Jack The Escape Artist

Effect: The performer tells the audience the about Jack the Escape Artist, as described below. With the help of the audience, the performer lays out a setup of face-down cards. It appears that Jack is surrounded by other cards (enemies) and is about to be attacked. The audience is asked, "Is there any way that we can help Jack out of this predicament without using physical force on any cards?" The answer has to be no. With a snap of his fingers, the magician flips the middle card, and it has "mi
aculously" traded places with one of the surrounding cards.

Card Trick:

Before the trick begins, the performer needs 13 cards. One of these is the Jack of Diamonds; the other twelve are black number cards (2 through 10). The Jack is put on top of the twelve black cards, making a stack of thirteen. That stack is in turn put on top of the deck. Now the performer can begin the trick.

*to mock shuffle, riffle shuffle the cards as you normally would, but make sure that the top thirteen cards are not disturbed by the shuffle. Don't worry. If you are casual about it, no one will notice.

1. While mock shuffling, the performer begins with the following patter:

"How many of you have heard about Jack the Escape Artist? He is a great trickster-able to get himself out of the worst of situations."

2. At this point, the performer deals the top thirteen cards face down on the table. Now the Jack is on the bottom of a thirteen-card pile, underneath twelve black number cards. After doing this, the performer puts the rest of the deck to one side (it will not be needed anymore) and The patter continues...

"Today we will simulate one of Jack's best escapes. I will need some help from the audience."

3. This is where the hard part comes in. Picking up the pile of thirteen, the performer shows the audience the bottom card and asks:

"What card is this?"

Of course, The audience will answer, "The Jack of Diamonds." At this point the performer replies:

"Right, and we will use this card to represent our friend Jack The Escape Artist."

4. Using THE GLIDE (see description below), the performer lays down the second card from the bottom of the deck. The viewers will think that the Jack has been set down.

******** THE GLIDE. this is a tricky sleight-of-hand move which requires some practice. The illusion is that the performer appears to lay down the Jack, when he actually is laying down the black number card that is above it in the stack. To perform THE GLIDE, the deck must be held a certain way. From the performer's perspective, to show the bottom card (the Jack of Diamonds) to the audience, the performer must pick up the deck with the thumb on one side of the deck and the other four fingers on the other side. Show the bottom card to the audience while holding the deck in this manner. When it is time to lay down the Jack, the performer lowers the deck so that the bottom card is facing the table. Using his fingers to pull the bottom card back, the performer draws the now exposed black number card and lays it down on the table. With practice, this move can soon be performed undetected by viewers, and is a stepping stone to many more tricks. ********

5. Now the performer places the bottom card (Jack) on top of the deck. There is no need to explain why to the audience. If you do it in a non-suspicious manner, and quickly, they will not ask why. If they do ask, simply state "This must be done for magical purposes." I know this is a lousy excuse, but it is far better than saying: "...because if I don't do this, you will soon be shown the Jack that you think I just laid down. ") At any rate, now Jack is on top of the deck. Show the bottom card once again, and ask, "What color is this card?" The audience will reply "black". set the card down in the same manner that you set down the last card, but DO NOT PERFORM THE GLIDE THIS TIME. REALLY LAY DOWN THE BOTTOM CARD! When you set the card down, think of the middle card as the center of a clock. Set the card down in the 7:00 position. Once again, casually place the bottom card on the top of the deck.

6. Repeat step 5, but place the card at 6:00

7. Repeat step 5, but place the card at 5:00

8. Repeat step 5, but place the card at 4:00

9. Repeat step 5, but place the card at 3:00

10. This time, perform the glide once again. This will put Jack in the 1:00 position.

11. Continue the process until the setup is complete. it should look like this (all cards are FACE-DOWN):


black# black#

black# Red Jack

black# black# black#

black# black#

black# black#


12. Now wrap up the trick by saying: "Well, we do have quite a problem here. Jack seems to be surrounded by enemy cards. Is there any way that we can get him out of this situation without using physical force on any cards?" The audience might throw out a few ideas. No matter what, shrug off the suggestions and say, "I've got an idea! Why don't we all concentrate really hard on Jack and see if we can help him teleport? I know it's a far cry, but it's worth a shot." Get the audience to look at the middle card. Play it up. Look like you are concentrating your hardest, and they'll play along. Suddenly, with a snap of your fingers, turn over the middle card. "Congratulations! With your help, Jack escaped, but where did he go?" At this point turn over the surrounding cards one at a time. Make sure you get to the Jack(2:00) last. "Oh, THERE he is..."

13. Pick up the cards, Take your bow, etc. etc. etc.