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New Card Rises by Karl Fulves

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii March, 1999)


New Card Rises, a reprint of a 1996 publication, follows two 1982 Fulves releases—TV Card Rise and Wireless—on the subject of the "Rising Cards." Whereas 13 Prophets is undeniably rather more of an academic treatise than an investigation of material for commercial venues, the manuscript to hand reflects a broader approach. While that's not to say that one will find finely honed presentations by professional entertainers in these pages, there is certainly a quantity of material here that could well find use in the "real world" of performance.

The first of twenty entries is an extraordinary methodological system by Walter Brusa, who provides an interesting and indeed useable solution for the timeless magician's dream of the any-card-called-for "Rising Card." The deck is held in the performer's hand, either cased or not as is your preference, and in essence a named card rises from the deck, which is not examinable (neither is the card). The conditions read like a dealer ad: no threads, wires, magnets, or weights. As the author adds, "no cards are jogged or angled, and the plunger principle is not used."

Now make no mistake, this isn't by any measure going to see wide usage. The preparation is time-consuming, albeit that it requires little more than an X-acto knife and a lot of time and patience. Following that, I imagine a fair degree of practice will be necessary to make this look like anything, not that it's a finger-flinging kind of thing, it isn't. Still, for the dedicated and adventurous, this could well provide an amazing, perhaps even reputation-making effect. Contest entrants, take note.

Elsewhere there are simpler approaches with a definite eye to entertainment value:

In a Karl Fulves item entitled "Jagged Edge," a prediction card is placed aside in a card case. A chosen card pops from the deck (not exactly the traditional rising card effect, more of an instantaneous arrival), which is torn in half by the performer. This tear turns out to exactly match a half card now found in the case.

In what is certainly one of the most commercial entries, a handling of a Sid Lorraine effect by Howard Wurst, a miniature version of a full-sized selected card springs from the deck when the end is riffled. A surprising and amusing effect that's easy to do and eminently practical.

In Mr. Fulves "De Kolta! Catch," a comedy item for platform use, a signed card is returned to the deck which is in turn dropped into a large paper bag. After an delay, the impatient performer peers into the bag, whereupon all the cards fly out of the bag; as they do so, the performer plucks the selection from the spray. The trick requires minimal preparation and no mechanical device.

And Martin Gardner contributes a fooler in which a card rises from a partially handkerchief-wrapped deck held in the magician's hand. Upon rising, the card is rapidly pushed hack into the deck whereupon it instantly snaps back out again, these actions being repeated several times as if there was some mechanism forcing the card out—yet there is none apparent (and the method is self-contained and impromptu).

All four of these last items, and others like them, are simple, practical, and have the potential for practical real-world use. An interesting tip is included late in the booklet concerning how to safely riffle shuffle a deck that contains a thin gimmick that one needs to avoid disturbing. The manuscript is minimally produced, with plenty of line drawings by the estimable Joseph K. Schmidt, all more or less a bargain for the price, with the exception that the pages are stapled, an unacceptable format in my estimation; in my world, even at this price, we should at least expect comb binding that is manageable to read and will wear well over time.

New Card Rises • Karl Fulves • 8.5" x 11" stapled manuscript