Impromptu Ambitious Card Finale

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Sean Piper » 02/06/02 02:16 AM

I Recently felt as though I was the only magician on the planet not doing an Ambitious Card routine. So after a couple of weeks tinkering, I've come up with a nice flow of moves that can be roughly classified as a member of the Ambitious Card family.

The only thing I'm stuck on is the ending. I want this routine to be completely impromptu, therefor I'd like to avoid wallets, wax, rubber bands, etc.

Any thoughts...
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Postby Guest » 02/06/02 10:30 AM

If I don't have my Real Mans Wallet with me, I use a Hot Shot Cut or the card fold where they see the folded card go into the deck and then visibly jump to the top. I believe that you can find this in the Ambitious Card Omnibus by Daryl.

Mike
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 02/06/02 11:34 AM

If you are doing it impromptu and therefore cannot load it into something just produce it from your pocket. The ambitious card is so powerful that it needs an incredibly strong climax. Except in a few instances, this should be different then what has been happening, the card coming to the top, because they expect it and you lose some of the suprise element. However, because they are expecting the card to be on top, producing it from an impossible location is a stunning climax. The other problem with most endings is that it doesnt really signify the end. However, the card ending up in an impossible location surely is the end.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 02/06/02 11:44 AM

Producing the card from the pocket is a good end. Don't just palm it off and pull it immediatly from your pocket. Put it in the pocket as you reach in and pull other stuff(keys, money,etc) out of the pocket. Reach in a few times to get stuff and then produce the card. The appearence that the card has been buried deep within your pocket will be even more amazing.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 02/06/02 12:56 PM

I have to disagree. Unless there is a reason for it in the presentation, having the card appear in a pocket, wallet, or other impossible location is thematically unrelated to the basic effect of the card rising to the top. Sure, it may suprise the audience, but it's not a good surprise.

Think of the endings to The Sixth Sense of Unbreakable. They most likely came as a suprise to people in the audience (though I do know a few people who figured them out way before the end...). However, once the suprise came, the audience thinks, "Of course! I didn't see it coming, but that's the way it should be!" Now, imagine if, at the end of The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis went into an elaborate song & dance number. That'd certainly come as a suprise to anyone watching the movie, but instead of thinking, "Of course...," they think "Why?" It's completely unrealted to the theme & tone of the rest of the movie. Similarly, pulling a card out of a wallet at the end of an ambitious card sequence can result in the audience thinking "Why?"

That's not to say it can't be done. It could be as simple as saying - "This card is an ambitious card...he always goes to the top, where the money is." With that one line, you've given a reason for it to appear in your wallet - the card likes to go where the money is. That's just one thought off the top of my head. I'm sure there are others.

-Jim
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Postby Curtis Kam » 02/06/02 01:17 PM

Well, Sean, since your original motivation was to work out a routine so that you could be just like everyone else, you can't miss with the "Pop -Up Card". Just about everyone uses it, and I think it's even been on T.V. a couple of times, so you know it's good.

Just kidding, sort of. Frankly, I just put the Ambitious back onto my A-List after intentionally leaving it out for years, because everyone else was doing it. I just got tired of missing out! So I feel your pain when you talk about being the only guy on the block without a routine. (Of course, just to be different, my routine uses No double lifts. Really. The spectator turns over the card each time. But I digress...)

To answer your question: The best place to find your ending is at the beginning of your routine. In other words, if you choose a theme that builds from beginning to end, the climax will suggest itself. My favorite example of this is in Gary Kurtz's lecture notes, "Leading with your Head" I believe. He presents a six (?) phase Ambitious routine based on the theme of "increasing openness". Each phase shows the audience a litle more, or involves them a little more, making the procedures increasingly fair and "open".

Following along with that theme, the climax suggests itself: The last time, the card rises to the top while the deck is in the spectator's hands, he squares the card in himself, snaps his fingers (himself) and he himself reveals the ambitious card on top of the deck.

Check out the lecture notes, and give it a try. We're talking spongeball-like impact.

Good Luck!
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 02/06/02 02:11 PM

Jim, it goes without saying that the card to pocket or any impossible location needs a reason. However, giving it a reason is not difficult. As far as everybody else doing it, because this is true, your routine needs to distinguish itself in some way. Not necessarily the moves but the way you present it. It will take time to develop your routine so that it is good. I am constantly making improvements to my own, which only uses one double lift. As far as the endings, having the card rise to the top in the spectators hands is sponge-ballish in natural as Curtis says, which makes it very strong. In fact it is the sequence right before my climax. You know what would be nice, doing the Ambitious Riser in someone elses hands. Of course it would need to be mechanical but think about how magical that would look.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 02/06/02 03:05 PM

Ambitious Riser in spectator's hand?

Very interesting idea, Matt. I'm not sure it would have to be mechanical. Suppose the "riser" is outjogged, the spectator holds the deck (perhaps by the other end) and the magician does something, perhaps riffling the deck, to cause the card to rise incrimentally.

The best thing that strikes me at the moment is a half card that is removed and reinserted under cover of the riffle.

Or, the Harkey-esque approach: Set up for Tilt, Tilt the riser in second from the top, but backjogged towards you. Spectator is given the deck, but you retain enough of a grip to maintain the Tilt situation.

Allow the tilt to close, giving the visual impression of the card slowly rising up to second from the top.

Or?
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 02/06/02 04:40 PM

Also, I forget where I read it, I would have to go look which I will later, but if you have a post it note stuck on the outer edge of a card and then tilt it, you can have the card squared with the deck and the post-it note rises, and then you can do a double lift to make it appear that the card arrived on top. You have to have to stick the post-it on the face to avoid a major discrepency. I think I saw this at a lecture but im not sure.
What I was referring to however, would be to do it while standing away from the deck and gesturing for it to happen, so the spectator simply holds the deck and there is no riffling or anything done on anybody's part. I have been brainstorming a little about this and have thought of a few possible methods but I need to try them out.
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Postby Sean Piper » 02/06/02 04:56 PM

Thanks guys!!! These are all greta ideas.

I personally am undecided on the card to impossible situation. I tend to lean towards the Dai Vernon school of thought, that Card to Wallet is a separate effect, and should be presented as such.

But like I say, still undecided...
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Postby Curtis Kam » 02/06/02 06:20 PM

Matt, if memeory serves, Ken Krenzel had a gimmicked card that was supposed to approximate the effect you're talking about, although I don't think it was as "hands off" as you've described.

My favorite method is to have Ray Cosby in the audience to stooge the part of the spectator. But I eagerly await the results of your experimentation.

Regarding the "card in impossible location" ending, add my friend Allen Okawa to the list of those strongly opposed to mucking up the wallet effect by grafting it onto some other trick. Allen, of course, is a proponent of the Vernon school and cares enough about the wallet effect to produce one of the finest wallets available today.

I, on the other hand, have worked the wallet into other effects with good results, although never the ambitious card, nor would I want to. But didn't Dai Vernon suggest using the card in wallet for the final card in "Travellers"?
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Postby Sean Piper » 02/06/02 08:41 PM

Curtis,

Actually I believe Vernon was quite against using the wallet in Travellers. It was when I heard him speak about this particular routine that I learnt of his stance on the topic.

Michael Ammar brought up the point while explaining Travellers, and quite quickly Vernon cut him down for even mentioning such an idea.

Sean.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 02/06/02 10:09 PM

Originally posted by Matt Sedlak:
Also, I forget where I read it, I would have to go look which I will later, but if you have a post it note stuck on the outer edge of a card and then tilt it, you can have the card squared with the deck and the post-it note rises, and then you can do a double lift to make it appear that the card arrived on top. You have to have to stick the post-it on the face to avoid a major discrepency. I think I saw this at a lecture but im not sure.
What I was referring to however, would be to do it while standing away from the deck and gesturing for it to happen, so the spectator simply holds the deck and there is no riffling or anything done on anybody's part. I have been brainstorming a little about this and have thought of a few possible methods but I need to try them out.


Check out "Tailwind" by David Harkey in "Flashpoints: Edward Marlo's Full Tilt and Compleat Devilish Miracle," written by Jon Racherbaumer.

-Jim
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Postby Bill Duncan » 02/07/02 01:01 AM

Oh hell... I'm never gonna do my face up AC routine again anyway. :D In your best Ringmaster voice announce the grand finale'.

Leave the selection face up on top and spin cut it to the center of the deck. Spread the pack to show it's position and catch a break one card above it. Pass the card to second from the top (or use a cover pass).

Now request that a helpful spectator or two provide a drum roll. As they begin drumming position the pack for Marlo's Aerial Change (Card Finesse p.17) and as you drop the pack and the selection appears face up on top in midair say "Look Ma, no hands!"

It's consistant with the theme of the effect and provides a nice visual. Announcing the finale' and having a 'drum roll' involves the audience and cues the applause at the end because the context is one in which the audience knows what is expected of them.

Hope you like it.
b
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Postby Guest » 02/07/02 03:01 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Curtis Kam:
[QB]Matt, if memeory serves, Ken Krenzel had a gimmicked card that was supposed to approximate the effect you're talking about, although I don't think it was as "hands off" as you've described.

null

Hi Folks

Just for information. The Krenzel card thing is *definitely* not a 'hands off' item. Without tipping, there's a sort of optical illusion element in there, whereby the same card appears to be in two places at the same time. I played with it for a while - but think you can do just as well with good ol' sleight of hand, which also has the added benefit that the spectator can sign the face of the card. With the Krenzel gimmick - I can't really see a way that the card could be signed and handed out afterwards - if the signature is to be seen during the effect.

Unless someone out there has an idea on how to achieve this?

Derek Jones
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Postby Guest » 02/07/02 03:04 AM

Dear Sean, I tougth like you for years. And for that way I devised several versions of the ambitious card. Later I threw all away because I realized the best routine of all its the Vernon version described in " Stars of Magic" created more than 50 years ago. Yet its the very best. It has everything not only a good ending. Above all has audience involvement, not only phisical also psicollogical audience involvement and the final was a in the spectators hand phase. Its so strong that many times it becomes an ending of my close up act.
Its so well constructed the routine that nowadays its the tipical trick I do for a very dificult and exigent public.

One tip, dont change anyting, you have to do exactly as its written. If you delete or change some part youll have lost part of their impact.
For me ,the most difficult part of the execution was adquiring the rigth timing and rythm.


NOTE: The versions I created were focussing in the method, being each fase more ingenious than the previous but what happened was that the trick was a challenge, but after coming to the top trhee times, the trick lacked interest for the public, and this was the motivation for doing th Vernon version created for fooling the soldiers during second world war in the canteens their were drinking and aproaching girls, What a tough audinece! Give a try and youll be thankfull to Vernon forever like me!
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Postby Guest » 02/07/02 05:09 AM

Interesting comments on the climax in reference to removing the card from a wallet. I didn't realize Dai Vernon frowned on that ending.

I can tell you from my experience that when I remove the signed ambitious card from my keycase, unfold it and hand it to the spectators I have gotten some incredible reactions. As a matter of fact, not once did anyone have anything less than an enthusiastic reaction. The theme of their card representing luck is in my presentation and the object I am removing from my keycase is my "good luck charm".

Personally I think you can create a presentation that will make removing the "ambitness card" from your wallet a very powerful climax.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/07/02 01:10 PM

Mark Ennis's comment is dead on. If you want to add card-to-wallet as a climax to your Ambitious Card routine, you can; but you have to create a presentation in which that makes sense as a climax.

This is true for any climax you may desire to add to this classic trick.

Following the example in Daryl's Ambitious Card Omnibus, I present the trick as an example of gambling skill. i.e., a gambler can control any card in the deck by simply bringing it to the top, from which you can deal it to yourself, palm it away, etc. I use the Ace of Spades because it's easy to remember, but really you could bring any card to the top.

A logical extension of this premise is that you can control any card to any position. Thus a surprising but in retrospect inevitable climax to this trick would be to reveal that the AS is on top, followed by the 2S, 3S, in fact, the entire deck is in order.

I don't know how you'd do this entirely impromptu, as Sean asked in his original post. But it doesn't use anything besides a deck of cards so if you can set up the deck beforehand it should be quite practical.

An alternative climax would be to have the audience call out any card and immediately bring that to the top of the deck. This can be done using a memorized deck (at least, I assume it can -- I don't work with a memorized deck).
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Postby Sean Macfarlane » 02/07/02 01:12 PM

Curtis, Where can one obtain one of Allan Okawas Wallets? cheers.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 02/07/02 03:55 PM

Snatch, I don't know if the dealers have any more of Allen's wallets. If they're listening, they might pipe up and let us know. Allen sells them himself when he has them, but the supply has been erratic. I'll see if he has any right now.

Regarding the "impossible location" ending, remember that it's easy to get off track here. The question is not whether you CAN end "Ambitious" with the Card in the wallet, but SHOULD you. We can all reasonably expect to get a good reaction from Card in wallet (or keycase) whether or not it's the climax to an Ambitious Card routine. After all, it's a great trick.

The question is: Does the combination enhance the Card in Wallet, or the Ambitious, or does it hurt?

One way it could hurt is if the card in wallet is so strong that it wipes out all memory of the Ambitious sequence. As far as the audience is concerned, you've only got one good trick, "the one where my card ends up in a sealed envelope" Pity. You could have had two.
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Postby Guest » 02/07/02 04:07 PM

Interesting thoughts Curtis. I see your point, but the way I perform the routine leads me to believe that the audience does remember the ambitious phases prior to pulling it out of the keycase. My presentation paints the picture for them. Also, the ambitious phases last longer than the climax.

I can't explain what I mean very well. If you weren't so far away, I could show you what I meant.

I also have another signed and folded card to keycase effect I perform. Obviously not for the same crowd, so I guess I do have 2 routines.
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 02/07/02 04:37 PM

I dont do a card to wallet ending to my routine, it is a card to pocket. I think both can be used but in different ways. If you load the card into the wallet it should not appear in the envelope because then it will probably wipe out the rest of the effect, although that might not be the case because I have not tried it. The card to impossible location is also being somewhat overdone by everybody as an ending to the Ambitious Card so maybe it is time for another ending. I just feel that having the card coming back to the top is not a sufficient ending because it is expected.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 02/07/02 05:03 PM

By the way, Pete, I like the idea of a "Call to Order" ending, or an "any card called for". I once tried to use the ambitious sequences to cull the three mates of the ambitious card, for a four-of-a-kind ending.

The first mate is obvious: Fan the deck facing you, insert the Riser (reversed) above any mate near center, use a riffle pass to bring the face up riser to the top visibly. First mate is now second from top. After that, it gets dicey, unless open spread culls make your day.

Mark, I have been curious about the folded card in the keycase ever since Darwin Ortiz made me want one in his book, was it "Cardshark?" Is that what you're doing?

Speaking of combo's, what do you think of a keycase that's rigged for both ringflite and card to case? Allen showed me an old Cardini ringflite in which the reel was invisible when you opened up the case. That sort of setup would allow you to do either, one after the other, or both at the same time.
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Postby Guest » 02/07/02 05:11 PM

Curtis -

Yes, the keycase is the same one that Darwin uses in his routine "The Showdown", which is his sensational routine based on the Traveller's plot.

The keycase itself is available from Bob Solari and it is called "Keyruption". I also use it as my real key case.

By the way, Cardshark is an excellent book if I do say so myself.
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Postby Matt Sedlak » 02/07/02 07:11 PM

Cardshark is a great book, as are all of Darwin's books, although I think Cardshark has somewhat better material then Darwin Ortiz At The Card Table.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/07/02 11:13 PM

Curtis,

Thanks. About a year ago I figured out that I could cull the other three aces while removing the Ace of Spades at the beginning of the trick and set them right then for the big finish.

I was really proud of this idea, as it seemed like the perfect solution to the impromptu ambitious card finale.

Then I learned that Jamy Ian Swiss has been using this climax to his ambitious card routine (the effect, anyway -- I don't know his method) for many years and it is one of his signature effects. So I don't do it now out of respect to Jamy.


BTW speaking of card to Keycase, I saw Richard Sanders at the Castle a few months ago. He put a small coin purse on the table, then had a card signed and returned to the deck.

He picked up the purse, took a small self-closing tweezer from his pocket, and opened the purse. Inside was a folded card.

Without touching the card he removed it from the purse using the tweezer (no switch) and gave it to the spectator. It was the signed selection.

I don't know if Richard has published this handling but it is the best variation of the classic Fred Kaps "card to ringbox" effect I've ever seen. Totally clean, utterly convincing, not too hard (the Mercury fold is by far the hardest part), perform standing (you can have the spectator hold the purse if you like), and everything is examinable at the end.

With versions of this trick already in print by Tommy Wonder, Al Goshman, and of course, Fred Kaps, this is quite a claim, I realize. If you'd seen it, I think you would agree.
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Postby Richard Morrell » 02/08/02 08:51 AM

Pete,

This could be his 'Castle Card In Coin Purse' that appears on his new 'Roadkillers' video along with David Acer. I don't have the video but plan to pick it up soon especially now you have described that routine!

Also UK magician Jon Allen has a card to box effect where the spectator can take the card out of the box, which I believe he plans on releasing sometime soon.

As for an Impromptu Ambitious Finale Jay Sankey's 'Top Card' is good assuming you use a marker to have a card signed to do your ambitious routine.

Rich.
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Postby Guest » 02/08/02 10:31 AM

For what it's worth, I end my AC routine by controlling the card to the top, double-lifting to show a "mistake," slapping the deck to my forehead while saying "I don't know what was on my mind," and leaving the card stuck there. Nothing brilliant, but quite a sufficient climax for my lone-wolf-amateur venues.

Also, FWIW, I open my impromptu card work with the Ambitious Card and have the card reintroduce itself at odd moments in subsequent routines. My last sequence is a series of four-ace routines, which ends when turn one of the aces into the ambitious card, bringing matters full-circle.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/08/02 11:44 AM

Rich,

Sounds like the same trick. I didn't mention it, but you can hand the tweezer to the spectator and have them remove the card from the purse if you like. In fact, you can hand the tweezer and the purse to the spectator for this part of the routine if you like.

Just a little note to get you to buy that video even sooner!
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Postby fkaps1 » 02/13/02 01:40 PM

Hi All,

Wow, Curtis Kam...glad to see you active.

On Ambitious, the use of card to wallet is gratutitous unless motivated. It doesn't make sense unless it is intigrated into the routine. Following a similar line to Gary Kurtz' thinking, my routine devlopes with increasingly difficult conditions. There is a running joke line "But I know what you're thinking" to take each phase to the next step. ie "But I know what you're thinking. The cards all look alike face down. I can't see when it happens. If the card was face up, you'd know the moment it happens" Thanks to the late Albert Goshman for that line. The whole routine continues in that vain until the end.

My payoff is "But I know what your thinking. I'm still touching the cards. I can do that sleight of hand stuff. If you held the cards I couldn't do it right? Wrong, I can still touch the deck, so I'll tell you what. I'll cover it up so I can't touch it. Here. I'll put my wallet on top. Now I can't get at the cards" At this point I gesture and tell them I've done it. They lift the wallet and check the top of the deck. It's not there. I get them to check the second card..not there. I then say "Oh, I know what happened. I did my job to well. The card came to the top of the deck but it didn't stop there. It rose through the layers of cardboard, but it kept rising through the layers of leather in my wallet." I then open the wallet, unzip it and remove the card.

Hope someone finds the idea helpful,

Marc DeSouza
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/14/02 01:31 PM

Another good impromptu AC climax is Gary Ouellet's Capricorn Card.

For the final phase you put the AC in the deck. Then you turn over the top card and it's the AC, at which point the audience realizes that the rest of the deck has vanished.

You have to be seated but it's otherwise impromptu. You'd still have to incorporate it into your routine somehow but there's no doubt about it being a climax. Once the deck is gone there's nothing more to do.

It's in the "Threshold" (T&R Card) manuscript.
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Postby Guest » 02/15/02 07:44 AM

David Williamson's '51 Cards to Pocket'! Big and flashy, and funny!


Ben S
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 02/15/02 04:14 PM

Originally posted by Curtis Kam:
Ambitious Riser in spectator's hand?

Very interesting idea, Matt. I'm not sure it would have to be mechanical. Suppose the "riser" is outjogged, the spectator holds the deck...Or, the Harkey-esque approach: Set up for Tilt, Tilt the riser in second from the top, but backjogged towards you. Spectator is given the deck, but you retain enough of a grip to maintain the Tilt situation.

Allow the tilt to close, giving the visual impression of the card slowly rising up to second from the top.

Or?


All this talk of having the rise occur visually in the spectator's hands is very inspiring. You guys made me think how cool it'd be if it snowed everywhere and everyone had to wear gloves. Magicians could get away with murder! Since we'd just as soon have “photo enforcement” than snow here in Hawaii here's something worth trying in a one-on-one situation.

Take a small napkin and lay it across the open palm of the spectator. With the deck face down in right hand “Biddle” grip (or overhand grip, end-grip, whatever y'all want to call it), pick up a right thumb break below the top card. Place the deck onto the napkin and have the spectator pinch the deck by its long edges in somewhat of a high dealer's grip. The end with the thumb break is toward you so it can't be seen. What you're essentially doing here is allowing the spectator to hold the deck in Marlo's “Frontal Tilt” position all by himself without him knowing it! The long edges of the deck are conveniently hidden from his view by the napkin. Moreover, he won't be able to feel the break through the thickness of the napkin. Right about now, common decency requires that you feel pretty guilty.

Now, insert the selection face up into the break per “Frontal Tilt”. Leave it outjogged for about half its length and then begin enshrouding the main portion of the deck by wrapping any excess folds of the napkin over the top. It's worth mentioning that the deck must be positioned on the napkin so only the selection peeks out the front.

It's apple pie from here on. Just flail your arms wildly, scream “TIGLATHPILEZER!” (Be sure to pronounce this word correctly or the trick won't work), and then tell him to slowly open the napkin to reveal the outjogged selection second from top.
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Postby David Acer » 04/03/02 03:02 PM

Hi Sean, Ezra, Mike, Matt, Larry, Jim, Curtis, Bill, DK, Mcuesta, Mark, Pete, Snatch, Rick, Ralph, Marc, Ben and Craig. The trick to which Pete was referring is indeed my and Richard Sanders, "Castle Card in Coin Purse," which you can find on "Roadkillers." Incidentally, crediting issues were a bit sketchy on the video (i.e. people who view the tape typically associate the trick being performed with whichever one of us happened to perform it), but ALL the material was (and is) collaborational, with the exception of "Heavy Credit," which I pilfered directly from my own Natural Selections, Volume II, and "The Twinkle Change," which Richard had been playing with before we hit the road. Just thought youd like to know.

End Transmission
Now tweeting daily from @David_Acer
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Postby Guest » 04/03/02 08:49 PM

Josh Jay's presentation with the remote control is cool. Makes the card to impossible location as the finale more coherent with the effect than simply doing a card to pocket/wallet/shoe.

~Jason
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Postby Alpen » 04/03/02 08:51 PM

David,
Was transmission ever actually started?
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Postby Guest » 04/03/02 10:03 PM

To keep it strictly impromptu - same theme throughout - card rising to top - try this.

For the last sequence: get the Ambitious Card second from top, double lift to show it back on top. Double turnover and place the top card (supposedly the Amb Card) in the middle. When it is a little more than half way in, ask the spec to push it in flush with the rest of the deck.

Patter here is, "Here, you push it in - this way we'll know for sure it's in the middle - right?" When Spec says, "right" - you say, "wrong" - and show it back on top.

This came from an evening with Martin Nash a little more than 20 years ago - and that's the way I've been ending the routine since. I've been through many other endings but this one works best for me.

BTW, I do pretty much Vernon's routine from Stars of Magic - I just use my own presentation.
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Postby Guest » 04/03/02 10:09 PM

Help! Richard, I just posted a reply and could not get through because of "flood protection" - what did I do wrong!
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Postby Guest » 04/04/02 11:40 AM

Look at Juan Tamariz "The Magic Way". There is a great Ambitious Card Routine in seven steps and the finale is an old trick which you can find in Vernons Inner secrets of card magic. I never saw it performed from another one and it is real impromtu. That the routine is from Tamariz speaks for it self.
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Postby Guest » 04/05/02 01:14 PM

Can anyone give me some more information on Dai Vernon's ambitious card routine please.

I would like to know what he did (not neccessarily exactly) and possible what moves he used? I am very interested in him as a magacian person also and would love to know anything!

Thanks in advance,
Gary
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