Larry Jennings "one ahead"

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davidallan
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Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby davidallan » January 7th, 2019, 11:14 am

Larry Jennings is known for having said everything in magic is based on the one-ahead principle.

Is there a reference for Larry Jennings saying/writing this?

Would love to be able to quote it directly.

Thanks,
D

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2019, 12:19 pm

Larry said it all the time. I have an audio recording where he goes through an entire list of famous effects or routines as examples.
He truly believed it, but when he stated it, it sounded kind of like the Abbott and Costello routine 7 x 13 = 28.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzxVyO6cpos
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby davidallan » January 7th, 2019, 2:08 pm

Thanks, Richard.

As far as you know it wasn't in print anywhere I could quote directly though I suppose.

No worries - just wanted to see if there was.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2019, 2:28 pm

I cannot remember if it's in print.
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby davidallan » January 7th, 2019, 2:45 pm

Awesome, thanks.

Great routine by Abbott and Costello - thanks for reminding me of this as well!

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Joe Mckay » January 7th, 2019, 3:43 pm

I first came across this quote in Jennings '67.

It is a very interesting quote. Both smart & stupid at the same time. I often find myself mulling over it.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 7th, 2019, 3:56 pm

It may be a bit of an over-generalization to say that "everything" in magic is based on the one ahead principle. I don't see, for example, where effects such as Triumph, 3 Card Monte, Professor's Nightmare, Card to Ceiling, Cutting to the Aces, or even Larry's own That's Impossible - to name but a few - exemplify the one ahead. But some prominent examples that do come to mind include: Cups and Balls, Chop Cup, Matrix, Sponge Balls, Coins Across, Two in the Hand One in the Pocket, Ambitious Card, Cards Across (actually, generally 3 ahead) and the Travelers.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2019, 4:00 pm

Jennings would say, for Triumph, that you secretly have half the deck reversed, and thus you are one ahead.
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby performer » January 7th, 2019, 4:20 pm

I think it sort of makes sense. After all the magician is in possession of secret knowledge that the spectator doesn't. Thus he is one ahead of them. Mind you they will soon catch up on him if they look it up on You Tube after the performance.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby davidallan » January 7th, 2019, 6:41 pm

Thanks for the reference Joe McKay.

I will have to talk to the person I lent my Jennings '67 book to and see what the quote is.

Much appreciated

DA

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Bob Farmer » January 7th, 2019, 6:55 pm

Perhaps he meant it in a very expansive way--at any point in a routine, the magician always knows more then the spectator at that point.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 7th, 2019, 7:17 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Jennings would say, for Triumph, that you secretly have half the deck reversed, and thus you are one ahead.


And I would say to Larry that that is a pretty broad interpretation of one ahead. But if one ahead is to be defined as any secret artifice that enables an effect (be it a sleight, a move, or a gimmick), then I guess everything in magic is indeed accomplished by the one ahead principle.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Bill Duncan » January 7th, 2019, 8:48 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Jennings would say, for Triumph, that you secretly have half the deck reversed, and thus you are one ahead.


I'd love to see him defend those methods where you don't secretly reverse any cards. In the Stars of Magic method, the false shuffle happens as the cards are apparently mixed, so you're not ahead in any way, you're just lying in real time.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2019, 10:27 pm

Bill Duncan wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Jennings would say, for Triumph, that you secretly have half the deck reversed, and thus you are one ahead.


I'd love to see him defend those methods where you don't secretly reverse any cards. In the Stars of Magic method, the false shuffle happens as the cards are apparently mixed, so you're not ahead in any way, you're just lying in real time.


Ah, Bill, but you are ahead: you've already controlled the spectator's selection.
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Bill Duncan » January 8th, 2019, 9:21 pm

Richard,
Being "ahead" is not the same as being "one ahead." If the spectator doesn't know what is next, you are ahead. So in that sense you are always at least one (step) ahead. But that's kind of a pointless point.

"One ahead" is typically used to mean the extra object principle, which is very common, but hardly ubiquitous.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 8th, 2019, 10:57 pm

I'm just repeating things Jennings said to me.

If you want to argue the point with him, you'll have to find the urn.
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 8th, 2019, 11:22 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Jennings would say, for Triumph, that you secretly have half the deck reversed, and thus you are one ahead.
How about at least 20 ahead in that example?
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Philippe Billot » January 9th, 2019, 5:29 am

And what about the "One Behind Principle"?

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 9th, 2019, 6:56 am

I think that the point is that we're always one or more moves ahead of the spectators.

In Crazy Man's Handcuffs, we move our hands apart, then together, and now the bands will melt though each other. But in fact it's already happened. In another elastic band effect, Remote Link, one gets two gasps of astonishment as two magical things happen in the spec's hands - yet all the work has already been done.

There's a matrix routine that I learned about thirty years ago where I cover each of four coins with a card. They think that each coin has a card under it, and (it goes with saying) that my hands are empty. Yet four of those five assumptions are false. I almost feel sorry for the spectators 'cos I'm so far ahead.

It's been pointed out that it's a somewhat trite observation. And because we take it for granted all the time, perhaps it is.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 9th, 2019, 1:44 pm

Good points, Dave. Especially in contemplating your excellent example of the crazy man's handcuffs, it occurred to me that the magician's "creation of a false assumption" in the mind of the spectator prior to the occurrence of the effect, would be an apt synonym for "one ahead" in the broad sense Larry appears to have meant it.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby erdnasephile » January 9th, 2019, 1:57 pm

In Jennings' chosen specialty, close-up card magic, the person I always think of when talking about being "ahead" is Brother John Hamman. I remember almost laughing out loud myself when he announced with a sly grin that the effect he just smoked us all with was actually set up about 20 minutes prior.

So devious and sneaky.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Bill Duncan » January 9th, 2019, 9:47 pm

Dave Le Fevre wrote:I think that the point is that we're always one or more moves ahead of the spectators.

I would assume he had a better command of English than that. The words "one ahead" have a very specific meaning and Mr. Jennings used the principle often.

I don't think that's what was said or implied. That would be like saying "we know stuff they don't." It might be true but what's the point of saying it? Were their people hanging around Mr. Jennings who didn't know that and needed him to cite examples?

I'd love to see the list he cited to see if there were any effects that didn't use one extra object. Maybe even Ramsay's Three Coins in the Hat? That's 100% ahead...

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Joe Mckay » January 9th, 2019, 9:55 pm

He probably meant this to be taken in a very straightforward way. A bit like when comedians talk about the rule of three. Sure there are exceptions. But even then - you can usually find a way to make it fit the rule if you want to force the point.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Ryan Matney » January 16th, 2019, 10:49 am

Its always seemed to me that there are two ways to think of this. One is the actual "one ahead" principle used in coins across routines and the like. The other is a general sense of secretly being ahead of the spectator. Of course, this is what Jennings meant. When we have a secret condition, or knowledge, that the spectator doesn't have, we are ahead. So, you could argue its what all magic is based upon.

Personally, I think all magic methods can be described as displaying a false condition as true and then revealing the true condition to the audience. At some point, that has to happen to make magic.
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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Joe Mckay » January 16th, 2019, 11:45 am

My favourite quote is by Bob Farmer.

It is buried away in Best of Friends - Volume 3 by Harry Lorayne.

It is something along the lines of magic consisting of a series of events which make sense in order, but appear magical when presented in another order.

I have probably butchered this quote. Any chance somebody can respond with the original quote? It is a quote I really like, and it would be nice to commit it to memory.

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 16th, 2019, 12:11 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:My favourite quote is by Bob Farmer.

It is buried away in Best of Friends - Volume 3 by Harry Lorayne.

It is something along the lines of magic consisting of a series of events which make sense in order, but appear magical when presented in another order.
There's something like that in Volume 2. It starts: "One person may perceive a chain of events as ordinary - while another..." page 414.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Joe Mckay » January 16th, 2019, 1:09 pm

Cheers, Jonathan!

I used the start of the quote you gave to carry out a search on google.

I then came across the quote from the book on a different forum:
"When I asked Bob why he’s still a magic buff his answer, in part, was “I know the usual rationale for magic interest is related to ego, but there’s an additional very valid reason. One person may perceive a chain of events as ordinary, while another, by applying a slightly different emphasis, may cause the same events to be perceived as something magical. I get as much satisfaction from understanding the thought behind an effect as I do performing it.”

The poster on that forum says the quote is from volume 3. Maybe the quote appears in both volumes?

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Re: Larry Jennings "one ahead"

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 16th, 2019, 1:23 pm

It's in both Volume 1 and 2.
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