Earl Nelson & Variations

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Postby Guest » 11/11/01 02:38 PM

Earl Nelson was featured in the August 2001 edition of Genii and I enjoyed the article. His book "Variations" is highly regarded & sought after by many. Earl said in the interview that he nolonger uses the material in the book because "I moved on years ago."And magic has moved on". Can anyone elaborate on this statement? I would like to know how magic has moved on? No, I've not seen the book, I am simply interested to know more about the movement of magic since "Variations" came out. Thanks in advance for the reply!
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Postby malbright » 11/11/01 09:25 PM

I obviously can't speak for Earl, but he's certainly an artist who does not stand still or rest on past accomplishments. I interpret Earl's remark to mean, simply, that for him it's ground already covered. I'm certain Earl wasn't saying the material is outdated or no longer good, just that he has gotten all he wants out of it and has embraced new challenges. I'd put it this way; once you climb the mountain, there's no point in climbing it again and again. The fun is conquering new peaks. Doesn't mean the mountain ain't good for new climbers. That being said, knowing Earl he's made god knows how improvements beyond what's on the page. No trick is ever really finished with this guy, he is your consummate perfectionist. Rest assured, the material in Variations, as well as the thinking behind it, is as wonderful today as it was the day it was published. And if you want a real treat, check out the videos Earl produced some time ago, if you can find them. They're incredible. One covered Variations, one covered the material in his Workbook, others were in-depth looks at the pass, palming and double lifts (the last two subjects being on a single tape). For me there hasn't been a single video since--and I've seen just about everything--that tops them in clarity, thoughtfulness, powerful effects and mind-boggling skill. His pass tape will astound you. I keep begging Earl to put this stuff out again. (My motive is selfish; after hundreds of viewings my copies of his tapes are basically just blurs at this point, and I've about worn Variations down to a nub.) Folks, you will not meet a kinder, gentler, sweeter, more generous, more respectful, modest man. But be warned: put a pack of cards in his hand and he will seriously hurt you bad. If you're looking for inspiration, crystal clear instruction, and absolute poetry, look no further than Earl. Now, getting back to the thread, Earl might've moved on (Variations II???? When, Earl, when???!) but you are still going to love the book. Hey, the Beatles moved on, but we all still love Rubber Soul, right?
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Postby Guest » 11/11/01 10:20 PM

Michael, thanks for the reply. I did not know that there are video productions of Earl's work. That would be very interesting to see & study as well as his book. Perhaps Richard would consider such a publishing venture? (hint, hint Richard) One aspect of my curiosity regarding the movement of magic since "Variations" concerns sleights; has there been a significant advance in the sleights of card magic since "Variations"? I dont really think so but none the less I wanted to hear what someone with more knowledge about the issue had to say. Thanks again & have a great week!
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Postby Bill Duncan » 11/11/01 11:15 PM

Never having met Mr. Nelson I can't say that I know what he means other than that's he's probably created new stuff that is he hasn't used as much as the tricks that he published in 1978. We all have tricks that we did long ago that we don't use any longer. That doesn't mean they're not good magic...

That being said, and in a effort to inspire more Nelson related conversation here's the contents of Variations for those who don't have access to a copy:
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Reset,Reset - an unclutered handling of the Paul Harris classic that eliminates the show of the the kings packet after the aces "reset" from kings to aces.

Between Your Points Of Departure - A spectator holds the fours aces between his palms. A selection is inserted into the packet, vanishes and reappears face up in the center of the deck.

Slow Motion Top Change - exactly what the title suggests. Never seen anyone use this...

Color Changing Deck - a clever handling and some good thoughts on the concept. Seated performance only.

The Haunted Card - Mike Skinner's handling of a Krenzel move where the card slowly spins out of the pack. Krenzel's move is in the Minch book and the out of print HaLo book.

Exploding Aces - a great four ace production where three aces leap from the pack followed by the haunted card revelation.

Pass The Sandwich & Submarine Sandwich - two sandwich effects using the Frank Simon spread control. Pass the sandwich uses a pass to vanish the sandwich cards.

Frank Simon's About Face Aces - Kings are put into four places in the deck. Aces are twisted face down and then change to kings. The aces are found in the deck.

Sleeve Aces - The deck is cut and the two indifferent cards on the packet faces are rubbed on the sleeves. They change to red aces. The red aces are rubbed on the table and change to black aces. The red aces are reproduced.

Pretty Good Coins Across - Uses the popup coin move, a shell and the Bertram transfer.

Coined Card - a coin vanishes only to be found on top of a selected card in the center of the deck.

The $1.50 Vanish - Three half dollars vanish one at a time and reappear under a single playing card. The card is used to scoop the coins from the table one at a time.

Four, The Hard Way - coins produced from between playing cards ala Andrus' "Miser's Miracle"
Four, The Easy Way - as above using a shell

Clifton's Ring Move & Earl's Ring Move - two now standard finger ring and cord moves. Both excellent.
Impromptu Flying Ring - a nice handling for using the standard gaffed keycase.

Hit And Run Aces - a four ace production ala Roll Over Aces without the extra Triumph and royal flush business. Quick and direct.

The Changing of the Card - a card is selected. A Silver dollar is placed on the face of the deck and the card underneath it changes to the selected card as you wave your hand over the coin.

There is also a short essay in which Mr. Nelson politely suggests that people should take their magic more seriously. At one point he suggests that sometimes the only difference between the audience and the performer is that the performer got to the magic shop first. This was YEARS before Eugene Burger appeared on the scene and made such opinions popular... :eek:
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The card magic is timeless and "Sleeve Aces" is downright novel. I understand that he's evolved that into a routine called "All Backs, Sleeve Jacks" which I've not seem. Can anyone cite a reference or confirm that?
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/12/01 07:27 AM

A year or so ago, Earl Nelson mentioned to me (via the Second Deal board) that he was contemplating re-releasing his videos. I truly hope he does so (so I can see them!).

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Postby Guest » 11/12/01 04:15 PM

Reset-Reset and Sleeve Aces are still marvelous performance pieces that get very strong reactions. After many years, I've added tiny little bits to Reset-Reset, which is the one I do in almost every performance. I've never been able to improve Sleeve Aces.
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Postby Guest » 11/12/01 04:57 PM

Matthew, that is exciting news about a possible release of Earl's videos! If you can get a message to him, relate that there are serious people who would love to purchase the tapes.
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Postby Guest » 11/12/01 06:40 PM

Bill,
Earl did have a version of All Backs, Sleeve Jacks on his video "Workbook Video". It is not however in "The Earl Nelson Workbook" book. Man I wish I still had that video!!!!

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