Constant Fooling Volume 1 by David Regal - Book
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Volume One contains a collection of powerful card magic utilizing unprepared cards, David's startling Cups & Balls routine from his Magic Castle Act and a chapter devoted entirely to magic done with neither cards nor coins.
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Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on June 13th, 2010
Introduction: David Regal is one of my favorite magicians ever. I can say that without ANY doubt in my mind because of the following reasons:
1) His methods are original, devious, and simple.
2) His performance skills are unmatched.
3) His premises and presentations MAKE SENSE and are entertaining.
4) He is one of the funniest magicians I've ever seen.
5) He is unbelievably likable, you just can't dislike him!
This was my first book from David and since getting it, I was/am hooked on Regal. This is absolutely some of the highest quality magic you will see getting published today. If you don't want to read this whole review I can spare you the time and just tell you to BUY IT. However, you may want to know some of the contents of the book and what I think about them, so, I have reviewed every item in the book. Hopefully by the end you'll understand why I love David's magic so much and maybe you'll even take the plunge and buy this book the next time you have the chance. With that, let's dive in...
Section 1-Cards: (153 pages)
Bottoms Up Aces: The cards are cut four times by the spectator and at the end, they turn over the top cards of those piles, revealing four aces. You're totally clean and there are no gimmicks, crimps, duplicates, switches, etc. This takes about 20 seconds of set-up. This is an interesting version of this classic trick with a very nice presentation. Overall, this leaves a quite clean feeling that the spectator did, in fact, cut to the aces. John Bannon's is still my favorite, but this has a lot going for it. ****
The World's First Card Trick: The ad for this could read, "Multiple spectators shuffle a deck until they refuse to do so anymore and the last spectator keeps their hands on top of the deck. Somehow, the magician has still predicted the top card." I really love this effect because, as David points out, there is almost no method to it! The simplicity of this is brilliant. This is the type of effect you can have with you at all times and use whenever you want. There are no gimmicks, multiple outs, or set-ups btw. This is one of David's favorite effects in the book. *****
The Sum of the Parts: This is David's improvement on Paul Harris's effect "Mickey Mouse Math." A card is selected and lost into the deck. An ace, two, three, and four of clubs visually "add" together. Eventually the cards melt into the selected card. I think this is a great improvement of Mickey Mouse Math, yet I still feel like it is more of a "cute" trick. There are some very nice visual moments in this routine though. This is not a "killer," but it is definitely a fun effect to perform. ***
Carried Away: A selected card is placed face-down into a packet of four, face-up aces. The kings are in a pile across the table. No moves are made (apparently), and yet when you spread the aces, the selection is gone! The selection is then found face-down in the middle of the king packet! This looks really nice! It will take some guts to do this, but when you get the technique down on this, you'll be greatly rewarded! ****
The Wild Bunch: The "selected card" (Ten of Spades) arrives in the middle of a face-up, tabled packet of four aces. The aces then turn into the rest of the royal flush. The method is similar to the last effect, yet the effect is totally different. NOBODY will see the ending coming, and I think the initial effect (transportation) is almost strong enough to stand on it's own! Great structure in this one. ****
Distant Transfer: Another application of the method explored in the last two effects. A spectator places a card into the middle of their deck. They shuffle the deck and quickly deal the cards onto the table one at a time as you attempt to "read markings" on the backs of the cards and find the selected card. You stop them on one card and, of course, it is the noted card. This has an entertaining presentation, and it is a nice, quick effect to do when somebody hands you deck and asks you to "do something." ****
Thinking It Over (R. Paul Wilson)/Method One: A thought-of card travels to a packet of opposite color, with some great convincers. Like an ungimmicked Strange Travelers effect. You don't end totally clean at the end, but I don't think that is a problem at all. I really like this! ****
Thinking It Over (R. Paul Wilson)/Method Two: Two thought-of cards transpose packets one at a time. I personally like Paul Wilson's first contribution better than this one. I think the effect is not structured in the best way possible because it does not allow for a dramatic moment at the end. Also it is not very convincing IMO, as you must ask for the name of the card, fan through the packet towards yourself, outjog it, square the packet and then finally show the card. ***
Four the Hard Way: Four spectators each select cards and return them to the deck. Each spectator then cuts a portion of the deck for himself. You then find each of the spectator's cards in different ways from the packets that they cut-off themselves. This is a great routine that might take a little more work, but it is not a "knuckle-buster." Multiple location effects are always fun, and this is no exception. Also there is a lot of flexibility for variations in the revelations which I like. Impromptu too. *****
The Two O'Clock Jiggle: A pass method that eliminates most of the usual awkward movements associated with a pass by decreasing the distance that the packets have to move. I use this a lot as a control. ****
Open Additions: These are two variations on Vernon's great strip-out addition. In one of them, you table the cards after stripping them out and in another, the cards are displayed in a completely different way than the original. Both of these are very nice, but the first one is a bit more versatile, but both are very good. I believe them to be improvements on the original. ****
All in One (William Goodwin): A joker takes on the appearance of the ace, two, and three of hearts, one-by-one with almost no moves. Then it is placed on all three and it changes to the six...of spades. The joker got the right value (sum of 1, 2, and 3), but the wrong suit. With no moves, it changes to the six of hearts, and finally back to the joker. What a brilliant impromptu piece of magic! The changes seem to happen even though you apparently do nothing! I can definitely see myself performing this one a lot. *****
Still Holding On: A (signed) card penetrates the table under very clean conditions. You must have a certain item that some performers may not use much for casual situations, however, many formal performers probably use it all the time. There is nothing bad I can say about this effect other than that requirement, which really isn't a bad thing. ****
A Match Made in Heaven: Three cards are freely selected and yet your odd-backed prediction cards that were in the card box match perfectly. This effect introduces you to a move that will be used in the next two effects. This is a very basic use of the move, yet I think it could be a crowd-pleaser. ****
Control Yourself: Two cards are selected, put back, etc. The deck is cut and one half put aside. Both spectators randomly select a card face-down, in an attempt to find their cards. They don't succeed, but the values of those cards are counted down to in the other half, and they find their card at those locations. I REALLY like this effect for some reason. The ending is unexpected, surprising and clean. All in all, a great "go-to" effect. *****
Open From the Bottom: A spectator deals cards face-up one at a time until they decide to deal one card face-down. The face-down never goes out of view, yet it matches your prediction. Even though the name implies an OPEN prediction effect, I prefer a closed prediction for this version and David does as well. This is quite clean, but this isn't the holy grail that all magicians look for. It does it's job well though. ****
Clandestine Jokers (John Lovick): An ultra-clean version of collectors with no gimmicks, set-up, or extra cards. Unfortunately, you must be able to reverse fan a deck, which cannot always be done with all decks, however, if you are able to do so, it's a SUPER clean effect. I like how the selected cards are seen to be separated in the deck right before they "collect." ****
Flash Flight: A selected four-of-a-kind are placed into the pocket. The four faces then instantly and visually change into the pocketed cards, and the aces are found in the pocket. I like the presentation on this one, and also the very visual nature of the transposition. You aren't left completely clean at the end, but it doesn't really matter that much, however that might bother some people a little bit. ****
The Color of Science: A red-backed joker changes four blue-backed kings to red, one at a time. Then, as a kicker, the joker changes to blue-backed! This effect will take a little more set-up than the other effects in the book, and you will also need two decks of cards. I think you would only perform this in a set close-up show situation. The magic moments are very nice and I think the routine could be something people will remember. ****
A Subtle Hue: A blue-backed ace, two, and a three are rubbed on a red-backed joker. They change to red backs one at a time. It's a pretty simple plot with a very simple method. It's a bit too repetitive for me, since the audience sees the exact same thing three times in a row. It's not bad, but it just doesn't really stand out from the other material. ***
Lonely Are B'Wave: A verbally selected king turns out to be the only face-up one in a packet of four...it also is the only one with a red-back. As the name suggests, this is an gaffless version B'Wave. You still have to carry around this little packet of set-up cards, and they aren't examinable anyway, so I don't see why you wouldn't just use the normal B'Wave. That would be cleaner, simpler, and have a stronger impact. I just don't really see any need for this. ***
Three...Two...One: You show three cards, an ace, two and three. The ace has an odd back from the other cards. They are mixed and the spectator is asked to find the ace. They guess the odd-backed card, but now that is the two! This is repeated and it changes into the three! The cards are mixed a last time, and the odd-backed card changes into a joker, leaving no ace to be found! I love the premise of this effect and the surprise ending. I think a lot of restaurant guys will like this. *****
High & Dry: (Taken from the book) A spectator shuffles half the deck. Setting up "test conditions," the magician deals the spectator's cards into four piles. The top cards are the four aces (End excerpt). This is mostly impromptu and a great effect. Personally I would rather use this to force four "random" known cards rather than the aces because I think it would be a more believable effect. The script justifies the actions taken in the effect very well, which is important for a certain part in the effect. ****
The Mystery Card: Three cards are given to each of three spectators. It is noted that each "hand" contains three of a kind. A spectator chooses an odd-backed mystery card from a deck and it is shown to be the one card that completes the first three of a kind. Somehow, the mystery card is also shown to be both cards that complete the other three-of-a-kinds. I have mixed feelings on this one. It's not really my cup o' tea, but I think other people may get more out of it than me. ***
The Butterfly Hop: An acrobatic addition to Paul Harris' butterfly cut. It's a little knacky, but if you like doing card cuts and things like that, then you'll have no trouble learning this. By the way, this can also be used as a control. I don't feel like I can rate this, so I won't.
On Call: A spectator finds their phone number in a very cool way. Obviously you will need to know your spectator's phone number to set-up the trick but it's totally worth it. You won't find any boring dealing procedures or any other mathematical systems to have the spectator "find" their phone number as in previous versions of this plot. David's presentation is very well thought out as well. This is one of my personal favorites. *****
Your Number's Up: When the magician's mental connection with the spectator fails, he must use the spectator's phone number to count down to the card. The method on this is SO simple, yet I love this! There is no advanced set-up or preparation except for finding out the spectator's phone number. The presentation that David provides is very funny and fits the effect very well. Talk about a personalized trick to do! ****
The Hot Spot (Gordon Bean & David Regal): (Taken from the book) A spectator locates the mates of two red cards, then it's revealed that the mates were the only red cards in a [large] group of blacks. (End excerpt) Another awesome effect! I can't think of anything bad about this effect except for the slight set-up that you must do, however it doesn't really matter because this is something that you would either do as an opener, first card trick, or pull out a separate deck for. Don't worry, it's not a gimmicked deck, by the way. *****
One Gambling Move: You offer to demonstrate a very difficult gambling move you read in a gambling magazine. The spectator selects any card from a blue back deck. The card is reinserted into the deck and you make a little "shifty move" between the blue-back and the cased red back deck. Now the blue backed selection is in the middle of the cased red deck, and vice versa for the red backed duplicate! Very simple, yet effective trick. You will not be doing it in a set show however, because it is strongest in impromptu-seeming situations. ****
All Roads Lead to Larry: A queen is placed under a glass, and an ace on top of the glass. A second later, the two cards change places. There is no duplicate, gimmick, or set-up involved. I like this a lot, however I often find myself just doing a no duplicate two card transposition in the spectator's hand, which seems to be stronger. Good for bar magic or just for a change of pace though. ****
The D.R. System: A spectator takes any card and places it into their pocket without you seeing it. The deck is then cut into three packets and the spectator places their hands on two of the packets. The top cards of these packets represent the suit and value of the selected card. That's what happens a lot of the time, but not ALL the time. The explanation for this effect is about 14 pages, and a partial stack is required. I haven't played with this at all, so I will not rate this effect.
Lineup: An ace assembly is performed, and at the end the indifferent number cards that the spectator selected, change to the other 12 spades in numerical order. This is a cool effect, but I think the change of the indifferent cards really overshadows the ace assembly. Will you get a reaction from this? Absolutely, but I think there are better ace assemblies you could do. I can only see myself performing this for magicians. ***
Deceptive Control: A spectator touches a card in a spread, which is then outjogged and noted by the spectator. The deck is then placed on the table with the card sticking out to the side, and the spectator pushes the card flush. Nevertheless, the card is on top. I really, really like this control and I can't imagine anyone disliking it. It can be done with any card, any deck, etc. You don't need to hold any breaks and it is very easy to do. *****
Section 2-A True Story (Cups and Balls): (25 pages)
This is a full cups and balls routine outlined in 25 pages of instruction. Everything is covered and absolutely nothing is left out. The routine is one of the most brilliantly structured routines I've ever seen.
It starts out as the magician taking out a set of plastic cups and pom-poms like you might see in a child's magic set. He tells of the time that he first learned to perform this trick as he performs the simple cups and balls penetration effect that all of us learned as kids. He puts these away as he says that later he earned enough money to get the "big boy cups." He then performs a full cups and balls routine with the professional cups and balls. At the end, he says that sometimes he still likes to pull out those old plastic cups and those old pom-poms just for memories sake. As he says this, he lifts the metal cups to display the plastic cups under each cup. Then he lifts up the plastic cups, and under those are the three pom-poms.
What a GREAT routine! I mean, this is a memorable, meaningful 10 minute closer that you could literally put right into your show! Look, if you actually take the time to make the props, practice the routine, and make it your own, then you will be GREATLY rewarded. I can't think of anything bad you could say about this routine. Absolutely fantastic! *****
Section 3-Something Other: (40 pages)
Battery Power: Three batteries are popped out of the deck, when only two are needed. One of the batteries is put away, but it immediately comes back! This is repeated but this time a green colored battery has appeared, next time there is a 9 Volt battery, then a D size battery, and finally a giant lantern battery is produced from the deck! I think this is a great routine that you could easily make your own and create an even bigger routine with. Apparently David created this to break up a "card heavy" routine with some memorable, visual magic. This is best for a parlor type setting, but there are other places you could use this. ****
The Cotton Ball: A bit of fluff is produced from the spectator's clothing. This is then "rolled" into a cotton ball. Several more balls of fluff are produced as the laughter increases. Finally the last cotton ball changes into a handkerchief, saying that you can mend the fibers back together. Nice comical interlude that you can be very creative with. I think it could be a nice effect to perform with the volunteer before getting to the real trick. ****
Band Box: The card box has a hole going right though both sides of the middle of it, and a slit is also going from the hole to the top of the box. A borrowed ring is placed into the box and can be seen resting inside. A pencil is inserted through the holes in the box and when it is ripped away, the ring has penetrated onto the pencil. I think the gimmick is pretty elaborate for such a simple effect. I don't think that this effect really warrants such a gaff. There are simpler and better ways to do this effect IMO. Interesting thinking though. ***
Solid Gold: A spectator holds onto the ends of a wand while you hold their borrowed ring above it. You then visibly cause the ring to penetrate onto the wand. You will need to have a gimmick to do this, which is what makes it so visual. Personally, I think you would need to add on a couple more phases to make this a real substantial routine in a show. Also, I've never really been a big fan of "Ring on Stick" effects, so I may be a bit biased. Just by itself, I guess I'll give it- ****
The Luggage Tag: A borrowed ring vanishes and then visibly and instantly appears in the fastened loop of a luggage tag. Everything can then be examined. I really like this because it is so simple and allows for creativity in the presentation. I can't think of anything bad to say about this! *****
Barrel of Monkeys: A ring is borrowed (this is becoming a trend!) and subsequently vanished. Attention is then called to a barrel of monkey which has been sitting on the table closed. You open the lid with empty hands and slowly pull out the monkeys. They come out in a chain with every single one linked arm and arm. At the end of the swinging chain is their borrowed ring! Can a trick get any more fun than that? I mean seriously, this is something that people will really remember. The end image of the ring hanging onto the long chain of monkeys is just so great. I want to keep this to myself! *****
The Circle of Life: A spectator holds onto two separate links of chain through a handkerchief. You then cut a loop of paper in two and now there are two linked paper loops. In addition, the chain links have now linked together. I've never been a fan of the afghan bands effect or the linking rings, so I didn't really like this effect, however that may be just me. The afghan bands effect seems too arts and crafty and not magical enough, but who knows, maybe I'm wrong. David's presentation is nice, otherwise it just made me say "meh." ***
Chink-A-Drink: A Chink-A-Chink effect is performed with four bottle caps. At the end, you produce a beer bottle (Or root beer lol). I really like this effect because the production of the drink just seems to make sense. It also puts a nice "ta-da" moment onto the end of the routine, and it ties the storyline together. You need to be seated at a table, so this is best for a set close-up show in a parlor type setting. ****
Speed of Light: This is a very quick effect in which a match box sleeve changes places with the drawer, which is filled with matches. A fairly elaborate one-time gaff must be made to perform this effect. The effect really does just take about 25 seconds, if that. I find it hard to think where you would use this, besides if you could work in a switch and use it as part of a larger routine. In my mind, it's way to short to stand on it's own. Still, it's a cool little effect. ***
Rodent in a Box: This is a version of the old snake basket effect, except it is done with a toy mouse. Basically the mouse is placed into a cardboard box with the cards and a few seconds later, the mouse shoots out on a slinky with the chosen card in it's mouth. I think the classic snake basket effect is better, but this is a good, funny poor man's version of it. It's nice for the shock reaction of it, but I think it kind've lacks a real "Wow factor." Kids will LOVE this, women will scream when the mouse flies out, and men will say, "Well that's cute." ****
These are various essays about different things that David has spread throughout the book.
Happy Endings: Here David talks about making the ending of an effect the strongest it can be. Really good information here that you should not, by all means, pass up. Probably my favorite essay in the book.
The Horrible Truth: David briefly tells his theory that the effectiveness of a performance almost always will come down to the trick's plot and when we decide to perform it.
Impure Thoughts: A thought-provoking discussion on what the real meaning of "pure" is in magic. David urges for us to strive for a pure effect rather than a pure method.
A Few Admissions: David talks about how he has evolved as a magician and how he is not ever sincerely happy unless he is entertaining people.
Pardon My Gaff: In this last essay, David talks about choosing to use the best gaff, and not straying away from effects just because they use a gaff.
Phew! What a great book! Hopefully you'll consider ordering this book because I believe great work should be rewarded. I don't have the second volume of this series yet because I just recently purchased David Regal's massive book Approaching Magic (Another GREAT book. Even better than this one!). I definitely do plan on getting it someday though. Maybe for next Christmas or something...
Anyway, I hope you liked the review, and if you have any questions or comments about the book, PLEASE ask them. I really do like to try to help people make informed magic purchases if I have the item and I feel I can give them something that the ad copy does not.
Thanks for reading!
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Can't reccomend this enough. Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 5th, 2010
Out of ALL the books I have on my shelf, David Regals books stand out FAR past all the others. They HAVE to be THE greatest deal in ALL of magic.
ALl of David Regal's books are NOTORIOUSLY scripted, SCRUTINIZED for MONTHS over spelling and grammar mistakes and the photographs are PAINSTAKINGLY edited until they are PERFECT. Any book by David has had YEARS spent on just the aesthetics of it.
NOT to mention the HUGE amount of routines; this stuff is not filler either. Everything in this book is cleverly created, audience tested material that is COMPLETELY practical and usable in real world situations. I use MANY of the routines I have found in Constant Fooling 1 daily.
The scripts that come with each effect are BRILLIANT too. David is not only an accomplished close-up and parlour magician but he is also INCREDIBLY experienced in the art of theatre. Anything he does in magic has jokes, lines and actions reminiscent of a fantastic stage play.
This is all without a mention of the Cups and Balls routine that is METICULOUSLY detailed in over 10 pages of amazing detail. This routine alone is just... Amazing. The VERY first C&B routine that actually made COMPLETE sense.
I don't know. I REALLY, REALLY enjoyed this book, and if you are a fan of dozens of PRACTICAL, EASY, POWERFUL, VERSATILE routines, you can't live without this book.
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Funny, funny magic! Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 7th, 2010
David Regal is a brilliant and productive magic creator and this tome is loaded to the bone with excellent material. What I like about Regal is that your not just getting a "trick." You're getting a routine with a premise or story and patter. He has a great sense of humor so if you are a "serious" or "mysterious" card performer you might not connect with his style.
This is mainly cards but there is also a great selection of non card routines including his classic Cups and Balls and Cups and Balls. I also like the Rodent-in-a-box routine as well. I haven't even digest a fraction of the material in this book. The level of difficulty is easy to very difficult. You'll learn a lot of excellent new card sleights.
The book is well-written and a joy to read. Very funny and clever stuff.
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