Relearing Zarrow…

the Zarrow Shuffle

Sometimes it feels like I’m perpetually cleaning my office. Yesterday I came across the DVD The Zarrow Shuffle by Herb Zarrow. I watched the very beginning and realized that I learned to do this wrong. What I’m doing looks fine, but they first way the Herb demonstrates looks way better!

When I learned to do the shuffle, it was in the context of the trick Triumph. For the Zarrow Shuffle, I slip cut one card. I used that method for other tricks as a false shuffle. If you slip cut a block, it’s soo much more deceptive than with a single card. Also Herb’s way of jogging the cards is much more deceptive than pushing them out with your index fingers.

I’m glad I came across this, but now I’ve got a challenge ahead of me. I’ve got to undo 25+ years of the way that I’ve been doing it. The changes are fairly minor, so hopefully it won’t be too much of a pain.

Recently I did this unlearning and relearning process with how I get a card injogged. I figured out a way when I was a kid by reading something wrong and it worked for me. However I relearned to do it Jerry Andrus‘s way because it looks better.

Don’t be afraid to unlearn thing if there’s a new (to you) way of doing it that looks or works better than what you were doing before. I know it’s a pain to spend time basically learning to do something you can already do, but I think it’s the little things like that that make someone an artist.

Lazy Creativity…

Over the last 5 or so years there have been a lot of “Omni” magic props put out. The basic idea behind the trick is that the prop you are using turns into glass, or clear plastic. A quick Google search shows that recently there have been Omni Pens, Omni Cellphones, Omni Coins, Omni Credit Cards, and more!

Here’s the thing, unless you have an amazing switch of the prop you’ve come up with , it’s lazy creativity. I think that Jerry Andrus and Danny Korem’s Omni Deck was ground breaking and still has a lot more going for it that most other Omni props are lacking. In most other Omni tricks, the magic trick is that the prop turns clear, that’s it. In the original Omni Deck, the clear deck is the kicker ending. You are turning the deck that’s been handled by the spectator clear. Now only that it happens in their hands and to all the cards except theirs!

Now let’s look at another old school Omni prop, the Silver Extraction coin trick. In this trick, someone holds a coin. You then pull the silver of the coin through the back of their hand and they end up holding a clear coin. What makes this trick good is that there’s another element to the trick beyond simply turning the prop clear. Also the prop turning clear is an obvious, but unexpected ending to the coin trick.

Before you put out an clear prop, think about what you are contributing to magic. Are you moving the art forward, or just making a clear prop?

Linking Pins…

One of my favorite close up tricks to do is the Linking Safety Pins. What I like about it is that is uses an common object and the magic is direct and visual. Those two things save me a lot of time with the expository phases of the trick. I don’t really need to explain … Continue reading “Linking Pins…”

One of my favorite close up tricks to do is the Linking Safety Pins. What I like about it is that is uses an common object and the magic is direct and visual. Those two things save me a lot of time with the expository phases of the trick. I don’t really need to explain what they are, but I do. I also don’t need to explain what going to happen, because it’s obvious.


The other thing about my routine for the Linking Pins trick is that all of the props are handled by the audience and all but the first effect in the routine happens in their hands. This makes a simple trick a bit more hard hitting.


Sometimes when I’m out doing my routine, after the pins go through each other the first time, someone will say they are trick pins. I tell them they can keep them after I’m done. I have a pocket full of pins so leaving a set is no big deal. This 100% removes the idea that they are trick pins.