Point Of Departure

Effect: A card is chosen and sandwiched between the two black aces, all with the utmost fairness. The three cards are then given to the person who made the selection.

Despite his certain possession of the cards, his selection vanishes from between the aces—and is produced from the performer's pocket.

This is one of Mr. Elmsley's most appreciated effects. Since its publication in 1953 it has been widely performed and numerous variations have been evolved.

Method: Though the effect just described was devised several years before Mr. Elmsley discovered Warlock's "Take Three" and began experimenting with it, there is, by sheer coincidence, a close relationship between the two plots. The cunning use of a double-faced card contributes importantly to this mystery. It permits an appearance of extreme fairness in the way the car ds are handled. For this explanation, assume that an ace of clubs and a nine of diamonds are represented on the two sides of the double-faced card.

Before the trick is begun, secretly manage the genuine ace of clubs to the top of the deck, and the genuine nine of diamonds to the bottom. In doing this, also make sure that the card second from the top (under the ace of clubs) is not the ace of spades. The double-faced card can be anywhere in the middle, nine-side at the back, but should be either side of center, so that it is not accidentally exposed when the deck is cut in half early in the trick.

If you deem it expedient, you may begin by false shuffling the deck, retaining the top and bottom cards, and concealing the double-faced card. After the shuffle, take the deck face-down into the left hand and give it a cut near center. Complete the cut, but hold a left fourth-finger break between the halves.

Now perforin a riffle force. That is, ask someone on your left to call stop anytime, as you riffle through the deck. With the left thumb, riffle down the outer left corner of the pack, directing its outer end toward the spectator's eyes to prevent an accidental flash of the double-faced card. Stop as he instructs you, lower the deck to a horizontal position and bring your right hand palm-down over it. Apparently lift the block of car ds released by the thumb from the deck, but in reality let the thumb's break silently close and simultaneously cut away all the cards above the fourth finger's break.

Transfer the upper section to the bottom, apparently bringing to the top the card randomly stopped at by the spectator. This card is of course the ace of clubs.

Explain that you will make use of this random card. However, due to the nature of the experiment, the identity of the card should be known to everyone, including yourself. As this is said, use the time and misdirection gained to prepare for a double turnover. That is, obtain a left fourth-finger break under the top two cards.

Flip the double card face-up on the pack and display it to everyone, asking that they remember it. Then turn it face-down again and deal the top card (the ace of clubs) face-down onto the table.

Turn the deck face-up and run quickly through it, as you explain that you will also require the two black aces. If you come to the ace of spades first, move it to the face of the pack and continue spreading the cards until you reach the ace of clubs (double-facer). Shift it also to the face, and onto the ace of spades. On the other hand, if the ace of clubs appears first in the spread, outjog it. Do the same with the ace of spades when you come to it. Then strip the two aces from the pack, taking the spade under the club. In either case, let the two black aces be seen by everyone; then flip them face-down onto the face of the pack and carefully square them.

With the right hand, lift off just the ace of spades, but do so with the care one would use if taking two perfectly squared cards. The presence of the seemingly unchanged nine of diamonds on the face of the pack quietly testifies to the removal of both aces.

Lay the pack face-down to one side on the table and transfer the right hand's card to the palm-up left hand, where it is again held as if it were two. With the right hand, reach to the table and pick up the face-down card lying there, which is believed to be the selection.

With appropriate care, seemingly slip this card between the two aces held in the left hand. Since this must be pure pretense, it is most important that it is done convincingly. It must be neither over-nor underacted. Seem to have a slight bit of difficulty—no more than one might normally expect—introducing the inner right corner of the right hand's card between the front edges of the left hand's pair. In reality, the right inner corner of the right hand's card is slipped below the single card in the left hand, and the tip of the left forefinger secretly contacts this corner from beneath and supports the card by pressing it up against the face of the upper card (Figure 65). Release the right hand's grip on its card momentarily, leaving it widely canted under the top card. This brief display further suggests that the card lies caught between two others. Then bring the right hand back to the outer end of the card and push it flush with the top card. Note a small but important point here: always push the protruding card inward when sliding it under the top card; do not move the top card forward during this squaring process, or the illusion striven for will be spoiled.

Turn the squared pair face-up and table it before the spectator who chose the card. Note that the ace of clubs is seen on the face, as it should be if all actions were honest.

Have the spectator place his hand flat on top of the aces, convinced he is trapping the entire sandwich of cards. As you place the cards before him and ask him to cover them, make it plain without saying as much that your hands are empty and there is no chance for cards to have been palmed.

Pick up the face-down pack and riffle it in the direction of the palm-pressed pair (taking care not to expose the double-faced card at the bottom). Then ask the spectator to raise his hand and give you the selection that rests between the aces. If all has gone well, he will be extremely surprised to find it gone.

During the strong misdirection his discovery creates, palm the top card of the deck (the selection) and set the pack down. Then, when attention returns to you, dramatically produce the selection from your pocket.

Mr. Elmsley believes the production of the card from the pocket is improved if it is delayed briefly. He prefers to take the selection into rear palm (see Volume /, pp. 124-126), which allows full use of the right fingers. He then sets down the pack, retrieves the aces from the spectator and displays them fanned in the raised left hand, showing the audience that there are only the two aces and nothing more. To emphasize the fact, he snaps each of them with his right fingers. After this he tosses them face-up to the table, then reaches into his right pocket and produces the card (Vbiume /, p, 135).

If you like, the selection can be signed before it is vanished, assuring the audience that it is the selfsame card that later comes from your pocket. The production of the card might be further enhanced by first loading it into a sealed envelope (à la LePaul), a wallet (à la Ed Balducci or Dick Washington) or into some other receptacle. However, do experiment before adopting one of these embellishments, as it may be found that they do not add importantly to a lay audience's appreciation of the effect,


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