House of Cards - The Life and Times of Paul Rosini
Romano, Charles
Charles J. Romano (1999)
In Collection
Magician - Biography
USA  English
Romano, Charles J.: House of Cards
The Life & Magic of Paul Rosini
©1999 Charles J. Romano, IL
Hardcover, no dj, 6.5x9.5", 304 pages

Comments: The first part of this book is a biography of Paul Rosini. The second part outlines many of his tricks. Finally, there is a full reprint of Paul Rosini's Magical Gems book. Most of the effects described in Part II do not provide full details of the routine. Rather, they provide the routine outline as performed by Rosini, along with historical notes of others who have performed similar routines, and often include references as to where a full write-up of how to perform the routine can be found. However, some of the routines are fully detailed.

Contents (from book):

ix Foreword (John Booth)
xi Author's Preface

1 Part 1

1 Chapter I - Birth of a Conjuror
7 Chapter II - Meeting of the Minds
21 Chapter III - The Name Game
33 Chapter IV - The Sorcerer's Apprentice
43 Chapter V - Family & Friends
59 Chapter VI - A Decade of Deception
79 Chapter VII - The Man Behind the Mystery
87 Chapter VIII - Fifty-Two Card Pickup

103 Part II

103 The Magic of Paul Rosini

108 Act I
108 Cups and Balls With Baby Chicks: general description and history
113 Leipzig's Color Change: and where to find it detailed
114 Leipzig's Card Stabbing: general desciption
116 Mental Fan-tasy: one spectator reveals another's card selection
118 The Thumb Tie: Rosini's approach and other similar
122 Encore - The Vanishing Bird and Cage: general description
124 Prestidigitation: interior page from a publicity folder

125 Act II
126 The Sympathetic Silks: routine outline, and references on where to find details
128 The Card in Cigarette: Rosini's routine
132 The Miser's Dream & The Coin Star: some stories on Rosini presenting these
135 Production of Lit Cigarettes: general outline with references

137 Act III
138 Brainwave Deck: Rosini's presentation
141 The Egg Bag: routine described but not detailed
144 Leipzig's Stop Trick: details of this card trick
146 Torn & Restored Bill: brief description
147 Osborne's 3 to 1 Rope Trick: not detailed
148 State Prediction: general routine described for an addition prediction

149 Act IV
150 The Three Billet Trick: routine outine, and references
152 Cut and Restored Rope: general description, cutting your finger, and references
154 Ring on Stick: Rosini's routine described
156 Fanspello: card spelling routine detailed
159 Cards to Pocket: brief description
160 The Linking Rings: Brief description with references
162 Thought Reading: interior page from publicity folder

163 Act V
164 Card Stab: includes full description by Charles Maly
167 Color Changing Pack: as printed in Hugard's Magic Monthly, April 1956
168 The Face-Up Spring Force: as described in Hugard & Braue's Expert Card Technique
170 Riffle Force: brief explanation of how Rosini would use it
171 Rosini Peeker: as described in Hugard's Magic Monthly Sep & Oct 1961
172 Four Ace Transposition: from The Conjurors' Magazine, Jan 1946
175 Card Magic of Paul Rosini in Greater Magic: some brief descriptions of Rosini entries in Greater Magic, along with some other references
178 Card Sleights of Paul Rosini in The Tarbell Course in Magic: brief descriptions of Rosini entries in the Tarbell Course
179 Paul Rosini in Expert Card Technique
179 - The Gamblers Outwitted: a great story of a gambler's challenge matched
182 - A Rosi-Curcian Mystery: a card location effect detailed using the method desribed above
185 Rosini's Royal Trio: from Hugard's Magic Monthly Sep & Oct 1961
187 Rosini's Knock-Out!: From The Conjurors' Magazine, Feb 1945, with other references
189 Neal Elias' Session With Rosini: some effects Neal recorded in his notebooks
189 - A Risque Novelty, 1944: a card trick with the King, Queen, and a Jack
191 - Rosini's Gambler's Control, 1944: cutting to the selected card, with discussion of the crimp
193 - A Double Lift, 1944: or Double Turnover
194 Double Reverse: references provided
195 A Futile Lesson In Magic: from The Jinx, No. 105 - audience participation card trick
197 The Devil's Die Secret: from the Jinx, No. 105 - single die and cup trick
199 Rosini's Cello-bration of Strength: Hugard's Magic Monthly, Feb 1958, tearing cigarette pack cellophane
202 Rosini's Han Ping Chien, Jr.: Hugard's Magic Monthly, Nov 1961 - Rosini's version using pennies and a Nickel
204 The Flibbertigibbet: a clever pencil and coin trick
207 Neato Silk: from The Sphinx, Dec 1938 - silk vanishes to be found in a glass
211 Simplex Bill Vanish: from Hugard's Magic Monthly, Aug 1961, using an envelope
212 Chink A Chink: Rosini's approach using sugar cubes and moving to a through the table effect
214 The Mutilated Parasol: general discussion
215 Silk to Egg: general discussion and a reference to Tarbell
217 Impromptu Thimble Routine: routine outline with reference to Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig
218 Pencil & Loop Trick: general discussion and reference The Berg Book
219 Bill In Lemon: general discussion and references
220 Albaka: general discussion of this Al Baker card trick with a reference to Greater Magic

221 Bibliography
225 Index
231 Acknowledgements
233 About the Author

235 Appendix: Reprint of Paul Rosini's Magical Gems (Note, separately paginated)

3 Foreword (W.F. Rufus Steele)
5 Paul Rosini (John Braun)

8 The Life Saver Trick: card name is found on a Life Saver candy
9 Was It There?: selection vanishes and reappears in a packet of 5 cards
11 Somewhere In the Deck: one of 9 card selection is immediately produced
13 Hold My Wrist (Al Leech): coin vanish and reappearance
14 A Card in Flight: card selection vanishes from one packet to appear face up in the other
16 The Card Under the Hand: card selection appears at unexpected time
16 You Put It In: use for a top change
17 Change In Hand: psychology and use of allowing spectator to hold selection while thinking it indifferent
18 The Fair Count (Joe Berg): card count done twice, and selection appears face up
19 Two Decks Red and Blue: reds and blues transpose and two spectators end up with their selections
21 Impossible: card selected and shuffled into deck in another room is located by magician
22 Reflection: card trick taking advantage of spectacles
22 Poker Prediction and a Principle (Ed Marlo): a poker deal and prediction
24 The Card That Went to Pieces (Bill Simon): a torn corner card gets accidentally destroyed and mostly restored
26 Coin and Pencil (Theo Bamberg): coin vanish and reappearance
27 Card Through Handkerchief: selected card goes through handkerchief
27 Daub: on the spectator's hand
28 Complete Cover (Dai Vernon): card counted to is named
29 Indicator Card (Leo Horowitz): magician finds selection with an indicator card
30 A Comedy Card Trick: card seems to get lost but audience knows where it is
31 The Card Through the Case: selection is struck through the card case
32 Your Number Your Card: magician finds selection chosen from one of three piles
33 Rosini's Favorite Trick: spectator picks only red card in a blue backed deck
34 Do a Trick: spelling card trick
35 The One Armed Magician (Jack Chanin): selected card is reversed in deck
38 The Coin Star (Al Leech): Rosini's method
39 Ace Delusion (Paul LePaul): Ace of Diamonds gag
40 Skidoo: coin date used to find an initialed card
41 A Sure Thing: game of 15 you can't lose
42 The Best Prediction: prediction matches a crimped card
43 Prediction Variation (Chic Schoke): another version
44 The Cigarette Trick: card in cigarette
46 Impressive Card: initials of card selection found on a paper
46 The Peek Trick: a double card revelation
47 Aceo Changeo: Four Ace routine
48 A Card Turns Over: selection appears reversed
49 Follow Your Card: another reversed card
50 Okito Card Control (And a Trick; Theo Bamberg): a simplified pass
51 Kings and Queens: Kings and Queens are separated behind the back
53 Double Reverse: spectator's and magician's selections become reversed
54 Purely Mental: spectator and magician both write initials of a card selection, and they match
55 While I Turn My Back: counting to the card selection
56 Easy Enigma (Harry Blackstone): two card selections by two spectators are found
57 The Ten of Diamonds: Ten of Diamonds used to find selections
58 With a Short Card: selection vanishes from deck
59 Aces Running Wild: another Four Ace trick
60 Secret Writing: a written on card matches a reversed card
60 A Guess That is Right: a written card prediction
61 Repeating a Good Guess: another version
62 The Homing Aces (Arthur Buckley): an Ace Trick
66 Tap: last number tapped matches the number of cards in the spectator's pocket


House of Cards by Charles Romano is a unique and beautiful 320 page hardcover book with a gold-stamped cover. This book chronicles the fascinating life of Paul Rosini and explains much of the exceptional magic he performed during his career. Illustrated with rare photographs and beautiful illustrations, this entertaining book relates Rosini's rise to fame in American nightclubs in the 1930's until his untimely death in 1948. Rosini was a master magician and had no equal! His brilliant magic coupled with his sparkling sense of humor, and compelling personality, made him one of conjuring's highest paid entertainers! In addition to Rosini's life story, detailed explanations for over 100 effects of Rosini's and his contemporaries are included!
Product Details
No. of Pages 372
First Edition Yes
Rare Yes
Personal Details
Read It No
Location Magic Library (Home) Shelf T
Condition Very Fine
Owner Bryan-Keith Taylor
Paul Rosini

(1902-1948) became one of the most popular nightclub magicians of the 1930's, and 1940's.

Rosini emigrated to the U.S. in 1912 (coincidentally, the same year as the man who would become his magic idol, Max Malini). The family settled in Chicago, where Paul discovered Roterberg's famous magic shop.

In 1919, impressed by young Paul's abilities, Theo Bamberg (Okito) taught him the cups and balls. He was also mentored and influenced by Julius Zanzig, Carl Rosini (no relation), and Grover George.

Charles J. Maly wrote an unpublished manuscript in 1936 about Rosini's act. Maly watch Rosini perform at the Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. He discussed the effects with Rosini and made detailed notes. These notes were in the collection of Max Hapner, who passed it along to John Moehring. With Hapner's permission, Moehring made the manuscript available to Chuck Romano who used them in Part Two of his book about Rosini called "House of Cards".

In the posthumous book "Rosini's Magical Gems" by Rufus Steele, John Braun wrote the following:
"Paul Rosini...was an unusually skillful sleight of hand artist, [but ] it was not sleight of hand artistry that he sold to audiences. He had mastered a greater art—-that of blending dexterity and psychology with a priceless ingredient that was his by birthright—-PERSONALITY-—and the result was always entertainment—unalloyed, unadulterated entertainment. "Shy and unassuming off stage, onstage he was an actor gifted with a rare sense of the comic. The character he played was that of a delightful mountebank—at once disreputable and elegant, waggish yet serious. All his art was utilized in building into miracles the tricks he presented. And they were all old tricks. Nothing new or complicated, just the old tricks...but he could hold a noisy night club audience in suspense while he paused, looked quizzically at the pack, and slowly turned over a card!"
A famous story about Rosini is recounted in "Expert Card Technique" (copyright 1974 by Dover books) wherein Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue write:
"Since the days of the gold rush San Francisco has been known as a city which will not tolerate mediocrity in its actors, but which, conversely, extends a heart-warming reception to any artist of front rank. "Not often does a personality so swiftly become the talk of the town as did Mr. Paul Rosini...San Francisco took to its heart this dapper, amusing young man with a twinkle in his eye and a shrug of his shoulders who jubilantly challenged it to match wits with him. In a fort-night the necromantic comedian's 'It's a dazzler!' became a city-wide catch phrase... "Fabulous stories of Rosini's skill with a pack of cards began to penetrate the gambling houses of the city...No one, they felt, could be quite so good as all that. Impressed by what they saw, they invited the magician to be their guest at their established place of business...Presumably they felt that there they would have him at their mercy. But here again, surrounded by men to whom artifice with cards was second nature, Rosini performed his feats with sure skill, particularly perplexing the gamblers by unerringly locating, with unfailing sangfroid, cards of which they had merely thought. "To the knights of the green table in the city by the Golden Gate, 'It's a dazzler!' now has a special meaning, recalling as it does the amiable young man with the quick wit and the skillful fingers whose final tour-de-force still puzzles those who were present."
Paul Rosini died at age 46.


Chuck Romano wrote in The Linking Ring, Vol. 79, No. 8, August 1999: A reporter of magic must at some point in time have transposed the "I" and "C" at the end of Paul's surname. Consequently, many of magic's most respected historians have unknowingly repeated this inaccuracy and have spelled Paul's surname as "Vucci".

Paul Rosini's Magical Gems by Rufus Steele & Robert Parrish (1950)
House of Cards: The Life & Magic of Paul Rosini by Chuck Romano (which includes a complete reprint of "Magical Gems") (1999) [1]

1. Genii, Vol. 62, No. 9, September 1999, Light from the Lamp, Books Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss, House of Cards: The Life & Magic of Paul Rosini by Chuck Romano, page 56
The Sphinx, Vol. XXXVII, No. 9, November 1938, Paul Rosini, page 216
The Sphinx, Vol. XLVII, No. 8, October 1948, Obituary Paul Rosini September 29, 1902, September 19, 1948, page 204
The Linking Ring, Vol. 28, No. 8, October 1948, The Secretary Reports, PAUL ROSINI DEAD, page 106
The Linking Ring, Vol. 28, No. 9, November 1948, PAUL ROSINI AS I KNEW HIM by Theo. Bamberg (Okito), page 30, My Neighbor, Paul Rosini by AL LEECH, page 31
The Linking Ring, Vol. 79, No. 8, August 1999, Paul Rosini: Sophisticated Showman by Chuck Romano, page 52
House of Cards: The Life & Magic of Paul Rosini (1999) by Chuck Romano, Biography in Chapter I, Birth of a Conjurer, page 1