Mel Gibson interested in magic?

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Re: Mel Gibson interested in magic?

Postby Guest » September 6th, 2002, 3:38 pm

BTW, was it Jeff or his father Art, for whom the "Altman trap" is named?

It was Jeff's Father Art, who happened to be a very very fine handler with the paste boards. Not to mention a very close friend to Ed Marlo. Also, Jeffs Grandfather was supposedly an executive with MGM (ya know the motion picture company with the roaring lion)

And for what it's worth, The "Altman Trap" is published in Greater Magic but not as the Altman Trap!

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Mel Gibson interested in magic?

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 6th, 2002, 7:16 pm

Mike: Altman Trap is in Greater Magic? Yikes! Tell me the page, PLEASE!
Of course the term "Altman Trap" is a misnomer, and another messy legacy from Ed Marlo. The idea of holding a break with the base of the left thumb is known as a Greek Break, and has been known by that title for a hundred years. What Al Altman added, as claimed by Marlo, is that you obtain that Greek Break AS THE CARD FALLS back onto the deck. The base of the thumb gets "trapped." So, the break itself is not Altman's, and frankly it seems unlikely he was the first one to catch a Greek Break in that manner (though Marlo may have been the first to publish his idea and name him as the originator). That, however, is now what we call an Altman Trap.
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Re: Mel Gibson interested in magic?

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » September 6th, 2002, 10:34 pm

Several months ago I began gathering everything possible that was published specifically about BREAKS. Then my goal is to discover the chronology and sort out issues of provenance and definition. What began quite innocently is turning out to be more complicated and unclear as more and more material piles up. For instance, consider the so-called Greek Break. This technique pops up in many sources; however, I have not located any references 100 years least not by that name. It's likely that anybody who handled pasteboards figured out all of the possible ways to retain a flesh break. In Buckley's CARD CONTROL (1940), he alludes to what he called "the Greek shift flesh grip" (p. 19), which he applied to a technique dubbed the Greek Shift.In FARELLI'S CARD MAGIC - PART TWO (1933), Farelli dubbed the same break "The Veneri 'Flesh' Break." (Ernardo Veneri, by the way, was Italian....not Greek. Some sources credit him with the so-called Greek Break and peg the date of origin at 1909. This is ALMOST 100 years old.) I'll keep Forum Watchers informed as I continue sorting out this stuff.


The Altman Trap is NOT a break. It is a technique to set up for a subsequent Double Turnover. Because the noun "trap" suggests a static condition, the ENTIRE technique is often misconstrued as ONLY a means for retaining a BREAK. In fact, the degree of separation (as described by Marlo and others) of the "trap" is too open and wide; it is scarcely concealed. In this light, it would be a terrible method--an inferior Veneri Flesh Break or a poor man's Greek Break.

The Altman Trap (as Altman intended) consists of three primary parts: (1) The MOMENTARY "trapping" of the "double" at the base of the left thumb; (2) The convex bowing of the card(s); (3) The snapping or straightening of the card(s) as they move to a sidejogged position. This is a coordinated, ACTIVE move.Moreover, the purpose of this minor finesse is to facilitate another Double Turnover.

That's it!

Marlo recorded this bit in notes dated 1956.
He then published it in ADVANCED FINGERTIP CONTROL (1970), p. 147.

Mike: Are you alluding to the two drawings on p. 262 of GREATER MAGIC? If so, that's a stretch. By the way, Hilliard also describes the Veneri Break on p. 204, designating it "The Base of the Thumb Break." (No Greeks, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Romanians are mentioned.)

Although I'm disinclined to use the word "messy" in conjunction with Marlo's legacy, I agree that some of his works raise important issues. However, I think that Marlo (like Hugard and Braue and more recently, Roberto Giobbi)tried to be more systematic and thorough than most of his colleagues. When my Credit Index listing all of the magicians Marlo credited in his various works is published, many detractors will be surprised. By comparison, others of equal, if not superior, repute were less conscientious and scrupulous about crediting others. In fact, most are more culpable than Marlo, guilty of the very "crimes and misdemeanors" Marlo is routinely accused of these days...

Although I'm still considered an unrepentant and blinded Marlo Apologist and sycophant, I'm well aware of Marlo's shortcomings and misdeeds. However, I seek grounds for my pro and con arguments... and I'm still saddened by degree and intensity of the detestation aimed at Marlo. It seems a bit excessive and is usually promulgated without cogent evidence.

As time passes, I wonder whether or not card magic would have evolved as fast it it did during the past 60 years if Marlo had never published anything? Perhaps Marlo's findings would have been inevitably discovered and devised by others without Marlo's promptings and books? Perhaps 200 years from now, Marlo will warrant only a hefty footnote? Perhaps students of the pasteboards (if any still exist) will still be studying Erdnase, Royal Road, Greater Magic, and Stars of Magic?

Frankly, these days when a tyro asks me what to study, I suggest Giobbi's four volumes of CARD COLLEGE.

However, I cannot help think that cardmen such as Ortiz, Cervon, Jennings, Ackerman, and dozens of others were inspired and stimulated by Marlo in ways others could not...


So it goes...


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Re: Mel Gibson interested in magic?

Postby chris morrison » September 17th, 2002, 5:29 pm

A few years back, I was browsing at Hollywood Magic when this petite, blonde woman came in and started gathering up several hundred dollars worth of books as a gift for her husband. She was very attractive and I didn't want to stare but I kept thinking how she reminded me of someone I knew.

As she exited the store with her healthy purchase, my brain suddenly kicked was actress Patricia Arquette heading home to satisfy hubby Nicholas Cage's passion for conjuring.

Later, they divorced. What was he thinking??

Anyone know where I can get Patricia's new phone number? I like magic too.

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