Frank Garcia performing McDonald's Aces

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Phil Pearce » 10/01/11 12:24 PM

There is an unpublished video of Frank Garcia performing several effects for a friend in his apartment, available from magicvideolibrary.com. One of the effects is viewable online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3P4bZSe8fk
Does anyone know if this effect as performed by Garcia is published? I've looked high and low and cannot find it.

Thanks!

Phil


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Postby El Mystico » 10/01/11 02:33 PM

It looks to be largely his New Stars of Magic routine, with a vanish or two from Super Subtle Card Miracles.
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Postby Phil Pearce » 10/01/11 07:40 PM

Could you tell me a bit more about the "New Stars of Magic" source that you cited? Is this the Stars of Magic DVD, Vol. 3? I have that DVD but I can't find that effect on there, perhaps it's called something else?
Or is this in print somewhere?
I'll check Super Subtle for the vanishes.

Thanks so much for your answer.

Phil


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Postby Phil Pearce » 10/01/11 10:28 PM

Ooops. I found the manuscript, I had it underneath all of my Garcia books and tricks.
Thanks for the information!

Regards,

Phil


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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 10/02/11 12:56 AM

It's historically notable; but I wouldn't put it among the top 50 presentations of McDonald Aces that I've seen.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/02/11 01:02 AM

No--Frank added very little. The Derek Dingle handling is far better. Of course, one of the best is still the Hofzinser original, "Powers of Belief" (aka Powers of Faith).
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 10/02/11 10:13 AM

That's not in your Dingle book, RK, correct?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/02/11 11:00 AM

The Dingle handling is in my book (using two double-faced cards).
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Postby El Mystico » 10/02/11 11:09 AM

There is a version in Genii December 2004, which Dingle developed in the early 70s.
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Postby Phil Pearce » 10/02/11 11:21 AM

El Harvey Oswald wrote:It's historically notable; but I wouldn't put it among the top 50 presentations of McDonald Aces that I've seen.


Really?
What would be your top 10? I have not seen 50 different handlings, but in my opinion, Garcia's is one of the best of those I've seen or read. (eyes, beholder, etc.)
Of course I'm biased toward Frank Garcia, as he is my favorite magician of the "modern era".
Thanks for your reply, I'd sure like to know the 50 that are better than his. :)


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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/02/11 11:41 AM

There are two essential elements to any version of this routine of Hofzinser's that differentiate it from others:

1. The way the normal Aces are switched for the double-faced cards at the start.

2. The way each vanish is handled.

The best way to accomplish requirement 1 is with a multiple Top Change after the spectators have examined the four Aces (or, better still, removed them from the deck themselves). This creates the concrete conviction that they are ordinary cards.

The best way to accomplish the second requirement varies greatly. The classical routines of Hofzinser, DeLand, McDonald, and most others all use the same exact vanish for each card. Hofzinser used the same one-handed vanish later adopted by McDonald. The first person to use a different vanish for each card was Ken Krenzel, who published the idea in MUM in the early 1960s. Garcia took this without credit and it became the basis for his routine.

Many other people developed vanishes--i.e, ways to create the illusion that the Ace in the packet changes into an indifferent card (it's a misnomer to call it a "vanish"--the Stanley Collins Aces has vanishes, but the Hofzinser routine does not).

Garcia's vanishes are good--the trick had been long forgotten and Frank killed everyone with it. However, for magicians the Marlo version that appeared in the New Tops some years earlier, which uses a split card (half-back/half-face) was much better because the backs of all the cards in the packet could be shown, thus seemingly eliminating the idea of double-faced cards being used. This was, of course, just another way of doing Brother Hamman's "Final Ace Assembly" from the late 1950s, which uses double-ended cards and is incredibly convincing.

The various "vanishes" that Derek Dingle published were superior to Garcia's, and you can also find some of them in his trick "Super Interchange" which I think could be adapted to the Hofzinser/McDonald routine.
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Postby Doc Dixon » 10/02/11 02:05 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:There are two essential elements to any version of this routine of Hofzinser's that differentiate it from others:

1. The way the normal Aces are switched for the double-faced cards at the start.

2. The way each vanish is handled.

The best way to accomplish requirement 1 is with a multiple Top Change after the spectators have examined the four Aces (or, better still, removed them from the deck themselves). This creates the concrete conviction that they are ordinary cards.


Richard,

I've used a multiple top change for years and I'm surprised it doesn't turn up much in the literature -- actually, I can't think of anywhere it shows up. Is the use you sited in print somewhere? Is the move used in other tricks in print?

Just wondering.

DD
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/02/11 03:03 PM

I believe the Multiple Top Change is used in texts prior to 1910, but I can't recall offhand. It was the only option they had other than palming four cards on top of the group that was already on top of the deck. That's one of the reasons why Vernon was so intrigued by the Double Palm Change in Erdnase.
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 10/02/11 10:17 PM

Phil:
Thanks for the response and inquiry. I, too, seriously doubt I've seen 50 different performances of it; probably more like 20 - the first actually having been Frank Garcia himself, c. 1976. While his performance is of course competent, and the some, I'm not wild about the alternating face-up/face-down (substantially truncated in the video) and the vanishes are pretty pedestrian, by cuurent standards at least. Additionally, the card snapping didn't appeal to me, reducing my appreciation on a possibly irrelevant ground. And to be specific, I find Ricky Jay's performance super, by a lot; and at least we real unpaid performers at the Magic Castle tables have routines I substantially prefer.

Having said that, I would be curious to hear more of your admiration for Garcia. I had a bit of a "what's the big deal" reaction to him - which, when the overwhelming weight of opinion goes the other way, causes me to doubt that I've made a fully informed assessment. Rather than just reaffirming my existing impression, I'd vastly prefer to "get" Garcia - as a performed; not, for instance, as a marketer of Wild Card with questionable crediting practices - and understand why so many others find him great, not merely very good, as I do. This came up a bit in the Slydini thread, where we real people seemed perplexed by Slydini's stature.

Again, thanks for your cordial and provocative response.
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 10/02/11 10:19 PM

I have to apologize for the automatic spell check oddities that turn up in my posts, a function of using a too-small keyboard.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/02/11 10:41 PM

Frank Garcia was a jovial and warm guy: this came across very clearly in person. He enjoyed performing, enjoyed his audiences and they knew it. He was a competent technician--not high-end, but what he did he did very well.

Like most good close-up magicians (including Dingle, Jennings, Hamman, and of course Slydini), the only way to really appreciate his personality, charisma, misdirection, and magic was live--in person. That's what close-up magic is about. Video records are a very poor substitute for the aura of magic a good magician can create.
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Postby El Harvey Oswald » 10/02/11 11:41 PM

Well said; I do recall him exuding a distinct warmth and optimism. Also, he was famous, among magicians; had the preeminent packet trick of the day; and was the author of at lest two books everyone had. That aura mattered - and perhaps rendered me unable to make the same unimpeded assessment as I could with a non-luminary. And as you've pointed out many times, close-up magic is about being present with it; there is the inevitable flattening and imposed impatience of video and TV.

And what a great, succinct summary of this ace assembly in the post up above. I've always found the Vernon "vanishes" in his routine unspectacular, all the more four times over. Using different methods looks obvious now; but it was apparently a genuine insight by Krenzel.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/03/11 12:15 AM

It really was a great idea of Krenzel's, and unfortunately he rarely gets the credit.
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Postby Phil Pearce » 10/03/11 01:07 AM

El Harvey Oswald wrote:Phil:
Thanks for the response and inquiry. I, too, seriously doubt I've seen 50 different performances of it; probably more like 20 - the first actually having been Frank Garcia himself, c. 1976. While his performance is of course competent, and the some, I'm not wild about the alternating face-up/face-down (substantially truncated in the video) and the vanishes are pretty pedestrian, by cuurent standards at least. Additionally, the card snapping didn't appeal to me, reducing my appreciation on a possibly irrelevant ground. And to be specific, I find Ricky Jay's performance super, by a lot; and at least we real unpaid performers at the Magic Castle tables have routines I substantially prefer.

Having said that, I would be curious to hear more of your admiration for Garcia. I had a bit of a "what's the big deal" reaction to him - which, when the overwhelming weight of opinion goes the other way, causes me to doubt that I've made a fully informed assessment. Rather than just reaffirming my existing impression, I'd vastly prefer to "get" Garcia - as a performed; not, for instance, as a marketer of Wild Card with questionable crediting practices - and understand why so many others find him great, not merely very good, as I do. This came up a bit in the Slydini thread, where we real people seemed perplexed by Slydini's stature.

Again, thanks for your cordial and provocative response.

His writing style, wit, and humour are engaging to me. Few writers have the ability to make the reader feel as if the author is talking to them and them alone - Harry Lorayne comes to mind, as does Will Rogers, Robert Parker, Louis L'Amour, and Isaac Asimov. Reading their works makes me feel as if, regardless of what they're writing about, they are the kind of person I'd like to sit down with over a couple of beers, or go fishing with.
When I read Mr. Garcia, I can feel the twinkle in his eye - a real trickster like how I imagine the ancient tricksters.
From reading your posts, I'd bet I'd enjoy your writing too.


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Postby El Mystico » 10/03/11 02:36 AM

I find it odd that, as far as I know, Ken didn't reprint his idea in one of his books.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 10/03/11 03:19 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:It really was a great idea of Krenzel's, and unfortunately he rarely gets the credit.


Fortunately, with the help of Jon Racherbaumer who credit Krenzel in Marlo's Magazine No. 3 in 1979, I have found this very good approach by Krenzel in MUM February 1961, page 554. (All this does not make us younger!)
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