A Tribute to the Princess
don't intend to discuss the events in the life
or death of a recently departed member of royalty.
The topic for discussion is the card trick bearing
the name The Princess Card Trick. The effect
is hardly new for it dates back to 1905 and
is credited to American magician Henry Hardin.
In the ensuing years the effect has been reinvented,
rehashed, and rewritten by more than a few.
Annemann, Hillard, Ganson, and Vernon all covered
it in writings of the past. Both Bart Whaley
and TA Waters discuss it in their directories.
Most recently Larry Jennings and Gordon Bean
gave it a fresh look in their marketed effect
called Limited Edition. It was/is a favorite
of performers such as Nate Leipzig, Eddie Fields,
Bill Wisch, and Earl Edwards. More recently
it has even shown up on the internet. Hence,
the effect measures up to the test of time as
well as the test for performing standards.
what is The Princess Card Trick? It is quite
simple, and this simplicity may be the reason
for its long run in the course of magicdom.
A packet of cards is shown, normally four or
five cards. A spectator is requested to mentally
think of one card. The cards are then turned
backs towards viewers and the magician pockets
a single card. The faces of the remaining cards
are shown and the spectator's mentally selected
card is not among the group; hence, the pocketed
card is his selection. That's it! It doesn't
get more direct than that. It has been done
using both gaffed cards and normal cards.
wishing to dig deeper can find three versions
in Down's Art of Magic, and Leipzig's version
in Vernon's Tribute to Leipzig. The best version
I've seen is the marketed Limited Edition by
Larry Jennings and Gordon Bean. They have made
the trick truly magical whereas in previous
versions the spectator could write it off as
being pure good luck for the magician. Bill
Wisch used to hand craft the needed cards by
carefully inlaying the pips within cut portions
of the gaffed cards. Bill's cards are truly
a work of art. Today those wishing to make the
gaffs will find that transfer pips will work
like to see The Princess Card Trick performed
on the internet here's the URL:
nicely done and lends itself beautifully for
an effect performed on the computer.
is one of my favorite versions using normal
cards. It was shown to me by Earl Edwards of
Norfolk, VA back in 1959. It's a wonderful handling
for those times when you are seated with a group
enjoying beer and pizza, for it can be repeated
again and again. Earl Edwards could hold court
with this thing for several minutes.
new here, but the presentation and patter line
take a turn in a direction normally not seen
with the trick. Follow Earl's wording closely.
Earl shuffles five face down cards without showing
their faces. He places the cards in a face down
row and assigns a number to each spot in the
row. For instance, working from spectator's
point of view, the card on the left is in spot
number one, the next card in spot number two,
on up through spot five. This is important as
the spectator must understand these numbered
spots in the row. Earl instructs the spectator
to look at a card, remember its spot, and return
the card face down to that spot. This is done
while Earl turns his back towards the spectator.
say the cards is the King of Diamonds and it
is in spot number three. Naturally Earl doesn't
know this. Once the card is noted Earl turns
back to the viewers, picks up all five cards
and pockets them. He then starts removing the
cards from his pocket one at a time placing
them in a face down row until he has four face
down cards on the table. In the eyes of the
viewer one card remains in his pocket.
following wording is important, for Earl never
asks for the name of the mentally selected card.
He asks, "In which spot from one to five does
your card belong?"
replies, "Spot number three."
replies, "I simply needed to know where to place
it." With that line he removes the final card,
the King of Diamonds, and places it FACE UP
in spot number three. Naturally, he needs to
move the tabled cards a bit making room for
the face up King in spot number three. This
is extremely strong because the mentally selected
card is never named, yet it is the final card
removed from the pocket.
is flipped face down, the cards are shuffled
again, and the effect repeated until midnight,
or until the beer and pizza are gone.
This goes back to the beginning of the creation
of the effect. A total of nine cards are used.
They can be any value and you never need to
know the values. Four of these cards are secretly
placed in the jacket pocket in advance.
along as described in the presentation. After
the card has been noted you pick up the five
tabled cards in 1,2,3,4,5 order and place the
packet in your pocket. Now, as in the presentation,
remove cards one at a time placing them face
down on the table in a row until you have a
row of four cards. The cards just removed are
the "x" cards that were already in the pocket.
Earl Edwards' exact words, "In which spot from
one to five does your card belong?" Your hand
is in your pocket as you ask this question.
When the spectator says "Spot three" you remove
the third card from the packet in your pocket,
and place it FACE UP in spot three on the table
saying, "I simply needed to know where to place
now ready to repeat the effect.