The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings

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The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings

Postby Lenoir » Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:29 am



The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings
by Mike Maxwell


The Sell:
“Within this beautifully produced volume you'll find all of the Larry Jennings classics, expertly described and meticulously illustrated. Open Travellers, The Homing Card, Peripatetic Coins, The Visitor, Visual Copper and Silver and so much more. 80 groundbreaking effects in all, ready to find a home in your repertoire.
"An absolute must for all lovers of the poetry of magic." - Dai Vernon”

Cost and availability: £23.99 from Magicbox.
https://www.magicbox.uk.com/shop.php/shop/books-and-dvds/magic-books/classic-magic-of-larry-jennings-book-/p_42.html

Review:

First off, I am aware that there is another review in existence on TM. I could, and probably should have just added this to the existing review, but I feel very passionate about it and think it deserves a.) a comprehensive review, and b.)a fresh start/place for the review to be contained.
The first TM review of the book can be found here:
http://www.talkmagic.co.uk/ftopic20221.php

Rightio. The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings by Mike Maxwell. I had to wait over a month for this to arrive as Magicbox didn’t have it in stock and they seemed to have ordered it from somewhere on a different planet. Nonetheless, when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised with the size of the book. In my opinion, there are too many small, flimsy and damn right cheap magic books on the market. When you’ve spent thirty, forty, fifty and often more on a book, a flimsy ring bound number just doesn’t cut it.
The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings is, in a physical sense, everything a magic book should be.
A large encyclopaedic size volume, bigger than A4, hardcover, with a good 270 pages and a lovely shiny dust jacket that comes as standard.

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but there is something about the paper older books are printed on. It’s thicker, it feels nice and as far as paper goes, this book is top notch. It sounds ridiculous, but it feels like what a magic book really should be. It’s what you’d find in an ancient old library, it probably has spells and potion recipes in it somewhere.

If you don’t know who Larry Jennings is, be ashamed. He is one of the modern eras greatest conjurers and it’d be an idea to polish up on your knowledge. Here might be a start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Jennings

The book itself contains countless ideas on theory, sleights as well as pure effects. Eighty of them in fact. Yes, about 80 effects, each properly described with all the sleights and necessary moves and misdirection included.

The majority of the effects are with cards, several routines with coins and coin shells and the now famous, Jennings One Cup Cups and Balls Routine.

I will go into more detail about them in a second, but first, here is a list of all the sleights that for a mere £24 are ready to be added to your charming arsenal. In fact, there are so many, it’s almost comical.

Ed Marlo’s Unit Upjog Addition,The Optical Add-on, The Bobo switch, The Berg Palm, Top Card Replacement, Modified Curry Turnover, L.J Double Pushoff, The Optical toss, The Miracle Spread, The Vernon Cut, ATFUS, The Walton Show, L.J Double Double, Pip Mis-show Sequence, L.J Shell Steal, Purse Palm Vanish, Krenzel Mechanical Revese, Dr Elliot’s Pass, The Vernon Wedge, The Wedge Cull, The Wedge Reverse, Larry’s Packet Reverse, The Panorama Pass, The Elmsley Count, The Jennings Change, The LJ Peek, Interlock, Vernon Utility Move, Finnel’s Free Cut Principle, Unloading Move, Hamman Count, Purse Palm, Back Clip Variation, Angle Steal, Heel Steal, Han Ping Chien, Depth Illusion,Christ Twist, Elias Multiple Shift, Stevens Riffle Control, Block Transfer, Tenkai Pinch, French Drop, Braue Reverse, Braue Addition, D’amico Shift, Underground Elmsley, Slip Switch, Kaps Subtlety, Drop Switch, Hand Washing Vanish, The Gathering Add-on, T.N.T Bottom Deal, Bounce Double, Finley Tent Vanish, Rub a Dub dub Vanish, Spring Palm, Bottom Deal Exchange, Flustration Count, Erdnase Palm Change, Rhythm Count, Faro Slough Off, Pressure Fan Control, Fair show, Clean Up and Reverse, Pop-up Move, One Hand Bottom Palm, Diagonal Palm Shift, Vernon Cone Vanish.

Seriously. You pay £23.99 and get all of those.What’s more? This is a book of routines, not sleights. Those are, really, just bonuses. How can you NOT buy this?


As mentioned earlier, there are 80 routines in all. There are 65 effects with cards, the One Cup Routine(and it doesn’t include two girls) and the rest are made up of coin routines and one with dice.
It is an old school close up conjurers dream.

As well as including what are known as “The Jennings Classics”, there are countless routines that I am shocked have never been wider heard of or performed. They are stunning, routine to perfection with brilliant plots.
I will quickly describe a few of the classics and then point out a few of the other routines that have really stood out for me.

Ambitious Classic: It’s famous, it’s brilliant, it’s simple. The Ace through Five are shown in a packet and go through an Ambitious Card sequence, with each subsequent card doing something incredible and different. Finishing with a brilliant climax.
Here is the man himself performing it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z0hlRlUn68

Open Travellers: Here is the real work on probably the most famous Ace routine in existence. He gives the real patter, the real sleights and the real thinking behind it. It has been passed down by so many people, it has become like a game of Chinese Whispers. The effect you so often see performed is nothing like the original, it is twisted and badly routined. If you have any interest to perform this effect, the book is a must.
Again, here is a clip of the man himself performing the routine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK3sYSoihhU

Larry Jennings’ Single Cup and Balls Routine: I’ve always loved the original Vernon routine. It’s brilliant. However, upon reading this, and the subsequently watching it, the Jennings routine has easily over taken it as the greatest cup(s) and balls routine I have ever seen.
It is pure magic from start to finish.
The cup is magically made to appear, so are the balls, the routine is perfect with a brilliant final load and to top it all off? The final load disappears, immeadiatly followed by the cup disappearing too.
It doesn’t use a Chop Cup, although the effect itself, looks like one of the best chop cup routines possible.
It is explained in full detail with crystal clear illustrations etc. It will, and I’m personally now attempting to learn, take a long time. Lots of effort, lots of filming and sleight practice, but I know it will be 100% worth it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ic9qpdN478


As I mentioned earlier, although these classics really make the book special, it is the many other routines that really put this book in a league of its own. There is no filler. All the effects are top notch and with practice, will definitely enter your repertoire.
Here are a couple of my favourites:

“Always Cut The Cards”: This is the first effect in the book and once I read through, I knew the book was going to be brilliant.

You openly upjog the aces as you spread through the deck and strip them out. The deck is placed face down on the table. The spectator places on ace on top of the deck and cuts it. You place an ace on top, and cut the deck. They place the third ace on top and cut, and you do the same with the 4th. After the fourth cut is made…the deck doesn’t get touched. You click your fingers, or whatever takes your fancy, and all four aces are on top of the deck again. Clean as Colgate.

“Impossible”: Greedoniz mentioned this in the original review. It is quite literally an impossible self working. Laymen will love it, and magicians will never work it out. In a ridiculously open and fair sequence with no shuffling, a card is selected and cut into the deck by the spectator, yet when they spell “Impossible” from the top of the deck, the selected card falls on the last letter.

The Card in the Hat: I will never perform this, I will never learn it, it wouldn’t fit my style, but it is hilariously genius. A cowboy style hat is needed, and…oh boy. It is such a brilliant, yet painfully difficult method of loading the card!

The Courting Queen: Larry mentions that there are way too many effects solely aimed at women and this one, is only performed for men. A clever effect where a chosen Queen appears and disappears etc. Definitely one for the lads in the pub.

Impromtu Wild Card: Nothing really to be said…well routined version of the classic Wild Card effect without any double facers etc. Just sleights and clever presentation.

Ambidextrous Travellers: This is a personal challenge I have set myself to learn. It is a very sleight heavy Travellers routine which although is technically very difficult, is brilliant created and will have an awesome effect on spectators.


Difficulty: (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)

It is very difficult to give it a difficulty to be honest. There are a few self-workers, there are quite a few routines that are sleight heavy, but it’s all full explained.
85% is within the reach of any amateur magician with a bit of hard work and dedication.
There are however, quite a few routines that are very difficult and although with practice they can be mastered, the time spent learning them would be pretty pointless unless you were intending to perform the routines for spectators.

There are are few 1’s. Lots of 3’s and 4’s and one or two 5’s!

Overall:
10 out of 10 is always a bit ridiculous. How can something be literally perfect? Well I think I will be bold enough to say, as far as a book on classic conjuring with cards and coins goes, this is perfect. There are 80 routines, countless well taught sleights, an insight into one of the greatest close up magic thinkers of our time and beautiful illustrations.
All of that, when coupled with the excellent presentation of this huge volume, along with the heartwarming introduction and dedication, makes it quite simply, the best book on the subject I own. When and if another book over takes that position, it will really have to be quite something.
I haven’t got a huge book collection compared to many of you, but I would easily put this ahead of Berglas and both the old Derren books.

If you have any interest in close up magic whatsoever, you have no excuse not to own this book.
For Christ sake, it’2 £23.99. That’s about 30p per routine, 8p per page! Seriously!

Go and buy it, you honestly won’t regret it.

"I want to do magic...but I don't want to be referred to as a magician." - A layman chatting to me about magic.
Lenoir
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Postby IAIN » Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:42 am

i like his laid back approach - but the few bits n pieces i have of him on dvds, (those L&L best of releases) - i didnt really take to the stories...

yes you can boo me...but thats how i feel about a lot of card magic if I'm honest...

but it certainly sounds like fantastic value, and anyone is bound to learn a lot from him...

IAIN
 

Postby big-dan » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:54 pm

I would agree with you Iain, i was put off by the Classic Magic DVD that i bought a few years ago. However thanks to this great review i think i will pick this book up.

I remember someone mentioning that Larry was quite old when he filmed his videos and that a lot of the material came across very cold and boring with lots of stories and talking and that it lacked energy.

Therefore anyone reading this i would suggest you pick up the book instead of the DVD.

all the best

big dan

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Postby Lenoir » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:24 am

Yeah, his performance style wasn't the most entertaining. Luckily, the techniques and effects in the book don't come with much in the way of patter/script, leaving everything up to you!

"I want to do magic...but I don't want to be referred to as a magician." - A layman chatting to me about magic.
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Postby the_mog » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:40 pm

another vote for this book... its a great book in every sense of the word and has been on my shelf for a very long time. definitely worth a punt!

Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music. - Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989.. :mrgreen:
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Postby Lenoir » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:21 pm

Has anyone on TM performed "The Hook"?

Real magic.

"I want to do magic...but I don't want to be referred to as a magician." - A layman chatting to me about magic.
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Postby Randy » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:55 am

From what I can recall is that Larry Jennings was an excellent card mechanic, but a pretty mediocre performer.

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Postby Lenoir » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:15 am

Randy wrote:From what I can recall is that Larry Jennings was an excellent card mechanic, but a pretty mediocre performer.


He certainly was all skill and not much else. However, his beautiful routines are now available for those who CAN perform!

"I want to do magic...but I don't want to be referred to as a magician." - A layman chatting to me about magic.
Lenoir
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