En Route by John Guastaferro (PDF)
EN ROUTE JOHN GUASTAFERRO
Written and designed by John Guastaferro Edited by Raj Madhok Photos by Emma Guastaferro (my 9 year-old daughter)
Copyright © 2017 by John Guastaferro All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author and publisher. www.MagicJohnG.com
WHAT’S INSIDE INTRODUCTION – BEING EN ROUTE CHAPTER 1 - READY FOR TAKE OFF Virus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Upper Hand Triumph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Mini-Mental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Essay: Your Brand Voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 CHAPTER 2 - UNPACKED Boxing Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 The Box Whisperer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Think Tank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Essay: Sharing Your S.E.C.R.E.T. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 CHAPTER 3 - ENTOURAGE All In Your Hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Chip Off The Old Daley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Double Agent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Flash Pocket . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 EPILOGUE – A SUCCESSFUL LANDING
BEING EN ROUTE It’s past midnight as I make the final edits to this book. I’m sipping a Moscow Mule as The West Wing plays on Netflix in the background. It’s season 3, and Toby is talking to poet laureate Tabitha Fortis (played by Laura Dern). She delivers a beautifully scripted Aaron Sorkin line that catches my attention: “An artist’s job is to captivate you for however magicians,
captivate our audience—to transport them and bring them safely back. This journey of exploration and audience experience is the very premise of this book. In my view, being en route with magic is about being on a continual forward moving expedition to: 1. Strengthen magic through one-degree improvements (see One Degree, 2010); and 2. Transport our audience through presentations that are clear, creative, and captivating. When these two factors are in sync, you are en route toward a greater experience for both you and your audience. When we look at a painting or sculpture, it never physically changes, Magic, however, evolves and can become stronger over time. Even when an effect has reached its final version on the page, we can bring it to life in new ways each time we perform. In this respect, we are always en route.
Looking at magic through this lens, we can unveil new ways to make even the simplest of effects soar. We can put the power of an Ace production completely in the hands of two participants; or turn a pick-a-card effect into a memorable moment of trapping a whisper inside a card box. In this book, you’ll find ten card effects, each describing how they’ve developed over time—and how they bring an audience along for a captivating ride. I also offer two essays to sharpen your perspective as a performer. When you’re ready to pack, all you’ll need are the items pictured below to perform every effect in this book—three acts that fit in your pocket.
In reading this book, you are already on your way toward greater discovery. I hope you find ideas that make you think and inspire you to explore even further. And after you’ve gone through this creative trek, I hope you find even greater satisfaction bringing your audience along as you transport them during performance. As you do so, I’ll enjoy being en route with you. John Guastaferro January, 2017
READY FOR TAKE OFF
Welcome your audience aboard with this set of three effects, a perfect set for strolling and other close-up environments. It features a visual opener, a direct in-the-hands version of Triumph, and a powerful closer that involves four people.
VIRUS EFFECT Time to call “deck” support. A virus causes your deck to go from all backs...to all blanks...to printed faces. This is an update to my effect “Troubleshooter” (Brainstorm, 2003). The original effect featured one odd-backed card. By adding the word “virus” to the back and making the face blank,
heightened the magic. Just one card is still used, but it produces several new magical moments, including a blank deck display and a surprising kicker showing a virus in your deck. The best part is that the extra card is woven into the presentation, so there is no need keep its presence secret. Like my effect “Truth in Advertising” (One Degree, 2010), “Virus” features a widely relatable presentational hook. Most everyone can relate to the fear of losing files or having a computer virus. Don’t miss the opportunity for spontaneous dialogue during the effect.
SETUP You’ll need either an odd-backed blank-faced card or double-blank card. I use the latter. Write the word "VIRUS" in bold letters on one side of a blank-facer or the double-blank card (photo 1). Place this card on the bottom of your deck, blank side outward. To prepare for the effect, spread eight cards off the face and turn them over. Turn the deck face down and you are ready to perform. 11 !
PERFORMANCE Give the deck and swing cut and retain a fourth finger break between the halves. You’ll dribble the cards and ask your participant to say stop. Use a Dribble Force to stop at your break. Raise your right hand as you ask everyone to remember the card at the face of the upper packet (photo 2). The audience will be a little perplexed to see a back. Wait a beat, then say, “Oh no, it happened again. My deck crashed. Last time I had to call ‘deck’ support.” (Thanks Chad Long for the “deck crash” angle). Turn your right hand palm down. Swing Cut a few cards onto the left hand packet (photo 3) and display the underside of the right packet again (photo 4). Place the right hand’s cards underneath those in the left hand.
Turn the deck over and spread no more than six cards to show backs. Re-square the deck and turn the deck over to its starting position. You will now display more backs in the following spread sequence. 1. Spread off about a quarter of the deck and hold these cards spread in the right hand. 2. Use the right fingertips to lever the rest of the deck over in the left hand (photo 5). 3. The left thumb spreads three cards and takes them under right hand’s cards (photo 6). 4. Lever the bottom portion over again. 5. Repeat steps 1 through 4.
As you do this, say, “Yes, the deck definitely crashed. Now I’m stuck with nothing but backs on both sides. Last time I called deck support, they told me to reboot, but I couldn’t because I was right in the middle of a trick.” The deck should now be face down with two cards still reversed underneath: a standard card and the “Virus” card.
Say, “The heck with deck support. We can fix the deck ourselves.” Turn the deck over and attain a fourth finger break below the top two reversed cards. You will now perform J.K. Hartman’s Blow Away Change: With the deck held in left hand dealing position, place the right hand over the cards as if you are going to take the cards into Biddle Grip (photo 7). Raise both hands up toward your mouth so the deck is held upright (photo 8). Once the top of the deck is out of sight, secretly lever the two cards over sideways by lifting up the right edge of this card with your right hand and rotating it over to the left (photo 9). Your left thumb can help in this action. The entire move takes only two seconds. The large movement of raising the deck covers the small action of secretly levering the cards over. Slowly lower so the blank card comes into view.
7 Say, “Well, the backs are gone, but now all the cards are blank. All my files are deleted!” Perform a reverse fan to show all blanks (photo 10). The blank side of the “Virus” card makes this blank deck display possible. Square the deck and turn it face down. Swing cut a few small packets as you flash the blank card each time, then assemble the deck so the “Virus” card is centered.
Place the deck on the table. Pause a beat and say, “There’s not much I can do with a blank deck. Wait, I think I know what the problem is.” Spread the deck across the table or in your hands. One card will stand out—the "Virus" card (photo 11). This is a very surprising moment for your audience. Remove the “Virus” card (without showing the blank side) and let everyone get a look at it. Place it away in your pocket as you say, “The deck must have gotten infected with a virus. If we get rid of the virus, it should fix the deck.”
Spread the deck face up to show that all the faces have returned (photo 12). The deck is now clean and ready for your next effect.
NOTES There are numerous routines that show all backs, including Dai Vernon’s “The All Backs” from Expert Card Technique (1950). Walter B. Gibson describes a “right to left” fan to portray the deck as blank in “The Appearing Spots—A New and Sensational Effect With Cards,” found in The Sphinx Vol. 23, No. 2 (April 1924).
UPPER HAND TRIUMPH EFFECT A selection is lost in a deck that is shuffled face up and face down. The performer names the selection, discerns if it’s facing up or down, cuts to it, and has the deck straighten out—while being held by the participant. As the name implies, you get an upper hand by putting in a few seconds of impromptu preparation. This gets you far ahead of the audience and allows for several strong moments, including a convincing display before handing the deck to your participant. There are numerous one-degree touches throughout.
SETUP To prepare, spread the deck to show the cards face down. When closing the spread, use a Half Pass or Spread Pass to reverse the bottom half of the deck. Double undercut the top card to the bottom and you are set (photo 1). You can do this ahead of time or during performance.
1 17 !
PERFORMANCE With the cards set in position, turn the deck face up. Casually bottom spread (or dribble cards) from the lower half of the deck to show only face-up cards (photo 2). Say, "As you can see, all the cards are different. I don't want you to think that a cheat. I mean I do cheat; I just don't want you to THINK that I do." This always gets a laugh. More importantly, it shows a face-up deck without over-proving.
Turn the deck face down and slowly spread the top half of the deck. Say, “I’d like you to touch any card so I can’t see it.” Don’t spread past the center. Once a card is touched, outjog it and keep the deck slightly spread (photo 3). Raise the deck upright so the participant can see the selection (photo 4). You will now displace the card and get a glimpse in the process during a natural gesture. Remove the selection with your left hand under the guise of ensuring your audience gets a clear view of the card. Take this opportunity to glimpse the card by flicking the bottom of the card forward with your left third finger (photo 5). This gives you a brief instant to spot the lower left index. Let’s say it’s the Queen of Hearts.
With the deck still held upright, replace the card back in the deck by partially inserting it into the lower half of the deck (photo 6). From the audience’s view, the deck looks completely face up (photo 7). Lower the deck and square all the cards except for the selection. Invite your participant to push the card flush with the deck. No controls are necessary. Follow with an optional face-down reverse fan to ostensibly show a face-down deck. Say, “I’m now going to give the cards an unusual shuffle by mixing half the deck face down and half face up.” As you say this, display a few face-down cards, then lever the deck over and bottom spread some cards to show face-up cards.
You will now separate the deck at the face-to-face natural break near the center of the deck. Start with the deck held in right hand Biddle grip. Give the deck a light downward motion and the block of cards below the natural break will easily fall into your waiting left hand (photo 8). Glancing at the underside of the right packet will let you know if you’ve hit the natural break since you will see the face of a card. I now like to give the right hand’s cards a wide bevel at the left edge and riffle down the edge with my left thumb. Be sure the bevel is turned toward you so the backs are not seen (photo 9). This small touch helps convey they are all face up.
Use the cards in the right hand to lever the left hand’s cards face down (photo 10). Fairly weave the halves together in such a way that the face-up card on the right hand’s packet stays on top (photo 11). Slowly square all the cards. Position check: All the cards are face down except for the face-up card on top and the face-up selection near the center. Mental and Physical Skill Say, “You might ask why shuffle the cards in such a manner. It creates a challenge of both mental and physical skill. Mentally, there is no way I could know what your card is, where it is, or if it’s facing up or down. Physically, it’s much more challenging to find your card in this mess. Yet I am going to do both of these things. Please concentrate on your card. I have the sense you chose a red card…a heart...the Queen of Hearts. I also have a strong feeling it is face UP.” After the audience reacts, continue, “That takes mental skill. Now for the physical skill as I cut directly to your card.” Cut to the card by lifting up at the face-to-face break. I find it easy to lift up lightly from the back with my right thumb (photo 12). You are now in a perfect position to provide a convincing display of face-up and face-down cards. With the upper half in Biddle grip, use the right fingertips to lift half of the bottom half and stagger it back about an inch (photo 13). Place the upper half on top, stepped back another inch (photo 14). Finally, cut off about five cards and injog these as well. You are left with a display of four packets, alternating face up and face down (photo 15). Here’s a final touch. Take the upper
packet in the right hand and flash the underside as a spread, then replace them on top as they were (photo 16).
The rest of the effect is completely hands off. Slowly square the staggered deck and hand it to your participant. Say, “With the cards mixed up and down, I am going to hand you the deck in this state.” After giving her the deck, gesture toward the top card and say, “May I have just one card?” You are guiding the participant to hand you the top card, while implying it could be any card. After she hands you the card, ask her to hold the deck tightly. You or another participant can wave the card face down over the held deck. Say, “Just by waving this card face down, it causes the
entire deck to turn face down in harmony. Some people say they even feel the cards moving. Let’s see if it worked.” She can now spread the deck herself to show that all the cards are face down…except for the selection (photo 18).
Alternate Turnover: Here is another way to turn the top card over. After the stair-stepped display, ask your participant to hold out her hand palm down. Your left hand brings the deck forward, and under cover of her hand, your left thumb pushes the top card over; as the card reaches the right edge, your thumb and fingers pinch the card and lever it toward the left until it lands face down on the deck (photo 17). Have your participant bring both hands together to conceal the deck.
NOTES Dai Vernon’s original Triumph can be found in Stars of Magic (Series 2, No. 1, 1948). Regarding the glimpse used in this effect, there are three sources for the basic Flimpse move that you may wish to consult: Mentzer, Card Cavalcade Four, p. 54 (1977); Minch, By Forces Unseen, p. 112 (1993); and Racherbaumer MO, Vol. II, p. 8 (1994). Allen Akawa had a similar presentational angle of cutting to the selection in the 1970s. John Bannon also recalls Roger Klause using a similar approach. Others surely exist. 30-second Flash Triumph: For a quick and direct version, forgo naming the card or cutting to it. After weaving the deck together, just turn over the top card using a flourish such as Looy Simonof’s Flippant or John Cornelius’ Spring Set move. Face-down Selection: If you prefer to keep the identity of the card secret until the final moment, start with the deck in the following order: face-down card, half the deck face up, half the deck face down. Have a card selected from the lower half and returned to the upper half. Separate the deck at the face-to-face natural break and weave the cards together. You can display the deck in the stair-stepped condition described earlier, but with the selection face down and the top card face down. All that remains is to turn the top card over and show that all the cards are face up except the selection.
MINI-MENTAL EFFECT After four cards are selected, the performer reads the minds of four participants—then finds each card. In my book Discoveries & Deceptions (2013), I published the effect “Multi-Mental.” For formal shows, it’s one of my favorite showpieces. Yet, for casual close-up performances, it has its limitations since it requires seven participants and 4-5 minutes to perform the routine. For this reason, I developed “Mini-Mental.” This streamlined version, which features four selections instead of seven, has several advantages. The effect can be performed in less than two minutes. The selection procedure is streamlined since each participant merely touches and remembers a card. It features
including my four favorite revelations. Most importantly, it maintains the original mindreading premise. The effect is about reading people’s minds, a very powerful premise. The fact that you also produce the cards is icing on the cake.
SETUP None. PERFORMANCE Freely shuffle the deck or hand it out to be shuffled. Identify four people to participate. Say, “I need the help and open minds of the four of you. In a moment, you are each going to
think of a card from this shuffled deck. It will be my job to not only read your minds, but also determine where your card is in the deck. Let’s start by having each of you just touch a card and remember it.” Slowly spread the deck from hand to hand and have the participant on your far right touch a card among the top quarter of the deck. Outjog the card and raise the deck so the card can be seen and remembered by him (photo 1). Continue spreading and have the next participant touch a card and remember it. Continue these actions until you have four selections outjogged from the deck (photo 2). This also gives everyone a chance to see their card one more time.
2 Lower the deck and close the spread, leaving the four selections outjogged. You will now execute a variation of the Multiple Shift from Josh Jay. His one-degree touch allows you to obtain a break above the necessary cards during the process. Begin with the deck in left hand dealing position with your first finger curled around the front edge of the outjogged cards. Tilt your hand left hand forward and lessen your grip to cause the block of cards above the top selection to slide
forward (photo 3). Your right hand grips the inner packet as your left hand begins to strip the outjogged cards forward, but not completely. Your right hand twists its packet toward the right to create a gap under the original first selection, allowing you to obtain a left fourth finger break above the bottom three cards (photo 4). Your left hand removes the outjogged cards, still maintaining the break, and continues peeling groups of cards from the right hand’s packet using a Hindu Shuffle.! All four selections are now on the bottom of the deck, with a break above three cards. Simply cut the deck at your break to bring the three cards to the top.
You will now reveal the four selections, starting with the person on your right. For each participant, you will use mindreading to verbally reveal the card, then produce it in an impressive way. The effect is structured to provide an imperceptible glimpse of the next person’s card. 1. FIRST CARD - SWIVELROO Glimpse the bottom card during an all-around square-up (photo 5). Look at your first participant and say, “Please send your thoughts to me.” Furrow your eyebrows a bit and continue, “Wait, not THOSE thoughts. Just your card please.”
This always gets a laugh. Verbally reveal her card. Say, “Not only that, I’ll even find your card...by cutting the deck with just one finger.” You will use Hubert Lambert’s Swivelroo move. Hold the deck in right hand Biddle grip. Your left first finger swivels a center portion of cards from the rear edge of the deck 180 degrees forward, using your right second finger as a pivot point (photo 6). After the center packet lands in your left hand, place your left thumb on top of it. Drop the right half onto it, keeping your left thumb between the halves. Move your thumb leftward to drag the card directly above it up and around the left edge of the deck (photo 7). The card continues levering face up directly onto the deck (photo 8).
Notice how the card naturally lands back-to-back with the second selection. You will utilize this to your advantage. With your right thumb, lift two cards from the rear edge. Pinch the double (photo 9) and lift it forward so the audience can see the card. Your left hand raises the deck upright and riffles to the center with the left thumb. Insert the back-to-back double into the deck. Not only does this allow you to get a crystal clear view of the next selection, it also secretly positions it reversed in the center of the deck (photo 10). This is my favorite part. I can’t help but smile every time I do it.
10 2. SECOND CARD - REVERSAL Gaze into the eyes of your second participant and verbally reveal the glimpsed card. Say, “I’d like you to use your mind to turn your card over in the deck.” Give the deck a facedown reverse fan to convey that all the cards are face down. The reversed selection will remain hidden (photo 11). Resquare the deck and raise it upright with the faces toward you. Spread through the deck and upjog the reversed card so all can see it. This is a devious moment where you are actually glimpsing the next two selections at the far left of the spread (photo 12). Remove and replace the second selection.
3. THIRD CARD - SPINOUT Demonstrate the mental feat of naming the third participant’s selection. Ask, “Would it be a good trick if your card could fly out of the deck and spin around in mid-air?” After roaring approval, reply, “I agree it would be a good trick. I can't do it, but it would be great.” This gets a good laugh. Continue, “Maybe if you concentrate hard enough, we can make it happen.” Follow this with Audley Walsh's Long Distance Spinner (Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 4) to make the card fly out of the deck. You can also use Daryl’s Hot Shot Cut or any other flashy production of the top card. 4. LAST CARD - CHANGE Now for the final selection. My preferred way to reveal the card is to do a Double Turnover to show an indifferent card then cause it to change. Ask the participant to extend her hand palm up. Repeat the Double Turnover and deal the top card face down onto her hand. Gaze into her eyes and say, “I can tell by the look in your eyes that this is NOT your card.” Verbally reveal the selection as if reading her mind. For the
final revelation, ask her to turn the card in her hand over. Don’t underestimate the power of a card changing in the participant’s had, especially when integrated into a routine such as this. When performing this for some guests at The Magic Castle main bar recently, and as I walked away, it was this last revelation that they could not stop talking about! If palming is more your speed, you can alternatively produce the card from your pocket or wallet. NOTES Whenever multiple cards are selected, there is always the risk of someone forgetting their card. I’ve found that the structure of this effect helps solve the issue since you name each card first. Audience members are never put on the spot to name their card. Instead, they merely have to respond affirmatively that you got it. This enables them to more fully experience the thrill of having their mind read—and of course, seeing their selections produced from the deck.
ESSAY Your Brand Voice As a marketing professional for over 20 years, I see the importance of brand every day. In One Degree (2010), I guide you through defining your personal brand, your mission, and vision. There is an additional aspect of your brand, and that is your “Brand Voice.” These are the characteristics you present through your words and actions. For large companies, it’s a useful tool to ensure all employees exhibit “one voice” in their interaction with colleagues and customers. As a magician, even though your brand is essentially YOU, it is still a great idea to define your Brand Voice. You can see examples of brand voice around you. Go to Disneyland, for example, and see everything and everyone expressing its brand with one Voice. It is clear that Disney encompasses key characteristics such as: being courteous, positive, focused on family, magical, and memorable. The YMCA is another major brand. Their voice consists of five key words:
determined. When everyone understands their brand voice, and exhibits these characteristics, it deepens relationships, connects people to a common cause, and brings the brand to life with crystal clear alignment. So, how would you define your Brand Voice? Hold up one hand and come up with five adjectives to best align your
verbal and nonverbal style. You might come up with more than five, and that’s okay. Take some time with this. Enjoy the exploration. Are you more mysterious or boisterous? Witty or serious? Meticulous or laid back? Ultimately, boil your list down to five words that define how you best communicate and come across. They should all align to you and the brand promise you keep through your magic. Once you’ve come down with five aspects of your brand voice, you can look
performance and remind yourself. Everything words,
material, website and more should all point to the same target and embody your brand. If you’re curious, here is my brand voice: •
Welcoming: Connect with people through rapport, positivity, and genuine interest.
Authentic: No shtick. Draw from real experiences.
Creative: Infuse my love for design, writing, music, and the arts into both the method and presentation.
Poised: Graceful handling and self-assurance.
Quick-Witted: Infuse spontaneous humor.
UNPACKED The card box is a perfect organic prop—something we always have when performing card magic. Why not use it? The following three effects each use the card box in a different way, including an off-beat cards-to-pocket effect, a fun take on the Whisper plot, and a boxed transposition between Jokers and Aces.
BOXING DAY EFFECT After a card is selected and returned to the deck, the performer claims he will make it fly from the deck and appear inside the card box in his pocket. The deck is tossed in the air and it instantly changes into the card box. Inside the performer’s pocket are now all the cards—except for the selection. It is removed from card box now in the performer’s hands. I remember kicking off an S.A.M. lecture in 2014 with this effect. I was certain that a room of magicians would suspect that I was holding the card box instead of a real deck of cards. It flew by everyone. The smiles got even wider during the explanation when they realized I had placed the selection inside the card box right under their noses. Since some setup is required, it should be performed as an opener and with your audience primarily in front of you.
SETUP The effect is made possible by a slightly gaffed card box, inspired by Paul Harris’ “P.H. Vanishing Deck.” The bottom edge of the box is made to look like the edges of a deck. I use a white address label. Use a ruler and a pencil to draw multiple thin horizontal lines. Affix the label to the bottom edge of your card box and trim off any edges (photo 1). Place all but six cards into your right coat or pants pocket. You’ll also need a Sharpie and a thick rubber band that fits tightly around the width of the card box.
PERFORMANCE Before approaching your audience, place the six loose cards on top of the box, and hold everything in left hand dealing position with the flap facing you, label uppermost. From the front, it looks like a normal deck of cards. It helps to position your fingers to cover the front corners and sides of the box (photo 2). Spread off five cards and just remove a card and hand it to the participant (photo 3). The focus is on signing a card, not on “selecting” a card. Say, “I’d like to start by having a card signed to make it unique.”
As the card is signed, lift up the rear edge of the top card in preparation for the Tilt move, similar to how you would if you were holding a regular deck. Take the selection in your right hand and apparently insert it in the deck—really placing it inside the card box (photo 4). From the front, everything looks as is should (photo 5).
You will now set the premise of the entire effect. Say, “In a moment, I am going to cause your signed card to fly from the deck into the card box that’s in my right pocket.” Pat toward your right pocket as if the card box is there. Place the rubber band around the width of the box and cards. The use of the rubber band makes perfect sense in the presentation, but it plays an even more important role in the method as you will see. Say, “To preclude any sleight of hand, I will trap all 52 cards this rubber band. I would like you all to count to three, and at that instant, your card will fly inside the card box in my pocket!” As the audience counts, tilt your left hand back slightly. Your right hand grips the box, pinched between the thumb and fingers, thumb on top (photo 6). As you prepare to toss the
box in the air, your right fingers briefly shield the back of the box from the audience’s view (photo 7). On “three,” your right hand tosses the box up vertically so it spins in the air a few times. Catch the box, again pinched in the right hand. The back of the box should now be in full view of the audience (photo 8). The rubber band keeps the loose cards from falling.
Open the box and grip the flap, letting the card box dangle (photo 9). Say, “Wait, now the box is in my hands. Where is the deck?” With your right hand, remove all the cards from your pocket and place them onto the table or participant’s hands.
Say, “Your card seems to missing from the deck. Wait, I said I would cause your card to jump inside the box—and that’s exactly what I did!” Point the opening of the box toward the audience with the hidden cards underneath the box. Fairly remove the signed card from inside, which also provides camouflage for the cards underneath the box (photo 10). You can either just place the box away or add the loose cards to the rest of the deck as you remove the rubber band.
NOTES I usually continue with my routine using this prepared card box. The bottom edge of the box simply does not get noticed. If you’d like, you can easily switch the box by placing it in your pocket, then bringing out an unprepared box after some time misdirection.
THE BOX WHISPERER EFFECT A card is selected and lost in the deck. The participant whispers the name of her card into the empty card box and closes the flap to trap her whisper inside. The performer holds the box up to hear the whisper and reveals the card. For the kicker, the selected card is found inside the card box! While the Whisper plot typically involves having cards “whisper” something to you, here it’s the participant herself who does the whispering. The act of inviting someone to trap her whisper inside a card box is a powerful premise that audiences find memorable. Plus, you end with a powerful kicker of the selected card materializing inside the card box!
SETUP None. PERFORMANCE Spread the deck and have any card touched. Outjog it and hold the deck upward so it can be seen. With your left thumb, secretly add a corner crimp to the bottom left of the selection (photo 1). Hand the deck out for shuffling. Take the deck back, feel for the crimp, and cut the card to the bottom. Have your participant pick up the card box and ensure that it is empty. Say, “I’d like you to just whisper the name of the card you are thinking of inside the box, then immediately close the box to trap your whisper inside.”
Say, “Have you ever held a seashell to your ear and heard the ocean? Well, I’m going to see if I can hear the whisper you trapped in the card box. Please take the deck and hand me the box.” Your right hand moves forward with the deck as the left hand retains the selection in Gambler’s Cop (photo 2). As you take the box into your right hand, position it in such a way that the flap faces you and the label is uppermost. Place the card box directly onto the copped card (photo 3). With your right hand, pinch the rear edge of the card box and the card, and move both upward to a vertical position (photo 4). Take this opportunity to glimpse the card. You will verbally reveal it in a moment.
Regrip the box and card in the left hand, held from the front along the long edges (photo 5). Raise your left hand to bring it toward your right ear. This naturally keeps the front of the card box facing the audience to avoid flashing the card. Open the flap with the right hand and act as if listening to a whisper inside (photo 6). Verbally reveal the card. This is a fun moment that in some ways offers credence to the idea of trapping a whisper in the card box.
Close the flap and keep it gripped in the left hand by the long edges. Lower your hand so the box is held near waist level (photo 7).
Say, “Let’s see if we can trap something else inside the card box. Invisibly remove your card from the deck and pretend to place it inside the box. Can imagination become reality?”
Follow with the Marlo/Schulien Cardcase Load to apparently remove the card from inside the box. Your right thumb untucks the flap and goes inside the box (photo 8). Bring your right hand away as your right fingers swiftly drag the card from under the box (photo 9). Done quickly, this creates the illusion that the card comes from inside the box. Turn the card face up to display the selection (photo 10). You can take this opportunity to remove any remaining crimp from the corner.
NOTES The Whisper plot to reveal a card can be found in “The Reticent Queen” by Newton Hall (The Jinx, issue 24, 1936). Corner Crimp in a Fan appeared in The Jinx, issue 114 (1940). The
Complete Works of Derek Dingle (1982).
THINK TANK EFFECT The spectator thinks of one of the four Aces. The Jokers are placed in the box to discuss the matter in their “think tank.” Listening in, the performer reveals the name of the Ace. For the finale, the Jokers are now seen on the outside of the box, and the four Aces are found inside. What’s more, the selected Ace is reversed among the other three Aces. This effect started as a straight transposition of two boxed Jokers and four Aces. Upon discussing the handling with Jack Carpenter, he came up with some great improvements. The only downside was that it left one of the Aces face up in the box. Well, talk about turning lemons into lemonade. I worked the reversed Ace into the presentation, turning the effect into a select-a-card effect. The result is a mental mystery, where the Jokers and Aces end up changing places. The reversed Ace, which was once a problem, is now a wonderful final moment. But, the effect was not yet complete until I showed David Regal at The Magic Castle. His input led an additional onedegree refinement. He suggested having the participant hold the card box rather than having it sit on the table. Not only does this get the audience involved, it creates a wonderful final moment that happens in their hands.
With only six cards used, the effect creates several magical moments. Once the Jokers are placed inside the card box, a four-part conclusion is unveiled: 1. You verbally reveal the selected Ace. 2. The Jokers escape from the box. 3. The Aces fly inside the box. 4. Among the Aces, the selected Ace is reversed. It’s ironic that Jack, David, and I embodied the “think tank” approach in sharing our ideas for this effect. With that, I present to you, “Think Tank.”
SETUP You’ll need the card box, four Aces, and two Jokers. Prepare the Aces by turning them face down and placing a pencil dot in the upper left corner (photo 1). Any marking to aid you in the one way principle will work. PERFORMANCE Place the two Jokers face up near the card box. Display the Aces, then turn them face down, ensuring that the pencil dots are all in the upper left corner. Mix them by transferring cards side to side, which preserves the orientation of the Aces. Say, “I’d like you to give the four Aces a quick mix like this so no one knows the order of the Aces.” Invite your participant to mix the Aces the same way. This ensures that the orientation of the Aces will stay intact as the participant mixes them. Take the Aces back and spread them face down as you invite your participant to select one. It’s very important that she keep her selection in the same orientation, so some verbal
coaching helps. Say, “Please remove any Ace and take a quick peek at it. Don’t show anyone else.” By asking her not to show anyone, it will help keep the card pointing in the same direction. As she looks at the card, close the fan to rotate your three cards 180 degrees (photo 2).
Invite your participant to return the card and shuffle the Aces from hand to hand again. Say, “Place your Ace back and give the cards another mix as you did before so no one knows what your card is or where it is.”
Take the Aces back and look at the upper left corner for the uniquely marked card among the other three (photo 3); this will be the selected Ace. Casually cut it to the bottom and glimpse the card during an all-around square-up (photo 4). Remember this card—Ace of Clubs in this example. Say, “The Jokers are going to help me determine your thoughts. Can you please hand them to me.” As she does this, execute a Half Pass to reverse the bottom three Aces. Continue, “I’ll trap the Aces in between the Jokers for a moment.” Turn the Jokers face down and place one on the bottom of the Aces and the other on top. Say, “In order to know exactly what Ace you are thinking of, the Jokers will go inside of their ‘think tank’ to brainstorm. That’s where the card box comes in. Please hold the box with the opening toward me. Now open the door so the Jokers can go inside.” Have the participant hold the box and open the flap. I usually help to ensure the flaps are open too. Turn the top Joker face up, followed by a five-card block turnover to apparently turn it face down. The right hand takes two cards as one using the mechanics of a hit double lift. I use my right first finger to feel for a double at the rear right corner (photo 5). Lift up on the card and pinch it tightly in the right hand. Insert the double card into the card box (photo 6). Openly remove the bottom Joker and place it face up onto top of your packet. Perform a three-card block turnover. As before, take two off as one and feed it into the card box, on top of the previously inserted card(s). Say, “I’ll place each
Joker inside the think tank so they can concentrate. Please close the flap to seal them inside.”
6 The reality is that all four Aces are in the box, while you hold the two Jokers. Say, “I’ll keep the Aces safely outside the box. Please concentrate on your card.” Perform a two-as-four count with the remaining cards, verbally referring to them as the Aces. You are simply exchanging them from hand to hand during four beats. 1. Verbal Reveal Lean in toward the card box and as if listening in on the Jokers. Say, “I can hear the Jokers doing their thing. There’s a little debate, but ultimately they have concluded that you are thinking of the…Ace of Clubs (name glimpsed Ace).” This is a strong moment, so let it sink in.
2. Jokers Out Say, “If you think that’s good, watch this! Your Ace will fly from my hand into the card box. Actually, not just your Ace, but ALL the Aces!” You will now reveal that you hold the two Jokers using a flourish from Paul Harris’ “Las Vegas Split.” Square the face-down Jokers and hold them by opposite corners: your left hand should be palm up pinching the rear left corner; and your right hand should be palm down pinching the front right corner (photo 7). Rotate your hands, allowing the top card to snap off the left thumb and the bottom card to snap off the right thumb simultaneously (photo 8). Continue rotating your hands to display a face-up Joker in each hand. This is a cool visual moment to punctuate that the Jokers are now on the outside of the card box. 3. Aces In Ask your participant to shake the box. Say “If the Jokers are now on the outside, I wonder what’s on the inside?” Please open the door to the think tank so we can see.” As she opens the flap, remove all four cards as a block. Turn them face up to display an Ace at the face.
4. Reversal Kicker Say, “As the Aces invisibly flew inside the card box, one card flipped over along the way. Not just any Ace, but the very card you are thinking of…the Ace of Clubs.” Spread the Aces to show one card face down. Invite your participant to turn it over to show the Ace of Clubs.
NOTES Theodore Annemann’s use of one-way faces and backs appeared in The Jinx 1-50 (Section "Summer Extra 1935"). The use of a one-way back design can be found in Jean Hugard’s Encyclopedia of Card Tricks in the chapter entitled Card Mysteries Using A One-Way Back Design (1937, 1974 reprint). During impromptu situations when you don’t have a pencil dot on the backs of the Aces, you can still use the One Way Principle by using inherent properties of the center pips. Start with the pips in the same orientation (diamonds does not matter). After the Aces are mixed, casually flip them face up and look for the center pip that is facing the opposite direction from the others; this will be the selected Ace. If they are all facing the same direction, then the selected card is the Diamonds.
ESSAY Sharing Your S.E.C.R.E.T. While secrets are meant to be kept, this one is meant to be shared. Over the years, I’ve come up with six key factors to guide myself toward the most effective performance possible, and I’ve framed them into an easy-to-remember acronym, ‘S.E.C.R.E.T.‘ It supports my overarching mission to “connect people to extraordinary moments.” I hope it inspires you to adopt a similar approach to guide your own magic. S - Smile A smile has more power than you think. More than naturally raising your likeability factor and opening up an extra degree of connection with your audience, it is a useful tool to camouflage your moves. Think about it...it's hard to concentrate AND smile at the same time. Just look
statue The Thinker. So, smile through your magic, and it will diminish the perception that you are concentrating on your next move. E - Eye Contact Please don't stare at your cards the whole time. Lock eyes with everyone in your audience and you'll "touch" them. For
large crowds, make it a point to look into the eyes of a few people in your audience, which will help you connect with everyone. C - Commit Don't just recite your lines; stand behind every word. David Regal is one of my favorite performers. He makes even the simplest items shine. The secret? He "COMMITS." Every word & action is used to make the impact as clear, compelling and entertaining as possible. So, believe in what you say, and say what you believe. R - Respond Listen to both verbal and non-verbal gestures, and look for opportunities to respond and interact. Magic is about dialogue, not monologue. Take a genuine interest in what your audience says, and seize these unscripted moments. E - Express yourself You are the brand, so don't let your props upstage you. Be authentic and genuine in how you interact. In the end, you want your audience to remember you—your name, your charisma, your style. Create opportunities to be you and bring your personal brand to life. T - Transport Always be en route toward transporting your audience. Magic is about taking your audience to a different place; a different state of mind. Look for ways to elevate the presentation and meaning of your magic. Point out the scenic views as you give your audience a brief, unique view of the world around them.
ENTOURAGE The following set features the Aces as your entourage. It features a completely hands-off Ace production, a fun take on Daley’s Last Trick, and an exciting Mission Impossible themed routine, and an ultra clean cards-to-pocket closer.
ALL IN YOUR HANDS EFFECT Two participants thoroughly cut and shuffle the deck, and together, find the four Aces. In Hands Off My Notes (2016), I featured a nearly hands-off Ace production. I say nearly hands off since I had to turn over the four Aces at the end. My friend Caleb Wiles suggested utilizing an idea from Dani DaOritz, used in a different way here. This one-degree addition now makes the effect completely hands off. Two participants mix the cards, cut the cards, and turn over the Aces at the end. For such a simple effect, it’s caught they eye of many magicians. It is one of my favorite ways to produce four Aces.
SETUP Start with four Aces on top of the deck. PERFORMANCE During opening conversation, use a slip cut to casually bring the top two Aces to the center, then place the upper half on top. Hold a break between the halves. Spread to your break and give the halves to two participants. They will unknowingly have two Aces on top of each packet. It is completely hands off from here. Say, “I’d like the two of you to help. Will you each take half the deck. In a moment, you will mix the cards. At the end, we are going to see who is the luckiest among you.”
You’ll now use my variation of Ben Earl’s “Spectator’s Shuffle Holdout” by having two participants execute the sequence. This allows the cards to be shuffled and exchanged without disturbing the Aces. With the cards face down: 1. Have each participant spread off a small group of cards (photo 1); 2. Have each participant place these cards in a face-up pile onto the table (photo 2); 3. Have them mix the remaining cards they hold; 4. Repeat the above steps by having them spread a few cards, place them face up onto their tabled portions, mix the remaining cards, and continue until there are no cards left. I like to invite them to swap packets as much as they’d like during the procedure. There will be two face-up piles on the table. During the above actions, say, “By cutting, turning, mixing, and exchanging cards in this way, everyone can see the cards are thoroughly mixed.”
Have each participant pick up his “mixed” pile and hold it face down. Now for the cutting sequence based on Dani Ortiz’s effect ‘Twin Prediction.” Have each participant take the top card of the packet he holds, then partially insert it into the other person’s packet (photo 3). Say, “Have you ever played blackjack in Vegas? The dealer invites a player to cut the deck by inserting a ‘cut card’ to split the deck. I’d like you both to do the same. Use the top card off your packet as a cut card.” Now insert it into the OTHER person’s packet, but leave it sticking out.” Have each participant pick up all the cards above the protruding card and place these onto the table. Next, have them square their remaining cards and table them next to the previous piles. There are now four packets of cards on the table with an Ace on top of each…and you never touched the cards.
3 You can reveal the Aces any way you wish. I like to say, “I’d like each of you to place your hand on any pile. You mixed and cut these cards, so no one knows what these cards could be. Whoever has the highest card is the luckiest. Please turn
over the top card of your pile.” They will both be surprised to each find an Ace. Ask them turn over the top card of the remaining two packets, and they will discover two more Aces (photo 4). Say, “Well, it’s clear that you are BOTH the luckiest people I’ve ever met. Next time I go to Vegas, you’re both coming with me!”
NOTES The “Spectator’s Shuffle Holdout” was published in Ben Earl’s Gambit, Issue 2 (2010). My additions are to use a spreading action and to involve two people, which allows the option to exchange cards during the shuffle. The cutting phase is inspired by “Twin Prediction” by Dani DaOrtiz idea, which appeared in his Utopia DVDs and a booklet called Card Magic SemiAutomatic. Ortiz forced a predetermined total by having each participant insert the top card into their own packet. It was Caleb Wiles who suggested applying this idea to the Ace production by having the participants cut the other person’s packet.
CHIP OFF THE OLD DALEY EFFECT A red and black poker chip change places. The performer offers to repeat it under test conditions by covering the red chip with the red Aces—and the black chip with the black Aces. This time, the chips don’t change places; it’s the Aces that do. The use of red and black poker chips adds visual interest to the classic effect. As Stephen Minch put it after I showed him, “I really like the conceit of framing Daley’s Last Trick as a chip transposition. A charming surprise.” It is important to set the premise of the poker chips changing places during the first phase. This also serves as a red herring for the second phase, where the focus is on the poker chips, not the cards. When the poker chips fail to change places the second time, the brief “magician in trouble” moment heightens the impact of the final transposition.
SETUP You’ll need a red poker chip, a black poker chip, and the four Aces. PERFORMANCE Remove the four Aces or produce them using the previous effect “All In Your Hands.” Introduce a red and black poker chip. Say, “If you’ve ever played cards or even roulette, you know that red and black are the prominent colors. I’d like to 63 !
show you something amazing using this red and black poker chip.” Phase One: Chip Transpo With the Aces face up, place the black Aces on the left side of the table, and the red Aces on the right. Pick up the black poker chip in the right hand. Apparently place it in your left hand using a Retention Vanish. Ask a participant on your left to hold on to your wrist. Demonstrate this by holding your left wrist for a momentarily, which naturally conceals the finger-palmed chip in your right hand (photo 1). Ask someone on your right to hold out her hand. Say, “And I’d like you to hold on to the red chip tightly so no one can get to it.” With the black chip finger-palmed in the right hand, pick up the red chip. As your right hand approaches the participant on your right, position the red chip into Thumb Clip and let the black chip fall onto her palm, covered by your outstretched fingertips (photo 2). Have her close her hand immediately so no one can get to it.
Relax your right hand at your side as you remind everyone that the black chip is in your left hand and the red chip is in the participant’s hand on your right. You will now secretly load the red chip into your left hand using a Dai Vernon move. Slightly uncurl your left fingertips so there is an opening from the back (photo 3). Wave your right hand over as you secretly let the thumb-clipped red chip fall into your hand (photo 4). Say, “Will each of you please wave your hand over the poker chips. When you do that, something amazing happens. The red and black chips change places.” Open your left hand to show the red chip. Have the participant on your right open his hand to discover she now holds the black chip.
Phase Two: Ace Transpo You now offer to repeat the transposition, but under test conditions. Ask the participants on your left and right to hold out their outstretched palms. Say, ”That was so much fun, let’s make the red and black change places again. To preclude any sleight of hand, I will cover the poker chips with the
Aces—the red Aces with the red chip, and the black Aces with the black chip.” Fairly place the poker chips on the outstretched palms of your two participants; black on your left, red on your right. Pick up the Aces and go straight into "Dr. Daley's Last Trick," covering the red chip with the supposed red Aces, and the "black" Aces on top of the black chip. After some byplay, lift the cards slightly, and act disappointed that the chips have not changed places. Say, “I promised the red and black would change places…but I didn’t mean the chips this time, I meant the CARDS.” Turn over the cards to show that the red and black Aces changes!
5 NOTES “Dr. Daley's Last Trick” appeared in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic (1957). An earlier predecessor is Arthur Buckley’s “Color Memory Experiment No. 26” in Card Control (1946).
This effect can be done without a table if you have a third participant hold the Aces during the first phase. During the poker chip transposition, instead of placing the second poker chip in the participant’s hand, you can drop the chip into a dice cup or coffee cup. This makes the move easier and places less heat on the switch. Give it a try. After some practice and some audience management, you can perform the effect as described.
DOUBLE AGENT EFFECT A top-secret card is selected and returned to the deck. The Aces (a.k.a. Secret Agents), go into the deck to gather intel about the card, then each escapes in a perilous way. The performer riffles the deck toward the Aces, and the selection appears between them, proving he’s been a double agent the entire time. “Double Agent” makes a great follow-up to the previous two effects since it uses the Aces already in play. The Mission Impossible theme is a refreshing change of pace, adding some fun and intrigue to your set.
SETUP None. PERFORMANCE Have the Aces face up on the table in the following order from the face: Spades, Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds. Pick up the deck. You will need to secretly note the seventh card down, which will be your key card. This is easy to do during shuffling. Simply give the deck a face-up overhand shuffle by peeling cards off the face one at a time. Remember the seventh card you peel off (photo 1), then continue your overhand shuffle. Your key card is now seventh from the top (King of Hearts in this case).
Say, “A lot of people don’t know that the ‘A’ on the Aces actually stand for ‘Agents.’ In a moment, these secret agents are going to go on a top secret mission. First I need to have a top secret card selected. Please remove any card you’d like and remember it. It’s top secret, so don't’ show me.” Spread the deck face down in your hands. Once you are past the seventh card, invite your participant to select any card. Have it returned to the seventh position (above your key card). As the card is shown around, I get a left fourth finger break under six cards by casually spreading and re-squaring the deck. You are now prepared to do a Bluff Pass. Riffle the outer corner of the deck with your left thumb and invite the participant to say stop. Your right hand apparently lifts all the cards above this point, but really lifts just the six cards from above your break in a deep Biddle grip (photo 2). Extend your left hand to have the card returned on top of the packet. It helps to tilt the left hand downward to hide the thickness of the deck. Slap down the cards in your right hand on top of the selection to bury it. A full-deck dribble of the cards works nicely here to reiterate that the card is lost.
Say, "The Aces' mission should they choose to accept it is to spread out in the deck, gather intel about your card’s identity, and return safely." You will now place each Ace in a different part of the deck. Hold the deck face up in left hand dealing position. With your left thumb, riffle down about 10 cards. Your right hand picks up the first Ace from the table (Ace of Spades) and partially inserts it into the deck at this point. Continue riffling down about another ten cards, then insert the next Ace (Ace of Clubs). Repeat this with the next Ace of Hearts. For the Ace of Diamonds, your left thumb riffles down and slow down as you approach the last ten or so cards. Continue riffling one card at a time as you look at the indexes. Once you spot the key card (King of Hearts) (photo 3). Riffle this card and stop. The index you see now is the selected card (Seven of Clubs in this case) (photo 4). Remember this card. Pick up the Ace of Diamonds and insert it into the deck at this point, above the selected card. You have imperceptibly glimpsed the selection during a casual placement of the Aces.
Your left hand now holds the face-up deck in dealing position, with four Aces protruding from the front. You will now execute Marlo’s Simple Shift. To do this, clamp your left thumb tightly into the face of the deck. Extend your left first finger to come in contact with the outjogged cards. Slowly curl your finger to bring the outjogged cards flush with the deck, and notice how this causes a block of cards to emerge from the rear of the deck due to the Plunger Principle (photo 5). With your right hand, strip out all the protruding cards from the rear of the deck (photo 6), and continue a Hindu Shuffle onto the left hand’s packet.
6 Turn the deck face down. The position of the deck is: six indifferent cards, selection, Ace of Diamonds, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Spades, remainder of deck. Say, “The Aces are now on their daring mission. The hard part is for each to return safely.” You will now produce each Ace in a different way as they ”escape” from the deck. Ace of Clubs – Say, “For the Ace of Clubs to return, he just had to sign in his password, which is ‘Ace of Clubs’ spelled
backwards. Spell with me: S-B-U-L-C-F-O-E-C-A” Deal one card for each letter and turn over the last card. Sure you could just spell the card, but doing it backwards in much more fun. Place the Ace of Clubs face up on the table. Replace the dealt cards onto the top of the deck. Ace of Hearts – Say, “The Ace of Hearts escapes by helicopter.” Execute Audley Walsh's Long Distance Spinner (Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 4) to make the card fly out of the deck. You can also use Daryl’s Hot Shot Cut or any other flashy production of the top card. Place the card next to the Ace of Clubs, sidejogged to the right.
Ace of Diamonds – Double undercut the top card to the bottom. Say, “The Ace of Diamonds discovers a secret trapdoor in the center of the deck and comes back safely.” Perform Swivelroo as described in “Mini-Mental” on page 27. The card naturally lands face up on top of the deck, which is actually the selection. With your right hand, apparently pick up the Ace of Diamonds in Biddle Grip, but really lift two cards as one (photo 7). As you place this double card sidejogged
onto the other two tabled Aces, you will see the selection as a reminder (photo 8). Ace of Spades – Say, “The Ace of Spades is nowhere to be found. Maybe you can help me. Touch the back of any card. Wait, that’s not the Ace of Spades…or is it? He is a master of disguise. Just like in Mission Impossible where Tom Cruise lifts the mask off his face to reveal his true identity, if we give this card a shake, we find that it his indeed the Ace of Spades!” To do this, begin spreading through the deck from hand to hand. Site count six cards and use a Hofzinser Cull to secretly bring the seventh card (Ace of Spades) under the spread. Ask the participant to touch any card. Outjog the touched card as your secretly load the Ace of Spades underneath it. Cut all the cards above the outjogged card to the bottom. Pick up two back-to-back cards as one in right hand Biddle grip, held by the diagonal corners (photo 9). Cause the card to change to the Ace of Spades by rotating the double, such as with a Sleeve Change or Shapeshifter move (photo 10). Replace the double onto the deck, then pick up the individual Ace. Place this onto the three tabled cards, sidejogged to the right (photo 11).
Most of your work is done. To reveal the selection, act as if you are listening in on the four Aces, then verbally reveal the card (the card you glimpsed while initially inserting the Aces into the deck). Say, “There’s a plot twist. Your card has actually been a double agent. He was working with the Aces the whole time, and it looks like we just blew his cover.” Riffle the deck toward the tabled Aces. The air will cause the Aces to flutter and bring the face-down selection into view (photo 12). Remove this card and show it to conclude the routine.
NOTES My inspiration for this effect was Frank Garcia’s “Four Bullet Routine” from Stars of Magic video series #3. LePaul’s Bluff Pass appeared in Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 3 (1943). Marlo’s Simple Shift appeared in The Cardician (1953).
Before revealing/producing the selection at the end, I sometimes place the Aces into the participant’s hands first. To produce the selection, forgo the riffling of the deck, and just have the participant spread the Aces in her hands to discover her card in between. Depending on the mood of the room, I might play the Mission Impossible theme as a musical backdrop to the routine. It’s worth the 99¢ download to carry on your mobile phone. This way, you are always ready to play it through your phone speakers.
FLASH POCKET EFFECT The Jacks are placed in four different pockets as your participant holds the Aces. The Aces instantly turn into Jacks, then the Aces are removed from the pockets. "Flash Pocket" is a clean four-for-four pocket transposition. While other effects of this type typically feature a repeat transposition, this effect focuses on one incredible moment— where the cards instantly switch places. I’ve had several iterations of this effect, including “Quick Pocket” and “Hide and Seek.” The version presented here has three discerning characteristics: it is structured to be done without a table; it is short and powerful; and it features a lightning fast moment where
laypeople, it is a very fooling moment. You will need some brief preparation (roughing one side of two cards), but the result is well worth it. As the closing effect of this chapter, and the book overall, I think it makes a perfect way to close out our journey together.
SETUP You will need four Aces and four Jacks. You will prepare the Ace and Jack of Spades. Apply roughing spray to the “back of the Jack” and “face of the Ace.” See what I did there.? Easy to remember. Once you’ve done this, you are all set. These cards can be in your deck during performance without interference.
PERFORMANCE Remove or produce the Aces and Jacks. With the cards face up, arrange the Aces on top of the Jacks, with the Spades as the lowermost suit of each foursome. The bottom two Jacks should also be alternating in color (photo 1).
Ask for the help of a participant on your left. Pick up all eight cards and hold them in right hand Biddle grip. Obtain a right thumb break above the bottom two Jacks at the inner right corner (photo 2). With your left thumb, fairly peel the top three Aces singly into your left hand. As your left hand returns to peel the fourth Ace, align the three previous cards directly
under the packet and secretly steal them back in Biddle grip. At the same time, your left thumb contacts the right edge of the packet (photo 3) and frees the three cards above your right thumb break. Your left thumb drags the three cards into the left hand (photo 4). Turn your left hand palm down and place the "Ace" packet face down onto the participant’s outstretched palm. Say, “Here is a mini-miracle done with just eight cards. Will you please hold on to the Aces for a moment? As you do that, I am going to place the four Jacks in four different pockets.” With the "Jacks" face-up, transfer the face card to the bottom. Turn the packet face down and hold it in Biddle Grip in preparation for Daryl's Rising Crime Display. With your left thumb, peel the top three cards singly into your left hand. Turn your left hand palm down and grip the double between your thumb and third finger. Notice how this action flashes the Jack at the face of the packet (photo 5). Rotate your left hand palm up to show the face of the double, held securely at the fingertips (photo 6). Turn the double face down and place the top card into your right pants pocket.
Similar to the above actions, peel two cards one at a time into your left hand and repeat displaying the face-up double. Turn the double face down and place the top card in your right coat pocket. I now take a brief deviation from the Rising Crime Display. Turn the remaining cards face up. Pinch them along the right edge—thumb on top. Do a multiple push-off with your right thumb and pinch this double with the left fingertips. Separate the hands slightly so each displays a Jack (photo 7). Flick the cards up and down against each other a few times, then place the right-hand's card on top of the double. Turn the cards face down. Take the top card with your right hand and place it in your breast pocket.
7 Apparently place the last "Jack" (really a double) inside your left pants or coat pocket. Before doing so, you can rotate your left hand palm down momentarily to flash the Jack (photo 8). Dip your left hand into your pocket, and while out of sight, position the card in Gamblers' Cop (face down). Remove the copped card and relax your hand at your side.
Say, “The Jacks are separated in four different corners of the world right now. And you hold the four Aces.” With your right hand, pick up the “Ace” packet from the participant’s hands in Biddle grip. Turn your hand palm up to display an Ace as your left hand begins moving forward with its two copped cards (photo 9). Your right hand returns palm down and places its cards directly onto the copped cards. This brings the roughed sides of the Ace and Jack of Spades together. Hand the “Aces” back to your participant. Larry Wilmore suggested a nice touch of giving the packet a twist as you demonstrate what you’d like the participant to do. This gives perfect reasoning to picking up the cards and handing them back.
9 Build up the premise that you will cause the Aces and Jacks to change places in an instant. Due to the roughed sides between the Ace and Jack of Spades, you can easily snap the cards into a one-handed fan to fairly show the Jacks (photo 10). Sometimes I even have the participant spread the cards! Let this impossible moment sink in. Take two Jacks face up into each hand (Ace hidden under the Jacks in the right hand). Bring the cards back together so the Ace is on the bottom.
Say, “With the Aces on the outside, and Jacks in my pocket, this is all going to happen in the blink of an eye. As a matter of fact, please blink you eye. That’s all it takes. Now the Jacks are in your hand, and the Aces are all in my pockets.” Place the cards into left hand dealing position and obtain a fourth finger break above the Ace. Hold the cards from above in Biddle grip and move them forward as you secretly keep the Ace in Gambler’s Cop position. You can fan the four Jacks for misdirection. Your right hand continues to pull the Jacks away and hands them to your participant. The left hand reaches into the left pocket and comes out with the copped Ace of Spades. Fairly remove the other three Aces from their respective pockets.
NOTES There are many variations of the Pocket Interchange plot, most featuring kicker transpositions. Jack Carpenter's "Multiplex Reset" from Modus Operandi is one prominent example. Handlings have also been offered by Jerry Sadowitz, David Solomon, Allan Ackerman and many others. For more history, I encourage you to read Racherbaumer's Modus Operandi VII.
A Successful Landing Being en route is about being on a continual expedition to improve magic and transport audiences. But what is the destination? To best define this, it boils down to one important question: “What does success look like?” In my more than 20 years in the business world, I’ve asked this question countless times to guide my progress. I ask it before developing a marketing plan; before leading a consulting project; and yes, before every magic performance or endeavor. So, what does success look like for you? I am not talking about money or fame; I’m talking about the desired impact you want your magic to have on others. Envision what you want your audience to say, feel, or do in response to your magic. When you can answer this, you have defined your VISION. It is your stamp on the world. Whether in business or magic, my overarching vision is to create extraordinary moments that help people feel joy, curiosity, and a heightened belief that anything is possible. Whatever your vision, I wish you a successful journey filled with creativity and insight. Thank you for traveling with me. I hope our paths cross soon.