A couple of weeks ago I wrote about why I like Michael Close’s magic so much. This was, primarily, for those of you who haven’t taken the time to make yourself familiar with his magic, since anyone who has crossed paths with Close’s magic probably found my praise akin to watching reruns of M.A.S.H.

Recently, Close announced the release of his handling of the torn and restored card trick called, “Close’s Torn & Restored Card.” In a telephone conversation with my friend Jim Sisti the same day we both received the email, it seemed there was going to be a race to see which of us purchased the ebook.

Since I have a blog and he doesn’t, I hereby announce I won the race.

One thing you’ll notice about Close’s stuff — and the entire Workers series is the poster child for this comment — is that so much thought has been put into the handling, as well as the trick itself. It’s Michael’s never ending desire to improve that caused the latest version of the Workers series to be annotated to such an extent that even owners of the printed copies would do well to buy the download.

There are plenty of torn and restored card routines. A few of them are even outstanding in their field. “The Reformation” by Guy Hollingworth set the close-up world on fire a few years ago. Guy was a featured performer in 1996’s television special “World’s Greatest Magic III” — one of Gary Oulette’s productions. The presentation of this T&R routine was just…pretty. And pretty stunning. And elegant. And how in the heck did he do that?

I wasn’t one of the lucky few to buy an original copy of Hollingworth’s VHS tape explaining “The Reformation” — which was limited in production, and came with the promise that once they were sold there would be no more.

And, true to his word, there were no more.

Well, there were no more original tapes produced. There were plenty of bootlegs, though. The more people talked about it, the more demand for the tape grew, and, given the limited supply, some people just couldn’t help themselves. Pity.

Eventually, though, enough years passed and Guy included the workings of the trick as the Epilogue to his outstanding book, “Drawing Room Deceptions.” It took thirty-six pages to describe and explain the trick. THIRTY-SIX PAGES. Thirty. Six. Pages. Then the rest of us learned why so few people actually performed Hollingworth’s version. It was clever, alright, but…fiddly. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. It was just involved. Too involved for my tastes, anyway.

“Ultimate Rip Off” by Paul Harris was what got me interested in tearing up a playing card and putting it back together. But I cast my lot with J.C. Wagner’s T&R routine (found in 7 Secrets) as the best for me. (It was also the impetus for Hollingworth’s routine.)

Turns out, both Harris’s and Wagner’s routines served as the impetus for Michael Close’s 25 year process that turned out the $12.95 ebook download, Close’s Torn & Restored Card.

So what did Close accomplish by working on this for 25 years? Well, for starters, how about a rational reason for tearing up the card to begin with? We magicians often launch into a routine using tenuous reasons for why we are about to do what we are about to do. Audiences aren’t stupid and, while they are likely to cut us a break for providing weak (at best) excuses for doing “X” if there’s a magical moment to follow, we demonstrate a level of respect for audiences when we go further and tie it up in a pretty package.

What else? Michael notes, “In addition, the presentation solves one of the big “bugaboo” problems associated with this type of trick.” Here he doesn’t explain what this is, and it’s not evident in the video clip, but take my word for it: this alone is worth the $13.

If that weren’t enough, Michael teaches you his handling of this trick. The only thing I can say about this is it is obvious he’s done this trick a lot. There are no superfluous moves, nothing you have to do that isn’t reasoned out and necessary. Necessary — what a great word in routining a close-up trick. This, too, is worth $13 by itself.

Like other Close ebooks (most notably Closely Guarded Secrets) there are video clips embedded in the file that allow you to view a performance, as well as segments that go far in supplementing the text.

Don’t already do a torn and restored card routine? I can’t imagine a good reason to not pop the very reasonable $12.95 for this thing. Decide how much 25 years of your life is worth and then ask if $12.95 is a deal.

What if you’re one of us who loves and performs the JC Wagner version? Do yourself a favor and pop for this ebook right now. As great as the Wagner routine is, this polishes it up and gives you good reason to do the entire routine, down to handing them the card when you’re done.

2 thoughts on “Getting Closer.

  1. I like Michael Close’s magic a lot. I think that he is one of the best magician performers out there doing it.

    I think that you are right in saying that his magic is smooth and I feel that the smooth comes from doing it in front of different audiences over a long time. That smooth in performance is the mark of a pro.

    About what was written about the “Dark Period” that Michael Close went through in this blog I can identify with that as I have experienced that myself at times over the years.

    I wish everyone a great Holiday Season!

  2. Well, I mentioned the “dark period” only because Michael himself made it part of the introduction to the ebook version of the Workers download, and it fit something I wanted to talk about. I think we’ve all, for whatever reason, went through (or are going through) a rough-edged period. It’s what we do on the other side of the tunnel that matters most.

    Nice to see you pop in, Glenn. Best to you, too!

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