Marlo in the New Tops (MINT)
By Andi Gladwin - Wednesday, May 3, 2023
The New Tops was a magic magazine published and printed by Abbotts Magic in Colon, Michigan. It was the successor to their earlier Tops magazine, and featured a wide collection of material such as prop magic, show reviews, a “For Women Only” column, and profiles on well-known magicians. But despite its jovial “magic club magazine” nature, the highlight every month was Edward Marlo’s column which contained some truly important card magic, including some of the best magic that he ever published.
As he grew older, Marlo got tired of submitting magic to magic magazines. He felt that editors would hold onto his material for a couple of years, giving them the opportunity to trade it with other magicians. During that time, someone else would invariably hear about the idea, or independently create it, and then beat Marlo to publication. The 1960s was a “land grab” for getting credit for the quickly-emerging new card magic techniques, and Marlo was keen to be at the forefront of that. You might say that was his main driving force.
Therefore, for Marlo, The New Tops was an ideal home as they didn’t unnecessarily hold back the material, due to their aggressive monthly publishing schedule. It was June 1963, just two years into The New Tops, when Marlo started a new monthly column in the magazine. But unlike most magic columns, this one didn’t fade away after a year or two; Marlo contributed a new item to the magazine every single month for over two decades. It’s almost certainly the longest-ever consecutive running card magic column — but we shouldn’t celebrate a column for its quantity; we should celebrate it for its quality. Marlo felt as though the column contained some of his best magic, and I agree.
Moves like the Prayer Cull, the OLRAM Subtley (Marlo’s classic false display), the Cigar Bottom Deal (a famous observation of how to bottom deal without creating a tell at your wrist), A.T.F.U.S. (Any Time Face Up Switch), and the classic load used in many Sandwich routines first saw print in Marlo’s column. As did Marlo’s early work on the Incomplete Faro (a technique he returned to a number of times, especially in his Marlo’s Magazines), his popular “Think Touch Turn” and his handling of the Homing Card routine, popularised by Fred Kaps.
But while they might be the most famous, they are far from the most interesting. Each of the book contains forty or fifty items, and some of my highlights include (the volumes indicate which book of the collated Marlo In the New Tops books the item appears in):
Prelude to a Chapter (Volume 1): There’s a little-seen Marlo video where he places two cards onto the top of two packets and causes them to transpose with apparently no handling. It looks like real magic. While he didn’t publish that routine until much later, the core technique is hidden within this column. If you have experimented with Lennart Green’s Snap Deal, you’ll be able to use this kind of work almost immediately.
Sleightless Drop Switch (Volume 1): Marlo later adapted this to use in an Ace Assembly (see his Bold Substitution in Volume 2 of Marlo’s Magazine), but the core sleight is exceptional. It’s one of the easiest and cleanest switches of a small packet that I know. Think of it like a Braue Add-On to the table and you'll understand how easy it is to execute.
A Multiple Effect (Volume 1): One of the rare good two-deck tricks. It’s easy to do and is a strong multi-phased routine where two participant and the performer each think of the same card, apparently at random.
Marlo’s Aces (Volume 1): Anyone who goes to the trouble of making these gimmicked cards will have the most deceptive Ace Assembly of all time! Better still, I've never seen anyone actually perform it, so you'll also have the rarest too!
Mental Topper (Volume 1): In my opinion, this is one of Marlo’s most overlooked foolers. Here’s the effect: someone thinks of a card from a deck, and without asking a single question, you are able to divine the card. It’s a remarkable trick with an interesting method. Obviously there's some process, but it's not the usual fishing for the suit of the card, and so on.
In Spectator’s Hands (Volume 1): Another killer trick that I have never seen anyone do. The performer turns a card face up in the middle of the deck and hands the deck to the spectator. When they spread the cards, the face-up card has changed to their selection. If you read "Marlo's Aces" first, you'll get a glimpse into Marlo's creative process, because it's essentially an outgrowth of that core method.
The Matching Miracle (Volume 1): In the spirit of Al Koran’s Nap Hand Deal, this routine is a solid poker routine where the audience do not need to know the rules of any card game.
Beveled Edge Second Deal (Volume 2): Marlo’s No-Touch Second Deal (from Seconds, Centers, Bottoms) is one of the better strike deals that Marlo published. The concept of that sleight is that with proper timing and execution, the second deal is automatic because the extracting thumb never touches the top card. This is an extension of that sleight with an added bevel to make the brief even smaller.
Moveable Card Pass (Volume 2): This move is currently in use by a few card magicians; it’s a way of culling a card to the top of the deck where the card rides over the back of the spread, instead of under it. Marlo literally turned the cull upside down.
The Ultimate Spectator Cuts the Aces (Volume 2): I have fantasised about performing this routine for many years. It really is the best Ace Cutting routine out there and I’m sure I’ll add it to a show one day.
Bottom Deal Exchange (Volume 2): I have used this move for many years. It’s a useful utility move that every magician will find applications for in their repertoire.
Spectator Cuts to Locate Aces (Volume 2): Another routine that I have used over the years; this routine ranks as one of the best self-working Spectator Cuts the Aces routines ever printed.
A Voice From the Past (Volume 2): This quick routine would almost certainly fool magicians. It’s quite typical of Marlo’s early work, methodologically, as he dedicated his first booklet to a similar concept.
That’s truly just the start and I’m envious of people digging into these books for the first time. Each of these two volumes contains dozens of interesting, and good, Marlo material. If you want to dig deeper, I wrote an Ed Marlo Study Guide on this very blog — there’s so much to learn from this wonderfully prolific creator.
More info on MINT
MINT #1 by Edward Marlo was the first in a series recounting nearly a quarter century of outstanding contributions by the incomparable Ed Marlo to The New TOPS Magazine. Completely re-illustrated and organized; here is a must-read book filled with sleights and tricks that have since become legendary.
Available in a traditional book or a new eBook format, you have a wealth of material at your fingertips complete with an easy-reference table of contents.
Buy MINT 1
MINT 2 is a groundbreaking book on card magic by the legendary magician Ed Marlo. This book is the long-awaited follow-up to Marlo's original "MINT" book, which revolutionized the world of card magic upon its release.
Inside MINT 2 you'll find a wealth of new and innovative card tricks, techniques, and routines that had never been seen before. Marlo was known for his genius in developing new sleights and moves, and MINT 2 is a testament to his incredible talent.
Buy MINT 2
Back to blog homepage
Similar posts on the blog: