Best McDonald's Aces Routine

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Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » March 30th, 2020, 1:09 pm

What do you consider the best McDonald's Aces routine?

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Ian Kendall » March 30th, 2020, 1:49 pm

In Vino Aces has a number of nice touches, not least of which I can be done for larger groups.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 30th, 2020, 2:00 pm

Garcia's routine is simple and direct. It works well and impresses laymen. There are plenty of other ways to do the vanishes, and there are good ways to switch in the Aces by doing something like Collectors.
You do not have to fiddle a lot with Frank's routine.
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Zig Zagger » March 30th, 2020, 3:17 pm

I'd recommend checking out these two more recent, commercial versions. They have some beautiful vanishes/changes. Watch and enjoy!

"Ultimate McDonald Aces" by Jean-Pierre Vallarino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWlEyLVXkWk

"Fantastic Aces" by Jörg Alexander: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fE9ieWBBDL0
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Richard Tremblay » March 30th, 2020, 3:55 pm

I am fond of Gary Kurtz's version where the spectator is involved in all the vanishes and the apparition in the final packet.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 30th, 2020, 4:38 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:What do you consider the best McDonald's Aces routine?
The Vernon write up in More Inner Secrets seemed okay, also the Garcia handling...

Is there a version which starts off from the pack as if dealing hands?

That would show the backs of the cards, and... hmmm ... more later ;)

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 30th, 2020, 6:01 pm

To me Ricky Jay's routine has always been the best - from both technical and artistic perspectives.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » March 30th, 2020, 6:35 pm

I had an idea for showing the 12 cards as all different. On the top of the deck you ahve the three regular aces. Spread off 4 cards and square taking a break over the 4th indifferent card. Flash the face of the packet then square on the deck, dropping the 4th card. Drop the 3 aces on the leader ace.

Now apparently repeat this three more times, but on each successive group of 3 cards you show them fanned then square them on the deck and drop them onto the other aces.

When seeing a series of apparently identical actions, spectators will remember the last thing they see as an exemplar of all the things they've seen, so they will remember they "saw" 3 random cards dropped on the leader ace.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby David Ben » March 30th, 2020, 7:13 pm

I believe Johnny Thompson’s handling is the best. It is in his book. I remember phoning Johnny as I was editing the book and telling him how amazing it is. It is incorporated within a larger routine, but could easily be used on its own.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby David Ben » March 30th, 2020, 7:18 pm

Howard Lyons once told me that Fr. Cyprian’s ringing in of the cards was the best. He apparently used the Stevens Control with a double backer. It is on my To Do list to reconstruct. I asked Cyp about it once and he was his usual self-effacing self. I seem to recall that he did say he described it once on a video? Anybody out there know which video?

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Tom Gilbert » March 30th, 2020, 9:55 pm

Fr. Cyprian did put out an 8 volume video tape series for Videonics. It's now downloadable from L&L.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 30th, 2020, 9:58 pm

Below are videos of Ricky Jay's performance from three different decades. It's interesting to note the nuanced changes over time (and I'm not referring to the length of his hair).
Bob Farmer wrote:I had an idea for showing the 12 cards as all different
Many people have, but I defy anyone to show me a better method than the one used by Ricky Jay. Take a look at these videos and see if you don't agree.

Doug Henning's World of Magic 1976

The same routine from 1983

And yet again from 1996

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Joe Mckay » March 31st, 2020, 1:55 am

John Lenahan has a nice way to switch in the gimmicks. He uses a Slop Shuffle Triumph routine to switch them in. Similar thinking to what Ricky Jay does (but a lot easier). This was taught in GENII about 18 years ago.

Also in GENII you can find a previously unpublished Derek Dingle handling that I am a fan of.

I would also check out the Ernie Clifton handling that Pete Biro (we miss you Pete!) used to praise a lot on the forum. He teaches it here:

https://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=4314#p46442

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » March 31st, 2020, 8:10 am

David: which routine in the Thompson book?

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 31st, 2020, 10:50 am

Ricky was not the first to use a method like that to switch in the gaffs. Many people have done this.
Pat Cook was the first person I saw (I was about 16) and he did a Collectors routine. When the Aces collected the selections--those Aces were the gaffs.
Any trick where the Aces are temporarily out of sight provides the opportunity to switch them for the gaffs.
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Roy M. McIlwee » March 31st, 2020, 11:39 am

Derek Dingle's "McDonald's Aces mentioned above can be found in the December 2004 issue of Genii Magazine. It is a great handling of that classic effect. Check it out.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » March 31st, 2020, 12:32 pm

I agree: the Derek Dingle version is great--actually more than great, very, very good. There were elements left out of the Genii write-up, but thanks to a benefactor, I now have the full write-up.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby David Ben » March 31st, 2020, 1:11 pm

Bob - I don't have the books at hand but I believe it was in Mixed Macs. It is an incredibly detailed sequence, with McDonald's Aces being the end of it, but you should really look at how he does the layout, the various vanishes, and the clean up.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 31st, 2020, 1:17 pm

Forgot to mention that Juan Tamariz has an amazing handling of this trick, which he uses to fool magicians.
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Q. Kumber » March 31st, 2020, 4:32 pm

I've always preceded McDonald's Aces with Dr. Daley's Last Trick. I just put the balance of the deck in my jacket pocket and when I take it out again, the extras are added.

What hasn't been asked about is the context of the trick. Is it part of a formal show, in which case the Johnny Thompson routine is a complete act, (page 159 of Volume One) or simply showing some tricks? I love Johnny Thompson's line about the Princess :-)

Around 1980 in Dublin, myself and two other magicians were booked to do close-up in a high-end restaurant. We'd each do a week on, two weeks off. It was all sit down with the guests, not stand up strolling like today. McDonald's Aces was in all our repertoires. The owner would often watch our performances. After a few months he remarked, "I've figured out all your tricks but I cannot fathom the one with the Aces."

I've watched and read lots of routines by various magicians. The majority contain sequences to fool other magicians and make the laying down of the piles arduous and complicated.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » March 31st, 2020, 5:26 pm

As a kid, I was particularly miffed at Mark Wilson who performed the effect on his TV show claiming it was sleight of hand. At the time (not now), I was a bit of a purist and thought he shouldn't be lying like that.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Q. Kumber » March 31st, 2020, 5:50 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:As a kid, I was particularly miffed at Mark Wilson who performed the effect on his TV show claiming it was sleight of hand. At the time (not now), I was a bit of a purist and thought he shouldn't be lying like that.


As part of my presentation, I say (referring to who taught me the trick), ". . . and he claimed it was the greatest sleight of hand trick it was possible to do."

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby chriscaldwell11 » April 2nd, 2020, 6:51 am

Tim Conover's version was the best I ever saw. Beautiful, unique vanishes of each ace. The DFers are randomly scattered in the deck, so it reset instantly.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 2nd, 2020, 12:07 pm

chriscaldwell11 wrote:Tim Conover's version was the best I ever saw. Beautiful, unique vanishes of each ace. The DFers are randomly scattered in the deck, so it reset instantly.
There was a version of Hamman's Final Ace Assembly with work by Scotty York and Tim Connover. Revolutionary Aces. Is that the item?

There is an item by Bob Kohler using what are somewhat double faced cards called Aces in their Faces which looks very good.
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Philippe Billot » April 2nd, 2020, 12:45 pm

And what do you think about Ouellet's A Dream of Aces?

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Philippe Billot » April 2nd, 2020, 12:54 pm

And I remember that RK said a lot of good things about Marlo's version described in the magazine New Tops of December 1965 because you can show the faces and the backs of all cards.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » April 2nd, 2020, 1:03 pm

Though I prefer to be discussing just the classic method (double-faced aces), I do have a method in my Turnantula manuscript (Lybrary.com). Though the routine uses gaffed cards, it will fool those knowing McDonald’s Aces and Marlo’s Aces (aka Kohler’s Aces In Their Faces).

In the McDonald routine, since double face cards are used, it is not possible to spread the packets and show four backs, though you can show the complete faces of each card in the packet.

Marlo’s routine allows a spread of four backs, but you can’t show the complete faces of the cards.

My routine (which uses some old gaffs in a new combination) allows you to not only spread the cards and show four backs in each packet, but also to show the complete faces of all the cards, even the cards in the leader packet.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Q. Kumber » April 2nd, 2020, 1:05 pm

Philippe Billot wrote:And what do you think about Ouellet's A Dream of Aces?


A perfect example of how to be up one's own ass and boring at the same time.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Philippe Billot » April 2nd, 2020, 3:15 pm

Fortunatly, someone gives me the booklet!

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 2nd, 2020, 3:23 pm

The Marlo version with the split-back cards is excellent for magicians and for laymen who might have seen the routine several times already.
The Gary Ouellet version is crap. There is an interesting germ in there, but that's about it.
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby chriscaldwell11 » April 2nd, 2020, 3:59 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
chriscaldwell11 wrote:Tim Conover's version was the best I ever saw. Beautiful, unique vanishes of each ace. The DFers are randomly scattered in the deck, so it reset instantly.
There was a version of Hamman's Final Ace Assembly with work by Scotty York and Tim Connover. Revolutionary Aces. Is that the item?

There is an item by Bob Kohler using what are somewhat double faced cards called Aces in their Faces which looks very good.


Hi Jonathan,
No it is not the same. I'm very familiar with Scotty and Tim's routine and Bob Kohler's. This was a standard routine for McDonald's Aces using standard DFer's. Tim told me some of it was inspired by Johnny Thompson.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 2nd, 2020, 10:08 pm

David Ben wrote:I believe Johnny Thompson’s handling is the best. It is in his book. I remember phoning Johnny as I was editing the book and telling him how amazing it is.

Is the version in the book different from the one on the L&L videos?

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Q. Kumber » April 3rd, 2020, 4:48 am

The one in the book is a complete routined act involving a series of tricks with Aces, the McDonald's being one single trick in the act.
I haven't compared with the video, but if anything is the same, it would be the vanishes.

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The Power of Hofzinser's Assembly

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 3rd, 2020, 9:25 am

What is the published source for the Connover routine?

Bob Farmer's Blackjack Assembly method looks like a great reason to practice his Turnantula. Thumbs up for clever application of available methods. :idea:
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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby erdnasephile » April 3rd, 2020, 11:02 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:
David Ben wrote:I believe Johnny Thompson’s handling is the best. It is in his book. I remember phoning Johnny as I was editing the book and telling him how amazing it is.

Is the version in the book different from the one on the L&L videos?


I just watched the video (what a pleasure to see Mr. Thompson again!) and read the book. The routines are the essentially the same, but the management he uses to get in and out of the routine are different in each case (and really quite brilliant). In particular, the overall sequence or routines in the book is so deceptive because the various routines cancel out each other's methods. In addition, starting on page 181, Mr. Thompson lists a couple of clever ideas on how to ring in the gaffs when performing the assembly independently from the big sequence (one utilizes a common kitchen implement).

PS: Thank you to Bob Farmer for starting this thread and Mr. Ben for pointing out Mr. Thompson's work on this!
PPS: A very interesting variant of McDonald's Aces is Martin Lewis' Ghost Deal--specifically, JC. Wagner's version of Mr. Lewis' routine.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Chris10 » April 4th, 2020, 3:38 pm

Here is a sleight-of-hand switch that results in a switch of the real aces for the double-faced fekes.

I found this switch in a pamphlet entitled Aces High by S. Leo Horowitz and Dr. Jacob Daley.

Initial Arrangement: The real aces are held face up in the palm of the palm-up left hand. The feke cards, aces side down, are picked up and held by the left finger tips above the real aces. They are stepped forward about one inch. The ace on the bottom of the double-faced packet must be the same ace showing on top of the real-ace packet.

The Switch: The right thumb and index finger grip the left inside corner of the feke cards and draws them inward across the real aces and into a vertical position. The lower short end of the the left hand packet brushes along the face of the aces. At the same time the left hand swings around until the real aces are in a vertical position in front of the feke cards. The real aces are now clipped between the tips of the first and second fingers of the right hand.The right thumb releases the feke cards while the left hand keeps on holding the feke cards. The right hand draws the real aces up and over so they show backs up. At the same time the left hand swings back to its former position. During this switch, the left hand simply rocks up into a vertical position and back down to its original horizontal position. It appears as all that has happened is that you turned the indifferent cards face down. It is not necessary to look at the cards as you perform this switch. The packet of feke cards are now in the left hand inn the same position the real aces occupied just moments ago, with the same ace showing. The real aces, backs up, are now in the same position as were the double-faced cards at the beginning of the switch. The entire switch must be done in one smooth unbroken action.

This very convincing switch puts a little sleight-of-hand into the McDonald’s Aces enabling you to refer to it as a sleight-of-hand trick if you so desire.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Bob Farmer » April 4th, 2020, 6:37 pm

That's a great switch. I have that routine, so I'm going to review it.

After playing around with it, I think the Tenkai Turnover would also work well here.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Philippe Billot » April 5th, 2020, 4:00 am

One of the lucky ones must have been Professor Hoffmann because he was able to attend one of the first presentations of this trick.

Excerpt from Inconsequensialities by Stanley Collins
The Linking Ring, Vol. 28, No. 3, May 1948

Eugène Verbeck was a master of his art is evidenced by the programme presented before the members of the Savage Club, London, on the 27th December, 1884. I give it just as I find it in one of Prof. Hoffmann's notebooks—

…Showing the four aces he dealt them (apparently) face downwards on the four corners of the table, then placed professedly, three indifferent cards on each. He then had two chosen, then one of remainder, usual equivoque, and caused all four aces to be found together in last heap. He then said he would repeat the experiment with the cards face upwards. Accordingly he asked someone to pick out the four Queens and to see that there were no others in the pack. He then dealt out apparently the four Queens face upward (but in the meantime changed them for others, backed with low cards) and then added to each three low cards, placing them fanwise and face upwards. He then took one of the heaps, gathered it up (filage) and asked the Chairman to put it in his pocket-book or pocket. He then stated that he would send the three other Queens visibly to rejoin the one in the gentleman's pocket book. He accordingly gathered up the gentleman's packet with (say) the Queen of Spades, said Queen of Spades, go! then threw the cards violently down on the table one by one, in so doing turning over the Queen of Spades which thereby assumed the appearance of a low card. He did the same with the other two heaps and the four Queens were then found in the spectator's pocket. (Really brilliant trick.)


And remember that the first Four Card Assembly ON THE TABLE was described in 1853...

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Q. Kumber » April 5th, 2020, 7:00 am

Phillippe, that is very useful. Thank you for tracking it down and posting.

I'm assuming the remark, "Really brilliant trick" was made by Hoffman?

I like that Verbeck threw the cards violently down on the table. I wish some of today's magicians would adopt that procedure. It might help keep their audiences awake.

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Re: Best McDonald's Aces Routine

Postby Philippe Billot » April 5th, 2020, 7:35 am

"I'm assuming the remark, "Really brilliant trick" was made by Hoffman?"

I'm not sure because Collins was also a big fan of this trick and created his own version (not a McDo theme) which has his name "Collins' Aces"


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