Its A Small World

Effect: The performer openly removes ten cards from the pack and shuffles them. He then holds the packet behind him and brings out the top card face-down. This is offered to someone in the audience and she is told she can either accept or reject it. If she decides to take it, it is laid face-down before her. Otherwise, it is placed on the bottom of the packet and the next card from the top is offered.

This procedure is continued until the spectator has accepted five of the ten cards. The balance of the packet is brought forward and spread face-up. It contains five black cards. Then the spectator turns up her five. These cards are all red. Seemingly through some sort of intuitive sense, she has unerringly separated the ten cards into their colors.

Method: The plot is related to Dr. Daley's "Rouge et Noir" (ref. Phoenix, No. 287, Aug. 14, 1953, pp. 1146, 1148 and 1149) and Hans Trixer's "Noir et Rouge" (Abracadabra, VoJ. 17, No. 419, Feb. 6, 1954, pp. 36-37): two of the earliest packet versions of Paul Curry's classic, "Out of This World". While the original Curry trick is still a fine one, there is much to be said for a packet version when performing commercially, as the power of the effect is achieved in a much shorter time. Mr. Elmsley's method is simple and delightfully bold.

Begin by removing ten car ds from the pack, five red and five black. The identities of the cards do not matter, but the order of their removal does. Throw the cards from the pack into a face-up pile as follows: one red card, one black, one red, two black, two red, two black, and one last red. Set the balance of the pack aside and gather up the pile.

Take it face-down into left-hand dealing position and explain to a spectator of your choice, "I'm going to offer you these cards one at a time." Here you take the top card from the packet and hold it out toward her, but in a manner that communicates that the time to make a choice is not yet.

"If you don't want the card, I'll just put it back and offer you the next one." Suit actions to words, slipping the card in your right hand under the packet and taking the next from the top. "But if you choose to keep the card, I'll leave it here on the table." Drop the right hand's card face-down on the table. "Understood?" Take the packet into your right hand and drop it onto the tabled card. Then pick up all ten cards and place them back into left-hand dealing grip.

The order of the cards from top to face is now red-black-black-red-red-black-black-red-red-black.

"When you decide to accept or reject a card, don't do so for any conscious reason. Try not to let anything influence you but your own instinct and the impulse of the moment." While you say this, give the packet a quick overhand shuffle to this pattern: run three cards and throw the balance on top; run two cards and throw the balance; run four and throw; run three and throw. This takes only seconds and will be over before you finish your instructions. The shuffle has secretly sorted the reds and blacks: the five reds are now above the blacks.

"So that you're not influenced by the cards themselves, I'll hold them out of sight." Place your left hand with the packet behind you. Then reach behind with your right hand and bring forth the top card of the packet. Hold it out, face-down, toward the spectator and ask, "Do you want this card?" If she does, drop it onto the table and bring out the new top card of the packet. If, however, she refuses it, take it behind you again and make the motions of slipping it to the bottom of the packet and taking the next card from the top. These motions, though, are sheer pretense. Study in a mirror how your hands, arms and shoulders move when doing the genuine actions. Then learn to mimic them when you really only bring out the same card just offered. Mr. Elmsley observes that this effect stands or falls mainly on the "acting ability" of your elbows! Also consider the sounds the cards make during the honest actions and strive to imitate them as closely as possible. This is the only skillful act required in the trick, so practice it. It is not that difficult to master.

Continue to offer the cards until the spectator has accepted five. These must be the five red cards, as you have given her no other choice. It remains only to bring out the five black cards and show them; then have the spectator turn over the five red cards on the table.

The deception may seem overly bold to some, but remember that you have created an image in the spectators' minds of your placing the rejected cards under the packet and taking fresh ones from the top. The psychology being applied is sound, and since the audience does not yet know in what direction the trick is progressing, there should be no suspicion of your actions—unless you have performed them in asuspect fashion. The actions, themselves, are well covered, even from the extreme side angles. Only someone behind you could detect the swindle. It is almost shameful how much astonishment can be reaped from such a simple artifice; and that very fact contributes a secret and special satisfaction in your heart each time you perform it.

June 1974

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