Take Two Cards And Call Me In The Morning by Doc Dixon

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii September, 2005)

This manuscript is a booklet of tricks from Mr. Dixon's lecture. After two essays—one about goals, which also appears in the manuscript described above, and a fine one about ethics, which is not duplicated between manuscripts—there follows 17 items ranging from quick gags and tips to fully-developed routines. Ten of these contributions concern playing cards, with the balance utilizing coins, paper money, a gag with an uninflated animal balloon—and pretzels. The latter are featured in a broken, vanished (or rather, consumed) and restored marked pretzel routine which is quite clever, although perhaps just a might "too perfect" for my tastes. (If one were to use the same plot with bills, for example, I suspect one would intuitively introduce a bit of uncertainty to some of the procedure, such as the vanish, in order to ultimately make the effect more convincing. The same thinking might be beneficially adopted in this case.) There's a wacky sequence in which coins and eventually bills appear to vanish and appear into and out of the performer's nose, a bit which would garner a good reaction in appropriate if rare circumstances. The bits and gags probably serve their best purpose in giving the reader an idea of the author's style and tastes, and give him the opportunity to offer various cautions and other advice concerning their use; he clearly demonstrates that he really thinks about this stuff, and so should the reader.

The card material is by far the strongest element here, with some potent effects generally requiring only moderate skill. Included is an unusual routine in which a card placed face-up beneath the performer's watchband changes places with the spectator's selection; a practical signed, folded card to money clip that strikes me as eminently superior to a currently marketed prop which claims to achieve similar ends; a slightly altered handling of Tim Wenk's "A Good Case" from Best of Friends by Harry Lorayne, essentially a folded card to card case; a very clean transposition between a playing card and a borrowed bill utilizing the Kozlowski $100 bill switch; a good presentational approach to the Card In Wallet, including a great opening line; an in-the-hands, ungimmicked handling of a Don Alan "Ranch Bird" type of routine, in which a wind-up crawling toy baby locates a selected card (and a small whiskey or baby bottle is produced at the finish); a card trick that can be effectively performed for a mixed audience of adults and children—even if there's an infant present!—in which a card is apparently located by the sense of smell (a slightly more restrained approach to such a theme than David Williamson's deranged, unpublished version, with which Mr. Williamson thoroughly terrorized a deserving television reporter recently at the DC Magic Summit); and there's also a variant of Jerry Sadowitz' "The More Things Change" (yet another take on Vernon's Travellers) for those who like to palm and practice. As is typical of lecture manuscripts, the descriptions are sometimes a bit short on technical detail, and illustrations would be a huge help, but there's some original and fun stuff here, and plenty of inspirations and opportunities to blend with your own creative juices.

"...it hurts when you feel someone has stolen (or is going to steal) something you crafted and worked on through hundreds of performances. To them it isn't much—a bit that lasts three seconds. To you it is a bit that took three years to write, to get the perfect wording for your character and your act. To you it is sweating out every detail and nuance. To them it might be a fifty-cent prop. To you it helps pay the rent every month. To them it's another gag they can add to their hack performances. To you ...magic is an art." Doc Dixon

8-1/2" x 11" comb bound; 22 pages; not illustrated (unless you count the lame cartoons); 1995; Published by Doc Dixon