Elmsley Dazzle Cards

In 1975 Mr. Elmsley briefly toured the U.S. with a lecture that was received with excitement and high regard by the magicians who witnessed it. The lecture was founded on an exquisitely routined series of card effects. It was a complete act, formulated on sound dramatic principles, and with some remar kably clever ideas that left its magician audiences often feeling like laymen.

After performing the act, Mr. Elmsley explained it in detail. The principles he revealed—mechanical, psychological and dramatic— had a pronounced impact on his lecture audiences, and on those who later studied Mr. Elmsley's notes and the privately circulated record of his lecture, which was transcribed and edited by Pat and Ron Bauer from an audio tape made by Milt Kort.

The act opens with a puzzling version of the card-diary effect, in which a card, arrived at in a seemingly random fashion from a spectator shuffled deck, is found prominently listed beside the spectator's birthday in the performer's datebook.

This is followed by the location of two free selections by stabbing the blade of a pocket knife into the pack.

The cards are again shuffled and, as an entertaining tale is told, the jacks, queens, kings and aces are quickly cut or dealt from the pack in a swift and impressive manner.

As the routine progresses, jokers are repeatedly removed from the deck as a running gag. They seem to appear in the pack in a comically perverse manner. For the fourth effect, these jokers are used to perform Mr. Elmsley's "Dazzle" packet effect, in which the backs of the cards change color or design five times or more.

The act is concluded with a series of rapid and astonishing revelations of five chosen cards from the pack, followed by the production of every prominent card used in the routine, from the first selection to the final varicolored backs of the jokers. This staccato production concludes the act in a fast-paced and impressive manner, while drawing together each of its parts into a cohesive whole. The running time is eighteen minutes.

Serious study of the "Dazzle Card Act" is valuable on several levels. The act is outstanding both as a whole and for the quality of its parts. The tricks and concepts from which it is made will stand firmly on their own or can be transplanted into other surroundings; and the general structure contains multiple lessons in routining that should be absorbed by eveiy performer.

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