The W.C. Fields bar at the Magic Castle is the perfect setting for Pop Haydn to perform Eddie Fechter’s hilarious “Eight to Twelve.” Swaying like he’s been helping himself to the stock, Haydn gets more and more intense as the trick goes on, eyeballing a hapless volunteer who cannot seem to accurately count the cards he’s given. It’s a slow build trick that ends in hilarity.
We’ve covered Haydn before, and everything I wrote then still stands. He’s an excellent card manipulator who makes incredibly complex tricks look easy while keeping up an amusing man-out-of-time patter. Check out his take on Fechter’s “Be Honest.”
“Pop Haydn is not originally from this century, himself,” reads Pop Haydn’s website. “He is a Victorian gentleman who was suddenly transported into the 21st Century by accident–not entirely his fault–along with a bunch of other maroons stranded here from that time.”
Watching him perform in the video above, I’m almost inclined to believe that claim. Looking like he just wandered in from a saloon, possibly after taking part in a gunfight, Haydn entertained an audience at the Magic Castle with an absolutely immaculate take on All Backs, a routine popularised by Dai Vernon. Presented with easy patter throughout, the trick is an obvious hit with the crowd and especially the two volunteers Haydn has at the table. But of course it is – the trick is apparently irresistible to women, according to a slightly dubious passage in Expert Card Technique (1950):
“Magicians know only too well that women, generally speaking, are allergic to card tricks. This trick is an exception to the rule. Mr. Vernon has used it before all kinds of audiences, even those comprised exclusively of women and with complete success. The women are intrigued by it. It is one trick that they remember and talk about and invariably when another occasion arises it is the one trick they request to see again.”
At least the trick has aged incredibly well.