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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

Resigned to Miracles - Peter Groning

First posted last year.

Six Friendly Involvements: Here Peter thanks 6 people who had a big involvement with this project

Introduction: In this section, Peter reminisces about what got him into magic and specifically—card magic.

High Concept: This is where Peter lays out the general concept for obtaining a duplicate signature including his inspirations that led him to this discovery. This is where you discover Peter created this concept in the early 1980s. 35 years later, he’s ready to share it with the world. In this section, Peter also lays out a few general tips to help ensure success.

Part 1 Resigned

This chapter teaches the main method of obtaining a signature as well as its variants.

—Resigned: This is the first routine/method for getting a duplicate signature. It’s Peter’s take on a well-known effect, but his creative additions make the routine the fairest of its kind, and it actually leaves you with TWO signatures that no one knows exists. Shhhhh

—Half Resigned: This is a variation on the previous effect/method which can be done one-on-one. This handling is a bit more direct and convincing, however, the first effect is most certainly the stronger one between the two. In my opinion, if you CAN perform the first version, you SHOULD.

—Resigned in Color: This variation gives you two spectator’s signatures on the back of two cards with different colored backs. It’s important to note (and it does so at the end of this section) that this variation is really only necessary if you need two spectator’s signatures. If you only need one, then you can use the basic “Resigned” effect without needing this handling. In fact, all of the other routines in the book can be done without this method, but I believe Peter included this for completion’s sake in case you find your own use for it.

—Resigned by Remote Control: No, this doesn’t involve electronics. This is a way to perform the original routine or any of the variations away from the deck. It is really REALLY lovely and should not be overlooked.

Part 2 Resignation Accepted

This chapter focuses on some effects that use the secret signature

—First Thoughts: This gives some general tips as well as describes what to expect out of this chapter. In essence, this is the chapter that contains some of the effects you can do with a secret signature. Peter very clearly expresses that he is only including this routines to inspire you to come up with your own, but also admits that the routines he provides are very strong and magical as we will see.

—Bit by Bit: “The audience is shown a sealed envelope. Someone selects a card and signs its back. The magician covers the face-up card for an instant with the envelope. This causes the face of the selection to fade. The faded card still has the spectator’s signature on the back. The magician next gently strikes the card against the envelope. This causes the face of the card to vanish completely, leaving it blank. The card is still signed. The card is again momentarily covered with the envelope and vanishes completely. The person who selected the card is asked to open the envelope. Inside she finds her signed card, which has recomposed itself, bit by bit.”

Clearly, there’s a lot of magic in this routine. You visibly see the card fade away, all the while seeing the signature is indeed still on the card, and then the best moment happens: the signed card appears inside of the genuinely ungimmicked and sealed envelope. Personally, if I were doing a card to envelope with this principle (which is very easy to do) I don’t think I’d do it with this routine simply because the envelope is in close contact to the deck throughout the entire routine. Sure, that has nothing to do with the card being inside the envelope in the end, but a spectator may assume that somehow you slipped it inside at some point while the envelope was against the deck. This doesn’t discount how great this routine is. It’s a wonderful routine full of many magical changes, but I personally believe it slightly diminished the impact of the card being in the envelope (if only after the performance is done.) The only other con with this routine is that you are left pretty dirty at the end. The deck is in a condition which would require some tight-spreading and rearranging in order to clean up, so this is definitely one to close the set with.

—Fade In: “This trick has a relationship to “Bit by Bit”, but the effect achieved is entirely different. Someone selects a card, looks at it and places it between her palms without showing it to anyone else. A second deck is introduced. Its backs contrast with those of the first deck, and the faces of the cards are blank. The magician claims that these are special cards, manufactured to pick up thoughts. Spreading the blank-faced deck in his hands, he asks a second person to remove any one of the blank cards and sign its back. The first helper now concentrates intensely on her selection. This causes something very strange to occur: In a rapid series of transformations, a face becomes more and more visible on the signed, blank-faced card, until it is a perfect match to the card the first helper chose.”

This is such a different trick than any other one I’ve ever seen. The signed blank card slowly fades into a card someone else selected, and at each point along the way, they can see their signature on the back. It’s a fascinating idea, and in order to exploit it to its fullest potential, I think you MUST have the card examined after the first change. If they don’t examine the card at that point, the ending will have less impact because they may not be certain that it was really their signed card the whole time. At the end of this section, Peter suggests having other things slowly be revealed on the card such as a star sign or the name of a loved one. Really nice ideas, but I prefer the playing card as I think it makes the most sense within the context. I will say, while this trick isn’t difficult to perform, there’s one moment in particular which must be done smoothly to be most effective.

—Face Off: “The following is an extension of “Fade In”. Someone selects a card and, without revealing his selection, signs it both on the front and on the back. It is then very fairly inserted into the deck while the deck lies in its case. The case is closed and left with the helper for safekeeping. A second person freely chooses a blank-faced card and signs its back. Slowly, the face of the first helper’s card appears on the second signed card, until it is fully developed. Then, the first helper’s signature appears on the face of the card signed by the second helper. When the cased deck is checked, it still contains the first helper’s card, with his signature on the back—but its face is now blank.”

That may read as a bit confusing, but in practice it’s pretty straightforward, albeit unusual. The handling works well for the effect, and it’s another effect which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

—Gifted: “Early in his performance, the magician removes a deck of cards from his pocket. He takes the deck from its case, but notices something wrong. He takes a good look inside the card case, then shakes it close to his ear. Something is apparently still in it. He gives the case a vigorous shake and out flies a small gift box—small, but still obviously too large to have come from the case. The gift box is tabled or given to someone in the audience to hold. Toward the end of the show the box is opened by the person who has been holding it. Inside she finds a card that has just a few minutes before been selected and signed by someone else in the audience.”

First of all, what Peter is really teaching here is a really wonderful production of a gift box (or any small item) from inside a card box. It’s a great handling which shows both hands empty. It is probably the best “item from card box” production that I’ve seen. Then you get to add the kicker at the end of the set of the signed card appearing in said gift box. Picture the Kennedy box but with no funny moves. That is what you have here. They genuinely hold on to a box throughout your performance. You never come near that box or switch anything, yet their signed card appears inside of the box. This is really incredible stuff, and in my opinion, this shows the power of having a duplicate signature. This is what everyone dreams of. Put all of your gimmicked boxes in the trash. Learn this technique, use it, and you have the most perfect version of “kennedy box’ in existence. Pay close attention to the notes at the end of this section as it tells how to perform this effectively in one card set. Gold star from me.

—Bizarre Assignment: “A card is selected and signed by its chooser, front and back. It is sandwiched between two red Jacks and the person who chose it grips one end of her card. The two Jacks are separated and the signed card instantly disappears from the person’s hand. It is shown to have flown to the middle of the deck. The selection is replaced between the Jacks, face down, and turns magically face up. This magical reversal is performed again. Finally, after the card has been once more turned face down between the Jacks, its back visibly changes color—even though both the back and face are signed.”

This is by far the best version of Paul Harris’s Bizarre Twist. The addition of the card being signed on both sides makes for some really strong and undeniable visuals throughout the performance. The kicker ending of the card changing colors WITH THEIR SIGNATURE is just undeniably magical. Of all the routines in the book, this may be my favorite. It takes a classic trick, adds Peter’s technique, and makes this classic trick 95% better than it was originally. Huge fan of this one. Gold star.

—Spiked: “A folded sheet of paper with a question mark drawn on its outer side is shown. It is nailed with a huge spike to a wall. A card is selected and signed on the back. The signed card is then made to vanish. You grab the paper and rip it off the spike, revealing a card still nailed to the wall—the signed selection.”

This is really one take on the card to impossible location. One take which is certainly not lacking theatrics! Peter admits you won’t always find a venue that would allow you to nail something to their wall, but if they do, go for it! I particularly like the “enhanced” handling which has the card signed on both sides. Peter expresses the power of this method because it allows the signed card to be visibly seen in the deck up until the very last moment. You can utilize this concept for any card to impossible location—including card to wallet. You can hand your wallet to someone while they are staring at their signed card sticking out of the deck. Square the card into the deck, it instantly vanishes, and appears in the wallet they are holding. Good stuff.

—Bottled: Peter briefly describes how to end a card under bottle routine by having the signed card appear IN the bottle. Pretty simple to work out once you know you are dealing with a duplicate signature.

—Once Torn, Twice Restored: Picture this: you perform any of the single card torn and restored effects which requires you leave the card three-quarters restored. You’ve always wondered how to justify that last piece staying unrestored. Now you don’t have to worry about that. Now, you can restore that last piece and give them a signed card which is fully restored.

—CoinResigned: This teaches you how to get a duplicate signature on a coin which can be used for a number of routines. It will take some creativity to find a use for this, but if you’ve been searching for a way to have a secret set of initials on a coin, this may be for you.

Part 3 Unresigend

This chapter of the book teaches three routines which do NOT use the resigned principle.

—Torn Between Two Worlds: “A card is selected and torn in half. Someone signs the face of one half while a second person signs the face of the other. The signed halves are then magically fused together, back to back, to form a single, double-faced half card, signed on both sides. This is a doubly bizarre object, as it is also a card that has been torn and restored—even though it remains torn.”

This is a really interesting routine which leaves the spectators with a wonderful souvenir. It’s simple to do and very effective with nothing more than a single playing card needed. I really like it.

—Knock on Wood: “A red-backed card is displayed, but its identity is unknown. This is because it is stapled, back outward, to a block of wood. From a blue-backed deck, a card is selected, signed and returned to the pack. The magician claims he will make just the faces of the selection and the card on the board change places. When the stapled, red-backed card is taken from the board, it is found to have the face of the signed selection.”

This is similar to “Nailed” by David Regal but the method is different. This method is a bit too “muddy” for my personal liking. There’s a lot going on and a lot of set up for a trick which I’m not convinced is worth the payoff. I have used Jay Sankey’s “BlockBuster” effect for years, and I’ve always done it with a different colored card. In my opinion, Jay’s version is more direct and to the point than what is shown here. It’s a lot of work, but if you want to make a signed card appear stapled to a block of wood, this will allow you to genuinely do that.

—Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: “Someone selects a card and signs its back. Neither he nor anyone else knows the identity of this card. It is slipped face down between two face-up Jacks, and the sandwich is placed into a card case. A second person signs the face of a second selection. This card is lost in the deck. The Jack sandwich is removed from the card case. When the first signed selection is turned face up, it is seen to be the second signed selection, too.”

This is THE ONLY trick in the book which is completely impromptu. It is a strange mystery card type effect with the signatures making it extra impossible. There’s quite a bit of sleights necessary to make the effect happen. But if you can pull it off, you will be rewarded with a strong version of the mystery card.

Overall, this is an inspired piece of work. The core concept is a strong and powerful one. The effects taught are all great, and they will get the creative juices flowing. My biggest “complaint” about these effects is that they all require a set up, and Peter doesn’t tell explain how to go from the “resigned” effect into the trick you want to do with the signature. So it will take some planning on your part to figure out how to go from point A to point B. If you put in the work, you will be greatly rewarded with some miracle-level magic. I was also very pleased to find that the “resigned” effect which sets you up for all the others is a very strong and memorable magic trick. I was afraid the initial resigned effect would be meaningless and/or corny. I was wrong. As Peter says in the book, don’t rush through the resigned effect to get to the others. The effect is powerful on its own. The fact that it gives you some secret signatures is a bonus. Also I would just like to say originally I thought it was strange that the secret signature you get is on the back of a card. But Peter asserts that it is only weird for magicians, and I wholeheartedly agree. The average laymen has never signed a card. That alone is a weird action. They don’t think its any weirder for it to be the back of a card. So don’t let that stop you form picking this up. The back being signed is every bit as impressive as the front being signed, and it isn’t much more limiting (as evident by the plethora of material presented here.)

I highly recommend this book and give it my stamp of approval.

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