because the make your work look clean--like there's less going on. If the Pinky Count could be done well by many people I would agree that it belongs in that group of sleights, but it simply looks like hell when most people do it.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 01:29 PM

but it simply looks like hell when most people do it.
true.. true... of course...

the same could be said about;

the pass
the top change
and the double lift
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/14/05 01:53 PM

I have seen many people master the Pass, Top CHange, and Double Lift.
I have seen very FEW master the Pinky Count.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Philippe Billot » 02/14/05 02:21 PM

I'm so sorry to launch a polemic because I just want to know other sources.
Now, someone can tell me who is Lindahl, please ?
Philippe Billot
 
Posts: 946
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 02:22 PM

I haven't gotten the knack of it, but Doug Conn's vid made it a lot clearer. Darwin Ortiz also uses the pinky count with great success. I'm not sure you can totally discount it just because not many people do it well. It seems extremely difficult to get down, but if one stayed with it and mastered it wouldn't the effort have been worthwhile? It would be a hell of a useful tool to have.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 06:24 PM

A thread some of you might find interesting here

best,

Geoff
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/14/05 06:31 PM

I don't see anything useful about the referenced thread except that Paul Chosse agrees with me.
As far as Geoff Latta, well he's one of the guys who can do a Pinky Count without looking like he's having a bowl movement at the same time.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Bob Farmer » 02/14/05 06:35 PM

The deck should be beveled slightly -- that makes the count easier. Guitar players like me find the pinky count easy because the little finger on the left hand is flexible and muscular. Music stores sell a thing called a Gripmaster which you can use to build up finger strength.
Bob Farmer
 
Posts: 1678
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Short card above selection.

Postby Guest » 02/14/05 07:57 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I don't see anything useful about the referenced thread except that Paul Chosse agrees with me.
As far as Geoff Latta, well he's one of the guys who can do a Pinky Count without looking like he's having a bowl movement at the same time.
Mr Kaufman,

(Uh-oh, he's calling him Mr. Kaufman again)

Apparently you haven't read the whole thread. Mr. Chosse acknowledges that he put up the diatribe against the move as bait to get people to talk deeply about the move. Some did.

Regarding your second paragraph, how do you know I haven't simply mastered the art of having a bowel movement so subtly that the nearest spectator would not even suspect, let alone detect....

Never mind.

-G-
Guest
 

Postby AMCabral » 02/14/05 08:11 PM

First of all, "bowel movement". A "bowl movement" is a Roy Benson routine.

Secondly, Richard, your biases are showing. A pinky count is infinitely easier to learn and master than a classic pass. Just because you've "seen it done poorly" doesn't make it a bad move. I'm sure you've seen a great number of mangled classic passes. You've gleefully pointed out on many an occasion how the pass is a sleight that separates the men from the boys. If a well-done pass were as common as you seem to claim it is, why is it more impressive than a pinky count, which seems to be attainable only by Big Dog Daddy sleight masters like Geoff Latta AND Richard Turner?

Richard, I can perform a pinky count with no more tension than a thumb count. And, surveying a number of tricks, there seems to be more need for getting a break under a number of cards than to control a single card. So...

In short, you still haven't answered the question adequately. I can hypothesize why you don't dig the pinky count. All I'm looking for is something resembling a well-formed answer.

-Tony
User avatar
AMCabral
 
Posts: 168
Joined: 03/13/08 08:59 AM

Postby pduffie » 02/15/05 12:49 AM

I agree with Richard. And, he has answered the question. But, it's a difficult one to answer in depth without offending some people. In my experience, I have been fooled on occasions by expert Passes, Palms & Deals. But only ONE person has done a Pinky Count that flew past me. Only ONE in my lifetime! I look forward to meeting Geoff Latta so I may increase my list to two...
pduffie
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: UK

Postby Jon Elion » 02/15/05 04:36 AM

I have found it helpful to count my pinkies just before each performance, and commit that number to memory. That way, I don't have to get bogged down counting them in the middle of an effect.
Jon Elion
 
Posts: 134
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Wakefield, RI

Postby Guest » 02/15/05 06:16 AM

Originally posted by Peter Duffie:
I agree with Richard. And, he has answered the question. But, it's a difficult one to answer in depth without offending some people. In my experience, I have been fooled on occasions by expert Passes, Palms & Deals. But only ONE person has done a Pinky Count that flew past me. Only ONE in my lifetime! I look forward to meeting Geoff Latta so I may increase my list to two...
I find I am rarely 'fooled' by passes, palms, pinky counts, etc - especially passes. But I have to ask, do you stare at a person's hands when they perform or do you occasionally look at their face as they patter, as normal people do? If you say you have only once been 'fooled' by a pinky count, all I can say is the person who used the move wasn't using it at the right time.

I've seen some excellent magicians do a great pinky count that would fool 100% of laymen and 90% of magicians (if used properly) but it doesn't fool me. Does that make it a bad move? No. It just means I'm highly attuned to the move. Same for the pass. I don't care who you are - I'll know when you do a pass. No exceptions. Indeed, there are a lot of pass experts who are highly touted and yet their work wouldn't fool any experienced magician, who will always have some idea of what's happening and when. But so what, as long as it fools the people they intend to perform for?
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 02/15/05 07:09 AM

My beef with the pinky count, and the reason that I could never consider it in the same class of sleights as the pass, the top change, and the double lift, is that the effect that it enables is much less interesting.

Pass/DL/TC -- something changes
Pinky Count -- you have "control" (big wup!)

In effect, the Pinky Count only has value
a) if you know folk who actually enjoy counting/dealing (aka boring) card tricks -or-
b) if used in conjunction with more important and more powerful sleights/ruses (e.g., a memorized deck)

Bottom line: the Pinky Count is over-rated.
Guest
 

Postby pduffie » 02/15/05 07:09 AM

I never stare at a performer's hands. Only when they do a Pinky Count because I'm usually concerned that they may have suffered a stroke, or some other sudden impairment :-)

Peter
pduffie
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: UK

Postby AMCabral » 02/15/05 07:28 AM

Well, snap. I been served. Curses! Foiled again...

-Tony
User avatar
AMCabral
 
Posts: 168
Joined: 03/13/08 08:59 AM

Postby Guest » 02/15/05 02:27 PM

Peter, Richard (etc)

Me thinks, the magi you've seen execute the count could improve their 'staging.' I'm guessing you've witnessed card-men (Ortiz for example) that prefer to sit while performing... this is the death stance for the count (and many other card sleights.)

There should be no reason for your audience to be staring at the deck while you do the move (be it the count, the pass, the top change... or even a double lift.) Rare is the case that a move (any move) will withstand a 'burn'... Even rarer is the move that will withstand a burn from a knowledgable cardman.

When I do the count, it's usually executed while my arm/hand is hanging to the side of my body (and/or some other interesting event is diverting the audience' attention.) So, in order to catch me counting, you'd need to be lying on the floor looking up at my pinky.

Doug Peters; IMO the count is underexplored. You mentioned two ways to utilize the count... I assure you there are MANY more. Think about this: By combining the count with a pass and a palm, you have the ability to access any card (or any # of cards) at any position in the pack... powerful stuff. A review of "An Artistic Application" (from "Tricks of My Trade") will give you one example of a non-counting/non-mem effect that puts the count to good use.

well, I've spent my 2 cents,
Conn
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 02/15/05 03:42 PM

I'm guessing you've witnessed card-men (Ortiz for example) that prefer to sit while performing... this is the death stance for the count (and many other card sleights.)
I saw a tape a while back where Ortiz explained this and was standing during the performances and it worked quite well. He certainly didn't give the appearance of straining in any way when he was getting the breaks.

I think you're right on the money that it wouldn't be nearly as effective sitting, as ideally the hand with the deck would drop and it'd be nearly impossible to see the action.

I still think the ability to secretly acquire a break under any number of cards, without having to slide cards back and forth etc., would be a tremendous tool and worth the time to learn to do well.
Guest
 

Postby Gary Freed » 02/15/05 05:16 PM

I'm afraid that though I admire Mr. Ortiz and his work very much, I think Richard's description fit him all too well.

It is interesting to me, that at a lecture and workshop given over 13 years ago by Coinman David Roth (a close friend of Mr. Ortiz) he told us that he(Roth) "owned" the pinky count.
Gary Freed
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Endicott, NY

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/15/05 06:13 PM

The problem with the Pinky Count is that one does NOT have to even glance at a magician's hand in order to know that it's being done!
The entire body tenses, the forearm resembles a marble statue, the shoulder freezes, and even though the magician is babbling, his eyes have glazed over because his brain is actually somewhere else--concentrating on his hand instead of what he's saying.
It matters not if he is standing or sitting.
The spectators know that something is happening because all the energy in the magician's body is directed toward his pinky-counting hand.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20714
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Disparity1 » 02/16/05 12:41 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The problem with the Pinky Count is that one does NOT have to even glance at a magician's hand in order to know that it's being done!
The entire body tenses, the forearm resembles a marble statue, the shoulder freezes, and even though the magician is babbling, his eyes have glazed over because his brain is actually somewhere else--concentrating on his hand instead of what he's saying.
It matters not if he is standing or sitting.
The spectators know that something is happening because all the energy in the magician's body is directed toward his pinky-counting hand.
Wellllllllll...that describes pretty much every pass I've ever seen, too...
Disparity1
 
Posts: 58
Joined: 03/20/08 04:45 PM

Postby pduffie » 02/16/05 12:49 AM

Wellllllllll...that describes pretty much every pass I've ever seen, too...
And me too - but there a few I haven't seen....
pduffie
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: UK

Postby Rafael Benatar » 02/16/05 03:15 AM

I use the PC regularly (although I have a Mac), and I'd say, apart from the sheer technique, it is impossible to keep the hand totally relaxed so, compared to the other sleights mentioned, it calls for more cover.
The Top Change can be done totally relaxed and needs good cover. After all, you're getting away with something big. The Pass has a moment of heat, and youre doing something big, but it goes by in a flash. The Double Lift has a moment of low heat and then you can relax. Now the heat on the Pinkie Count lasts as long as the count itself and you should be trained to handle the cover. I rarely use it for large numbers, and if I do, I split it.
As a cover, I usually resort to gestures as when emphasizing something Im saying, or keeping the and in motion (and the rest of the body relaxed). The thumb count has the same problems with tension. I personally love the pinkie count (having the guitar player advantage Bob mentioned classical training with years of daily exercises for the strength and independence of the left fingers).
The main advantages are the angles, and that you have nothing extra to do to get a pinkie break under the counted cards: youre already there. I use what I call a double bevel, where the front end is beveled to the right to conceal the bevel to the left of the back end. I recognize the frozen attitude Richard mentions, which is also seen often in people getting ready for the one-hand top palm (as if two-handed palms didnt exist). The one-hand palm is a wonderful sleight if properly covered. For a brilliant example, see Vernons Butterfly Card Trick in one of the Chronicles.
As a curious fact, my Italian friend Francesco di Luciano, from Florence, can do a pinkie count from the bottom up! And I dont mean a pinkie pull-down or anything, he just riffles upward with the tip of his pinkie.
Rafael Benatar
 
Posts: 223
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Madrid, Spain

Postby Guest » 02/16/05 04:37 AM

Originally posted by Peter Duffie:
I never stare at a performer's hands. Only when they do a Pinky Count because I'm usually concerned that they may have suffered a stroke, or some other sudden impairment :-)

Peter
Well between that and 99.999% of pass afficionados looking like they have Tourettes and/or Carpal tunnel syndrome, I'm happy to split the difference.

;^)

Seriously though - there are a lot of guys who do a great pass - Kaufman, Swiss, Walton, Duffie (!), etc, etc - but any decent magician will always know when the move happened, even if they didn't see the move. Frankly, that's as bad as seeing it anyway. Of course - none of that matters unless you perform exclusively for magicians.

This all reminds me of a story a friend told me about someone who has a huge reputation for doing a great pass. He had taken his kids to a show by this magician and afterwards asked one of them (about ten and with no interest or knowledge in magic as a hobby) what she thought of the performer. She replied that he was great, "but why did he keep cutting the cards really quickly?"
Guest
 

Postby AMCabral » 02/16/05 07:36 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The problem with the Pinky Count is that one does NOT have to even glance at a magician's hand in order to know that it's being done!
The entire body tenses, the forearm resembles a marble statue, the shoulder freezes, and even though the magician is babbling, his eyes have glazed over because his brain is actually somewhere else--concentrating on his hand instead of what he's saying.
It matters not if he is standing or sitting.
The spectators know that something is happening because all the energy in the magician's body is directed toward his pinky-counting hand.
One of the things I love about the pass, besides the fact that the move is PERFECTION, is the built-in misdirection.

The audience thinks, "But how could ANY of the cards moved at all when he was choking the deck so tightly with BOTH HANDS like that? IMPOSSIBLE!!"

And you HAVE to look at the performer's hands when he does an invisible pass. It's rude not to. In fact, if you do an invisible pass and your audience isn't looking, you're perfectly within your rights to smack them, cut the deck again and MAKE THEM WATCH. What good's an invisible, secret manuever if you can't do it when everybody's looking?

The original point, for those of you playing the home game, is that just because a move is difficult or you've seen it done poorly, or merely recognized it was being done, doesn't mean the move sucks. But this is much more fun.

-Tony
User avatar
AMCabral
 
Posts: 168
Joined: 03/13/08 08:59 AM

Postby Guest » 02/16/05 07:46 AM

Originally posted by D. Conn:
By combining the count with a pass and a palm, you have the ability to access any card (or any # of cards) at any position in the pack... powerful stuff.
Originally posted by Doug Peters:
...the Pinky Count only has value ... if used in conjunction with more important and more powerful sleights/ruses (for example, a memorized deck [or a pass or a palm])
We seem to be in complete agreement :)

BTW, it is possible that there arises a natural competition between folk who prefer (for want of a better term) the "Dingle bridge (i.e., edges up, middle down)", enabling a sweet riffle pass, and a no-get-ready DL, and the (equally lame choice of term) "Hamman bridge (i.e., edges down, middle up)", enabling the Pinky Count. My broken-in decks, for example, would likely challenge pinky counters, just as my friends' decks make me abandon the riffle pass.

We often (consciously or unconsciously) impose our "personal constraints" on our evaluation of others' material.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 02/16/05 10:28 AM

Okay... I've had a day to think about it...

I was wrong.

Promoting one of cardopia's "unburnable","overated", "limiting" sleights was a bad idea.

I should have kept my hands off the keyboard... and on the deck (continuing to discover the many untold uses for said sleight.)

Time's a wasting... back to the secret lair...
Guest
 

Postby Philippe Billot » 02/16/05 02:46 PM

The funny thing is that Lindahl (Gadzooks ! Who is this man ?) seems conscious of the problem explained by Richard Kaufman.
To overcome it, He covers the deck with a handkerchief (to hide the pinky count) and he presents a mental effect. In this way, he can simulate a hard concentration.
Philippe Billot
 
Posts: 946
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 02/16/05 08:30 PM

The funny thing is that Lindahl (Gadzooks ! Who is this man ?) seems conscious of the problem explained by Richard Kaufman.
To overcome it, He covers the deck with a handkerchief (to hide the pinky count) and he presents a mental effect. In this way, he can simulate a hard concentration.
I'm not sure how effective covering the deck with a handkerchief would be as according to the critics here the performer is still going to look as if he's having the equivalent of a grand mal seizure. Maybe if one incorporated a presentation where the deck momentarily transformed into a mass of stinging scorpions this might justify his strange behavior.

I guess when I saw Darwin Ortiz doing this on video he was just in a zone that prevented him from displaying the weird paralytic actions described. Talk about a zen master :D
Guest
 

Next

Return to Magic History and Anecdotes