5-Week Magic Classes for Adults Start January 22

By Tom Interval

New to magic or need a refresher?

Register now for my winter magic sessions, which will occur every Sunday from January 22 through February 19.

During these classes, students ages 18-plus will learn how to perform easy, mind-blowing magic from a professional who has taught for more than 36 years (see a few five-star reviews below).

Whether you’re a parent, uncle, aunt, grandparent, teacher, doctor, or businessperson, magic is one of the most unique and fun ways to entertain family and friends, spice up presentations or sales pitches, or communicate with your students or patients.

Sessions will focus on the theatrical performance and psychology of each trick, not just the tricks themselves.

The cost is $295 for five 1.5-hour sessions ($39.33 per lesson), including supplies. There’s a maximum class size of eight, so register soon to reserve a spot. Please remember that preregistration is required.

To learn more and to register, please visit intervalmagic.com/classes/intro/adult.

A few five-star reviews for my classes:

Such a great experience! I knew nothing about magic before I met Tom. He’s just the right combination of performer, technician, and enthusiast. His passion comes through in his teaching. You not only learn the techniques, but the spirit behind the trick, the nuances, and the patter and presentation that make them so good. After my first couple lessons I was able to perform a handful of tricks for my friends and they were blown away. As you learn, you get to see his ability first hand as a performer. Tom Interval is the real deal.
–Eric E., Scottsdale, AZ

I hired Tom as a magic coach/instructor to help me get to a level where I could start performing again. A typical teacher would just teach you a few tricks, but Tom went above and beyond. He really got to know my goals, and we mapped out a plan to help me achieve those goals, and then got to work. So, while he did teach me new tricks, he also helped me with my presentation, confidence and gave me new ways to think about magic. I highly recommend Tom as a magic teacher and coach.
–Andrew M., San Diego, CA

Tom is an amazing magician and an even better instructor! He listened to what I was interested in learning and tailored a phenomenal curriculum to what I was looking for. He is very clear and explains things well. His videos and visual aids are so clear and easy to follow. They really helped me practice. He is always available when I have questions about the material. I highly recommend taking lessons from Tom if you are interested in learning magic.
–Sameer S., San Diego, CA

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In Memory of Harry Houdini on His Deathday

By Tom Interval

96 years ago today—Sunday, Oct. 31, 1926, 1:26 p.m.—escapology pioneer, magician, and worldwide icon Harry Houdini died of diffuse peritonitis (streptococci). In memory of the man who deeply understood that audience perception is more important than reality.

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Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern 2022

By Tom Interval

It’s unbelievable another year has gone by since last Halloween, but here we are. Each year I carve a Houdini jack-o’-lantern, and it’s time to share 2022’s edition with you: a young Houdini. For the source image, scroll down a bit more. You can see some of my Houdini jack-o’-lanterns from previous years on this blog by following the preceding link or by looking at the nine-year montage I posted on Instagram in 2020. And for step-by-step instructions on how to make one, see last year’s post. Happy Halloween!

Here’s the source image I used this year:

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New England Magic Collectors Association Chooses My Newsletter Name Idea

By Tom Interval

Cover of Discoveries, Vol. 1, No. 3

In April, the New England Magic Collectors Association (NEMCA) announced on its Facebook page a contest to name its quarterly newsletter. Today they announced the winner: yours truly! Thanks to the NEMCA board for that.

My name idea, Discoveries, is derived from the title of a seminal book in the field of magic: The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), by Reginald Scot. The book, an exposé of the methods of supposed witches of the day, was arguably the first widely available work to reveal magic tricks.

In the context of collecting, Discoveries has a second meaning. Those who collect magic books, apparatus, posters, ephemera, and memorabilia, no matter how large or small their collection, are on a never-ending quest to acquire more magical pieces. And sometimes even the smallest, least expensive discovery brings the most joy.

Excerpt from NEMCA’s Discoveries, Vol. 1, No. 3. To read the full newsletter, follow this link.

I’m not sure how many other people submitted name ideas, but I’m honored NEMCA chose mine. And besides the honor itself, the organization awarded me a bronze medallion crafted after an original medallion issued by renowned Scottish magician John Henry Anderson (1814–1874), known in his day as The Great Wizard of the North. (Trivia: Anderson died less than seven weeks before legendary escapologist and magician Harry Houdini was born.)

NEMCA also gifted me one Yankee Magic Collector issue of my choosing. Yankee Magic Collector is a publication that coincides with NEMCA’s biennial Yankee Gathering.

Thanks again, NEMCA! I look forward to future issues of Discoveries.

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Before You Do Card Tricks, Learn These 6 Things

By Tom Interval

In the 37 years I’ve been teaching magic, many students hired me specifically to learn card tricks. Before meeting me, some of them didn’t know a spade from a club or how to properly:

  • Remove the deck from its box
  • Spread cards between the hands or on the table
  • Cut, shuffle, or deal cards

These are some of the fundamental skills every aspiring card magician needs to learn and the topics I cover in my most recent video tutorial: Before You Do Card Tricks, Learn These 6 Things: A Beginner’s Tutorial on Basic Card Handling.

If you’ve always wanted to do card tricks and wondered where to start, the most important thing to remember is this: Before attempting any actual tricks, get your hands used to the cards by diligently practicing the skills above until you develop muscle memory for each of them.

To learn more, follow the link above or watch the embedded tutorial below. Good luck!

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Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

By Tom Interval

It’s one of the most iconic illustrations in the modern history of magic literature: a pair of hands in sequence makes a red ball disappear in a flash of white light.

It appears on the cover of Now You See It, Now You Don’t! Lessons in Sleight of Hand, by Bill Tarr and illustrator Barry Ross.

Packed with 224 pages of profusely illustrated, step-by-step instructions on many of the fundamental tricks and sleights magicians use throughout their careers—including everything from card, coin, ball, and thimble manipulation to the classic French drop (depicted on the cover)—this book is on the shelves of anyone even remotely serious about the art of magic. At least anyone who lived before the Internet Age.

Interested in learning more? Watch my second Magic Book Club video, where I discuss the book in more detail and demonstrate the French drop and a really cool card fan called the pressure fan (referred to as a “spring fan” in Tarr’s book).

You can follow the link to Magic Book Club #2 to watch it directly on YouTube or view it in the embedded video below.

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Magic Book Club

By Tom Interval

Who doesn’t like a good book club?

Well, probably a lot of people, actually. If you’re one of them, then you’ll be sad to know I’m starting one for magicians.

Not an in-person book club, mind you, but a virtual one. Today on my YouTube channel, I’m introducing what I call Magic Book Club.

The first installment, which features Modern Magic, by Professor Hoffmann (1839–1919), is, frankly, kind of humdrum. That wasn’t my intention. I initially planned to simply read passages from some of my favorite magic books in a style similar to political commentator Thom Hartmann. In other words, to do so without commentary.

But that style doesn’t as easily lend itself to magic, as I quickly discovered today. But no worries. I’m going to tweak Magic Book Club videos starting with the next installment to make it more like, well, a book club.

So instead of just reading passages, I’m going to summarize each book, tell you what I liked and didn’t like about it, let you know where to find it, and even give occasional demonstrations of tricks within its pages.

Regardless of these changes, my overall goal remains the same: to inspire beginning, intermediate, and advanced magicians to read more and to find hidden magical gems—effects or theory—in books that might otherwise go unread.

To watch Magic Book Club #1: Modern Magic, follow the link or see the embedded video below.

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Cups and Balls: the First Routine Magicians Learn

By Tom Interval

The cups and balls. Copyright 2022 Tom Interval

Here’s a magic trivia question for you: What is the oldest magic trick ever performed? Many magicians would quickly answer, “The cups and balls!”

But the truth is, while the cups and balls is one of the oldest tricks in existence (it was performed some 2,000 years ago), it’s not the oldest. Even so, it’s one of the most popular in history, and there are as many cups-and-balls routines as there are magicians.

The first routine most magicians learn is a super-easy, out-of-the-box version. And I mean literally out of a box. In the earliest marketed versions of the trick, using three plastic cups of different colors, the effect (the “magic” the audience sees) is the same: Three balls, one at a time, “magically” penetrate the top of a solid, inverted cup and fall to the table underneath.

As magic students gain experience, they expand upon the basic routine, adding sleight-of-hand moves and ever-more creative surprise finishes. An intermediate or advanced routine includes fundamental techniques every accomplished magician uses throughout his or her life, and not just for the cups and balls.

But newbies have to start somewhere, and the out-of-the-box routine is a great first version to learn. That’s why I created my own video tutorial on just that (see below). I’ve produced other tutorials on the cups and balls but never focused on just the beginners’ routine.

Because the routine is technically easy, children can learn it fast, and its ease allows students to focus on the more important aspect of magic: the performance. In the tutorial, I teach both technique and patter (the words magicians say while performing) to get even the most novice learner started.

To watch the tutorial, follow the link or see the embedded video below.

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How to Do the Ribbon-Spread Turnover

By Tom Interval

If you love movies, you might have seen Paul Newman in The Sting (1973) manipulating cards like a magician or gambler. Of course, there was expert manipulation going on, but it mostly wasn’t Newman doing it. Why do I say “mostly”?

Because, despite magician and card expert John Scarne lending his hands for almost all of the close-up card work in the film, Newman actually did one of the moves himself. Or should I say he did half of one of the moves?

Which one? It’s called the ribbon-spread turnover, and in the film, a close-up shot of Scarne’s hands shows Scarne spreading the deck on a table. But once the deck is spread and Scarne’s hands are out of the shot, there’s a noticeable splice just before Newman’s hands come into view and finish the move by turning over the deck with a flourish.

Many films have shown characters doing the ribbon-spread turnover to establish their skill or shrewd nature, but you don’t have to be an expert magician, con artist, or Hollywood stand-in to do the spread well. It does take some practice, but if you follow my video tutorial carefully and put in the time, you’ll have a real conversation starter at your next poker game.

You can watch the full tutorial by following the link or watching the embedded video below. And when you have time, update me on your progress. Good luck!

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How to Fan a Deck of Cards: The Pressure Fan

By Tom Interval

You don’t have to be a magician to learn really cool flourishes with playing cards, but it does help if you’re already good at shuffling, cutting, dealing, and knowing your way around a deck in general.

If you do, you’ll love the challenge of learning this particular card fan. This is not the same fan I taught in an earlier video (the thumb fan). This one’s a bit of a knuckle-buster, but it’s worth taking the time and effort to learn well.

Long story longer, it’s called the pressure fan, otherwise known as the spring fan because it uses spring pressure to propel a fan of cards in a clockwise circle. Okay, it could also be counterclockwise if you’re left-handed, but who’s splitting hairs?

The fan is taught in a number of books on magic, including one of the earliest I could find, the 1927 Tarbell correspondence course, known today as an eight-volume set called The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 3, “Modern Card Fan,” pp. 214–215.

Other book descriptions include those in Expert Card Technique, by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue (1940), p. 164; The Royal Road to Card Magic, by Hugard and Braue (1949), p. 65; and Now You See It, Now You Don’t!, by Bill Tarr, p. 63.

The latter book is where I learned how to do the pressure fan. In fact, I show the book on the video tutorial, along with not only teaching the fan itself but also briefly talking about its history and sharing a few old films of me doing it as a child.

So without further delay, please enjoy the tutorial by following the YouTube link or watching the embedded video below. And if you have any feedback or simply want to share your progress learning the fan, I’d love to hear from you.

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