Vintage Magic Trick: The Shaggy Dog Tale

Here’s a vintage magic trick from the early 1980’s by Emerson and West. It’s Larry West’s The Shaggy Dog Tale.

larry west's shaggy dog tale

Like all the Emerson and West packet tricks, there’s a story line for the trick and the art reflects that. Here’s what the routine looks like:

@louiefoxx Vintage Magic Trick! Emerson and West's The Shaggy Dog #magictrick #cardtrick #vintage#1980s #magic #shaggydog#emersonandwest #louiefoxx#packettrick ♬ original sound Louie Foxx

Here are the changes I would make to the trick:

Honestly, it’s a trick that’s theming didn’t age well and the trick isn’t that good of a trick without the punchline at the end…which isn’t a great punchline by today’s standards.


Performing in Spanish!

One of my biggest regrets is not learning to speak Spanish when I was a teenager. I’m trying, I’m at day 500 on DuoLingo and I can communicate ideas, but not really conversational. I’m always looking for ways to speak it more, especially in the show to hopefully get more confident in speaking Spanish.

That’s where and Emerson and West packet trick comes in!

Gourmet Mouse by Emerson and West

The trick is Larry West’s Gourmet Mouse. The concept is really simple, it uses three cards and in the trick, one turns blank and one changes. What makes this fun for practicing my Spanish is the trick involves and mouse eating cheese. I know all of those words, and can do the trick in horrible Spanish!

What makes it a great trick is that it shows that I’m trying when I perform close up magic for a Spanish speaking family. It’s really easy to start learning a new language with things like DuoLingo, and there’s no reason for a performer to not know a little bit of another language.


Update For Nick Trost’s Mexican Monte

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Nick Trost’s Mexican Monte packet trick (read it here). I was thinking about it and the end with the card with a different colored back is okay, but I think it needed something a little punchier.

Here’s what I came up with:

@louiefoxx Vintage Magic Trick – Updates for Nick Trost's Mexican Monte #magictrick #packettricks #cardtrick #sleightofhand #louiefoxx #nicktrost #vintagemagic ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

The ending doesn’t play well on camera and from the straight down angle as well as in real life if the change is done by rubbing the card on your sleeve. The Tree of Hearts is think is a more visual ending and having the face change is more of a punctuation on the trick, than the original ending of simply turning the last card over.


Nick Trost’s Mexican Monte

Here’s a packet trick from the 1980’s that I came across.

nick trost's mexican monte card trick

I think Nick Trost’s Mexican Monte is a pretty solid routine. Here’s me doing the routine and my thought on how to improve it:

It’s really a small change at the end, and I think Nick really nailed it with this one. I’d change the patter, but it’s good and worth checking out if you find one at a magic swap meet!


Blankety Blank Blank Blank by Ken Driscol

Here’s a packet trick that I found in a junk magic bin. It’s a twisting the aces style effect with the backs turning blank at the end.

There are a couple of things that I didn’t like about the trick. The big thing with this style of twisting routine is no one really shows all the backs at first. This is easily accomplished with a Flustration Count and half pass. I think the surprise of the blank cards at the end is more amazing when the audience feels like they’ve seen the 4 regular backs.


Digging Around at Hocus Pocus!

One of the things that I like about performing in Fresno is getting to visit Hocus Pocus! I love digging through their bins of junk magic looking for things like packet tricks, or strange little props that were never commercial successes.

One of the things I like to do is buy them and try to figure out better ways to do them, or other effects to do with the gimmicks. I should be posting some videos in the next couple of weeks of what I found!

Keep an eye out!


Trimming Cards

I really want to be out working on my routine for The (W)hole Thing and with the miscut cards I got from the printer, the set I ordered won’t work. To make them workable, I trimmed 1/4 inch off of the three cards that weren’t miscut and now I have a workable set.

the (w)hole thing magic trick

This set works, but I’m not a fan of the card with the red rectangle being off center. However this is giving me a set to work with until the printer sends me cards that aren’t miscut.


Almost The (W)hole Thing…

The custom cards I had printed for my The (W)hole Thing showed up and they miscut one on the cards!

miscut cards

It’s not off center, the card is the wrong size. It should be 8.5 x 5.5 inches, but it’s 8.25 x 5.25. The rest of the cards are the correct size, so this one card is physically smaller than the rest and doesn’t look right.

I just contacted the printed and hopefully they can send me a replacement fast as I’m hitting the road for over a month and I would like to be using them while I’m out!


The (W)hole Thing for Kids

The routine I’m working on for The (W)hole Thing by Emerson and West is intended for for family/adult audiences. The other day I threw it in my case when I went out to do some summer camp shows:

magic show props

I thought the concept of the whole/hole wouldn’t hit with kids. Much to my surprise the kids liked the trick and got the idea of the verbal concept behind the routine. For the trick to work, the kids need to be able to read, so I probably wouldn’t do it for kids much younger than second grade.

Now I’m just waiting for my custom cards to arrive from the printer, so that I have a fancier set that what I made for myself.


Sympathetic Cards by Ronnay

Here’s another visit with an old packet trick. It’s Sympathetic Cards by Ronnay, that was put out by Emerson and West. The trick is a “follow the leader” effect where two packets keep matching when one is turned face up or face down, then there’s a couple of kickers with jokers appearing and backs changing colors.

The problem with the trick as written is you end up with two more cards than you start with. It’s a small problem, but also something that I feel needs to be addressed. However there’s a lot of magic that happens in it and it’s pretty good magic, so it’s not a bad trick…

If I was to improve it, the main thing I would do is try to figure out a way to get rid of the two extra cards. Other than that, it’s pretty good.