Stephen Tucker is a friend and one of the most creative magicians on the planet. I’ve known him for years – we attended the same school - and have seen his inventive mind applied all manner of tricks. He has a knack of finding truly offbeat solutions to magical problems. At the core of every trick is a great idea, one that can be adapted to your individual handling. He is a prolific inventor and a collected works of Stephen Tucker is most definitely overdue. Meanwhile those looking for some original thinking can check out a new DVD, released by Full 52 Productions, entitled Whiplash.
I got it hoping to see some more of the inspired magic that Steve is famous for and I wasn’t disappointed. Let me list some of my favourites from the DVD. First up is Jumping Jack Flash which is a take on those largely ungaffed versions of the Haunted Deck in which a selected card eerily pivots out of the deck. A clever gimmick, supplied with the DVD, makes the trick possible and you’ll find it easy to ring in and out of the deck when required. It reminded me of an unpublished method of Gordon Bruce (Gordon is another creator whose book is long overdue) but what is special about this version is that two cards are revealed. The first card makes an appearance when the deck cuts itself in two. The second spins right out of the tabled deck and across the table. It will fool you. Uses no threads. No sleights. And the method is simplicity itself.
If you enjoy self-workers then Avalanche is a wonderful trick in which a thought of card is divined using nothing more than a deck of blank cards. Stephen credits a Ray Grismer routine as his inspiration but it put me in mind of Bob Hummer’s Mind Reader’s Dream. The procedure here is ridiculously simple and the effect all out of proportion to the method.
Another self-working card effect is Incredible, a twist on a Jim Steinmeyer idea, in which two thought of cards are spelled to. Paragon Monte is an advanced version of Joe Stuthard’s widely pirated Klip Trick monte but goes beyond the simple idea of the spectator being unable to put a paperclip on the Queen in the spread of cards. The finish in which two paper clips suddenly attach themselves to the Queen is very clever. This version was devised in a brainstorming session with Bob Driebeck and inspired by an effect that Bob had only previously shared with Fred Kaps, so the trick has a good pedigree. It’s always great to see an old trick taken a step or two further and this routine accomplishes that in the smartest of ways.
Signed Coin in Bottle is simple and bold and enables you to get a genuine signed coin into a genuinely sealed bottle. You’ll wonder why you fiddled around with folding coins for so long. I also like the quirky little principle used in Stroll On. It is an impromptu cup and ball routine using, of all things, a roll on deodorant. But I’m thinking what if that ball was signed? Maybe there is an impossible finale there just waiting to be exploited. Get your thinking caps on.
There are ten tricks on the DVD and I guarantee you’ll be hitting the rewind button more than once. These are foolers. The DVD also contains several extras including an interview with Steve by Dave Forrest and video footage of Steve’s mini-brainwave trick Omega. It is a performance only video but it will show you why this trick has been acclaimed by so many experts. It is tantalisingly close to being the perfect brainwave trick using ungimmicked cards.
Incidentally if you order the DVD direct from Stephen Tucker's website, he will throw in one of his own tricks for free. And yes, that trick is Omega. Or indeed any other trick you want to pick from his collection of ebooks. Click here to find out more.