The Disappearance of Jack Pot
By Dominic Twose - Wednesday, July 28, 2021
The July 1955 issue of The Gen magazine carried the following ad:
"JACK POT "
EVERYTHING that DAI VERNON performed was a "Magical Masterpiece". Just before he left… we asked him the inevitable question. "What is your favourite card trick?" He replied… “I have dozens of 'favourites' … some of them require great skill others are PURELY MECHANICAL. Here is one that I consider to be ONE OF THE BEST SELF-WORKING card tricks I know, in fact I ALWAYS CARRY A SET AROUND WITH MEI" With these words, he removed a few cards from his wallet and explained, that he told audiences they were a memento of a rather exciting experience he once had while playing a game of cards.
FIVE CARDS were fanned out... they were ALL DIFFERENT, and as they were spread revealed a PERFECT ‘RUNNING FLUSH'. He turned the highest card of the run face down on the table, and invited us to name it, we did this, successfully. The remaining four cards were also turned face down, and he asked us to indicate the position of the lowest-value card, we did so. But, he turned the four cards FACE UP, and dealt them on to the table ... and to our ASTONISHMENT... we saw that the four cards were now ALL THE SAME VALUE!
HERE IS A REAL GEM for your close-up show. CLEAN and DIRECT in EFFECT and so VERY, VERY SIMPLE TO DO. NOT single sleight anywhere ... the cards do all the work... YET... it is so CONVINCING it will FOOL the most experienced magicians. If you've missed everything we have ever offered… DON’T MISS THIS ONE!
Complete with full instructions and the five cards... YES ONLY five cards are used!
Price — 5/-
In the same issue, Ken Brooke wrote, "Another must for this type of magic is the new and startling ‘Jackpot cards’ advertised in this issue. If you are interested in magic and you pass up this wonderful trick, forget the business and take up knitting!"
Well, you may have gathered by now that I’m a big Vernon fan. So when I saw this ad, which was issued at the end of a visit by Vernon to the UK, I was intrigued. I’d not heard of Jack Pot. Even allowing for dealer hyperbole, the trick sounded strong. That endorsement by Ken Brooke was powerful. And the fact that Vernon carried it around with him was the icing on the cake. Yet a quick Google check showed almost no mention of it. The trick had disappeared.
There was something else. The Stars of Magic series ran from 1946 to 1952. A couple of years later, two manuscripts were issued, using the same style as Stars of Magic (when the bound version of Stars of Magic was issued, these were included). They were both headed Lesson 1 and were titled Royal Monte (Dai Vernon) and The Art of Using the Lap as a Servante (Tony Slydini). The plot of Royal Monte is identical to the plot of Jack Pot, only it uses regular cards. The subtitle is ‘A lesson in artistic card handling’. It seems Vernon appreciated the trick so much that he worked out a version relying on sleight of hand. The ‘lesson’ in the title is warranted; the manuscript emphasised the details that Vernon loved, but which at the time were little known.
Well, the trick is available again. It is a bit more expensive than 5/- now, but as well as being an interesting bit of history, Jackpot Cards is still a strong effect. And if you have Stars of Magic, take another look at Royal Monte. If you don’t have Stars of Magic, buy it now, thank me later https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/card-magic/stars-of-magic/
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