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The Crazed Spruce

Peeking Behind The Curtain: How You Think The Tricks Were Done

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As for Teller not playing along, there was a better chance for that to happen with Chris Rose.  As soon as he poured the milk, I knew where that was going.  As did Penn (as he said), and, I assume, Teller.  I'm also sure that Chris knew that Teller knew where that gag was going, which is part of why there was the second reveal of the cookie.

Teller could have easily not played along and blown the first gag with the milk, but he didn't.  But the trick was built so that even if he had, the cookie reveal would have got him anyway.  So Chris was covered whether Teller played along or not.  That's the mark of someone prepared to do well on Fool Us.

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I think if P&T would have gone up to explain to Ivan Asmodei instead of trying to speak in code they would have gotten credit for busting him. Even as a layperson I can explain what he did.

He cut the deck and gave P&T each half. Instead of a true half and half, he probably gave Penn 24 and Teller 26. Penn takes a card and shuffles, knocking the cards down to 23. Ivan then controls the deck to give them to the 18 people on stage. He's marked and going to give away the sets of cards in a predetermined group of three, he'll toss out whatever group of three has a card missing (because Penn has it). So it doesn't matter who takes which card in the group of three, just that they're part of the subset. So when he's blindfolded he's calling out two of each group to sit down. He opens his eyes and turns around and knows immediately who has which card left by who's left from the group. Then it's just really good memory to remember who had which state. Notice he didn't pick which card Penn had, just that he hadn't named it.

Edited by dabbrusc

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8 hours ago, dabbrusc said:

I think if P&T would have gone up to explain to Ivan Asmodei instead of trying to speak in code they would have gotten credit for busting him. Even as a layperson I can explain what he did.

He cut the deck and gave P&T each half. Instead of a true half and half, he probably gave Penn 24 and Teller 26. Penn takes a card and shuffles, knocking the cards down to 23. Ivan then controls the deck to give them to the 18 people on stage. He's marked and going to give away the sets of cards in a predetermined group of three, he'll toss out whatever group of three has a card missing (because Penn has it). So it doesn't matter who takes which card in the group of three, just that they're part of the subset. So when he's blindfolded he's calling out two of each group to sit down. He opens his eyes and turns around and knows immediately who has which card left by who's left from the group. Then it's just really good memory to remember who had which state. Notice he didn't pick which card Penn had, just that he hadn't named it.

So, here's the problem with that. Lets say he has a set of cards that he hands Penn, he has memorized those cards and they are marked. Penn then shuffles those cards. Ivan takes them back and goes to hand them out. Now, if he doesn't do a switch/add-on (which is what I believe he does), there are two options:

1) He has no predetermined groups. Basically, he's just giving three cards away to each person and noting one state in each group (which he can do because the cards are marked). As long as he knows all the cards, he just has to call all of them out except for the 6 cards he noted, and then he calls out those 6. There are two big problems with that. First, it's really hard. Noting six cards from subtle markings on the back and then remembering that set of 6 while you're calling out other states, and remembering which of those 6 cards went to which group. That's a significant amount of precise memory work that is different every show, and you have to do it perfectly show after show after show. Magicians don't like to do hard work when we don't have to, and there are so many better ways to do it. Second, he actually has to check the markings on all the cards to figure out which card Penn took so that he doesn't call it out. That's even more memory work, but it also means that he would know which card Penn took, so he could do the reveal at the end.

2) He has predetermined groups of 3 cards that he gives out (this is, I believe, what you're proposing). This removes the extra, on-the-spot memory work, he just always has the same cards he calls out (with one group that can be switched out based on what card Penn takes). The problem is, none of those groups are together in the pack, Penn has shuffled them up. Even with marked cards, you have to locate where each card in the 3 card group is, and you have to get them out without it looking funny. There's just no way to do that in a timely and well-concealed fashion that wouldn't have Penn and Teller notice it immediately. He can't spread through the cards to look where each card is, because that immediately gives it up, so it would have to be done with different types of crimps/short cards so he can do it by feel (and that kind of work would almost certainly be noticed by P&T when they shuffle the cards). Then he has to control them and distribute them in a way that looks like he's just taking the 3 cards from the top of the pile (as we see at 2:52 and 2:57). Compounding that, he has to immediately recognize which group doesn't have 3 because Penn took one, and he has to not control that group. Even with the time he spends with his back turned, there's no feasible way to accomplish that, not a chance. And again, if this were the method, if he can recognize which card is gone so that he doesn't call out that group, then he'd be able to guess Penn's card at the end.

That's why it has to be an add-on/switch. It solves all of those problems, removes every bit of on-the-spot memory work, and explains why he can't name Penn's card at the end. 

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New season; new rounds of speculation.

Kayla Drescher's trick was a classic: a nice variation on torn-and-restored.  It's obvious there was a switch involved, since the shape of the green hearts don't match.  The cut Teller made doesn't match with the final result.

Young and Strange did a nice take on the old box and swords trick, which I assume primarily involves some contortionism and a compartment in the stand.  Still, very well done at the speed they were doing.

Mike Super's mentalism.  One key phrase in Penn's post-trick patter stuck out to me: "flip our lids".  That leads me to thinking there is a false lid in the box where the ticket was, so it could hold multiple tickets.  Not sure on the rest.

Which gets us to Richard Turner.  Wow.  Even as he was dealing seconds at the start and telling everyone he was doing so, it's so hard to see.  The man deserves his reputation.

Looking back at the trick, Penn selects 6 "players" for the game of Hold 'Em.  Teller's "hand" was the 5th one dealt.  So here's my speculation.  The simplest explanation I can think of is him controlling the 4 Kings to either the top or bottom of the deck.  If they went to the bottom, then all he did was bottom deal the Kings as needed.  If he put them to the top, then it's more complex.  This would mean he dealt fifths for the first 4 cards, then a King off the actual top to Teller.  Then 5 more cards dealt as fourths (first card for hand 6, then 4 more for the first 4 hands), the second King off the top, and one card as a third to #6.  Followed by 5 more thirds (burn #1, flop, burn #2), then one more of the Kings on the turn.  Finishing up with one last second dealt (the last burn) and then the final King on the river.

That's all complex, but easy enough to do for a master mechanic.  The key would be him getting the 4 Kings together in the first place, from a completely washed and repeatedly shuffled and cut deck.  A specially stripped deck is the only thing I can think of for that.

Edit: minor correction.  The first King seen is part of the flop, and was the first card dealt into the flop.  So if the 2 Kings were on top of the deck here, then he dealt one third as the first burn, then the King, then 2 seconds for the rest of the flop, and seconds for burns and turn until the final King is dealt off the top for the river.

Edited by SVNBob
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5 hours ago, SVNBob said:

Mike Super's mentalism.  One key phrase in Penn's post-trick patter stuck out to me: "flip our lids".  That leads me to thinking there is a false lid in the box where the ticket was, so it could hold multiple tickets.

 

I assumed there's a tiny printer in the box lid and a confederate typing in the numbers.

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Regarding "Extravagant", the on-the-street trick from August 3:

It actually is a trick. The problem is that the lie isn't actually all that impressive these days. You could indeed program a computer to identify cards from an image and deduce which is missing. But A) it actually would be expensive to hire custom code, especially to then include the animation they showed, and B) it requires a perfect fan, which is really hard to do on the fly. 

So in reality, the whole thing was fake. The couple were actors, the card was pre-selected, and the card fan was glued in place. In fact the whole street bit was pre-recorded, and only Teller's bit was live for the audience. It's the crudest of trickery, which is why they "give away" a fake method.  If you were unimpressed by a computer detection, how much less impressive is it with stooges and camera tricks?

As I said in the main thread, it was probably better in 1987 when it still wouldn't have seemed like a trick, but at least people were going "Wow, I didn't know computers could do that."  But the behind-the-scenes is more interesting:

For Saturday Night Live they really did need to shoot in Times Square, at night, renting the Jumbotron. But it turned out for technical reasons they actually had to redo the shoot a total of 3 times. This alone meant it legitimately was the most expensive trick they'd done and not just a lie. But then it got worse. The FCC had someone on hand during rehearsal and live broadcast, to require standards. And he would not allow them to show a pre-recorded clip and say it was live. Doing that would, in his bureaucratic judgment, violate the standards and get NBC something between a giant fine and a loss of license. Possibly even an immediate shutdown, meaning the network would go dead in the middle of SNL.

So trying to figure out what to do in a short period, they came up with a plan and talked to host Steve Gutenberg. And he changed his intro slightly so it included the phrase "prerecorded elements". But like magic, it was doing the trickery before anyone knew there was trickery they were supposed to watch for. So it qualified for the FCC standards without giving anything away. And if you know that while watching the intro, it's a lot more fun.

(And the punchline on all this was sometime later when Penn was having a conversation with execs at CBS. He told this story. And one said "Penn, I speak on behalf of both ourselves and ABC. You blew it. If you had made NBC lose their license, we'd have made you the richest man alive.")

Anyway, none of that really fixes the unimpressiveness of the trick this time. For which I think they should have changed the "computer answer" a bit or been way more over the top on what they were spending to make this happen. But the backstory does improve my enjoyment of it.

Edited by Amarsir
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I figured out how I might have fixed it.

Demonstrate the computer in the theater earlier in the show, so the audience knows what to expect. Then have Penn "go outside". Modify his intro to show there's no hidden speakers in his ears so he can't be getting messages. While he's there, have something go wrong and the computer breaks. Teller now has no way to identify the card. Instead of signaling the 4 of clubs, he signals "???" or something. Then Penn guesses the card anyway.

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Sigfried Tieber's card trick:

The deck wasn't shuffled. Not at the beginning and not after the card went back. I don't think it was a force because I don't think it needed to be. And the two red 8s were next to each other when he did the spread.

We all should understand that any number of cuts is the same as 1 cut, and that 1 cut doesn't change the order of the deck other than the bottom/top division. So if the deck was secretly ordered at the beginning, and he knew the order, it remained so until he did the split. And if he got one card, he automatically had the other.

So all he needed was a marker. And as it so happens, he flashed the card over them REALLY big. (6 of spades.) Now since he made a big deal of not peeking, I'll assume he didn't. But I think there's a number of things he could have done here. One would be to have an assistant see it and signal him via thumper. If he knows the order, he already knows both cards from that one. The rest is showmanship.

Alternatively, without an assistant he needs a way to mark that card until he can find it later. I'm not an expert on marking mechanics, but I assume this isn't so hard. Then he finds the marker and knows the card after it was Penn's. Then Teller's is the one which used to be after that. This would explain why he flips both halves before selecting one, uses his eyes to find Penn's, and knows Teller's automatically.

So I don't 100% have it, but I'm fairly confident this is how it was done.

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23 hours ago, Amarsir said:

Sigfried Tieber's card trick:

The deck wasn't shuffled. Not at the beginning and not after the card went back. I don't think it was a force because I don't think it needed to be. And the two red 8s were next to each other when he did the spread.

We all should understand that any number of cuts is the same as 1 cut, and that 1 cut doesn't change the order of the deck other than the bottom/top division. So if the deck was secretly ordered at the beginning, and he knew the order, it remained so until he did the split. And if he got one card, he automatically had the other.

So all he needed was a marker. And as it so happens, he flashed the card over them REALLY big. (6 of spades.) Now since he made a big deal of not peeking, I'll assume he didn't. But I think there's a number of things he could have done here. One would be to have an assistant see it and signal him via thumper. If he knows the order, he already knows both cards from that one. The rest is showmanship.

Alternatively, without an assistant he needs a way to mark that card until he can find it later. I'm not an expert on marking mechanics, but I assume this isn't so hard. Then he finds the marker and knows the card after it was Penn's. Then Teller's is the one which used to be after that. This would explain why he flips both halves before selecting one, uses his eyes to find Penn's, and knows Teller's automatically.

So I don't 100% have it, but I'm fairly confident this is how it was done.

I'm still working out the exact mechanics, but I'm 100% sure he didn't use an assistant (magicians, particularly close-up magicians, don't use assistants nearly as often as laypeople think they do. It's impractical). Also, if I'm right, he does not peek at the 6S (which is what I originally thought he did), and he does not mark the card at all.

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Alright, here's the method.

There's a lot more going on under the surface with this trick than it first appears, and it's really cleverly constructed. Originally, I thought it was a peek, that he looks at the 6S when he gestures to Alison. If he's using a memdeck, the rest is trivial. But then there's a lot of process afterwards that would seem unnecessary, it actually doesn't really look like he peeked the card, and when he spreads the deck at the beginning, it's not in the order of any of the standard memdeck stacks. So I thought he might be marking or crimping the 6S as an indicator, but that doesn't really work either if you follow it through to the rest of the trick.

It clicked when I watched again and saw the part where he spreads half the deck. That half of the deck IS in memorized deck order. It's the first 26 cards in Mnemonica, a popular memorized deck stack. So, the way the deck is set up at the beginning is that every other card is one of the first 26 cards in Mnemonica, and they're in reverse order. That way, when they're dealt out, those 26 cards are together and in order (as Amarsir noted, the cuts do nothing to change order, they just change where in the cycle you start). You can see this illustrated here, how the circle every other cards end up in order in the second picture:

magic1.pngmagic2.png

So now all he has to do is look for the one card in those 26 cards (the order of which he has memorized) is out of place. It's out of place because Penn took his card first, but then replaced it first, thereby reversing the order of the two cards. The card which does not belong in the 26 is Penn's card. The card which should be there instead is Teller's.

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3 hours ago, SomethingClever said:

So now all he has to do is look for the one card in those 26 cards (the order of which he has memorized) is out of place. It's out of place because Penn took his card first, but then replaced it first, thereby reversing the order of the two cards. The card which does not belong in the 26 is Penn's card. The card which should be there instead is Teller's.

Brilliant deduction! Me like an idiot, I thought "Penn took first but he put back first so it's the same position." Not until you pointed it out did I realize. 

It's a very clever trick. In hindsight when he did the half spread and asked P&T to figure out whose half it was, he was asking them to directly look at the Mnemonica order and I think that was the biggest risk of them catching him. But obviously it worked. 

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I don't think the couple in the jumbotron fake trick needed to be stooges. Can't it just be a person in the booth watches them pick it and thus they display on the screen whatever the crew member saw? No special software. No stooges. The card doesn't have to be preselected. It's just...cameras existing? I suppose either method works, but when I watched it I found it uninteresting because it just seemed like they'd have an animation ready for any card, and the person who pushes the button to display the message on the big screen is also a person who watches the couple pick the card and thus could see it. Sort of no different than a sports stadium having graphics ready for every player on each team's roster. Someone just has to push a button to display the right one. This is one of the reasons I'm not big on magic that involves digital screens. Even if they did have a complicated method, if it makes me think of something simple and obvious...it's no fun.

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David Parr's Follow the Leader was an elegant beauty. 

My thought: He controlled the bottom of the deck. There were three key cards there: a blue-backed card with a sticky surface that was on the bottom the whole time. Directly above that, the red-backed 4D. And somewhere above that, the blue backed 4D.

He controls throughout shuffles and cuts, putting the top third then the middle third of his deck on the table, then he places the blue backed 4D in the red deck. Allison places a random red card in his deck. He then drops the rest of his cards on top. The bottom most card is his gaffed sticky card, which covers Allison's red card. Above that is the red 4D that was there the whole time. 

Then, switch decks and it's all done, so elegant. 

P&T's trick was another beauty. Penn gives the guy half the deck, which the rube shuffles and looks at. Penn pretends to do the same, but, actually keeps his half of the deck in order... And his half is the same 26 cards as the rube's. Whatever card the rube sees, Penn has in his half, and Teller knows the order of those cards. 

Penn puts his half on top, which have never moved due to false shuffles, and the trick is set for the rube and Teller. 

Quite elegant too. 

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About Jo de Rijck's trick with the psychic chicken: 

A commenter on YouTube pointed out that chickens have a terrible sense of smell but can see ultraviolet. The paper that Alyson wrote on was treated in some way to give off UV light, and the chicken was trained to peck it. 

Edited by Xantar
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On 8/11/2017 at 6:19 PM, Charlesman said:

P&T's trick was another beauty. Penn gives the guy half the deck, which the rube shuffles and looks at. Penn pretends to do the same, but, actually keeps his half of the deck in order... And his half is the same 26 cards as the rube's. Whatever card the rube sees, Penn has in his half, and Teller knows the order of those cards. 

Penn puts his half on top, which have never moved due to false shuffles, and the trick is set for the rube and Teller. 

But the "rube" only thinks of a random card, he doesn't put it on the top or the bottom or point to it.  How does the rube's card get to the top of his pile?  He is holding the deck and verbally reveals it right before he turns over the top card, which is his.

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For the chicken trick, I think they can do better than a treated piece of paper. If there's a confederate up in the lighting booth with a laser pointer that uses UV light, they can use that to lead the chicken along the platform and even make it look like the chicken is considering each paper before they make it peck the right one. And the magician on stage never has to know anything.

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On 8/12/2017 at 9:41 PM, rmontro said:

But the "rube" only thinks of a random card, he doesn't put it on the top or the bottom or point to it.  How does the rube's card get to the top of his pile?  He is holding the deck and verbally reveals it right before he turns over the top card, which is his.

I'm referring to the trick where Teller is "blindfolded" by someone from the audience putting her hands over his eyes, and he takes the cards from the rube one-by-one until he "senses" he has the right card up next. Because Penn's half of the deck is in order and on top, all Teller has to do is count to the card in Penn's half of the deck which matches the card the rube saw and is thinking of in the rube's half of the deck.

Penn gives half the deck to the rube. It's got 26 cards in it. The same 26 cards Penn has doubles of in his hand the whole time, in an order. The rube thinks of a card he sees. Whatever he picks, Penn has in his half of the deck, too. They shuffle, Penn false-shuffles to keep the order of his half the same. The rube gives Penn his 26 cards back. Penn puts his own, ordered 26 cards on top of that and makes a deck that he then hands to the rube. The rube then names his card, whatever he names, Teller knows where it is in the top half of the deck and counts down to it.

The one the rube saw is still in the deck, in the bottom half, and Teller never needs to get that far.

Edited by Charlesman
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3 hours ago, Charlesman said:

I'm referring to the trick where Teller is "blindfolded" by someone from the audience putting her hands over his eyes, and he takes the cards from the rube one-by-one until he "senses" he has the right card up next.

Okay, you wrote that out very clearly, so kudos for that.  But it was my mistake.  I had not realized that the rube had told Penn (and Teller) the name of the card before Teller started discarding them.  I didn't think he had said what it was until after Teller was done with them - that would have been impossible.  But he said the name of the card both before and after Teller did his bit - I missed when he said it the first time.  Your method is spot on.

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My guesses for this week:

Dyno Staats: Something in the top of the first machine reaches down and grabs the bill and hides it in the top. If you go frame by frame, which I screenshotted here, you can easily see it. Something in the jar comes down and grabs the bill. The flash, sparks, and smoke are all there to hide it. The exact same thing happens in reverse on the other jar; the bill can easily be seen dropping down, seen here. The producers try to hide it with camera cuts in to a closer view at the exact moment it is happening, but they missed three frames where something can be seen moving in the jar before the cut. Again, the sparking is used as a distraction.

With those albums, it's easiest to see if you open every image and flick between them.

How he reassembled the bill I don't know, but that's a trick I've seen many times so I'm sure there's an explanation for it.

 

Aiden Sinclair: The ring on his right hand is magnetic, and the white pearl has something metal in it. The first three people who grab an item from the bag reach in while the bag is in his right hand. It is only until the fourth person that he lets go of the bag and lets the person hold it; this is so they don't feel the pearl being held down. It's a basic force: the fourth person always gets the pearl. From there, it's just mechanical parts to make the head turn and a magnet to make the thing on the box flip over. His hands are in his pockets for the entire duration the spooky things are happening, so it's probably just remote controlled.

 

The other two I don't know!

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So for this week's ep, "A Big Round of Applause for Alyson", for Psenicka's trick trick, it feels like a marked or shaved deck. If you watch him manipulate the deck, he flips it along the short axis (top to bottom) to do the spread, then flips them across the long axis (left to right) for when Penn puts it in. But Penn was watching so closely, and Penn shuffled the deck after that he surely should have been able to fell the offset card during the shuffling. Hell, P&T sell a shaved deck in their gift shop outside their show.

 

I think Teller guessed a mark on the card back that would be out of place on the flipped card in the deck, so Alyson would have been looking for the out of place mark; but that didn't seem to be the case either. 

 

Ultimately, I wonder if this was a case where they knew the trick, but guessed the wrong way to do it.

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Does someone want to explain the "100th monkey" reference in regards to the first trick shown? People in the show thread seem to understand to what it is referring, but I can't find anything about it as far as a magic trick goes.

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5 minutes ago, scootypuffjr said:

Does someone want to explain the "100th monkey" reference in regards to the first trick shown? People in the show thread seem to understand to what it is referring, but I can't find anything about it as far as a magic trick goes.

I googled it after watching the episode. It was done on America's Got Talent a few years ago with Howie.

 

Spoiler

With Howie, apparently they took advantage of the fact that Howie is Colour blind. So their cue cards had extra noise that most people naturally filter out, but Howie couldn't.  When he read the cards later, they were three extra cards without the extra blurring.

 

 

For Alyson, I don't think she is colour blind as far as I can tell, so there must be some other way (or maybe it doesn't depend on colour blindness and there's another way to do it).

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Thank you for your reply. I did notice that the cards the magician showed us were kind of blurry and vague so I figured he must have rigged it somehow so that Alyson saw something different than the rest of us saw, but I didn't know how he did it. I still don't know what the 100th monkey has to do with it, but I guess that's neither here nor there, lol.

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It doesn't depend on colorblindness. Someone put up an "exposed" explanation for the AGT performance claiming that's what it was because Howie Mandell is colorblind. But I'm pretty sure they're using the method invented by Chris Philpott which works on anyone.  And I believe the trick is actually called "Speechless" but he sells it in a package of 3 titled after the first trick, 100th Monkey.

Basically as I understand it, the printing relies on the focal distance of your eyes. Too close and one letter appears. Further back and that letter fades into the background as another appears. Then as Taeolas said, use different cards at the end so she can read clearly.

Edited by Amarsir
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4 hours ago, Taeolas said:

So for this week's ep, "A Big Round of Applause for Alyson", for Psenicka's trick trick, it feels like a marked or shaved deck. If you watch him manipulate the deck, he flips it along the short axis (top to bottom) to do the spread, then flips them across the long axis (left to right) for when Penn puts it in. But Penn was watching so closely, and Penn shuffled the deck after that he surely should have been able to fell the offset card during the shuffling. Hell, P&T sell a shaved deck in their gift shop outside their show.

 

I think Teller guessed a mark on the card back that would be out of place on the flipped card in the deck, so Alyson would have been looking for the out of place mark; but that didn't seem to be the case either. 

 

Ultimately, I wonder if this was a case where they knew the trick, but guessed the wrong way to do it.

I went through the exact same thought process. Noticed the flips and thought how easily it could go wrong in Penn's hands. He DID ask Teller to specify what he thought was done with the backs, so it's very possible they were close but technically off.

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2 hours ago, Amarsir said:

It doesn't depend on colorblindness. Someone put up an "exposed" explanation for the AGT performance claiming that's what it was because Howie Mandell is colorblind. But I'm pretty sure they're using the method invented by Chris Philpott which works on anyone.  And I believe the trick is actually called "Speechless" but he sells it in a package of 3 titled after the first trick, 100th Monkey.

Basically as I understand it, the printing relies on the focal distance of your eyes. Too close and one letter appears. Further back and that letter fades into the background as another appears. Then as Taeolas said, use different cards at the end so she can read clearly.

 

That makes much more sense. In the AGT example, they did wave a camera in to get a Howie eye view (more or less) of what Howie was seeing, plus they flashed the cards to the judges/audience with no obvious way to do a swap; if Colour Blindness was a factor, more people would have clued in on it. 

 

Focus tricks make much more sense with what we saw. 

 

The AGT magicians messed up a bit when they ditched their evidence; they should've ripped into thirds or quarters at least, instead of just halves. 6 vs 12 is a lot easier to count with freeze frames than 9 vs 18 or 12 vs  24. 

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There are other explanations for the "read this card" and "find the card" tricks.

1.  There are "holographic" (prismatic?) cards that change what's printed on them at certain angles.  This was a very popular kid's card in the 70's (baseball cards had them), and some had a 3-D effect.  It's rarely used today, but notice that people who do this trick are VERY careful to hold cards at certain angles, and to make sure the camera (which could be at the wrong angle) doesn't see or show the printed part of the card.  I apologize for not knowing the technical term.

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 Psenicka's trick trick, it feels like a marked or shaved deck. If you watch him manipulate the deck, he flips it along the short axis (top to bottom) to do the spread, then flips them across the long axis (left to right) for when Penn puts it in.

 

You can do it without a shaved deck, if you only use cards that you can tell are reversed (the 7's, the 9's, all the odd hearts, clubs, and spades).  You need either two decks (which has the risk of giving away the cards), or a back of the cards that you can tell is reversed (which is what P & T thought), or mark the bottom of a few cards, but mark them the same way (and on the face, not the back) so it doesn't look like a marked deck.  Penn might have noticed identical cards, but he might not have noticed occasional marking on some of the faces, because those usually aren't marked.  The problem is, if you look at the deck closely, you can spot that there are cards missing.  

As I said elsewhere, This works even better with a Tarot deck, where many (all?) of the cards are designed to be visible if they're reversed.  In this case, I think he used a deck where you couldn't tell if the backs were reversed, because that's more of a giveaway when someone looks for it.  (You can do some shaved deck effects with such a deck as well.)

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16 hours ago, scootypuffjr said:

Does someone want to explain the "100th monkey" reference in regards to the first trick shown? People in the show thread seem to understand to what it is referring, but I can't find anything about it as far as a magic trick goes.

The 100th Monkey is the name the trick cards are sold under. 

Ever see the Einstein/Marilyn Monroe optical illusion? Google it. It's a photo of Einstein when viewed up close. It's a photo of Marilyn Monroe when you're 10 feet away. I think the cards have a similar principle. The words Allison saw fit inside the letter shapes of the words the camera saw. Her eyes just picked out a different pattern. The crazy background design on the cards probably helps too. 

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11 hours ago, marketdoctor said:

As I said elsewhere, This works even better with a Tarot deck, where many (all?) of the cards are designed to be visible if they're reversed.  In this case, I think he used a deck where you couldn't tell if the backs were reversed, because that's more of a giveaway when someone looks for it.  (You can do some shaved deck effects with such a deck as well.)

Here's why I think that's a problem. A lot of people do a riffle shuffle by holding the deck vertically, cutting it in half, and turning the bottoms into each other because that's where their thumbs are. That turns half the deck upside-down. If he lets someone do that while counting on one card being that way as the indicator, he's screwed. Admittedly Penn probably wouldn't be one of those unless he was deliberately being difficult. But it still feels risky to me.

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I think Penn did reverse his half. It's a new type of trick deck, this Butterfly deck, they did a kickstarter but I don't know if they've shipped yet... And if the secret is out. The magician from this episode appears to be one of the creators of this new deck. 

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4 hours ago, marketdoctor said:

That's it; I was way off.  The backing was what gave it.

It appears it's marked two different ways. The back of the card has markings which tell what it is. It's apparently not very obvious or direct, "some math" is involved. Like, leaves of the plant and add the berries on the other side gives you the value of the card. And it's only on one half of the back (depending on which way the card faces...The back is not symmetrical top/bottom). They are also marked on the edges of the cards. So you can look at a pack from the side and be pretty sure what card is missing.

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So Blass was hiding the frog inside a hollowed out deck of cards, right? I guess a bunch of them were glued together so that they would all come up at once when the audience member "cut the deck." I didn't catch the moment when he made the deck switch either.

It all makes sense when I think about it, but I definitely wasn't looking out for that the first time I saw his routine. He blew me away.

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16 hours ago, Xantar said:

So Blass was hiding the frog inside a hollowed out deck of cards, right? I guess a bunch of them were glued together so that they would all come up at once when the audience member "cut the deck." I didn't catch the moment when he made the deck switch either.

It all makes sense when I think about it, but I definitely wasn't looking out for that the first time I saw his routine. He blew me away.

Yes. You can see the cutout if you freeze frame it. The top 40 cards or so are glued together into one giant block and a rectangular section cut out of the middle. 

He misdirected right before by doing another card change that they caught, but while they were busy noting that, he kept his hand and the rest of his deck behind his body for a good 20 seconds. He did the deck switch there, brought out the load, and let it sit on the table while misdirecting again, so by the time it was revealed the fact that he had all the time in the world to switch wasn't seen. 

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On 9/16/2017 at 10:08 AM, Charlesman said:

He misdirected right before by doing another card change that they caught, but while they were busy noting that, he kept his hand and the rest of his deck behind his body for a good 20 seconds. He did the deck switch there, brought out the load, and let it sit on the table while misdirecting again, so by the time it was revealed the fact that he had all the time in the world to switch wasn't seen. 

That's funny in light of their comment the next week about "the stop-watches in their heads".  They must have forgot to wind them that night!

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The only one I know for sure in the finale was Todd Lamanske's, who did the trick where Alison turned over all the cards in the deck except for one, and it was the Ace of Diamonds as he had predicted.

The hint Penn & Teller gave in their critique was they liked how smooth it all was, that for them, Teller is the smooth one while Penn is rough. The reference to Rough & Smooth implied that the trick worked on the same principle as an Invisible Deck. In the Invisible Deck, the cards are rough on the back sides, so if you put cards back-to-back, they'll stick together when you spread the deck. Each card is paired up with a corresponding card according to a pattern. If someone names a card they're thinking of, you can pull out the deck, say "That card is face down in this deck", spread the cards, and when you get to the partner of the named card, force it apart from the back of the card, and it'll appear face down in a spread of face up cards.

 

Lamanske's deck was rough on the faces, instead of the backs, in a reverse of the typical Invisible Deck. So when two cards are placed next to each other face-to-face, they stick together. Allison started turning over cards, face down from the deck to face up on the table. She then stopped at a point she chose, and placed whatever card that was face-to-face against the last card she turned up. It doesn't matter where she stopped, whatever card she picked was now facing the wrong way in the deck, but, since it is now stuck to the other card, it wouldn't show up when the deck is spread later.
 

The performer then told her to deal out the rest of the cards quickly, just to make sure the Ace wasn't in the rest of the deck. In doing this, he turned the deck over in her hand, and just had her deal the cards straight down to the table. The bottom card of the deck was the Queen of Clubs. When the trick started, before doing the shuffling, the Queen of Clubs was also on the bottom of the deck. So, despite all the shuffling he said he did, the bottom card never changed. That Queen of Clubs was rigged--it's got the Ace of Diamonds on the back. So when it was put down on the table "face up", it's also got the Ace on the other side face down--now the only card face that will show when the deck is flipped over. Since it's at about the same position in the deck as Allison's chosen card, it appears to be about right from the spectator's point of view. 

After Alison finishes the deal and they're sure the Ace of Diamonds hadn't been spotted, Lamanske flips over the deck and spreads it. The rigged Ace shows up, and the card Allison actually stopped at is now stuck to the card above it and isn't seen. He picked up the card and very carefully held it up, close to his body, so that the fact that the Queen was on the other side wasn't obvious.

Edited by Charlesman
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That's close to what I thought they might have meant. Forgive me if this is covered because it's hard for me to mentally visualize, but he said stop whenever you want, right. Before Alyson started my kneejerk thought was if it were me I'd stop with one card left. It seems to me the trick sort of depends on the participant getting bored or feeling like they're taking too long and stopping somewhere in the middle. Is that correct, or would the gimmick still work no matter when you stop? 

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17 hours ago, theatremouse said:

That's close to what I thought they might have meant. Forgive me if this is covered because it's hard for me to mentally visualize, but he said stop whenever you want, right. Before Alyson started my kneejerk thought was if it were me I'd stop with one card left. It seems to me the trick sort of depends on the participant getting bored or feeling like they're taking too long and stopping somewhere in the middle. Is that correct, or would the gimmick still work no matter when you stop? 

 

You would have busted the magician. If she went all the way down to the second-to-last card, once she dealt it to the table, the Ace-side of the double-faced card would have been exposed, face up in her hand, since it was the bottom card of the deck. So, yeah, it relies on some social grace on the part of the participant to play along with the act. I mean, we all know it's a "trick", you're not out there to bust someone who claims to be using Real Magic like James Randi does, so, a little going along with the game is expected.

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Mmm. Sure. I was mostly wondering from the perspective of...he did say "any time you want" which instantly makes me wonder. I like tricks when they say that and the mechanism really will work no matter what.

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On 12/8/2017 at 3:33 PM, Charlesman said:

In the Invisible Deck, the cards are rough on the back sides, so if you put cards back-to-back, they'll stick together when you spread the deck. Each card is paired up with a corresponding card according to a pattern. If someone names a card they're thinking of, you can pull out the deck, say "That card is face down in this deck", spread the cards, and when you get to the partner of the named card, force it apart from the back of the card, and it'll appear face down in a spread of face up cards.

Speak of the devil. That's what Marcy did with Powerpoint in the season opener, and here you already described it perfectly.

For the Sentimentalists, I can't say. They had an assistant but he didn't leave the stage. He could have flashed the image through the glass to someone while the air was still blowing. And then the picture was not a particularly great copy, but that could be misdirection. I also noticed the woman turned the blank card over before she drew on it, but that could be meaningless as well.

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On 6/27/2018 at 11:52 AM, Amarsir said:

Speak of the devil. That's what Marcy did with Powerpoint in the season opener, and here you already described it perfectly.

For the Sentimentalists, I can't say. They had an assistant but he didn't leave the stage. He could have flashed the image through the glass to someone while the air was still blowing. And then the picture was not a particularly great copy, but that could be misdirection. I also noticed the woman turned the blank card over before she drew on it, but that could be meaningless as well.

 

Sentimentalists... first, it threw me that the flower/mandala shape was so well drawn... I mean, it totally looked like it was planted. If it wasn't for the no stooges rule and an audience member having claimed to have drawn it, I would have just assumed he walked into the box with it already in his pocket, then pulled it out amidst the flurry. Just like in an older season, when a magician had all the audience members throw decks of cards at him, and he "picked one at random" but really dropped it out the bottom of his pants leg. I guess we have to assume that it was a truly random selection, and that he happened to pick one that was so pretty.  

The guy didn't talk enough to pass along a code for the image in between his selection and her drawing. Watching it again, she really does seem to draw a flower on the card at the time she claims to. I don't think she had a thumb pencil or anything and did it after. He only said a couple of words so I don't think he could have cued "flower" in just three or four words.

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I'm stumped by the Sentamentalists. I'm pretty sure Dan (the assistant) is involved in this some how, but I'm not sure how. I thouhgt it might be with the paper that fell out of the money machine; but that was folded lengthwise and the flower paper was folded the other way.

Mysterion has a mighty big ring on, that might be how he gets the right paper, maybe something magnetized. Dan would just need to make sure he sees the gimmicked sheet and what was drawn on it as he collects. 

Otherwise, I still think the flower from the audience looked mighty detailed, with no real wavering that I could tell. That didn't feel right either. 

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I figure they figured on an audience member drawing one of a certain number of common pictures, and he grabbed the first one he saw and gave her some sort of verbal cue as to which one he picked.

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On 6/29/2018 at 5:36 AM, The Crazed Spruce said:

I figure they figured on an audience member drawing one of a certain number of common pictures, and he grabbed the first one he saw and gave her some sort of verbal cue as to which one he picked.

That's actually an interesting possibility. The assistant could have a lot of time with the drawings, and with a big audience there's a predictability to certain things existing. They could tell him "get us a flower picture" and he sifts through to get one and passes it.

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Bumping as it's been a while in this thread. I was a few episodes behind and am just catching up.

Just a thought about the milk glass trick from #6, which was a fooler. I'm reminded of these beer cups from the stadium. The beer fills from the bottom, which makes them faster to serve: there's a hole in the bottom of the cup, and a magnetic disc that covers it. A pole pops up through the bottom, pushes the magnet up, shoots out the beer, then as it retracts it pulls the magnet back into place to seal the cup.

My best guess (and I definitely don't know for sure) is that it's something like this. The cup is rigged with a hole in the bottom with a rubber gasket. The bottom of the cup is also magnetic, and underneath the cup is a copper-painted disc or plug.

The copper rod pushes down into the glass and through the rubber gasket, pushing the magnetic disc down. The gasket is just as big around as the copper rod, wiping it dry as it passes through. The magnetic disc sticks to the bottom end of the rod as it goes through. Then, when she pulls the rod back up, she brings the magnetic disc with her, and when it gets to the gasket, it sticks in place and seals the bottom of the cup shut again.

 

Anyway, that's my best guess so far. 

 

edit: on a rewatch, she doesn't push the rod down then pull it back up, she pushes it down and all the way through. In that case, I think there's a second magnetic disc/plug on the top of the rod that is pulled into place and is left behind to seal the bottom. Since the top opening is bigger than the bottom one, the cap is just a smidge wider than the rod, fitting through the top then getting pulled into place at the bottom.

Edited by Charlesman

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I think you're onto something there. If you pause the Youtube video at 39:55 or so, when she takes her hand off the end of the rod which she's been hiding so carefully up to that point, you can see there is a cap on the rod. A cap that disappears after she pulls it out completely. The rod is dry, so I don't think anything is drying it off as it goes through. I think there's something like you suspect. 

The glass is rigged (of course) with a metallic floater and an inner tube that is probably sealed with a thin piece of plastic so it doesn't leak early. The lid of the tube has a magnet that can pull the floater and the tube up out of the milk and hold it in place. The rod goes through the tube (breaking the seal) and its cap pulls the tube back down and seals the glass again. The bottom lid is likely not gimmicked at all. 

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I don't know the correct thread for this complaint, so I'll put it here. I'm really tired of magicians on this show telling us they have a completely original trick and then doing a barely tweaked variation of a trick we've seen 100 times before, including previous episodes of this very show. It's OK to not have a completely original trick. Good stage presence and patter and a clever setup are what make a trick entertaining, and in all aspects of magic beyond this specific show's root premise, being entertaining is the key. So don't come out acting like a jackass claiming you've invented a never-before-seen trick, because when Penn says, "Oh yeah, I used to do this trick when I was 12, and it was created in the 1920s, and thousands of magicians do it", you're going to look like an idiot.

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On 9/2/2016 at 4:21 AM, Amarsir said:

So how about Vitaly Beckman fooling them the prior week with a photo? Remember that Penn ruled out both "multiple outs" and (seemingly) a force. (Vitaly did respond to "Any of 52?" with "It was a free choice" - which is not quite answering the question, but given his selection method it'd be impossible force without multiple outs.)

This one I'm less certain about. As performed, I think he had several photo albums behind the stand. (Which doesn't count as multiple outs since it's always the same reveal.) However I've also seen him do the same trick here and that method wouldn't have worked. (Though a force might.) He also has other tricks that I think could only be done with impressive printing technology. Maybe not relevant if he used a more mundane approach, but given that it involves photos I'm including it.

Couple years late on this, but I just saw this, and my first instinct watching the trick was that he knows the order of the cards and prints the photo on demand and all the photo album stuff is stalling. To me, though, that qualifies as "multiple outs", even if others may be semantic about it. But there's another, really clever way to do this that is consistent with the video you showed and meets Penn's requirements. In the video, it's clearly a force. On P&T Fool Us, it's the same trick, but Alyson becomes an instant stooge, so there's no force and it's a "free choice", because he knows P&T will detect a force and blow the whole thing.  Instead, the whole top of the deck is 8C. He shows the bottom of the deck as random, then reinforces to Alyson that she can pick any card and that they're all different and fans them out so she can see it's all the same card. "Remember, they're all different" he tells her so she knows to play along, and he turns her to face the audience so no one else can see the cards.  What's she going to do?  Stop the trick and say, "Uh ... they're not all different."  Of course not. She's polite and she's the host and she wants to see how it all plays out, so she just goes with it. There's only one out, the photo album stuff is distraction to make you think he's done something amazing while stalling, and Alyson has free choice to pick any of the 8C she wants.

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On 9/2/2016 at 3:46 PM, Xantar said:

I did figure that Wayne Hoffman was doing an instant stooge, but for some reason it didn't occur to me that he might have swapped the driver's license. If that was actually his method, though, he took a huge risk. If the chosen volunteer had turned out to be Asian, giving him the name "Carlos" would have looked rather odd. 

I think it was in the first season that someone else fooled Penn and Teller using essentially three instant stooges. At least that's what we on the forum thought it was, and I personally felt if that was really his method, he deserved to win just on sheer ballsiness.

I think the license is real and his name is Carlos. He crudely writes "Carlos" on the note through a hole in the envelope and deftly turns it away from the audience when the stooge goes to show everyone the paper and ruin the trick. I don't know how he stamps the card, but it doesn't require a large machine, so it could be hidden in his suit and operated remotely. Dynamite is a stall and drowns out the noise of the stamping.

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