Elliott/Houdini pass?

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Postby TheWorkingMagus » 03/20/12 06:35 PM

Hi there.
I was reading Jennings 67' book and found a reference to a certain Elliott/Houdini pass. It caught my attention because i dont remember having studied said sleight.
Which books explain this technique?
Thanks.


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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/20/12 07:33 PM

There is a version in Ken Krenzel's book from 1978, Card Classics. Jennings' Circle Shift is a version of the sleight that uses no break, merely a step.
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Postby Eric Fry » 03/21/12 06:17 PM

"Elliott's Last Legacy" has descriptions of what it calls the Elliott Pass and the Houdini Card Pass, so I assume they are different techniques. The descriptions are very hard to understand, in my opinion.

"Magic Without Apparatus" in Hugard's translation has the Houdini pass in a pretty clear description.

Farelli's "Card Magic" has several pages about the Houdini pass. It sounds as if there was a variation as well. Farelli also mentions that Elliott published a pass in the Sphinx. I don't know why he brings this up in the context of Houdini's pass.

"The Art of Magic" says Houdini performed the conventional two-handed pass well. But Farelli seems to think Hilliard didn't realize Houdini was doing his own pass.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/21/12 08:11 PM

Houdini was well-known as an expert on the two-handed Pass, putting a selection face up in the middle and causing it to come to the top. Considering that he was a card manipulator early in his career (there is footage of him doing card manips that is pretty impressive), I would not be the least bit surprised if he had mastered the classic form of the Pass, as well as Dr. Elliott's, which he probably changed in some way.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 03/22/12 04:00 AM

Elliot Pass was described in Sphinx, Vol. 8, no. 8, october 1909, page 152.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 03/22/12 07:30 AM

Philippe, that "A Subtle Card Pass" in Sphinx, October 1909 looks more like a shuffle control and nothing like what is described as the "Elliott Pass" in "Elliott's Last Legacy"

It does have this as a P. S.:
"This is the only way that this shuffling can be done quickly, naturally and accurately. Before the shuffling starts, the pack is held as in doing the old two-hand passlittle finger of left hand between the packet. In this shuffling act flex left wrist upwards so as to get the cards into position to start the shuffle, so to speak."
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Postby TheWorkingMagus » 03/22/12 10:43 AM

Thank you very much guys for all this info.
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Postby Eric Fry » 03/26/12 11:08 PM

I just noticed the reproduction of Elliott's Sphinx article in Culliton's "Houdini the Key." Elliott attributes the pass to William Frazier, a card player. The description of the move seems to apply to the card table, where the deck would be held horizontally.

The gist of this pass is to lift off the top packet with the left fingers and place the packet perpendicular to the deck as the right hand covers the deck during a squaring motion. At the end of the squaring motion, the audience sees the bottom half of the deck and thinks it is the whole deck. With the top packet covered by the right hand, it can be brought under the bottom packet slowly or quickly. I assume that the spectators are looking down at your hands.

Interestingly, Elliott suggests the technique, which Ganson mentions in "Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic," of nearly kissing the passed packets face to face and then curling in the left fingers to position the new bottom packet face down.

The Frazier pass is similar to the move that Gaultier calls Harry Houdini's Pass with Two Hands. But Gaultier talks about the right hand being "brought over" the deck and doesn't specify that it touches the deck in a squaring motion.

It also seems to be similar to the Houdini Card Pass in Houdini's book about Elliott. It talks abut the right hand being free of the deck when the top packet is moved. So it sounds like Houdini claimed at least independent invention of that version.

So maybe that's what distinguishes Houdini's pass from Frazier's pass: lifting the top packet, perpendicular to the deck, into the right hand as it screens the deck from a slight distance. That sounds like it's better suited for the stage, where the performer can turn to his left and hold the deck vertically. I don't see how you'd get away with it close-up or at a table.

Confusingly, the move called the Elliott Pass in Houdini's book about Elliott is more similar to Houdini's pass than to Frazier's pass. The right hand isn't on the deck when the top packet is moved.

One difference from Houdini's pass is that the bottom packet is levered above the edge of the upper packet, which then can be placed under the former bottom packet by simply curling in the left fingers.

Reading more closely, I see now that Farelli didn't have the Sphinx article in front of him, so I'm guessing that he didn't remember Elliott's credit of Frazier. Farelli's description of the Elliott Pass includes the squaring motion, while the move he calls Variation of the Houdini Method has the top packet lifted into the right hand before that hand grips the deck.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/26/12 11:15 PM

Elliott's description in The Sphinx gives a fantastic cover for the Pass, but I don't recall any credit to another person for the mechanics of the Pass itself.
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