Super Subtle Card Miracles DVD (Simon Lovell)
Four hours of great card tricks from Frank Garcia's book taught by Simon Lovell
With the Super Subtle Card Miracles DVD, you get a case that contains a single DVD, loaded with almost 4 hours of performances and teaching by the humorous Simon Lovell. The ad copy on the back says this:
"Simon Lovell presents this DVD on easy to perform, easy to learn card magic and moves! You will learn fabulous card magic that anyone can do. Simon will also teach you these fantastic effects along with extra hints and tips that will astonish your audience. Plus you will see audience performances that will allow you to see just how amazing these card miracles really are!"
For each of about 40 effects, the video goes through Simon doing a performance (sometimes with spectators), each followed by an explanation. Based on a terrific Frank Garcia book that is long out-of-print, many people aren't aware that this excellent video exists, and that it is a way to get learn some of the material from the book.
Altogether there are 3 hours 50 minutes of video footage on this DVD, spread over three menus as follows:
Part 1: New York Opener, Dave's Delight, Super Subtle Shuffle, Whimsy Aces, Crazy Aces, Speller Transition, Now You See 'Em, The Bullet Trick, F.T. Cut, Coming Up In The World, Topsy Turvy Deck, All Backs, Out of Town Kings, A Surprise Package, The Miracle Worker, Instant Change, Chicago Style
Part 2: Faro Shuffle, Plunger Discovery, Triumph Location, Jackrobatics, Dingle's Elevator, Camouflage, King Kut, Supreme Reverse, Vanishing Deck, Happinstance, Ace Faroleros, Lady In My Sleeve, Optical Aces, Spectator Aces, Oops Again, Flourish Discovery, Ambitious Opener, Double Lift Feint
Part 3: Double Lift & Change, Impossible Poker Stack, Peek Diablo, Super Special Prediction, Super Special Prediction (Variation), One-Two False Cut, Maximus Control, Double Peek Control, Simon's Double Peek Control, Daley's Knockout
All the tricks have two sections, (a) Simon demonstrating the effect to the camera; (b) Simon explaining the effect to the camera. In the case of the first 17 effects that are listed on the first menu screen (New York Opener through to Chicago Style), there is an additional performance of the effect for two lovely ladies, which means that you actually get to see Simon do the trick twice for those. If you wish, you can also just watch the spectator performances of these 17 effects, which runs for exactly 31 minutes.
Here's my summary of just a few of the effects Simon performs and teaches:
New York Opener: A red-backed deck suddenly turns into an entirely blue-backed deck. Simon's handling of this classic effect makes it memorable, interactive, and attention-getting - ideal as an opener. See Simon's performance of the New York Opener from the video here:
Super Subtle Shuffle: A deck is divided into three piles, from which the spectator selects one, which is shuffled into another pile face up. After a third pile is shuffled into this the opposite way, all the cards have magically turned to be facing the same direction.
Whimsy Aces: This is a fun interactive trick, in which the magician apparently fails at disguising four threes as Aces, but when they are revealed they turn out to be something totally different - Kings.
Crazy Aces: The Aces continue to act in surprising ways. They're removed from the deck and surprisingly turn into Kings, and yet when the deck is cut into four random piles, the Aces miraculously appear on top of each pile. Simon has some good ideas for fun patter here that makes this quite entertaining.
Now You See Em: Four cards of a value chosen by a spectator are shown to have disappeared completely from a deck - but then magically reappear as the only face-up cards in the deck.
The Bullet Trick: If you're looking for a trick with a difference, this is a good one: the Ace of Spades is introduced as "the big bullet", the spectator remembers a card chosen (but never removed from the deck) by stopping the magician as he riffles through the deck. The deck is held in two packets like a gun, the big bullet Ace is "loaded" into the gun, and the chosen card is forcibly "shot" out to the spectator for a must unusual finishing revelation. A good story-line with a mafia/bullet theme also can really help make this memorable and fun.
All Backs: The entire deck is shown to be cards with "backs" - no faces. This is an interesting change-up from the standard "pick-a-card" trick, and Simon has some fun and clever patter ideas with some "back" jokes that can be incorporated.
Out of Town Kings: Two Kings are removed from the deck, and a chosen card is shuffled into the deck, after which the Kings are returned to face-up into the deck. The chosen card is surprisingly shown to have appeared right in between the kings. The speed at which this happens, and the amusing patter makes this a memorable and fun routine - and there's an extra twist as the Kings turn out to have different coloured backs for a final surprise.
A Surprise Package: This trick begins identical to the previous "Out of Town Kings" routine, but adds two more Kings and some further elements after the initial reveal, with the chosen card miraculously travelling first to appear between one set of Kings, and then immediately to the other. This is a bit more elaborate than some of the other effects, and is a very entertaining routine.
The Miracle Worker: This is a very strong routine - a card is removed from the deck and the spectator places their hand on it for the entire duration of the trick. Three other cards are revealed, and one is signed by a spectator. These are shuffled into the deck, and the two unsigned cards are found by the magician and placed under the spectator's hand. Instead of finding the third signed card in the deck, it is shown to have been under the spectator's hand from the beginning. Magicians might be able to reverse engineer this, but the effect can really blow laymen away, as was evident from the reaction of Simon's spectators.
Chicago Style: This is a variation of the Chicago Opener, which Simon taught as Red Hot Mama on his "Million Dollar Card Secrets" DVD, and goes back to an Al Leech trick first published in 1950. It has two great transformations, the first in which the back of a freely selected card from a red-backed deck changes colour from red to blue. The chosen card is set aside and put under the spectator's hand, who then selects a second red-backed card from the deck. This card under the spectator's hand is then revealed to have transformed into the second selection, now with a blue back. Simon's handling and patter has some nice ideas.
There's a lot of material here, and in the teaching section Simon Lovell does discuss the source of many of the effects, and explains some important nuances. Even so he does go through the material fairly quickly, so you may find yourself needing to re-watch sections - which of course is easy to do with a DVD. He has a real charisma with a great sense of humour, with a very fresh and almost quirky style that borders on the eccentric at times and won't be everyone's cup of tea. But he comes across as a charming and warm English gentleman who is friendly and amusing - some have called him the Austin Powers of magic - and his off-the-hand commentary includes some great one-liners that can be used in almost any magic routine!
More importantly, he's also a skilled magician and good teacher. The fact that with a number of tricks you get to see him perform the effect both for the camera and for some spectators is helpful, because it means you get two demonstrations of the effect in action, and this can also give some good ideas for patter. The half hour of interactive magic with spectators is a little corny at times (in a good way), but it's certainly not dry or lacking in engagement, and you may get some great lines you can use in your own tricks from the way Simon performs.
This video is actually a homage to Frank Garcia's book "Super Subtle Card Miracles", and Simon Lovell does make frequent reference to Frank Garcia throughout. Simon's earlier video "Million Dollar Card Secrets" teaches a lot of material from another Frank Garcia book with the same name. Both books contain some excellent material, but have been out of print for a while, apparently due to some issues with the Garcia family estate, and so it's terrific that at least the tricks taught in Garcia's books are still available by way of these videos.
Frank Garcia also co-authored a book with George Schindler entitled Magic With Cards: 113 Easy-to-Perform Miracles With an Ordinary Deck of Cards, which contains some of the easier material from both his other books, and is geared to complete beginners, whereas Million Dollar Card Secrets and Super Subtle Card Miracles feature more advanced card tricks that intermediate magicians will appreciate. A full listing of the contents of all the effects in these two books is available at the Conjuring Archive (here and here).
While many of the tricks are well within the grasp of beginners (although they will require practice), some also require knowledge of elementary sleights like the double lift, glide and other common moves, plus the use of gaffs like a double backer. So an instructional resource like this will especially benefit intermediate magicians, and those who already have some experience with the fundamentals of magic, and are looking to expand their repertoire. But there really is something for everyone here, including relative beginners, and whatever your ability, you're almost certain to be able to find something useful.
Simon Lovell's "Super Subtle Card Miracles" DVD contains a fantastic number of tricks and moves, with an excellent variety of options to choose from. It doesn't only have tricks, but also some other useful tools like false cuts, controls, and moves to do with a double lift. The production quality of the video is also excellent, with great lighting and filming - all very professional and clear. Watching Simon perform can be quite inspiring, and if you're like me, you'll find yourself itching to go out and perform some magic yourself.
There's a wealth of material here, and the overall balance of the content makes this a good companion to Simon Lovell's "Million Dollar Card Secrets" DVD, which was published five years earlier. That video also is a homage to a Frank Garcia book, but only contains 75 minutes of magic. In contrast, this one has 230 minutes of magic, so there's far more material here. If I was only to get one, I'd pick Super Subtle Card Miracles for that reason; the fact that it has half an hour of performances with actual spectators also makes it better. But they are both excellent, and I'm happy to recommend them!
Want to learn more? See:
- Publisher's page: link
- Amazon: link
- Review of Million Dollar Card Secrets DVD: link