Which one?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 03/19/06 02:37 AM

The classic torn and restored card effect has to be one of the most overdone effects in magic, justifiably so really, it's a great effect, but there are a heck of a lot of variations out there. So I was interested in knowing from those who are familiar with a lot of variations, which do you think is the best, and perhaps more importantly, why?

I'm familiar with a couple, perhaps more notably, Hollingworth's Reformation, which is certainly strong and earned it's reputation for good reason, but as I see it there wouldn't be so many alternatives if people felt it was ideal.

So which is it?:

Hollingworth's "Reformation"?
Garcia's "Torn"?
Yves Doumergue's "Ripped and Restored"?
Wesley James' "Pristine"?
Lance Ackerman's "Re-attached"?
Gared Crawford's "Unripped"?
Glenn West's "Seamless"?
Jack Allen's "HEAL"?
Brian O'Neill's Signed Torn and Restored Card?
Michael Close's Signed Torn and Restored Card?
JC Wagner's Torn and Restored Card?
Paul Harris' Torn and Restored Card?
Charles McPherson's "Double Torn and Restored Card"?
John Lovick's "Reparation"?
Peter Grandt's Torn and Restored Card?
Sean Fields' "Fusion"?

Some other one I didn't list here?

Also, as an aside, for those familiar with the methods, a brief commentary on the effect would be appreciated.

Thank you.
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Postby Guest » 03/19/06 02:59 AM

LePaul's, from his book, is simple and direct and very effective, not a piece by piece. I suggest you search this and other forums as topic frequently raised over the years.
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Postby Guest » 03/19/06 06:23 AM

I like Father Cyprian's "Nostalgia Torn & Restored Card." It's definitely 'old school' thinking (which I always lean toward), but the moves and misdirection have been worked out to perfection by the good Father. I actually saw him perform this on stage with about 500 people in the audience and it was absolutely amazing.

I'm not a big fan of Paul Harris' Torn & Restored because of the ending. You're using a torn piece as a receipt when you're supposed to be restoring the card. I've actually performed it a few times in public and 100 percent of the time the people say, "Now restore this piece" (their receipt). Tommy Wonder overcomes this flawed ending fairly nicely in his lecture notes (it might be in his "Books of Wonder" but I'm not exactly sure about that).

Again, I lean heavily toward Father Cyprian's method.

Bob Infantino
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Postby Guest » 03/19/06 10:18 AM

Originally posted by Drey:
[QB] The classic torn and restored card effect has to be one of the most overdone effects in magic, justifiably so really, it's a great effect,
Just a minor point, but if you agree that the popularity of the effect is justifiable, I would point out that it is not "overdone." An effect is "overdone" when its popularity exceeds its intrinsic merits and "staying power" with the public. I do not believe this is the case with T & R routines, so I would disagree with your contention that they are "overdone." Is the cups and balls "overdone?"

I'm familiar with a couple, perhaps more notably, Hollingworth's Reformation, which is certainly strong and earned it's reputation for good reason, but as I see it there wouldn't be so many alternatives if people felt it was ideal.
I don't think it's because people don't think Reformation is "ideal." I think it's just the natural creative impulse and a desire to come up with your own version of the plot that motivates most of the other versions. Like everything else in magic, different handlings have different strengths and weaknesses. Newer versions often solve weaknesses or discrepancies of older versions, and sometimes they present weaknesses of their own for future tinkerers to solve.

For instance, Torn is probably the front runner these days, and its advantages are that it looks great and is easy to perform, with very little setup. And comparing it to Reformation, the differences are very subtle - with Reformation the selection is signed on the face, which is better, but with Torn the first restoration is more visual. And of course if you want to bring fire into it, there are other versions that deal with that as well.

I know several of the popular versions but I'm still doing Reformation. All things considered I think it's still the best. The perception is that Reformation is very difficult, but I have a suspicion it is merely because Hollingworth's rather verbose writing style, and the difficulty of describing certain moves, meant that his written description of the effect was something like 40 pages long. If he had released it on a DVD like the others (before his book it was only available on a limited, private release VHS), I think more people would have an easier time with Reformation and it would be even more popular than it is. I just made up a cheat sheet when I was learning Reformation so I didn't keep having to flip through the pages of the book while I was doing the routine. Once you learn it, it's really not very difficult at all.

One other version that I would mention that is also a favorite of mine, and not on your list, is the routine in Hugard's Expert Card Technique, in the chapter on stranger card routines. I think it's the first one in the chapter. It's powerful, very visual, practical, and easy to perform. The effect is that from a borrowed deck, a card is selected and returned to the deck. It immediately appears reversed in the deck, after which it is torn up. It is crumpled up in a piece of paper and vanished (flash paper) by the magician. It is found reversed in the deck which has been held by the spectator the entire time.
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Postby Guest » 03/19/06 01:14 PM

LePaul's, from his book, is simple and direct and very effective, not a piece by piece.

What if you had to choose a piece by piece restoration?

I suggest you search this and other forums as topic frequently raised over the years.

Yes, I did, prior to creating this thread, but I found it only added to the confusion by mentioning increasing numbers of effects that all seemed to achieve roughly the same thing with different handlings and none of the threads seemed to address the question of which was best overall, most seemed to be commentaries on individual effects.

One thing I've found as well is that effects that, seemingly should be prominent (for example the work of Wesley James "Pristine", if only due to his reputation) were not discussed at all. Another example that intrigued me, and I've ordered the book in this case, is Peter Grandt's effect, but it seems not to have been discussed much.

Thus, I was interested in opinions that reflected the collective tide of new material.


I like Father Cyprian's "Nostalgia Torn & Restored Card."

I'm not familiar with that, how does it differ from most of the others?

I'm not a big fan of Paul Harris' Torn & Restored because of the ending. You're using a torn piece as a receipt when you're supposed to be restoring the card.

I agree, personally I think the rationale for not fully restoring the card is typically pretty bad and greatly weakens the effect. Though, as a thought, you could play off an old idea of incompatibility as follows. I remember an all backs routine being performed where a card is selected, and tabled, then, as the card is about to be returned to the deck, the deck is shown only to contain backs. This goes on with the typical displays etc. Followed by the restoration to original condition. The performer is about to continue saying "ok, now where were we", but then comments, oh that's right, I can't perform the effect because your card isn't compatible with this deck, at which point the selected card is revealed to have an odd back. (It's worked into the routine a little better than that, but you get the idea.)

Technically you could play with that concept and combine another effect to show how the last piece is not compatible with the rest of the card. It would, at the least, make for an interesting plot and almost tolerable explanation.

However, as you say, generally I greatly dislike an incomplete restoration.


Just a minor point, but if you agree that the popularity of the effect is justifiable, I would point out that it is not "overdone." An effect is "overdone" when its popularity exceeds its intrinsic merits and "staying power" with the public.

I tend to disagree for the following reason. While I don't believe it's over performed, I think the creation of methods that all do essentially the same thing are overdone. In my mind, you should only create a new method if it is justifiably superior to previous methods, particularly when it comes to releasing the method. The rationale for releasing an inferior method is something that simply doesn't make sense to me. Now the reality is I've seen probably half a dozen or so piece and piece signed torn and restored card effects that all look pretty much the same to the spectator and there are many I haven't seen. Granted, there are differences. I've been informed for example that "Torn" is considerably easier than "The Reformation". There are thoughts on the need for gaffs and the amount of set up required. For example, "unripped" has too much set up in the estimation of many, at least considering similar offerings from the competition. There are of course slight differences in effect, like the "ironing out" of the card and signature removals (I hate signature removals by the way, I think they weaken the overall impact of the effect). But largely the effects appear the same and the handling is often very similar. I'm really not sure that slight handling changes merit a new release.

Anyway, to sum my the reply to your comment, the effect hasn't been over performed in my view, the number of similar effect releases have simply been overdone in my view. Mind you, that seems somewhat typical of the magic community and I suppose, on the bright side, more releases by more people mean that eventually someone will hit the mark.

Is the cups and balls "overdone?"

I'm afraid I study primarily cards, so I couldn't answer that.

And of course if you want to bring fire into it, there are other versions that deal with that as well.

Of course, hence the original question of the thread.

The perception is that Reformation is very difficult, but I have a suspicion it is merely because Hollingworth's rather verbose writing style, and the difficulty of describing certain moves, meant that his written description of the effect was something like 40 pages long.

Personally I love Hollingworth's writing style, Drawing Room Deceptions easily ranks as my favorite magic book.

One other version that I would mention that is also a favorite of mine, and not on your list, is the routine in Hugard's Expert Card Technique, in the chapter on stranger card routines.

Yes, I didn't list any non piece by piece restorations or I would have been here all night considering numerous performers have numerous handlings and there are a lot of such performers. Generally I think a visual restoration just has a totally different appeal as well. Though one very interesting thing is to examine ways in which you can restore, or apparently restore a card and make it a totally different effect from a previous one.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Postby Guest » 03/19/06 08:33 PM

"Into the Fourth Dimension...", Jeff Busby. A complete restoration with a surprise at the end. Probably overlooked as a T&R, since it's introduction is credited with inspiring "Card Warp", and THAT is the focal point when it is discussed...

Best, PSC
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Postby Guest » 03/19/06 08:43 PM

Keep in mind that no trick is overdone to an audience that has never seen it. You have to ask yourself, "Who am I performing for?" When you know the answer to that, a lot of things fall into place.

For me, I only perform for non-magicians...so NOTHING is overdone. If I do the Torn & Restored Card, no one ever says, "This one again?" They've never seen it. Or if I do it the traditional way versus the "new kid on the block" way, they never say, "Wow, that Torn & Restored Card was different."

Remember, it's all the same effect: a card is torn and the pieces are restored. Whether it's piece by piece or all at the same time, to the audience (a non-magician audience), it's exactly the same effect. Vanish a coin five different ways and to an audience it's one trick: a coin vanishes.

Go for the method you feel comfortable with. You can amaze an audience as much with a method that's 60 years old as you can with one that was just put out on the market last year by the latest "it" magician. It's all presentation.

Now if you're audience is mostly magicians, then that's a whole different ball of wool...and I can't help you since I don't perform for magicians.

As a side note, Fr. Cyprian's "Nostalgia Torn & Restored Card" is not piece by piece. It's just a beautifully choreographed piece of sleight of hand. The audience never catches on when the switch is made and the card is signed and can be given away at the end. I love it! It's based on some old ideas by R. W. Hull and Al Koran so if you're looking for a "new-fangled" method, you won't find it here. But if you want to fool an audience badly, Fr. Cyprian's is the method. I know first hand because I saw Cyp perform it on two different occasions and twice I hit myself for not being able to figure out the method.
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Postby Guest » 03/20/06 02:21 PM

Originally posted by Drey:
While I don't believe it's over performed, I think the creation of methods that all do essentially the same thing are overdone.
OK, I see what you mean. The market is definitely flooded with these effects.

In my mind, you should only create a new method if it is justifiably superior to previous methods, particularly when it comes to releasing the method.....I'm really not sure that slight handling changes merit a new release.
While I tend to agree in principal, I don't see it as a bad thing. Incremental improvements are more the rule for how magic evolves rather than by leaps and bounds. Reformation was a leap and a bound when it came out, and most similar effects since then have been more incremental. But the slight improvements are just as important than the major breakthroughs.

Personally I love Hollingworth's writing style, Drawing Room Deceptions easily ranks as my favorite magic book.
Oh I agree. It's one of my all-time favorites as well, a very high standard for both content and presentation that I wish all magic books would aspire to. It's just that I think that the written description of Reformation is more of a challenge to get through than the actual moves themselves. It's not that hard to perform, but it has a reputation for being very difficult. So in my view the reputation is undeserved, and I'm just guessing that it's the lengthy written description that is responsible for the reputation than the effect itself. In keeping with his word, Hollingworth has not released Reformation on a DVD, but if he did I imagine there wouldn't be much talk of it being very difficult to perform. This is one effect where a DVD would be superior to a book in my view.
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Postby Guest » 03/20/06 02:28 PM

Originally posted by INFANTINO:
For me, I only perform for non-magicians...so NOTHING is overdone. If I do the Torn & Restored Card, no one ever says, "This one again?" They've never seen it. Or if I do it the traditional way versus the "new kid on the block" way, they never say, "Wow, that Torn & Restored Card was different."
He clarified that when he said it was over-done he wasn't referring to it in the sense that most people would think of the term, from the audience's perspective. He was referring to the marketing of the many T & R effects that have come out recently.


Remember, it's all the same effect: a card is torn and the pieces are restored. Whether it's piece by piece or all at the same time, to the audience (a non-magician audience), it's exactly the same effect. Vanish a coin five different ways and to an audience it's one trick: a coin vanishes.
Yes, but performance style is incredible personal. The features of one (say, the ease of Torn or the fire of Torched and Restored, or the elegance of Reformation) may or may not be in your style, and the particular strengths and weaknesses of the method may or may not suit your concerns or performance contexts. I say the more choices we have, the better. And like the discovery of penicillin, you just never know when somebody will stumble upon a technique for one effect that ends up being the perfect solution for another (this has happened countless times in the history of magic). And then there's the issue of it being a buyer's market when lots of creators are competing for our T & R dollars. It's a good thing all around.
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Postby Guest » 03/20/06 10:04 PM

For the T&R you will get as many choices for best one as there are solutions. Each one seems to solve a problem of their predcessors but then they in turn have some limitation.

For piece by piece restoration I like Lovick's "Reparation" because it simplifies Hollingworth's "Restoration".

For an all at once restoration I really like Brent Braun's "Torched & Restored" because (1)the singular card can be demonstrated twice, (2) the handling is simple, and (3) you have a great reason to use a lighter that assists in the ditch.

Eldridge's "Quarterly Returns" is also good because the handling is simple.
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