Pasteboard Prangers


In the Genii for August 1955, there is an effect by Larry Becker called "Out of This Universe". It is a very neat self-working effect with cards, with a finish rather like "Out of this World"- Paul Curry's masterpiece. I first saw Larry Becker's effect worked by Gus Southall . . . recommendation enough for discerning card-men who ought immediately to buy the relevant Genii.

What interested me about it was that the working was a bit like a card-effect I had in ye olde Demon Telegraph (three cheers for Davvy's! That is to show how much freedom Max allows me). At this stage the narrative becomes a bit confused because I wrote my effect under a pen-name and in any case took the basic idea from an Annemann creation. All this is leading up to the solemn thought that those who like the Becker effect may prefer a variation to the handling which does away with the necessity for dealing pairs of cards all over the table and (to me) seems to do the needful in a subtle manner. More of that anon. In the meantime you can stop biting your finger-nails because I'm getting down to my own new effect now and I'll come back to Larry anon.

Magician deals off any number of cards until spectator says "Stop". These are dealt in pairs on to one face-down pile. Magus explains that the number has to be even. Cards are cut several times and eventually spectator cuts them and removes card at cut. Another spectator takes the next card. These are replaced into packet which is shuffled by spectator. Magus now takes packet and says that effect depends on accuracy of his cut. He speedily divides packet into two piles. These are counted and are found to contain same number of cards in each . . . first surprise !

One packet is now turned face-up, the other being left face-down. Cards are dealt one at a time simultaneously from each and both spectators are asked to watch those cards which are face-up. If either sees his card he is to yell "Stop". When he does so the other spectator names his card and turns up the face-down card just dealt. It is his card ! The two cards have somehow come in the same position in each packet! This despite all the shuffling etc.!

You know you'll never believe me when I tell you the two principles used to achieve this coincidence ! They are: (1) a stripper deck and (2) the red-black principle. Yes; I know! Sledgehammers to crack a walnut. But just try this method for ease of working and I think you'll use it regularly. After all, if you can't think that a stripper pack is really necessary, your audience won't suspect it!

So never mind about the other simple ways you could work it. This is trouble free and if you use it, all your attention can be given to the most important thing . . . presentation.

There is a preliminary set-up. The pack is stacked red-black-red-black throughout. (For the sake of complete novices I'd better just add that a stripper pack is really necessary, your audience "Wizard" is a pack in which every card is tapered at one end. If a card is reversed so that its normal end comes amongst the tapered ends of the other cards it can easily be identified. (Max can supply these packs). The red cards all point one way and the black cards the other way. Thus, if you were a Douglas Hood, you could separate the reds from the blacks by drawing the cards apart. As I am not all that expert I make things easy by dealing cards in pairs until I've about 18 or so on the table and then I invite someone to call "stop". When this is done there is a pile of cards on the table face-down, even in number, cards alternating red-black, etc.

This packet can be cut numerous times without destroying the sequence. Finally have the packet cut and get one spectator to remove the top card from the lower half of the packet . . . i.e. the card cut at. A second spectator removes the next card. They look at their respective cards secretly.

Let's pause for a moment. If the first spectator has a red card, the second spectator will have a black one and vice versa. Whilst they are looking at their cards, re-assemble the two small packets and turn the resulting packet end for end. Then have the cards replaced wherever they wish. This means that the black chosen card will be the opposite way round from the other blacks, and the red chosen card will also be reversed. The packet can now be shuffled overhand if you can trust someone not to mess up the stripper principle.

When you take them back, place the fingers of each hand at the short ends of the packet and "strip" the cards apart. If this is done correctly (and it is not difficult with about twenty cards) you will finish up with half the cards in one hand and half in the other. All except one in one hand will be red; all except one in the other hand willl^e black. The odd card in each half is of course one of the chosen cards.

The next thing to do is to set-up the two halves so that the chosen cards (which are easily spotted because of the colour principle) come at the same positions when the dealing is done. This is done by picking up one of the packets and, keeping it face to yourself, spotting the chosen card and cutting the packet so that the chosen card comes third from the face. When this has been done count the cards, backs to the audience without disturbing the order of the cards. This packet is placed faceup on the table, squared so that no-one can see that the cards are, in the main, all the same colour.

The other packet is now picked up and casually cut so that the chosen card is third from the back of the packet. This is counted as before and you "find" that both packets have the same number of cards in each. (Note ... if you've blobbed in separating the colours you can put this right at this stage by transferring the requisite number of cards from one packet to the other; the taper will be visible to you and will tell you which cards should be transferred). The second packet is placed face-down.

The left hand now deals one card from the top of one packet as the right hand deals one from the top of the other. The cards are dealt simultaneously; the face-down cards being dealt facedown and the face-up cards being dealt face-up. The spectators are asked to watch for their cards amongst the face-up ones and to shout "stop". Actually, because of the set-up, you know that the third card dealt from each pile will be the chosen card but act as if you didn't.

The trick from now on is self-working. Note that since only three cards are dealt face--up no-one has time to spot that there is any arrangement of colours. When they call stop, leave the two piles of three dealt cards on the table, pick up the remainder of the cards as you are talking and shuffle them together. All evidence is now destroyed.

Now for comments on Larry's trick. I think (though you may not agree) that the whole thing is quicker, smoother and more subtle if you do the first part like I do. In other words, instead of dealing out pairs, have the cards stacked red-black-red-black and then have the pack cut and the two cards removed as in my version. Now here's the subtle part. Have the card chosen first returned first ... on top of the portion from which it was removed. Then have the second card replaced on top of that. Complete the pack and cut to your heart's content. This looks perfectly natural though, in a subtle way, you have reversed the two chosen cards in relation to each other. If the pack is now dealt into two piles

you will find that all the cards in one half are red except for one black which is one of the chosen cards; all the cards in the other half are black except for one red card which is the other chosen card. The climax, therefore, is the same as Larry Becker's but the working (or rather the handling) slightly different and more like by old Demon Telegraph thing.

Vampire Club Meets Again



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