McDonald’s Aces and a Bonus – Paul A Lelekis – A Review
I recently got the opportunity to review Paul’s 56th ebook, a masterwork on McDonald’s Aces. This is part of the intro from Paul:
“This is my 56th e-book of magic (including a few physical books), and I’m proud of the amount of excellent magic that I have accumulated after decades of being a very busy performer.
I am very proud to present these two fantastic effects…one is an ‘exercise’ of apparent great manipulative skill and the second one is an example of unbelievable ESP ability.
These are NOT just tricks…and should NOT be treated as such. They are masterful presentations (dependent upon the performer), that also require some finesses, patter, conviction, and story-telling ability.
People believe what they want to believe. And I, for one, am NOT going to assume that my spectators don’t believe!”
First, a little something about ‘McDonald’.. and his story, courtesy of Paul…
“This routine was attributed to Mac McDonald (John W. “Mac” McDonald), who was born in Mississippi in 1907 and died circa 1981. Mac was a magic pitchman and only had one hand…and was considered an amazing magician, much like the great René Lavand.
Mac lost his hand as a 10 year old boy while working in a saw-mill in Alabama, in 1917. He moved to California in the 1920s as a young man and became a successful diamond broker forming “McDonald’s Diamond Exchange”.
However when the Depression hit, his diamond business “went under” and Mac became a magician and was quite successful, performing for royalty, and even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, twice.”
McDonald’s Aces, in one form or another, has been popularized by a multitude of performers.. including Ricky Jay and Dai Vernon. Paul’s version, although it uses a unique collection of sleights, sticks close to the original performance.
Four Aces are shown, and then dealt to the table to create four future piles of cards. One of the Aces, generally the Ace of Spades, is dealt close to the performer and later becomes the pile in which the magic happens. Three more indifferent cards are dealt, face down, onto each of the Aces .. forming the four stacks.
After due patter, each pile is picked up, the Ace inserted into the middle of the pile, and, like magic, the piles are each shown front and back… and the Aces have vanished. To bring the effect to a climatic end.. the final pile, the Ace of Spade pile, is revealed to contain all four Aces.
Now, Paul’s is a much better effect than it reads in my quick recap. You can easily make McDonald’s Aces a centerpiece of your set with Paul’s handling. I don’t want to scare anyone off when I say he uses several sleights to achieve the magic, because Paul includes videos of each of the sleights to give you a deep dive of the techniques.
Paul teaches each of the following:
Benzais Spin-Out Move
C. Miller’s Up-the-Ladder Cut
Hollingworth Multiple Shift
LePaul’s Invisible Turnover Pass
Vernon Strip-Out Addition
-plus- Two False Shuffles
Each move is used by Paul in his performance, but not all moves are necessary in your performance. He gives you work-arounds if you don’t want to use his suggestions.
At the end of the day, this is a really good study of how a very skilled card guy would perform this classic of card magic. Paul’s writing is always complete and nothing is left out. Plus, I’m sure you can write Paul if you have a question, and he will be glad to help you over the hump.
As is customary in many versions of McDonald’s Aces, you will need three gaffed cards, which you can get from magic dealers or make yourself.. in the event you don’t already have them – You need three double-facers with Aces on one side and indifferent cards on the back. Heck.. you can even glue two cards together to make yourself a working prototype.. and practice till you get the real thing..
Included in this 20 page PDF is FREAK OUT, a mental magic effect that allows the magician to surprise the spectator by knowing the identity of their card without looking at or touching the deck. The spectator does all the hard work and the magi takes all the credit.
The spectator cuts the pack.. the spectator looks at the card cut to… the spectator shuffles the packet.. and the magician, after a bit of patter aimed at making the spectator a believer in magic, reveals the identity of her card. The patter is important, and the lack of handling is important. Paul will explain it all…
Anyone who can perform a false shuffle..(taught via another video by Paul) can perform Freak Out. I would say McDonald’s Aces is more on the advanced beginner to intermediate level. Paul also provides a treatise on JACKS and their history, since he uses Jacks instead of Aces to perform McDonald’s Aces.. Can you still call it McDonald’s Aces if you use Jacks? Ask Paul…
As I mentioned, this is a 20 page PDF, along with multiple videos (8 MP4s), for $8.00 .. Available through Lybrary.com. and Murphy’s Magic.