Bammo Blacktrack Jack By Bob Farmer
Review by Michael Close
Backtrack Jack is an in-the-hands, six-phase routine using three Jacks of Hearts. The cards go through a variety of gyrations: a face-up Jack placed in the middle of the packet magically travels to the bottom (twice), a face-up Jack turns face down (twice), the faces of the cards disappear (resulting in three double-backed cards), and then all the faces reappear. At the end, all the cards are handed out one by one for examination. The trick immediately resets.
As I have mentioned in other reviews, when Bob tackles a plot, he dives deep, squeezing out every drop of magic effect possible. He writes, “Gaetan Bloom taught me a valuable lesson about routining a magic effect: always extract the maximum magic from whatever the trick is…I dedicate Backtrack Jack to my pal Gaetan Bloom because his words were in my head every minute I worked on this effect. I doubt that anyone, except Gaetan, could get more out of one gaff and two regular cards.”
You receive the necessary three cards (which were printed in Europe by Carta Mundi and are more substantial than the usual Bicycle cards) and an eighteen-page manuscript (with eighty-seven photos) that guides you step by step through the routine. The required sleights are not challenging; a performer with low-intermediate card skills could easily learn the routine in an evening.
The routine is certainly serviceable as written, but those of you with more card handling experience may want to find substitutes for some of the sleights. For example, I’m not a fan of the at-the-fingertips E-Y-E count. I think the same result can be accomplished by performing the necessary manipulation from the right hand into left-hand dealing grip. I would also probably replace the Flushtration count with other strategies. These are small points, however; it is in my nature to play around with Bob’s creations and develop handlings more suited to my personal card-handling esthetic.
For those of you who work in strolling environments, having a routine you can perform without a table and that (apparently) allows all the cards to be examined at the end are strong selling points. Considering the cost of magic tricks these days, the ten-dollar price tag is a steal. If the effects appeal, Backtrack Jack is well worth checking out.