Jerry Andrus’s Grave

One of the spots that I stop at when I drive down to California is Jerry Andrus’s grave. It’s in the Jefferson Cemetery in Oregon and it’s only a couple of minutes off of Interstage 5. It’s right about when I need to get out of the car and stretch my legs and walk around for a little bit.

I think it’s important to remember the magicians that came before us. Jerry was lightyears ahead of his time! He was a pioneer of cardistry 40 years before it was popular.

@louiefoxx Cemetery Tour! Looking for Jerry Andrus#jeffersoncounty #oregon #cemetery #graveyard#jerryandrus #louiefoxx #findagrave #townhistory #opticalillusion ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

I think it’s important to remember the magicians who came before us.


Jerry Andrus Optical Illusions

One of my hobbies is treasure hunting through old boxes of magic tricks. There are two things I like about it, the first is finding something really cool or collectible and the second is trying to figure out what things are. I love finding parts to tricks that I’m unfamiliar with and trying to reverse engineer what they’re supposed to do.

One of the things from a recent magic box that I got were some Jerry Andrus optical illusions:

This is a Trizonal Space Warper from 1981 and it’s the size of a record! It’s actually intended to be put onto a record player to create the spin. I was chatting with someone who knows a lot more about Jerry Andrus that me and he said that there were about 25 of this one made and of the 25 only about ten ever sold. that would make this is a pretty rare product from Jerry!

This is a fun one to have in my collection!


Jerry Andrus Gravesite

I was driving some Seattle to California the other day and on a whim wondered if Jerry Andrus’s grave was on the route. I pulled over and a quick google search showed that it was about 5 mins off the freeway in Jefferson, Oregon! I took the detour to visit it and left some safety pins.

Jerry andrus gravesite

If you don’t know who Jerry Andrus was, he was one of the most innovative magicians of my lifetime and that I’ve ever met! He was doing cardistry 50 years before it was a thing. His Zone Zero trick is still a standard stage magic trick. Jeki Yoo has a huge chunk of his lecture devoted to that trick.

Besides magic, Jerry Andrus was a genius with optical illusions!

I also swung by the Castle of Chaos where he lived

It’s now a historic place!

This was a fun little side trip and great way to break up a long drive!

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.