Encyclopedia of Card Tricks DVDs (Rudy Hunter)
A teaching companion for selected effects from Jean Hugard's "Encyclopedia of Card Tricks"
Jean Hugard's "Encyclopedia of Card Tricks" (1937) is considered a classic text book for card magic, containing over 600 card tricks from many of the best magicians from the first decades of the twentieth century, including legendary names like Dai Vernon, Al Baker, Ted Annemann, Dr. Jacob Daley, John Scarne, and many more. See a complete list of all the included effects in this book here or here. Some consider it one of the better intermediate courses in card magic, and while a little dated in style, it is still very highly regarded today. Jean Hugard's terrific beginner course "Royal Road to Card Magic" continues to be recommended by many as the place to begin a serious journey into card magic, while his Encyclopedia is better considered a repository of card tricks for the intermediate magician, although there's also a lot of elementary and basic material included as well.
But the problem is that both books are somewhat dated. Furthermore, sometimes it can be difficult to learn something from printed text alone, and it can really be of benefit to see a trick being performed and taught on video. I grew up in an era when videos weren't as readily available or affordable as what they are today, and I struggled my way through parts of the Royal Road to Card Magic book, trying to visualize the moves that were being described and pictured, and not always getting things right. In contrast my son is a young magician of the new generation, and he has the benefit of being able to easily access videos, and as a result he has been developing much more rapidly with his card magic than I ever could have done in my time. This DVD set is a fine addition to the modern repository of video materials that can serve as very helpful companions to classic written works.
Currently it's not available on its own, but only as part of a larger kit that includes some bonus decks, under the title "100 Card Tricks Kit" (with Svengali, & DeLand decks) or under the title "Ultimate Magic Kit Set" (with Svengali, Stripper, & Invisible decks).
What you get
These videos don't actually contain Hugard's entire Encyclopedia of 600+ card tricks, but is a selection of some of the tricks contained in Hugard's book, and as such it is an excellent place for the intermediate magician to learn a large amount of material. The back of the DVD case has a copyright date of 2016, so it is still a relatively new product in this package, but the actual video was recorded about 10 years ago.
You get two DVDs in a case, plus some bonus decks of cards that I'll get to later, depending on which package you buy. With almost eight hours of run time, the videos go through the performance of around 100 tricks, each followed by the explanation, featuring magician Rudy Hunter. It features baroque music with the menus, which heightens the overall feel of the classic magic within. In addition you also get some trick decks of cards.
Pictured here is the "100 Card Tricks Kit" that comes with Svengali, & DeLand trick decks.
Pictured here is the "Ultimate Magic Kit Set" that comes with Svengali, Stripper, & Invisible trick decks:
Below is a listing of the material that is included on the two DVDs that come with this package, which totals a remarkable 462 minutes (7 hr 42 min) of footage:
DVD 1 (228 min)
75 min - Miscellaneous Impromptu Card Tricks (12 tricks)
22 min - You Do As I Do (4 tricks)
38 min - Card Subtleties Utilizing Key Cards (7 tricks)
25 min - Double Back Principles in Card Magic (5 tricks)
22 min - Magic Utilizing Double Faced Cards (4 tricks)
33 min - Card Mysteries - One Way Back Design (6 tricks)
13 min - Reversed Ordinary Cards (3 tricks)
DVD 2 (234 min)
47 min - The Mysteries of a Prearranged Pack of Cards (7 tricks)
36 min - Magic with a Svengali Pack of Cards (10 tricks)
23 min - Magic With a Mene-Tekel Pack of Cards (10 tricks)
30 min - Magic With a Stripper Pack of Cards (10 tricks)
13 min - Magical Mysteries with Special Packs (2 tricks)
10 min - The Use of Short Cards in Magic Effects (3 tricks)
42 min - More Miscellaneous Tricks (9 tricks)
33 min - Indispensable Sleights (11 tricks)
Altogether 15 of the 20 chapters from Hugard's original book are represented here. The ones not included are: 2. Spelling Effects in Card Magic; 5. Slick Principles in Card Magic, 6. Card Mysteries Employing Diachylon, 11. Calculation Tricks With Ordinary Cards, and 20. The Nicola Card System.
The DVD has a very good index for each chapter, which allows you to browse to the chapter of your choice, and from there to the effect in question. Rudy Hunter's style might be considered a little dry by some, and he doesn't have the dynamic or lively persona of the typical street magician. But he is a professional, and this is a great demonstration of classic close-up card magic that is performed very smoothly and cleanly. His friendly and personable style works well for teaching, and he does a good job in explaining how things work. Multiple camera angles are used to ensure that it's easy to follow-along. The instruction is concise, and Rudy doesn't waste his words, and Rudy doesn't waste his words, so a lot is packed in a short amount of time; you can always re-watch sections if you need to, and there's no sense things are dragging.
While books are excellent, being able to see the effect being performed is tremendously helpful, and this works very well either in combination with the book, or even independently from it. Certainly if you have the DVD but not the book, you won't feel the need to get the book as well unless you want the entire Encyclopedia with all the additional effects not included on the video. But if you have the book and are struggling to make sense of how some effects should work (the written explanations can be very brief at times), the DVD might just be the ideal companion that you're looking for. So Rudy is a good teacher who speaks clearly and carefully, and if you're looking for a good teaching resource to use, this is certainly something that the intermediate magician can appreciate.
Rudy Hunter has also created a 4 DVD set which runs through the Royal Road to Card Magic which may also be of interest to some readers. That was published in 2005, while The Encyclopedia video was recorded about a year later. While the style is similar, the filming and image quality of this newer series seems to be significantly higher than the Royal Road to Card Magic one.
As mentioned already, not every trick from Hugard's book is included. For example, in the published book, there's about 40 tricks in the first chapter (Miscellaneous Impromptu Card Tricks), of which just 12 have been selected for the video. And while the chapter on "More Miscellaneous Tricks" in the book has over 80 tricks, only 9 have been selected for the DVD. On the other hand it's good news that virtually the entire chapter on "Indispensable Sleights" is included on the DVD. There is also some original material on the DVD that is not in Hugard's book, like "Hunter's Aces" (Rudy's effort to improve the classic MacDonald's Aces) in the chapter on Double Faced Cards. But for the most part, the DVD is arranged according to Hugard's Encyclopedia, and contains a varied selection of the tricks contained therein.
Some people may find it helpful to know what tricks exactly from Hugard's Encylopedia have been included, so here is a complete listing of what is on the DVDs, using the chapter numbers from the book:
1. Miscellaneous Impromptu Card Tricks: Twin Souls, The Sagacious Joker, Cards of Chance, Card Detectives, Wad Hustle, A Smart Location, The Whispering Queen, Color Divination, The Vanishing Pair, Self Control, The Five Card Mental Force, New Card Discovery
3. You Do As I Do: You Do As I Do, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sympathetic Sympathy, Hugard's Follow Me
4. Card Subtleties Utilizing Key Cards: Mental Vision, Phenomenal Thought Cards, Detected by Fingerprints & Pulse, The Three Heaps, Impenetrable Stop Trick, Master Mental Mystery, Think of a Card
7. Double Back Principles in Card Magic: Alice in Wonderland, Transposition Extraordinary, Remote Control, Double Back Card Force, Double Card Prediction
8. Magic Utilizing Double Faced Cards: Hat & Cad Change, Hunter's Aces, A Changing Card, A Transposition
9. Card Mysteries - One Way Back Design: One Way Back Design, Subtle Setting of the Deck, Divination Supreme, Thought in Person, Think Stop, Your Card Your Number
10. Reversed Ordinary Cards: The Haley Reversed Card, Under Cover, The Reversed Count Down Trick
12. The Mysteries of a Prearranged Pack of Cards: Count Your Cards, Red/Black False Shuffles, Si-Stebbin Stack, Al Koran's Encore Card Stab, Lip Reading Test, The Master's Touch, Ariel's Card Control
13. Magic with a Svengali Pack of Cards: Svengali Deck, Little Heaps of Cards, A Simple Effect, Cutting The Pack With A Knife, The Wrapped Pack, Fingerprint Vibrations, Svengali Force, Pick Me, One Ahead Svengali, Svengali Demonstration
14. Magic With a Mene-Tekel Pack of Cards: The Mene-Tekel Deck, Controlling A Card, Spin Out Move, Card Through Table, Card in Wallet, Controlling Several Cards, Card into Pocket, One in Four, Coincidence Mene-Tekel
15. Magic With a Stripper Pack of Cards: The Stripper Deck, Fan Control, Ribbon Spread, Separating Red Cards from Black, Four Ace Trick, Find a Card in Any Position, Cards Pass Through Handkerchief, At Any Number from Pocket, Card Through Handkerchief, Stripper Stabbing
16. Magical Mysteries with Special Packs: New Card Locator, Mental Masterpiece
17. The Use of Short Cards in Magic Effects : Corner Shots vs Traditional Shots, Cut Card Force, Horoscope Card Force
18. More Miscellaneous Tricks : Thinking Stop, Psychological Stop Trick, The J.M. Rising Card, Miraskill, Master Card Location, Miracle Card Location, The Eclipse Vanish, Mental Card Mystery, Under Your Belt
19. Indispensable Sleights: The Overhand Shuffle, Chop Shuffle, Riffle Shuffle, False Cut, Palming a Card, Simple Pass, Double Lift, Glide, Good Location, 3x5 Force, Switching Packs
For convenience, all the tricks contained in each chapter on the DVD are listed on the back of the case, which is a very helpful reference.
In the package entitled "100 Card Tricks Kit" (which is the one I have), the two DVD set comes in a single case along with two bonus decks of playing cards: a Svengali deck and a deck of DeLand's Automatic Playing Cards. Some Svengali routines and Stripper routines are indeed taught on the DVDs, but these decks also come with a special link that gives you access to online learning materials for both decks. You can rely on the DVD for learning the Svengali deck, but you'll need these online tutorials for the DeLand deck, which is a marked stripper deck that has been around for about a century. The webpage has a downloadable PDF and pictures that explain the marking system, and ten different videos which feature extensive annotations, which explain how to set-up and use the deck, the marking system, and a few routines. See my more detailed review on the DeLand deck and its video tutorials here.
In the package entitled "Ultimate Magic Kit Set", you get three different decks: a Stripper Deck, Svengali Deck, and Invisible Deck. The Invisible Deck is a true classic of modern magic, and that makes this package especially attractive.
The main issue with the decks bundled in packages like this is the card quality. Versions of these decks are available that are printed by United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) on high quality Bicycle stock. In contrast, these ones are cheaper quality decks produced in China, and do not handle or perform nearly as well. But if you're like me, you'll consider these decks and their online learning materials as added bonuses, since it's really the video materials that I was interested in. That alone makes this worth buying, so the decks of cards that come along with it are bonuses.
This isn't a video package geared towards complete beginners, because even the section on sleights assumes a basic ability to do things like overhand shuffles, riffle shuffles, spreads, mechanics grip and dealer's grip, and is focused more on using these skills to control cards when shuffling and cutting a deck. Even so, it does cover many elementary skills, so I would consider it to be geared especially to intermediate magicians, and those who are looking to progress from being beginners. But with eight hours of footage, there's a lot of useful material here for everyone. While advanced magicians might find that much of the material taught is already familiar, those of us who consider themselves intermediate magicians are almost certain to find some good material here. I'm pleased to see part of Hugard's classic work being brought to life on the screen, and being taught to a new generation of magicians, and the two DVDs in this series are good value.
Want to learn more? See:
- 100 Card Tricks Kit (with Svengali, & DeLand decks)
- Ultimate Magic Kit Set (with Svengali, Stripper, & Invisible decks)