Design Toco

This second design is much easier to make and replace than the first, and it accommodates a variety of card cases that feature a reproduction of die back pattern on die deck. Bicycle, Tally-ho and other popular brands have such cases. While the illusion created by this second method is slighdy less effective, due to the fact that the fidl-sizcd ease cannot be displayed as openly, the versatility and ease of construction offered by this design make it attractive.

The first step is to cut off the bottom portion of the case, making the top portion equal to the width of the miniature case you will use. Throw the bottom portion away, as it is not required. Again, you will need the front panel and top flap from a miniature deck of the same brand of cards; either from a factory-made case or color photocopy. Glue the front panel of the small case 10 the back of the normal-sized one, and glue the small top flap to the right side of the normal-sized case (Figure 7). That is the entire preparation.

Slip the deck face down into the open bottom of the half case and close die normal flap (Figure 8). The bottom half of the deck sticks from the case, but dianks to die shared

back pattern, when the case and cards are held by their sides in your palm-down hand (Figure 9), and the bottom portion is viewed between the fingers, the illusion of a full case is convincing. Also keep in mind that no one is scrutinizing your hands and the case at this point. You are just beginning to perform or are between tricks. Your actions are incidental and attention is relaxed.

With your free hand, flip open the flap of the case; then draw or shake the dcck out of it as you normally would (Figure 10, an audicncc view). Set the dcck on the table, then casually closc the flap of the case and turn your hand palm up to expose the miniature case (Figure 11). The ease instandy shrinks. However, as above, attention is directed away from the ease as you cxccutc these actions, and is focuscd on it only after the hand has turned over.

I generally use this case to open a card routine, then close the routine with another trick of mine, "Squeeze", in which a deck of cards is visibly made to fit into a miniature case. The combination is quite pleasing, since the two effects nicely complement each other. Any card tricks can be sandwiched between these opening and closing effects. I will next explain the three tricks that comprise my routine, then conclude with a description of "Squeeze".

1982-1983

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HIS effect is distinctly novel and serves very nicely as a humorous and magical opener to a card routine. The performer removes a deck from its case, upon which the case shrinks (see the previous article). He then puts the case away and nonchalantly spreads rhe cards face down between his hands, after which he squares them by casually rapping their ends several times on the table. As this is done, the audience sees all the pips on die card at rhe face of the pack fall down in a jumble to the bottom end! When the performer notices this surprising situation, he remarks that the cards must be cheaply made. Spreading through a few cards, he finds that they have all suffered the same mishap.

He then raps the other end of the deck on the table and the pips fall back into their usual positions, allowing the act to proceed.

I believe I was the first to think of this magical sight gag, though after I published it i n 1980 and taught it in my lectures the idea has appeared in tricks by others, both published and marketed. It is certainly possible that it has occurred to these magicians independent of my work with it.

The novel nature of the effect makes it a perfect opening item. The audienccs attention is immediately attracted by the weird sight of all the pips on rhe cards being knockcd down to one end, assuring that they will continue to watch what you do next.

You will need a deck with a white-bordered back pattern, one extra card that matches it, and five blank-backed cards. While the faces of these blanks can be any mixed selection of cards you wish, one should be a court card and the others spot cards. For this explanation lets assume the normal extra card is an Eight of Spades and the blank-backers are the Six of Clubs, Three of Hearts, King of Hearts, Ten of Diamonds and Four of Diamonds. Using a sheet of press-on pips (manufactured by I^traset, and available through magic suppliers), make the blank sides of these cards into "fallen pip:' cards. The King of Hearts will require a little more work: You will need to dry-split a King of Hearts, cut out a portion of the kings head and torso to make a truncated figure of the King, and glue these onto the blank back.

The identities of the cards are not the same on both sides. They arc paired as shown ir Figure 1.

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Set these cards, from face to back and fallcn-pip faces up, in Eighr-Six-Fhree-King-Ten order, and slip the normal Eight of Spades face down below them. This six-card packet is placed on the face of the deck with the fallen Eight of Spades exposed. The six corresponding normal cards are removed from the pack, so that they don't show up inopportunely, and die deck is placed inside its case. The props are set.

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Open by removi ng the pack from the case and putting the case away in your right-side jacket pocket. As you do this, hold the deck face down in left-hand dealing position, so that the fallen Eight of Spades on the face isn't premamrely exposed. The ends of the cards with the fallen pips should be nearest you.

When the right hand has pocketed the case, it comes 2 palm up beside the deck and you briefly spread the cards nonchalandy between your hands without, of course, exposing the gimmicked cards at the borrom. Square the cards unevenly into the left hand (giving you a reason to square them further). Then, with your left hand, sharply rap the inner end of the pack several times on the table (Figure 2).

As you rap the cards, the facc of the deck should be turned toward the audience. Since the cards arc in motion, black pips on white background are in view and

no one is expecting what they are about to see, nothing unusual will at first be perceived— until the spectators look more closely at the pack. They will then see that the pips are more concentrated at the bottom end. It is only when you stop rapping the deck and hold it still, the fallen Fight fully in sight, that the audience can observe its true state.

Take the deck face up into left-hand dealing position, fallen pips at the outer end and hold it near waist height, so diat the face is fully exposed. I "hen watch the feces of the spectators. When you see diat the condition of the Right has been seen, you notice it too. 'Oh, no!" you exclaim, "You cant get good cards these days." Spread off the first four cards, one by one, into the right hand, letting each fallen face be seen. Take each card under the last, retaining their order. Don t rush this. The sight of these cards is both bizarre and funny. Let the oddity and humor of the situation register fully before you continue.

Having taken die fourth card (the jumbled King) into your right hand, and giving it your full attention, use the left thumb to push the next two cards narrowly off the face of the pack; just far enough to obtain a left fourth-finger break, but without exposing the facedown Eight of Spades sccond from the face, or much of the face of the normal card beyond it. Or, if you prefer, use a fourth-finger count to obtain the break. The King, because its state is even more comical and surprising than that of the fallen pip-cards, draws attention to itself while vou obtain the break.

Now close the right hand s spread of cards back onto the face of the deck, and in doing so use your left thumb to push the six-card block above the break slighdy to the right, so that it can be sccurely gripped deep in the fork of the right thumb (Figure 3). The balance of the pack is similarly gripped in the left thumb fork. Without hesitation, move die hands and cards toward the table, to rap the end of the deck square again. In the same action, twist your hands palm toward palm at the wrists, turning the upper side of the right hand s packet against the face of the deck (Figure 4). Having reversed the packet, let it join the deck and rap the bottom end of the cards several times on the table. What you have just done might be considered an end-tap half pass, if one were partial to cumbersome nomenclature.

the same stance as before, push the Eight off into your right liand and, as you look at it with some interest yourselfj casually turn it over and back, showing both sides. "There, thats better." Don't make a point of displaying the back of the card. Instead, Jet it be seen in passing to dismiss in the minds of the knowledgeable any suspicions of double-faced cards.

Continue to spread over the cards, letting lots of normal faces be seen. Do not, however, belabor the act. Keep the pace going as you square the right hand's cards bade onto the deck and launch into vour next trick.

You will likely desire to get rid of the special six-card set on the face of the pack before proceeding too far. Do not, though, be in too great a hurry. At the finish of "Falling Pips" the audience's attention on the cards is more acute than usual. Trying to dispose of the packet undetected is problematic at this time. You must instead create the right moment, when attention can be effectively directed to conceal the unloading. This moment will of course be governed by the trick you wish to do next, so no universal solutions can be offered. I can, however, give you an example of how I have handled the problem in my own routine.

I follow "Falling Pips" with an Ambitious Card sequence (several phases of which I'll explain in "Ambi-tilt", which immediately follows). The sequence is begun by having a card freely selected and signed 011 its lace. For this, I carry a marking pen in my left-side jacket pocket. After having a card chosen (doring which process the bottom bank of double-facers is kept concealed) I hold the deck face up in my right hand while my left hand removes the pen from my pocket and gives it to the spectator, asking that he sign the face of the selection.

(Note that one could palm the double-faced cards from the deck and stow them in the jacket pocket when the marking pen is first obtained. This is Junctional, since a card has been chosen and some time has elapsed after the climax of 'Falling Pips". However, whenever possible, I never use the first opportunity that presents itself to unload cards. I believe it is psychologically sounder to defer until the second opportunity. Doing so not only obscures your trail all the more thoroughly; it also makes the subterfuge easier to execute and the spectators attention easier to direct, as 111 next demonstrate.)

"While everyone is watching the spectator sign the selection, I casually take the deck into left-hand dealing position and spread over the first six cards from the face. I then form a left fourth finger break beneath them as I square them once more onto the pack.

Once the signing is completed, I take back the pen in my right hand and pass it to my left hand, which holds it under the thumb and against the face of the deck. I then reach otit with my right hand to take the signed card; and simultaneously I move my left hand to my left-side jacket pocket to drop off both the pen and the packet from the face of the deck. When the hand comes with the clean deck from the pocket, it turns the pack face down so that, should anyone be paying attention, the card at the face of the deck is not seen to have changed. All attention is naturally focused on the signed card, making the pedestrian action of putting away the pen psychologically "invisible"

At the finish of the card routine, I place both hands in my jacket pockets, in search of the card case, which you may recall was placed in the right pocket. In my left hand I hold the deck face down, and while the hand is in my left pocket, my fingers scoop up the packet, adding it to the face of the deck. The hands come from the pockets widi deck and case, and the pack is cased and put back in my pocket. I am now reset for the next performance.

While this solution is perfectly serviceable, I have in recent years adopted another approach that makes it unnecessary to rid the deck of the gimmicked packet; or allows the disposal of the packet to be conveniently delayed until a convenient time. A special card-holdout in the deck makes this possible. The idea of this holdout is not new. The Hornmann Magic Company marketed a quite similar gimmick, invented by a Mr. ( >ocker, in 1921. It was used for controlling one or more cards in a pack shuffled by a spectator. (This gimmick, called "Xkwizit! The Dandy Deck", was resurrected by Ted Annemann for the cover item of The Jinx, No. 117.) My construction and intentions for the gimmick differ slightly from Mr. Crocker s.

The holdout is a very simple idea that can be applied to other tricks in which gimmicked cards and packets must be controlled and hidden in the deck as ir is handled during other tricks. The holdout is merely two cards that match the pack, which have been joined near one side by two lengths of white cotton thread (Figure 5). The two threads are a bit shorter dian twice the width of a playing card. They arc passed through tiny holes near the edges of each card and their ends arc securely attached, one to the back of the lower card, the other to the facc of the upper card. I make this attachment by gluing the threads to the surfaces of the cards. It is wise to cover die glued threads with strips of cellophane tape, to prevent odier cards from catching on the durads and pulling them loose. When joined in this manner, the two cards can be folded closed on cach other like a book, and the threads act as a hinge at one side, allowing you to slip a card or a packet between the holdout cards. One last preparation:Trim die two cards of the holdout slighdy shorter. This facilitates the removal of the prepared cards from the holdout when they are desired.

With your packet in the holdout, you can overhand shuffle the deck and spread it with no danger of the gimmickcd cards showing. They remain hidden as a loose block within the holdout. Yet, because of the thickness of the holdout, it is easy to find it and cut it to the top or bottom of the deck.

Using the holdout, "Falling Pips" needn't be an opening effect. You can keep the gimmicked packet in the holdout as you do one or several card tricks. Then, when you want to perform 4 Falling Pips", cut the gimmicked packet to the face of the face-down dcck, with the hinged side of the holdout turned toward your left. Next, with your palm-down right hand, grasp the deck by its ends from above while your left fingers seemingly cut a small packet from the bottom to the top. In reality, the right fingertips exert pressure on the ends of the cards, holding the gimmicked packet squarely in place beneath the deck as the left

forefinger bucklcs the bottom card of the holdout. This permits the other left fingers to engage the right edge of this card and pull the holdout to the left, stripping it away from the packet it contains (Figure 6). As mentioned earlier, the shortened cards of die holdout further aid in removing die inner cards from it.

Casually cut the empty holdout to the top of the pack, as if it were a larger packet. If this action is done smoothly, the fact that only two cards are being transferred to the top is not apparent. Your gimmicked cards are now free and ready for use on the face of the deck.

At the conclusion of 'Falling Pips" you reload the gimmicked cards back into the holdout. After displaying the restored faces of the cards, you wait for the audience to respond and relax. Then, as you hold the deck face up, spread over the six cards of the gimmicked packer just enough to allow you to get a left fourth-finger break under thern. You now casually cut this packet from the face of the deck to the rear; bur in doing so, you use the tip of your left forefinger to buckle the bottom card of the holdout, which is still under the pack, hinged side leftward. This opens a gap at the inner right cornet. Insert the gjmmickcd packct into this gap and thus into the holdout. You can now shuffle and handle the deck with relative freedom, knowing that the gimmicks are securely hidden inside the holdout.

If necessary, the holdout packer can later be easily disposed of, leaving the deck clean. In many routines, though, you can manage circumstances so that you never have to remove the holdout; and with a litde planning it is often possible to reset during performance for the next round. In "Falling Pips* the gimmicked stack has been turned over before it is replaced in the holdout—but one can right the stack during the next performance by secredy reversing it (with a half pass, say) after you have extracted it from the holdout.

One especially pleasing feature of "Falling Pips" is that when you tap the deck and reveal the face of the fallen pip card, some persons will actually see the pips falling to the bottom of the card! Their minds naturally expect to see playing cards with normal faces. So, as your rapping actions slow down, and rhe spectators gradually perceive that the pips are all at the bottom end, their minds make this uncxpcctcd cognitive adjustment in a completely logical manner, and they experience a visual illusion of seeing the pips fall. What the mind cxpccts to see creates an even better illusion than you really provide, which is always a welcome bonus!

al Vernon's "depth illusion or "tilt" (the latter being Edward Marios apt ddc for this clever deceit) has in the past few decades become a popular subterfuge widi card magicians. Yet, it has a serious angle problem. Presuming that you are holding the deck in left-hand dealing grip when you execute tilt, the wide gap between the top card and the deck at the inner end cannot be completely covered with the left fingertips alone, as many performers seem to believe (Figure 1). Consequently, die subterfuge is obvious to anyone positioned on the performer's extreme right—as so very often happens in those conditions where one is hired to perform for the public.

Some years ago, when I was developing an Ambitious Card routine, I wanted to use tilt in one sequence; but obviously I had to overcome the inherent angle problem or the subterfuge wouldn't be practical. It is likely that other magicians have tackled this problem and discovered similar solutions. In fact, my friend Dick Koorn-winder independendy developed a similar idea as I had for covering the bad right angle. However, since I see so many magicians who don't seem even to be aware of the problem, I thought it might be helpful to draw attention to it and show how it can be eliminated dirough correct blocking and psychology. I will tcach these things within the context of an Ambitious Card sequence; however, the principles can be modified to fit other circumstances.

Our starting position finds us holding the signed selection (that is, the "ambitious" card) facc down by its right rear corner in the right hand, diumb above, fingers below. The deck is face down in left-hand dealing grip with the inner end of the top card secredy raised roughly a quarter of an inch: standard tilt position. And you arc surrounded by spectators. Sound familiar?

So the first concern is to cover that deflating angle on your right.The immediate solution (which has been mentioned in print before) is almost embarrassingly simple: Lower the right side of the deck, bringing the pack to a position roughly forty-five to fifty-five degrees from the horizontal. This directs the top of the pack toward the spectators on your right

while removing the side of die deck from their field of vision (Figure 2).

Your right hand can now insert the selection into the tilt break, making it appear diat die card is going into the center of the declc There is only one problem: By tipping the deck to hide the tilted condition of the top card, your left-hand blocks the view of the spectators on your left, making it impossible for them to appreciate the illusion. Well, nothing can be done about that—at least not immediately—so you will exploit the situation, then make amends to those on your left in a few moments.

Your strategy is to play exclusively to someone on your right, making this person the official monitor for the group. You don t say anything to this effect; you simply turn right-ward and lean forward toward the spectator in an attitude of deliberate communication as you insert the face-down selection into the tilt break from the inner end (Figure 3).

As you slip the card into the break you say to this person on your right, ' You see, I put it straight into the deck," or something similar, as if you particularly wish to impress her with the fairness of your actions. She in turn nods or passively affirms for the group that you have done precisely what you have said.

Having inserted the selection for approximately half its length into the break, move your right hand palm down over the pack and place the tip of the right thumb against the inner end of the card, ready to push it flush. Simultaneously begin turning gradually leftward, giving the rest of the group a view of the card going into the center of the deck. You can do this safely now, since your right hand shields the critical angle at the right (Figure 4).

By the time you have turned to a position approximately forty-five degrees to your left, the right diumb should have finished pushing the selection flush and, at the last instant raised it flat against the face of the tilted top card. You can now, if you wish, use your palm-down right hand to grip the deck momentarily by its ends in a squaring action as you raise the inner end of the deck to narrow the tilt gap to a fourth-finger flesh break.

You now need to move your right hand away from the pack. To avoid exposing the break, once more tilt die right edge of die deck down a bit. Having done this you can safely move your right hand a few inches to rhe right of the deck, then make some magical gesture to indicate that the card is rising to the top. (I simply give the deck a little shake as I focus everyones attention on it.) Then bring your right hand back to the deck as you execute a double push-off of the cards above the break and flip them face up on the pack.

As you perform diis double turnover, turn farther still to your left and bring the deck level, giving rhe spectators there a clear view of the face-up selection on the deck. These folks have, for the past few moments, seen less of the action than the others. But now—since you can—you repay their patience and trust by giving them the best view of the situation.

With the right hand, execute anodier double turnover, using neat and gende actions to turn die selection face down on the pack. Now we come to that troublesome moment in the performance of double lifts and turnovers: the moment in which the double card must be placed on the deck even though you will remove it a second or two later. Why did you first put the card on the deck, instead of just taking it into the right hand? Some reasonable excuse must exist in the presentation to account for this otherwise logical discrepancy.

So, the instant you flip die double card face down on die deck, your right hand shoots out toward the spectators on your left in a spontaneous gesture that says, "Hold on!" (Figure 5). At the same time you actually say, Til show you again!" The implication here is that you realize that these folks didn't get the best view of the prcccding actions, so you will repeat the sequence just for them. You needn't say this. It is implicit in your attitude and gesture. This bit of acting gives the right hand the outward motivation it needs to leave the selection momentarily on the deck.

Without hesitation, bring your right hand back to the pack and, as the left thumb pushes the top card to the right, grip it by the inner right corner and carry it back and away from the deck. The feel of these actions is similar to those of a top change. The right hand leaves the card on the deck as it moves forward to gesture; then it reverses its action, sweeping smoodily back to take the top card irom die deck (Figure 6) Hie impression left is one of the card hardly having contacted the deck as it is turned face down. Because the card is returned so smoothly and inconspicuously to your right hand, it barely seems to have left it. Taking the card from the deck is not a deliberately emphasized action, just as it isn't when you execute a top change.

Now, as you again focus attention on your hands and the card, use your left thumb to lift about half the deck at the left side, opening a gap for the insertion of the right hand's card. Those spectators on your left have a clear view of diis. Cleanly slip the right hand's card into the gap, swinging it in from the left rear corner of the deck, and let the raised packet fall back onto the lower portion. Then release the inserted card, leaving more than half of it protruding from the inner end of the deck. Immediately move the right hand back several inches while opening the fingers in a little gesture that seems silently to say, "There—just so. Okay?" (Figure 7).

Hold this pose very briefly, then relax the right wrist, letting your right hand drop until its palm down, and use the backs of the right fingers to push or tap the protruding card slowly into the deck (Figure 8). Stop when roughly half an inch of the card remains injogged.

Hesitate as you peer at the deck.Then say, "Its not quite in die middle." This observation seems trivial, bur serves an important purpose. When you say this, rhe spectators think to themselves, "Yes, yes. Its close enough. Get on with it.'Your extreme honesty has stopped the action and is felt as a well-meaning, yet mildly irritating interruption. However, in making the spectators feel this, you have engaged their thoughts in a trivial observation that distracts them from more crucial elements of the action—like wondering if the card sticking clearly from the center of the pack is really the signed selection? This interruption may seem a minor thing, bur without it your actions would he much easier ro analyze. The delay places an extra lirrle event into the performance, which makes it far harder to backtrack the action. I've found it significantly increases the final effectiveness of the sequence.

Also, please note that you refer 10 die card as cit' You du not call it "your card" or "die signed card" In other words, you don't raise the very issue you are trying to avoid. Your comment is phrased in a way that cant be challenged; nor does it even slightly invite the idea of chal lenge.

Don t belabor this moment. Almost immediately use the tip of your right thumb to push the projecting card the rest of the way into the deck. Then move the right hand away and make the same magical gesture used earlier to indicate that the card is rising ro the top.

Turn the top card over on the deck, using actions that appear identical to those of the previous double turnovers, and let the spectators see the face of the signed selection. Then deal it into your right hand and sail it onto the table, casually showing it to be single, should anyone be wondering.

This second phase has been performed for those spectators on your left. The actions of the two phases are so similar as to appear identical, and those spectators given the best views cant compare your repeated actions closely. You have thus managed to use the tilt subterfuge in the first phase while covering its weak angle and setting up for a second phase, the actions cf which validate those of the first.

Immediately after tossing out the facc-up card, conclude the sequence by sharply rapping the inner end of the pack on the table as you straighten up from your posture of focused attention and turn farther to your left. For an instant you turn your back fully on the spectators to your right. This rap of the deck and body turn physically punctuate the effect, signaling that this is the time for the audience to react. In looking away from the spectators for a couple of seconds at the very moment when diey are to react, you give them die emotional space to do so freely. (See "Concerning I ye Contact", p. 115 for more on this idea.)

That is the entire sequence. There is nothing new, of course, in the use of tilt and double turnovers to accomplish an Ambitious Card effect. These ideas are quite old. It is the staging, the psychology and the elimination of bad angles when working partially or wholly surrounded that are the concepts I want to highlight. Be aware that tilt is higlily vulnerable on your right, and take the ideas given here to solve the problem and increase the effectiveness of this subterfuge.

OR many years, magicians have sought good efficient mediods of secredy folding a card, so that it could, among odier diings, be loaded into a small container and later revealed there. The older mediods were serviceable, but required strong attention management or rather primitive blocking procedures. Generally, they involved palming the card, then dropping the hand to the side or below the edge of the table to make the fold. Other approaches used the performers body as a screen for the folding actions: The hands were placed behind the back in a waiting posture as a spectator performed some task, or the performer turned his back on the audience under the pretext of not looking as someone completed certain instructions.

Howev er, as time passed, magicians searched for methods of folding a card rhat were faster, more efficient and required less heavy-handed direction techniques; methods that didn't leave a telltale image in the spectators' minds capable of providing a clue to the mystery. (1 or example: "He probably did it when he turned his back to me.") With the publication in 1940 of Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique, there came a breakthrough in secret card-folding that seemed the answer to these wishes: the "Mercury" card fold (ibid., p. 304). This fold (the invention of John Scarne, a fact that has only recendy come to light) employs a squaring action of the deck to cover the fast and efficient folding of the bottom card into quarters, and everything is accomplished with the hands in full view.

Taking the Mercury fold as a starting point, around 1978 I developed a method for quickly putting a third fold into the card, thus folding it into eighths. This makes an even more compact packet, which can be loaded into a much smaller space. And like its parent, the method is fast, exact and indetectable.

It is usually desirable that die card be folded with its back outward. This permits a more dramatic revelation as the card is slowly unfolded to reveal its face. Due to the requisites of the folding method, the card must be face up if its back is to be outward after folding. Since the folding is done beneath the deck, this means that the card you desire to fold must be controlled to the top and the deck turned face up. Usually one can introduce into ones presentation some reasonable excuse for turning the deck over. For instance, spread the cards face up between your hands as you say, "Now, your card could have been any of these." Or, if the card has been signed on its face: "If I looked through the deck I could identify your

card by your signature. But that wouldn't be much of a trick.'1 However, if you find you have a situation where turning the deck face up is detrimental to the effect, you can control the chosen card to the bottom in a reversed condition, or reverse it once it is there. The Braue reversal and the half pass comc immediately to mind as likely methods for reaching this position.

j While it isn't strictly necessary,

___s—^ ^ J , ner I like to puta mild crimp in the card

^N^strey .ocrr-r^—7 ^^^ before executing the fold. Occasionally, if a deck is a bit worn or sticky, or if it carries a contrary bridge in it due to fan-

__ning or shuffling, one can experience

^--—difficulty in buckling the bottom card

--^ as the first secret fold is made. By crimping the card beforehand, I ensure dial only one card is separated under the pack and that it buckles easily. Such a crimp can be installed in several ways. For instance, check Fred Braue's pop-up card sequence in Expert Card Technique (p. 285). This is a fine climax to an Ambitious Card routine, and in its performance a strong crimp is openly put into the choscn card. Or you can install the crimp following the final display of the card. Simply hold the selection face down in your palm-up right hand, clipping it between the tips of the first two fingers near the front right side.

Your right thumb also contacts the back of the card, just behind the second finger. Now, as you make some outward gesture widi die card, press down simultaneously with the thumb and forefinger, crimping the card over the second finger (Figure 1). This takes only an instant, and the crimp needn't be pronounced. Then replacc the selection on the deck and turn the pack face up. The card is now ready to be folded.

You should now he holding the deck face up in left-hand dealing position. Bring your right hand palm down over the pack and grip it with fingers at the outer end, thumb at the inner. This grip is, however, different in one respect from that commonly assumed when squaring the pack. Your right thumb must extend straight down, lying at right angles to the deck, and the inner end of rhe pack should lodge as far up on the thumb as possible, pressing into the webbed fork. In addition the thumb should be centered on the end of the dcck (Figure 2).

With your left hand, square the sides of the pack, moving the hand first forward, then back. It is through

the inward squaring action that you achieve the first fold. At the end of the left hand's outward stroke the left forefinger contacts die back of the selection, stretching across its outer end. If you apply modest pressure with this finger, you can bucklc the selection widthwise away from the deck as you move the left: hand inward (Figure 3). The right thumb prevents the bowed card from escaping and becomes a post against which the card can be folded in half (Figure 4). Because both ends of the card must contact the underside of the deck as they converge, this fold can be made evenly and neatly. This is Fold Number One.

Fold NumberTwo follows in a smooth uninterrupted manner from the first: Your left hand continues to move inward, but since the right thumb blocks its padi, the left fingers have no choice but to curl around it. In doing this, the fingers fold the card once more in half, this time along it length (Figure 5). If the right thumb is centered and at right angles to the pack, as described above, diis sec- ^ /

be made very nearly. The selection is J \ I l now folded in quarters around the right / ^jj ^ \

dure has been that of the Mercury card /Y /__V

fold. Now comes my addition, Fold Number Three:

Without the least hesitation, lower your left hand approximately an inch while your right thumb retains the folded card in place, either through simple pressure or, if necessary, by hooking the tip of the thumb around the card to keep it stationary. Then, with your curled left forefinger, grip the card so diat half of it projects above the finger (Figure 6). Squeeze the left forefinger tightly closed around the card and move the right hand slightly inward, removing the card from the right thumb and completing the second fold. Note that only the forefinger bends in to make this fold. The other left fingers should remain open in a natural manner under the deck.

At this point the left hand is palm toward you. If you now rotate it palm up while pressing the upper end of the folded card firmly against the underside of the pack, you can fold the card in half again, forcing it to bend around the outer phalanx of the left forefinger (Figure 7).

Normally, considerable force is needed to pur a third fold into a card, resulting in rather strained and cramped movements of the hand. Here, both hands apply the necessary force, and the deck serves as a solid surface against which to fold. These combined factors make die force easier to conceal.

Oncc the card is folded around your forefinger, regrasp the deck in your left hand, the thumb on the left side, and the second, third and fourth fingers on rhe right side.

Now straighten the left forefinger, slipping it from between the last fold of the card. Then press your left thumb firmly down on the deck, flattening the folded card between the deck and the roots of the left fingcn». I will sometimes use my right hand to aid in the final creasing. As my left thumb presses down on the deck, I bring my right hand palm down over the pack, plant the tip of the right thumb firmly on its center and use the right fingers to riffle up the outer ends of the cards in a little dramatic gesture (Figure 8). This riffling allows me to press down with both thumbs to flatten the folded card.

This fini shes the folding and the card is now a package one eighth of its original size. And everything has been done indetectably within a quick and natural series of squaring actions. Though the procedure is fast and well disguised, it should go without saying that the spectators' attention should be directed away from your hands and the cards as the fold is executed.

' 1 he last fold is the most difficult to make neady, but with practice it can be done. And the more neady a card is folded, the more impressive its condition will be to the audience, sincc people know that folding a card neady requires both time and care. Yet, it takes me no more than two seconds to make these folds. Hence the tide.

The basic folding actions arc not difficult and can be acquired with a few trials. However, to gain the desired speed and precision, you will have to invest some time and at least fifty decks of cards. You probably have a box of worn-out decks in your closet. It is unlikely, though, that you have fifty of them. It will do no good to go through those used decks, because you will probably stop practicing when you expend your stock. With the best of intentions, you will plan to get more cards to finish learning the fold, but then you will never quite get around to it. Instead, you become sidetracked by some new sleight you have just read and want to learn. Thus you will have spent several hours and wasted a lot of cards only half-learning the sleight. Therefore, let me make this recommendation: Go out and invest in fifty decks of some brand of card with which you would never dream of performing. Having made this investment you will be motivated to sit down and fold these hateful cards. Turn on some music or the television, set a big wastebasket beside you to catch the folded cards and start practicing. After a few hours and fifty decks you should find yourself making the fold perfectly.

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