Imagine owning the most comprehensive magic book ever written. This would surely be a treasured possession for any magician with each chapter focusing on a single aspect of the craft and the very best routines ever created for it. That’s the idea behind L&L Publishing’s critically-acclaimed DVD series, The World’s Greatest Magic by the World’s Greatest Magicians. Each volume is like another chapter in the world’s best magic book. Featuring in-depth exposition and instruction on some of magic’s most cherished and classic effects by its most-talented practitioners, this unprecedented series represents an essential reference work for anyone interested in the magical arts, regardless of their skill level.
It seems to be commonly believed that the genre of card magic known as packet tricks – that is, card tricks that use a small number of cards rather than the entire deck – are a relatively recent invention in the history of conjuring but this is not the case. While it’s true that packet tricks became insanely popular in the magic community of the 1960s and 70s (Jon Racherbaumer even coined the word “packeteer” to describe magicians who specialized in these types of tricks), effects with a small number of cards date back to the late 1800s. Though many use the term “packet trick” disparagingly, the truth is that, if well-conceived and performed, they can often be more astounding than effects performed with an entire deck of cards. Don’t underestimate the power of the packet! Armed with just a small bunch of cards and the wisdom gleaned from the masters on this DVD, you’ll be a “packeteer” in no time!
On Volume 1, you’ll meet a number of magicians performing and explaining small-packet card magic that any close-up performer would be proud to add to their repertoire. Larry Jennings starts with a trick that uses only three cards yet produces a remarkable visual illusion of one of the cards melting effortlessly through the other two. Martin Nash follows with a four-card trick where two Queens and two Jacks turn into four Queens and then four Jacks – that is, until they finally change into four Aces! Then, Michael Close shows off four blue-backed Jokers that turn red-backed one at a time and then instantly return to their original blue-backed condition while Michael Ammar performs and teaches a brilliant swindle with three blank-faced cards and an Ace – or so it appears. Next, the legendary Alex Elmsley offers a demonstration of the trick (and the sleight) that arguably started the modern packet trick era while Bill Malone twists some Aces and then turns them into something totally different. John Guastaferro combines two wonderful effects that combine the best features of the Hofzinser Four-Ace Problem and Paul Harris’ Reset while Darwin Ortiz rounds out the volume with his version of Peter Kane’s classic Ace transposition trick.
On Volume 2, you’ll meet a number of magicians performing and explaining small-packet card magic that any close-up performer would be proud to add to their repertoire. Daryl starts off with a Sam Schwartz classic where four blue-backed Kings turn face up one at a time and are then shown to have red backs. For the stunning finale, the Kings have mirrored backs! Then, Michael Ammar demonstrates a game with four cards where the object is to guess which card has been turned face up behind the performer’s back. One at a time, the cards magically turn face up and then, for a big finish, the cards are turned over to show that they’re marked with big, bold letters! Paul Wilson uses four Jacks and two Queens to relate an amusingly risqué but magical story while John Mendoza demonstrates the ability of three blank cards to change into three selected cards. Michael Ammar turns four blank cards into a four-of-a-kind one card at a time while Larry Jennings causes the Aces to turn face up magically one at a time in an impossible fashion. Finally, Darwin Ortiz rounds out this volume with a whirlwind of magic which begins with the Two of Hearts constantly rising to the top of a four-card packet. However, just when the audience thinks that the performer merely has four identical cards, they’re shown to now be all the Ten of Spades. For a finale, the cards are displayed one last time and are now the four Kings!
On Volume 3, you’ll meet a number of magicians performing and explaining small-packet card magic that any close-up performer would be proud to add to their repertoire. Bill Malone starts off with a super-powered version of Paul Harris’ Reset as the Aces and Kings keep changing places in startling and visual ways. Paul Wilson continues with an in-the-hands version of Nick Trost’s classic effect where the spectator selects a card and it’s found to be the only one with a differently-colored back. Then, Pavel introduces his audience to a card-eating turtle that visibly “eats” four freely-selected cards while John Guastaferro shows off four cards with pictures of frogs that turn face down one at a time and then into four princes before finally turning back into frogs once more. Michael Ammar uses just a few cards from an ordinary deck to spin the tale of Brother John Hamman’s Twins while Dan Fleshman presents a short and sweet interlude where the four Aces turn into all Aces of Spades and then instantly change into the four Kings. James Swain then performs his modern-day classic where four face-up Queens are each shown to have a different back color and design than the other three, whose backs are alike. As a finale, all of the Queens are shown to have different backs. Michael Ammar then closes out the volume with Dai Vernon’s classic effect where the four Aces each turn over one at a time as if by magic.