Virtuosity

NO SLEIGHTS! NO GIMMICKS!

And best ofall, you get to play the violin!

This is absolutely one of the most entertaining and unique mental effects I've ever offered. Just read the description and then picture yourself standing in front of an audience performing this gem...and actually playing a violin, too! A charming, mystifying and reputation building show stopper.

EFFECT: The performer displays a packet of cards numbered 1 through 9. He asks any spectator to shuffle and cut the packet. The performer retrieves the cards and with his head turned away, moves one card at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom until the spectator calls "stop." With his head still turned away, the performer shows the bottom card of the packet and asks that the number on the card be remembered. The packet is cut and immediately dropped into the performer's pocket. Now, the performer asks the spectator to consult a printed "Music Selection Chart" containing the names of nine well known popular and classical songs. The spectator is asked to concentrate on the name of the song next to the number he has in mind. The performer states that he will attempt to tune in on the spectator's thought.

The performer picks up a realistic miniature violin and begins to actually play a song. When he's finished, the performer states that the selection he just played is "Minuet in G" by Johann Sebastian Bach. Now, the spectator is asked to call aloud, for the first time, the name of the song he's been concentrating upon. "Bach's "Minuet in G", responds the spectator. The performer and the spectator take a well deserved bow to resounding applause. Move over Jack Benny. Can be repeated again with a different result. Great for repeat shows. No...the violin is not gimmicked either.

This is WILD! You play the violin even though you've never had a lesson. And it will appear that you're playing it for real. No kidding! This beautiful and ingenious electronic violin is not a toy. As you draw the bow across the strings in time, the violin plays all the right notes. And you control the duration of each note. Included are laminated number cards, the Music Selection Chart and detailed instructions. And it's so EASY to do. No sleights! Nothing is gimmicked! Best of all, you'll not only get credit for reading the spectator's mind, but for your violin virtuosity as well. Several variations included for both close-up and stage. In addition, one of the principles employed can be used to accomplish several other mental effects. You will absolutely love this. Only $85.00 + $15 insured UPS. (Please, U.S. and Canada only!) Limited quantity! Each effect takes almost an hour to make and assemble. Send for "Virtuosity" today! You'll be glad that you did. As usual, satisfaction is guaranteed, or your money back. But hurry!

LARRY BECKER'S PROFESSIONAL MENTALISM

P.O. BOX 6023 • CAREFREE, AZ 85377 PHONE OR FAX • (480) 488-0980

Instructions for "Virtuosity"

Effect:

The performer displays nine number cards, 1 through 9. The performer then randomly selects a member of the audience to assist in an interesting demonstration of virtuosity. Virtuosity of the mind and musical aptitude. The performer asks the spectator to examine, shuffle and cut the packet of number cards to his hearts content. When the spectator is satisfied that the cards are well mixed, the performer retrieves the packet and states that to ensure a random selection, he will now transfer one card at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom until the spectator calls, "stop." Turning his head away, the performer begins to transfer the cards. When the spectator calls "stop", the performer displays the bottom card of the packet to the spectator as he tells him to remember the number he randomly selected. A number known only to the spectator. The performer cuts the packet once and immediately places the it in his jacket pocket.

The performer now hands the spectator a card containing nine popular and classical musical selections. Everything from Auld Lang Syne to Beethoven's Pathetique. The spectator is asked to locate the number he has in mind and to concentrate on the name of the musical selections next to it. As he does this, the performer picks up a beautiful miniature violin and a bow. Announcing that he will now play one of his violin teacher's favorite selections, the performer begins to play the violin. When he's finished, the performer states that his violin teacher was Jack Benny and the number he just played is entitled, "Minuet in G" by Johann Sebastian Bach. Turning to the spectator holding the Music Selection Chart, the performer asks him to read aloud the name of the song next to his randomly selected number. The spectator replies, "Bach's Minuet in G!" Both take a bow as the audience applauds.

Supplied: You have received the "Instant Virtuoso Electronic Violin." Believe it or not, as you draw the bow across the strings in time, the violin plays all the right notes. You control the duration of each note. And with just a few minutes practice, it'll appear that you are really playing the violin. While the violin is programmed to play eight timeless classics, for the purpose of performing "Virtuosity", you'll play the default tune, Bach's "Minuet in G." This is the first of the eight selections. To ensure the sequence is set to play the first piece, simply press the stop/reset button, the middle button of three, on the back of the violin. Note that there is no power switch. The violin is always in the standby mode, ready to play, providing the batteries are fresh. The violin takes just two (2) AA batteries (already installed). Since the batteries are relatively inexpensive, I suggest replacing them prior to your performance. Why take chances. To practice, press the bottom "demo" button on the back of the violin. Listen to the tune several times until you're familiar with the proper timing of the force song, "Minuet in G." For any directions I may have omitted, check the back of the box.

You'll be amazed how "real" your violin solo will appear to your audience once you've practiced the force tune a few times and have the timing down pat.

Also provided are nine (9) laminated "Music Selection Charts." The force song, Bach's

"Minuet in G" rotates its position from card to card. In other words, on the first card, the force selection follows the number "1." On the second card, the force selection follows the number "2." On the third card, the force selection follows the number "3." And so on, through the ninth card where it is listed following the number, "9." To execute the required force, there are nine (9) laminated number cards and nine (9) laminated Music Selection Charts. All cards have been meticulously made to exacting specifications relative to their thickness. Much trial and error went into creating a number card that would respond well to an overhand shuffle. Not too thick, not too thin. The cards have been laminated for two reasons. First, so they last for a long time. Second, to make the backs of the cards reflective. That's also why the cards were designed with black backgrounds and white numerals. That combination also makes the numerals highly visible to the audience. I tried every color combination possible, but the black and white worked the best. Try it. Hold one of the number cards in your left hand, number side down. Take a second number card and hold it so you can see its reflection in the back of the face down card. I'll cover the details on this later on relative to lighting, misdirection, etc. And what to do under adverse conditions.

To prepare:

With the violin and bow on the stand, place it on your table. The nine "Music Selection Charts" are placed in the following jacket pockets. Force cards #1 and #2 are placed in the inside left hand jacket pocket. They should be positioned with the printed side facing away from your body. The # 2 card is closest to your body. Position cards #3 and #4 in the inside right hand jacket pocket. Remember, the printed sides are facing away from you with #4 closest to your body.

Cards #5 and #6 are placed in your outside left hand jacket pocket. Once again, the printed sides face away from you with card #6 closest to your body. Cards #7 and #8 go in the outside right hand jacket pocket. Printed sides facing outward with the #8 card closest to your body. The final card #9 goes in your shirt pocket.

In my mind, I always think of the pockets as #1...#3...#5...and #7. These four "odd value" cards are the ones that are furthermost from your body. Later, when you determine the number selected by the spectator is, for example, #4, I immediately think of 1,2 in the left hand inside jacket pocket. 3,4 in the right inside pocket. Bingo! So the #4 card is closest to my body in the inside right hand jacket pocket. If the number was 3, I'd immediately know the odd numbered card is the outermost card in each pocket. If the number is even, then you know it's the innermost card, the one that's closest to your body. Once you burn this arrangement into your mind, locating the correct card is practically instantaneous. Of course if the number 9 is selected you simply take the 9th card from your shirt pocket.

I have the nine number cards in numerical order in a small leather credit card case. You could also just place a rubber band around them. Regardless of how you secure them, place the packet of nine number cards in your outside left hand jacket pocket, in front of the two force charts in that pocket.

For this version, that's it. You're ready to go to work.

To perform:

State that you are about to conduct a brief demonstration of virtuosity. Virtuosity of the mind and your skill as a violinist. Randomly select a member of the audience to assist you. I often ask the music lovers in the audience to please raise their hand. Then, I select my volunteer. You could, of course, use the time honored method of turning your back to the audience and tossing something light (a brick will never do) like a knotted napkin, over your shoulder. Then facing the audience you ask the person who caught it to stand. Have this person toss the napkin over his or her shoulder and the person who catches it is the one that you ask to join you on stage. In any event, the selection of the spectator is obviously a random one that you could not possibly control.

Remove the nine number cards and holding them in your left hand, with the numerals facing the audience, count the cards one at a time into the right hand. Hand the packet to the assisting spectator who should be standing to your right. Ask the spectator to examine and thoroughly mix the cards, number sides down, in the best way they know how. As you say this, mime an overhand shuffle to subliminally help them. When the spectator has done as requested, inquire if he is satisfied that the cards are well mixed, and that neither of you could possibly know the location of any particular number. As he agrees with your statement, extend your left hand, palm up. The spectator should respond by placing the packet, number sides down on the palm of your hand. If not, tell him to do so. Grasp the packet with the right hand, the right thumb at the inner short edge and the remaining four fingers at the outer short edge. Announce that you will now move one card at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom...and at any time that he wishes...the spectator is to call, "stop!"

Begin to transfer the cards one at a time, using the left thumb against the back of the top card to slide the card off the packet into the palm of the left hand. The left hand then deposits the card on the bottom of the packet. This is repeated with each card in the right hand packet until the spectator calls, "stop!" At that point, the right hand lifts the packet so the bottom card is facing the spectator. Ask the spectator to please (remember to be polite) remember the number he randomly selected from a packet of cards that he thoroughly mixed. As he's doing this, the right pointer finger which is resting at the top of the packet, moves over the top of the packet and pulls approximately half (it doesn't really matter how many) of the packet towards the performer in anticipation of the performer cutting the packet. The right hand, with the packet partially separated at the top edge, begins to move in a downward arc towards the waiting, palm up, left fingers. As the packet nears the left fingers, the right forefinger pivots the separated top half of the packet to the left. This packet is pushed near to the base of the left thumb which grips the half packet in the crotch of the left thumb. The right fingers bring the lower half of the packet up and over the half being held in the crotch of the left thumb. It's at this moment, as the right fingers deposit the half packet it holds onto the half in the left fingers, that the all important peek is obtained.

Again, to clarify the position of both hands at this moment...the former top half of the packet is in the left hand. This packet should be slightly tilted down with the back of the left hand facing the audience. The approaching half in the right fingers should approach the cards in the left hand, slightly tilted upward. If you were to glance at the back of the top card of the packet in the left hand, you should clearly see a reflection of the spectator's number on the card held in the right hand. (This painstaking description describes nothing more than the action of simply cutting the packet of cards number sides down).

Just as the right hand half packet is approaching the left hand half packet, stop when the two hands are approximately four inches apart, freeze both hands as you say, "By the way..." As you say this, get your glimpse of the reflected number and immediately begin to turn your head towards the spectator (directing everyone's attention towards him). Continue the statement, "you do remember the number you looked at, don't you?" If he answers in the affirmative, drop the right hand packet onto the left hand packet without looking at them. If he says he forgot, simply bring the right half back up so he can once again see his number, then proceed to drop the right half onto the left half without looking at them.

The glimpse takes only a fraction of a second, but that's all it takes to see the reflected number. Believe me, the misdirection pulls all attention away from you and directs it at the spectator. Timed right, they'll never realized you had time to see anything, much less a reflected image in the back of the card. By now, you're probably wondering, what if lighting conditions make it impossible to see the reflected image. Well, I always check the lighting conditions before the show. It only takes a second, and nobody knows you're doing it anyway. But, in the slim possibility that lighting conditions are really bad (of course, how will they be able to see you?) there are alternative methods. We'll cover those later.

First, let's continue to follow the action after you've completed the cut. Now, just before you place the packet of number cards in your left hand jacket pocket, in front of the two "Music Selection Charts," since you know the spectator's number, you also know which pocket to pull the Music Selection Chart from. For example, the spectator's number is "6." In your mind you begin to mentally travel from pocket to pocket beginning at the inside left as you mentally say "1." Then to the inside right, as you think, "3." Then to the outside left as you think "5." Bingo! You know that 5 is the outer card and 6 is the inner or closest to the body. Immediately reach into your left hand jacket pocket and leave the number cards as you withdraw the "Selection Card" closest to your body. If it's any of the other pockets, you put the numbers cards away as you say, "I'd like to show you a selection of several popular and classical songs. As you withdraw the "Music Selection Chart" it will be facing the audience.

Mention that there are nine well known melodies listed...from Beethoven's Pathetique to Auld Lang Syne. Hand the card to the spectator and ask him to concentrate on the song next to the number he randomly selected a moment ago. As he does this, turn to your table and carefully pick up the violin with your left hand, and the bow with your right. Hold the violin so the bottom (opposite end from the neck) is resting just below your left shoulder. It's at this point that I lightly pick the strings near the top of the neck with the fingernail of the left forefinger, making a disgusting "plinking noise." I slowly turn my head towards the audience and say, "Perfect!" I then begin to play Bach's "Minuet in G." Incidentally, looking at the first three fingers of the left hand as they mime the actions of a real violinist, helps you to move your fingers throughout the playing of the force tune. When I've finished, I turn towards the audience holding the neck of the violin in my left hand and the bow in my right...and bow from the waist. Your audience will applaud. (And with no lessons...what a talent!)

I state that the selection was a favorite of my violin teacher...Jack Benny. And the title of the piece is "Minute in G" by Johann Sebastian Bach. Turning my head towards the spectator, I ask him to read aloud the name of the selection next to the number he randomly selected. Naturally, he'll reply, "Bach: Minuet in G." I look at the audience and respond in my best Jack Benny voice, "What a coincidence!" (the emphasis is on the "what." I then ask the spectator to take a bow and as he does, so do I. Thank him for volunteering (?) and continue with the show as he returns to his seat.

The variations:

Here we go. You can use most of the following variations to perform Virtuosity depending on the venue and/or the conditions. While some are better suited to close-up, all can be performed, stand-up. As a matter of fact, one of the variations can be used to accomplish totally different mental effects.

Variation #1: All of the Virtuosity routines essentially produce the same effect. The only difference is how you get there. To begin, the first variation utilizes just one of the Music Selection Charts...chart #9. As you can see, the force selection, Bach's Minuet in G is the 9th selection on the list. This chart can be on your table, in full view, from the very beginning of the performance. Obviously, all you have to do is force the spectator to select the number 9...and you're home free. The finish of the routine is exactly as described previously. He's concentrating on the selection next to the number 9 on his "Music Selection Chart," and you proceed to play it on the violin. The climax is identical on this and all other variations. Here's the first force. By the way, the false overhand shuffle utilized was brought to my attention several years ago while I was corresponding with Tom Daugherty of Covington, Kentucky. I believe Tom published it in Apocalypse as "The Daugherty Shuffle." We swapped a lot of material at that time and his effects were extremely clever. The second part of the principle I believe should be credited in part to Richard Vollmer. Naturally, I put in my two cents worth along the way. Here's how it goes.

To begin, for this variation, stack the nine number cards in the following order, from the top, down: 4-5-2-7-1-8-3-6-9. Notice that each of the first four pairs of numbers, each add up to a total of "9" and the odd ninth card is a "9". You begin by stating that you have nine cards numbered 1 through 9. State that in a moment your going to deal four pairs of cards on the table, and the total of each pair could range anywhere from 3 to 17. And since there's an odd card, it could be any number from 1 to 9. "So, let's mix up the numbers." You are now going to do an overhand false shuffle. It's actually a legitimate overhand shuffle, it just marches to the beat of a different drummer.

Here's how to genuinely shuffle overhand, falsely. Hold the stacked pack face down in the left hand with the left thumb on top and the remaining four fingers on the bottom. The packet is at an upward (toward your right shoulder) 45 degree angle. The right hand grasps the packet with the right thumb at the inner (closest to you) narrow end of the packet, the right forefinger on the top long edge of the packet and the remaining three fingers along the outer narrow end of the packet. The left thumb presses against the back of the top card. The remaining four fingers of the left hand press against the bottom card of the face down packet. Now, the right hand strips (pulls) out all the cards between the top and bottom cards which come together in the left hand because of the pressure of the left thumb on the top card and the remaining four fingers on the bottom card. The left thumb is lifted slightly as the right hand brings the packet of seven cards between the left thumb and the back of two cards just pull off into the left hand (the original top and bottom cards).

The left thumb drags off the next card on top of the right hand packet, drawing it onto the first two cards as the right hand repeats its upward motion and then down to insert the remaining six cards on the right hand packet under the left thumb which simultaneously raises up slightly to accommodate the incoming packet. The left thumb is again pressed against the top card of the right hand packet as the right hand withdraws the remaining five card packet. This is repeated a total of four times and the only difference between each shuffle is the number of cards being shuffled off the deck. In other words, after the top and bottom cards are in your left hand, four cards are dragged off the right hand packet by the left thumb, one at a time, onto the two cards in the left hand, the former top and bottom cards. After four cards have been shuffled off, the remaining cards in the right hand packet are tossed on top of the cards in the left hand.

The same sequence is immediately repeated a second time, only this time, three cards are shuffled off the right hand packet, one at a time, into the left hand and the remaining cards are then tossed on top. The first two shuffling sequences are now repeated...first, four cards, then, three. If you know how to overhand shuffle, it's very simple. The count after the first two cards are simultaneously pulled into the left hand is four cards, one at a time - (toss balance of cards on top) - pull off top and bottom cards - then three cards, one at a time on top - (toss balance of cards on top) - pull off top and bottom cards - then four cards, one at a time (toss balance of cards on top) - pull off top and bottom cards -then three cards. one at a time - (toss balance of cards on top). This is the Daugherty Shuffle. The cards are now back in their original face down order: 5-2-7-1-8-6-9. And the four shuffling sequences are genuine and take between 10-12 seconds. It just takes forever to explain.

Now, you're going to show that the deck is in no particular order. Hold the packet face up so that the "9" appears upside down to you. Have the spectator stand to your right with his two hands extended waist high in front of you, palms up. He's your table. Push off the top face up card, the 9, to your right and grasp it with the right thumb underneath and the remaining four fingers on top. Lift the card to a vertical position so the audience and the spectator can see its face. Call the number out loud, "9." Deal it face down onto the spectator's hands. Push off the next card as you say, "and 6 adds up to 11." Show the next card to be a 3 and deal it face down on the spectator's hands. Show the next card, the 8 as you say, "and 8 totals 11." Show the next card to be a 1 and deal it face down on the spectator's hands. Show the next card, the 7 as you say "and 7 totals 8." Show the next card to be a 2 and deal it face down on the spectator's hands. Show the next card, the 5, as you say, "and 5 makes 7." Show the final card, the 4, and place it face down on the spectator's hands as you say, "and the odd card happens to be a 4."

You have shown all the cards and in the sneakiest fashion, hidden the true nature of the stack, that the top four pairs of the packet each total "9 and the odd card is now the "9."

Pick up the packet of cards from the spectator's hands and ask him to step to the right of your table. You stand behind the table and proceed to overhand false shuffle the packet to a count of 3-5-3-5 as previously explained. It will be in the identical order you started with. Now, deal the top card (the 4) face down on the table. Deal the next card (the 5) face down on top of the 4. Deal the next card (the 2) to the right of the first pair. Deal the next card (the 7) on top of the 2. Deal the next card (the 1) to the right of the second pair. Deal the next card (the 8) on top of the 1. Deal the next card (the 3) to the right of the first three pairs. Deal the next to last card (the 6) on top of the 3. The final odd card (the 9) is dealt to the right of the four pairs. As you can see, now it won't make any difference which of the 4 pairs of cards the spectator freely selects. Each pair of cards will add up to a total of "9."

Now you invite the spectator to select any of the four pairs and to add the two numbers together. Or—you point out, the spectator can select the "odd" card, which could be any one of the nine numbers. Naturally no matter which choice the spectator exercises, he ends up with the number 9 as his random (?) selection. Naturally, the 9th card on the Music selection chart is "Bach: Minuet in G." Finish as previously described.

Incidentally, many years ago I created a way of dealing cards while they're in the hand as opposed to dealing them on the spectator's hand or a table. Here's how. When you're ready to show the randomness of the packet, after shuffling, without tipping the arrangement of the nine cards, do the following. Remember, the cards are stacked from the top of the face down packet, 4-5-2-7-1-8-3-6-9. After the false overhand shuffle, hold the face down packet in your left hand. With the right hand, grasp the end of the packet furthermost from you, right thumb on the bottom, four fingers on top. Turn the packet face up, end for end. With the left thumb, push the top card ( the 9 ) to the right where the left fingers grasp it, right thumb underneath, four fingers on top. Hold the card up so the audience can see the 9. Say, "9."

Hold the packet between the left thumb and forefinger. Move the left ring finger upward slightly. Turn the 9 in the right hand, face down, and insert it between the left ring finger (on top) and the left middle finger and the little finger (on the bottom). Now the packet is being firmly held between the left thumb and the left forefinger at its outer narrow end and the face down card is being firmly held in place by the left ring finger (on top) and the left middle and little finger beneath the single face down card. If you look at your left hand after this is done, you will see a "step" formed between the and the single face down. This is the hand position I originally created for the stand-up version of my effect, "Will the Cards Match" and a version I included later on in lectures entitled, "Upper & Aloha."

After you have shown the nine and said, "9"...continue by immediately saying, "and 6" (show the next card in the same manner as the first, sliding it on top of the face down 9)

"equals 15." Repeat the sequence with the next card, saying, "3" (slide the 3 face down on top of the two face down cards being held in place by the left middle, ring and little fingers. Push the next card to the right where the right hand shows it to the audience as you say, "and 8...equals 11." Slide the 8 on top of the three face down cards and repeat with the next two pairs, the 1 and 7, equals 8. And the 2 and 5 add up to 7. Pause a split second, and show the last card saying, "and of course, the odd card...the 4." You hold up the 4 between the right thumb and forefinger. The packet being held in the left hand is grasped between the left little finger and ring finger and pulled to the right, freeing it from the left hand. Then, all nine cards in the right hand are placed on the upturned left hand in readiness for a second Daugherty False Shuffle leaving the face down packet in the original 4-5-2-7-1-8-3-6-9 order.

To have a pair or the odd card freely selected, the left thumb pushes the top two cards to the right where they are grasped by the right hand. Now say, "Stop me on the pair you would like to select...or wait for the final "odd" card which could, of course, be any one of the nine numbers. If the spectator doesn't want the first pair, return the two cards between the left ring finger on top and the middle and little fingers underneath, as described previously. Repeat with the next three pairs until the spectator calls "stop." Immediately hand that pair to the spectator and tell him to add the two numbers together. Of course, the total will be 9...or if he waits until the last card...it will be a "9." Hand him the Music Selection Chart that's been in full view and finish as previously described.

Variation #2: Here's a real cutie. Stack the number cards in numerical order, 1 through 9. Show the cards to the audience, one at a time as in the first routine. When you're finished, state that you'll mix the cards. Perform the Daugherty Shuffle, which leaves the stack in its original order using, for example, a 5-3-5-3 shuffling sequence. Now, deal the first four cards in a face down row on your table, from left to right, 1-2-3-4. Pause a second and then deal the fifth card on top of the fourth. Continue by dealing the sixth card on top of the third. The seventh card on top of the second and the eighth card on top of the first card. Place the "odd" card, the ninth card at the right end of the row. As in variation number 2, no matter which pair the spectator selects, the two cards will total 9. And if he takes the alternative of the "odd" card...he also ends up with the number 9. And, of course, the 9th card on the Music Selection Chart is the force tune...Bach: Minuet in G.

Variation #3: The preceding version, with a slight variation in procedure, makes the force involved a natural for other mental effects. For example, after the shuffle and the four pairs of cards have been dealt as described, the performer hands the final "odd" card to the spectator who is asked to place this card on top of any of the four pairs of cards. When he has done so, the performer asks that he pick up the 3 card pile and total the three numbers. This is the number the spectator remembers. Naturally that number will be 18 no matter which pile the "odd" card is placed on. The procedure looks extremely fair.

Obviously, this force can be used with a list of 24 "things." For example, I've used a list of 24 popular movie and/or TV stars. Simply make up a large card with the names numbered from 1 through 24. You could have a prediction, in the form of a Movie Magazine, in a sealed manila envelope. When the spectator has randomly (?) selected his number, "18", he's instructed to circle the name next to his freely selected number. When the sealed envelope, which has been on display throughout, is opened...the cover of the magazine features a photo of the star listed next to the spectator's number. It's easy to set up. Easy to force the number 18. Another fine and easy-to-do mental effect.

This effect can be used with a list of 24 (or more) anything. Colors, favorite vacation destinations, name of Presidents, automobiles, even a list of the 30 most difficult words to spell. You could use animals, companies on the stock exchange, grocery products, 24 recipe dishes, etc.

Variation #4: Let's assume that for whatever reason, when you're performing the first effect, you can't see the reflected image of the spectator's chosen number. At the point where you've asked the spectator if he can remember his number, and the two packets are 4-5 inches apart, disregard his answer by saying "I want you to be absolutely sure." At this point, there's a packet in either hand. Move the left hand packet towards the right hand packet and with the tips of the right fingers, slowly remove the bottom card of the right hand packet, holding the lower left hand corner of the packet between the left thumb and forefinger. Extend your left hand towards the spectator and ask that he take his card, being careful that no one sees what number is on it. Your head should be turned away as he does this. At this point, even you have no idea what his chosen number is.

As soon as the spectator has taken the card, ask that he stare at it for a moment until he's satisfied he won't forget it. As he does this, reassemble the two halves of the packet and hold it in the palm of your right hand. You continue to look away. Now, extend the packet towards the spectator and suggest that he replace his card, number side down, on top.

Perform the overhand Daugherty shuffle without ever looking at the cards. Use any sequence that will return the packet to it's original order, for example, 3-4-3-4, and then, shuffle the top card (the one the spectator selected) into the left hand and toss the rest of the cards on top. While this is a non-sleight way to get the selected card on the bottom of the packet, if you can, simple finish the shuffle with a double undercut, which of course, neatly leaves the selected card on the bottom of the packet while the audience thinks you not only shuffled, but cut the packet several times.

You are now going to perform what I call the "Breast Pocket Peek." Simply hold the packet of cards, face down, in the left hand. Reach for the packet with the right hand, thumb underneath the packet, and the remaining four fingers on top. Grasp the packet and immediately carry it towards your breast jacket pocket. Naturally, the spectator's card will be on the bottom, perpendicular to the floor and fully visible as the right hand approaches the pocket. You have to try this to understand how peripherally you can glimpse the identity of the number on this card. The left fingers hold the breast pocket open as the right hand deposits the packet into the pocket. This is a quick, simple, angle proof and effective way to glimpse the spectator's number. To the audience it will appear that you simply shuffled the packet and discarded it in your breast pocket. Then finish as previously outlined.

While the above "emergency" procedure will probably never have to be used, it should be performed without any awkwardness or hesitation. And while it takes many words to describe a simple action, the actual procedure takes only a moment of two.

As you can see, I have purposely eliminated any sleight of hand to accomplish all of the effects described. The reason should be obvious. You want every movement to be a natural one. You also don't need any excess baggage such as "magician's guilt" that often accompanies a "sleight." I sincerely believe you will find many additional uses for the principles utilized in these effects. And of course, I am totally in love with "Virtuosity"...the electronic violin mental miracle. Hope you are too.

Additional Instructions

If you've familiarized yourself with the way the Virtuosity violin works, you can easily set it up to force any of the eight tunes, although I recommend using only the first four or five selections. I'll explain why as we go along. The order of the selections is listed on the side of the Virtuoso box. (1) "Bach: Minuet in G." (2) "Beethoven: Ode to Joy." (3) "Auld Lang Syne." (4) "Red River Valley." (5) "Your are My Sunshine." (6) "Green Sleeves." (7) "Santa Lucia." and (8) "Die Forelle."

To set the violin , select a tune you know very well. For example, "Auld Lang Syne." Look at the back of the violin. There are three buttons. The top button is Song Select. The middle button is, Stop/Reset. The bottom button is, Demo. Press the button marked demo. Whatever tune the violin is set on will be heard. If you don't recognize the music, press the middle button which will stop the music. Press the top button once which will advance the violin to the next selection. Now press the demo button again. The violin will play the next tune in the sequence. Continue this procedure until you hear a song that you recognize. As soon as you do, consult the list and see the number next to that tune. This will now give you a starting point and enable you to play each tune in turn until you become familiar with the melody of each of the eight songs. After a few minutes of playing the songs as you advance them, one at a time, you will begin to recognize all eight melodies and the number of each selection.

Now, for the best part, the nine Music Selection Charts. These nine cards have been organized to enable you to force any one of the eight musical selections listed. That's right. Virtuosity can be used for repeat shows...and the result will be different at every show. Using the basic effect which permits the spectator to shuffle the cards prior to his randomly selecting one of the nine number cards, you can arrange the nine Music Selection Charts to force any tune that you want. Here's how. Let's assume that you want to force, "Auld Lang Syne." Arrange the nine music selection charts as follows. Locate the card on which "Auld Lang Syne" is next to the numbercard on which "Auld Lang Syne" is next to the number "1." Place it on the table face up. Now find the card which lists "Auld Lang Syne" next to the number "2." Place it face up on top of the first card. Now locate the card which has "Auld Lang Syne" next to the number "3." Place it on top of the first two face up cards. Continue until you have the nine cards with "Auld Lang Syne" in numerical order from "1" through "9." These cards can then be distributed among five pockets as previously outlined in the instructions.

Note that the violin has a default tune which is the first selection on the list, "Bach: Minuet in G." To change to another selection it is necessary to press the "Stop/Reset" button (the one in the middle) and then advance to the selection you wish to play by pressing the top button, "Song Select," the necessary number of times required to reach the selection you want. For example, to determine how many times you press the "Song Select" button, simply subtract "1" from the number of your preferred force selection. For example, say you want to use "Auld Lang Syne." This selection is number "3" on the list. Subtract "1" from "3" and you have the number of times you have to press the "Song Select" button. Two times (3-1= 2).

Now, you have 10 seconds to start playing before the violin switches back to the default tune, "Bach: Minuet in G." (Note: that's why I use "Minuet in G" as my primary force selection). However, if you want to use one of the other selections, perhaps for a repeat performance, you have to press the "Stop/Reset" button before you play your force selection. Then, you must press the "Song Select" button the appropriate number of times necessary to reach your selection. Unfortunately the buttons make a clicking sound when you press them, so I recommend your using one of only the top five selections. This will require from 1 to 4 clicks. Don't panic. Here's how I mask the clicking sound.And you'll get a laugh in the bargain. To begin, just prior to your performance, press the "Stop/Reset" button and place the violin on the stand. It's set to the default tune, "Minuet in G." Here's how to secretly advance it by pressing the "Song Select button."

While the spectator is concentrating on his selection, remove the violin from the stand. Hold it in your left hand with the left forefinger resting on the top "Song Select" button. Place the bow under your left armpit as you look at the audience and quip, "Time to tune up." Using the fingernail of the right thumb, loudly "plink" one of the violin strings as you simultaneously press the "Song Select" button with your left forefinger. The sound of the "plink" helps cover the clicking sound made by the button being depressed. Then pretend to adjust one of the protruding black screws at the top of the violin with the right thumb and fingers. Now "plink" the strings a second time as you simultaneously press the "Song Select" button. Look at the audience and say with a smile,"Perfect!" (It'll get a laugh). You now have up to 6 or 7 seconds to begin playing the force tune, "Auld Lang Syne." (Remember, after 10 seconds the violin reverts to the default tune, "Minuet in G).

It's the sneakiest way possible to set the violin right under the audience's collective noses. The "plinking" sound neatly covers the click of the buttons. But I recommend that you usehe default tune, "Minuet in G" as your primary force tune and one of the next four musical selections for a repeat performance, preferably, "Old Lang Syne."

Incidentally, if lighting conditions are not conducive to using the reflective principle, simply show the 9 cards in numerical order and perform the Legitimate/False shuffle which returns the cards to the 1 through 9 order. If you can, perform a false cut (not really necessary). A false cut is actually quite easy. When you've completed the overhand shuffle, your right hand is automatically in position to grasp the packet from the bottom. The right forefinger then picks off a small portion of the packet and swivels it to the left. The left hand grasps these cards and places them face down on the table. The right forefinger repeats the procedure, pulling away another small number of cards and swivelling them to the left where the left fingers grasp them and place them face down on top of the first packet. The final packet is taken by the left hand and dropped on top of the tabled talon. The packet is in the same order it originally was. When the spectator steps forward to assist you, explain that you are going to move one card at a time from the top of the packet to the bottom. As you say this, demonstrate by moving three (3) cards, one at a time from the top to the bottom of the packet. Now do it for real, but in your mind, as you move the top card to the bottom, begin the count where you left off saying the number 4 in your mind. Whenever the spectator calls stop, you will automatically know the value of the bottom card which dictates which selection chart you remove and hand to the spectator.

Another Effect

A few years ago I released an excellent effect called the "All-Star Miracle." Essentially, a small gift wrapped box is handed to someone in the audience to hold. A second spectator freely selects one of nine all-star baseball players. When the gift wrapped box is unwrapped, it's a Spaulding Baseball box. The spectator is asked to remove the ball inside and to read aloud the name of the player who autographed the ball. The player whose signature is on the baseball is identical to the player selected by the second spectator.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the force of the number "9" in Virtuosity could also be used to force a player (the one next to the number "9") on a Baseball All-Star line-up card. If you want one to match the virtuosity card, send me the 9 player names you want, including the name you want forced in the ninth position on the card. I'll make it up for you for $10 including the cost of priority mail delivery. Naturally you provide the baseball which you sign with a pseudo autograph. The modus operandi differs with the effect I created a few years ago, but the result is identical.

After all of the work, instructions, assembly, etc. I discovered a wonderful presentation alternative that I heartily recommend that you consider. It's the way I now present "Virtuosity."

When it comes time to remove the violin from the stand, I place the bow under my left armpit where it is securely held. I use both hands to remove the violin. As I pick it up, I place the left forefinger against the middle button (Stop/Reset) and push it in firmly. Now, the left forefinger is lightly placed against the top button (Song Select) as the violin is lifted from the stand and held in the left hand. You now address the audience stating, "Time to tune up!" The next step requires a simultaneous action by the left forefinger and the right thumb. Using the right thumb, drag it across the strings high on the neck of the violin sharply, making a loud "plunking" sound as you simultaneously press and release the "Song/Select" button. Repeat this action a second time. You have now advanced the violin to the third selection, "Auld Lang Syne." You now have 5 to 7 seconds to start playing "Auld Lang Syne." Remember, if you didn't start playing, after 10 seconds the violin reverts back to the default tune. "Minuet in G." Naturally, if you wish, you only have to advance the violin one click to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." Either way, you finish the song and after the audience applauds, you state, "If you think that was difficult, here comes the impossible part. I'm now going to attempt to read the gentlemen's mind and play the tune that's listed next to the number he just randomly selected. A number known only to him." That little bit of dialog permits the violin to silently (you could hear it revert to the default tune if you listen closely to the violin by holding it up to your ear. It's almost imperceptible, but you can hear a tiny click) switch back to the default tune, the one that you have forced the spectator to concentrate upon. Now, with no further action on your part, you're free to play "Minuet in G" and complete the effect as previously described.

Why do it this way? Simple. It proves that you're actually playing the violin and can play more than one tune. It increases the audience's admiration of your musical skill. And it makes "Virtuosity" even more entertaining.

I won't bore you with the countless revisions and improvements. Or the tedious assembly that's required to prepare eighteen laminated cards that are actually composed of three layers which have to be sprayed with cement, accurately registered, cut and placed into laminating pouches which are then hand fed through a laminator. The 9 number cards are then hand coated and rubbed with fanning powder and overhand shuffled until they are ready to be attacked by your dainty little fingers. It takes over an hour to complete the assembly ofjust one effect. But, if you give this effect the presentation and practice it so richly deserves...you will applaud the day you made the decision to trust Larry Becker, one more time. I am having the time of my life with this puppy and you can bet I will be doing it during my upcoming engagements in Frankfurt, London and Dublin. (Note: in 1999, I did!)

Direct from Larry Becker's exciting "Standing Ovation" videotape series—one of the greatest and most entertaining $20 bill serial number divinations ever!

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Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of kid baseball, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States programs that providebr wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.

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