Littlefinger Spinner

The act of shooting or spinning single cards suddenly from the deck is a favorite flourish of stage manipulators and some close-up performers. The methods most often used (three by Audley Walsh and one by Richard Himber) appear in the Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume 4 (pp. 124-128). Mr. Elinsley uses Walsh's long distance spinner, but has also derived a method of his own for certain circumstances. This original method was discovered while practicing the one-handed top palm from Hugard's Card Manipulations, No. 1 (p. 2). It is efficient and will be found easier to learn than the earlier techniques cited.

The little-finger spinner can be performed with the deck held horizontally, to shoot the card straight forward; or with the deck held vertically, causing the card to fly upward. For this description, the former position will be assumed, though the action is the same in either case.

Hold the deck face-down at the fingertips of the palm-down right hand. Station the forefinger at the outer left corner of the pack, with the second and third fingers lying in file beside it on the outer end. Place the thumb at the inner left corner; and curl the fourth finger in until its fleshy tip contacts the back of the top card approximately one inch behind the outer right corner (Figure 8).

One detail that is most important to the success of this sleight is that the nail of the fourth finger be pared very short. It is the flesh of the fingertip that grips the card as it is spun from the deck, and if the nail contacts the card rather than the fingertip, the sleight will be found impossible.

The card is spun from the deck by a sharp forward thrust of the fourth finger. Press the fingertip firmly onto the card, then flick it

straight outward (Figure 9). Simultaneously relax or bend in the thumb slightly—just enough to aid the release of the top card as it is spun smartly from the pack.

As you shoot the card forward, it must pass around the tip of the third finger. This imparts a spin to it as the card flies from the deck.

Within the context of close-up performance, this flourish can be used to cause a chosen card, presumed lost in the pack, to shoot out and toward its owner. If this is done as the deck is brought sharply down on the table, an odd effect is created.

It also might be used to par ody a card force. As you hold out the deck and say to someone, "Take a card, any card," a card comes suddenly whirling out at him. This is a welcome variation of the old gag in which a card is made to jut from a fanned deck and wiggle around, begging to be chosen.

September 17, 1949

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