Here is an old story. About 30 years ago, when I visited Osaka, Japan, and walked through the Umeda station’s concourse with some of my elder friends in magic. One of them suddenly said, “Hey, look up the ceiling!”
When I looked up toward the almost 30-foot high ceiling in the station’s concourse, I saw one playing card mysteriously stuck to it – a really impossible and amazing sight!
If social media apps like SNS had been in use at the time, everyone would have taken a photo and uploaded it to their Instagram or Snapchat accounts.
??My friend commented that some magician must have performed the “Card on Ceiling” effect, and that the card had been stuck on this high ceiling for at least several years. As far as I know, this mystery card continued to remain stuck on the ceiling for the next several years, unfortunately having apparently been removed when the Umeda station was eventually renovated.
??Seeing that card was the exact moment when I understood the potential power of “Card on Ceiling,” and the reason why this effect has remained a genuine magic classic since the early 18th century.??
This trick was a staple of Chicago’s magic bartenders and restaurant magicians like the legendary Heba Haba Al (Andrucci) and Matt Schulien in the 1940s, and became one of the traditional classic card tricks in the Bar Magic world. (For example, Doc Eason’s performance is notable later example)
?Later, Michael Ammar published his handling in his book “Encore 3” in 1983, and greatly popularized the effect, with many magicians performing the trick with his handling throughout the 1980s. But while this effect still delivers a strong punch to spectators, we rarely see it performed nowadays. What a shame!??
In his new instructional video produced by Vanishing Inc., Jamy Ian Swiss not only performs and explains in detail three great routines for the Card on Ceiling, but also discusses its history and deeply analyzes the effect and its methods, in more than 60 minutes of video performance and instruction.
??His solid thinking on this effect is really great. In particular, I am very impressed with his analysis of the question of whether or not to use a thumbtack, a part of the effect common with Magic Bartenders but virtually unknown by most other close-up magicians. And I believe this is an important question for any performer to consider.
?He is not just “explaining” this trick to us, but through this timeless effect he instructs and “educates” us with his deep knowledge and lifelong experience as a professional magician and Magic Bartender.?
After recounting detailed history and theory behind this effect, Jamy-san starts by teaching the routine of one of his dear friends and a great magic bartender, the late J. C. Wagner. This routine was originally published in “The Commercial Magic of J. C. Wagner” (by Mike Maxwell, 1987) as “Entertainment Tacks.”
The advantage of this handling is its impromptu nature. Once you get thumbtacks, rubber bands, a Sharpie and a deck of cards, you can go into his routine immediately.
Jamy-san explains this trick in detail, along with some unpublished tips. ??
Then Jamy-san teaches another handling of his longtime friend, legendary magic bartender, and cutting-edge creator, the late Scotty York. His routine first appeared on his video “The Silver Fox - Strikes Again” (1994).
When you perform this handling, you have to do some preparation, but its well worth the minimal one-time effort. This is very deceptive handling and you can fool everybody with it, magicians and laymen alike. Jamy-san teaches his actual handling in detail on this DVD.
??Finally, Jamy-san teaches his own handling, the “Self-Contained Card on Ceiling (SCCC).”
As he states in the explanation, this is a very clever and extremely practical handling. We finally avoid any fear of some managing the “sticky stuff,” and can perform his stress-free handling anytime, anywhere. And once you understand his method, you can apply it to other routines if you like (a notable one is David Ben’s handling appeared on his book “Tricks” ).
?Jamy-san also teaches his idea on Ed Eckl’s well-known “Sucrets” can joke/gag for managing the wax (which appeared in “Karl Norman 40 years at the Forks” by Anthony Brahams and Mike Porstmann, , and was later popularized by Ammar).
This joke is probably not suited to every performer, but if this joke fits your performance style, Jamy’s idea will serve you well (his idea originally appeared on Genii magazine, September 1987 issue).
??The production value is top-notch. Jamy-san performs three routines in the Magic Castle’s W. C. Field Bar, and it looks really gorgeous, as we get a thorough sense of what the trick looks and feels like in front of real audiences.
The explanation segments that follow each performance are very clear. His explanatory style is as if we visited his home, and personally discussed the material with him over tea. And one can’t help but notice how happy he seems when he recounts fond memories about his friends and influences that have passed on.
I believe everyone can learn a lot from this DVD, even if you decide to not perform this dazzling effect. And the price tag of $20 is a bargain price.
??I highly recommend this DVD for every serious student of magic, as well as his first released DVD from Vanishing Inc., “Cups and Balls: Masterclass.”