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Torn and Restored Card

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The Torn and Restored Card is a plot wherein a playing card (usually chosen by a spectator) is torn into pieces and then restored. There are many techniques to accomplish this, some even allowing for the card to be signed, and most requiring sleight-of-hand. There are also different presentational approaches. For example, David Copperfield performed it with an extremely valuable baseball card on one of his television specials. He used a version by Chris Kenner called Torn Asunder, which was advertised to the magic community but never actually released.


First ever published torn and restored card

According to Potter's Index, it seems to be :

First published routines to use a signed card

In The Magic Wand, Vol. 22, No. 160, dec. 1933, page 191, A Marked Torn and Restored Card Effect by Leonard Saunders. It's not really a signed card but the spectator writes a number on one of the index corner.

In The Cardician by Edward Marlo (1953), page 187, The Second Method, the magician puts his initials on the back of the card and the spectator does the same on the face.

In New Applause Winning Tricks by Sam Berland (1956), page 6, Signature Card Restoration. You need a gimmick envelope.

First published routine to use only one card

Ultimate Rip-off by Paul Harris (1977)?

Methods in Print using Poker- or Bridge-Size Cards

  • Routine by Jerome E. Cook where a selected card is torn into quarters and placed into a card box then card appears in envelope which spectator is holding, except for one corner, which is found in the card box was published in Sphinx December, 1921 with no name (page 357).
  • Impromptu Torn and Restored Card by Paul LePaul. Published in The Card Magic of Le Paul (1959) An index corner is torn from a freely selected card and retained by the spectator for future identification. The remainder of the card is torn into bits and the pieces buried in the deck. The magician holds the face-down deck by its inner end and riffles up the outer end with his free hand, causing a single card to pop out from the deck like a piece of toast from a horizontal toaster (inspired by an item that appears in Walter Gibson's 1933 book Magician's Manual in which a miniature version of a chosen card flys out of the deck when the outer end is strongly riffled). That card is removed and proves to be the selection, completely restored except for the corner which has been retained by the spectator.
  • Pickin' Up The Pieces by Richard Kaufman. Published in CardMagic (1979). Using the Paul LePaul handling as its basis, this unique version contines on by restoring the fourth quarter of the card. A the three-quarter card is placed on top of the deck, and the fourth quarter is fitted in place. A white sticker is pressed into position on the center of the back to hold the corner in place. The magician draws a tiny three-quarter card and fourth quarter on the sticker. The deck is riffled and the drawn card on the sticker visible restores itself. When the sticker is peeled off, the chosen card is now seen to be restored!
  • Torn Card by Bernard Bilis. Published in French Pasteboards (Bilis, 1980). Rather than being torn, an initialed card is sliced in half with a straight razor. Based on a very clever application of an optical illusion.
  • Threshold by Gary Ouellet. Published as a separate manuscript in the Masters of Magic series (Volume 1, #5) (1981). Card is chosen and signed by both the magician (on the back) and the spectator (on the face) before being torn, then restored.
  • The Marker by Darwin Ortiz. Published in Cardshark (Ortiz, 1995). Based on Paul LePaul's Impromptu Torn and Restored Card, but framed in an original presentation that "provides a logical reason for everything that happens in the effect: a reason for having the spectator sign the card, for tearing off the corner, for tearing up the card, for restoring it, and for not restoring the corner."
  • R.I.P. by David Acer. Published in Natural Selections, Volume II (1999). Variation of Paul Harris's Ultimate Rip-Off performed with a business card, featuring a piece by piece restoration, and framed in a presentation that justifies the fact that the final piece is left unrestored.
  • Granama by Simon Lovell. Published in Son of Simon Says (Lovell, 2000). An ingeniously motivated torn-and-restored card in which the spectator writes his first name in big, bold letters across the face of a selected card, then the magician offers to find some anagrams for the name and tears the card into as many strips as there are letters (i.e., each strip bears one letter of the spectator's name). The magician plays around with the order of the letters forming fun and interesting anagrams, then he invites the spectator to try as he hands him the pile of strips. The spectator tries to move the letters around, only to find that the card is restored.

Methods in Print using Jumbo Cards