After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

Get Instant Access

members of the audience. Turn to the person with the book. Ask her to note any word in the book. You lift up the business card taped to the top card and pretend to write the prediction of what word they are thinking of. Actually, you write nothing. ("Bunny Rabbit" is already there.)

Close the flap and place another seal on the bottom of the business card. Double lift the top two cards as one and flip them face down into your left hand. Write the number "1" on the back of the card which is now topmost. Turn the two cards face up as one and transfer the top single card to the bottom of the stack. Note that you have written the number" 1" on the back of a blank prediction while apparently writing it on the back of the card which holds the word selected from the book. However, it actually holds the bunny rabbit prediction. (Consult the chart to ensure you have everything correct.)

Now that you have written your prediction, ask the spectator to call out the word she was thinking of. Remember this word.

Now turn to the person with the deck of cards. It is set up in any known order. Ask her to cut the pack as desired. When finished, she is to transfer cards from the top of the pack to the bottom of the pack as desired. When she is finished, ask her to place the top card of the pack on her seat being careful that nobody sees what it is. She is then to sit on the face down card. You take the deck back to replace it in the case. Meanwhile, you secretly glimpse the bottom card. This will yield the identity of the card she is sitting on.

Lift up the flap on the new top card of the prediction packet. Pretend to be able to discern the card she is sitting on as described in the routine below. I have it now. Write the name of the word the first person called from the book. Turn the top two prediction cards over face down and write the number "2" on the back of the surface now on top of the prediction packet. Double lift turning the top two cards face up again. Transfer the top single card to the bottom of the packet of index cards.

Now force "bunny rabbit" on the gentleman with the magazine. Lift up the flap on the top prediction card and pretend to write what he is thinking of. Actually, write the name of the card the lady is sitting on. Note that she does not call out the card. You learned its identity from the setup deck and the glimpse.

Double lift, turning the two cards over as one. Write the number "3" on the back of the index card which is now face down on top. Double lift again, turning the prediction cards face up. Transfer this card to the bottom of the packet. You have successfully predicted the word, the card, and the picture.

Preparation. Now that you can achieve the predicted results, you need John's routining to pull it off in an entertaining fashion. First, the preparation. Obtain any book which might be interesting or which might spark some other topical or humorous lines. John uses Kitty Kelly's unauthorized biography of Frank Sinatra, His Way.

Next, stack a deck of cards in any known order and place it back in the case. This will allow you to know the top card at any time by glimpsing the bottom card.

Finally, you will need three magazines. John uses Time, Ladies Home Journal, and Playboy. Remove the cover from Time and glue it to a piece of cardboard which is cut to the same size as the contents of the magazine. John uses a foam board available in art stores.

Remove the staple from the ladies magazine so that when the magazine is held with the opening downward and the hold on the magazine loosened, the contents will fall to the floor.

Gimmick the Playboy as follows. Open the centerfold and refold it in zig zag fashion. This is so that it will fall open when the magazine is held up and opened to the middle. Across the important parts you will place a note to the spectator saying, "This is just for laughs. Please think of a bunny rabbit. Thanks." John then takes a Sharpie™ and draws bikinis on the pictures on the back of the centerfold. During the course of the routine, nobody sees any nudity. (This, of course assumes the magician is fully clothed.)

Routine. John always seeks out a volunteer with a sense of humor to help him with this before the show. He does this by talking to the person who booked him or just by observing the audience before the show. He then calls this person up for the routine. I need a volunteer with a sense of humor. You sir, wouldyou mind helping me? Pick up the book. Here we have a book with millions of words. Some are clean, the rest are in English. Wouldyou hand the book to anyone in the audience please? Hand the book to the volunteer to hand to the spectator of his choice.

Pick up the deck of cards and remove them from their case. Execute a two hand fan with the faces toward the audience. I also have a deck of cards. Case the deck. Please give the case to any lady in the audience. Thank you.

Pick up the three magazines. Here we have three magazines. You and I will get back to them in just a moment.

Turn to the lady with the book. Please look at any page. Look up any word you like, but keep it clean please. Have you got the word? Fine. Concentrate on the word. I will attempt to read your mind. I think I have it. Pick up the index cards and write and number the first prediction. Transfer the first prediction to the bottom of the packet and ask the spectator now for the word she was concentrating on. Very well. And remember that word. We will come back to check my prediction in just a moment.

Turn to the lady with the deck of cards. Cut the cards a few times so that I do not know the location of any of the cards in the pack. When you are finished, I want you to transfer one card at a time from the top of the pack to the bottom of the pack. At any time, you may stop. After she stops, Please take the card you stopped on and place it on your chair and sit on it. Don't look at it and don't let me see it.

Take the deck from her, glimpsing the bottom card as you case the deck. This tells you the name of her card. Remember it.

Now John goes into the presentation which comes in a dealer item marketed by Paul Diamond as

E-Ass-P. John asks her to look straight up, open her mouth, and say "ah." As soon as she complies, the magician whips out a small flashlight and shines it down her throat. The concept is that the magician can see through her to the card below. After using as many gags as deemed necessary, pick up the index cards. I believe I know the identity of your card. Write and number the second prediction. Pretend to be writing the identity of the card, actually write the name of the word the first spectator was concentrating on. This prediction is numbered "2". Transfer it to the bottom of the packet.

Turn to the gentleman on stage with you. Now I'm going to predict in advance what Jim will do. Open the third prediction card and pretend to write what your volunteer will select. Actually, write the name of the card which the lady is seated upon. Seal this prediction and number it with a three.

I have three magazines — Time, Ladies Home Journal, and Playboy. (Editor's note: You could display the magazines in a fan here with Time on the audience' s right. Move the magazine to the other end of the fan with: I' 11 just move the Time over to the left to more accurately reflect their reporting.)

Jim, I am going to give you a choice of these three magazines. Without giving him a choice, hand him the Time. Here, take the Time. Open it to the page of your choice and remember a picture or an ad which may stand out to you. Jim's inability to open the magazine will be met with a solid round of laughter. Finally, take the magazine back from him.

Okay, try the Ladies Home Journal. Just open it to any page at all and remember a picture. Hold the magazine in such a way so that when he takes it from you, the contents fall to the floor. This occurs as you are looking at the audience. Look back at him holding only the empty cover. Gee, Jim. There is no need to get violent. If you want the Playboy, you may have it. I'm sure you want it for the articles (wink, wink). You don't get out much, do you?

Hold the remaining magazine up. You are going to riffle force the centerfold. Jim, as I run through the magazine, just say stop. Time it so that he stops you on the centerfold. You will note there is a natural break at the centerfold because of its thickness (as if you didn't already know that).

When he calls stop, allow the magazine to open toward him. The centerfold unfolds and drops out facing him. Note that you are behind the magazine and it is held so that neither you or the audience can see the picture. However, the fact that the audience can see that Jim stopped you at the centerfold will be very funny to them.

Look Jim in the eyes to make sure he understands the note. Do you understand? I want you to remember what's on this page. Please remember this for a few moments until we come back to my prediction.

Now it's time for your recap. I had a lady pick up any book and open it to any page and look at any word. Now for the first time, will you please tell me the wordyouwere merely thinking of? She calls out the word as you open the prediction numbered with a 1. It will be her word. Note that you are enhancing the description by lying. This is actually the second time she has told you her word.

Sylvia is sitting on a card. That card has not seen the light of day in several minutes. Nobody in the world knows what that card is. Sylvia, would you please remove the card and show it to the audience? Open the prediction numbered with a "2" to show that it matches her card.

Turn to your volunteer on stage. Now Jimmy has been concentrating on something very hard. He has been concentrating on something in that magazine. Hold your two hands up at chest level, palm toward the audience. I see...two...big...brown...eyes. Now move your hands as if holding something moderately large. And I see a big... round... of... applause if I correctly predicted what he is thinking of. You of course, are leading the audience on. This should result in more laughter (or you are doing something wrong).

Magician: Jim, what are you thinking of? Jim: A bunny rabbit. (Laughter from audience at magician's predicament)

Magician (with a squeaky voice): I beg yourpardon? (More audience laughter.) Jim: A bunny rabbit.

Magician: Jim... let me get this straight. I show you a centerfold from a mens magazine and you are thinking of a bunny rabbit. This is not exactly the cinch ending I had in mind. Oh, well, let's read prediction number three.

At this, the magician opens prediction #3 and reads it out loud. You shouldn't have to cue the audience for applause. You have satisfactorilyrescued the trick from what they will feel was the spectator trying to mess you up.

Regurgitations. There you have it. It'sa complete routine filled with mystery and humor. Your handling of the spectators should open up more opportunities for humor throughout the routine. On the final exchange between Jim and the magician, be careful not to ride the volunteer too hard. He is doing you a favor by thinking of what you asked him to do. He is liable to change his mind if you hassle him too much. Finish by asking for a round of applause for all the participants and an especially large round for Jim. This will minimize the chances that he will be out in the lobby after the show explaining the prediction.

Tying this together with other routines in this issue, you may wish to consult Fantasy Vacation I & II in this issue for an alternative to predicting a word from a book. Using the patter given in those descriptions, a spectator would be allowed to choose the city of her choice where she would like to visit. This could be an entirely mental selection (without the cards used in those tricks) since you are going to be provided with the name of the city selected before you need to write it down using the impromptu Mental Epic explained here.

The Trapdoor Copyright 1992 by Steven L. Beam Published by: Trapdoor Productions 407 Carrington Drive Knightdale, NC 27545 USA Written and Illustrated by Steve Beam. Cover art work by Lisa Weedman.

Upcoming issues feature material by:

Ken Krenzel Scott Robinson Tom Baxter John Riggs Dave Soloman Steve Pressley Harvey Rosenthal Mac King Hiro Sakai And many, many more.


You know Allan as the editor of one the biggest and one of the best magic books of all time, Stewart James, The First Fifty Years. This was not only one of the most informational magic books ever written, but it was also one of the most enjoyable to read. Writing such a wonderful book must have been almost as difficult as trying to lift it.

I met Allan at the 1992 F.F.F.F. convention. Afterwards, I spent the weekend at the S tewart James Gettogether which he and S tewart host in Courtright, Ontario. Allan knows his magic, and as you will see in a moment, knows how to construct good magic.

This was originally submitted on June 17th, 1980 to Karl Fulves for publication in The Pallbearer's Review. The magazine terminated before this was published. Since Allan has provided detailed roots of the trick, I will print them here in condensed form.

Background. In 1919, Charles Jordan's Thirty Card Mysteries contained the Simplicity Speller where Jordan seems to have originated the concept of adjusting the number of letters in the spelling process to produce a desired total in a spelled packet.

In the April, 1922 Magic Circular, Herbert Milton reveals a brilliant concept in which any card is selected from a bank of 15 and controlled to the 21 st position. The spectator answers questions regarding the color, suit, odd or even, high or low, and actual value.

In Jinx #4, January, 1935, Anneman reprints a December, 1934 letter from Vincent Dalban of London, England. Dalban suggests a plot for a card effect which ends with the sentence "The performer seems to know when the man is telling a lie." However, the effect does not involve the spelling of a card.

In 1937, Martin Gardner's Card Speller (one of my favorites) appeared in Joe Berg's Here's New Magic. In this effect, the selection is controlled to a position 14th from the top and the spectator is asked three questions: the card's color, suit, and whether it is odd or even. If he chooses to, the spectator may answer the questions incorrectly (lie). Regardless of how he replies, the spelling ends on the chosen card.

In 1940, Gardner published his 12 Tricks With A Borrowed Deck. This booklet contains his Improved Lie Speller in which two selections are made. The first spectator truthfully answers the same three questions truthfully. The second spectator is allowed to lie.

In Karl Fulves's Pallbearer's Review (Volume 4, #2,1968) Bruce Cervon combines elements of the Jordan adjustment principle, Milton's question procedure, and Gardner's lie-or-truth theme in the impressive Perfect Speller.

In 1979 in Memory Book Number One. Allan Slaight's Pluperfect Speller appeared in the limited circulation booklet which is presented only to participants at the annual Stewart James Weekend. In this, Allan adds a question regarding the value of the selection in an effect inspired by Cervon' s Perfect Speller.

(And, before you ask, the above is the condensed version of the credits which I promised. I only condensed the sentences. I didn't condense the content.)

The Work. Have the deck shuffled, a card selected, returned, and controlled to the 22nd position form the top of the pack. This apparently ordinary deck of cards is actually an incredibly sophisticated electronic device. It's a computer which has been programmed to distinguish truth from lies. (Allan recommends running through the shuffled deck upjogging 22 cards as you tell them you are programming the computer. Then use Karl Fulves's Riffle Shuffle Control to control the selection to the 22nd position.) Place the deck face down on the table.

I will ask you a series of questions about your card. Each answer can be the truth, or you may tell a lie. You will deal a card from the top of the deck for each letter in your answer. When we' re through, your chosen card will be on top. Ready? First, turn on the computer. When they appear puzzled, slide the top card of the pack toward them. Just insert this key in the lock down here. They take the top card of the pack and insert it into the lower half of thepack which you open to facilitate the insertion. The card is now at the 21st position.

Is your card red or black? You may lie or tell the truth.

If black: Is it a club or a spade? You may lie or tell the truth.

If red: Is it a diamond or one of the hearts. You may lie or tell the truth. He spells his answer and the "s" is employed only with hearts.

If the shorter answer (club or hearts): Is it a value card or a court card? You may lie or tell the truth. If the longer answer (spade or diamond): Is it a spot card or a face card? You may lie or tell the truth.

Now we want to find the number or value of your card. Just answer yes or no to this question: Is your card below seven? You may lie or tell the truth.

If they answer yes: That means your number is the ace, 2,3,4,5, or 6. What is the number of your card? You may lie or tell the truth. Since the selection is now fourth from the top, you can spell any answer except three. Count if they say three. The card will be on top of the packet or on top of the deck. Reveal it accordingly.

If they answer no: That means your card is the 7,8,9,10, jack, queen, or king. Name your card. You may lie or tell the truth. Since the selection is now fifth from the top, you can spell any answer except for the ten. The card will be on top of the packet or on top of the deck. Reveal it accordingly.

If they name ten, one additional question: I have said this deck is really a computer programmed to separate the truth from falsehoods. Do you believe I should leave the computer on or turn it off to locate your card? You may lie or tell the truth.

If they say "on": Spectator spells the answer and the card is on top of the packet.

If they say "off': Push the top card of the deck forward as you did before and say, Then take this other key and put it in the lock here. Indicate the center of the pack again. The spectator follows your directions. The selection (which may or may not really be the ten) is now on top of the deck.

Regurgitations. The following is an excerpt from Allan' s letter to me. "The troublesome ten created an interesting challenge and correspondence was generated with certain inventive minds which prompted Karl Fulves to suggest the trick should be titled International Liar. Fulves recommended utilizing a version of Jay Ose's "turn off the computer" idea. Phil Goldstein gave me the idea of asking a two letter/ three letter question after spelling the ten and so phrasing the question that the reply would always be the two letter word. However, I consider it imperative for maximum impact to conclude each question with the you-may-lie-or-tell-the-truth tag and thus worked out the approach included here."

Allan asks five questions instead of the usual three. This makes the trick seem that much more impossible. Sticking with the tag line (you may lie or tell the truth) throughout has made this not only a killer but causes them to laugh while they die.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment