Birthday Match

A popular plot in recent years has been the matching of cards written in a diary to a spectator's birthday (see my routine Diary Of A Nobody, for instance, which can be found on the General Magic DVD), and there have been a number of excellent solutions to the basic plot. I offer another here, its main advantage being that the pack of cards used is not faked or set up in any way.

EFFECT: The performer shows a diary and explains that next to each and every day of the year the name of a playing card has been written. These cards are supposed to be the lucky cards associated with people born on each particular day.

The diary is handed to a spectator for safe keeping. A pack of cards is then shown and handed also to the spectator who is asked to shuffle them.

The magician enquires the date of the spectator's birthday, and asks the spectator whether he has any idea which card is written against that date in the diary. The spectator obviously does not.

He is now asked to select any card from the pack without looking at it, and the magician isolates this card by slipping it into a pay envelope and leaving it in full view.

The spectator turns now his attention to the diary and looks up his birthday. The magician asks him to call out the playing cards written down for the previous three or four days to his birthday. This is done.

Then he is asked to read out the cards for the three or four days after his birthday. Again this is done, and from this it can be appreciated that even a slight difference in the birthday date would produce a different card.

The magician tips out the spectator's chosen card from the envelope. The audience are reminded that the spectator shuffled the deck himself and chose one card while the pack was still in his hands. At that time he had no idea which card was written alongside his birthday date.

Now for the first time he is asked to read out the name of the card written against his birthday. The chosen card is turned over - it is the same card.

REQUIREMENTS: 1. 11 Utility Switch Envelopes (yes, eleven!!). 2. A pack of cards. 3. Eleven extra indifferent cards whose backs match the pack you are using. 4. A diary. Preferably a small page-to-a-day one, or at the most two-days-to-a-page.

PREPARATION: The initial preparation will take quite a while but once done there is virtually no re-set after each performance.

First of all, lay out the eleven extra indifferent cards face up in a row on the table and MENTALLY


11 going from LEFT TO RIGHT. Fig. 41.

You are now going to fill in all the dates in the diary with these eleven card names. The value of card No.1 (that is the card on the extreme left end of your row) you write against every date in the diary which ends with a 1, except for the 31st. So, the 1st, 11th and 21st of every month will have written against it the name of card No.1.

Card name No.2 goes against the 2nd, 12th and 22nd of every month. Card No.3 is written on the 3rd, 13th and 23rd of every month. Then card No.4 on the 4th, 14th and 24th of every month. You continue this process right through to card No.10 (10th, 20th and 30th). Finally, those months which have 31 days in them have your card No.11 written against the 31st.

To a casual flick through, the diary appears to be filled out with a ran-

dom selection of cards because there is a minimum of 10 days between a card and its duplicate. In reality you have limited the possible choice of cards to just 11.

Now you need the 11 Utility Switch Envelope. Have them in a pile, address side up. With a pencil, number the envelopes from 1-11 with a small numeral in the bottom left hand corner of each envelope. Fig. 42.

Reassemble the pile so that they are address side down with envelope No.1 being the top one and the others running in numerical sequence to No.11 on the bottom. This numbering is simply for your convenience in setting up.

Into the genuine pocket of envelope No.1 slip card No.1 face down. Into the pocket of envelope No.2 slip face downward No.2 and continue until each of the cards has been loaded into its correct envelope. Reassemble the pile again, flap side up, with envelope No.1 on top again as before. Put a paper band round the pile or an elastic band (not too tight).

With the packet of envelopes on the table alongside the diary and the pack of cards, you are ready to perform.

PRESENTATION: Show the diary and casually thumb through showing a few card names to the audience as you explain that each date in the diary has a card written on it. Obviously, you state, there is a certain amount of repetition because there are 365 days and only 52 cards, but basically each day has a different card assigned to it.

Hand the diary to a spectator and ask him to look after it for a moment. He will clearly not know the card next to his own birthday, you say, and just for the moment you ask him not to look because he has to do something else first.

Remove the deck from its case and have the spectator shuffle it. While he does so, casually pick up the pile of envelopes and hold in your left hand, flap side up. Remove the paper or rubber band.

Ask him what his birthday date is. Tell him you want him to keep thinking of that date and at the same time to run through the cards face down and pull one out at random, making sure that his selection is not seen by anyone, including himself.

As he does this you thumb count down the top left corner of your pile of envelopes until you come to the correct envelope which will contain the card matching the one against his birthday in the diary. The month is immaterial, of course, only the day itself is important to you. So if his birthday is the 14th, you thumb count down to the 4th envelope, for the 26th you need the 6th envelope, the 29th will mean the 9th envelope, the 31st, the 11th envelope and so on. Incidentally, by the term "thumb counting" I simply mean that your left thumb pushes down on the top left corner of the pile of envelopes and allows the envelopes to spring up past the thumb one at a time. In this way you can count down to any envelope you need.

Having thumb counted down, cut the pile of envelopes casually so that the top envelope will contain the card matching the one written in the diary. Once the spectator has dropped out a card from the deck, peel off the top envelope, dropping the rest of the pile on the table

When attention comes back to you, you will be holding an envelope ready to put the card into. Firstly, however, retrieve the pack from the spectator and hold it in the dealing position in the left hand. Ask him if he wishes to change his mind about his selection (he can because it makes no difference).

Assuming he is happy, place the envelope over the pack ready for the usual switch and hold out your now empty right hand for the spectator's card.

Slip the card into the envelope, affecting the switch, and leave the envelope on the table. Place the deck aside.

Now the spectator opens the diary at his birthday. He reads out the cards for the 3 or 4 days either side of his birthday day. This stresses that the cards written in the diary are different.

Tip the card out of the envelope, showing the envelope empty, and have him finally read out his birthday date card. Having emphasised how free his selection was from the pack, the card is flipped face up to reveal that he has somehow chosen the very same card.

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