Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

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Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 24th, 2019, 2:42 pm

See subject and I'd appreciate hearing your comments below.
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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Roy-McIlwee » November 24th, 2019, 3:34 pm

Karl Fulves

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Michael Close » November 24th, 2019, 4:03 pm

I think Steve Beam would be the guy to talk to.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Barden » November 24th, 2019, 4:20 pm

I would think Jim Steinmeyer is a candidate between the Impuzzibilities series and the Nothing But Mystery series. I’m sure he has a quite a few more self working things up his sleeves.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Steve Bryant » November 24th, 2019, 5:50 pm

Jim Steinmeyer? Nick Trost?

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Ted M » November 24th, 2019, 6:06 pm

Between The Trapdoor and 11 volumes of Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, Steve Beam has edited about 1.5 shelf feet of self-working tricks. He's spent multiple decades focusing on this specialized branch of card magic, analyzing it, naming its components, searching out rich strains of it in other countries and helping to cross-pollinate the field.

I can't believe anyone has a more comprehensive view of this particular field.

If --somehow -- anyone else does, he'd be the one to point you to them!

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby performer » November 24th, 2019, 7:36 pm

I suppose Stewart James might be a contender.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 24th, 2019, 7:53 pm

Perhaps some less obvious names? Steve's Semi-Automatic series is great, but as he himself stated to me, they are a ways away from self-working magic. And I'm not looking for just card magic.
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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby performer » November 24th, 2019, 8:38 pm

Pity that it is not just for card magic. If it were then this fellow would be a candidate. He wrote one of the best books on Self Working card tricks ever. Paul Clive who wrote "Card Tricks Without Skill" I knew him personally and one of his friends told me that Paul had never done a card trick in his life! He just ran around with a notebook and asked magicians to contribute a self working card trick. The book sold very well in the UK but I think it wasn't really obtainable in the US. Paul is somewhat dead at the moment but here is a video of him in action. Incidentally he was the King of the Bird Warbler (I can't remember what the damn thing is called)

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-joker

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby webbmaster » November 25th, 2019, 1:40 pm

John Bannon's MOVE ZERO works are pretty good.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Bob Farmer » November 25th, 2019, 1:58 pm

The Paul Clive book is great. I think it was there that I learned a great tip for the Double Lift that I've never seen elsewhere.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Jack Shalom » November 25th, 2019, 2:06 pm

A trick with a Double Lift counts as a self-worker?

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Philippe Billot » November 25th, 2019, 2:12 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:A trick with a Double Lift counts as a self-worker?


Yes ! No need for gimmick. Totally impromptu.

And Clive write page 152 about the double lift :

"I would suggest, if you are a beginner, that you should not attempt this number until you are more expert in the handling of cards."

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Q. Kumber » November 25th, 2019, 2:30 pm

The topic is about self-working magic - not specifically card magic.

I n first place I propose U.F. Grant for his ideas over the whole range of magic.

In second place Ali Bongo.

Third: Karl Fulves, while mostly cards and close-up, his writings do cover a wide range, especially his series of books with Self-Working in the title.

As Mr. Fulves is the only one still living, he must now be in my first place. :)

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby jason156 » November 25th, 2019, 3:09 pm

For non-card magic .. perhaps Robert Neal

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby jason156 » November 25th, 2019, 3:19 pm

Philippe Billot wrote:
Jack Shalom wrote:A trick with a Double Lift counts as a self-worker?


"Yes ! No need for gimmick. Totally impromptu."


An impromptu double lift that requires no gimmick? Don't almost all double lifts fit those requirements?

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby performer » November 25th, 2019, 4:10 pm

I remember Paul making some sort of excuse in the book to qualify the few sleights he described as "self working". I think, however, that if the phrase has to apply to other tricks than cards I suppose it has to be Karl Fulves. However, his books have the same problem that the Paul Clive does. Not all of the material is really self working. In actual fact there are very few self working tricks in existence that are not card tricks.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2019, 4:40 pm

performer wrote:In actual fact there are very few self working tricks in existence that are not card tricks.


There are many in Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Q. Kumber » November 25th, 2019, 4:49 pm

Tenyo, as an entity, is pretty awesome at exceptionally good self-working magic. There's even a couple of books about them. ;)

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2019, 5:17 pm

Plastic props; not what I am seeking. Cards, coins, paper, etc.
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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby performer » November 25th, 2019, 6:03 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
performer wrote:In actual fact there are very few self working tricks in existence that are not card tricks.


There are many in Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic.


I shall take your word for it but I didn't see that many. Of course it all depends on what you call "self working". I did find quite a few easy stuff in Scarne's Magic Tricks.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby jason156 » November 25th, 2019, 8:38 pm

[/quote]I shall take your word for it but I didn't see that many. Of course it all depends on what you call "self working". I did find quite a few easy stuff in Scarne's Magic Tricks.[/quote]

To me, self working translates as this ... You could talk a layman (yes, I'm using that word) through the procedure over the phone, and have the effect work.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 25th, 2019, 9:06 pm

Having taught magic to young people for over. 30 years now I can say there isn’t a whole lot of what one would characterize as ‘self working’ magic - as with card tricks there is always some degree of process, and even though the method may occur as a matter of course during that process, there aren’t many where the needed actions occur without having invested some practice time.

Can you give an example of what you mean by a self working magic trick - non cards/specially designed props?

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby performer » November 25th, 2019, 9:50 pm

I have been thinking about my repertoire. There is certainly a fair amount of self working material in the card tricks I do. However, every single trick not involving cards requires a good deal of sleight of hand skill. At least for close up magic anyway. For kid shows virtually everything is self working!

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2019, 10:40 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Can you give an example of what you mean by a self working magic trick - non cards/specially designed props?


I wouldn't be surprised if our definitions of "self working" don't match, but to my way of thinking, the following qualify.

From Gardner: the floating finger/weenie illusion; the thing where you press your arm against the inside of a door frame for a minute and then walk away and your arm will tend to rise; Edwin Tabor's pull-apart hanks (#15, p. 226); looking through a rolled-up piece of paper next to your open palm, making a hole appear in your palm; resting a yard stick on your outstretched fingers and sliding them together so they always meet under the middle; the "smiling George" bill fold.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 25th, 2019, 11:01 pm

I Would consider all those ‘self Working’. Not sure I would call them ‘magic’.

I have taught all but one of those in my classes over the years. I usually put them in the ‘optical illusion’ or ‘bets and stunts’ lessons - but they could play as magic with the correct framing. I did a pseudo hypnosis bit with the smiling george once. The premise was the participant’s mental outlook influenced what they saw in the world.

Love the hole in the hand illusion. Learned that from a library book in 2nd grade. That and the ole ‘11 finger’ bit - which I sometimes use as a show warm up.

The problem with lots of these is convincing the student that these are magic. Experience has shown me that their initial response is to reclassify things like this as something other than magic.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Skmayhew2 » November 25th, 2019, 11:42 pm

Needle through balloon with tape.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 26th, 2019, 12:27 am

One of my favorites is using a secret paper circle on the mouth of a glass to affect the vanish of a coin resting on top of a similar piece of paper. I believe there is a three ring version of this by rinks? Hen fetsch? Someone like that. Recall seeing it and thinking it had some clever aspects to the handling.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Bill Mullins » November 26th, 2019, 1:02 am

Brad Henderson wrote:That and the ole ‘11 finger’ bit - which I sometimes use as a show warm up.


The next time we see each other in person, remind me to show you something about this.

Not sure I would call them ‘magic’.


A fair cop. But, there's a whole lot of "self working card tricks" that also come up short here. As you say, framing is important.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Skmayhew2 » November 26th, 2019, 1:47 am

Coin in nest of boxes with coin slide.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 26th, 2019, 4:27 am

Karl Fulves

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Matthew Field » November 26th, 2019, 5:28 am

Bob Hummer deserves a mention.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby erdnasephile » November 26th, 2019, 9:31 am

Ken Krenzel has published an entire book of strong sleight-free material.

To Brad's question: In terms of self-working effects without cards or specially designed props, Curtis Kam's Inferential comes to mind.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 26th, 2019, 10:05 am

The term, "self-working" is an elastic one and its definition can vary according to the one defining it. There is virtually no trick that works itself without a human hand touching the prop or the human voice guiding the procedure (as, for example, in "Grey Elephant from Denmark), a self-working trick is one that can be done without the necessity of manipulative skill or sleight of hand. Therefore, the Grey Elephant would qualify as self-working under my definition, although the magician's intervention/guidance is obviously required.

Quite a few that fit into that category have been mentioned already on this thread, such as the smiling president bill fold. The classic trick where the coins represent sheep is another. And if you don't exclude tricks requiring a set-up, then "Out of this World" could qualify, at least under my personal definition.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby performer » November 26th, 2019, 10:12 am

Out of This World is definitely a self working trick as is MacDonald's Aces. In fact many of the greatest card tricks of all time require little or no manipulative skill.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 26th, 2019, 10:23 am

Great ideas!

Brad: I believe the trick you are referring to with the circles of paper is called "The Wisenheimer Coin Vanish."
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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Leo Garet » November 26th, 2019, 11:43 am

I don't know if it's got a name these days, but the Jumping Rubber Band was shown to me by a schoolmate. I already knew it, as he suspected I might, but it caught me by surprise. And looked wonderful. Still does.

The band is wrapped around the index and second fingers and (by Magic) jumps to the third and fourth fingers.

Nowadays we've been Crazy-Manned to death and beyond, but this remains a winner. As does the variation which uses a second band to apparently secure the first band in place.

I don't recall where I learned it, but having done so I subsequently saw it in a few books.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Joe Lyons » November 26th, 2019, 12:09 pm

Leo Garet wrote:I don't know if it's got a name these days, but the Jumping Rubber Band was shown to me by a schoolmate.


That’s one of the first tricks I learned as well. Don’t know where I picked it up, it was in The Magician Monthly by Stanley Collins, with variations in Conjuring Melange as well as Tarbell.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Brad Henderson » November 26th, 2019, 1:08 pm

I believe the jumping band first appeared in Stanyon’s Magic. As did the piano trick. Another classic self worker.

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Re: Who is THE Expert on Self-Working Magic?

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 26th, 2019, 2:48 pm

erdnasephile wrote: sleight-free material
A much better word for what we are referring to when we say "self-working magic".

MagicbyAlfred wrote:There is virtually no trick that works itself without a human hand touching the prop or the human voice guiding the procedure.
Exactly!

It is therefore impossible to perform a self-working trick (given the definition of the words perform and self-working).

The irrational term "self-working trick" has however become part of the magicians lexicon, so we are stuck with it.

And although it's not possible to perform a truly self working trick, they do exist ...


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