Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Goldin Pass

In November 1911, Horace Goldin demonstrated for Victor Farelli a shrewd variation on the Cut Pass, the working of which Farelli eventually learned from him in January 1932. Goldin’s addition was to do the Cut Pass after having a selection returned to the middle of the deck. The Cut Pass was executed and the upper hand turned to expose the face of its half of the deck. The performer explained that, by looking at this card, he could find the selection, as the known card is placed directly over it. The halves were put back together, and the selection was now on top. Goldin used this strategy to baffle fellow magicians.

Farelli described the “Goldin Pass” in the May 1955 issue of Hugard's Magic Monthly, Vol. 12 No. 12, p. 285. He explains that Goldin did not claim the idea as original, but Farelli failed to ask if he knew its source. A further question remains open. Was Goldin disavowing the invention of the Cut Pass, which was indeed very old, or the ploy of covering it with the spurious explanation of a key card?

Farelli also mentions that Charles A. Leedy published the same idea under the title of “Slicker Sleight” in the May 1930 issue of The Sphinx, Vol. 29 No. 3, p. 126; nineteen years after Goldin had demonstrated the idea to Farelli.