The Rainbow Deck by Randy Wakeman and Friends

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The Rainbow Deck by Randy Wakeman and Friends

Postby Replicant » Mar 30th, '08, 16:59


The Effect
The Rainbow Deck is a small book containing a dozen effects and some ideas on deck switches.

£10 + postage and packing

From Cards4Magic

(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used, 4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

Bit of a mixed bag, difficulty-wise. Some effects are simple to perform and require no sleight-of-hand to accomplish. Others require the use of sleights, almost all of which are not explained. The author assumes prior knowledge of these sleights, which may or may not be a problem depending on your experience. The majority of the sleights are used in many a packet trick and will be familiar to all but the newest of newbies. However, there were a couple that I had not heard of before. The author does, however, provide details for where to find out more on these sleights and how to perform them.

Despite knowing in advance that this was a slight book of only 47 pages, I was still a bit surprised when I retrieved it from my young daughter (she is a toddler and always beats me to the door when the letterbox comes-a-rattling!) At first I thought Cards4Magic had sent me an empty Jiffy envelope; but it turned out the book is the same thickness as eighteen cards from my Bicyle Rainbow Deck. However, as ever, it is quality that must take precedence over quantity and this book certainly delivers.

The Rainbow Deck book is a collection of effects from various contributors, including Jon Racherbaumer, Frank Garcia, Edward Marlo and, of course, Randy Wakeman (amongst others). The author assumes you are using his own Rainbow Deck II, but the Bicycle Rainbow Deck can be used in almost all effects without any problems. I will review each effect in turn (italicised entries are quoted from the book):

A Backward Effect by Clarke C. "Senator" Crandall

The spectator selects a face-up card from a deck that was previously shown to have standard Bicycle Rider backs. When their selection is turned face-down, the back design and colour has changed. The whole deck is now ribbon spread to show that every card has a different back.

Crandall has the honour of popularising the rainbow deck and this effect is taken from his 1952 lecture notes. It's a quick trick that uses the most basic of sleights; patter suggestions are also provided (and very amusing they are, too!)

Spectral Clock by Ken Brooke and Jon Racherbaumer

The spectator picks the only odd card (face and back) in a selection of cards arranged like the face of a clock.

This is the only trick in the book which works best with Randy Wakeman's Rainbow Deck II. Bicycle's Rainbow Deck can be used after some modification and a bit of work. I was not fond of this trick and found the description to be a bit confusing and hard to follow. Perhaps I will go back to it when my head stops throbbing....

The Real Color Change by Ron Bauer

The performer passes his hand over a spot card on the face of the pack; the card magically changes into a picture card. "But, that's not a REAL color change." To demonstrate such a phenomenon, a spectator selects a card. The performer places it on the face of the deck, then your young Russian waitress covers it with her gorgeous, sensuous little hand. Nothing happens. Nothing to the face of the card, that is. Ursula turns over her card to discover that the back has changed in both design and color... a REAL color change!

The Real Color Change plays exactly as it reads (including the young Russian waitress, if you can find one) and is a nice display if you can bring yourself to mutilate one of your rainbow cards using a pair of scissor or emery board. However, I feel this unnecessary violence can be avoided if you can come up with an alternative way to work the "magic". It also uses a couple of more advanced sleights that are not taught; however, it's a simple matter to determine what the desired effect is and using other, more familiar sleights will yield the same result.

Rainbow Twist by Randy Wakeman

The four Aces are magically produced from a deck that has been in play. After displaying all the Aces face up, the Ace of Spades is turned face down. Instantly, all four Aces are found to have turned face down as well. Aces magically turn face up one at a time , excepting the Ace of Spades, which is buried in the deck. The Ace rises to the top twice, demonstrating its prowess as the "Comeback Ace". The Maestro explains that the other Aces have pet names as well. The other Aces are turned face down, disclosing wild backs to show why!

A great trick and one of my favourites, Rainbow Twist is a cross between Twisting the Aces and ACR. Apart from the Elmsley count, it also requires the use of an additional sleight that I was not familiar with but references are provided. However, as in the previous effect, I simply used an alternative method to achieve the same result.

Fiction Prediction by Randy Wakeman

A sealed prediction is given to your willing accomplice. A deck is removed from its case and shuffled. The deck is shuffled face up in the hands... a spectator calls out stop wherever she chooses. The deck is ribbon spread face-up with the selected Ten of Hearts protruding from the center. Breathlessly, your helper rips open the prediction to reveal the Joker. "Joker's wild?" you ask. After the nasty groan that follows, you explain that this was NOT a prediction about the faces - but a prediction about the backs. "The backs match perfectly! That part I can figure out, but what really blows my mind is THIS..." The deck is widely ribbon spread to reveal that each and every card has a completely different back!

Another favourite, this simple trick uses just a very basic sleight. Despite its simplicity, both in presentation and methodology, this gets great reactions. More on spectator reactions in my conclusion.

Marlo's Rainbow Deck by Edward Marlo

Cards are dealt face up to the table until a spectator says "stop". A selection is placed aside. Two more cards are selected using a randomly inserted card, then the deck is placed face up in front of the spectator. The backs of the selections are shown and magically change color, then the entire deck changes to a Rainbow Deck!

Marlo's Rainbow Deck has the lengthiest description in the book and is probably one of the most technically demanding. But it is well worth the (relatively minor) effort required; yet another firm favourite of mine, this is excellent. It uses a few sleights which, again, are referenced. Nothing to worry about, though. By the way, "technically demanding" is probably not the right phrase here as none of these effects are difficult, but you get the gist!

The Upturned One by Jon Racherbaumer

The performer shows the Ace, Two, Three and Four of Hearts. Each card turns face-down one at a time, then their backs change from Blue to Rainbow backed. For the grand finale, the entire deck changes to completely different backs and designs.

I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but this is yet another cracker and quite possibly my favourite effect in the whole book. The only sleight you need to know is the Ascanio Spread, which is briefly explained. It reminds me a bit of Penguin's Revolver trick; The Upturned One is a gem and a joy to perform.

Prismatic Pack by Gene Castillon

The magician displays a red deck. A card with PREDICTION written on its back is introduced, placed face down on the table in full view. The deck is then turned face up and spread to show a random mixture of cards. It's tabled face up and a spectator is asked to cut off a small packet of cards which he conceals in his hands. The magician picks up the remainder. The magician and the spectator simultaneously deal cards one at a time and face up to the table from their respective portions. This is continued until the spectator runs out of cards. The magician places the next card aside after the spectator deals his last card. The selection appears to be random. Yet when the selection and "prediction" are turned face up, they match. This is the first surprise. The second one occurs when the rest of the cards are turned over to reveal a Rainbow Deck of over fifty different colored and designed backs.

Prismatic Pack is a belter and is the only trick that requires a stacked deck. This is not a stack I was familiar with but it's very convincing and the deck can be spread face up to show an apparent random mix of cards. The author also explains how the stakced deck can be Faro shuffled, if that is your thing.

Icing on the Case by Michael Powers

After performing any of the alarmingly baffling routines that conclude with the complete transformation of a boring, redundantly backed regulation pack of cards into the majestic Rainbow Deck, the Magus eyes the regulation card case. Remarking that "a REAL magician" (or at least James Lewis) could make anything "go Rainbow", the card case is effortlessly changed into a Rainbow Card Case - an appropriate punctuation mark for the preceding Rainbow Routine.

This is a short section detailing some methods for a colour-changing-card-case type effect. Clever stuff.

These Cards are Marked by Ron Bauer

After reading the backs of several Bicycle Blue-backed cards, our frisky little swindler shows that the backs have transformed into a wide variety of wild designs! After a short dissertation on the "mnemonic back designs", the cards suddenly revert to their Bicycle Blue backs.

As with Spectral Clock, this trick works best with Randy Wakeman's Rainbow Deck II. However, you can play around and fiddle with it (steady!) in order to make it work for the Bicycle Rainbow Deck. Not my style, this one, but it will probably appeal more to me once I've figured out a version that will work with my deck.

Flashbacks by Randy Wakeman

Four cards of the same value are displayed to the audience, the four Eights for example. The cards are all seen to have Bicycle poker-size blue backs. The magician explains that "although it may not look like it, one of the cards has an unusual back." Three Eights in turn are shown to be the only card of the group with an odd back. The magician comments that it is difficult to do the trick with the fourth Eight as it has a normal Bicycle back. Instantly, the backs vanish from all the other Eights leavng the normal backed Eight as the "odd" back. Finally, the Eights are dealt to the table displaying four completely different backs for a second climax.

Flashbacks is basically a packet trick which uses the Elmsley count and five cards. It is the only effect in the book to use gaffed cards; apart from the Elmsley count, you also need to do a Jean-Pierre Vallarino's Rumba count which is explained. If this trick was to be marketed separately, I'm quite sure it would sell for half the price of this book. If you don't like packet tricks, then this will not be for you. Personally, I found it to be a good effect that is easy to perform.

Randy's Rainbow by Randy Wakeman and Frank Garcia

After a regulation deck of poker-size cards has been used to perform some tricks, the deck is given a wide ribbon spread to show the change from Bicycle Blue to Rainbow Backs.

This is a great method and will stun the audience who have just watched you perform several card tricks with a standard deck of Bicycle cards. A perfect closer. (It did, however, take me several readings to make sense of the handling as the wording thoroughly confused me the first couple of times! Better late than never).

Sleightless Switches by Ron Bauer
This final little chapter describes two methods for switching decks with some ideas and further subtleties.

The book ends with a rather surreal poem by Simon Lovell entitled Ned, The Philosophical Lemming. (Read between the lines on this one....)

The Rainbow Deck book may be small but it is packed full of great effects and ideas for the Rainbow Deck. While many sleights are not explained, this was not a problem for me as I was already familiar with most of them (as I'm sure most of you will be). And where this was not the case, I simply used another method to achieve the desired result. Alternatively, you can always look up the other sources which Randy Wakeman suggests.

In the short time I have had my Rainbow deck and this book, I have already performed at least half of these effects. I am happy to report they went down very well indeed; I think this is due, in part, to the fact that a Rainbow deck is such a novelty to the layman and packs such a visual punch when the backs are revealed. However, due to the nature of the deck, you can really only perform one Rainbow effect for the same audience. After that, further revelations of the multicoloured backs somehow lose their surprise value!

A great book to go with a great deck of cards, this book has also inspired me; I am already thinking about my own effects. I could be wrong here, but I suspect rainbow decks have been largely overlooked by magicians; perhaps this is why these effects have gotten such great reactions from people who are simply not used to seeing this deck in action? Food for thought....

This book represent great value for money and I highly recommend it.

Score: 9/10

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Postby EckoZero » Mar 30th, '08, 20:13

This book looks great, I may well have to get my hands on this to test spin my shiny new deck...

Cheers for the review!

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Postby Part-Timer » Apr 1st, '08, 20:47

That's a very detailed and useful review. The coloured titles were a particularly nice touch!

A couple of the effects sound really good, but I don't do much that is 'proper' magic any more. There are some exceptions, and this does sound like a nice book.

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