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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » What We Can Learn from Cardini (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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daffydoug
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Although Dick Cardini has been gone for almost thirty years, we can still learn a lot from the master. In thinking about it, it seems the one lesson that stands out is this; Many today complain about the audience trying to catch them, or bust them, but I don't believe Cardini had that problem. His act was so EXTREMELY well rehearsed and his smoothness and flawless execution of the manipulations was so consumate, that the magic just flowed like water. Their was not the slightest inkling or telltale sign of any concious effort on his part. All the appearances and vanishes etc, seemed totally spontaneous. (Which of course, was his master plan!)

Anyway, there was no attempt on his part to come across like "Look what I can do" He, through good acting, made it appear as if he was just a hapless victim of the effects that constituted his act. As if he had no control of them whatsoever. In other words, he appeared to be as amazed as the audience! Plus on top of that, his appearance of being slightly "tipsy" was the crown jewel in the crown that was his act.

The end result was an act that was so genuinely enjoyable that nobody really CARED how the magic was accomplished! Audiences were just too wrapped up in being transported for a few minutes to that fantasy world called magic where anything can, and likely will, happen. Sure their was amazement, but their was also lots of laughter, and as you may know, when audiences are laughing and having a good time, they have no room for being critical.

I just think it would be good to think about how we can apply what he taught us to whatever kind of magic we do, be it close-up, or whatever. The same basic principles of good magic and great entertainment are eternal, and if we can get a grasp on them, then our own magic will surely become better by far.

I for one, am going to try to steer my thinking in a new direction.

Just my two cents.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
unilogo
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Totally agree.

The enterntainment and all sorts of emotions you bring out of the audience will make em remember you far after in the future. Sure they can see any bum dead beat trickster magician perform and probably will in their life but they will always remember you if you can enterntain em and make em question "why"?

We definetly almost NEVER have an effect down so much as to we can do it forwards and backwards and if the spectator talks us out of our script we can go back just as smoothly. Magicians should really learn less effects and master the ones that they own.

Once you master that and the technical side of the effect smoohtly no one is bound to see fishy moves and a bad performance.

Keep at it guys.

Cardini is amazing. Be glad we had a few magician. Definetly him included.
Jaz
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Your second paragraph says a lot.
Cardini alienated himself from the magic in his unique way.
Almost like a hallucinating, drunken gentleman.

Vernon and others often told stories that focused on gamblers they had met (or other events that happened to them) during some of their effects and in essence took the focus off themselves, alienating themselves from the magic.

I love the packet trick 'Color Monte' patter because it does this.

IMHO many of the best magician's tricks, not only cards, are those that involve a story that has the spectator focus on someone or something other than the magician.

I love Tina Lennert's wash woman act for this reason too.
daffydoug
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Cardini was as smooth as silk. We might say it this way:"Cardini did card (and billiard and cig manipulations) like Fred Astaire danced!" a true art in his hands. If I were to make a list of magicians that could truly deserve the title "Master magician" He would surely be right near the top of the list by Slydini and Vernon.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
todsky
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Cardini has always been my idol, and I never even saw any footage of him performing. Only from seeing photos of him, and descriptions of his act, I was completely won over to his genius. I envy anyone who ever saw him perform live.
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Tony Noice
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I subscribe to everything that's been said here about Dick Cardini. Also, I've never seen a better intergration of all the aspects of stage performance: acting, technical ability, music, routining, costuming, etc. Perfect!!
daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2005-06-11 22:36, todsky wrote:
Cardini has always been my idol, and I never even saw any footage of him performing. Only from seeing photos of him, and descriptions of his act, I was completely won over to his genius. I envy anyone who ever saw him perform live.


There is a video link on the Café here. If you are interested, I will look it up for you. I think once you see him in action, you will be blown away!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Glenn Godsey
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Here is what I learned from Cardini:

Devote your entire life to developing and perfecting one 12 minute act and you will have something unique and extraordinary. If you spend your life flitting from one thing to another like almost all of us do, the chances of having something unique and extraordinary plummet.

Best regards,
Glenn Godsey
TheAmbitiousCard
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Thanks for sharing glenn.
that is a great point.

at this time I am starting to think real hard about
how much time I put into magic effects.

When I see a new trick, I think,... do I really need to learn this?
what will I be taking time away from to do this?
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magicduro
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I think from that most importantly we learn: magic is a realistic thing. Cardini didn't work with fancy boxes or elephants. His magicical experience was a relatable one. Cards, a dressed up night out, cigars... perhaps this is why I usually perform with quarters instead of fifty cent pieces and why I prefer close up to stage.
todsky
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Doug, I did a search and found the link. What a class act! Just as I imagined, but what a treat to see him actually do his stuff. I will be watching this clip over and over. Thanks for the tip!
I understand Cardini learned much of his manipulation skills down in the trenches during WWll. I wonder if it takes being in an extreme environment of deprivation, where hours pass each day with nothing to do but... practice a back-palm. It's like the story of someone bed-ridden in a hospital for months: this gives the perfect opportunity to master a series of manipulations. Now I'm not hoping for a long hospital stay or being placed on the battle-lines, but if I was, you can be sure I'd come up with some great manipulation stuff. Too bad I've got all this freedom...
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daffydoug
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What is not well known is the fact that he first began practicing his card manipulations when he was in the trenches during the war! Can you imagine that? Bullets whizzing around, and here this guy is doing card fans. Now THAT is what I call determination!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
winstonwolf
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When he was in the trenches it was so cold he had to wear gloves whilst he practiced - which is, I believe, why he wore them in his act.

Somebody is writing a new book on Cardini, can't remember full details - was in Magic magazine recently.
daffydoug
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If we had HALF his dedication, we would literally turn the world upside down with our magic.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
entity
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There WERE point in Cardini's routines where he would break from the role of having things happen to him, and show the audience that he was the one in control. He would do card fans and arm spreads at times, and in his ball routine there was a break where the music would change and he would perform a series of finger rolls with a simgle ball.

What drew the audience's attention and brought them INTO his performance, more than anything else, was his acting. His facial expressions and contortions, his body language, the noises he made, etc., were what made the appearances of the cards or balls so funny and entertaining.

His technique, of course, was flawless and effortless, but the music and the acting was what made the entire act gel and become so popular.

As to the idea of spending your entire life perfecting one 12 minute act...

That worked well in times gone by, when there were venues such as Vaudeville in place to allow a performer to make a living doing a short turn, and spending weeks at one theatre before moving on to the next theatre in the chain.

Today, there are no such mechanisms in place. Television is also a big factor today. when a performer does an act on television, millions of people have now seen it. If you keep doing the same act, modern audiences may lose interest, if they've seen it 5 or 6 times on television.

- entity
Tony Noice
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Entity,
I see your point but there are still SOME venues for the great 12 minute acts. These include revues in Vegas, Atlantic City, Puerto Rico, etc. Nothing like a country filled with vaudeville houses, of course.
Best,
Tony
Paul Chosse
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A while ago I posted Cardini's entire act on the Café. If you do a search you should find it. The description includes the stage setting, entrances and exits, music, and the methods! It was written by a magician who watched the show repeatedly and wrote it out for T. Nelson Downs, them mailed it to him. Interesting reading...

Best, PSC

P.S. It is in the "Magicians of old" forum...
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Pete Biro
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I can't remember the young man's name, but at Kramien's Northwest Jamboree last month there was a guy DOING CARDINI. The wardrobe, the makeup, the face... I mean it was SPOOKY... he was terrific. The look on his face, the timing, etc. was all there.

Reminds me, we need to find out how to reach him, I'd like to see him at the next WMS.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
daffydoug
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Thanks for the tip!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
MField2000
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It is astounding to me that, up until now, there has been no big book on Dick Cardini.

Fortunately, John Fisher is putting the finishing touches on just such a volume.

What can one learn from Cardini? How to positivly entrance an audience.

Matt Field
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