September 31981 ALPHA

"BIRTHDAY Aces" is so named for two reasons: First, the idea came to me on September third, which is my birthday; and second, the patter is based on the idea that on my tenth birthday my great-grandfather taught me how to handle the first Ace; on my twentieth birthday my grandfather taught me the handling of the second Ace; on my thirtieth birthday my father taught me the procedure for the third Ace. And the fourth Ace is my own because he didn't live to see my fortieth birthday.

"Birthday Aces" is a treatment of the Progressive Ace premise, the history of which I have discussed in Pasteboard Perpensions (page 35) and in "Catalytic Progressive Aces" in this volume (page 38). All of the versions of the Progressive Ace Assembly I have seen use double-ended cards, double-faced cards, a combination of these gaffs, or they have relied on palming. The solution I offer here is, I believe, unique in that it uses only three feke cards, which are neither double-faced nor double-ended and which are quite fair looking in appearance. Each of the these cards has a hinged flap attached to one side, which produces cards such as those shown in Figure 328. When the flap of the first feke lies

open, an Ace of Diamonds is exposed, apparently fanned behind a spot card in Spades. The second feke, when open appears as a spread Ace of Clubs and Ace of Diamonds behind a spot card in Clubs. The third feke, when open, shows a spread Ace of Diamonds, Ace of Clubs and Ace of Hearts behind a spot card in Spades. When these flaps are folded closed against the faces of their attached whole cards, the backs of the cards can be displayed as normal. I've made the flaps in several ways over the years. The simplest way is to glue sections of the Aces together to create the second and third fekes. You can also go to the trouble of splitting the pieces first, to cut down on the thickness of the fekes; but I've found the difference isn't really significant enough to warrant the work. You can use transparent tape to hinge the flaps to the three whole cards.

Once the nature of the fekes is understood, the handling can largely be deduced and many variations developed. The following are some of the handlings that take advantage of the fekes. You will find that they produce an extremely deceptive display. Further, though it goes without saying, versions of the MacDonald Aces, Wild Card and any number of effects normally requiring double-faced or double-ended cards can be modified to utilize the principle embodied in the Birthday gaffs. I know of no other feke quite like these. It does, however, have some relatives. If all its relatives had been combined, something similar to the Birthday feke would have resulted. It might, therefore, be fair to call the Birthday feke a composite or amalgam. To borrow wording from the laws governing patents, the embodiment would be "patent-able" because, "it is novel and does not follow logically from prior art." This is demonstrated by the period of time that has elapsed since the last "patent-able" material in the field. Relatives of the Birthday fekes are the "Fake Fan Card" (a DeLand innovation) with which most of you will be familiar from the Fako Deck, "The Kitson Miracle/Pat Page Three-Card Monte" Card (marketed by Magic, Inc.) and Bob Koch's Acrobatic Card variation described on page 80 of Ed Maria on the Acrobatic Cards (Magic, Inc, 1968). All of these ideas, arguably related to the Birthday fekes, are long standing prior art. The fact that the Birthday feke was not thought of is strong evidence that it "does not follow logically."

I have taken somewhat greater pains in this dissertation than I normally would to establish an idea because I think it useful to establish some guidelines for use in determining the validity of any claim to a move, sleight, concept, premise, trick, effect, etc. I hope it is helpful. It at least provides my thinking on the matter.

REQUIREMENTS: The fekes, Fl, F2 and F3, are as pictured in Figure 328. The flaps hinge to lay on the face of the card. The backs look normal when the flap is closed. The hinge, which is made of cellophane, is imbedded between the layers of the card, which means the cards must be split and re-glued around the cellophane hinge.

Also required is a regular deck minus the three spot cards that appear on the fekes: the Four of Spades, Six of Clubs and Two of Spades in our samples.

SET-UP: From the top down, Ace of Clubs-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Spades-Ace of Diamonds-face-down indifferent card-three face-up indifferent cards-Fl-F2-F3-balance of deck. The flaps should all be folded closed onto the faces of their cards, with the hinge on the right.

Form a break under the top eight cards of the deck—above the F1 card. This is facilitated by the thickness of the F1 card and the reversed cards. Spread or count off the top four cards without reversing their order. Turn them face up and square them at the left fingertips. Draw off each Ace, one by one, into a sideways spread showing, from the face, the Ace of Clubs, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Spades and Ace of Diamonds. Use your right hand to hold this spread above the deck. Grip the four cards above the break as though adding them under the spread but keep the left side of these cards flush with the left side of the deck and do not allow them to break contact with the deck below. Place the left thumb on the top card of this lower block (the face-down card) and hold it in place as you move the three under cards to the right about a third of a card width (Figure 329—the spread of Aces is bowed here to make the action clear; in performance the Aces lie flat on the deck). Align the left edge of the spread of Aces with the three-card block under the face-down cover card (Figure 330), and close the spread but don't square it. The seven face-up cards should be roughly aligned. Shift the right hand to pinch the seven-card block at the middle of the right side, thumb above, fingers below (Figure 331). Slide all seven cards to the right until they are clear of the face-down card while holding that card in place with the left thumb. Hinge the seven cards face down bookwise onto the deck (Figure 332). From the top down, the order is now, three indifferent cards-Ace of Diamonds-Ace of Spades-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Clubs-indifferent card-Fl-F2-F3.

HISTORICAL NOTE: This style of packet switch, using a face-down topcard cover, was first suggested by Hugard and Braue in their 1941 booklet, Miracle Methods, No. I: The Stripper Deck. In two included tricks, "The Braue Aces" (page 31) and "The Princess Card Trick: Stripper Version" (page 25), they used the tapers in the trimmed deck to facilitate the switch of the packets as the cards were turned lace down on the deck. In 1974 , in his Ten Hand Poker Stack, Ed Mario explained his handling with unprepared cards (page 164). Upon reading Mario's thinking, Harvey Rosenthal was inspired to devise a number of refined handlings. Meanwhile, in England, Alex Elmsley was working independently on the concept. The Elmsley and Rosenthal handlings have remained unpublished to date, but Rosenthal has circulated enough information to inspire variants that have reached print. Notable among these is Ken Krenzel's technique in Epilogue Special, No. 2 (circa 1975-6, page 246). Larry Jennings, Arturo de Ascanio and Darwin Ortiz have also contributed versions to this family of packet switches. My handling differs only in small details from that offered by Krenzel.

2 Move the left hand forward and deal the top four cards into a face-down row, from left to right across the working surface. They will be three indifferent cards and the Ace of Diamonds.

3 Form a break under F3. As before, the thickness makes this fairly easy. Peel the first three cards (unbeknownst to the audience they are Aces) one at a time into right-hand Dealing Grip. Pause, then continue, drawing the next four cards (all the cards above the break) as one into right-hand Dealing Grip using a block push-off, facilitated by the break. The apparent count will be four. Continue immediately, drawing off two more cards in this manner. Following the same pattern (three cards and pause) draw off two additional three-card groups. The apparent count will be twelve; there will actually be fifteen cards in your right hand. This process is justified as removing "twelve" cards to be used in the effect.

4 Set the deck in line with the leftmost tabled card, but a few inches behind it. The idea is to place the deck in a position that seems to be out of the way but which will later be in the way, to justify moving it. As you're tabling the deck, pull down on the right-hand packet with your right fourth finger, forming a break above the lower six cards of the twelve-card packet. This is gready facilitated by the extra thickness of the fekes but may feel odd since one does not usually pull down cards using the right hand.

Transfer the packet from right-hand Dealing Grip to left-hand Dealing Grip, maintaining the break during the transfer. This is most easily accomplished by converting the right fourth-finger break to a left-hand heel break. Once the packet is in the left hand, move the right hand to Overhand Grip and perform a Turnover Pass, still maintaining the break. Finish this sequence with the packet face up in the right hand, with a thumb break above the lower six cards.

You next execute the Veeser Concept by peeling the card from the face of the packet into the left hand, onto the six cards below the break, without revealing the existence of the block, as shown exposed from the rear in Figure 333. Catch a break between this single card and the lower six. It should appear that you've merely peeled the card from the face of the packet into the left hand. As the hands meet again and the left hand's packet moves beneath the right's, transfer the break above the six-card group to the right thumb. This adds the single card above the break to the underside of the upper packet. Immediately move the left hand back to the left, taking only the lowermost card of the packet, Fl, to the left as you peel the next card from the face of the packet into the left hand. Drawing F1 away from the packet is best accomplished with a light pressure of the fleshy mound at the base of the left first finger. (If you are familiar with the HaLo Cut, the technique here is quite similar.) As soon as it is possible, the tip of the left fourth finger catches the right edge of Fl and continues to pull the feke to the left, moving it along beneath the card the left thumb is peeling off the face of the packet (Figure 334).

Return the left hand to draw off one more card from the face of the packet onto the two the left hand already holds. The left hand now holds three cards, just as it should, and they are two indifferent cards with F1 beneath them. Turn this three-card packet face down, side for side, and place it onto the leftmost card of the tabled row.

7 Repeat this count-display sequence, creating three-card packets for the supposed Aces at positions two and three, secretly switching in F2 and F3 as the top card in their respective packets.

8 You will be left with six cards (believed by the spectators to be three) in your right hand, with a thumb break held above the lower three. (If you've lost the break, which happens to me regularly, you will have to cheat a little to reestablish it. Under the guise of checking the count, necktie the packet slightly and spread the lowermost two cards (Aces) to the left. Close the spread, jogging the third card from the bottom to the right as you return the packet to a horizontal position. A downward pull on the jogged card as you square will reform the lost break.) Peel the next card off the face of the packet and onto the three cards below the break without revealing the presence of those three cards (Aces). Maintain a break between the lower three cards and the upper one. Continue, drawing off the remaining two cards from the left hand into the right. Turn the six cards face down, as three, as though closing a book, while maintaining the break.

9 Immediately steal the lowermost three cards in a Gambler's Cop and place the upper three (Aces) onto the rightmost card of the tabled row.

10 Slide the deck off the table, adding the copped cards to the bottom of the deck. Place the deck aside, out of the working area. The layout should be:

Bottom

11 Pick up the leftmost packet, holding it at the right fingertips, and spread the cards from right to left. This will show four backs with the F1 feke at the top of the packet.

f 2 Close the spread and square the cards. As you square, the flap should be on the right. Pull down on, or angle open, the three lower cards on the right. The flap should swing downward into the open position (Figure 335). Release the lower three cards and the flap will become trapped outside the packet (Figure 336), and is hidden from the audience's view by the right hand.

ill

2nd

31

4*

F1

F2

F3

Ace

X

X

X

Ace

X

X

X

Ace

X

X

X

Ace

Flatten your right hand slightly and release the left hand's hold completely. Turn your left palm to the right, then rotate the right hand clockwise and inward, and transfer the packet from the right hand to the left (Figure 337) without flashing the open flap. Rotate the right hand to a position above the left. You will be holding the packet much as you would if you were about to squeeze open a Poker hand (Figure 338).

Fan the first two cards on the face to the right. The fan will appear to show three indifferent cards and the Ace of Diamonds. In actuality, the third indifferent card is a Double, its rear card hinged to the repositioned flap of F1. Place your left thumb on the fan along the line formed by the left sides of the cards (Figure 339). The inner left corner of the fan should be concealed in the thumb crotch. Lower the fan to allow the spectators to see the faces of the cards.

Rotate the left wrist clockwise, maintaining the cards on a plane parallel with the floor. Rotate the right hand palm up and grasp the fan with the thumb above, fingers below, across the flap (Figure 340). Keep the left hand close, screening the audience's view of the back of the flap seam, as you rotate the right hand palm down and the packet face down. The left thumb, lying over the inner end of the flap seam, takes over the hold of the fan long enough for the right hand to move to Overhand Grip.

19 Close the packet and pull down the three lower cards, allowing the flap to swing downward into the open position. Release the lower three cards, trapping the flap outside the packet and hidden by the right hand.

16 Again pull down on or angle open the three lower cards, and the flap should swing downward (exposed in Figure 341). Curl the left fingers inward as you lift the lower three cards. The flap will be trapped inside the packet (Figure 342). Square the packet before making a magical gesture over it for effect.

Turn the packet face up, end for end, which keeps the flap on the right. Fan the cards in the same fashion you have before, revealing that the Ace has vanished, leaving four indifferent cards. Pause a moment for this to register before you close the fan and drop the packet face down into its original position on the table, but turned ninety degrees to bring the flap seam nearest you.

Pick up the second packet and spread it from right to left. This shows four backs with the F2 feke at the top of the packet.

Again flatten your right hand as you release the left hand's hold. Turn your left palm to the right and your right hand clockwise and inward. Hand the packet from the right hand to the left without flashing the open flap and move the right hand up into Poker-hand position.

Spread the card at the face to the right, as though forming a fan. The fan will appear to show two indifferent cards, the Ace of Diamonds and the Ace of Clubs (Figure 343). The second indifferent card is a Triple, the rearmost of the three hinged to the flap of F2. Place your left thumb on the fan along the line formed by the left edge of the Triple but overlapping it to the left.

Again, the inner left corner of the fan should be concealed in the thumb crotch. Lower the fan to allow the spectators to see the faces of the cards. Keep the fan slightly in motion as you display it, to hide the thickness of the Triple.

Again rotate the left wrist clockwise and the right hand counterclockwise, and transfer the fan to the right hand, thumb above and fingers below. Keep your left hand close, screening the flap seam, as you rotate the right hand palm down. The left thumb should hide the flap seam as the right hand moves to Overhand Grip.

Pull down the lower three cards, permitting the flap to swing downward. Curl the left fingers inward as you release the lower three cards, trapping the flap inside the packet. Square the cards and make a magical gesture over them.

Turn the packet face up, end for end, and fan the packet, revealing that both Aces have vanished, leaving four indifferent cards. Allow a moment for this to register. Close the fan and drop the packet face down back into its original position on the table, but rotated crosswise so the flap seam is nearest you.

Pick up the third packet. Spread it as you have the previous two, to show four backs, with the F3 feke at the top of the packet.

Square the packet and pull down the three lower cards to set the flap into the open position, hidden by the right hand.

Transfer the packet to the left hand, rotating it to Poker-hand position as you have before.

Simulate spreading the cards into a fan that shows an indifferent card, the Ace of Diamonds, Ace of Clubs and Ace of Hearts from the face. The face card is a Quadruple. Position your left thumb on the fan along the line formed by the left sides of the cards and conceal the corner of the fan in the left thumb crotch. Lower the fan to allow the spectators to see the faces of the cards but keep the fan in motion.

Once again, rotate the left hand palm right and the right hand counterclockwise, and transfer the fan to the right hand, with thumb above fingers below. Keep the left hand close, screening the flap seam, as you rotate the right hand palm down. The left thumb once more hides the flap seam as the right hand moves to Overhand Grip.

Pull down the three lower cards and the flap will swing downward. Curl the left fingers inward as you release the lower three cards. Trap the flap inside the packet, square the cards and make a magical gesture over them.

Turn the packet face up end for end, the flap still on the right. Fan the packet, revealing all three Aces have vanished. Four indifferent cards are present instead.

Allow a moment for this to register. Close the fan and replace the packet in its spot on the table, but rotated so that the flap seam is toward you.

32 Pick up each of the rotated packets and turn them face up one last time, flap on the right. Spread each packet into a fan and place the twelve-card fan on the table, face up. This reinforces the vanish of the Aces from all three packets.

33 With the hands obviously empty, pick up the final, rightmost, packet. Spread these cards as you have each of the previous three packets. Transfer and rotate the packet into Poker-hand position as you have before. Spread the cards into a fan, then lower it, showing the four Aces. Drop each Ace onto the table and take your bow.

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