Galaxy

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Curry's original version of this astonishing plot became one of the most celebrated card effects of this century. But several aspects of the routine are burdensome. The magician must - without seeming to - count the first half of the deck while the spectator deals. This obligation stands in the way of the magician exerting his style by amusing the onlookers while a boring activity is in progress. The use of the additional red and black leader cards halfway through the deal is weakly reasoned, breaks the rhythm of the playlet, introduces complication into the procedure, and gives a heavy clue to those who would later seek to unwind the secret. Because of the four leader cards and the attendant division of the deck into four piles, the layout and cleanup at the end are not as straightforward and simple as one might wish.

Finally, there is the unhappy fact that the original method has become so broadly known that strangers to magic sometimes are on to the works. The truth is that this classic is done not all that often in this era where the pressures of trade show and restaurant magic favor direct and fast material.

Galaxy responds to these concerns by fashioning for this centerpiece of close-up magic a trimmer routine, more conducive to a tighter and lighter performance.

P&J0CE,PURE5 -

6TE.P ONE. -The deck is stacked from the top down in this manner: 13 red cards, 13 black cards, a Joker, 13 red cards, and 13 black cards. (You don't need exactly 13 cards in each group but you want to be in the ball park.) Fan the deck with the faces toward you. Remove and toss aside the Joker, using this action to divide the deck into the two halves on either side of the Joker. Riffle-shuffle the two halves together. As you riffle-shuffle, do so as perfectly as you can, letting the cards fall evenly from both thumbs. The result will be that all the red cards are on top of the deck, and all the black cards are on the bottom, with the exception of a few cards that may overlap their color in the middle. If you do not do a fairly even riffle-shuffle, practice for a few minutes - it's not hard. If you're a courageous soul you can let a skilled spectator do the shuffle (after you've made the even cut).

Or as they said of the '49ers' "They're strong and brave, because the cowards stayed home, and the weak died on the way."

Tell the multitude that the riffle-shuffle is being used because it is the shuffle required in gambling casinos throughout the world. Explain that no pre-arrangement of the cards can survive a riffle-shuffle.

5TE.P TW/O - Fan the deck with the faces toward yourself and examine the middle of the spread where there probably is a slight overlapping of the red and black cards. Take out the least number of cards required to correct any overlapping of the reds and blacks, but be sure to include one of each color, and one or two others. Drop these several cards face down on the performing surface, and table the deck face down.

6TE.P TJ-IE.E.L - Invite the spectator to participate in a fascinating experiment. Pick up the few cards which you removed from the deck in eliminating the color overlap, and fan them faces toward you. Take out a black card, mention that it will be a color indicator, and place it face up on the table slightly to your left and about eighteen inches in from your edge of the table. Do the same thing with a red card, only place it next to the black card so that it is slightly to your right.

The colors run in alphabetical order from left to right (to help you remember that the black indicator card is always on your left).

In the open space between your edge of the table and the indicator cards, the brave volunteer will attempt to sort the face-down deck into a red pile and a black pile.

You will have a card or two left in the small fan you are holding. Use them to demonstrate how each card is placed in a pile between the magician and the indicator card that matches the prediction. Turn the few example cards over and let the spectator see whether or not they were placed in the right color pile. Then toss the example cards face down on the joker outside the field of play.

6TE.P FOUR. - Ask the spectator to begin dealing the cards one at a time, and as quickly as he can. Request that he deal about the same number of cards into each pile. Instruct him to relax, assuring him that you will guide his subconscious.

While the deck is being dealt into the facedown piles, the magician has a wonderful opportunity for by-play. I touch up my beard with a portable razor, sing a line or two from The Impossible Dream or There's No Business Like Show Business, and make an imaginary call to Las Vegas to get the morning line on the spectator's chances. Or you might do a drum roll on the table with your fingers. In the light of your personality, play it as it lays. Paul prefers to let the suspense build quietly as the cards are dealt.

6TELP pVtl - When the cards have been dealt, roughly square up the two piles. Remarking that you wish to see how the spectator did, pick up the pile to your left, and fan and close it quickly, noting the name of the black card in the middle which is directly behind the last red card. This is the only card you have to remember. Let's say it's the Two of Clubs. As you take this open glance shake your head in wonder and say something like, "you're not going to believe this." Put the pile back in place face down.

5TE-P 5IX - With the left hand, turn the top card of the left-hand pile face up to the left (FIG. 1), so that its long sides are parallel to the table edge in front of you. Turn over the next card in the same way. And again. And again. Turn each card over with a steady rhythm. They will all be black. As you do this, watch for your cue card, in this instance the Two of Clubs. When it appears, as it will about half-way through the pile, stop and say, "This could take all night!"

Without pause or hurry, pick up the right pile from above with the right hand, fingers on the outer end and thumb on the inner end, and place it on the left-hand pile (FIG. 2). Then set the combined piles across the fingers of the palm-up left hand (FIG. 3). The left fingers close, thereby turning the deck over (FIG. 4).

6TE.P 6E.VE.IsI -The left hand moves towards the left until the deck is above the small pile of face-up black cards. The right hand re-grips the now face-up deck from above by the ends, and lowers it onto the cards (FIG. 5).

The right hand, keeping its grip, now spreads the deck in the shape of a half circle, as in FIG 6.

All the black cards are below the black indicator card, and all the red cards are below the red indicator card. The spectator has perfectly separated the red and black cards! A nice little touch is to adjust the spread so that there is a slight break between the red cards and the black cards. The broken arch beneath the two color indicator cards makes a nice picture and helps drive home the revelation.

You now have GALAXY, and may it hold for you as much delight as it has for us. Don't worry about the discrepancy in the move just before the spread. It will ride past the audience like a bandit in the night. You can take the word of my collaborator, Paul Harris, who knows more about discrepancy than the entire Russian diplomatic corps. Besides, the effect has been unveiled for some well-posted insiders, including John Kennedy, Dean Dill, and other Magic Castle insiders, who all gave it their blessings.

FLASlJ&ACI^. - Harris and I are having lunch at the Beverly Rodeo Hotel on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. (We would rather be having gruel with the common people, but we are under a contract that commits us to elegance.) Not only that, but the restaurant opens on one side to the street, which permits us to study the folkways of attractive and wealthy women. We are discussing strategies for GALAXY. I am supporting the use of a well-known sleight. He is all for a solution that departs from linear thinking. I ask him how he can think like that. He says, "I believe in pushing discrepancy to the absolute limit."

fLASjJ&ACkl - Harris and I are having lunch at the Magic Castle. We would rather be noshing hot dogs in the bleachers, but we are committed to an environment that will enhance collaborative creative endeavor. I make the point that we can bring into control a certain magic problem by simply pencil-dotting the backs of a few cards. Harris says, "I'd rather shoot myself in the foot before I would use pencil-dots." He remains remote for awhile, until John Carney stops by and says that while at FISM he saw two teenagers wearing T-shirts with the message: "Paul Harris Lives!" Harris winced slightly at this news. I use the distraction to pencil-dot one of Paul's cards.

PIIOOT^OJL -

• If you let the spectator shuffle you may end up with quite a few "wrong" cards in the deck. Occasionally ten or more. This is fine. Remove them all and use the extra cards in a warm up round with the spectator. Fan the cards so only you can see their faces and pull out one card at a time as your spectator makes wild guesses.

Deal the card face up onto the appropriate leader card and give your guesser encouragement or advice depending on each outcome. It's a fine time to practice your guessing skills...as you attempt to pre-guess the guesses by pulling out the next color you think she'll name. I often get eighty or ninety percent correct, sometimes all of them. It's a good bet to start with red, then black, then black again (no one wants to seem simple) then red. After that you have to find the groove. However the guesses go, make it out as a positive sign. Most people are fascinated with the guessing game, and however it goes, you've established the legitimacy of the main event. Say something like "That was a good warm-up, now let's try for the real thing. This time you get to deal the cards...and there's no peeking."

• Try to do this as a one-time special event, without throwing in a bunch of other tricks. Nurture that one spark of astonishment and see how much heat you can create before going back to square one and starting over with another spark.

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