Classic Routines | The Homing Card.

It may not surprise you to read that the second routine up for discussion is another classic effect direct from Stars of Magic.

As a fourteen year old, Christmas Day 1978, this book was wrapped up under the Christmas Tree along with Cy Endfield’s Entertaining Card Magic.

These two books had a big impact on me and to this day, many of the routines still features in my work.

So, before we begin with an evaluation on The Homing Card, let’s take a look at a live performance I gave in Zagreb a few years ago.

Croatia Video: Big thanks to my brother Vladimir Stimac for this great footage.

The Homing Card is a masterpiece of pure magic, construction, design, high impact, suspense and drama.

There is a lot to consider in this routine.

When I first learnt it, I was terrified.

The technical requirements I was not prepared for.

Are we ever prepared for any routine worth learning?

I am convinced of one thing.

When confronted by such a routine, we either embrace the challenge or turn the page looking for something easier.

It took several years before I felt confident enough to present this.

At the time of learning, I did not fully appreciate why this is such magnificent routine.

Let’s break it down.

Before this routine was published, Card to Pocket or Cards Up Sleeve was already established as a classic effect.

On Page 101 of The Royal Road to Card  Magic, there is a description of this effect. This routine is actually very effective and a good lesion in timing. Now, in the last chapter of this book, Jean Hugard describes The Cards Up Sleeve. This routine is a stunner; 10 Cards Vanish one by one and appear in the magician’s trouser pocket.

So, these two versions are required learning in my opinion because they teach some fundamental lessons in technical sleight of hand, timing, pacing, misdirection and showmanship.

When Francis Carlyle released his version, he gave us a routine that was perfect in every way possible.

This routine has SYNERGY all over it.

The construction and design features three interlocking principles at work.

I will be very cryptic in my use of language right now because I am assuming you know what I am talking about.

This website is about education through intellectual conversation and inspiration not EXPOSURE.

The Homing Card features:

  • Hard Core Technique
  • Subtlety and Finesse
  • Psychology and Audience Attention Control

Tommy Wonder wrote about a very fascinating concept which he labelled The Three Pillars.

I encourage you to study this because in the context of this discussion, we have The Three Pillars at work.

In fact, where this routine is concerned, The Three Pillars has been staring us in the face for decades since its first publication, long before Tommy Wonder gave us this distinction.

I must bring Darwin Ortiz into this conversation because he also gave us a beautiful distinction regarding the first phase in this routine.

Darwin gave us a distinction which he labelled;

Backward Time Displacement

If you have not heard this term before or have no idea what I am talking about, then it’s study time.

Go and pick up your copy of Darwin’s Book Designing Miracles and Volume One of The Books of Wonder.

Study these concepts, they are very important in understanding how and why strong magic works.

These discussions are about amplifying our understanding of why classic routines have achieved their status. These concepts can be applied to other routines once we fully grasp their significance.

These concepts as applied to The Homing Card gives us a pure effect and experience of magic. All of the technical handling operates in “the shadows”.

Everything is perfectly covered by psychology, the routine construction and allowing the audience time to arrive at certain conclusions on their own.

In the first phase of magic, something beautiful takes places. I was too young to appreciate this at the time of first learning this.

The magic happens in the mind, nowhere else.

Thanks to Slydini and what he taught me, I fully understood the diabolical structure of Carlyle’s routine.

These old time performers were instinctive. They created and designed their routines to survive the trenches of daily/nightly performances and for tough audiences.

When the Theatres closed down during The Great Depression, performers started working night clubs so this meant a new approach to handling the performing conditions.

Magicians like Carlyle, Vernon, Jarrow, Allerton and Rosini were the new breed of Sleight of Hand Experts who capitalised on close up magic. They had the skill, flair and personality to carry it.

Francis Carlyle was known for strong, hard hitting magic, which he emphasised with a direct, no nonsense delivery. You were left in no doubt about what had just happened.

This blog post is a tribute to a master magician and one of the finest card routines I have ever encountered.

I am very passionate about this specific routine. It took me a longtime to develop the psychological confidence and certainty to present this convincingly.

This routine feels like real magic when I present it. It’s a showpiece item, during the first phase, I can see the minds of my audience flabbergasted by the impossibility. This sets up a beautiful smokescreen for the second phase. In the video, you can see that I make full use of a brutal visual misdirection and Attention Control for the final stage of the routine. It is a very satisfying moment for me when I start to produce a shower of cards from my pocket before the big finish.

In mastering this routine, I can see how it supported me in laying a foundation for what I like to call Technical Confidence.

What this means to me is simply the rock solid belief in my technical ability. Also, confidence in my ability to execute technical sleight of hand under fire. The Homing Card is a multilayered learning process with hidden benefits.

It can be performed Walk Around, Formal Shows, Cabaret and onstage in a Theatre.

How do I know?

Well, I have performed The Homing Card under every condition you can imagine, it has never let me down.

So now, it’s over to you.

What do you think of this routine?

Do you perform it?

What has been your experience?

Please share, this is a live conversation.

Thanks for reading.

1 thought on “Classic Routines | The Homing Card.”

  1. Jean-Louis MULLANU

    Hi Michael!
    I’m Jean-Louis from Aix-en-Provence and English isn’t my first language. So I apologize for errors or approximations.
    This is a great routine and your performance is brilliant. Congratulations. I understand the techniques involved and I fully appreciate the showmanship. So the question that comes to my mind is this one: is there any particular reason why this routine has the same name (Homing Card) as Fred Kaps’s 5 card routine?
    Best regards.

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