From the Bob Read Collection. Number four in a series of six
PALM STEAL Kevin Davie
This sleight developed out of a close study of the many methods available for palming cards. A problem with most of these methods is that the hand containing the palmed card and the pack are soon separated after the palming action and for the movement of either the pack or the hand containing the card to escape attention and consequent suspicion that 'something is happening' requires effective misdirection.
In one of his versions of palming moves Dai Vernon provided an approach in which these movements were covered by a natural and logical action. It appeared to the onlookers that the right hand removed the pack from the left hand and placed it onto the table.
Other cardmen have used different approaches. For example, one handling employed by Paul le Paul was to push the chosen card into the pack from the outer and swivelled into alignment with the left palm. The card was left palmed in the left hand as the right pulled the pack clear and replaced it face up in the left hand covering the palmed chosen card. This method has the advantage that there is a reason for separating the hands i.e. turning the pack over, and the timing of the separation of the left hand with the palmed card from the pack can be done at the performer's discretion. Furthermore the move requires minimal misdirection for successful accomplishment.
The palm about to be described also takes place during a natural action which provides plenty of cover for the secret move, and like Le Paul's version, there is no hurry to remove the hand with the palmed card away from the pack.
The sleight is an extension of the side steal. For descriptive purposes we will assume that the card to be palmed is on the bottom of the pack. Begin with the pack held face downwards in the right hand with the fingers at the outer end and the thumb at the inner end. Perform the swivel cut by swinging the top half of the pack over to the left with the first finger and taking it with the left hand. The right hand completes the cut by placing its cards on top of those in the left, and as it does so the left fingertips make contact with the chosen card and pushes it out diagonally into the right palm. It has to be sufficiently angled so that it is free at the inner end, so allowing the thumb to move from its position at the inner end to the face of the pack as the right hand turns bringing the pack upright with the face of the pack towards you. The chosen card in the right palm still has one corner in the pack. It is released as the thumb and fingers of the left hand spreads the cards. As far as the spectators are concerned, the performer merely cuts the pack and moves them into an upright position to examine them.
The final action depends on the particular trick being performed. Usually the spread will be closed, and the pack handed out for shuffling.
THE LOLLIPOP TRICK Kevin Davie
This is a sucker trick — hence the title. After showing a few tricks offer to teach anyone interested how to do a trick. When someone expresses their wish to learn a trick they become the focal point of attention and the spectators become relaxed and off guard. The trick is over and done before they adjust to the new situation sufficiently to be interested in catching the performer out.
Only two sleights are used, the double lift and the Hofzinser top change. Everyone knows the former as there are dozens of descriptions to be found in our literature. The Hofzinser change was developed by Cy Endfield and can be found in Part Two of 'Entertaining with Cards' edited by Lewis Ganson. For those who are not acquainted with the sleight, and those who do not recognise it by name, here is a brief description.
A card held with the right fingers by the right inner corner is exchanged for the top card of face down pack held in the left hand in the dealing position. To make the change the left thumb pushes the top card over the side of the pack as is done if about to deal, but with the pack held vertical. (Sketch shows the position of both hands at this point). Left hand moves towards the right hand card bringing the pack square beneath it and its thumb over the top. The right hand now grasps the top card as the left hand moves outward taking the original right hand card with it. The illusion created is that the card in the right hand is gently stroked with the left thumb. The angle at which the pack is held is important. At the start it is vertical and changes to an horizontal position as it moves under the right hand card and back again to the vertical at the conclusion of the stroking action.
Due to pressure of the left thumb as the card is taken together with changing the angle of the pack there will be a slight snapping sound as the pack clears the card now in the right hand. This will be accepted by the spectators as being caused by the card escaping from under the left thumb.
The complete action takes but a second and should be done casually. Only the left hand moves, the right remaining stationary throughout.
Smoothly done the change undetectable, but there must be a logical reason for stroking the card. Charlie Miller overcame this objection by accidently bending the card to be changed, thus giving an excuse for stroking the card — to straighten out the bend.
Assuming you have someone who is keen to learn a trick, begin by saying that the first thing to be done is to have a card chosen. Point out that a good method for doing this is to let the spectator cut the cards and look at the top card of the pack. After he has completed the cut take the cards from him, and say that the person doing the trick must not see the top card. Look away and double lift showing the second card as the top one. Allow this card to make an impression and then turn them face down.
Explain that the performer marks the card looked at by bending the outer left hand corner as it is pushed into the pack. Of course he does this secretly. Show the pack with the bent card in the middle saying that normally the hand covers this bent card so it is not seen. Continue by giving the pack a shuffle as you tell the soectator that shuffling the pack makes no difference as it is always possible to find the chosen card because it is bent. The shuffle is a false one which retains the selected card on top of the pack.
Demonstrate the point by removing the bent card from the pack and show its face long enough for all to see that it is not the chosen card. Remark that all that has to be done is to take the bend out and the trick is done. Do the Hofzinser change — to the audience you are merely straightening out the card. When someone says that you got the wrong card, tell your pupil that if that happens when he is doing the trick all he has to do is to give the card a little shake and it will change into the right one. Shake the card and show that it has changed into the one chosen.
Stunts, gags, jokes, ideas and miscellaneous selected items will appear under the above heading as and when material is available. Contributions from readers welcomed — credit will be given.
Starting with a couple of my own ideas. The first requires a set of Yakity-Yak teeth and a skull — you probably possess both; if you have a penchant for comedy the following could make an amusing finish.
Produce the teeth magically from under a handkerchief, using your own method. When all eyes are on the teeth bring the skull up from your lap and produce it from beneath the handkerchief as you remark "So that's where it came from!" Pick up the teeth and stick them in the mouth of the skull. This could be done standing. Produce the teeth allowing them to operate on the palm of your left hand. Right hand, with handkerchief, drops to your side and skull is stolen from stooge. Use of a rubber skull should make life easier if you can find one.
The second idea makes use of the Kaps Floating Cork principle. If you have this effect try it out using a bag of crisps. You know what can be loaded as you put a crisp into your mouth. Take another crisp and cause it to float a la cork — or maybe you could float the little blue bag of salt recently reintroduced in some brands.
A couple from Arthur Day, still with the bag of crisps. When someone invites you to take a crisp, pull out a small potato (previously palmed), saying "One they missed." If you buy your own, ask someone if they would like one as you are opening the bag. It is essential they keep their eyes on the bag so construct your patter and actions towards this end. When the bag is open shake it and bring it up to eye level and peer through its side murmuring "That's odd. . ." Take out the potato which you loaded when bringing the bag up to eye level. The hand is obviously empty when it goes into the bag, making the trick more effective.
The second is "The Irish Key Ring" — the sketch tells all. Piet Forton, over from Switzerland, showed me one he had made up the same day he had received details from Arthur.
This one comes from Fred Snooks. Tear one of the striking surfaces from a matchbox cover and dispose of it. Place the remainder on the table or bar counter with the open side uppermost. Balance the drawer lengthwise on top, as in sketch, and challenge someone to cause it to fall into the normal position inside the cover without touching either the cover or the drawer, blowing on it or shaking the table. When they admit failure drop a spot of liquid on the spot marked X which will cause the side of the cover to open allowing the drawer to fall inside.
This part of Bob Read's article on the U.S. Wichita Convention was squeezed out of the Ramsay issue for space reasons; apologies to Bob and readers alike. We are glad to continue it here.
Last time I promised to mention the Close up at Wichita and I'll begin by saying how much I enjoyed the company of Bob Sheets and his lovely lady. Bob busks as a jester and in the car park and later in the theatre foyer he was persuaded to do his rings/cups and balls/card stab routine for the assembled 'tip'. Also spent time with 'Doc'(?) who does a cute card on ceiling incorporating a dollar bill which ends up pinned to the card. A neater way to collect the loot I've yet to see.
There were two close up sessions featuring Bro John Hamman with unbelievable and direct card work and revealing a latent talent for comedy -Steve Aldrich ( another damn Foan - is there no end to their talent), Roger Klaus who is also making a big name for himself as an instructor, Steve Spillman, the Bad Boy Boy of Magic, Johnny Thompson doing the great egg bag routine, John Cornelius with a bowl/rings/Svengali routine which he used to pitch, and yours truly with the usual garbage. Which reminds me of the time Ron Wilson said 'Bob, don't apologise for a single trick. You apologise for the whole damn act.'
At 7p.m. David Copperfield gave of his valuable time and answered questions on his rise to fame and philosophy on magic which he did with unfailing good humour and humility. A fine showman.
The evening then deteriorated with a 910 a head lecture by Bob Read which was particularly notable for the generous introduction by Mike Caveney.Finally, at midnight the calibre of the entertainment rose rose to an all time low with a powerful lecture by that wild and layed back guy Steve Spillman - featuring the 100% commercial bill/lemon routine described in 'Spill at the Bar Grill'.
After all that I had a day's rest and was then off to New York where I met amongst others, Karl Fulves. He was younger, better looking, and more charming than I'd ever imagined. Ever read Dorian Gray Karl? But as Wilde once said, that's another story.
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