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If you want to learn how to do the Hofzinser Spread Cull, or improve/troubleshoot how you are doing it already Iain Moran's The Cullfather is the place to come.
What is The Cullfather?
The Cullfather is a DVD from Big Blind Media that came out back in 2007 that focused exclusively on the Hofzinser Spread Cull. I remember when it came out and thinking to myself, “I can already do a pretty good cull, I'll give this one a miss” How wrong I was.
During lockdown, like many other magicians, I was analysing (OK, over-analysing) every beat of every piece of magic I do in readiness of being allowed out to perform again. There is one effect I do that involves culling the four matching cards of a randomly selected card from a shuffled deck. It's one of my go-to effects, and although performing it countless times, there has been only a couple of occasions where one of the cards I wanted to cull was right on the top of the deck. My method so far had just been to cut the deck then cull as normal, but this didn't seem as elegant as it could be.
I decided to ask the hive-mind over on the Green Latrine to see what they all thought. Several suggested I check out Iain Moran's Cullfather. As chance would have it Cullfather was part of a job-lot of magic I was considering picking up, so I took this as a sign and went for it.
What's on The Cullfather?
The disk is broken into several chapters, thirteen lessons and six tricks that put what you have learned into action. The lessons, as well as covering what you'd expect, also go into uses you may not have thought of using the Hofzinser Spread Cull for.
The Lessons are:
Lesson 1: Cull one Card.
Lesson 2: Mistakes.
Lesson 3: Culling to Specific Locations.
Lesson 4: Culling from Awkward Positions.
Lesson 5: Culling Multiple Cards.
Lesson 6: Mistakes – Part 2.
Lesson 7: Controlling via Culling.
Lesson 8: Forcing via Culling.
Lesson 9: Setting Up via Culling.
Lesson 10: Culling 2 Cards Next to Each Other.
Lesson 11: Switching via Culling.
Lesson 12: Culling as an Out.
Lesson 13: Culling Face Down Cards.
All of which are great and cover Iain's thinking on each point in great detail.
The tricks are:
Aces on High: An ACR effect, my dislike of the ACR is well known, but surprisingly I don't hate this. It's not got the problem associated with the normal ACR, it's quick, punchy, and surprising, I may even consider doing it myself in a social environment.
Dream Card: Signed card to impossible location, Iain's take on Darwin Ortiz's trick of the same name. For me this is the weakest effect on the disk, however, I'm sure many will love it.
Funny Business: Uses a business card to find the selected card rather than another card from the deck with a kicker ending. Probably my favorite of the six, and a great excuse to give your business cards out too.
Quantum Sandwich: As you've probably guessed from the name, this is a sandwich effect. I really like this one, very clever way of doing it. I probably won't perform this as is, but I will use the load for something else without a doubt.
Ace Orgy: Great little assembly effect, I already do something very similar, using the traditional method, but I'm going to change to this method.
Concrete Sandwich: Another sandwich effect, but oh boy, it's a good one. The participant seemingly does everything themselves but still the chosen card magically appears between two cards placed in the deck with nothing between them.
Another little bonus is in the explanation of one of the above tricks Iain drops a nugget of pure gold regarding a subtlety with the double undercut. Many magicians (myself included) dislike the double undercut as it telegraphs what's happening. Iain's way to obfuscate what's happening is one of those things that's so bloody obvious once you are shown it, but you'd just not think of it yourself. I'm not got to start doing the double undercut everywhere, but I will be teaching this subtly to my students who are just starting out with card magic.
Although this really is a great DVD, one complaint I see time and again about it is that it doesn't go into enough detail for the total beginner. I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as some claim, but I would have liked to have seen a little more about the exact finger positioning etc. You can get all you need from this DVD to start from nothing, but just an extra couple of minutes going into the minutia would have been nice.
If you have any interest at all in the Hofzinser Spread Cull get this DVD. The (very) minor quibble above aside, you really won't find better tuition on the topic. I'm kicking myself for skipping it 14 years ago when it first came out.