Edward Marlo

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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In Expert Card Technique (1946) there is a routine called "Rub-a-Dub-Dub" where a card changes and eventually vanishes. The magician seems to rub a single card on the table with the flat palm of his hand to produce each transformation. The original technique required a fake pick-off from the deck, plus superb timing and bold address. The following version is more deliberate and subtle. The principal card is actually taken and not re-stolen on the deck. It is then apparently rubbed against the table, then completely disappears.

Method: Following the same plot outlined in Expert Card Technique, control the chosen card to the top of the deck. Perform a Double-Lift Turnover to show an indifferent card. Flip the card(s) face down and push the top card to the right into an extreme side-jogged position. (Fig. 1)

Move the deck near the table-top, but do not place the right longitudinal side of the jogged card against the table as in the original version. Cover the supposed selection instead with your right hand. (Fig. 2

Your right hand cups the card slightly as though doing an obvious palm. Lift off the card in this position, then move your hand-and-card to the table. Once your right hand makes contact with the table top, completely flatten out your hand, keeping your fingers closed, and retain the card underneath in a Gambler's Flat Palm. This keeps the card in position as you rub it against the table in small circular movements.

Remove your right hand, then cleanly turn over the tabled card to show the selection. Replace the selection into the same side-jogged position. Repeat the actions done earlier, but this time remove the selection by catching the outer corners between the base of your right pinky and the tip of the thumb. The card is securely nipped in a Flat Palm position.

Move your right hand to the table and repeat the rub-a-dub movement. Afterwards lift your right hand upwards about two inches, keeping it flat and retain the selection in the Flat Palm. In this position, the card cannot be seen. (Fig. 3- an audience's view at this stage.)

Fig. 3

Your right hand momentarily remains in the position, then it transfers the selection from a Flat Palm to a Rear Palm as you appear to brush the table to show that the selection has completely vanished. This is the action: Lower your right hand slightly and curl your fingers inward towards the palm. Your fingertips touch the underside of the selection, automatically sliding it backwards into a Rear Palm position where it can be retained. Almost immediately your right fingers are extended, then are used to brush the table in a quick whisking action.

Figure 4 shows the position of your right hand during the whisking action, which is done with the fingernail side of the fingertips. After a couple of whisks, your right hand moves back to the tablets rear edge, whereupon the selection is lapped. (Fig. 5)

This technique was recorded on film by Jon Racherbaumer on January 21, 1972, but Marlo developed the handling many years prior.

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