I want to say a few words about Bill Goddwin's write-up of his "The Queens" in the latest issue of "Penumbra," issue 8.
This is the best, most enjoyable description of an effect I have read in a year (or more). Yes, it's almost seven pages long. And it may describe an effect I never perform. So why am I so enthusiastic?
The effect itself is a visual treat -- four Queens vanish one at a time, and reappear the same way. They don't switch places with other cards -- they simply vanish.
But Bill Goodwin has described the effect in great detail, and along the way gives valuable finesses (thanx, Jon) for many sleights we already think we know.
Such as the Houdini/Ednase Change. This common move, a favorite of Jay Sankey's, is the one in which the top card of the deck is usually moved forward a bit so the heal of the right hand can contact the second card, which eventually is moved to the top. But Bill suggests moving the cards under
the top card backward, so there is no movement of the top card itself. That's not the entire explanation (see the current "Penumbra" for details) but it is a major improvement of the sleight.
That is simply one of a number of finesses, plus extensive credits, cited by Mr. Goodwin. And that makes the entire description valuable beyond the trick itself (which is, as noted, an excellent one).
Who cares about those credits? Well, me for one. They led me on an enjoyable and productive search to track down, for example, the Rooklyn Top Palm (In "Ultimate Secrets"), "George Pugh's Pass (in "Greater Magic"), some Roy Walton material, and more. I was already more than familiar with Harvey Rosenthal's fabulous and underappreciated "Pop-Up Move" which is credited and referenced in the write-up.
So kudos to Bill Goodwin for showing how much a magic trick description can accomplish. This is a level of achievement I can only hope to emulate in my own writing.
And if you don't have The Penumbra. you can order single copies from H&R Magic Books
or get subscription info from Bill Goodwin (email@example.com
). It's $50 for a 6 issue subscription.
Magazines like Genii do a great job presenting tricks for the general magic audience, but The Penumbra does an outstanding job serving the more specialized needs of the magical cognoscenti.