After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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Effect: The shuffled pack is divided between two persons, who each further shuffle the cards. They then cut off packets from their portions and hand the performer the unwanted remainders. Each spectator now silently counts the cards he holds and lets no one else know the total.

The performer proceeds to display a number of the cards in the balance of the pack, and the two spectators remember the cards that fall at their numbers.

Though the performer has no idea of the numbers, and has seen none of the cards displayed, he correctly names both thought-of cards.

Method: No preparation Is required, but the pack must contain fifty-two cards. Have the cards shuffled and take them back. Then divide the pack in half and present each half to a spectator. The halves must be exact: twenty-six cards each. You can openly count off twenty-six cards, but if you choose to do this it is better to push the cards off in twos and threes when counting, expediting the process while disguising your precise halving of the deck. However, subtler methods for splitting the pack, like a faro check, are to be preferred. Several practical methods are offered in the previous trick, "Brownwaves II".

Have the spectators shuffle their halves. Then say to one, "Please cut a packet from your portion. Make it something more than half the cards." Let him keep this packet while you take the smaller balance from him.

Turn to the second spectator and tell him, "I want you to cut off a packet too. But I want you to have an amount different from his, to make things more interesting. So cut off something less than half your cards." Take the larger portion from him and slip it under the first spectator's returned cards. Hold a break between the two packets when you square thein together. (Having the spectators cut distinctly different amounts is not strictly necessary, but it makes things a bit easier for you, as will be seen, and the request seems a reasonable one.)

"Now I want you both to count your cards quietly and remember how many you have. Please don't let me know the numbers. In fact, I'll turn away while you count." Turn to your right and, as they count their cards, tip the packet you hold onto its left edge in preparation for an overhand shuffle, transferring the break to the right thumb. Glance down at the packet and sight the bottom card. Remember it. It will soon be the second spectator's mental selection.

Look up again and give the packet a brief shuffle, running single cards and counting them until you reach the break; then throw the balance, the second spectator's portion, on top as a block. The run will be short, as it is confined to the small portion from the first spectator's packet. Remember this number. Execute the shuffle casually, as if you are merely passing the time while the spectators count. You need not look at your hands as you shuffle. It can easily be done by touch alone. Notice that you have turned to the right for a purpose: in this position the faces of the cards are not exposed to the spectators as you shuffle.

You now know one card that will be chosen and a number that will lead you to the other selection. When the spectators have finished counting their cards, turn back to the first person. "I will show you some cards and I want you to remember the card that lies at your number. For instance, if you are thinking of one, you would remember this card." Expose the face of the top card of your packet to him. Then lay it facedown on the table. Show him the next card as you count "two". Place this face-down on the first. Continue to show cards, reversing their order, until you have counted twenty-five. At that point say, 'You should have seen your card by now. Do you remember it?. ..Good." Pick up the twenty-five cards and drop them onto any that may remain in your hand. If you find you hold fewer than twenty-five, you must cut enough cards from the bottom of the packet to the top to compensate for the difference. To do this, pick up the packet and casually spread it as you ask the above question. Catch a break above the desired number of cards and close the spread. Then nonchalantly cut the cards below the break to the top.

Turn to the second spectator and ask him to remember the card that falls at his number. Display the cards in your packet to him as you count aloud and place them face-down on the table. Don't lay the cards perfectly square; leave them slightly misaligned. When you reach the number you have remembered. Jog that card to the right on the pile. This is the first spectator's selection. Continue to display cards until you have counted about fifteen. Stop at this point and say, "You chose the smaller number, so you should have seen your card by now. Do you remember it?"

Pick up the pile and set it onto the undealt balance, without disturbing the jogged card. Then, as you square the cards, push up on the jog with the left fourth-finger and form a break beneath it.

"You are both thinking of cards, and the only evidence outside your minds that might provide a clue to your cards lies in the packets you still hold. I want no hints, no matter how tiny, so let's bury those packets in the deck right now." With your right hand, cut off the cards above the break and hold out the lower portion for the return of the spectators' packets. When you have received them, use the backs of your right fingers to tap the inner end of the left hand's cards square. At the same time, glimpse the card at the face of the right hand's packet (Figure 50). This is a natural and unsuspicious action and the glimpse is perfectly disguised by it.

Drop the right hand's cards onto the left's and table the deck. From now on, you treat it as if it didn't exist. The card you just sighted is the first spectator's mental selection, and you already know the second selection. The audience believes that you have seen none of the cards from the beginning, and there seems no possible way you could have determined the numbers or the selected cards. All that remains, then, is to name each person's card with as much drama as you can muster.

While the procedure might seem a bit complex or mentally demanding on a preliminary reading, there is little to remember: two cards and, for a short time, a small number. This is little enough to ask when one considers the effect this trick must have on an audience. Harry Lorayne is particularly fond of it and asked Mr, Elmsley for permission to include it in Close-Up Card Magic. There Mr. Lorayne described some handling ideas of his own that are worth your consideration (pp. 72-78),

May 1957

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