Jennings Recommendation

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Marc Rehula » 01/18/07 09:15 AM

I just got the book, The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings by Mike Maxwell. I got it because I know that it's full of classic routines. But . . . uh . . . it's BIG! Could anyone recommend a few killer routines for me to start out with? I don't want to put it on my bookshelf just because I'm overwhelmed.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 09:58 AM

My two favorite routines from this book are on the less-technically-demanding end of the spectrum of Jennings material.

Reaping The Aces I is my all-time favorite "spectator cuts the aces" routine. Doing the switch in the trick makes me smile at its audacity.

I've been doing Prefiguration since I first read it in a Magicana column in Genii back in the 60s. A great routine, but it needs to be done at the appropriate time - it's definitely not an opener. I use it almost exclusively as an encore item when I have an attentive and appreciative audience that asks to see "one more." It's hard to top. To me, this trick is as good as Out of This World, and gets a similar audience reaction.

Have fun and enjoy!
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 10:02 AM

Well my favorites are The mystery Card (p.34), Ambitious Classic (p.95), Twist' In(p.122), Prefiguration (p.156), Uni-Flection (p.184), Outstanding triumph(223), Instant Aces (p.229). Lets not forget The Optical Add-on described in "2002 Aces"(p.4)

Note that all those are not too demanding, technically speaking and they get great reactions!

Take your time with this book; it's like a treasure chest. Its the very first book I bought 10 years ago when I started out in magic (and needless to say, most of the material was waaaay out of reach for me at the time!) and I still find new things in it to try out today. It's a book that I revisit from time to time with the greatest pleasure.

Enjoy,
Seb
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 10:16 AM

I love the Jennings Revelation. Very visual and startling production/revelation of four cards.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 10:41 AM

Check out Larry's Homing Card for a trick that builds to a truly impossible seeming climax -- get it smooth and it kills. I also like The Visitor, but the Dingle handling described in The Collected Almanac is superior to the handling taught in Classic Magic of, IMHO.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/18/07 10:51 AM

May I suggest "Impossible" for your first effect. It's easy to do and is amazing.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 12:52 PM

I second Richard's suggestion. Impossible is hard to beat and almost self-working. Page 44.

luigimar
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Postby Marc Rehula » 01/18/07 01:36 PM

Thanks everyone who has responded (so far: feel free to keep adding).

(A special thanks to Richard Kaufman for the suggestion -- AND for not telling me I should have gotten 'Jennings 67' instead!)
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 01:52 PM

I always wished I smoked after reading his Misdirection Cards To Pocket. If you smoke, DO this routine.
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Postby Guest » 01/18/07 01:53 PM

... by the way, have any of you come up with another natural way to go into the pockets for the above trick?
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Postby Guest » 02/05/07 02:58 AM

Ambidextrous Travellers would get my vote, though I'm rather fond of Ambitous Classic too!

I saw Jamy Ian Swiss do a version of Jennings' Misdirection Cards To Pocket at a lecture in London years ago, don't remember the details, or if he has published it, but I think Davenports still have the video of the lecture for sale.

Iain.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 02/05/07 03:19 AM

Visitor
Pacoima Solution
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Postby Guest » 02/05/07 06:58 AM

I use the in-the-hands triumph all the time. Very convenient handling.
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Postby Guest » 02/05/07 08:31 AM

This thread prompted me to go back and leaf through my copy.

Bought it when it was first published some 20 years ago, learned a few tricks and, as it always seems to go, kinda forgot about them over the years as new things were learned.

So having gone through it again, I've revisited Homing Card (great routine, can't believe I'd forgotten about it), A Problem With Hofzinser, The Visitor, Mystery Card (evokes Paul Harris' Illusion), and Triple Discovery.

This thread also got me to try Impossible. It's obviously a great routine. Problem was, first time I saw Impossible was when the dealer who sold me the book demoed the trick. He did a lousy job of it and I missed its potential.

So I went and took another look. It absolutely slays. I usually have one "I never touched the cards" kinda trick at the ready, but this one is a few notches above.

It is so accessible, I taught it to my 10 year-old son, the budding magician. He has flabbergasted everyone. Does a very deceptive top change, as well. Wish I had that down at 10.

Good times.

JD
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Postby Guest » 02/05/07 11:25 PM

The Visitor, A Problem with Hofzinser, and Gambler's Aces (not exactly self woking though...)
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Postby Guest » 02/06/07 06:28 AM

This thread motivated me to look up Larry Jenningss Impossible to see what I was missing.

After watching Larrys performance on his Classic Magic DVD, the following came to mind.

Its almost impossible for the spectator to follow the magicians directions (all of the small packet management).

Its almost impossible for a spectator to watch this performance without being bored. Im not talking about the spectator that is participating in the effect. Im talking about someone watching this multi-phase packet dealing and shuffling. And lets not forget the magicians recapitulation of this multi-phase packet dealing and shuffling. I know the method requires it, but do our spectators really need us to go through this again a few seconds after seeing this done the first time around?

Finally its impossible for the spectator to remember their card. At least, it was on the DVD.

It seems to me that Impossible is an interesting card trick for some. However, it's bad magic.
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Postby Guest » 02/06/07 07:50 AM

pierredan...

I haven't seen Jennings' performance DVD, but your point is taken.

There is bad magic out there, and even a great presentation can't mask that. In this case, and with all due respect to Jennings, I can only speculate you saw great magic presented badly. Can't hit all of them out of the park.

As I noted in my last post, the first time I saw Impossible performed by a magic dealer some 20 years ago, the presentation was so lousy I not only didn't care for it, I even missed its potential. In fact, the first time this guy performed Kennedy's Mystery Box for me, I was again totally underwhelmed but, in that particular case, appreciated how strong the effect could be, in particular by replacing the dump with a HPC.

I have never liked extended, count-y tricks that appear complicated. Still don't. Find them very unmagical.

In the case of Impossible, I don't follow the presentation Jennings suggests in his book because it just seems to plod along too slowly.

To make Impossible work best, you have to adapt the presentation so that it is brisk. The tradeoff is you need to introduce a few control subtleties so that nothing screws up.

When I present Impossible, it's over before it starts. I have been consistently surprised by the upbeat reactions.

I would give it another chance.

JD
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/06/07 09:24 AM

Watching magic on DVD has no relation to seeing it performed live. Watching Larry perform "Impossible" on DVD is boring.

It is not, however, boring if you are the spectator involved in the trick.

And this brings up the point that Larry often performed magic for a single individual--and this is the "deck is out of my hands" trick that he did when workig for one person.
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Postby Terry » 02/06/07 03:50 PM

Watching Larry Jennings on DVD you don't have a clue just how big a guy he was.

He really did have catchers mitts for hands, but a real touch when handling the cards.

Plus the fact he was a really nice guy willing to spend time with anyone who asked.
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Postby Guest » 02/06/07 04:31 PM

I watched "impossible" routine by Mr.Jennings on the demo L&L publishing cd which some times ago was included in genii magazine.
I have to say i was very bored by that trick.
It was in my opinion the most boring trick in the all demos.
But not because Mr.Jennings made a bad performance, also if in the demo he was a little sleepy, but it was the trick in itself very tedious.
As the Great ARTURO DE ASCANIO writes in his book"The magic of Ascanio volume 1":
MAGIC IS ESSENTIALLY A VISUAL ART!!
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Postby Guest » 02/08/07 02:44 PM

I have to say that "Impossible" failed to capture my imagination as well. Not that it's a bad trick. The construction is brilliant. It's just not something that I see myself doing. But many people do rave about it.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/08/07 09:40 PM

Like most tricks, you need to try something on laymen yourself before you can evaluate it as a piece of mystery and entertainment.

So, the only way to judge what kind of effect "Impossible" will have on laymen is for YOU to perform it for them.

It's easy enough to learn--so learn it and try it a few times. Let us know what kind of reactions you get. I think you'll be plesantly surprised.
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Postby Guest » 02/09/07 07:29 AM

I don't want to belabour my view on Impossible, but I wouldn't want to think somebody might let it slide for the wrong reasons. A last go at it...

Seems that most - but obviously not all - of the underwhelmed reactions to Impossible are based on a viewing of the routine - presumably the DVD - rather than a live performance.

Again, first time I saw it performed 20 years ago by one of my local magic dealers, it sucked.

But it sucked because the routining sucked, so much, in fact, that the underlying principle was lost on me.

As you note cfrancis, the construction is brilliant. But that's really the point: it's an extremely deceptive basis for an "in their hands routine".

You don't have to do these types of routines, but I always like to have one, and tend to do it towards the end of things, because it leaves just the right memory with the audience; i.e., the magic was good (hopefully) and at one point, he even did this thing where he didn't even touch the cards and yet found it...actually, I found it.

Most tricks are cleaner, but they take place in the magician's hands. The moment you let go of the cards, it almost invariably means you'll need greater control, possibly at the expense of pace and clarity.

But, if pace were the only consideration, you'd never bother doing a card trick over the phone. That would be a loss.

Where things get muddled in Impossible is the routining.

So, if you want a powerful "in their hands", but want a brisker routine, then change the routine. That's effectively what I did and, as a result, was able to take advantage of the principle without boring folk to death.

A few suggestions:

(1) I've cut out big chunks of the routine without losing anything....big hunkin' chunks.

(2) I move pretty briskly, creating a Whirlwind of Randomness(tm). It reinforces the seemingly haphazard nature of the whole thing.

(3) I've had nothing but great reactions. Seriously. I mean it. No lies.

Either I truly believe this thing is worth a try, or else I am a closet Impossible apologist.

JD
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Postby Guest » 02/09/07 09:07 AM

Hi, I would like to say that any routine that you put enough effort into will amaze people, Just about all of MR.Jennings tricks in any one of his books will do that.I tried impossible on a number of people at my retail store and they sat there with their mouths open, so you have to try it and not go by the dvd reactions of the audience
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/09/07 10:18 AM

JD, would you like to share your version with us?
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Postby Guest » 02/09/07 10:52 AM

It is just my opinion,
but i was never really fond of spelling tricks.
They don't convey me a magic feeling.
They seem more mechanical and mathematical.
This doesn't mean i don't like magic supported by maths principles..but in my opinion these principles must be hidden.
And the spelling process doesn't hide the math principle behind the tirck..
and in my opinion this doesn't help to create a magical atmosphere.
Maybe they're good puzzles..
but not MAGIC!!
Hoping for opinions of yours, also if different than mine
Regards
Crim
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Postby Guest » 02/09/07 11:27 AM

Sure Richard. I'll try to write something out on the weekend.

In the end, it's really not a big leap - just time management - and most anyone wanting to do the routine without the ballast would probably do something very similar. If you think of the routine having 3 stages in terms of the card handling, i.e., performer / spectator / performer, I've basically lopped off all of the first and most of the third.

Crimsonking...I hear you brother. What is most telling for me is that although I really dislike spelly-mathy card tricks, for the same reasons you highlight, I nevertheless like this one.

(For the record, I don't like the Cups & Balls or Twisting The Aces, either.)

Instead of having the spec spell out Impossible, you could conceivably do this: after cutting to the crimp, locate the card, palm it out, pocket it, then say "Want to see something really impossible?"...

JD
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Postby Guest » 02/12/07 04:25 PM

I just recently bought this book, which fills a large hole in my library by being the first Jennings book I own. I'm only halfway through it, but I have to second the recommendation of "Reaping the Aces." A couple of months ago Billy Goodwin and I spent a fine evening going over dozens of similar ace-cutting routines, and Reaping the Aces is my favorite.

I have made a tiny change in the procedure which I think is worth trying. Hold the deck in your hand, fingers flat, very fairly, and have the spectators cut three packets from it to the table. The cards remaining in your hand will be a little spread out by the spectator's cuts, and you can get your break as you square up. This eliminates the need to pick up the bottom quarter of the deck from the table and hold it in your hand during the revelation, which seemed like a weak point in the trick.

Either way the Jennings Slip Switch is a great move; fun to do, completely deceptive, and very little can go wrong.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/07 05:05 PM

Pete, you should be ashamed that you don't own Jennings '67! :)
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Postby Guest » 02/12/07 07:25 PM

Richard,

I am ashamed. Why don't you pay me to write a column for Genii. I promise I will buy only Kaufman (or Kaufman and Greenberg) books with the money.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/12/07 09:58 PM

hahaha.
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Postby Guest » 02/14/07 02:04 PM

As I make my way through this great book, I noticed something about Dice-a-matic that anyone doing this trick might find interesting. Instead of controlling the selection to 20th position, and then subtracting one from the number on the top die, just control the selection to 21st position, and use the actual number on the top die. Subtracting by one is not hard, but why have to remember it?

This is such an obvious fix that I find it hard to believe the original was published as is -- unless I'm missing something. My theory is that Larry used the top-card cover pass handling described at the end, which does require subtraction, and so didn't realize he could simplify the basic handling.

This is a fascinating trick (from the perspective of someone who hasn't tried it out yet). It seems an interesting combination of card control and the three-dice thing, which is very old but still well concealed.
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Postby Guest » 02/14/07 02:23 PM

Pete,

With the card at the 20th position, you don't have to do any adjustment of the cards when a one-spot is showing (1 - 1 = 0 cards to displace).

With the card at position 21, you will always have to do a displacement.
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Postby Guest » 02/14/07 04:09 PM

Onceler (A little Dr. Seuss reference),

That makes sense. I'm not sure it's worth it to me, but at least I can see the benefit.


Pete
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Postby Guest » 02/15/07 12:38 AM

what i like about this book is that as your skill level rises, you are able to do more and more of the material in the book.

it's one of those books that you will read and use for years and years. it's great!
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Postby Guest » 02/15/07 05:46 AM

What a great book...

Be sure to check out "Always Cut the Cards," and ALL of the coin material.
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Postby Guest » 02/16/07 11:10 AM

in dice o matic, if the 5 numbers total 24, then what? i must be missing something here.
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Postby Guest » 02/16/07 12:49 PM

Brian,

Three dice are stacked one on top of the other, and the spots on each of the five "hidden" surfaces are totaled to arrive at a "chance" number.

The spots on the top and bottom of each die will combine to make 'seven,' meaning that 21 is the total of all the hidden surfaces plus the top surface of the stack. The top surface of the stack is not hidden and is consequently not used in calculating the total, so the procedure used in the trick essentially forces a number from 15 to 20. (And you know what the number is by subtracting the number of spots on the top die from 21.)

If you're able to get 24, you've got non-regulation dice!

Hope this helps...
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Postby Guest » 02/16/07 04:57 PM

once a magician,

thank you so much, i was counting the three numbers that the performer couldnt see (the three that are in the tower on the spectators side), and the two that had dice on top of them.

i was getting stressed over this, thanks again.

brian.
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Postby Guest » 02/18/07 02:38 AM

Does someone know how Mike Maxwell wrote the book? Did he tape Mr Jennings? What happened to those tapes?
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