Spectator Challenge

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby walkinoats » 01/24/02 12:11 PM

I was recently challenged by a specatator given the following example.

Spectator shuffles the deck himself. Spreads the cards himself. Selects one card, memorizes it and replaces the card. Spectator then shuffles the cards again and challenges the magician to find the selected card.

Without the use of a marked deck or a one way deck, How can it be done?

My only solution is to ask for the name of the selected card, and then produce the card from a card index or palm the card off and load it into a wallet.

any other suggestions?
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/24/02 02:41 PM

I'd probably use daub. Have the spekky push the card part-way out of the spread, then you push it a bit further out (applying the stuff) and say, "No, you take it. I don't want to touch it."

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Postby Guest » 01/24/02 04:24 PM

a) Don't ever take up a challenge a spectator makes! Even if you can do it. If you do it they feel they have lost and will come up with a NEW challenge until you lose.

b) Use a one way forcing deck and have the spectator mix the cards on the table and take out one. Have them place the card back on the table and mix it in. Square up the deck, do a switch and you are clean and ready you reveal! (by mixing on the table they are not tempted to check the faces.)
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Postby Curtis Kam » 01/24/02 06:29 PM

Daub is good. I like that. Matthew's method is fine, or use the (Rosini) dodge of daubing the tabletop where the speccy is asked to deal the card. Or the Vernon technique where the spectator daubs the card himself while you're in the other room.

Finally, I usually approximate the challange by using Anneman's ruse with a memorized deck. Rush the victim a little, without a table, and the resulting shuffle won't do much. Manipulate the selection process so that the cards immediately above and below the selection remain on the top and bottom of the deck although the actual selection gets lost in the middle. Skip the second shuffle until after you have glimpsed the top and bottom cards.

By the way, I think Simon Aronson's "Some People Think" fits your description technically, (spectator does one legit. riffle shufle) and is surefire. (if your brain doesn't burst a vein)
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 01/24/02 06:50 PM

What about putting a bow or bend in the deck before the spectator returns the card and shuffles the deck. His card should be noticable.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/24/02 07:35 PM

Reminds me of a time (40 years ago) that a gal was showing off her engagement ring. I looked at it, loaded some daub... and...

Heheheheh :D

A bit later I had a dude spread the deck, asked her to put her finger on any card, slide it out, look at it and memorize it.

Had the dude take the deck shuffle it, then asked him to take the card back from her (didn't want her to daub any other cards).

Asked him to shuffle, and ala Koran, had him hand deck to another to shuffle, and another.

Then... YOU GUESSED IT... when the deck was placed in front of me... the DAUBED card was on top...

A quick one hand top palm as I pushed the deck forward, saying ... "I DON'T WANT TO TOUCH THE CARDS. SHUFFLE THEM AGAIN..."

As they say, the rest is history!

:cool:
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Postby Curtis Kam » 01/24/02 07:41 PM

Great story Pete. I love it when a plan comes together.....

Oh, and I forgot the simplist all-purpose solution to the challange: SHINER.

My favorite glimpse: Shiner fingerpalmed in RH. Speccy holds selection in front of him, concentrating on it. Mag. reaches forward and touches speccy's forehead "concentrate...HEAL!" and catches the glimpse.
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Postby Guest » 01/25/02 01:01 AM

I see you're playing that magic jazz again Pete! Music to my ears!

What I would do, since I'm really not a cardician... you guys are gonna groan, is buy lunch for a CONFEDERATE and use a CODE. (A handy prepared piece of paper is, I'll admit, the cheater method... I know, I can hear it now!, but Mr. Walkinoats' perimeters are satisfactorily met and I get to focus on presentation. Take AT LEAST two minutes reading their mind, no kidding, and milk it good!

Got Milk?
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Postby Andi » 01/25/02 08:34 AM

Jerry Sadowitz has an interesting solution to this problem in an issue of the Crimp. I'm affraid I can't remember the name or issue number, but I can promise that it is worth the hunt!

--Andi
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/25/02 09:49 AM

I used to have a pal that hung around a social group with me that I would signal to go to a private room (restroom most often) and set his "undershirt" for a shirt pull.

This is one KILLER EFFECT if done in the right place and right time.
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Postby walkinoats » 01/25/02 10:36 AM

Thanks for all your replys. Matt, I ordered some daub today along with Marlo's daub book. Pete Biro, can you describe the shirt effect in more detail?
thanks,

:)
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Postby Cugel » 01/25/02 02:35 PM

The daub idea is a good one, but I think the use of a shiner depends on having a lot more control over the spectator/deck, and the original question struck me as being the kind of problem that's only a problem for a performer who is struggling to manage his audience.

Nick Johnson's post is half right: don't rise to the challenge. But handing a one-way forcing deck to a spectator to 'wash' on the table is fraught with danger - not a good idea in a restaurant situation where you might get a bunch of people picking up on your weakness and who all decide to grab cards for "Mr. Magician" to find. You're going to look pretty bad when they start checking each other's cards...

When I get a spectator interrupting the flow of my act to make demands, my first priority is to change the dynamic - my aim is to make it look as if I am in control and that this person is following orders. Here's an example: if I get someone who demands to shuffle the cards I immediately say, "Sure. Do you want to shuffle now or later in the act? You only get to do it ONCE so make up your mind, quick." This starts to sow the seed that they're not calling the shots. Trust me, though, they always say "now". Meanwhile I cull and palm the aces as I hand them the deck to shuffle.

At this point the look of triumph on their face as they shuffle is typical (it's a control issue, remember?). I turn to the table at large (as they are concentrating on not dropping the cards) flash the palmed aces in a fan and say, "He/she won't get far without these!" This gets a big laugh, as well as letting everybody know that I'm in control and their pal is wasting his/her time.

It also makes the antagonist look up to see what's so funny, at which point I conceal the aces in a palm (maybe even leaning on a man's shoulder, whatever) and say, "Don't look over here - come on, shuffle those damn cards!" This produces more laughter and ensures that the antagonist really has no doubt that they are the butt of the joke, as well as driving home the point that I'm THE MAN. At this point I'll say to the table at large something along the lines of, "I've only done one trick and this guy is busting my balls already." Again this garners a response from the other people who are now in on the joke.

The antagonist by this point will have finished shuffling and I'll take back the deck and openly replace the aces (so they have no doubt that they've wasted their time and never had a chance). I may even add, "Boy, remind me never to play cards with you."

Although the above may appear to be harsh to some, it gets laughs from the audience and throws cold water on the control freak. This is the way I manage the situation in a strolling or banquet venue, a situation where I perform in a more aggressive manner anyway.

In a formal seated show the issue rarely arises as I pick my two assistants myself and it would be unusual for the request to come from the audience itself.

My view is: I'm happy to be a nice guy, but I'm hired to show them some great entertainment. I'm NOT hired to stand around while some jerk tries to be the life of the party by attempting to humiliate the magician. The fact is, I think I know what's good for the audience, this bozo doesn't. I think you'll also find that most of the other table members are secretly tired of their loud mouth friend (colleague or first-time acquaintance) trying to dominate the table. I think that explains why they really enjoy seeing the tables turned.

I'm sure that what Walkinoats is talking about, though, is an informal or impromptu situation, where the dynamic is different - i.e., tricks for friends at a restaurant or bar. In this situation I would be a lot more flexible. My answer to the problem posed is totally impromptu: have them shuffle the cards, then have them take a card out and caution them to not let you see it - tell them to hold it in their hands, up against their chest like a poker hand and just peek at it. Then patter a bit so they stand their with card against their chest. Then tell them to do it again. Have someone else shuffle the cards. Have the first guy show it to someone next to them, then have the guy peek at it one more time. All this BS ensures that the guy puts a huge heat crimp in the card... the rest is obvious. (If it's a woman, tell her some garbage about putting it near her heart, etc)

Of course, this assumes you're working for laymen, not magicians who are more prissy and will take care in handling the cards...

Cheers
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/25/02 06:03 PM

Shirt pull... as I did it.

OK, my buddy would go somewhere and take his shirt off, then his tee shirt.

He would then put his shirt on and tuck his tee shirt in under his shirt with the top at the rear (under his shirt and at the back near the top of his collar so I could get ahold of it).

I would then do some magic and make a card appear insomeone's pocket or whatever (jazz magic is all i do impromptu) then something in his pocket... a coin or a pen??

Then, I would maybe produce a fan of cards from under his coat if he had one one... if not from behind his ear.

Then I would just say something like, "What's this?" and reach in and grab the Tee Shirt and pull it out... toss it in the air, he'd grab it, seem embarrassed and head for a place to change.

This (and you don't over do it) was a reputation maker for me years ago.
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Postby Guest » 01/25/02 09:29 PM

Re: Shirt Pull

I remember a pickpocket who used to bring four spectators and a stooge onto the stage. He would steal ties, braces, watches etc. from everyone and then steal a shirt from the guy. In the context of a pickpocket routine it turned an old gag into a hay maker.
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Postby Terry » 01/26/02 07:03 AM

Re difficult spectator - read Eugene Burger's book 'Mastering the Art of Magic' on how he deals with hecklers/troublesome individuals.

On Don Alan's video, from Stevens Magic, there is a great example of dealing with the above. Mr Alan was appearing on the Mike Douglas show and when Mr Alan was introduced, Henny Youngman started acting like a jerk. Mr Alan physically froze and just looked at Youngman, which dispelled Youngman's "energy" and shut him down without directly making Mr Alan the "bad guy".

Making the spectator look foolish can be a path most don't want to travel. It can possibly turn the rest of the crowd against you, or depending on the mentality of the "problem person", could create a physical altercation. Maybe the best thing would be to thank everyone for coming and move on to the next group/table.
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Postby Cugel » 01/26/02 02:59 PM

Hi Terry,

You're right that making the spectator look foolish is not the right path for everyone - it depends on your experience and your personality. The above scenario is one I use in a specific example - usually when I'm hired to stroll or table hop I'm hired to do so in character - the character of a cocky, over-confident hustler. (BTW: physical altercation? Never. Not when I perform.)

It only works if you strike the right balance. My aim is to get everyone else on my side and, by the time I'm finished, the troublesome spectator as well.

I gave the example of how I'd handle it - but my main point is don't rise to a challenge - change the dynamic. The performer must ALWAYS call the shots.

So here's a question: if Walkinoats had risen to the challenged, obeyed all of the restrictions and conditions imposed by the spectator and found the card - what do you think would have happened? Would the spectator have said, "Oh my goodness - that's amazing!"?

The answer is usually "no". He/She would have simply upped the ante: "Okaaaay, THIS time I want you to turn your back and stand in the carpark while I think of a card, and you have to wear a straight jacket, and..."

I don't know about you but when I perform I'm the organ grinder, not the monkey.

Best
Andrew

BTW: There's some great observations on this little trap in Darwin Ortiz's book, Strong Magic.

Oh another thing: that Don Alan example is really great - very clever and subtle. But I think it would only work for an experienced and older performer because it is a VERY direct challenge to the spectator's position of dominance within the group. I think it would be disastrous for a magician in his teens or twenties.
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 05:29 AM

I concur with Mr. Wimhurst's observations. A spectator challenge is a no win situation for the magician. Even if you were lucky enough to guess what the spectator's card was, they would most likely want you to repeat it. You would probably not get the credit you believe you would achieve for answering their challenge.

If you allow yourself to be the "monkey" instead of the "organ grinder", it will only be a matter of time before you are presented with a challenge you will not be able to meet. Since you were more than happy to accomodate the challenger until he put you in a situation where you cannot succeed, you end up the loser.

The key is audience management. Mr. Wimhurst's approach to handling a difficult spectator may not be ideal for everyone, but it definitely works for some people (and in this case it most definitely works for him).

If you are not in control of your performance, you will get slaughtered by your audience. If this happens, you can lose a tremendous amount of credibility.
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Postby walkinoats » 01/28/02 05:53 AM

When I was first challenged by the spectator who gave me that particular challenge, I choose not to accept the challenge and told the spectator the old line " I am not as good as the other guys" and continued with my regular routine. But I thought it was an interesting challenge and was wondering how some of the members of the Genii Forum would be able to find the selected card under those conditions. Thanks again for all your replys.
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 07:57 AM

Daryl has an inpromptu effect where the participant shuffles the deck, and the magician thinks of a card and through the magicians guidance the participant finds the selected card (named before the revelation). If might fit your requirements.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 09:58 AM

The last time I had a problem like this I handed the deck over to the specator to do the whole deal like you described, and I turned my back and did the same as him with my other deck (INVISIBLE DECK)...

everytime the guy sees me he tells people about that time... heheh...
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/28/02 10:30 AM

Ah, do we ever cease seeking miracles?

E.T., phone home.

When he did, he did a telephone trick.

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 11:08 AM

Jon,

Terrific article on Gino this month...
A fine job indeed! It was nice to see a contribution of an effect other than cards for once! Good Stuff!

Jeffery
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