The routine begins and I look around to decide who I will use for this routine. I spot the gentleman sitting near the front and say, "Do you ever play cards?" He responds at once with, "Yes, quite a lot!" Now I almost always use a man for this routine since it normally goes in my stage act and I use women for both the Watch Routine and the Magazine Test during that show. I had picked him because he looked like a normal person and not one of the magicians at the shoot. (Louis almost always has any attending magicians sit in the back of the audience.) Still, his instant response of "A lot!" makes me suspicious that he might be a magician and I never use a magician as a helper unless it's for a special purpose (Test Conditions II). So I instantly ask the lady next to him - Margaret - if she plays cards and her response is a lot more to my liking. I know that I will be using men for other routines and I decide to use her. The point I am making is one I have stressed in my books; it is better to take your time choosing an assistant and get one that's desirable than to grab the first person and risk having trouble with your effect. In all likelihood, the gentleman would have been fine, but I don't take unnecessary chances when I don't have to! Also notice that I did not give any reason why I didn't take him instead of her. I just moved on and nothing was said. Again, as magicians, we seem to feel compelled to explain or justify everything we do instead of just doing it!
I invite Margaret up and the first thing she does is plant a nice kiss on my cheek! I immediately put my arm around her and respond, "We'll be taking a short break..." and it gets a great laugh! I want to talk about something here that is very important - flirting with your audience members! Margaret is a wonderful and charming middle-aged lady and my saying that to her was funny and warm-feeling. No one took offense and it was one of the high points of the show. If, however, that had been Cassandra, Brittany or one of the other beauties in the audience, that remark would have been totally inappropriate. I could have looked like some kind of cad or dirty old man! Just because David Copperfield gets beautiful women on stage and flirts with them does not mean you can do the same thing re gardless of your age or how you look! Besides, those women in Copperfield's show are, for the most part, paid assistants and the lines are rehearsed. Over the years, I have seen many magicians become far too familiar and outlandish with their lady assistants. Please, never do this as it is in extremely poor taste and helps no one.
Now let's go back to the routine.
Again, when I begin, notice how I do not lecture about mindreading and ESP Instead, I talk about the typical size of my audiences, stressing how some are quite large. This is interest building (they wonder where all this is going) as well as stating, in a very delicate and indirect way, that I must be good if I work for huge audience like that! I use this kind of indirect reinforcement of my professional standing constantly when I work. More importantly, I use these lines to lead up to the joke about the jumbo deck. Notice how the laugh covers any negative connotations about the cards and offsets any suspicion they might be gimmicked. Although you could do the Card Calling routine with a normal-sized deck, I would always use the big one if just for the joke!
As I take out the jumbo cards, I talk about how these are available in many stores. I won't try to cover the fact that I made a blunder in saying the cards are made by the "Bicycle Corporation." Yes, I know the company is the U.S. Playing Card Company, especially as it is very close to where I live. Rest assured, every time I perform this routine live, my mind drifts back to this DVD and that mistake!
As I show Margaret the cards, notice how long I go through the deck showing the random order. I will point this out in all the routines to come. In this routine, however, the very nature of the effect will show the haphazard order of the cards.
I want to point out a peculiar oddity I have noticed since making these videos. I have found that when I look directly at the cards, or any prop, as I talk about it, the room seems to become very quiet and everyone else looks, too. This goes against some magicians' advice that you try to constantly look at your audience even when describing something. Looking at a prop directly focuses attention and is not a bad thing at all.
I use the ruse about the size of the cards to justify the cutting-only shuffle. (You might want to notice that, in a moment, when I ask Margaret to shuffle the cards she has, she makes the exact same motions!)
When I spread the cards for her to make a selection, notice how I use the word clump. I say, "Please pull out a clump of cards from anywhere in the deck." I have gone through many words trying to find just the right one so that they grab the proper amount. I used to say bunch, but that didn't quite make it. Clump is almost a funny word and seems to work just right. Also notice how I control how many she takes by making the jokes such as, "She's got about half the deck! That's OK. You can take a few more." I actually got her to put some back and then take some more until she had about just the right number for the routine.
As soon as she has the cards, I turn my back. I do not look at the bottom card at this time. I wait until I hand the cards to an audience member. I should point out that the peek on the video is a bit obvious. Usually I am walking to someone who is seated in the audience at some distance and it is easy to get that peek while on the move. Still, it goes by here unnoticed and that is what is important. I should also point out that this idea of giving out the rest of the deck to another person is mine. Ronnie did not do that nor do I know of Canasta doing it. It is a nice proover and throws all suspicion off the deck as it is totally out of my hands.
I ask Margaret to hold the cards as though she is playing Poker or Gin Rummy. One of the problems in this routine is having someone not spread the cards enough so that they miss one you call out. Even if they later find it, it subconsciously strikes home that you must not be reading the person's mind as they did not see it themselves. That is the effect in this rou tine and you want to keep it that way.
Just before I begin naming the cards, I have a little fun with John holding the rest of the deck and make a few jokes. But I immediately turn it serious by talking about there not being any secret cameras or other devices to allow me to see the cards. This takes the audience back to the serious level for the benefit of what I'm about to do.
I ask Margaret to look over the cards, "Let your eyes go from one card to the next to the next," and then I say, "Go back to the Two - the Two of Diamonds." What just happened there is very important! First, I got her to look over all the cards and then I said "go back to," implying that she just looked at the card and I picked it up as she did. See, the idea in this routine that makes it play so strong is to make it appear I am calling out the cards as she is looking at each one. This is where I want to get to so I have to work into it and get her agreeing with me.
Please pay attention to how Margaret is gradually led into agreeing with me more and more as the routine progresses until the goal that I am calling out the cards she is choosing to look at becomes a reality instead of a suggestion.
By first calling out one she has just looked at, I am safe. It could be anyone. But, to the audience, it is one that she just looked at. Then I get a little stronger and say, "That was an 8 you just looked at. The 8 of Clubs!" By saying "8" first, I lead her eyes to it and then elaborate on the "Clubs" after she is doing so!
The next card uses the same ruse again as I say, "That was a 6. Look at it again. The 6 of Spades." Notice how I am directing her while making it appear that she is randomly looking at cards.
Now another ruse is demonstrated that I am very happy about. I say, "I know you just mixed them up, but right around there, wasn't that the King of Diamonds? Your eyes picked up that one." Look at Janelle's face as Margaret removes the King from right next to where the 6 was! See, because you can't mix jumbo cards that well, I am fairly safe using this strategy occasionally. I also know they are not mixed very well as I watched her mix them earlier!
Let me make a very important point here about something else I have been doing. Notice how, as I turn to Margaret to take each card called, I am turning just enough to see how many cards she is still holding. It is a very deceptive move and you might not even be aware yourself that I can see the cards. When I get down to about half a dozen cards, I know I can use the above ruse with a degree of certainty. It also allows me to do the following.
Since I saw her remove the King of Hearts from the center of her spread, I make a bold leap here and actually say, "That is the 2 of Hearts you just looked at!" I am figuring that card is right in the middle of the spread and I just saw there were only five cards left. You can see that was right on the money and Margaret takes the 2 from right next to where the King was!
I now take it even further. I actually say, "OK, that's a 6 and a 3. The 6 of Diamonds and right next to it is the 3 of Diamonds!" She removes them together, completely verifying what I am saying! This was really not too much of a long shot based on my analysis and you can see how much it adds to the presentation. Not only am I now disclosing what card she is looking at, but the exact location of the cards! I do this because I am almost at the end of the effect and I am trying to make it build!
Although I mentioned this earlier, notice how two small diamond cards, the 6 and the 3, subconsciously support the fact that the cards are in a completely random order.
In any routine where the basic effect is repeated, you must add an element of suspense that keeps each step new. You can see how each card becomes more and more impossible and continues to further enhance the mindreading nature of this routine.
Notice at this time that as I take those two cards, I do NOT look at the cards in Margaret's hands at all. I already know she only has four cards at this point and will be left with two.
We now come to the end of this beautiful number and I am very pleased with what I came up with for the ending. As just stated, you must build each phase of the routine and the ending must be something very special and different. I came up with this idea many years ago when I first started performing Card Calling and it has never failed to end exactly as you see on the video. This is the premise: As I am calling out the cards, the audience realizes in a more and more convincing manner that I am naming the very cards she is actually concentrating on. This has to be what comes across or the whole presentation becomes a trick. I realize, of course, that many in the audience simply won't accept that and are looking for some kind of explanation. I know many are actually thinking, "Can he ask her to think of ANY card and then name it?" That is exactly where I go!
I say to Margaret, "OK, wait a minute now. Are you down to two cards?" She says, "Yes" and I say, "You are?" If you listen carefully to the background, you can actually hear John say, "How does he know that?" I then say, "Think of either card!" There it is! I can almost hear the audience thinking, "Yes, that is what I want to see!" You have gotten to the real ultimate moment where you finally prove yourself. And that is exactly where I try to add even one more element to the ending both to satisfy the challenge and enhance it even more.
Without any hesitation I say, "OK, here's what happened. First she thought of the 10 of Spades, changed her mind over to the 8 of Diamonds and then went back to the 10 of Spades!" Look at the reaction on the DVDs. It is always the same! Always! I have been doing this routine for over 20 years and this is how it always ends! If you do your part up to this point, with all the clever subterfuges I have outlined above, you will have slowly gotten your assistant right into the palm of your hand and have them agreeing with everything you say. When you get to this ending, they will hand you the two cards in total agree ment with what you just said and it will create spontaneous applause! (And, without using my line!) Also notice how I hold one card in each hand in applause condition as I dismiss Margaret and retrieve the rest of the deck with the line, "Any duplicates?" This will reinforce the fairness of it all in anyone's mind who forgot that you gave out the rest of the deck.
Finally, notice how, after I put away the cards, I make the joke about getting up a game of Poker after the show is over! I always use this joke and it always gets a great laugh. But equally important, it reminds the audience of the practical nature of the ability I have just demonstrated.
TWO CARDS IN POCKET
Was this article helpful?
Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.