Coeur dAlene Assembly

John Bannon's Mirage includes a card assembly routine, "Ménage a Quatre." I fell in love with the routine, but felt it had one drawback—five jokers are passed off as four. The problem with this is that you also use twelve red spot cards, which are shown freely and the spectator can handle. I wanted to begin and end with the spectator being able to handle and count all the cards, joker or spot. That meant re-routining the effect without the extra joker. While this made the sleight-of-hand aspect of the trick more difficult, it did so only marginally, and with a few subtleties thrown in, I feel I have attained my goal without sacrificing the effect at all. I showed this to my wife (who is very jaded to card tricks, especially when performed by me!) and she exclaimed, "Holy crud! That's a great trick!" That's the best recommendation I can give you.

Effect: Four jokers and twelve red spot cards are brought into play. You explain that as a magician, you go through quite a few decks of cards, but since you rarely need the jokers, they don't wear out as quickly as the rest of the deck. This means you always have extra jokers lying around, but you're very careful not to put more than two in any deck at any time, because they react strangely with the other cards. You offer to demonstrate what you mean. The jokers are tabled in a diamond pattern. On top of each you place three of the red spot cards. Now the weirdness begins. The joker from the first packet travels to join the joker in the second packet, magically trading places with one of the red cards. These two jokers mysteriously and invisible jump to the third packet and then all three jump to the last packet. You are left with three packets of four red cards each, and one packet with four jokers! Very slowly and fairly, you exchange one joker for one red card in each packet. Yet, when the packets are turned face up, it is seen that the jokers have instantly traveled back to the leader packet—the other three packets have nothing but red cards!

Requirements and preparation: Besides a normal deck of cards, you need four duplicate jokers with backs that match the deck. Place the jokers in a pocket, wallet or envelope.

Method and performance: I recommend this routine as a closer for a card set. After doing some card effects, remove the red fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines and tens from the deck, and set the deck aside. Hand these cards to Brett to count, verifying that there are exactly twelve red cards. Meanwhile, hand Suzanne the four jokers, allowing her to verify that there are only four and they are normal in every way. Take the jokers face up in your palm up left hand. Extend the left hand to Brett, asking him to drop the twelve red cards face up onto the jokers. Turn the packet face down. Spread over the top five cards. Take the top four (jokers), still spread, in your right hand. As the left thumb pulls the fifth card back onto the packet, get a pinky break below it. Hold the jokers just to the right of the packet (all the cards are still facing the floor). Photo 1 is an exposed view.

Bring the hands up so that the cards face the audience. The right hand goes a bit higher than the left, such that the bottom edge of the jokers are about an inch from the top edge of the squared red packet. Under cover of this larger movement, allow the leftmost joker (at the face of the spread) to enter the break under the top red card. In other words, the lower left corner of this joker is secretly beneath the top card of the packet (photo 2, exposed). This cannot be detected from the front (photo 3). After you've displayed the jokers for a moment, close the spread so that it is square with the packet and the jokers are jogged upward. Push them flush into the packet as you bring the cards back down to left dealers grip.

Photo 2

Deal the top four cards in a diamond pattern on the table, the first to your left, the second to the far center, third to your right and last card (a red one that the audience assumes is a joker) to the near center. As you deal, casually flash the faces of the first three cards (photo 4). Since the last one is dealt right in front of you, it makes sense that the audience doesn't catch a glimpse of its face.

Turn the packet in your left hand face up and nonchalantly spread it, holding the last two as one (photo 5) as you say, "That leaves us with the red cards." Close the spread. Push over three cards with the left thumb.

Photo 3

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Take them in your right hand and flip them face down on top of the tabled card nearest you, as in photo 6. This will be the "leader" packet. Push over three more and place them face down on the card to your left. Take the next three and flip them face down on the card at the far center.

Photo 5

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 9
Photo 10

Take the last three, still squared, by the inner end in your palm down right hand as in photo 7.

As you turn the cards face down, spread them (photo 8) and drop them onto the card at your right. The spectators believe that each packet contains three red cards and one joker, but in reality, the packet on your right has two reds and two jokers, and the packet in front of you is comprised of four red cards.

During the preceding displays and layouts, you have been telling the audience about all the decks you go through, the extra jokers that you always have left over, etc. Now you state that you will show them what you've been talking about.

Pick up the packet on your left with your palm down left hand (photo 9) , such that when you turn your hand palm up, the cards are in dealers grip, a joker showing at the face as in photo 10.

Flip the packet face down and hold it above the far center packet by the extreme left edge as if you were going to do a fingertip Elmsley Count, as shown in photo 11.

Photo 8

Photo 12

Take the top two cards in the right hand by the extreme right edge and snap the four cards into an "x" pattern by pulling the bottom cards back with the fingers while simultaneously pushing the top cards forward with the thumbs (photo 12). Replace the right-hand cards under the left pair and square the packet. (This is Mr. Ban-non's somewhat flourishy but very effective method for displacing the bottom two cards to the top.)

To show the first joker has disappeared, turn the packet face up and do a modified Elmsley Count as follows. Do the first two counts normally. Instead of counting the next two cards in singly, spread them as they are (photo 13) and drop them onto the other two. Square the packet and drop it face up onto the table at its previous position.

Pick up the far center packet in the palm down left hand as you did with the first packet. Turn the hand palm up and immediately do a regular Elmsley Count, showing two reds and two jokers. Flip the packet face down and hold it above the packet at your right. Do the "x" displacement ( photo 14). Turn the packet face up and do the modified Elmsley. Square up and table the packet face up at its former location.

Take the right side packet as you did the others and Elmsley Count it to show three jokers. Turn it face down, hold it over the leader packet and do the "x" move, but put the right-hand cards on top of the left instead of under them. As you square the packet and table it face down where it was, execute the Vernon Transfer (see the notes following this effect explanation), stealing the bottom card and loading it onto the leader packet as you pick it up with your right hand.

Photo 13
Photo 14

Place the leader packet in left dealers grip and do a Reverse Buckle Count (see notes), taking a double on the third count. Flip the packet face up into left dealers grip, revealing an ace on the face. Do a Rhumba Count (also in notes) to show four jokers, dropping the cards into a pile on the table and holding the last two cards as one. Set the double on top of the pile and then immediately remove the top card and use it to scoop up the packet. Square up, getting the bottom card in position to do the Vernon Transfer again. Pretend to "notice" that you "accidentally" left the right side packet face down. As you table the leader packet, do the Vernon Transfer, loading the card stolen from the leader packet onto the right packet as you pick it up (photo 15). Remark that you did "the magic move" with these cards, but you forgot to show them the faces.

As you say this, do the "x" displacement and then turn the packet face up and do the modified Elmsley Count. Drop this packet face up at the right. Pick up the leader packet by removing the top card and using it to scoop up the rest. Turn it face up and do another Rhumba Count as you say, "All four jokers ended up here." Slide the last card under the packet. You are ready for the instant repeat.

Photo 16
Photo 17
Photo 18

Photo 19

Flip the other three packets face down where they are. Very slowly and fairly, remove the top card of the left packet with your left hand and the top card of the leader packet with your right hand (photo 16). Drop the right-hand card onto the left packet and drop the left-hand card to the left of the leader packet (photo 17). Pick up the top card of the far center packet with your left hand and the top card of the three in the leader packet in your right (photo 18).

Drop the card in your right hand onto the center packet and drop the left-hand card to the left end of the row that is forming in front of you (photo 19). Finally, lift the top card of the remaining pair of the leader packet with your left hand, and take the top card of the right packet with your right hand (photo 20). Drop the right-hand card at the right end of the row in front of you and then drop the card in the left hand on the right packet (photo 21).

Snap your fingers. Simultaneously flip the left and right packets over sideways toward the center and spread them toward the audience in a vertical face up row (photo 22). Flip the center packet end for end toward you (photo 23) and spread it as well (photo 24).

Photo 20

Photo 21

Photo 19

Photo 20

Photo 21

Photo 25

Finally, slowly and dramatically turn over the row of jokers, one at a time, for a killer finish (photo 25)!

Continue reading here: Notes

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