L

invariably she laughs and says, '"Yea." But that do doesn't want to see it happen. esn 1 Dlea„

"McDonald's Aces" is strong partly because each ace v k powerful, visual magic. But it's also strong because eaT 'B itaelf acts as a tease to increase anticipation for the climax ' ^ Vrin,i.!i missing aces are revealed under the spectator's hand" Th'Cl1 11,5 "tease" has a sexual connotation and in this case it's an teriil

You've started something and the audience expects vou^* f3lu8ion. But the longer you can hold it off—the more tension vo h '*'

up—the better it will feel when it finally happens. I gu^that'

they call it a climax

The formula used in "McDonald's Aces", which why second-shoe technique, can be applied to most multiple-phi^^» of transition or transposition. What sets effects of transition (a k travels from one place to another) and transposition (two „V ' change places) apart is the effect may be revealed in two steps I transition, you can first show that the object has vanished Iron. > original location, then that it's arrived at - — '

a new location. In a transposition, you can first show that object A has changed to oW t B, then that object B has changed to object A. Therefore in a multiple phase transition or transposition effect, you can often (depending on the method) execute step A of every phase hefore revealing step B An example should make this clearer. In John Ramsay's "Cylinder and Corns," most performers make no reference to where the vanishing coins are going. When they lift the cylinder at the end to reveal the four coins it packs a surprise punch. Instead, the performer can show the cylinder empty, place it aside and then announce that he will make each coin travel invisibly to within the cylinder. Then each tune a com vanishes it creates audience anticipation for the performer to lift up the cylinder, something he doesn't do until a!! four coins have vanished.

Either approach may be made effective. However, this indicates how suspense and surprise are often at odds. Frequently, in routining a trick, you'll have to decide which of these two dramatic effects you want to achieve. If, in audience-testing an effect, you find that you need to strengthen the trick's ability to hold the audience's interest until the end, suspense is the technique to use. An excellent example of how tension-anticipation can be built into an effect that doesn't already possess it is provided by Joil Racher-baumer's handling of Brother Hamman's "Underground Transposition. Like "McDonald's Aces", this trick involves a series of transpositions. Although Jon's version of this trick, published in The

^ one""1 mother po^et. Lach t showing only

«»jf a map^l He would not, however spread the ssEfei'srsS iar- ~ --to — of only one ta* table. Each time an r,h,3 time the the audience wondered about the ace

«»eared in the king packet toe au reaUy h^ansno°ition they wanted to see it more.

,„d with each t an P transposition that Jen picked up

11 "»n0t r " d howedfhat it did indeed contain three toga and the ace packet *nshowe ^ ^ ^ on ^ audl kept the audience in an. unfulfilled state and thereby guaranteed their continued interest. When he finally satisfied their curiosity, he previded the effect with an emotional high point normally missing from repetitive effects of this kind. Overall, he achieved more impact with less work.

The Unavoidable Delay Technique: Here is an alternative to the second shoe technique for generating anticipation suspense. You announce that you've achieved a certain effect but then you make the audience wait before they can find out if your claim is true. However, the wait must appear to be an unavoidable one created by the nature of the effect; otherwise the audience will realize they're being manipulated and resent it,

A perfect example of the right approach is the "Nest of Boxes." The performer borrows a com and has it marked by a spectator. He places «e «m in his hand. With his other hand he reaches into his pocket who'TT6 3 Sma11 P,astic box and hands ^ t0 thQ spectator from 01 e horawed the coin. He then makes a mystic pass over his closed hand and causes the coin to vanish. Turning to the holding the box he announces that the coin is inside VV^^ spectator opens the box he finds, not the coin, but a small tht Within that box he finds a still smaller box. He continues b°x progressively smaller boxes until he finally finds the marked °Penin8 The fact that the coin is found inside several boxes rather th one strengthens the effect due to the more stringent conditions*h ^ also strengthens it by creating tension-anticipation. You've mad '1 claim that the coin is inside the plastic box. The audience wants to ^ the proof of this amazing claim. However, they have to wait 866 because you're a mean guy who forces them to wait, but beeau ^ takes time to open all those boxes. All that time the tensior^ " building within the audience, guaranteeing a stronger reaction wh18 the fulfillment finally arrives. en

Telegraphing the Climax: the audience has to know in advance that the coin is supposed to ultimately be found inside. Otherwise the opening of all those boxes merely becomes tedious. It may not be necessary to actually announce what the climax will be. Audiences are intelligent and realize that, the coin having vanished, the next logical step is to find it. When you direct the spectator to open the box they will probably expect the coin to be inside. But, one way or the other, it's imperative that they do foresee the climax; if you find that they're not catching on on their own, by all means tell them that the coin is inside the box.

In fact, the more of a foretaste of the climax you give them in advance the more anticipation you can build. A beautiful example of this kind of thinking is a Ron Wilson idea I mentioned earlier, that of using a window envelope for the Card in Envelope Wallet. You remove the envelope from your wallet and announce that the card is inside. This builds anticipation. You turn the envelope over and point out the back of a playing card visible through the glassine window. This, you assert, is the signed, selected card. This peek-a-boo tease builds anticipation further. They want you to rip the envelope open and show the card.

Instead you turn the envelope over and point out how thoroughly sealed it is. You stress that the flap is glued down. You point to the wax seal and point out your stamped initial. All this time the audience continues to simmer, wanting more and more to see the card inside that envelope. Finally, you tear the envelope open and reveal the selected card within, providing a release for the tension you've built up.

Another good example of the need to telegraph the ending in order to achieve anticipation suspense occurs in the final phase of Vernons r .inng the Aces" As already described, th.a consists 0f the

"C Sr cutting to n spot card, then us.ng the number of spots™

tf aS to count down to the final ace. If you ,lmply 8lan thnd iuntuiK as soon as you see the spot card the audience won t derstond what is going on until you arrive at the ace. clpose. instead, you explain that you've deliberately cut to a certain lot card because that card indicates the position of the ace. Point out £nt the card you cut to is a six, then slowly start to deal nnd count loud The audience will immediately realize that the ace is supposed ¡o turn up on the count of six. Even in the few moments it takes to count six cards you can build considerable audience anticipation. Tke Dramatic Pause: Of the three different forms of suspense tension-anticipation is easily the one you'll be able to exploit most often in your magic. In fact, almost any trick that has a strong climax can be given a little more impact simply by incorporating a dramatic pause to build suspense just before revealing the climax. Even something as simple as a pick-a-card location can, and should, be built up this way. Instead of immediately turning the card over, hold it back coward the audience. Ask the spectator who selected it to name his card, then slowly turn it face toward the audience. If you're not already using this approach, try it and see how much this small dramatic buildup can add to any pick-a-card trick. This is why the "Ultra-Mental" deck is dramatically superior to the "Brainwave" deck. In the "Brainwave" deck, the prediction card appears face up in the face-down deck. One moment it's not visible; the next moment it is. There is no opportunity for any anticipation to build up. In the "Ultra-Mental" deck, the prediction card appears face down in the face-up deck. This gives you a chance to build suspense for a few moments before turning the card face outward to show that the prediction is correct.

What I've just described is analogous to the practice of some poker players who "slow roll" their hand at the showdown, spreading it slowly or turning it over card by card rather than all at once. In fact, if you do any poker deals you should definitely use this approach yourself to milk the hand for maximum suspense. Of course, the more amazing the trick itself, the more effective this dramatic pause technique will be. A favorite card trick of mine is I-arry Jennings' "Homing Card"; an ace of spades placcd aside continually returns to a red packet in the performer's hand. Although the packet keeps diminishing in size as card after card is placed aside, the ace is always found in the packet. When I'm finally down to only °ne card in my hand, this card is cleanly shown to be a red card, then turned back toward the audience.

both cases, when Kreskin finally succeeded jn <• was greeted by an audience response that would h the ^«ck aforementioned "experts" but would have come SUrprised Houdini. Both audiences gave Kreskin a rousing stand ^ SUrPr«se Kreskin uses this ending not only when perfor • gOVation- ^ audiences but also in his college shows. College SV°r generai presumably represent the ultimate example of the MTv 18

presumably represent the ultimate example of the w°uld however, they also invariably reward Kreskin with standi mental'ty Those who think that the audience was watching n hour in these examples miss the point. What they were f°r a half a man in the midst of what thev Dereeiv*»H t« . Watchine

j man in the midst of what they perceived to be a vital struggle a great deal riding on the outcome. In the case of Kreskin. his wall haltingly along the aisles was the outward manifestation of t^6 struggle. In the case of Houdini. the struggle took place only in £ audience's mind as they imagined what might be going on behind that screen. In each case, it was strong enough entertainment to hold the audience spellbound.

Because suspense builds over time, an effective suspense-building technique is what I term the pre-climactic stall. I've a heady made reference to the old bit of dramatically starting to count to three, but stopping to deliver some gag just before the count of three. In Michael Ammar's timed presentation of "Roll-Over Aces" he has the spectator stop the stopwatch a couple of seconds before the climax. He then has the spectator announce how many seconds are left and he recaps how much he must yet accomplish in those few seconds. This pause is technically unnecessary but dramatically very powerful since it provides time for the situation to hit home with the audience and the suspense to build. It's simply a more sophisticated version of the one-two-three gag.

When a performer who is doing "The Seven Keys to Baldpate" stops just before the last spectator tries his key and offers to let him exchange his key for the single remaining one he is dramatizing the conditions of the effect, but he is also creating a pre-climactic stall to heighten suspense.

In addition to manufacturing a stall in order to build suspense, it is sometimes possible to take a truly unavoidable time lag and turn it from a liability into an asset by using it to generate suspense. Few magicians would dispute that "Out of this World" is one of the strongest effects in card magic, but it does take a long time to reach the climax. During the first three-quarters of the effect, the audience is just watching someone slowly deal cards into two face-down piles. This time can be used to generate suspense for the climax.

D l furry suggested in the original instructions , effective pl°>' .. -error" at one point. Since you know what

AI-t correct a apectaw ^ ^ any given point 8ome t icard the spectator ^ wrQng pile point out her mistake.

£ "rd and PlaCC 11 °n ^ CTCt P K , shotv the face j ^ ^ flg weU Q8 another ef my own

When I Pcrfor" „ the impromptu version of the effect in which the devising- I n the fanned deck during the first half.

performer remove^car ^ which pUe the card should be allowing the sp jnt j renloVe two cards and mix them face down on placed. At one po ^ ^ Qne of these cards is red and one is black, the table as i f ^ 6ame color; let's assume they're black.) I ask (Actually. Dom ^ the one ghc believes is red. I then drop that the spectator ^ p Fina]lv j drop the other card on the black pile, card on t&e^ ^ ^ ^ casually turn it over to show its face. The fact lhat it's black seems to prove that the spectator guessed correctly. Lth these bits will get a good audience reaction. More importantly, they will change the audience's entire attitude toward the dealing rocess. By giving them a foretaste of the climax through these two ploys you start the audience wondering if perhaps the impossible really will happen and the spectator will succeed in separating the colors. The time required to deal out the cards now becomes a period of expectancy rather than one of tedium.

There are in fact a number of very strong card effects that involve long dealing procedures before reaching the climax. In Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table I have an effect called "The Ultimate Card Shark." It's a gambling routine that ends with the dealing out of four perfect bridge hands. This is an extremely strong climax. However, the process of dealing out the entire deck into four hands takes time even when performed briskly.

Rather than allow this to become dead time, I use the dealing time to build tension-anticipation. As I deal out the hands I talk about what constitutes a perfect hand at bridge and what the astronomical odds against receiving such a hand are. The audience quickly realizes that lintend to deal a perfect hand and begins to anticipate the climax, ihe time required to complete the deal then becomes a period of Duuding suspense rather than a drag on the effect. Furthermore, the led to JZ T"** Qn clcracnt of surprise since the audience has been hands turn ?? bridge hand and is surprised when all four ua lurn out to be perfect.

°fZpl°iting a Iong deahnZ Procedure in a card ^Z Z "8e 15 the P,aUl Curry plot "The Open Prediction." In the SUfiPense 13 of the conflict-uncertainty type as the per-

former bucks seemingly incredible odds The openly announcing that he believes the suectatj>e,'i>r','w be* spades. He then hands the deck to the specbZ S6,e« k> through it face up, looking for the ten of spades H t"U« during the deal, the spectator must placets d^ card he wishes. ' S1ent itnseetl 1&ie

As the deal proceeds further and further down i„ m, turning up the ten of spades it starts to dawn on th deck *>tL», the card placcd aside must indeed be the pr^cterl nears the end, the tension mounts as the As h predicted card will turn up among the last few Of ISM ir'k and the performer climaxes the effect by turnini ™ J * card to reveal the ten of spades. (The^iZo™V ""«N effect is another prediction trick that can be built up thi """"W This example also illustrates the need for providing the LT' foreknowledge of the performers goal if suspensefa toI?"*** O-he one exception is in mystery^urlosity suspense o^b ®™^ belawoi type.) If the above effect were done wTthaVn f Which was not revealed until after the deaW nl/ Predicti«° the entire procedure would be monulentaUy bormg "" ^

over the coins. A blindfold orhood¡.T a ^ a"d audi-ence doesn't know what thp ** head" If "»

procedure may seem tedious ' Utends do'

spectator's head the blLdfold mplf' sh°°l an <Wle ' rather than bortas Tb„ 5 procedure becomes suspense«

during .th^df IdL Ze^tf ""^T « how the performer U T' m0re the audience wonders

tS?^^^^1'- " that «*— always revolves the card is in the walet adXIZ "T"'' ^ ^^ °T *<" create suspense- the/„ml? rUbber bands ™ the worM WDnt substitute for substantwT ■jnm!ase the boredom. Suspense is no already possesses «'national meaning. Rather, if an effect effect more powerfuTTnT suspense make an already powerful Formula: Make them m tlTVetlnB' Remember Darwin's Suspense ore, then make them wait.

Combining Suspense Elements oint to note 19 that a single effect may provide more than One flnal P f ¡¡uspense or more than one farm of suspense. These dif-one s0".^°p=nse elements may work simultaneously or sequentially, ferent ^ using different suspense hooks sequentially is the

The strategy ^ ^ successful suspense novel or action film. The verr e5Se?reader or viewer is held by one suspenseful soeno. He interest o ^ .1,J,V it will end. Yet, no sooner is that suspense ,vsnts to' lved than a new one arises to capture bis interest. In this element ije{j from gcone to scene as if grabbed by the collar and he is^p j,.um one hand to another along a gauntlet, never

" released until the climax. If you want to see what 1 mean, be'tch Raiders of the Lost Ark or read any James Bond novel, nf urse a magic effect can never hope to match the complexity of a f| '"'or novel Nevertheless, this strategy can work on a smaller scale in certain effects.

We've already seen how the final phase of "Cutting the Aces" creates uncertainty suspense when the performer apparently misses, cutting nstead to a spot card, and how that suspense immediately shifts to anticipation suspense when the performer begins to count down to the selected card. A more complex illustration is provided by Paul Harris' "Reflex," an effect which is potentially one of the most suspenseful in close-up magic. While there is nothing revolutionary about my own presentation of this effect, I'll detail it for the sake of having a specific scenario to analyze.

First, 1 explain the premise: I will put my sleight-of-hand speed to the test in a contest against the spectator—a contest in which the spectator has all the advantages. The spectator shuffles the deck and removes any seven cards. She then merely thinks of any one of these cards. The seven cards are shuffled and dropped back on top of the deck.

I now explain the ground rules for the contest. I will show each card to the spectator, Lhen drop it face down on the table. As soon as her card hits the table she is to slam her hand on it. The moment her hand begins to move, that will be my signal to try to snatch the card away before she can get to it. As I say in my patter. "She has a slight advantage; she knows what card she's thinking of and I don't. 1 have a slight advantage; I practice an awful lot."

The contest then begins. Each time I drop a card on the table 1 tense as if ready to spring. The spectator invariably takes the matter very seriously. Her tenseness communicates itself to the audience. Some spectators will throw in an occasional feint which serves to keep the audience even more on the edge of their seats. It's a situation. The uncertainty of the conflict's outcome hnuff8^

outcome holds the auiv*

on a card. This riveted as much as any performer could wish Eventually the spectator slams her hand down iably triggers laughter from the audience—an emotional reT 'nVaN the pressure that has built up. In their eyes, the suspens^ 6880 f°r has been resolved: the spectator has won. 8ltuation

For a moment I act surprised and crestfallen as if beaten Th announce confidently that the spectator wasn't fast enough Ii 1 her to look under her hand to see that I have gotten the8^1"^ Immediately the audience is pulled up short by my claim H**»' have they caught their breath from the first suspense issue when th are faced with a new one.

Now they're curious to find out if my claim is true. Every eye is glued on the spectator's hand as she lifts it and turns over the card underneath. So absorbed are they by this issue that most don't even notice me removing my wallet from my pocket and dropping it on the table. They're too busy reacting to the fact that the thought-of card is not under the spectator's hand. The second suspense issue has been resolved. My claim was true; her card is gone.

However, as soon as this fact sinks in, I change the focus. I have the spectator turn over the other cards under her hand in search of her card. I deal off the top several cards of the deck face up. I spread the deck face up on the table. The thought-of card is nowhere to be seen. Tongue in cheek, I pull at the spectator's sleeve and even lift up the corner of the close-up mat in search of the missing card. All these actions serve to heighten the question in the audience's mind, "If the card wasn't under her hand, where on earth is it?" Need I point out that this question provides the third suspense phase? Finally, I announce, "The hard part wasn't getting the card out from under Jennifer's hand. The hard part was placing Jennifer's card in a safe place." As I deliver the last line I pick up my wallet. Immediately they understand what I mean. The card is in the wallet! It can't be. but it must be. That's the answer to the third suspense phase. They already believe it. but they want to see it. As I continue to patter I turn the wallet over and over in my hand. I open it. I point to the zippered compartment. Slowly I pull the zipper down. I ask the spectator to name her card. All this time the audience's anticipation is building. Finally I remove the card from the wallet and toss it to the table with a spin. The last and most powerful suspense phase has been resolved.

In one effect the audience is drawn through four suspense experiences. each subsequent one starting almost the moment the previous there is the question of who will win the contest „„ iS revived- 8Dectotor (conflict-unccrtainty). Next, there is i^nP^iror not the card is really under her hand questi°n.ol.;\ Then there ie the mystery of where the missing „1vste0^ur^y/my8tery-ourio8ity). Finally, there is the desire to S^Si?» the card come out of the wallet ie0 the ,mr- ati0n) I grab them by the collar at the outset and (tension-*01"^ thg climax. John Le Carre' eat your heart out. never let go u

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