It was a quiet day so I stared at the cardboard tongue of my card case and waited for it to tell me something astonishing. The tongue wasn't talking but it did take the time to write me a curious little note in blue ink: "We claim exclusive trademark rights in Ace of Spades, Joker, name, number, back design, case design and name of finish used on our various cards."
Pretty strong stuff for a floppy little cardboard tongue. Who knows? Maybe the tongue was practicing to be an attorney. Or maybe the tongue just didn't know how to carry on a decent conversation. Or maybe the tongue was hinting that I should ignore the blue ink and focus on the space between the lines...and quietly wait for all the words to disappear.
ELfFE-CT - You display a rare misprinted card. Part of the advertising card has accidentally been printed on the normally blank space of the Joker. "This mistake happens perhaps one in twenty-million decks. These rare misprints are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, just like a rare misprinted stamp. Of course, you have to know the difference between a genuine misprint and a counterfeit look-alike. You hand out the misprinted Joker to see if your spectator can tell the difference... and the printing has suddenly vanished! The misprint was apparently a fake. Oh well.
LlAPPY N<?TEL - There would have been no rare misprints of any kind without the help of printing expert Tony Dunn and daring astonishment jockey Jay Sperry. While I was grumbling about color discrepencies Tony pointed out that the ink on the case tongue is the exact same color as the ink on the advertising card. Okay, fine.
So then I grumbled about lacking any reasonable motivation for the effect...and Tony came forth with his very reasonable "rare misprint" presentation that pulled the pieces all together. Okay fine...but will this weird in-your-face bluff really fly for the folks at home. I had serious doubts. I couldn't even bring myself to try it out on the doughnut lady at the mall...until Jay Sperry took it out on the streets and successfully used it to unleash the moment for twenty-five folks in a row. All right. Now I'm happy...(the doughnut lady told me to tell everyone that she said hi).
B'E.fii'R.EL - Carefully peel off any pieces of stamp that are stuck on the printed section of the case flap. You want this flap to be as clean and pure as the face of a card. If you accidentally scar the flap or mess up the printing you'll have to start over with another case.
Now go to the trash and dig out one of the printed advertising cards that come with a Bicycle deck. This will have printing on both sides. One side will be printed with black ink, the other side in red or blue ink (depending on the back color of the deck it came from). This red or blue printing will be the same color as the printing on the card case tongue. Either color will work, as long as the color on the tongue and the card match.
Place the advertising card, blue - or red side up, on top of the face-up "big Joker" (the one without the extra printing) and place the pair inside the case so the advertising faces the half-moon. Keep these two cards separate from the deck until you're ready to create the rare misprint.
¿TE.P - Position the closed card case (flap tucked inside the box) to your left, so that the flap end of the box is toward you, with the half-moon side down. You should now be looking at the big upside-down Spade on top of the case.
5TE-P T\V^ - Your left fingers grasp the case from above by its sides and pick it up so the half-moon side of the case is toward you. Open the flap with your right fingers, then remove the pair of cards, keeping the advertising card on top.
.5TE-P TtlR-E-E. - Tilt the back of the case toward yourself to conceal it from your spectator's view as you arrange the flap and the two cards as in FIGS. 1-3. Note how the left thumb has angled the flap, along with both cards, to the right for a more casual display. The fake misprint section on the Joker will be a slightly darker shade of white than the rest of the Joker. So far this has never been noticed by the uninitiated. But hey, there's always a first time.
6TE-P fOUE. - Display the misprint Joker just long enough for it to register. (You don't want anyone reading the fine print.) Grasp the two cards at their outer ends with your right fingers while your right thumb slides down the advertising card so it covers the misprint (FIG. 4).
Your right fingers lift the two-card spread straight up off the flap about half of an inch (tilting the concealed flap up)...and then toward yourself (to secretly flatten out the flap) and off the inner end of the box (FIGS. 5-6). This innocent action of taking the cards off of the box flips over the flap and leaves its blank side exposed to the audience. It's just a box with its flap; the very essence of normalcy. Quietly put the case aside as you offer the Joker to your spectator to see if she can tell if it's a genuine misprint or a cheap counterfeit.
• If someone lunges for the card case you'll know it's not your day. Comment that it's obviously a counterfeit card case flap. Immediately call the Feds.
• Even the most well-educated spectators are not actively aware that one side of a bicycle card-case flap has printing on it.
• You can change the presentation around by doing this with the Ace of Spades instead of the Joker. Display the two cards and comment that the card company has finally gone too far. Not only are they printing advertising on extra cards, they're messing up the actual Ace of Spades by printing a legal notice on it. Read the message word-for-word, then do what you can to make the printing go away.
• You can erase the printing from the flap to make it blank, then use it to cover up something that's written on a card, or you can draw an image or a word on the flap that ties in with a mark on the card: Make two initals change places, cause a squiggle to turn into a name, or any other "two-frame" animation you can think of. You can also use a pen cap in place of the advertising card to conceal the right side of the flap.
• For a visual change of the card: Your left fingers keep the flap down in position as your right fingers grasp the outer end of the two cards and "pop-up" the inner end of the pair...so they snap over onto the flap.
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