He’s a Devil. . . .

When I went to Portugal years ago, I often had dinner in a little cafe off Rossio Square in Lisbon. One evening I was sitting in the restaurant with my driver George.

George looked at me — “Scott – do some magic tricks.”   So I did a few effects (see December 19, 2011, if you want to learn a good one).  With that, George called over some of the waiters. “You gotta see this stuff.” A gaggle of waiters began to congregate by our booth. I asked for a deck of cards – they arrived – and I began my routine.  Nothing fancy but some good stuff.

It was when I poured water into my fist and made it disappear – and then reappear – that one waiter looked seriously at his colleagues. “Ele e um diabo” [“he’s a devil“].   And I suddenly realized that my visage had quite possibly morphed from curiosity to danger to the human race and all that is holy.  George coughed and looked at me.  My face got warm.  I thought I better do something or I may have trouble leaving the restaurant.  Sooooooo, I did what any other red-blooded American magician would do.  I looked up at the waiter who had branded me a diabo – and said “here – I’m gonna show you how I did that.”  I did.  I showed the waiters how I did the tricks — without making them take the mandatory Magician’s Oath.  The waiters laughed nervously.  Seemed relieved.  And walked away.  George gave me one of those eyes in the air looks that said I won’t ask you to do that again.  And I lived to tell the tale. . . . . 

The Four Bank Robbers

This is a great magical effect that anyone can do.   As a perspiring magician, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this one. 

The Effect:  You ask for a deck of cards (or provide your own).  You remove the four Jacks and announce that the Jacks are bank robbers.  They are going to rob the “Bank” (the remainder of the deck) and scoot with the loot by helicopter.  After removing the Jacks, show them – fanned – and give the deck to a spectator to “make sure” there are no Jacks left in the deck.  There are none.  He/she returns the deck to you.  You announce that the Jacks will search the bank for safe deposit boxes, cash, negotiable instruments and bonds.   As you are saying this “patter,” close the fan and face down insert one Jack on the bottom of the deck (the “first floor”), a second Jack a third of the way up (the “second floor”), a third Jack close to the top (the “third floor”) and the fourth Jack on top (the “top floor”) and set the deck on the table.   Then – here comes the helicopter!  Move your hand as if flying toward the “Bank.”  The Jacks race to the top floor to catch the copter.  As the helicopter arrives, slowly turn over the top four cards and there are the four Jacks. 

The Secret:  When you take the four Jacks out of the deck, take three extra cards which are placed behind the Jacks.  🙂   As you take them, square them up carefully.  Handing the cards to a spectator gives you time and distraction to do so.   Keep them tightly squared as you insert them (the extra cards one at a time) into the deck.  For the last Jack on the top floor?  You have all four Jacks, tightly grouped and quickly but carefully placed on top.  The scenario can be played out as you wish.