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Written by

Michael Skinner
Photographs By
Anne White
Design Sr Layout by
Daniel McCarthy
Published by
L & L Publishing
P. 0. Box 100
Tahoma, Ca. 96 142
Publisher's Note:

The photographs contained in this book are not of Michael Skinner's hands but were taken under his direction and bless-
ing. Michael feels the text is clear enough that the photographs weren't even necessary, but included them a, a convenience,
for you, the reader.

Special Thanks To: Roger Klause, Max Abrams, David Michael Evans, Gene Matsuura, Anne m t e , Barbara "Mac" Palmer,
Stephen Falanga, Tania Vasina, Daniel McCarthy.

0 1996

No pan of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known, or to be in-
vented, without the expressed written consent of the publishers.
Printed and bound in the United States of America.
I dedicate this book to my sister, Mary Ellen, and my three nieces, Terri, Chris and Julie.

When they were young, the girls would look forward to Uncle Mike coming over to show
them a few new effects.
Richard Saunder and Michael Skinner
The Business on the Business Card Prediction (1)
The Mona Lisa Card Trick (4)
The Conus Aces (6)
Oil & Water Rides Again (9)
Taking Our Lumps ( 16)
A Deeper Mystery ( 18)
New King Cut (20)
On the Card to Wallet (24)
Birthday Telepathy (29)
The Mental Photography Deck (31)
The Memorized Deck (35)
The Monkey's Paw (37)
One for the Boys (38)
Torn & Restored Soda Straw Wrapper (40)
The Boomerang Card (43)
Nate Leipzig's Slap Aces (46)
Aces Out of Another Dimension (49)
Instant Replay (53)
A Poker Deal (56)
The School Boy Trick (60)
Did You Wash Behind Your Ears? (66)
The Trash Compactor (68)
Top and Bottom Blackstone (70)
A Needle in a Haystack (74)
Knocking Out the Aces (76)
The Cutting Edge (80)
Rouge et Noir (84)
It was the first week of July, 1967, and I was sitting at my kitchen table relaxing after work.
The phone rang. I answered, and heard a familiar, enthusiastic voice.

"Larry, are you coming over to the Castle tonight?"

"Well, I hadn't really thought about it, Professor."

"You have to come here. There's a card man here who is really something."

"No kidding. What's his name?"

"His name's Skinner, but I'm telling you, Lany,you're going to love this. You really have
to come on over."

"Sure thing, Professor. I'll be there soon."

So I showered, jumped in my car, and within five minutes was walking into the Magic Castle.
I went over to the Professor and asked, "Where is this guy?"

He pointed. "See the fellow at the end of the bar?"


"That's the one. Go talk to him."

I walked to the end of the bar and said, "Hi, my name's Larry. Are you Michael Skinner?"

He said he was.

I pulled out a pack of cards. "The Professor says you're good. Watch this."

After finishing a new trick of mine, I asked what he could do, and he showed me. And he
was wonderful. Of course, I might not have told him so right away-in those days I tended to
be a little aggressive. Michael was as likable as he was accomplished, though, and all
competitiveness soon vanished. I helped him rent an apartment next door to the Professor, and
before long he became my best friend, as well as an essential part of the Castle scene.

What has always impressed me most about Michael is the extent of his repertoire. He can
do more tricks well than anyone else I've ever seen. Inside that handsome head is a veritable
storehouse of excellent magic, whether effects of his own creation or effects selected and routined
from outside sources. Michael has done all of magic a great service by providing-with the
volume now before you-an extended tour around some of his most sought-after miracles and
methods. But numerous as these may seem, rest assured that the items chosen represent a small
fraction of those available. From the first trick he showed me those many years ago, to the one
I'll see him do on our next meeting, I will never cease to be amazed at the ongoing genius of my
friend Michael Skinner.

In my opinion Michael Skinner is one of the finest exponents of pure sleight of hand I have
ever known.

In Admiration,

Larry Jennings and Michael Skinner

I was thrilled when my dear friend, Michael Skinner, called a short time ago to say that he
was writing his very first book on our mysterious art. Actually, a booklet of Michael's containing
ten choice card effects entitled "Ten for Ten" was to appear ten years ago, but that's another
story. Before I go further, I'd like to say that it's an honor to say a few words in this work, for
Michael Skinner is unquestionably the finest sleight-of-hand performer in the world today.

My first opportunity to meet him was at the P.C.A.M. Convention held in Hawaii during
the Summer of 1972. Watching his performance bewildered all, and he performed with an
artistry and deftness I had never seen before. We met shortly thereafter and became fast friends.
On the last day of the Convention, a good friend and I invited both Michael and Dr. Sawa of
Japan on a tour of the island of Oahu. As we drove along, they remarked very favorably on the
beautiful sights which we pointed out. However, the amusing fact of the matter was that they
very rarely looked up as they were deeply engaged in magic all the while. Even when we stopped
to see the Revue at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Hula Girls got little, if any, attention.
Now, you talk about the love of the art of magic.

A few months after the Convention I received a letter from Michael saying that he would be
performing on a cruise ship that was to make ports-of-call on a few of the islands. The letter also
stated that, if I was interested, perhaps we could get together to discuss our favorite subject,
sleight-of-hand. This is all he had to say, and off I went on a plane at the end of each day to meet
him at another island. These are wonderful memories of my early magic life, and Michael has
been instrumental in instilling the finer points of our delicate art to me for many years.

Michael Skinner is a quiet, unassuming gentleman who lives a somewhat private life. As a
guest at his home on many occasionswhile in Las Vegas ,I've come to realize that here is an artist
who lives and breathes magic twenty-four hours a day. It is his life, and the magical influence
is everywhere, including his kitchen. There is only magic in the cabinets and drawers where
people would normally keep their silverware and utensils. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if he
kept his cases of cards in that unused oven of his. Being a practical man, he once said to me that
a kitchen is quite unnecessary for him as he always dines out. The only item that is used,
somewhat, is a coffee maker. And I do suspect that the refrigerator is being used to keep his stock
of flash paper and, perhaps, a Weller Egg.

When you witness a performance by Michael Skinner, you'll soon realize that he cares about
each and every detail regarding the effect that is being presented. Woven throughout his
routines are interesting stories that are essential to great magic. These are quite believable and
truly capture the imagination of the audience. His style is slow and deliberate, he executes his
sleights flawlessly, handles props elegantly, takes no chances, dresses immaculately, he's blessed
with a deep resonant voice and is at all times is a gentleman. These valuable assets combined
with invisible sleight-of-hand is magic of the highest order. His talents and persona remind me
so much of the late, great Nate Leipzig. There is no doubt in my mind that Michael Skinner is
the consummate artist of intimate magic.

Allen Okawa
Honolulu, Hawaii
July, 1992
Hello, brother magicians! It is with great pleasure that I present to you this volume,"Classic
Sampler." I have decided to release a few of my effects to the fraternity. I hope you receive value
for your investment.

I plan to use this space to expand on my thoughts and views on performing and practicing
close-up magic in general. I will try not to repeat what has been said in other books.

Practice New Sleights

Practice new sleights. After mastering one, it becomes a habit to continue practicing the same
one over and over, for instance the pass or Faro shuffle. We tend to follow the line of least
resistance. We continue to practice the old sleight because it is easy, therefore, making no
progress. When you have learned a difficult sleight to your satisfaction, work on a new one. You
can do this at odd times ...while watching a movie in a theatre for instance, or while watching
television alone in your home. Then in time you will have another new sleight to add to your

Choosing An Effect
Choose a good effect first, then practice the sleights necessary to perform it, not the other
way around. Too many magicians practice a difficult sleight, then invent an effect, usually
mediocre, to go with it. The effect should come first. Then learn the method.

Grouping Your Effects

Charlie Miller gave me a tip years ago. He said to combine some of your effects in groups
of two's and three's. This will enable you to remember a great deal more material. All you do
is remember the first effect and the next two or three will be recalled instantly because each one
is a part of a whole routine. Choose effects that blend well together.

Of course, you don't do this with every effect. Some tricks are meant to stand alone. The
effects that you decide to blend together will give your work a flow as well as enabling you to
remember a great deal of material.

Practice and perform a particular effect until you are completely satisfied with it. Then set
it aside and work on a new one. Treat your effects like rare jewels. Learn them, perform them,
and then set them aside in your jewel box for awhile and don't touch them. Work on new effects.
Master them and then set those aside. Every so often, take out one of your jewels and polish
and perform it for awhile, then put it back. Continue in this way and in time you will have a
jewel box full of beautiful gems, polished routines to use for life.
Cleaning Up
Now let's discuss cleaning up after the effect is over. A very important subject! I like to put
it this way: "If you are going to drop a bomb on someone, plan your escape in advance." I will
cite an example: Suppose you are buying a pack of cigarettes at a drugstore counter. Give the
salesgirl a $5.00 bill. When she gives you your change, put the bills away in your wallet. Now
set your wallet on the counter and pick up your change. Stack the change at your left fingertips
and pretend to take the change in your right hand while performing the "French Drop."
Apparently hand the change to the girl with your right hand while saying, "Iceep this for your
trouble!" Now, very important! The coins are finger palmed in your left hand. Pick up your
wallet with your left hand, thus covering the coins. Just hold the wallet in front of you. Do this
before you show your right hand empty. When you open your right hand, the girl will be
astonished. Next, she will glance at your left hand and see that you are just holding your wallet.
She will then look at your face. Smile, and casually place your wallet and change carefully in
your hip pocket. The point I'm making is that you have begun cleaning up before the effect has
even taken place.

Change Pace
Changing pace is a technique used in performing close-up magic in which you slow down and
speed up your hand movements within the performance of a given effect. It can be likened to
shifting the gears of a car to make driving more interesting.

Many close-up performers work way too fast. This leads to nothing but confusion. To cite
the Professor, Dai Vernon: "Confusion is not magic." By shifting speed in your hand
movements you create a more interesting effect. You can actually feelthe effect taking place the
same way that a jazz pianist can feel his improvisations. If you choose to perform a magical effect
all in one tempo, it is far better to go slow than fast.

Magic for Magicians

I particularly enjoy performing one type of card effect for magicians and an entirely different
type for a lay audience. However, here's a presentational hook I devised for showing "magicians
magic" to "normal people":

Let's say I am performing for a group of laymen. I will choose three or four very commercial
card effects. Now I will pause and say, "Ladies and gentlemen, you may or may not be aware
of the fact that magicians attend magic conventions two or three times a year. Yes, we have
Conventions the same as doctors, attorneys, accountants and salesmen. We get together from
all parts of the country to eat, drink, and entertain one another with our magic. The effects that
I would choose to perform for a brother magician are entirely different from those that I have
just shown you. Perhaps you would like to see the difference?" At this point your spectator will
invariably say that he would indeed like to see a magician-type trick. You have already made
the thought intriguing to him. Now you have opened the door to perform and keep in practice
all your favorite Faro shuffle effects, "down and under deals," and your favorite "pile" tricks.
After performing one or two such tricks, stop and say, "And that is what I would do for another
magician ...Now here's somethin. I hope vou'll reallv like." At this point the spectator will quite
often say, "But I liked the ones you just did!" Now perform a couple more commercial effects
and end with a strong finish.

Perform Often
Perform whenever a suitable occasion arises. It is only in this manner that you will develop
timing, pace, misdirection, presentation, patter and the other facets that go into making a
superlative performer. By performing at every opportunity you will, at times, meet many people
who are bored with the jobs they are doing. You come along and jolt them out of their normal
day, and they will remember it. The person will go home that evening and say to his or her
spouse: "Honey, do you knowwhat happened to me today? I saw this guy do the most wonderful
things. I hope he comes back again." Not only is extempore magic a great way to meet people,
it opens doors both financial and social. It makes friends. Friends are so important in life. Good
magic just makes people happy. So:

1. Read everything you can.

2. Practice and perform.

3. Fool the audience entertain them. Both are necessary.

4. Smile readily.

5. Presentation is everything.

6. Have fun!

Michael Skinner
Las Vegas, Nevada
William Murray

We are sitting in a comer booth at Elaine's, a dimly-lit restaurant on the second floor of the
Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, watching Michael Skinner case the room. He moves quietly and
purposefully about the premises like a big, amiable cat, not missing a thing, a bit wary but
nevertheless secure in his control of the ambiance.

Elaine's seats ninety-sixpeople, two-thirds of them at candlelit pink tablecloths under a large,
low-hanging chandelier, the rest in comfortable, upholstered booths lining the mirrored walls.
Tonight the room is about half full and very quiet, most of the diners middle-aged and eating
in couples or small groups. Elaine's is one of the few quiet places to eat in Las Vegas, and no
one seems eager for action or entertainment, certainly not from anyone who can perform instant

Michael Skinner is an unassuming-looking, medium-sized man of about fifty, with curly,

sandy-colored hair, who wears eyeglasses; dressed for the occasion in a black tuxedo with a
ruffled shirtfront, he could easily pass as a member of the staff. Unnoticed by almost everyone,
he takes less than five minutes to size everything up, sense the mood of the place, and return
to the maitre d's post at the entrance to the room, where he pauses briefly before making his first
move. "I walk up and smile," he said once, describing his technique. "I don't interrupt heated
conversations and I stay away from macho types trying to impress their dates. I'm also wary of
old people, who may have given up on their lives. Women and children are the easiest to
approach, because they're more open to the unexpected. I say, 'Hi, I'm Michael, the resident
magician. Perhaps you'd like to see a little magic. Compliments of the house, no charge, it goes
with your dinner. I'll be happy to come by and we'll have a little fun.' I always stress the no
charge, so the guy isn't thinking all during dinner and my performance how much it's going to
cost him. So I take the pressure off him right away, but generally I'll get a tip anyhow. I'm paid
a good salary, so I don't have to hustle."

Michael doesn't have to worry about our booth, because he knows he's got it wired. My wife,
Alice, and I have put this dinner party together as a way of showing Michael off to our friends,
a couple from Los Angeles named Lynn and Gary Salt and a couple from Las Vegas, Sally and
Paul Houdayer. Lynn and Gary are fans; they've seen Michael work once before and have come
from L.A. specifically for the occasion. However, this will be the first time for Sally and Paul,
who know very little about close-up and whose only previous exposure to magic has been to such
glittery big-room acts as Siegfried and Roy or Doug Henning, magicians who like to saw women
in half or make elephants disappear. I've told them that Michael will come to our table after
we've finished eating and show us a few moves, but I'm enjoying the expectation that they'll also
become fans, because they are friends who are open to the unusual and the unexpected.

By the time Michael comes around, an hour or so later, we are ready for him. The table has
been cleared and a chair added so that he can sit facing us. After introductions and a little
preliminary chitchat, Michael goes to work. He knows that my wife is an excellent audience,
so he turns first to her. "For Alice I'm going to perform my mother's favorite trick," he says, "the
Hopping Thimbles." He holds out his right hand and shows us five white thimbles on the tips
of his fingers. "When I recall how I used to practice this years ago, I could never decide how to
begin. I thought maybe that better than having five on one hand-" he makes a quick crossing
pass with his hands at chest level-" four and one would be better, one on the left and four on
the right." A single thimble appears on the index finger of his left hand, leaving the four others
in place. "But instead of having four on one"-another crossing pass-"maybe three and two would
be better, two on the left and three on the right." This is now what we see, after which the ballet
of fluttering hands and delicate, swooping passes continues, each move reflecting Michael's
gentle, almost bemused patter, as if he himself is reacting in wonder at what we see. "Of
course ...better than having the accent on my right hand ...perhaps the accent on the left would
be more appropriate ...three and two, the logical continuation of four and one...Now, to move
from the thumb back to the forefinger and from the forefinger back to the thumb. .." And in the
end, seemingly without having touched each other or dipped below the level of his chest, the
thimbles vanish and Michael holds out his empty hands to us.

Alice, who is seated on Michael's left, no more than a couple of feet from the action of his
hands, is sitting straight up, already bouncing up and down with delight. "Bless your heart,"
Michael says, grinning at her. The rest of us lean forward to see what the magician will do next.

He reaches into a side pocket. "I have a number of dollar tokens, six of them," he says,
spreading the coins out on the table before us. "I'll remove my finger ring as well." He places
the silver ring next to the coins. "This is a favorite Chinese effect called Han Ping Chien, named
after a great Chinese magician who created this illusion more than eighty years ago. Han Ping
Chien. Watch closely now, because the closer you watch, the less you see, and the less you see,
the better for me."

He begins to describe what he's doing. "The ring goes in my right hand, along with three
dollars. That's three dollars and a ring in my right ...and three in the left." The ring and the coins
are now hidden in his clenched fists, thumbs up, held out well in front of him and apart. "Watch,
Sally-three coins in my left and what's in the right? Three and the ring. Don't forget the ring.
Now, as long as I keep my hands far apart, nothing can happen unless I move my thumbsw-he
wiggles them several times-and they go from here ...all the way over here." He opens his hands
to show us that the three tokens in his left hand now nestle with the other three and the ring
in his right one. "Now, they say lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, but occasionally
it does, with perhaps a twist to the ending." Another wiggle of the thumbs and the three
wandering coins have returned to his left hand. "We'll try it again. Han Ping Chien. The ring
in the right hand along with three dollars...and in my left hand just three. Is that correct? But
are you sure? I'm not sure, so let me check again ...Yes, we have three coins in the left...What's
over here, Lynn?" He holds his right hand toward her. "Three, and don't forget the ring." He
shows her his hand to confirm his patter, then closes it. "Now, as I keep the hands far apart,
nothing can happen unless I move my thumbs like that-" he wiggles them again, then opens his
hands to reveal that all the coins and the ring are in his left hand. Another close, another wiggle,
and the coins and the ring move from left to right. He places them all on the table, as we laugh
and applaud. "By the way," he continues, "if you walk through a slot-machine area in any casino,
you seldom see people smiling." He slips his ring back on, then pushes his sleeves back to his
elbows. "I'll pull these back, so it's easy on the eyes." He picks up the coins again, three in each
hand, and makes two fists. "The reason they don't is: when they pull the handles, only one in
ten pays off." He opens his hands and the coins have vanished.
I've always been fascinated by Michael Skinner's hands, because they seem to have a life of
their own. They are small, white, and delicate-looking, with the long, perfectly manicured
fingers of an ophthalmologist or a concert pianist. In action, as they maneuver small objects or
shuffle a deckof cards, they can be mesmerizing. Not a single motion or flick of a finger is unsure
or awkward. Even at rest, between moves, his hands convey an impression of power and control,
as if like birds they could take off at any moment to accomplish miraculous feats of levitation
and acrobatics.

I first became aware of Michael some ?? years ago, during a visit my wife and I made to the
Magic Castle in Los Angeles. The Castle, on a hill above downtown Hollywood, is a lavishly
decorated Victorian mansion that has become a landmark and a reference point for magicians
from all over the world. Once a private home, the house was acquired about thirty years ago by
two brothers who were both magic buffs, Milt and William Larsen; they converted the building
into a combination museum and haven for devotees of magic in all its forms. The rooms are
crammed with antique furnishings, gewgaws, and magical mementos, and decorated by old
posters, photographs, prints, lithographs and paintings of long-vanished magicians and cel-
ebrated magic acts. The Castle,which is operated as a private club, has a top floor which contains
a reference library and reading room open only to members and professional conjurers.
Theoretically, only members are allowed to frequent the Castle, but it's not difficult to gain
admission, and seven nights a week a sizable public is to be found wandering through the lower
rooms admiring the exhibits, dining and drinking in the refreshment areas, and attending the
scheduled magic acts in the theatre or in one of the smaller so-called closeup rooms devoted to
intimate sleight of hand. Because the Castle also serves as a rendezvous for magicians, one or
another of them can usually be found in some corner of the premises practicing their peculiar
craft or putting on impromptu performances for their peers and passersby.

While waiting to attend a performance in the main theatre one night, I noticed a pleasant-
looking man, wearing thick glasses, sitting at a corner table near the bar. He was shuffling and
riffling a deck of cards while quietly carrying on a conversation with a handful of admirers. From
time to time he would fan the cards out to reveal various combinations of colors and numbers,
then sweep them up, reshuffle, and fan them out again to show other sequences, and once he
spread out a blank deck, scooped it up, reshuffled, and then restored the fan to display the
familiar suits arrayed in perfect order.

I wasn't the only one in line entranced by what was going on at the corner table. "That's
Michael Skinner," I heard someone behind me say. "He's the best with cards." The line was
spoken with the sort of reverence that might have greeted the entrance of Wyatt Earp into a
saloon frequented by fast guns. I stepped out of the line and joined the group around the
magician, who, it turned out, was explaining some of the finer points of his moves to several
fellow artists. "And this," he said, as I edged closer, "is the Erdnase Shift. First with two hands,
then with one."

The Erdnase Shift, Michael explained, is a maneuver that reverses the action of a cut. It's
fairly simple to do, but is not widely used, even by card cheats, because it requires a favorable
moment and a covering "patter" to disguise it, conditions not readily available in a big-money
poker game. Nevertheless, Michael proceeded to execute the move so skillfully that not once
in several demonstrations was I able to spot it. Nor was I able to fathom any of the other moves
he went on to show us over the next twenty minutes--fancy cuts using "crimps" and "jogs,"
bottom dealing, second dealing, cull shuffling involving from two to nine cards, "blinds," various
methods of palming, riffles I had only seen in movies about riverboat gamblers or starring W.
C. Fields. And as he performed all these small miracles, Michael continued to talk quietly,
soothingly about what he was accomplishing, regarding the action of his hands with a bemused
smile, as if he himself couldn't quite believe what he was seeing.

I found out later over a drink with Michael that he was in his late thirties and regularly
employed at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, where, as the resident conjurer, he strolled from
table to table in the casino's main restaurants, performing on request. It was the perfect job for
a closeup magician, he informed me, because it provided him with a regular income and left him
enough free time to book himself into cruises and to work at conventions, the two other main
sources of income available to him. One of the ironies of magic, he revealed, is that the real artists
in the field, the prestidigitators who work with their hands and whose effects can only be
achieved after thousands of hours of practice, can barely make a living from their skills, mainly
because they can only perform in intimate settings for small audiences of no more than thirty
people. The big bucks in the profession are reserved for what Skinner and his fellow closeup
artists call pots-and-pans acts. There is little real skill involved and the emphasis is on showbiz
flash. "It's mostly mirrors and construction," Michael had explained, "though you have to
admire such acts as those of Siegfried and Roy, who work with big cats. The magic is in the
presentation and the way they make the animals behave."

Michael loves to talk about his craft in all its manifestations, especially about cards, which
he refers to as "the poetry of magic." When I once asked him about the Erdnase Shift, he
explained that it was named after the man who perfected it, S. W. Erdnase, the pseudonymous
author of a little book called "The Expert at the Card Table," which was first published in 1902
under the title of "Artifice, Ruse, and Subterfuge at the Card Table." The author's real name
was E. S. Andrews (S. W. Erdnase spelled backwards) and the reason he chose to hide behind
a nom de plume is that, although his book has always been sold in stores as a legitimate work
onmagic, it has also long been regarded as the definitive textbook on cheating at cards. "But
you can't just read it and begin to cheat," Michael said. "You still have to practice and it takes
a long time to become good at it."

In his early years, when he was a struggling young magician in L. A., his skill with cards drew
the attention of some local hustlers. "They could see the possibilities and they hired me a couple
of times to deal big-money poker games for them," Michael once admitted. "All I had to do once
or twice a night was to run in a cooler, which is a prearranged deck that ensures everybody gets
a good hand. The betting is heavy, but the big pot, of course, goes to the shill, the house player.
One guy came along who offered to pay me thousands and thousands of dollars to go on the road
with him, and I was tempted. You have to remember I was starving to death and I thought I
could do this for a few months, then quit with enough money to live on." He was talked out
of it by Professor Dai Vernon, a celebrated older magician with whom he'd been studying. "He
said to me, 'Michael, you're a fine artist and you want to remain one, with your fingers intact."'

Michael turned down the offer, but occasionally he's still approached by players who want
to make a big score. "Cheating has been around since the beginning of gambling," he said, and
he pointed out that gamblers and magicians share a common terminology. Such phrases as "into
the kick with Charlie" (palming a card and slipping it into your pocket), "gypsying a broad"
(switching a card), "putting in a cold one" (introducing the cooler into the game), "a sucker
move" (making someone believe he's seeing something he isn't), "a table ribbon spread"
(fanning a deck), "cutting up a touch" (dividing up the take), "heel and toe a check (walking
out on a bill) are common to both worlds. "There's something of a good con artist in all
magicians," Michael said. "After all, our skill requires fooling people, making them see what you
want them to see."

During our first meeting at the Castle, Michael asked to borrow my pen, a gold-plated Cross,
then persuaded my wife to loan him her wedding ring. "Don't worry, I won't make it disappear,"
he said. "In fact, I'm going to give it back to you in a way you'll never forget." He handed Alice
my pen and instructed her to hold it horizontally out in front of her while clasping it tightly in
her fists at both ends. "Watch," he said, "Ring on a Stick." As we all focused on my pen, the
magician held up Alice's ring, then made a swift pass that, Alice told me later, felt simply like
a small breeze passing over the backs of her hands. Her ring now dangled from the center of the
pen. "My God," Alice said, "I was holding it so hard my nails were digging into my palms." We'd
begun the evening knowing very little about sleight of hand, but we were hooked.

"Often young children come into dinner with their parents," Michael says to the four of us,
"and when they do, I like to have some specific item that will really entrance the younger set.
So if you folks will pretend for a moment that you're about nine years old, you can enjoy what
children enjoy so well." He reaches into his pocket for his wallet, opens it, and produces a paper
cocktail napkin. "Among the wonderful kitchen appliances we have today, Lynn, to make our
homes more comfortable, we have radar ovens, electric dishwashers, frying pans, electric can
openers, but the one kitchen appliance not everybody has is a trash compactor. I carry my own
with me." He twists the open napkin into a spiral, then crumples it into a ball between his hands.
"Watch closely,now, my own trash compactor." He opens his hands to reveal a tiny ball of paper
the size of a pinhead lying in one open palm. Alice screams. "Wow," Michael says, as if he had
surprised himself, too. "I'd be handy to have around the house." He closes his hand, opens it
and the paper has completely disappeared. "I could eat you out of house and home and clean
up my own mess. Handy and practical, as well as entertaining, eh?"

We all applaud, laughing, except for Lynn, who has begun to look at the magician as if he
might have dropped in on us from some other planet. "Cowboys used to roll their own cigarettes
out of Bull Durham," Michael continues, producing a packet of cigarette papers.fromhis pocket.
"I happen not to believe in cigarettes, but I'm going to show you what we do with these Bull
Durham papers. Watch closely now." He takes a single sheet out of the booklet and tears it in
half, then puts the pieces together and tears them in half again, as he chats: "Left side, right
side...left...right...Once again now.. .By the way, did you read in the paper about the guy who lost
his left side? He's all right now." A corny joke, but by this time we'd have laughed at anything
he said. "Watch the paper ..." He shows us the four pieces, crumples them into a ball, then slowly
opens the ball up to reveal the single sheet, restored.

He shows us another of his mother's favorite effects, which is known in the profession as
Jumping Gems but which he's named after Liberace. "He used to come and watch me work and
was one of the nicest show-business personalities I've ever met," he explains. "He wouldn't
ignore anybody. He'd remember names years later, and so even though he didn't give me thesev-
-he produces a small black case and removes two sticks made of black Lucite. I tell people they're
Liberate's piano keys."
He blows on the sticks and diamond-colored stones appear set at each end. "But I'm getting
ahead of the story," he says. "We don't need diamonds yet." He waves them in a small arc and
the stones vanish. He holds the plain keys out toward us. "Boy loves girl, girl loves diamonds,
boy looks for diamonds. Should it be this one?" A tiny move of the stick on the right and a
diamond reappears. "Or this one?" There are now diamonds on both sides of the key. "His
girlfriend says, 'Let me see.' So he lets her look them over." The diamonds vanish from the right
stick and reappear on the left one. "She says, 'I'll keep one, take the other one back.' " One
diamond disappears from her key and materializes on his. "So he takes it back and decides to
keep it for himself. Oh, but she was the greedy one and soon had many diamonds from many
boyfriends." He passes her key through his left fist and it reappears set with four stones, two
on each side. "Sometimes she'll wear them in pairs." He shakes the stick once and the bottom
stones join the two top ones. "Sometimes one in each ear and sometimes a pair in one ear." The
gems move in concert with his patter, as if obeying commands. "She even tried to get our hero's
solitaire, but all she ended up with was an old beat-up ruby or two." The diamonds disappear
from her stick to be replaced by a single rose-colored stone. "But just between us, he had the
diamonds all the time." A shake of the right stick and all four diamonds become visible on the

"Liberace came in one time and presented me with another piano key, this one more
elaborate than the first," Michael continues, putting away the original sticks and producing a
single, larger one, set with six differently colored stones. "Sally, many jewels on this pretty key.
I wonder if you would name a number from one to six, give me any number."

"Three," Sally says.

"That's one, two, three," Michael counts. "You stopped on the rose-colored stone. You
could have a diamond, the amethyst, the emerald, but you chose the rose-colored stone.
Watch." He turns the key over in one hand. "Because you like that rose-colored one, I'll give
you many rose-colored stones." Smiling, he slowly turns it back to reveal a row of six rose gems.

One of Michael's great heroes, he tells us, was the late master magician named Tony Slydini.
He had appeared on television and in night clubs and had been a teacher of magic since 1947,
celebrated in the profession for his gentle patter and understated style. "I don't like to disturb
people," Slydini once said, describing his approach. "They don't know what I'm going to ask
or how to answer me. So I deal with only one person. I let the rest of the audience relax and
experience." Michael recalls that one of his great thrills when he was in his early twenties was
attending a magic convention in New York City and seeing Slydini perform what he thought was
"one of the most wondrous sights I've ever seen in my life, and I still feel that way--Slydinips
Knotted Silks."

"I have two handkerchiefs here, two silk handkerchiefs," he now says, producing two white
squares from a side pocket. "They're both the same size and the same shape. Now, in a moment,
I'm going to tie these handkerchiefs together very tightly, then I'm going to ask one of you to
tie the opposite ends so we have a complete circle, 0.I<.? Now, when it comes time for you to
tie them, you can tie them in a square knot or a granny knot--whatever you choose. The main
thing is to be sure you tie them tightly." As he talks, he's executing what he describes. "Now
that's a square knot," he continues, tightening the knot by pulling the ends apart. "When you
tie yours, you can tie any knot you like. Just be sure it's tight. Alice, will you tie the ends for
me?" vi
"Do I have to?" she asks, but she does so, tying as tight a granny knot as she can.

"Tie them again, just to be sure," Michael urges her, and she ties a second knot in the ends,
just as tightly as before. "That's right. Pull it tight. Real tight. That's the way. Boy, I've seen
some knots, but I've never seen anything quite like this." Michael holds the kerchiefs in his
hands, staring at them in dismay. "What kind of knot is that? Boy, I don't know how I'm going
to get that one out. I'll tell you what, will you hold on to one of them for me?" He hands Alice
one end of the handkerchiefs. "Let me check my glasses. Everything looks rose-colored,
everything looks great. I don't know how I slipped up here." Michael has removed his glasses
to peer through them while holding the other handkerchief in his hand, leaving Alice holding
hers as if they had never been tied together at all.

He proceeds to tie the cloths together again in a'rabbit-eared, or overhand, knot, then asks
Gary, who is big and strong, to pull them toward him as hard as he can. "There you go," he says.
"Now, regardless of what you call this knot, there's no way you can take a knot like this apart,
unless you untie it the same way you tied it in the first place. Of course, you can go like thatv-
-and he hands Gary one of the silks--but that's another story."

On and on he goes, tying impossible-lookingknots, asking us to test them and to tie our own,
all of which he slips apart as effortlessly as if the cloths had never been connected. As a finale,
he ties two sets of knots in each handkerchief and informs us that people are always asking him
if he can tie and untie them "the way normal people do," which he proceeds to do by twirling
and twisting the cloths about without ever touching the knots themselves. "I'll never forget the
way I felt when I f i s t saw Tony do this," he says, as we slump, limp with wonder, in our seats,
"and I said, 'Someday I'm going to learn that.' As life turns out, later he shared my apartment
with me for a few months in L. A., when he came out to visit the Professor, who was his dear
friend for more than fifty years. In gratitude for letting him share my place, he taught me this
personally and it's been one of my prized possessions ever since."

By the time I met Michael he had become something of a legend in the small, circumscribed
world of closeup. I go to Las Vegas from time to time to watch him perform, and he never fails
to produce some dazzling move I've never seen before. Like most closeup artists, Michael rarely
refers to his effects as tricks, because implied in the latter term is the use of a gimmick, some sort
of device to aid in the achievement of the stunt, whereas a true closeup artist works only with
his naked hands, relying on timing, speed, strength--skills acquired through constant practice.

A few months ago, I attended a two-day magic convention held in a small hotel a couple of
blocks off the Strip. Sponsored by a company that manufactures products for the trade, the
event brought together about ninety of the world's best closeup performers, who spent most of
the time between seminars showing off moves to their fellow artists. Among those in attendance
were such luminaries as Johnny Paul, who used to perform while tending bar in a local casino,
and Jimmy Grippo, who is now in his nineties and officially retired but still likes to do card and
coin tricks at private parties.

During a general session in which the attending magicians were each given five minutes to
show us something, David Neighbors, introduced to the gathering as "a fine young coin man
from Denver," moved fifty-cent pieces from knuckle to knuckle across the backs of his hands
and demonstrated an effect called Backfire Reverse; a comedian named Bizarre Burton put out
his cigarette by pressing it into the clenched fist of his left hand; Geno Munari produced an
endless flow of cards from his supposedly empty pockets and made them vanish into the air;
Johnny Paul found ice cubes for his drink in his pants pockets, then took a fifty-dollar bill from
a spectator in the front row, tore it up, threw it away and reproduced it intact from inside the
box of a deck of cards in his pocket; and Allan Ackerrnan shuffled a deck of cards, then asked
a spectator to cut it into four packets, after which he turned over the top cards on each one to
uncover the aces, an effect Michael considers "one of the ten best ever seen or done." The grace
of magic was exemplified in the work of an elderly Japanese named Shigeo Takagi. Conserva-
tively attired in a shiny blue suit and necktie, he made a delicate ceremonial dance out of
connecting and disconnecting large silver rings.

Michael was introduced as a "master magician who didn't need an introduction." He

produced a pair of red casino dice, which he held up for us between the thumb and forefinger
of his right hand. "You know, this is a gambling town," he said, "and, of course, it wouldn't be
out of place to have a pair of dice in a town like this. But not everyone realizes that all dice add
up to seven on the opposite side. Now, the six is always opposite the one. The trey is opposite
the four. And the deuce is always opposite the five. All dice, international law, must add up to
seven on the opposite side. So it makes sense that if I put a pair of dice together like this, then
the opposite sides in a pair must total twice seven, or fourteen. So if I have eleven on top, I must
have three on the bottom." He picked up the dice and moved his hand in a tight little arc, but
not his fingers, to illustrate his lecture. "But if I don't care for the three on the bottom, then
we adjust the bottom like this." As we stared at the surface showing a six on the left and a five
on the right, he brushed his left forefinger lightly across the other side, then raised his right hand
to show us what had happened. "Now we have eleven on the bottom and three on top and it
still adds up to fourteen. But I met a guy one time who said, 'I think you have eleven on the
bottom and eleven on top.' His hand then moved to show us eleven bottom and top. "But if
I show eleven on the bottom and eleven on top, when I actually have three on top and three on
the bottom, in order for it to add up to fourteen, you need one, two and then six and five..." And
his hand continued to swing in its tiny arc, the white dots on the surface of the dice obligingly
illustrating his patter, changing sequences and faces without seeming to move inside the firm
clasp of his thumb and forefinger. I had known Michael for more than a decade and I had never
seen him execute this move.

I got into a conversation later that afternoon with a young magician named Darwin Ortiz,
a scholarly-lookingman who lectures on magic as well as performs it. "Closeup is so fragile," he
said. "It's either very good or it's embarrassing. Every single thing that happens is calculated,
but the trick itself is like the tip of the iceberg. What you don't see is what accomplishes the
effect. When I first saw Skinner perform, it changed my whole style of magic. He influenced
me a lot, because he made me appreciate the physical aesthetics of every move. I now want every
part of my own work to look beautiful. It takes practice--sixhours a day, five days a week. There
are no shortcuts in close-up."

"There are many ways to shuffle a pack of cards," Michael says, splitting in half the deck he
has just opened. "This is an interesting way. It's called the Faro Shuffle, named after an old
dealer in the Northwest in the eighteen-hundreds. Faro is an old game that used to be played
in Las Vegas years ago, but you seldom see it anymore. There are many variations of the Faro
Shuffle. This is the waterfall." He weaves the ends of the two halves together, first shaping a
perfect dovetail, then makes a V with them and allows the cards to tumble from one hand to
another in a stream to reform the pack. "Perhaps even more interesting," he continues, "is the
one-handed variation," which he now demonstrates by cutting and shuffling the pack with his
left hand. "Evidence, you see, of a misspent youth."

Lynn, the quietest member of our group, is smiling broadly but looking intently at Michael.
The magician senses this intensity and turns to her. "Now, Lynn, let's perform what I call the
two-card test," he says. "I'll place one card on my left, an easy card to remember, a black Four.
Black Four goes on my left and a contrasting card on my right, near you, Lynn, a black I<ing."
He displays the cards, then puts them in place face down. "See, Gary, we have a Four on the
left and which one is this one?"

"The IGng," Gary says.

Michael turns them both over to show that the cards have changed places.

"How do you do that?" Lynn asks, clearly not expecting an answer.

"Many people say the hand is quicker than the eye, Lynn, or that the quickness of the hand
deceives the eye," Michael explains. "Well, I'm not going to confirm or deny it, but I will say
that I can change four cards into four completely different ones right before your eyes." He deals
himself four cards, face up. "Let me see if I can change these into four completely different cards.
We have an Eight, Jack, Seven, I(ing. They won't leave your sight, they'll stay in plain view the
whole time." Again he displays the cards, picks them up, and inserts them one by one into the
far end of the deck, which he's holding in his left hand. "One, two, three, four. I won't push
them all the way in." He allows the four cards to protrude slightly from the end. "As a matter
of fact, why don't we leave them right up here at the comer, where you can keep an eye on them.
Watch now." Still holding the pack in his left hand, Michael flicks his wrist once and propels
the four protruding cards onto the table. They land face up to reveal the four Aces. "Don't you
wish you were playing poker?" he asks.

"You're the greatest audience," Michael says to us, as he reassembles the deck and shuffles
it. "The packis all face down," he says, cutting it. "I'm turning half of it face up and I'm shuffling
the face-up cards into the face-down ones." He begins to shuffle again. "Like this ...face up and
down...once more...making a mess. this.. .and one more shuffle." He completes the action,
showing the deck to be a scramble of face-up, and face-down cards, assembles them again into
a pack, then snaps his fingers twice over it and quickly fans the deck out into what he calls a
ribbon spread. All the cards are now face down, except for the four Aces, which are face up in
the very center of the fan. "Ah, that's nice," Michael says, beaming with pleasure at his own

He gathers up the cards, turns to Lynn and hands them to her. "Lynn, I wonder if you'd take
the pack and be so kind as to hand me exactly eleven cards, one at a time." Looking very serious,
Lynn deals Michael eleven cards from the top of the deck. "0.I<., we'll set the pack down," he
says. "Now, it's very important that I have exactly eleven. Gary, if I need any extra ones, I'll
let you hand them to me one at a time, 0.I<.? Will you hold on to the pack, in case I need them?"
He hands Gary the pack while retaining the cards Lynn has counted out for him, and says, "Let
me count them again to be sure we have eleven. One, two, three ..." He counts them out, and
says, "Gee, I only have ten. Could I have one more card, Gary?" Gary deals him one. "So now
I have eleven," Michael says, and begins to count again, and again reaches only ten. "I can't
get eleven. Could I have another card, please?" Gary deals him another one and Michael turns
to Alice. "Maybe it's me," he says. "Would you like to count them?" He hands her the cards.
"Count them onto the table, one at a time."

By then most of us are giggling, but Alice tries to concentrate. Very deliberately, she counts
aloud as she deals, but comes up with only ten cards. "That's what I got," Michael says. "I
thought it was me. I--I don't understand. It must be that new math they have in school now.
Could I have three cards this time, Gary?" Gary deals. "One, two, three." The magician turns
to Paul. "So how many do we have, Paul?"


"So if I give him back two," Michael says, doing so, "that should be eleven." He begins to
count his cards. "One, two, three ..." This time he has thirteen. "Maybe I forgot to give you two,
Gary. So here's two more, take a couple more." Gary takes the cards and Michael counts what
he has left. "Ah,eleven, finally," he says triumphantly. "But don't take my word for it, Alice.
Count them one last time." He hands her the cards.

"Oh, no," Alice says, flushing nervously.

"Oh, wait. Before you start, dear, take an extra card for insurance," Michael says. Gary hands
her one. "Now count them."

Alice and Michael count together as she lays the cards down in front of her very carefully.
There are only nine. "Even with insurance it doesn't do any good," the magician says, smiling
at us. "Oh, my goodness!"

We all laugh and clap, but it's Lynn who expresses what I think we all feel. "You know,
Michael," she says, as he relaxes for a few moments, "you're challenging a whole concept of the
universe. It's what shamans and magicians have always done--lift people's hearts and minds
beyond themselves. There's a healing quality in this."

Michael was seventeen when he discovered magic. A school friend loaned him a book he'd
taken out of a local library called "The Amazing World of John Scarne." It was the
autobiography of a gambler who had become an expert on gaming and who claimed he could
do just about anything he wanted to with a deck of cards. Michael was fascinated by the idea.
His second discovery was Erdnase's "The Expert at the Card Table," which be bought through
a mail-order catalogue. "I didn't know what it was, but I paid eighty-nine cents for it and I was
just hooked," he recalls. "I went through it and I couldn't believe it."

In the library, he looked up all the books he could find on magic and games, then began
ordering them by mail from Lou Tannen's Catalog of Magic, the largest mail-order firm for magic
supplies in the world. "I was spending all my allowance every week and saving the money I was
making from my job as a pinsetter in a bowling alley," Michael remembers. "If I had twenty
dollars to spend on magic, I wouldn't blow it all at once. I'd spend three or four dollars on each
order, so I'd keep getting packages in the mail all the time. Every day would be like Christmas,
with something to look forward to." He would disappear into his bedroom for hours at a time
to read and practice. Occasionally, he'd emerge to try some newly acquired skill on his family,
something he liked to do especially at Sunday dinners, which were also attended by aunts and
uncles and cousins. "My first effects were the Multiplying Rabbits, a sponge-rubber bunny that
becomes a couple and then produces babies, and a coin trick called Flying Eagles." His family
and friends enjoyed themselves, but Michael had no idea whether what he was doing was any
good. All he did know was that he had found his metier.

Michael was born in 1941, in Rochester, and he and a younger sister, Mary Ellen, grew up
in a middle-class family of English, Irish, German, and Dutch descent. His father was the head
of the engraving department at Eastman I<odak and hoped that his son would take after him,
but he never put any pressure on him to do so. "I had avery warm, loving, wonderful childhood,"
Michael recalls. "Our home was always called Skinner's Motel, because both my friends and my
sister's friends were always welcome at our house. We played pool and chess and backgammon
and shuffleboard,and we'd go bowling and play golf, and I got to be very good at all those games."

Magic, however, supplanted everything else. "I was a very shy, introverted child," Michael
explains. "I had a pockmarked face, and pimples, and ears that stuck out. I wouldn't take out
girls. I was afraid of them and I didn't know what to say to them, I felt so awkward. When I
discovered magic, it changed my whole life. It gave me an identity. I began to feel comfortable
and confident around people and it changed my whole personality-the fact that I had something
nobody else could do and that people would flock to see it." The feeling inspired him to work
hard at it, an average of eight to ten hours a day.

It was severalyears before Michael found anyone who could teach him anything about magic.
One day, at a magicians' convention in Batavia, NewYork, he met a man named Eddie Fechter,
who had once worked as a professional wrestler and who now managed a small hotel in Buffalo.
"He was huge, with arms as big around as my legs and hands like hamhocks, but he could perform
like Paganini," Michael recalls. "He tossed me a book of matches with the name of his place
on it and told me to come up and see him." The next weekend Michael borrowed his father's
car and drove the seventy miles to Fechter's place. "He kind of took me under his wing, like an
adoptive father, and I had a wonderful time." Michael hung around Fechter most weekends for
four years. They would drive about, dropping into bars and night clubs to perform. "Every
closeup magician works single-o and I needed the experience in front of people," Michael says.
"I discovered I really liked working in small groups. I don't really feel comfortable over the
footlights. I can do it, but I prefer people huddled all around me. There's an air that's set up,
a vibration, and I discovered I could control the mood of a room in a way that I couldn't from
a stage."

After two years of college, during which he spent very little time studying, Michael went to
work for the Xerox Corporation, building copying machines. He went to the factory every
working day with a pack of cards in his hip pocket and managed to find twenty minutes or so
every few hours to practice or to disappear into the men's room and read his magic books. He
detested his job and after five years he quit, loaded all of his personal belongings into his car,
and set off, in early May of 1967, for Los Angeles. He wanted to see the Magic Castle and meet
Dai Vernon, the resident magician there, who was the creator of such original moves as "the
breather crimp," and was then considered by many to be the finest closeup artist in the world.

Michael arrived in L. A. over the Fourth of July weekend and drove straight to the Castle,
where he immediately introduced himself to Dai Vernon, who was sitting at the bar talking
magic to several colleagues. Vernon was then in his mid-seventies. He had long, curly white hair,
a mustache, snappy blue eyes, and was rarely without a cigar in his mouth. Not only was he still
performing regularly but he proved to be a great storyteller. Michael was enthralled, because
Vernon represented everything he himself wanted to become. "He was a modern Merlin, who
had established closeup as a fine art, but I soon found out that he was also a wonderful,
compassionate man, forgiving and understanding," Michael says. "He's the most humble
magician I've ever met. Not once in the eight years I spent at the Castle did I ever hear him talk
about himself and how great he was." (Vernon is now ninety-seven and living with one of his
two sons in the San Diego area.)

Another conjurer, Ron Wilson, happened to be at the Castle that evening and offered to put
Michael up until he could find a place of his own. Michael stayed on for two years, spending
as much time around Vernon as he could and practicing. "All we ever talked about was magic,"
Wilson later recalled. One night, Wilson went to bed around 2 a.m., while Michael was still
working on one of his moves, and awoke the next morning to find him still seated at the kitchen
table, shuffling cards. "You're up bright and early," Wilson commented, only to learn that his
boarder had never gone to bed.

Michael remembers those early months in Los Angeles as an enchanted time, mainly because
he was at last doing exactly what he wanted to do. "I became a magic bum, working in magic
shops during the day and spending every night around Dai Vernon." In addition to performing
at the Castle, he began to work at parties in Beverly Hills and Be1Air. He acquired an agent and
appeared in several television commercials and on the Tonight Show (JohnnyCarson is a magic
buff), then began going off on cruise ships. Always he'd come back to the Magic Castle and Dai
Vernon, whose credo became his own. "If you want to be an artist, you must devote your life
to it," the Professor had once told an interviewer. "Chess, music, anything. After you get just
so high, you realize that if you want to be truly great, you have to give up everything else--you
have to dedicate your life to your art."

During his stints at the Castle, Michael would perform four times a night, seven days a week.
Each showwas about twenty minutes long, with seven or eight effects. One night, on a dare from
another magician, he agreed to perform as long as he could without repeating a move. He was
well into his second week before one of the assistant managers asked him to desist, because by
that time word had spread, and so many of his colleagues were staying through show after show
to watch him work that the paying customers couldn't get into the room. Impressive as that feat
was at the time, Michael estimates that he has now mastered well over two thousand effects and
adds between fifty and seventy-five new ones to his repertory every year.

In 1975, his agent introduced him to Steve Wynn, the owner of the Golden Nugget. The
magician wasn't scheduled to perform that night, but he came in to meet Wynn, sat at his dinner
table, and entertained him for about an hour. Wynn promptly offered him what has amounted
to a lifetime job, and told him to thinkof the Golden Nugget as his home. "The timingwas right,"
Michael says. "I'd had enough of L. A. and I was ready to move. Also, I wasn't dating anyone
seriously at the time." He had lived for some months with an opera singer, but she had her own
career to think about and Michael had discovered by then that obsessions can put a strain on
relationships. "Almost no one likes to be woken up in the middle of the night and asked to take
a card," is the way he once put it.
Today, the magician lives with a small calico cat named Teresa in a modest duplex
condominium he bought a few years ago several miles east of the Strip. The furniture is heavy
and dark and the room looks cluttered, as befits the living quarters of a sorcerer. On the walls
hang framed reproductions and prints of such pictures as "The Conjurer," by Hieronymous
Bosch, and "Sleight of Hand," a painting by the American artist William Birney. Most of
Michael's books, which he began acquiring as a teen-ager, are about magic and magicians; they
spill off the shelves, lie scattered about the room and fill several cartons piled up in various
corners. Many of them are first editions and have become so valuable that Michael would never
part with them. He practices on a custom-built two-foot-square dark wood table topped with
green felt on which rest most of the objects he plans to use that particular day.

He begins getting ready to go to work at about three o'clock in the afternoon by meditating
on a pile of comfortable Indian cushions in his bedroom, praying (he's a devout Roman
Catholic), then taking a long, hot shower and dressing slowly, usually in a tuxedo or a dark
business suit. He used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, but recently quit and this routine
has become important to him as a means of keeping relaxed, a state he feels is conducive to good
magic. He arrives at the casino around five and eats a light meal, with no liquor. "I'm always
trying to slow down time for myself," he explains. "When I'm around my friends, I think and
act and talk in a way to make them feel comfortable. When I'm around magicians, we talk tricks
and tell stories. But that's not really me. Mainly, I enjoy being alone, because I'm avery solitary
person and I want to be myself."

Often, in his public performances, Michael concentrates on just a few basic effects from his
huge repertoire. He feels that his first duty in the hotel's two main restaurants, Elaine's and the
less fancy Stefano's, is to make as many friends each night as he can. "I don't want to be a threat
to people," he says. "If the magic goes well, they'll laugh and derive real enjoyment from being
fooled. I take them back to their childhood. Also, I can get them to talk about themselves. If
you show real interest, they'll spill out their lives to you. Magic is a vehicle to get me to their
table and make myself known, so they'll want to come back."

Michael devotes the last part of his time with us to several more card effects, including an
amazing demonstration of three card monte, which he defines as one of the great classics of
prestidigitation. "It's similar to the old walnut shell and pea game and to the games you see
played on street corners, with the dealer using, let's say, two black cards and one red one." He
deals himself two black cards and a red Queen, shows them to us and lays them face down in
front of him. "Alittle game from hankypoo," he intones like a sidewalk barker, as he picks up
the cards by their edges and begins to move them about, "the black to me, the red to you. All
you have to do is keep your eye on the little lady. Five will get you ten, ten will get you twenty.. ."

Needless to say, none of us ever identifies the Queen, even when he bends the corner of one
card, performs the move in slow motion, then uses only two cards. "You can do this even without
a playing surface, just by holding everything in your hands," he assures us when it's over. "This
is advantageous, because if the cops break up the game you have no evidence to get rid of, no
box or table. You just dump the deck into a side pocket and mingle with the crowd."

By the time Michael concludes another card-counting effect, several of the waiters and
busboys on this slow night have gathered around behind him to watch.
"Now I'd like to perform my favorite effect for you," Michael says, gathering up his cards
and putting them away. "My interpretation of the ancient Egyptian cups and balls. This is
actually the oldest effect in magic. It dates back to the days of the Pharaohs, but I've kind of
dressed it in modem dress by using common items--coffee cups and olives." He takes three
empty coffee cups, tums them over in a line in front of him and produces three small green olives
from his pocket. "And we need a magic wand, Gary, so I also brought a soda straw."

He places one olive on top of each cup. "1'11 pull my sleeves back, so you won't think anything
is up there," he says, "and I'll also remove my rings and my watch, so they do not distract your
attention from the events at hand." He does so. "The mystery of the cups and balls," he
announces, now taking the olives in turn from the tops of the cups. He folds his hand over each
olive, causing it to vanish, then picks up the soda straw and taps the top of each cup. "No. 1
on the end, No. 2 in the center and cup No. 3," he says, lifting the cups in turn to reveal an olive
under each aye.

"Now I can recall how I used to practice this years ago," he says. "I could never decide how
to begin, Lynn, so I thought, Wouldn't it be nice to start the three in the center--" He lifts the
center cup to show us the three olives nestling under it.

As he proceeds with his descriptive patter, with his hands lifting and replacing the cups, the
olives show up, one under each cup again. Then he removes two of the olives from under the
end cups and puts them back in his pocket. "It won't be necessary to use all three olives, will
it?" he says. "So, Alice, how many would you say are under the center cup, the one in the

Alice cannot answer; she's on the edge of her seat, staring fixedly at the center cup. Michael
raises it to reveal three olives under it. "I've obviously missed a couple," he says. He puts all
three olives in his pocket. "How many would you say are under there, Lynn? Take a look?"

Lynn lifts the cups in turn to reveal three small red potatoes, one under each cup. "Sometimes
I'm just as surprised as everyone else," Michael says, setting the cups down behind the spuds.
"Lynn, what's under the center cup this time?" he asks.

Lynn is beaming, as if Michael were about to make her a very special gift. She reaches out
and slowly lifts the center cup to show us a fourth, much larger potato. She holds the cup
motionless in her hand, a smile of absolute rapture on her face, as the rest of us applaud.

After watching the magician perform all these moves that night, I still have no idea exactly
how he accomplishes any of them, nor would it do me any good to know. Magicians in general
are reluctant to share their secrets and, in the case of closeup, the true mystery is in the skill of
the performer. "Magic is not executed on as high a level today as it should be," Michael once
told me. "It's definitely one of the great arts, but only a few practice it at the highest level."

At the end of the evening, Gary asked him, "Are you yourself ever baffled?"

"Occasionally I am," Michael admitted. "Usually it's a highly technical effect involving a
new move I haven't practiced or read about yet. And it's a thrill. I usually go home and spend
half the night staying up to work it out. Generally, I do work out a way to do it. After all, I've
been at this for so long, thirty-two years."

"You enjoy it so much," Lynn said. "What you do is so full of spiritual energy."

"I feel it in this life," Michael said. "As you progress through this art, you have the years
of painstaking study and practice and performing experience. If you love magic as much as I do,
you always enjoy it, but every few years you look at it in a different way. I'll never experience
again the thrill I had in the beginning, the first couple of years discovering all these secrets and
practicing them, because I know them all now. Today, it's not so much what I can do, but the
effect that I can create and leave with people. I communicate through my hands and it's much
more important to me that people say, 'Gee, what an interesting guy, I'd like to get to know him
better.' And I never go anywhere, you know, without a deck of cards in my pocket, because then
I can do either five minutes or five hours. It's my security blanket. When I'm out in the street,
I like to pat my deck, because it gives me a good feeling. I know I have that power there if I need
On the Subject of Credits ...

I have made every attempt to credit those magicians involved in any given effect within the
contents of that effect. If I overlook anyone, it is purely unintentional and I apologize here, at
the beginning of the book.

Even though a pack of cards has been my mainstay for a number of years now, I am including
some non-card items for those who are interested in these things.

All of the material in this book is taken from my repertoire and used night after night.

It is my sincere wish that everyone who purchases this book will find more than one or two
items of interest.

With that, I wish you many hours of happy reading.

Hope you enjoy.


Michael Skinner
Bill Simon introduced a very pretty prediction effect to the fraternity in his book
"Effective Card Magic." Two decades later, Larry Jennings improved the method with
a more natural handling of the prediction card after it was inserted in the pack. His
effect, called "Stabbed Coincidence," was published in 1976. I liked the effect and
Larry's improved method, but I wanted to get away from the turning over of the
business card altogether.

I offer two methods here. In one method the business card actually & between the
two predicted cards. In the other method the predicted cards are set in position on
each side of the business card, using a displacement cull for one predicted card and
a very natural one-hand bottom deal for the second predicted card.

The bomb-door bottom, conceived by Ed Marlo, was brought to light in the

"Hierophant" number 5-6 written by Jon Racherbaumer. If you checkp. 269, you will
find an effect called "Directly from the Spread." This is the bottom deal I use to switch
in the second predicted card. I will describe the bottom deal for those who do not have
recourse to the "Hierophant."


A business cardwith two cards written on the blankside is inserted blankside down
into the pack by the spectator. The cards on each side of the business card are shown
to be the predicted cards.

First Method:

On the blank side of one of your business cards write: "You will place this card
between the Four of Clubs and the Nine of Diamonds!" Carry this card in your wallet.
Spread through the pack to remove the four Aces. While looking for the Aces, position
the Nine of Diamonds and Four of Clubs. Place one on the bottom and one fifth from
the top. Now perform an effect with the four Aces, perhaps Dai Vernon's "Twisting
the Aces," or "The Last Trick of Doctor Jacob Daley" found in the "Dai Vernon Book
of Magic."

When finished with the Ace effect, put the four Aces back in the pack. Remove
the business card from your wallet and place it face down on the table, printed side
up. Mention that you have a prediction on the other side of the card. Ribbon spread
the pack on the table from left to right
and ask the spectator to insert the
business card into the spread. Have
him push it in flush and you gather up
the spread.

Spread the packbetween your hands

from left to right until you reach the
fifth card. Place your left thumb on the
fourth card, pulling it slightly to the left
as your right fingers, beneath the,pack,
pull the fifth predicted card to the right
until it is free of the pack and resting on
the right fingers. (Photograph 1)

Now continue to spread the pack

between your hands; this will cause the
predicted card to ride beneath the pack
on the right fingers. When you reach
the business card, outjog the card for
one-half its length as you load the pre-
dicted card directlyabove the out-jogged
business card.

Close up the spread at this point.

Remark to the spectator that his inser-
tion was a free one. He could have
inserted the business card anywhere.
Respread the pack until you reach the
predicted card. Hold this card against
the outjogged business card with your
left thumb. Square the cards above the
predicted card and set them on the
table, off to the right. (Photograph 2)

With your left thumb, spread the

card directly below the outjogged busi-
ness card slightly to the right. Hold
these three cards in place with your left
thumb as you loosen the bottom card
in preparation for the one-hand bot-
to& dial. (Photograph 3)
As your left hand moves toward the
table top, your left thumb is placed
solely on the indifferent card to the left
of the business card. (Photograph 4)
Your left hand makes a slight forward
tossing action while releasing the bot-
tom card along with the business card
and 'the predicted card just above it.
(Photograph 5)
Have the spectator turn over the
business card and read the prediction,
then have him turn over the two tabled
cards to show the prediction correct.

Second Method:

This method is easy and direct if you

are adept at the dribble force.

Have one predicted card on top and

one on the bottom of the pack. False
shuffle,keeping these two cards in place.
Hand the business card, prediction side
down to the spectator and ask him to
toss the business card into the deck as
the cards dribble to the table.

Cut the pack in your hands and maintain a small break with your right thumb.
Dribble the cards to the table. Watch for a movement by the spectator to toss the
business card. Drop the cards up to the break as the spectator tosses the business card
and continue dribbling the rest of the deck after the business card has been tossed
between the two prediction cards.

Ribbon spread the pack on the table and push forward the business card and the
card on each side of it. Have the prediction read and turn over the two prediction cards.
This is an especially fine trick for a bartender magician to use, as it is quick, yet
quite effective. It is also a favorite with the ladies in the audience.

To begin the performance:

Ask the audience if anyone does any painting, drawing, water colors, or any form
of art work. Whether or not there is an artist present, continue by saying everyone
is interested in art to some degree and
that you are interested in aveG special
kind of art.

Show a book of matches, open the

cover and place it on the table with the
opening towards the audience. (See
Photograph 1) This book of matches
is going to be used as a card easel. I first
came across this idea in "Expert Card
Technique," p. 4 13. Later, I found the
idea used again in one of ICarrell Fox's
early books.

This book of matches is introduced

into play as a miniature artist's easel for d i s ~ lying a small canvas. Remove a pack of
cards from its case. The top card of the pack the Two of Hearts and the second card
is the Queen of Spades.

Describe the pack as fifty-two famous paintings. The patter continues along the
lines that playing cards were invented by the Italians many hundreds of years ago and
that early cards are still considered fine works of art. They were painted by hand and
were always prized as gifts fit for kings and emperors.

The top card, the Two of Hearts, is now forced upon a spectator. Any force can
be used, but, to keep things simple and to keep the memory of Eddie Fechter alive,
I like to use the Cutting Force that was a favorite of his.

Simply cut the Two of Hearts to the'center of the deck and retain a little finger
break above it. Now, cut small packets off the top of the deck onto the table and ask
the spectator to call "Stop." It's simply a "timing thing." As the spectator says "Stop,"
cut off all the cards above the break onto the tabled cards. The top card of the talon,
the Two of Hearts, is given to the spectator. The remaining cards are dropped on top
of the tabled packet. This brings the Queen of Spades to the top of the deck.

Ribbon spread the deck face down across the table and tell the spectator to return
his "painting" anywhere in the spread that he likes. The spectator now squares up the
deck himself. Give the deck a couple of riffle shuffles, retaining the Queen of Spades
on top of the deck.

Continue the patter by saying, "My favorite work of art is Leonardo Da Vinci's
'Mona Lisa.' That's represented here by the Queen of Spades. Let me find it." Turn
the deckof cards toward yourself and fan through it, supposedlylooking for the Queen
of Spades. Actually, look for the Two of Hearts and out-jog it above the fan.

Square up the deck, miscall the out-jogged card as the Queen of Spades, then
remove it and place it on the back of the deck which is now held face down in the left
hand dealing position. The top two cards are now turned over as one, showing the
Queen of Spades. Lift the double card off the top of the deck; now, look at the easel.
Flip the double card face down on top
of ;he deck, which leaves the rig&
hand free to adjust the position of the
matchbook easel.

Say, "I will place the 'Mona Lisa'

on this miniature artist's easel." From
this point on, always refer to the Queen
of Spades as the "Mona Lisa." Actu-
ally, it is the Two of Hearts that is
taken from the top of the deck and is
placed, back out, on the matchbook
easel. (See Photograph 2)

Lean back in the chair and say, "By

the way, what famous painting did you select?" When they say "The Two of Hearts,"
pause, smile, and say, "Two hearts seldom view the same painting the sameway." This
line comes from the fertile mind of Allen Okawa.

At the same time, hold the deck of cards behind and slightly above the Deuce on
the easel. Riffle the front end of the deck, and the breeze created by the riffle will
knock the Two of Hearts off the matchbook easel, face up, revealing the selection.
The "Conus Aces," created about 1800,was designed to be a sucker-type trick. I
do not think that it is a good sucker trick, with the simulated bottom deals and
assumed shifts. It is just too blatant for a modem audience to accept. It is just not
subtle enough to entertain. I have seen many performers attempt this effect, and it
never gets the reaction that it should.

If you need a sucker trick at some point in an act, then look into "Three Card
Monte," "The Dunbury Delusion," or Cliff Green's handling of the "Passe-Passe
Aces." The "Conus Aces" is an example of an effect that is more clever for the
performer than for the audience.

On the other hand, the production at the conclusion of the effect is just wonderful.
The spectator has his hands over the Aces which are on the table. The performer
brushes indifferent cards over the back of the spectator's hand and they change to the
Aces. This is a beautiful sequence and makes the trick worthwhile.

This is the way that I perform the effect:

Cut one of the Aces to the back of the deck. Run through the deck, remove the
four Aces, one at a time, and drop them onto the table face up. At the same time, cull
the four Queens to the backof the deck by running them under the spread as you come
to them. Of course, the reason for cutting the Ace to the back of the deck is to assure
that the four Queens are culled before arriving at the fourth Ace.

After removing the four Aces, square up the deck face down in the left hand. Ask
the spectator to mix up the four Aces. While the spectator is mixing the Aces, catch
a left finger break under the top five cards; i.e., the four Queens and the indifferent
card under them.

Turn the deck face up, and in doing so, perform I<en I<renzel's "Mechanical
Reverse." (See Photographs 1 - 4) As a result, the deck is now face up and the four
Queens and an indifferent card are face down on the bottom of it.

Hold the deck so that the face of it is towards the audience and the reversed cards
are towards yourself, hidden from the audience. Take back the four Aces from the
spectator, place them face up on top of the reversed cards, and then lower the left hand,
bringing the Aces into view. The audience knows that the Aces are face-up, but
unknown to them, there are five more face-up cards under the Aces.
At this point, I perform a packet switch that was shown to me many years ago by
Herb Zarrow. Spread the top three cards and show the four Aces. Just before
spreading the Aces, perform the "Lynn
searles Auto ~reak"by lightly lifting
up at the back to back cards and catch
a left little finger break under nine
cards. Now that you have your break
and have spread the Aces ...all in one
motion, square up the Aces and flip
the nine card packet face down on top
of the deck. Immediately deal the top
four cards, the Queens, face down on
the table and have the spectator place
his hand over what he believes to be
the Aces.

The patter story that I use at this

point goes along these lines: "Often
after work, I like to go across the street
to the Four Queens Hotel, especially
on Monday evenings--that's Jazz
Night. The manager, the bartenders,
and the waitresses always crowd
around, hoping to see something a
little different, and then they always
end up by requesting this trick. They
all like it."

At this point, lift off the top card of

the deck and casually show that it's an
indifferent card. Now, with the left
hand, which is holding the deck, ges-
ture toward the packet of cards on the
table and say, "Please cover the cards
with both hands." Draw the left hand
backwards, and as the two hands meet,
execute a Top Change, switching the
indifferent card for the first Ace. Brush
the card over the backs of the
spectator's hands. Snap the Ace face
up and drop it face up on the table.
This is a beautiful change.
Give the deck a Slip Cut to lose the indifferent card, and take the second Ace face
down. Brush it across the back of the spectator's fingers and snap it face up; then drop
the second Ace face up on the table
with the first one.

This time do a Fake Slip Cut. Go

through the motions of a Slip Cut, but
do not slip the top card; the position of
all the cards stays the same. Take the
third Ace face down, brush it across the
back of the spectator's fingers again,
then snap it face up. Drop the Ace face
up with the first two.

While showing the third Ace, get a

one-hand break under the top two
cards in preparation for a double lift.
Turn over the top two cards as one, showing it to be an indifferent card, then turn the
double back down. Take the top card face down with the right hand, brush the card
across the back of the spectator's fingers, and snap over the fourth Ace.

Now invite the spectator to turn over the cards under his hands. Then say, "That's
why I always do this trick at the Four Queens Hotel."

This is the way that I perform the "Conus Aces." It eliminates the long, drawn out
sucker parts of the effect and gets right to the brush changes of the Aces, which is really
the beautiful part of the "Conus Aces"; also, the surprise of the four Queens at the
climax is infinitely stronger than if just any four cards are under the spectator's hands
at the finish.
The Oil and Water plot, attributed to Ed Marlo, has been worked to death over
the last four decades. I have studied practically every method and have found several
that are excellent. What I offer here is a three phase routine, ending with the all red
cards blowoff.

The all red cards finish was shown to me by Ray Grismer about five years ago. He
told me that he saw it in Europe during his last vacation there.

Phase I:

To begin, remove the 'soft' cards from the pack. The soft cards are the Sixes, Eights
and Nines, so called because they can be shown twice and not recognized as easily as
the other cards. You will need six 'soft' red cards and three 'soft' black cards. Arrange
these cards in a face up packet in your hands, four red cards at the face of the packet
and then the fifth and sixth cards are
black, the seventh and eighth cards are
red and the ninth card black.

I usually have this nine card packet

set up on top of the pack ahead of
time, do one or two tricks, and when
ready to perform this, spread the pack
in my hands facing me and take off the
nine top cards in a block and set the
pack off to the side as it is not used
again. (See Photo 1 for proper set-up.)

Hold the packet of cards face up in

your left hand dealing position. Ad-
dress your audience at this point by
saying, "Remember back in General Science in High School we studied a phenom-
enon concerning oil and water? They don't mix, do they? I am going to demonstrate
this principle using a few cards. The red cards will represent water."
Take the packet face up in the right hand pinch grip, thumb on top of packet and
fingers below at the right long side of the packet. The left thumb now peels off the
four red cards into the left hand and drops them face up on the table. The left hand
comes back to the packet in your right hand and you perform an Elmsley Count,
placing the last card on the face of packet as you say, "And the black cards will
represent oil."

For checking purposes, the face up "black" cards in your hand now consist of three
blacks followed by two reds. Now turn the "black"packet face down in your left hand
and reach down with your right hand and turn the red packet face down and leave it
on the table.

Now make a new packet on the table by alternating cards from the red and black
packets. Start by taking off the top card of the red packet and placing it by itself on
the table and then take off the top card of the black packet, in your hands, and place
it on the red card but do not flash this as it is also red. Now take another card from
the red packet and place it on the new packet, and then take another card from the
black packet in your hands and place it on the new packet, but be careful not to flash
this card as it is also red. Now take another card from the red packet and place it on
the new packet. Now lay down two cards as one from the black packet in your hands,
a double lift onto the new packet. Now pick up the last card of the red packet and
place it on the new packet, and place the last black card in your hand on the new

Your "patter"at this point runs along these lines: "We will attempt to mix oil and
water in this fashion. But, as you see, the oil always rises to the top." As you speak
this last line, pickup the tabled packet in your hands and spread over the top four cards
and take them, as a block, in your right hand. Left hand sets its five card block on the
table face down. Turn the packet in your hands face up and perform an Elmsley Count
to show four blackcards. Place the last card on the face of the packet. Set this slightly
spread packet face up on the table, so that three black cards will show. This display
helps to "ring in" the fact that the packet contains all black cards.

Reach over and pick up the face

down "redt'pile. ~ h ; actually
contains five "red" cards but you will
display them as four "red" cards. Hold
the packet face down in your left hand
and spread over the first three cards,
holding the last two cards together as
one. Display this spread by tilting up
the left hand to show four red cards.
(See Photo 2) The bottom two cards
are held squared as one.
Phase 11:

At this point say, "Remember the

red cards are 'water."' Now gesture
towards the black cards on the table
and say, "The black cards are 'oil."'
Turn the black packet face down on
the table with your right hand and
pick up the top card of the packet.
Don't flash this card, because it is red.
Place this card between the third and
fourth (double card) cards of the red I
fan. (See Photo 3) I
Now pick up the next card off the
top of the tabled black packet. You
may flash this as it is black. Insert this
card between the second and third
cards of the red card fan. (See Photo
4) The "oil"cards are inserted for half
their length.

Pick up the next black card from

the tabledApacket,flash it and insert it
between the first and second cards of
the red fan. (See Photo 5) Now pick
up the last black card from the table,
flash it, and place it on top of the red
card fan. (See Photo 6). Reach over
with the right hand and push the "oil"
cards flush and square the packet be-
tween your hands. As you say, "We
attempt to mix oil and water again--
but once again the oil floats to the

Spread over the top four cards and

take them in a fan in the right hand.
Tip the right hand back towards you,
exposing the four card fan to yourself
and the audience. Obtain a break
under the top card of those remaining
in the left hand. (See Photo 7)
Look surprised as you see a mixture
of red and black in your right hand.
Look at your audience and say, "I
didn't let them settle long enough!"
Lower the right hand fan on top of the
left hand packet. Place your left thumb
on the outer left hand corner of the
bottom card of the right hand fan.
This card is red. At the same time the
right second fingertip reaches under
the fan to hold the broken black card,
i.e., top card of the left hand packet,
against the bottom of the fan. Move
the left hand forward, towards the
table, with its packet, takingwith it the
fourth card (red) from the right hand
fan. You are simply exchanging the
position of the fourth and fifth cards.
(See Photo 8)

Drop the left hand "red" packet to

the table. Come back to the cards in
your hand. Turn them face up and
perform an Elmsley Count to show
four black "oil" cards. This time the
last card of the count goes to the back
of the packet. Set the packet face up
on the table as you say, "That's bet-
ter!" Let the cards slightly spread to
show a number of black cards. (See
Photo 9)

Reach over and pick up the "water"

cards. Hold them face down in your
left hand. Spread over three cards,
holding the last two cards squared as
one. Tip the fan up to the audience to
show four red cards. Say, "And the
water sinks to the bottom!" (See Photo
Phase 111:

Say, "Let's try it one more time."

With your right hand reach over and
turn the black packet face down. Say,
"We will attempt to mix oil and water

Pick off the top card of the face

down tabled packet. You can flash it
as it is black. Insert it between the
third and fourth (double card) cards.
(See Photo 11) Lower the fan to a
horizontal position. Pick up the next
card from ihe tabled packet. Do not
flash it because it is red. Insert it
between the second and third cards of.
the red card fan.

Pick up the next card off the tabled

packet. You may flash it since it is
black and insert it between the first
and second cards of the fan. Pick up
the last tabled black card, flash it and
place it on top of the fan. (See Photo
12) Push the outjogged cards flush
and square the packet.

With your left thumb shove over

four cards to the right and catch a left
little finger break under the fourth
card. Turn the top two cards over,
stud fashion, right thumb underneath
and fingers on top. (See Photo 13)
Flip the black card face down on top of
the packet, followed by the red card.
This action shows that the colors alter-
nate and also reverses the position of
the top two cards. You are still main-
taining a fourth finger break under the
fourth card. With your left thumb,
shove over the top card and take it
with your fingers. Shove over the second card and take it with your right fingers below
the first card. Now shove over two cards as one, which is easy to do because of the
break, and take them under the two cards in the right hand. Shove over one more card
with the left thumb and take it under the cards in the right hand.

Set the remaining cards in the left hand face down on the table. Pause, and say,
"Turn about is fair play! " Turn the cards in the right hand face up and Elmsley Count
them to show four red cards, or water cards. The last card in the count is placed on
the face of the packet. Set the packet face up on the table and spread it a little to show
a number of red cards. (See Photo 14) Say, "If these are the four red cards, then these
must be?" Pause, and let the spectator answer for you. When he says, "The four black
cards!" You say, "No, the other four red cards! Now wouldn't the Persian Gulf like
to get rid of the oil like this?"

Pick up the face down black (?) packet and turn it face up and perform an Elmsley
Count to show four more red cards. Place these "red cards face up on top of the first
"red packet, leaving the cards spread a little to display many red cards. Actually six
red cards are seen (See Photo 15)

Pick up all the tabled cards and place them face down on top of the pack to finish.
Gary Plants and Michael Skinner

It was many years ago, back in the Sixties, I believe, when I discovered James
Nuzzo's "Hung Card" in the New Tops magazine. Shortly thereafter I realized that
many different objects could be stuck just below the edge of a table top to produce
startling results.

A cigarette or wooden match could be attached with a bit of wax, just below the
edne of the table. Now. vew cleanlv,
U 2 J '

break the visible cigarette or match

into three pieces and place them at the
edge of the table. (See Photo 1)

After showing both hands empty in

a natural gesture, make a motion of
picking up the three pieces in the right
hand, actually sweepingthe pieces into
your lap and picking up the whole
cigarette or match with the right thumb
and fingers. Push the whole cigarette
or match through your right fist to
show it restored. (See Photo 2) Avery
startling effect!

The proper "shade" here is to ges-

ture with your right hand to show it
empty as you reach with your left hand
to pick up a salt shaker at the left side
of the table. Look towards the salt
shaker as you sweep and steal with the
right hand. Sprinkle some salt on the
back of your right fist as you mention
that salt has great healing and restor-
ative powers. Now push the cigarette
or match through your fist to show it

While playingwith different objects, I attached a pair of green dice below the table
edge with a bit of wax. Now I could throw out a pair of red dice and change them to
green. In my opinion, the best effect, because of an interesting patter story, is to
change dice to sugar cubes.
I carry three or four pinhead-size balls of wax on the underneath side of my
wristwatch band. As soon as I sit down at the table I attach the wax pellets to the edge
of the table about 3/4 of an inch from the top edge.

Remove a handkerchief from your pocket and spread it over your lap. The two
sugar cubes are in your right side pocket and a pair of dice are in your left side pocket.
Also, a coin box or packet of cigarette papers is in your right side pocket. Reach into
your right side pocket, fingerpalm the sugar cubes, and openly remove the coin box.

Drop the two sugar cubes in your lap and place the coin box on the table. Perform
your favorite coin box effect. Put the box away and remove the cigarette papers.
Perform an effect with the cigarette papers (perhaps Nate Leipzig's Torn and Restored
Cigarette Paper from the "Stars of Magic7?).

Now lean back and drop your left hand into your lap. Attach the two sugar cubes
to the edge of the table. (See Photo 3 ) Reach into your left pocket and remove the
pair of dice. The dice should be the same size as the sugar cubes. Place the dice near
the edge of the table. Sweep the dice off the table into your right hand. Shake them
and roll them out onto the table. Do
this three times. The third time, sweep
the dice into your lap as you pick up
the two sugar cubes and shake them.
Roll them out onto the table!

This effect is enhanced by the fol-

lowing patter. This is an old joke that
I borrowed from Gen Grant, but it
plays well here: "Some time ago a
magician and two other suspicious
loorking characters were arresied for
shooting dice, and were brought into
court. The judge decided to let them
convict themselves in a novel manner.
He had the first man throw the dice and he threw a seven (or whatever number you
happen to throw when doing the trick). So he gave that man seven months in jail.
The next man threw a ten, so he gave him ten months in jail. Next it was the magician's
turn, and he started to throw the dice, but caused them to change in midair to lumps
of sugar. He gave the judge a big smile and said, "Look,your honor, there are no spots
on them!" And the judge smiled back and said: "All right, you go to jail until the spots
reappear. Sometimes we have to take our lumps!"

Leave the dice in your lap for awhile. Then casually gather up your handkerchief
with the dice in it and place all in your right hip pocket.
This is an incredible card location that I developed from A1 I<oran7s"Lazy Man's
Card Trick" in "Close-Up Card Magic," by Harry Lorayne. Instead of the card being
found among the top couple of cards, it will always appear in the bottom half of the

Before beginning the effect, cull all thirteen cards of one suit to the face of the deck,
and arrange them in order from the Ace at the face upwards to the Icing. I do this very
openly in just a couple of seconds while toyingwith the cards, and you will also be able
to do so with just a little bit of practice. Of course, if you are using a new pack, the
Spade suit is already arranged properly at the bottom.

Begin the performance by giving the deck a couple of riffle shuffles above the
bottom thirteen card stock without disturbing it.

At the conclusion of the shuffle, the bottom twenty-six cards must be cut to the
top of the deck. Hold the deck as if for a Faro Shuffle, and it should be easy enough
to make this cut. Give the cards a "Twenty-six Card Faro Check" if you are not
absolutely sure of the cut. Complete the cut and hold the deck face down in the left

At this point, there are thirteen cards on top of the deck, followed by thirteen
Spades in IGng to Ace order downwards, and then twenty-six more mixed cards. Hold
the deck face down in your left hand and toss out the top dozen cards, in batches of
three or four at a time, face down onto the table in a disorganized circle. Place the
deck, face down, on the left side of this mixed-up circle of cards.

Mix these cards around on the table with the fingertips of both hands and ask the
spectator to select one of these cards. When the spectator has removed one of these
cards, scoop up the rest of them so no one can see the face of any one of them, and
then give these eleven cards a further little shuffle before replacing them on top of the
deck, face down.

The deck is replaced face down in the center of the table. After the spectator has
looked at and remembered his card, he replaces it on top of the deck. Look away, and
instruct the spectator to cut the cards and to complete the cut. This type of straight
cut is repeated four or five times.

Turn back around and ask the spectator to turn the deck face up, give it another
cut, and complete the cut. If one of the Spades appears on the face of the deck, stop
right here; if not, then have him keep repeating the cut until one of the Spades does
appear on the face of the deck.

Note and remember the value of the Spade on the face of the deck. Let's assume
that it is the Four of Spades. Pick up the deck, turn it face down, and pantomime
weighing the cards. Hand the deck to the spectator and ask him to concentrate on
his card. Mentally add the value of the Spade card to twenty-six; in this case four and
twenty-six are thirty. Tell the spectator that his card is the thirtieth card from the top
of the deck.

Instruct the spectator to deal cards off the top of the deck, one at a time counting
up to thirty. When he reaches thirty, stop him while he is holding that card. Ask him
to name his selected card and then to turn over the card he is holding.

Larry Jennings, Michael and John Carney

A top stock of eight cards is required for this effect. The four IGngs are on top of
the deck followed by the four Aces. A very practical way of getting this stock would
be to use some early planning. Near the beginning of the act, perform a four Ace trick
and return the Aces to the top of the deck. Perform a couple more tricks that will not
disturb the top four cards, finishing up with a Card Revelation in which it is necessary
to look through the deck apparently to find the selection. At this time, cull the four
IGngs to the top of the deck.

Give the deck any series of false shuffles that will keep the top stock of eight cards
intact. At the completion of the false shuffles, pause for a few seconds and patter
about the possibility of controlling cards with a Riffle Shuffle. Turn the top four cards
face up revealing the four IGngs. Place the ICings face up on the table, off to the side.

Pause for a few more seconds, and get a break under the four Aces on the top of
the deck and triple undercut them to the face of the deck. Take the deck from the
left hand into the right hand from above, and reach forward and drop about one-
quarter of the deck from the bottom onto the table. Moving the right hand back
towards yourself, drop two more quarters of the deckand return the fourth packet into
the left hand in dealing position.

Get a break under the top three cards of the packet held in the left hand. With
the right hand, pick up one of the IGngs from the table and turn it face down and use
it to scoop up the other three IGngs, still face up. While picking up the IGngs, pivot
the packet over, bringing one IGng face up on the top with the other three Icings face
down under it.

A Packet Switch is now performed. Bring the IGng packet in the right hand over
the packet in the left hand and simulate pulling the face-up IGng with the left thumb
from the right hand packet onto the left hand packet. Actually the entire IGng packet
is taken on top of the left hand packet while the right hand moves back to the right
taking the three card packet that was above the break held by the left little finger. The
left thumb now goes under the face-up IGng on the left hand packet and pivots it face
down. Do this &th the left hand oniy; don't bring the right-hand near ihe left hand

The right hand now drops one of the three supposed IGngs on each of the three
tabled packets. Assemble the deck by placing the packet in the left hand on the tabled
packet that is closest to the performer. This "double" packet is now picked up and
placed on top of the third packet, the triple packet is placed on top of the fourth
packet, and the entire deck is pulled back in front
of yourself and left on the table in readiness to
perform a tabled Riffle Shuffle.

At this point, the four IGngs are on the top of

the deck and the four Aces are on the face of the
deck. The four IGngs must now be brought from
the top of the deck to the face of it during a Riffle
Shuffle. One method of doing this is Roy
Walton's, and will be found in I<arl Fulves'
"Riffle Shuffle Technique, Part One" on page 29.
Briefly described here, it is basically avariation of
the Zarrow Shuffle called "Triple Cut Zarrow."

The right hand cuts the top half of the deck to

the right, and you commence to riffle the two
packets together. The right thumb holds back
the four IGngs and allows them to drop last to
complete the riffle. Complete the "Zarrow
Shuffle" by stripping out the left packet and
inserting it under the four IGngs. Before the deck
is completely squared up, cut off the four IGngs
and place them on the table, follow by cutting off
the original bottom half of the deck and placing
it on top of the Icings, and finally the original top
section of the deck goes back on top. Square up
the deck, and it will be seen that the four IGngs
are now on the face of the deckwith the f o u r ~ c i s
directly above the IGngs.

The deck is now ready for a second Riffle Shuffle; cut the top half of the deck to
the right in readiness for the Riffle Shuffle. Commence the shuffle by running off the
bottom eight cards with the left thumb, and then run off a number of cards from the
right thumb, and finally riffle off evenly. Before squaring up the cards, the right hand
lifts up the telescoped deck by tilting it forward. This leaves the bottom eight cards
still lying on the table. (See Photo 1)

The left thumb hits the back edges of these cards and tilts them upwards, replacing
them on the bottom of the deck, but they are now reversed. (See Photo 2) Square
up the deckand let it drop back flat on the table in readiness for one more Riffle Shuffle
that is used to bring the reversed IGngs and Aces to the top of the deck.

The Riffle Shuffle that is used here is from Dai Vernon's "More Inner Card
Secrets," on page 52, which is very briefly described here. Cut the top half of the deck
to the right. Start riffling off the cards from the left hand packet by running the first
nine cards, that is, the reversed IGnes "
and Aces plus one face-down card.
Then riffle off a blockof cards from the
right hand, then riffle off the remain-
ing cards evenly. In squaring up the
cards, they are not pushed quite flush,
as if a "Push-Thru Shuffle" were about
to be performed.

With the cards still slightly jogged,

the right hand lifts up the top half of
the deck and places it about an inch
forward of the rear half. The left hand
now picks up the rear half and places it
on top of the forward half. he right
hand continues as if doing a Running Cut, by cutting off the top portion down to and
including the block on the right side, and again goes forward as the left hand picks up
the bottom half and places it on top, and now actually square the deck up.

The top card of the deck is now an indifferent face-down card, followed by the four
face-up IGngs, then the face-up Aces, and finally the remainder of the deck face down.

With the deck still face down on the table in front of you, with the right hand lift
up three-fourths of the deck and move forward away from you about an inch, and in
front of the bottom quarter of the deck
and drop about one quarter of the
remaining cards. (Photo 3) Move for-
ward another inch and drop another
quarter. Move forward another inch
and drop the last quarter.

Reassemble the deck starting with

the nearest packet, picking it up and
dropping it on the next packet. Pickup
the double packet and drop it on the
next packet. Pick up this triple packet
and drop it on the fourth packet, but in
doing so, the right thumb brushes the
top card of this fourth packet and pulls
back, just slightly jogging it. (See Photo 4)
In a tabled cut, the right thumb lifts
up on the jogged card and cuts all the
cards below it to the top of the deck. A
face-up IGng will appear on the top of
the deck. Pause for a second, and let
the appearance of the IGng sink in.
Quickly give the deck three Slip Cuts,
cutting three packets of cards to the
table with a face-up IGng on the top of
each. Hold the packet with the Aces in
your left hand. The four face-up Aces
are under this face-up IGng.

Pick each IGng off the top of its

packet and momentarily hold ;hem on
top of the fourth packet. (See Photo 5)
Flip all eight face-up cards face down;
this is easy because there is a natural
break where the cards come together
back to back. Immediately deal one of
the supposed IGngs to the top of each
of the three tabled packets.

Pause for a second, and then the

left thumb goes under the top card of
the packet held in the left hand and
pivots the Ace face up. At the same
time, the right hand quickly turns over
the top card of each of the three tabled packets, revealing the other three Aces. (See
Photo 6)

If it should be necessary for later use, the four IGngs are still under control on top
of the packet of cards in the left hand.
This is my technique for stealing a card from the deck and loading it into a wallet.
The wallet is in the left inside breast pocket of your jacket, and the loading is a two-
step process. The right hand is empty when you put the pen away and it is empty again
when you reach in to take out the wallet. The explanation is followed by a wallet trick
with business cards.

To begin:

Have a marking pen clipped to the same pocket which holds the wallet. The wallet
I use is a Jennings style LePaul Card in Envelope wallet. Have a card reversed on the
bottom of the deck. Spread the pack face down between your hands and have a card
selected. When the card is removed,
square up the pack and give it a cut
near the center. This places the re-
versed card near the center. Remove
the marking pen with your right hand
and hand it to the spectator. Ask him
to sign his name across the face of the
selected card.

Hold the pack face up and squared

in the left hand. Take back the se-
lected card face down with your right
hand and insert it, face down, near the
center of the face up pack. Push it in
until only about half an inch pro-

You now perform the "Diagonal

Palm Shift." A brief description fol-
lows: Hold the pack with the left
fingers, above the left palm, forefinger
curled on the bottom card, left thumb
resting on the upper left corner and
second, third and fourth fingers on the
right side of pack. (See Photo 1) Bring
the right hand over the pack with the
right forefinger curled on top, thumb
on the bottom of pack, and the second,
third and fourth fingers over the end of
the protruding selected card. (See Photo

Squeeze the outer end of the pack

between the left thumb and second
finger as you push the selected card
flush with the right fingers. This causes
the selected card to enter the pack
diagonally. (See Photo 3) The left
thumb tip immediately grips the comer
of the selected card protruding at the
outer left comer and, assisted by the
three fingers at the opposite side, slides
the card-backward -inder cover of a
squaring motion. (See Photo 4) When
the thumb reaches a point slightly be-
yond the center of the side, the left
thumb and fingers slide forward again
along the edges, leaving the card pro-
truding under cover of the right hand.
(See Photo 5) With the left little finger
against the side of the selected card,
swing or turn it inwards, using the right
thumb as a pivot, straightening out left
first, second and third fingers and catch-
ing the outer end of selected card as it
turns, (See Photo 6) and at the same
time sliding pack outwards and to the
right, the Git hand turning over and
inward with the palmed card. (See
Photo 7)

The right hand ribbon spreads the

deck, face up from left to right, on the
table. A reversed card will show near
the center of the spread. This face
down card will be taken for the selected
card. Bring the left hand to the opening
of the jacket at about waist level and
allow the card to slide behind the edge
of the jacket. This is accomplished by
bending the left fingers inwards to clip
the outer end of the card momentarily against the palm, when the inner end will be
free. (See Photo 8)
When the card is behind the jacket,
it is held by the tips of the left first and
second fingers curled onto the non-
index corner with the thumb on the
outside of the jacket. This position of
the left hand is the natural one for
holding the jacket slightly open. (See
Photo 9)

Pick up the marking pen with your

right hand and drop it into the inner
left coat pocket, the same pocket which
holds the wallet. Immediately take the
selected card from the left hand and
insert the corner of it into the wallet
opening. Do not attempt to push the
card all the way into the wallet. The
length of time it takes to drop the pen
into the pocket and insert the card into
the opening of the wallet, should be the
same length of time it takes to clip the
pen onto the edge of the pocket. (See
Photo 10)

Ask for the name of the selected

card. When it is named, smile, and say,
"All is not as i t seems!" With your right
hand reach forward and slowly turn
face up the indifferent card in the cen-
ter of the spread. Now say, "I stopped
at the Post Office on the way over here
and they had a letter for you." With a
clean right hand, reach into your jacket,
push the selected card all the way down
into the wallet and, in this case, also
into the envelope, and remove the wal-
let. As you remove the sealed envelope
from the wallet say, "Signed, sealed,
and delivered!" This is an Alan Okawa
line. The right hand enters the pocket
twice and, except for the pen, the right
hand is empty both times.

Here I will describe a short interlude

with a packet of business cards that will
endear you to your wife or girlfriend.

Carry with you a stack of business

cards, at least a dozen or so. All the
cards in the stack are printed side up.
On the blank side of the top card, print
the words, "I love you darling!" Then
place it on top of the stack, message side

When ready to perform, have your

wallet and marking pen in your left
inside coat pocket. Have your stack of
business cards, with a rubber band
around them, in any available pocket.
Remove the business cards from your
pocket and remove the rubber band.
Perform a double turnover of the top
two cards. A blankwill show. "Necktie"
the packet slightly and deal off the top
card blank side up onto the table.

Tell the spectator that you are study-

ing handwriting analysis and you need a sample of her signature. Remove the pen
from your inside pocket and hand it to your spectator. You are still holding the packet
of cards in your left hand. Keep the
outer end ofthe packet tilted up so that
the message on the top card will be out
of sight.

Take the card back from the specta-

tor and place it signature side up on top
of the stack. Display it for a moment,
then perform a double turnover, flip-
ping the top two cards face down. Im-
mediately deal the top card, message
side down onto the table. You are now
about to perform the "Lowey Palm," as
Hold the packet of cards in the left hand, upright, printed side outwards, the inner
end of the packet in the crotch of the thumb, the thumb on the back, first and second
fingers holding the packet at the lower right corner, third and fourth fingers extended.
(See Photo 1 1) Raise the thumb and press it against the middle of the back of the top
card, then press it downwards making the card swivel, (See Photo 12) until it lies at
right angles to the rest of the cards at the lower end of the packet. At the same time
straighten out the first and second
fingers to receive the card, and then
close all four fingers on it. (See Photo
The action takes place as the left
hand is raised, turned over and moved
toward the right hand, which grasps
the packet and removes it. The left
hand then falls naturally to the side
with the card palmed. Now grasp the
jacket at about waist level with the left
hand that is holding the palmed card
and verform the same overations to

load the business card into your wallet

and envelope, as explained earlier in
this chapter--putting the pen away
with your right hand, and so forth.

After putting the pen in your pocket

and loading the comer of the business
card in your wallet, pickup the stackof
business cards, put the rubber band
around them and place them in your
right side pocket. Now take out your
wallet, pushing the card all the way
into the wallet. Deliver the same lines
as mentioned earlier, and let the spec-
tator find his, or her, signed card in the
sealed envelope. She will then notice the business card on the table and turn it over
to read her sweet message.
This effect is based on an old mathematical stunt. Years ago, Paul Curry recorded
"Padded,"his presentation of the stunt in a little book called "Something Borrowed,
Something New." The following is my presentation of the principle.

This makes a fine after dinner effect,while lingering over coffee. Another excellent
way to present this is over the telephone. As a telephone stunt, this is, in my opinion,
one of the very best.

When presenting this at a table in front of a few spectators, I remove a business

card from my pocket and hand this and a pen or pencil to a spectator. I mention that
the information he or she records will be confidential and never revealed at the end.
This is important, especially when performing the effect for a female.

I turn my back to those at the table and give the following instructions: I ask the
spectator to write down the year of his birth. Directly beneath the year of his birth,
the spectator now jots down the year of an important event in his life. This procedure
is repeated with the spectator jotting down his present age, as of today, and then the
number of years that have passed since the important event occurred. Now ask the
spectator to draw a line beneath his figures and total them.

From the beginning of the presentation till after the numbers are revealed, my back
is to the audience. I never face them until the effect is completely over. I say that the
strongest faculty he possesses are his emotions. I then say that he will relay his total
to me through his emotions. State that the seat of emotions is the heart, therefore you
are going to ask the assistant to cany out most operations with his left hand as, of
course, the heart is nearer the left side of the body.

State that his left hand is closer to his heart than his right hand, so have him extend
his left forefinger and rub the tip of the finger over the left digit of his answer. Have
him concentrate on the number, pause and say that it is a "three." Have the assistant
move his forefinger to the next digit to the right, rub it, concentrate and you say it is
a "nine." Have the spectator move to the next digit to the right, rub the digit,
concentrate, and you call out the number "eight." Have him rub the last digit to the
right, concentrate on it, and you name the number "six." Repeat the whole number

The whole effect is a different presentation of an old mathematical stunt. If the

year of a person's birth and his present age are added together, the result, naturally,
will be the present year. This, of course, also holds true for the year of some important
event in the spectator's life and the number of years ago that it happened. Therefore,
when all four are totaled, the answer will be twice the present year.

The answer "3986" is for the year 1993. At the beginning of each year, January
1st, you must make new calculations. The total for the year 1994, for instance, would
be "3988.r'

An important point to keep in mind is that the total is initially computed as of the
last day of the year. However, if the spectator has not had his birthday yet this year,
the total at the end will be one less, or "3985" for the year 1993.

Long before I perform this effect I ask the spectator what sign he was born under.
When given the sign, I then ask what month that is. I then say that I am a "Leo"and
that we are very compatible, etc. This bit of information will give you the correct total
to use. You will have to fish a little more if he names the "current"sign, since he may
or may not have recently had his birthday.

This piece of impromptu telepathy should baffle all who witness it, whether they
are magicians or laymen.

Daryl and Michael

This is my routine for the "Mental Photography Deck," or "Nudist Deck," as it
is sometimes called. This routine has been in my working repertoire since 1969. I find
the regular bridge size cards most suitable because they, and a deck of all blank cards,
are easily accessible.

To begin:

Have a deck of Double-Blank,

bridge size cards loose in your left side
coat pocket. In the same pocket carry
your Nudist Deck in its case. When
you are ready to perform, remove the
cased Nudist Deck from your pocket,
remove the cards from their case, and
place the empty card box in your right
side coat pocket.

Hold the deck "face up" in your left

hand. That is, if the cards were sepa-
rated, face up cards would show. I will
give my patter, in the proper place,
along with the correct handling. "I
have an interesting pack of cards to
show you. I believe what makes these
interesting is the fact that they have no
faces or backs. They are blank on both

Spread the cards between both

hands. Separate the spread near the
center, taking- half the spread deck in
each hand. Turn your hands over
towards you and show both sides of the cards.

Close up the cards, again holding them "face-up." Immediately execute a thumb
fan, applying pressure. (See Photo 1) Show both sides of the fan, then close the fan,
again holding the cards "face-up." (See Photo 2)

"Now you are probably wondering what I might do with a pack of cards that are
blank on both sides. If I had you select one, I wouldn't know which one it was. I
wouldn't know if it was face up or face down!" As you say the above three sentences,
again perform the two hand spread and thumb fan sequence to show the backs and
faces of the cards blank. "But let's pretend you did select a card. Let's say you took
a card, like the Five of Hearts, for instance."

Cut the pack by the ends, near the center and complete the cut. Name whichever
card shows. In my example, it's the Five of Hearts. Place the card face-up on the table,
and continue: "Of course that's easy to find because it's the only card in the pack."

Spread the pack between your hands. Lift up four-fifths of the spread with your
right hand and turn your hand over, toward you, to show the bottom side of the
spread. (See Photo 3)

"Of course if we had other cards to get in the way, cards like a Icing, Nine or
Three ...we don't have those cards, but if we did, we would have to worry about which
one you selected." As vou say the
above sentence, close up the cards and
cut quickly to three different places in
the deck, revealing three different
cards. Name the values of these cards.

Close up the pack immediately af-

ter showing the third card and quiclcly
spread the pack between your hands,
showing the pack all blank, as in the
beginning. In other words, spread
four-fifths and show both sides of the
cards in your right hand.

"But suppose you wanted to play a

little Poker, Gin Rummy or Bridge. Then you go to a store and pick up a regular pack
of cards with faces and backs like this." Pick up the single card that is on the table
and replace it on the face of the pack.

Lift the pack by the ends with the right hand and dribble the cards back into the
left hand. Stagger the dribble so that many face up cards will show. Place your left
thumb under the pack and push up on the cards, turning the pack over in the left hand,
showing many backs. (See Photos 4 and 5) Flip the cards back face up, and square
the pack with both hands.

"But how could this be a regular pack of cards when, just by passing your hand
over the cards, they vanish as they appeared before, leaving nothing but blanks on
both sides?" As you say the above
sentence, perform the followingactions:

Hold the pack face up in the dealing

position in the left hand, but instead of
having the thumb across the face card,
straighten it and rest it along the left
side of the pack. Bring the right hand
over the pack, resting the thumb at the
inner end and gripping the opposite
end with the tips of the second and
third fingers; the little finger is just
around the comer at the right side.
(See photo 6)

With the tip of the left forefinger a t

the back of the pack, push the back card
to the right until it begins to pivot on
the right little finger, then continue
pushing with the left second and third
fingers until the card is in the right
palm. Immediately the left inner cor-
ner of the card is clear of the pack, the
left little finger goes into the triangle
formed to grip the pack. Photo 7 shows
the view from underneath the pack.

Remove the right hand momentarily

to let the full face of the visible card be
seen. I<eep the left hand perfectly still,
then bring the right hand across the
pack from right to left, leaving the
palmed card flush on the face of the
pack as the hand travels. Pause a
moment for effect. Now spread through
the pack, applying pressure, and take
half of the spread in each hand and tip
your hands over toward you, showing
both sides of the cards.

Now you say, "So they make a nice I I

conversation piece, to carry a pack of these around in your pocket, or place them on
the coffee table when friends come over to the house for dinner." The above sentence
gives you just enough time to do the following:

Holding the squared pack in your left hand, place both hands in your two side
vockets. Your left hand switches vacks

as your right hand comes out with the

card box. Your left hand comes out of
the pocket with the regular blank deck
and you start to put the cards away in
the box. Pause, and change your mind.
Put the empty box on the table, to-
wards your left, and place the blank
deck on top of the card case.

Immediately reach in your pocket

for a prop for your next trick and begin
that effect. Just ignore the blank deck
on the table. Your svectator can hardlv
L d'

resist picking up the deck to examine

it. If he does not pick up the deck, finish the effect that you are now performing. Now
pick up the blank deck, put it in the box and put the cased deck away in your pocket.

This routine has served me well for many, many years and I can vouch for its
The memorized deck is a powerful weapon in any card man's hands, as many of
you well know. The first set-up that I am going to explain is the one that I used back
in the late sixties and early seventies. These were my Magic Castle years. I have always
been fond of two particular tricks: "The Mental-Selection Speller" on p. 120 of "The
Amateur Magician's Handbook," and the "Dai Vernon Poker Deal" in issue # 3 1 1 of
"The New Phoenix," also reprinted in "Early Vernon" and "The Dai Vernon Book of
Magic. "

I thought so much of these two effects that I decided to make a memorized deck
which included both effects. I am not going to explain the Speller and Poker Deal,
as any card man, worth his salt, will have the above mentioned volumes in his library.

Arrange the cards in the order given below. There is no semblance to any system.
Memorize these cards in the given order for your memorized pack. Perform one or
two effects that do not disturb the order of the cards.

Give the pack two perfect outFaro Shuffles and you are set to do "Mental Selection
Speller" from the bottom or face of the deck. As you spread the pack between your
hands for a mental selection, spread nine cards past your six card stock and cut the
pack at this point. At the completion of the spelling effect, you are set to go into
"Vernon's Poker Demonstration."

The Set-up Pack

I have a second system for a memorized deck which I use with specific objectives
in mind. When I.began performing a t the "Golden Nugget Hotel" in Las Vegas in
1976, the company did, and still does, supply me with an unlimited supply of decks
of cards. This enables me to open a fresh deck at each table and give the deck to a
spectator when I leave the table.

I wanted to perform the memorized deck, yet still retain the flexibility of a new
deck order every time I performed. I use Bicycle brand playing cards. In new deck
order they are arranged from top down Ace to IGng of Hearts, Ace to IGng of Clubs,
IGng to Ace of Diamonds and IGng to Ace of Spades.

I remove the cards from their case and give them perfect out Faro shuffles,
supposedly to "loosen them up" but actually to get into my memorized stack. I
discovered that there are only two places where you can safely ribbon spread the deck
face up and show a random mixture. This is after the fourth or fifth shuffle. I chose
the order of cards after the fifth shuffle to become my memorized stack because, after
using it for effects that don't disturb the arrangement, it only takes three additional
perfect out Faro shuffles to get back into new deck order.

In the next two chapters, I will explain three of the effects that I use with the
memorized deck.
I explained in the last chapter my method of getting into my memorized deck, by
giving a pack in new deck order five out shuffles. I explain the shuffles as a method
of loosening up a new pack.

I now proceed to give a memory demonstration. I tell the spectator that I will
rapidly deal the cards face up into a pile on the table, and will attempt to memorize
the cards as they are dealt. But to make it interesting, the spectator can try to distract
me by asking me questions and carry on a conversation with me as I deal the cards.

There is nothing difficult for me to do except keep my head down and pretend to
memorize the cards as they are dealt. I must not look up even once, or the spectator
will realize that I am not really studying the cards. After I have dealt the 52nd card,
I turn the deck face down and hand it to a spectator.

I now ask for three numbers to be named, and I immediately tell the spectator
which cards are at those numbers. The spectator deals the cards face up into a pile
on the table until he reaches the lowest of the three numbers. He slowly turns the card
over at that number and it proves to be correct. Have him continue counting to the
second number and it proves to be correct. The same result applies with the third

I now have the spectator place the remainder of the cards, in his hand, face up onto
the face up pile on the table, turn the deck face down and hand it to me. I now give
the pack three more out shuffles as I make the following remarks: "Years ago I read
this remark: 'If you chain a monkey to a typewriter and let him tap on the keys, sooner
or later, most likely later, he will rewrite all the great works of literature.' Of course
this will take eons of time."

Now you continue by saying the following: "It would seem to me to take almost
as long to shuffle a pack of cards back into their original position, in other words to
unshuffle a pack so that every card was back in Ace to IGng order as they are arranged
at the factory." As I say this, I give the packa couple of Zarrow or pull through shuffles
after completing the three Faro Shuffles. Following these, execute your best false cut.

Now pause, and ribbon spread the pack face up across the table. The deck will be
in perfect new deck sequence. At this point, your closing remarkfshould be: "Well,
I'll be a monkey's uncle!" This last line courtesy of Michael Weber.
Here is a baffling two card location that again makes use of the memorized deck.
I present this as follows:

I have a pocket handkerchief opened up in my lap. Resting on the handkerchief

is a face-up memorized deck. A matching shuffled deck is in play on the table. I get
into this position in advance and perform several effects with the matching tabled
deck, during the course of these preliminary effects, the deck is shuffled by the
spectator several times. For this effect, you will require at least two spectators at the
table--one to the right and the other to the left.

At the completion of an impromptu effect with your tabled deck, hold the deck
in dealing position in your left hand. Address the spectator on your right and say,
"Please take the deck from me under the table." As you place your left hand under
the table, your hand will pass over your lap. Exchange packs. Leave the shuffled deck
in your lap. With your palm down left hand pickup the memorized pack, turning your
hand palm up in the process. This brings the deck face down.

Hand the deck to the spectator. Ask the spectator to keep the deck below the table
and to cut the deck and complete the cut. Now ask the spectator to take the top card,
and without showing it to anyone or looking at it himself, place it in his pocket.

Now reach under the table with your left hand and ask him to hand you back the
deck. When you receive the deck face down, corner crimp the outer right corner of
the bottom card with your left forefinger. Swing the deck to the left under the table
and hand it to the spectator seated on your left. Ask him to keep the cards below the
table and to cut the deck and complete the cut. Then have him take the new top card
and, without looking at it, place it in his pocket. Now take the pack back from him
above the table.

At this point I hold the deck on edge with both hands in preparation for a Faro
Shuffle. I tilt the deck just enough to the right so that I can glimpse the bottom card.
Now with my right thumb I split the deck at the crimped card, glimpsing it, and I
perform a Faro Shuffle.

Rememberingthe crimped card, I count one card ahead in my system and the latter
will be the card in the pocket of the first spectator, on my right. Remembering the
bottom card, I count one card ahead in my system and the latter will be the card in
the pocket of the second spectator, on my left. I look at each spectator and name the
appropriate card. These cards are then removed from their pockets and shown to be
At times, instead of a Faro Shuffle, I will simply give the pack a Charlier Cut. As
I begin the cut, I glimpse the bottom card, then cut at the crimped card and remember
this card as well. After the cut, I immediately perform one or two riffle shuffles. Now
I proceed, as above, to name the appropriate cards.

You are left with a shuffled pack in your lap. At the proper time, gather up the pack
with your handkerchief and place all in your hip pocket.

"Lillie, pick a card!"

Golden Nugget, Las Vegas
This is a "Tom and Restored" effect that I have featured in my work for quite some
time, and the method is based on the "Quadruple Tom and Restored Cigarette
Paper," which can be found in my book, "Michael Skinner's Intimate Magic."

Awrapped straw is shown. The package is opened and the straw is discarded. The
wrapper is now very openly torn up into small pieces and rolled up into a small ball.
When the ball is unrolled, it is seen that the wrapper is fully restored.

Breaking this routine down to its basics, it is a version of Nate Leipzig's cigarette
paper tear, "Tear-Up with a Twist," which can be found in the original "Stars of
Magic" and in "Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig." Of course, there are
differences in handling, and the built-in steal of the duplicate wrapper is interesting.

Some slight preparation is required. First of all, take the wrapped straw and
carefully remove the straw from the wrapper by pushing the straw out of one end so
that the wrapper is not torn. Throw the straw away. Now, flatten out the wrapper
by pulling it firmly through the fingers. This flattens out the wrapper and removes
most of the wrinkles. Now take a second wrapped straw and again, carefully, poke
the straw out one end of the wrapper, but this time do not remove it all the way, but
only about an inch or so.

At this time, take the empty wrap-

per and, starting at one end of it,
accordion-pleat it. These pleats should
be very small, almost tiny, in fact.
These pleats should be no wider than
an eighth of an inch. Pleat the entire
wrapper clear down to the other end.
Now, twist this tiny bundle into a
torpedo-shaped pellet.

Take the accordion-pleated pellet

and insert it for about half its length
into the open end of the
wrapped straw. (See Photo 1) Work the wrapper back up over the end of the straw
so that the torpedo-shaped bundle is mostly covered. Even if the duplicate pellet
shows a little bit, it won't matter because it is the same color as the wrapper, and they
blend together.
Before the performance, place the prepared straw in the inside jacket pocket, or
in the outside shirt pocket if no jacket is worn. If the straw is carried in an outside
pocket, it should be closed end up so that the open end is not noticed.

When ready to perform, remove the wrapped straw and place it onto the table with
the prepared end to the right. Show both hands empty and say, "Notice, I have no
glue or preparation of any kind on my hands." Do not say, "See, my hands are empty."
The audience can see this without it being said. Spread the fingers wide, starfish
fashion, and show both sides front and back.

Pickup the straw at the left end between the left thumb and first two fingers. Grasp
the other end in the right hand. Push the wrapper down about an inch with the right
hand so that the pellet can be nipped
by the right fingers. The left handnow
pulls the wrapper completely off as the
right hand holds onto the straw. The
duplicatewrapper has now been loaded
into the empty right hand without
arousing any suspicion.

Retain the wrapper in the left hand

and place the straw aside on the table
off to the right. Flatten the wrapper
out between both hands. The pellet is
nipped between the forefinger and
middle finger - hand. (See
- of the right
Photo 2)

The technique that is used to tear and restore the wrapper is basically the same as
that used in Leipzig's "Tear-up with a Twist." Hold the straw wrapper between the
thumbs and fingers of both hands, with the fingers on the side of the wrapper toward
the audience and pointing down to the table.

Tear the wrapper in half. Show the pieces apart. Gesture with the left hand piece
and say, "The left side"; gesture with the right hand pieces and say, "The right side."
Put the pieces together and tear them a second time, repeating the gestures and saying,
"Left side, right side." Put the pieces together and repeat the procedure a third time.
In all, the wrapper is tom three times.

Hold the pieces together, pause for a second, and say, "By the way, did you hear
about the guy who lost his left side? He's all right now." This gets a smile or a groan.
It always gets some reaction. I don't care, because it gives me the necessary time to
roll up the tom pieces and to add the torpedo pellet to the bottom of them, between
the right thumb and first two fingers.
The Leipzig switch of the two pel-
lets is nowperformed. The two pellets
are held together between the right
thumb and first two fingers with the
torn pieces above the untom piece.
The left thumb and forefinger come
over to the pellets. The right fingers
rotate slightly counter-clockwiseas the
left fingers rotate clockwise. This
indetectably tums the entire bundle
over, bringing the whole wrapper to
the top. (See Photos 3 and 4)

Squeeze the pieces together and

clip the torn ones between the first
two fingers of the right hand. Slowly,
with the left thumb and first two fin-
gers, pull the accordion-pleated wrap-
per open. (Photo 5) This always gets
quite a gasp of surprise as it opens
restored. Stretch the wrapper out
between both hands.

Smooth out the wrapper between

both hands and take it at one end
between the left thumb and forefin-
ger. The right hand now picks up the
straw that was previously set aside. Return it to the pocket that it was originally taken
from, and say, "I'll use this later." At the same time, the tom pieces are dumped into
the pocket. Then, of course, I use the
strah later, either as the stick for the
"Ring on Stick" routine, or as the wand
in an "Impromptu Cups and Balls7'
routine using coffee cups and either
olives or cherries for the balls.
The effect of tossing a card into the air and having it return to the pack is one of
the most wonderful effects that can be performed with cards. It is, to be sure, a feat
of juggling, but when the card is caught in the deck at any number down named by
the spectator, it is something that is long remembered.

I had the pleasure of witnessing this effect performed by Cy Endfield at a

convention in New York in 1962. Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable
moments of the convention for me.

Cy's method is clearly explained in "Card Spinning" in Part I11 of his fine book
"Entertaining Card Magic," pages 13,14 and 15. My method differs from Cy's, both
in the actual toss of the card and in forming the break in the pack at the selected

To begin:

Have a pack of 52 cards in your

hands. Ask the spectator if he has ever
been to Australia. Then ask him to
name some things that Australia is
famous for. Finally, ask the spectator
to name a number from 1 to 52. As
soon as you have his number, remem-
ber it and perform Ed Marlo's "26th
Card Faro Check." See Ed Marlo's
book "The Faro Shuffle," pages 11 and

For those who do not have access to the book, the method is briefly explained as
follows: Cut the pack at 26 and start a Faro Shuffle as in Photo 1. Now if the cut and
weave have been perfect, every card will be weaved with no cards left over, thus you
will be sure that the cards have been cut at 26. If not pull the packets apart, square
up the deck, and cut again, performing another Faro Check. When you know that you
have cut to 26, pull the packets apart, unweaving the shuffle, slap the right hand
packet at a downward angle onto the center of the left hand packet, and let the upper
packet slide forward until it butts against the left first and second fingers. This will
cause the bottom card of the upper packet to become injogged. This is the 26th card.

You are now going to perform an original idea of mine that I call the 'Floating
Stock.' Suppose the spectator names number nineteen. Hold the pack for an
overhand shuffle. Form a break at the jogged 26th card with your right thumb.
Shuffle off to the break and now run single cards, counting as you do so.

Start your count on one more then the selected number, in this case 20. Count
to 26 and injog the next card and shuffle off. You now have a jogged card at the
selected number, nineteen. You can stop right here or, if you want a little longer
shuffling sequence, you can continue as follows:

Form a break with your right thumb under the jogged card and shuffle off to the
break. Injog the next card and shuffle off. You now have your nineteen-card stock
under the jogged card near the bottom of the deck. Form a break with your right
thumb under the jogged card again. Shuffle off the large portion of the deck to the
break, injog the next card and shuffle of again. You now have your nineteen-card stock
at the top, marked off with a jogged card.

So, you see, you can float the stock up and down in the deck by using this system
of counts, throws and jogs. If the spectator names a number close to 26, you would
form a break at 26 and either pick up or drop one or two cards to reach the correct
number, forming a new break.

Now if the spectator names a num-

ber higher than 2 6, you would perform
the following actions: Form a break
with your right thumb at 2 6 and shuffle
off to the break. Suppose the number
named is 31. Start running single
cards, starting your count on 27 and
count up to 31. Injog the next card
and shuffle off. Now your 3 1-card
stock is below the jogged card. Form a
break at the jogged card and shuffle off
to the break. Injog the next card and
shuffle off. You now have your 3 1-
card stock at the top, marked off with a jogged card.

If the spectator names a number less than 10 or higher than 45, I ask him to give
me another number to apparently make it more difficult. All of your operations from
the 26 card Faro Check to and including the stock at the top of the pack, marked off
with a jogged card, should be done while the spectator is naming a few things that
Australia is famous for. Usually he will name the Outback, beer, beautiful women,
etc. He will seldom name the boomerang. If he doesn't, then you say, "What about
the boomerang?"
Hold the pack in your left hand in dealer's grip, forming a left little finger break
at the selected number. Take off the top card of the pack face up in your right hand.
(See Photo 2) Notice that the right forefinger is curled around the index corner of the
card. The thumb is on the face, and the second finger is curled on the back, to hold
the card.

Cy Endfield mentions that he throws the card up at a thirty to forty-five degree

angle. This is fine, after quite a bit of practice. In the beginning I recommend a toss
of eighty or even ninety degrees. When you toss the card straight up, it will return
straight down and not waver off to the side as sometimes happens with a flatter toss.

Toss the card up with the right hand and at the same time apply backspin with the
right forefinger. But just before the toss, stop, look at the spectator, and ask, "What
do you call a boomerang that won't come back?" Smile and say, "A stick!"

Now make your toss. While the card is in the air, quickly reach down with your
right hand and lift off all the cards above the break. Reach forward and catch or trap
the spinning card between the halves, slapping the right half onto the left. Pause,
smile, and say: "Evidence of a misspent youth!"

Hand the pack to the spectator and have him count down to the face-up card. The
tossed card will be at the number named.

Cy describes a fancy one-hand catch of the tossed card into the pack. This takes
considerable practice. From my experience I have found that the two-hand catch, as
described here, is all you need to create a wonderful effect.
Under this title I am going to describe my handling of one of the real classics of
magic. I have been performing this effect for as long as I can remember, and over the
years I have trimmed it until it has evolved into a perfect example of conjuring for a
modem audience without actually altering the basic effect.

I have found from experience in performing the "Slap Aces" that the whole impact
of this trick is the slap reproduction of the four Aces. "Bam-bam-bam-bam! There
they are!" So I have strived to concentrate on the slap production, and make the
vanish as concise and compact as possible.

I am going to describe a very effective vanish of the Aces that I have been using
which is very direct and to the point.

Remove the four Aces from the deck and place the deck on the table. Fan the Aces
face up between both hands in C-H-S-D order, the Ace of Clubs on the back and the
Ace of Diamonds on the face of the fan.

Hold the Aces face up in the right hand, pick up the deck face up in the left hand,
insert the Aces as a block into the center of the deck, and square the deck, completely
losing the Aces in the center of it. Square the deck up.

Hold the deck face up in the left hand and start to spread the cards into the right
hand. Continue to spread the cards between both hands until you reach the Aces in
the center of the deck.

Note the card immediately to the right of the four Aces; let's assume that it is the
Three of Clubs, and remember it as a key card for later use. Continue to spread over
the Three of Clubs, the four Aces, and the card under them, which we will assume to
be the Ten of Hearts. (This card need not be remembered.) Catch a left little finger
break under the Ten of Hearts, and then spread a couple more cards just to prove that
the four Aces are actually in the center of the deck. - .
Bl Square up the deck, retaining the little finger break under the Ten of Hearts, and
hold it face up in the left hand. The Ten of Hearts and the four Aces must now be
passed to the back of the deck, but the face card of the deck must remain in place so
that no change in the order of the cards is apparent. As a result, the "Top Card Cover
Pass" must be performed.
In other words, a right thumb break must be obtained under the top card on the
face of the deck. Now, all of the cards below the left little finger break are "passed"
into the thumb break under the face card of the deck.

When the "Top Card Cover Pass" is completed, the face card of the deck has not
changed, but the Ten of Hearts is now on the back of the deck with the four Aces
directly above it and then the Three of Clubs. Give the end of the deck a soft riffle,
and explain that the four Aces have vanished. Say, "I will show you each and every

With the deck still face up, start

spreading cards from the left hand into
the right hand. Slow down near the
center where the Aces were, but they
are now gone. Continue spreading P
until spotting the Three of Clubs; at h
this point, do a block push-off of the t
five cards above the Ten of Hearts, o
hiding the four Aces under that Three 1
of Clubs. Snap the Ten of Hearts in a
flourish and replace it into the center
of the deck. Square up the cards. The
Aces have vanished!

The four Aces are now produced in

exactly the same manner and in the same order as in Nate Leipzig's original handling
as detailed in "Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig." The first three Aces are now
reproduced one at a time by three side steal color changes--slap, slap, slap--theAce of
Clubs, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Spades. For the fourth Ace I refer to the Leipzig book:
"Now we still have the Ace of Diamonds to appear, and I am going to let you bring
it back yourself."

Side-slip the fourth Ace into your right palm and also take the pack, face out, into
the same hand. Ask the spectator to hold out his left hand, palm upwards, and
demonstrate what he is required to do by holding out your own left hand as in Photo

Bring both hands close to the spectator's palm, and take the pack face up with your
left hand. Now with your left fingers under the pack, pull the card from your right
palm onto the face of the pack, but turn the pack face down in the process so that the
new Ace is not seen, and in the same sequence of actions place the pack on the
spectator's palm.
Tap the face of the deck against the spectator's hand, then slowly turn the pack
to bring the face to the audience and the Ace of Diamonds will be seen to have
returned. The change from the Ace of Spades to the Ace of Diamonds is most effective
as there is a great contrast between these two cards.

This is a very direct and fast paced version cf the "Slap Aces." I want to add one
other little tip on the side steal, especially as it applies to this trick or wherever the
Side Steal is used to affect a color change.

The deck is held face up in the left hand in a mechanic's grip. The right hand starts
to come over the top of the deck palm down. The instant that the right hand shields
the right side of the deck, the left middle and ring fingers curl under the deck. By the
time the right thumb and fingers are touching the ends of the deck, the left fingers
should be sliding the bottom card to the right and into the right palm.

The right hand can immediately start moving back up with the palmed card. It
never really grasps the deck; the fingers just barely touch the face card and then move
back up ready for the slap change. This shaves a very valuable second or so off the
steal, and, as a result, the change is so startlingly fast that it is inconceivable that any
kind of an action could have taken place.

Michael and Roger Klause

This is quite a fooler but does require some skill in performing it. The deck could
be pre-set, but I am going to describe the approach of setting up the deck right in front
of the audience.

In appearance, the deck is spread between the hands with the faces towards you,
and the four Aces are removed from the deck and dropped face up on the table.
Actually, while the four Aces are being removed from the deck, the four IGngs are
culled to the back of the deck.

This is important. In order to insure that the four IGngs are culled to the back of
the deck, casually look through the cards and spot one of the Aces. Cut the deck,
bringing that Ace to the back of the deck or near the back just be certain that there
is no IGng above it.

Hold the deck with the faces toward you and spread through the cards. Upon
coming to an Ace, drop it face up on the table. When a IGng is spotted, it is culled
under the spread to the back of the deck. Just put your left thumb on the card to the
right of the IGng and your right fingers on the back of the Icing. Pull the card to the
right of the IGng to the left and pull the IGng to the right with the right fingers until
it is free of the deck and resting on the right fingers under the spread of cards. Do this
with each IGng until you have a packet of four IGngs resting on your right fingers.
Square up the deck and the IGngs will go to the top. At the completion of one run
through the deck, the four Aces will be face up on the table and the four Icings will
be on the back of the deck.

Of course, the patter during the above culling action is along the lines that the four
Aces are required for the next trick. When the four Aces are on the table, square up
the deck, give it a casual Overhand Shuffle, running the first four cards, one at a time,
and then shuffling off. This brings the four IGngs to the face of the deck.

The deck is now set aside. Perfom some other Ace effect that requires only the
four Aces. I usually perform "Twisting the Aces" or "Dr. Daley's Last Trick," which
are popular these days. Sometimes I deal off twelve cards from the top of the deck
and perform the "Slow Motion Aces." It does not matter what trick is performed as
long as the position of the four IGngs on the face of the deck is not disclosed or
After performing one or two effects with the Aces, retake the deck, face down in
the left hand dealing position. With the right hand, scoop up the four face-up Aces
from the table and note which Ace is on the face of the packet. Let's assume that the
Ace of Hearts is on the face of the Ace packet.

Turn the Aces face down and insert them as a block near the center of the face-
down deck. Square up the deck, and
then dribble th; cards onto the table to
emphasize, without actually saying so,
that there is no control over the Aces.

Pickup the deck from the table and

get ready to give it a Faro shuffle. Cut
near the center of the deck and thumb
off cards from your right thumb look-
ing for the Aces. (See Photo 1) When
the Aces are spotted (and this should
be automatic if the Aces were placed at
the center of the deck) cut the deck so
that the remembered Ace, the Ace of
Hearts in this case, is the face card of
the upper half of the deck.

Split the deck for the Faro Shuffle so that the four Icings are on the bottom of the
bottom half of the deck and the four Aces are the bottom cards of the top half. In
giving the deck the Faro Shuffle, do so carefully so as to avoid exposing the Aces and
IGngs on the faces of the two packets.

In performing the Faro Shuffle, the deck is given an "Out Faro" from the bottom
of the deck up. As a result, after the Faro Shuffle, the IGngs and Aces will alternate
with a I(ing on the face of the deck with the Ace of Hearts directly above it, etc. The
only reason for this Faro Shuffle is to alternate the IGngs and the Aces, so only that
part of the shuffle has to be perfect.

At the conclusion of the Faro Shuffle, the deck can also be given a Riffle Shuffle
above the eight card stock on the face of the deck. Sometimes I do and other times
I don't, just depending upon the flow of the performance.

At this point a block of at least eight cards is stolen from the face of the deck into
a Bottom Palm in the left hand so that the rest of the cards can be handed out for
spectator shuffling. I use the "Erdnase" method for the bottom palm on p. 86, "First
Method," in "The Expert at the Card Table."
I know what you are thinking, "How can you hand out a deck minus eight or ten
cards without it being noticed?" This is absolutely true if one spectator were to handle
the entire deck, but this is not the case here. Thumb off eight or ten cards from the
face of the deck (just be certain to get all of the IGngs and Aces) and work them into
a Bottom Palm. Now, cut off half of the remaining cards, give them to one of the
spectators, and tell him, "Please shuffle these cards." The remaining cards above the
palmed ones are handed to a second spectator while saying, "And you may shuffle
these." Do not mention "half the d e c k just "these cards." You don't want to give
them any ideas that the packets of cards seem thin.

After the two spectators have shuffled their portions of the deck, each is to slide
two of the cards from their respective packets out of their packet, face down onto the
table. They are to do this very carefully so that no one can see the faces of the four
cards. Take back the remaining cards from the spectator on the left and restore the
palmed stock to the face of this packet. Now take back the cards from the other
spectator and place them on top of the cards in the left hand.

Turn to the person on the right and ask him to turn over one of the two face down
cards in front of him. As he is turning the card face up, all attention will be on it. This
provides excellent misdirection to Side Steal the bottom card of the deck to the top.

Let's assume that the card he turns over is a Five spot. Explain that five cards are
going to be counted off the deck onto the table. Very carefully, deal the top four cards
onto the table into a small packet. On the count of 'five,' bottom deal the Ace face
down on top of the tabled packet. Tell the spectator to turn over his other card. As
he does so, get ready for another bottom deal. Push over both the top and bottom
cards, The instant that his is turning over, start dealing by taking the bottom as the
first card and deal it face down onto the table, starting a second packet.

By starting the deal as he is turning the card over, the f i s t bottom deal will be done
before he is looking at the cards. If the card is a Three spot, count one. Deal the top
card on top of the second Icing on the count of 'two.' Again bottom deal the second
Ace on top of the second packet.

The same procedure is used to count two more packets onto the table, using the
two cards pushed aside by the other spectator. If, for example, the first card he turns
over is a Ten, the first and the tenth cards are dealt from the bottom of the deck while
the eight cards dealt between them come from the top of the deck. Repeat with the
fourth card that the spectator set aside.

Now the remainder of the deck can be placed aside, and there are only the four
packets on the table in front of you. The top card of each packet is an Ace and the
bottom card of each is a Icing.
The patter line to complete the effect is as follows: "We have four packets of cards
with a random number of cards in each, governed by the four cards that you selected.
Isn't it funny that you chose a Five and a Three, and you chose a Ten and a Six.."

Turn over the top card of each packet and show the four Aces. Continue, "...But
what about this!" Now turn over the four packets to reveal the IGngs on the face of

One more thought. If the spectator turns over a picture card as his indicator card,
you can count a Jack as eleven, a Queen as twelve and a IGng as thirteen, or count all
picture cards as ten.

Ben Ducobu and Michael

The card effect commonly known as the "Chicago Opener7'has been making the
rounds during the past few years. Practically every card man has a version in his
repertoire. What I offer here is a new presentation and a very direct method.

Begin with a red backed card face down on the bottom of a blue deck and have the
matching blue card directly above it. Let's say that the two cards are the Four of
Diamonds. You can now indulge in various false shuffles of a table riffle variety or a
Hindu shuffle by pulling out a block of cards from the center and Hindu shuffling
them back on top.

I further delay the two card set up by performing one or two effects that do not
require the bottom quarter of the deck. I usually perform Dai Vernon's excellent
"Follow the Leader" from his small book "Select Secrets." This uses ten random red
and ten random black cards which I take from the top of the deck. I set the balance
of the deck aside and perform the effect with these twenty cards. At the conclusion
of "Follow the Leader" I shuffle the twenty cards together and then deal ten of the
cards back on top of the deck, saying that perhaps I am using too many cards. I now
perform an effect of Alex Elmsley's called "Minor Triumph" with the remaining ten
cards. This can be found on page 256 of his wonderful book "The Collected Works
of Alex Elmsley Volume 1."

At the conclusion of "Minor Triumph" I place these ten cards back on top of the
deck and give the pack one or two table riffle shuffles without disturbing the bottom
two cards. Now I go into the presentation of 'Instant Replay':

"I used to watch a lot of television back in the late fifties, particularly sporting
events. I recall when the Instant Replay camera was introduced to enhance the
viewing of these sporting events. I found the concept so interesting that I have
developed a method of demonstrating Instant Replay with a pack of cards."

Spread the pack between your hands, keeping the bottom few cards squared so as
not to flash the red backed card. Have a spectator touch a card near the center. Place
your left thumb on the back of the selected card and move the touched card and all
those below it forward for half the length of the selected card. Now move the cards
below the selection back down even with the rest of the pack, thus outjogging the
selected card.

Now break the pack at the selection. Hold the selection against the bottom of the
right-hand spread with your right forefinger at the lower-right corner of the selection.
Come forward with the left-hand sec-
tion of the pack and place your left
thumb on the back of the selection at
the outer left hand comer. Flex the
corner once, with your left thumb.
(See Photo 1)

Now place your left thumb on the

face of the selection and your left
fingers on the back of it, and turn the
card face up, revolving it forward, away
from you. (See Photo 2) Regrasp the
face up selectionwith the right forefin-
- from below, at the lower right
comer. Say, "You have selected ;he
Jack of Clubs," or whatever the card
happens to be.

Now flip the selection over face

down, sideways, on top of the left
hand packet and give this left hand
packet a one-hand "Charlier Cut" while
holding the balance of the cards in the
right hand. This places the red backed
card and its blue mate right above the
selection. Shove some of the right
hand cards below the left hand block
and some above it, thus placing the
selection near the center of the deck.

Riffle the front end of the pack with your right fingers for effect, and say: "There
should be one red backed card in the pack." Spread through the pack until you come
to the red backed card. Place all the cards above it into a neat pile on the table. While
you are doing this, get setwith a top two-card breakwith your left little finger. Perform
a double turnover and the red backed card will show as a match to the selection.

Turn the 'double' face down and toss the "red backed" card face down onto the
table. Place the cards from your left hand onto the cards that are on the table and then
pick up the deck. Say, "You touched the only card that matched the odd backed card
in the deck! Now for the Instant Replay!" Spread the pack between your hands and
have another one touched. The blue backed match of the red backed card is now on
the bottom of the deck.
When a card is touched, outjog it as you did before, holding the selection against
the spread with the right forefinger at the lower right corner of the card. What you
are going to do now, the flexing of the corner and the turning face up of the card, will
appear the same as before, but actually a form of Marlo's "Bottop Change" will be
performed. For a complete description of the original Bottop Change, I refer you to
Marlo's excellent book "The Cardician," p. 33.

The variation that I use here I believe is also ~ d ~ a r l o 'and

s , was shown to me by
that excellent cardman, Bill Malone.

Bring your left hand forward with the lower half of the pack and flex the outer left-
hand corner of the touched card. This is the same as before but you are going to
exchange the bottom card of the pack, the blue backed Four of Diamonds, for the out-
jogged touched card.

Loosen the bottom card by buckling it back and to the right with your left second
finger, as if to perform a bottom deal. Take the bottom card with your right second
finger against the bottom of the right-hand half of the deck and at the same time pull
the outjogged touched card flush onto the top of the left hand half of the deck. The
action cannot be seen. It looks as if you just flexed the corner of the touched card.

Now turn the outjogged card, the Four of Diamonds, face up, end for end as before.
Tip the card over sideways onto the left hand half of the deck. Now place the right
hand half of the deck onto the left hand half, burying the Four of Diamonds in the

Pause, then start spreading the cards between your hands saying: "Since this is
'Instant Replay,' we should find a red-backed Four of Diamonds in the pack." Spread
through all the cards and then spread through them again saying: "That's funny, there
must be a red-backed Four of Diamonds someplace!" Now stop and look at the red-
backed card on the table. Smile and wait. The spectator will turn over the card on
the table and to his surprise will find the red backed Four of Diamonds.

I think you will find, upon performing this, that it is a very direct method for this
classic effect. It is one of my favorites!
This Poker Deal is one that I have
successfully used for many years to
impress someone special. Upon first
reading, it may not seem like much to
an advanced cardman, but the placing
of the cards in the spectator's hands to
do the dealing and his calling the win-
ning hand is what makes the effect
worth doing.

I remember three or four years ago,

I<ennyRogers came into Lilly Langtry's
for dinner, and it was my pleasure to
entertain him with a selection of card
effects. I included this Poker Deal.
When I finished my show, ICenny said:
"Mike, I am having a party at my home
in California next month and I would
like you to perform some of your card
magic, but you must perform that
Poker Deal. My friends will love it!"

To begin:

Have a Royal Flush in Spades on

top of the deck. I suggest that you do
n i t have them in order from Ten to
Ace. That would make the revelation
a little too 'pat.' Besides, if you are
going to "cull" the Royal Flush to the
top during other effects, it is easier to
"cull" them as you come to them,
rather than trying to put them in or-

You are now going to palm the top

five Royal Flush cards as you pass the
pack out to be shuffled. The multiple
top palm that I use is that method
described in "The Expert at the Card
Table" by S. W. Erdnase, pages 83,84
and 85. It is called "Top Palm. First

I feel that 90% of those persons

who buy this book will also have
Erdnase in their possession. The other
10% should buy it as soon as possible.
For a photo look at the sleight, see
Photos 1, 2 and 3. The 'palm' is
performed as you say: "Are there any
Poker players at the table?" Whether
they say yes or no is not really impor-
t a n t . The question gives you
misdirection to make the palm.
h If there is a Poker player at the
o table, extend your left hand, which is
holding the deck, to the spectator and
ask him to cut off 112 of the deck and
5 shuffle it. Hand the remaining 112 of
the deck to another spectator. As you
extend your left hand, bring your right
hand back to the edge of the table.
(See Photo 4) Rest your hand in this
position while the deck is being
shuffled. This position will effectively
conceal the palmed cards.

Also, by letting two spectators each

shuffle 112 of the deck the missing five
cards will not be noticed. When the
t spectators finish shuffling, extend your
left hand to retrieve the deck. Bring
6 both hands together to square up the
deck. Replace the palmed cards on top
of the deck as you tap the end of the
deck on the table. (See Photos 5 and

As you perform this action, say to

the spectators: "Do you mind if I give the (decka little shuffle? Just to keep you honest.
Not that I don't trust you!" These remarks will give you added misdirection to replace
the five palmed cards.

You are now going to perform a Faro Slough Off that I saw Eddie Fechter perform
around 1961. Later, Dr. James Nuzzo
published his version in the "New
Tops" magazine.

Hold the pack in Faro Shuffle posi-

tion. With your right hand, cut off
about 114 of the deck and Faro it into
the remaining 314 of the pack. (See
Photo 7) Push the cards in until they
bind. Apply pressure to the back of the
small right-hand section of cards with
your right forefinger and let the top
unshuffled cards of the left-hand packet
slide off into your left hand. (See
Photo 8)

Place the Faroed sections of the

deck on top of the packet in your left
hand and push the packets flush, thus
squaring up the deck. The Royal Flush
is now alternated every other card
starting with the top card of the deck.
Now perform an overhand shuffle as
follows: Undercut 112 of the deck, run
one card, injog the next card and shuffle
off. Form a break at the injogged card
with your right thumb and shuffle off
to the break. Throw the remaining
portion on top. What this shuffle
hoes, as well as further mixing the cards, is add one card on-top of your stack. Now
your stack is alternated every other card starting with the second card.

Now hold the cards in Faro Shuffle position again. This time cut off a little less
than 112 of the deck with your right hand and perform the very same "Faro Slough
Off" that you did a moment ago. At the completion of this special shuffle, your Royal
Flush is set to fall to the third hand in a four handed game of Poker.

While you are holding the cards ask a spectator to name one of the four hands in
a game of Poker. If he names the third hand, and he usually will most of the time,
you do nothing; you are already set. If he names the fourth hand, either side-steal the
bottom card to the top or double cut one card from the bottom of the pack to the top.
If he names the second hand, double cut one card from the top to the bottom or slip-
cut one card from the top to the center. If he names the first hand, double cut two
cards from the top of pack to the bottom. As you cut the cards say: "We always follow
a shuffle with a cut!" Wink at the spectator as you say this, and smile.

Now say, "If I deal the cards, you may accuse me.of cheating so I will let you deal."
Have the spectator take the pack and let him deal four hands of Poker, five cards to
a hand, face down. Take out your wallet and drop it on the chosen hand saying: "I'll
bet on this hand!"

Turn the other three hands face up, one at a time, and make any appropriate
remarks regarding the strength or weakness of the hands. Sometimes a strong hand
will show up and you will get credit for causing it to happen. Now pick up your wallet
off the chosen hand and let the spectator turn the cards face up, one at a time, to reveal
the Royal Flush. Finish by saying, "Boy, I'd hate to play cards with you!"

Having fun at the Golden Nugget

The following routine is a very advanced version of a simple trick that many
laymen performed when they were children. Often when laymen want to show you
a ;rick, they either perform the "Twenty-one Card Trick" or this one.

The simple "School Boy Trick" is usually performed as follows: the performer
catches a glimpse of and remembers the bottom card of the deck. Let's say that the
card is the Five of Spades. The deck is now ribbon spread face down across the table.
The layman says, "I will take out the Five of Spades!"

He names the bottom card of the deck. He nowpulls out any card from the spread.
He glimpses the card without showing it to anyone else. Let's say the card is the Four
of Clubs. After glimpsing the card he sets it face down on the table in front of himself.
He now says, "Next I will find the Four of Clubs!" He names the card on the table
that he just glimpsed.

The layman now pulls another random card out from the spread. He glimpses this
card and puts it face down on the table on top of the first card. Let's say that this card
is the Ace of Hearts. The layman now says: "I will find one more card, this time the
Ace of Hearts! "

He now pulls out the bottom card of the deck, peeks at it, to conform with the
previous card handling, and places it face down on top of the two other cards. He
names the three cards once again: "The Five of Spades, the Four of Clubs and the Ace
of Hearts!" The layman now picks up the three cards and tosses them face up on the
table, so they separate.

This is the old one ahead principle in its simplest form. Now try it this way.

Riffle Shuffle the deck once, letting the last two cards on the left side fall last on
top. Glimpse and remember them as they fall. Remember the top card first and the
second card from the top, second. Now give the deck a false cut to dispel any notion
that you may have glimpsed a card.

The false cut I usually perform at this point is S. W. Erdnase's First Fancy Blind
Cut on pp. 44 and 45 of "Expert at the Card Table." But any convincing false cut
will do. Now pick up the deck, turning it face up in your left hand, and say, "Let's
bury a couple of the bottom cards!"

Take off the two face cards from the deck with your right hand, and spread the
cards between your right thumb and
fingers. Insert them face up into two
widely separated sections of the face
up deck. (See Photos 1 and 2) Now
turn the pack face down and say: "Let's
bury a couple of the top cards!"

Take off the top two glimpsed cards

between your right thumb and fingers.
Let's say that the top card is the Ten of
Hearts and the second card is the Ace
of Clubs. Spread the two cards be-
tween your right thumb and fingers
and insert the Ace of Clubs about one-
third from the top and insert the Ten
of Hearts about one-third from the
bottom of the pack. (See Photos 3 and

Square the pack, with the two

glimpsed cards protruding about one-
third their length from the front of the
pack. Now, holding the pack at the
tips of the left fingers and thumb,
forefinger curled underneath the pack,
the right fingers and thumb from above
push the two cards flush with the pack.
kctually the two cards are pushed in at
an angle so that they about a
sixteenth of an inch (less than the
width of the margin) at the inner right
corner of the pack. (See Photo 5)

Hold the cards from above with the

right hand and tum the pack a little to
the left. Bring it to the left side of the
table top. Move the right first finger
just around the outer comer to the side
of the pack as you spread the cards in
an arc, from left to right, across the
The two cards originally glimpsed
will be jogged in the spread. (See
Photo 6-Arrowsadded for clarity) This
"Spread Location" is an idea of Dai
Vernon's, and can be found, with an
application for one card, in his book
"Ultimate Card Secrets," on pp. 129,
130 and 131. You now say, "Let's see
if I can find the Ten of Hearts!"

With your right forefingertip, slide

the Ten of Hearts from the spread
towards you. This is the jogged card
closest to the bottom of t h e spread.
Cover the card with your right hand
and turn your hand up to look at the
card. (See Photo 7) This innocent
handling conforms with a switch that
you are going to make later.

Leave the card face down below

the spread for the time being. Now
you say: "Now let's see if I can find the
Ace of Clubs!" Pull the Ace of Clubs
from the spread towards you. This is
the jogged card closest to the top of the
spread: Use the same covering action
to look at the Ace of Clubs. Name both cards again and slowly turn the two cards face
up to show that you are correct.

Sweep all the cards together and

square the pack. Tap the edge of the
pack on the table to square it, glimps-
ing the new top card. (See Photo 8)
An alternative method would be to
glimpse the top card during a riffle
shuffle as you did at the beginning of
the effect. In either method, after you
have gained knowledge of the top card,
perform a couple of false shuffles and
cuts to dispel suspicion.
Let's say that the top card is the Six
of Spades. Ribbon spread the pack
from left to right across the table. You
will now perform Marlo7s "Ribbon
Spread Palm" from "The Tabled Palm"
pp. 11 and 12. Place your hands on the
spread of cards to adjust them as in
Photo 9.

Move your right hand to the right

end of the spread and cover the top
card. Your right little finger contacts
the top card at the upper right corner.
Draw both of your hands back to the
edge of the table, sliding the top card
(in this case the Six of Spades) along
under your right palm.

Your right hand is not lifted during

the steal, but slides along the table top.
When your hands are in position as in
Photo 10, you will find that the card
will automatically be classic palmed in
the right hand. Ask the spectator to
push out the "Six of Spades" from the
spread. He, of course, pushes out any
card toward you. ~ h : l l ehe is doing
this, lower your right hand below the table top for a moment and position the classic
palmed card to a gambler's palm position. (See Photo 11)

You are now going to perform a

one-handed hole card switch that I
developed years ago. With your left
fingers, position the pushed out "X"
card in a horizontal position in front of
you. Bring your right hand, with the
palmed Six of Spades towards the
tabled "X" card and release the palmed
Six from your right thumb, keeping it
clipped at the outer index corner be-
tween your third and fourth fingers.
(See Photo 12)
Slide the Six of Spades under the
"X" card and line,them up with your
right thumb and forefinger. (See Pho-
tos 13and 14) With your right thumb,
lift the upper "X" card into your right
palm to take the place of the Six of

Glimpse and remember this new

card. Let's say it is the Two of Dia-
monds. Leave the switched in Six on
the table in front of you and move
both hands to the table edge in rest
position. (See Photo 15) Now ask the
spectator to push out the "Two of
Diamonds ,"or whatever card is now in
your right palm. He pushes any card
toward you.

Now perform the same switch as

you did a moment ago. Switch out the
new "X" card and switch in the Two of
Diamonds in the act of looking at the
card. Now bring your right hand, with
the palmed "X" card, to the right end
of the spread and your left hand to the
left end of the spread, and sweep the
deck together, Lading the
palmedcard on top OF the deck. (See
Photo 16)

Repeat the names of the two selec-

tions--"Six of Spades" and "Two of Dia-
monds." Slowly turn the two cards
over to show that they are correct!
The next two items I usually reserve for entertaining children. The first one is a
stand-up effect and the second one is performed while seated at a table. Both effects,
of course, can be performed for adults, but I have so many routines for adults already.
I reserve these for children.


This effect costs you 504: each time you perform it. I feel it is worth it. You will
have to decide for yourself. Fifty cents today is worth what a quarter was when I was
a child.

Start with two half dollars finger palmed in the right hand. The coins are held at
the base of the two middle fingers. By curling your fingers over the edge of the coins,
you can raise your hand to the specta-
tor and show an empty palm. (See
Photo 1) The top coin of the two, the
one farthest from the palm, is a hook
coin, sometimes called a "Hoo Coin".

With your coins in position, stand

facing the spectator. Make sure that
no one is behind him. Look the child
in the eye, smile, and say the following
remarks: "Did you wash behind your
ears today? If you did, you might have
found this!"

Reach up with your right hand to

the child's left ear. If he glances at your right palm, he will see nothing but an empty
hand. When your hand is out of his sight, push the hook coin forward with your right
thumb and attach it to his shirt at the top of his left shoulder. Immediately push the
regular half to your fingertips and touch it to his left ear. Bring the half dollar forward
and take it with your left hand.

Say: "Maybe there is another one!" Now with an empty right hand, reach up to
his shoulder and retrieve the hook coin. Touch it to his ear again and bring it forward.
Hold the hook coin at your right fingertips, hook away from the fingers and say: "We
don't need this one!" Drop your right hand to your side, hooking the coin to your right
pants leg. Immediately make a tossing motion with your right hand. Show the hand
empty. The coin has vanished!

Take the regular half dollar from the left hand and position it in classic palm
position in your right hand. You are now going to make a pass with the coin. I refer
the reader to J. B. Bobo's book, "The New Modem Coin Magic." Check the "Simple
Vanish" on p. 23.

For those who do not have the text handy, study Photo 2. The right hand turns
inward and over and apparently drops
the coin into the waiting left hand, but
actually the coin is retained in the right
hand, palmed, as the left hand closes.
(See Photo 3 )

Extend your closed left hand to-

ward the child and say: "Iceep this one
for luck!" Open your left hand and
showthat the coin hasvanished. Pause-
-then extend your right hand to shake
his right hand. Say, "Thanks for
helping me!" As you shake his hand,
drop the palmed coin into his hand.

The look of surprise on his face will

be very gratifying. So much happens
at once: Two coins appear, then two
coins disappear, then one coin reap-
pears very unexpectedly. At the proper
moment drop your hand to your side
and retrieve the hook coin.

The hand-shaking business and

dropping the coin is an idea of Jack
This is my handling of R. C. Buff's
"Paper Napkin Vanish," which ap-
pears in J. G. Thompson, Jr.'s book
"My Best," on pages 157, 158. This is
a fine impromptu stunt for children
and adults.

While seated at a table, open a

cocktail napkin and hold it as in Photo
1. Now run your right hand down over
its length several times, stroking it as
you would a silk handkerchief. Now
make the following remarks: "It's
wonderful the modem kitchen appli-
ances we have these days to make our
homes more comfortable. We have
microwave ovens, electric can open-
ers, but there is a kitchen appliance
that not everyone has in their home.
Do you know what that is? A trash
compactor! I carry my own trash
compactor with me."

As you are reciting these words,

grip tightly with your left thumb and
forefinger, at the same time closing
middle, third and little fingers into
your palm. Push forward with the
thumb and forefinger. This action will
tear the napkin at the thumb and
forefinger as in Photo 2.

Now, with the right hand, start at

the bottom and roll up the napkin in a
ball toward the left hand. Crumble the
napkin into a tight little ball in the left
hand and open the left fingers to show.
(See Photo 3) Notice that your left
thumb hides the break in the napkin.
Now palm the ball in the right hand as you close your left fingers into a cupped
fist, with the little piece still extending at the top of your left thumb and forefinger.
(See Photo 4) Bring your right hand to the edge of the table and lap the large ball.
Now roll the tiny piece in your left hand into a tiny pellet and work it down into the
palm of your left hand. Hold your open right hand over your left and slowly open your
left hand wide to show the "compacted
napkin." (See Photo 5)

Pick up the pellet with your right

first two fingers and thumb to show it
around. Now pretend to place the
pellet back into your left. Bring your
right hand to the table edge and lap the
pellet as you extend your left hand
over the center of the table. Bring your
hands together, one above the other
and 'pour' the invisible pellet from
hand to hand. Slowly open both hands
as you continue the 'pouring' process.
Show the napkin completely vanished
as you say, "I would be hakdy to have
around the house. I'd eat you out of
house and home and clean up my own

I give Jack Chanin credit for this,

(as well as the prior effect,) even
though the trash compactor idea and
presentation and handling are mine. I
saw Jackperform the R. C. Buff version
back in the early sixties.
The following is my method of performing Harry Blackstone's favorite card trick.
Harry used a special deck. Larry Jennings' impromptu method is very well explained
in his wonderful book "The Cardwright," pp. 1 through 4.

While taking a momentary break from performing your card mysteries, and
holding the deck in your hands, per-
form thve "Turn ~ r o u i ~d l i m ~ s espot-
ting the top and bottom cards.

The glimpse is performed as fol-

lows: The deck is held in dealing
position in your left hand. The right
hand holds the deck from above, first
finger curled on top and second, third
and fourth fingers at front end and
right thumb at rear of pack. Left
thumb pushes top card of pack to the
right about one-half an inch. This is
covered by the right hand from above.
(See photo 1) -

The right hand rotates the pack

clockwise and the left fingers regrasp
the pack. Glimpse the top and bottom
cards as the left thumb pushes the top
card flush with the pack. (See Photo
2) You want to get two fairly high
cards, but a high card and a low card
will do as well. I count the Jack as
eleven, Queen as twelve and ICig as

If, after performing the Turn

Around Glimpse, the top and bottom
cards are too low, simply cut the deck and perform the glimpse again. Let's say that,
after the glimpse, the top and bottom cards are an Eight and a Ten. Added together
they total eighteen. Subtract one from your total and you get seventeen. Remember
this number as your key.
Slowly spread the cards from your
left hand to your right. Count the
cards in goups of two's and three's
until you reach your key number, in
this case seventeen. As I begin the
spread I say, "Notice all the cards are
face down!" This remark enables me
to be deliberate in my spread as I am
counting the cards.

When I reach the seventeenth card,

my right little finger pulls the key card
inward for about 114 of an inch as I
svread the rest of the vack for a selec-

tion. As my right little finger in jogs the

key card, my right thumb pulls the top
two or three cards inward to cover the
jogged card from the top. Have a card
selected from the bottom 213 of the
pack. (See Photo 3)

When the card has been selected,

have the spectator show it to everyone
present. During this time, you per-
form the following: close the spread of
cards into a left hand dealer's grip. The
injogged card will stay in place. Bring
the right hand over the pack, fingers in
front-and right thumb in back. Cut
under the jogged card, and place this
packet of seventeen cards to the bot-
tom of the pack, and regain a break
with your left little finger over this

With your right hand, lift the 213 of

the pack away from your break. With
your left hand move the small packet
of cards under your right hand for
cover, and bridge the packet convexly
at the inner end only, with your left
third and fourth fingers and heel of the
thumb. (See Photo 4)
Immediately cut the bridged packet
back to the top and release all breaks.
Looking at the pack from the rear the
bridged packet should look like Photo
5. Holding the pack in left hand
dealer's grip, take back the selection in
your right hand, keeping the card face
down. With your left thumb run
down the outer left corner of the pack.
When you have passed the bridged
cards, ask the spectator to stop you at
any time.

S t o ~the moment the svectator


tells you to. Insert the face down

selection into the break formed by the
left thumb. (See Photo 6) With your
right hand above the pack, fingers in
front and thumb in back, push the
selection in at an angle so that the right
lower corner of the selection protrudes
from the right inner corner of the pack.

With your left little finger pull

down on the jogged corner, push it
flush and form a break. With your
right hand cut the bridged packet to
the table to the left. This is packet #
1. Cut a second packet of cards up to the break and place them on the table to the
right of the first packet. This is packet # 2. Cut 112 of the remaining cards to the table
to the right of packet # 2. This is packet # 3. Place the remaining packet in your hand
to the table to the right of packet # 3. This is packet # 4. Place # 1 onto # 3 and
# 2 onto # 4. Then place # 1 and # 3 onto # 2 and # 4.

The deck is now assembled with the original top and bottom cards in place and
the selection below the correct amount of bridged cards. Pick up the pack in your
hands and say, "It's quite easy to find the location of your card. All I have to do is
add the values of the top and bottom cards together, and the total will tell us how far
down in the pack your card is!''

Show the top and bottom cards are an Eight and a Ten. Added together they total
eighteen. Set the squared deck on the table and say, "Most people would pick up the
deck and count down to the eighteenth card to see if it were there. I am going to find
it in a more interesting way. I will cut off exactly seventeen cards and the eighteenth
card will be yours!"

With your right hand cut at the bridge and drop the packet into your left hand.
Hold your right hand above your left in a palm up gesture, and say, "Hold out your
hand!" With your right hand above the left for cover, bend the packet concavely,
taking the work out of the packet. (See Photo 7)

Hand the packet to the spectator and let him count the cards. He will count
seventeen cards. Pause and have him turn over the top card of the pack, the eighteenth
card, which will be his selection.

This routine has been a pet of mine for over twenty years.

Michael in Las Vegas

This is one of those impossible location type effects that is fun to perform for other
magicians. I will never forget the look on Tony Georgio's and JerryAndrus' faces when
I did this for them while we were standing at the bar in the Magic Castle in the fall
of 1972. They had no clue. This is not an effect that you will do every night, but if
you pick your spot and perform the effect occasionally, it will serve you well.

Take 13 cards with the same back design and color that you are using and stack
them in order from Ace to IGng. Ace is the top card and IGng is the bottom card. The
packet is in Clubs, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds order. Top card Ace of Clubs, then Two
of Hearts, Three of Spades, Four of Diamonds, Five of Clubs and so forth, all the way
to the Icing of Clubs.

Shove this packet of 13 cards under your belt at the small of your back. You should
be wearing a jacket when you perform this. The effect should be done standing, with
no one behind you.

Have a duplicate set of the 13 cards on top of the deck, in any order. False shuffle
the deck using Jog Overhand Shuffles. The bottom card of the deck is pencil-dotted
on the back in the upper and lower non-index comers. When you false shuffle the
deck, be sure to slip the bottom card back to the bottom after each jog shuffle. Have
a Joker in your right side pocket.

When you are finished shuffling the deck, hand a spectator the top 13 cards. Have
him shuffle them and then look at the faces and remember one of the cards. Because
of the mixture of values and suits, no one will notice that the cards run from Ace to
IGng. When the spectator has spotted a card, have him shuffle the packet again.

Take the face down cards from the spectator and insert them into the middle of
the deck. Hold a break above them as you push them square with the deck. Shift or
double cut the deck at the break, bringing the 13 cards back to the top.

Take the Joker out of your right side pocket. Tell the spectator that you will put
the Joker behind your back and stick it into the deck right next to his card! I realize
rn that I forgot to mention how to keep the key card on the bottom of the pack while
you insert the 13 card block into the center and double cut it to the top.

The method I use is rather complicated and perhaps beyond the ability of the
average card handler. So here is an easy method. Instead of inserting the 13-card
blockinto the center of deck, place it on top and immediately go into a jog, slip shuffle,
just like you did at the beginning of the effect. This keeps the 13 cards on top and
keeps the key card on the bottom. Remember the packet was shuffled by the spectator
twice, so everything should appear fair and convincing.

Put both hands behind your back, the deck in your left hand and the Joker in your
right hand. Thumb off the top 13 cards into your back pocket and pull the 13 card
stack from under your belt onto the top of the deck. Just before pulling the stack from
under your belt, put the Joker face up on top of the deck. Now cut a block of cards
of about 114 of the deck from the bottom to the top. Bring the pack forward. Ask for
the name of the card.

Calculate its position. The Ace of Clubs would be the first card after the pencil
dotted card, the Eight of Diamonds would be eighth card and so forth. Spread the
deck between your hands. When you spot the pencil dotted card, start counting.
When you reach the selected card, run it under the spread and insert it above the Joker
while jogging or stepping up the Joker. Reveal the selected card next to the Joker!

To run the selection under the spread: When you reach the selection, place your
left thumb on the card above the selection and place your right fingers, under the
spread, on the face of the selection. Pull to the left with your left thumb and pull to
the right with your right fingers. This will cause the selection to rest free and loose
on your right fingertips under the spread. Nowwhen you reach the face up Joker, load
the selection above it!
I discovered magic in 1958, after reading John Scarne's autobiography "The
Amazing World of John Scarne." In this book he described how he could cut to the
four Aces in a shuffled deck of cards. Johnny said that he would spot the Aces during
a riffle shuffle and count how many cards fell on each Ace and later cut to that number.

This description fascinated me and I thought to myself, "I would love to see that
performed some day!" Years passed and I moved to Hollywood and the Magic Castle.
This was in the Summer of 1967. John Scarne arrived at the Castle one night, around
1972. I had the pleasure of joining Dai Vernon and Johnny for dinner that evening.

After dinner, out came a pack of cards. Dai asked Johnny if he would cut the Aces
for me. Johnny was obliging, but he performed an entirely different routine from what
I described above. When he was finished, we talked for a while. Then the Professor
said, "Mike, knock out the Aces for Johnny!"

The following routine is the one I performed that evening.

Start with the Aces on the bottom of the pack, in any order. Perform a couple of
table riffle shuffles, retaining the Aces on the bottom. Hold the pack at the right and
left sides with your thumbs and second fingers of both hands, as if to begin a split for
another riffle shuffle. Lift the pack about a 112 inch off the table and push the bottom
card to the right for about 112 an inch. Use your left third finger to push the card,
which is an Ace. The side jogged card will be covered by the right hand.

Undercut one-half of the deck with the right hand and place it on top of the left
hand portion so that the jogged card goes flush with the right edge of the left hand
portion of deck. This will step the top half of the deck to the left. Now cut the top
half back to the bottom. All you have done is transfer the bottom card to the top.

I now perform the first half of Dai Vernon's "Cold Deck Cut," to be found in Dai's
book, Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic," pages 168 and 169. I feel that most everyone
who buys this book will have Dai's book also. It should not be necessary to repeat
what has already been written.
HI If you do not wish to use Dai's "Cold Deck Cut," you can undercut one-half of
the deck with your right hand and slap it on the left hand half, leaving a step at the
inner left comer. Grip the pack again with the left second finger and thumb at the
left side of pack and the right second finger and thumb at the right side of the pack.
Push down on the step with your left thumb, forming a break. Transfer the break to
your right thumb. Lift the pack off the table a couple of inches with your right hand,
maintaining the break with your right thumb. Say: "Watch the center pile!"

Drop one-half of the cards below the break to the table in front of you. Now move
the pack forward a few inches and drop all the cards up to the break. Now move
forward again and drop the rest of the cards. You have made three packets of cards.
The top card of the center packet is an Ace and the other three Aces are on the bottom
of the forward packet.

Turn over the top card of the center packet and place the Ace face up on the table,
off to the side. Assemble the deck again, placing the nearest packet on the center
packet and this combined packet on the furthest packet. The remaining three Aces
are again on the bottom of the pack.

Riffle shuffle the pack again, holding the three Aces on the bottom. Cut off about
two-thirds of the pack to the right, with your right hand. Place them next to the
smaller packet and begin another riffle shuffle. Drop a block from your right thumb,
then drop one Ace from your left thumb, then another block from your right thumb.
Then shuffle the remaining cards evenly. Push the packets together until the cards
bind. Release the Ace from the left thumb and pull the right hand portion diagonally
forward and a little to the right, taking the protruding Ace with it. Say, "One card
got stuck!"

Remove the protruding card and turn it over showing the second Ace. Place this
Ace on the table with the first one. I believe this shuffle sequence is to be credited to
Mr. Carmen D7Amico.Place the forward packet back on top of the near packet so that
the two remaining Aces are back on the bottom.

Grasp the pack with both hands again in riffle shuffle position. Lift the pack
slightly off the table and release one Ace with your left thumb. Form a break over this
Ace with your right thumb. Strip small packets of cards from the top of the pack onto
the table with your left thumb and second finger. Swing the right hand portion of deck
forward and back as each small packet is taken with left hand.

When the left hand has stripped about one-half of the cards to the table and as the
right hand is swinging its packet forward, release the broken Ace with your right
thumb. The forward motion of the packet will cause the Ace to revolve face up and
fly to the table. It seems to appear from nowhere.

After the Ace appears, slap the right hand packet on top of the left hand packet
forming a step. Square up the pack with both hands. Form a break with your left
thumb as you push down on the step, squaring the pack. The step and break are at
the left inner corner of the pack.
With your right second finger and thumb cut all the cards below the break to the
top of the pack. The remaining Ace is back on the bottom. Transfer the bottom Ace
to the top using the same method that you used for the first Ace. You are now going
to use an idea that I believe is credited to Dr. Jacob Daley. I perform it as follows:

With the Ace on top, top cut to the right and perform a riffle shuffle. Hold back
four cards with your left thumb. The Ace is on top of the right hand portion. At the
finish of the shuffle, drop the four held back cards from the left thumb on top of the
right hand Ace.

Square up the pack. The Ace is now the fifth card from the top. Cut the top half
of the pack to the right again. Perform another riffle shuffle. Hold backone card with
your left thumb. Glimpse this card, then let it fall on top of the right hand portion.
The pack is squared again. The Ace is now the sixth card from the top and you know
the top card. This is your key.

Let's suppose the top card is the Eight of Hearts. Cut the top half of the pack to
the right again. Commence another riffle shuffle. Hold back three cards with the left
thumb and hold back one card, your key, with your right thumb. Release the three
cards from the left and then the single card from the right hand. Square up the deck.
The top card of the pack is the Eight of Hearts. Then come seven "X" cards followed
by the Ace.

Perform a tabled slip cut, taking the bottom half of pack and the top card to the
right, separating the deck into two packets. The right hand portion has the Eight of
Hearts on top of it and the left hand packet has the Ace, eight cards down. Ask the
spectator to point to either half. If he points to your right hand half, turn the top card
face up and display the Eight-spot. Say that you will find the Ace eight cards down
in the other half. Pick up the left hand half and count down to the eighth card and
slowly turn it face up to display the Ace.

If he points to the left hand half, pick it up and then reach over and turn the Eight-
spot face up from your right hand half and say: "This Eight tells me that we will find
the Ace, eight cards down in your chosen packet."

The formula is simple. You want to shuffle enough cards between the top key card
and the Ace so that the Ace is the same number of cards down from the top as the key
card, once the key card is removed with the slip cut.

If your key card is lower than a Five, just let it drop on top of the pack. Look for
a new key card during your next shuffle. Just remember the Ace is one card further
down each time you do this. I have been performing this routine for twenty-six years,
and I have never had to set the Ace more than ten cards down. When the Ace is at
tenth position you can use any picture card to act as a 'Ten' for your key card.

I have never had to use this, but if you still can't find a suitable key with the Ace
ten cards down; shuffle one more time and add enough cards to the top to place the
Ace in position to be spelled by its name. Pick up the pack and slowly spell down to
the Ace.

If you put in some time on this routine, the results will repay you generously.
Before presenting "The Cutting Edge," I would like to say a few words about my
friend and close confidant, Roger IUause.

I first became acquainted with Roger's work through his one-man issue of the
"Gen" magazine, years ago. I was still living in New York, and it was to be a number
of years before we would meet in person. I was v s impressed with that issue of the

Roger's "Chinese Boomerang," his "Pulse Detector," and "Coins for Connois-
seurs," among others, showed such brilliant thinking and beautiful handling that I
knew that I must meet this man someday.

The story of that meeting is related in Roger's wonderful book, "Roger IUause: In
Concert. "

In "The Cutting Edge," which follows, Roger speaks about the many fond
memories that we have together, over the years. Indeed, we have had great times, too
numerous to mention.

But the fondest memories for me are the laughs,good times, pranks, andwonderful
secrets shared many times over.

I must also mention Roger's lovely wife, Wanda. She has been so kind to me over
the years. Every letter that Roger has sent me is closed with "Wanda sends her love!"
Then.. .send some "food for thought."

I have the highest respect and admiration for Roger's contributions to the art of
magic. But I also love the man, as a person and trusted friend.

If you haven't met Roger, I hope the opportunity to do so presents itself to you,
so that you can experience this "Star of Magic" and all-around good guy.

With affection and admiration,


Michael Skinner

. -

(A Vernon legacy by Roger Klause)

The following scenario reflects but a few fleeting moments in time. A time when
camaraderie was enjoyed to the maximum.

Fellowship may be even more fulfilling when each participant shares a very deep
love and devotion for their chosen pursuit. An everlasting friendship often yields
treasured memories.

My truly gifted friend Michael Skinner, and I often reminisce and recount with
great pleasure episodes from days of old. Our relationship began over twenty-five
years ago and the saga of this initial encounter lies within the pages of "Roger IUause:
In Concert."

Michael and I vividly remember "The Great Chase," a comedy of errors with a cast
of very famous characters, among whom were Dai Vemon, Charlie Miller, Danny
Dew, Michael, Jeny Winn and myself.

Then there was the infamous "Midnight Movie," a slick piece of work played out
by Michael and me in Hollywood many years ago.

Neither of us will ever forget the "Key-Ring Hoax" or the "Chinese Rice Faux Pas."
Perhaps someday these episodes will taste the printer's ink, but for the present, let us
focus on "The Cutting Edge."

The year was 1991. at he red around the breakfast table sat four long-time
friends, devotees of the art of sleight of hand. Each had been a disciple of the greatly
revered, and acknowledged grandmaster, the Professor, Dai Vemon.

During a brief lull in the conversation, as we each toyed with his own deck of cards
and took long sips of coffee, I placed my neatly squared deck in front of the fellow on
my left and made the following remarks:

"I know that you have made an exhaustive study of the practice of estimation and
are very familiar with the published works of Marlo and Steranko in this area."

With these words, I carefully cut approximately thirty cards from the top of the
deck and placed them neatly beside the lower portion. I then asked, "In your expert
opinion, can you estimate the exact difference in number of the larger portion? In
other words, how many more cards would you guess to be in the greater portion?"

After careful study, my friend replied, "I would say that there are seven or possibly
eight cards more in the larger half."

When I posed the same question to the other two at the table, their answers
confirmed the fact that they were unaware of one of the Professor's closely guarded
observations, a brilliant deduction never before disclosed to the fraternity at large.

You see, each of my esteemed friends and confidantes had estimated the difference
to be an odd number of cards. One had said seven or eight, the others guessed six or
maybe seven.

The Professor's very keen deduction allowed for the fact then when an off-center
cut is given to a deck of any even quantity, the difference in number will always be

With a minimum amount of practice, one can determine the exact number of cards
in each portion following an off-center cut.

If you estimate the difference to be one card, the correct amount is two. It follows
that if you guess the difference to be three, you can be certain the answer is four. If
five, you can count on it being six, and so on.

In order to thoroughly appreciate the Professor's contribution, execute an off-

center cut and begin an in-the-hands Faro Shuffle. After the initial weaving of the
cards, you will be left with an undisturbed block of cards on top. It now becomes mere
child's play to estimate the exact number of cards above the interlaced portion of the

Before squaring the cards, you are in possesion of some very useful information.
You now know exactly how many cards are within each of the three divided portions
of the deck: The cards held by the left hand, those held by the right hand, and the
small block on top.

For example, should you estimate that there are eight cards in the top block, then
simple arithmetic dictates that the remaining portions contain twenty-two cards each.

The possibilities of this wonderful subterfuge are endless. I am quite certain that
if Marlo or Steranko had been aware of this principle, their works would have received
much greater acclaim.

So, on that fine spring morning in Burbank, California, at the home of Larry
Jennings, our host, Larry, Michael Skinner, and Allen Okawa each gained an even
greater respect for the genius of magic's most gifted and benevolent practitioner, the
beloved Professor, Dai Vernon.

Ea How well I remember the great excitement and outburst of commotion following
the disclosure of this principle to my three friends.

However, Larry's gracious wife, B. J., never looked up from the stove as she
prepared breakfast for these four grown men who were acting like small children.
Little did she realize that "The Cutting Edge" had been the cause for all the great
excitement. As for me, I simply chalked up another fond memory.

Roger IUause
July, 1994
This is a small packet "Out Of This World" effect. It has served me well for many

My handling for this was developed after reading Dr. Daley's "Rouge et Noir" on
p. 1146 of issue #287 of the "Phoenix," and William Zavis' routine on p. 1172 issue
#293 and p. 1196 issue #299 of the same magazine.

You must be wearing a sport jacket or suit to perform this. To begin: Have seven
black cards up your left sleeve. Also keep two Jokers in the deck. Address your
audience by asking if there is someone who doesn't play cards. (You want to find
someone who is not used to handling
cards, so that he or she will not notice
that the deck is seven cards h o r t .
Actually it is only five cards short.
This is the reason for keeping two
Jokers in the deck.)

Hand the pack to the spectator and

ask him to give you seven red cards
from the deck. Receive the seven cards
in your right hand. At the same time,
drop your left arm and the seven black
cards will slide into your left hand, face
to palm. When you have the seven red
cards in your right hand, ask the spec-
tator to give you seven black cards.

While he is doing this, you execute the "Palm Change," switching the red for the
black cards which you hold from above in your right hand. (The reds are palmed in
your right hand.) See "The Expert at the Card Table" p. 150. The move is called the
"Double-Palm Change." You have seven blackcards classic palmed in your left hand,
faces to palm. You are also holding seven red cards, face down in your right hand.
Place the right hand cards in your left hand, face down, at the left fingertips. All this
takes place while the spectator is taking out seven black cards from the deck. You are
now ready to execute the "Double-Palm Change" (See Photo 1).

The right hand comes over to the left and palms the seven red cards in the right
hand classic palm position. It also seizes the packet in the left palm by the sides,
carrying it slowly and openly away, and the left hand is seen to be empty. (See Photo
As the right hand palms the upper cards, the left first finger curls up under the
palmed cards, bending them upward and enabling the right hand to seize them and
also effectually taking out the crimp or bend that may have been caused while so
closely palmed.

The only objectionable feature of this change is that the right hand carries the
packet away by the sides, while it may have been noticed that the packet first in view
was seized by the ends. From my experience, though, this has not been a problem.
While all this is taking place, the spec-
tator is busy taking siven black cards
out of the deck.

Receive the seven black cards in

your left hand from the spectator. Hand
the two visible packets of cards to the
spectator and ask him to shuffle them.
Just before you hand the cards to the
spectator, ask him to drop the remain-
der of the deck in your left side pocket.

Now have him name either color.

"Magician's Choice" him into the red
cards for you and the black cards for
him. Have him hand you any seven cards at random. Without looking at them, receive
them in your left hand. Bring right hand over the seven blacks to square them, and
add the palmed reds on top of them; but keep a break between the two packets with
the left fourth finger.

Bottom palm the seven blacks in the left hand as the right hand takes the seven
reds and turns them face up. The spectator checks his cards and he has seven blacks.
The spectator has separated the colors!

Reach into your left side pocket with your left hand. Add the palmed cards to the
deck and take out the deck. Add the seven red and seven black cards to the deck. You
now have a complete pack and are ready for further mysteries.