Effect: From a packet of face up and face down cards a chosen card is caused to vanish, then reappear in a face-down packet.
This effect, while being somewhat pedestrian, is an object-lesson on thoroughness of thought or what might be referred to as "creative follow-through." Quite often, cardmen are struck with superior ideas; however, their inspiration fills them with excitement and temerity. They seldom develop their idea or principle or premise as fully as possible. Thus, the "improvers" amongst our gentry recognize the superiority of the idea, the lack of full development, and rush to salvage the situation. The Improved Version is born, dies, re-lives, dies, and is born again, sitting at the right hand of some Expert. Sometimes the Process of Improvement is evolved slowly, almost dim-wittedly, inconditely, sometimes accidentally, by a host of improvers—each taking it a step further. Others, more cautious, patient, and arrant, take their own steps to their farthest reaches. We should be more careful and keen with our ideas. Sometimes, for the sake of practice, we can examine a card-problem, a potential effect, and improve it because it is literally unfinished and undeveloped. This is the lesson of this effect and its second reason for being.
This effect basically appeared in the Genii (September - 1969), titled "Where Has It Gone, " by Hideo Kato. Marlo usually hesitates claiming that any method is an improvement over another. This method, however, describes a handling that is definitely an improvement, a betterment that should be obvious to those comparing the handlings. Marlo has eliminated the packet turnover, the necessity for riffling off cards, holding a break, doing a triple card push-off, and some of the confusion of the original procedure. Besides this economizing of both techniques and apparent actions, Marlo's method is an easy one for the average performer. Perhaps most important of all is that the performer can show both packets cleanly. Neither apparently contains the selected card. Yet, immediately afterwards the selection makes a surprise appearance—face-up in a face-down spread.
Method: Without calling any special attention to the number of cards used and without any undue strain of keeping count while alternating the cards, the performer alternates fourteen cards, face up and face down.. The following is easy for keeping track of the required number, while simultaneously letting you patter during the process.
Push over the top card with your left thumb, taking it into your palm-down right hand—thumb underneath, fingers on top. Turn your right hand palm up, bringing the pushed-off card face up. Push a face-down card onto the right-hand hand. (Fig. 1) Both cards are dropped to the table as you mentally noted a "pair." This same action is carried out until there are seven pairs on the table, one on top of the other, forming a packet of alternated cards. The rest of the pack is placed aside.
Pick up the alternated packet and spreads it between your hands. (Fig. 2) This spread is squared, openly turned over, then re-spread to show the other side. During this procedure, ask the spectator to choose any face-up card from either side of the packet. After he has decided on a card, ask him to name his choice. Square the spread and obtain a left pinky break below the selection. (Note: Normally the spectator will name a face-up card that is centrally located. If he names a card near either end, simply cut the packet to centrally position the card.
Say, "I will shake your card out of the packet!" Deliberately cut off the cards above the break with your right hand, holding them from above and by the ends. (Biddle Grip) Give this packet a slight shake above the table, then casually place it under the left-hand cards. The ruse of this magical gesture is to cut the cards and maneuver the chosen card to the bottom of the packet.
Deal the first face-down card to the right and say: "This cannot be your card." Deal the next face-up card to the left, adding, "This isn't it, either."These patter lines are repeated in an alternated fashion for each face-down and face-up cards. The cards are alternately dealt into face-down and face-up packets. As each card is taken by your right fingers, it is taken at the extreme right edge, in the center, and between the right thumb (top) and first/second fingers (below). As your right fingers place each card to the table, let it snap off your right first/second fingers as it is pressed and released against the preceding cards already on the table.
Continue in this manner until you have only two cards remaining in your left hand. This double card is dealt onto the face-down packet on the right as a single card. It is released or dealt onto the tabled packet using the same, snapping action used on each card. Scoop up the face-down packet, turns it face up, and say: "Let's check these cards to make sure the selection is not here."
Thumb off the first face card, taking it with your right fingers on the face, thumb below, and replace it (after turning it face down) below the left-hand packet. Continue in this manner until a face-down card is again the top card of the packet. Immediately turn the packet face up, adding, "Perhaps I went too fast. Let's double check" Repeat the foregoing deal-and-duck actions as you apparently shown this packet again! This should pop the eyes of those who know the Genii version.
The left-hand cards remain there. Your right hand now openly picks up one card at a time from the tabled face-up packet. Turn them face down onto the cards in your left hand and continue in this manner until all the cards have been picked up. The audience has apparently seen all the cards, front and back. The selection is gone!
Ask the spectator to name his card again, then explain that you will make it magically reappear. All that remains is to softly riffle the assembled packet and ribbon-spread it face down on the table to disclose the chosen card face up in the center.
For an alternate climax, you can make the selection appear face up at a chosen number, restricting the choice to the number of cards in the packet. There are many methods for accomplishing this.
October 10, 1969
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