Sunday, September 24, 2006


This routine was inspired by Bro John Hamman’s Signed Transversal Triplet described in Richards Almanac Summer 85 issue. The Hamman routine involved the transposition of two selected cards. One was sandwiched between the black Kings and other between the red Kings. They changed places twice and there was third sequence, reminiscent of the Hotel Mystery in which the two selections gathered in one pile and the four Kings in the other.

Transpositions are peculiar things; they often lack that emotional hook that is so often talked about. To be frank, no one cares whether you can make one card change places with another because right from the start the spectators have to remember silly things like the red selected card is between the red Kings and the black selected card is between the black Kings. It may be simple for a magician to remember such nonsensical trivia but laymen really don’t care for it. A magical effect has suddenly become a test of memory with the spectator in the hot seat.

I felt that if I was going to make something I could use from the Hamman routine, I’d simplify it by getting rid of one of the pairs of Kings. It makes no difference to the effect from the spectator’s point of view and simplifies the handling. The selected cards are the important cards. The other cards are only there to provide cover for whatever method the magician employs. No point drawing too much attention to them.

Remove the two Jokers from the deck saying that you want a couple of cards chosen, but not Jokers. Then offer a spectator a free choice of any two cards from the remainder of the deck. Hand him a marker pen and ask him to sign his name across whichever one of his selections offers the most white space.

As he is doing this, hold the two Jokers face up in the left hand dealing position. When the spectator has finished, take the two selections and place them face up on top of the Jokers in the left hand so that the signed card is at the face.

Ask for the return of the pen and as you place it inside your pocket with the right hand your left thumb pushes the signed card to the right and then the left fingers buckle the bottom card creating a secret break along inner and right side of the packet.

With the pen back in your pocket the right hand apparently takes the two spread selections. In fact it lifts the top three cards up as two, the break facilitating the lift, the right thumb going on top of the cards, the right fingers underneath.

Gesture with the two(?) cards in the right hand as you talk and then openly put them beneath the packet. Square the cards and flip the packet face down.

The order from the top of the face down packet is Joker, selection, signed selection and Joker.

Execute a Double Lift, turning the card(s) face up onto the packet. Draw attention to the name of the selection card that now shows. Turn the card(s) face down and deal the top card to the right of the table. Execute another Double Lift with the next two cards, calling out the name of the selection. Point out the signature on the card. Turn the card(s) face down onto the packet and deal the top card off to the right.

The Double Lifts are a weak point in the trick so cover them by talking. For instance tell the spectator that you can read fortunes. Turn over top card and tell him that it means whoever chooses this card is going to make a lot of money very quickly and then, as an after thought, remember that he didn’t sign this particular card and so, regretfully, it doesn’t apply to him.

Turn over the next card and tell him that this one means he is going on a journey. “But as it’s a low card (or whatever) it won’t be very far. Not to despair, because it’ll certainly be interesting.” Deal this one face down to the left and ask him to place his finger on it.

You now reverse the positions of the two cards remaining in the hands and show them to still be two Jokers using Hamman’s Flushtration Count. This display is not strictly necessary but with only two cards it’s possible to make it look like a gesture as you speak rather than a move and therefore not as a conspicuous as it might normally be.

Replace the two cards face down in the left hand and pick up the face down card on the right of the table with the other hand.

You appear to place this card face down between the two Jokers but in fact use The Mexican Turnover Switch, which I described in Equinox (published by Martin Breese). The move is nothing more than the old Mexican Turnover executed around a packet of cards. The right hand card is apparently used to flip over the two cards in the left hand. In fact the right hand card is merely slid on top of the left hand cards while the right fingers draw the bottom card of the packet to the left and use it to flip over the upper two cards. This puts the signed selection in your right hand and the two Jokers face up in the left. Done smoothly the move is very deceptive.

Immediately spread the two face up Jokers in the left hand and insert the face down card between them. The three cards are spread so that the spectator understands the situation and then squared in the left hand.

Close the left hand around the packet and turn the hand over, executing the Through The Fist Flourish. As you do this say, “I told you that you were going on a journey … watch” As the packet emerges from the outer end of the left fist, take it with the right hand, tap it on the back of the fist and then quickly fan out the three cards to reveal the face up signed selection. The moves flow, look magical and the sudden spreading of the cards indicates the moment the transposition apparently takes place.

Ask the spectator if that’s his card between the Jokers (hard to deny since it’s signed) and then ask him to turn over the card under his finger to reveal that the two cards have changed places.

Openly gather the cards together so that from the top of the face up packet they are selection, signed selection, Joker, Joker. Casually display the cards as you talk.

If the spectators don’t ask you to do the trick again, tell them you’ll do it anyway! Flip the packet face down and then Elmsley Count the cards from the right hand to the left establishing a left little finger break under the second card from the top.

Execute a Double Lift at the break flipping the card(s) face up and displaying the unsigned selection. Turn the card(s) down and deal the top one to the right of the table.

Execute a Bottom Double Lift by pulling back on the top card of the packet with the left thumb and pushing the lower two card to the right with the left forefinger. This allows the two bottom cards to be sidejogged in alignment. Pull them clear of the packet with the right hand and flip them face up onto the packet. This will display the signed selection, which is similarly turned face down and then apparently dealt to the left of the table. The deal from the bottom may seem odd but done smoothly, and handled in the same manner as your usual Double Lifts, will pass unnoticed.

The spectator believes that the selections are on the table but may not believe you as to their exact location. Why should he, you’ve already swindled him once? Ask the spectator to place a forefinger on each of the tabled cards, saying, “Now you might think that the Jokers have something to do with the trick so this time make sure keep tight hold of your cards”.

Drop the packet to your side in order to take the heat off the cards in your hand and snap your right fingers over the tabled cards saying, “Did you feel the cards change?” When he says, “No”, ask him to turn over the cards. Instead of the expected transposition, he is now holding the Jokers. Turn over your cards to reveal that you now have both selections. It’s a real shock and seems totally impossible.

This is a shorter routine than the Hamman original but the effect is clear and easy to do. The second phase comes from a version of Daley’s Last Trick I once saw performed by a magician called, I think, Sirocco, on a magic video from the USA. It was so long ago that I have forgotten the details. It’s a great bit of business though and worth noting because it can be worked into any number of routines. By the way, if you don’t have two identical Jokers in the deck, the red Aces will do just as well.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Two jacks are sent into the deck to find a selected card. They do it by visibly rejecting half the deck and leaving just one card between them. Naturally, it is the right one.

Usually a sandwich effect suggests that somehow the two jacks (or whatever) penetrate through the deck to find the selected card. In this routine the idea is that the jacks are actually ejecting unwanted cards from the deck, leaving the selection in situ.

To perform, take the two black jacks out and place them face up on the table. Have any other card selected, remembered and returned to the pack. Control the selected card to the top of the deck. Place the deck on the table.

“Believe it or not, the two black jacks are going to find your card. But they need a little help from you. Would you cut about a third of the deck off and place it there.”

The spectator does what you say, placing the cut off portion to the side.

“Now pick up one of the jacks, either one, and drop it on top of the pile you just cut off.”

He does, and you ask him to cut off a second packet of cards from the deck, “about half this time,” and drop it on top of the jack he just handled, thus burying it.

“Great. Pick up the second jack and drop it on top.”

He picks the remaining jack up and places it on top of the pile of cards he has been building.”

“And then drop the rest of the cards on top.”

He does as you say and drops the remainder of the deck onto the face up jack. You square the deck, pick it up and recap what has happened as you spread the cards between your hands.

“What you’ve done is placed the two jacks in the middle of the deck. They are separated by what, about twenty or so cards?”

As you spread, the upper third of the deck you will come to the first jack. Spread past it but cull it under the spread until you come to the second jack. Because of the way you have handled the cards the second jack is directly above the selection. Load the culled jack below the selection as you close the spread, apparently having reshown the jacks to only emphasise how many cards separate them.

You are almost ready to finish. Turn the deck face up in the left hand. “I think that your card lies somewhere between the two jacks. All the jacks have to do is get rid of all the other cards. Watch!”

Click your right fingers and then execute the Self-Cutting Deck flourish from The Royal Road To Card Magic (Chapter Thirteen, Miscellaneous Flourishes).

Briefly, the left forefinger snaps inwards against the outer end of the deck, propelling the lower half towards you where it is caught by the waiting right hand. The instructions in the Royal Road show the right hand palm down as it catches the cards, but I like to have the hand palm up. It is already behind the deck when it clicks its fingers and opens to receive the ejected cards.

The effect is that a packet of cards suddenly and unexpectedly leaps from the deck. You catch it and immediately spread the cards in a fan face up on the table, asking the spectator, “Can you see your card there?”

He won’t. So you turn the remainder of the deck face down and spread it across the table to reveal the two face up black jacks, now separated by only one card. It is, of course, the selection.