Beginner’s Study 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Beginners’s Study 10/98-12/98

October 1998

Forcing Techniques
(A Primer)
Bobby J. Gallo

When I teach, I study my students very carefully. I do not believe in teaching the same things to everyone. I follow the same line of reasoning that the old secret societies used to adhere to (Masons, Kof C, etc.) and that is to teach only those things the individual student is ready to learn. If I feel the student is just in magic class for innocent fun or mere curiosity, that is fine. But that being the case, that person learns a regimen of tricks that may potentially be found on the back of a cereal box. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, some of this material is actually very good and a person can be very busy learning this magic alone. If the person turns out to be a serious amateur at the very least, I now know that this is a person who will likely keep the secrets of magic to him or herself. They are then rewarded with secrets that I feel are more valuable. Or should I say CONCEPTS!

The concept of FORCING is just such an area of magic that I feel should be relegated only to those who are serious about the art. We magicians often fail to realize that the vast majority of layman have absolutely no idea whatsoever that a magician has the ability to influence them in what appears to be a free choice of objects. This is a very powerful thing indeed! I consider the concept of forcing to be one of, if not THE most guarded secrets of magic from my perspective. Therefore, this lesson may indeed be one of the most important the beginning magician can read and study.

Now that I have that out of my system, let me discuss exactly what forcing is. The I.C.O.M Online Magician’s Glossary defines forcing as: Force/Forcing (card): The ability of a performer to make a spectator unwittingly choose an object secretly selected by the magician. One of the most guarded secrets in magic.

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that, if a magician can expertly force an object, the potential for magical effects are virtually limitless. The basis of what could be 1/3 of all card magic is based on forcing of one way or another. Forcing, should be learned by all serious magicians, and once learned, only used in select tricks where you want the most powerful mystical punch. Do not over use forcing…

Forcing can safely be divided into two main categories that we will now discuss.

  • The Forcing of a Playing Card or Number of Cards.
  • The Forcing of a Random Object.

Magicians have been forcing playing cards since the times predating Robert Houdin. However, the of forcing random objects such as silks, coins, food articles, furniture, blimps and moon rocks, though sometimes practiced in various routines, is the exception rather than the rule. Cards are by enlarge are the favorite object of forcing by magicians.

Since the subject of card forcing is so expansive, I am going to start with some example methods of forcing random objects. For the sake of expediency, We will for the time being, leave out the forcing of furniture, blimps and moon rocks <G>.

Before I get into actual methods, I would like to first say that to try and cover all techniques in this lesson would be next to impossible. I will not list all the different methods in what is essentially a ‘primer’ on forcing. This is just a different animal than than something like my earlier Torn Corner Techniques, I.C.O.M Archives, where I was able to be fairly comprehensive. If one wants the entire gamut of forces, I could do no better than to recommend, 202 Methods of Forcing by Annemann, Max Holden 1933. This book may still be available and if the student is interested, may be procured through I.C.O.M for a nominal fee.

But do you need 202 methods?…the answer is NO. You may need only about three or four your entire magical career. I will now do my best to give you the most popular and widely used forces that should serve you well.

Methods for Forcing Random Objects

1.Fortunately for the I.C.O.M student there is an original method for forcing random objects that is only available right here in the archives entitled The Force Of A Spell by Ronald J. Dayton. I encourage all that are interested in forcing to find it in the archives, learn it and use it. It is a brilliant way to force just about anything.

2.The second is the famous and much over used method called Equivoque’. (see I.C.O.M Magician’s Glossary) This method is also called “Magician’s Choice” or “Process of Elimination”. In this method, the spectator has a seemingly free choice of any object on a table. The reality is that they have no choice at all. The magician uses a psychological ruse to make them feel that it was a free selection. Let me illustrate with the following example. Warning: this may be a bit confusing!

Object: The magician wants to force a banana on the spectator for the old pre-sliced banana trick!

  • Four fruits on the table: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana
  • Spectator is asked to point to two objects. (notice I did not say “choose” two objects)
  • If the spectator point to the Lemon and the Banana, the performer eliminates the other two fruits leaving the banana and the other fruit. However, if the spectator selects say the Lemon and the apple, the performer removes those fruits. In other words, the object is that no matter which fruit the spectator selects, the banana must always stay on the table. since you never specified what it means by the spectator selecting the two objects, they naturally assume that what ever you do is fair and above board.
  • Now that you have two fruit on the table, say the banana and the apple, you do it again, but employ another subtle ploy. Say, “now out of these two, point to another one”. If they point to the apple, eliminate it and say “that leaves us with the banana”. If they point to the banana, say “You have freely selected the banana”.

3. The next is an old time counting force that is ultra simple to use but very effective. This time we will use six fruits: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana…Kiwi…Peach

Object: The Magician wants to Force the Orange. The set-up must be that the Orange is the third object from the left of the performer.

  • The performer states that he will have the spectator select an object on the table. but in order to have a totally random selection, the spectator is asked merely to give the performer a number from one to six.
  • If the spectator says “one” The performer will spell “one” starting from his left, O-N-E. This lands the performers finger on the orange.
  • The same thing happens if the spectator says T-W-O.
  • Three is the best. The performer then merely counts three from his left, landing on the orange.
  • If four is stated, the performer counts from his right (spectators left) landing on the orange.
  • If five is uttered, the magician spells it starting from his right F-I-V-E. Landing on the orange.
  • Finally, if it is six, the magician spells it starting from his left as in one and two. Starting from his left landing on the orange. S-I-X

4. The last method I will mention is this section deals with use of mechanical devises to force. The popular prop that has been exploited by clown magicians who want to do magic, The Change Bag. This is an excellent way to force small objects. Just have all duplicate objects in one half and a variety of different ones in the other half. Show the different ones and an otherwise empty bag. Drop them all in, make the switch and have a spectator reach in without looking and randomly (?) select an object. Since they are really now all the same, you cannot fail.

To force larger objects this way, Blimps or Large Buildings* for example, Just write the names on slips of paper and proceed as described above.

Methods for Forcing Playing Cards

As I said before, there are almost more ways to force things than one can count and that especially holds true with playing cards. That being said, card forcing can also be divided into two main categories.

  • Forces using a gimmicked (trick) deck of cards.
  • Forces using an ordinary everyday deck of cards.

1. It would not be wise to sit here and explain the working of all the different trick decks on the market. Suffice to say that there are many and some are indeed better than others. Among the classics are:

  • The Svengali Deck
  • The Rough and Smooth Deck
  • The Stripper (Shaved) Deck, (this deck is not ordinarily used for forcing but can with great effect)
  • The One-Way Deck (all cards are the same except for the top and bottom cards)
  • 50/50 Deck (half of the deck are all the same, half are different so that they can be shown)
  • Three-Way Force Deck (each third of the deck consists of the same cards. Used to force three different cards on one or more spectators)
  • Yes, there are more! Incidentally, All of these decks can be purchased through I.C.O.M if desired. Check out our online catalog or e-mail us for prices and availabilities.

2. However, the ambitious magician can dispense with trick decks altogether and be equally effective using a plain old ordinary deck. However, I must state that there is NOTHING WRONG with using a trick deck to force. The only caveat is that there may be times when a crude spectator may grab the deck from the magicians hands. In this case the magician is sunk unless he is using a subtlely gaffed deck such as the stripper (shaved) deck.

We will now examine several classic forcing methods using an ordinary, and semi-ordinary deck. The list is as follows.

  • The Classic Force
  • The Hindu Shuffle Force
  • The Countdown Force
  • The Cross-Cut Force
  • The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force
  • The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*

The Classic Force:

This Classic force may have been the original and is a ‘force’ in every sense of the word, for the spectator is quite literally FORCED to take the card the magician has predetermined. It works like this.

  • The card to be forced is noted and controlled to the top via any number of methods. Once there, the deck is cut. At this point the cards are not completely squared but rather, the spot where the force card lies is held with a pinky break (done by inserting the pinky above the force card hidden and unknown to the audience). The magician notes where the card lies and holds the cards out in a fan. When the magician asked the spectator to take a card he guides the center of the deck, where the force card is, smoothly positioned towards the spectators hands. If you pick a good spectator, they will take the card that is nonchalantly guided to them. That is the classic force.

    In my own work, I have found it to be too risky and not 100% sure-fire. But there are those who swear by this force. Problem is, I’ve never met them.

The Hindu Shuffle Force:

This may be the most popular impromptu force of its kind. And what makes it effective is the fact that it is fairly easy to do “if done properly”. I will tell you how to obtain instructions for the classic method and then I will outline my twist that seems to make it a bit better?

The rather short but complete method for using the hindu force can be found complete with photo illustrations in the I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery.

After reading that description, I would like to relate to the student the method that I actually developed “before” I ever learned to do the classic version of the Hindu Shuffle. This method serves me well to this day.

  • Start by having the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Then instead of grabbing off chunks of card stock as in the original method, thumb off single cards instead.
  • Start slowly then gradually gain speed. After the spectator says “stop”, hold up the remainder of the top stock top let them glimpse the force card.

If this seems a bit unclear, please refer to the Sleight-Of Hand Gallery and read the description of the original method first.

The Countdown Force:

I include this force because it is VERY popular among my beginning students due to its ultra simplicity if not its sheer audacity. Actually, I have fooled a great many people myself with this one.

  • Have the force card on top of the deck.
  • Ask the spectator to name any number from one to ten.
  • Assuming the number was five, ask them to do exactly what you are about to do when you hand them the cards. Proceed to count five cards singly into a neat pile as you count. One, Two, Three, Four, Five.
  • After you have finished, take the pile and replace the cards on top of the deck. What you have done is actually reverse the order of the cards so that the force card is now the fifth card from the top of the deck!
  • Give the spectator the cards and ask them to now do what you did, counting down five cards, the number that THEY chose, and look at the fifth card (the original top force card).
  • Reveal the card as desired.

The Cross-Cut Force:

This force can have no higher praise than to state that it is a favorite of Bill Wisch and has been used on television years ago by none other than the legendary Orson Wells!

  • Have the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Tell the audience member to cut the deck anywhere they wish to make two piles.
  • Then to take one pile (the one with the force card) and place it cross-wise onto the other pile.
  • Talk to them for a bit and distract them from what just happened.
  • Then tell them to raise the top pile and peek at the card on the bottom it. (they will assume that this is where they cut the deck and not realize that this was the bottom card, your forced card!

The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force:

The reason that these two are nearly last is because I do not intend to fully explain them here. Rather, I am recommending them for study. You may find both of these forces already expounded upon in the archives and are still available free as of this writing. The Corner Short* can be found explained in a routine called The Perfect Card Trick!? I.C.O.M Archives, as well as on Ultimate Magic Rap Volume #1 Audio Lecture Tape. The Slip Force can be found in a gem called The World’s Quickest Card Trick I.C.O.M Archives.

Also, as a final note on this subject, having the deck prepared with a corner short is what I consider to be a semi-ordinary deck.

The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*:

This force can be found this month in the Advanced Lab, Check it out!

Basic Sample Routine Using The Card Force As A Vehicle

Before the show starts, remove a duplicate card of the one you intend to force and seal it in an envelope. Then hand this envelope from a string on the far end of the stage where the audience can see it the entire time.

  • Now proceed to force the card that matches the duplicate that is inside the envelope.
  • Have the spectator show it around and place it back into the deck.
  • Shuffle the deck and have the spectator do the same.
  • Take the deck back and pretend to look for it, intentionally failing several times.
  • Tell the audience that do to the fact that you could not find the card, the assisting spectator will get a consolation prize.
  • Go to the far end of the stage and openly take the envelope down and proceed to hand it to the assisting spectator.
  • Have THEM open it up and look inside.
  • After they discover their card, have them show it to the audience and take your bows.

So that it! You now have the means by which many professional magicians have made and are making their livings. Please respect our art and cherish what is contained herein….Thank you!

*This will be the subject of yet another magic technique manuscript coming soon

Levitation Effects for Beginner’s
Bobby J. Gallo

This next offering originally appeared as a Virtual Magic Lesson ™ and is transcribed here for the benefit of all I.C.O.M students…BJG

If you are interested in levitation effects.  There are six as of this writing in the “Archives”.

1)Go Into the Archives and look for the following routines: Kid Show Konservatory: The Stiff Handkerchief Re-Done. 9/97, Streamlined Rising Egg. & In the Beginners Study: The Oldest Dog Of Them All. 2/98: 11/97 Cane Suspension under a section entitled “quickies” & An Experiment in Personal Magnetism. 7/98 The Jennifer Dayton Impromptu Bottle Levitation.

If you have any problems finding the material, let me know and I will walk through the process of accessing the forums. But suffice to say, you just have to click on the appropriate forums to get in.

2)The following is a routine created just for you!  I hope you will like it.

Practical Floating Dollar Bill.
Bobby J.Gallo

(This routine is loosely based on one by a magician named Jean Hugard)

One of the most popular floating effects of the last decade undoubtedly is the “Floating Dollar Bill”  Of course, depending on where you live you will be able to use “any” paper currency that is available.

The method used by most magicians calls for “Invisible thread”.  This enables the magician to perform the effect in very close quarters without the thread being seen, as most effects of this type “use” thread as the means of levitation.  Yes, the old saying that its done with strings is generally true!…especially in this case.

Now, I realize that in some countries it may be impossible to get the same thread that is used by most magicians.  That’s OK, the fact of the matter is, Invisible thread is very hard to work with, and not very dependable anyway.

What I recommend is finding the finest possible black or gray silk thread. This will work fine as well as be considerably stronger as far as breakage. An important fact one must consider when doing thread effects.  It is also much easier to work with since, unlike invisible thread “you” can see it. But properly presented, your audience will not.  After all, the famous “Dancing Cane” uses rather “heavy” thread and it still is not seen from a platform.


From a regular playing card or very stiff paper, cut out two very small pieces and cut small slits in them.  Knot both ends of a six to eight foot length of the silk thread and place each knotted ends into the slitted card pieces.  Now, place two small dabs of tacky wax to each knotted end or in the USA we have a form of all purpose non-toxic putty called “Fun Tack” that sticks to most anything and is removed easily.  Perhaps you have something similar in where you live, check your local stationer for something that can be used.

Now hat you have your magic levitation set-up and your currency note,  you are ready to do a beautiful floating effect.

Before your performance, fix one end of the thread set-up to the back of a chair, bring the other end around to the front of the chair but do not affix that end to anything yet. Just put it on the seat of the chair in preparation of doing your final set-up right in front of the spectators eyes! Display your Bill or borrow one (which is always more impressive).

Now lay the bill on the chair next to the free end of the thread.  Move the chair as though you are looking for a good place to put it.  This is done so that you can easily grasp the free end of the thread along with the dollar bill together without the knowledge of the audience.  Now, at this point it is important to be sure that the thread is not running under the chair and is free of all obstructions.

Now make believe you are fixing your hair and in the process, attach the free end of the thread to your collar.  In rehearsal you will find the best way of doing this.  You may want to attach some “Velcro” to this end of the thread which will attach to another piece previously attached to the collar. Or you may wish to put a loop of thread on the free end and loop it around your ear.  Some magicians have even attached the free end of the thread to a cotton ball and stuck that in the ear.  But that would be very visible and we do not advocate sticking things in your ear.  But it is mentioned here to give you an idea of how things like this can be accomplished.   
Of course there is always the easiest method of all.  That is to have the thread hooked to yourself from the beginning and simply perform your show being careful not to let it get in your way.

Now that the thread is running from your collar to the chair, take the bill and place it so that it touches the top of the thread.  In performance, you must make the audience believe that you are merely holding the bill out in empty space. After all, they must not know that there is a thread running in-between you and the chair.  Crumble the bill up around the thread so that the bill wrapped around the thread. The audience thinks you merely crumbled the bill up at arms length.

Rest the crumbled bill on your palm, make some mystic passes over it with your hand.  Use your best acting ability. Now gradually tighten the thread by very slowly moving your body backwards.  The bill will slowly rise out of your palm and into the air where it will remain suspended defying the laws of gravity!

Now you may pass your hands over and around the floating bill.  You may take a large ring or your magic wand and pass it all around to show the absence of strings (?)  Making sure you do not really touch the string.  You will be surprised at how  much you can do this without ever disturbing the floating dollar.

By nodding the head imperceptibly, you can raise and lower the bill, adding music will also be a major addition to the effect that will create a great atmosphere.

Lastly, be sure to do this in dim light with your audience a sufficient distance from you.  Tell them that if they are not at least (?) feet from you, the mystic aura will not materialize and the experiment will not work.

In closing, I feel that I would be remiss if I did not at least point out some classic magic levitation effects and where to obtain them in the event that you do not feel that this lessons effect is for you.

  • The Zombie: The classic levitation effect. The magician floats a silver ball above a foulard. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Miracle Ball: A less expensive version of the Zombie ball. Also Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Dancing Hankerchief: To be the subject of a future I.C.O.M lesson, watch for it!
  • The Spooky Rising Ball: Similar to “Streamlined Rising Egg” found in the archives, however, no palming is involved with this method. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Rising Cards: A Classic of Magic. Impromptu methods to be the subject of future I.C.O.M lessons.
  • The Floating Glass: A gimmicked version of the “Jennifer Dayton Impromptu bottle levitation”. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Floating Light Bulb: The illusion that the legendary Blackstone made famous! Available through I.C.O.M

There are others that we will also cover in the times ahead. In the meantime, I think that you have a lot to work with here.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Bobby J. Gallo 

Note: This Virtual Lesson is for I.C.O.M members only, and may be used for future I.C.O.M forums. Copyright 1998 International Conservatory Of Magic

November 1998

Bobby J. Gallo

This trick is coming to you fresh. What do I mean by that? Well, most of the time, authors of effects, including myself, will tell you that what they are sharing has been developed through years of trial and error. This is not the case with this lesson. As a matter of fact, this effect and its method, for myself, have been discovered within three weeks of this writing. So that being the case, let me back track three weeks to give you a look at events as they transpired. And in doing so, teach you the routine in the process.

Three weeks ago I found myself outside of Atlanta Georgia performing at the University Of Georgia. Part of my “Sharing The Magical Spotlight ‘With You’ Tour”. As with all of my college dates, I am engaged to perform for one solid hour. Any college performer can tell you, that when working in these extremely difficult venues, only the best and most foolproof magic should be used. The college circuit is an extremely discriminating market, and you have to be very, very good to work it.

My show was going very well that night. As a matter of fact, it was going so well that I lost control of my pacing and found myself rushing through routines because of the adrenaline rush I was getting due to the great response of the audience. Come to think of it, I’ve just decided, pacing should, and will be the subject of a future lesson. It is very important.

I had gone through my entire show and knew that I had only “one more” routine to perform, and that was my closing number. Well, when I looked up at the clock I discovered that I still had fifteen minutes to go! Whoops!, my closing number runs just under 9 minutes. Uh, Oh, what to do? I could not run the show short. I travelled about 600 miles and the school was paying a nice amount of money for the show. I was obligated to give them a solid hour. All I had left were the playing cards I had in my pocket, and one deck on the table.

Ok, I know lots of tricks right? But what can I do on a stage? During the time I was pattering to the audience and asked someone to the stage, (I knew I would need a spectator no matter what I did) I needed to decide on a trick. I considered Joe Karsons “World’s Fastest Card Trick” But that involved making sport of the assisting audience member. And I did not get a good vibe during this show concerning that particular trick. The person was almost at the stage when the old classic, You-Do-As-I-Do popped into my head. No time to waste, I had to do it. Only problem was, I HAD NEVER BEFORE PERFORMED THAT TRICK! I said to myself, how hard could it be, it only involved the use of a key card. A concept I am well familiar with.

Here we go, I gave one deck to the spectator and one kept one for myself. I asked the spectator to shuffle the cards. (which by the way she did expertly!) I did the same. We then exchanged decks. Oh no, I forgot to peek at the bottom card of my deck before I handed it to her to note the key card! No Problem… I told her that “we had to place psychic vibes into the cards or the experiment would not work”. I told her to “take the deck and give it another shuffle!!! and another!!!” Now I said, “hold the deck up to your head like me.”(See Fig.#1) I held up the deck with the bottom card facing her and she did the same. HER KEY CARD WAS STARING ME IN THE FACE! I did all I could to not burst out laughing. After we chanted a little, which as very funny, I asked her to “look through her deck and pick out a card, any card.” I told her I would do the same. In my case it made no difference which card I selected.

Fig. #1

After she selected a card I asked her to do as I did and “place the card on top of her deck. Cut the cards, again, again, again, Now, lets switch decks. I told her to go through my deck and located her card as I would go through her deck and locate my card.” I simply looked for the key card that I spotted when she held the deck up earlier, and knew the next card would be her chosen selection.

We both held our cards out backs to the audience when I said “on the count of three, we are both going to turn our cards over at the same time to see what we have each selected. One…two…three…!” When we turned our cards over and they matched. THE CROWD WENT NUTS…I MEAN THEY WENT WILD! I could not believe that this effect was so unbelievably strong. Two weeks later, I did it again at another college. Russell Sage College in Troy New York. I got the same reaction. Only there I had a little miracle take place. When the spectator looked through my deck to find her card, It wasn’t there! The deck just so happened to be missing card and it was the spectators selection! So in the eyes of the audience, not only did I find the spectators card, but I made it vanish from my deck as well! If only that could happen at a magician’s convention, they would be following me around for years wondering how I did that!

So, Why do I call this You-Do-As-I-Adieu? The key is in the word Adieu, or goodbye. This trick is so strong you can close a show with it. In other words, do it, then say goodbye! Go through this story, and try it out. You will love it. Want a brief overview? Ok…

  • Have Two Decks of Cards, one for you, and one for the spectator.
  • Both Shuffle.
  • Exchange decks.
  • Shuffle again.
  • Hold decks up to foreheads and chant an ancient mantra, noting the bottom card (key card) of the spectators deck. This is my stumbled upon variation which allows the cards to be shuffled after the decks have been switched.
  • Both select a card (remember, yours doesn’t matter).
  • Place cards on top of decks, cut three times.
  • Exchange decks again.
  • Look through cards for your respective selections. (you look for key card, card following key is the spectators choice. Take it out).
  • Hold cards out with backs towards the audience. On the count of three turn them over.
  • Watch the faces of the audience, jaws drop followed by standing ovation.
  • Send letters of thank you to Bobby J. Gallo! (just kidding…send e-mail!)

Co-Director’s Notes: This next lesson originated as a “Virtual Magic Lesson” for one of our students overseas. Over there, they have only heard about the linking card effect. So with that in mind, I developed what I believe is an original handling of the effect. I do however, give credits where I felt appropriate. I hope you enjoy and use it…BJG

Devil’s Play-Link
Bobby J. Gallo

Fig: #4

The following linking card routine contains elements from virtually all who have tread the “trendy” premise of applying the classic “Linking Ring” effect to playing cards.

Among those who should be credited off the top would be Paul Harris and an English magician named “Crabtree” who marketed a manuscript version of the linking cards around the same time the Harris version was released years ago. I believe it was called “The Crabtree Connection”. The date of publication escapes me. It was released through Supreme who is now defunct. Portions of this handling are also credited to Ed Marlo and a generous amount of work done by “yours truly”.

Two cards cards are removed from a deck and are folded in half “width-wise””. Now either a pair of scissors are used to cut out a large hole in the center of both cards (see: Fig #1.). Alternately, you may rip the cards manually, but this is more difficult and not as neat looking. This being done, the magician is left with two pasteboard card-rings. (nothing like an onion ring) The magician now proceeds link and unlink the rings. A third card may introduced and all three are made to penetrate one another. At the end, the cards may be examined.

Fig #1.

You will need a duplicate card of the one you are going to use as your linking “key card”. With this, you need to tear or cut a small slit in the side as you will see in the graphic, (see: Fig #1.). Place this card into the deck proper and take the duplicate and make an ungimmicked ring with it. Place this under the table on the lap ready to do a switch at the end of the routine. The creative student may also wish to use the switch of their choice to accomplish this.

Fig #2.

In performance, remove the card with the slit from the deck as well as an indifferent one holding both as though you were holding only “one” card. Then proceed to cut (recommended) or tear out the centers to create your “ring” cards. Unfold the cards being sure to hide the key card slit in-between the forefinger and thumb.

To perform the first link, hold both cards as in (Fig #2.), By sliding the ungimmicked card onto the “key Card” you can easily link it on. I’m am sure that the student will probably find a “feel” that will best suit him as far as linking an unlinking goes (Fig #3).

Now after you have exhausted all the moves you would like to use, (recommended reading would be “Rings In Your fingers” by Dariel Fitzkee) it is time for the climax which is handing all out for examination. This can be done in two ways.

1) Do not hand them out at all! This is done by applying a light coat of rubber cement to the edged of the slit and “tearing” the cards. (you are going to need beveled edged which are not achieved when cutting). After the routine, press the edges together to “seal the cards together” A nice finish could be to leave the cards linked and then display them on the tip of your finger letting them get a close “look”.

2) Perform a switch, switching the ungimmicked card on your lap for the gimmicked one. An easy way to accomplish this is to lean over the table to hand the ungimmicked card (with the right hand) to one person to examine while the left hand containing the gimmicked card goes below the table and makes the switch.

3) My favorite conclusion is to use a GAG ending that I stumbled upon. After all of the moves are completed I ask the spectators if they would like to examine the cards. After the say YES, (and they always do) I proceed to say, “Sure, no problem, because I have nothing to hide as these are truly ordinary playing cards, you see they even rip like everyday playing cards!” I then proceed to tear them to shreds and sprinkle them on the table in front of the spectator inviting them to examine the remains all they want! Not only does this get a laugh, but it leaves you CLEAN! Think about it…

This routine can also be performed using a third card to make it even more showy and involved (see Fig. #4). In a way, this makes takes the heat off the “key card” even further due to the fact that there is an extra card for the spectators to watch.

Fig. #3

December 1998

Ultra-Simplified Spelling Trick
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is a dynamite, professional quality effect that literally knocks people out. I have used this in my close-up program for years and recently made its way into Bill Wisch’s bag of tricks as well. So that tells you how effective it must be.

Effect: The performer states that he is going to perform the “classic feat of all card magic”. The one where the spectator picks a card and the magician finds it. Easy right? Well, things are not always as they seem says the magician.

A card is selected and returned to the deck. The deck is cut and shuffled. Then the magician, upon running through the cards, takes a card out and with a triumphant look on his face, throws it down onto the table stating that it is the very card that the spectator selected. His glory is short lived however, the audience informs the magician that the card is the wrong one!

The wonder worker then states that when he messes up this trick there is only one recourse of action and that is to have the card find itself!

The performer now asks the spectator to reveal the identity of the card. Upon doing so, the magician WITHOUT ANY SLEIGHT-OF-HAND OR MOVES AT ALL, takes the deck and spells the name of the card. Dealing one card onto the table for every letter of the name. When the last letter is reached, the magician turns the card over and it is indeed the selected card…The crowd roars!

A deck of playing cards.

Method: This really is an easy effect to do. All that is needed is to glimpse the bottom card (key card) after the shuffled deck is handed back to you. Once the card is selected have it returned and undercut the bottom half of the deck so that the key card lands directly above the selection. I prefer to use the Vernon key card placement, but merely cutting the cards will do.

After the card has been selected and returned (with the key card cut to the top of the selection) proceed as in the description. You may even false shuffle and false cut the deck if you desire but in truth, I never do.

Look through the cards until you come to the key card. From there you know that the card just to the right of the key card is the selection. Let’s say for example that it is the six of clubs. Starting with the six, spell the card mentally going from right to left card by card. It must look to the audience as though you are still trying to locate the spectators card. Little do they know you are actually setting up the trick right in front of thier eyes!!!

. Now as soon as you come to the last card that spells the six of clubs, throw out the very next card as the one you pretend to think is the selection. As they look at this card, cut the deck at this point and you will find that the selected card is now at the very last letter when the six of clubs is spelled out. And that is all there is to it!


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

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Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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