Frog Prince "top change"

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 08:44 AM

I am working on the "Frog Prince" from the Mike Close video. I am familiar with the top change explained in Royal Road to Card Magic and Card College 1, but what is HE DOING in the video? Mike is talking about a "get ready"...then I catch a split second where he has the card to be switched "injogged". This is different then what I have learned.
1)How many top changes are in magicdom?
2)Which would be considered MORE undetectible in a surrounding setting?

Thank you for your response
Guest
 

Postby Michael Close » 07/15/02 09:11 AM

The top change I use in this context is one that Paul Gertner taught many years ago in a lecture. Basically, you injog the top card before you make the change. This injog eliminates the left thumb action that normally accompanies the top change. I'm surprised that this isn't explained on the video (I haven't viewed the video in many years), since in lectures I spent a great deal of time explaining the motivation behind the change.

If the above doesn't make sense, any top change will work. There is strong misdirection at that point in the trick.

M. Close
Michael Close
 
Posts: 346
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Las Vegas

Postby Gary Freed » 07/15/02 10:56 AM

First...Thank you Mike Close. The Frog Prince is one of my favorite routines. As one who is terrified of Top Changes, I have substituted the following..As the chosen cards is being exposed, I turn over the top card of the deck against my leg, so it is now face up. I then add the chosen card face up on top and do a double lift.
If I had a TV director to cut away at just the right moment(as on a few year old HBO special)I might be more comfortable with the top change.
Gary Freed
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Endicott, NY

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/15/02 12:33 PM

Gary, don't be a chicken! You can do a Top Change. On another note, one can argue whether one handling of the Top Change is technically superior to another, however it is hard to argue that the method Paul Gertner uses is an any way wrong because he has used it so much as professional.
Frankly, it would be better if you don't injog the card, and better if your grip doesn't switch from finger to finger, however in the real world it doesn't seem to matter much.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20776
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 02:25 PM

Richard, that was a great post. Everything you said was "right on"! I just wanted to say hey to Mike Close. The Frog Prince is indeed a GREAT trick. In my opinion, the best thing you've come up with!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 02:25 PM

Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 03:40 PM

I was really spooked by the top change until watching a video with Simon Lovell (T-A-T London Lecture series No. 1). Lovell makes the point of "just doing it" at the moment that attention is not on the cards.

Eugene Burger teaches a top change in Mastering the Art of Magic, again the change works because of where attention is directed... more than where the fingers are.

You might take a look at these sources.

Mark Robertson
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 04:00 PM

The injog idea probably comes in real handy when you want to top change small packets. For example, a packet of aces for a packet of kings.

I'm not absolutely certain, but doesn't Paul Gertner do just that? I have foggy memories of him executing an effortless top change of a small packet on one of his Steel and Silver videos.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 04:47 PM

Thanks for all the generous information. I am trying out several methods that were posted. I agree Michael, with the appearance of the selection, there is a lot of misdirection...everyone is looking at each other in amazement. Although, in pursuit of excellence, I still wanted to be doing the "right thing" while no one is looking... WOW! ...so profound...hahaha
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/15/02 05:09 PM

To Steve,

For a long time I was rather intimidated by the Top change, but wanted to do the Frog Prince so much that I just toughed it out. I don't use the Gertner/Close Top Change either, mine is one Harry Blackstone Jr. taught me in Colon some time ago. But it works just fine. (And yes, there's quite a bit of thumb movement.) I think this is a great trick to start getting used to doing a top change in the real world.
Remember Mike said:
If the above doesn't make sense, any top change will work. There is strong misdirection at that point in the trick.
That's an understatement, if anything. No one is burning your hands at that point.

You're right to be concerned about good technique, but I'd stick with the Top Change you're familiar with and start doing it in the Frog Prince Routine. Your confidence and technique will improve and soon you'll be using the Top Change in other routines as well.
Guest
 

Postby NCMarsh » 07/15/02 06:00 PM

As the Gertner Top Change is under discussion I thought I'd post one little point of finesse that I like quite a bit...it's not terribly original, just my attempt to have what I like about both the "standard" method and the Gertner method combined in one move...I apologize that my prose style is such that this might be an awkward and unclear read...I still use the Gertner method in certain contexts (i never use the standard method), but I more often find myself using this slight handling change..

The Gertner change I would describe as "vertical," the standard method as "horizontal." That is to say that in the Gertner method the card in the hand is moving backwards while the deck is moving forwards, in the standard method both deck and card are moving in the same direction and are only moving laterally (or the card in the hand is still as the deck crosses it laterally)

The traditional method provides a smoother steal of the card in the right hand because the left thumb simply has to pull the right-jogged card onto the top of the deck...in the Gertner method it has to clip that card...sometimes as the two hands are moving in opposite directions--which can create a higher likelihood of a fumbled exchange and an hesitation at the moment of the change...also, in the Gertner version, the left thumb is moving more and the card in the right hand must be directly above the deck...both points strike me as potential weaknesses

The Gertner method, however, is far superior when it comes to smoothly delivering the card from the deck into the hand...no left thumb motion is required at the moment of the change and, perhaps most importantly, the get-ready is virtually invisible and as such can be done much longer in advance of the change...

therefore, I have simply combined the two changes...I use the Gertner get-ready and place the card in the hand just to the right of the deck when that hand drops on the offbeat...the steal of the card from hand is made as in the traditional method (and much of my choreography uses top change covers devised for the traditional method) and the in-jogged card is a.) a much less visible get ready before the change and b.) delivers the card to be changed into the right hand without any finger motion...the change just flows on its own and is technically quite easy...

play with it and lemme know what you think...

regards,
nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Pete Biro » 07/15/02 09:05 PM

Magic Dood... Congrats on your Nuptials... will be in town next weekend for WMS Meeting, hope to see ya.
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Gerald Deutsch » 07/16/02 04:26 AM

I've studied with Slydini for many years and while I've never seen him do a top change, I use what he calls "timing" when I do a top chamge.

Basically, I gesture with both hands and then both hands come to rest for a second (actually touching) and it's at this point the change is made. Then the left hand moves away with the deck and the changed card on top.
Gerald Deutsch
 
Posts: 329
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Glen Head New York

Postby Guest » 07/16/02 07:17 AM

The timing I use for the Top change is the way that Blackstone Jr taught me. Understand that this is done standing up, which is the way I almost always perform.

The deck is held at waist level as the card in the right hand is displayed to the audience. There is a moment of relaxation (the completion of one effect, for example) and the hand with the card drops to waist level. This if very much the kind of relaxation Slydini used when sitting back in a chair and allowing the hand to fall into your lap. As the hand reaches the deck, the exchange is made. But simultaneous, or just a moment before, a comment is made to a spectator on your left. Naturally your head, eyes and entire body turns slightly to the left as you speak. As part of this turn, the left hand, which has been dead still up till now, moves to the left, away from the card in the right hand. The right hand stays in position after the exchange is made. The hands are now a few inches apart.
Within the context of the Frog Prince Routine, Mike does the change under cover of reaching up to his inside coat pocket for the little comedy prop he uses so effectively. (Plastic hand on pencil, bent into the "Okay" sign.) The deck is held is his left hand which is the one that goes to his pocket for the prop. On the way the hand with the deck passes the single card held in the right hand and the switch is made.
Good technique is always important, Steve, as you realize. But with some moves, the timing is critical. The most important thing about the top change is finding the moment.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/16/02 11:35 AM

Back in March of 2001, David Williamson lectured at Denny & Lee's in Baltimore. One third of his lecture manuscript (the other two thirds were "The Memory Test," based on Eddie Fechter's "That's It" and "Color Stunner Revisited," based on Paul Harris's "Color Stunner) was a treatise on the Top Change.

It is one of the best written, best thought-out write-ups on the mechanics and misdirection of the top change that I have ever seen.

Denny may still have some of the notes. You may want to check with him. The notes are titled, "Dave Does Denny's."

brian :cool:
Guest
 

Postby NCMarsh » 07/16/02 01:04 PM

in response to some of the above...let me say this:

Q: is precise timing and well choreographed misdirection important to a successful top change?

A: absolutely

Q: is precise timing and well choreographed misdirection THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of a successful top change?

A: ABSOLUTELY

...which is why the above, minor, alteration to the technique of the top change was made--because it reduces the chance of a miscue which causes an unnatural pause in the flow the technique...in other words: it reduces the chance of hesitation at the most important moment of the change (the carefully chosen moment in which the change is made)...

additionally...

A principle that I am greatly fond of in constructing my magic is taken from Aircraft design...Aircrafts are designed with redundant systems, that is to say that for functions critical to the operation of the aircraft two, mechanically independent, systems are present so that if one fails the other can take over...thus it would take a failure in both, independent, systems to bring the plane down (there are probably more than two such systems for critical functions, i'm not involved in aviation and don't know...)

One critical function in the performance of magic, that must be achieved for it to be called magic, is that actions neccessary to the modus operandi of the effect be invisible...

we have techniques availible to us to make these actions psychologically invisible (they are perceived, but quickly forgotten because the brain filters them out as unimportant)...we have techniques (actually what is called "technique" itself) to make actions physically invisible (they are not perceived)

If either of these "system" (for psychological deception or "physical" deception) is used alone and it fails...we fail...

If both are used together, following the model of the aircraft's redundant systems, and one fails, our performance can still fly...

thus I believe that the deceptiveness of the physical mechanics of the top change should be as carefully studied as the timing and misdirection...

nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby NCMarsh » 07/16/02 01:11 PM

BTW...Gary Kurtz' "Leading with Your Head" includes a great tutorial on the kind of misdirection (tension/relaxation) that is used in most top change covers...

nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Pete Biro » 07/16/02 01:52 PM

I learned from Frank Shields...who IMHO was unbeatable at the TC.

Right hand holds card in front of your waist, LH w/deck comes under (change) and LH moves forward and to right in gesture.

The key, however, is the relax mode as others have described here (Slydini technique).

I also like the Al Koran one where you hold the card in a biddle grip... find it in his notes. So easy and so hard to catch. :p
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Guest » 07/16/02 05:01 PM

So many good thinkers... so much consensus. This is a great thread. In the hopes that what we have discussed about the top change can generalize to other sleight of hand techniques, I offer one more thought.

Years ago when I was doing my very first lecture, I included my Cups and Balls Routine. Is discussing the final loads, I always made the following point. In fact, it applies to much more than just loading:

Some sleight of hand performers are technically superb and can fool almost everyone with just their great technique. There are others who are masters of misdirection and can fool almost everyone by getting your attention off the moves. But, the performers who fool the greatest percentage of spectators are the guys that have superb technique and are also masters of misdirection. Never kid yourself that your technique is so good you don't have to use misdirection, or that your misdirection is so good that you don't have to have perfect technique.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/16/02 06:57 PM

Very nicely said, Dennis.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/16/02 10:27 PM

Thanks again for all the insightful ideas. I'm SOAKING IT ALL IN!! I'm glad you mentioned( I believe it was Pete ) about the relaxation part. Michael also mentions in his video to SHOW the tension in your body at the point of revealing the card THEN relax your body, bringing your arm down along with the card. On my way to gesture with my left hand, the exchange is made. I have been interested in this sleight for some time, but have not felt comfortable. Do you know what I mean? You have practiced the sleight over and over and are not willing to jump in and do it. I'm glad the "Frog Prince" came along. I had to just jump in and do it. I don't know how the others feel, although for me, the REAL practice is when your in front of a family at a table and you learn the timing of the exchange. I'll continue to tweak my technique with the generous comments...thank you.
Guest
 

Postby NCMarsh » 07/16/02 10:47 PM

Steve,

Be SURE to check out Gary Kurtz' "Leading With Your Head"...it should be availible from H and R...among others...it really is the BEST source of information i've found in one place on misdirection and timing....

Regards,
nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Guest » 07/17/02 09:03 AM

One other thing I've found with the top change is that the two hands should never move at the same time. That is, if you're gesturing or displaying a card with the right hand, freeze the left with the deck. After the exchange, move away with the deck, but freeze the right hand. Also, the top change is actually a lot more "covered" than you might think, especially if your body is turned. I have a buddy who can do the mythical Hofsinger top change (I sense a correction from Richard coming)while you're burning the deck. Everything else said in this thread about timing, misdirection, patter is right on. Also, to paraphrase the words of Matt Schulein, get caught once and you'll learn how to do it right....
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/17/02 01:16 PM

While the general thinking is that both hands should never move at the same time during a Top Change, Jerry Deutsch has done the Top Change for many years while moving both hands with a customized cover that fits him perfectly.
The rule is really to create a cover for the sleight that fits YOU perfectly. Once you do that, it will become invisible.
Perhaps Jerry will explain his cover to us?
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20776
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Pete Biro » 07/17/02 05:41 PM

Cover? Heheheh.... some guys need a tarp! :D
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Gerald Deutsch » 07/17/02 06:02 PM

Okay Richard, I'll try.

In The Royal Road to Card Magic (one of my favorite books) there is a trick called "The Changing Card" in the chapter Top and Bottom Changes.

My handling briefly:

1 Spread the deck and have a spectator touch the back of one. Pull it out with the right hand and raising both hands show the card to the spectator that selected it.

2 But it back in the deck and control it to the top.

3 Repeat 1 with another spectator. As you show the card you say "your card" with emphasis.

4 Relax (or as Slydini would say "rest") bringing both hands together with the top card of the deck being pushed off slightly by the left thumb and the card in the right hand going under the left thumb as the pushed off top card is grabbed between the right 2nd and 3rd finger. Pause in this position.

5 The left hand moves away and with it you point to the spectator as you say, "You took the same card.." and then point to the other spectator with your right hand "as you did." (and regripping the card between the right thumb on top moving away the 2nd finger.)

(To end - the first spectator will say, "No, I took the 4 of spades." I look puzzled, look at the card, show it to him and say "So?"
Gerald Deutsch
 
Posts: 329
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Glen Head New York

Postby Guest » 07/17/02 07:28 PM

Ken Krenzel's handling of the top change is described by Harry Lorayne in "Best Of Friends" vol. 1, starting on page 224.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/18/02 01:55 AM

I find that the off beatmoment that arises when the Frog fidns the selection gives enough mis direction for just about anything. Thetop change can be doen as sloppily, or indeed as perfectly as you like. I think that the key point is to eliminate any deck talking. I use the Le Paul style top change ala Basic Card Technique - Richard Kaufmann (I think its on there anyways).

"And our now hidious, used to be handsome frog friend has found YOUR card!" As they appluade and laugh coz its all a bit silly, I hold it high in the Le Paul top change grip, show everyone then turn to me extreme left as I bring the card to the deck, then gesture towards the person seated there and say something like "Hey you got a great seat there, dont tell them how its done!"

I think the key to it is defintaley bringing the card to the deck, then a gesture with the deck.
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/18/02 06:36 PM

Thanks Jerry!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20776
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 07/18/02 07:10 PM

Gary Kurtz had an interesting handling of the top change on one of his videos. He has his left thumb fully extended on the deck. He then pulls inward with the left fingers in order to sidejog the card to be changed. I think the idea is to eliminate the tell tale movement of the left thumb during the change. Check out the tape.

Mike
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/19/02 08:46 PM

One tip that helped me to get comfortable with the top change was to do it when it wasn't needed (similar to practicing the classic force). For example, at the end of my ambitious routine, or any routine where you end up holding a card, I would do the top change. As far as the audience is concerned, the trick is over (and it is). Who cares if they catch you - you were absent-mindedly playing with the cards. Once you do this a few times, you learn when "the moment" occurs, and it becomes much easier to add the TC into other routines. Just two cents...
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/26/02 12:51 PM

Funny, but I just recently started overcoming my longstanding top-change anxiety by tacking a top-change sequence to the end of Ambitious Card, much as described above.

The way I do Ambitious Card, I give the deck a "tap and a slap" each time I make the card rise to the top. After a couple of rises, I hold out the deck and have a spectator tap and slap; when the card rises, I ask how long she's been studying magic. (Best response so far: "Oh, for about the last 30 seconds.")

We repeat, and when the assistant succeeds again, I take the card in my right hand, look at her, and say, "Hey, you really are a magician aren't you?" Then I give a paranoid look at everyone present and say, "Wait a minute ... you're ALL magicians. I can tell. I've stumbled on a magic convention or something, right? God, I hate performing for magicians!" I pick out someone slightly to my right, pivot my body, and say, "You, you've got 'magician' written all over you!" The top change takes place as I thrust my left hand toward that person, pointing accusatorily. I then conclude with an especially triumphant final rise.

Apropos of Nathan Coe Marsh's well-expressed comments, this top-change sequence involves triple redundancy:

1. My impeccable (heh) technique;
2. The misdirection accorded by the spectator byplay; and
3. Synchronization of the sleight with the word "magician," to mask any possible talking of the cards (on the off chance that my technique proves, er, peccable).

Enough,
r
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/26/02 12:57 PM

May your technique become more peccable each day, as your performing becomes more couth. deloomis@mindspring.com
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 07/26/02 01:03 PM

Thanks, and may you be ever more gruntled with your lot in life.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 08/02/02 11:59 AM

A last gasp on this thread.

Two quickie queries:

1. For anyone: Is Frog Prince in print anywhere or available only on video? (I'm trying to maintain my streak of owning 0 magic videos, but the thread's got me intrigued.)

2. For Pete Biro: I'm curious about the Al Koran biddle-grip top change you mentioned at one point. Sounds like it might be similar or identical to a move I worked out on my own in the last year. Could you point me to a specific, accessible source on the move?

Thanks much
Guest
 

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/02/02 12:08 PM

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
1. For anyone: Is Frog Prince in print anywhere or available only on video? (I'm trying to maintain my streak of owning 0 magic videos, but the thread's got me intrigued.)
If you can get a copy of "Workers #2" it's in there, otherwise check out "Workers, The Video" or "Very, Very Close, Vol 3"

-Jim
Jim Maloney_dup1
 
Posts: 1709
Joined: 07/23/01 12:00 PM
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby NCMarsh » 08/02/02 12:14 PM

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:


2. For Pete Biro: I'm curious about the Al Koran biddle-grip top change you mentioned at one point. Sounds like it might be similar or identical to a move I worked out on my own in the last year. Could you point me to a specific, accessible source on the move?

Well, I'm not Pete Biro, but unless I'm grossly misunderstanding his description, its in Expert Card Technique...

regards,
nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Guest » 08/02/02 12:38 PM

Thanks guys. Nathan, I don't recall such a sleight in ECT, but that wouldn't be the first time I've overlooked something in a book I've owned for three decades.
Guest
 

Postby NCMarsh » 08/02/02 01:08 PM

Well, it depends on what Biro means...I assumed he meant a top change in which the card to be changed in is held in biddle grip...it's very smooth and virtually effortless because the fingers are out of the way -- I believe it's in ECT but I might be wrong (most of my library is in storage :( )

regards,
nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Guest » 08/02/02 01:26 PM

ECT occupies an exalted spot in my bathroom, so I'll check when I get home from work.

Best,
r
Guest
 

Next

Return to Close-Up Magic