Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Deck on Cord Card-Penetrations

Tricks began appearing in the 1920s in which a deck with a hole through it is strung on a cord (or ribbon), after which one or more chosen cards penetrate the cord and, in some versions penetrate back onto it after having been turned around. Phil Goldstein (Max Maven), after inventing such a trick, researched its parentage and constructed the following history. The earliest known example is “The Brain Twister” by Charles T. Jordan in his Ten New Sleight of Hand Card Tricks, 1920, p. 15. In this piece, a penetration may be implied by the magical reversal of a selected card in a deck strung on a cord. Other effects featuring a card penetrating off a cord or ribbon soon appeared. T. Page Wright gave “The 'Holy' Pack” to The Magical Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 2, Dec. 1924, p. 24. Fred DeMuth's “Cardoff” was soon after published in the August 1925 issue of The Sphinx, Vol. 24 No. 6, p. 189. And in 1927, Walter B. Gibson included “The Escaping Cards” in his Two Dozen Effective Practical Card Tricks, p. 41.

Stewart James created another such effect in 1942, which was not published until 2000: “Puncture Juncture” in The James File, Vol. 1 by Allan Slaight, p. 1563.

Phil Goldstein contributed his “Strung-out” to Abracadabra, Vol. 69 No. 1787, Apr. 26, 1980, p. 464. His method lies more closely within the territory mapped by DeMuth, Gibson and James.