Here’s a brilliant method that relies on a clever gimmick
and the end effect looks convincing. It’s Steve Dusheck’s take on “diminishing cards.” In the classic effect, a magician fans a deck of cards and then closes the fan. After seemingly “compressing” the cards, the magician once again fans the deck and the cards appear to shrink in size. The fan is closed and then “decompressed.” At the end, the cards have returned to their original size.
The diminishing card effect
is normally performed on stage or in stand up
(and usually to music) and it’s not usually performed on its own but as part of a longer manipulation routine
. The best known method relies on an optical illusion that may be applied to ordinary playing cards, but there are many versions that rely on gimmicks and switch outs. This version relies on clever gaffed cards and the effect may be presented on stage or even close-up
With Dusheck’s version, you start with stack of 12 playing cards (and not a full deck). You fan the regular-poker sized cards and then remove one from the fan and set it aside to be used as a reference as the other cards shrink in size. After a moment in your hands, the cards shrink to approximately half their size and the comparison card is held next to them to show the relational difference. The cards then shrink in size again into tiny cards. At the end, the cards are restored to their original size.
As the ads state, there is no palming, folding, ditching and ringing in of gimmicks. Everything is accomplished with a single set of gimmicks and through most of the phases, the handling makes it appear that there is nothing else in your hands. The effect is not difficult to learn and perform. Once you understand the principle and the way that the gimmick works, the sequences are quite logical. Furthermore, the prop instantly resets
as you finish the routine.
As you would expect, you’ll have to watch your angles. On a formal stage and in most stand-up situations where you don’t have to watch your back this won’t be an issue. But in close-up situations, you’ll have to ensure that no one is watching from the back or from the sides.
Your Choice of Decks
The well made gimmick is made from card stock and designed to work with just about any “poker-sized” deck of cards. Thus, you don’t have to employ the card back design that comes with the kit. You can, with certain conditions, use the gimmick with your preference in cards. I used standard Bicycle decks and with these cards (both red and blue-backed) the gimmick worked great. But if you use edgy Black Tiger or Ghost decks, for example, the effect won’t work. Another consideration, the cards can wear out. But for $20, if you perform the routine a lot, you can probably purchase several sets.
My only reservation is that when using the gimmick you can’t make nice even fans as you can with a deck of regular cards. You’re basically forced to hold the cards in one hand at each stage and then manually spread the cards into a rough fan - regular or pressure fans are just not doable (but this is a small complaint). Overall, I was impressed with Dusheck's Diminishing Cards. I think it’s good.