The Cardicians First Problem


" A RED DECK is spread face up while a blue deck is spread face down. The spectator is asked to think of any card in the face up red deck. Now while he is concentrating on this card he is asked to remove any one of the face down cards from the blue deck. Having done this, he next removes the card he has been thinking of. Needless to say both cards are identical and the spectator has done it all."

Actually the details of the denouement are not clear for there is no indication of how the cards are shown to be similar. Knowing well some of the tendencies of card technique, we can think of many who would pick up both cards and place them on top of one of the packs. We are assuming therefore that at the end of the effect after both cards are drawn from the two packs that the face down card is simply turned face up and it is seen to match the other card.

Our method is simple and based upon a logical breakdown of the effect. Two things are apparent (provided unfaked packs are used). The first is, that the face up card is freely chosen, and the second that if the spectator really pushes any card from the other pack, then, unless he is fortunate enough to strike the actual matching card, the card touched and withdrawn must be changed for one which matches the face up card. Few card table changes are fully effective or so they appear to us, with one outstanding exception, the Paul Curry " Turnover Change" and is upon this sleight that our own solution is based.

The performer will require two packs of cards, one with red backs and one with blue. In his left hand pocket he has a card index to contain a full pack of fifty two cards. Actually the backs of the pack in the index need not match either of the others thus allowing the use of borrowed packs, for the back of the card later taken from the index is never seen. With the index in place there is no other preparation.

The presentation follows the plot previously outlined. The blue pack is removed from its case and is spread, not in a straight line but in the form of an arc, one end of this arc starting at the middle of the left hand side of the card table and proceeding to the centre of the back of the table. The red backed pack is similarly spread face up at the right side of the table. The performer stands both hands in pockets and the

spectator is asked to think of any card then touch any face down card and slide it out from the face down spread. Next with the same card in mind, he is further requested to push the thought of card from the face up spread. Immediately the card is moved the performer locates its duplicate in the index, removes it and palms it in the left hand. The performer taking his time over this part, for slowness in action at this point is used in the patter to emphasise the impossibility of the feat, brings his hand out of his pocket and placing this hand over the face down cards on the right hand of table scoops up the spread adding the palmed card and at the same time remarking to the spectator, " I think, sir, you will agree with me that there was no way of your knowing which card you pushed out from this." As this is said the cards are turned face up and the right hand moves in to fan the cards and quickly flash their faces. As the cards are closed the left hand little finger come between the added card and the rest of the pack so that it is in the " get ready" position for the Curry " Turnover Change." The left hand drops to the side whilst the right hand scoops up the face up pack this time remarking, " but here sir the card you had in mind was in sight don't you think it rather strange that something like coincidence moved your hand and mind in each case and that the card you removed from the face down pack matches the one thought of and taken from the face up pack." As the performer says the words " face down pack matches," the right hand with the cards it is holding is pointing to the face up card, and the left hand comes up and in turning over the face down card executes the " Turnover Change" revealing the matched cards.


Pri*e Winner, I.B.M., Edinburgh, 1953

" I want, dear Mr. Smith, to impress upon you that acting it the most important part of magic. That is a fact that many who call themselves magicians have never understood. As one of the visual art*, magic only exists when it it presented to a body of spectators, to an audience that is to say, when it is acted. Mastering the technique pf magic, the sleights and tricks with which the books are filled, and ignoring the acting of it, will produce a professor of conjuring but not a magician. Wilfrid Jonson, " Mr. Smith's Cuide to Sleight of H»nd "



THIS EFFECT is called by Mario, "The Spectator's Prediction." It goes like this :— " The spectator writes down the name of any card he wishes on a piece of paper. The paper is never handled by the cardician. The spectator himself isolates the pellet in a glass or on his person. Next a deck is spread face down and the same spectator pushes out any card. Later he opens his paper and reads out what he wrote. He himself turns over the card he selected and it proves to be the one originally jotted down." Mario adds to this . . . You think you already have an answer? " Come now, if you think about it, it can't be a forcing deck ! "

Now, first of all, this plot is not new in this country. In fact Jack Morrison has been performing the ultimate in this type of plot for many years. Jack, after spreading a pack face down on a table, asks a prominent member of the company present to think of his favourite card. This person is not a stooge. Another member of the audience, again neither stooge nor confederate, is asked to push out one card from the face down spread. The person thinking of the card is asked to name it, whereupon the member of the audience who pushed the card out from the spread is asked to turn the face down card over. It is the same as the thought of card ! That is pure magic for the performer never handles the cards after placing them on the table.

Mario, in describing this effect, reaches into the realm of the mentalist for the preliminary and seems to make out quite a meal of the method of obtaining the knowledge of what the spectator has written. Also in this problem he is more explicit, for at the end it is the spectator "himself" who turns up the card on the table. As a point in the presentation we should have thought it better for someone other than the spectator to read out what is on the billet for, after all, the spectator knows what he has written; he doesn't have to open a piece of paper to remind himself. Probably quite wrongly I am viewing the effect from a performing angle rather than that of the technician.

The logical breakdown of the trick resolves itself into:—

1 The knowledge of what the spectator has written.

2 That the card drawn from the pack must be subtly changed for that named on the paper or

3 With the name of the card known, that card must be forced from the face down pack.

First things first, it would seem that in a card trick the simplest method available for obtaining the information about the name of the card written on the pellet is by using a faked card case that carries a carbon at the back of one of it's side. A full description of this will be found in " Mental Bargain Effects " by Annemann. The result which is well known to readers is that if when the pack is in the case a piece of paper is placed on top of the case, any writing made on the paper with a hard pointed pencil or ball pointed pen will be duplicated on the face of the card immediately underneath the carbon.

Having knowledge of the card as the pack is removed from its case is only part of the trick. The really difficult part is to conform with the description given by Mario, which you remember goes on ... " next a deck of cards is spread face down and the spectator pushes out any card from the pack." Now if at this point there is to be no monkeying with the card that the spectator pushes out from the pack and as Mario continues . . . " Later he opens his paper and reads out what he wrote. He himself turns over the card he selected, etc ... " then quite obviousely unless he is guided in his choice of a card, the pack must be a forcing pack. Equally obviously we can be sure, taking into account Mario's last few words, plus the knowledge that Mario is an outstanding technician, that the use of an unlimited number of forcing decks is ruled out. Therefore, we come to two solutions, firstly that the spectator is guided in his choice the performer knowing the position of the card written on the paper (Milbourne Christopher suggests that the chosen card be brought to a certain position from the top of the pack, so that when the cards are spread it is easy to locate), or secondly the card drawn from the pack by the spectator is subtly changed by the performer before it is turned over by the spectator. Keep these alternatives in mind and go back to the point where the spectator has written the name of a card on a billet, an impression being obtained on a card on the face of the pack inside the case. The magician takes the cards casually and as they fall into his hand he notes from the impression on the face card the name of the card written down. Now for ease in working the pack is stacked in a known order. With it is an easy matter to locate the card and hold a break above it as so much of the trick as is necessary is unfolded. The cards are casually cut bringing the chosen card to the top. At this point Mr. Christopher brings it to eighth position by running off that number of cards from the bottom to the top, the cards then being spread and the spectator physically influenced into touching that card. An alternative not by any means certain would be to crimp the bottom card. Cut the pack again and in spreading the cards give the selected card just that extra bit of room that would make for easy touching and withdrawal of the card. Having got the card to the top of the pack, however there are means of changing the card pushed out by the spectator at random. There is of course the one chance in fifty-two that the spectator may actually draw the top card and you have performed a miracle for the other cards can be immediately turned over and shown. Let us take one method of changing the card and still allowing the spectator to turn over the card. It is this: the spectator draws a card from the spread and leaves it on the table face down whilst he goes through the performance of finding the billet and opening it. As he does this the performer scoops up the rest of the pack, squares it and places it down again on the table. The face down card is now openly dropped on top of the pack. The pellet being opened and the name of the card read out, the pack is taken with the dealing hand and a second dealt which means that from the spectator's point of view the card he took from the pack has been dealt onto the table. Actually it is the chosen card waiting to be turned over.

For myself, I feel that the effect loses nothing by the performer turning over the card providing this is done before the name of the card is read, aloud. The handling goes this way:—

The card is located in the stacked pack and brought to the top, the cards then being spread face down on the table. The spectator touches one card and draws it from the pack leaving it on the table. The remaining cards are scooped up by the performer with his left hand. He squares them up and with his third finger between the top card and the rest of the pack gets ready for the Curry Turnover. Taking a pencil from his pocket with the right hand (the fact that something, is held by the right hand gives the left hand an excuse for turning over the card) he points in the spectator's direction saying "First of all you wrote the name of a card on a piece of paper which was folded and placed by yourself in your own pocket. The name of that card is known to you and you only. Secondly, from a pack of cards you were asked to touch one and draw it from the pack. That card as you can see is the--of--

(At this point the change is made). Will you please hand the pellet of paper to your neighbour and ask him to read aloud the name of the card you wrote on the paper "... and then on to the remarks about coincidence.

There are of course many alternative endings to the trick once knowledge of the card has been gained. Any good force would achieve good effect, and here I think I would rather allow another of the company to draw the card rather than the spectator who wrote down the name of the card. Then at the end one can use the delightful Hofzinser sympathetic twist.

" I would impress upon you the importance of studying all sleights with intelligence and regarding them purely as examples. First try them as I have described them ; then see if by some alteration you can make them more suitable for your own hands. Try to do them also with objects other than those I have mentioned."

Wilfrid Jonson, " Mr. Smith's Guide to Sleight of Hand "



SOME TIME back in the last volume we wrote up an item which we entitled, " The Perfect Window Envelope." It was a device that we found quite useful and easy to handle. When Mr. Edmund Rowland came up with his idea of a reflector on part of an envelope and at the same time pointed out the illogicality of picking up a stack of envelopes when only one was needed we were suitably impressed.

Mr. Rowland's idea is an excellent one, but looking at it from many angles one is struck by certain limitations. In the first place written names would be difficult to read because the writing will appear to the performer to have been written backwards. Secondly the handling of the card is such that an inobservant spectator may imply that the card is twisted round giving the performer a glimpse. Thirdly the envelope, because of its preparation, must be spirited away by the performer.

None of this is written with the idea of belittling the idea of Mr. Rowland's but rather, because of the observations made regarding logicality, we started thinking about the handling of the window envelope in the most convincing manner. We did get somewhere and though there has been little added, that little makes a great deal of difference.

First of all we have dispensed with the more usual type of window envelope which involves the use of an envelope that must be retrieved and kept by the performer at the end of the trick.

Gone too is any idea of the use of a stack of envelopes. In its place we have adopted the published but lesser idea of a pay envelope with a slit across what would be the address side of a a business envelope. This slit is made breadthwise about half an inch from the flap end of the envelope. That is all you require apart from a visiting card, which if necessary may be borrowed.

Prior to using the device in a routine where it is necessary for the performer to obtain surreptitious knowledge of what a spectator has written, the envelope is placed slit side down on the table. In the performers pocket are a number of visiting cards or blank cards of a similar size.

Taking a pencil from his pocket, the performer approaches a spectator and taking a card hands it to him with a request that he thinks of a person, etc., and writes it upon the card, then turning the card face down. As he does this the performer turns away and picks up the envelope. Holding it in his left hand he approaches the spectator with the card, first takes back his pencil and then with the envelope slit side down against his hand and the flap end towards the spectator, takes the card still face down and very slowly and deliberately slides it apparently into the envelope. Actually of course it passes through the slit on the underside of the envelope all that is with the exception of an odd half inch which positions itself in the equally odd half inch of the envelope above the slit. The flap is folded over and the envelope back towards the performer is brought up with both hands to shoulder level. With a quick glance down towards the back of the envelope, the writing on the card protruding from the slit is duly noted and simultaneously the envelope is folded in half, the card being on the inside, and in this condition it is handed to a spectator with a request that he holds it very tightly until it is needed. This instruction is invariably adhered to for in the spectator's mind he will at all cost try and avoid your having further contact with the envelope. He is very unlikely to be aware that in so doing he is effectively concealing the protruding card.

When the time comes for the revelation of the name written on the card the performer takes the envelope in its folded condition steps back and unfolds it card towards him. The flap of the envelope is folded back, the card removed and handed to the writer for checking. The envelope is torn into pieces one tear coinciding with the slit, and dropped on the table or a chair.

" I would warn you at this stage against doing so much practice before a mirror. When once you have made some progress with a sleight you should practice without the mirror in front of you, for there is a danger of becoming so accustomed to your reflection that you will strange when there is only an audience in front of you. You must remember also, that the mirror gives a view of your work from one direction only, while it will be viewed when you are performing from many different angles." Wilfrid Jonson, " Mr. Smith's GuifJe to Sleight of Hand "




IN THE ' Edmund Rowland' issue, the author described an excellent effect in which after a number of spectators had inserted various coloured chips that they were holding into an examined box held by the performer behind his back he was without any undue trouble able to state which person had held each chip. Mr. Rowland as readers will remember recommended the use of a prosaic mustard tin suitably altered.

Now the other evening Jack Avis came up with his version and handling of the effect. First of all he had taken one of those little plastic boxes that Davenports sell together with a plastic die, and had made a suitable cut in the lid of the box to admit one poker chip at a time. Regarding the little fake that is slipped into the box, he had reduced the height of this. Best of all of Jack's suggestions was, that instead of holding the box behind the b^ck, the performer should drape a handkerchief over it lifting it as the spectator came forward with his hand to drop the chip through the lid. This is not only very convincing but the performer is able to give the box the necessary turns in a most unsuspicious manner.

Finally, though Jack didn't mention this, if you have the box and the die plus the trick that goes with it, you'll find that using the handkerchief method it is just as simple to tell the spectators the colours of their chips without removing the lid.

" Do you know bow to bow, Mr. Smith 1 There is a certain art in it.

A bow should be neither the wooden bending of the hips, nor an obeisance of the whole figure, but a graceful curve of whole body accompanied by an inclination of the head. Go to the theatre and watch an accomplished actor bow. Go, if you can, and see the Russian ballet. More can be conveyed by a bow than you have dreamt of in your philosophy." Wilfrid Jonson, " Mr. Smith's Guide to Sleight of Hand "

MAGIC-GO-ROUND—continued from page 63

magical press as a whole, of the cancellation of the event.

The illness of "Hen" Fetsch and the postponement of his lectures in London came as a great disappointment to all those magicians who had already profited by his originations and were anxious to meet this man of charm in the flesh. By the time these words appear in print we feel certain that he will have fully recovered and plans will already be under way for a definite appearance in the Metropolis.

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