MY first meeting with Graham Adams was in the year 1931, when on the 30th January, under the Chairmanship of Douglas Dexter, he gave a lecture to Magic Circle members which was called simply, "S. W. Erdnase—His Book". It was an outstanding event in that year of the Circle's history and as a permanent record there is, in the library, a full copy copiously illustrated with first class photographs, the work of one of Graham's fellow Order of the Magi members. That is going back a long time, but the thing that struck me so forcibly at the time was the tie-up of entertainment with skill. So many who dabble with cards so often turn into mere puzzlers, but always with Graham skill goes hand in hand with mystery. It is a great pleasure to put on record this present compilation which so exemplifies the attributes of Graham. The articles are not the product of 1959 for they were in fact all written between the years of 1927 and 1940. In brief and non-illustrated form most of them appeared in Wilford Hutchinson's excellent "Conjurer's Chronicle". Intended for book publication they have now been edited by George Armstrong and illustrated by Jack Lamonte. Those readers who require good entertaining card magic, which necessitates some, but not illimitable, skill, are well catered for. Read on the first instalment.
IN my opinion one of the most beautiful card experiments is David Devant's "Triangle"; it can be performed in any large theatre, in a small hall or in a drawing-room, and everyone can understand what is going on. My objection to this effect was the difficulty in getting the prepared cards. "Steamboats" were easy enough to strip and glue together again; other cards did not take so nicely to the treatment and after a time the pack looked shabby and one had to start again.
I am lazy in manufacturing things like these, and until Edward Bagshawe placed the cards on the market some years before the late war it was impossible to obtain them. During a period in Army Concert Party (in the War before the last) when cards were not too plentiful, I decided the illusion had to be performed by sleight-of-hand. Here it is.
All readers will know of "The Triangle". The plot is the main thing. A pack of cards is shuffled and placed on a small table while a male member of the audience is invited to assist the conjurer; he is seated at the table.
The pack is again shuffled and the assistant counts 26 cards face upwards on the table. He shuffles the remaining cards, cutting them and placing the cut portions face to face.
A piece of ribbon about eight yards in length is handed to the assistant. He finds the middle of the ribbon and winds it about his face to face packet of cards. One end is given to a lady in the audience, on the right; the other end to a lady on the left. This is the "Eternal Triangle"—two ladies and a man.
The conjurer then takes the remaining 26 cards (those just counted on to the table) hands them to the lady on the right of the audience, placing the cards face down on her open right hand. He walks away and asks the lady to look through the cards and think of one card, to square them up and hold them out on her hand as they were given to her. The performer then takes the cards to the lady on the left of the audience and asks her to do likewise.
As each lady hands back the packet of cards the conjurer asks her to will her card to leave her hand, pass along the ribbon and enter the packet held by the mere man.
The packet of cards is handed to the assistant. Each lady is then asked the name of her card and the assistant is asked to deal the cards face-up on to the table, counting them as he does so. He finds that the two selected cards are missing.
On unwrapping the ribbon from around his cards and searching among them he finds two extra cards, and they are the two chosen cards.
So much for the effect. It is, to all intents and purposes, that of our late Master, David Devant.
Eight yards of ribbon and two packs of cards of the same make, back design and condition.
Take a new pack of cards and give it a thorough shuffle. Then count twenty-six cards from the pack.
From the other pack sort out the same twenty-six cards. These packets we shall call "A'' and "B" respectively.
One of the remaining packets is called "C". The fourth packet is discarded.
Packet "A' is placed on "B". Any two cards from "C" are placed on packet "A". This pack of 54 cards is placed on the table. The packet "C' is in the left-hand trouser pocket.
"A" and "B" can be false shuffled very easily. First run the two top cards. Then run the others a few cards at a time uni.il nearing the middle of the pack. Then run the cards singly until past the middle of the pack, after which they can again be run in small packets.
This leaves the cards in their packets with the two odd cards on the bottom of the pack.
Ask the assistant to count twenty-six cards from the top of the pack on to the table. Then he is to cut the remainder about the middle and place the cut packets face to face. He is handed the ribbon and wraps its middle portion about the face to face packet. Hand the ends of the ribbon to the two ladies. The packet of cards in the ribbon is packet "A" with the two odd cards.
Take packet "B" to the lady on the right of the audience and place it on her outstretched hand. Ask her to think of one of the cards in the pack and walk away while she looks through the cards. She is then to offer you the cards as she received them.
As she hands you the cards she is to think of her card and "will" it to join the cards in the ribbon.
Repeat this with lady No. 2. In taking the cards from her palm packet "C from the left-hand pocket, face of cards to the palm. (Figure 1). Take the cards from her in the right hand and place them in the left hand, across the palmed packet, as you ask her to "will" her card to join
those in the ribbon. (See Figure 2). Now make the "Hellis Change" to switch the two packets.
This change is made as follows: The right hand apparently takes packet "B", thumb at back and fingers at front, to place it on the table. As the hand covers the cards packet "B" is palmed in the right hand. (Figure 3). The right hand then moves slightly to the right and grips packet "C" between the thumb and fingers, as shown in Figure 4, and this packet is immediately placed on the table as you address the assistant. The work is now over.
Each lady names her card and the assistant is requested to deal the cards (packet "C") face-up on the table, counting them as he does so. There are, of course, only 24 cards, and the two mentally selected cards have vanished. While he is thus counting, casually dispose of the palmed packet in the right trouser pocket. The assistant then opens his packet and counts 28 cards, and amongst these he finds the two mentally selected cards.
ERNEST NOAKES, in his "Magical Originalities" (1914), described his method of performing A. Roterberg's "Ne Plus Ultra" from "New Era Card Tricks'.'
I liked the simplicity of the Ernest Noakes version, but did not like the idea of dealing four heaps of four on the table, although I used his method until about 1920.
In this version very little skill is required, the effect depending chiefly on showmanship. Only five cards are selected by members of the audience; they are replaced in different parts of the pack, which is shuffled and given to two members of the audience. It is best to have these two seated at a table in the middle of the room or on the stage, the performer mixing with the audience and find ing the selected cards by touching the fingertips of the selectors.
The conjurer then calls: "The first card is the four of hearts and it is the fifteenth card in the pack.'" The committee of two count the cards face upwards on the table, hold up the fifteenth card which proves to be the four of hearts, replace it and then square up the pack. No 2 is the Ace of Spades and is the 32nd card. No. 3 is the Ten of Clubs and is the 21st card. No. 4 is the Seven of Clubs and is the 26th card. No. 5 is the Two of Spades and is the 10th card.
Each card is discovered at the position in the pack named by the performer.
The five cards are forced. The performer can either have the five cards on the bottom of the pack and force them straight away, or the pack can be shuffled (keeping the bottom stock in place), after which the first card is forced. Then the remaining cards are forced, with a brief and casual shuffle in between each force. I use the latter method.
Instead of taking the cards back in the same order:—
Take No. 2 first.
In collecting the cards, when approaching No. 2, make a break with the little finger of the left hand, about two-thirds down from the top of the pack, fan the cards from the left hand into the right. When five cards from the end of the fan (i.e. from the break) grip all those above the five cards in the fork of the right fore-finger and thumb, the five cards being held by the main packet above and the second, third and little fingers underneath. ('Figure 5).
Lift or tilt the cards in the right hand, including the five cards, and the spectator places his card on the packet in the left hand (where the break was held, (Figure 6).
Close up the cards, pushing the five cards into the left hand and immediately make a new break above the five cards with the left little finger. The remainder of pack is closed up over the break. (Figure 7).
Then go to spectator No. 4, fan the cards as before, separating four cards from the end, immediately above the break. Number four replaces his card at the break, the pack is again closed and a new break is made above the four cards.
Repeat, separating five cards, and have number three replace his card. Hold break above the five cards.
Repeat, separating four cards, and have number one replace his card. Hold break above the four cards.
Repeat, separating nine cards, and have number five replace his card. Hold break above the nine cards.
The sequence is easy to remember:— five, four, five, four, nine. The performer who can thumb-count can dispense with the last fan, having number five replace his card at the previously made break, close the pack and in doing so quickly thumb-count nine cards from bottom of right hand packet on to the replaced card, holding the break above these nine cards. This is the method I use myself.
Make the pass at the last break, or shuffle off the top cards.
False riffle shuffle and hand the cards to the committee. Then go into the audience and apply your powers of showmanship to the discovery of the cards.
They will be in the following order:—
As the committee count the cards face-up on to the table, have them show the appropriate card, replace it on the pack and then replace the dealt cards on top.
This method has the advantage over the others of being short, leaving the time for the performer to discover the cards and, after all, the effect is in the discovery, isn't it?
(A LETTER FROM JOHN P. HAMILTON continued from Page 55)
to have the black card from the blue deck jump over into the red deck and the red card from the red deck jump over into the blue deck. In other words they are going to change places. You explain that in order to accomplish this it will be necessary to place the decks close together, in fact on top of one another. You then place the face-up "Red" deck on top of the face^up "Blue" deck.
Here is where big hands help. Pick up both decks and with your left thumb riffle downward along the corners and stop when you hear the corner short click by. Obtain a break beneath this card and hold the break with your left little finger. It is necessary now to "pass" the cards below your left little finger to the top of the double deck. You do this by performing the Hermann pass as you turn the double deck face down and spread it across the table.
You spread the cards out until the face-up cards show. You then realize that you have failed in your endeavour. However, you end triumphantly when you show that though the faces didn't change the backs did.
JOHN P. HAMILTON.
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