The first time I saw the Muscle Pass performed, John Cornelius was doing it at a TAOM Convention. He was the Johnny-Appleseed of Promotion, the magician most responsible for stimulating interest in this odd and daunting little move. The technique itself is the kind that inspires and challenges youngsters. As a youth I was also drawn to skill stunts of every kind because they can be scored and quantified. They permitted you to COMPETE.
Yes, I scaled cards in the good old days. How far you could scale them was a test of your mettle. Ricky Jay was the King back then, although he no longer holds the record. (He reputedly scaled a card OVER the roof of the Magic Castle.)
When the Muscle Pass was "new and hot," there was a local kid (not a magician)who was challenged by the move. He could eventually do it with half-dollars and silver dollars and was able to really propel the coin quite high. His goal was to "squirt" it higher than anyone on the planet. He onced asked me, "What's the distance record for muscle-passing?"
I had no answer. Nobody every quantified such a thing; nobody ever measured distances.
He said that he was trying to bounce it off the ceiling of his bedroom. "I've hit it twice," he said.
I told him that he probably owned the UNOFFICIAL world's record for Muscle Passing.
He seemed pleased.
Another magician once said:
"Why don't they hold a Magician's Olympics? They could feature events such as the Muscle Pass, Clocked Faro Shuffles, Timed Charlier Cuts, Kick-Move Shuttling Contests, Card Scaling, Back-Palming Coins (10 or more to qualify)and so on. In other words, anything that can be timed and measured could be an event."
My comment was, "Who would watch?"
"I would," was his curt reply.
P.S. I think that Charles Bertram once boasted that he could execute over 75 Charlier Cuts in one minute? (I could be wrong about the actual number; however, it was high.)During my training days, the most I could do without a mishap was 64.
Ah, those were the days!
Or were they?