Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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The Glide has been an unshakable technique through the ages. It first appeared in print as a cheating technique for dealing Bassetta (a portion of this game is dealt from the bottom of the deck, turning the Glide into a Bassetta equivalent of a second deal). The technique wasn't described or taught, but it was mentioned in Pietro Aretino's Dialogo di Pietro Aretino nel qvale si parla del gioco con moralità piacevole, 1543, p. 229. Excerpts from this book were translated, with commentary by Aurelio Paviato in Gibecière, Vol. 2 No. 1, Winter 2007, p. 85-118.

A conjuring application for the Glide—along with a technical description—was included in Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, p. 333, and has been continually published and taught through the centuries.

The updated handling of using the right second finger and turning over the deck around it is credited by Dr. Jacob Daley to Al Baker. See Jacob Daley's Notebooks, n.d. (c. 1974), n.p. (Item 633). Edward Victor published much the same idea in “A New 'Glide'”, Magic of the Hands, 1937, p. 6, where he pushed back the lower card with the right first and second fingers, while using the left little finger as a stop on the inner end of the deck.

Victor introduced another new idea, which is to push a double card forward on the face of the deck, then turn the deck face down and draw the lower card of the double flush as the right hand pulls the upper card away. This is essentially a Downs Change (see T. Nelson Downs's The Art of Magic, 1909, p. 73) done from the front of the deck, rather than the side. Two years later, in The Magic Wand, Vol. 28 No. 183, Oct./Nov. 1939, p. 116, Dr. L. Rothbart (of Budapest) also describes this out-jogged Glide as “The Improved Glide” and uses the left third finger to draw the lower card flush, even though he mentions that “Some prefer to push back the bottom card with the right second finger and grasp the second card with the thumb and first finger.”

Lewis Ganson published a Glide in March 1951, in which the right forefinger taps the face of the deck, then the Glide is executed as the deck is turned face down around this finger. The left little finger draws back the bottom card. See Abracadabra, Vol. 11 No. 269, Mar. 1951, p. 138; reprinted in Routined Manipulation, Vol. 2, 1952, p. 38. Ganson would later publish Vernon's similar handling in More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, 1960, p. 82. The Baker, Victor, and Rothbart entries above indicate that this approach had been around for a couple of decades.

In The Magic Wand, Vol. 29 No. 186, June-Sep. 1940, p. 53, Peter Warlock published what, Jean Hugard and Fred Braue called “A New Glide” in Expert Card Technique, Dec. 1940, p. 123. Hugard and Braue gave no attribution. This handling is now called the Side Glide.