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Card Magic - A Practical Approach Review

Official Review

June 16th, 2010 11:41am
Reviewed by James Sanden
“Card Magic A Practical Approach” by Bob White is a DVD devoted to an idea. Not tricks or moves, though there are plenty of both, but an idea, specifically uniformity of action. “Uniformity of action” is the concept, touted by the likes of Vernon and Erdnase, that you should always carry out the same actions in the same ways. This may seem obvious, but magicians sacrifice uniformity of action for the sake of method all the time. What Mr. White does on this disk is provide an in depth discussion of uniformity of action specifically in the context of displaying and counting cards.

What sets this DVD apart from others is the remarkably focused and in depth discussion Mr. White devotes to his topic. For those who haven’t heard of him, Mr. White performs exquisite sleight of hand. His work with the classics of magic, the egg bag, the linking rings and playing cards, are all heavily influenced by the likes of Charlie Miller and Dai Vernon. This is evident in the fact that he not only performs and teaches classic card effects on this DVD, but he performs them beautifully as well.

I think the idea of discussing a single concept in depth on a DVD, combined with practical explorations and applications, is an outstanding approach to take when teaching magic. In a market filled with one trick DVD’s, this one concept DVD stands out as actually educational. As opposed to just learning another trick, the ideas and concepts on this DVD will make the viewer a better magician, not just in the way one handles playing cards, but if intelligently applied, will improve every aspect of one’s sleight of hand. Mr. White is clearly committed to teaching these concepts and having them be used by other magicians. He even goes so far as to include his email address and an invitation to contact him with questions. I was literally shocked by his generosity.

Needless to say, I think it’s a welcome and invaluable resource.

What’s even more remarkable is that, were the discussion of uniformity of action absent, the actual “trick” content of the DVD is of the highest quality as well. Not only are 11 classic, effective card tricks taught, they are taught with the kind of detail that makes learning them much easier. I commented in a recent review of “Sick” by Ponta the Smith that the problem with that DVD is the total absence of a detailed discussion of the tiny things, the “work,” that makes up sophisticated sleight of hand. There are some challenging sleights described on Mr. White’s DVD that are made much easier with the inclusion of detailed descriptions of handlings. Even the sleights that are somewhat easier are given the same treatment, which allows the viewer to take these workhorse maneuvers to the next level of subtlety and effectiveness.

I really enjoyed being fooled by the effective performance of moves I’m already familiar with. Highlights for me included the Fingerprint Trick, a thought of Cards Across, and Ladies and Gentlemen. Mr. White brings a class, elegance, directness, and focus to these classics, making them truly magical. While this DVD is more expensive than most, the combination of effects and practical information makes it a bargain. If it’s not obvious, I HIGHLY recommend this DVD to any thinking magician interested in improving his or her art.

Check that. This should be a standard resource for all performers of magic.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Card Magic - A Practical Approach

Author: White, Bob
Publisher: Scapegrace Productions
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $49.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

"The inviolable rule of the professional is uniformity of action. Any departure from the customary manner of holding, shuffling, cutting or dealing the cards may be noticed, and is consequently avoided... Whether the procedure is true or 'blind,' the same apparent action is maintained throughout." - The Expert at the Card Table, 1902

"Volume upon volume has been written on cards. Paying particular attention to the uniformity of action is generally a minor detail in most compositions. However, this subject is a crucial one. Its implementation helps eliminate suspicion in the minds of the spectators. Connecting the dodges of showing two or three cards as one, the Gemini Count, top change, various false counts, etc., with a common link of uniformity strengthens the overall ability to deceive the already suspicious crowd... The various techniques are logical and the style is compatible with the way most handle playing cards when they are not trying to do a contrived maneuver of some sort. Their utility is far reaching and many of these techniques have served me for over thirty years. On many occasions, they have caught the well-posted card magician off guard for one reason or another." - It's a Matter of Style, 1997

In addition to card effects, Bob White teaches a uniform system for showing a single card, doing double and triple lifts, false counts (including the Elmsley and Gemini counts) and one-handed Tilt.

White's Fingerprint Trick
Lie Detector Test
Thought-Of Card Across
E.G. Brown's Spelling Trick
Japanese Aces
Ambitious Classic Revisited
Slow Motion Jazz Aces
Ladies and Gentlemen
A Chemical Reaction
Dai Vernon's unpublished Penetration of Thought & Double Pinochle

Running Time: Approximately 1hr 39min

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