WHEN " Greater Magic" first appeared, Bill McCaffrey's " Prizewinner" was one of the outstanding card feats described. Though in this country it seemed to receive scant consideration (judging by the watching of performances) from magicians in this country, it was to form the basis more than ten years later for effects in the " Premonition " tradition. In 1955, Gilly Davenport marketed an effect of mine called " Stranger in Paradise," and those who have used it have been good enough to tell me how effective it has proved. In this effect, the appearance of one selected card as a stranger in a pack took on a new look in so far that it was the only card missing from its home pack.
Wishing to present this effect some little while back when at a friend's house where borrowed cards had to be used the following version was quickly devised.
Two packs of cards (in their cases), one red backed and the other blue backed, are introduced. A spectator is requested to slip the blue backed pack into his pocket whilst another is asked to remove the red backed cards from their case and give them a thorough shuffle.
When the shuffling is complete the red backed cards are retrieved by the magician. Holding them in his right hand faces towards the audience, he asks one of the company to give him any number between one and fifty-two. Deliberately counting off the cards one at a time until he reaches the card at the chosen number he removes it and rests it against a glass standing upon the table. We'll suppose that it is the seven of hearts.
The person having charge of the blue backed cards is now asked to remove them from their case and dealing them face up is to count down to the seven of hearts in the blue backed pack. This helper goes on through the pack finding that he has fifty-one cards and that there is no seven of hearts. Finally the magician turns round the original seven of hearts and it is seen that this is the missing blue backed card. Then from his inside pocket the performer takes an envelope which, on being opened, reveals a red backed seven of hearts!
Two packs of cards, one red and one blue backed. Also a glass for the chosen card to rest against.
Supposing that we keep to the idea that the seven of hearts is the " stranger." Remove this from the blue backed pack and also take out the Jokers thus leaving fifty-one cards. Replace these in the blue case.
From the red backed pack remove any one card, the seven of hearts and the Jokers. Replace the pack in its case. Place the seven of hearts in an envelope and slip this in your inside coat pocket.
Place the red backed card on top of the blue backed seven of hearts and rest them on top of the red card case. On top of these cards and the case place the blue backed cards in their case. The two packs in their cases are now placed on the table with the glass adjacent. Presentation.
Pick up both card cases from the table with the left hand. Move across to a spectator on the right and with the left thumb push off the blue backed case, the right hand taking it. Be careful to keep the two cards on top of the red case in alignment. Tell the spectator to slip this case into his pocket, and as the action of taking and handing the case is gone through the left hand drops to the side and the little finger comes in between the cards on top of the case and the case itself. Apparently pass the case from the left hand to the right but in actuality as the right comes into position the two loose cards are palmed in the right hand which at the same time takes the case and passes it to another spectator who is then requested to take the cards from the case and shuffle them thoroughly. The performer takes the case from the spectator and slips into his left hand pocket, the right hand with the palmed cards has dropped to the side.
When the cards have been shuffled, the performer takes them with his left hand and as he moves back to his performing spot passes them to the right hand letting the two palmed cards fall on top of the pack.
The right hand at this point is holding the pack by the narrow ends between the thumb and fingers. The left hand moves across takes the cards on the long side whilst the right hand moves round and the left hand deposits the pack on the right hand so that the cards lie face down on the palm with the thumb on top. The left hand stays put for the moment and in that moment the left thumb triple lifts the top three cards and moves them over the left edge so they overlap the rest of the pack by about a quarter-of-an-inch. Now using both hands the cards are fanned with the remark, " You were good enough to thoroughly shuffle this red backed pack of cards ... I want your help still further ... I want you to give me a number between one and fifty-two. Nineteen. Thank you very much." The fan of cards is closed but in closing the cards the stack of three cards is kept positioned and so with the number given, the counting commences.
The right thumb as the left hand comes in pushes off the top three cards as one and the left hand takes them as one card. The next card is taken in front of the three, the performer counting " two." The next card goes across as " three," but at the same time the left thumb under cover of the take pushes across the rearmost red backed card. (This method of false counting is a great favourite of Francis Haxton's and was first described by him in " Nonsuch Prediction " which was published in this magazine some 12 years ago, a fine effect which is still as effective to-day as it was then.)
Now at this point the magician has a bunch of four cards in his left hand with a blue backed seven of hearts at the rear. He continues counting off the cards from the right to the left hand and as he pushes off the eighteenth card with his right thumb and it is taken in front of the batch held by the left hand, the false count move is repeated and this time under cover of the take the blue-backer is left behind the cards held by the right hand. With the count of " nineteen," the blue backer is pushed off by the right thumb and taken by the fingertips of the first and second fingers of the left hand. The packet of cards held by the right hand is placed on the table and then the blue backed seven of hearts with face towards the audience is stood against the glass on the table. The cards in the left hand are then added to those already lying on the table.
The gentleman with the blue backed cards is now addressed. " Sir, please remove the case of cards from your pocket. I wish you to take the cards from the case (performer takes case from him and drops it into pocket) hold them face up and counting carefully note the position of the seven of hearts in the blue pack." The spectator counts through finding fifty-one cards but no seven of hearts. Picking up the red backed cards from the table, the performer with the backs of the cards towards the audience leafs through them at the same time saying ..." From this red backed pack . . . one card was freely chosen . . . don't you think it something more than a coincidence, that the choice fell upon the only card that had been removed from the blue backed pack." As this is said the seven of hearts is turned round to show its blue back. " And of course to make quite certain that there could be no confusion, I placed the seven of hearts from the red backed pack inside this envelope." As this is said the left hand removes the envelope from the inside pocket. It is opened and the red backed card removed and shown.
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