Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

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HocoPoco
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Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby HocoPoco » April 26th, 2017, 2:24 pm

http://www.magicana.com/video/earl-nelson-mcdonalds-aces

Is this Earl's own routine? Or is a composite of others work as well?

Does anyone have insight? Thanks.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Tom Gilbert » April 26th, 2017, 2:56 pm

Nice handling.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 26th, 2017, 3:57 pm

The third vanish is right out of Hofzinser's original routine, which is also the one-hand vanish used by McDonald.

When Frank Garcia put this out as a New Stars of Magic item in the early 1970s, everyone was coming up with new vanishes for the Aces in the packets. Dingle had several, so did Bob Elliott, as well as Garcia. There's nothing in the routine that hasn't been published, I believe.
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HocoPoco
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby HocoPoco » April 26th, 2017, 8:02 pm

Regardless of the vanishes, I found the initial switch and layout to be pivotal and intriguing. That is the foundation for the routine.

Does anyone know if the laydown logic is his? Or, someone else's?

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Bibliophage » April 26th, 2017, 9:44 pm

Much of it is Emil Clifton's. It was published in a small manuscript he used to sell at the Castle. Emil was a good friend of Earl's and contributed "Clifton's Ring Move" to Earl's book.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 26th, 2017, 11:41 pm

HocoPoco wrote:I found the initial switch and layout to be pivotal and intriguing. That is the foundation for the routine. Does anyone know if the laydown logic is his?
I don't believe the switch and laydown sequence used by Earl Nelson in his performance on "The Magic Palace" is original with him. It's done exactly the same by many others, including for instance, Johnny Thompson.

If you want a more elegant switch and laydown sequence; one which is original with Earl Nelson; check out "An Approach to MacDonald's Aces" in the Magicana section of the May 1987 issue of Genii magazine.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby performer » April 27th, 2017, 6:41 am

This is the strongest trick in my repertoire. It gets an astonishing reaction. I think the key is to make sure the spectator puts his hand on the cards. In fact decades ago when I first started doing it I got the spectator to actually sit on the cards and I think the reaction was even stronger. However, in the end I deemed it a trifle vulgar so I gave that up. I was pleased at least to see this particular performer following the hands on the packet procedure at any rate.

I have never indulged in the fancy vanishes although I probably should. I do the trick in virtually the same way as it was described by Ganson in his Vernon card book and vanish the cards in exactly the same way he described it. Oddly enough I was quite intrigued later on that Hofzinser himself (who invented the trick) used exactly the same vanish. I figured if it was good enough for him it was good enough for me. However, my handling did evolve into doing an old fashioned vanish of the last ace that I have seen performers actually do on stage with jumbo cards using a double lift. They were essentially doing the MacDonalds Aces on stage with jumbo cards and a display card stand.

After several decades of doing it I suddenly developed a complex over the displaying of the indifferent cards and placing them on the aces. I did it the way it was described by Ganson. However, I read a criticism of this handling in the Darwin Ortiz book, "Strong Magic" which I have always considered an excellent treatise on theory despite it being panned elsewhere by various people. I have never understood the criticism of this book. Still, that is another matter for another time. Anyway, Darwin described the disadvantages of this handling (which I assume Vernon used also since it was in his book) and although I rebelled against I couldn't find a single flaw in his argument. I ended up with a bloody complex over the matter and even considered doing it differently. In the end I didn't because I had been doing it so long the "wrong" way and people were still gasping in amazement over the damn thing so I just shrugged my shoulders and thought "so be it--who the hell cares?" I did try to rationalise that this complicated Vernon/Ganson method did at least appear to show the faces of all the indifferent cards (which they actually didn't) but there was no doubt that it was indeed somewhat convoluted.

Still, I remembered the Billy Mc'Comb dictum that sometimes a professional performer who has been doing things the "wrong" way for a long time is better off keeping to it because he has the exact timing on it and somehow even if a better method comes along he is still better off doing it the way he always has. He gave an example of how Chefalo got fed up carrying a large number of heavy rings about with him and asked Billy to teach him his easier more compact routine with 5 rings (which I actually do myself from time to time) but in the end he went back to the routine he had done for so long despite the disadvantages. You get used to doing something and find it difficult to change when you have been doing things a long time. And since you have the exact timing on it and it is getting good reaction you may as well stick with it.

Anyway I used Billy's reasoning to rationalise the matter but I still had this nagging complex. However, that complex completely vanished in an instant when I actually saw Darwin Ortiz himself actually perform the trick. I realised instantly exactly why he would not be able to use the procedure I favoured. He worked at a very slow pace indeed. If he had used the Vernon/Ganson procedure it would have taken all night. I could see that if he did that sequence at his glacial pace it would have been very ineffective indeed. I, on the other hand work at a fast pace and never indulge in unnecessary verbiage when performing. I talk a lot but every word is calculated and generally only speak when action is happening. The lay down sequence I am discussing takes probably 30 seconds at most whereas it would have taken Ortiz probably two minutes or so. It is completely illogical and convoluted but it works perfectly for me. And I do tend to keep the attention with amusing patter.

The moral of the tale is not to take what you read in books too literally (which alas I do tend to do) and remember that what works for the author may not necessarily work for you. After you have gained some experience it is best to work things out for yourself to some degree.

Despite this experience I still think Strong Magic is an excellent book on theory and I reluctantly found myself agreeing with virtually everything in it except his advice on hecklers. It really is an excellent piece of work. You just have to think for yourself a trifle when reading it.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby HocoPoco » April 27th, 2017, 7:09 am

Appreciate you taking time to share your insights, guys!

I still remember the first time I saw the effect performed by a demonstrator at Tannen's. Although I had limited experience in magic at the time, to this day, I remember the anticipation expecting the 2nd and 3rd aces vanish. Once the first ace vanished, I knew what was going to happen, just couldn't see it happening! It was a gut-level, child-like, wonder-filled moment. I immediately purchased the Stars of Magic manuscript.

DO YOU THINK a spectator describing this effect the next day (consider that it was part of a longer set) would find McDonald's Aces "better/stronger/more effective" vs. a clean, non-gimmicked ace assembly?

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby performer » April 27th, 2017, 8:24 am

HocoPoco wrote:Appreciate you taking time to share your insights, guys!

I still remember the first time I saw the effect performed by a demonstrator at Tannen's. Although I had limited experience in magic at the time, to this day, I remember the anticipation expecting the 2nd and 3rd aces vanish. Once the first ace vanished, I knew what was going to happen, just couldn't see it happening! It was a gut-level, child-like, wonder-filled moment. I immediately purchased the Stars of Magic manuscript.

DO YOU THINK a spectator describing this effect the next day (consider that it was part of a longer set) would find McDonald's Aces "better/stronger/more effective" vs. a clean, non-gimmicked ace assembly?


DEFINITELY! No other ace assembly comes close! I don't like carrying gimmicked cards around with me but this one is worth the effort. It is the greatest 4 ace trick ever invented. Nothing else comes even close. Not bad for a trick invented in the 19th Century.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Spellbinder » April 27th, 2017, 8:34 am

Based on Jon W. "One-arm Mac" McDonald's $100 Ace trick from the 1950's, Qua-Fiki's version "McFiki's Jumbo Aces" from The Wizards' Journal #23, inspired by John Guastaferro's "Famous Aces" has JUMBO aces vanishing and reappearing right from and to the hands of the spectators holding the cards. They see nothing suspicious and have no idea how the aces vanished and reappeared while in their hands.

He is currently working on a new "attractive card" variation that can be performed solo (without spectators getting involved), but which can end with the vanished aces jumping to a single spectator's hands. I think the inclusion of spectator participation is a strong part of the reaction that the effect produces for an audience. They KNOW you are doing something tricky, but when it happens in the hands of spectators, it is much more magical.
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HocoPoco
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby HocoPoco » April 27th, 2017, 11:09 am

Jack Parker had a great audience participation effect with 3 double faced aces, published in Genii. Just did a preliminary search and can't find it now. But in remembrance, it was a dynamic approach with great effect.

Anyone else find it? Thanks...

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Tom Gilbert » April 27th, 2017, 1:28 pm

I'll check 52 Memories and see if it's in that book. Another very interesting approach is by John Guasteferro called Famous Aces. It's in his book
Second Storm, I believe on DVD also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk-6fi5T5RA

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby erdnasephile » April 27th, 2017, 1:37 pm

Gary Kurtz published a terrific McDonald's routine in "Notes from the Summit."

I like McDonald's Aces, but I have never been fooled more badly than when I saw Bro. Hamman perform Final Aces in person. So very, very sneaky.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Tom Gilbert » April 27th, 2017, 1:45 pm

There's an effect in 52 Memories called "The Three Stooges" that uses the McD set.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 27th, 2017, 1:59 pm

Brother Hamman's "Final Aces" had been mostly forgotten by the early 1970s. When Garcia repopularized "McDonald's Aces," Gene Maze found his old set of "Final Aces" and was killing all of us. Then another cardman found Marlo's routine with the split-back cards (half back/half Ace) in an old New Tops and was fooling everyone with that.
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby HocoPoco » April 27th, 2017, 2:36 pm

June 2007 Genii contains Parker's "The Three Stooges".

Thank you.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby HocoPoco » April 27th, 2017, 2:38 pm

I always wanted to develop an ace assembly using Gaetan Bloom's 3-card monte gimmicks.

Ever been done? Perhaps even with a double-double layer Bloom gimmick?

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 27th, 2017, 3:18 pm

Sounds workable - see how well you can hide the tap action to get the gaff in place during performance.
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 27th, 2017, 3:56 pm

performer wrote: I did try to rationalise that this complicated Vernon/Ganson method did at least appear to show the faces of all the indifferent cards (which they actually didn't) but there was no doubt that it was indeed somewhat convoluted.

I learned MacDonald's Aces from the "New Stars of Magic" manuscript.

If you think the Vernon/Ganson method was somewhat convoluted, just check out Frank Garcia's handling. No 'somewhat' about it!

The best laydown sequence by far is that used by Ricky Jay. I don't know if he originated it himself, but I do know that he's been doing it for decades.

Ricky Jay from 1976 ...

Same effect from 1983 ...

And yet again from 1996.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby performer » April 27th, 2017, 4:19 pm

Yes, I would agree that it is the best lay down procedure I have seen although a bit of a nuisance to prepare. I prefer to have the gaffed cards in my jacket pocket and load them when I need them. However, I do quite like Ricky Jay's work. Alas I have never been over keen with his overly theatrical presentation of the MacDonalds Aces. Fine for a small theatre or a large audience perhaps but not for most normal close up situations either formal or informal. Too much talk and over presentation for my liking. And he doesn't get anyone to put their hand on the ace pile.

Still there is nothing he can do about it at this late stage and it isn't terrible. He gets the job done I suppose and his audiences quite like him.

The trouble is that when I see him and other American magicians work it always brings to mind something Murray the escapologist once said to me after a visit to America. I asked him how he enjoyed his trip and he snorted, "American magicians are so long winded!" I do have to say he was not wrong.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby erdnasephile » April 27th, 2017, 4:24 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Brother Hamman's "Final Aces" had been mostly forgotten by the early 1970s. When Garcia repopularized "McDonald's Aces," Gene Maze found his old set of "Final Aces" and was killing all of us. Then another cardman found Marlo's routine with the split-back cards (half back/half Ace) in an old New Tops and was fooling everyone with that.


Isn't that Marlo routine the basis for "Aces in their Faces"?

Re: Final Aces. Has anyone ever tried Hamman's original strategy of handing out the gaffs at the beginning of the routine? I know he eventually discarded the procedure as too risky, but I'm itching to try it the next time I do Final Aces in an informal setting.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby performer » April 27th, 2017, 6:59 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Brother Hamman's "Final Aces" had been mostly forgotten by the early 1970s. When Garcia repopularized "McDonald's Aces," Gene Maze found his old set of "Final Aces" and was killing all of us. Then another cardman found Marlo's routine with the split-back cards (half back/half Ace) in an old New Tops and was fooling everyone with that.


Isn't that Marlo routine the basis for "Aces in their Faces"?

Re: Final Aces. Has anyone ever tried Hamman's original strategy of handing out the gaffs at the beginning of the routine? I know he eventually discarded the procedure as too risky, but I'm itching to try it the next time I do Final Aces in an informal setting.


I do know that on a tiny few occasions I have accidentally turned the double faced cards over. It didn't make the blindest bit of difference. Somehow it just doesn't seem to register with them.

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby erdnasephile » April 27th, 2017, 8:07 pm

performer wrote:I do know that on a tiny few occasions I have accidentally turned the double faced cards over. It didn't make the blindest bit of difference. Somehow it just doesn't seem to register with them.


I saw Tom Ogden do something like that at the Castle once when he was pulling out a double-facer for a trick (I think it was an alphabet card or something). He realized his mistake, picked up the double-facer off the table, and pulled it back out again with the proper face showing. He was so cool and nonchalant about it that the only reason I realized it happened (on later reflection) was because Max Maven was in the audience and chuckled when the mishap occurred. :D

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby performer » April 27th, 2017, 9:30 pm

Indeed. They don't seem to notice for some odd reason. Mind you I wouldn't make a habit of it!

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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 28th, 2017, 8:09 am

Is there a one-handed approach to the trick around?
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 28th, 2017, 8:53 am

erdnasephile wrote:... Has anyone ever tried Hamman's original strategy of handing out the gaffs at the beginning of the routine? I know he eventually discarded the procedure as too risky, but I'm itching to try it the next time I do Final Aces in an informal setting.


His demeanor was disarming.
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Re: Earl Nelson's McDonald's Aces

Postby erdnasephile » April 28th, 2017, 9:49 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
erdnasephile wrote:... Has anyone ever tried Hamman's original strategy of handing out the gaffs at the beginning of the routine? I know he eventually discarded the procedure as too risky, but I'm itching to try it the next time I do Final Aces in an informal setting.


His demeanor was disarming.


Agreed--that was what really stood out when I met him. You couldn't believe such an unassuming man could be so diabolical.

During the convention session, I asked him to perform "The Twins", which he did superbly--even the end count, which I think is hard to do smoothly. He also took glee in revealing to the audience that he had set up the trick he just performed 3 tricks earlier in the show, right under everyone's' noses.

When he later signed my copy of the Minch book (this was long before the yellow tome), he asked me "Do you do anything in the book?" I was proud to be able to say, "Absolutely--I do 'The Twins!'" He seemed pleased with that.

(For those of you who do the Twins, you may wish to check out the way Skinner handled the ending on the first "Legendary Repertoire" tape.)


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