The Mona Usa Card Trick

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This is an especially fine trick for a bartender magician to use. as it is quick, yet quite effective. It is also a favorite with the ladies in the audience.

To begin the performance:

Ask the audience if anyone does any painting, drawing, water colors, or any form of art work. Whether or not there is an artist present, continue by saying everyone is interested in art to some degree and that you are interested in a very special kind of art.

Show a book of matches, open the cover and place it on the table with the opening towards the audience. (See Photograph 1) This book of matches is going to be used as a card easel. I first came across this idea in "Expert Card Technique," p. 413. Later, I found the idea used again in one of Kartell Fox's early books.

This book of matches is introduced into play as a miniature artist's easel for displaying a small canvas. Remove a pack of cards from its case. The top card of the pack is the Two of Hearts and the second card is the Queen of Spades.

Describe the pack as fifty-two famous paintings. The patter continues along the lines that playing cards were invented by die Italians many hundreds of years ago and that early cards are still considered fine works of art. They were painted by hand and were always prized as gifts fit for kings and emperors.

The top card, the Two of Hearts, is now forced upon a spectator. Any force can be used, but, to keep things simple and to keep the memory of Eddie Fechter alive, 1 like to use the Cutting Force that was a favorite of his.

Simply cut the Two of Hearts to the center of the deck and retain a little finger break above it. Now, cut small packets off the top of the deck onto the table and ask the spectator to call "Stop." It's simply a "timing thing." As the spectator says "Stop,"

cut off all the cards above die break onto the tabled cards. The top card of the talon, the Two of Hearts, is given to the spectator. The remaining cards are dropped 011 top of the tabled packet. This brings the Queen of Spades to the top of the deck.

Ribbon spread the deck face down across the table and tell the spectator to return his "painting" anywhere in the spread that he likes. The spectator now squares up the deck himself. Give the deck a couple of riffle shuffles, retaining the Queen of Spades on top of the deck.

Continue the patter by saving, "My favorite work of art is Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa.' That's represented here by the Queen of Spades. Let me find it." Turn the deck of cards toward yourself and fan through it, supposedly looking for the Queen of Spades. Actually, look for the Two of I Iearts and out-jog it above the fan.

Square up the deck, miscall the out-jogged card as the Queen of Spades, then remove it and place it on the back of the deck which is now held face down in the left hand dealing position. The top two cards are now turned over as one, showing the Queen of Spades. Lift the double card off the top of the deck; now, look at the easel. Flip the double card face down on top of the deck, which leaves the right hand free to adjust the position of the matchbook easel.

Say, "I will place the 'Mona Lisa' on this miniature artist's easel." From this point on, always refer to the Queen of Spades as the "Mona Lisa." Actually, it is the Two of Hearts that is taken from the top of the deck and is placed, back out, 011 the matchbook easel. (See Photograph 2)

Lean back in the chair and say, "By the way, what famous painting did you select?" When they say "'The Two of Hearts," pause, smile, and say, "Two hearts seldom view the same painting the same way." This line comes from the fertile mind of Allen Okawa.

At the same time, hold the deck of cards behind and slightly above the Deuce on the easel. Riffle the front end of the deck, and the breeze created by the riffle will knock the Two of Hearts off the matchbook easel, face up, revealing the selection.

THE CONU J" ACE/

The "Conus Aces," created about 1800, was designed to be a sucker-type trick . I do not think that it is a good sucker trick, with the simulated bottom deals and assumed shifts. It is just too blatant for a modern audience to accept. It is just not subtle enough to entertain. I have seen many performers attempt this effect, and it never gets die reaction that it should.

If you need a sucker trick at some point in an act, then look into "Three Card Monte," "The Dun bury Delusion," or Cliff Green's handling of the "Passe-Passe Aces." The "Conus Aces" is an example of an effect that is more clever for the performer than for the audience.

On the other hand, the production at the conclusion of the effect is just wonderful. The spectator has his hands over the Aces which are on the table. The performer brushes indifferent cards over the back of the spectator's hand and they change to the Aces. This is a beautiful sequence and makes the trick worthwhile.

This is the way that I perform the effect:

Cut one of the Aces to the back of the deck. Run through the deck, remove the four Aces, one at a time, and drop them onto the table face up. At the same time, cull the four Queens to the back of the deck by running them under the spread as you come to them. Of course, the reason for cutting the Ace to the back of the deck is to assure that the four Queens are culled before arriving at the fourth Ace.

After removing the four Aces, square up the deck face down in the left hand. Ask the spectator to mix up the four Aces. While the spectator is mixing the Aces, catch a left finger break under die top five cards; i.e., the four Queens and the indifferent card under them.

Turn the deck face up, and in doing so, perform Ken Krenzel's "Mechanical Reverse." (See Photographs 1 - 4) As a result, the deck is now face up and the four Queens and an indifferent card are face down on the bottom of it.

Hold die deck so that the face of it is towards the audience and the reversed cards are towards yourself, hidden from the audience. Take back the four Aces from the spectator, place them face up on top of the reversed cards, and then lower the left hand, bringing the Aces into view\ The audience knows that the Aces are face-up, but unknown to them, there are five more face-up cards under the Aces.

At this point, I perform a packet switch that was shown to me many years ago by Herb Zarrow. Spread the top three cards and show the four Aces. Just before spreading the Aces, perform the "Lynn Searles Auto Break" by lightly lifting up at the back to back cards and catch a left little finger break under nine cards. Now that you have your break and have spread the Aces...all in one motion, square up the Aces and flip the nine card packet face down on top of the deck. Immediately deal the top four cards, the Queens, face down on the table and have the spectator place his hand over what he believes to be the Aces.

The patter story that 1 use at this point goes along these lines: "Often after work, I like to go across the street to the Four Queens Hotel, especially on Monday evenings—that's jazz t Night. The manager, the bartenders, <> and the waitresses always crowd v around, hoping to see something a little different, and then they always end tip by requesting this trick. Thev all like it'."

At this point, lift off the top card of the deck and casually show that it's an indifferent card. Now, with the left hand, which is holding the deck, ges-p ture toward the packet of cards on the h table and say, "Please cover the cards « with botii hands." Draw the left hand backwards, and as the two hands meet, o ^ 1

execute a Top Change, switching the 3 indifferent card for die first Ace. Brush the card over the backs of the spectator's hands. Snap the Ace face up and drop it face up on the table. This is a beautiful change.

Give the deck a Slip Cut to lose the indifferent card, and take the second Ace face down. Brush it across the back of the spectator's fingers and snap it face up; then drop the second Ace face up on the table with the first one.

This time do a Fake Slip Cut. Go through the motions of a Slip Cut, but do not slip the top card; the position of all the cards stays the same. Take the third Ace face down, brush it across the back of the spectator's fingers again, then snap it face up. Drop the Ace face up with the first two.

While showing the third Ace, get a one-hand break under the top two cards in preparation for a double lift. Turn over the top two cards as one, showing it to be an indifferent card, then turn the double back down. Take the top card face down with the right hand, brush the card across the back of the spectator's fingers, and snap over the fourth Ace.

Now invite the spectator to turn over the cards under his hands. Then say, "That's why I always do this trick at the Four Queens Hotel."

This is the way that I perform the "Conus Aces." It eliminates the long, drawn out sucker parts of the effect and gets right to the brush changes of the Aces, which is really the beautiful part of the "Conus Aces"; also, the surprise of the four Queens at the climax is infinitely stronger than if just any four cards are under the spectator's hands at the finish.

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