Cordial greetings. Someone posted my name on a forum board some time ago in reference to a 1973 article in Genii about name revelation on the side of a deck using the faro shuffle. I thought perhaps, some of you would like to hear about the following. I am, indeed, the former ships doctor on the Island Princess, later known as The Love Boat. My name is Michael Ewer, and I am now Professor of Medicine at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. I guess I invented this effect, although I had considerable help. In the fall of 1972 I met Michael Skinner who was one of the entertainers on the ship. We became friends, and kept in contact for many years. He taught me the faro shuffle, and we spent many hours practicing this shuffle in my cabin on the ship. If I couldnt do eight shuffles in one minute I didnt pass the session. Later I learned to just glance at the deck, and keep eye contact with the viewer. Most of the time I could do this without errors.
As a physician and amateur math student, I wanted to see why eight shuffles got me back to the starting point, and so I first drew a circle on the side of the deck and looked at the images that were formed by the shuffles. In shuffles 5, 6, 7, there were 8, 4, 2, ovals, and finally after the eighth shuffle the circle appeared. This let to the name revelation.
Also on the ship was the wonderful Charlie Miller, and Ron Wilson. It was Charlie that got my picture and wrote the story in Genie where the picture appeared. I no longer have a copy; if any of you do, could you please send me a photocopy?
I still do this effect, but only in private settings. It has evolved as follows: I ask someone to bring in a deck of un-opened bicycle cards to the session. They either bring in Blue of Red cards, and I try to get them to show me the sealed box beforehand. I remove the jokers from a similar second deck, write the name of the donor of the cards on the side of the second deck, do four faro shuffles, and cut the cards approximately in the middle. The deck then is placed back in the box without jokers.
I start the routine with the spectators deck, remove the jokers and put them on the table do a few faro shuffles, so people get the idea of what I will be doing, have as many as want to shuffle the cards at various times while I do other effects. Then I take the same pen as I used to write the name, and place lots of dots on the side of the deck. I show the dots, and then I do another one or two sequences. I put the deck, without jokers (I leave them on the table) in the box, and place the box in my pocket. I hesitate, take it immediatelyout, but really remove the prepared deck and ask the donor of the cads to sit on them to "incubate them." I do something with either dice or coins, and then get back the incubated deck. I ask three or four spectators to think of a card, but not to tell me. I cut the deck so that the Ace of Spades is back on the bottom, and do faro number 5; I ask the color of the card they thought of. I do faro 6, and ask the suite. I then take off about a quarter of the deck, show that it is shuffled, and(I don't show it this time, as it is no longer looks shuffled) that there is a hint of a name. I do faro 7, take off half of the deck, and the name is clearer, and then I do faro 8, and show the full name on the side of the deck. I put the jokers back on the top and bottom, put the cards in the box and then ask one of the viewers to put their hand on the box to make sure that nothing happens. I then remember the cards that were though of. I take the deck out, ask those that thought of a card to announce the name, and then find it in this deck by feel.
Finally, I offer to tell them how I do this, but say that I need to start over, and ask if anyone has a new, unopened deck of cards. Of course, no one does, and so I blow on the deck, and show that it is exactly as it was originally, in the same order, except the name still clearly shows on the side. I give the cards back to the owner.
I would love to hear from you. You can E-mail me at email@example.com
. or firstname.lastname@example.org
What ever happened to Mike Skinner? I heard he had died, but no one has every told me what really happened. He had a big influence on my life; all of a sudden he was gone.
Another on the ship was Ron Wilson, but I have not heard from him in decades. All of these classic artists helped me to find great joy in close-up and to have lots of fun in what has been a very active career in clinical medicine.
Hello and warm wishes to you all