Here's a short article I wrote a couple months ago on another message board. It's been edited slightly.
Commonly referred to as simply "the Erdnase change," S. W. Erdnase's first method for a two-handed transformation (The Expert at the Card Table, 1902, p. 151) is wonderful. Many magicians have excellent variations on the change; Jay Sankey is currently getting attention for his revisions. I feel the biggest improvements have been made by Larry Jennings (Richard Kaufman's Jennings '67, 1997, p. 122) and Alex Elmsley (Stephen Minch's The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, 1991, p. 137).
More interesting than the change itself is its history. Several magic historians, including Richard Kaufman, Stephen Minch, and Reinhard Mueller, theorize that "the Erdnase change" does not even belong to this mysterious man. Several published records credit the change to Harry Houdini.
Enough with the first transformation; onto the others in Erdnase. All six of the two-handed transformations are fairly well-known, and all are worth your attention. The one-handed transformations are more difficult, but success with them is not impossible.
A newer change which has caught my attention belongs to Don England. The "Visual Retention Color Change" (Don England's T.K.O.'s, 1980, p. AC) is incredibly visual, and not very difficult. The underlying principle has great potential and is undiscovered by most magicians.
Ed Marlo's "The Snap Change" (Marlo's Magazine, Volume 2, 1977, p. 158) is another very popular transformation. Its popularity is well deserved, as it is fairly simple and incredibly visual. There are, however, angle problems, and the clean-up can be difficult.
Marlo's "Face Up Startler" (Marlo's Magazine, Volume 2, 1977, p. 259) is very clean and visual. It has been made popular by Bill Malone in recent years.
Marc DeSouza's "Shapeshifter" (The Trapdoor, No. 48, 1995, p. 862) is widely used. It is easy to execute and produces a visual change, but it is easily figured out by wise laymen.
March 29, 2004