Top Change Effect

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Bill Evans
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Top Change Effect

Postby Bill Evans » February 12th, 2020, 1:33 pm

I would so appreciate some guidance on this. I'm wanting to learn a card routine whereby the spectator, for example, holds two black queens between thumb and forefinger and the magician asks whether, for example, the Queen of clubs or spades is on top, and after byplay and pretending to switch cards in their hand, the spectator has the two aces. Involves multiple turnovers and a top change. I can't remember what the trick is called or who came up with it. Michael Vincent lectured on it at the Genii convention. I looked on Behr's site under "top change" but nothing stood out to me. Could someone please send me on the right path? I know a bunch of you guys do this.
This is driving me nuts looking for this.
Thanks so much in advance.

Bill

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Joe Lyons » February 12th, 2020, 1:36 pm

Doc Daley's Last Trick

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby PressureFan » February 12th, 2020, 1:50 pm

Fechter's Be Honest What Is It.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Bill Evans » February 12th, 2020, 1:58 pm

Yes of course PressureFan. Thank you so very much!!! I’m on it.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Joe Lyons » February 12th, 2020, 2:00 pm

PressureFan wrote:Fechter's Be Honest What Is It.

You're right - it sounded like Daley.

You can find it in Magician Nitely.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Bob Farmer » February 12th, 2020, 4:01 pm

Bill, if you don;t have the book, send me a note.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Grippo's Wish » February 12th, 2020, 8:59 pm

PressureFan wrote:Fechter's Be Honest What Is It.


Just to clarify: this [now classic effect] is PAUL GERTNER’S handling of the effect. The original one is performed with two random cards.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 12th, 2020, 10:04 pm

it is a phenomenal trick. One of the strongest you can do for lay people. Simple, direct, straightforward, in their hands and very magical. Super powerful! I prefer to utilize a female because they are generally more demonstrative of their emotions and apt to scream, and that will generally catalyze stronger and more vocal reactions from the other spectators. IMO it's better to use two black cards other than the two black queens, and not to use two cards of the same value (except of course for the red aces at the end). By using two cards of the same suit, but different values, there will be less chance of confusion and more clarity in the early stages of the trick. Quite a few people do not even know the difference between clubs and spades, or they don't really differentiate between the two, or they are apt to forget which was which because of the similarity and the fact that the cards are the same value. But practically everyone on the planet over the age of two or three, and who does not have really poor vision, can immediately differentiate between, for example, a 4 and a 9, or a 5 and a 10.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Paco Nagata » February 13th, 2020, 5:15 pm

One of my amateur card magician friends once told me something like:
"The top change is nothing but a very risky and not very necessary technique to do good card magic; I'm not interesting in mastering that technique, besides it is quite boring to practise it."
He was a good card magician but he hated the "Top Change" technique.

One day I showed him Fechter's "Be Honest What Is It" in the Paul Gertner's handling.
From then, he has never stop practising the Top Change technique taking it very seriously.
His first motivation for that was precisely to be able to perform that wonderful card trick very well!
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby kkelly » February 13th, 2020, 5:34 pm

David Solomon has a wonderful switching routine involving the spectator pinching the AS in his 1983 lecture notes, Solomon's Mind, called "Which Switch".

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 13th, 2020, 8:57 pm

That's a good story, Paco! What your friend may not have realized back at the time he thought the top change was too risky and not necessary, was the risk involved in over reliance on the double lift, and the necessity of diversifying and mixing our techniques. In so doing, we can stay a step ahead of even the smartest and most sharp-eyed laymen.

Some magicians are quite polished and have a very good technique in doing the top change, but IMHO, it is perhaps 80% timing and misdirection. They will look where we look. So if, for example, we look at a spectator and also address a remark to them, or ask them a question, and do so in the right window of opportunity, before attention is fixed, we could practically exchange a watermelon for the card to be changed. The strongest misdirection misdirects both eyes and mind at the same time. Motivation and justification are also factors. If, for instance we move the hand holding the deck to point or gesture as the change is made, that too can be very deceptive, especially in combination with looking at someone and addressing a comment to them or asking them a question. And the more relaxed and confident we are, the easier it will be to pull it off without the slightest suspicion.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Bill Mullins » February 13th, 2020, 10:44 pm

I don't know if how I watch magic tricks is typical of most magicians, but it has been years since a top change got by me. When I see a magician hold a deck in his non-dominant hand, and hold a single card by its back corner in the dominant hand; and if the situation is one where a change would make sense, I think to myself "Top Change on the way!" and watch it happen. At that point, even very strong misdirection fails, and it's very easy to spot. Top changes are done out in the open, more so than most sleights. Our local club hosted Martin Cox earlier this week, and this is exactly what happened with one of his effects.

Some of this (most of it?) is due to the fact that I've seen so many card tricks. It is easy to recognize the situations and moves that (almost invariably) precede a top change, but I also wonder if this is also one of those cases where magicians fool themselves about how deceptive their work is to laypeople.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 14th, 2020, 1:11 am

Yes, magicians often do fool themselves about how deceptive their work is to laypeople. But when that happens it's generally because they haven't gotten a move really down, sloppiness, and/or insufficient misdirection. In any event, it would be (to use Bob White's term) foolish for (at least most) magicians to believe they are going to fool experienced and/or knowledgeable magicians with a top change, no matter how well done or "covered" with misdirection, any more than they are going to do so with a pass or palming. This said, even a fairly smooth top change, done with good timing and misdirection, will fool lay people - at least those who haven't been tipped off about it on YouTube or whatever.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Dave Le Fevre » February 14th, 2020, 4:07 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Our local club hosted Martin Cox earlier this week, and this is exactly what happened with one of his effects.
When I saw this thread, my thoughts turned to Martin, even before I saw your post.

His top change is very good indeed. Though having known him for many years, of course I expect him to use that move. But even when I anticipate it I'm impressed by his staging.

Some people always detect certain moves. You detect top changes. A friend of mine mentioned that he always detects Zarrow shuffles. (I detect neither.)

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby performer » February 14th, 2020, 7:52 am

It is the job of a magician to deceive (I refuse to use the word "fool") LAYMEN. And magicians are NOT laymen! (and half of them aren't magicians either) So why the hell would you even bother trying to do a top change for them in the first place? I have done the move for decades and it deceives laymen every time. I have never been caught a single solitary time and I must have done the move hundreds of times.
When I first learned the move I was scared stiff of it. I thought it would stick out a mile. Eventually I learned that the physical part of it was very simple. The difficulty was the mental part. If you have the right mental attitude to the move and divest it of importance in your mind you can have great success with it.
I have always been amused that many of the alleged hot shot cardicians can do all sorts of fancy moves but never the ones that require a bit of nerve. They avoid top changes, classic forces and card palming because unlike other sleights these particular ones require a certain sang-froid that introverted finger flingers with the personality of dial tones just don't have. As old Murray the famed escapologist used to say "Audacity and Bluff" are the real requirements necessary to be a good magician. If you don't have that then you might as well not bother.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 14th, 2020, 9:26 am

They can always sense from a magician's attitude and presentation whether he/she is trying to "fool" them, or rather to delight, amaze and entertain.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Paco Nagata » February 14th, 2020, 9:53 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:That's a good story, Paco! What your friend may not have realized back at the time he thought the top change was too risky and not necessary, was the risk involved in over reliance on the double lift, and the necessity of diversifying and mixing our techniques. In so doing, we can stay a step ahead of even the smartest and most sharp-eyed laymen.

Alfred,
to tell you the true, when I first learn about the Top Change in a book, back in the middle 90', I didn't want to pay much attention because of the same reason of my friend, but, when I first saw a professional magician performing it excelently I started to practise it eagerly!
Around two year after that, happened the anecdote of my friend.

If I remember right Michael Ammar asked Doc Eason in his DVDs "Bar Magic" how did he practise or carry out the Top Change.
Eason answered nothing special; just doing it one thousand times in your free time.
The timing is another thing; depends a lot on the actitud of the spectator and general situation during the performance.
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby performer » February 14th, 2020, 11:57 am

You just do it when people are not paying attention.

Anyway here is famed trade show magician Eddie Tullock doing it twice in the space between 4.48 and 5.17. Twice within less than 30 seconds. Nobody sees a thing and it is a pretty large crowd.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0THSAwO5enU

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 14th, 2020, 1:43 pm

Performer, thanks, great to see what works in the world.
Any opinion of Gary Kurtz's handling of the sleight?
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby performer » February 14th, 2020, 2:05 pm

I used to know Gary Kurtz when he lived in Canada. I have never seen his top change so I cannot comment.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 14th, 2020, 2:24 pm

i have never seen Gary's top change either - so it must be great! But in all seriousness, if it's comparable in smoothness and skill to everything else I've seen him do, I will lay 3 to 1 odds that it's superb. I am indebted to Gary to this day, as I learned some wonderful manipulations of a jumbo coin from him. I also remember him getting me to think in more depth about the concept of misdirection. He always said: "Misdirection is really the direction of attention." I would think that concept applies in spades to a sleight like the top change.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Brad Jeffers » February 14th, 2020, 4:00 pm

performer wrote: I have done the move for decades and it deceives laymen every time. I have never been caught a single solitary time.
MagicbyAlfred wrote:Yes, magicians often do fool themselves about how deceptive their work is to laypeople.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby performer » February 14th, 2020, 5:24 pm

I repeat. I have never ever been caught doing the top change in all the decades I have been doing it for real human beings. And of course magicians can never be accused of being real human beings. I have been caught on rare occasions with other sleights I have worked with but NEVER the top change! There is nothing to catch as the technical requirements are very simple indeed. The reason you and others may get caught is that you obviously haven't mastered the mental aspect of the move.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 14th, 2020, 5:38 pm

I have an unusual handling of the Top Change that will, of course, fool laymen. But it also has fooled the magicians to whom I've shown it.
I felt it might be unnatural and asked Vernon about it. He said it would be perfectly natural if I did something before it.
Will probably put it in Greater Magic since it's very different from what most folks do, and it can be done sitting at a table or standing.
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Zig Zagger » February 14th, 2020, 6:05 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:I have an unusual handling of the Top Change that will, of course, fool laymen. But it also has fooled the magicians to whom I've shown it.
I felt it might be unnatural and asked Vernon about it. He said it would be perfectly natural if I did something before it.
Will probably put it in Greater Magic since it's very different from what most folks do, and it can be done sitting at a table or standing.

Yes, always a good strategy and great misdirection to check your zipper! ;)
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby performer » February 14th, 2020, 6:26 pm

I think one mistake I have seen performers make is that they do it too slowly. If you do it in slow motion you are going to get caught.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Ian Kendall » February 15th, 2020, 4:20 am

"I think one mistake I have seen performers make is that they do it too slowly. If you do it in slow motion you are going to get caught."

I have to disagree with you on that one, Mark. I was taught the top change by Chris Power, who is the best exponent I've seen. He is very not fast with the move.

Remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast :)

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby performer » February 15th, 2020, 6:53 am

I have seen one chap on television do it slowly and it stuck out a mile. You give people too much time to catch the move. And a lot depends on the performer. If he is a slow and boring type (as most of them are) you are more likely to catch him at it unless of course he is so boring that you aren't paying attention anyway. Someone with a bit of animation and a reasonable speed of execution like Eddie Tullock is more likely to get away with it successfully.

In any event the proof is in the pudding. If you are doing it for years and getting away with it you know you are doing something right. And that is whether you are doing it fast or slow. I still have to be convinced that slow works but I will reserve judgement until I see such a phenomena for myself.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 15th, 2020, 7:30 am

This is a fascinating discussion on what I believe to be one of thee most powerful weapons in card magic. One thing that has worked well for me is moving away with the deck as the switch is made, and not moving, but keeping perfectly stationary, the hand holding the single card. It's like a freeze frame, that is to say, in the spectator's perceptive field, nothing has changed from the before to the after. And as the deck is pulled away in that split second after the exchange, it lends immeasurably to the deception to gesture or point with the hand holding the deck, perhaps extending the index finger as this is done. With the hand holding the deck, as I pull away with the stolen card, I have even turned my hand and wrist on occasion to look at my watch, saying, "It only takes a second or two." BTW, right before, and at the moment of making the move, and until the exchange has been accomplished, looking at one's hands should be avoided at all costs, due to the maxim that they look where we look. But then, after the move has been accomplished, I think it is actually desirable to look at the single card you're now holding, in order to focus their attention, thus setting up the magic that is about to happen.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 15th, 2020, 11:37 am

Zig Zagger wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:I have an unusual handling of the Top Change that will, of course, fool laymen. But it also has fooled the magicians to whom I've shown it.
I felt it might be unnatural and asked Vernon about it. He said it would be perfectly natural if I did something before it.
Will probably put it in Greater Magic since it's very different from what most folks do, and it can be done sitting at a table or standing.

Yes, always a good strategy and great misdirection to check your zipper! ;)


What the heck does that mean?
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Anthony Vinson » February 15th, 2020, 11:42 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Performer, thanks, great to see what works in the world.
Any opinion of Gary Kurtz's handling of the sleight?


Kurtz's thinking, and subsequently his handling, was interesting. I was fortunate to spend some time with him at one of the Atlanta Harvest of Magic conventions in the late 80s or early 90s. Friendly, generous with his time, and hands down the best slight of hand performer I have ever seen. To execute the move, he relaxed his left hand, allowing the deck to naturally slide or bevel toward his fingertips. When executing the Top Change, he lightly squeezed all but the top card into dealer's grip, leaving the top card protruding, held in place by his thumb, for the switch. Brilliant thinking, really. Natural and relaxed. But then again, so was everything he did.

Av

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Bob Farmer » February 15th, 2020, 1:33 pm

I've never been able to do a top change. A bottom change is easier.

Hold the card in Biddle Grip in the right hand. The left hand holds the deck with a break over the bottom card.

The hands come together. The right hand places its card on top of the deck and takes the deck as the right hand moves forward in a gesture with the single bottom card cupped in its grip.

There's a bit of change blindness happening here: before and after one hand holds a single card and one hand holds the deck.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 15th, 2020, 5:51 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:I've never been able to do a top change. A bottom change is easier.

Hold the card in Biddle Grip in the right hand. The left hand holds the deck with a break over the bottom card.

The hands come together. The right hand places its card on top of the deck and takes the deck as the right hand moves forward in a gesture with the single bottom card cupped in its grip.

There's a bit of change blindness happening here: before and after one hand holds a single card and one hand holds the deck.


WOW! I've never tried that, but it struck me immediately as quite deceptive and having inherently more cover/shade than the top change.

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 15th, 2020, 6:32 pm

@Bob, that reads like a Jinx Switch ( Card College vol 1 p 240 / Jack Merlin "Hop off the Bottom" ? )
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Top Change Effect

Postby Paco Nagata » February 15th, 2020, 8:05 pm

90% of the times I have dared to carry out a Top Change has been my means of a joke/wisecrack as a way of misdirection.
Juan Tamariz usually uses jokes or witty remarks as a way of misdirection, and I learned that from him.
The only difference between Tamariz and me is that people are "misdirected" by Tamariz as they laugh, whereas my people are "misdirected" by me as they are bussy thinking "what a bad joke!"
The thing is "misdirect" them, no matter if it is by a good or bad joke.
By the way, the other 10% are when I get miraculously a good joke...
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 15th, 2020, 9:28 pm

Anthony Vinson wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Performer, thanks, great to see what works in the world.
Any opinion of Gary Kurtz's handling of the sleight?


Kurtz's thinking, and subsequently his handling, was interesting. I was fortunate to spend some time with him at one of the Atlanta Harvest of Magic conventions in the late 80s or early 90s. Friendly, generous with his time, and hands down the best slight of hand performer I have ever seen. To execute the move, he relaxed his left hand, allowing the deck to naturally slide or bevel toward his fingertips. When executing the Top Change, he lightly squeezed all but the top card into dealer's grip, leaving the top card protruding, held in place by his thumb, for the switch. Brilliant thinking, really. Natural and relaxed. But then again, so was everything he did.

Av


And why would this be any better than pushing the top card over? The normal handling is to push the top card over. Kurtz's handling, apparently, would have you alter the position of the entire deck, only to move it back to position, in order to leave the top card rightjogged.
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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Bob Farmer » February 16th, 2020, 9:09 am

Jonathan is correct. All of those moves are explained in The Bammo Ten Card Deal Dossier now available again at https://www.houdini.com/

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Re: Top Change Effect

Postby Anthony Vinson » February 16th, 2020, 10:31 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:
Anthony Vinson wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Performer, thanks, great to see what works in the world.
Any opinion of Gary Kurtz's handling of the sleight?


Kurtz's thinking, and subsequently his handling, was interesting. I was fortunate to spend some time with him at one of the Atlanta Harvest of Magic conventions in the late 80s or early 90s. Friendly, generous with his time, and hands down the best slight of hand performer I have ever seen. To execute the move, he relaxed his left hand, allowing the deck to naturally slide or bevel toward his fingertips. When executing the Top Change, he lightly squeezed all but the top card into dealer's grip, leaving the top card protruding, held in place by his thumb, for the switch. Brilliant thinking, really. Natural and relaxed. But then again, so was everything he did.

Av


And why would this be any better than pushing the top card over? The normal handling is to push the top card over. Kurtz's handling, apparently, would have you alter the position of the entire deck, only to move it back to position, in order to leave the top card rightjogged.


Not at all. I've no doubt that it is my description that is lacking. I don't do it that way; can't make it appear as natural as I recall it in Gary's hands. And the handling may well have been idiosyncratic, as apparently was his handling of the slip cut force. I don't have the time or inclination to look it up currently, but I believe you may have written a brief description of his handling of the Top Change in Unexplainable Acts.

Av

Av


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