Though fuzzy, Cardini’s video captures his elegant and skillful magic.
Some authors claim that it would take a student magician years of practice before he can even imitate Cardini’s moves. Palming and back palming cards with gloved hands (and even removing the gloves while secretly palming cards) would be an impossible feat even to the most ardent student of card magic.
The video teaches not only card manipulation. A magic student who wants to learn presentation, staging, movement and choreography should watch the video with an eye trained not only to find the tricks.
As his usual characterization, Cardini is playing the role of a tipsy magician. Whereas today’s student card manipulators would act pleased at what they can accomplish, Cardini acts befuddled by the cards, cigarette and billiard balls materializing from thin air and then vanishing seemingly without control from him. The magic looks like it is happening to him and not caused by him.
He employs drama and comedy and succeeds in making the emotional hook with the audience. That is what entertainment is all about—go for the audience emotions, not just create the magical visuals and eye-candy poses so common today.
Notice the music. Unlike some magicians who would tell the soundman, “Play any song. I’ll catch up with you,” Cardini chooses his music well and practices and rehearses with it probably hundreds of times before performing. The result is that the music fades in and out, rises up and down to his magic, instead of his magic “catching up” to the music. At the end of the act, Cardini exits as the last strains play, not one bar more nor less.
Notice also the assistant. She enters and exits at the right moment of the act. Stage directors of high school play can take lessons on stage blocking from this video clip.
There are more lessons in the Cardini clip than meet the eye. The student magician can learn these lessons if he watches beyond the Cardini’s finger dexterity.