Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
Well, I followed a 'map' to what I assumed was a valid description of the effect. Based on that I offered the opinion that it read like a nonsense effect and wondered (because others had praised the trick) if there wasn't some aspect (such as a script) that gave the effect a reason for living...
I'm sort of old fashioned in that I like effects that an audience member can describe the day AFTER they've seen them: 'My card was in his wallet' ... 'the aces jumped out of the deck'... 'he read my mind'.
I guess I'll just have to wait until I happen by a magic shop or find someone who does the effect.
Bill is right: the Hank Lee description of "Cascade" doesn't do the trick justice and he's also right that if the spectator can't easily describe the effect, it's a lousy trick.
A spectator would describe the effect like this:
"The cards kept turning over and over all by themselves and then changed into completely different cards RIGHT IN MY HANDS!"
As anyone who has performed Vernon's "Twisting The Aces," "Triumph" or "Cascade" knows, the twist/turn effect, because it is so visual and easily understood to be magical, is one of the strongest things you can do.
"Cascade" has all those elements, but then piles on a slam-bang, out-of-the-blue climax, where the cards are suddenly and radically transformed.
There are other packet effects that sound similar (and a spectator might even describe their effects in the same way as "Cascade"), but the reason "Cascade" is the champ is two-fold:
1. The method is elegant and efficient (a lot of the pretenders to the throne use 6 cards pretending to be 4 cards).
2. The final transformations happen completely in the spectator's hands and he is left with the cards to examine. The rival effects don't allow for this either because there's too many extra "secret" cards left, or because the cards are gaffed.
I've done "Cascade" for hundreds of years -- the real challenge was to come up with a presentational hook that made sense of what's happens. You just can't pull out the packet, have the cards turn over and then change -- that's stupid.
I used a patter theme built around the three laws of magic, sympathy, attraction and surprise. Each "law" was illustrated with a different effect.
I also shortened the routine considerably. The original routine started with a twisitng sequence, then a card vanished and appeared, then there was another twisting sequence and then the transformations occurred.
I thought it made more sense to go from twisting, to card appearance to transformation (in other words, why go back to a twisitng sequence after a card vanishes and appears just because you can).
"Cascade" had a handling problem shared by a lot of the packet tricks of the era: you had to extract a card from the center of the packet and place it on top at the end of each twisting sequence. Given how good the effect was, this was a small problem, but it can be eliminated with some planning.
"Cascade" has been ripped off by many people and Roy Walton has never received a dime from them -- Hell, they never even asked his permission. Usually, the rip-off versions make some minor and obvious change (like sticking mirrors on the cards) or using different cards (doing a card trick with red cards rather than blue cards doesn't mean it's a new trick).
To date, no one, other than myself and Roy Walton (with "MUTANZ"), haS made any significant improvements to the effect.
If you know"Cascade," if you do "Cascade," there are elements of the "MUTANZ" version that will fool you completely.