July 1978 final

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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THIS EFFECT is a presentational variation of Hummer's "Mind Reader's Dream" premise (originally a marketed effect, circa 1952, and included in Karl Fulves' compilation Bob Hummer's Collected Secrets, 1980, page 42). It is only the construction of the routine and some novel presentational touches to which I make any claim. The reader will note that there are a number of elements that can be applied to other effects. Notable among these is the use of a regular deck as an index and the cover for a Deck Switch with a natural set of actions—even though your back may be turned.

EFFECT: An artistically inclined spectator is asked to think of a card and then draw a picture of it. She is also asked to remove and hide a number of cards equal to the value of her card and to arrange other cards in the shape of the suit of her card, all while the performer's back is turned. The performer indicates that this will help her in clearly visualizing the card. The performer then reveals the name of the spectator's card. He congratulates the spectator on how good she is at visualizing but then admits that he doesn't like it when people are too good because... He spreads the deck to reveal that all the cards are blank except for one—the spectator's thought-of card.

REQUIREMENTS: Required are one regular deck of cards, one blank-faced deck, a small note pad and a pen.

SET-UP: Place the blank-faced deck in your left shirt pocket, back against your body. The pen should be clipped to the same pocket. The fourteenth card from the top of the blank-faced deck is pencil dotted on its non-index corners or otherwise marked to make it easy to spot in a narrow spread. You must wear a jacket. In its left inside pocket place the note pad. This pocket should be otherwise empty. In addition, your pants should not be too tight, since this makes it difficult to get into and out of the pants pockets, which will become important.

After some opening patter about how vivid dreams can be, ask for the assistance of a visually oriented member of the audience. Such people, you explain, usually draw well. They are painter, architect, photographer types of people rather than lawyer, engineer or writer types. On finding such a person, spread the deck in front of her and ask for confirmation that she is familiar with playing cards and knows what all the cards look like. Have her shuffle the deck as you remove your note pad, but not the pen, from your pocket and lay it on the table.

Take the deck back from the spectator and place it into left-hand dealing position as you explain that you hope she has well-developed visualization abilities because they will be helpful in the forthcoming experiment. Tell her that you will turn your back to her during much of it. Do precisely that as you continue your explanation.

NOTE: Like most performers, I've learned some lessons the hard way. One of those lessons relates to turning your back to spectators. It is extremely difficult to manage an audience when you're not looking at them. The eyes and facial expression are major tools used to maintain control. You won't always be able to arrange it, but it is best during most of this presentation, when your back is turned to the assisting spectator, to remain facing the majority of the audience. You'll need to be able to move around during the course of the effect but if you can't interpose yourself between your assisting spectator and the audience, and the audience is larger than about a dozen, you probably shouldn't perform this effect. It has no bearing on the method or the handling, but the risk of losing control of your audience increases with its size.

"I'm going to ask you to attempt to visualize the face of a playing card and draw it, or at least a semblance of it, on the pad. You'll need a pen—I have one." As you say this, reach up with your left hand and grasp your left lapel. With your right hand, reach up toward your left shirt pocket. As your right hand goes past your left hand, take the deck into the right hand and put it into your left inside jacket pocket. Continue by taking the pen and the blank-faced deck out of your shirt pocket. Take the deck into left-hand dealing position but retain the pen in the right hand. Continue: "I'm also going to ask you to perform some actions with the cards." Turn around. "The purpose of all this is to create a very clear vision of the card you'll think of, in the hope of conveying that image to me."

NOTE: It is possible to perform the deck switch I just described in full view of the audience. The technique is similar to a cold-deck move used by card cheats, known as the Cigar Switch. It will take a bit of work to make it smooth enough to go by undetected, but it has been used for many years at the card table, so it is clearly able to bear scrutiny. When some cheats use this technique, they facilitate getting hold of the deck by tucking their tie into their jacket pocket and slipping the "cooler" into the fold of the tie. Simply pulling on the tie will then raise the deck out of the pocket, making it easy to grab. Tom "T. A." Waters accomplished the same end with a length of wide ribbon in the shirt pocket. He described the details in his booklet Psych I (1983, page 16), and later in his compilation Mind, Myth andMagick (1993, page 501).

Place the deck and the pen on the table. The deck should be to your right, which will be the spectator's left. "I'm going to turn my back and step away a bit. Think of a card and draw a picture of it on the pad. If you can't draw a picture, at least write the number or letter and a picture of the suit, a Heart, Club or whatever it is. When you've done that, put the pad away, where I can't see it, and tell me when you're finished."

When the spectator informs you she has done as requested, pick up the deck and extend your hand toward her with the deck resting on it, but keep your head turned away from her. "Cut off about half of the deck. Now quietly, I don't want to hear it, deal off a number of cards equal to the value of your card. A Jack is eleven, a Queen twelve and a King thirteen. When you've done that, hide the cards you've dealt off. I'm going to turn back around for a moment, so neither the pad nor the packet of cards you just dealt should be visible."

NOTE: If the table is wide, making it awkward to have the spectator cut the deck while you hold it, you can allow her to take the deck to cut off a portion. She can then return the portion she did not take. The reason for all these machinations is to justify taking back the unused portion of her cut-off packet after she has counted off the cards equal to her number and hidden them. If you weren't already holding most of the deck it would seem odd to want this remaining portion. She could simply leave it on the table. By holding onto the cards, it merely appears that you're a bit of a neatness freak.

Turn around and, as soon as you do, spot the packet from which the cards were dealt. Pick up those cards and ask for your pen back. As the spectator is getting your pen for you, spread over and sight-count the number of cards above the marked one. (It will be a number between zero and twelve.) Square the packet and place it back onto the table. In your mind, subtract that number from thirteen and you now know the value of the mental selection. We will assume it is an Eight. When you have your pen back, take it into your right hand. Have your assistant place the lower portion of the deck onto the upper portion and square the cards.

HISTORICAL NOTE: The principle being used here comes from Audley Walsh's "The Mystic Twelve" in Annemanns Miracles of Card Magic, edited by John J. Crimmins, Jr., 1948, page 3.

7 Turn your back again. "I'd like you to take the cards that remain and arrange them face down on the table into a pattern that resembles, as well as you can, the suit of your card. Use as few or as many cards as you feel you need. I'm going to step quite a distance away because I don't want any audible clues."

8 Step away from the spectator and this time turn your back to the entire audience. Put the pen into your left shirt pocket and retrieve the deck from your inside jacket pocket as you do so. Because you are a distance away, you can safely go through the deck and remove the four cards of the value you know the spectator's card to be and arrange them in CHaSeD order. It is probably unnecessary to remind you, but don't betray your actions by allowing your elbows to move away from your sides as you perform this cull. It's always a bit of a ticklish balance to keep your elbows in without appearing stiff. The key is to keep tension out of your shoulders. In any case, when you have finished your cull, put the balance of the deck back into your inside jacket pocket but palm the four cards in your left hand in Gambler's Flat Palm.

NOTE: If circumstances don't allow you to turn your back on the entire audience, use a Card Index. The Index can be fashioned from a deck of cards and a rubber band. Arrange each of the thirteen values in CHaSeD order and out-jog the even valued cards from the 325

odd for about half their length. Also turn the out-jogged even packets face down, while leaving the odd packets face up. Encircle the entire package around its width with the rubber band, wrapping it around the Index several times until it is snug (Figure 325). The rest should be apparent.

9 Tell the spectator to gather the cards she used to form the suit and hide them with the cards that represent the value, and to tell you when she's done, so you may turn around again. When she has done all this, turn around and casually walk back toward the table, putting your left hand, with its palmed cards, into your front left pants pocket.

10 Announce that you're getting a fairly clear image of the value of the card but that the suit is not quite clear. "Just say yes or no—It's a black card?" If the spectator says, "Yes," respond with "It's a Club." If the spectator then says, "No," say, "It's the Eight of Spades." If you say, "It's a black card" and the spectator says, "No," you respond, "It's a Heart." If you get another "no," say, "It's the Eight of Diamonds." This doesn't explain every possible pattern but you should get the idea. If you handle this fishing technique properly, the audience is left; with the feeling that your questions were part of an effort to make the revelation dramatic rather than that you didn't know. It works extremely well as just a few attempts will confirm.

NOTE: This fishing technique, it should be noted, is Ed Mario's. (See The Cardician, 1953, pages 133 and 137.) Mario was a master of such techniques but is rarely given credit for his talent in this area. This may be a compliment in its own way. Thanks, Ed.

11 Ask for the return of the hidden cards. As they are being retrieved, palm the appropriate card out of your left pocket in either Full Palm or Gambler's Cop, depending on the angles under which you are performing. The card should be face against your palm in either case. Add the palmed card to the bottom of the cards on the table as you pick them up. Drop these onto the cards the spectator gives you and put the deck down.

12 Ask for the note pad back and start to compliment the spectator on the clarity of her drawing.

13 Stop and say, "Did I mention that I don't like to do this effect? I might have. You see, some people are too good at it. I have a feeling you may be one of them. Some people are so good that the deck is affected by their concentration." Turn over the cards and spread them widely across the table, revealing that they are all blank except one, that card being, in our example, the Eight of Diamonds. Conclude, "It makes you wonder whether what you're seeing now is a dream or if what you saw before was just a vision."

NOTES: This effect is rather elaborate. Some may even think it overdone. It is not the kind of effect you'll do every day. In formal performance, as a closing item, it can be devastating. That's a strong word, but the audience response justifies it. Use it to close just one show, with the right presentational address, and you'll be using it often.

Finally, while this effect clearly uses a mathematical technique as a major part of its method, it well shrouds it by using the drawing of the card as a red herring and a fishing technique to determine the suit.

Section TWo


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