Steve Beam

I have always enjoyed color changes. One of the best is Mario's Visual Retention Change from page 239 of The Hierophant (#5). It is an instant and visual change of one card for another based on a technique used for mechanical seconds. The change itself is relatively easy and can be learned in less than an hour. I use it a little differently as 1 will describe here.

Effect. When performing stand up for a few people, the magician states that he needs a table for the next effect. He asks the spectator to hold out his hands palm up at about waist level. (He adjusts them to the right level if needed.) "Poof! You are a table."

Having magically converted the spectator to a table ("Table To Spectator Illusion" for the index) the magician takes the deck and turns it face up. A red four is on the face. "You have all heard of splitting diamonds based on their cleavage. I am going to try to split this card using the same principle. I am going to attempt to knock one of the pips off. Watch." At this, the magicians snaps the four with his right second finger. As it falls into the spectator's waiting hands, it splits into a three and an ace. The magician has succeeded in knocking off a pip.

Now he asks the spectator to make a choice. "Choose either the ace or the three." Assume the spectator chooses the three. He hands it to the magician. When the magician drop's the three onto the deck, it instantly splits into the other three aces. This is a very visual production of the four aces.

Very little misdirection is used in this routine. The spectators are able to burn the hands (theirs, not yours) at the exact moments when the changes occur. The splitting effect looks very realistic. It does not appear that you are substituting one set of cards for another.

On top of the visual effect, it is also puzzling in that they got to choose which card you would work with at the end. This fooled just about all of the magicians in the Gatlinburg close-up lounge although they all knew the principle. (Okay, it was 3:00 a.m.)

The Work. There is a quick (three on top, and three on bottom) setup. 1 don't know that suits make any difference, but 1 am going to tell you the suit order 1 use. Colors and values are everything. Do not confuse the location of red and black aces are you will not get the splitting effect 1 discussed above. Instead, you will get the substitution effect.

From the face of the deck, start with the four of hearts, three of hearts, and the ace of hearts. On the top (back) of the deck, have the two black aces followed by the ace of diamonds. Find a spectator and you are ready to perform.

Position the spectator's hands at a level which you feel comfortable executing the Visual Retention Change. Obtain a left little finger break under the three cards on the face of the deck. You will find this much easier if you are also holding the deck in the left hand .

You are now going to position the four for the change. The deck is held face up but at a forty-five degree angle with the right edge lower than the left. Use your right forefinger to lift. the right edge of the four up onto the left edge of the deck. Bring the card up to a cantilevered position.

Note that your left thumb alone could move the four around to this position just by dragging the card to the left and around over onto the left edge of the deck. This is what I do. The right forefinger only looks as if it is doing the lifting. You can use either to do the job, but it should look as if your right forefinger is doing the wor k.

As the four is brought into a horizontal position resting on the left edge of the deck, the left wrist bends inward so that the palm is toward your body. The more the deck proper is aimed at you, the fewer the critical angles. Only the people directly behind you over your right shoulder would be able to see the three on the face of the deck.

You are now in the correct position for the change. Throughout the second or so it took to get in this position, you have maintained your little finger break beneath the ace of hearts .

You are now apparently going to snap the four off the deck into the spectator's waiting hands with your right second finger. Two things happen at once. At the moment your second finger snaps off the right thumb and onto the face of the king, the left 1 i11 le finger releases its break and therefore its grip on the two cards (ace and three of hearts) above it.

Both of these cards will fall face up onto the spectator's hands. Meanwhile, the left thumb rotates the four back onto the face of the deck. There is an up and down movement associated with the change which helps with the acting. Both hands should go up about three inches in preparation for the snap. The snap is made as the hands drop about three inches. This downward movement propels the ace and the three into the spectator's hands.

Work on this. The get ready takes about a second and the change takes about a second. Those of you who are using this simply as filler aren't picking up much time here. Possibly a brief history of playing cards rendered in latin would help to bridge the gap here.

At the conclusion of the change, both hands are palm down. This means the face of the deck is out of their line of vision and they can't see the four. Use the two hands to separate the ace in the three in case they fell as a pair. (See Regurgitations for hints on how to prevent this.)

Bring your hands back in toward yourself as the left hands pivots the deck it holds face down. While all eyes are on the spectator's hands and the cards they contain, use your left thumb to push the top three cards over the right edge of the deck enough where you can get a left little finger break beneath the three cards.

Ask the spectator to choose one of the cards he holds. This is the conjuror's choice --- a subtlety which is surprisingly effective in a sleight of hand routine. If they choose the three, then you take take "the one you chose." If they choose the ace, "that leaves the three for me."

Take the three and lay it face up on Lop of the pack for just a second. Immediately pick it back up, along wiLh Lhe Lhree face down cards above Lhe break, in Lhe right hand in Biddle posiLion. You are now ready for Lhe drop change described earlier in Lhis issue.

"If 1 Lhrow Lhe Lhree jusL righL, iL spliLs inLo Lhe Lhree aces." As Lhis is said, execute the drop change onto the Lop of Lhe pack. The red Lhree will change inLo Lhree red aces, wiLh a red one on Lop. Immediately deal Lhese Lhree aces onto Lhe face up ace Lhe specLaLor sLill holds. You may now proceed inLo any four ace rouLine you 1 ike.

RegurgiLaLions. The idea for paLLer Lheme for knocking off a pip from Lhe four was inspired by Vernon's Picking Off The Pip from page 46 of Inner Secrets of Card Magic.

1 have used Lhe Visual ReLention Change as a complete trick in itself before. StarL wiLh Lhe deck face up, wiLh Lhe four aces reversed on Lhe boLLom. 1 mention that 1 need the four aces. The quickest way to get Lhem is Lo start with a four. 1 spread Lhe deck and ask for a spectaLor Lo Louch one of Lhe fours. When he does, 1 spliL Lhe pack at thaL poinL and use Lhe right hand to place Lhe four face down on Lhe boLLom of Lhe deck. The deck is reassembled and turned over. 1 now lift Lhe four in posiLion for Lhe change. IL splits into the four aces.

would be wise Lo consult Lhe discussion regarding aces as ones in Issue #22, page 378. 1 Lhink Don Morris has some valid concerns and lL would be wise Lo make sure Lhe audience undersLands LhaL aces have a value of one.

Finally, you may assure LhaL Lhe Lwo cards fall into the hands of the spectaLor in fanned condition in the above routine by modifying Lhe sLarLing posiLion. SLarL wiLh a liLLle finger under Lhe Lop Lhree cards (as above) and a Lhird finger break beneaLh Lhe Lop Lwo cards. This extra break allows air Lo come between Lhe cards as Lhey fall inLo Lhe spectator's hands. This air wi1L allow Lhe cards Lo separate as they drop .

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