Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Red Hot Mama

Al Leech created the original routine and marketed it as “A Red Hot Trick,” 1950. The premise was to have a spectator breathe on the selection, the heat of which would cause the card to turn from blue to red. The second phase followed from there. Max Katz later published his “Double Surprise” in M-U-M, Vol. 44 No. 8, Jan. 1955, p. 344. This was the same trick, minus the breathing premise. No credit was given to Leech.

The plot is often referred to by two names, with no technical differentiation between them: “Chicago Opener” and “Red Hot Mama.” The former was christened by Frank Garcia who included “Chicago Opener” in Million Dollar Card Secrets, 1972, p. 13. The latter moniker, “Red Hot Mama”, was titled by Jim Ryan in Jim Ryan Close-Up #2: Entertaining Card Quickies, 1980, p. 7.

A precursor to this trick is “Color Line” by Arthur Leroy, which appeared in The Sphinx, Vol. 40 No. 6, Aug. 1941, p. 205. It has the same first phase as “Red Hot Mama”, but the second phase differs by going into a color changing deck effect rather than making a second selection.