Breakless Curry Change

Edward Marlo

This special technique was originally slated to be in Breaking The Circle, a restricted journal catering to cardmen interested in finer points of technique, advanced handlings, approaches to effects, and those concepts that often separate advanced cardmen from consummate experts. In the last three years, this technique was demonstrated to a select few. It is now published to reveal possibilities perhaps overlooked by complacent students.

Over the years, the Curry Change has been avoided by many cardmen because it is a difficult technique to execute flawlessly. In nearly every case, misdirection (besides the natural one of the other hand simultaneously doing something like turning over another card) is necessary. Certain technical tip-offs remain. When Marlo published his modification, some of the usual fingering hook-ups were eliminated. In the following method, the usual breaks are not held on the card or cards to be exchanged. This enables the you to make the change more slowly and deliberately. If properly performed, it can done with practically no tip-off, even from the vulnerable back end where the break is held.

Method: Suppose you have a card face down on the table and you want to exchange it for the top card of the deck. The tabled card should lie lengthwise with its short end towards you. Your left hand holds the deck in the Mechanic's Grip with your first finger curled around the front end of the deck. Your left hand reaches over to apparently turn the tabled card face up. (Fig. 1)

Your left first finger digs under the upper left corner of the tabled card, while your left thumb presses down on the tabled card and keeps it in place during the "digging" action. As your left hand reaches for the tabled card, your left thumb pushes over the top card as your left second and third fingertips drop below the top edge of the deck, permitting the top card to move and slide over their tips.

Your left fourth finger remains stationary at the side of the deck as your left first finger presses down on the top card, aiding in keeping it in place. (Fig. 2) This shows the position of all your left fingers at the moment the top card is slightly angled over, then kept in place by your left first finger at its second crease and your fourth fingertip. Your second and third fingertips scarcely touch the face of the top card. Study Figure carefully, keeping in mind that this get-ready with no break is made as your left hand turns palm downwards for the tabled card.

You are now in position and ready to turn the tabled card over. Note that the back of your left hand is to the left and is not facing the front. Continue the turning action, bringing the tabled card to a position where its top left side is aligned with the top left side of the deck. (Fig. 3)

This position is attained by your left hand moving down towards the tabled card rather than lifting the tabled card to your hand. The tabled card's bottom right side is always pressed against the table top. Figure 3 shows the back-end or performer's view at this stage. At this stage, the top card is still in place.

Your left hand continues moving downwards on the tabled card until its upper left side is past the deck's upper left side. (Fig. 4) This is an exaggeration of the action for purposes of clarity and is shown from the performer's view. As the by-pass action is made, your left hand simultaneously moves closer to the table's surface so that it is almost palm down against the table.

Your left first finger is still between the tabled card and the rest of the deck. (Fig. 5) At the precise moment your left hand is in the position shown, your left first finger moves out from between the tabled card and the deck. Then your left thumb moves to the extreme upper left corner of the deck and keeps the by-passed card in place as your left hand moves away to the right, leaving the top card of the deck in view. (Fig. 6, which shows the top card coming out.)

In order for the top card to come out as shown, it is necessary for your left fourth fingertip to move upwards very slightly and free the top card from its grip. There should be no movement or extension of your left fingers as the exchange is made. All of your left fingers should remain more or less immobile, except for the secret actions performed during the exchange.

The action is continues and your left hand moves to the right until the top card is clear of the deck. When it clears, your left hand moves towards yourself in a natural-looking following through. (Fig. 7) Remember: The first action is to your right, then it moves towards yourself. Now the exchange is complete. The tabled card has by-passed the left side of the deck and is kept in place by your left thumb as your left fingers release the top card of the deck, letting it fall out and face up to the table.

When it is required to exchange a number of cards, it is necessary to pre-position the top cards of the deck. Obtain the usual left pinky break under the desired number of cards. Suppose the number of cards is four. Your left thumb, at the upper left corner, performs a Block Push-Off of the top four cards as your left second, third, and fourth fingers drop down to permit their passage so they are slightly angled off the deck.

Your left first finger is around the top end of the deck. Your left fourth fingertip then moves upwards to engage the right side of the four cards. Your left thumb at the upper left corner hides the angled top cards. (Fig. 8) With the four cards positioned in this way, your left first and fourth fingers keep these cards anchored in place. Your left second and third fingertips are below the block of cards and are lightly touching the face, but not pushing up on them so that a break or separation is formed between the top block and the rest of the deck.

Once this position is attained, the rest of the action sequence is the same as the one used for a single card, but do not move your left thumb until your left hand is palm down and reaching for the tabled cards. In other words, do not expose the angling of top cards at the upper left corner.

This technique will take practice and experimentation to master the knack of the change. Those who have already mastered the Marlo-Curry Change will be able to quickly master this technique. Remember to keep the action close to the table. The deck's lower right corner should brush against the table top when the change is made. This ensures that the tabled card being held back is pressed flush against the top of the deck. This prevents this back corner from moving downwards away from the deck. The Angling Technique using single or multiple top cards can also be applied to the Visual Retention Change.

Chicago -1969

Cardmen are seldom inspired by reading technical descriptions. The more specific and detailed these description are, the less enthused they seem to be. Illustrations or photographs help, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing the technique expertly executed. Having seen Marlo perform this technique, we were inspired to try explaining it. We hope you will study and practice this technique. There are many remarkable effects to which it can be artfully applied.

This technique is demonstrated in the video, "Prime-Time Marlo." The footage came from a super-8 film I shot in 1972 in Marlo's kitchen. Not only could he flawless execute this technique, he could perform the Curry Change and leave a double-card on the table after making the switch. This is also shown on the film.

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