IT is difficult to classify this effect. It begins as a series of predictions that sort of miss, but it ends as a transformation, transmogrification, transportation, time anomaly, or something like that. The effect, in the matter of time displacement, bears a familial relationship to Marios "Future Reverse," framed in a dynamically adaptable presentation. The presentation is "hammy" and fun. It is the type of item that fits well into a program of heavier presentations. It's not that the effect is weak—far from it. Rather, it appears weak—or at least odd—in the early phases but resolves in a mind-twisting climax.
EFFECT: (As best I can describe it.) The performer places a prediction face down between two face-up Aces on top of the deck. A spectator then chooses a card, which proves to be "somehow related" to the performer's prediction. This may be repeated ad libitum. Finally, the performer makes a last prediction. As previously, a spectator chooses a card. The performer's prediction card proves to be the very card the spectator selected. I suspect this effect description may be confusing. Remember that it's presented with tongue planted firmly in cheek and it should become clearer as you read on.
SET-UP: You remove from the deck the Ace of Clubs and one red Ace, while secretly positioning the other red Ace fourth from the top of the deck, with an indifferent card and two mates (e.g., the King of Hearts and King of Diamonds) over it. This four-card set up is easily obtained if approached in this manner:
Spread through the cards with their faces toward you, saying to the audience, "Em looking for two cards—two Aces—the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds." In roughly the time it takes to deliver these words, the stack is done. As you spread through the cards, look for any adjacent set of mates (in our example the King of Hearts and King of Diamonds). Cut them to the top as you deliver the first part of the line ("I'm looking for two cards"). Start through the deck again, looking for any Ace except the Spade. If the first Ace you come to is red, slide it out of the spread and into a position fourth from the top. Let's say this is the Ace of Hearts. As you do this, deliver the second part of the line ("two Aces"). If you first find the Ace of Clubs, again say, "two Aces," then drop the Ace face down onto the table. Continue searching for the remaining Aces, delivering the third part of the line ("the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds"), in pieces, as you find each one, altering your words in accordance with the red Ace you find first. Since the first red Ace you find goes fourth from the top of the deck, you will always name the other red Ace. In a sense, this set-up seems more complex than it is because it is so flexible. It is, as a result, quite expeditious. At its completion, the top two cards will be any set of mates. The card fourth from the top will be the Ace of Hearts or Diamonds. The Ace of Clubs and the other red Ace will be face down on the table. For purposes of explanation, the stack will be that given above.
Show the Ace of Clubs and Ace of Diamonds, and cleanly place them face up on the deck. "I'm going to make a prediction, a prediction of things to come, and I'm going to sandwich that prediction between these Aces."
Take the deck under the table and place any card you pull out of the deck (except the Ace of Spades) face down between the face-up Aces, remembering what card it is.
Bring the deck from beneath the table and spread the top three cards inward lengthwise to exhibit the sandwich you've formed: face-up Ace of Clubs-face-down indifferent card-face-up Ace of Diamonds (Figure 323). Close the displayed spread.
Spread the deck and have a card selected, looked at, shown around and remembered. "Now everybody knows the name of the card—except me." Take back the card face down, then look at it yourself. "Now everybody knows the name of the card. That's okay, I've already made my prediction." To emphasize that your prediction is already made, you may redisplay it if you choose.
Insert the selected card into the deck from the near end, as though you were doing Tilt. If you perform this effect standing, simulate Hull's Front Tilt.
NOTE: I refer to this subterfuge as R. W. Hull's Front Tilt for reasons given in the Notes at the end of this article. Since this early treatment of the Tilt idea is not well known, let me quickly explain it. It is conceptually the same as Vernon's Tilt but with the top card lifted at the front of the deck and the deck angled sharply downward. Because of the sharp downward angle the move can only be used effectively when the performer is standing and with a bit of distance between him and the audience. This technique is described in Pallbearers Review Close-Up Folio #10, 1977, page 1025. When the conditions are correct I find this version more natural in appearance than the familiar Rear Tilt version. They are, at least in this instance, functionally interchangeable.
Spread over the top three cards of the deck and say, "Would it prove interesting if the card I predicted was a card of exactly [the opposite color] from the card you selected?" The words of the statement in brackets change in accordance to the properties of the selection and your prediction card. The form of the statement is always the same. You are stating a relationship, whether it be opposite color, matching color or matching suit or matching values. Whatever relationship you can find between the two cards, state it as though that were your intention. The question is rhetorical (and delivered tongue in cheek), but the audience will likely look at you strangely.
Reveal the prediction and immediately offer to repeat it, saying, "Maybe you think that was just luck. Okay, I'll do it again." Lose the prediction card into the deck, simulating whichever form of Tilt you've used previously, and without disturbing the stack at the top.
You perform this phase, sort of missing without admitting it, at least once. If the audience gets into the spirit of the effect, I may do it a second time. I never repeat this quasi-miss phase more than twice. If you find you have a stronger coincidence, such as matching values or an actual match of mates, go straight into the next phase.
When you're ready to move on to the penultimate phase, leave the Aces face up on the deck as you take it under the table and place one of the Kings (the third card from the top) face down between the Aces. Place the matching King (the fourth card from the top) two-thirds of the way down in the deck and hold a left fourth-finger break below it, in preparation for a Classic Force.
Bring the deck from beneath the table and spread the top three cards inward, showing the sandwich: face-up Ace of Clubs-face-down King-face-up Ace of Diamonds. It is important that the Ace of Clubs be on top.
9 Spread the deck and force the King at the break on the spectator. (If you're not confident of your Classic Force, see Roberto Giobbi's fine address of the subject in Card College, Volume 1 (1996, page 217; in this case, however, it's not wise to in-jog the force card.)
10 Have the card looked at and remembered. Parrot your earlier patter, as described in Step 4, as you take the card back, look at it yourself and emphasize that your prediction is already made.
11 Place the selected card back into the deck from the back as though you were doing Rear Tilt. (Again, if you perform the effect standing, you should simulate Front Tilt.)
12 Spread over the top three cards of the deck. "Would it prove interesting if the card I predicted was a card of exactly the same color and value as the card you selected?" Reveal your prediction. The prediction matches in color and value. Regardless of the audience's reaction say, "You're a tough group. You want everything. Okay, one last time." Push the prediction card, the King, into the center of the deck in the same Tilt-fashion you have previously established.
13 With the Aces still face up on top of the deck, put it under the table and turn the fourth card from the top (the Ace of Hearts in our example) face up, leaving it in its position. Next, form a break under the top two Aces. The stack should be: faceup Ace of Clubs-face-up Ace of Diamonds-face-down indifferent card-face-up Ace of Hearts.
14 Bring the deck from beneath the table and grasp the top two cards as one between your right thumb and first finger at the near left corner. Pull them back for half their length and place your right second fingertip on the facedown card now showing. Draw it and the doubled Aces back far enough to expose the A of the face-up Ace (of Hearts) below them (Figure 324). The audience assumes they are seeing the Ace of Clubs, the face-down prediction and the Ace of Diamonds, as they have each time before.
15 Close the spread, carefully push over at least four cards as a block and spread through the deck to have a card selected. Have it looked at and remembered as before. Repeat, "Now everybody knows the name of the card—except me." Take the card back and look at it yourself. Continue, "Now everybody knows the name of the card. That's okay, I've already made my prediction." As you're speaking, form a break under the Ace of Clubs in preparation for Rear Tilt or Front Tilt.
16 Execute said move under the Ace of Clubs.
17 Spread over the top three cards of the deck, take them with your right hand, and | ''; table the deck. With a tone of exasperation, say, "Would it prove interesting if the card I predicted was a card of exactly the same color and value as the card you selected?" As you turn over the card and show it, add, "How about the same ' - suit? That's everything!" Do a broad double-take at the card and add, "That's impossible!" Shrug as though puzzled and hold the position. It will take a beat or two but the applause will start.
NOTES: You will still have a reversed Ace second from top of the deck. Since I usually perform this routine seated, I'll secretly lap the face-up Ace, using a One-Handed Second Deal, as I reach for the tabled cards. I later retrieve the card and add it back to the deck.
When I perform standing, I assemble all the cards face down above the reversed Ace. After squaring the cards, I lift off the packet, including the reversed Ace, and do a K.M. Move to right it. I then drop everything back on top and continue with my next effect.
It would, of course, be possible to perform only the final phase or last two phases of this routine. It just wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. I can be as guilty as the next guy of taking myself too seriously. This routine allows one to have fun with some of the haughtiness common in magic and customary to mental presentations. Alternately, you may choose to be an old stick-in-the-mud. The effect is funnier if you miss on your predictions, though doing so requires both confidence and conviction. As stated, I have sometimes missed twice before getting one correct, and then finished with what I think of as the "time warp" ending. If you have the flair and judgment to carry it off, you could miss all three times before performing the time warp. It's a question of judging your audience's response to the humor of the situation and their patience with the effect. I leave it to each performer to determine his or her own abilities; you'll develop confidence over time, but acting without conviction is pretending, an unnecessarily embarrassing undertaking.
THOUGHTS ON TILT: Though today is not the day, sooner or later the entire history of Tilt and the Depth Illusion will be established. I would prefer not to address this issue until then but because of the techniques used j in this routine I feel obligated to try. I acknowledge that Karl Fulves made j a fair stab at this in Pallbearers Review Close-Up Folio #10, but I don't think [
he got quite all of it. In all likelihood neither will I. |
There are, as I see it, two distinct elements that define the sleight Mario named "Tilt." These are the technique and the illusion that makes the technique deceptive. The technique can be performed in at least three ways. One way is from the front, as I believe R. W. Hull suggests in Eye Openers (1932, page 5)—both Fulves and my good publisher disagree with my interpretation of Hull's writing. Another way is from the side (left), as Edward Victor describes in Further Magic of the Hands (1946, page 25). The third way is from the rear, as reported by Faucett Ross in a two-page typed description, dated July 7, 1961, that circulated through the underground but waited until 1977 for formal publication in Pallbearers Review Close-Up Folio #10 (page 1026).
The structure is roughly the same for all three techniques. The card is always inserted but left protruding. In all cases, the inserted card is put second from the top (or under a small number of cards). It is then pushed square. Any of these techniques could theoretically be used without benefit of the set-up that makes it appear that the card is going much deeper into the deck than it actually is. Hull's description in Eye Openers uses the technique in that way. Both Victor and Vernon used the depth-enhancing set-up. Notice that I've carefully avoided calling the set-up "The Depth Illusion" (coined by Conrad Bush). There is not much dispute that the idea of tampering with the illusion of depth in broader terms predates this application. All three of the techniques use the same set-up to create the illusion of greater depth, to wit, elevating one end of the top card(s). There is increasing consensus that the first person to apply the illusion to this technique was Vernon. Vernon, however, appears only to have applied it to use of the technique from the rear. I'm not sure how this investigation will ultimately resolve when all sources have been exhausted. I do know that it has become increasingly difficult to know how to refer to any of the techniques so as to convey one's intended meaning and, at the same time, be true to the historical record. My solution, albeit imperfect, is to tip my hat to practice, history and communication without bowing to any. Thus, I call all the techniques "Tilt," modified by the direction from which it is performed. So we have Front Tilt, Side Tilt and Rear Tilt. Further, since we have a "Depth Illusion," courtesy of Vernon or Cazeneuve (Magic Without Apparatus, 1945, page 85) or whomever, and we almost always employ it, there seems no reason to continually mention it. I can think of no other illusion for which we do so. The reason is simple: It's obvious that we will use the best method we have; thus, while the phrase may have appeal, it's redundant.
My chosen naming convention will, no doubt, annoy just about everyone equally. It has one redeeming feature: It communicates all one needs to know in two words: direction, technique. I find that definitive, in one sense of the word, if not both.
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