The Big Book of Rising Cards by Claude Klingsor

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Postby Tom Frame » 11/24/10 04:27 PM

The Big Book of Rising Cards (PDF) by Claude Klingsor $39.50
209 pages, 234 illustrations, 4 photos
Available at:

The Rising Cards is one of the most amazing effects that can be performed with the pasteboards. It embodies the best attributes of magical entertainment. The plot is straightforward; it involves audience participation; and the effect is mystifying and visually stunning.

Through a Freudian lens, the effects phallic symbolism is attractive to both men and women, for different, though complementary reasons. The Rising Cards is concupiscent conjuring for manly men and welcoming women.

In The Big Book of Rising Cards, Claude Klingsor has compiled 200 methods for performing this classic effect. While not comprehensive in scope, this book contains the largest collection of Rising Cards material ever assembled under one roof.

The author is French and his words have been translated to English by Rmi Demaerel. The resultant text occasionally lacks fluency, but Adrien Amilhats illustrations save the day. These computer rendered illustrations are well composed, beautiful and provide an essential aid to understanding the methods.

By clicking on the link above, you can read Chris Wasshubers developmental history of the book, check out the Table of Contents and view an example of the groovy illustrations. Please do so right now. Ill wait.

Mr. Klingsor informs us that the Rising Cards effect was first mentioned by Thomas Garzonus in La Piazza Universale di tutti le professioni in 1626. Mr. Garzonus reported that Abraham Colorni made a mentally selected card rise out of the pack. Mr. Garzonus did not describe the method.

The first methodological description appeared in Hocus Pocus Junior in 1634. The reader learned how to make a card rise from a deck with aid of a black thread, a hair or a spring.

Since then, many of magics major players have participated in a veritable pasteboard uprising, as theyve toiled and tinkered with many methods for producing this effect.

Within these pages youll be treated to the creations of Al Baker, David Bamberg, Sam Berland, J.B. Bobo, Cardini, Beautier DeKolta, Ted DeLand, Ottokar Fischer, Will Goldston, Richard Himber, Louis Histed, Sam Horowitz, Bill McComb, Harlan Tarbell, Floyd Thayer and Howard Thurston.

The books first five chapters (166 pages) were written in 1954 and contain methods that were available to the author at that time.

In the first three chapters, Mr. Klingsor discusses the effects history; shares his philosophy regarding its performance; and describes his system for classifying the various methods.

The first 42 pages of Chapter Four contain methods in which the performers finger(s) provide the sole motive force. Eighteen methods are described. If youre a student of the Rising Cards, youre probably already familiar with these methods.

The remainder of that chapter and the next 124 pages are devoted to descriptions of methods in which items other than the performers finger(s) propel the cards skyward. These include threads, hairs, wires, pikes, rods, adhesive patches, rubber patches, wands, magnets, rollers and pulleys.

The sources of the motive force include gravity, water, sand, weights, springs, rubber bands, levers, reels, pendulums, music box movements, clock movements, electric motors and off-stage assistants.

The various mechanisms employ all manner of timers, radio transmitters, intervalometers, potentiometers and even an optical scanner.

These methods are best suited for stand-up or stage performances. Many of the methods rely upon the use of a houlette. I dont like houlettes because, like much magical apparatus, they serve no function in the real world and appear to be mere magic props. Despite not liking them, Im impressed by the creativity that goes into rigging them.

Beginning with Chapter Six, the remainder of the book was written in 2005. The material consists of other methods that Mr. Klingsor has accumulated since 1954.

He describes the I.T.R., Mesikas Spider Pen and Kennedys Stealth Retractor. I hope that he received the creators permission to tip their work.

The Devano deck is explained, as are its offspring, the A.M.Y. and Arne decks. I bought my A.M.Y. deck in the late 70s and it still works like a charm. It remains my favorite mechanized method for performing the Rising Cards.

The author sings the praises of Dr. Hookers Rising Cards and, like most of us, continues to scratch his head regarding its methodology.

If you need to sneakily switch in a gaffed deck, several deck switching contraptions are described.

Unfortunately, Mr. Klingsor doesnt mention a number of very clever, newer methods. He doesnt discuss elastic loops. Maybe he hasnt seen them. After all, they are invisible.

I would have liked to have seen references to Derek Dingles Super Card Rise, Jeff McBrides Kundalini Rising and Gary Plants Impossible Close Up Rising Cards, which is my favorite examinable version. Perhaps the author didnt receive permission to include them.

Methods that appeared after this book was written include Tony Millers simple, yet delicious Mofo and the best version extant, Angelo Carbones Notion of Motion.

The methods described in this book range from excellent to laughable, with the majority falling under the category of interesting. There are simple, practical methods and complex, impractical methods that only Rube Goldberg would appreciate.

Unless you have the passion and aptitude for building mechanical gimcracks, I doubt that youll be adding any of these effects to your repertoire. But if youre a fan of the Rising Cards, that limitation shouldnt diminish your enjoyment of this material. Mr. Klingsor has compiled a fascinating, stimulating book of significant historical value. So rise to the occasion and check it out.

Tom Frame
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Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: San Francisco

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