To You The Very Best of David Acer written by
David Acer illustrated by
Hermetic Press, Inc. Seattle, Washington
ix Author’s Note
• 1 Chapter 1—The Very Best of David Acer 3 Cellular Production 9 Rink 15 Transfusion 21 Holiday Miracle 25 Cheap Labour 29 Around the World in Eighty D ollars 35 Time Flies 38 Streeter #1: Ghost in the Machine 39 Overtime 43 Transposition Ring Flite 48 Streeter #2: Madcap 49 Mad Card Disease 2.0 59 Nomen Omen 65 Hyperventilate 69 Misguided A ngels 2.0 75 Rematch 79 Swiss Pack 87 Squancho 2.0 92 Streeter #3: Dry Spell
93 Money Flies 107 Initially Yours 115 The Body Swap 119 The President’s Message 125 Coffee Break 129 Changes 137 Money for Nothing 141 Lickety Flip 149 Mitosis 153 Party of Six
• 161 Chapter 2—More Power to You 163 Wormhole 167 iAces 171 Gift of the Magi
• 179 Publishing History
Over the years, I’ve created and performed many different Coins Across routines, but in my professional work, this is the one I keep coming back to (or the one to which I keep coming back...to...). Nobody’s saying it’s the greatest Coins Across ever, but not everyone isn’t saying that either, which means someone still might. Effect: Two quarters are initialled, one by the magician, the other by a spectator. The magician displays one in each hand before closing his fingers over them. With a flick of his wrist, he purportedly sends the quarter from his left hand up his sleeve, around his back, and into his right hand— and indeed, when he opens his hands, that’s exactly where it is. Offering to repeat the miracle, the magician keeps one initialled quarter and has the spectator hold the other. He then mimes the act of tossing his quarter invisibly through the air and watches it “land” in the spectator’s fist. “Did you feel it?” he asks. The spectator replies, “No.” The magician says, “That’s because I didn’t send the whole quarter—just the initials.” He opens his hand and shows that his quarter is now initialfree. The spectator opens her hand, revealing that her quarter now has both sets of initials. Required: Technically, nothing. You can do this with two borrowed quarters and any available (ideally black) marker. But for the sake of explanation, let’s assume you have a marker on your person. Performance: Borrow two quarters from someone. Hand him or her (let’s say her) your marker and ask her to initial either one. When she’s done, retrieve her quarter and hold it initialled side up between your right thumb (on top) and first finger (beneath). You’re now going to perform a Two-Card Monte Move with coins. Place the second quarter onto the first, then spread the pair by pushing your thumb outward as your first finger pulls inward, just enough to expose
More Power to You the initials on the bottom coin (Fig-
Now turn your right hand palm down, at the same time “switching” the coins by sliding them in opposite directions (Figure 2). This creates the impression that the spectator’s initialled quarter is outermost and the
“blank” quarter is innermost, when the opposite is true. Without pausing, turn your left hand palm up and take the innermost coin onto your left fingers, keeping it “blank” side up (i.e., initials against your fingers). Then turn your right hand palm up and openly allow its coin to fall into the curl of your right fingers, which close around it, leaving your right thumb and first finger free to take the marker from the spectator. Initial the quarter resting on your left fingers (the underside is, of course, sporting the spectator’s initials), then table or otherwise discard the marker. With your left thumb, slide the initialled quarter up to your left fingertips and place the other quarter on top of it. In a continuing action, grasp both coins between your right thumb (on top) and first finger (beneath), then spread them as before (Figure 3).
Turn your right hand palm down as you execute the TwoCard Monte Move with Coins,
This routine first infiltrated the magic community in the July 1991 issue of Genii magazine, and based on the subsequent lack of buzz, it was definitely a stealth attack. But two decades later, the routine continues to induce joy and befuddlement among laymen, earning it a special place in my repertoire, this book, and hopefully...(sniff)...in your hearts.... actual tear stain
Effect: The magician invites two audience members on a trip before borrowing a five dollar bill from either one as a “refundable deposit.” Each traveller chooses a destination and reveals it to the magician upon his request. Traveller One wants to go to Ottawa, Canada, so the magician offers to exchange the American five. He folds it into a tiny bundle, blinks once intensely, then unfolds it, showing it to have changed into a Canadian five-dollar bill. Traveller Two wants to go to the Dominican Republic, so the magician folds the Canadian five into a tiny bundle, wiggles his nose like a bunny, then unfolds it, showing it to have changed into a Dominican fivepesos note. With the trip now complete (if there are any complaints, the magician adds, “What did you expect for five bucks?”), he folds the Dominican five into a tiny bundle, recites a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, then unfolds the bill, showing it to have changed back into five dollars American. Required: A working knowledge of the Hundred Dollar Bill Switch or one of its descendants, like Roger Klause’s $100 Bill Change. If you don’t know any bill switches and you’re interested in learning one, you won’t find a better source than John Lovick’s encyclopedic book, Switch (Murphy’s Magic Supplies, 2006). You’ll also need two foreign bills that are about the same size as the bill you intend to borrow. When I work in the U.S., I borrow a five-dollar
Streeter #1: Ghost in the Machine
The year is 1995. The place is Kansas City. Carl Cloutier and I are among a handful of magicians from the North who have descended upon Stevens Magic Emporium to shoot a two- volume video set called The Magic of Canada. The magnanimous Joe Stevens tries to make us feel more at home by serving maple syrup and being polite. It works—everyone’s in a great mood. During a break, Carl and I wander over to the vending machines, and while he’s dropping in coins, I’m toying with a deck of cards. Then I see the “insert dollar bills” slot and riff a card trick that would make Collector’s Workshop proud. Here’s what you do. Have a card chosen and returned to the deck. Control it to the top via your preferred method, then execute a Double Turnover. Say, “Is this your card?” The spectator will answer, “No,” to which you respond, “Then I have good news.” Turn the double card face down on the deck, then deal the top card into your right hand and say, “We’re standing next to a magic vending machine.” With your right hand, insert the face-down card into the slot for dollar bills. The machine will pull it in, then reject it, whereupon you turn it over, showing it to have changed into the spectator’s selection.
More Power to You outstretched hand and open it, dropping the remaining piece face down onto her palm. Ask her to close her hand around it. Next, place the double-faced piece onto your left fingers (Figure 13). Now close your hand into a loose fist as you turn it palm down (Figure 14).
Wave your fist over the specta-
tor’s, then turn it over and open it, showing the double-faced piece on your fingers, now number-side up (Figure 15). Ask the spectator to open her hand, revealing the numberless piece. the restoration Say, “Luckily, Mad Card Disease isn’t terminal,” as you table your piece. Your right hand now grasps the card case by its sides, near the inner end, allowing your left hand to slide the folded half-card from beneath the rubber band while handling it carefully, as if it were two pieces. Say, “In fact, these two pieces are already back together,” as you rub the folded half-card between your left thumb and fingertips. At the same time, your right hand gets rid of the case by putting it into your outside right jacket pocket, then comes back out with the folded Ten of Diamonds in finger palm. Slip your left thumb into the fold of the half card and unfold it at your fingertips, showing that the pieces have fused together. Hand this out
The Very Best of David Acer for examination. Then, with your right
hand, retrieve the quarter piece the spectator is still holding and place it at your left fingertips, face toward the audience, in position for a Spellbound Change (Figure 16). Next, pick up the double-faced piece from the table and place it squarely on the piece at your left fingertips, taking care not to flash the other side. Say, “A little heat should fix the rest of the card,” as your right hand retrieves the half card and folds it back outward. Now place it squarely onto the pieces at your left fingertips. Finally, execute a Spellbound Change as you apparently rub the pieces between your right fingers and thumb, then steal them away in thumb palm, leaving the folded card in their
place. Briefly, your right hand approaches the torn pieces from the right and surrounds them, fingers in front, thumb behind (Figure 17). Take these into the crotch of your right thumb, then retract your right
hand just enough for your left thumb and fingers to grasp the folded card (Figure 18). In a continuing action, rub this card gently between your right fingers and thumb, purportedly to heat it up, then move your right hand to the right until
David with Max Maven
(with Richard Sanders)
Richard Sanders and I came up with this two-person transposition in 1991, when we were working comedy clubs as a duo called The Running Gags. Soon after, Gary Ouellet published it in his Genii column and referred to it as a “new visual illusion that matches Grant’s Victory Carton Illusions for low cost of production.” At the time, we couldn’t have agreed more, and to this day that level of agreement remains unwavering. Effect: Two performers stand side by side, holding a large, opaque curtain in front of them. The curtain extends all the way to the floor (Figure 1). Upon raising and lowering it in front of their faces, with no pause whatsoever, a pair of glasses, or a tie, or a baseball cap jumps invisibly from one performer to the other. The curtain is raised and lowered again, and in that instant, the accessory magically teleports back. Finally, upon
More Power to You raising and lowering the curtain one last time, the performers themselves change places with no perceptible movement. Required: Four Daylight Séance-Cloth hands (two right and two left), available at or through your local magic shop. You’ll also need an opaque curtain that’s at least eight feet square. Sew an eight-foot length of doweling along (and into) one edge of the curtain, then affix the four hands to the doweling where they would be if two people were standing side by side and holding the curtain in front of them. You’ll also need two matching pairs of sunglasses or some other accessory, like matching baseball caps, or neckties, or even regular glasses. Performance: The sunglasses (or equivalent) “travel” from one performer to the other via the standard Séance-Cloth technique. That is to say, one performer has a pair on his face, and the other has one in his free (hidden) hand. When the curtain is raised, the former takes his sunglasses off as the latter puts his on, then vice versa. When it’s time for the performers to transpose, they must secretly assume the following positions while their heads (and ostensibly hands) are still visible. Performer #1 (audience left) has his right hand in his own right-hand slot, with his left hand behind Performer #2’s shoulders and ready to slip into #2’s left-hand slot. Performer #2’s left hand is in #1’s left-hand slot, while his right hand is in front of Performer #1 and ready to slip into #1’s right-hand slot. From the front, it still looks like both performers are holding their respective ends of the curtain (Figure 2, an x-ray view). Raise the curtain once, then lower it. Repeat this a second time. Upon raising it a third time, both of you simply cross over in one step, assuming your new hand positions before you lower the curtain (Figure 3). With a little rehearsal, you can get the timing so smooth it looks like you transpose instantly.
Since the mid-1980s, I’ve come up with quite a few tricks wherein a scene in a photograph changes to serve a magical end. (I’m not bragging, I’m just saying.) This one is absolutely my favourite(ish). Effect: The magician brings out his wallet and says, “I don’t know if you keep stuff like this, but I actually have a picture of the first dollar I ever earned.” He opens the wallet and removes a photo of himself holding a dollar bill. “This was taken last week.” He places the photo face down on a spectator’s palm and directs her to cover it with her other hand, asking, “Do you want to see how I earned it?” He borrows a twenty-dollar bill from the audience, folds it into a small bundle at his fingertips, mutters an incantation that might be a line from “Money’s Too Tight to Mention,” then slowly unfolds it, showing that it’s now a one-dollar bill. He says, “Don’t worry—your twenty hasn’t left the room. Check out what I’m holding in the photo.” The spectator unclasps her hands and sees that the magician in the photo is now holding the twenty-dollar bill! He says, “That’s the first twenty I ever earned.” Required: Before we continue, I should add that I never keep the borrowed money. I lead the audience to believe that I’m going to keep it, sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for as long as a trick or two, but I always trade the dollar bill for another twenty-dollar bill before departing.
I used to perform this out of a businesscard (a.k.a. packet-trick) wallet, but more recently I’ve just been using my regular hip-pocket wallet, which frankly makes more sense. You’ll also need two passport-size photos of yourself. I had mine taken in a photo booth. In one, you’re displaying a dollar bill (Figure 1).
This solution to the Hofzinser Ace Problem takes it back to its roots by using any smartphone with a camera in it, as Hofzinser originally intended. It was inspired by a Cameron Francis trick called “Snapped,” though the latter employs a photograph, not a smartphone, and has a totally different name than my trick. Also, there’s no transposition at the end of Cameron’s trick. In fact, there’s a different ending entirely. And Cameron is shorter than me. I suggest you buy “Snapped” to compare all the above. Effect: The magician has (say) a female audience-member choose a card and hold it between her hands. As he places the deck aside, he asks her if she plays poker. Regardless of her answer, the magician says that he plays poker, but he isn’t very lucky, and he’s only been dealt one good hand in his life, so he took a picture of it. He brings out his smartphone and shows a photo of four Aces. Then he says, “It turns out those Aces were more than just lucky, they were magical. In fact, they’re going to tell me what your card is, starting with the suit.” He covers the smartphone with his hand, then uncovers it, showing that one of the Aces has turned face down—let’s say the Ace of Clubs. “Was your card a club?” he asks. The spectator answers yes. The magician says, “Great! Now watch this.” He waves the smartphone over the spectator’s clasped hands, then shows the photo once more, revealing that now, in place of the face-down Ace, the spectator’s selection is in the photo! The spectator is directed to look at the card she’s holding—it’s the missing Ace! Preparation: Place the four Aces face up on a table in a loose fan and take a picture of them with your smartphone. I like to have the Ace of Spades at the face of the fan, and the Ace of Clubs third from the face (Figure 1).