This effect is not new. Mixing cards and having them magically un-mix has been previously done before in manifold ways, but this approach is more convoluted than most versions and features special elements. Suppose that the audience is fast company. This is the procedure that unfolds:
Effect: A red and blue deck are ribbon-spread face down to disclose the backs of each. The same decks are spread face up to show a random mixtures of cards. To further off-set any suspicion that the decks may be prearranged, each deck is shuffled by the spectator. Finally, both decks are shuffled together. These shuffles can be face up or face down or a combination of both. There is no doubt that the decks have been fairly shuffled.
The uppermost or first twenty-six Red cards are placed into one portion, then the remaining twenty-six Red cards are placed into another portion. The first twenty-six Black cards are put into a packet, leaving twenty-six Black cards to form a fourth packet. Both the magician and spectator has a Red and Black portion. The magician asks, "How many red cards do you want to exchange for black cards?" The spectator removes the chosen number of Red cards from his Red packet—say, ten cards—and exchanges them for ten Black cards from the magician's Black packet. This process is repeated with the other two Red and Black portions.
The four portions are reassembled into a Double-Deck. This enlarged deck is cut in half and each half (full deck) is spread face up to show a red-black mixture of suits. However, when the decks are flipped face down, the color of the backs have unmixed into a full Red deck and a complete Blue deck.
On the surface, although using over a hundred cards may at times seem unwieldy, the exact effect is outlandish and puzzling. As far as presentation is concerned, any topical theme is apt. One deck could represent "America" and the other deck represents a foreign country. "America" is a melting pot. The subject of integration is another tack.
Method: The secret of this routine is simple. Two Stripper decks are used. Before you wince and turn away, it is important to study how these gaffed cards are handled. This makes a difference. You must be able to quickly discern the narrow and wide ends of the decks. If you are not sure, edge-mark the left side of the wide end in each deck.
Introduce both decks by spreading each face down to show Red and Blue backs. Flip each deck face up to show a red-black mixture of cards. Scoop up the Blue deck and Riffle Shuffle the cards face up. Table this deck face up with its wide-end to the right.
Scoop up the Red deck and repeat the face-up Riffle Shuffle. Table it face up with its wide-end to the left. Grasp each deck for another Riffle Shuffle, this time doing a Closed Shuffle to interlace the inner left and right corners. Push the decks into each other and square-up. Since you are working with two complete decks, be sure to push the decks together at least an inch before squaring-up. This prevents the uppermost cards from falling away from each other. Shuffle them once, then turn the Double-Deck face down.
Ribbon-spread the cards to clearly show a Red-Blue mixture. There will be long runs of one color, but this will provide an excuse for further shuffling. Say, "The cards should be mixed more thoroughly." Scoop-up the Double-Deck, turn it face up, and add: "It's rather difficult to shuffle two decks at once, therefore I'll cut the number of cards in half."
Cut off half of the Double-Deck and give it a couple of Riffle Shuffles. The next phase needs to be done quickly and casually. In one simulated undercut, strip out all the wide-end cards to the right. Complete the cut by placing the right-hand cards onto the face of the halved Double-Deck. Repeat this procedure with the remaining cards.
Depending on which "half" was used for the first shuffle determines the disposition of the backs at this stage. For example, if you started with the Blue deck on your left and the Red deck on your right, after the actions, the upper portion of each half will be Blue backs and the lower portion will be Red backs.
The next shuffle retains the color separation. Riffle Shuffle both halves, making sure that only the respective colors are riffle-meshed together. This can be done without hesitation if you make sure that the wide-ends of the uppermost cards in each half are to the left and right respectively. The thumbs of each hand can easily engage the wide ends of each half because of the natural steps.
Lift up at these steps, press inward, and maintain a slight separation between the Red and Blue cards with your thumbs. Now the requisite segregating Riffle Shuffle is trouble-free and can be executed without hesitation. The Double-Deck is now back into its initial shuffled condition. (Note: There is an interesting visual subtlety at work here. Keen-eyed observers may notice or remark on the uneven or ragged appearance of the sides of the cards. If so, you can say that it is caused by using two different decks. Think about what happens, especially the fact that the uneven condition remains after the last shuffle.)
Pick up the Double-Deck and hold it with the faces towards the spectator. Deliver your patter spiel about mixing students, ethnic groups, or immigrants. Say, "I'll remove the first twenty-six red cards!" This suggests that the backs of this group will consist of mixed Red and Blue cards.
Place each Red card to your right, audibly counting them as you do so. As you come to the Black cards, simply toss them face up in front of yourself. When 26 cards have been culled, pick up the tabled Black cards and place them onto the face of the talon in your left hand.
Remove the remaining 26 cards by spreading all the cards between both hands and letting the Red cards fall face up in front of yourself as you come to them. Place these cards to the left of the first Red portion. You are left holding all the Black cards. To keep matters clear, designate the first Red packet as A and the second Red packet as B. Move all above B. (Fig. 1) Using the remaining Black cards, count off the first 26 cards and place them at the upper left corner as designated packet C. The remaining black cards, packet D, is placed at the lower left corner. (Fig. 2) The following exchange of cards between packets is shown by the arrows and represent a crisscross handling. Ask the spectator how many cards he wishes to exchange from packet C. Suppose he says ten. Remove ten cards from different parts of packet B as the spectator does likewise with packet C. These exchanged cards are subsequently shuffled into its opposite packet. In other words, the ten cards from packet C are Riffle Shuffled into packet B and viceversa.
Make sure that the top (face) card of each packet remains on top. The exchanged cards are shuffled into the opposite packets. Repeat this procedure with packets A and D, using a different number of cards chosen by the spectator. Use a V-type Dovetail Shuffle since each packet is situated in an awkward position in the layout and will have to be repositioned for a conventional, longitudinal Riffle Shuffle.
Assemble the cards in the following sequence, picking up each packet and placing it face up in your left hand: Pick up D. Place B onto D. Place C on B-D. Place C-B-D on top of A. Pick up the assembled Double-Deck and place it face up in your left hand. If you examine the sides of the Double-Deck you will see a step demarcating the two decks.
Cut off the uppermost deck with your right hand and spread the cards face up from left to right. Spread the remaining deck face up below the first spread. Point out that everything looks heterogeneous and the cards are really mixed. Flip over each spread to show the remarkable color separation of backs and say, "In reality, nothing has changed!"
April 1, 1980
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