Fake Reverse Reverse Redux

by Wesley James

In September of 1975, while playing with what is known as the Carlyle “Fake Turnover Move” (Phoenix #48, but see Douglas Dexter’s “The Mystic Star,” published in Goldston’s Great Magicians’ Tricks (1931), page 203), I conceived and explored an idea which intrigued me as much because of its oddity as its magicality. In experimenting with the idea, I committed nearly thirty pages of applications to my notes. After some development, I dubbed it, “The Fake Reverse Reverse.” While committing many pages of ideas to my notes, because it was not a complete effect but a tool to be applied within a routine, I did not publish it nor seek to do so. Intermittently thereafter, as additional ideas evolved, I added them to my notes. In October 1988, I added a variation wherein the concept was applied to a packet of cards, isolated from the deck, as distinct from a card or cards and the deck. I dubbed this variation, “Fake Reverse Reverse Redux.” One of my applications was applied to an etude-like routine which reached print in 1990 as ELEVaceOR (Pasteboard Perpensions). This established the concept in print and the use of the Carlyle technique in allowing the secret reversal of a card or cards in a deck.

Since the release of my book, Ariel Frailich released a book, Card Stories (1996), which contained an effect he offered as “Royal Burial.” This effect applied my concept, though Ariel was unaware of my ELEVaceOR routine or the concept it embodied at the time, not having read my book, owing to an absence from magic. His use of the Carlyle technique closely parallels mine and still more closely duplicates my 1988 handling. Later, based upon his reading of Frailich’s handling, Joseph Dymit submitted his application, as a logical follow-up to the classic Twisting the Aces plot, to Mr. Frailich’s I Saw That!, web site, and titled it “Twisting Climax.” This use came so close to duplicating my 1988 description I felt moved to share the full details of my handling, which I believe to be a more refined treatment and which Mr. Frailich has generously described as “. . . fine card work . . .” Here, presented for the first time, in its entirety, is my Fake Reverse Reverse Redux. I am impressed and appreciative that Ariel Frailich has been cooperative and understanding as to how this situation has arisen. His civility in our exchanges on the subject show him to be a man of honor and good will, far too great a rarity these days.

Fake Reverse Reverse Redux – 10/14/88

The concept that inspired all these applications, rather than being a technique per se, is a procedure based upon a well known technique, which accomplishes an unexpected and, I believe, highly deceptive result. It is, therefore, neither a technique nor an effect. It is a modus operandi.

Dai Vernon was one of my principal mentors in magic when I was a young man, actually a boy. It is his words upon which I often reflect when I find myself facing the problem of applying an idea or technique I’ve developed or discovered. “Never worry about how you’ll use a move. Once you have it mastered, you’ll use it,” Dai would say. I have learned to trust his sage words. The procedure that follows is an illustration of their truth.

The particular application I present here is best applied as a postscript or epilogue of sorts to a routine wherein four of a kind reverse one at a time. There are uncounted versions of Twisting the Aces, Twisting the 1-2-3-4 and other such plots, this could work as a follow on to any of them. In some handlings of such effects the packet is already composed of five or more cards, though the audience knows of only four. Just as often only four cards are present in the packet. If the packet is composed of more than four cards, I’ll leave it to each performer to determine how best to achieve the required arrangement. There are simply too many variations to be considered here. I’ll describe my preferred technique for dealing with a packet of four Aces, with no additional cards, which have already reversed one at a time. As we begin the sequence, the four Aces are face up on the table or held in a spectator’s hands and you have just picked up the deck as though to continue on to other things. As an after thought, you table the deck or hand it to the spectator, take back the face up Aces and continue as follows:

If the four Aces are tabled, Clip Steal or Low Lateral Palm the indifferent top card of the deck. Get rid of the deck by placing it aside or handing it to a spectator and pick up the face up Aces, adding the face-down, stolen card under the face up packet. If a spectator is holding the Aces, Palm or Gambler’s Cop an indifferent card in your left hand and take back the face up packet, adding the face-down, stolen card under the face up Aces. It is tougher to do but if the Aces are face up on the table, you can add the face down indifferent card back such that it goes second from the face, this will eliminate what may seem like a superfluous reshowing of the packet. This is tougher to do when the cards have been held by the spectator but it isn’t impossible to contrive a way to manage it if the reshowing really bothers you.

Assuming the face-down indifferent card is on the bottom of the face-up Ace packet, Push-Off Count the four Aces, reversing their order as you do so. This will put the face-down indifferent card second from the face, where it needs to be positioned. As you square the packet, obtain an Erdnase Break or Clip Steal Grip on the forward right corner of the top card, in preparation for a steal of the card but don’t steal it just yet. This position will become important in a moment. I generally use Clip Steal Grip, holding the card between the base of my third and fourth fingers, but the technique can be applied with the card held in Erdnase Break position and the technique will work equally well, though the angles are a bit trickier.

You will perform two actions essentially simultaneously. You will steal off the card you are holding clipped between your right fingers and you will perform a Carlyle Turnover of the four cards that remain in the left hand. You accomplish this by putting your left thumb under the packet as you rotate your left hand inward, to palm down. The packet turns over simultaneous with the rotation of the hand so it appears you’ve turned over the face up packet of Aces via the rotation of the hand while the rotation caused by the thumb under the packet is hidden by the larger action of the hand turning over. The change of the uppermost card from a face-up Ace to a face-down card, assumed to be an Ace, adds considerably to the illusion that the packet has been turned over. At the completion of the turnover, take the packet back from your left hand, with the right hand from above, adding the Ace held by your right hand under the packet. Square the packet, being careful not to flash the reversed condition of the Aces relative to the top card. The packet will be, from the top down: face-down indifferent card, face-up Ace, face-up Ace, face-up Ace, face-up Ace. The audience will believe all four Aces are face down and be unaware of the extra, indifferent card.

You can now either cut the deck or have the spectator do so, place the packet, apparently face down, into the deck and square. Spreading the deck or allowing the spectator to do so will now reveal four Aces face up, with all the other cards face down and nothing untoward to be discovered.

Closing Note

If this is done so the deck is in the spectators hands when the Ace packet is cut in and the spectator spreads the deck to find the reversed Aces, they will be dumb-founded by the reversal. I have often thought this an example of Rick Johnson’s “Too Perfect Theory,” as it is usually considered. If the entire process is performed with the deck in the spectator’s hands, are they driven to conclude the Aces were reversed when you put them into the deck? They may not have a clue as to how that could have been so but when I’ve used this for lay people, if I’ve left the cards with the spectators, they have sometimes looked through the deck, presumably expecting to find another set of Aces that aren’t reversed. Of course, they don’t find anything but the moment may be ruined. I will leave it to each performer to determine whether to perform this in the spectator’s hands, on the table or in your own hands. My current inclination is to have the spectator turn the deck face up to look through it to find the Aces. In the process, the face down cards are found and they prove to be the Aces. This resolves the question that would remain unresolved had they not looked through the deck and, at the same time, arguably because the Aces are face down, provides a disconnect between the reversal and the act of placing them into the deck.

Wesley James
Brooklyn, NY

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