Sans Fronds

Dai Vernon is fond of posing problems for Phil to solve. Some months ago he described to Phil a routine he had seen done by Larry Jennings. The plot bore a relationship to some Elmsley effects: First, an unidentified "mystery card" was openly placed into the performer's coat pocket. Now, a freely selected (and, if desired, signed) card was sandwiched between two Jokers. The sandwiched card vanished from the pocket. The spectator reached into the performer's pocket and removed the single card therein...which proved to be the selection.

Larry had demonstrated the effect but once to the Professor. In describing the item to Phil, Vernon stated that there were no palming maneuvers involved. Knowing Jennings' style, Phil presumed that, in fact, there were such actions, but that they had not registered on the Professor upon first viewing. (Indeed, when Larry performed the routine for Phil the next night there were three such actions.) However, Phil was stimulated by the Professor's challenge to work out the handling described here.

Jennings' routine has since been published, entitled "The Mystery Card" (see West Coast Quarterly#1, Winter 1984).

The effect is impromptu, and there is indeed no palming required. This does not, however, render the working easy, as there is some delicate precision necessary in the areas of management and timing. You will need a pack of cards, with two Jokers. Your left jacket pocket should be empty.

Start by shuffling the pack. Explain that you will place a single card .into your pocket...a "mystery" card. Hold the pack from above with the right hand. The left hand openly removes the lowermost card. Explain that you do not want anyone to know the identity of this card just yet...

Now, you apparently place the lefthand card into your side pocket. In fact, you swivel the upper portion of your body to the left, and in the process of this movement the hands come together for a moment. As the hands "kiss," the left hand's card is simply stolen back beneath the deck in the right hand. This action is almost like doing a Bottom Change, but without taking the second card. The left hand continues moving around the side of your body, entering the side pocket and depositing the non- existant card there.

The above is an exercise in acting and timing. The steal of the card takes place under cover of a natural body movement, and at a moment just as the card is going out of view. Properly done, no one will consider for an instant that there is no card being pocketed.

Return to face the spectator. Go through the deck and openly remove the Jokers. Place these face-up onto the spectator's left palm. Now spread the pack and allow the spectator to remove any card with his or her right hand. Square the pack, holding it face-down in your left hand.

With your right hand, pick up the pair of face-up Jokers, and direct the spectator to insert the selection face- down between those two cards.

You will now steal away the sandwiched selection, with a simplified version of Rick Johnsson's "Empty Kosky Switch," as follows: The three-card packet is squared, and re-gripped with the right hand from above (the left fingertips can assist in this readjustment, but you should avoid allowing the packet to align with the deck during this).

The hands now come together, and the left thumb draws the top card of the righthand stock (a face-up Joker) onto the deck, outjogged for about half its length — Figure 1.

The next card (face-down selection) is drawn onto the pack, in alignment with the deck. The final card (face-up Joker) is taken on top of all, injogged for about half its length — Figure 2.

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