Eugene Castillon

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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After showing Eugene Castillon my "Olram Aces" routine, he worked out his own combination. His intention was to create a viable variation with its own visually strong points. When you "go gaff" a certain price is paid. The following version justifies the cost.

Requirements: (1) A regular deck; (2) Three gaffed cards. Gaff A is an AC with a 10D index. Gaff B is a 3S with an AH index. (These are Hamman-type gaffs.) Gaff C is a Marlo Longitudinal-Split back with one side showing the 5H. Gaff C is also a pointer-card, hence can be used to indicate the relative positions of its split-back. In other words, when the point of the center pip is pointing south, the AH-side is to the right.

Set-up: Remove the regular 10D, 3S, and 5H from the deck. Arrange the rest of the cards, including the GAFFS, in the following order from the face: 8 indifferent cards - AS - 8 indifferent cards - GAFF C with the AD-side to the left - 8 indifferent cards - GAFF A with its faked 10D at the lower right corner - 8 indifferent cards - GAFF B with its faked AH at the upper left corner -13 indifferent cards - AC - AD - AH. Place another pointer card on the face of the deck to indicate how the deck should be initially positioned for the culling of the supposed Aces at the onset of the routine.

cards cards

Leader Pack

cards C

Method: Introduce the deck and place it face down in your left hand, positioning it so the indices of the gaffed Aces are at the upper corner. Spread a few of the uppermost cards to show the backs as you say, "Most card tricks begin by having someone pick a card, but this experiment is different. It uses four easy-to-remember cards, the nomadic Aces!"

Close the spread and flip the deck over sideways, bringing the indices of the gaffed Aces to the upper left corner for culling. Spread the cards between your hands to upjog the supposed Aces. This action will simulate Marlo's Unit Upjog Addition, except no secret additions are made. When you come to the regular AS, upjog it fairly. It provides cover for the subsequent gaffed Aces. Upjog the next three Aces (?) when you come to them. These will be the AD, AC, AH. Be careful with the AD and AH gaffs for obvious reasons.

Once the supposed Aces are outjogged, strip them out with your right hand. Hold them in your right hand with your thumb above, fingers below. Lever the deck face down with your left thumb, rotating it to the right in a sideways direction. Place the deck face down onto the table. Flip the face-up Aces sideways into a left-hand dealing position.

Perform an Elmsley Count to apparently show four backs, placing the last card of the count on top. Explain: "These nomadic Aces have peculiar powers once you activate them a little." Remove the uppermost two cards without disturbing their order with your right hand. Move them together in a rubbing action, then replace them underneath the squared pair in your left hand. Flip the cards sideways and spread them again to show the Aces. Drop them face up onto the table in this spread-condition. Their order from the face (top) should be: AS - AH - AD - AC.

Say, "We also need twelve more cards for this experiment." Pick up the deck and hold it face down in your left hand. Thumb over twelve cards into your right hand without reversing their order. Place the deck aside.

Turn the 12-card packet face up into your left hand. Get a left pinky break above the three bottom cards. You are now set to perform Marlo's display-and-laydown sequence from the K-B-V Ace routine. To wit: Peel off the face card with your left thumb as your left hand simultaneously steals the three bottom Aces underneath this peeled card. All four cards are pulled off in alignment; however, your left pinky retains a fine break between the stolen Aces and the peeled indifferent card. Peel the next card fairly. As the third card is peeled onto the others, re-steal the two indifferent cards above the break under the right-hand packet. It should appear as though you have peeled three indifferent cards in the following order from the face: X - AC - AD - AH. Place these cards face up on the table as a squared unit.

Repeat the above peeling action as you apparently take three more indifferent cards; however, on the second peel hold a break under the peeled card, then re-steal it under the right-hand packet as the third card is peeled. Place these two cards face up on the table, above and to the right of the tabled Leader packet. Peel the next three indifferent cards fairly and place them face up to the left of the two-card packet. Fan the last three cards, square them, and place them face up at position A in the layout. The whole layout should appear as follows:

At this stage the assumed Aces must be placed under specific packets in the layout. Because of the gaffs being used, a special procedure is used to prevent exposure of the gimmickry. Pick up the supposed Aces, keeping them spread, and hold them face up and by the ends with your right hand.

Pick up Packet A with your left hand and hold the cards in a Mechanic's Grip. Lower your left-hand fingers and grip the packet at its upper left corner between your thumb and the lower part of your first finger. This is a modified thumb clip. The cards rest an inch above the thumb crotch.

Holding the three-card packet in this grip, insert the lower right corner of the packet between the supposed Aces third and fourth from the top (AC - AD). Slide the entire packet to the right until it is aligned with the bottom Ace, which is then clipped underneath. Withdraw the left-hand cards and replace them face up on the table at position A. Repeat this action with the AD and Packet B, the AH and Packet A. Each supposed Ace is placed underneath its respective packet, which is replaced on the table in its original position. This leaves a single face-up AS in your right hand. Flick it to emphasize its singularity, then place it face up on top of the tabled Leader packet.

You are now ready to begin the transposition/transition phase: the invisible movements of the nomadic Aces. Pick up Packet A and spread the cards to show the AC on the bottom. Square-up and flip the packet sideways into a left-hand dealing position. Reverse-count the cards, reversing their order and bringing the gaffed AC to the bottom.

Grip the packet at its lower left corner and tilt the packet upwards to show the AC on the bottom (face). Your left fingers cover the faked 10D index. Lower the packet back face down, then perform an Elmsley Count to apparently bring the AC to the top. This displaces the gaffed AC and you are in position to perform the first vanish.

Spread the cards, then turn the lowermost three cards face up. This must be an end-over-end turnover. Replace the top card, which is still supposed to be the AC. Re-spread the cards, showing three face-up indifferent cards and a face-down card on top. The gaffed card is face up on the bottom with the 10D index showing. Lift off the top card with your right hand, snap it, and show its face. The AC has disappeared. Place this indifferent card face up on top of the others, then turn all four cards face down and drop them to the table.

Pick up the Leader packet and spread the uppermost two cards to reveal the AC third from the top. Re-square and replace the Leader packet into the tabled layout. Pick up Packet B and spread the cards face up to show the supposed AD on the bottom. Square up the cards. Transfer the top card to the bottom. Turn the next card face down and transfer it to the bottom. Perform a Triple Turnover, turning over the block sideways. Next turn the entire packet over end-for-end. Flip the top card face down. Slide out the bottom card, turn it face down, and replace it on the bottom. Perform an Elmsley Count to show three face-down cards and a single face-up indifferent card. Spread the cards to show the same disposition. The gaffed card is now on the bottom with the back-side showing. The patter ruse for these foregoing actions is: "Watch closely. I'm going to move the cards around in a topsy-turvy manner. Keep your eye on the Ace of Diamonds."

Continue: "If I remove these two cards, you have a fifty-fifty chance of guessing which one is the Ace." Your right hand reaches over and takes the bottom (gaffed) card by its upper left corner and flips it face up to the table. Handle the top card in the same fashion. This leaves you with a face-up and face-down indifferent card. You should get a mild chuckle from your 50-50 line. Turn the face-down card face up, show both sides of these cards, then use them to scoop up the tabled pair. Turn all four cards face down and end-over-end, then casually spread them to show four backs. Drop the cards in this fanned condition face down on the table.

Pick up the Leader packet and spread the cards, holding the last two as one to show the arrival of the nomadic AD. Next use Racherbaumer's bit from "Olram Aces." Openly remove the indifferent card from the Leader packet with your right hand and discard it face down onto the others. Say, "This time I'll make it easy for you. Three Aces are here and one Ace remains in the last pile. Keep your eye on this Ace of Clubs."

Square-up the three (?) Aces or deal them face down as in the "Olram Aces." Insert this Leader packet under the back edge of your close-up pad. Leave about half the packet exposed. Pick up Packet C, the final two-card pile, and merely slide the lowermost gaffed card to the left. This side-jogging action exposes the AH index. Push the supposed AH flush and flip the cards over sideways.

Perform an Elmsley Count, counting three as four. This action apparently brings the Ace to the top (?). In reality, it would not do this; however, most people's spatial perception is faulty. Regardless, take the top card and position it for Findley's Tent Vanish. Perform the Tent Vanish as you appear to take the top card into your right hand. Show your right hand empty. The final Ace is gone.

Using a Stud-Type dealing action, place your right hand thumb under the upper right corner of the top card. Grip this corner and turn the card face up in a forward end-over-end movement. This is the gaffed AH/3S. The audience will see a 3S. Flick its corner to emphasize its singularity, then toss it face down onto the rest of the discards. Handle the remaining two cards in the same way. The Ace has really disappeared. Remove the Leader packet from under your close -up pad and cleanly show all four Aces to conclude the routine.

This routine is difficult to read and readily follow. It is best to run through the steps with an actual set of cards. After several dry runs, the routine is quickly learned and performed. The most important bits are the turnovers. Some are sideways, others are end-over-end. Keep your wits about you. Those familiar with Brother John Hamman's Final Ace routine will understand. One more thing: Do not handle the gaffs as though they were made of wafer-thin egg-shells. Be nonchalant ad do not let your thinking show.

July - 1976

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