Read an Excerpt
SCARNE ON CARD TRICKS
By John Scarne
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1950 John Scarne
All rights reserved.
1. CALLING THE CARDS
Presentation and Effect
A spectator shuffles a pack of playing cards very thoroughly and hands it to the performer, who spreads the deck face down all over the table. He mixes the cards all around, and invites the spectator to help him. Now he explains that he has X-ray vision. He can see through cards—knows what denomination and suit each on© is, even though they are face down and all mixed up. To prove his statement, the performer asks a spectator merely to point to one of the face-down cards on the table, and he will name it. The performer asks another spectator to make a list of the cards he calls, and then, when several cards have been called, the performer will give the cards to the spectator to verify whether they were called correctly. Needless to say, the performer calls every designated card correctly, and never makes a single mistake. Checking the list with the cards proves this.
The spectator shuffles, then hands the deck to the performer. Without being observed, the performer must look at the bottom card of the deck and remember it. He spreads the cards face down all over the table, keeping his eye on the location of the bottom card at all times. If the spectator helps mix the cards, the performer must be especially careful in following the location of the bottom card whose face he is remembering. When the spectator points to the first card, the performer names the card which was on the bottom of the deck. He now picks up the card pointed at, looks at the card as he does so, but does not let the spectators see it. The spectator points to another card, and the performer calls the card which he has just picked up and looked at, which was the first card pointed at.
Example: The bottom card of the deck was the king of spades. When the spectator points to the first card, the performer calls out, "King of spades." The other spectator writes this down. The performer picks up the card pointed at, looking at it as he does, and sees that it is the 3 of diamonds. The spectator points to the second card; the performer calls out, "Three of diamonds." The other spectator writes this down. The performer picks up the card and sees that it is the 6 of spades. The spectator points to the third card, and the performer calls out, "Six of spades." The other spectator writes this down, and the performer picks up the card, looking at it as he does so. The cards the performer picks up are placed one on top of the other, forming a deck. The performer must make sure that he does not allow the spectators to see the cards as he picks them up.
After doing this several times, the performer announces that calling as many cards as he has ought to prove that he has X-ray vision. Then he says that he will pick out one last card himself and call it, just for fun. Here is where the trick comes in. You realize, of course, that the performer has not been calling the card before he picks it up, but has been calling the card he picked up previously and is holding in his hand. To straighten this out, the performer decides to pick the last card. He makes sure to pick the card that was at the bottom of the deck at the start of the trick, whose location on the table he memorized. When he points to his "located" card, he calls out the name of the card he last picked from the table, which was the last card the spectator pointed at. Following our example above, we know that in this case the card at the bottom of the deck, whose location the performer knows, was the king of spades. We also know that "king of spades" was the name the performer called when the spectator pointed to the first card on the table. Therefore, when the performer picks the king of spades from the table he must put the card with the group he has been picking from the table as though it were the first card called. If he has been putting each card picked up on top of the previous card, he must put the king of spades on the bottom. If he has been putting each selected card below the previous card, the king must go on top. This done, he can be sure his group will match the list made by the other spectator.
2. ACES FROM THE POCKET
Presentation and Effect
The performer invites a spectator to shuffle thoroughly and cut the cards. When the pack is handed back to the performer, he places the pack in his coat pocket, and mentions that he is going to attempt to find the four aces while the pack is in his pocket. He puts his hand into his pocket, and after quite a bit of fumbling, produces one of the aces. This is continued until all four aces are produced by the performer.
This trick is merely a bold maneuver on the part of the performer, who has already taken the aces out of the pack and placed them in his pocket. After the deck has been shuffled and cut, it is placed into the pocket alongside the four aces.
To be more convincing, this should be done after another trick. A good one to follow this with would be "Calling the Cards."
3. THE UPSIDE-DOWN DECK
This trick comes from Francis Carlyle, one of the best card men in America.
Presentation and Effect
The performer holds the deck in his hand and requests the spectator to cut the deck at approximately the center of the pack. The performer and the spectator each hold half the deck. The performer selects a card from his half of the deck, and looks at it. He requests the spectator to select a card from his own group, and to look at it also. The performer and spectator exchange selected cards, but do not look at each other's card. The performer now holds the spectator's selected card, the spectator holds the performer's selected card. Each inserts the card he holds face down into his portion of the deck. The spectator is instructed to shuffle the cards he holds.
The performer asks the spectator to hand him about half of the cards he holds. The performer reverses this group, turning them face up, and places them on the bottom of his own group, but leaves about one third of the narrow edge of this group uncovered. Taking the remainder of the spectator's group, the performer reverses them so that they are face up, and places them on top of the groups he holds in his hand, but does not cover them completely. He allows all three groups to be seen; the spectator's face-up cards on the bottom, the performer's face-down cards in the middle, and the spectator's face-up cards on the top. After the cards have been shown, as described above, the performer squares up the deck, and goes into his spiel, as follows:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now going to attempt a remarkable feat that requires considerable manipulative skill. I not only am going to have the entire pack straighten itself out, so that all the cards will be facing the same way (all face down), I am going to go much further. I am going to have the two selected cards reverse themselves in the pack, so that they will be the only cards face up in the deck, whereas the rest of the pack will be face down."
The performer asks the spectator to name the card he selected. Then the performer names his own selected card. The performer then snaps his finger, and says, "Presto" (or waves his hands over the pack, murmuring a few magic words). Spreading the cards from hand to hand, it is found that all the cards are face down with the exception of the two selected cards that are face up. Truly a remarkable finish!
The performer has a card reversed (turned face up) on the bottom of the pack. He has memorized the face of this card. After the spectator cuts the deck, the performer immediately selects a card from his group. Holding the selected card, face down, in his right hand, the performer requests the spectator to select a card from his own group and to note its value. While this is being done, the performer reverses the group of cards held in his left hand, so that the bottom card which he memorized is now on top. By reversing the cards, the performer faces all his cards up, except the top card, which is face down.
The performer and spectator exchange selected cards, but do not look at them. Each inserts the card he holds into the group he holds. The spectator shuffles his group. (This is done so that the spectator may not judge the whereabouts of the card he inserted in his group.)
The performer takes half the group from the spectator, reverses the entire group, and places them face up on the bottom of the group he holds, leaving about one third of the group protruding. Taking the spectator's remaining cards, he reverses them, and places them face up on top of the cards he holds, but allows all three groups to be seen.
The trick is now completed except for the fact that the performer does not call the card he selected, but instead names the memorized card that was placed on the bottom of the pack.
It is suggested that when doing this trick, or any trick where a card or cards are reversed in the deck, you never use a pack of cards with an all-over design on the back. Use a pack with a white border. The reason for this is that it is easy to spot the overturned card in a pack of all-over design.
4. TRAVELING ACES
One of magician Charlie Nagle's favorite tricks.
Presentation and Effect
The performer places four aces in a row, face up on the table. He then deals one card face down on top of each ace, but lets the ace still show. He deals two more rounds of face-down cards on top of each ace until he has dealt three indifferent cards. The aces are turned face down, but are kept in their original position (an ace being the bottom card of each of the four groups). The four piles are placed one on top of the other, and placed on top of the rest of the deck.
The performer deals the top sixteen cards into four groups, dealing one card at a time to each group in poker-dealing fashion. The fourth pile naturally is comprised of the four aces. This pile is marked by turning the bottom ace in the group face up. One of the other three piles is selected by the spectator, and the bottom card of that pile is turned face up.
Now the performer states that wherever he places the face-up ace, the rest of the aces will travel to join it. The performer transfers the face-up ace to the pile selected by the spectator by placing it face down on top of this pile. The face-up indifferent card at the bottom of the spectator's selected pile is transferred to the top of pile where the face-up ace was.
The performer snaps his fingers and says, "Aces travel." Upon turning up the two heaps, the aces are found together in the spectator's pile, and the pile where the aces were thought to be in the first place is found to contain four indifferent cards.
The cards are dealt out, as stated, up to the point when the sixteen cards are redealt off the top of the pack. The first four cards are dealt out to form four separate piles, the fourth card dealt being an ace. The performer deals the fifth card off the deck, holds it in his hand, and remarks (pointing to the fourth card dealt), "That card is an ace."
As a rule, someone will say either, "It is not an ace," or, "It should be an ace." But, regardless of what they say, you do a little cheating at this point by placing the card you are holding in your hand (which was to have been the fifth card dealt) underneath the deck, which you still hold in your other hand. Do this as quickly as possible, then instantly turn up the fourth card on the table, which is the ace, as if to prove that the ace was really there.
Now continue to deal the cards face down, beginning with the first group, one card at a time to each group, until there are four piles comprised of four cards each. Of course, we know that the fourth pile has one ace at the bottom and three indifferent cards on top. Since we put the fifth card on the bottom of the deck, we changed the position of the cards, so that the third pile has an indifferent card at the bottom and the remaining three aces on top. The first and second piles are both comprised of four indifferent cards.
The performer must now force the spectator to select the third pile. This is done as follows: Ask the spectator to point to two piles out of the first three. Should the spectator point to piles one and two, the performer removes these two piles, leaving pile three. Should the spectator point to two piles, one of these being pile three, the performer takes away the pile which was not pointed at. This method is repeated with the remaining two groups, and the third pile is forced on the spectator. Then the bottom card of pile three is turned face up.
The only piles remaining are three and four.
The performer exchanges the upturned ace for the face-up indifferent card in pile three, as explained in "Presentation and Effect." Upon turning the cards in pile three face up, we find that the aces have "traveled."
Seldom will a spectator notice the performer placing the fifth card on the bottom of the deck. His mind is on the ace, and he does not know what you are up to until the effect is completed.
5. DUNNINGER'S MENTAL CARD TRICK
I asked my friend Joseph Dunninger, the famed mentalist, for a trick for this book. He gave me this, undoubtedly one of the most talked of card tricks ever performed. This trick has been sold for as much as $200.
Presentation And Effect
The performer shuffles the pack of cards, or permits a spectator to do so. The performer selects a card from the deck, or has the spectator point to the card he wants the performer to select. This card is taken from the pack and placed in the performer's pocket without anyone's looking at it.
The performer produces a crystal ball wrapped in a handkerchief. Removing the handkerchief, he proceeds to polish the crystal ball with it. He then asks the spectator to look into the crystal ball, and to concentrate. Soon the spectator sees a card appear in the crystal. He is asked to call out the name of the card he sees.
The performer takes the selected card out of his pocket, and it is the one just named by the spectator.
The requirements are a deck of cards, a handkerchief, a small crystal ball, which can be purchased in most novelty stores, and a miniature card about the size of a postage stamp that can also be purchased in most novelty stores.
Paste this miniature card on the crystal ball, then wrap it in the handkerchief. Before the start of the trick, take out of the deck the card that matches the one you have pasted on the crystal ball, and place it in your pocket.
When the trick is being done, it doesn't matter which card is selected, as this card has nothing to do with the trick. The card you need for the trick you have stolen from the pack and placed in your pocket before the start of the trick.
You then produce the crystal ball wrapped in the handkerchief. While pretending to wipe the crystal ball, be sure that you have the miniature card to one side and that it is covered by the handkerchief. Expose about half the top of the crystal ball.
Now you request the spectator to look down into the crystal and tell you if he sees a card there. Naturally, he replies, "No." (If you are holding the crystal as described above, he will look from top to bottom, and cannot see the card because it is on the side.)
Turning the crystal, so that the card is on the bottom, you turn to the spectator and suggest that he concentrate more deeply, that the materialization will then become more apparent. You ask the spectator to look into the crystal again, and he is completely entranced when he sees a card which is magnified many times its size by the crystal. The spectator is asked to name the card he sees.
When he names the card, the performer turns the crystal ball, so that the card goes to one side, and the spectator sees the card vanish.
The performer reaches into his pocket and produces the card which matches the card seen in the crystal, leaving the selected card in the pocket. Of course, the spectator thinks you have produced the card he asked you to select at the beginning. This makes the trick a big success. The spectator never dreams you have produced a card you secretly pocketed before the start of the trick.
Excerpted from SCARNE ON CARD TRICKS by John Scarne. Copyright © 1950 John Scarne. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.