A MAGAZINE OF INNOVATION EDITED BY
WILLIAM P. MIESEL
P R E C U R S O R
X X X I I I
This is PRECURSOR XXXIII and is published in December 1991. The e d i t o r i a l offices are at 2215 Myrtle Street, Erie, Pennsylvania 16502. PRECURSOR will be published at least three times a year, and it will be sold for $16.00 (U.S.) for three issues. Outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico, three issues are sent Air Mail for $19.00 (U.S.). With the apparent demise of the Forks Hotel, even though i t hasn't been the same since Eddie Fechter left the scene, I thought i t would be a good idea to have a written reunion of some of the very early "Forks Crowd". Back in the early S i x t i e s , I started to v i s i t the Forks Hotel on Friday evenings at least once a month. This went on for a number of years. Invariably Eddie's greeting was, "Did I ever show you this one?" That was Eddie!s way of practicing the new material before it went into his act. "The Snap Over Aces" dates from t h i s period, but I don't think i t ever went into the act; he just kept this in reserve to take in magicians. If the i n i t i a l Triple Lift gets by you, there is no way of reconstructing later. During the late Fifties and throughout the Sixties and Seventies, another great influence was Gene Gordon. Even though Gene was not really part of the Forks Crowd, I have many great memories of Monday afternoons at Gene's shop on Franklin Street and then going out to the Forks for the Ring 12 meeting. Besides Gene being in the shop, the evening lecturer was always there, and it was a great opportunity to meet many of the greats person to person. Gene's routine for the "Klik-Klak-Blox" appears here. This is the routine Gene used to demo t h i s item over the counter for the kids who came in, especially at Fantasy Island. Nick Trost saw t h i s pitch and was very impressed by i t , and Gene passed on notes of it to him several years ago. I t is through Nick's generosity that it appears here. Michael Skinner was not the first to find the Forks, but he is the one who has taken the most advantage of Eddie Fechter's influence to get where he is today. A couple of years ago, he v i s i t e d back in t h i s area, and I spent a couple of days with him at Bob King's home in Rochester. One of the things he showed me was "Deeper Mystery". At that time he did not want this to get around since he was performing it to fool magicians familiar with the "Lazy Man's Card Trick". Since that time, he has been showing i t around at some of his l e c t u r e s , so he thinks it's about time I put it in PRECURSOR. Lou Gallo was one of the very f i r s t magicians who started hanging around the Forks, and that is where I met him back in the early Sixties. Like me, Lou is left handed, and we have discussed southpaw sleights a number of times. I know there are a lot of other l e f t i e s out there, so to help them out, I am passing on Lou's "Glimpse" and "Peek Control"; but for everyone, there is also Lou's fine card discovery, "35".
Sometime in l a t e 1956 or early 1957, can't r e a l l y t e l l by the dates on Jay Marshall's New Phoenix, an Ed Mario issue came out; it was #338. I learned a l l of the effects in t h i s issue and was doing them. Right a f t e r t h i s I was drafted into the Army, and when I got out in 1960, I s t a r t e d going up the the Forks. Being away from Magic for a couple of years, I was s t i l l doing the same things I did before going into the Army. One of the t r i c k s was "The New Elevator" which I always called the "Elevator Aces". B i l l Dunn and Lou Gallo saw someone perform t h i s t r i c k ; that someone was probably me, but they don't remember. They loved the plot but not the method, and t h i s s t a r t e d an evolution that is s t i l l going. "Dunn Elevator" is B i l l ' s current handling of the "Elevator Aces", and B i l l Dunn showed i t to me at the last "Close-Up Convention" at the Forks Hotel. During the period that I was going to the Forks quite r e g u l a r l y , B i l l Okal could be found there every Friday evening, and we became fast friends. If you just know Bill from his Street Magic Act, you wouldn't r e a l i z e that B i l l performs some very heavy Card Magic. His "Two Card Monte" is a great example of t h i s - i t is an extrememly strong t r a n s p o s i t i o n presented with a Monte theme. Bob King grew up with Mike Skinner and Ron Zollweg in Rochester and was also strongly influenced by Eddie Fechter. For years, Bob was an "Underground Magic Bartender" at the Royal Palm. He had to be underground because the owner hated Magic. "Making Waves" is from Bob's new book, CLASSIC STAND UP CLOSE UP. The second phase of this routine was developed after the book came out and appears here for the f i r s t time. If you l i k e t h i s r o u t i n e , you should probably get Bob's book for $12.00, plus $3.00 postage direct from him. Ron Zollweg was not really one of the regulars in the early days of the Forks, but he grew up with Mike and Bob, and he became one of the "Visiting Regulars", along with Ed Eckl, a few years l a t e r during the period when Eddie, Karl Norman, Ray Mertz, and others held f o r t h . Ron gives us his "Old But Easy" which is a very nice Color Changing Deck Routine. Ron has been performing this with just two "Stranger Cards". It didn't take too much persuasion on my part to convince him that as long as he needed two extra cards, why not clean everything up with double-backers. Dom Cervas is included here even though most of the regulars did not know that Dom was at the Forks as much as he was in the early days. You see, Dom was never there on weekends but just during the week. At that time, Dom worked for a painting company in Cleveland, and he did estimates for jobs. One of his best accounts was the Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna. He spent many weeks a year at that plant doing his estimates and then setting up the jobs. All of his evenings were spent with Eddie at the Forks. Of course, he went home to see his family on weekends. "The Magnetic Card" was a trick Dom was doing a l l of the time back there in the early S i x t i e s . Even though Eddie didn't perform any faro t r i c k s himself, he always enjoyed watching Dom do his faro problems.
To finish this issue is my own "Backward Aces". Even though I did not get back to the Forks as often as the others who appear here, I was always warmly welcomed after my hundred-mile drive up from Erie, and i t was traditional for them to say, "Don't stay away so long next time," even if I was there just the week before. Oh! Those were the days. William P. Miesel October 23, 1991
SHAP OVER ACES "Did I ever show you t h i s one?" That was Eddie's greeting just about every time we arrived at the Forks. The ice was broken, and we were off and running. This is one of those l i t t l e "Did I Ever Show You"fs. Eddie knew that it was not a complete piece in i t s e l f but needed to be f i t t e d into a routine which I don't think that he ever did, but he loved to fool magicians with i t . 1. The four Aces are on top of the deck with two of one color above the two of the other color. For this description, the two red Aces w i l l be on top of the two black ones. 2. Place the deck face down on the table with the long sides parallel to the rear edge of the table. Both hands go to the ends of the deck with the thumbs at the rear corners, the forefingers curled on top, and the remaining fingers at the outer corners of the deck.
3. With the left thumb, l i f t up the top three cards, one at a time. The right thumb now overtakes this break under the top three Aces. The right forefinger now moves backwards and firmly pinches these three cards between itself and the right thumb. 4. The left thumb now picks up one more card at the left inner corner and keeps it separated from the cards above it and the cards below. 5. In one continuous motion, the right finger releases the "triple" card, the right hand turns over to show a black Ace, and a half-beat l a t e r , the left fingers release the second black Ace, snapping i t , as that hand turns over.