Hoover Cards

This is a funny, very commercial routine which I'm using regularly in my professional close-up program in restaurants and night-clubs. Basically, it's a card revelation. I use it as one of a series of revelations. The cards are selected, returned to the deck, controlled to the top and then revealed in different ways. In the beginning, the unsigned cards are produced (I use Piet Forton's Pop-Out Move, color changes, etc.). The last revelations are so seemingly impossible that I have these chosen cards signed by the spectators. For this revelation a signed card should also be used because of the unusual place in which the card will be discovered.

Preparation: You have to go to a toy shop and obtain a children's vacuum cleaner — see Figure 1. It works with four batteries in the handle and is about twenty inches long.

You will have to modify the operation of the engine. It is normally switched on by pressing a button. First, unscrew and open the plastic housing of the vacuum cleaner so you have access to the cable which goes from the switch-in-button to the engine. The idea is to disconnect that cable in the vacuum cleaner. You cut off this cable and fix it to a separate electric cable with a large electric plug on the other end — see Figure 2.

This separate electric cable is about thirty-five inches long. In order to put the plastic housing together again, drill a little hole through the plastic for the extra cable.

You will also need a ten-inch long electric extension cord with a female plug on one end and a safety pin attached to the opposite end. Inside the female recepticle, you must wire the two prong channels together as shown in Figure 3. If you now put the plug into the female cable, the power circuit is closed and you can switch on the vacuum cleaner.

Finally, if the bag of your vacuum cleaner doesn't have a zipper (for removing the dust) you will have to sew a zipper in — see Figure 1 again. Cut a slit in the side of the bag and you are ready.

Setup: The vacuum cleaner is behind your table on a chair or in your close-up case. The zipper of the bag is closed, but you should have access to the inside of the bag via the slit in the side. The extension cord is pinned inside the right arm-hole of your jacket.

Performance: When you are ready to produce the signed card, bring it secretly to the top of the deck. Say that you have a new invention with which everybody can find selected cards. It's foolproof. Palm the top card in your right hand and spread the cards from left to right on the table.

Reach with your right hand for the vacuum cleaner behind the table and quickly fold the palmed card using the Mercury Card Fold from Expert Card Technique, pp. 305-306. Slip the folded card through the slit in the bag and immediately display the mini-vacuum cleaner. This should get a laugh.

Take the electric cable with the plug in one hand and look for a wall socket. Most likely the cable won't be long enough. Explain that you have your own socket and pull the plug and cord out of your jacket into view. Put the plugs together and push the button on the vacuum cleaner. The engine will kick on. Say that you have only to "hoover" over the cards and the selected card will automatically adhere to the vacuum cleaner.

Make a little mess with the cards on the table and run the vacuum cleaner. The suction of the engine is strong enough to pull in a card. Of course, the card can't go into the vacuum cleaner, but it can cling to the vacuum's mouth.

Announce that the card that is sticking to the vacuum cleaner is the selected card. Turn it face-up. It's the wrong card, of course! Search a bit through the spread on the table. Then act as if you have an idea. Unplug the vacuum cleaner from the cord under your coat and the engine will stop! This should also get a good laugh.

Ask the spectator to open the zipper and look into the bag. He will find a folded card...his signed card!

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