Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Fred Trick

Fred Lowe and Paul Marcus marketed their “Christened Reverse” (first advertised in Abra, Vol. 49 No. 1257, Feb. 1970, p. 142), which used a roughed deck and is a variant of Brainwave. The named card showed up reversed. Only two names were used, the name on the chosen card and another name on all the others. The Lowe-Marcus trick grew from Paul Marcus's “A Card Named Bill,” which appeared a year earlier in Al Forgione and Bill Madsen's Hex!, 1969, p. 38. Madsen produced a freely thought-of card with “Bill” written on its face from his breast pocket, using a pocket index and switch.

Ali Bongo came up with a two-deck method (both roughed) for “Christened Reverse” that allowed different names to be shown on every card. This was apparently shortly after “Christened Reverse” was released. Bongo doesn't give a date. He called it “A Card Named Fred.” See his recounting in Abra, Vol. 65 No. 1683, Apr. 29, 1978, p. 532; and Vol. 73 No. 1874, Dec. 26, 1981, p. 83. Dave Campbell came up with a two-deck method around 1971 that got away from roughing. He called it “Fred,” after Fred Lowe, and contributed to The Thistle, Vol. 21 No. 2, Dec. 1976, p. 11, put out by the Scottish Conjuror's Association. It was republished in Profile, No. 14, June 1993, p. 4. After its initial publication by Campbell, it was claimed and marketed by several others.

Max Maven traced the gag itself – that of obtusely “naming” a card – to a quip from Alexander Woollcott in The Linking Ring, Vol. 22 No. 2, Apr. 1942, p. 24.