The Fourcard Trick

Bring out the packet, face-down, with the joker positioned third from the top. "I'm going to show you a trick with four trick cards. The backs are blue." Give the packet an Elmsley count, displaying four blue backs. The count brings the red-backed joker to the face of the packet. "But the faces are blank."

Return the packet to the left hand and spread over the top two cards, letting three blue backs be seen. Take the two spread cards into the right hand and briefly expose their blank faces to the audience. Then slip them under the packet and turn it face-up in the left hand. Perform a second Elmsley count to show four blank faces. "All one, two, three, four faces are blank. That's why they're trick cards." The joker is now at the back of the packet. Take the cards again into left-hand pinch grip.

"If I flick Lhe cards like this..." Give the packet a fillip with your right forefinger, " of them changes into ajoker." Count the cards into Lhe righL hand, mimicking the actions of the Elmsley count but counting the cards legiLimaLely. This brings the joker to Lhe face of Lhe packet. AlternaLively, you can steal the joker inLo Lhe righL hand and perform a color change Lo produce iL on the face of the packet,

"Now I want you to try Lo follow Lhe joker. It's a sort of three card trick wiLh four trick cards. To begin, I shall put Lhe joker Lhird from the top." Fan Lhe face-up packeL in Lhe lefL hand and place Lhe joker second from Lhe face. Then, beginning at the rear of the fan, touch each card as you count iL: "One, Lwo, three."

Square the fan and turn Lhe packeL face-down in Lhe lefL hand. Make all your actions slow and deliberaLe. You wanL everyone Lo follow Lhe posiLion of Lhe joker. 'The joker is Lhree from Lhe Lop. If I count Lhe cards, that reverses their order." Do an Elmsley count. "So where should the joker be now?" Those who are paying atLenLion will say iL is second from the top, or perhaps third from the bottom.

"No, I'm afraid you weren't following it. It's on the boLLom." Turn Lhe cards face-up in the left hand and display the joker on the face of the packeL. Fan Lhe packet, further proving your point; then close the fan, procuring a left fourth-finger break under Lhe upper pair of cards.

"Look, I'll make iL easier for you. I'll Lurn the joker around." Bring the right hand, palm-down, to the packet and grip the two cards above Lhe break by Lheir inner righL corners. Turn the right hand palm-up, revolving the double card end over end and face-down. You should now be holding the double card by its ouLer righL corner. WiLh the left thumb, push over the Lop card of Lhe lefL hand's pair, and slip Lhe double card beLween Lhe two. Square the packet and turn it face-down, taking it into pinch grip for a count

Perform another Elmsley count, but with these alterations. After the count of two, when you have taken the face-up joker into the right hand, pull the upper card of the right-hand pair back slightly with the right thumb, letting a narrow portion of the lower card appear at the outer end. This makes it clear that the right hand indeed holds two cards, as it should. However, the portion of the lower card will be perceived by the audience as the white border of the back, when in fact the card is face-up.

Draw the third card onto the joker, but injog it roughly one inch. Then take the fourth card on top of all, injogged a half inch farther than the card below it. This creates a vertical spread with ail four cards in evidence and the face-up joker prominent among them (Figure 6).

"Now you not only know where the joker is, you can see where it is. The joker is the face-up card; one, two, three from the top." Tap each card with your left forefinger as you count it.

Slowly square the cards and return them to left-hand pinch grip, ready for an Elmsley count. "How far from the top is the face-up card?" They will answer, "Three."

"That's right," you say, performing the Elmsley count. "One, two, three from the top." The card that appears in the third position, though, is a blank-faced one. The joker is gone again. As you take the face-up blank card into the right hand, outjog it for half its length. Then take the last card on top of it, but in line with the other facedown cards.

With the cards still in the right hand, strip the face-up blank from the packet, turn it face-down and slip it under the others. Then take the packet once more into left-hand pinch grip.

"If I turn the face-up card face-down, all the cards are face-down..." Do an Elmsley count, showing four blue backs. However, when you count the fourth card, flick it with the left fingers, then slip it under the packet. Thus, the face-up joker remains third from the top, (This small variation in procedure is referred to in certain circles as an "underground Elmsley".)

Take the cards into left-hand dealing position as you say, "...except for the joker, which you remember is face-up, three from the top." Fan the cards, exposing the joker. "Do you follow?"

Extract the joker from the fan and hold it face-up in the right hand. "As a matter of fact, there is one easy way of finding the joker. It is a marked card. It's the only one of the four with a red back." Turn the joker over and display its back. Replace it in the fan, third from the top and, if anyone is interested, let them examine the cards. The packet, by the way, is now reset for the next performance.

The reader will have noticed that Mr. Elmsley refers openly to "trick cards" in his presentation. To some it may seem imprudent to suggest such things to the public, even when obviously unusual cards are in use. The existence of trick cards is hardly a revelation to laymen— most people suspect a magician of using them, until proven wrong. When Mr. Elmsley mentions trick cards in this effect, he does so with tongue firmly in cheek, as if he were toying with the audience's gullibility; and should anyone take the bait, they will be all the more bewildered when, at the finish, the cards are handed to them.

If you prefer to avoid obviously special cards like blank-facers, this trick can be done with a blue-backed three of a kind, like kings or queens, and a red-backed joker. This does add one discrepancy to the handling: in the first face-up Elmsley count, one king will be seen twice. However, experience has shown that such points are rarely if ever perceived by laymen, and the repetition happens only once, early in the presentation.

Mr. Elmsley would like to recognize his friend, Roy Walton, who contributed the idea of changing the face-up card in the packet, along with other suggestions that led to the refinement of this routine.


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