The world of magic has lost one of its giants.  JC Wagner was regarding of one of the greatest bar magicians of all time.  His routines became the staple of many magicians the world over who studied his books and DVDs (and videos back in the day).
My first encounter with him and his work was via the medium of video some 15 or so years ago.  To be honest, I had never heard of him before I put the tape in the machine but I put it in and watched.  I was fooled and, best of all, I was entertained.  And I got 2 routines that stayed with me for a long time.  One was JC’s “Torn And Restored Card”.  Now, this was in the days before the piece by piece full restorations that have become commonplace nowadays.  In fact, it was JC’s effect that gave Guy Hollingworth the starting point for his seminal Reformation routine (click on the link to see Guy’s performance).  I performed the JC’s version for a good few years.  To be honest, I’ve no idea why I stopped doing it!  It’s just one of those things that we magicians (and big magicians) do.  I think I might have to dig it out again.

The other turned into my favourite piece to perform.  At the start of the video JC had a card selected, remembered by the spectators and replaced back in the deck.  Moments later, it was sitting under JC’s glass.  How it got there, I had no idea.  What also got my attention was the reaction by the spectators, so I watched the explanation and started working on it.  Now, however many years later, I am still performing this effect and still love the effect it has on people.

When I first heard the name and learned the magic of JC Wagner, he was in the midst of a long spell out of the magic scene so he could make a living with a real job to support his family.  A while later, though, word started to spread that he was starting to come back into the magic world.  I kicked myself when I missed his first UK Convention appearance and was determined not to miss his next.  Sure enough, a few years later, I got my chance.

I had the honour of meeting him at the 2008 Blackpool Convention where he had been booked to both lecture and perform.  I took my copies of his books – “7 Secrets” and “The Commercial Magic of JC Wagner” – to get signed and to be able to thank him personally for his material, especially the Card Under Glass.  He was approachable, welcoming, kind, enthusiastic and encouraging.  During his lecture he performed Card Under Glass, then asked if he should teach it.  I shouted “no” adding “it’s too good!”  He smiled, then taught it anyway.  At the end of the weekend, I ended up watching JC sessioning with my good friend Paul Wilson (whose recollections you can read at his blog) and French card genius Bebel.  It was a great way to round off a great weekend of magic.  When I said my farewells to JC, he hugged me like a friend he had known for years.  His kindness and willingness to share is something I will long remember.

Me with JC Wagner at the Blackpool Convention in 2008 

And then, on Monday morning, I received the news that the magic world had been dreading for some time – that JC Wagner had lost his long battle against cancer and had passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside.

Before I go, a few videos to let you see just how good he was.  The first shows JC performing at The Little Club in San Diego, where he would perform every Saturday for the customers there.

And I couldn’t post this without including a video of JC performing The Card Under The Glass.

I’d like to ask everyone reading this to raise a glass to the memory of JC Wagner.  And to the magicians, please remember to show the spectator their selected card that was under it when you do so.

Speak soon.

The Cardman 🙁

2 Responses

  1. beautifully expressed mate. its a trick i love watching you perform. dont think i have ever managed to catch you at it. x

  2. Just found this and it reminded me of when I met JC for the first time, in fact it was at the same convention as yourself.Lovely guy. One of those people I could listen to forever.

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