Hands On Deck | Hollywood Roosevelt

By Ben Harris - Thursday, April 23, 2020


In a previous blog I gushed about the wide range of playing cards available to today’s performers: Be it cards for the performance of elegant/casual card magic, or for the exposition of Cardistry. There is something for everyone, a deck for all occasions.

Ben Harris

In a previous blog I gushed about the wide range of playing cards available to today’s performers: Be it cards for the performance of elegant/casual card magic, or for the exposition of Cardistry. There is something for everyone, a deck for all occasions.

Of course, cards designed for the performance of Card Magic, and those created for Cardistry, will differ in their specific attributes. The Hollywood Roosevelt Deck, produced by Theory 11, falls well and truly into the “card magic” category. This is a classy deck, one that should inspire the imagination in all of us.

The Hollywood Roosevelt is a historic landmark and legendary hotel. In its early years, the hotel played host to countless icons: Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, and Clark Gable. It was, in fact, the home of the very first Academy Awards and dozens of films have been “shot at the Roosevelt” over the decades.

If you are familiar with the wonderful (iconic) old black and white photographs of Dai Vernon with deck of cards and cigarette in hands, then those images should set the mood. This deck reeks that old-world class with it’s blend of graphic elegance and production standards. The Hollywood Roosevelt Deck is a story-teller’s dream; one of reminiscence—the social elite, hustles, movies, bellhops…

To start, the tuck case is pure magic. Produced on matte black art-board, the graphics are expressed with the detailed use of both gold and black foils. These lines are further enhanced with exquisite embossing. The feel is tactile, luxurious, special. The gold foil even extends to the inside of the case. All fantastic detail, especially at the very fair price point; this is not an overly expensive deck by any means.

Decks of cards

The class carries over to the elegant back design—printed in black and gold ink—no white. Thus, apart from the border, there is no white in the back design. This “frames” the design within the white borders—it’s quite striking.

You are supplied with a pair of matching Jokers; nice for a variety of transposition effects. There is an “almost” Double-backer included, but the art does vary—contextually—from side to side. A couple of elegant advertising cards fill out the box.

Decks of cards

The cards indexes are stout and bold, remaining visible when the deck is fanned or held in poker hands; important for card magic. Design-wise, one of the highlights is the clever re-working of the court cards. These ladies and gentlemen are now the elite socialites of the day—sipping drinks—ready to shimmy in their frocks and suits!

Quality? Produced by The United States Playing Card Company, the The Hollywood Roosevelt Deck is everything you would expect. Appears to be traditionally cut too—the cards welcoming a perfect Faro Shuffle straight out of the box. These cards handle just like the most expensive decks on the market; crisp, responsive, airy, sure-footed. Your double lifts, push- and pull-through shuffles, side-steals and multiple-shifts are in safe hands.

From a Cardistry point of view, The Hollywood Roosevelt Deck handles as well as anything. Perfect for all “compression,” spring, fan and flourish work. Of course, the backs are not optimized for Cardistry, but that was not the manufacturer’s intent. As Theory 11 says, “Our vision was to create a deck of cards that would honor its style and history, and celebrate a new modern era. The result is an exquisite blend of elegance and class.”

As I mentioned, The Hollywood Roosevelt Deck is a story-teller’s deck. Just think of those Vernon images.

Decks of cards


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