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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

The Boy Who Cried Magic - Andi Gladwin

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

After an Introduction and an essay on Making Magic Bulletproof, the book begins with a chapter titled Close-Up Card Magic.

Whack Your Phone - This is Andi’s take on Paul Harris’s “Whack Your Pack” effect. The original effect from Paul Harris was always a favorite of mine. This new version utilizes a different (cleaner) method and changes the final effect to be one of great impact. It is a super entertaining premise. I have already performed this effect several times to great responses.

Perfect Order - This routine has some truly strong moments in it. First, you get to genuinely riffle shuffle face up cards into face down cards without any false moves. Then a card is selected, and just by quickly riffling through the deck, you’re able to tell them which card is missing. This is a strong moment by itself. Then you hit them between the eyes with the entire deck facing the same way except for their chosen suit (in order.) This is another routine I have already used. It’s simple, effective, and layers methods beautifully.

Monte Python - A three card monte effect with just three normal cards that never mix, yet the spectator STILL cannot find the correct card. This entire routine is Andi’s handling of Scott Robinson’s effect. Robinson’s version is nice, but this one has a better flow to it and creates a stronger final climax. This is another routine I have already used.

Ghost - This is one of my least favorite effects in the book. Surprisingly, it is the one effect performed in the trailer for the book. Four kings are set aside, and a card is chosen. The spectator names either red or black kings. The named kings appear directly around the chosen card. It’s an okay effect, but I feel it is bit too mundane.

Pocket Mule - A simple gag turned into a simple effect. This is a great out to use if you ever find yourself needing to get out of a tight spot. It is simple in execution, but structurally sound as the gag provides perfect cover for the only move.

Fireworks - This is one of the best routines in the book. It is strong, commercial magic perfectly suited for walk around environments. It is a full set contained in this one routine. Aces appear, vanish, reappear, find selections, the selections vanish, and the aces turn into the selections. That is a lot of magic! It all happens nice and neat and each phase sets you up for the next. It is great routining.

This ends the Chapter One and begins the Chapter Two: Card Technique.

Master Pushoff - This may be what Andi is best known for. This teaches his technique for the master pushoff and goes on to show how it can be used for a double turnover, multiple turnover, second deal, one-handed second deal, third and fourth deal, double deal, one-handed double lift, and a second-from-top palm. Andy has clearly spent a lot of time with this move. It won’t come immediately, but with practice and the information provided here, anyone should be able to master the pushoff.

Cull Shuffle - A small moment which naturally flows and allows an air of freedom and a shuffle directly after a cull. It truly is a small moment, but one which does indeed add naturalness. It’s definitely one of those, “why didn’t I think of that,” moments.

Undo Cut - The deck is spread and cut onto the table in several chunks, but shhhh, it’s actually a false cut. This cut is very disarming because there is an unseen moment which allows for this move. If the audience doesn’t catch the first moment (they won’t) then they will be utterly convinced of the mixing. There’s also a nice addition suggested which allows it to appear more like a shuffle (even a wash shuffle) than a cut. This is a very useful move. Everyone will be using it before long.

Undo Shuffle - This is a false overhand shuffle which is simple to do, can be done with a face up deck, and there is a time delay aspect which works in your favor. It’s a bit knacky at first, but quickly becomes easy.

Four Finesses -

1) The Tabled Braue: The classic ambitious card pop up move done out of the magician’s hands. This version is completely impromptu, and allows you to be away from the deck when the card “pops” to the top. Admittedly, I don’t like the look of this move; I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason the original move looks significantly better to my eyes.

2) Convincing Tilt: This move allows you to show a card genuinely protruding from the middle of the deck after the tilt move. It’s simple to do and it is very deceptive.

3) Spectator Bernard Cut: The spectator is allowed to give the deck a straight cut, and yet the cut is false. This is one of those things that doesn’t really make sense from a literal stand point, but cerebrally, the spectator will remember it very differently than the literal.

4) BTT Shuffle: This is a simple way of controlling the bottom card to the top during an overhand shuffle without having to “peel” cards off one another at the end of the shuffle. It’s easy to do, and it does drastically improve the traditional move.

Fan Change - A color change that happens with the wave of a fan of cards. It reads as something which is quite knacky, but in practice, I found it happened quite naturally.

This ends Chapter Two and propels us into Chapter Three: At the Card Table.

From the Center - This is a demonstration of center dealing with a kicker ending of four aces being found. This is a funny piece because you claim to be doing something extraordinary, and what you’re doing isn’t that far off. It takes mastery of the pushoff second deal to pull this one off effectively. I’m not quite there yet, so this is one I’ll have to reserve for a later date.

Red/Black to the Future - An odd sort of oil and water routine were red and black cards are interlaced. Suddenly and without any moves, the colors are in pairs. Another moment, and now the colors are in threes instead of twos. Another moment and now the red and black cards are totally separated—and so is the rest of the deck. This is another piece which requires some work. It isn’t my favorite as I feel there is a bit too much action between the stages, but it is certainly a workable routine.

Misdeal - This is essential an ace assembly plot but done with a presentational theme of forgetting to add the aces back onto the deck. In a sense, it is a magician in trouble plot where you prevail in the end. This one isn’t as complex as the previous two effects, but I wouldn’t necessarily claim it is self working either. I think audiences would really enjoy seeing this one.

Cut, Stop, Shuffle - The performer correctly predicts where the spectator will cut, stop dealing, and stop shuffling. This one of my favorites in the book. There’s a clever combination of principles here which really make it very deceptive and impossible to backtrack. It does require a deck set up solely for this effect, but this is covered presentationally by introducing it as a “marked deck.” I really love this one.

Castle Jacks - This is a monster of a routine in three acts. The cards are shuffled and the performer memorizes them, signed jacks vanish one at a time and appear back in a wine glass, and finally, the signed jacks jump to different pockets, and the deck vanishes leaving just the four signed jacks. There are some really shocking moments in this piece, and each “act” sets you up for the next. This isn’t a piece you’ll be performing for your friends, but it can become a staple of anyone’s parlor act. This is a masterclass in routining. Learn from it. This one wins the WTP Award*

This ends Chapter Three and begins Chapter Four: Stand-Up Card Magic.

Silent Movie - The spectator follows the performer’s actions without either saying a word. Both choose a card and remember it. The cards match. Then the effect is punctuated by a gag guaranteeing your routine ends in laughter. This is the simplest effect in the book, but again, the routining is what shines through. This is the type of performance piece that audiences will be able to vividly remember long after the performance.

Aura - Three spectators each select a card. The performer finds the first by feeling their aura. The second is found with the deck in the performer’s pocket. And the final card is found by a spectator reaching into the performer’s pocket to pull out the last card. This has some nice touches in it including a method which allows the deck to be seen as ordinary from beginning to end. One nice thing about this routine is that the last spectator genuinely can choose any card they want out of the pocket. They aren’t just grabbing the first or last card or being instant stooged—they genuinely take any of the 50 cards they want.

Supersonic - The performer and two spectators each get a third of the deck. They shuffle their cards, have someone else choose a card, and shuffle the chosen cards back into their packets. The cards are gathered together and someone gives the performer five seconds to find all three selections. At the end of five seconds, the performer only has two of the three selections. The third selection is found in the performer’s pocket. This is such an entertaining routine. It’s almost entirely self-working, but Andi fills a room with it thanks to his staging and premise.

ScriptedBored - This is a presentation for Simon Aronson’s “Shuffle-Bored” effect. It makes the effect play huge, turning the spectator into the magician. The spectator reads out a script and are surprised to find everything they say is 100% accurate. This is a great addition to the “Shuffle-Bored” effect. Note: the method for “Shuffle-Bored” isn’t taught here; only the presentation is discussed.

Thought Experiment - Twelve cards are removed from the deck. Six are shown to a spectator who remembers one of the cards. They immediately sandwich the six cards between their hands, and someone else holds the remaining six cards. After some byplay, the first spectator is holding only five cards. Their thought of card is discovered in the other packet. This is IMMEDIATELY repeated with another spectator who happened to be thinking of a card as well. This is the routine which ends the book, and I feel it holds up to the challenge of being the final lasting memory of “The Boy Who Cried Magic.” I have already been performing this one, and it has been absolutely slaying. These touches Andi has added take the original to new heights.

This book has made quite a stir in the magic world. I’ll admit, I held off from purchasing it for quite some time. I simply wasn’t convinced it was my cup of tea after seeing some reviews and such little chatter after its release. I’m happy to say everything in the book is real world workable material. It may disappoint some because there aren’t necessarily a ton of revolutionary methods, but the routining of these effects is where the real value lies. Andi is an expert, and his magic is memorable. If you want to make your magic memorable, pick this up while you can.

*The Worth The Price Award, or WTP Award for short, is a new system I will have in place when reviewing products. Look out for the WTP Award(s) to know which routine(s) or principle(s) is my favorite.

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