Ted Lesley – "decisions! Decisions!"

Ted Lesley
(Invented by Harry Baron. Additional ideas by
Ken deCourcy and Ted Lesley)

This trick was invented by the late Harry Baron and was published in the first volume of Ken deCourcy’s wonderful magazine “Coffeebreak Chronicle”. Harry Baron was very ingenious in giving old gimmicks and tricks a new “twist”. Let us give a typical example of his creativiness:

Ken deCourcy found in the February 1946 issue of “Mac’s Monthly” a bright idea of Harry’s: Predicting the amount of loose change in a spectator’s pocket (via “Swami Gimmick”), which well known mentalists (Maurice Fogel and Punx for example) used for years as an opener to their mental act!

Ken de Courcy and Ted Lesley talked the trick over on the phone recently, and Ted, too, found an improvement to Harry Baron`s routine. Finally Ken deCourcy was so kind, granting us permission to put this mental-miracle with playing cards on the market. We promise, you will have a lot of fun performing “Decisions! Decisions!”

(Harry Baron’s Routine):
The performer asks a gentleman to come up and help, then hands his wife or girl-friend a small bell.

The man is given a wallet to hold in the form of a tray while the menta-list shuffles a pack of cards. he starts to deal the cards face down on the wallet and the lady is requested to ring the bell at any time she likes.

When she does so, the gentleman is given the choice, whether he wants the card just dealt, the one in the performer’s hand, or the card which would be dealt next. He chooses one of the three and that goes into his pocket unseen.

He is shown the other two cards, then all the cards are placed away and the mentalist reclaims the wallet. From it, he extracts one card which is shown to the helper and the audience.

The assistant takes the card from his pocket and finds it matches the one from the wallet. As you`ll realise, good stand-up mental card effects are rare these days, particularly when they are as fair-looking (and easy) as this one.

A fairly large wallet (so that cards can be dealt on to it) which will hold three cards hidden in different pockets. Harry Baron used paper jumbo cards, which fold, but Ken deCourcy has three ordinary cards (with different backs) in his.

You also need a faked deck (supplied) consisting of thirteen each of three different cards and thirteen cards all different. For clarity we’ll say the pack is made up with thirteen 4H’s; thirteen 8D’s; thirteen QS’s plus thirteen other indifferent cards. (NOTE: The cards vary in each pack!) The cards are already arranged in performing order: 4H, 8D, QS, 4H, 8D, QS, 4H and so on down for thirty-nine cards. The bottom thirteen are, of course, the mixed ordinary cards. Have this deck in its packet in your pocket. Put a piece of tissue paper into the mouth of the bell that it can`t make any noise during your performance and put it in a convenient pocket also.

Choose a man who is with a lady and invite him to stand up to help you. Hand the lady the bell and instruct her she is to ring it whenever she likes as long as it’s when you are actually holding a card in your hand. (Don’t forget to take the tissue-paper out of the bell beforehand!)

Take out the wallet and have the man hold it as shown in the illustration. He stands sideways on to the audience. Extract the pack from its case, then shuffle it (just the bottom thirteen cards) faces towards the audience. Replace them on the bottom of the pack.

Now start dealing cards slowly from the top of the deck face down on to the wallet.When the lady rings the bell, stop and ask the man whether he wants the card just dealt, the one in your hand, or the one you’re about to deal. Whichever he wishes, place it (without anyone seeing its face) into his top outside pocket.

Show him the cards he didn’t choose, which tells you the name of the card in his pocket!

Take all the cards back and get them safely out of the way into your pocket, then relieve him from the wallet. Open it, remove the correct card and show it, then have him take the card from his pocket, to find it’s the same.

This finishes the Harry Baron / Ken deCourcy routine.

SUGGESTED PATTER (by Ken deCourcy):
“Have you ever realised that life consists of making one decision after another. There are decisions to be made from the moment you wake up…..will you have cornflakes, or shredded wheat…..to the time you go to bed…..when your wife makes all the decisions.”My brother just made the decision to give up drinking. For a start, he’s using larger ice-cubes.” I made one decision earlier this evening…..which I’ll tell you about later…..and now I have another decision to make, which gentleman to ask up to help me. (Invite man up to help and stand him on your left.)

“Does he belong to you, Madam? I only want to borrow him for a little while. What’s more, I’ll let you have this little bell…..as a deposit on him. When I return him in good condition, you can give me back the bell.

“Sir, I’m going to lend you my wallet. Don’t worry, there`s no money in it because having money is only the second best thing in life. The first best thing is having lots of money. Would you hold the wallet between your hands as if it were a tray because, in a moment, I’m going to deal cards on to it from this pack, which I’d better shuffle or afterwards people will accuse me of no end of underhand things.

“Madam, we’ve reached the stage where you have to make your decision. I’m going to start dealing these cards slowly and I’d like you to ring the bell, when I’m actually holding a card in my hand. In other words, just before it is dealt on to the wallet. The decision of when you ring it is entirely yours. But…..would you like a practice-tinkle first just to get the hang of it? Good…..now I’ll start dealing. (Deal until lady rings bell.)

“Thank you, Madam, you made that decision beautifully decisively. And that was hard to say with these teeth in, they were made for a horse.

“Now, Sir, it’s decision-time for you. You have to decide whether you want the card I’ve just dealt, the card in my hand, or the card on top of the pack which I would have dealt next. Your decision, Sir? Thank you…..I’ll place it into your pocket.

“Before we go any further, I’d like you to see the cards you could have decided upon, but didn’t. (Show him the the other two and name them!) I’ll thake the cards from you, if I may and also the wallet, which I think you`ll agree, was in your hands before your wife made her decision and before you made yours. If you remember, I said I`d already made a decision this evening. That decision was to place one card in this wallet. Here it is…..(example) the Queen of Spades.

“Sir, please take the card out of your pocket and call out its name in a nice loud voice. “The Queen of Spades”! You see, all three decisions were absolutely right!”

We supply with this routine a very special “Three-Way-Envelope” with the accompanying instructions. It is already prepared and can be used for many shows. It is, as you will see, easy to construct. The envelope must be loaded with three cards with contrasting backs, the faces must match the force-cards of the deck. They are inserted into the secret compartments looking from the seamside of the envelope in ascending order. This envelope is used by Ted Lesley for a lot of other mindbending miracles. (See his book “PARAMIRACLES” Pages 27-33). Before you perform “Decisions! Decisions! you should practice the easy moves with the envelope for a couple of minutes, to get the feel of it.

For Ted Lesley`s routine, you do not need your own wallet. Before you “borrow” your assistant from the audience, ask him, if he has one on him so you borrow that also! Now the trick becomes really impomptu.

When you start the performance take the “Kismet-Envelope” out of your pocket and insert it into the wallet of your assistant. Then proceed with the routine as already described.

At the end of the trick, let the spectator open his wallet and hand you the envelope. The appropriate card is shaken out on the top of the wallet, which the spectator still holds. Make sure, that it lands on the wallet face down. Put the envelope away in one of your pockets. Now take the card out of the spectator’s top outside pocket with your right hand and the other one from the top of the wallet with the left hand and show the audience that both cards match. Standing before the audience with a card in each hand and outstretched arms is the perfect applause cue. To avoid any fumbling during the routine it is advised, that you have the cards not in its box. Wrap a rubber-band around the deck instead!