OOPs in Magic! Make it Their Fault!

A few weeks ago I wrote about picking the right suit in Magic. It was about Nick Trost’s “The Deuce You Say” whereby four twos are placed in an envelope face down. The spectator chooses a suit. The cards are removed from the envelope and Lo and Behold! their suit is the only card that is face up.  I gave a similar trick to my grandson. At his sister’s birthday party he decided to do a few tricks and that was one of them. However, instead of the chosen Queen of hearts the Queen of Diamonds came up. He took it in his stride and sort of apologized to the audience and continued on.

When I got a hold of him later, in private, I told him when he does a trick it could always go wrong and he should have an out. He should prepare for that “out” before he even starts the trick. He was interested in this business of “outs”. I explained to him that had he told the person to concentrate on their card and a diamond came up instead of a heart, you could tell them they didn’t concentrate hard enough. They got the red part right but they should have thought harder of the heart. Make it their fault.

So David Acer was in the shop a few days later and I told him the story. He loved it. He said I had to write a book called “Make It Their Fault”.

Have any of you wormed your way out of a difficult situation. Wanna share? I’ll put it in my book, when I write it.

I had a situation the other day. When someone new comes into the shop I always demo the Svengali deck. It is an amazing effect for someone who has never seen it, so over the years I must have done it thousands of times.  The other week someone came in and I said my usual line, “I’m going to riffle the cards and just put your finger in the deck, anywhere I want, I mean, anywhere you want. (Always gets a  laugh). And they do. I said, Take out the 10 of Diamonds and they just looked at me and are a little confused, and I said just take out the card, the 10 of Diamonds. And this person said,  as she turned over the card, but its the Queen of spades. I realized in that moment, that I had taken another deck. I said, Of course it is. I knew that. And she gave me a look. Yeah, sure!

You don’t believe me, I said. I just wanted to see what you would say when I said the wrong card, but I knew what it was, what it had to be, because they are all Queen of Spades and I showed her all the Queens. Her jaw dropped. and then I went on with the trick.

I must confess I hadn’t thought it out in advance, but you have to think on your feet in magic at times as the unexpected can happen.

Who is going to be brave enough to confess?


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4 responses to “OOPs in Magic! Make it Their Fault!

  1. I humbly submit different opinion. Although I agree that as a magician you should always have an out, I don’t think blaming the spectator is the right way to go, especially when dealing with children. Some children are very sensitive to failure and failing in front of their friends is even worse. Some will genuinely feel bad for “harming” the show. When the magic fails to happen it is always MY fault: “I gave you the wrong magic wand”, “I forgot we had to say the magic words”, “it’s my fault, I forgot that it only works with the pink silk”.

    Food for thought.


  2. I totally agree with you, however, in this case the magician I was referring to is my grandson that missed his trick, a just turned 8 year old, and in an effort for him not to be devastated, I wanted him to know about outs. I myself when demoing the torn and restored paper hat, and the volunteer’s comes out in sheds, I always say, “My fault, I forgot to tell you to blow on it first and I tell them to blow on my closed fist.” I would never want anyone to feel bad, even for a minute. Of course when David got a hold of the story it became a whole new thing. So I agree. Never blame it on the kids.! or adults.


  3. Rohinton Ghandhi

    that’s such a great story! Ro


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