Despite the amount of material we’ve released over an almost 15-year period, our older material still draws attention, and none more so than Crash Course 2. The video teaching the ambitious card routine (ACR) has been one of our best-reviewed videos because it features Brad’s teaching style at its best, and it’s packed full like a Southern bell’s suitcase with sleights, moves and ideas.
Released in 2003, it marked a departure from Crash Course 1, which taught several stand-alone routines from beginning to end. With a concept of teaching the ACR, it taught so much more than a routine — it taught how to make OUR OWN routines. The ACR is a classic of magic: It was a specific variation of that trick that Dai Vernon used to fool Houdini. It can be done myriad ways with a borrowed deck of cards. Every card worker has their take on it, and usually relies on some form of it as their go-to trick.
That means there’s no one way to teach an ACR. There are multiple ways, and that’s exactly the approach Brad Christian took with the video. And that approach makes Crash Course 2.
Crash Course 2 offers some of the best examples of learning by watching. The video was PACKED with performances of the effects taught. It gave watchers a chance to see exactly how the sleights played to real people, and how some performances don’t exactly go as planned, but still look magical. We also got to see so many great reactions, from the kid with the “Jackass” shirt to the girls Nate Staniforth performed for.
At its core, Crash Course 2 is a video packed with controls — a lot of different ways to accomplish the same thing. How many different ways do we REALLY need to know how to get a card to a certain position? The serious answer is simple: A LOT. For many, Crash Course 2 was a first toolbox, or arsenal. It gave magicians many options of accomplishing a certain task, and that freed up creativity.
The moves taught in Crash Course 2 go way beyond one-hit wonders. Many of those moves can be adapted for other purposes. Take the push-off double lift, for instance: It works at either the front of a trick to show a card going somewhere it’s really not, or it can be used at the end of a trick to reveal what a card really isn’t. By learning all the different uses for a sleight, the video taught a powerful lesson about using sleights in different ways.
This is probably the most important point: The other three points basically give magicians the power to create their own routines based on their performance character. David Blaine got many interested in magic, but one thing the video drives home is that people don’t want to see magic tricks performed — they want to see a GREAT MAGICIAN performing magic. Learning a variety of sleights and different ways to use them lets magicians take ownership of their own magic, and that’s the best lesson of all.
FOUR POINTS is a regular feature that celebrates magicians’ favorite number by highlighting four critical bits of importance, awesomeness or otherwise. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.