Collinspell

Effect: The four aces are arranged face-up on the table, along with four small piles of indifferent cards. An ace is honestly inserted into each of the piles, from which it then vanishes. The piles ar e dropped onto the deck and the cards shuffled.

From the shuffled pack, the performer spells the name of an ace, dealing a card for each letter. At the end of its name, the proper ace appears. This is repeated with each of the aces, until all four have been produced.

Method: The plot is in essence Stanley Collins' "Alpha Four Ace Trick" (invented around 1904, but left unpublished until 1945, when it appeared in Thompson's My Best, pp. 131-132). However, the trick that inspired the sequence under discussion was Cy Endfield's handling of the Collins effect. Titled "Aces for Connoisseurs", the Endfleld routine was published first In The Gen, Vol. 8, No. 5, Sept. 1952, pp. 144-147; and later In Cy Endfield's Entertaining Card Magic, Part Two, pp. 46-54. In both the original Collins trick and the Endfleld handling, at the finish the aces were reproduced in a hand of cards dealt from the pack. Mr. Elmsley, after studying Cy Endfield's treatment, worked out startling new vanishes for the aces, and a clever way of placing them, with a faro shuffle, for a spelling revelation. It was an impressive resolution to an equally impressive series of vanishes. This was in the mid-1950s.

In America, sometime during 1972, Martin Lewis also became intrigued with the Collins ace trick, as have so many magicians. Independently Mr. Lewis arrived at the same idea of spelling the aces to reproduce them, though his approach was entirely different from Mr. Elmsley's (ref. Martin's Miracles, 1985, pp. 36-41). And Darwin Ortiz informs me that in 1973 or 1974 he saw Persi Diaconis perform an unpublished version of this plot, incorporating the spelling finish, which used a faro placement.

In 1977, Jon Racherbaumer published a brief description of the Elmsley faro procedure for setting the aces (ref. Sticks and Stones,

No. 6, p. 1), but the full Elmsley routine, as developed in the mid-1950s, has never been revealed in print. It is taught here for the first time. Aside from the clever method for setting the aces in position for spelling, the methods for vanishing the aces will be of more than passing interest. They are fine vanishes and, though devised almost forty years ago, seem remarkably contemporary.

Stanley Collins evolved various methods for his four-ace effect over the years. In several of these the cards were handled face-up. Most handlings derived by others since have relinquished this point. Mr. Elmsley has retained the face-up feature, thus enhancing the overall fairness and impossibility of the effect.

Set the aces into a face-up row on the table, arranging them from left to right in CHaSeD suit order (club-hearts-spades-diamonds). Below this row arrange another, this consisting of four face-up piles, each pile containing four indifferent cards. There are two courses possible in the formation of these piles. One can simply push off groups of cards, casually creating the piles while placing no importance on the number of cards in each. Nothing is lost in effect if the size of the piles is left unspecified at the time of their creation. Or one can false count each pile as three cards, while actually dealing four. Either of these practices Is presentable, and the performer must decide which is best in his hands.

Set the remainder of the pack face-down to one side. Then, working from left to right, add each of the face-up aces onto the pile behind It. Having done this, bring your right hand palm-down over the left-end pile, which has the ace of clubs at its face, and pick up all five cards by the ends, second finger at the outer right corner, thumb at the inner right. Carry the packet to the palm-up left hand and, with the left fingertips, draw the lower three cards leftward, backspreading them to form a four-card fan (Figure 229). The fourth indifferent card lies squared and hidden beneath the ace.

Lower the left thumb onto the fan, holding the cards in place while you turn the right hand palm-up and grip the double card by its right side, near the outer corner. Slip the double card under the three fanned cards and close the fan. This brings the ace to a position second from the rear of the packet. As you square the cards, adjust the packet to left-fingertip pinch grip, as if about to do an Elmsley count.

Blow on the packet for magical effect, then count the five cards as four as follows: With the right thumb, draw the upper card of the face-up packet onto the right fingers. Then draw the next card from the face of the packet onto the first card. As the right hand approaches the packet to take the third card, do a two-card block push-off. If the tip of your left thumb rests very near the left edge of the packet, the upper pair of cards can be pushed to the right in perfect alignment. Draw the double card onto the right hand's pair. Then take the remaining card from the left hand onto the face of the right hand's packet. Four indifferent cards have been seen—and the ace of clubs is gone.

Pause for only a moment after the count. Then flip the packet face-down and take it again into left-hand pinch grip. Bring your right hand palm-up to the packet and pinch off the top card, holding it by its right side at the fingertips. Turn the right hand palm-down and lower the left side of the card, now face-up, onto the table (Figure 230). Then withdraw your thumb from beneath the card while you press down lightly with the fingertips on its face, letting the card snap flat onto the table. Leave the card there and return the right hand to the packet. Pinch off the next card from the top of the packet and, with the same action, snap it face-up onto the preceding card. Next execute a two-card block push-off and take the double at the right fingertips, exactly as you have taken the single cards before it. Turn the double card face-up and snap it down onto the previous two cards in precisely the same fashion. Then deposit the final card from the left hand face-up onto the pile. This second display confirms the vanish of the ace, while showing four cards, faces and backs.

With the palm-down right hand, pick up the second pile—which sports the ace of hearts on its face—grasping the packet by its opposite right corners. With the left fingers, backspread the lower

three cards (as in Figure 229), and separate these indifferent cards from the double card held by the right hand. Flip the left hand's three cards face-down Into dealing position; then momentar ily clip the face-up double card under the tip of the left thumb, holding it widely jogged to the right as the right hand turns palm-up and, with the fingertips, flips the double card face-down and square onto the packet.

The instant the double card settles, use your left thumb to push the top card to the right and, with the palm-up right hand, grasp this card by its inner right corner. Remove it from the packet and use it to flip the packet face-up. Then riffle two cards off the left thumb and insert the card into the left thumb's break. Square the reversed card (believed by the audience to be the ace of hearts) into the packet.

Adjust the packet to left-hand pinch grip and, with your right thumb, draw the first card from the face of the packet onto the right fingers. Draw the next card onto the first, tnjogged for roughly half an inch. Draw the third card, the facedown indifferent card, onto the previous card, injogged half an inch farther; and deposit the last two cards as one onto the face-down card, Injogged farther still. This forms a four-card vertical spread (Figure 231) with the face-down card visible second from the face.

With the left hand, pull the face-down card forward and out of the spread. The right fingers and the heel of the thumb press against the sides of the spread to assure that the double card remains squared as the card below is extracted. Blow on the left hand's card, then turn it over to show its face. The ace of hearts has vanished.

Lay the left hand's card face-up onto the others and square the spread. Flip the packet face-down and deal the five cards as four, turning them face-up onto the pile of discards. Here you employ the same snap-down action used when dealing the first packet onto the table, and execute a two-card push-off as the third card is dealt. Again, all backs and faces are seen and the ace is gone.

Take up the third pile, with the ace of spades on its face. With the left fingertips, form a four-card fan by backspreadrng the lower

three cards (again as in Figure 229). While your left thumb holds the fan in place, grasp the double card (the ace with an indifferent card beneath) by its outer right corner, right thumb above and fingers below. Then slip the double card between the lower two cards of the fan, leaving it outjogged for approximately an inch.

Close the fan, talcing care not to split the double card, and turn the packet over sidewise and face-down in the left hand. Immediately adjust the outjogged double by drawing just the upper card forward until it projects a bit over half its length from the packet. Simultaneously, place the tip of your left forefinger on the outer end of the lower card (the ace) and secretly push it flush with the packet. In other words, you execute a push-in change.

After pushing the ace flush, do not straighten the left forefinger. Instead, let it rest at the outer end of the packet, its tip pressed lightly up against the outjogged car d, near the center of its face. Also extend the left thumb until its tip contacts the back of the outjogged card, placing it directly over the tip of the forefinger. Once you have assumed this position, place the tip of the right forefinger on the outer left corner of the outjogged card and pull it to the right, making the card rotate end for end, pivoting on the left thumb and forefinger (Figures 232 and 233). This is performed as a magical flourish.

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