Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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cards:invisible_deck_gag [2016/07/16 07:52]
tylerwilson Some OCDing, and a slight adjustment of the Annemann claim now that Bill found an earlier magical citation.
cards:invisible_deck_gag [2017/06/28 14:57] (current)
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 ====== Invisible Deck Gag ====== ====== Invisible Deck Gag ======
  
-The idea of miming the playing of a game of cards with an imaginary deck is probably very old. Reports have been located from 1922 forward describing comic sketches in which games of cards were played with an imaginary or invisible deck. For example, in the June 25, 1922, New York //Morning Telegraph//:​ "At the same time he [Hamtree Harrington] has a quality all his own, and his graphic pantomime and eloquent facial expression as he deals out the imaginary cards at a poker game and plays his hand, are masterpieces of comedy."​ And in the same paper on July 27, 1922: "In the second half the comedy incidents show [Johnnie] Weber a glorious victor in an imaginary battle with a bartender, also a generous pinochle scorekeeper in a game played with invisible cards by Scottie [Friedell] and Raymond [Paine]."​+The idea of miming the playing of a game of cards with an imaginary deck is probably very old. Reports have been located from 1922 forward describing comic sketches in which games of cards were played with an imaginary or invisible deck. For example, in the June 25, 1922, New York //[[http://​fultonhistory.com/​highlighter/​viewer/?​file=http%3A%2F%2Ffultonhistory.com%2FNewspaper%252018%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Morning%2520Telegraph%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Morning%2520Telegraph%25201922%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Morning%2520Telegraph%25201922%2520-%25202123.pdf&​highlightsFile=http%3A%2F%2Ffultonhistory.com%2Fhighlighter%2Fhits%2F089da0f2d045ed55a31d9f0a0166f677#​page=1|Morning Telegraph]]//: "At the same time he [Hamtree Harrington] has a quality all his own, and his graphic pantomime and eloquent facial expression as he deals out the imaginary cards at a poker game and plays his hand, are masterpieces of comedy."​ And in the same paper on [[http://​fultonhistory.com/​highlighter/​viewer/?​file=http%3A%2F%2Ffultonhistory.com%2FNewspaper%252018%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Morning%2520Telegraph%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Morning%2520Telegraph%25201922%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Morning%2520Telegraph%25201922%2520-%25202703.pdf|July 27, 1922]]: "In the second half the comedy incidents show [Johnnie] Weber a glorious victor in an imaginary battle with a bartender, also a generous pinochle scorekeeper in a game played with invisible cards by Scottie [Friedell] and Raymond [Paine]."​
  
 But who was the first to use the idea of an invisible deck for a card trick? Bill Mullins, who provided the two citations above, has found this mention in //​[[http://​askalexander.org/​display/​13444/​Magic+World+Vol+06/​179|The Magic World]]//, Vol. 6 No. 12, Mar. 1923, p. 179: "​Leslie Henson was at his best in an impromptu speech on magic, and then, with an imaginary pack of cards, doing an imaginary trick. It was screamingly funny."​ No further information concerning Henson'​s "​imaginary trick" and its gags is given. But who was the first to use the idea of an invisible deck for a card trick? Bill Mullins, who provided the two citations above, has found this mention in //​[[http://​askalexander.org/​display/​13444/​Magic+World+Vol+06/​179|The Magic World]]//, Vol. 6 No. 12, Mar. 1923, p. 179: "​Leslie Henson was at his best in an impromptu speech on magic, and then, with an imaginary pack of cards, doing an imaginary trick. It was screamingly funny."​ No further information concerning Henson'​s "​imaginary trick" and its gags is given.
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 Most of the gags that are now standard in presentations of "The Invisible Deck" can be seen in a Laurel and Hardy film, [[https://​youtu.be/​bDdYLXSvqPo?​t=7m34s|"​Oliver the Eighth"​]],​ made by Hal Roach and released in February 1934. This film sketch may have been the source, if not the origin, of the gags for magicians, as tricks using the "​invisible deck" premise began to appear in conjuring periodicals shortly after the release of "​Oliver the Eighth"​. In the film, Jack Barty, a comic actor playing a character named Jitters, goes through an entire invisible deck routine, removing the invisible deck from a real, empty card case. He shakes the case to get all the cards, shuffles them, both overhand and tabled riffle, squares them, then plays a comic game of solitaire. Stan Laurel wanders by and sees him do this. Barty gathers the invisible cards and has Laurel pick one. Barty names the seven of diamonds and is correct. He then urges Laurel to show the trick to Hardy. Hardy knocks the invisible cards from Laurel'​s hands in disgust, and Barty gathers them from the floor and leaves. Laurel calls him back to hand him one he missed. Most of the gags that are now standard in presentations of "The Invisible Deck" can be seen in a Laurel and Hardy film, [[https://​youtu.be/​bDdYLXSvqPo?​t=7m34s|"​Oliver the Eighth"​]],​ made by Hal Roach and released in February 1934. This film sketch may have been the source, if not the origin, of the gags for magicians, as tricks using the "​invisible deck" premise began to appear in conjuring periodicals shortly after the release of "​Oliver the Eighth"​. In the film, Jack Barty, a comic actor playing a character named Jitters, goes through an entire invisible deck routine, removing the invisible deck from a real, empty card case. He shakes the case to get all the cards, shuffles them, both overhand and tabled riffle, squares them, then plays a comic game of solitaire. Stan Laurel wanders by and sees him do this. Barty gathers the invisible cards and has Laurel pick one. Barty names the seven of diamonds and is correct. He then urges Laurel to show the trick to Hardy. Hardy knocks the invisible cards from Laurel'​s hands in disgust, and Barty gathers them from the floor and leaves. Laurel calls him back to hand him one he missed.
  
-A photographic retelling of the sketch with stills from the film can be seen in Bill Abbott'​s article "​Invisible Origins Revealed"​ in //​[[http://​askalexander.org/​display/​13743/​Bill+Abbott+s+Professional+Man+of+Mystery+Collection+Presents/​21|Cocktail Card Magic]]//, 2008, p.21. +A photographic retelling of the sketch with stills from the film can be seen in Bill Abbott'​s article "​Invisible Origins Revealed"​ in //​[[http://​askalexander.org/​display/​13743/​Bill+Abbott+s+Professional+Man+of+Mystery+Collection+Presents/​21-25|Cocktail Card Magic]]//, 2008, p.21. 
  
 It is possible that this routine was developed as a vaudeville sketch before it reached film. It is possible that this routine was developed as a vaudeville sketch before it reached film.