Classic Routines | Pandora’s Paradox

This Post is dedicated to Tommy Wonder

The Card in Ring Box is a classic of magic, not just card magic.

In fact, the effect is bigger than the props used.

This is an important distinction because with such a big effect at stake, it presupposes this can work for a large audience, which it can.

Let’s enjoy a video presentation before continuing with this reflection on a wonderful piece of magic.

I apologies for the video quality, it’s an old footage, I will update this very soon.

For now, let’s use this to anchor our conversation.

A stunning moment in my life.

This photograph, taken by my friend Chris Wood, was taken around 1984/5.

It was at The Ron Mcmillan International Magic Convention.

This was my first exposure to Tommy Wonder and ranks as one of the greatest moments of my magical life.

Tommy gave me a wonderful thrill of magic. I can close my eyes and remember every detail of his performance. As you can see, he brought me up to the table and presented his famous Cups and Balls with me sat right next to him.

I did not see a thing, it was pure unadulterated MAGIC,

Tommy impressed me beyond measure.

As part his performance set, he presented his Ambitious Card and climaxed with The Card in Ring Box.

Here is video of Tommy presenting this routine, it is exactly as I saw it all those years ago.

This video performance is a critical part of this conversation, because this was my very first exposure to The Card in Ring Box.

The Card in Ring Box was created by Bruno Hennig and popularised by Fred Kaps.

As a teenager, I had no knowledge of routine construction or design so copied what I read or saw – this is normal behaviour.

When Tommy taught The Card in Ring Box at his lectures, I started using it and it worked perfectly. I used the routine in my Ambitious Card and also at the end of my Card to Pocket routine, it never once failed to generate high levels of astonishment from my audience.

In the last 20 years, I have been doing a lot of thinking and studying on the subject of routine construction. I must thank Darwin Ortiz because his book Designing Miracles played a big part in my studies along with Strong Magic.

I began to question;

What do laypeople actually remember after a seeing a great magical effect?

The Card in Ring Box provided the answer with stunning clarity.

A layperson who had seen me perform previously said, “do the trick with the little box”.

Right there, in that sentence is the answer to my question.

A very simple and direct evaluation based on memory and emotional content.

The emotion of astonishment at having experienced an amazing piece of magic. This lay person had described a magical effect with stunning clarity based on his experience. This told me that my magic was now taking a different journey towards effects that were clear, direct, uncluttered and easy to describe and remember.

I stopped using The Card in Ring Box at the end of my Ambitious Card and Card to Pocket routines – those routines are strong enough without any further kickers or embellishments.

This left me with an interesting question:

How was I going to use The Card in Ring Box now?

I was stuck.

In fact, I did not perform The Card in Box for quiet a long while.

I knew I would not perform it again until I could come up with a routine that framed the whole experience around The Box and put a spotlight on it.

I wanted my new presentation to stand on its own merit.

In Card College Volume 5, Roberto Giobbi describes his routine for The Card in Box, “The Joker Fold Up”. This is a wonderful routine, I had found the answer to my question.

My handling and presentation is radically different.

In fact, if you watch the video closely, you will see that in my handling, the spectator names a card and there is very minimal handling of the deck, compared to Giobbi’s routine. There is a psychological impression of the deck being superfluous to the routine. Even though it is on view, it doesn’t feature in the body of the routine.

Read that paragraph again

The transformation of the Joker into the names card is truly stunning; when the routine comes full circle with the signed Joker appearing in the Ring Box, it is complete.

This is one of the most perfectly constructed routines in my repertoire. It leaves no room for explanation.

My handling and approach took advantage of a few techniques I already and at my disposal. When I read the routine by Giobbi, I immediately saw my handling in my mind and I knew it would work, I felt the power of it. Synergy was already at work within me and my approach to magic was taking shape. I was not thinking Synergy at this time, it took time to evolve and became a natural expression of my knowledge and experience.

I have been performing this routine again and I can say it stronger than ever.

I grateful to Tommy Wonder.

He inspired me to believe in the beauty of magic and my own potential.

He inspired me to never settle for anything less the purest effect and impact possible.

The legacy of his life is his Books of Wonder

The last time we saw each other. 2005

Thanks for reading


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