Effect: The classic Chink-a-Chink routine where four objects mysteriously congregate.
Requirements: (1) Four Black checkers. (2) Two Red checkers. These are double-thickness checkers made by gluing two checkers together.(3) A jewelry box to hold the checkers.
Set-up: Three Blacks and one Red are kept in a container such as a jewelry box prior to the performance. An extra Red and Black checker are in the performer's lap. The Red checker should be placed on the lap or left thigh on your actual person. The Black checker should be placed on the chair between your thighs or on your right thigh. (Fig. 1)
Method: The jewelry box is brought into play, opened, the checkers are removed and placed into the basic starting positions with the Red checker in the upper left corner of the tableau. Using appropriate patter, the effect is introduced. During the introductory patter, gesture several times, subliminally showing that your hands are empty. During this spiel, relax, and drop your hands into your lap. Lean back and look at your audience. Your left hand classic palms the extra Red checker. Eventually, both hands are casually brought back onto the table, relaxed and resting on the table' s surface at the rear of the tableau.
Attention is directed toward the Red checker as the left hand picks it up and openly places it into the right hand. The checker is placed in the center of the palm so that it can be easily classic palmed during the subsequent Shuttle Pass. The right hand apparently transfers the Red checker to the left hand, executing the usual "pass" technique just cited, which is primarily featured in coin magic. The right hand retains its Red checker as the Red checker in the left hand is exposed.
When the left hand picks up the Red checker prior to the "pass," the performer should fix his attention on it. As the "pass" is executed, the performer looks away from the Red checker and looks directly at a spectator, while exhaling and relaxing. The "pass" itself must be executed at an even tempo, neither quickly nor slowly, but casually. Deep concentration during rehearsals and proper timing and breath control are essential. Do not laugh about breath control. The martial arts of the Orient have used this principle for centuries. It is an integral element of karate and recently the same principles have been applied to golfing. Actors and singers use breath control.
The purpose of the "shuttle pass" is not a gratuitous one. While apparently showing a checker, both hands have been subliminally shown empty. The left hand places the Red checker on the table in its original position (Position I) at the upper left corner. The right hand, still palming a Red checker, covers the Black checker at Position II. Simultaneously, the left hand covers the Red checker at the upper left corner or at Position I.
The hands are lifted and shift positions. The right hand covers the Black checker at the lower right corner or Position IV as the left hand covers the Black checker at the lower left corner. Again, the hands lift and shift positions. These shifting movements are usually construed as demonstrations of possible combinations and as preliminary testing, all designed to stimulate interest in the impending phenomenon.
The right hand covers the Black checker at the lower left corner or Position III as the left hand covers the Red checker at the upper left corner or Position I. Finally, the right hand covers the Black checker at the lower corner or Position IV as the left hand covers the Red checker at the upper left corner or Position I. The left hand covers the same Red checker twice in succession.
Now the hands are lifted simultaneously as the right hand leaves its palmed Red checker along with the Black checker originally placed at Position IV in the lower right corner. (Fig. 2) The left hand, of course, classic palms the Red checker at its position in the upper left corner or Position I. This represents the first obvious transition. That is, not only does a unit number apparently transpose, but a specific unit number, namely the bright Red checker.
At this stage of the description, a digression about the technique for covering the checkers with the hands will be useful. The hands are more or less cupped. That is, begin by putting the first, second, third, and fourth fingers together, then outstretch them so that the palm is flat. The thumb is brought alongside and its first joint from the distal tip is moved upwards and is likewise outstretched until it is aligned with the first finger's second joint from the distal tip. This causes the entire hand to take on a cupped "tent-like" appearance. This is an exaggerated position of the hand. Then move the thumb slightly backwards until its distal tip is aligned with the first finger's second joint or knuckle. This position should feel very comfortable. The position of the thumb also "blocks" the "thumb-side" of the hand's "cup" while the closed fingers eliminate any "windows" from the top. In this position, if a checker is "covered," a spectator viewing from any angle cannot see the covered checker.
It is also important how the "cupped hand" is lifted from its "covering position." The hand must be lifted by raising the heel of the hand first, the fingertips last. In fact, the hand almost "springs" off the fingertips, although this lifting, lilting action must be very slight. It should be relaxed and graceful without being affected.
Getting back to the routine, as soon as the first transposition is obvious, immediately go into the next sequence or frame: The left hand, still palming its Red checker. covers the Black checker at the lower left corner at Position III. Simultaneously the right hand re-covers the Red and Black checkers at the lower right corner or Position IV and classic palms the Red checker. The hands are lifted disclosing a second transposition. (Fig. 3)
Without hesitation, the right hand moves to the upper right corner or Position II and covers the Black checker there. The left hand covers the Red and Black checkers at the lower left corner or Position III and classic palms the Red checker. Once again the hands are lifted and a third transposition is disclosed. (Fig. 4) Again, let me digress. When the hands are lifted, they move back to the edge of the table and drop there relaxed and naturally as Slydini taught us. Simultaneously, you exhale the breath you took and held as the checkers were initially covered. This action is repeated with every transposition sequence.)
At this stage, you have Black checkers at the lower right and left corners and upper right corner. There is one Red checker at the upper right corner and one Red checker secretly classic palmed in the left hand. The right hand moves over and picks up the Red checker at the upper right corner or Position II, holding it between the right thumb and lst/2nd fingers. This Red checker is apparently transferred to the left hand; however, the "Shuttle Pass" is executed. The Red checker in the right hand must be moved from the fingers to the classic palm just prior to the Shuttle Pass. As soon as the pass is completed, the right thumb and lst/2nd fingers pick up the Red checker from the middle of the left palm. This picking-up-passing-picking-up action is very convincing and natural-looking.
The right fingers drop the Red checker back into the left hand and drops naturally onto the table near the back edge. The left hand then moves underneath the table as the right hand moves over and covers the Black checker at the upper right corner or Position II. (Fig. 5) You are then apparently going to have the "mysterious Red checker" penetrate the table from underneath. While under the table, however, the left hand leaves the Red checker in the lap and classic palms the duplicate Black checker. After hitting the table from underneath, the right hand is lifted, leaving its classic palmed Red checker with the Black checker, disclosing a fourth transposition/penetration.
The right hand slides both Red and Black checkers from the upper right corner to the center of the tableau. Now the right hand picks up the Black checker from the center and transfers it to the left hand, once again executing the "Shuttle Pass" as previously described. This pass is done almost absently as you look at the spectator. Sometimes it will be more natural for you to use the left hand (with its palmed Black checker) to pick up the Black checker from the center of the tableau and place it into the center of the right hand (classic palm position) just prior to the "Shuttle Pass" maneuver.
After the "Shuttle Pass," the right hand will be classic palming a Black checker and the left hand will be holding a Black checker. Again the hands have been subliminally shown empty except for apparently one checker. The left hand now places the Black checker at the lower left corner or Position III.
The right hand (with its Black checker still palmed) picks up the Black checker at the lower right corner or Position IV and places it in the left hand (in the usual central position). The "Shuttle Pass" sequence (which should be familiar to you by now) is repeated from left to right. The right hand returns its Black checker to the lower right corner or Position IV. The usual rests, breathing, timing apply to every sequence.
The left hand (with its Black checker still palmed) covers the Red and Black checker in the center of the tableau as the right hand covers the Black checker at the lower right corner or Position IV. The hands are lifted, the right hand palming the Black checker it covered and the left hand releasing its palmed Black checker. This is the fifth transposition as two Black checkers and a Red checker are disclosed in the center of the tableau.
For the sixth and final transposition, the right hand immediately covers the two Blacks and one Red just disclosed, as the left hand covers the remaining checker at the lower left corner or Position III. Finally the hands are lifted, with the left hand palming the Black checker it covered. The right hand releases its classic palmed Black checker.
Clean-up: The left hand picks up each Black checker from the center of the tableau, placing one of the three into the right-hand classic palm position. The usual "Shuttle Pass" is executed as the three Black checkers are apparently transferred from hand to hand. The tag line is, "That's how you play Tibetan Checkers!" The Shuttle Pass is made on the words, ". . . and that's how you play. . . " On the words, "Tibetan Checkers", the left hand extends itself towards the spectator. Look directly at the spectators and relax, as the right hand drops to the edge of the table and laps the extra Black checker. You are clean and the Red and Black checkers in your lap may be picked up and placed aside at any opportune moment or at the conclusion of your close-up act.
The whole routine lasts only 60-80 seconds, depending on the pace and patter line. It moves along quickly and should be done smoothly. There should be no deliberate or jerky pauses prior to the "Shuttle Passes." The plastic checkers are very light and easy to palm because of their milled edges. The bright Red checker makes the entire routine very "definitive" and, as many have commented, creates a different effect.
Multiple Sandwich effects are rare. This version was inspired by Roy Walton's "The Collectors," which appeared in Abracadabra. Later, Walton published "Finders Keepers" in The Devil's Playthings (1969) where two selections end up between the AC-2C-3C. Although Walton expressed some nice subtleties, his handling put the sandwich-cards into the deck by a straight cut to ostensibly to find the selections. If the handling is done smoothly, spectators admire your skill as a clever manipulator, but if they seek the most logical explanation, they will likely stumble onto a general and perhaps correct solution.
When they see the result, the corollary is to say, "The magician physically put the two selections between the three face-up cards." Your quick rejoinder might be, "Of course! But how?"
Listen to Dariel Fitzkee: "The average spectator is positively not interested in how a trick is done." In other words, most lay persons are not interested in the details of how the selections end up between the other cards. If they seek any solution, they will be content with a generalized explication. Regardless, the magical impact of the effect have been minimized or lost, while the alluring aspects of the puzzle is preserved.
Marlo's approach is not necessarily better than Walton's approach. It is qualitatively different. The quality of Walton's potential effect is changed, making it more magical and closer to being an impossible enchantment. A spectator may still say, "You did something tricky! You must have done something. Look what happened? You put the cards between the Aces because they are now there!" Even though they say this, they will not be satisfied with their solutions, if they have any. That is the qualitative difference.
Effect: Four Aces are shown and are placed aside, face up. Three selections are made and the deck is cut several times and shuffled. The four Aces are openly placed face up on top of the
Summer - 1969
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