Name this card trick?

Apr 26, 2013
24
5
I am trying to identify and then find an explanation for the card trick where you work with six or eight cards, half are black, half are red, you combine into one stack alternating black, red, black, red, a magic wave and then reveal they are no longer mixed. This is repeated building on the fairness of the mix and reveal.
 
Jun 19, 2019
53
17
Hi there,

This routine is called "Oil and Water" (sometimes abbreviated to just O and W). Although it is a classic routine that has probably been published hundreds of times, I'm not sure entirely where you could find the best explanation for it, so I would wait until someone more knowledgeable like @RealityOne sees this thread.
 
Apr 26, 2013
24
5
Hi there,

This routine is called "Oil and Water" (sometimes abbreviated to just O and W). Although it is a classic routine that has probably been published hundreds of times, I'm not sure entirely where you could find the best explanation for it, so I would wait until someone more knowledgeable like @RealityOne sees this thread.
Thanks for the reply, however I think you missed an important point of my explanation. I am familiar with O & W. I think often this is done with the entire deck. The effect I am trying to describe uses only a few cards, 6 or 8. A similar result but quite different method, I think.
 
Jun 18, 2019
543
288
17
West Bengal, India
I am trying to identify and then find an explanation for the card trick where you work with six or eight cards, half are black, half are red, you combine into one stack alternating black, red, black, red, a magic wave and then reveal they are no longer mixed. This is repeated building on the fairness of the mix and reveal.

For Oil and Water, check out One For The Road by Paul Zenon.

Check these out.



You can also check out classic books in card magic. Card College volume 3 has an oil and water routine too.

A heads up though, it falls into the heading of 'classic card effects' and hence are difficult to personalise completely. Also, they are more of magician favourites than crowd favourites for some reason. A deck shuffled and magically restored to new deck order evokes better reactions than a deck sorted into black and red cards for some reason.

I personally like oil and water routines, if they work with small packets of cards than the entire deck. Gives an impromptu feel to the effect. :)
 
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Apr 26, 2013
24
5
Sorry, I assumed the name of the effect I described was different because it only used a few cards. A quick search showed I was wrong. Plenty of published methods, as you said.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
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The oil and water effect is credited Ed Marlo. The first publication of Marlo's Oil and Water was in M-U-M in September of 1953. Marlo's three-phase routine was published in The Cardician. Marlo named the routine and used the analogy to the separation of oil and water separation in the presentation. Marlo's effect was done with a packet of cards and not the full deck.

There are some full deck routines that preceded Marlo's Oil and Water including several effects used a stripper deck. A sleight-of-hand effect was rumored to be performed by J. N. Hofzinser but there is no clear description of the effect or method. There were also some full deck and packet effects where the cards are alternated face-up and face-down and then are righted (which is more a precursor of Triumph than Oil and Water). The most direct predecessor of Marlo's version is Walter B. Gibson's “Like Seeks Like” published in The Jinx, 91 (1940). The effect uses a six card packet and the glide - however the effect was only done once and was not repeated (and really cannot be repeated).

There were multiple subsequent versions by Marlo and Fulves as well as versions by Vernon, Solomon, Ascanio. Tamariz has a great exploration of the theme in The Magic Way. Here is a list of other variations:

https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/category/1649.

Roy Walton has a great kicker ending in his Oil and Queens routine. Others with kicker endings are here:

https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/category/1670

There are a number of variations on John Racherbaumer's Technicolor Oil and Water which uses odd backed cards here:

https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/category/1648

And there are some great full deck routines by Paul Harris, John Carney, John Bannon and Woody Aragon:

https://www.conjuringarchive.com/list/category/1669

My favorite presentation is by the late Maestro Rene Lavand (which I believe is in his Mysteries of My Life Book):

 
Jul 26, 2016
556
760
Just my personal opinion and experience, but magicians tend to be far more enamored of Oil & Water than lay people. Lay audiences expect us to be able to deceptively manipulate the cards, which is precisely what is being done, from start to finish, in an O & R routine. So that greatly dilutes the element of surprise. IMHO, Oil & Water is like a 5 on a scale of 10. Now, Out of This World, where it appears the magician never so much as touched the cards, and the spectator deals out virtually every card in the deck, making every choice, and the colors are completely separated = 10 out of 10.
 
Jun 18, 2019
543
288
17
West Bengal, India
Just my personal opinion and experience, but magicians tend to be far more enamored of Oil & Water than lay people
Yes.
I think Derren Brown said something similar about Oil and Water routines, about them not really being that interesting for laymen.

Here's something very strange...I'm a magician.
And yet oil and water isn't interesting in the least to me! :confused:
 
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