Part 4 — The Small Packet All Backs
This is based on something that I saw Derek Dingle do some time ago. I was unable to reconstruct the exact effect, but m the process evolved the following :-
At the conclusion of the previous effect, square the pack and do a quick slip shuffle, faces on to the audience, getting rid of the indifferent card which was masking the set up. Also the spectator's card should have been left out on the table.
Take the pack in the right hand, from above, in the Biddle Grip, as described earlier. The cards are face up, except for the three on the bottom. The left thumb draws the cards off the face of the pack in small bunches and the lady is invited to tell you to stop at some point. Time it so she says stop somewhere near the centre. When she does so, have her place her card face up on the left hand packet. Get a little finger break below Tt. Now drop the right hand cards on top of it and square up, keeping the break. The whole pack should be face up in the left hand, which holds a little finger break below the chosen card. Directly above this card are the A, 3 & 2H.
At this point it is a good idea, although not strictly necessary, to cut to the break, bringing the four cards to the top. Shuffle retaining them there, then cut them back to the centre once more, retaking the break with the left little finger.
Announce that you have three special cards in the pack, which you use for this particular effect. Spread the pack between your hands until you come to the first face down card. Split the pack at this point and place all the cards in the right hand face down on the table.
Keep the cards in the left hand square. With the left thumb push the first face down card into the right hand. The second face down card is pushed off onto the first. Finally, because you are still holding the break with the left little finger, it is a simple matter for the left thumb to push off the last face down card, together with the selected card beneath it as one. These are taken on top of the others in the right hand. The left hand now deposited all its cards face down on top of the other tabled portion.
Explain that the three special cards have backs on both sides. Now in rapid succession« carry out the folio wing:-
a) Double lift the top card(s). Turn the two over as one. Do not turn them back again. Place them on the bottom of the packet.
b) Take the packet in the Biddle Grip. Turn the right hand slightly palm upwards to flash the bottom card of the packet for a fraction of a second. Turn the hand palm down again. With the left thumb draw off the top card into that hand. As the card clears the packet the right hand repeats the business of flashing the bottom card. The left hand then draws off the second card. The right hand, holding its two cards as one repeats the flashing business. I have called this move the optical count because, when correctly executed it gives the impression that all the cards have been seen on both sides.
c) The left thumb pushes the top card of its two slightly to the right. The right hand inserts its two cards as one between the two in the left. The top three cards of the packet are turned over and placed underneath the remaining card. The whole packet is then turned over and back again.
The above sequence a) b) & c) should be performed in one smooth, continuous series of actions at a fairly brisk pace. Performed in this way it will look as though you have shown three double backed cards and turned them this way and that while mixing them about. In fact, you should have, reading from top to bottom, 3H, AH, both face down followed by selected card and 2H both face up.
Rub the packet with the right forefinger. Spread off the first two cards with the left thumb, keeping the last two squared as one. It will appear as though one of the double backers has changed into the chosen card. Square up the two face down cards and replace them on top of the face up one(s). However, leave the face up card(s) projecting for about half its length.
Seize the projecting card(s) between the right thumb and forefinger at the outer end. Pivot them over the ends of the face down cards, so that they fall face down on top. Hold the whole packet square in the left hand. The right forefinger is placed on the centre of the top card — supposedly the one just shown — and moves it up and down with a rubbing action on the card below. This is a bit of by-play, which the audience take to be magical mumbo jumbo. It does, however, serve two purposes. Firstly it justifies placing the card on top of the others, secondly a similar bit of business will be used to cover a move in a few moments.
The top card is now slid off the packet and placed face down on the table. Take care not to flash its face at this point. The new top card of the packet is turned face up and shown. This looks as though a second double backer has changed to the chosen one. This card is turned face down and replaced below the other two in the left hand. These are of course being held together as one. The selected card projects at the outer end of the packet as in fig. 4.
The right hand pushes up the two indifferent cards as one, in the direction of the arrow in fig.4. The cards are pushed up until they line up with the selected one. The top one only is then pulled back to the fig.4 position. This and the following move should be made to appear to be a repeat of the rubbing business indulged in earlier.
Now bring the second finger of the right hand up to rest on the back of the top projecting as in fig. 5.
Now push both visible cards forward in the direction of the arrow in fig. 5, but keep the lowest (chosen) card static. In other words the visible cards slide over the top of the concealed one. The left fingers and base of the thumb keep them lined up at this point. When the right thumb butts against the bottom card the action changes but there must be no hesitation. At this point the thumb and forefinger release their hold, but the hand continues to move forward until the second finger has pushed the projecting card clear of the other two. This card is allowed to fall face down on the table and should land on top of the one already there. To the spectators it should look as though you simply took the chosen card, rubbed it against the underside of the double backer and then dropped it on the table.
Turn over the last two cards in the left hand as one, showing that the last double backer has also become the selected card.
Turn the last card(s) face down. Pick up the two cards from the table. Do not show their faces: and keep them in the order they are in. In other words pick them up together, not singly. Place them on top of the one(s) in the left hand. Now comes a quick repeat of the optical count described earlier and used to show the all backs. Take the packet face down in the right hand Biddle Grip. Draw off the top card with the left thumb counting one. At the same time slightly turn the right hand to flash the face of the bottom card of its packet. Draw off the next card counting two, at the same time flashing the two cards held as one in the right hand. Finally drop these face down on top counting three.
Snap the back of the packet with the right forefinger, then turn it face up. Now use the buckle or push off count to show that the ace, two and three of hearts have returned and the selected cards have all vanished. During this count reverse the order of the cards.
As stated earlier, this effect was inspired by something that I once saw Derek Dingle work. What I finally evolved is quite different. The main thing is to keep going at a brisk pace, which while not appearing to rush, does not give the audience too much time to think about the illogicallity of youf having three double backers and three cards the same in a normal pack.
At the conclusion of part four you will be left with a small packet of cards in the right hand. There are four in all, although the audience are aware of only the AH, 2H & 3H. The three is on the face of the packet, the ace at the rear and the fourth card, a previously chosen one is between the ace and the two.
Place the packet of cards face down in the left hand in a dealing position. Deal the top card (AH) face down in the centre of the table. The second card (The Spectator's) is dealt face down to the left of this. The last two cards, held as one, are turned over to show the three, then placed face down on the tabled pack. Pick up the pack getting set for the Vernon Tilt, below the second card 3H.
Take the top card, supposedly the 3H but really the 2H and without showing its face push it into the gap. Riffle the ends of the pack, then turn over the top card and show the three. Put this face up on the table to the right (yes the right) of the face down ace.
Now hold the pack by its outer ends and dribble it onto the face down AH. Dribble the cards until only the two remains in the right hand, then flip it face up. Pick up the pack and place the two face up between the 3H and the selected card on the table.
Square up the pack and take it in the right hand, from above, by the outer ends. Get a break with the right thumb immediately above the bottom card (AH). Pick up the last face down card and without showing its face place it on top of the pack. Tap the top of the pack with the left forefinger at the same time releasing the ace from the bottom. As the ace flutters face down onto the table, the left hand reaches over and turns it face up and places it in line with the 2H & 3H. While this is happening, the right hand executes a one hand top palm stealing off the spectators card. The pack is quickly dropped on the table, while the performer produces the/W chosen card from his pocket. — Finish. 0
The above is a routined sequence that I have featured regularly for some time now, and has been used to entertain laymen and magicians alike. Lack of space in a magazine must of necessity prevent-me^from going into all the details of presentation etc. It would take too long to describe all the bits of business and finer points of misdirection.
I like this routine because it is tightly worked out, rather like a piece of classical music. A basic theme is created with the Elevator effect and taken through with variations. Halfway though there is a change of tempo brought about by Triumph and The All Backs, before returning to the basic theme at the end. The final production of the card from the pocket makes a last chord and ties up the loose ends. (The pun was unintentional).
Here is a favourite coin routine of mine. Nothing greatly original is involved, just a few standard ideas combined to create an entertaining sequence.
Required are four silver coins of lOp size (American half dollars) and one copper coin of approximately the same size — English 2p. For the finish a Chinese coin is used. If one of these is not available there are several effective alternatives, which will be described later.
Begin by having the silver coins in the left coat pocket. The copper coin and the Chinese one are in the right.
Place both nands in the pockets at the same time. The left hand comes out with the four coins. The right obtains the copper coin and gets it into the purse palm (see fig.l). The left hand has the four stacked as shown in fig.l.
Keep the right hand tilted slightly towards yourself, while the left spreads the four coins along the fingers of the right so that they completely cover the copper coin and effectively hide it, fig. 2.
Now tilt the right hand to display the coins to the audience. The copper coin will be out of sight, and both hands will be seen empty except for the four silver coins.
Call attention to the coins, then toss them back into the left hand. Retain the copper coin in the right. In the tossing action, the right hand turns back upwards, then it picks the coins one at a time off the left and lays them on the table in a neat row.
The left hand picks up one of the coins, getting it in position for Vernon's "Spellbound" as described in "Stars of Magic". For completeness, a brief outline of the move is detailed here, but I would suggest that look up the original if you do not already know it.
The silver coin is held in the left hand as were the four shown in fig.l. The right hand with the copper coin purse palmed passes in front of the silver coin and back again, as in the colour change of a card. As the right hand passes in front of the coin, the right thumb goes behind it and clips it in the thumb pinch. Then as the hand withdraws, the coin in the purse palm is takeh by the left, in the position previously occupied by the silver coin. The effect is of an instant transformation from silver to copper. The change can be made to look even more effective by opening the right fingers as the hand withdraws. This lettle touch was suggested to me by David Carre, and certainly enhances the effect.
Point at the coin with the right forefinger, at the same time allowing the clipped silver one to drop onto the curled right second, third and fourth fingers. From here it is a simple matter to slide it into the purse palm with the right thumb. Do this as you drop the right hand to rest on the table. At the same time allow the audience to see that there is nothing in the left, except the copper coin.
Now repeat the transformation from copper back to silver, in exactly the same way.
Do the transformation back to copper once more, but this time the procedure is altered in a subtle way. As the right hand passes in front of the left, the silver coin is not picked up by the right thumb. Instead it is allowed to drop onto the left fingers as in the French Drop. The copper coin is still taken by the left, as before. The position is as shown in fig. 3.
The left hand is angled so that thd:audience cannot see the silver coin. Care must be taken to get the angle right.
Do not make a song and dance about showing the right hand empty after this action.
The right hand picks up the three coins from the table, getting one in the classic palm position. At the same time the left thumb squeezes the copper coin, snapping it into the position shown in fig.4.
Make a tossing motion towards the left hand with the right, at the same time allowing the copper coin to fall into the left hand, where it clinks against the silver one hidden there. Immediately the left hand opens out, showing that one of the silver coins has arrived there.
The right hand, retaining one coin in the classic palm, casually drops the other two onto the table.
Without any hesitation, the left hand apparently tosses both its coins into the right. Really the silver is retained by the left fingers, and only the copper is tossed across. The right hand is opened out, displaying the silver and copper coins there.
The left hand picks off the copper coin in the fig.4 position. The right hand then deposited the silver coin on the left palm, taking care that it does not clink against the concealed one in the left fingers.
Pick up the two tabled coins with the right hand, getting one in the palm position. Make a
tossing motion towards the left, at the same time allowing the copper to drop into that hand. Open the left hand showing two silvers and one copper. At the same time, the right casually drops one of its coins onto the table and retains the second in the palm. Immediately the left tosses its coins into the right, but keeps one silver back in the finger palm position.
The right hand extends, displaying the three coins, while the left reaches across and picks up the copper in the fig.4 position. The right deposits the two silvers on the left palm.
Explain that the trick becomes more difficult if you put the last coin in your pocket. So saying, pick up the silver coin from the table and apparently place it in your pocket. Classic palm it just before the hand enters the pocket, then quickly seize the Chinese coin and purse palm it as the hand leaves the pocket. This will give you two coins held in the right hand as in fig-5.
The above routine is both startling and entertaining. I get a lot of laughs by using a miniature policeman off a key ring instead of the Chinese coin for the finish. This is an old gag. You show the copper, change it to silver and back to copper (here the policeman makes an entrance).
Sometimes, when working for magicians, I use a sea shell instead of the policeman. Here the tagline is, "I do it the easy way I use a shell!" as you produce the shell.
David Carre does "Spellbound" with a coin and a key. The same idea could be applied here. Produce the key at the end. "This is the key to the mystery P'
Credits for the ideas used in this routine are various. The Vernon "Spellbound" is too well known to need any mention from me. A similar change is described in Victor's "Magic of the Hands" published in 1936.
A split second after the right hand enters the pocket to cop the Chinese coin, the left hand allows the copper to drop down into the hand and chink against the coins there. Then the left hand opens, showing that the coin has arrived.
By now the right hand is clear of the pocket. It comes over the left hand and picks off the silver coins, placing them on the table. Finally the right hand picks up the copper, displays it momentarily then replaces it in the "Spellbound' position as in fig. 5.
The right hand passes across in front of the copper as in "Spellbound". As it does r>o, the copper coin is allowed to fall on the left fingers (as the silver did in fig.3), while the left fingers take the silver coin from the right palm to replace it. The right hand withdraws allowing the silver to be seen; now the right hand return and passes in front of the silver. This is clipped in the right thumb grip position explained earlier. As the hand withdraws the left takes the Chinese coin to replace it. The right withdraws revealing the Chinese coin, creating a sort of three way "Spellbound" effect.
The idea of changing one coin to a copper one, and then using the extra silver coin for the coins across, instead of ditching it, was shown to me by Albert Goshman several years ago.
David Carre gets credit for the idea of concealing the copper coin under the silvers at the opening.
Magic can be divided into three basic types sfc That which the public find entertaining. :fc That which magical audiences find entertaining. v^That which the performer finds entertaining.
Here is a series of guidelines that may help one or two readers to prise their work our of the last category and into the first. Most of what follows is fairly obvious, but it may help to remind ourselves from time to time.
iciuxuu uuiscivca nuui tixiic i //
if- Choosing commercial material
The best tricks are very simple in effect. Things appear, disappear, float, change etc.
99.9% of all published magic is of no commercial value whatever. This is because it is too complicated. The realistic performer knows that the only effects worth bothering with are the ones which are easiest for the audience to follow. This does not mean that they are the easiest to perform. The opposite is often the case. It means that they must be direct in effect. Your audiences will not always be intelligent, often they will not be sober and none will expect to be made to work. Tricks that involve memorising cards/numbers for long periods, excessive counting, dealing or writing things down are all out.
^ Keeping the effect simple and coherent
A magical effect is like a funny story or a play. It has a start, a finish and a plot. It is a progression from A to B. You must analyse your magic and be clear in your own mind exactly what the effect is supposed to be. Only then can you begin to communicate the idea to the audience and give your work the stamp of crystal clarity. You must make sure that they can see the point of what you are doing.
Ensure that what you do has a definite finish and does not fizzle out. People will remember the climax long after they have forgotten the rest.
Do not indulge yourself by including a lot of fancy business just for its own sake. Everything that you say and do should further the action.
A trick where you sit down and do clever things may be very impressive. But at best it is merely a display of skill — or showing off! The audience realise that you are seeking admiration rather than trying to entertain. They are not there for the purpose of admiring you. It is not their job to flatter you and boost your ego. On the contrary, it is your job to flatter them and boost theirs.
If you thrust a pack of cards at somebody, with a curt demand to take one, that person knows that he or she is just being used. People are not card taking machines.
The ability to give their audiences a real sense of involvement in what is taking place has been the big secret of all the best close up workers. It is an essential ingredient of this sort of performance. Your function is to give your
audiences a good time. They will enjoy themselves best if drawn into the action. Let them be a part of the show. Try to create a party atmosphere.
^Making Magic Fun
When the average magician does a trick, he sits hunched up at the table, staring intently at his close-up mat. When he speaks, half his remarks are never even heard by the spectators at all.
The late Senator Crandell once suggested that most close-up workers could earn a fortune advertising toupees.
You must look at people You must talk to people You must do your magic TO them not AT them!
% Knowing your magic
If you perform a trick in public, when you are not absolutely sure of it, then you are a fraud. You are trying to kid people, yourself among them, that you are a better magician than you are.
Never attempt a trick before an audience until you have thoroughly mastered every detail. For instance, you should be able to do all of the moves without watching your hands. Remember that, when you drop your eyes from the audience, you lose contact with them.
You must also know exactly what you are going to say. If you have to fight for words, you will at best slow down the action and ruin your timing. At worst you will become confused and nervous. Many inexperienced workers go to pieces in this way. It is very difficult to talk entertainingly and perform secret moves at the same time. Thorough rehearsal is essential.
^ Being diplomatic
In close-up magic the audience are as much a part of the show as the performer, so learn how to handle them. You need their co-operation if vou are to get the best out of your material.
Your audience will Hke you, and will not co-operate if you insult them. This should be obvious, but for some reason it is not.
Remember also, that you are insulting them if you presume to foist upon them something that is under rehearsed or in any way inferior.
^ Getting started
How you do this depends entirely on your personality. Some magicians get to work straight away with a few quick visual tricks and go on from there. Others prefer a more conversational, indirect approach. The best approach is the one that you can make work. Only experience will tell you what it is.
First impressions count. Getting off on the right footing is important. You are the central character in your performance. You must take the lead from the word go.
^ff Being reserved
Do not push your magic at all and sundry. This merely cheapens it. Not everyone wants to watch you.
Only work if you are sure of your audience. Avoid becoming a bore.
Finish while their interest is at its peak. Do not overtax their ability of willingness to concentrate. Always leave them wanting more
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