I never met Gary Ouellet.
But I know him still. I know him because I've read much of his published material. I just pulled Close Up Illusions off the shelf and began to reread it. I used to have post-it notes on the pages where I thought an idea was particularly good or useful. There were a lot of notes!
I've also corresponded with Gary by email a couple of times. One was when I was posting something to an online forum, and I wanted his permission to describe one of his moves in a trick. His response was "Close-Up llusions was published 10 years ago. Give it all away!"
I emailed Gary a couple of months ago. I was working on my one man parade, and wanted to include a variation of the Exact Change effect using his Infidel Switch. So I emailed him to see if his earlier blanket permission still applied.
I never heard back from him, and I completely forgot about it. Eventually I ended up going with the two variations that appear in the May issue of The Linking Ring.
So I thought I would post here the final variation of Exact Change, dedicated to keeping alive the magic of Gary Ouellet:
Exact Change III
You'll have to start by putting two dimes and a nickel into Fitch grip (the namesake of Bob Fitch). Do this: put the dimes on top of the nickel. Press these three coins against the underside of the middle phalange of your right first finger. Now curl the finger until the sides of the first and third phalanges grip and hold the stack of coins.
Take a quarter and hold it vertically in the same hand, facing you, with thumb underneath and the tip of the second finger on top. Bend the first finger back so that the stack of change is hidden behind the second finger.
Show the quarter to your audience. I forgot to mention, you must be sitting down. It wouldn't be a Gary Ouellet trick if you didn't have to be sitting down, now would it?
Lay your left hand, palm up, on the edge of the table.
You're going to drop the quarter into your left hand, but when it lands, it will be two dimes and a nickel. Basically what you do is, as you release the coin, the right hand rotates palm towards you. The first finger straightens, releasing the change, and the second finger
moves toward you, pushing the quarter back towards you.
Do not throw the quarter. Just allow the rotation of the right hand to push the quarter towards you as it falls.
The quarter will fall into your lap as the dimes and nickel fall into your open hand.
I don't mind telling you this is one of the most magical-looking things you will ever see. At the start, the right and appears very convincingly empty beyond the quarter. You drop the coin, and it appears to shatter when it lands. (Practice releasing the stack of change gently so it stays together while it's falling.) The quarter is completely invisible falling behind the stack of change. You end up, not counting the quarter in your lap, clean.
This is basically Gary's Infidel Switch from the book Close Up Illusions. It's a great book. Read it.
The most important part of this trick is to make sure none of the change bounces off your hand into your lap. The secret is simple: don't hold the right hand so high up. Six inches above the left hand is plenty. The illusion does not suffer at all from the shorter drop.
(Super Secret Hint: this trick can be done standing if either the floor is carpeted or you can drop the quarter into the cuff of your pants leg as explained in Bobo, or preferably both. Don't tell anybody about this.)
I hope some of you will try this out, and when you do, as your audience gasps in amazement, say a silent thank you to Gary Ouellet.
Although I never met him, still I am sure this is all Gary would ask.