Ricky Jay Book Question

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Postby Guest » 09/19/05 12:18 PM

Just joined your board to ask a technical question.

An associate in the publishing world told me that there are hidden tricks that can be performed "built into" Ricky Jay's book - Extraordinary Exhibitions.

I have a copy of the book (and have not read every word of it,) but I can not discover any tricks or things I can see that might be used for tricks.

Does anyone else know about this? I am a well-read amateur and have seen the tricks built into books by Martin Gardner and Karl Fulves, so I know of some ways in which this has been done before, but can't find any of those methods here.

Anyone?
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Postby magicam » 09/19/05 07:24 PM

Not out of character for Jay.

My (rather obvius) thoughts: maybe he/she is pulling your leg? If not, where did he/she get the info? May be your best source!

Let us know!

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Postby Guest » 09/19/05 08:16 PM

I had the same thought at first, but this is apparently not a joke, and not something Mr Jay was intending for anyone else to use.

My source is an "insider" who heard of some last minute changes/additions by Jay before the book went to print.

It may have something to do with the specific positioning of text and images (holding one of the pages up to the light?) or the exact text breaks (counting to a specific word on any page?)

I gave my friend a solid interrogation, but she knows a lot about book design and printing, and nothing about magic, so she wasn't pulling my leg or holding out, she just told me what she knew and that she did not know any more.
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Postby Guest » 09/26/05 10:31 PM

I appreciate the "inside information" you have been so kind to share but I truly have no idea how I would be able to pull this off convincingly.

Now that the secret is "out," can anyone suggest a simple way for a sincere but admittedly limited amatuer to get someone to "freely pick" one of the special pages?

Thanks
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Postby Guest » 10/06/05 10:51 PM

OK,

You've had me going since September 19th. I already had the Jay book, but had no sense that there was anything "built into it" for the performance of tricks.

I think I have found one thing, based on your last post. How can I tell if this is real or my imagination being set-off by your imagination?

Any hints?
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Postby John Wilson » 10/07/05 10:50 PM

Well either it's a book gaff or it's not. If you've spotted the gaff the method for using it should be apparent. Discussing specific types of gaffs and how they work is forbidden so I don't know how to explain it to you. Maybe if you could say where in the book you've spotted this gaff then we could all check our copies and then have something useful.
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Postby Guest » 10/07/05 11:08 PM

I am going blind trying to locate all the differences in the two editions/printings (?)

But for instance -

On page 39 in one copy, there is a two of clubs falling to the floor, in the copy I bought at the exhibition in San Francisco, there is NO CARD in the image!

And

On page 47 in my Amazon copy, the arrow/dial is pointing to a two of diamonds while, in the copy from the Yerba Buena Center, the arrow is pointing to an Ace.

I have located close to a dozen little differences like these, never in the text, always in the playbills.

I can guess that if you were good at making someone take the card you wanted them to take, and they didn't know it wasn't a free choice, these images could be used to reveal the identity of the selection. As I wrote before, just how a prestidigitateur might accomplish this is beyond me.

I am also thinking that a person like Mr. Jay might use the differences in the images to make someone think that the picture changed. Not sure how one might actually accomplish this, or what one would say to have it make sense or seem magical, but I presume that is the kind of thing you folks on the Forum do for a living.
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Postby John Wilson » 10/08/05 02:08 AM

Maybe this is just a clever ploy to get magicians to buy 52 different versions of the text, both as collectors items and for use as revelations?? I personally have and will buy only one copy and now know why I have not noticed a gaff, as it seems multiple copies are required.

P.S.-Maybe a book on card magic would help you in learning how to force a card??? ;) Try Expert Card Technique, Royal Road to Card Magic, and Expert at the Card Table for starters. Then maybe your multiple copies of Mr. Jay's book might come in handy.
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Postby Guest » 10/08/05 12:13 PM

Thank you for the suggested resources.

While I am comfortable with mysteries such as Central Gaussian Convolution Semigroups on Compact Groups, or Constrained Ising Models, the idea of manipulating persons or playing cards is beyond my personal technical abilities.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/10/05 04:38 PM

Mathtrix, I have a firm offer for you of $200 from a collector in New York City for the copy of Ricky Jay's book that does not have the 2 of Clubs in the image on page 39 and that shows the dial on page 47 pointing to the Ace rather than the Two. He purchased a copy from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on the opening night of the exhibition, and his copy does not share either feature, so he is apparently skeptical that such a copy exists. Email me privately and I'll put you in touch with him. If anyone else has a copy with those features, his offer is good for the first copy he acquires. Naturally, if you can discuss the other dozen or so discrepencies you have found, I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear about them!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/10/05 08:14 PM

It should be fairly simple if we all pitch in:

My copy has a Two of Clubs on p.39.

The dial on p.47 is pointing to the Two.

Frankly, the fact that both of these cards are a Deuce makes me suspicious.

That aside, is everyone else's copy like mine? If mathtrix is the only person who claims to have a copy unlike everyone else's, then he's not telling the truth.

I must add that the only way for someone to prove their book is different is by showing it to a third party in person. No jpegs allowed.
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Postby John Wilson » 10/10/05 09:37 PM

Checked mine and it matches Richard's. No $200 for me :(
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 10/10/05 11:10 PM

Checked mine and matches Richard's too...

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Postby Guest » 10/11/05 06:52 PM

I'm way ahead of you. I already tried to buy more copies from the Yerba Buena and they do not have any. Apparently they were selling them on behalf of Mr. Jay and do not have a regular gift shop.

I am not interested in selling the "special" edition but I am planning on bringing it to the LA History Conference for Mr. Jay to autograph and I have no problem showing it to anyone who wants to see it.

I am sure that professionals will find things I don't know to look for, or may be able tell me how someone like Mr. Jay might use some of the stuff I've spotted.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/11/05 07:14 PM

mathtrix, you have to tell me who you are if you want to show me your book!
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/11/05 08:01 PM

Mathtrix, I would love to see the variant edition at the LA History Conference. I'll be easy to find manning the H & R Magic Book booth. Looking forward to seeing it!
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Postby Guest » 10/14/05 05:02 PM

Just checked my copy. Alas, it also matches Richards.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 10/15/05 11:50 AM

My copy (bought from Amazon) matches Richard's...
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Postby magicam » 10/16/05 11:08 PM

Well I'm intrigued ...

My copy matches the majority here. When I first responded to the original post, I though maybe there was something in the text which might lend itself to something fun, but I'm not so sure if the trick is supposed to be in the illustrations, unless perhaps there are variant playbills?

Thinking out loud, here we have a reputable scholar who has doctored/faked the facsimile reproductions of two old playbills?

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Postby Joe Hanosek » 10/17/05 12:52 PM

Bought mine from the Yerba Buena Center - but I also have a 2 of Clubs
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Postby Guest » 10/17/05 07:28 PM

I don't think this book has had a second printing.

What are the chances that Jay had "some" copies printed (or maybe he just had a few special pages replaced or substituted in one or two copies) for his own amusement and use?

If so, how did a copy end-up in the hands of a San Francisco math teacher? Was Jay at the Yerba Buena himself, or was it just an exhibition of his playbills? If he was there, it might explain how something "unusual" got sold (by mistake?)

Mr. Hatch - are you willing to go on the record and state that it was not Jay himself, or an agent on his behalf who was willing to pay such a premium for a book that you can buy on Amazon for $30 dollars? Maybe he is just trying to round-up all the evidence.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/17/05 09:18 PM

Originally posted by New Guy:
Mr. Hatch - are you willing to go on the record and state that it was not Jay himself, or an agent on his behalf who was willing to pay such a premium for a book that you can buy on Amazon for $30 dollars? Maybe he is just trying to round-up all the evidence.
I believe the person on whose behalf the offer was tendered was sincere and acting on his own behalf, and it was not Mr. Jay. But I'd be willing to pay that much myself for a copy of the variant at this point! Looking forward to seeing the copy at the Los Angeles Conference next month...
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Postby magicam » 10/17/05 10:47 PM

Either Mathtrix or Jay is getting a good belly laugh out of all of this.

I didn't read Mathtrix's last post carefully enough - there are close to a dozen faked/doctored facsimile playbills in this book? And we have a guy who won't give his name making that claim? If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but this smells like a prank to me.
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Postby John Wilson » 10/17/05 10:50 PM

To me at least, $200 doesn't seem to be too much for a book that seems to be singular. There are thousands of copies of Cards as Weapons in existence and look at the going rate for any of those that are up for sale. There seems to be only one copy of this gaffed book around. I'd pay $200 for it, then trade it for a deck of Jerry's Nuggets. HA! ;)
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Postby Guest » 10/18/05 04:08 PM

I did not intend to start such a witch hunt!

In light of recent messages, I must be more accurate about what I have found:

I have now located three playbills that have "something" special about them, the two mentioned, and one more that has several differences. My original comment of "almost a dozen" is probably off by six, but I may be unable to detect everything going on here.

Eager to have the H&R team tell me what I bought, as I now suspect that these variant pages may have been replaced or substituted. If this is so, the work is amazing and indetectable.

I can assure everyone that I am not belly-laughing, just scratching my head, and maybe the surface...
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Postby magicam » 10/18/05 04:34 PM

mathtrix:

Expressing skepticism because you won't reveal your name (or where you live; nor can anyone contact you by e-mail) and because I don't believe that Ricky Jay would doctor (now) several facsimile reproductions of old playbills is not intended to be a "witch hunt."

If you won't tell us who you are, how can anybody find you at the L.A. Conference?

As I said earlier, I could be wrong about my skepticism, but so far nothing adds up: we have a mysterious poster, nobody else has confirmed that they have a variant copy, and the expense of printing and Jay's credibility weigh against the existence of this variant.

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Postby Guest » 10/19/05 09:41 AM

Clay,

I think matrix said he was going to show it to H and R. I can understand not wanting to be followed around at the convention.

It kind of makes sense to me - Ricky jay has a few pages fixed in photoshop and has them put in one copy so he can do some tricks with it. It gets sold by mistake. Not so hard for me to imagine.
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Postby magicam » 10/19/05 11:30 AM

Lucca:

mathtrix wrote:
...I am planning on bringing it to the LA History Conference ... and have no problem showing it to anyone who wants to see it.
I guess anything is possible, but do you really think that if Jay had his special copy doctored, that somehow he would lose it in a box of regular copies?

This thread is beginning to remind me of a book that Mackay wrote in the 1800's.

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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/19/05 01:53 PM

Iwas not supposed to say anything but this is getting out of hand.

Mathtrix IS Ricky Jay. He had the books prepared and was ready to present a killer publicity stunt. Unfortunately a well meaning PR rep accidentally picked them up and sold them to the maddening throngs.

What Ricky didn't know at the time was that rumor of the stunt had leaked out. The throng were none other than the technical advisors for BOTH Chris Angel and David Blaine.

Yes. It's true.

Fearing Ricky's "playbill bonanza" would eclipse their heralded headline grabbing stunts, both men decided to work together and send their nemesis back to the book room.

Little did they know that one and only one copy managed to be sold to a man in a well-pressed stylish suit with no facial hair. Ricky, seeing this man walk from the store, tried to follow but was halted in his tracks by the 23 man posse engaged a self levitation showdown in the lobby.

He knew this man was not with either camp - after all, he was well dressed AND without facial hair. He knew that if he could find that book, the others for all intents and purposes being lost, he could still pull off the "playbill bonanza".

And here we find him now. I thought impersonating BOTH the NY collector AND someone who knew nothing about magic was a brilliant stroke - a diversion worthy of an Erdnase trained cheat. (They should not suspect, let alone detect...)

However, I have heard that Ricky is taking proactive steps. He is backing a handful of collectors who are slowly buying up all the folding coins and black eye makeup on the face of the planet.

His revenge is nigh.

Until then, good luck reclaiming your book, Ricky, I mean, er, Mathtrix.
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Postby magicam » 10/19/05 06:25 PM

Now this thread REALLY reminds me of Mackay's book ....
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Postby Guest » 10/19/05 11:01 PM

Brad Henderson has hit the nail on the head. The whole thing is a giant conspiracy.

Consider the following recent revelations:

Look at the Amazon ads on the right-
Now we hear that there are actual tricks taught in the Mark Wilson book?
Rumors of psychic experiences while reading the Lamont book!
New work on the bottom deal in the Karl Johnson book.
And the fact that the Steinmeyer book was printed simultaneously in English and Chinese?

The fishy part of this to me is that the guy who started the thread with "a rumor" he heard is now the only guy who seems to have this special copy of the book.

If mathtricks is a statistician, perhaps he can answer one more question:

What are the chances?
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 10/20/05 09:24 AM

All this palaver suggests to me that there is a growing hunger for anything scarce and secret. Perhaps this signals a return to the days when SOME magicians kept secrets, there was no Info-Glut, cardmen held their cards close to their vests, and the Good Stuff was either selectively "tipped" or not "tipped" at all?

Will there be a return to secrecy?

Onward...
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Postby CHRIS » 10/20/05 09:47 AM

It is hard to know how many 'secrets' are being held back, because of their very nature of being 'held back secrets'. The fact that more is being published does not necessarily mean that less is held back. It could be that more secrets are being created, which allows more to be published as well as more to be held back (on an absolute scale).

Just trying to be accurate with the logic applied.

Upward....

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/20/05 10:09 AM

Not a bad idea here, and probably well worth the effort if one can get the plates setup for a variation across runs.

Thanks.
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Postby magicam » 10/20/05 01:24 PM

If this thread is simply and truly palaver, res ipsa loquitur so Im not sure how any meaningful inferences could be drawn from it. :confused:

Jonathan, the quality of the facsimiles is high. Printing of this quality is not cheap. To stop press, swap plates for a few illustrations, then get the inking and registration to the point where the printing is of the desired quality takes time, and thus money. However, if there are differences in the illustrations between some copies and if those differences existed on the same printed sheets, maybe some economies of scale could have been accomplished. But that all depends on how the sheets were printed and quired. My copy is bound so tightly that I cant really tell how the sheets were printed (i.e., 2 up, 4 up, 8 up, etc.) nor how they were gathered (i.e., whether the book is a folio, quarto, octavo, octavo in 4's, octavo in 2s, etc.), nor if the leaves for pp. 39 and 47 are conjugate.

Of course, this still all may be grist for the fantasy mill... .

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Postby Guest » 10/21/05 10:07 AM

Clay,

Even if the thing speaks for itself, one cannot be certain which definition of palaver was intended:

palaver \puh-LAV-uhr; puh-LAH-vur\, noun:
1. Idle talk
2. Talk intended to beguile or deceive.
3. A parley usually between persons of different backgrounds or cultures or levels of sophistication; a talk; hence, a public conference and deliberation.

I would argue that Jon is a 1/3 guy whereas you keep defining yourself as #2.

It is interesting, no matter which way you go.
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Postby magicam » 10/21/05 02:02 PM

Just having fun with Jon R.'s word play, Lucca. Any lack of clarity in Jon's use of the word "palaver" was simply being mirrored. IMHO, I don't think the content of this thread signals a return to anything. Clay
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Postby Guest » 10/22/05 11:31 AM

Clay,

While it may not be a "return" in the strict sense of the word, I do sense a collective desire to move toward a time and place where there are still secrets and mysteries that are not instantly available with a single mouse click.

I know of several experts who keep company with each other and share select secrets only with each other, all agreeing that they will not publish or sell these new developments and discoveries. How many tricks have you seen published or sold by William Kalush of New York City in the last few years? There were some articles on magic history (and I think we will hear a lot from him about magic history very soon - Houdini, a magazine and a research institution?) and he had some things published in Apocalypse and on a Secret Sessions video.

Although not strictly magic, Mr Steve Forte of Las Vegas has published a giant book on information on cheating technology and techniques, but I know from personal experience that Mr Forte only "reveals" a method if he has at least two or more (always more!) methods that produce the same or better results (and these methods he does not share.) So, we think we are getting it all, and we are only getting the cast-offs of the experts.

The truth is, there is a lot of powerful magic that is never shared with us and the larger magic community, and it is why threads like this one so excite our imagination, the idea of a "real secret" from Ricky Jay being discovered, and the chance that one of us might have one of the special books and not even know it!
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Postby magicam » 10/26/05 07:45 PM

Lucca:

If you are a magic practitioner in even the most limited sense, no doubt you have better insight and sensitivity than I do so far as reading between the lines goes Im now just a magic history and book dweeb, having long ago dropped out of performing, let lapse membership in the IBM, failed to renew subscriptions to Genii, etc. So Im not qualified to argue against your point. But it seems that you have also provided evidence that those days of secrets and mysteries that are not instantly available with a single mouse click are still with us, no? My guess is that, so long as magic lives, there will always be those concentric circles of knowledge and fellowship, existing partly because there are those who (rightly) feel that the same is necessary to keep magic unsullied and innovative.

Your comment about Steve Fortes book was a bit puzzling (to me at least). Given your avowed (and thus authoritative-sounding) personal experience, you must be aware that the casinos are one of the key target markets for Fortes book. So I would imagine that sales of Steves book to casinos would suffer measurably if they read and believed your comment that readers are only getting cast-offs of the experts I dont think that viewpoint is in keeping with the marketing of the book!

By the way, one of the highlights of my wifes and my trip to Europe last summer was our stay in Lucca, Italy, one of the prettiest old cities Ive ever seen. The church architecture there was varied and amazing, and at one point in time (if I recall correctly from my reading), this tiny ancient town of less than a square mile had some 53 churches!

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Postby Guest » 10/26/05 09:21 PM

A thread to make the bibliophile salivate!

I bought my copy (not one of the alleged variants) just yesterday at the booksigning in Swann Galleries. During his talk, Jay did mention that a certain number of typographical errors crept into the first edition, and that a corrected second edition was due out soon. Changes in the playbills, however, could hardly be described as typographical errors...

Furthermore, I wonder if a true collector would be able to bring himself to falsify the documents themselves. And then again, Jay also said at the same talk that his primary joy is performance, even above the collecting; and to create one's own secret variant editions could also be the collector's dream and the performer's best friend!
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