My notes are very sketchy as to how this effect evolved. The only fact I can determine with certainty is that I was inspired by something I saw Derek Dingle perform. A related routine much later appeared under the title of "Illusion Aces" in his excellent collection, The Complete Works of Derek Dingle (1982, page 79). Derek did not explain his routine to me—frankly I didn't ask—and the version I saw seems to differ in some ways from what appears here and from what was eventually published. I realize that isn't much of a history, but it's all I have. If anyone wishes to claim the idea I can't really argue. Thus far the best theory I've heard is that the premise is one by Karl Fulves. I include it here and claim it as my own handling because I have not seen anything else quite like it in print, and it opens up an interesting sandwich approach to a one-at-a-time Twisting-the-Aces-type effect, with an unexpected ending. It's not a miracle, but it is a rather strong impromptu effect.
EFFECT: Four Aces are, one by one, placed face up between the two black Tens. Each turns face down and is placed aside. After the last of the Aces has met its fate, the four reversed cards are revealed to have transformed into Queens.
REQUIREMENTS: A normal deck of cards is used. I have noticed that certain brands (notably Maverick) seem thinner than most brands from U.S. Playing Card Company. Thinner cards are to be preferred for this effect for reasons that will become evident.
SET-UP: From the top down: any Queen-another Queen-Ace of Clubs-Ace of Spades-Ace of Hearts-Ten of Spades-Ten of Clubs-another Queen-the final Queen. The last two face-down Queens, the two below the Tens, should be crimped convexly at their near end. The entire stack can be culled under the pretense of looking for the Tens and Aces.
Spread off the top seven cards without letting the spectators become aware of exactly how many are being spread. (They should believe that only six are taken but you need feel no compulsion to prove it.) With your right hand, turn the block face up and lift it off the deck. Peel off the top two cards (the Tens) back onto the top of the deck, with the Ten of Clubs in-jogged for about one quarter of its length and the Ten of Spades out-jogged a similar distance. Keep the face of the right hand's packet tipped toward you so the audience gets as little time as possible to note the Ace of Hearts there.
Place the deck onto the table, using 51
only your left hand. The Tens should remain in their face-up jogged condition (Figure 51) and the end crimp should remain nearest you.
Your left hand returns to take the right-hand packet just long enough for the right hand to switch to Flexible Count Grip (see page 54 and Figure 44). The additional alignment insurance provided by this grip is critical in this routine, since the packet being handled is thick more often than not during the handling. With the packet back in the right hand alone, pause for a moment. Look at the audience as you comment to the effect that you have the four Aces. Use the Jordan Count to false count the five cards as four, taking them into left-hand Dealing Grip. It will appear that you've shown the four Aces. The Ace of Hearts will return to the face.
NOTE: I am of the belief that whenever counts of the Elmsley, Jordan, Flexible Count sort are performed, it should, whenever possible, be made very clear which hand is holding the packet before the count begins. This is often overlooked by card workers, even by some very good ones. This clarity is provided by simply establishing the right hand's grip by separating the hands for a beat before beginning the count. This may not seem like a big deal and, I gather, there are those who disagree with me; but it is a small price to pay to help clarify the direction of the count, and thus your intent, for your spectators. Such clarity greatly helps them in feeling that everything you did was fair. When this type of count was routinely performed at the fingertips, this "courtesy" was problematic because alignment was more
difficult to assure. When counting into Dealing Grip this small courtesy costs you only a momentary pause. We ask that our spectators be courteous to us; should we not be courteous to them?
4 Turn the packet face down in your hands and count it to display the five cards as four. Take the double card last as you reverse the order of the packet. Place the packet, in squared condition, onto the table. If you were to check the order of the packet, from the top down, you would find: Ace of Clubs-Ace of Hearts-Queen-Queen-Ace of Spades.
5 With your right hand reach over to the deck and pick up the two face-up Tens. However, in this action you actually pick up four cards, the two Tens and the two face-down Queens. This is made possible, in fact easy, by the near-end crimp.
6 Square the packet without making it apparent you are doing so (two cards wouldn't require much squaring). Be sure to keep your right fingers across the front end of the packet and keep that end tilted downward to prevent the spectators from noticing the extra thickness. Peel the face card (the Ten of Spades) off to the left and place it under the Ten of Clubs (actually three cards), side-jogged to the left for half its width.
7 With your left hand, pick up the top card of the face-down, tabled packet, the Ace of Clubs, turn it face up and place it between the Tens. Square the packet and, if you like, do the Vernon Twisting Flourish from his "Twisting the Aces" (see Dai Vernon's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, 1960, page 6). Perform a K.S. Spread of the packet as follows to reveal that the Ace has turned face down. The action is easy. (While the K.S. Spread can be performed to show more than three cards, the three-card display will be used throughout this routine.) The right hand holds the packet from above. The left hand draws the uppermost and lowermost cards leftward, with the left thumb above and fingers below. This will leave a block of variable number aligned in right-hand Overhand Grip. Since this packet may be considerably thicker than one card, it is best if the right hand tilts the front end of the card(s) downward. At the same time, the left thumb should move forward and the fingers inward, spreading the two left-hand cards in a lengthwise spread (Figure 52). This spread should not be neat. Pause very briefly in this position, then immediately bring the hands together, recombin-ing the packet as required. In this case, transfer the right-hand block to the face of the left-hand packet.
NOTE: Without getting into the argument about who invented what when, but to keep designations in order, I use the following naming conventions. I define the Ascanio Spread as being done, as it was when first introduced in this country, with the cards held by their long sides. For me the essence of the Ascanio Spread, of which I am very fond, is that it is not a count but a casual display. Its use should, therefore, be limited to situations that permit, and preferably benefit from, such casualness. It follows that the Ascanio Spread can be used to show a vanish but should not be used to prove that only n cards are used.
I define the K.S. Spread, as published by Roger Smith in Smith on Cards 2: The K-S Control System (1971, page 1), as a separate and distinct idea. Smith is, I think, correct when he notes that when the cards are held by the ends the action of pulling off the top and bottom cards is similar to the Klondike Shuffle. This explains the K.S. designation. This action is also used in the Milk-Build Shuffle and Herb Monge's Monge Shuffle, which my informed publisher advises me appeared as "skinning the goat" in Professor Kunnard's 1888 work, The Book of Card Tricks (page 67). It is certainly true that the Klondike Shuffle was never intended for use as a display or a count. It is, nevertheless, a reasonably appropriate designation. I have chosen to use the K.S. Spread designation to describe a casual display of the cards (Ascanio-like) but with the cards held by the ends. I prefer this naming convention to the "Vertical Ascanio"—as coined by Jon Racherbaumer—because one cannot readily get the same look or feel of the Ascanio Spread when holding the cards by the ends, nor should one try.
I am quite aware that Ascanio himself eventually came to favor the end grip. This merely clouds the issue. The Ascanio Spread, as originally offered, involved holding the cards by the sides while the K.S. Spread, as originally offered, involved holding the packet by the ends. Moreover, the two displays originally had different looks and used different mechanics. I hold to the original, more clearly distinguishable, definitions and designations. Finally, when the Klondike Shuffle-like peeling action of the top and bottom cards, characteristic of both the Ascanio and K.S. Spread, are incorporated into more studied count-like use and the edge grip is abandoned, we end up with different techniques altogether. Possibilities such as an Ascanio Count or a K.S. Count, are, in my opinion, antithetical and undesirable.
With your right hand, remove the top face-down card (believed to be the Ace of Clubs), dealing it face down to the table. At the same time, turn the left hand palm down to hide the second face-down card. Take the packet into Overhand Grip in the right-hand without re-reversing it. A face-down card is visible on top.
Jj|| Peel this lace-down card into the left hand, slip it under the right hands packet
Ifff and re-square the "two" cards. Turn them face up and slide the back card of the
Igg; packet out to the left. You are back in the position of Step 6, apparently holding
;fiiyt two spread Tens.
Pick the Ace of Hearts off the tabled pile, slip it face up between the black Tens and square the packet. Perform the Vernon Twisting Flourish, if you wish, then do another K.S. Spread, causing the Ace to turn face down. Instead of transferring the card to the face of the Tens, this time use the block (supposedly just the face-down center Ace) to flip the Tens over, face down; then place the center card (block) on top. Deal the top face-down card onto the previously tabled "Ace" (actually a Queen). Once again you must turn the left hand palm down, this time to hide the face-up Ace of Clubs. With your right hand, take the packet back into Overhand Grip, with the Ace of Clubs lowermost.
;i||! Pick up the original tabled Ace packet (the spectators believe it now contains fggg two cards) beneath the right hands packet, holding a thumb break between i§gji them. Transfer this break to the left fourth finger as you square the packet in iitft your left hand.
12 Push the two face-up Tens to the right and take them from above with the right hand. Use the Tens to lever the top card of the left-hand packet face up. This, the yjgg Ace of Hearts, should fall square with the top of the left-hand card(s). Say "We'll leave this one, the Ace of Hearts for last." Pick up the Ace of Hearts, jogged to the left of the Tens, with the Ace of Clubs hidden below it and place the back-to-back Aces as one card squarely onto the deck. This secretly disposes of the Ace of Clubs, places the Ace of Hearts aside for later use and leaves the Ace of Spades and two Queens in your left hand.
;j§§ Deposit the right hand's face-up Tens back onto the left-hand cards. Now, with Ste:; your right hand, take all the cards into Overhand Grip and turn the right hand f. palm up to show the Ace of Spades at the face of the packet. Turn the hand palm : down again.
14 Draw the Ten of Spades into the left hand, then slide the bottom card (the Ace of Spades) face down onto it. Use the left edge of the right-hand block (supposedly one card) to lever the face-down Ace of Spades face up on the Ten of Spades but jogged to the right. Place the right-hand card(s) on top of the others and square everything.
If you like, do another Vernon Twisting Flourish, then perform a K.S. Spread, removing the center block. Another Ace has turned face down. Continue by placing the face-down card (actually three cards) onto the Tens and deal the reversed card onto the tabled group while turning the left hand palm down to
hide the face-down card below it. Now reposition the Tens, to prepare for the last Ace, by taking the packet into your right hand in Overhand Grip without re-reversing it. Peel the top face-down card off into the left hand, then slip it under the right hand's card(s) and square the packet. Turn the packet face up and slide the lower card out to display two spread Tens.
Pick the Ace of Hearts off the deck and make it turn magically face down between the Tens, using the same procedure employed for the previous Aces. After performing a K.S. Spread to reveal the face-down "Ace" (actually a Queen with two face-up Aces hidden beneath), use it to flip down the two Tens and drop it onto them. Deal the top card onto the table as your left hand turns palm down to conceal the face-up Aces on the packet. Then, with your right hand, take the left hand's packet to Overhand Grip, without re-reversing it, and secretly form a thumb break above the face-down Ace of Hearts and Ace of Spades.
Start to place the Tens onto the deck and, as you do, drop the two cards below the break on top. As an afterthought, but in a continuing motion, drop the Tens face up onto the table in front of the deck.
You are now prepared to build up the impending climax of the routine, which concludes by your turning the four tabled cards over, revealing them to be the four Queens.
NOTE: In the beginning, if you cull the fourth Ace to a position just below the stack, you will be in a position at the end of this routine to go straight into a Finding-the-Aces effect. The Aces are waiting for you on top of the deck. The following effect, "The James Gang," requires the four Queens; you can, therefore, segue directly into that routine from this one. They both use the sandwich configuration, but are otherwise unrelated.
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