Watch the wild ace

July 4, 1965 FINAL

IN APRIL of 1962, Gus Southall contributed a description and explanation of a Peter Kane routine called "Watch the Ace!" to Hugard's Magic Monthly (Vol. 19, No. 8, page 89). This started a series of letters from magicians all over the world, sharing touches and variations on the idea. Among the people moved by the Kane routine was Frank Garcia, who altered it in a number of ways. As Frank told me the story, Lou Tannen witnessed a Garcia performance of his variation of the routine. Lou saw its commercial potential and decided to market it, albeit without Franks assistance or permission. Lou named Frank's routine "Wild Card." He did give Garcia credit for the routine, but he never obtained Frank's permission to market it, though Frank never attempted to stop him. In the meantime, Blanca Lopez, then editor of Hugard's Magic Monthly, began publishing some of the correspondence being received from inspired readers. From this correspondence grew the first enhancements and variations. Some were handling variations of "Watch the Ace!" some of "Wild Card." All praised the original creations that motivated them.

In late 1964, when I sessioned with Frank Garcia, perhaps for the first time, I saw him perform "Wild Card" while at Tannen's store, then located in the Wurlitzer building. I purchased the routine and began playing with it. The set I bought was made with the Ace of Clubs and King of Hearts. After toying with the cards for a number of months and rereading the description in Hugard's of the Kane effect, I decided that people were overlooking the fact that the effects were different, however closely related. "Watch the Wild Ace" was born from my efforts to take the best from both plots.

I have shown this routine to very few magicians over the years, but I have performed it for many lay people, who have happily enjoyed those performances. I find it interesting that, after more than thirty-five years of innumerable versions, handlings and variations of the two original routines, no one has come close to this concept. I truly believe "Watch the Wild Ace" brings the idea begun by Kane's "Watch the Ace!" full circle. Alternate methods and alternate handlings may come along, but just as "MacDonald's Aces" defines its premise, "Watch the Wild Ace" defines a culmination of the "Watch the Ace!" and "Wild Card" premises. Don't make the mistake of going backward, removing a wallet and taking out the cards, etc.; and be wary of the inclination to switch the cards so they can be examined. Examination may assuage your sense of guilt in an effect like this, but in my opinion no one in all the years has come up with a switch that is logical enough to accomplish its end without leaving some lingering suspicion (including Mario, Ortiz and DeCamps). If you can't switch without that lingering suspicion, it's better to leave the mystery. Beyond this, allowing props to be examined, particularly at the end of a routine, sets a bad precedent for a highly questionable practice. If ever I find a solution to the switch problem, I'll do my best to bring it to the fellowship and, perhaps, celebrity to its creator. I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.

EFFECT: The performer removes the four Aces and one other card of each suit. He then proceeds to change each of the indifferent cards into an Ace of its suit, creating four pairs of Aces: two Spades, two Hearts, two Clubs and two Diamonds. Continuing, the performer changes the Aces of each of the suits, for example Spades, Hearts and Diamonds, into Aces of Clubs. The routine concludes with eight Aces of Clubs spread on the table.

REQUIREMENTS: Eight cards in all are required. Three are double-faced, longitudinally split-faced double enders: an Ace of Hearts-indifferent Heart, backed with an Ace of Clubs; an Ace of Spades-indifferent Spade, backed with an Ace of Clubs; and an Ace of Diamonds-indifferent Diamond, backed with an Ace of Clubs. These cards are shown in Figure 344. The indifferent cards shown here are those used in my set and, for convenience of explanation, will be referred to in the text that follows.

Four of the other cards are double-faced as follows: an Ace of Clubs backed with an indifferent Club; an Ace of Hearts backed with an Ace of Clubs; an Ace of Spades backed with

an Ace of Clubs; and an Ace of Diamonds backed with an Ace of Clubs. Figure 345 should make the construction of these cards clear. One regular Ace of Clubs and a regular deck of cards are also needed.

SET-UP: Arrange the deck from face to rear with the cards matching the faces of the gaffed packet interspersed throughout the pack in the following order (indifferent cards will intervene): Ace of Clubs-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Spades-Ace of Diamonds-Ten of Clubs-Nine of Diamonds-Jack of Spades-King of Hearts. The King of Hearts should be second from the top. For this explanation, lets say the top card is the Four of Diamonds.

The gaffed packet should be set up, again from face to rear: Ace of Clubs-Ace of Hearts/Ace of Clubs (Ace of Hearts showing)-Ace of Spades/Ace of Clubs (Ace of Spades showing)-Ace of Diamonds/Ace of Clubs (Ace of Diamonds showing)-Ten of Clubs/Ace of Clubs (Ten of Clubs showing)-Nine of Diamonds-Ace of Diamonds/Ace of Clubs (Nine of Diamonds to the left)-Jack of Spades-Ace of Spades/Ace of Clubs (Jack of Spades to the left)-King of Hearts-Ace of Hearts/Ace of Clubs (King of Hearts to the left).

Place the gaffed packet face up in your left hand with the regular Ace of Clubs showing, and place the deck face up on top of it. Make sure that the Ace of Clubs on the face of the gaffed packet and the Ace of Clubs in the deck are oriented in the same direction.

If you remove the Twos and Threes from the deck, you can slip the set-up deck into a card box, ready to begin. Alternately, I have kept the packet in my left-side jacket pocket and the deck in my right-side jacket pocket. Both hands go to the pockets simultaneously. The left hand then goes to the lap, where it leaves the packet, while the right hand ribbon spreads the deck face up across the table. The deck can then be given a False Shuffle and False Cut. You can even do other effects with the deck, as long as you don't disturb the order of the required cards. When you're ready to perform, you should be holding the deck face up in your right hand, in Overhand Grip. The left hand goes to the lap and retrieves the packet, taking it into Gambler's Cop, with the normal Ace of Clubs uppermost. As you stand, add the packet face up beneath the face-up deck.

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Explain that you will remove the four Aces and one card of each suit. Spread the cards between your hands and openly out-jog the eight required cards as you come to them, in order: Ace of Clubs-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Spades-Ace of Diamonds (note the CHaSeD suit order)-Ten of Clubs-Nine of Diamonds, Jack of Spades-King of Hearts. After out-jogging the King of Hearts, move your left thumb to the forward left corner of the indifferent card (the Four of Diamonds in our example) on the face of the packet remaining in the left hand. As you finish out-jogging the eight cards, raise your hands just enough to let their backs be seen but not far enough to risk flashing any of the gaffed-card packet. How much of the faces you can hide will depend on the size of your hands and how you hold the cards. Experiment in front of a video camera or a mirror; there's nothing difficult about it, but you need to be aware.

Lower your hands again as your left thumb pushes the Four of Diamonds to the right, just enough to allow you to obtain a fourth-finger break under it. Be careful not to flash any part of the index of the Ace of Clubs on the face of the gaffed packet. With your right hand, grasp the deck from above, with the thumb at the right near corner, and use the right second finger to angle the out-jogged cards to the left so that it can complete the grip on the front right corner of the deck. Secredy carry the gaffed packet below the break forward under the out-jogged cards. With your left thumb, press down on the face of the out-jogged Ace of Clubs and pull all the out-jogged cards onto the gaffed cards (Figure 346), forming a fourth-finger break between the two groups. The deck will be in an unsquared condition at this point. Bring the left hand's two groups of cards back under the deck, adding the upper packet to the bottom of the deck, and immediately lift the deck to your ___346

fingertips to square it. Since the card on the face of the left hand's packet has the same card at its face as the packet that was just pulled from the deck, the audience will believe, without question, that they are the same cards. (This is why you oriented the two Aces of Clubs in the same direction when you set up the cards.)

NOTE: The technique just described is based on the Vernon Strip-Out Addition (Phoenix, No. 248, February 8, 1952, page 990; or Dai Vernon's Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic, 1961, page 5) but goes an important step further by not only adding cards but switching packets as well. While this technique is virtually the same as Derek Dingle's NoLap Switch (The

Complete Works of Derek Dingle, 1982, page 85). I do not believe Derek was aware of my technique when he created his. The sequence has important applications to other effects where similar conditions exist, though in this form it requires a duplicate or near duplicate be employed.

Place the deck aside. You won't need it again during the routine. Make a moderately tight Drag Fan of the gaffed-card packet in your hands. With experience you'll learn the parameters of handling these cards without flashing portions of the cards that should not show. The cards will show in an order identical to the cards that were out-jogged in the deck. This further confirms that they are the same cards. Point out to the spectators that you have the four Aces and one card that matches the suit of each of the Aces.

Reach over and pull the Ten of Clubs into an out-jogged position in the fan. Take the Ace of Clubs off the face of the fan and place it behind the Ten of

Clubs, pinching the end of the Ten and the Ace together (Figure 347). Draw the Ten of Clubs out of the fan and turn the two cards, roughly squared, so their backs are toward the audience. (The back of the honest Ace of Clubs, which screens the Ace-of-Clubs side of the double-facer, is seen.) Move the two cards to the left end of the fan and use them to close it, rotating the cards end for end in the process (Figure 348).

Place the two cards on the face of the packet, turning them over in the process so that the Ace of Clubs lies face down on top of the Ace of Clubs/Ten of Clubs. (The Ten of Clubs is now facing the Ace of Hearts.) Use only your left hand to square the packet, as your right hand pulls the face-down Ace of Clubs inward

Repeat the previous sequence, peeling the two Aces of Spades off the face and rear of the packet, and place the fanned pair to the left of, but not touching, the first two pairs of matched Aces. This is the third change: the Jack of Spades to an Ace of Spades.

Take the two remaining cards from the right hand into the left and fan them to show two Aces of Diamonds. This is the fourth change: the Nine of Diamonds to an Ace of Diamonds. Place these two Aces down on the table as well.

Your patter should reinforce the impossibility of what you have done. Offer to continue more slowly, more fairly and with fewer cards. Pick up the legitimate Ace of Clubs from the face of the Ace of Clubs pair, saying something about using it as a pointer. Casually let the back of this card be seen as you gesture with it.

The next sequence was originally done as a Through-the-Fist Flourish, which I never liked in this situation. In July 1970, I changed the handling to its present form. Take the Ace of Clubs face down into your left hand and use it to scoop up the two Aces of Spades. Place these three cards into your left hand, draw the face-down Ace of Clubs from under the two Spades and place it onto them. Holding the packet in dealing position, open the fingers, releasing their

(Figure 349). This reveals a second Ace of Clubs and the first magical change: the Ten of Clubs has transformed into an Ace of Clubs. Turn the face-down Ace of Clubs face up and push the Ace of Clubs/ Ten of Clubs off the face of the packet, taking it into the right hand, in a fanned position under the Ace of Clubs. Set the two cards to your right on the table.

Take the packet into the right hand, in Overhand Grip, and peel the top and bottom cards off to the left, as you would in a Klondike Shuffle (Figure 350). You will end up with the two cards in fanned position in the left hand, held by the thumb above and the fingers below. This is the second magical change: the King of Hearts to an Ace of Hearts. Set down these two cards to the left of, but not touching, the two Aces of Clubs.

grip. Bring the right hand to the left and take the packet into Pinch Grip at the middle of its right side, with the thumb above and the first and second fingers below. Lift the right side of the packet slightly and slide the cards across the left hand until the left edge of the packet lies along the joint between the inner and middle phalanges of the first finger and the base of the innermost phalange of the fourth finger. The contact is most pronounced at the base of the fourth finger. Push up and slightly forward with the right hand (Figure 351), allowing the two lower cards to escape ---

from the grip of the right fingers while the right thumb retains the top card. The two cards should snap over invisibly, under cover of the top card (Figure 352). If you have done everything correctly, it should look as though the top card was merely lifted sharply off the packet, which it has been. It should not be realized that the two lower cards -have been reversed in the pro- sf cess. They will show as two Aces \ \/x\

Snap Reverse (page 58). These \ \\_Xf constitute the fifth and sixth \ | I

changes: the two Aces of Spades \ /

"Once the first one changes, the other one's a goner." While still holding the face-down Ace of Clubs between the right thumb and third finger, turn the hand palm down and take the uppermost Ace of Clubs from the left hand, clipping it between the right first and second fingers —

(Figure 353). Place it face up onto the Ace of Clubs/Ten of Clubs on the table but leave it jogged to the right so both faces show. Turn the right hand again palm up as it returns to the left hand. Take the remaining Ace of Clubs by turning the right hand palm down and clipping the Ace of Clubs/Ace of Spades between the right first and second fingers. Place it on the growing spread of changed Aces of Clubs. Your right hand should still hold the regular Ace of Clubs.

Turn over the right hand's double card and place it "face up" under the left hand's card (supposedly two cards). Push the card on the face of the left hand's packet to the left, revealing the second Ace of Clubs (the eighth change). Repeat, "Once the first one changes, the other one's a goner." With your right hand, slide the legitimate Ace of Clubs from under the other two cards. Turn the right hand palm down and take the first face-up Ace of Clubs from the left hand, clipping it between the right first and second fingers. Place it onto the line of Aces of Clubs on the table. Repeat this action with the left hand's remaining Ace of Clubs.

11 "Let me try the last one in slow motion." Use the Ace of Clubs as a face-up scoop to pick up the two Aces of Diamonds. Hold the three cards spread in your right hand, in Overhand Grip. Square them up, forming a break above the lower two cards and move the left hand to the left, openly revolving the two cards, as one, face down from under the card above (Figure 356) and placing this double card onto the face-up Ace of Diamonds (Figure 357). Be careful not to flash

"I'll do it again, a little slower and a little fairer." Use the regular Ace of Clubs in your right hand as a face-up scoop to pick up the two Aces of Hearts. Turn the entire packet over or "face down." Execute a Pull-Down on the bottom card of the packet, to free it from the two cards above. While your right hand holds the packet in Overhand Grip, turn your left hand palm down, rotating the bottom card from under the packet and face up to display an Ace of Hearts (Figure 354). Be careful not to flash the face of the Ace-of-Clubs side of this card. Place the Ace of Hearts face up on the packet. Pull the facedown Ace of Clubs from under the face-up Ace of Hearts and drop it on top. Use a Buckle or Pull-Down to create a break under the top two cards and immediately pull them back as one, revealing the Ace of Clubs beneath (Figure 355). One Ace of Hearts has apparently changed to the Ace of Clubs (the seventh change).

show. The action is rather like opening a book while keeping its cover up. The audience should believe the card you are putting on top of the Ace of Diamonds is the Ace of Clubs.

Maintain a break between the top two cards and the third, the face-up Ace of Diamonds, and take the packet into left-hand dealing position. Grip the double card by its near end, with the right first finger above, thumb below. Pull back the card(s), showing half the face of the Ace of Diamonds. Push the two cards square but maintain your grip on the double card. Pull back, revealing the Ace of Diamonds again. "Still hasn't changed. It's tougher when you do it slowly." Push the double card forward again and, with the right thumb underneath, push the lower card of the Double outward and squarely onto the Ace of Diamonds, releasing it from the right hand's grip. If you push fairly hard you will push it slighdy past the front end of the Ace of Diamonds. Pull back the single top card, causing the Ace of Diamonds to appear to have changed into an Ace of Clubs (Figure 358). Resquare the packet as you remove the top card briefly, without showing its face. This is essentially the standard Paintbrush Color Change (and the ninth transformation of the routine).

Drop the right hand's card, still face down, onto the face-up Ace of Clubs on the left hand's packet, in-jogged for half its length. Use the Christ-Annemann Alignment Move (page 80) to align the bottom card of the packet with the top card. Pinch the two cards as one at their near ends and turn them end over end and face up onto the packet. Now spread the three cards, revealing three Aces of Clubs, as you say, "But once the first one goes, the second one's a goner." This is the tenth change.

Transfer the rear card of the packet to its face. Next take the upper two Aces of Clubs into the right hand and turn the left hand palm down, which exposes the

back of the normal Ace of Clubs there. Take the right hand's two cards between the left first and second fingers and add them to the tabled group, at the end of the tabled spread, completing a string of Seven Aces of Clubs.

Use the remaining, legitimate Ace of Clubs to scoop up the tabled line of Aces, adding it to the rear of the packet. Square the packet and turn it face down in your left hand; then say, "That ruins another deck but it's worth it for an audience like you." As you deliver this applause cue, retrieve the deck from where it's been resting on the table, put the packet onto it and put the deck into your pocket.

NOTE: After performing this routine, you're through. I don't think this can be anything but a closing item. It's too strong to be followed. Further, by doing it as a closing effect, you avoid the problem of having the cards examined. If ever a satisfactory method of switching is devised, it may make sense to switch the deck and just leave the cards behind. I don't accept the idea of a Wallet Switch. In considering a logically acceptable switch, the closest I've come to a solution is one that leans heavily on the closing line of the routine. It requires that you set up a deck with the four Aces and the four indifferent cards removed, and eight Aces of Clubs on top. If you put that deck into your pocket and later do a Full-Deck Switch, just leaving the cards behind, there is a logic to it: You can't use the deck because it's ruined. Therefore, you're leaving it behind. But the deck switch must be a good one: something like a Cigar Switch (page 439, Step 3). If the deck has eight Aces of Clubs and no box, there is a good chance the audience won't want to keep it, but under these circumstances you can't make a big deal about getting it back. If the deck is to be taken away from the audience, a friend of yours must do it. I'm sure this seems like much ado about nothing, but psychologically the reasoning must stand up or the audience's recollection of the effect may be muted. It's somewhat like selling magic tricks in the lobby after a magic show: It cheapens the whole show.

This effect is not difficult to perform; the moves are all quite easy. Please, please, practice them sufficiently to do them justice, and present the routine well. I truly hate to part with it because I fear its being abused. Please give it the effort it deserves.

Section Three

GENERAL TIPS

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