Northern Magic Circle Easter Parade 2003
Fr. Roger Crosthwaite's Lecture
Reported by Jack Skertchly

Roger was in top form with his lecture, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, a veritable tour de force of card conjuring. Presented as a tribute to Harry Houdini, he began by changing a two pound coin (look at the words on the rim) into a deck of cards. Then came the mindreading section: an astounding thought-of card to card case with multiple variations along the way. The effect is unbelievable as any card called for can appear in the case. How? Attend one of Roger's lectures and find out! Next the gambling section: based on Houdini's first meeting with John Scarne, Roger enabled the spectator to cut to four aces from a spectator-shuffled deck, drawing gasps of appreciation and spontaneous applause from the audience. He then moved into an extraordinary dealing sequence (see Roger's Thesaurus) using seconds, thirds, centres and bottoms. This is one of the best, if not the best, gambling demo I've ever seen. Last, the magic section (linked to Houdini's friend, Will Goldston) in which Roger caused all the cards to return to the card case, including the Houdini photo introduced at the beginning. A masterful performance, meticulous explanations, and a joy to behold. Result: a standing ovation. Criticism: too much material packed into too little time; it was a marathon performance survived only by the most ardent of card fanatics!

Truly this was standing on the shoulders of giants. I'm posting this on MagicWeek simply to urge you to see the lecture if Roger is in your area. Not everything good resides in America. We've got some brilliant stuff too.


Jack Skertchly April 2003

The Masterclass
Reported by Malcolm Shakespeare


Roger's lecture was followed by two masterclasses, one by Roger and the other by expert underground cardician, Jack Skertchly. Jack introduced the tabled faro shuffle to six students in three twenty minute sessions. He began with two effects, his own handling of Braue's Poker Deal and Marlo's Miracle Aces. He then explained the tabled faro, patiently instructing each student, cards in hand. I was encouraged to see young and old alike attempting the technique and discovering that it was achievable. Jack was able to answer all questions raised by the students who left the table with the technical basics and encouragement to further their practice, together with notes to remind them of what they had learnt.

Roger's masterclass included the automatic placement, Elmsley and Jordan Counts (and variants), Dr. Daley's Last Trick, lapping, and 'questions from the floor'. His main emphasis was on the false dealing section seen, though not explained, in his lecture. Seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, centres and bottoms all played their part. Roger alluded to Erdnase's Artifice Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table, and ended with a brief lesson in magical history, explaining his view on the identity of S. W. Erdnase. Absorbing stuff.

Both masterclasses were excellent hands-on teaching sessions, workshop style. The emphasis was on teaching not simply showing. Don't miss the opportunity of learning from these pasteboard practitioners if you're really keen to enter the portals of advanced card magic. These sessions were masterclasses in the truest sense of the word.


Malcolm Shakespeare, April 2003