The Snapper

Steve Beam

This is a handling of an old color change which has experienced a rebirth in the last fifteen years. I don't use it as a color change. Instead, I use it as a visible splitting effect. You can use it as the split from the four into the two deuces in "Card Cleavage" already explained or you can find other uses for it in routines where one card splits into two or more.

The effect is simple. The magician takes a four from the deck. It splits into two deuces. Or, he takes a four from the deck, and it visibly splits into four aces. Or, he has two cards selected, say a two and a six. The cards are returned to and lost in the deck. He takes an eight from the deck. It is not one of the chosen cards but it instantly splits into the six and the two.

It would be beneficial, although not necessary, to understand the workings of the original color change. It is published in many places including, Henry Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook ("The Snap Change") Walter Gibson's Conplete Illustrated Book of Card Magic ("Visible Change") and in Camille Gaultier's Magic Without Apparatus ("Second Method" for "Color Changes By Means of the Back Palm And The Back and Front Palm"). The latter credits the change to M. Charles Ragon, stating that it was published in volume III, page 25 of 1'Illusionniste.

I mention all of the above because each of the authors describe the color change differently. Since the most difficult part of the standard change is finding a way to perform a smooth cleanup at the end, I was amused with Gaultier's conplete omission of a method. While all eyes follow a card which drops to the floor, "It is an easy matter to get rid of the [palmed] ace of diamonds". I might add that while the magician gracefully grunts as he bends over to pick up clumsily dropped cards, it is an easy matter for the audience to sneak out to find a magician who can hold on to his cards. (But you have to admit that the guy was full of catchy titles.)

The Work. We will assume that you are going to learn the move using a four changing into two deuces. Start with a four third from the top of the deck, with two deuces on top. All three cards should be of the same color.

Triple lift, turning the three cards over and letting them fall face up and injogged for about an inch on top of the pack. Pick up the three cards as one in the right hand with the first three fingers on the face and the thumb and little finger on the back. This is

Dueces Fingers Png

accomplished by approaching the cards with the palm down right hand from the rear of the pack. Hold the cards as shown in the illustration.

Your right second and third fingers are going to execute a move which will resemble snapping your fingers. They are going to pivot the four around the faces of the deuces and into the right palm. The thumb pushing to the right and the fingers pulling to the left will make the cards fan slightly. This is exactly what you want. As soon as the four clears the deuces, it will snap into the palm. The reason you start with the right little finger on the back of the cards is that it helps to control the four after it clears the other two cards.

That is the basic change. It takes a fraction of a second from start to finish. Once you master the change itself, I am going to borrow something from Henry Hay. That is, you are going to do it up side down. The exact same change will be performed with the right hand palm down.

The left hand will be waiting immediately behind the cards in the right hand. When the snap is made, the card in the palm (the four) should be directly over the deck. The right hand releases its grip on the card and allows it to fall squarely onto the top of the deck. If the left hand is positioned properly, there should be very little movement at this point. You want the left hand to start out as close as possible to this point, without getting in the way of the four as if snaps back into the palm.

Regurgitations. This is more difficult than the standard color change. At first, there will be a tendency for two cards to snap back into the palm. This is simply a matter of developing a feel for the move, as well as regulating the fan you are forming with the right thumb.

Because of this, the right thumb becomes much more important if you wish to use more cards, say a four splitting into four aces. In this handling, everything is the same except that the right thumb starts the change by doing a multiple push of sorts. It pushes (Elmsley Count fashion) the cards behind the face card upward and to the right. This separates the cards in back from the card on the face. When this separation occurs, the right third finger (on the face) and the right fourth finger (on the back) pinch the face card and i¡mediately snap it into the palm. This move is aided by the finger snapping movement of the right second and third fingers.

As soon as the four cards are clear, the right thumb and first finger execute as big a fan as possible. And, as before with the three cards, you will execute the whole move with the right hand palm down so that you can finish clean at the end.

Editorial_Comment. I was demonstrating several of my splitting effects to Don Morris in Ashewille and he made me aware of something I hadn't thought about. He mentioned that many people aren't aware that an ace has a value of one. For these people, splitting a four into four aces would

have no more logic than splitting a four into four tens.

Since I think this is a valid point, you should henceforth stop performing card tricks for bumpkins. Since you may find them easier to fool, you may wish to continue to perform for them after taking a few precautions. You should either establish the value of an ace in a preceding trick, or use other values for the trick. An example of the latter would be an eight splitting into four deuces.

I am in the process of hav ing a large placard made up in teak wood which features a four inch high equation designed to highlight the value of an ace. It reads,

Note that this card will be of equal value when performing for overseas bunpkins as well as the English speaking bumpkins. Visual aids such as these can be on display at the entrance to your auditorium or may be printed right on the program.

While these cards are not yet commercially available, I am currently negotiating with several bumpkins for the manufacturing rights. Meanwhile, I do convey performing rights to the card to those of you who perform for these types of audiences.

The Trapdoor ^

Published by: Stews Bean Staff Cartoonist: Jdn Riggs Cbver Design by: Phillip Young

All marufacturing ri^its are reserved ty tie contributors.

Copyright 1988 by Ste/en L. Beam


Steve Beam

This is a very simple gag revelation of a chosen card. You can use it as is or pieces of it can be transplanted to other routines.

The Work. Have a card selected by the spectator. Hold the deck in the left hand in dealing position. Your right hand cuts the top half of the deck away for the return of the selection. Patter, "Place your card squarely on top of the pack". As you say the word, "squarely", take the card from them between the left thumb and the top of the pack.

Do not allow them to place their card anywhere. Physically take it from them and see to it that it is taken and held crookedly as shown in the illustration.

Immediately place the top half of the pack back on the bottom and allow the deck to be seen freely. It should be perfectly square with the exception of one card which is diagonally side-jogged. Follow this with, "Thank you for following the instructions so well.

Your card is really going to be difficult to find". This line is delivered in the most sarcastic manner possible.

You are now going to run through a series of cuts and shuffles, keeping their selection in an exaggerated jogged position. Start with an overhand shuffle. The selection will turn to a position perpendicular to the rest of the deck.

Now grip the deck in the left hand in dealing position. The chosen card protrudes to the right. Use your right hand to pivot the card around to the front of the pack so that it is protruding for about one third its length. The left forefinger should be curled around the outer edge of the card and pressing upward slightly on the card. The deck itself should be angled downward at about a forty-five degree angle.

Square the pack and immediately bring the faces up toward you. Be careful not to flash the card on the face of the pack for it is the chosen card. You are now apparently going the quickly fan through the cards looking for the card you think they chose. Remember, you never saw its face.

Quickly thumb over the top three fourths of the pack with the left thumb and cut these cards to the back of the pack. Remember the card they chose. This loses their card about one fourth of the way from the face of the pack.

Now thumb through the cards legitimately looking for their selection. When soon as you come to it, upjog the card behind it. You are going to apparently make a mistake. Turn the deck face down again and return the card to a position perpindicular to the deck.

Execute an in-the-hands riffle shuffle with the card protruding from the front of the pack. Be careful that you do not disturb the protruding card or the card immediately below it. By cutting three fourths of the pack to the rear a moment ago, you have assured that these two cards are in the middle of one of the halves you are now shuffling. This makes it easier than if the protruding card were close to either the top or the bottom.

To square the cards, turn the telescoped pack faces toward the audience and rest the cards on their long edges as you square the two halves together. This is where they see the card you think is their card. You have obviously made a mistake. You have been so sarcastic since the start, they will not caution you that you have the wrong card.

Take the deck in the left hand in dealing position again. This time, pivot the card around so that it is protruding from the back of the pack. You are now going to execute a very subtle switch as you announce that you are, "going to attempt to cut to their card".

Your right hand comes from above. Your right fingers rest along the front edge of the pack while your right thumb rests along the rear edge of the card protruding from the rear. As you push the card flush with your right thumb, lift up slightly.

As soon as the card is square, you can lift the top half of the pack off the lower half. This is one continuing motion. Lifting the card as you push it flush is what allows you to pick up the top half. The protruding card goes flush with the top half of the pack. Immediately, the left hand goes forward and deals the top card of the left half onto the table. "You are not going to believe this. But, with a clever combination of false cuts, false shuffles, and difficult sleight of hand, I was able to track your card down. This (!) is your card. What was the name of your card?" After they announce their card and are sufficiently milked, turn over the tabled card for the climax.

Regurgitations. The reason this works is because the audience believes it to be spontaneous. They assume you are capitalizing on the fact that the spectator didn't follow your instructions at the beginning of the tr ick•

You should resist the temptation to do too many shuffles and drag the routine out. I do one overhand shuffle before I lose the card. Then, after finding the card, I do one riffle shuffle. All the while, I am telling them how difficult it will be to find their card.

Finally, I conclude with the attenpt to cut to their card. The shorter the running time of this trick, the more entertaining you will find it to be.

This is an Ambitious Card move I developed about ten or twelve years ago after seeing a lecture by Bill Wisch in Charleston, SC. Bill's move was based on something I later saw Irv Weiner do and credit to one of the Rosini's. And, for those of you who are interested, there are some similar, but considerably different items in Rick Johnsson's Practical Impossibilities (along with a "Raisen Rabbits" idea of questionable merit.) Although it is not in the notes, any of you who saw me lecture prior to 1982, probably saw this included in the lecture.

In effect, the magician holds the deck in his left hand. He opens the deck book fashion and places the ambitious card into the middle of the pack with his right hand. It is seen to be protruding. Either the magician or the spectator squares the pack. The ambitious card is now back on top.

The Work. Start with your body turned slightly to the left. The

ambitious card is held face down in the right hand with the thumb on the back and the fingers on the face. It is held from one of the short ends. Hold the deck in the left hand in a modified dealing position. The left fingers rest along the right long edge of the deck. As much as possible, the deck is held in the fingers as opposed to the palm.

The left thumb reaches ever the deck to the far right corner and lifts lifts the top half of the deck up on its left long edge. You have opened the deck in book fashion. The top half of the deck is now at about a forty-five degree angle to the lower half.

The right hand, having displayed the face of the ambitious card, now pivots it into the position shown in the illustration. The right fingers pull it into the right palm by bending into the palm themselves. The card arrives in a position where it can be easily gripped in the Tenkai palm.

The right hand apparently places this card into the open pack. Actually, the right thumb and forefinger pull the top card of the lower half out so that it is outjogged for about half its length. This is an easy thing to do. You have switched the right hand's card

for the top card of the lower half of the deck. Smoothness and angles are the key to success at this point.

The left thumb now releases its grip on the top half of the deck, allowing it to close onto the lower half. The deck is now held in the left hand in dealing position, with the ambitious card protruding for half its leng th.

The right hand now approaches the left, apparently to square the cards. As it does, the card is gripped fully in the Tenkai Palm with no support from the right fingers. The palmed card will come directly over the top of the deck as the right fingers arrive at the far edge of the protruding card. As the right fingers pull the protruding card square with the pack, the palmed card is dropped squarely on to the top of the pack. At the same time, the right thumb moves to the rear of the deck to assist in the squaring motion.

Make whatever magical gestures you enjoy making, and then reveal the ambitious card has risen back to the top of the pack.

What does it take to make some of you happy, anyway? In the last issue, I decided not to waste any space trying to convince you to subscribe to The Trapdoor. But were you happy? No! Several of you wrote to say that I had wasted too much space telling you that I wasn°t going to waste any space.

Maybe you think I was kidding or was making light of wasted space. Let me clear this matter up once and for all. The Trapdoor means too much to me. I will never waste space iri this magazine. Let°s pause now while you think about this statement and let it sink in.

There, I feel better. And, now that you know your money will be well spent on filled pages, send $25.00 for four issues plus The Annual to:


Leftovers is continued from page 384

the evils of the possessive apostrophe, the misuse of capital letters, and the confusion between several synonyms. (Also, see Sid°s comments in his, "Sid Lorraine°s Chatter" column in March of 1988.)

A few years ago, Steve was rewiewing one of my books where I had referred to turning the hand face up. He mentioned in the rew iew that since hands didn't have faces, he wanted to see how I would accomplish this feat.

I was eating breakfast at Hardees that year. They marked their steak and egg biscuits with little happy face stickers. I peeled two off and stuck them to my palms. I mailed photocopies of my hands to Steve showing him that I could indeed turn my hands face up and that I didn't understand the problem he was hav ing following simple instructions.

A week later I received a letter with a photocopy of the back of his hands, each of which sporting a derriere. He explained that after he received my letter, he took a closer look at his hands. He didn't see the faces on his palms, but he did see the rear-ends on the backs. And, by the power of deduction, he was able to surmise that the faces must be on the other side.

In the article, Steve also mentions that such phrases as "bend the left-hand forefinger" are redundant since "almost everyone's left forefinger is found on his left hand". I must differ with Ste/e's approach here. I was born with a slight defect --- my left forefinger is on my right hand and my right forefinger is on my left hand. While this condition was difficult to diagnose since both fingers appear identical, you can imagine my confusion when reading instructions. It has taken years of therapy to overcome this and I would hate for magical authors to revert back to the careless times when they assumed that all magicians were created equal.

I only mention this in case writing instructions to magic tricks is in your future. In spite of the fun I am having, it is an excellent article and one you should read. Also, you might want to reconsider shaking Steve's hands the next time you meet him. A simple wave might suffice.

When you think about it, writing and reading magic instructions, particularly sleight of hand, is a difficult thing to do. There are many sleights which assign a task to each of the fingers and thumbs. Describing these ten individual tasks, plus any patter and body movements which should simultaneously accompany them is an arduous task. Compounding this with the fact that these tasks are supposed to be performed secretly three feet in front of the spectators' line of vision, makes magic a forbidding hobby. I am beginning to wonder why we all decided to stick with it. (Then again, it's hard to get an honest job, such as a short order cook, with butts on your hands.)

This year's Gatlinburg Convention was one of the best conventions in years. Keep in mind that I have missed it the last two years so it was easy to overshadow the previous two. It was not necessarily the paid performers which made it special --- it seldom is. I

think it was the close-up lounge which continued until 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning and 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning. They actually went on longer, but this is when I gave out. Besides that, Phillip Young and I spent Thursday night at Don Morris's house in Asheville doing card tricks until 3:00 a.m.

The last five or so years have found me in bed at midnight on the second night of a convention. This is after a youth of sleeping two hours per night for five nights at the Little Rock international IBM convention in 197 5. Incoherence after the first day at a convention is an art which I had perfected soon after this. I don't know why this last one was so different but I hope to maintain my momentum. The fact that I have not slept since is a small price to pay for the fun I had that weekend.

The next issue is a special one-man issue featuring some great close-up magic. The last one-man issue was #12, The John Riggs Spectacular. You remember what that issue was like. In spite of that, be sure to check out what follows. And, to paraphrase subscriber David Michael Evans, I hope you'll always fall for The Trapdoor.

April 1, 1988

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