by Mike Rogers
When I attend magic functions I frequently make brief notes of things I wish to remember or research upon returning home. Quite often these memory joggers are little more than scratchy lines on the inside of matchbook covers, paper napkins, and even the inside of the flap on card boxes. Such was the case at the recent DMS. After arriving home, while sorting through the various odds and ends acquired at DMS, I discovered the word Deltree on the back of Jon Racherbaumer’s lecture notes. I racked my brain trying to figure why in hell I would have written Del Tree on the back of a set of notes. As I recalled Jon performed no effects involving a tree, and I already knew how to construct a newspaper tree. Hence, a mystery.
Finally it hit me while working at the computer in DOS. The culprit was Pat Hennessy. Pat was kept busy at DMS explaining to dunderheads like me how to use the internet to access Gemini. Del Tree actually meant Delete Tree, or more correctly written for the computer as Deltree. It’s a word used when deleting the tree to wipe out something from your hard drive. Considering my complete lack of knowledge with DOS, and my almost complete lack of knowledge of Windows, I still don’t know what it is I’m to do when using Deltree. However, it did remind me of a card trick using a tree that’s been in my notes for more than 35 years.
There’s nothing new, different, or original here. It’s just a cute bit of business that will fool some and bring a chuckle or smile to all.
First the commercial message. There has been on the market for several years a playing card having a picture of a lush tree with blooms of bright red hearts. The idea here being the Tree Of Hearts rather than the Three of Hearts. The late Ronald Haines was crazy about this card and had them printed by the thousands. Both the art work and color printing are beautiful, and he had every right to be proud.. Be that as it may, the card has seen little use in magic other than as a gag. Thinks I, Mr. Haines was about the only one ever impressed by the card.
Anyway, dig this card out of your magic junk box, or construct one to match the deck you use. A picture of any tree glued or sketched on the face of a blank card will do. Let’s assume you are using the Tree Of Hearts.
The Tree card (gag card) is on top of the deck. Openly remove the Ace, Two, and Three of Hearts retaining the Tree on top. Hold the A,2,3 face up in the right hand with the three being the face card. Your left hand holds the deck with a little finger break under the gag card. You now do a Braue Add On in this manner: Place the face up block of cards onto the deck picking up the gag card on the back of them. Retain all four in the right hand. Peel off the face up three onto the deck proper and flip it face down using the right hand packet. Repeat with the two. Now drop the Ace (and the hidden gag card) on top of all. Now flip the Ace face down. Immediately count off the three top cards saying, “Ace, Two, and Three.” (This is all garden variety card handling that should give no problems.)
Reverse count the cards a couple of times to apparently mix them. Actually, you need them in Ace, Gag, Two order, which is how they will be if you’ve followed along.
Now spell aloud “A C E” dealing a card from the top to the bottom with each letter. Say aloud “Ace,” turn up the next card, the Ace, and deal it to the table. Repeat with the Two spelling “T W O.” Say “Two,” turn up the next card dealing the Two on to the table.
You are left holding one card, the gag card which they think to be the Three. Spell “T R E E” while moving the single card from hand to hand with each letter. A couple of absurd things are happening. First, there’s no way to spell a word using just a single card without looking ridiculous. No matter how you try it won’t make sense. The other absurd thing is you have obviously forgotten how to spell Three.
After spelling “Tree” say it aloud, “TREE.” Smile and turn up the Tree card.
If your thoughts on this little quickie lean towards ruling it out consider this. This cute little stunt was used by both Ed Marlo and Don Alan.