After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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In Volume 2 No. 8, we published Doug Alker's "The Useless Pack". This was an All Backs/All Faces routine, with a colour changing pack incorporated. Many readers will have ~-een this featured in Doug Alker's close-up show .

The following routine is by Richard Gamble. Readers may be interested in comparing the two. In Richard's routine, the colour change of the pack comes right at the end, making the big finish. In Doug's presentation, the colour change occurred during the handling, with the routine continuing afterwards. Both routines were worked out completely independently, by their originators.


After studying Dai Vernon's "All Backs" routine, described in "Expert Card Technique" and then getting the idea from Earl Nelson's fine book "Variations", I evolved an All Backs routine, which can end with a colour changing deck. This can be done without a packet switch.

The routine will leave you with half of the pack having one colour backs and the other half another. The audience will be unaware of this. You can then, if you so wish, switch half of the pack and carry on doing other tricks.


The performer brings out a pack of cards, which have red backs. He removes the two jokers, only to discover that they are printed with backs on both sides. Looking through the rest of the pack, these are seen to have backs on both sides, as well. The cards are turned and twisted but no faces show; only red backs.

Suddenly, a face appears. The cards are fanned and they all have faces. Finally the pack is turned face down and, for the knock-out finish, the backs are blue.


Required are 26 red backed cards and 26 blue backs. Take eight of the red backed cards and stick them together face to face, in pairs. This will give you four double backed cards. If you do not want to spoil the cards by sticking them permanently, use a small dab of wax or Blue Tack, as shown in fig 1.

Give the 26 blue backed cards a lengthwise crimp as in fig 2. Assemble the pack as shown in fig 3. The 4 double backed cards are on top, followed by the red backed cards. The blues are all on the bottom. All of the cards are face down.


1) Remove the pack, face down, from the case. Spread the top half between your hands, showing the red backs but do not call attention to their colour. Take care not to overspread and disclose the blue cards.

2) Square the pack and say that you will need to remove the jokers. Take off the top two cards and turn them over, showing backs on both sides. Appear surprised. Toss the two double backers aside.

3) Turn over the top card. It too is a double back. Display it on both sides and then push it into the pack, about 12th from top. Get a left hand little finger break below it, as you push it in.

4) Turn over the new top card. It too will be a double back. Show it on both sides and replace it on the pack. Maintain a break below it, using the ball of the right thumb.

5) With the right hand cut the dozen or so cards, above the left little finger break, to the bottom of the pack. Maintain the thumb breajc below the top card as you do this. Also, turn the right wrist, so as to flash the double back, on the bottom of the packet, towards the audience.

6) Place the right hand's packet below the cards in the left, completing the cut. The left little finger takes over the break held by the right thumb.

With the right hand, cut to the break and twist both wrists together, showing the double backs, on the bottom of each packet. Use the right hand's packet to flip over the smaller left hand packet. Take care not to allow either packet to spread as this is done.

7) Place the right hand packet on top of the left, maintaining a left hand little finger break between the two. Spread off the top ten or so cards, showing them all to be red backs.

8) Square the pack, keeping the break. Move the top packet forward, in a block so that it is outjogged for about %". Turn the pack end over end, with the right hand, using the fingers to mask the jog.

9) Having turned the packet over, square it up in the left hand, retaking the little finger break between the two jogged portions. Spread the top ten or so cards, showing all backs.

10) Cut off the cards above the break with the right hand. Again twist the wrists, flashing the bottom cards of the packets. Use the right hand packet to flip over the one in the left. Take care not to allow the cards to spread out.

11) When the left hand packet has been turned over, place the right hand's cards on top. Keep a left hand little finger break between the two halves. Spread the top dozen or so cards, showing all back,*. You .-an, if desired, spread a few cards beyond the break at this point, be careful though, not to flash any blue cards. Square up, holding the break once more.

12) Bring the right hand over the pack, fingers at the outer, short end and thumb at the inner. Grip the small packet of cards, above the "break and move it to the right for about half an inch. Keep it on top of the main pack and stepped to the right, in this manner, while the right hand grips the entire pack and lifts it clear of the left.

13) Rotate the right hand, from the wrist, showing both sides of the cards. Do not try to conceal the step. To the audience it merely looks as if you are displaying a random card, in the centre of the pack, as well as the bottom one.

14) Turn the right hand palm down once more. Go to place the pack into the left hand. As you do so, the left finger tips push against the bottom card, moving it over to the right, as in a side steal. Once this card lines up with the upper, stepped packet, the right finger tips seize it and draw it, together with the small packet, away to the right. The left hand, meanwhile, takes the bulk of the pack.

15) Separate the hands, causing the single card from the bottom of the pack to merge with the packet, in the right hand. Place all of the right hand's cards^pn the bottom of the packet in the left. What has happened is a sort of upside down slip cut. The move is part of the original Vernon "All Backs ""routine. It can be read, more fully described, in Expert Card Technique.

16) If you examine the pack, at this point, you will see, from the top down, about a dozen red backed cards, followed by all of the blue backs, these are followed by about ten more red backs and finally the two double backers.

17) Hindu Shuffle the pack, in the usual way, occasionally flashing the bottom card and creating the backs on both sides illusion. Take care not to expose any blue backed cards, when doing so. At one point, during the shuffle, turn the right hand packet completely over and strip a single double backer, off the bottom.

18) When you have run out of red cards, in the above shuffle and cannot safely proceed further without risking exposing the blue, re-assemble the pack, placing the right hand's cards on the bottom of the left hand's packet.

19) Turn the pack end over end a few times. Contrive to finish doing this with the double backer on top.

20) Perform a simple colour change, bringing a card from the back of the pack to the face. Do not take one from the centre as this will have a blue back. To the audience, the effect will be of a face suddenly appearing.

21) Keeping the pack face up, cut to the crimp and complete the cut. This will bring all of the red cards to the front of the pack and leave the blues at the back. Fan the pack showing that all of the cards have faces. Take care, however, not-to expose the two double backers.

22) Bunch up the front half of the fan, so that the backs of the cards will not show, when it is turned over. Turn the fan over and show blue backs.

If you have a good method of switching half a pack, you can dispose of the red cards and ring in the other blues, thereby finishing with a normal pack. If not, then just finish as above, it is more than strong enough.

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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