Twose Company - Fred Robinson's Colour Changes
By Dominic Twose - Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Hello. I'm Dominic Twose. I'm a magician from Leamington Spa and an Associate of The Inner Magic Circle. I've spent most of my professional life working as an astronaut. Walking on the moon and stuff. Which is why my name probably isn't known to you. I've worked on several magic books including The Cervon Notebooks. I've had material published in The Crimp and recently had my first book of original material published, Impromptu Secrets. I was lucky enough to be one of the few people who the late, great Fred Robinson gave lessons to.
Vanishing Inc. contacted me and asked me to write a series of blog posts. So I will.
It was in the early eighties when I went into the Marlborough Arms off London’s Tottenham Court Road and saw an old man do things with a pack of cards that I was pretty sure weren’t possible.
I bought him a drink and talked to him and persuaded him to give me lessons. I later heard that the tipping point for him was that, while I was happy to demonstrate a few of my effects to show him I was serious, I was far more interested in him and his astonishing ability with a deck of cards.
He gave me lessons, then when he’d left, I wrote down everything we’d covered that week. I still have the notes, and wrote them up in a chapter called ‘Dominic Twose Remembers Lessons in Magic’ in the book ‘The Magic of Fred Robinson.’ It’s a book I’d heartily recommend, and not just for my chapter.
I’ll talk more about Fred later. But what I wanted to mention here was exactly what it was that he did on our first meeting which so blew me away. It was a set of colour changes. While Fred developed many routines over the years, when I met him he had taken Devant’s advice to heart, and tended to perform around six effects regularly, which he performed to perfection. One was his colour change routine.
The colour changes he performed are well-described in the book, but I have yet to hear anyone praise them. There is a video of him performing them on a DVD called Snap, Crackle, and Pop! I have a feeling both book and DVD are now out of print, but if you have either of them, or can get them second hand, I think you’ll appreciate the colour changes.
Why colour changes?
Why did Fred start with colour changes? A colour change is a great way to start a routine; you demonstrate within seconds that you can do stuff they won’t have seen before. Rather than have a card selected and returned, you hit them between the eyes straightaway. There is an additional benefit which I find useful. I’ll ask the spectators if they know what the card on the face is. They may be foreign and not know, or they may be unfamiliar with cards; in which case you need to adjust accordingly. If they say ‘The Diamonds of Six’ you know to be careful.
There are many colour changes in print; Erdnase and Card Manipulations spring to mind. Why study Fred’s? Because I can vouch for their impact in a close-up situation. In one, you show both your hands empty before the change. In another, you brush the deck against your trousers and the card changes. In a third, you flip the face of the deck with your fingers and the card changes. In Fred’s hands these looked like pure magic. They can in yours too.
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