If you have not read and learned the magic contained in this book, you are not yet a full-fledged, close-up magician. The magic by John Scarne, Dai Vernon, Bert Allerton, S. Leo Horowitz, Emil Jarrow, Francis Carlyle, Dr. Jacob Daley, Tony Slydini, Ross Bertram, Nate Leipzig, and Max Malini helped shape the art of close-up magic as we know it.
It has often been said that mastering the magic in this book will make you an accomplished close-up and sleight-of-hand artist. In many ways, it contains all the magic you need to build a professional caliber repertoire. Many have earned a living performing these routines and now you can, too.
Includes: 41 incredible routines by 11 amazing artists, a historical introduction and a bonus section with private correspondence related to the Stars of Magic.
Second Edition. First Paperback Edition. Published by Meir Yedid Magic in 2017. 176 pages written by George Starke, Dr. Jacob Daley, Bruce Elliott and Meir Yedid. 378 photographs by George Karger. 8.5 x 11 inch, softcover, perfect-bound.
All of the routines were originally sold as separate manuscripts. Purchased separately, they would have cost you US $98.00. Below are their original descriptions:
Series 1, No. 1: John Scarne’s Classic Ball Routine:
The effect is a bewildering series of magical appearances and disappearances of small balls. Starting out by taking a pinch of ashes from an ash tray, you cause ball after ball to mysteriously materialize, multiply and vanish. At the end of the routine, the balls become ashes once again.
Series 1, No. 2: John Scarne’s Triple Coincidence:
Using two ordinary decks with backs of different designs, the spectator shuffles one deck while the performer shuffles the other. At no time does the performer touch the spectator’s deck. The spectator cuts his deck three times, each time exchanging a card with the performer. When both ribbon-spread their decks, a miracle is accomplished — each time, the spectator and performer turn up one of the three stranger cards in their decks, the cards turn out to be alike — a knock-out triple coincidence. Both decks are left on the table for examination.
Series 1, No. 3: John Scarne’s Silver and Copper Trick:
A silver coin in the spectator’s hand changes place magically with a copper coin in the hand of the performer. This is followed by a beautiful penetration effect of the coin passing through the trousers pocket. For many years, magicians were under the impression that Scarne used gimmicked coins. Now, Scarne shows that he does it with ordinary coins and gives you his exact method.
Series 2, No. 1: Dai Vernon’s Triumph:
Dai Vernon divulges one of his most astonishing discoveries, an exquisite card miracle entitled “Triumph.” A revolutionary sleight is involved which will be coveted by every magician. It is an easy-to-do false shuffle equivalent to a pull-through shuffle, considered one of the most difficult of all gambling sleights. Very few magicians are able to execute a neat and deceptive pull-through because it requires years of constant practice and most of them have abandoned the effort in disgust. Now, by means of Dai Vernon’s false shuffle, you can achieve the same result with very little practice. You will find it the perfect false shuffle for maintaining the order of the reds and blacks. Furthermore, lovers of gambling tricks will rejoice in this sleight because the order of the entire pack can be kept intact.
Series 2, No. 2: Dai Vernon’s Cutting the Aces:
The four aces, fairly distributed throughout the deck, are cut to with uncanny accuracy in a new and impressive manner. Few magicians have as yet been privileged to view this extraordinary routine that produces one of the most entertaining impromptu effects in card magic. Dai Vernon also discloses here, for the first time, his own method of controlling cards during the process of cutting. This secret alone is an extremely valuable sleight for which you can find numerous uses in card conjuring.
Series 2, No. 3: Dai Vernon’s Spellbound:
Dai Vernon reveals a cherished routine that has been one of his pet mysteries for many years. The effect involves a series of remarkable and inexplicable changes of two coins of the same size but minted from different metals, such as a half dollar and an English penny. It utilizes a very old sleight originally employed by English swindlers at county fairs and carnivals. Until now this routine has been guarded, and consequently it is practically unknown to the magic fraternity. Although the effect appears extremely difficult to perform, its simplicity will intrigue you.
Series 2, No. 4: Dai Vernon’s Kangaroo Coins:
This is Dai Vernon’s original method of passing coins, one at a time, through a table into a glass. The sleights utilized in this effect appear very natural and are easy to do. By adding superb misdirection and subtleties to natural movements, Dai Vernon has created a magnificent routine. After practicing and mastering this routine, you will have an effect that will establish you as a superlative sleight-of-hand performer.
Series 3, No. 1: Bert Allerton’s Pump Room Phantasy:
The two red aces are exhibited, one on the top and the other on the bottom of the deck. They are unmistakably inserted into the center of the pack, when “Presto!” they appear on the top and bottom respectively. This action is repeated, and on the third change they become black aces. The black aces, too, are inserted in the center, only to return to the top and bottom. Then one red ace changes to a black ace and one black ace changes to a red ace, and finally all four aces are produced for a startling climax.
Series 3, No. 2: Bert Allerton’s Bamboozle:
The magician relates an incident where he has apparently been shortchanged but in the end, came out ahead of the game.
Series 3, No. 3: S. Leo Horowitz’s Malini-Bey Chink a Chink:
Four sugar cubes, dice or dominos are laid out on a table in a 15″ square. The magician places each hand on a cube. The fingers are wiggled and the hands are removed. After repeating this action several times, it is found that the four cubes, one at a time, have traveled mysteriously to one spot. This routine leads into an amusing finish wherein the performer shows that cubes placed in his pocket somehow find their way back into his hand.
Series 3, No. 4: S. Leo Horowitz’s The Egyptian Ball Mystery:
The performer exhibits a red ball and a white ball. The red ball is unmistakably wrapped in a silk handkerchief and placed in a glass. The white ball is picked up and held at the fingertips. It suddenly changes into a red ball. The performer then removes the handkerchief from the glass and discloses that the red ball has mysteriously changed into a white ball.
Series 3, No. 5: Jarrow’s Hanky-Panky:
A handkerchief is held at the corners by two spectators in a horizontal position. A newspaper sheet is placed over the handkerchief, and a lighted cigarette is held underneath the center of the handkerchief. Suddenly the cigarette burns its way through the newspaper, but upon removing the paper, it is found that the handkerchief has not been damaged.
Series 4, No. 1: Francis Carlyle’s Decapitation:
The performer borrows a package of paper matches and removes one match. He scrapes off the head on both sides and shows clearly that the match head is missing. Suddenly the head mysteriously reappears. The performer lights the match. The strong feature of this effect is in the repetition. The performer tears out a second match. He again scrapes off the head on both sides. Once again, the head mysteriously appears, and the performer lights the match.
Series 4, No. 2: Francis Carlyle’s Homing Card:
The spectator selects and marks a card on its face with any identifying mark. The performer shows that his right trouser pocket is empty, and then has the spectator return the marked card to the pack. Showing that he has no card in his hand, the performer reaches into his trouser pocket and reveals that a card has arrived there. The spectator is asked to name his card, and the performer shows the card in the pocket to be the selected one bearing the spectator’s identifying mark. The performer openly returns the selected card to the center of the deck, and places the deck on the table or in the spectator’s hand. After showing both hands to be unmistakably empty, he slowly reaches into his pocket and dramatically produces the marked card again.
Series 4, No. 3: Francis Carlyle’s Wrist Watch Steal:
The spectator puts an identifying mark on a copper and silver coin. One coin is placed in a handkerchief which is held by the spectator. The performer holds the other coin. At his command, the coin held by him vanishes and a resounding clink is heard. Mysteriously, the performer’s coin has joined the one in the handkerchief held by the spectator. Upon examination, the coins are found to be the ones originally marked by the spectator. This effect is an excellent one in and of itself. It impresses the spectator with your ability to do miracles with coins. Psychologically, this makes him easy prey for the main effect. Mr. Carlyle causes the spectator to believe he is going to see another coin trick which is even more impossible than the previous one. He is thus able to gain possession of the spectator’s wrist watch without his knowledge. This is made easy because the spectator’s mind is concerned solely upon seeing a coin miracle and he never suspects that his watch is to be stolen. The mechanics of the steal itself are simple, and are timed exactly to coincide with the distractions.
Series 5, No. 1: Dai Vernon’s Impromptu Cups and Balls:
The “Cups and Balls” is, and will remain, one of the great classics of sleight-of-hand. In olden days, a magician’s ability was judged by his performance of this effect. The appeal to the layman lies in the fact that the trick embodies nearly every possible effect–appearance, disappearance, penetration, transposition, and change of form. Dai Vernon’s method of performing the “Cups and Balls,” here explained for the first time, has been developed over a period of years to a point where all superfluous moves are eliminated, and the strongest features of the trick properly emphasized. The climax is reached in a logical manner, and the whole routine never fails to astound the keenest onlookers.
Series 5, No. 2: Dai Vernon’s Ambitious Card:
A card is repeatedly placed into the center of the pack and caused to jump invisibly to the top or bottom. Whenever the spectator thinks he is following the magician’s actions, he nevertheless finds that he has been completely bewildered.
Series 5, No. 3: Dai Vernon’s Mental Card Miracle:
The spectator is given a free mental choice of one of five cards. Without asking a single question, the performer puts one card in his pocket, which never fails to be the thought-of card. To prove that chance plays no part in this, performer repeats the feat twice.
Series 6, No. 1: Dai Vernon’s The Ring on The Wand:
This is a treatise on “The Ring on The Wand.” Dai Vernon discloses the finest sleight-of-hand artists, Malini and Leipzig. Herein are revealed, for the first time, the secrets of one of the most fascinating magical effects.
Series 6, No. 2: Dai Vernon’s Slow-Motion Four Aces:
Two bewildering slow-motion versions of the Classic Four Ace Trick, wherein the Aces are caused to leave their packets and join the Ace in the fourth packet, one at a time.
Series 6, No. 3: Dai Vernon’s The Travelers:
A lesson in misdirection. Four selected marked cards are placed in different parts of the deck. The deck is shuffled. The four cards vanish from the deck and mysteriously appear in four different pockets of performer.
Series 7, No. 1: Dr. Jacob Daley’s Cards Up the Sleeve:
The classic “Cards Up the Sleeve,” a favorite of great sleight-of-hand artists, has always been considered the acid test of the skilled performer. In this ultra-modern version, Dr. Daley greatly enhances the effect by adding the distinguishing feature of having the cards travel in numerical sequence. Many new intriguing sleights are introduced here for the first time, which should serve as a veritable storehouse of powerful magical weapons for use in many other magical effects. Much thought has been put into the construction of this effect in order to perfect it. The end-result is an artistic conception of off-beat timing and precise misdirection, which will prove a delight to the connoisseur as well as the layman.
Series 7, No. 2: Dr. Jacob Daley’s The Itinerant Pasteboards:
This routine embodies two different methods of accomplishing a novel transposition of two cards. The effectiveness of the routine depends, in a large measure, upon the proper execution of a new conception of the Double Lift. This sleight is undoubtedly one of the most valuable sleights in the entire field of card magic. Despite its great value, it has one serious drawback which prevents it being used as often as one would like. This weakness is the necessity of getting set. The “get-ready” requires misdirection which many times is impractical when the presentation requires that the sleight be repeated in rapid succession. In order to eliminate this effect, Dr. Daley has evolved the Instantaneous Double Lift, which makes it possible to use the sleight repeatedly without the “get-ready.” Once you master this new method, you will have at your command the only undetectable sleight in card magic that can be done under fire. This routine demonstrates the practical application of this valuable modification of the Double Lift.
Series 7, No. 3: Dr. Jacob Daley’s The Cavorting Aces:
Two black Aces, one placed on top of the deck and the other on the bottom, are magically transported to the center of the deck and then back again to the top and bottom. The two red Aces are now placed in the center of the deck and are caused to change places with the black Aces. The two black Aces are left in the center of the deck and the two red Aces are placed on the top and bottom, whereupon all four Aces are caused to assemble in the center of the deck. Finally, the Aces vanish mysteriously from the deck and are produced from the pocket one at a time as called for.
Series 8, No. 1: Slydini’s Cigarette Miracle:
The performer borrows a cigarette and lights it. He unmistakably tears it in two and shows both halves. Then, without any artificial moves, the two pieces are seen to fuse. Finally, none the worse for its harrowing experience, the cigarette becomes magically restored. The performer is able to amaze the onlookers further by repeating the effect immediately.
Series 8, No. 2: Slydini’s Flight of The Paper Balls:
A delightful comedy routine. An audience enjoys participating in a magical effect particularly when the performer takes the spectators into his confidence. This routine provides hilarious entertainment because the entire audience is aware of the modus operandi except for the assistant, who is profoundly mystified by the entire proceeding. In this routine, the performer repeatedly challenges the spectator to guess what happens to paper balls which mysteriously vanish.
Series 8, No. 3: Slydini’s Flyaway Coin Routine:
The performer shows a coin to a spectator and causes it to vanish. The spectator finds that the coin has traveled to his breast pocket. He thinks that he was caught by surprise and always requests the performer to repeat the effect. Although the spectator is on his guard, the performer successfully causes the coin to reappear four times in the spectator’s pocket. This effect differs from other coin routines in that its dramatic strength lies in the repetition. By continually challenging the keenness of the spectator, the effect is greatly enhanced and built up into a bewildering and highly entertaining routine.
Series 9, No. 1: Ross Bertram On Coins:
Rubdown: The performer places his right hand on a half-dollar and rubs it on the table with a circular motion. After a few moments, the rubbing motion is stopped, the right hand is lifted, and the coin is gone. The left hand, which has been resting on the table, is then lifted, revealing the coin under it. Again, the performer starts rubbing the half-dollar on the table with his right hand. Amazingly, a dime makes its appearance from under the fingers in place of the half-dollar. Upon raising his left hand, he finds the missing forty cents under it–a quarter, a dime, and a nickel.
Double-Cross: Two contrasting coins are shown at the fingertips–one in each hand. The hands are then closed and held far apart. When they are opened again, the coins are seen to have changed places. The performer offers to repeat the effect. This time, just before opening the hands, the left hand drops the coin it held originally to show nothing has happened as yet. Instead of the coins being transposed, which is what the spectators expect to see, the coin in the right hand has traveled over to join the coin in the left.
Passing the Half-Bucks: Four coins are counted slowly into the left hand. One coin is commanded to pass into the right hand. When the hands are opened, three coins are in the left hand and one in the right. This is repeated with the second and third coins. The performer then states that he will cause the fourth coin to join the three in the right hand; but something goes wrong and the coin fails to pass. When the right hand is opened, it is unexpectedly found to be empty and all four coins have surprisingly arrived in the left hand.
The Porous Paw: A coin is caused to penetrate the hand.
Coin Assembly: Four quarters and two playing cards are used. The coins are laid out in a square on a cloth covered table, about one foot apart. The two outer coins are covered with the cards. The two uncovered coins are vanished in succession, and join the quarter under the right-hand card. Finally, the coin under the left-hand card vanishes, leaving all four coins magically assembled under the right hand card.
Series 10: Vernon On Leipzig:
Leipzig’s Opener: A deck of cards is placed face down on a spectator’s palm, and a selected card appears mysteriously on the bottom when the deck is turned face up. Then the effect is repeated up to just before the point where the pack is placed on the spectator’s palm, but this time the performer extends his own right palm down above the spectator’s hand and the pack is placed above the performer’s hand. The deck is riffled, and simultaneously with the riffling sound, the card apparently penetrates the performer’s hand and appears face up on the spectator’s palm!
Leipzig’s Acrobats: Simple in plot, this effect of Leipzig’s is baffling in the extreme. A pack of cards is divided into halves and the face up bottom cards of each half mysteriously change places!
Leipzig’s Pride: The stack of coins was undoubtedly Nate Leipzig’s favorite magical problem. He guarded it jealously, and would never perform it when other magicians were present. There was a good reason, for in his hands it was a masterpiece.
Leipzig’s Tear-Up with A Twist: The restoration of a torn cigarette paper as performed by Nate Leipzig, was a minor miracle. He handled the whole procedure so neatly and cleanly that the result was a real delight to watch. With it he created a truly magical effect that never failed to completely bewilder all onlookers.
Series 11: Vernon On Malini:
Malini’s Card Stabbing: After having six or seven cards selected, the pack was spread face down all over a table top. While blindfolded, Malini would successfully stab each selected card in turn on the point of a penknife. The last time he thrust the knife in amongst the scattered cards, he would push the knife into the table top through one last card which allowed him dramatically to tip the table over towards the audience. All the other cards would cascade onto the floor, the chosen card pinned to the table as to a target. When the card was plucked free, it proved to be the last selected card.
Malini’s Own Color Change: While standing completely surrounded by spectators, Malini caused the face card on the deck of cards to change in a most uncanny manner. Despite the fact that the deck was held horizontally and that he was under close scrutiny from all sides, he then repeated the effect, causing the face card mysteriously and absolutely to transform itself into another without detection!
Malini’s Favorite!: Malini would ask a spectator to watch a coin as closely as possible as he tossed it from hand to hand. The coin landed heads up in one hand, tails up in the other. This was done a few times, Malini asking the spectator to guess whether the coin was going to land heads or tails. Finally, he seemed to toss it into the left hand as the left hand closed on it. The spectator was asked which way the coin had landed, heads up or tails up. No matter what the answer was, Malini would open his left hand and reveal that the coin had completely vanished. The right hand was empty too. The effect in Malini’s hands was that the coin melted away!
Lesson 1–Dai Vernon:
Royal Monte: A lesson in artistic card handling. The performer comments on how amusing it is, to onlookers at a poker game, to watch the average player inspect his hand. He demonstrates this by slowly fanning five cards he holds. He shows the ten, jack, queen, and king of the same suit. With the “hope that springs eternal,” he carefully squeezes out the last card. Lo and behold, it is actually the ace of the same suit. As so often happens in such cases, nobody opens the pot. Of course, when it comes to his turn, he opens but nobody stays. He shows his wonderful hand and receives the usual sympathy. Not wishing to part with this beautiful hand, he decides to perform a Monte trick. Turning the ace and the ten face down in the fan, he places one of them on the table and asks the other players to guess which it is, ace or ten. They all guess correctly. It is the ace. As he again turns up the ten spot he remarks, “Well, that time you did not bet any money. I’ll wager that if I turn down these four cards — the ten, jack, queen and king and give them a cut or two, you cannot pick out one of the picture cards. And you have three chances to one in your favor. A picture you win; a ten you lose.” Holding the four cards, backs towards the players, several make small bets. However, they all lose because all four cards prove to be tens and the picture cards have completely disappeared. The cards, of course, are inspected and found unprepared in any way.
Lesson 1–Tony Slydini:
The Art of Using the Lap as a Servante: Tony Slydini has mystified hundreds of magicians by utilizing this stratagem and has literally “floored” them with apparently impossible effects. Of course, he has developed his own style, perfected the misdirection and timing to such a degree that one can say that he has brought this system of deception up to a high artistic level. It took considerable persuasion to have him permit the publication of the fine details of lapping as interpreted by him in a new and modernized form.
The Stars of Magic book is considered by many to be the best book ever written about close-up magic and features some of the best creations from the leading magicians of the first half of the 20th century. Originally released by Stars of Magic, Inc. as separate manuscripts that sold in the 1940s and 1950s for around $5 each, they were later bound in a hardcover edition by Louis Tannen, Inc. The rights to the monumental work were later purchased by D. Robbins & Co. and in September 2003, Meir Yedid Magic acquired the rights to the original and current editions. In 2008, MyMagic released a deluxe edition that many considered to be the ultimate and most beautiful version of the book. This 2017 edition is a no-frills paperback you can feel comfortable taking notes in and carrying with you instead of admiring, worshiping and collecting. It is geared toward the workers and students of magic.