Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue are two legendary card trick writers; Individually, both are excellent. But when these two talents collaborate the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
Published in 1940, their first literary team-up, Expert Card Technique, was an influential manual on sophisticated state-of-the-art card magic.
To keep the book's final draft a manageable length, Hugard and Braue edited out a lot of quality material, including lost chapters contributed by Dai Vernon and Dr. Daley.
Show Stoppers With Cards isn't just another collection of card tricks. In putting together this 33-page pamphlet, the pair sifted through piles of unedited manuscript pages from Expert Card Technique, compiling these eleven effects.
The small size of this booklet makes the material's quality and scope impressive. It's aimed toward intermediate to advanced magicians, but the necessary sleights are real-world and practical enough for hobbyists like me to add new effects to their repertoire.
The first few pages discuss the Braue Double lift. The moves are natural, and anyone with card handling experience can learn them in a short time.
Along with several Braue routines, the booklet features contributions from some of his magic community peers. It's a virtual who's-who of 1940s-era magicians like Bert Allerton, Stewart James, Bert Fenn, Neal Elias, and Bob Madison.
This collection has two stand-out tricks: The first is Bert Allerton's Amazing Aces*, which piles one surprise on top of the last, building up to a chorus of laughter at the twist ending.
The second exceptional effect in the book is Fred Braue's The Homing Cards. This card trick has an exciting history behind it.
It was one of the signature effects of award-winning Dutch magician Fred Kaps. In the fall of 1964, he performed it live on the Ed Sullivan Show, a popular television variety program.
According to magician Mike Caveney in the book MAGIC:1400s-1950s, magicians were getting less air time on television in the 1960s as rock n roll took front and center:
"The symbolic passing of the baton from variety acts to rock n roll occurred February 9, 1964, when 73 million viewers tuned into the Ed Sullivan Show to see the Beatles. Minutes before he welcomed the fab four to America, Sullivan introduced what many experts considered to be the greatest all-around magician of his generation: Fred Kaps. This brilliant Dutchman's routine and the last remnants of vaudeville were buried under the tidal wave of screams and applause that greeted the Beatles onstage."
Show Stoppers With Cards is a must-have for any Hugard & Braue fans. I recommend it. $4.00 is a low price for quality card tricks of such historical value.
*Burt Allerton was a former oil executive turned close-up magician. He performed in some of the finest hotels on the east and west coast.