Darting Double

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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Jon Racherbaumer

The bold practice of tossing a Double Card onto the table as a single card was first proposed by Edward Marlo in 1947 when he published "Marlo's Two Card Throw" in Marlo In Spades. Crediting Marlo as a source of inspiration, Howie Schwarzman recorded "The Impeccable Double" in Professional Card Magic (1961). This was also a toss-type technique. In Ibidem #26 (September-1962), Marlo released his shooting version in an article titled "How I Recall..." Recently C.F. James published a one-hand dealing flourish in The Magigram (January-1980) called the "One-Handed Trigger Spin Off Deal." This technique, curiously enough, is identical to one established by Neal Elias in Ibidem #26, taken from notes written in 1953 and dubbed as "A Card Spin." The only difference between the Elias and James versions is that the former is done with a two-handed get-ready and the latter is prepared with one hand. After the Elias item was published, Marlo applied the same principle to shooting a Double Card to the regular left-hand dealing position used in the Elias Card Spin.

Method: Hold the deck face-down in a left hand dealing position. Your right thumb lifts two cards at the lower left corner as your left thumb-heel moves in slightly to maintain a flesh break. (Fig. 16)

Your left first finger is curled around the front end of the deck. Your left second and third fingertips should just nip the upper right side of the top two cards. Press the heel of your left thumb inward at the inner end, thus slightly squeezing the Double Card and causing it to buckle in a concave manner. Continue the buckling action, which is minute and firm, until the card(s) slips off your left second and third fingertips. (Fig. 17)

Depending on the exact direction of the exerted pressure and the initial finger positions, the Double Card will dart off the deck straight away or with a partial counter-clockwise spin. Sometimes the card(s) flip over. Regardless, when the card(s) shoot onto the table, they will remain aligned.

This is a delicate, idiosyncratic action that requires practice and experimentation until you acquire a consistent knack in its execution. When it was reinvented, the get-ready was attained by performing a Hit Double-Lift Turnover and letting the card(s) fall into the Altman Trap position. Then shoot the card(s) onto the table as already explained.

March 16, 1980

The Double Lift is the most abused, indispensable sleight in card magic. Before Gregory Wilson produced his video, I planned to compile all the Double Lifts ever published into one book. Tossing a "double" onto the table or bar is very disarming and when Marlo demonstrated his shooting-sliding version, it floored everybody because he bounced the card(s) off the wall of the booth at Crandall's and the two cards stayed aligned. Not long afterwards, I heard that Persi Diaconis was showing the boys how far he could shoot a "double" across the top of a long bar. He stood at one end and shot a "double" that slid about fifteen feet. Before the cards came to rest, they apparently split apart. Everybody was amazed at the distance the cards traveled, but they were disappointed about the splitting.

Persi smiled and said, "Check them out!" Both cards were "doubles." This is the kind of event that creates legends.

This is basically a one-hand get-ready for a Double, Triple, or Multiple-card Lift or Turnover. Hold the deck in a left-hand Mechanic's Grip. Your left thumb releases two cards at the upper left corner. Your left thumb now presses gently against the two released cards until they are eased over to the right. This is accomplished by your left thumb pushing on the upper left-side corner of the released cards, while your left second, third, and fourth fingers simultaneously straighten slightly, permitting the released cards to jog over the deck at its upper right corner.

Your left thumb is automatically at point X. (Fig. 1) Also your left third finger is a controlling and stabilizing factor along the right longitudinal side of the jogged cards. You are now set to begin any kind of Double Lift or Turnover.

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