Cy Endfield’s Entertaining Card Magic

By Michael Vincent - Tuesday, October 22, 2019


My mentor Alan Alan told me a lot about Cy Endfield. He was a regular at The Unique Studio during the 1950s and 1960s. His card magic was hailed by the likes of Dai Vernon, Bill Simon and Alex Elmsley.

He made London his home and directed many of his famous films whilst living here. He made Michael Caine a star after directing the film Zulu.

His card magic first appeared in The Gen magazine and then in his three volume book. The bound collection of his work is outstanding. If you study this book, you will see that his card magic features very fundamental sleight of hand techniques. Don’t let that fool you, I read this book as a young boy and cut my teeth on Cy’s technique.

One Saturday afternoon, I was in Alan’s shop, when it closed at 2pm, he said let’s go for a walk. We ended up at Valerie’s Patisserie on Old Compton Street. Sat at the back was a very quite and yet distinguished gentleman - it was Cy Endfield. This was my first meeting with him, he became my very first mentor in card magic and over the years, I am proud to say my friend.

That first meeting was epic because I saw him perform most of the routines from his book.

I even showed him how I handled his version of “The Hofzinser Top Change”. This was an important moment for me because I saw how beautiful his technique and execution was. Nothing fancy or flamboyant, just an elegant and graceful handling of cards. His routines looked and felt like real magic.

If you have not read his book, I encourage you all to do so. Take a trip back in time, forget the current trend for cardistry and eye-candy magic. In studying this book you will come face to face with a very clever and smart approach to card magic.

Don’t forget, he was a film director, a story teller, so his emphasis was on technique and strong narrative. The plot and premise was everything.

Some the highlights of this book for me are:

  • Two Divine
  • The Escape of the Musketeers
  • Aces for Connoisseurs
  • Card Penetration and Change
  • Three Card Monte
  • Cards up Sleeve
  • His work on The Side Steal and The Diagonal Palm Shift.
  • Gambler Out-Gambled

These routines I still perform today. Cy Endfield inspired me to tell stories with my card magic and to keep my technique under the radar. I am confident you will enjoy this book. It comes with my highest recommendation.


Reader comments:

Iain

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 17:28 PM - Reply to this comment

What a nice review Micheal, that sounds great. Thanks for hipping us to this work.

Steve

Saturday, 26 October 2019 13:32 PM - Reply to this comment

Thank you for this amazing insight into the way a magical experience can have such a profound effect on an audience, dissociated by generation from the original artist.

When I watched you, as an 18 year old boy, I knew that you had met more magicians, and read more magic books, than I had.

Having said that, the magic I experienced from your performances displayed such innocence and grace that I was unaware of anything other than my astonishment, entertainment and enjoyment.

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