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Gather round, everybody — I'm going to i-ill a sad story. Make room up front for Steven Kuske, because it was his "OOTW" in the February 1978 Pabular that inspired this tale.
Way back in the 1940's a young man dreamed up an effect in which a spectator would deal a mixed pack of cards (not really
— all the red cards were together on top of the blacks) into two face-down packets, guessing the colour of each card as he did so. The "red" guesses would go into one pile, the "black" guesses into the other. These guesses were undisclosed ones, so that the spectator alone knew which packet was supposed to be "red" or "black".
With the cards finally dealt completely, the performer would ask, "Into which pile did you deal your red guesses?" Upon it being indicated, he would pick it up, turn it over, and show a red card on the bottom. (It would have had to be so, since red cards made up the lower half of each packet). "Well," the young man would say, "your first guess was correct."
He would then disclose other red cards by lifting off varying portions of the packet a few times, showing the face card each time. (Of course, he made certain he cut into the lower half). Thus proclaiming every card in this packet (held face down in the left hand) to be red, he would pick up the "black" half with his right hand and say, "But that isn't true of this half
— I'm afraid one of the red cards got in with the blacks." Placing the "black" half face down on the "red" half (and making certain to keep a little-finger break between them), he would deal cards from the top face up on the table. Each card would be a black one until a quarter of the pack had been dealt — and then a red card would turn up.
"Ah, there's the mistake!" the young man would say as he tossed the red card out on the table. (Under cover of this, he would bring his hands together and "pass" all the cards above the break to the bottom). The cards would then be handed over to the spectator to finish the deal.
All this, mind you, was in the young man's mind. He hadn't actually performed it because one thing bothered him: that arbitrary sorting operation by the spectator at the start. He reasoned that anyone old enough to eat without a bib would be aware that only an exact separation of 26 cards in each packet could accomplish the effect. If the halves were visibly uneven, the deception would be obvious. So he tested it on a number of people, saying he was checking out an ESP test. Sure enough, in practice, as the spectators dealt out two piles, there were enough instances of visibly unequal piles to make such a procedure too risky to handle.
Was the young man chagrined? Not at all. Even while he tested the aforementioned procedure, it occurred to him that a self-working method was possible in which the colours (cards) guiding the guesses were changed during the deal. There were residual benefits and side effects, too. The inference was strengthened that the performer really controlled the spectator's thoughts and actions. For the spectator there was a differing and significant challenge to meet. Best of all, the young man was pleased with the "hands-off" presentation which he thought came close to the way one would do it if one really had the power. Happy about the way it turned out, this young man put the trick on the market, sold thousands of copies, and received lots of favourable comments which indicated that magicians were happy with it, as well.
And then, at the 1978 S.A.M. Convention at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, the laurels on which he had been resting since the '40's' suddenly sprouted thorns. Responding to a tap on the shoulder, the now-no-longer-young man turned to face his long-time friend, Oscar Weigle. Choosing his words carefully to soften the blow, Oscar said, "You are in disastrous trouble. That 'Out of This World' trick you have been peddling all these years contains fatal flaws."
Notwithstanding the bracing grip friend Oscar had on his shoulder, the man swayed like the girl in the Broom Illusion when human support is removed. "You mean ..." he stammered.
"Yes," Oscar answered somberly, "refunds may be in order." Then, mentioning that he disliked seeing grown men cry, he thrust the February 1978 Pabular into the hand of the no-longer-young man and left hurriedly.
How can the pain that followed be described? As seen through Mr Kuske's critical eye and reported under the heading "OOTW", the World trick is apparently filled with clues which must be sorted out by size, the "largest" being the mid-deal switch of guide cards. This made the no-longer-young man sad, because he had always considered that dodge as the strong part and an effective throwoff on the method. Many magicians had agreed with him about that.
Something else that saddened him was Mr Kuske's observation that there were no sleights. This omission constituted a serious weakness, since it enabled the spectator to make an "accurate reconstruction" of the method. Now the man began to get a headache — he had been under the impression that the trend in magic for the past 50 years or more was to stress subtlety over sleights. Headache aside, however, the World trick starts off with one of the most convincing sleights in card magic: the false overhand shuffle that keeps the colours separate. There also was a pass involved in the original version, incidentally, but it fell by the wayside because magicians found the subsequent method to be subtle enough to make it unnecessary.
Well, after a while the sadness wore off, but the man still smarted a bit about the word "passe" that Mr Kuske had used. The older one gets, the more sensitive one becomes about words like that. Accordingly, just to sort of balance things off, he thought he would reveal this story, giving the details of the very first method so that Mr Kuske could see some of the deceptive points he missed in his own method, a method that has been suggested many times, by the way.
And now, the moment of truth — the real reason for this account. It's to take advantage of. the Pabular policy^ of equal time/space. Surely you have such a policy! There is a booklet available containing a very direct way of separating the reds and blacks — a Martin Gardner idea. The booklet also contains 18 other tried-and-true methods of performing the trick. Its title? Out of This World — and Beyond. How to get it? By sending $4.60 (U.S. funds) to Paul Curry, Phoenicia, New York 12464, U.S.A.
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