Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Cardini Change / Pughe's Pass

This color change involves the left little finger pulling the top card around the right side of the deck, with the card ending up reversed at the bottom. It has been fashionable to call this the “Cardini Change”, and more recently as “Pughe's Pass”. Neither of these monikers are correct. Cardini's Snap Change uses an entirely different grip and doesn't reverse the card to the bottom of the deck. George Pughe's Pass isn't a color change, it doesn't use the little finger, and it brings the card to the top of the deck. And the technique goes back decades earlier.

Reginald A. Morrell and Frederick Lloyd published a color change in New Magical Sleights and Fakes, 1906, p. 15. While the methodological approach of revolving the top card around to the bottom is the same as what's being performed today, the technique Messrs Morrell and Lloyd described to accomplish the change was entirely different. The top card was revolved around the back of the deck rather than its right side.

In 1909, the modern-day technique was published by J.E. Pierce. However, while the technique is the same, it wasn't used for a color change. Pierce used the sleight as a secret reversal. This appeared in The Sphinx, Vol. 8 No. 6, Aug. 1909, p. 107.

Three months later, Lionel T. Scott published a color change that used similar mechanics, but didn't reverse the card being changed. Essentially a one-card pass, the card was brought to the bottom in the same orientation that it started in. Scott's technique was published in The Sphinx, Vol. 8 No. 9, Nov. 1909, p. 170.

In 1922, a technique appeared without attribution called, “The Ultra Simple Pass”. It utilized the same basic technique, but rather than the left fingers actively pulling the top card up against the right edge of the pack, gravity was used instead. The pack was angled downward to allow the top card to fall against the open left fingers. This appeared in The Sphinx, Vol. 21 No. 1, Mar. 1922, p. 16.

The now-common names for the technique come from “The Cardini Snap Color Change” in Jean Hugard's Card Manipulations, Vol. 3, 1934, p. 46, and George Pughe's Pass from his letter to Jean Northern Hilliard in 1933, unpublished until the 1994 edition of Greater Magic, 1938, p. 1053, respectively. Cardini's technique was quite similar to Lionel Scott's aforementioned color change, with the main differences being that Cardini would use his left fingers to clip the card rather than just pressing them flat against it, and Cardini would pause halfway through the move while Scott would do it all in one quick motion. Pughe's Pass was basically the same as “The Ultra Simple Pass” mentioned above. The selection was returned to the cards in the left hand, and as the right hand replaced its half on top, the left second finger would pull the selection out around the right edge of the pack and let it fall back on top of the deck. The only difference between these two techniques is that the Ultra Simple Pass used gravity to get the card into position while Pughe used his left second finger to perform J.E. Pierce's mechanics.

The same year of Pughe's letter to Hilliard, Lance Charles published a near-identical card control called “Passing Up the Pass” in Tricks for the Few, 1933, p. 8.

Also see Half Pass and One-Card Middle Pass and Reverse.