August 1971 BETA

IN MID-1970, Derek Dingle started performing a number of variations of the Walton developed, Mario modified and popularized premise, "The Collectors." Of the four or five versions he did for me, one appealed to me for its directness. That version, later published as "Dingles Collectors" in Hierophant, No. 5 (1971, page 232), became an almost immediate part of my working repertoire. Like most of the popular versions being used today, four cards of matching value are dropped onto the deck whereupon they instandy trap three selections between them, alternated with the four of the kind. Unlike most handlings, at no time, before or after the selection process, are the four of a kind handled more than cursorily.

Over the following few months, I found myself making changes in the method as well as the presentation. Recently, I looked at the Dingle version again and was surprised at how different it is from the handling I entered into my notes in 1971 and have performed ever since. I believe my version is about as direct as it could be, which may be the key to the commercial success it has enjoyed. I don't use it in mixed company. I have other presentations for those situations. For all male audiences the patter theme is acceptable, albeit not politically correct. I won't include the exact patter here—young people read magic books—but it revolves around the idea that many males have had the fantasy of being a pimp with a stable of ladies of questionable repute at his beck and call. Most of the rest you can work out for yourself but a few lines and bits will be included where I think them helpful. The tone should be mockingly satiric and certainly never serious.

SET-UP: The four Queens are on the table face up, along with the card box. The deck is in left-hand Dealing Grip. (As has been previously mentioned, "Trapped Ace Surprise," page 19, and the preceding "Turn Me Down Why Don't You" provide good introductions to this effect.)

While delivering some introductory patter about the afore-mentioned fantasy, form a fourth-finger break under the top card of the deck. Pick up a pair of Queens (one red and one black) with each hand. The two Queens picked up by the left hand are taken face up onto the deck.

Peel the two cards from the right hand onto the two already atop the deck so they alternate red, black, red, black. Square the Queens and lift off the five cards above the break as four.

NOTE: I handle the cards a bit roughly, sort of yanking them up off the table, saying, "These are my bitches. I got two brunettes and two redheads." The lines are delivered in a sort of street-tough style.

Peel the top three Queens back onto the deck into an overlapping spread. Add the Double above them and square all five cards on the deck, immediately lifting off only the top card, as though it were all four Queens, held in Overhand Grip. The fingers hide the front of the card, preventing its lack of thickness from showing. Pretend to square the card as though it were a packet. (This switch was first published by Alex Elmsley in his "Still Taking Three" in Pentagram, Vol. 10, No. 12, September 1956, page 91. I'm told Wilfred Jonson also published this switch, but have not been able to verify or date this claim.)

Pick up the card case and place it broadside and slightly to your right on the table. Slip the front edge of the single Queen you hold under the side of the case (Figure 53, action in progress). The situation is now as follows: There is one card face up part-way under the card box. The audience believes the four Queens are under the box. There are three face-up Queens at positions two, three and four from the top of the deck with one facedown cover card on top.

Turn the deck face up and have three cards selected and signed. (I refer to the three selections as "Johns" and have the guys sign names like John Smith, John Jones and John Brown.)

Turn the deck face down and insert the three selections into three different spots, in one-two-three order from top down, leaving about a third of each card

protruding. All the selections must be placed above the middle of the deck and Selection Three should be inserted just above center.

Perform the Mario-James Multiple Shift (which I'm about to describe) or your own favorite. The Multiple Shift should leave all three selections, in order, on top of the deck, while the three Queens and one cover card end up in the middle with a fourth-finger break held above them.


In 1961, when Ed Mario published his book on the Multiple Shift (Multiple Shift: Revolutionary Card Technique, Chapter 11), he included what was for its time a break-through concept, the Ail-Around Square-Up (page 11). This was based on the idea of a moveable jog. I don't believe Ed was laying claim to the moveable jog. Both Erdnase and Hilliard had described that idea earlier. As best I can determine, Mario was claiming the development of the broad concept of moving jogs to allow the practitioner to apparently square all sides of the deck while maintaining control of jogged cards. One of the outgrowths of his concept was a Multiple Shift he named the Moveable Block Shift (.Multiple Shift, page 19). The following technique is clearly an evolution from that Shift. This Shift is also a composite of other techniques. As that is the case with most Multiple Shifts of the last twenty years, I offer no apology. The primary sources for the elements of my technique are Mario and Andrus (Andrus Deals You In, 1956, page 46).

In my view, a Multiple Shift is composed of three phases: The Jog-Through, the Block-Alignment and the Strip-Out. The method for the initial phase, the Jog-Through, I use derives from the Moveable Jog and Andrus' Diagonal Jog. The mechanics of the Block-Alignment—the means of aligning the jogged cards with a cover block—are, to the best of my knowledge, my own. The techniques I use to accomplish the Strip-Out of the inserted cards are, so much as is possible, guided by the effect in which the Shift is applied. Generally, I agree with Elias and Mario that a no-cut Shift is most desirable though not always practical. A one-cut Shift is quite acceptable for most situations. Going further, a Swivel or Swing Cut is to be preferred over a longitudinal cut.

NOTE: The Hindu Shuffle Control, done as part of a Multiple Shift without comment, is self-canceling. If the purpose of the multiple insertion that begins a Multiple Shift is to convince an audience that the inserted cards are widely separated, the Hindu Shuffle diminishes that conviction. It also offers a direct and correct explanation for how the cards are controlled. Despite the weak logic, you'd be better off merely asserting that the unshown cards are widely separated, perhaps reinforcing the assertion with a Hindu

Shuffle. Why? When a magical performer asserts a fact, it will be accepted, rejected or left unexamined unless it becomes pertinent. If your subsequent actions support your assertion, to the degree the actions are convincing, they are worth performing. Thus, asserting that the cards remain separated as you perform a shuffle, further losing them, remains viable. If, on the other hand, one goes through a procedure, such as multi-point insertions, to prove a point, engaging in a practice that contradicts that point not only invites challenge to the assertion and the actions but risks the audience concluding you are stupid or, worse, think them stupid. Neither conclusion is a good payoff for your effort. If the audience doesn't buy your claim, at best you lose credibility; at worst, it reflects a negative attitude toward your spectators—never a good impression to create. It might be possible to engage in multi-point insertions, shuffle the cards afterward and presentationally avoid the negative impact that potentially flows from the illogical practice. It hardly seems worth it, however, to gain nothing and risk losing much when better-considered techniques can produce the intended conviction.

Insert the selections into the deck until roughly one third of each projects from the front. They should be widely separated but a quarter of the deck or more should be above or below the topmost or bottommost card. The position of the block, above or below, will be determined by the type of strip-out cut you plan to use and whether the deck is face up or down.

NOTE: Re: "The James Gang," the three selections are inserted into the upper half of the face-down deck. The lowermost selection should be as close as you can estimate to the middle.

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