Still Working On the Polaroids…

One of the “quarantine” trick I’ve been working on for the last year is the trick with the Polaroids that disappear and reappear under and envelope. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I removed one of the pictures, so now it only uses three which really streamlines the trick. I also altered it so it’s not just the same vanish and reproduction three times. Finally I figured out how to make one of them appear face up under the envelope.

Here’s a video of me working on it:

It’s crazy the changes this trick has made in the almost a year since I started working on it. It started out as Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper, but now I can say it’s completely it’s own thing. There’s really nothing left of that routine in what I’m doing now…except the under the envelope switch, which isn’t unique to his routine.

When people say to make a routine your own, I think this is kinda what they mean…

Zoom Angle…

Recently I was hanging out with a friend on Zoom and he did Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. This is a fantastic trick and I think a really good trick for Zoom due to the static camera angle. It makes everything easy to see and laid out well (unless you’re watching from a cellphone, like I was).

Exploring trick that aren’t right for a live show for your virtual show is one of the very fun things about right now. Personally I’m doing things I’ve never really been able to do before, it’s great!

Small Things…

In May I started worked on a trick that was my version of Albert Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. You can search for those blog posts, but it shows how the trick progressed from the original Goshman trick to what I’d now consider an original magic trick/routine.

Essentially the original trick is that four cards appear one at a time and reappear under a folded up piece of newspaper. I took out what I didn’t like, the cards and newspaper and ended up using an envelope and four polaroid pictures. The pictures disappear and reappear under the newspaper.

It’s been five months since I started working on it, and really, it should have progressed further, it’s been slow going, mostly because of laziness on my part and not putting in as much work on it as I should be. I’ve been doing it as “preshow” for some virtual shows, but really I should be out at virtual open mics doing it and working it in.

polaroid magic trick

I did recently make a change. I’ve been using this trick in pre-recorded virtual shows lately and a problem the trick had was the problems is that the Polaroid pictures are soo glossy, that they are hard to see on camera. They reflect too much light, and you can’t see them clearly. I took some brochure paper and printed the Polaroid pictures onto that paper. It’s a semi-gloss paper, so while it’s shiny, it doesn’t reflect nearly as much as the actual Polaroid picture.

The row on the left are the real Polaroids and the right are the copies. When they are side by side you can see the copies are a little less vibrant than the originals. However without a side by side comparison, you really can’t tell.

Keep working on your magic, even if you’ve been doing a trick for years and it’s a polished routine. There’s usually still improvements that can be made. Sometimes these are small improvements that no one will really notice, but these little things add up!

Still Working On It…

Months ago I started working on my version of Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper trick. My version ended up taking out everything I didn’t like about the trick, which are the cards and the newspaper. I ended up replacing them with Polaroid pictures and an envelope. It’s still a work in progress.

A couple weeks ago I was invited to be a guest at a magic club meeting that took place over zoom. One thing they did was allow people to perform and get critique from Patrick Martin, who also did a presentation during the meeting.

Only a handful of people took the club up. I volunteered to do something if they had space and wouldn’t get in the way of club member’s having the chance to be critiqued. They had plenty of space, so I did my trick with Polaroid pictures.

There was some great feedback, mostly with how bad my pictures were and how they showed up on the screen. They are 100% correct, here’s a screenshot:

magic trick

The reflection from my ring light made the picture hard to see. There are a couple of solutions for this:

  • Spray them with matte spray to dull the gloss
  • Have the camera behind the ring light and bring the pics past the ring light
  • Have more contrast between the animal and background in the actual picture
  • Remake the picture so that it’s not glossy (i.e. fake Polaroid)

I think the final solution will be a combination of all of the above.

Pics to Envelope!

Oh man, we’re hitting the homestretch here! A few days ago I started writing about wanted to do Goshman’s Cards Thru Newpaper and how it has morphed into a completely new magic trick.

The final change to the physical props was to get rid of the jumbo card that the pictures reappeared under. I was texting my friend Terry Godfrey, who is a very smart magician and we came up with the idea of changing the jumbo card to an envelope that starts out holding the pictures.

Magic trick

I ended up making the envelope, so it’s not a standard size. It’s a little bit smaller than the jumbo card that I was using.

Card magic

At this point I have an original magic trick. The next step is to clean up the handling a little bit.

Pics to Jumbo Card.

The last couple of days I’ve been writing about doing Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper and how it morphed to Cards To Jumbo Card. Today we’re going to talk about the next leap it’s taking, and that’s starting to get rid of the cards. In place of the four regular cards, I’m using Polaroid pictures of my daughter and our pets.

Magic trick

The cool thing about these is that they are slightly smaller than playing cards, which makes a lot of the sleight of hand much easier! The nice thing about coming up with a method that doesn’t use a duplicate, they pictures could be of people from the audience, or of a company’s products, or whatever.

Once again, the video below wasn’t intended for people to watch other than me. It’s a “proof of concept” video that was for me to watch and see how well everything worked and also to remind me of what I was doing.

Things are starting to come together, but there’s still one thing I don’t like, and that’s the jumbo card. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how I got rid of that.

Cards To Jumbo Card…

Yesterday I wrote about working on Albert Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. Then I took out what I didn’t like, the newspapers and it left me with cards thru jumbo card. In the original effect the cards penetrated up through a newpaper that was laid out like a mat. In the reworked version of the trick, the cards disappear from my hand and reappear under a jumbo card.

My thinking was to have the four cards that disappear one at a time and reappear under the jumbo card be signed, or be blank cards with spectator’s signatures. With this change to each card being unique, I can’t use Goshman’s method that has a duplicate. I needed to figure out a new way get the cards there, or more specifically to do a switch or two.

I started working out a sequence that made sense. What I came up with, for the most part was identical to Albert Goshman’s routine, just without the newspaper and instead of the cards penetrating the newspaper, they teleport to under the card.

The video below wasn’t intended to be watched by anyone other than me. I’m posting it to show how I create. When working on a sequence, I’ll just turn the camera on and play around. The nice thing is that if something works, I can easily go back and find it. This was probably sequence number 43 of the evening. There’s not a lot you can see in the video, but enough for me to know what I did.


At this point, I’ve removed a prop, and reworked the method, so technically it’s an original trick. However it’s still a card trick right now, and I’m trying to not add card tricks to my show. I’ll talk about my solution to making it not a card trick tomorrow.

Cards Thru Newspaper

A magician friend of mine a few months ago performed Albert Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper for me. I remember reading it in Goshman’s book, however I remember reading it and working through it and it didn’t feel spectacular. I was also probably 17 years old at the time, so that might have affected my opinion of the trick.

If you haven’t seen the trick, here’s Goshman doing it:

Compared to a lot close up magic, it’s pretty slow. It’s still a good trick for non magicians and had a couple of good moments in it. I like it as a “formal” close up thing that could be done via video projection. However, I have to look at what I don’t like about it. The biggest thing I don’t like is the newspaper.

In the trick there are two newspapers, the one laying flat on the table and the one being used as a cover. The cover newspaper was easily replaced by a jumbo card.

Cards thru newspaper magic trick

Replacing the flat newspaper on the table made me have to rework the method of the trick. There’s a couple of moments in Goshman’s routine where you need that newspaper. I could replace it with something like a handkerchief, but decided to rework the routine.

What I ended up with is something complete different than Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper, and an original trick. Taking a trick as a starting point and then continually removing what you don’t like is one way to create original material.