This work by LePaul has become a classic a long time ago. It is a must read for anybody who is seriously interested in card magic. LePaul was one of the 20th century's most admired card technicians. Here he teaches you 31 moves and 21 routines, beautifully explained in word and more than 300 photos showing the master at work.
No one who has seen the program of Paul Le Paul can doubt his ability as a performer; and no informed magician who reads The Card Magic of Le Paul will question that it is a real contribution to the literature of card conjuring.
The "new and different effects with playing cards," which are promised on the title-page, consist of 31 sleights and 21 tricks that are either new or are improvements or variations of old ones. The space is about equally divided between tricks and sleights. The tricks that the author divulges are not only good, but in some instances are almost sensationally good. Most card tricks are notoriously difficult to describe in a limited space. Because this is true of many of Le Paul's tricks, we shall not be able to give any idea of their brilliance, or indeed of their general effect as seen by the audience, beyond whatever impression may be conveyed by listing the titles of about half of them. These are called by the author The Perfect "Stop" Effect, An Impromptu Torn and Restored Card, A Magical Transposition, Cards in a Sealed Envelope, An Impromptu Rising Card Effect, A Reversed Card Routine, Color Segregation, Mistaken Identity, How Close Can You Watch? and Aces Up! (one of a quartet of Four-Ace tricks of various kinds).
Anything a card conjurer can do by way of improving the basic sleights upon which his wonders depend, must be accounted real progress. For a given performer to come upon, and to master, what is for him the "perfect" pass, palm, sidesteal, false shuffle, or other fundamental sleight is, in the opinion of this reviewer, vastly more important than to learn the secret of a new trick; for such a sleight, if undetectably executed, can be made the basis of a dozen tricks. Hence, we applaud Mr. Le Paul for his generosity in revealing his pet card sleights, and for explaining them so well that they can be learned with a fair amount of intelligent practice. To the searcher after improved techniques, the following list of Le Paul sleights explained in this book (together with some indication of the thoroughness of the explanations) should be of interest. These sleights include Le Paul's Invisible Turnover Pass (5 pages, 12 illus.), The Side-Steal (two methods, 10 pages, 27 illus.), Card-Palming (Six methods, including improvements on Erdnase's Bottom-Palm and Diagonal Palm-Shift, 11 pages, 30 illus.), The Double-Life (two methods, 7 pages, 13 illus.), Top-Changes (four methods, 6 pages, 15 illus.), Second-Dealing and Bottom-Dealing (four methods, 7 pages, 14 illus.), "Controls" and "Locations" (four methods, 10 pages, 21 illus.), False-Shuffles (two methods, 10 pages, 28 illus.), and Flourishes (three methods, 8 pages, 21 illus.). Readers who are acquainted with Le Paul's skill as a manipulator may be surprised to find that the book does not deal at all with back-palming or card-fan productions, but this is the case.
Though the preface states that the book is "intended for those who are interested in advanced card magic," the fact is that neither these tricks nor the sleight-of-hand principles are unduly difficult for the reader who determines to master them even though doing so involves a certain amount of drudgery. "l do not subscribe to the theory advanced by many present day writers, that modern methods have eliminated the need for great technical skill," says the author. "This is a delusion, since the greater the skill of the performer, the greater will be the impression he makes upon his audience. There is no substitute for skill. It is the priceless possession of every great artist in every field of endeavor. It is instinctively felt by an audience and is reflected in the superiority of his work." We welcome this forthright statement from a performer who practices what he preaches. Here, we suggest, is a challenge to young magicians of today to recognize that magic is not something that can be purchased at conjuring depots, but an art in which achievement comes only through hard work. If Le Paul's book does no more than impress this great truth upon its readers, its publication will have been more than justified.
The Card Magic of Le Paul is a volume of 220 pages, thirty of which are wholly blank and many others but partly used. The text is exceptionally well written (though grammarians will frown at the author's extensive use of split infinitives), and is almost wholly free of typographical errors. The type, paper, and printing are excellent; but non-conformity to traditional bookmaking practice (indicated by such things as unattractive "running heads," the use of bold-face type, and lack of uniformity in spacing between lines) mars the general effect, and suggests the work of a job-printer in contrast to that of an experienced, specialized book manufacturer. The 313 photographic illustrations by Jerry McDermott are wonderfully good and deserving of the highest praise. They are beautifully clear and of sufficient size to be genuinely useful. The book is well bound in cloth, with the title printed in two colors of ink on the front cover, and the author's name (in black only) on the spine. The first edition("limited to 500 copies," for reasons which we cannot fathom) will surely be exhausted in short order, and a new printing of more adequate size run off to meet the demand from the thousands of specialists in card magic who will insist on owning this book.