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 photo answer_zps8cbcaf8b.pngMy friend Ron Mariano (also known as Ron Salamangkero in the world of magic creators) must be a genius.

Oh, he’s many things besides being brilliant. He is also a suave magic performer blessed with digital dexterity that allows him to perform eye-popping card manipulations.

Lately he has distinguished himself by creating The Answer, a piece-by-piece restoration of a signed playing card. It is now distributed worldwide by WorldMagicShop.

 photo 756d58c3-11f3-418d-bddc-b5187594e5e9_zpsfd910384.pngThe torn-and-restored card has become a classic plot that gained popularity after David Copperfield did a piece-by-piece restoration of a torn baseball card on one of his TV specials. In 1999, Guy Hollingworth took the magic world by storm when he came up with his version using a signed playing card instead of a baseball card. He published the trick he called The Reformation in his book Drawing Room Deceptions.

Since then, many creative magicians have trod this well-trodden path, offering their own workable solutions or methods to the torn-and-restored card plot. Always, the solutions thus far leave a question at the end of the performance: how to finish the trick clean?

I’m not sure if someone has come up with an end-clean solution before Ron Mariano published his. But reviewing the product, I’m sure his The Answer does answer unequivocally the question and offers a solution to the awkward ending of the torn-and-restored card trick.

Ron’s method allows the performer to hand the mended card to a spectator and then to show his card completely clean. No hidden pieces palmed in the hand or clipped between fingers or hidden under the skin. The method is that clean.

I found watching the piece-by-piece restoration in The Answer to be a breathtaking magic. The moves are streamlined, producing a truly magical-looking restoration.

However, as I have seen so many torn-and-restored card tricks before, I’m kind of jaded by this type of magic by now. The Answer looks exactly how it should look if one has a genuine power to mend torn cards, but then other similar card restorations of late also look the same.

What floored me is not the optics of the trick (which are dazzling) but the method of accomplishing this venerable effect. Even if one watches closely how Ron does it, I don’t think he can reverse engineer the method. Unless, of coursehe is also a genius like Ron, he probably can’t see through the trick.

Let me assure you, no matter what you think the method is, it is not what you’re thinking. Ron’s solution to this plot is more sophisticated than what you may come up with. For this reason, I give The Answer’s method a high rate for its brilliance and inventiveness. How Ron figured this out, I have no idea. I could spend 10 years in deep contemplation and try to come up with my method for a torn-and-restored card plot, and I would not end up with his solution.

To perform the trick, one must prepare the card (of course). To some, the preparation may be cumbersome, but I’m sure doing it repeatedly over time will give one the knack for doing it fast and smoothly.

Sold as a studio-shot instructional DVD, The Answer is not over-the-top packaged to jack up its price, but just functionally enough for safe storage.

The trick is performed and explained by both Ron and WorldMagicShop’s Henri White. Crystal clear, the explanation leaves no room for misinterpretation of the steps to prepare the restoration card and how to perform the trick to achieve a maximum magical effect.

The Answer is not a trick you buy now and perform one hour later. Apart from the required preparation of the card, one must also run though the handling, tearing and restoring several times to get rid of the initial fiddly look of the fingers that might confound the learner. The moves are not knuckle-busters, but they are not a breeze to do either without the proper amount of rehearsals.

The Answer is available from MagicWorldShop or from Ron for GBP22.

 photo 333465b3-abf0-4977-a855-3d0b04802d46_zps25ba43cd.jpgCongratulations, Ron, for this excellent trick. Through it, you have shown Pinoy magicians can be world class.

Stay magical,