Lushing leaper

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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JUNE 30, 1971 BETA

MANY YEARS ago, Jack McMillen developed an effect ("The Leaper Card," n.d.) that is clearly related to, but somewhat different from, a card problem later addressed by Edward G. Brown (see "Wandering Card" in Willane's Method's for Miracles, No. Three (1952) or Trevor Hall's The Card Magic of Edward G. Brown, 1973, page 39). The McMillan approach became popular for a while but fell into relative disuse. As I see it, apart from procedural differences, the distinction between the two plots turns on a fine distinction: whether the card or the number is thought of first. In the McMillen plot a number might not be thought of, but might merely be noted. My "Blushing Leaper" revives the McMillen approach but employs the practice of having the number thought of first, as in the Brown problem. I find this easier for spectators to follow. I've also applied more modern techniques and added an intriguing, albeit non sequitur, kicker ending.

EFFECT: A spectator cuts a shuffled deck and the cut-off portion is placed aside. From the balance of the deck the spectator is invited to think of a card from among the first ten, remember it and the position at which it falls. The cards are cleanly given to the spectator. The performer then alternates taking cards from the spectator and from the previously isolated half until the spectator's number is reached. The card has vanished from the spectator's packet and appears at the same position in the performer's packet. Further, to explain why the spectator chose the card, the performer reveals that the thought-of card has a different back color and design from the balance of the deck.

REQUIREMENTS: You will need one odd-backed stranger card, which you place face-up second from the top of the deck.

1 C ive the deck a False Shuffle and False Cut. You need only retain the top two cards, but care must be exercised because the card second from the top is reversed.

2 Have the spectator cut the deck and give him the option of mixing the lower portion. Meanwhile, you take the cut-off upper portion and place it aside. Remember that there is a reversed card second from the top.

NOTE: It is, of course, possible to allow the spectator to shuffle the whole deck but you'll need to hold out the top two cards. Low Lateral Palm is a very good choice of techniques for this situation (see page 357).

It you prefer, you can have the odd card in your lap. Palm off a card as you hand out the deck to be shuffled. While the spectator mixes it, set the odd-backed card face to face with the card palmed from the deck. Palm both cards in your right hand, with the card that matches the deck closer to the palm. When the deck has been cut into two piles by the spectator, add the two palmed cards to the top of the pile that is being placed aside.

3 You will now ask the spectator to think of a number between one and ten, and to remember the card that appears at that number. You should time your delivery of these instructions so that you have already shown the first card before the spectator knows what is expected of him. The cards are shown as follows: Hold the spectator's packet in left-hand dealing position. Push the top card to the right and take it face down in the right hand with the thumb above and the fingers below. When you take the first card, the card should face the floor, then be brought up very briefly to face the spectator. The second card should be placed under the first and then brought up to face the spectator. As you're showing the spectator the second card, you should deliver the line, "Remember the card that appears at the number you are thinking."

Continue by showing the spectator the third card, adding, "If you're thinking of three..." You do not lower the right hand between your display of the second and third cards or any thereafter. Continue with the fourth through tenth cards, pushing each card from the left-hand packet onto the face of the right-hand packet. As you add the tenth card to the face of the right-hand packet, your left thumb contacts the back card of the right-hand packet and secretly drags it back onto the left-hand packet as the left hand moves away (Figure 322).

j While the right hand holds its cards in a Fingertip Grip, the action of this steal-back is very much like a Slip Cut. It is not difficult.

51 Fairly drop the supposed ten- (actually nine-) card packet back onto the left-hand packet. Square the half deck and lay it fairly on the table in front of the spectator. Say, "These are your cards and you should be thinking of one of them. ■ Do you remember both your card and the number at which it lies?" When you are satisfied the spectator remembers, you can continue. If you're not satisfied, hand the packet back to the spectator. Have it reshuffled and repeat the selection process as described.

Pick up the other packet, which was originally the top half of the deck. Square the packet, picking up a right-thumb break under the top two cards. This is : facilitated by the reversed card. Place the packet onto the table in front of you I and, with your right hand, immediately pick up the top two cards as one. Place the card(s) into left-hand Dealing Grip.

7 "This is my first card. Did you think of your first card?" The spectator will say, "No." Continue, "Give me your first card." Take the card from the spectator into your right hand, fingers at the front, the thumb at the rear (Overhand Grip). Put the card onto the card in your left hand but keep a left fourth-finger i break between it and the two cards below it.

8| With your right hand, take the top card of your tabled packet into Overhand Grip. "This is my second card. Did you think of your second card?" We will assume the

' : spectator says, "No." Set the right hand's card onto the left hand's packet and ask the spectator to give you his second card. Take it into Overhand Grip, just as you did the first, and place it onto the packet in your left hand. Release the previous fourth-finger break and establish a new one under the card you're adding.

9 When the spectator eventually tells you that he did think of the card at the position you've reached in your portion of the deck, you immediately do a Top Change, exchanging of the card in your right hand for the top card of the left-hand packet. In an action flowing from that of the Top Change, put your right I hand out toward the spectator's tabled packet as you say somewhat command-ingly, "Don't touch your card!"

10: Recount the circumstances of the effect. Remind the spectator that his card and J number were merely thought of and that you have not touched his packet. Tell ! him that if the effect has succeeded, the card that was at his number in his packet I should be gone and that his thought-of card should be the one you hold. Turn over the card in your hand and reveal it to be the spectator's.

11 Place the card face up on top of the left-hand packet, in-jogged for about half : its length. As you say, "Something would be amiss if the card that is at the

[.spectator's number] position in your packet were also the card you thought of, but take a look anyway." The card will be an indifferent one.

While the spectator is looking at his top card, your right hand moves to the packet you hold. Your right thumb reaches under the packet and draws the bottom card square with the in-jogged face-up card. The right hand then moves away from the packet.

"You won't want to believe this but this whole thing was possible because I knew which card you would think of before we started. It's not that I could read your mind. I didn't even know we would meet. I simply knew that you'd be drawn to think of a card that looked a little different." Return your right hand to the packet and grab the two in-jogged cards at their near ends. Pinch them together with your right first finger above and thumb below and turn the pair end over end, dropping them onto the packet while maintaining a break under them. (This is an outgrowth of a technique that appeared in Joe Berg's Here's New Magic, 1937, page 6).

Execute the Two-Step Double Lift (page 158) as you say, "Now you understand why you thought of the [name of card}." Turn the card face up as you name it, then execute the K.M. Move, cleaning up as you toss the card face up onto the table in front of the spectator. If the spectator picks up the card it will seem to have changed back to the color of the rest of the deck. If he doesn't pick up the card by the time you have reassembled the deck, pick it up without calling attention to its back.

NOTES: The most serious weakness of this effect is that, if the spectator thinks of a high number, the transfer process, "Did you think of your [number] card? Let me have your [number] card," can get a bit tedious. One solution, of sorts, is to limit the selection to a smaller range (e.g., one to six); but that seems to weaken the effect somewhat. For larger audiences, I have used a presentational solution. Have each member of the audience think of a number between one and ten. After "Did you think of [number]?' is asked of the spectator who remembered the card, poll the audience: "How many of you thought of [number]?' You can then give a short numerologi-cal interpretation of the significance of choosing that number. This keeps the audience interest level up by slowing the effect down. It also highlights the fact that other numbers could have been chosen.

This was the first effect I ever performed for Ed Mario (with an earlier, slightly different handling). He asked, as you might, whether the odd-back kicker plays with lay audiences. It is a fair question with an odd answer. One problem with the Leaper effect is an issue of dramatic structure. There are two things that need to be revealed: the "vanish" of the spectator's thought-of card and the arrival of that card in the performer's packet. If the "vanish" is revealed first, the arrival is anticipated and, therefore, weakened. If the arrival is revealed first, the vanish is anticlimactic. It is obviously a bad idea to end on an anticlimax. The kicker helps ameliorate this problem by providing a climax after the anticlimax. Thus, it is theatrically justified.

The second point is that audiences don't know what to think of this ending. It is, in fact, a non sequitur. This demands that it be "logically" justified. The line, "I knew that you'd be drawn to think of a card that looked a little different," provides that rationale, however flimsy it may read. Like much of my magic generally, and mental magic more particularly, this effect is more appreciated by intelligent audiences. Given such an audience and an environment conducive to adequate focus, this ending plays well. It is common to hear people questioning whether they might have missed the card being odd-backed. I have had people ask me if it was, to which I respond, "Probably not, but that's the magic of it." If you're uncomfortable with this ending, particularly for somewhat smaller groups, you may wish to try the next effect instead.

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