Brother John Hamman

This effect is Hamman's treatment of "Touch Turn" or "Twisting The Aces" (to use the popular title). Its exact date of origin is unknown, although it appears to have been developed around 1965-66.75

A characteristic Hamman kicker evokes a strong reaction because it surprises the audience. Whether or not it ultimately puzzles them is another question. Purists will debate the issue, so you will find an addition at the end of Hamman's routine. Take it or leave it.

Effect: The performer shows the Ace, Two, Three, and Four of Clubs. One at a time each card magically turns face up. A surprise climax occurs when the last reversing card, the Four of Clubs, changes to the Four of Hearts!

Set-up: Arrange the following cards from face to back: AC - 4H - 2C - 3C - 4C.

Method: Remove these five cards and place the deck aside. Square the packet face down in your left hand and say, "I'll show you something strange with these cards. I formerly used the four Aces, but one Ace looks too much like another Ace. So, I now use the Four, Three, Two, and Ace of Clubs." Your right hand comes over to take each card in a fan with the faces toward the spectator. Your left thumb pushes over each card so that it can be taken at its inner right corner. The 4C is initially taken, then your right hand returns the 4C and takes the 3C next to it. This is repeated with the 2C and finally the last two cards are taken as one.

The fan of ostensibly four cards is held face down in your right hand. Your left fingers come over and grasp the two (?) cards on the left side of the fan, holding them at the inner left corner. Both hands separate and turn palm downwards to flash the faces of their respective pairs. (Fig. 1) Say, "Just four cards that are easy to remember." When you bring the pairs together again, the left-hand cards go on top of the right-hand cards.

75 There is some mild controversy about this. Piet Forton published "Queenie" in The New Pentagram (April-1969). Forton was performing this routine during his first visit to the States and his routine differs from Hamman's in important ways. In Forton's version, the extra card is disclosed at the end. In Hamman's routine the extra card remains hidden. Both routines use different handlings. For example, Forton begins with two cards reversed. Hamman begins with all the cards facing the same way. Hamman's version closely follows Vernon's procedure, particularly first two reversals. Forton's routine has an interesting aspect: after each reversal, the cards are shown to be all face down.


Situation Check: The order of the squared packet in your left hand from the top down should be: 2C- 4H - AC- 4C- 3C.

Perform the standard Vernon opening to reverse cards. That is, perform a Quadruple Block Turnover, using a block pushoff or buckle action, and disclose the 4C face up on top. In reality, four cards are face up. They are: 4C (face-up) - AC (face-up) - 4H (face-up) - 2C (face-up) - 3C (face-down). The patter ruse for this turnover is: "If I were to turn a card over like this, you would see me do it, especially if you watched carefully!"

Turn your left hand palm down into a Glide position and slide out the 4C, which will be face down. Holding the 4C face down in your right hand, use it to point to the face of the 3C. (Fig. 2) Say, "I bet that most of you didn't know that the Four is heavier than the Three? It has more spots on it and this added ink makes it heavier."Turn the 4C face up, compare the two cards, then replace the face-up 4C underneath the face-up packet as you apparently face it properly.

Turn all the cards face down into your left hand and add: "This weight factor is very, very slight. It never affects card playing, but let me show you something it does affect."

Situation Check: The order of the cards from top to bottom should be: 4C (face down) - AC (face up) - 4H (face up) - 2C (face up) - 3C (face down).

Make a magical gesture by giving the packet the Vernon lateral "twist movement," tapping them, or executing a one-hand flexing action. Perform an Elmsley Count, putting the last card on top. The AC will appear to have magically turned face up. Say, "See? The lightest card turns face up first, but if I give the cards another magical gesture, the Ace will turn back face down and the Two will turn face up."

Repeat the Elmsley Count, placing the last card on the bottom of the packet. Time your actions so that the 2C appears face up as you say, "...Two turns."After the Elmsley Count the 2C will be face up on top of the packet. Say, "Let's openly turn the Two face down!" Perform another Quadruple Turnover.

Make a magical gesture and say, "Here comes the Three!" This time, spread the cards rather than performing an Elmsley Count. Your left thumb pushes over the first card, which is taken into your right hand. Your left thumb pushes over the next card, which is taken below the first card in your right hand. This action discloses the face-up 3C on top of the cards remaining in your left hand.

The face-up 3C is pushed off on top of the two right-hand cards. (Fig. 3) The two remaining cards in your left hand are held as one. This double-card is inserted between the second and third cards in your right hand. (Fig. 4) Note that the "double" is slightly injogged. Now when your right hand comes over to square the ends of the packet, your right thumb pushes down on the injogged card(s) to get a thumb-break on the uppermost pair.

Your right hand immediately lifts the top two cards, holding them from above and by the ends. Simultaneously your left hand turns its cards face up by moving your left thumb underneath the packet to lever it sideways to the right. Your left fingers spread these cards. (Fig. 5) Simply place the "double" in your right hand (apparently the face-up 3C) onto the face-up cards in your left hand and square them. Turn the packet face down.

Perform an Underground Elmsley Count, placing the last card on the bottom. 76 Say, "Here's the rub! The Four being the heaviest card is a problem. If the cards are face down, nothing happens. The cards must be face up."Turn the packet face up and spread the cards as follows: Thumb over the 2C from the face and take it into your right hand to expose a face-down card on the left-hand portion. Thumb over this face-down card, but take it below the face-up 2C in an outjogged position. As you move back to take the face-up AC, buckle the lowermost card as your right fingers take a "double" (AC-4C) in a slightly injogged position . (Fig. 6)

76 Robert Walker devised the useful term, Underground Elmsley Count, to indicate that the last card of the count goes to the bottom.

Your left fingers snap the remaining face-up 3C and places it face up between the "double" and the face-down card. Hold the cards in this irregular spread condition with your left hand as your right fingers cleanly remove the face-down card. Continue to hold this card face down as you say, "See how the Four turns over when the cards are face-up?"

Allow the basic effect to register, then add: "The part I don't understand is when the Four is wiggled, it changes color!" Wiggle the face-down card in your right hand, then slowly turn it face up to disclose the surprising change. Your right hand tosses the 4H face up to the table, then comes over to square the face-up cards remaining in your left hand. Finally, it takes these cards from above and by the ends as your left hand palms the bottom card in a Gambler's Cop. Your right hand tosses its cards to the table as your left hand casually drops to its side. The palmed 4C can be ditched in a pocket or added to the deck and you are clean.

September - 1969

Because of the procedure, the extra card tips off the method to fast company. Marlo suggests using a duplicate 4C. This might puzzle the wise ones. He also suggested evolving a method without using a duplicate so that the face-down card after the final twist is an indifferent card. But the real problem is to create a method so that the final reversed card is a Four and all cards are shown, AC, 2C, 3C, and 4C, with the indifferent card hidden or copped.

Was this article helpful?

+3 -1

Post a comment