I’ve told my colleagues about the Classic Pass, but let me tell it here again. I squandered my youth learning and trying to perfect it.
I was proud I could do it regularly at 60 times a minute in my younger days. Later, I felt like a midget when I discovered Michael Ammar could do it 120 times a minute, or twice as fast as my fastest speed.
Yet, Ammar said he doesn’t use the Classic Pass anymore. In Daryl’s eight-volume Encyclopedia of Card Sleights videos, the Classic Pass is famously missing. It’s not clear to me what Daryl’s reason was for not including it in his videos.
If you love challenge, by all means learn the Classic Pass.
Play around with it. It limbers the fingers and softens the muscles. If you can do it with some semblance of smoothness, you will amuse fellow magicians.
You will also feel a sense of fulfillment watching yourself in the mirror or shooting a video of yourself doing the classic pass. The Classic Pass is perfect for mirror viewing and video shoot where the camera is positioned frontally dead on.
But unless you have hands as large as Michael Jordan’s, be very wary of inflicting your pass on paying public. They are not mirrors and unlike cameras, they don’t stay dead center when watching. Some of them watch from the sides where the Pass is most vulnerable.
The difficult part of the Classic Pass is not the Pass itself (although the actions involved rank among the most difficult) but how to make it invisible.
I think this is the reason why the Classic Pass has been, for years, the measuring stick used to measure the proficiency of magicians. The Classic Pass encapsulates the lessons of magic, that a sleight should be invisible.
Sadly, I have yet to see a Filipino magician who can do the Classic Pass invisibly, and I have seen the best performers. Even the so-called Invisible Pass is visible to me.
The reason is perhaps because Pinoy magicians have small hands and, notwithstanding that, a good number of them tend to show off their Pass instead of hide/camouflage/disguise it. It doesn’t help also that I’m a magician who knows what to watch for during a performance.
So in a gathering of magicians showing off their Pass, the conversation runs like this :
Young Magician: Ho-hum the Great has a beautiful pass!
Leodini: How do you know it’s beautiful?
Young Magician: Because I can’t see it. It’s an Invisible Pass!
Leodini: Invisible? Really? How did you know he did the Pass if you couldn’t see it?
Young Magician: Uhm…aah…gee…I don’t know.
Actually, he saw the Pass. In fact most people can observe the Pass when done by most half-baked performers. Perhaps not the whole Pass, but a flash of it or a tell-tale hand or finger movement.
Luckily, most people are just polite. They don’t have the heart to hurt a magician’s feeling. As a result, magicians don’t get the kind of feedback they should get often.
If somebody tells you “You have a beautiful Pass”, take that as an insult and not as a compliment.
It means you are flashing your pass.
This post doesn’t mean I’m discouraging beginners from learning and mastering the Pass. The Pass is useful in many ways if it’s employed as a secret tool, and not as a macho badge to wave in people’s faces.
I’m just trying to emphasize the following points: one, the Pass is a difficult sleight to execute; two, it is a difficult sleight to cover; and three, it is not indispensable. Meaning, in most cases where a pass is called for, a substitute sleight can do a similar job. Not all the time, but most of the time.