Here’s another packet trick I picked up from a magic shop’s junk bin. It’s called Liar’s Blackjack by Bob King. It’s sorta an all backs routine, but not really. You have five cards that have backs on both sides, then a few faces appear and one of them changes.
Here’s what it looks like with when the original instructions are followed and my update on the trick:
The big change is that I got rid of the cards with backs on both sides. That’s such a strange object that the routine really glosses over and I think detracts from the routine. Using blank face cards keeps the focus on the effect and presentation. Then a little change in the count as the Kiss Elmsley doesn’t really work with the blank face cards, so I used the Hypnotic Rumba Count.
This isn’t a routine that I would ever do, but I think that getting rid of the cards with backs on both sides is a HUGE improvment!
I had a day off last week and finally made a prototype of my custom props for The (W)hole Thing which is Daryl’s version of an Emerson and West packet trick.
The main differences is that the circle around they hole is a donut, the spots are arranged like an X and the cards are black. The main reason that the cards are black is that I might have a line about a black hole. With the cards in black I’m sacrificing some visual clarity of what’s a hole and what isn’t. I think if I end up not using the black hole line, I’ll switch the colors back to red as it visually pops!
In my close up work I don’t really do any packet tricks, however I love working through them. One thing I like to do is buy packet tricks out of junk bins at magic shops and then try to improve them. In a recent junk packet trick purchase I got Nick Trost’s Kannibal Kards.
First of all, the art is offensive by today’s standards, however this was made in 1981, so over forty years ago when this style of art would have been acceptable. That doesn’t make it right, but socially acceptable at the time.
The effect is that two cards disappear one at a time within a packet of three cards. Then for then ending there is a surprise reveal card.
The problem with the original routine (besides the art) is that the first card physically disappears and the second one doesn’t. Here’s what the original routine and my improvement looks like:
What I did was change the handling so that the second card also physically disappears and then for the reveal, all three remaining cards change to the surprise card, not just one card. I also noticed there’s a little subtlety where you can show show half of the reveal card and it appears to be one of the original cards. This works with the original card set, however it’s not mentioned in the instructions.
I also made a version using the original handling with a slightly different reveal card at the end
It’s taking some time go get through the JP Vallarino book, but I’m still working on it. I finished the card sandwich section last night and there’s one thing that really stuck out to me. I think it was called the “automatic sandwich“, it’s a very hands off way to get the selected card in between the two other cards.
Before you watch the video, while you can’t see the cards, I never touch the pair of cards, the selection or any of the cards and there are no gimmicks.
And here’s how it works:
I feel OK showing this as the routine makes it happen openly, so I’m not giving away anything secret that wouldn’t be shown if I did the trick as written. In the video above I’m blowing on it, in the book Vallarino uses a riffle to create the air force to blow the card.
This would make an interesting bar bet OR as a paper balls over head sort of trick where everyone sees how it works except for the person who selected the card. It’s a fun little bit for a card sandwich routine, I don’t really do any card sandwich routines, but might start just to use this bit!
An idea for a presentation of The (W)hole Thing by Daryl came up in my daily writing a bit ago. I managed to fill out the idea a bit and do some writing. While I was in the Bay Area, I had Joe and Misdirections Magic Shop order me a set of the cards in.
One thing I found interesting was that there’s no mention of Emerson and West in the ad copy for the trick. This is essentially Daryl’s routine for the original trick. I’m guessing this is a Murphy’s Magic copywriting thing, as Daryl was pretty good about crediting things.
Here’s Daryl doing the routine:
For the routine that I want to do, I will need to make some custom cards. For now I’m working out the muscle memory for the routine!
The other day I wrote about working on a variation of Alan Wakeling‘s trick Aces Front. Here’s the rough outline of the sequence of events:
I think the sequence is good, where I think there’s a sense of progression. For the first card, I do touch the deck before it goes into the glass. For the second card, it happens with the deck in the glass the whole time and then the card rise for the final card.
What’s fun is my starting point was something like Aces Front, but my end point is something completely different than Aces Front. I always love it when there are a couple of twists in working on a variation of an existing trick that leads you to something completely new.
Many, many years ago when I was a teenager, I remember a trick if Tarbell that used a wine glass and a deck of cards. The deck was in the wine glass and the card at the front of the deck changed. Then a few years later Lance Burton did it on TV and the version he did was basically Alan Wakeling’s Aces Front.
I’ve liked this idea and for a long time wanted to do a version with three selected cards. The first two appear at the front of the deck and the third one rises out of the top of the pack. I’ve had all the stuff I need to try to figure out the trick, however just lacked time/motivation to start playing with it.
I’m coming up with a lot of challenges for the trick. The main one is that with only a couple of cards, the deck will be in a crazy face up and face down condition for what I’m envisioning. Then it hit me, what if I revealed the a card this way:
This was a situation where playing with the cards ended up coming up with a solution for changing a card inside of a wine glass, and one that I don’t think has really been done before.
Looking into other performer’s cases to see how they set up their gear is always interesting to me. I’m always interested in other magician’s solutions to holding props. In that spirit, here’s a peek into my table top from a recent show:
All the smaller hand held props are in the table top, then the larger props and emergency/alternate tricks are in my prop case:
I also keep a set list taped to the inside of my case.
I’m still going through the JP Vallarino book and I hit this description of a card move. The only part I’m talking about is the paragraph that mentions fig 1 and fig 2 along with those pics:
Figure one doesn’t show the set up that’s mentioned in fig 1. Those aces shouldn’t be visible, as they should be on the bottom of the deck and it doesn’t show the indifferent cards. Figure two should show a pinkie break, not a thumb break.
Things like this make learning from the book difficult. I’m really surprised that no one noticed that there were wrong. If this book was a self published thing I’d expect small errors, but from a big magic company like Vanishing Inc, I’m amazed that got by them.
Now I’ll say something positive about the book. I just started the Ace Assemblies section of the book. The first one is called Ultimate MacDonald’s Aces and is pretty good! It’s very heavily gimmicked, but not really in the tradition sense for the MacDonald’s Aces.
I personally don’t really do ace assemblies, however if I did, I would probably do this one!
I don’t know why, but I’ve been fascinated by the Phoenix Ace move. I don’t know the official name of the move but this is the one where you have a multiple cards held as one and you palm off the stack leaving one card visible. I think it’s really more of a stage more, but I’m trying to come up with uses for it where you’re palming off of the deck.
One I’m playing with uses an outjogged double card that’s in the middle of the deck. Another one is this one below: