John Derris

IT IS no idle boast when I tell you that I have had more reaction from laymen with this trick than any other close-up trick I have ever performed. The effect is really a combination of two existing card tricks—Dai Vernon's "The Travellers" and AI Baker's "Vanishing Pack," for features from both these wonderful items of card magic have been incorporated, but the routine is, as far as I know, original. The success I have had with this effect is due entirely to the straightforward presentation which culminates with an extremely strong climax; in short, it is the ideal layman's trick. This is the effect:

The magician shows the four aces and the pack. The cards are fanned and the four aces are inserted into different parts of the pack which is then shuffled and cut. The magician then tells the spectator that he will cause some of the aces to travel to different pockets of his suit and he would like the spectator to watch very closely to see if he can see them actually leave the pack and pass to the pockets.

The pack is riffled and the magician removes one ace card from his inside breast pocket. The pack is riffled again and this time he removes an ace card from his trousers pocket. Picking up a handkerchief he says that he will cover the pack and try to detect the last two aces in the pack with his fingertips. Reaching under the handkerchief he removes a card which is shown to be a third ace card and reaching under a second time he removes a card which is shown to be the fourth and last ace. He goes on to say that the spectator is probably wondering why it is so easy for the magician to locate the aces in the pack under the handkerchief. Actually, he says, it is quite easy for in his pack there are only four cards and as he says this the handkerchief is shaken to show that the pack has completely disappeared. All that is left is the handkerchief and the four aces on the table. Believe me, the look on the face of the spectator when you shake the handkerchief to show that the pack has vanished is worth all the work I've ever put into magic.

Now for the work that goes on behind the scenes. Other than the pack of cards you require two duplicate cards of two of the aces. This may be the point of departure for many purists but in my own opinion the effect fully justifies the use of duplicates. Still with me ? Good. Then let's go on. The four aces are on the table, with the handker chief, the pack is in your hands and the duplicates are in your pockets. For the purposes of description let us say that the two duplicates are the ace of spades and the ace of hearts. The former is in your right trousers pocket and the latter is in your left breast pocket of your coat.

The pack is fanned and held in the left hand and with the right hand you pick up either the ace of hearts or the ace of spades and push it halfway into the fan of face up cards near the left hand side of the fan. The next ace to be picked up is the other card a duplicate of which you have in your pockets, andthis is pushed into the pack in a similar manner approximately halfway from the edge of the fan. Ihe remaining two aces are also pushed into the fan so that they are equally spaced from the other cards. The fan is closed with the aces still projecting and you now perform the multiple shift to bring all the aces to the bottom of the pack. If you are not familiar with this useful sleight may I refer you to Dai Vernon's description in his trick "The Travellers" published in the "Stars of Magic" Series, or alternatively Ed Mario's handling of the move in his book " Mario in Spades."

With the four aces now on the bottom of the pack which is held in the left hand you now lift the top card of the face down pack with the right thumb and then double undercut the pack so that the top card is transferred from top to bottom. The pack is now shuffled and cut so that the bottom five cards of the pack are not disturbed, and it is then turned face up and fanned ensuring that the aces are not revealed to the spectators. You state that as the pack has been shuffled it is now impossible for you to know the exact position of any one particular ace; the fan is then half closed from the right and then with the left thumb you slide the bottom card to the left as you split the pack in two and place the packet in your right hand on top of the packet in your left hand. This brings the four aces immediately to the bottom. Needless to say this is done with the faces of the cards towards you so that the spectators do not see the aces. The pack is turned face downwards and held in the left hand with the right hand on top. The right thumb runs two cards off the bottom of the pack, the left little finger holds a break and the right hand is removed. Stating that you will make an ace pass to your breast pocket you riffle the top left hand corner of the pack with your left thumb at the same time making a throwing motion towards your coat pocket with your right hand. Asking if the spectator saw the card pass you reach into the pocket with the right hand and remove the duplicate ace of hearts.

You tell the spectator that he now has a second chance to see if he can spot the card passing to the pocket and this time you inform him that you will make the card travel to the right trouser pocket. Again you riffle the corner of the pack with the left thumb and make a throwing motion with the right hand toward the trouser pocket, turning the body to the left so that the pocket faces the audience. As you turn the body the left hand holding the pack moves back until it is positioned just over the left jacket pocket and as you remove the ace of spades from the trousers pocket you allow the pack to drop into the left coat pocket, retaining your grip on the bottom two cards below the little finger break. The ace just removed from your pocket is placed on to the table and at this stage the cards held in the left hand come into sight again. These two aces are held high in your hand so that they appear as a full pack; the only thing to watch is that you keep the backs towards the spectators and do not reveal the sides of the cards. The handkerchief is picked up from the table and thrown over the left hand holding the " pack " and the cards are held upright so that the outline of the top of the cards is seen through the handkerchief. The left finger and thumb hold the cards near the top so that when they are removed the shape of the " pack " is assumed by the fingers. Stating that you will locate the last two aces in the pack with your fingertips you reach under with your right hand and remove one of the aces, show it, and place it on the table. You reach under again and remove the last card, retaining the shape of the cards with the outstretched left finger and thumb.

You now patter about being able to find the aces so easily and as you tell the spectators that you have only four cards in your pack you take a corner of the handkerchief with your right hand and make as if to throw the pack in the left hand into the air. As the handkerchief floats towards the floor you take hold of the other corner with the left fingers, shake it, fold it into four and place it on the table with the four aces.

Well there it is—believe me, if you bother to try this on laymen you will be well rewarded in satisfaction. One or two observances and historical notes. Although in my own opinion, the trick is excellent it does have its limitations, and many of you will have realised this in reading the routine. The one thing against it, is that it is not angle proof. Performed for a group of spectators directly facing you there will be no trouble in ditching the cards without attracting attention to the move; but if you have spectators situated either side of you, you can be sure that some of them will see your arm movement as the cards are dropped into the pocket. The misdirection of removing the ace from the trousers pocket as you ditch the cards is very strong but there will be some people who will catch the move, so remember, the trick is only suitable for performing to small groups of spectators and you must ensure that they are situated directly in front of you. I learned my lesson with this trick when I performed it at a close-up session at one of Harry Stanley's Sunday Shows. Under these conditions with people almost behind you it was madness to attempt the trick and all I gained from the event was experience — which made the attempt worthwhile.

Another point. I hope that you will not let the use of duplicates turn you away from this routine. Remember that that the pack is perfectly straight the whole time, enabling you to perform other card effects in a routine and finishing with this effect. I was wholly convinced that the duplicates were justified the day I showed the routine to a magician at a convention and he afterwards complimented me on my palming prior to producing the aces from the pockets.

MIND AND PATTER"

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