The Properties

Before going into the specifics of each trick, the props necessary to the entire act must be listed and their placement described.

Three decks of cards are used during the act, along with a gimmicked packet of jokers for the "Dazzle" effect.

Deck One

This deck is prepared with one edge-marked card, the three of clubs. The card Is subtly but plainly marked on its opposite long edges near their centers. The mark measures about one inch in length (Figure 246). If the deck is fresh, the edge can be slightly darkened with a pencil. If the deck is somewhat used, a nail scrape will lighten it enough to be detected. This deck also contains two jokers, but is in no particular arrangement. It is the deck initially brought into play and is carried, in its case, anywhere convenient.

Deck Two

The second deck carries a twenty-two card stack on top. From the top down, the cards read:

• nine of clubs, seven of diamonds, two of spades, ten of hear ts, three of clubs;

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Figure 247 further clarities the sequence of the cards. The nature of this stack is somewhat flexible. The suits of the court cards and aces, though segregated, need not run in the sequence shown. Another preferred suit order can be used, so long as the colors alternate, for the sake of contrast. CHaSeD suit order has been suggested above, as it is familiar to most magicians.

The five cards that lie above the joker will be forced in the last phase of the act. They can be any cards—excluding those reserved for the other tricks. In the example above, the five cards, read in reverse, conform to the familiar Eight Kings ordering system (three of clubs, ten of hearts, two of spades, seven of diamonds, nine of clubs). This sequence has been adopted for teaching purposes.

Notice that the penultimate card of the stack, the three of clubs, is the duplicate of the edge-marked card in Deck One. It too is edge marked.

This second deck also contains a second joker, which can rest anywhere in the lower half of the pack.

The stacked deck is stood on one long edge in the left-side coat pocket, with the back of the pack nearest the body.

Deck Three

The third deck is stacked as well. From the top down it reads:

• seven of diamonds and nine of clubs;

• the four jacks—the fourth jack being a corner-shorted card;

• the four queens—the fourth being corner shorted;

• the four kings—the fourth being corner shorted;

• one indifferent card;

• twenty-seven cards, each with a contrasting back, in accordance with the backs found in the "Dazzle" packet (still to be described);

• an indifferent card that is a good contrast to the two of spades and has an odd back design;

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27 cards ivtth varied backs

Figure 248 shows this stack. Notice that the bottom card, the ten of hearts, is a duplicate to the fourth card of the five-card forcing bank in Deck Two; the card third from the face is identical to the third card in that same bank; and that the top two car ds duplicate the second and first force cards.

This third deck is set on end in the right-side coat pocket, face of the pack nearest the body.

All three decks have matching blue back designs, excluding the specified cards in Deck Three.

blue/red double-backed card blue / blue double-backed card two double-faced jokers blue/red double-backed card blue / blue double-backed card two double-faced jokers

The Dazzle Packet

Actually two separate packets are used in this trick. The first packet consists of four cards, as shown in Figure 249. From the top:

• a double-backed card, blue on one side, red on the other—blue side up;

• a double-backed card, blue on both sides;

• two double-faced jokers.

This packet is carried in the inner left breast pocket of the coat.

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The second packet is constructed of six double-backed cards in various color combinations, one normal joker and two double-faced jokers (Figure 250). The order from the top down reads:

• double-backed red/green card, red side up;

• double-backed green/orange card, green side up;

• double-backed orange/black card, orange side up;

• double-backed black/purple card, black side up;

• double-backed purple/pink card, purple side up;

• double-backed pink/variegated card, pink side up;

• a variegated joker, face-down;

• two double-faced jokers, stuck together with several dots of wax.

The faces of all jokers in these packets and in Decks One and Two should be identical. The various back designs and colors may be any that can be obtained, so long as they contrast well with each other, have white borders and can be split to manufacture double-backed and double-faced cards. Some searching for these decks will be necessary, but the effect they make possible is worth the effort.

This packet is carried in the outer breast pocket of the coat, with the waxed jokers nearest the body.

The Datebook

The special datebook is made from a birthday reminder or business appointment book, in which each day of the year is listed in sequence, and given a block of space in which one is intended to write the daily schedule. Ideally, a book should be selected that has three or four days listed on each page.

Mr. Elmsley's book measures approximately three inches by five when closed, and can be conveniently carried in the inner right breast pocket of the coat.

Ten cards must be chosen and assigned to the numbers one through ten. These ten cards can be selected to conform to any mnemonic system with which you are comfortable, so long as this ten-card group is exclusive of the live cards set for forcing in Decks Two and Three (the three of clubs, ten of hearts, two of spades, seven of diamonds and nine of clubs, in the example above), and the court cards and aces (used in the gambling phase).

Card One of the set is written in the space for January first. Card Two is entered for January second. Card Three is assigned to January third, and so on, through January tenth. At January eleventh the sequence is begun again with Card One, and carried through to January twentieth; and is repeated a third time to cover January twenty-first through the thirtieth. Figure 251 shows a pair of sample pages in the book.

The same rotation of ten cards is used to fill each of the twelve months. One exception to the system occurs in those months that contain a thirty-first day (January. March, May, July, August, October and December). An eleventh card is assigned to all thirty-first days. This is done to prevent the cards for the thirty-first day of one month and the first of the following month from being identical. Such a duplication of a car d might be noticed by a spectator when leafing through the book. However, with only seven or eight days and cards visible on any pair of facing pages, the repetition of the ten-card sequence is safe from detection during the heat of performance.

The prepared diary is kept in the inner right breast pocket of the coat, or anywhere else that is convenient during performance.

The Knife

The last item needed is a pocket knife in a leather scabbard. This is placed in the right-side coat pocket with Deck Three.

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Figure 252 maps the props carried on your person and the pockets they are assigned.

The Working Surface

Mr. Elmsley uses a hard, thin, smoothly finished board, roughly eleven inches by fifteen, as a working surface. Over this he places a slightly smaller thin cloth mat. The mat provides the surface on which most of the act is performed. However, during the second phase of the act, when the knife is stabbed into the pack, this mat is slid back to bare a portion of the board. The reason for this will be made clear at the proper time.

With the props and preparation explained, we can proceed to the action and presentation of the act. Mr. Elmsley's patter will be given in total; however, this is done to convey to the reader an understanding of the presentational structure and a sense of Mr. Ehnsley's personality. It is not, of course, meant to be followed verbatim, but should be adapted to fit each performer.

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