Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 20th, 2020, 6:51 am

You're at a social gathering. or in the coffee shop or pub, or even at work, and friend of a friend says, "I hear you're quite the magician." He or she then hands you a deck of cards and politely requests: "Can you do trick for me?" What would you do?

*Responses such as, "I would throw the cards on the floor and say, 'Let's play 52 pick-up' " or "I would panic, scream, and run out the door as fast I could!" or "I would tell them what they could do with those cards..." are frowned upon.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Anthony Vinson » January 20th, 2020, 8:45 am

Lately, under similar circumstances, I've been performing Paul Hallas's Under Pressure, from his Card Magic for the Enthusiast book. It's a great quickie. Bones: Spectator selects card; magi removes two possibilities, both wrong; it is noted that the suit of one card and value of another match selection... but which is which?; cards turned facedown and put "under pressure" and viola, meld into selection. Paul uses a table, but I do it in the hands, which makes it perfect for the conditions cited.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Brian Douglas » January 20th, 2020, 8:53 am

I say "I'll do you one better and show you how to do 3 tricks" and then perform/teach 3 self working tricks. If I have time to adjust the deck I'll do Pokers Players Picnic; but not teach them how that one works.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Bob Farmer » January 20th, 2020, 9:08 am

My go-to trick for years is this one:

viewtopic.php?t=28784

You can do it with any deck in any condition and the spectator can shuffle the deck before you begin.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 20th, 2020, 12:27 pm

Easy: Ambitious Card.
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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby performer » January 20th, 2020, 1:34 pm

I specialise in this. I will always perform but a lot depends on the surrounding atmosphere. I select the best tricks for the prevailing ambience, mood of the people watching and the psychological make up of the audience. The trick is the least important thing. You have to judge the right moment, the right approach and the right time to stop.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Roy-McIlwee » January 20th, 2020, 4:17 pm

"Insert" from Harry Loraynes "The Magic Book". An Oldie but Goodie that really entertains.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby performer » January 20th, 2020, 5:26 pm

I use "insert" a lot. I often open with it. I call it the Rosini Trick. I am not sure why -------I suppose I once read somewhere that Paul Rosini invented it or perhaps performed it a lot. Come to think of it I just realised that I use it in my trade show act! It is a really strong trick.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 20th, 2020, 5:49 pm

performer wrote:I use "insert" a lot. I often open with it. I call it the Rosini Trick. I am not sure why -------I suppose I once read somewhere that Paul Rosini invented it or perhaps performed it a lot. Come to think of it I just realised that I use it in my trade show act! It is a really strong trick.


Yes, it was Rosini's "Change in Hand," one of the trick's in Magical Gems, a tribute to Rosini's magic, by Rufus Steele, published in 1950, after Rosini's death, with contributions by a host of luminaries, including Marlo, Bill Simon, Paul LePaul and more. Available here for a paltry $2.47 for the download!
https://trickshop.com/paul-rosini-magical-gems.html

BTW, totally enjoying this - strong impromptu tricks have been posted!

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby performer » January 20th, 2020, 9:06 pm

I have actually seen it in several books sometimes credited to Rosini and sometimes not.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby performer » January 20th, 2020, 9:18 pm

This is the sort of thing I say when I do the trick at a trade show:

"52 cards in the pack representing the 52 weeks a year you are doing business. 52 weeks full of problems. Do you have any problems in your business, sir? Actually, do you have any business in your business? (this gets a laugh if you are lucky).

Reach in, take a card--show it to everyone and now put it back. The idea of the trick is to make your card come to the top of the pack----in the same way that ABC Widgets is at the top of the pack for (here you insert whatever marketing message you wish to chatter about). In other words this card here should be your card. Was this three of diamonds your card? No? Well then we have a problem. Of course at ABC Widgets we are here to solve your problems-----------and this is how we solve your problem! Put your card face down into the deck. The card above the three of diamonds should be your card. This one. No? One underneath? No? That means we still have a problem. What was the name of your card? The Six of clubs? Oh, turn over the card in your hand!

See, that is how we solve your problems at ABC Widgets!"

Something like that anyway. It works great at trade shows. And you can easily incorporate company messages into the patter.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 21st, 2020, 1:11 am

Nice! Lovely idea for a trade show. Thinking about it, now I'm not sure I got the name of Rosini's effect right, but don't have access to my copy of Magical Gems at the moment to check. There is a trick called "Change in Hand" in the book, but I believe the trick under discussion might be called "You Put it In." Well, it's definitely one or the other. I also have a vague recollection that Annemann had a similar effect/version, as well. I have performed the effect from time to time (I should do it more), and it is indeed strong. I have found you need to be sure to tell them to insert the card only about halfway, and not all the way into the pack, and for them to keep ahold of their card, or they have a tendency to let go - which you don't want to happen.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby performer » January 21st, 2020, 5:31 am

I tell them to keep their thumb on top of the card. That is all that is really needed. I have never had them drop the card or not push it in half way in 55 years of doing the trick. I expect this is because I tell them to "take this card with your thumb on top" and as an extra weak witticism I sometimes point to their thumb saying, "that's your thumb"

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 21st, 2020, 4:42 pm

My favorite impromptu card trick is the rising card in spectator's hand. It doesn't sound impromptu, but like the old American Express slogan, I [almost] never leave home without it (i.e. what I need to do the trick pretty much anywhere. anytime). If someone wants me to use their deck, I can do the trick provided there is a box and the cards are at least in fair condition. As an alternative, I will have a card selected, find the "wrong" card and "change" the card to the right one in their hand. I see that there have only been about a dozen magicians that have shared what trick they would do. (out of hundreds if not thousands of members?) C'mon guys (and girls) this is a magic forum! Let's talk magic.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Roy-McIlwee » January 21st, 2020, 5:13 pm

Not only do I consider "Insert" from Harry Loraynes "Magic Book" a great impromptu card trick but also a very effective "weapon" for the occasional wiseguy/heckler type. He or she thinks they've tripped you up until they turn over the card to see that you really have found their card.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Zig Zagger » January 21st, 2020, 5:14 pm

"Gemini Twins" by Karl Fulves - always a stunner! And as a "psychic experiment" great for couples, when both "intuitively" find the mate of their partner's card.
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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Paco Nagata » January 22nd, 2020, 2:06 am

As Richard pointed, Ambitious Card Routine is my insignia impromptu card trick to do anywhere at anytime when someone ask me for doing some card magic with a borrowed deck.
If I had to think about others wonderful impromptu card tricks to give the impression of being a good card magician anytime with any deck of cards, I go to the Professor's Triumph, doing it with passion and a great showmanship. I like too the Profesor's There Card Monte.
Other great candidates impromptu wonders are:
"Gemini Twins" by Karl Fulves as said Zig Zagger.
"Ace over King" by Ed Marlo is a marvel that I present with a metaphorical story for children.
A version of "The Lost Ace" trick, like the one called "Flipers" by Verne Chesbro from the book "Tricks You Can Count On," is another amazing impromptu card trick I do often.
"Ace Sandwich" by Al Leech is another impromptu marvel I do often with a metaphorical presentation. I love metaphorical presentations with card magic.
"Ace Assemblies."
"Biddle Trick" is another impromptu wonder to make you a great card magician anytime.
"Jazz Aces," by Peter Kane as well.
"Be Honest – What is it?" is another impromptu marvel.
"The Time Machine," by Steve Freeman.
"Homing Card" by Francis Carlyle (having a card in my pocket in advance) is another gem to amaze any time.
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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 22nd, 2020, 5:17 am

Devastation by Geoff Williams, from “The Lecture Your Mother Never Gave You”
Doesn't depend on precisely 52 cards, the condition of the deck is irrelevant, and it devastates. And even I can do it.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 22nd, 2020, 9:21 am

Dave Le Fevre wrote:Devastation by Geoff Williams, from “The Lecture Your Mother Never Gave You”
Doesn't depend on precisely 52 cards, the condition of the deck is irrelevant, and it devastates. And even I can do it.


Dave, can you describe the effect?

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Bill Mullins » January 22nd, 2020, 12:07 pm

Give a spectator a deck, let him shuffle it. After he does, have him divide it into four approximately equal face-down piles.
He picks one, holds it in face-down dealing position. He is to mentally, silently choose a number between 1 and 13 (the number of cards in the hand must not be less than the number chosen). He deals one at a time, stud style, into a face up pile, and notes the card at his number. The magician must be able to see the first card in the pile -- it will be a key card.

When the spec is finished, he (and only he) knows a number and card corresponding to it. He takes the face up pile and puts it face down on top of any of the other three, and reassembles the other piles into the deck in any order. He cuts as desired and gives the deck to the magician.

The magician cuts the key card to the top of the deck. He asks the spec what the number was, the spec responds with (for example) 8. The magician deals 7 cards face down onto the table (face down so the key card isn't seen, in case anyone noted it, but they probably didn't). He holds the eighth card, and says "What was your card?" The spec tells, the magician reveals, and the magician makes a big deal out of the fact that not only did he get the card right, he also got the number right.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 22nd, 2020, 1:49 pm

That's the same method but there are some small differences. (I'm not saying that in order to cavil, merely to clarify.)

I let the spectator decide how many piles to cut the deck into. They pick one, they look at the cards, they think of a card. They turn that pile face down in their hands, and shuffle it. They deal those cards to a pile on the table, turning each card face up in turn, and they remember the number where their card is.

There's also a false cut added at a later stage.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby performer » January 22nd, 2020, 1:52 pm

That does not sound like a good opening trick. Far too convoluted and by the time you get to the end of the trick people will have forgotten what the beginning was. And they won't care either................

Just my opinion...................

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 23rd, 2020, 5:25 am

I agree , in that it's not an opener. It's a one-off. The descriptions here don't do it justice. But that's just my opinion.

However, it's an effect that I particularly like to perform with a borrowed deck. The borrowed deck makes it seem more impossible, and the condition of the deck doesn't matter.

Though the last time I was in that situation, the deck that I was handed must have been the worst deck on the planet. It was brand new, but it felt like a pile of the cheapest business cards. Almost impossible to simply deal cards onto the table. Yuck!

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 23rd, 2020, 9:55 am

IMHO, so much of what we choose to perform and for how long, depends on the environment we are in at the time. I believe the Professor made a similar observation. I have been aware of that observation for a long time, but experience (which entailed making wrong decisions and essentially screwing up time and time again) is what drilled it home to me more than anything else. Wisdom is born of pain, and its acquisition is -- or should be -- a never-ending process. If we are called upon to perform impromptu under the same or similar conditions described in my original post (or under any conditions for that matter), I believe we need to evaluate the environment. This will include who we are performing for, whether we are standing, with no performing surface, or sitting at a table, whether the deck is borrowed, and if so what condition it's in (although that is irrelevant in the case of Dave's performance of "Devastation"), or whether it is our own deck, etc. Will the trick be for someone very busy, who only has a few moments, or are we leisurely sitting around the table sipping coffee or whatever after dinner? In the latter situation, I would be more inclined to perform a lengthier story trick, like "Magician Versus Gambler," or "The Story of the Twins" (not to be confused with the "Gemini Twins").

They say brevity is the soul of wit, and I am coming to believe, more and more, that the same is true of magic (even if not this post!) We live, increasingly, in a world of sound-bites and bullet points. People are very busy, and attention spans are generally short. So, at this point I generally like to perform short, simple, direct effects, which are not long-winded, and that require very little if any work, effort, or attention on the part of the spectator. Also, I think location or discovery of a card tricks are (generally speaking) shop-worn, if indeed, they ever were that desirable. Going back to Vernon again, who said we "must have an emotional hook," there is very little in the way of drama, excitement, or emotional investment on the part of a spectator in tricks that involve essentially the plot of you pick a card and I'll find it, to wit, "hide and seek" of a card (which, BTW, they may not even remember -- either the card, or the trick).

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby El Mystico » January 23rd, 2020, 11:36 am

I always start with a set of colour changes. Immediate impact, straightaway they know you're not Uncle Bob. Then the top change trick from Royal Road. The Tipsy Trick. Carlyle's Homing card. The Ambitious Card (Terry Guyatt's presentation). All without a table. If I have a table I'll do my Spectator Cuts the Aces, Daley's Last Trick, my Ace Assembly in the Hands, Giobbi's Knowledgeable Cards (Card College 5). The Psychological Stop Trick. If I like them, I'll do my Cards Across.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Bob Coyne » January 23rd, 2020, 12:28 pm

I like to start with Alan Ackerman's Quick Coincidence. Spectator shuffles the deck. Performer pulls out a prediction card and places it face down on the table. The spectator then selects a card and places it half way into the squared deck. The prediction card and selection are then shown to be the same. And finally, the cards on both sides of the inserted selection are shown to be the other two matches. I then go into some other tricks that use those four of a kind.

I love doing color changes and stuff of that sort, but have found that it has more impact if I first get them (and me) warmed up with something a little more involved first. Doing color changes off the bat feels too sudden.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Kent Gunn » January 23rd, 2020, 1:34 pm

Brian Douglas wrote:I say "I'll do you one better and show you how to do 3 tricks" and then perform/teach 3 self working tricks. If I have time to adjust the deck I'll do Pokers Players Picnic; but not teach them how that one works.


Brian, do you realize this quote was written about magicians like you?

"Do you like card tricks?" "No, I hate card tricks," I answered. "Well, I`ll just show you this one." He showed me three.

W. Somerset Maugham

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Leo Garet » January 23rd, 2020, 1:41 pm

Kent Gunn wrote:
Brian Douglas wrote:I say "I'll do you one better and show you how to do 3 tricks" and then perform/teach 3 self working tricks. If I have time to adjust the deck I'll do Pokers Players Picnic; but not teach them how that one works.


Brian, do you realize this quote was written about magicians like you?

"Do you like card tricks?" "No, I hate card tricks," I answered. "Well, I`ll just show you this one." He showed me three.

W. Somerset Maugham


Not really. :) ;)

Though it does fit very well. :D

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 23rd, 2020, 6:40 pm

"Do you like card tricks?" "No, I hate card tricks," I answered. "Well, I`ll just show you this one." He showed me three.

- W. Somerset Maugham -

It is truly difficult to conceive of a worse prelude to doing a card trick(s) for a lay person than to ask, "Do you like card tricks?" If Somerset Maugham was like most laymen, and I suspect he was, then the card tricks he had seen prior to being asked that question were for the most part, if not exclusively, horrid tricks, horribly performed. No wonder he "hated" card tricks. As unfair as this may seem, this is the legacy we have to deal with when about to perform a card trick for someone whose primary experience with them had been watching his uncle Harry performing the same old pick a card trick at family gatherings - inevitably butchering it like clockwork.

My way of dealing with this is to approach the performance of a card trick in a circuitous fashion, coming at the spectator "sideways," to diminish the "cardtrickyness" of the trick. Just one example of this, among many, would be to say (with no deck anywhere in sight), "Just think of your favorite playing card." When they do so, only then take out the deck and ask them to remove the card and concentrate on it (or ask them to remove the card from their own deck if they have one at hand). This is very disarming and intriguing to a lay person, and conveys the utmost fairness, notwithstanding the underhanded cheating that will follow. The procedure, so far, is essentially equivalent to having someone pick a card, but the psychological difference this approach makes is huge. Then take the deck from them, have them replace the card. Then control it as usual, shuffling (falsely) to kingdom come. Say you will use your magical powers make the card they thought of magically jump to the top of the deck. Ask them to extend a hand palm-up. When you turn over the "wrong card," and they tell you so, act surprised, and then place it (actually the correct card) in their hand face-down and say, "Actually, you are probably a far better magician than I; please wave your hand over that card," and then have them turn it over. (Of course, you must be able to do a convincing DL, or a good top change). Try this approach for yourself, and see the reaction you get.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 24th, 2020, 7:46 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:IMHO, so much of what we choose to perform and for how long, depends on the environment we are in at the time
Upon reading the initial post of the thread, my assumption was that the would-be spectator wants to see a magic trick, and specifically a card trick.

Since he's enthusiastic enough to ask to see something performed, it doesn't need to be a limited to a ten-second effect. Equally, it probably shouldn't be a ten-minute effect.

I also note that many people responded with the name of an effect or name of effect plus creator, and while nobody else was asked to describe their chosen effect, I was asked to do so. I'm not sure why. I wouldn't have described the modus operandi of the effect here, mainly because it isn't mine to publish. However, someone else did so (and I have no problem with that, I hasten to add).

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 24th, 2020, 7:48 am

Kent Gunn wrote:"Do you like card tricks?" "No, I hate card tricks," I answered. "Well, I`ll just show you this one." He showed me three.

W. Somerset Maugham
About fifty years ago, I acquired the collected short stories of Somerset Maugham. I've read them all many many times. They're full of gems.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 24th, 2020, 9:24 am

Dave, I assure you that you were not being singled out, and I apologize if that came across as my intention. I simply requested that you describe the "effect" (NOT the method or the handling) of the trick. I did not request that of anyone else because I already knew the effect of the other tricks mentioned. This said, I still stand by the point I took pains to make that, in choosing the particular trick to be performed - even an impromptu trick for someone who has requested we perform a trick - it is prudent to evaluate who the trick will be performed for, where and under what conditions, and other considerations I mentioned.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dave Le Fevre » January 24th, 2020, 1:48 pm

I didn't think that I was being singled out, didn't take it personally, and had by now completely forgotten who'd asked me to elaborate. Honestly.

However, I was surprised that, of the numerous effects cited in this thread, that was the only one that required elaboration. That's all that there was to it.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 24th, 2020, 3:04 pm

Bob Farmer already posted my first choice.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby AJM » January 24th, 2020, 7:30 pm

Whenever I'm asked to do an impromptu trick my 'go to' effect has always been the Hooker Card Rise.

I'm surprised no-one else has mentioned it...

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 24th, 2020, 7:33 pm

Packs small, plays big.

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 25th, 2020, 10:24 am

El Mystico Wrote: "If I have a table I'll do...Daley's Last Trick..."

This, IMO, is a fantastic impromptu trick (although it could be undesirable if you are handed a dog-eared, dirty/grimy, or otherwise crumby deck). But would it not be good (possibly even stronger) to do it in spectator's hands, thereby removing any need for a table?

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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Philippe Noël » January 26th, 2020, 3:23 am

Prompted to do an impromptu card trick, I usually do a stand-up in-the-hands Triumph effect with Vernon's patter for the emotional hook.
Last Man Standing by John Bannon or Triumph Display by Troy Hooser fall into this category.

El Mystico: Can you tell us more about Terry Guyatt's presentation for the Ambitious card Routine? Is it published somewhere?

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Zig Zagger
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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Zig Zagger » January 26th, 2020, 7:15 am

I'd like to share another early one-trick-only favorite: Francis Carlyle's "Upside-Down Deck" (you can find it in "Scarne on Card Tricks").

It's easy, quick, and visual, and you can make the spectator the star. Just hand him a magic wand (a worn pencil stub gets a laugh), let him tap the mixed-up deck three times and then reveal his chosen card and your own chosen card in the "triumphed" deck!
You will need a surface though to spread out the cards.

Bonus idea: If you hand out as a wand the rod with the gems on opposite ends (from Ken Allen's "Jumping Gems"), you can go with the flow right into this routine...
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Tom Frame
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Re: Prompted to Do an Impromptu (Card Trick)

Postby Tom Frame » January 26th, 2020, 10:18 am

Triumph, using a frenzied Slop Shuffle, with a presentation that illustrates the benefits of consistently taking your psych meds.
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