Kingfisher

Effect: Four persons each choose a card from the deck. The performer removes a second pack of cards and, after first divining the colors and suits of the four selections, he removes four cards from his pack. These prove to be duplicates of the four cards held by the spectators.

Method: You will need two decks of cards and three cue cards made from blank-faced cards with backs that match the second deck. Both decks are stacked in the following order from top to face:

Ace of Spade«

King of Spades

Three of Hearts

King of Hearts

Six of Spades

Six of Hearts

Ten of Hearts

Jack of Spades

Two of Hearts

Seven of Hearts

Seven of Spades

Eight of Spades

Queen of Hearts

Three of Spades

Five of Spades

Ace of Hearts

Five of Diamonds

Three of Diamonds

Seven of Clubs

Ten of Clubs

Five of Club«

Four of Diamonds

Acc of Diamonds

Queen of Clubs

Seven of Diamonds

Jack of Hearts

King of Clubs

Ten of Spade»

Four of Hearts

Jack of Clubs

Two of Spades

Six of Diamond«

Nine of Diamonds

Eight of Hearts

Nine of Clubs

Nine of Spades

Six of Clubs

Ten of Diamonds

King of Diamonds

Ace of Clubs

Five of Hearts

Nine of Hearts

Four of Spades

Queen of Spades

Jack of Diamonds

Four of Clubs

Eight of Clubs

Queen of Diamonds

Eight of Diamonds

Two of Diamonds

Three of Clubs

Two of Clubs

On the three blank-faced cards, write the following charts:

R1

C2—6S S2—3C C3 QS S3—9C C4—7C S4—10S

R2

CI—8S SI—QC C3—AS S3—8C C4—AC S4—2S

R3

CI—9S SI— KC C2—4S S2— 2C C4—IOC S4—JS

Cue Card No. 1

ni

H2—8D D2—I OH H3—9D D3—9H H4—JH D4—5D

B2

HI—4D Dl—7H H3—JD D3—3H H4—4H D4—10D

B3

HI—7D Dl—8H H2—2D D2—5H H4—6H D4—3D

Cue Card No. 2

R4

CI—2H SI—KH C2—QD 82—KD C3— AD S3—6D

B4

Hl—KS Dl—7S H2—SC D2—4C H3—JC D3—6C

PR

BBRR—QH RRBB—5S RBBR—AMBRRB—3S

Cue Card No. 3

As an added visual aid, you might wish to print the red cards in red ink and the black cards in black. Place these three cue cards on the face or the top of the second stacked deck, where they can be easily consulted.

In performance, bring out the first deck mid false shuffle it, or give it a series of straight cuts that imitate an overhand shuffle. Request the assistance of four spectators and fan the deck, face toward them, casually showing its apparently mixed condition-Square the pack and have the first spectator cut it at any point. He then takes the card cut to. (Alternatively, you can spread the deck in your hands, have a card touched and break the spread at that point for the card to be removed.) Present the three cards resting below the first selection to the other three spectators in turn. Once the selections are made, dispose of the balance of the pack.

(Mr. Elmsley recognizes the weakness of having all four cards removed sequentially from the same spot in the deck, and he has given much thought to procedures that would disguise this fact. However, it is difficult to devise a course of action that is sufficiently uncomplicated and straightforward. Consequently, he treats the selection of the cards nonchalantly, giving no great importance to it as the four are passed out. Two alternative procedures are mentioned later in this description.)

To determine the identities of the four cards, you must first learn the ratio of colors. This requires a little fishing. However, the system of fishing that Mr. Elmsley has devised is designed to allow you to proceed in an assured and assertive manner, giving the audience the impression that you are always certain of the situation and are never hunting for clues.

"I'm getting a jumble of images from the four of you. There is a mixture of red cards and black; of that I'm positive." The stack guarantees this to be the case. "I'm having difficulty, though, in determining which thoughts are coming from each of you. You are thinking of a red card. Am I right?" Indicate any one of the spectators. You have a fifty percent chance of being correct. If you miss, ask, "It isn't you? Then which of you is sending the red thought to me?" While this is a question, you deliver the line in a manner that seems to ask merely for confirmation of your statement rather than for information. Proceeding in this manner, you can quickly ascertain the colors of the four cards with a minimum of failure.

If you find you have among the four cards two pairs of colors, bring out the second deck and fan it, faces toward you. Glance at the third cue card. At the bottom of this card is a chart labeled "PR". This stands for pairs. Thinking of the four selections in the order they were made, find the corresponding red-black sequence among the four possibilities listed. For example, if the first and second spectators hold red cards, and the third and fourth blacks, locate KRBB on the cue card. Linked to this sequence is SS, the five of spades. This is the card the fourth spectator is holding. Locate the five of spades in the deck. The three cards above it are the other three selections, in order. Now, with no further questioning, you can tell each person precisely what card he is holding. Or, if you wish, you can remove the four duplicates from your deck and display them in a dramatic fashion as each spectator shows his card. However, if this is done, cut the four selections to the face of the pack, then remove three cards from different parts of the deck. Secretly slip these cards behind the selections while pretending to place them on the face. This disguises the fact that all four cards lie together in the pack.

If the four selections do not consist of two pairs of colors, they must have a three to one ratio. Determine which spectator is holding the odd-colored card. This is your first clue to the identity of the fourth card. If, for instance, the first spectator is holding the only red card of the group, glance at chart R1 on the first cue card. If the second spectator holds the odd red card, you would look at chart R2. Rl, R2 and R3 are found on the first cue card, and R4 is on the third. If the odd car d is black, you will consult charts Bl, B2 or B3 on the second cue card, or B4 on the third.

You need one final bit of information to pinpoint the proper card: you must discover the odd suit of the three identical colors. The strategy used to determine the colors also can be used for the suits, "Among the three of you, I am receiving images of both clubs and spades." The stack assures that there will be a mixture of suits. "I believe the club image is coming from you." If the person you indicate is not thinking of a club, boldly demand, "Who then is thinking of the club?" The reply will lead you quickly to the holder of the odd suit. Again, the fishing is cunningly concealed behind assured statements, and the spectators don't feel they are giving you information; rather they are verifying your accuracy.

If, say, the first, third and fourth spectators are holding black cards, and the third admits having the only club, you would consult chart R2 (as the second spectator holds a red card) and then C3 in that chart (clubs—third spectator). This leads you to AS. The fourth spectator, then, holds the ace of spades; and by finding this card in the deck you discover that the third person holds the two of clubs, the second the queen of diamonds, and the first the queen of spades.

While this system is rather laborious to explain, in practice it is quick and easy. One might consider appending a further subtlety of Roy Walton's. Mr. Walton, in his "Abacus Card Trick" (ref. Fulves' Faro and Riffle Technique, pp. 69-71), used a one-way back pattern to convey red-black sequence information for a Gray code. By doing the same with the "Kingfisher" stack, one could avoid fishing for the initial color sequence of the selections. Just orient the backs of all the red cards in one direction, and the black cards in the other. One could go even further by marking the backs of the cards for suit; but then one might as well use a fully marked pack and forget entirely about Gray codes. The point of employing a Gray code arrangement is to avoid the use of gimmicked packs and to allow the freedom to perform this effect from across the room, where marked backs cannot be read. This is indeed possible with "Kingfisher", as the pack can be handed to one of the spectators and the selections made while you stand completely away from the group.

Returning to the problem of disguising the sequential location of the selections as they are removed from the first pack, here are two possible approaches suggested by Mr. Elmsley:

1) Hand the deck to one spectator and have him cut it into four reasonably equal packets. Ask all four spectators to pick up a packet, while you secretly note which of the four takes the largest. Ask one of the other three to cut his packet, then deal a card from the packet onto each of the other packets. Have the other spectators, one by one, follow the same procedure, saving the person with the largest packet for last. Watch how he cuts. If he cuts too near the top, taking fewer than three cards, or too near the bottom, leaving fewer than four, the trick will fall. However, since he has the largest packet, it is most unlikely that he would cut so eccentrically. After the cut he deals a card onto each of the other three packets, just as his colleagues have done. Now each spectator peeks at the top card of his packet and remembers it. These four cards have all come sequentially from the last spectator's packet, but this is obscured by all the cutting and dealing. (This procedure has been adapted from an ace trick by Steve Belchou. See "A Four Ace Set Up" by Oscar Weigle in Dragon, Vol. 8, No. 6, June 1939, p. 7.)

2) Have one of the spectators give the deck a straight cut. Then tell him to deal out four hands of cards, dealing as many complete rounds as he likes. He can stop dealing whenever he wishes, as long as all the hands contain the same number of cards. Next ask each of the four spectators to pick up one of the dealt hands, and have them simultaneously perform an Australian deal, until all but one card has been eliminated. Any elimination procedure can be used here, given that it can be done uniformly, and leads all four to cards sharing the same initial position in the packets. These four cards will be in Gray code sequence.

While both procedures disguise the sequential origin of the selections, they also convolute the action and encumber the development of the plot, perhaps focusing more attention than is necessary or wise on the method of selection. Each performer will have to decide whether the overall mystery of the effect is enhanced sufficiently to warrant such complications.

In the next trick, we will explain one more Gray code stack, and a system of identification quite different from those just taught.

[March 1973]

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