¿Magazine of Close-upgtfagic cVol.2W20ct.1975
During 1959 Frank Garcia marketed a routine which made use of an old fake in a new way. I was intrigued by Garcia's use of the fake plus a special envelope and I developed a number of routines using the Garcia envelope idea. For the record these routines are dated in my notebook May 1959.
To try out these routines you will have to make up the corner fake and prepare an envelope.
Take a playing card and cut off one index corner to the shape shown by the dotted lines in Fig 1.
Place the cut off corner over the other index and with a pencil trace the curved edge. Now cut off this second index but cut INSIDE the pencil line, and use this corner as the back of the fake.<
THE WISHING ENVELOPE by Jack Avis
With sellotape join the two corners together from the inside to form a little pocket which is closed at sides A and B and open at the curved edge, see Fig 2.
The envelope should be of the end opening type and just large enough to hold the type of playing cards you will be using. To prepare the envelope, cut off the flap and then cut a small "V" out of one of the upper edges. Next place the corner fake in line with the lower left corner of the envelope and trace the curved edge with a pencil. Now cut away this corner but be sure to cut about a sixteenth inside the pencil line. If you don't cut under the line the fake will fall out of the hole. A few trials will show you what is required for trouble-free working. Fig 3 will give you an idea of what the envelope will look like. Before describing a few routines using this outfit perhaps an explanation of the basic move with the fake and envelope will help.
The fake corner which we will assume is the Five of Clubs, is placed face down into the envelope in the position shown by the arrows in fig 4.
A playing card is taken and without showing its face slide it into the envelope making sure of course that the fake is loaded onto the lower left corner.
Push the card down to the bottom of the envelope and the back of the fake will be seen through the cut-out corner.
If the envelope is turned over the spectators will accept the card revealed as the card just inserted into the envelope.
To bring about the change, turn the envelope so that the card is again back up and then push the exposed corner back into the envelope causing the card to emerge from the open end. With the left fingers and thumb grip the fake through the envelope while the right hand removes the protruding card.
Turn the card face up to reveal the change. Of course, there would be little value in changing a card as described but, with the presentations to be detailed I think you will more than hold the interest of that unsuspecting group of laymen you have your eyes on.
The Wishing Envelope
As you are now clear on the handling of the fake and envelope I will detail the actions required for three routines.
Take your deck of cards and have two cards selected. One selection is a free choice, but the other card is forced and it must match your fake. In our routines we will assume the Five of Clubs. Both cards are returned to the deck and the free choice is controlled to the top of the deck.
Retain the deck in your left hand as you pick up the envelope with your right hand and say "This represents my Wishing Well". Replace the envelope onto the table.
Say "At this moment I wish to find out which two cards have been chosen, so I take any card, this one on top of the deck will do." Double lift the two top cards, show and replace on top of the deck. Enquire if the card shown is one of the selected cards, it is not. Place the deck onto the table and with the right hand pick off the top card. With the left hand pick up the envelope, and then insert the card pushing it with the fake down to the bottom.
Say "To have my wish come true I have only to offer the Wishing Well a piece of silver." Hold the envelope in your right hand and with your left hand remove a large silver coin from your pocket. Tap the silver coin on the exposed corner of the card, and then ask the spectator who took the force card to name his card, he says "The Five of Clubs." Turn the envelope over and reveal the exposed corner. You appear to have changed a card into the first selection. Turn the envelope face down again and say "This time I wish this Five of Clubs to change into the second selection." Tap the exposed corner
once again with the silver coin but, this time you steal away beneath the coin the corner fake. Ask for the name of the second selection, turn the envelope over to reveal the change. Put the coin into your pocket, pull the card out of the envelope and place both card and envelope onto the table. Both items are clean and one of your spectators will most likely pick up either the card or the envelope to examine them.
The set-up for this routine is the same as for "The Wishing Envelope" but also on the table with the envelope you must place a pair of nail scissors.
Remove from the deck the JOKER and the Five of Clubs. Display these two cards and make sure the spectators are aware of the cards you are using. Turn the two cards face down and mix them up a little so that the spectators lose track of which card is which. You, however, must keep track of the JOKER. Place the two cards face down onto your close-up pad.
Ask a spectator to point to one of the two cards. If the JOKER is indicated pick it up, glance at its face and say "Oh, I was hoping you would select the JOKER, but never mind I'll use the Five of Clubs as it's your choice."
If the Five of Clubs is chosen, push it to one side, pick up the JOKER and use the above patter line.
Insert the card you are holding into the envelope and then turn the envelope face up so that the Five of Clubs shows at the corner. Turn the envelope face down again, pick up the scissors and cut the envelope into quarters. 163
Arrange the four sections on your working surface with all inside edges touching. Say "A simple wave of the hand and the card and envelope become restored."
Look at the spectators and at the same time with your left hand pick up the lower left hand section. Look down at the quarter section you are holding and appear to be dismayed to find the restoration has not happened. Bring the left fingers up to conceal the index corner and with the right fingers remove the card from inside the envelope and place it face down onto the close-up pad.
Be careful not to expose the face of any section you place down. With the right hand pick up the lower right section, place it on top of the envelope section held in the left hand, the fake is now concealed. Remove the second section of card and place it with the first section on the pad.
Repeat these actions with the other two sections, and then dispose of the envelope.
At this point the spectators believe you have cut the Five of Clubs into quarters and failed to restore it.
Make some comment about the damaged Five of Clubs spoiling your deck of cards, and that you knew you should have used the JOKER.
Pick up the complete card which the spectators believe to be the JOKER, wave it over the quarter sections and then snap the whole card face up. The spectators should be surprised to see the Five of Clubs spring into view. Pause, and then flip the four quarters face up revealing the JOKER.
For this routine set the fake and envelope as for the first two effects but when placing the envelope onto the table turn it face up so that the fake is face up and in the right side of the envelope. You also need to have the Five of Clubs on top of the deck.
Take the deck and have a card selected and returned. Control the card to the top of the deck leaving the Five of Clubs second from the top.
Triple lift to show selected card is not on top of the deck. Replace the card/s and explain you will cause the chosen card to move through the deck and become the top card.
Riffle the side of the deck and then double lift and display the Five of Clubs saying "Here we are, the chosen card, the Five of Clubs."
Without pause to prevent the spectator from telling you you have the wrong card, carry on with your patter as you replace the card/s on top of the deck and place the deck onto your pad. Pick up the envelope with your left hand and take off the top card of the deck with your right hand. Your patter continues "Now here is a little oddity, I'll use your Five of Clubs to demonstrate."
Insert the card you are holding into the envelope and fake but do not push the card all the way into the envelope, pause as you ask the spectator to note his card is face down, but as it's pushed into the envelope it turns face up. Suit the action to the words and the Five of Clubs will appear in the cut out of the envelope. After a pause pull the card out of the envelope and it will appear to have reversed again as it comes into view.
Look at the spectator and say "That was an oddity wasn't it?" At this point you will be told you have got the wrong card. Look up at the spectator and say "Oh well, we all make mistakes, what was your card?" The spectator tells you the name of his selection, repeat the name of his card, pause, and say "You mean this one?" snapping the card face up.
To avoid starting with the envelope already cut to shape, if you mark off the corner to be cut out and then load in the fake you can pick up the envelope when you are ready to do one of the routines and cut it to shape. This gives the impression that the envelope is empty and quite ordinary.
An overhand false shuffle retaining the whole pack in the same order
This shuffle creates an optical illusion of a build-up of cards by running progressively larger blocks of cards into the left hand and is best done slowly but at a steady rhythm without appearing to pay much attention to the cards.
Hold the pack in the right hand between the thumb and first finger in the position shown by packet A in the diagram. The long edge of the pack should be horizontal. Run about five or six cards into the left hand as one block as though executing the normal overhand shuffle. Bring the pack over the front of the cards in the left hand and clip the block of cards between the base of the right second finger and the right thumb while at the same time with the left thumb running a slightly larger block off the top of the pack into the left hand. As the right hand is now raised it appears that a second block has been run onto those already in the left hand. In reality all that remains there is the new block of cards and those originally there are now held in the left hand (packet B).
Now repeat this sequence of actions bringing the right hand over the new block of cards in the left hand and clipping the block underneath packet B. Carry them away in the right hand and at the same time run a further block into the left hand: this block should be slightly larger than the previous block. The shuffle continues by moving the block in the left hand to underneath packet B in the right hand and by transferring progressively larger blocks of cards from the top of the pack (A) into the left hand and from there to underneath packet B. Carry on until the Pack (A) is exhausted; then simply drop packet B (by now nearly the whole pack) on top of the cards in the left hand.
Can it be described as rough justice to have almost everything in the act go wrong when the most important item in the act has been lifted from another performer's routine? It happened in the IBM Shield Competition at Southport. Does this happen with other types of acts? We sill know that since time immemorial performers of all types have lifted gags, little bits of business, snippets of routines from other performer's acts but I have never been able to understand the mentality of a person who will lift the feature cThecPl3ge boyr item from another person's act. When a performer becomes so established that everyone associates one single item with him, and him alone, how is it that he can be praised by other magicians when he does a good job with it? Maybe some day I'll understand.
I don't often do kids shows, and when I do it is usually around the Christmas period. The reason for this is that I was put off performing for children some years ago when I was at a childrens' party at a private house, for perhaps a dozen or so children. These days I'll perform gladly for 50,100 or perhaps 1,000 kids at a factory Christmas Party etc. but no longer small house parties if I can help it. However, recently I was pressed into doing one by an agent who gives me enough work to allow him to lean on me very hard to do a job, and I did this one. And in case you are wondering why I bring this up its / is a question of improvisation. I was sitting on a chair surrounded by perhaps a dozen children having an average age of perhaps 3 or 4 and this just isn't my meat. At the climax to the egg-bag routine I reached into the bag and produced the egg and as I did this one child said "Can you bring anything else out of the bag?" Well as I had placed the egg into my pocket I had felt my pocket watch — so as I came straight out with this, reached into the bag and produced it. Afterwards I passed the watch around for a few minutes and they listened to it ticking. Perhaps that is not a good example of improvisation — but it did kill a few badly needed minutes for me and I know how many because the watch was staring me in the face.
Let me tell you of another situation involving the late Albert Le Bas the Irish wizard who was a favourite magician for me and many others. He was travelling in a train in a carriage holding perhaps 6 or 8 people, one of whom was a child. In the course of the journey to help keep her occupied Albert showed her one or two simple magic effects. At one stage the child suddenly piped up "If you're a magician can you make the train go backwards?"
OK, so you are magicians, how would you improvise your way out of that one? Because, believe it or not Albert Le Bas made that train travel in the opposite direction and it took him no more than 30 seconds to do it. Read that again, digest it, then try and figure out, if you can, how he made that train go backwards on the command of a child.
Have you figured it out? You are probably sitting there with baited breath saying how the heck did he do it? OK, answer coming up now. After explaining to the child that to do such a magnificent magic trick he would have to cast a spell, he said he needed her help and asked for her assistance in this. The child agreed, so Albert blind-folded her with his handkerchief and had her turn round four or five times. And during all of this he had everyone in the carriage change their seats and move their suitcases from one side to another — and when that child opened her eyes and looked out of that window that train was going in the opposite direction.
This story was told to me by one of Albert's friends and it is a great pity that it wasn't printed when he was still alive so that we could have shown our appreciation to him verbally.
You may Have noticed a tiny mention in the last issue of the fact that I had written a play. Just for the record it is called One Way Ticket to Paradise and it is being performed at the Mercury Theatre Notting Hill Gate, London until November 1st. My reason for mentioning it is that so far three critiques have appeared in print, two of which like it, and one not. It's an odd feeling to read that someone doesn't like your brain-child very much when you have sweated blood and tears to get it as right as you possibly could. It's a short play and lasts only 35 minutes.
I think it's good, and my friends think so. But maybe I'm not so sure after reading the critique. If you saw it drop me a line and tell me what you thought!
James Randi the Gabby Hayes of the Magic World has been visiting our shores again recently. If he isn't careful he will soon be getting a reputation like that of Jay Marshall. We seem to have seen more of them in recent times than the rest of the American Magical population put together. My reason for mentioning Randi is that he recently appeared on British Television and did one hell of a job in which he bent keys, spoons etc. etc. in the Geller fashion. All, apparently, for real. A phone-in was arranged similar to that used for Geller, and during the show lots of people rang in to say that their clocks and watches had stopped or started etc — and then at the end of the programme Randi blew the gaff and told everyone that everything he had done had been faked. He is due to appear again on our T.V. very shortly, too late for this month's column, but we will certainly mention this next time round.
I had trouble finding a title for it. The audience reaction, or the props used; the title sums it up. This is an off-beat card novelty, using four blank cards.
The effect is that after a card has been selected (but not seen) by an obliging spectator, the magician shows four cards, blank on either side (apparently), and states that he will produce a message naming the chosen card on one of the cards. In all, three messages are produced, but they do not name the chosen card. A double blank card remains. The chosen card is then revealed as a blank card.
You will require four cards, blank on both sides. Print on three cards, using a marker pen or Letraset, the messages: "TRY THE OTHER CARD" (A) "NOT THIS ONE" (B) and "NOR THIS ONE" (C). The messages should be printed slantwise or vertically, covering middle section of cards. The other card is left in its pristine state (D). Also have a blank face card at bottom of pack — the back need not match, as it is not seen. False shuffle, have pack cut, and put lower half on top (crossing the cut). Leave cards as they are.
The cards are arranged in A, B, C order from top, message sides towards you. Double blank (D) at face, covering writing on second card. Arrange fan so that all writing is concealed. Briefly flash fan both sides, showing as four cards, blank on both sides. Reverse cards, place in left hand. Hindu shuffle with double blank at bottom, run three cards singly, flashing bottom card each time, and show last card on both sides. Replace this card on top. Cards now lie from top in order D, A, B, C, message sides downwards.
Explain that a message will appear on one card, which will name the card chosen. Hold cards in left hand, double lift top two cards with right hand. Rub on left thumb or sleeve, turn over both cards, lift off top card revealing message A. Place on table, message upwards. Repeat to disclose message B. Take the top card of the two remaining in the right hand, last (message card) remains face.down in left hand. You now act as a little confused; use paddle sleight with card in left hand, meanwhile turning right hand card normally. Audience see last two cards apparently blank on both sides. At this stage, I generally scratch nose or head with right hand card. In bringing the card down from this position, you then execute a sort of bottom change without the pack, which exchanges the relative positions of the two cards. This is covered by the patter, which is to the effect that you can't understand why it's not this one or that one (make change in pointing with left hand to two cards on table). It's certainly not this one (turn over card in left hand, normally this time). Aah, I forgot to rub this one. Rub card now in right hand, and disclose last message (C). This should make them sit up; a moment previously they saw card in right hand obviously blank on both sides. Retain card in left hand. "Well that only leaves me with this one. Perhaps we should see what card you chose." Lift top half of pack disclosing blank card at face. Comment — "Ah, well, that explains it."
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