Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Alignment Move

In all likelihood, the basic action of the Alignment Move was developed by a number of card magicians at various times, as a practical solution to a reoccurring problem. Below are the earliest documented references found so far.

On Top of the Deck

On the deck, the move usually hides a reversed or odd-backed card at the third position from the top.

T. Page Wright gave an early description of the central idea in a book manuscript composed in the late 1920s, which wasn't published until 1991 as Page Wright's Manuscript: Sixty Years of Lost Secrets, p. 256-7.

In 1931, the move was described in Louis Zingone's “The Surprise Reverse” in Walter A. Schwartz's CIGAM, p. 41. However, according to two sources the Alignment Move in Zingone's trick was borrowed from Dai Vernon. See the final note in entry 28, “Vernon's King and Queen Love Story”, in Jacob Daley's Notebooks, c. 1974, as well as the introduction to Dai Vernon's “The Loving Couple” by Karl Fulves in The Pallbearers Review, Vol. 7 No. 4, Feb. 1972, p. 484.

With a Small Packet

When done with a small packet of as few as only two cards plus a hidden extra card, the Alignment Move usually functions as a switch. It is credited variously to Henry Christ, Ted Annemann and Dai Vernon.

The Annemann reference comes from his use of the sleight in “Red and Blue Decks”, a trick published in a marketed typescript titled Exclusive Secrets of Annemann's Conception published by Frank Lane in 1933. This trick was reprinted by Max Abrams in Annemann's $50 Manuscript, 1976, p. 13. (Corrected details for the original Lane publication were provided by Abrams in the deluxe edition of Annemann: The Life and Times of a Legend, 1992, p. 624.) Annemann also used the move in a variation of “Red and Blue Decks” called “Synthetic Sympathy”, which he published in The Jinx, No. 2, Nov. 1934, np. (page 7 in the run). This trick was later reprinted in in The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 5, 1948, p. 194.

Dai Vernon claimed to have invented this alignment procedure in 1933 (the same year Exclusive Secrets of Annemann's Conception was published), in response to a comment made by Thomas Edison after Vernon's performance of “Cards of Coincidence”. This anecdote appears in The Vernon Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Stephen Minch, 1987, p. 154. His routine is tersely described in Jacob Dailey's Notebooks, Vol. 3, p. 55, under the title “67. Vernon's Coincidence Card Trick Ala Annemann”. In that entry are unexplained references to the “Vernon move” and “Vernon shuffle move”, these apparently being the alignment move. “Cards of Coincidence” is fully explained in Dai Vernon's Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic by Lewis Ganson, 1961, p. 11. The effects of the Annemann and Vernon tricks are very similar, but Vernon's version offers two repetitions of the basic effect.

Henry Christ's claim to the sleight is of the same vintage. Its basis is still being investigated.

* Category in Denis Behr's "Conjuring Archive"