Interestingly enough (at least for me) I had occasion to test out the TPT this past weekend. But perhaps I should give a little background first.
I'd been coveting Kennedy's Mystery Box II for awhile now, and so magically(?) one appeared for my birthday. Before I ordered it, I had shown my darling wife, Gina, the Quicktime demo of the box on Kennedy's web site. She, being the ever-suffering magic wife, figured it out immediately. First, she said, she knew the card couldn't have gotten into the box because Kennedy hadn't been anywhere near it. And, she certainly didn't like all the fooling around behind his back. That, I surmise, lead her to the true solution (which, as Christian Chelman says, deontology prevents me from revealing here.) Then she tells me she couldn't understand why I was going to pay good money for such an obviously transparent effect. Mrs. Hart, I love her dearly.
Was this an example of the TPT at work? It certainly looked like it to me. But what was the actual trigger? Gina's suspicions were first aroused by the "behind the back" machinations. Obviously, the Not Perfect Enough Theory was involved, too.
So I was faced with two problems. Eliminate the behind the back monkey business which induced the NPET, and counter the TPT. Hmmm.
Here's what I did to solve the problems (with a huge nod to Michael Close's "The Big Surprise"):
I started my close-up set by placing the Mystery box off to my right, in front of a seated spectator, asking them to keep an eye on it. Next I did my standard opening card set; Neighbors' Easy Over Aces, Bannon's Mirage Assembly, and Vernon & Cervon's The Devil's Elevator.
Easy Over Aces is the best opener I've ever found--thank you Dave--it begins with a rapid, visible change of red deuces and treys to 4 aces, and then proceeds much the same as the Roll Over Aces. Something magical happens in the first 30 seconds, and then has a nice triple climax. The Mirage Assembly helps set the stage for what is about to transpire. The assembly of the queens and the almost visual vanish from each pile accustom the audience to the idea of cards flying invisibly from hither to yon--and hopefully not yawn!
The Devil's Elevator further strengthens the appearance of my "technical" expertise (hah!)
Ok, now for the payoff, and the set-up trick that makes the Mystery Box really kill.
...I do the Mullica Wallet! And somehow, ahem, during the signing of the selected card, the top to my Sharpie is lost (a hat-tip in Close's direction.) I have the spectator place the signed card back into the deck, and I then produce it from the wallet.
Now the Mullica Wallet is about as perfect as you can get for a signed card to impossible location. I've never had anyone bust it, and believe me, I've done plenty of checking. It's always, "somehow you snuck the card into the wallet--I have absolutely no idea how..." Snuck works for me! Teleported, magished, poofed, and disappeared-it; same as snuck. But because the wallet was ON me to begin with, it's not so hard to figure that I was able to accomplish the effect through craft and guile. I _may_ have been able to "snuck it in" when they weren't watching, but still the overall effect of signed card to impossible location is intimated.
One--two--three. We have the Mirage Assembly's queens first, the Mullica Wallet second, and to complete the triad, The Mystery Box. I've prepped the audience enough. Time to finish the job.
As I produce the signed card from the wallet, I give it a slight convex bow (Tommy Wonder) and hand it to the spectator to check out. There's a huge release of tension at this point. Enough so I can retrieve the card from the spectator on the off beat, and top-change it for an indifferent card. I throw the card face down on the table, and have the spectator place their hands on it. As they do, I perform the Mercury Card Fold and finger palm the results in my left hand, as my right hand tables the deck. I have the spectator turn over their card(?). I then use my right hand to flip the pack face up and perform a right-to-left spread on the table so the spectator
can see that their card has vanished from the pack as well.
Next, I have the spectator uncover the Mystery Box and peek inside to tell me what they see. Of course they see the cap to my pen (a duplicate, pre-placed), and a folded card. Feigning surprise at the appearance of the cap, I dump the content(s) of the box into my left hand; set the box down with interior of the box facing the spectators, and extract the pen cap with my
right, handing the folded card to its owner with my left.
The appearance of the pen cap adds just the right amount of the surreal, no other word for it. The effect on the audience was all I'd hoped it would be: 5 seconds of absolute silence... Pen
cap--card? Card--pen cap? What the?
So I'm not so sure the TPT always operates.
Gina came up to me after the show and told me she was glad I bought the box. That's my wife, my biggest fan.