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John Bannon - Last Man Standing

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Last Man
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  © John Bannon, 2003 Last Man Standing  John Bannon “Last Man Standing” is my handling for a stand-up, in-the-hands Triumph effect. Significantly (and perhaps the main reason for even considering it), the routine incorporates the very deceptive Goodwin/Jennings display of the cards being shuffled, face-up cards into face-down cards. Until now, you may have heard about this particular display, but likely have not seen anyone do it. This is because the techniques required to get into proper position have been either difficult (requiring ill-timed half-passes, mechanical reverses, and the like) or too “fiddly” to be practical (secret slidings of cards, mediocre preliminary effects, etc.). After a great deal of experimentation, I came up with this simplified, “semi-automatic” approach. The result is practical, very deceptive, and fun to do. What  The classic Triumph effect. A selected card is lost in the deck. The deck is clearly shuffled face-up cards into face-down cards. Yet, the deck suddenly straightens out. All of the cards now face the same way, except for one—the selected card! How   Necessary Preliminaries  Have a card selected, returned, and controlled second from the top of the deck. You can use a simple Double-Undercut. I usually use the following variation of a diabolical Marlo ruse control. Have the selected card returned to the center of the deck and, as you square up, get a break below the card directly under the selected card. Now openly cut the deck at the break. The selected card is now second from the bottom. Follow through, however, with a quick, overhand jog shuffle: Holding the cards for an overhand shuffle, undercut half of the deck, run one card, injogging it about one-third of its length (don’t be too obvious about the injog, but don’t try to hide it either), and shuffle off, running the last several cards singly onto the deck. The selected card is now second from the top, but your audience is very suspicious about the injogged card and likely believes that it is marking off the location of the selection. To complete the control, simply square the injogged card with the deck and dribble the cards from hand to hand. Now no one has a clue. (I really like this control and use it often for both laymen and magicians. The premise is that most persons will conclude that the straight cut brings the card to the top. This conclusion is reinforced by the injog and shuffle-off. The shuffle-off, moreover, removes heat from the bottom of the deck. Then, when the injog is clearly lost, there is no way to reconstruct where the selected card actually is. For the index, let’s call this the “Marlo Ruse Control.”)  © John Bannon, 2003 Page 2 / 4 Having controlled the selected card, get a break under the top two cards (that is, below the selected card) in preparation for a Braue Reversal: Take the deck from above with your right hand, maintaining the break with your right thumb. With your left hand, undercut about half the deck, revolve the packet face up and slide it squarely onto the top of the deck. In a continuing action, undercut all of the cards below the break, revolve this packet face up, and slide it under the right-hand packet.  At this point, there are two reversed cards in the middle of the deck. Turn the deck face-down, clearly indicating that you are not holding any breaks. Now, you must get a break between the two reversed cards using the Marlo Kick Count technique. With your right thumb, lift up slightly at the natural back-to-back break below the reversed cards. Now with your left pinky, “kick” the lowermost card of the upper packet to the right a bit. Then, pull down on its side-jogged corner and get a left pinky break above it as you square the deck and take it into your left hand. Your right hand provides the minimal cover required. [You could also simply cut at the natural break in a gesture of some sort and get the break as the halves are reassembled.]   Position check: The deck is face down in left-hand dealing position and there are two face-up cards about halfway down in the deck. You have a left pinky break between the two face-up cards. As I do these steps, I usually say to the spectator, “There are two ways I can find your card—the easy way and the hard way. Which way would you like to see?” Whatever the response (usually, “the hard way”), I respond, “Thanks for coming.” (A Bob Kohler riposte.) [For the purists, control the selected card to the bottom and then half-pass the bottom two cards. Get a thumb break above the bottom, now-reversed card. Cut the deck maintaining the break.]    Do the Tenkai  From this position, you now do the Tenkai Optical Revolve, as follows: With your right hand, cut off all the cards above the break and turn your hand palm upward. At the same time, turn your left hand palm downward. This is a simultaneous “twisting” kind of two-handed action. Having turned your right hand palm upward, its packet is automatically turned 90 degrees so the long sides are parallel to you. Place the left-hand packet onto the right-hand packet, so the packets overlap about half their length. It appears as if half the deck has been reversed and placed on top of the other half—at this point the upper packet appears to be face up and the lower packet appears face down.  Adjust the deck so it can be taken in your left hand in dealing position, keeping the upper packet now out-jogged for half its length. Your right hand now withdraws the lower, apparently face-down packet in position for a Weave Shuffle.  © John Bannon, 2003 Page 3 / 4 Weave Shuffle the two packets together, taking care that the following occur: i) The uppermost card of the right-hand packet (a face-down card) will remain as the uppermost card of the combined deck; and ii) Similarly, the lowermost card of the left-hand packet will remain the lowermost card of the combined deck. Other than these two restrictions, the Weave Shuffle does not need to be perfect (or even very good). Push the interweaved packets together only about one-half of their length--do not cascade them together yet. The Goodwin/Jennings Display   Are you ready for this? I promise you the first few times you do this you will almost fool yourself—it’s that good. Take the interwoven deck in left-hand dealing position with the apparently face-up half uppermost. With your right fingers, riffle up the outer edge of the face-up packet. [This, I believe, is the srcinal display. Or, you can take the telescoped cards with your right hand and riffle down the outer edge of the deck with your left thumb (a la Dominic Duvivier). Having tried both, I prefer to riffle down.] Be careful, however, not to flash the very bottom card of the outjogged packet as it faces in the opposite direction. The packet will appear to your audience as all face-up cards. Turn the interwoven deck over toward you, end-for-end. The outermost packet appears to be the face-down one (this is a particularly subtle discrepancy). As before, riffle the outer end of the face-down packet—all face-up cards will show. Once again, be careful not to flash the bottom card of the outjogged packet. Accompany these actions by saying that the face-down cards are being shuffled into the face-up cards. Cascade the interlaced halves together and square them in your left hand. Kudos to Bill Goodwin, who conceived of this notion, and Larry Jennings, who refined it. End Games  Position check: After the cascade the top card of the deck is a face-up indifferent card. The next 50 cards are face down and the lowermost card is the face-up selected card. Remark that the cards are now mixed face-up and face-down. Here is a sneaky way to clean up the reversed indifferent card, leaving you clean at the climax of the trick. Take the deck with your right hand from above. Swing cut the upper half of the deck into your left hand. Ask the spectator if she thinks her card is “among the face-up cards, or, among the face-down cards?” As you ask this question, with the right-hand packet, lever the top card of the left-hand packet face-down. Drop the right-hand packet on top, centralizing the reversed selected card. (I tried a bunch of clean up sequences [using the “is your card face-up or face-down ploy,”]   this elegant one was suggested by Simon  Aronson.) To end, slowly begin spreading the cards--they will all be face up. When you get to the  © John Bannon, 2003 Page 4 / 4 selected card, outjog it and continue to spread the cards, showing that the outjogged card is the “only” face-down card remaining. Have your spectator name her card, remove the outjogged card from the spread and show it around. More   Background and Credits  This is the most recent refinement of “Last Man Standing.” It differs slightly from the version in the lecture notes “Cardzilla Is Coming” (Bannon, 1998), but does not differ significantly from the version I did at Ron MacMillan’s Ron’s Day convention in December 1998 (which should be on the videotape from that event).
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