David Berglas' Matchmaker effect

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Anthony Owen » 06/25/09 03:22 AM

Here's a thought on David Berglas' brilliant Matchmaker effect (which appears on page 437 of The Mind and Magic of David Berglas, published by Hahne).

I suspect that the challenging memorisation, technique and improvisation needed for the selection of the three cards by the female spectators are a major contributing factor to this terrific effect's lack of popularity with performers. Suffice to say Berglas is one of the few performers on the planet who does have the skills to pull this off. However for the rest of us....

How about replacing the published card selection method with the brilliant idea behind TA Water's Automanticard (page 214 of Mind, Myth and Magick, published by Hermetic Press)? This would enable the performer to hand each of the three female spectators their own deck of cards, which they would all be instructed to take behind their backs and reverse one unknown random card in each of their decks. The performer could then take back the decks one at a time, spread through them and reveal their random cards. These would match the cards inside the balloons held by their partners. I'd suggest having the female spectators sat on chairs so that you could use three chair back servantes to do the necessary.

Just a thought...

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Postby Marco Pusterla » 06/25/09 04:04 PM

Dear Anthony,

Many thanks for suggesting this procedure and for having me go back to the Waters book :)

Personally, I don't think that using three decks (cough... six... cough...) will make the effect more practical, but I rather think will make it more cumbersome, that you will lose the "clean-ness" you have with Berglas' original method. Off the top of my head, I think you could use a single deck to be passed around the ladies, one each reversing a card, but this will require to have only (!) 26 balloons available, rather than the full 52. Is this acceptable? Perhaps it is... But the big problem with this is that you will end up with three reversed cards in the deck and you WON'T KNOW who selected which card! Yes, the three cards will still match, but you will have lost the partner-matching part of the effect. Is this something that can be lost? Or covered with some chutzpah? Not sure...

Anybody else has some idea to share?
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Postby Anthony Owen » 06/26/09 03:20 AM

Thanks for the response Marco. I'm delighted to be responsible for making you dig out your copy of the Waters book. There's brilliant stuff in there.

Interestingly, I started out thinking about having a single visible deck in play, like Berglas, and having it passed from lady to lady as you suggest.

Personally I think I'd prefer to have all three ladies do the behind the back selection simultaneously as it'll tighten up the amount of time taken to perform the 'selection process', often an issue in the performance of mentalism.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 06/26/09 03:44 AM

Anthony Owen wrote:Personally I think I'd prefer to have all three ladies do the behind the back selection simultaneously as it'll tighten up the amount of time taken to perform the 'selection process', often an issue in the performance of mentalism.


Yes, it will, but then you'll be using more time to search and reveal the card from every deck. As this phase is closer to the revelation of the effect (the cards match!), I feel it will slow down the effect at the wrong time...

PS: I love Waters' book... I have a couple of effects (or methods) from it in my professional repertoire... ;)
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Postby Anthony Owen » 06/26/09 05:19 PM

Good point Marco. If I were going to put this into my performing repertoire I'd try it both ways and see which got the strongest audience reaction.

PS I forgot to say there's brilliant stuff in the Berglas book too. Maybe someday I'll tell the story of how I nearly wrote that book. David Britland did a much better job than I ever could have done.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/27/09 01:09 AM

I notice a glaring omission in the Berglas book. He told me it was his favourite trick. I don't think many magicians (if any) know that he does it at parties and other occasions. I saw him do it with my own eyes.

The light in the room flickers and goes out. It seems to be a fuse or something. He goes up to the wall and slams it very hard. The light goes on again.

I think David may have kept this under wraps for rather a long time. I won't say how long ago that I saw him do it. Nobody would believe me. I have reason to believe that he still does it.
It has a stunning effect.
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Postby David Britland » 06/27/09 08:47 AM

Hi Psychic Lawrence.

I saw David do the light trick. It's great gag and he plays it brilliantly. It's described in The Back Room column of issue 275 of The Phoenix magazine (1953) where it's attributed to Tommy Vanderschmidt although it's not clear whether Vanderschmidt created it. Well worth looking up for those who don't know about it.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/27/09 10:02 AM

Thank you David. It proves the old adage that the best stuff is hidden in magazines. I am also glad that you confirmed that he does this on a regular basis. One sceptical friend of mine seemed to think that he did this on a one-off occasion when I saw it and was taking advantages of circumstances. I insisted that he must have done it regularly for him to say that it was his favourite trick.

Is there any reason it isn't in the book? Did he ask specifically that it not be included? He seemed to change the subject very rapidly when I brought it up at a magic convention. And I have never met a magician besides yourself who has actually seen him do it. Quite frankly I think it is a far better effect than the Card at any Number which although good is highly over-rated. In fact David showed it to me once and seemed disappointed that I didn't react strongly. It just seemed like another card trick of which I have seen many.

The light trick is far more stunning and I have remembered the effect for around 50 years or so. I still have no idea how it was done. Or at least I have theories but they are probably wrong. I had no idea it was already in print. God alone knows where I am going to find a Phoenix that old. I shall try to locate it though.
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Postby David Britland » 06/27/09 01:33 PM

Hi Psychic Lawrence

You can get the entire run of Phoenix on CD rom for less than $25 at a magic dealer. A google search will turn up a bargain.

If we had to put everything David Berglas did in the book, we'd still be writing it! I'm glad we managed to write up as much as we did. After two and a half years, we realised that if we didn't stop, the book would never come out. But with someone as uniquely creative as David Berglas, there is always more.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 06/27/09 06:44 PM

The CD of The Phoenix is one of the all-time great bargains in magic.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/27/09 08:20 PM

I consider reading a book on a computer to be unadulterated torture. Thanks for the suggestion though. Regretfully I will not be taking it up.
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Postby David Britland » 06/27/09 09:24 PM

Anyone else will find the two paragraphs describing this stunt on page 1101 of The Phoenix.

Thanks to searchable pdfs at Ask Alexander no researchers were tortured in order to bring you this information!
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Postby Barefoot Boy » 06/27/09 10:18 PM

I still believe the trick was one in which special conditions need to be met. An impromptu stunt it is not!
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/27/09 11:08 PM

I am going to take a crack at guessing the method. If I get it right it will save me a lot of time looking things up on a computer. I have no idea what a searchable pdf file is anyway. I am surprised that David Britland didn't describe the trick in the Berglas book since it is reputably his favourite trick. And the cigarette trick which made him famous in the first place isn't described either.

Here is what I have recently been suspecting. In a lot of households a switch to operate the light is often outside the room. Since I happen to know that David loves stooges and secret assistants I suspect that one may be in use here. I would imagine that the said assistant who may well be the owner of the house is in on the whole thing. He could secretly make the light flicker and go out simply by operating the switch from outside the room. When David slaps the wall the secret assistant simply puts the light on again.

I have just realised that this must be the method since I have described it in one paragraph while the magazine described it in two. It obviously doesn't take much explaining.

I bet this is what happens. It has taken me 48 years to finally figure it out. Am I right?

Say "yes" in the name of God. I don't want to scour the universe for a copy of a long defunct magic magazine.
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Postby Barefoot Boy » 06/27/09 11:22 PM

....we wait with bated breath.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/28/09 01:01 AM

David Berglas has many items which could not be described in his book due to issues of space. He has created a huge amount of material and even though the book is enormous, there was (and is) just too much stuff.
His cigarette production noted above is very good, and I videotaped it so I could write it up for his issue of Genii some years ago, but we also didn't have room for it.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 06/28/09 04:30 AM

Psychic Lawrence wrote:Say "yes" in the name of God. I don't want to scour the universe for a copy of a long defunct magic magazine.


No: it's a one-person stunt... clever, quite clever :grin:
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Postby Mark Lewis » 06/28/09 08:05 AM

I am pleased to hear that it is a one-person stunt. I am now baffled again and I think I like the feeling. However I am not pleased that I might become curious and have to suffer some bloody great book on a computer just to read two lousy paragraphs.

David's cigarette trick is quite remarkable and I saw him do it in a very large theatre which I think was the Victoria Palace in London. I remember the routine distinctly and because of the skillful lighting I could see every single part of it. It was surprisingly visual. It was an absolute masterpiece. I happened to be backstage before the show and I saw the silver bucket he was using for the cigarettes and I thought he was going to do the Miser's Dream. I asked him if he was going to do the Miser's Dream and he smiled and said, "Would you like me to?"

Ken Brooke told me that the cigarette trick was the one that made David famous on British television. He did it with his sleeves rolled up.

I saw him do it again decades later on British television. It had lost it's flavour somewhat and he did it almost as a throwaway and almost with a sense of guilt because he was using cigarettes which had by then become politically incorrect. He even made some remark that he did not approve of cigarettes.

I have seen David perform many times on stage and he can either be very brilliant or very brutal. The brutality is usually when he is doing convoluted and complicated mentalism which nobody can follow. By the time he gets to the end of the trick everyone has forgotten what the beginning was. It is almost as if he is trying to be too clever for his own good and he is assuming that everyone is as intelligent as he is and can follow the effect. They aren't and they can't.

I prefer to remember the brilliance of things like the cigarette routine, the blindfold work, the pickpocketing etc;. And he also does some very good card work on stage.

I mastered the cigarette trick myself and to my utter surprise it goes over well with children. I once did a kid show to children that had seen me a thousand times and out of desperation I included the cigarette trick even though I knew it wasn't a suitable thing to be showing to children. They laughed and laughed at it to my great surprise. I now do it with tiny magic wands for the kids and got rid of the cigarettes which were very tut-tut to use in children's shows. It works very well.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/03/09 12:35 AM

Jon Tremaine once told me the supposed secret of the light trick. However I believe he was wrong. After all he also told me that he wrote the 13 Steps to Mentalism. Mind you, David Berglas told me the same thing. I don't trust the pair of them because of this but here is the alleged method for what it is worth.

Apparently you slap the wall with one hand and that creates the misdirection for you to switch off the light with the other hand.

It seems too obvious to me so I don't believe it.Besides how does the light flicker and go out in the first place?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/03/09 12:47 AM

Welcome back, Mark. Mr. Lewis (aka Psychic Lawrence) is perfectly capable of using a computer and looking something up in The Jinx.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 07/03/09 03:34 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:The Jinx.


... The Phoenix... :)
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/03/09 06:38 AM

I have no idea what Mr Kaufmann is referring to. Moreover I do NOT know how to look up magazines on a computer. However I expect to have the answer to this question later today. A local magic shop owner informs me that he thinks he has the issue in question. If that doesn't work I know an illustrious member of this forum who also probably has the issue in question.

And yes. I do believe that Mr Britland mentioned the Phoenix rather than the Jinx.

I will be intrigued to find the method for this trick which has baffled me for 48 years.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/03/09 10:46 AM

Yes, The Phoenix.
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Postby Barefoot Boy » 07/03/09 05:22 PM

Psychic Lawrence wrote: If that doesn't work I know an illustrious member of this forum who also probably has the issue in question.


:)
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/03/09 08:25 PM

No. Not you Paul. I said illustrious.

I went to the magic shop, spent hours there and forgot to ask about the bloody phoenix magazine. Age and approaching senility are a terrible thing.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/03/09 11:19 PM

Approaching?

Sorry--it's a joke. I couldn't resist.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/03/09 11:33 PM

It will happen to you one day, you know. In fact I think it already has. At least I know my Jinx from my Phoenix.
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Postby Barefoot Boy » 07/05/09 07:53 PM

[quote="Psychic Lawrence"]No. Not you Paul. I said illustrious.
quote]

That wasn't very nice at all.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/06/09 12:15 AM

Well on a scale of one to ten how illustrious would you estimate yourself to be?
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Postby Barefoot Boy » 07/06/09 12:29 AM

FAR more illustrious than the person you had in mind!
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/06/09 09:30 AM

Only a mentalist would know who I had in mind. However it would have to be an illustrious mentalist.

You were the one who told me that the Berglas light effect was a one off thing and you were wrong so how can you claim to be illustrious?

You also told me that he used a secret assistant in another room and it appears that theory is wrong too. So again how can you claim to be illustrious?

I consider you to be the best mentalist in Canada but nobody seems to have noticed you yet. When they do you can then be considered illustrious.
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Postby Mark Lewis » 07/07/09 05:06 PM

I have now read the Phoenix in question. I am somewhat disappointed. I suppose it must be the passage of time which is affecting my memory but it isn't what I saw David do. Unless of course I did and my memory is playing tricks on me.

You don't go into an already darkened room. Or at least David didn't when I saw him do the trick. The light started to flicker and then went out and he wasn't attempting to switch a light on when it happened. And when he slapped the wall I don't think he was anywhere near a light switch. I have considered this option in the past but rejected it despite Jon Tremaine confirming to me that this is how David did it.

Oh well. Perhaps I imagined the whole thing.
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