Proper Use of the Pass

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Zach Taylor » 06/30/11 05:31 PM

The classic pass is one of those moves that I've set on a pedestal of goals to have as polished, reliable tools in my selection of go-to sleights. I spend a good amount of my practice time on it, especially recently, and it's to the point where I'm feeling comfortable in its reliability to perform rapidly, silently, and smoothly.

It's at this point though, now that I'm looking to integrate the pass in to some of my stuff, that I've realized I'm not quite sure even how it should be applied properly. Just like there are proper and improper scenarios to use a double lift I'm sure there must be similar situations for the pass. As I'm sure there are many different perspectives on this I deemed it a good topic to post about in so far as it's likely to prove beneficial to myself and other novices like me.

Regards,
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Postby A1exM » 06/30/11 07:15 PM

Hi Zack,

I also love the Classic Pass but the mechanics of it are not as important as your surroundings. If you can perform the pass in a natural manner it will suffice. It really is dependent on what you want to achieve, and the effect you want to portray.
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Postby Zach Taylor » 06/30/11 07:39 PM

Well my first instinct is that it would make an incredibly natural and fair card control if handled properly. In addition of course the possibility of using it as a sandwiched card effect is fairly self apparent as well.

I suppose, to narrow the scope of the inquiry, one detail I was wondering about was what the basic tasks a classic pass can be used to relied upon to accomplish on a regular basis.
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Postby A1exM » 06/30/11 08:07 PM

As far as I am concerned it is the best card control. (cover excluded).

However, I believe that effect and presentation are paramount.

Check out some of Alex Elmsley's material
regards alex
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Postby Justin Wheatley » 07/01/11 02:09 AM

Also, if you can, check out Walton material. He has the preternatural ability to do so much with so little. A big focus of his is the pass (in several forms--turnover, riffle, cover, classic).
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Postby Jonathan Brown » 07/13/11 07:36 AM

Kaufman's "On the Pass" DVD was invaluable as a tool for me learning the move and its applications properly. The entire purpose of the shift is to secretly control the card to the top or bottom under the guise of replacing the selection. The audience should be CONVINCED, the card is exactly where you placed it in the deck. If they feel you "did" something or somehow moved the card then the illusion is blown. For instance, if you place a signed selection in the middle of the deck, fairly, slowly and openly and moments later it appears on top with no show of movement or effort on your part....well you've got a miracle on your hands! The key to a great pass though from MY experience is proper mis...um...REdirection of attention. You have to have firm audience control when executing the move. Sure, some would argue that proper technique should render the move invisible but when you are first learning to apply the move you have to understand how to divert audience attention. Learn NAMES. What do 99% of people do when you call their name? The look you dead in the eyes. It's like your Mom calling you by your name. It get's their attention and gives you the second you need to execute the sleight. To make your pass the most invisible, proper motivation and redirection of spectator attention is crucial. And thorough mastery of the sleight.

Another useful application is the classic pass false cut which during learning can help you gain confidence of the mechanics of the slight. I hope this helps and best of luck on learning one of card magic's best tools!

Jonathan
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/13/11 11:13 AM

Boy, am I going to get screams over this...I do NOT think that the pass is one "of card magic's best tools"! I've been doing card magic for over 70 years(!) and have NEVER used the Classic Pass to control a selected card. I've used it for other purposes, but that's not the point here - never for a control of a selected card.

Interesting - just a few weeks ago a pretty well-known cardman told me that he used my "in lieu" of the pass method out of my book, The Magic Book - which is out of print, so I'm not trying to sell you anything! And, I wrote that book for the lay public. This cardman told me that he's been using it since the early 1980s. It's easy, can be learned immediately, and there's nothing really to be seen. I use it occasionally, but there are many other ways to do a simple one-card control. HL.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 07/13/11 02:36 PM

Harrys comment brings to light one of the more important, yet ignored facets of magic; that one mans meat is anothers poison. Or, put more bluntly, horses for courses.

For many people the pass represents the most efficient way to control a card. For others, it could be the side steal, a jog shuffle or a double undercut. If we are to dictate to people that one control is better than another, then we have to add the caveat 'for me' at the end (I remember writing the same thing on the EG umpteen years ago).

Although many magicians will be familiar, or even proficient with several different controls, often they will tend towards one particular move. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I do think that it is a good thing to study the different moves _before_ they are needed, so that they are in the toolkit before things go awry.

I will say, however, that for me the classic pass is the most _efficient_ method for controlling a single card. I know many different controls, but 90% of the time it will be the pass.

Ian
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/13/11 03:34 PM

Of course, nothing new here. One of my oft-repeated statements is "To each his own" another way of saying "horses for courses." I write it to the point of redundancy. That's why I carefully say "I" or "I've" in my post above. I'm talking about me, what I use, etc. What prompted me to post at all was the "one of card magic's best tools" definite statement. In other words, the poster didn't say "best tool for ME", or "in my opinion." No big issue; just wanted those for whom it may help to know the "other side." One of the things I wrote in my book, The Magic Book, is that I want to try to save the reader (new in magic) the forty years I wasted learning, practicing, things I never used. IN MY OPINION.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/13/11 03:37 PM

Oh, neglected to mention - and this is really the point - Ian said "...for me..." and that's fine; no argument there.
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Postby David Acer » 07/13/11 05:13 PM

Gary Ouellet opened his book on the Pass with the following two quotes:

"The pass is the very backbone of conjuring."
Professor Hoffmann

"The pass is not absolutely essential to card conjuring and any trick can be performed without using it."
Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue

I thought that was a fun way to start things off.
Now tweeting daily from @David_Acer
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/13/11 05:42 PM

Zach Taylor wrote:The classic pass is ... I'm looking to integrate the pass in to some of my stuff, that I've realized I'm not quite sure even how it should be applied properly.


Check out Hofzinser's routines. He uses the sleight to put cards where he wants them and sometimes several times in one routine. Seems a sensible approach if you really have the thing down to a non-action that takes place during a non-watch-me moment.
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Postby Jonathan Brown » 07/13/11 08:19 PM

I agree Harry, that the pass is not for everyone. It wasn't until a few years ago that I decided to start using it. For ages I was a side steal guy or a simple double undercut. Like you stated, it truly is up to the unique individual to choose what fits his style, technical ability and tastes when choosing a control. It is safe to say I have been in situations where a pass was not practical due to the die hard spectator who would not break eye contact from the deck. At that point an open cut (controlling the card) followed by a convincing false shuffle is the best option instead of risking exposing the sleight. But still (humbly I must say) I think a well timed and executed pass leaves no doubt in the spectators mind that the selection is in the middle of the deck and has not been tampered with. But what do I know, I cook for a living and play with magic! This is just like cooking- there are 1000 ways to format the same recipe, but if the end result tasted good, who cares how you got there?

Jonathan
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Postby Bill McFadden » 07/13/11 09:56 PM

"The Pass is for Erdnase."

-- Lee Asher
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 02:32 AM

Bill McFadden wrote:"The Pass is for Erdnase."

-- Lee Asher


Sounds like a sterling recommendation to me!
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 02:38 AM

Jonathan Brown wrote:... At that point an open cut (controlling the card) followed by a convincing false shuffle is the best option instead of risking exposing the sleight...


Not if you are doing, say, the Ambitious Card.

The bottom line is, it depends on the context. Some tricks rely on the fact that the cards are not manipulated at all.

If you think it couldn't possibly enter the spectators mind that you cut or shuffled his card to the top, you are living in a dream world.

It all depends on the impression you need to convey for the trick at hand.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/14/11 03:19 AM

Fred Robinson's pass was amazing. Check out his book if you want some insight.
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 04:08 AM

mrgoat wrote:Fred Robinson's pass was amazing. Check out his book if you want some insight.


I never saw him do it but, if I am interpreting the explanations correctly, it has an awful lot in common with Erdnase's description.
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Postby Jonathan Brown » 07/14/11 04:10 AM

Magic Fred wrote:
Jonathan Brown wrote:... At that point an open cut (controlling the card) followed by a convincing false shuffle is the best option instead of risking exposing the sleight...


....The bottom line is, it depends on the context. Some tricks rely on the fact that the cards are not manipulated at all.

If you think it couldn't possibly enter the spectators mind that you cut or shuffled his card to the top, you are living in a dream world.

It all depends on the impression you need to convey for the trick at hand.


Agreed- I don't think that suspicion is very far from the spectators mind at that point, but it is much less concrete than seeing an open execution of the sleight. I find that whenever I do an ACR, I jazz and never proceed in a linear fashion. I know the open and close of the routine but the stuff in the middle is open- depending on the audience. If I am forced to execute a cut and a shuffle due to an iron eyed helper, I normally try to get that pass back in to fry them. The seeming non existent action on my part sends them over the edge. It takes a lot more effort on my part in audience management and momentum for sure because you know they are watching like a hawk! But when you see that moment of weakness and their eyes shift and you hit it....what a RUSH! The pass is done at that point and you KNOW you got 'em! They're waiting for the dirty work which is a thing of the past. I don't run into this situation too often, but when it does I enjoy the challenge. Although I don't, some spectators turn the performance into a challenge and I rise to the occasion.

I think we don't give spectators the credit we should. And it's our job to know enough about our craft to take a moment when they think they have "outsmarted" us by burning our hands and turn it on them. In context to your statement about conveyance, I agree 100%! And I firmly feel that a pass boils down to what it looks like to the audience- "That card hasn't been moved or manipulated." If you select the pass as the control in a routine, then it's because you want them to firmly believe the card is in the position you've openly placed it in or left it. Because a pass is supposed to be "invisible" for all intensive purposes. Otherwise you would just shuffle and cut. If the location of the card needs to be seemingly random than a pass is useful but irrelevant in the context of the shuffling.

Stimulating conversation...thanks!

Jonathan
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Postby mrgoat » 07/14/11 08:00 AM

Jonathan Brown wrote: But when you see that moment of weakness and their eyes shift and you hit it....what a RUSH! The pass is done at that point and you KNOW you got 'em!


I love that moment. I do a coins across with a similar part. When the coins are on my hand, I don't close my hand and open it to reveal one has gone. I leave the hand flat open all the time, I misdirect them to look away, I move the shell over the other coins, and wait for them to look back. Wonderful moment the first time I realised it worked!
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/14/11 09:22 AM

mrgoat wrote: I misdirect them to look away, I move the shell over the other coins, and wait for them to look back. Wonderful moment the first time I realised it worked!


You can make coins appear that way too. There's a deep backclip recovery in the September 2006 issue of Genii that has the hand flat and apparently unmoving yet another coin appears. It's disarming and can also serve as the production half a utility switch.

On the cards side, the Lennart Green lazer deal item looks like a useful general purpose sleight for any process where you need to deal down a number or cards or until they say stop. One hop later and you've got just what you want on the table. ;)

Getting back to the pass, whenever the moment brings the hands up from rest position - say between gestures during exposition there's room for a pass IMHO. As it happens I use a reverse pass done under the same cover as Ken Krenzel - a direct vertical inclination of the pack by action at the elbows, the "bring the pack up to blow on the cards" type action. One is free to show both hands and transfer the pack, which sets up the OHTP nicely. Not the Hofzinser type I pass but his type II pass (also called a Hermann pass after his student or reverse pass). :)
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Postby El Mystico » 07/14/11 11:34 AM

Magic Fred wrote:I never saw him do it but, if I am interpreting the explanations correctly, it has an awful lot in common with Erdnase's description.


No, it was quite a bit different from Erdnase's. And most others. It was perfect in his hands. I use it all the time. Not quite so perfectly!
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 01:02 PM

El Mystico wrote:
Magic Fred wrote:I never saw him do it but, if I am interpreting the explanations correctly, it has an awful lot in common with Erdnase's description.


No, it was quite a bit different from Erdnase's. And most others. It was perfect in his hands. I use it all the time. Not quite so perfectly!


I'll bow to your first hand experience whilst still pointing out why I believe it to be similar in certain important aspects to Erdnase's wonderful description:

1. The full grip of the left hand, with all fingers at the side of the deck.

2: The orientation of the deck, which is angled towards the floor and not held horizontally, thus giving the grip a natural appearance.

3. The highlight of the left thumb as the fulcrum, thus eliminating the awful curling of the right fingers in order to get the lower packet to pivot.

The major difference is that Robinson gripped the lower packet with the index finger, whilst Erdnase instructs the use of the second finger. And of course the riffling action as cover.
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Postby Kent Gunn » 07/14/11 01:23 PM

At the 36 second mark in this video, I think the guy is doing a pass. That's exactly how I'd use it if I could.

http://www.youtube.com/user/kentfgunn?b ... iWjEBx8Hns

(my apologies go out to Denis Behr and Pit Hartling for my abuse of their GREAT effect. The real work on the trick is in "Handcrafted Card Magic Vol. 2)

There are so many variants of the pass, that for the blocking of each trick you do, you can put in a different pass as it best serves that effect.

If you don't start from the effect, you are not being effectual. This riffle pass is one of four passes I use in my work. It does look best from directly in front. I still gather the spectator's eyes before I do the move. Nonetheless I think even if they are magicians and choose to burn my hands, the low energy level and efficacy of this particular pass will fly, even in the fastest company.

KG
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Postby mrgoat » 07/14/11 02:00 PM

Kent Gunn wrote:At the 36 second mark in this video, I think the guy is doing a pass. That's exactly how I'd use it if I could.


That guy is *such* a wiseass. He can do a bloody nice pass though.
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Postby Kent Gunn » 07/14/11 02:06 PM

MF,

Don't know you dude. Your analysis of Robinson's work seen through the explanation from Erdnase rings like a freaking bell. You are a rockin' smart guy! That damned book is quoted by too few, read by even fewer and understood on any level by but a handful. I struggle on occasion with the density of his words. It helps to read it again and again.

Goatastic-one,

Hugs, to you my younger brother-in-arms.

KG
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Postby mrgoat » 07/14/11 02:18 PM

Be interesting to see if El Mystico agrees, as he probably knows Fred's pass better than anyone. Ahem.

Hugs back.
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 02:25 PM

mrgoat wrote:Be interesting to see if El Mystico agrees, as he probably knows Fred's pass better than anyone. Ahem.

Hugs back.


But does he know Erdnase...

Na, like I said, I'm prepared to bow to his first hand experience should he say that the descriptions are not accurate. How could I argue?

But I think I've presented a pretty solid case showing that there are fundamental similarities in the descriptions.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/14/11 02:27 PM

Magic Fred wrote:
mrgoat wrote:Be interesting to see if El Mystico agrees, as he probably knows Fred's pass better than anyone. Ahem.

Hugs back.


But does he know Erdnase...

Na, like I said, I'm prepared to bow to his first hand experience should he say that the descriptions are not accurate. How could I argue?

But I think I've presented a pretty solid case showing that there are fundamental similarities in the descriptions.


Him and Erdnase used to play conkers together.

I wasn't saying you were wrong man, just be interesting to see that's all. Seems you've made a very solid case to me.

:)
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 03:15 PM

mrgoat wrote:I wasn't saying you were wrong man, just be interesting to see that's all.


And I wasn't using emphasis to convey irritation, just, well... emphasis :)

Though I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously, posting under a pseudonym and all. The cheek of it!
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Postby mrgoat » 07/14/11 03:24 PM

Magic Fred wrote:Though I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously, posting under a pseudonym and all. The cheek of it!


The audacity of the man
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 03:40 PM

In the same vein, I don't take too kindly to some of my pearls of wisdom in the Erdnase thread being attributed to that "Anonymous" fellow.

I am not anonymous, I am Fred. Magic Fred!
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Postby El Mystico » 07/14/11 03:59 PM

Ah;
Of course I know Erdnase; I've got the Wesley James DVDs....

OK, OK, I've got the book too. And in the copy I keep for annotations, the line about holding the deck at a slant is underlined, because of the similarity to Fred's.
The other line that is underlined is about transposing the packets in a flash - because Fred's was done slowly. He'd actually pause half way through sometimes.
It may be fair to say that Fred's starting point was the Erdnase shift. Which would account for the similarity in fingering.
But in action, there were similarities with the wrist turn pass; and also when I read Vernon's Creeping Pass, I saw similarities.
In addition, I'd say Fred's pass (he had several, but we are clearly talking about the same one)was more than just the way he held the deck; it was the complete package: misdirection, including what he said, where he looked, the gesture with the free hand, etc - stuff Erdnase doesn't really touch on, but which were fundamental to its success.

Cervon describes this pass in his notebooks (wrongly attributing it to Vernon), saying it is 'excellent!'. The fact that Vernon thought it worth showing to Cervon, and Cervon thought it merited the 'excellent!' epithet, suggests they recognised it was different from the Erdnase pass.

I'd recommend the (short) DVD of Fred, available from Martin Breese, which I'm pretty sure includes this pass. (Even if it doesn't, it is a masterclass in misdirection)

I'd agree with Harry that a pass is not necessary, and hasn't been since Erdnase. But there are times when I find it the most appropriate tool.
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 04:06 PM

Thanks for the info. For the record, I was not for a moment trying to suggest that Robinson just copied the pass in Erdnase and passed it off as his own.

Just pointing out a few similarities that struck me from the description, which I believe to be fundamental in constructing a good pass, and often ignored. Whether he was influenced by Erdnase on these particulars, I suppose we'll never know.

I am in complete agreement regarding deportment, also fundamental in the sound execution of a pass.


... did someone mention Wesley James...?
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Postby El Mystico » 07/14/11 04:22 PM

Oh - I didn't think that for a second.
I just thought you'd taken a cursory glance and thought "just an Erdnase variation".
Which, to be honest, is what I probably do far too often!

Yes, we'll never know how much he was influenced by Erdnase. But he certainly knew Erdnase. and he paid close attention to the classics. He pointed out to me a reference in Hocus Pocus Junior as probably the first reference to misdirection.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/14/11 04:35 PM

If you want to see a direct effect that demonstrates how a Pass can be used for a magical effect (as opposed to a hidden control), just do what Houdini did: put the selected card face up on the center of the deck and do a Pass to bring it to the top. It took spectators' breathe away 100 years and and still does so today.
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 04:54 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:If you want to see a direct effect that demonstrates how a Pass can be used for a magical effect (as opposed to a hidden control), just do what Houdini did: put the selected card face up on the center of the deck and do a Pass to bring it to the top. It took spectators' breathe away 100 years and and still does so today.


Agreed. I use it in the Ambitious card. It does however raise an interesting "problem" in construction that I have yet to reconcile, though I haven't fully decided that it is actually a problem yet...

I follow the face-up pass with the bent card rise as a climax (still the best damn effect in card magic) but I have a niggling feeling that, logically, the progression of the trick should dictate that the bent card rise be done face-up too...

For this reason I often substitute the face-up effect for an alternative, standard face-down rise.

Anybody care to convince me either way?
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Postby El Mystico » 07/14/11 05:01 PM

Oh, me again. sorry.
For me, the best ending is that the spectator does it in his hands. Vernon, Stars of Magic.
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Postby Magic Fred » 07/14/11 05:14 PM

I see your point and reasoning. I have certainly considered the in-the-hands ending and tried it a few times. For me, the bent card has a better effect. Certainly something to keep thinking about though.

I only ever do 3 phases. Card in centre via double, card really in centre via pass, bent card climax.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/14/11 11:27 PM

I like to use it for a color change.

Cheers!
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