But there is one name I wish I could remember…
I had just seen JC Wagner lecture at the Forks Hotel. He had taught his work on the Marlo Snap Change and I was in love with the move. I worked on it all the time…and not just using cards. I experimented with using it for coins, bills, matchboxes, sugar packets, and even bars of soap! If it fit in my hands, I tried to Snap Change it.
During the time of that obsession, a gentleman from Lake Tahoe came in and looked at what books we had to offer on card magic and technique. He was well versed in cards and showed me a number of things I had never seen before. I shared with him my endless array of Snap Change ideas. I don’t think I fooled him with a single thing - but he seemed impressed with my drive and general enthusiasm for magic. As he left, he took one of our business cards and said he would send me something when he got back home.
A few weeks later a package arrived at the shop with my name on it. I opened it up and inside was four VHS tapes. It was Steve Forte’s Gambling Protection Series.
At the time, I had no idea who Steve Forte was. I put in the tapes and watched.
My first thought was, “Bullshit.”
I simply could not fathom that one guy could be so good at so many obscure and difficult moves. He did move after move flawlessly. Many magicians would kill just to be able to do a handful of these things - even one. But Forte could do them all - and he could do them better than anyone I’ve ever seen.
These were not meant to be “instructional” tapes in the modern sense. There was no detailed explanation; the goal of these tapes was not to teach the moves. Rather it was to inform the viewer that these techniques were possible. To arm the player with knowledge to hedge against being taken.
But in truth they were “instructional” tapes - as long is you were patient and committed enough to learn what they had to offer. I can say without question that those tapes changed my life. I certainly never came close to the skill displayed on the screen but it taught me one of the most important magic lessons I’ve ever learned:
There are guys out there who are so good that your mind will tell you that you must have missed something just to make you feel better. But you didn’t miss something, because there was nothing to miss. You could have burned them all day and not seen a thing. They are good - skilled beyond anything you can imagine and committed in a way that most of us can not comprehend.
There’s also a chance you’ve never heard of them.
Be humble or be humbled.
To this day, I have no idea who the guy was that sent me those tapes.
I wish I did, I’d like to thank him.