While visiting Disneyland in the early 1980s, I bought the Dover Books edition of Annemann's Card Magic at the Main Street magic shop. It was one of the first "grown-up" books of card tricks I had ever purchased.
I've had this copy on my bookshelf for almost four decades, and it's been a constant source of inspiration. I've read it so often that the pages are held together with Scotch Tape and staples.
When I saw it available on lybrary.com, I decided to put my physical copy out to pasture and purchased the ebook version.
That's how great this book is; it's good enough for me to purchase twice.
There's no preface, foreword, or general discussion about performing magic, just step-by-step instructions for over 100 brilliant, easy-to-manage effects. The roster of tricks included in this book is culled from The Jinx magazine's files. It contains two separate publications: Ted Annemann's Full Deck of Impromptu Card Tricks and Annemann's Miracles of Card Magic.
The book is bursting at the seams with a wealth of first-rate material that magicians will revere for generations, including contributions from some of the most recognized names in conjuring literature: Dai Vernon, Dr. Daley, Jean Hugard, Al Baker, Audley Walsh, Stewart Judah, and others.
Annemann, who gained notoriety as a mentalist (and tenor singer), was also a gifted card man, relying on his mastery of subtlety and misdirection to make up for his lack of sleight-of-hand chops, which he never felt comfortable performing in public.
The late comedy magician Harry Anderson was a rabid fan of Annemann's act. In his book, Wise Guy, magician and Anderson biographer Mike Caveney writes, "What Harry appreciated most about Annemann's magic was that it cut right to the bone. Everything unnecessary was stripped away, and the simplest methods carried you straight to the effect."
Sleight-of-hand is one way of performing magic, but it's not the only way. That's why most of the tricks in this collection don't require any tricky moves, substituting shrewdness for skill.
The successful presentation of the many brilliant feats on these pages depends upon the card magician's hidden allies: short cards, double-faced cards, stranger cards, duplicates, simple prearrangements, and other ingenious methods that provide the means for creating otherwise elusive miracles.
Annemann's Card Magic contains illustrations by artist Nelson Hahne that didn't appear in the original versions of The Jinx and help add clarity to the text. Also included are two complete, original routines performed by Ted Annemann. These alone are worth the entire price of this volume.
The search is now over if you've been looking for a few simple (yet not simplistic), easy-to-master effects. Whether you're seeking card tricks for close-up work or stage presentations, you'll find a whole array of solid performance pieces here that won't disappoint.
Annemann's Card Magic is a classic book every magician should add to their library. I highly recommend it.