Fools Mate

Effect: The performer deals four unknown cards face-down into a row on the table. He then shuffles the deck, removes one card and hands it to a spectator, with the request that he place it face-down in front of any one of the four tabled cards. This pair is set In front of him.

The performer removes another card from the pack and hands it to a second person. She is to place this card before any one of the remaining three car ds. This pair is set near her. The procedure is repeated with two more cards and another pair of spectators, until eight cards have been freely coupled.

The performer now removes a Joker from the pack, explaining that Cupid is often called a joker. The joker is passed between each of the pairs of cards on the table and proves to be amazingly effective; for when each pair is shown, it consists of a king and a queen of matching suits.

Method: For this unusual approach to the Royal Marriages plot, a ten-card stack is required. Arrange the four kings on top of the deck, in any suit order that you can easily remember; e.g., CHaSeD. Beneath the kings set the queens. The order of the queens is unimportant. Finally, beneath the queens set two identical jokers.

The one-ahead principle is used to assure the mating of the cards, but the method of rectifying the sequence is ingenious, as the paired sets are kept separate at all times.

Begin by dealing the kings into a face-down row before you. Do not reveal the identities of the cards. Simply say, "We will use these four cards for an experiment."

Give the pack a brief overhand shuffle, undercutting about half the cards and shuffling them off onto the stock. This positions the queens and jokers near the centcr of the deck.

Say to someone nearby, "I'm going to find a card that I think will suit you." Fan the pack, face toward you, and remove either of the jokers. Thankfully, the spectator will never learn of this assessment of him. Do not show the face of the card. Slide it toward him across the table. "Don't look at it. I want you to put it in front of any one of the cards on the table. You have a choice of one out of four."

Wait for him to lay the joker in front of one of the kings. When he has done so, pick up the selected king and drop it onto the joker, forming a face-down pair. Slide the pair in front of the spectator. Since you are familiar with the order of the kings, you immediately know the suit he has chosen.

From the deck, which you still hold fanned before you, remove the queen that matches the suit of the chosen king. Place this queen before a second person, saying, "Here is a card I think fits you. Please lay it in front of any one of the remaining cards you wish. You have a choice of one out of three."

Drop the designated king onto the second spectator's card and slide the pair toward her. Now remove from the deck the queen that matches this second king. Give this queen to a third person. "Please do as the other two have done. You have a choice of one out of two," Pick up the king this person indicates and drop it onto his queen. Position that pair in front him.

One king is left unchosen. You have two queens still in the pack, one of which matches the remaining king. Remove it and hand it to a fourth person. "Your decision is the easiest. You have no choice really, but I'd like you to go through the motions." When she lays her card down, place the remaining king on top of it.

Now separate the fanned deck at the remaining queen and cut it to the top. Turn the deck face-down and perform a double turnover, showing the joker. "Many people have said Cupid is a joker. Well, I've got a joker here; and I can prove the joker is a Cupid, and a marriage broker and the parson, all rolled into one. Watch."

Turn the double card face-down on the deck. Take the top card into the right hand and set the deck aside. With your freed left hand, pick up the fourth spectator's pair of cards and hold it squared. This is the one pair that genuinely matches. Grasping the right hand's card (the fourth queen) by its outer right corner, insert it between the left hand's pair at the far end (Figure 95). Then push the card inward for about half its length.

"Let's see if the joker can bring this pair together." Release the corner of the outjogged card from the right hand and, with the left thumb, spread the three cards, showing the outjogged card really lies between the other two. Pause for only a moment; then square the spread and push the protruding card flush. Spread the cards a second time, and with the right forefinger and thumb,

other two (Figure 96).

"You, of course, had only a one In one choice." Flip the pair faceup in the left fingers and display the matching king and queen. Lay the mated pair in front of the fourth spectator and pick up the third spectator's pair.

"When you put these cards together, you had a choice of one in two." You now apparently slip the matchmaking Joker between these two cards, as you did with the first pair. However, the mock-joker (really the matching queen to the king of the pair) is actually passed under the two cards. Pretend to insert it between them, feigning a little difficulty, Push the card flush with the pair, then spread the three cards and withdraw the center one. Flip up the remaining two cards, disclosing another matched set. Lay these before the third spectator.

Turning to the second spectator, say, "Your choice was harder still: one in three." Pick up her pair of cards and perform the same false insertion and withdrawal of the Cupid card. Show that this pair also matches.

To the first spectator, say, "You had a choice of one in four, the longest odds of all." Repeat the false insertion and withdrawal; however, this time the third card can be shown when you finish, as it is at last a real joker.

"Now you see what I mean about the powers of the joker."

One of the great problems in presenting a matching effect of this sort is that suspense and dramatic tension must dwindle as the revelation of the final pair is approached. The conclusion is inevitable to everyone at that point. Recognizing this, Mr. Elmsley has worked to sustain interest by using several presentational ploys.

First, he maintains curiosity by hiding until the last possible moment the fact that the cards used are kings and queens. And second, throughout the dénouement he stresses that each spectator had a greater chance of failing to match cards than the previous person. When you modify the presentation to suit your style, don't lose sight of these important considerations.

In the next trick, the royal couples dismiss the matchmaking services of the joker. Instead they find each other on their own, in a quite magical fashion. Indeed, it seems impossible to keep them apart.

February 1973

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