Elmsley Count vs a regular count

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby mark lewis » Mar 10th, '15, 21:30



I have done magic for 57 years. I expect I have seen more Elmsley counts than most of you put together. I have yet to see a non-fishy one. I have even done the bloody thing myself and naturally because of my obvious brilliance was able to do it better than anyone else. I still don't like it. Sorry.

And it isn't the Elmsley Count anyway. It didn't have that much to do with Alex Elmsley anyway. It is merely a variation of something invented by Edward Victor. There are some good tricks with the count and I will admit that. The E-Y-E trick is an excellent example. I am just not keen on the count itself.

Perhaps someone will link to a video clip of an Elmsley count that I might approve of? I find it an extraordinary claim that it is a non fishy sleight and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby Mandrake » Mar 10th, '15, 22:57

I think I'm right in saying that, before Alex Elmsley became associated with it, the earlier name for this was the Ghost Count?

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby mark lewis » Mar 10th, '15, 23:24

I think Mandrake may be right but I will have to check further. However I am most displeased to find that when I went to You Tube to look at a ton of Elmsley counts the very first one was absolutely perfect and destroyed my argument. I refuse to look at any more in case I find confirmation of this awful situation. However, at least I can still complain about the fact that it was explained and exposed to the whole world. I really DETEST these you tube exposures to all and sundry. Magic is supposed to be a secret art but alas that seems to be going down the drain lately.

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby bmat » Mar 11th, '15, 16:56

Mandrake wrote:I think I'm right in saying that, before Alex Elmsley became associated with it, the earlier name for this was the Ghost Count?


According to Alex Elmsley who I met when he was giving a lecture. He did not invent the Elmsley count. He is not sure how is name was applied to the count, (at the time, this was eon's ago) He said he was using the ghost count, which is a little different from the Elsmsley Count but he suspected that somebody thought he modified the Ghost Count and mimimcked what he did and called it the Elmsley Count. Only it wasn't really what Elmsley was doing.

I did hear not overly long ago that this was researched and more details about the evolution of the count has come to light, but I can't really be bothered tracing it all down. I like it, I use it, it works for me.

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby mark lewis » Mar 11th, '15, 23:28

I first came across it in one of the Vernon card books by Lewis Ganson. It was described as done at the very tips of the fingers but nowadays it seems to be done in a more natural manner. It was described in that book as being from Alex Elmsley and I am sure this was the cause of it being attributed to the wrong person.

Here is what Rae Hammond the author of the Edward Victor book had to say about it in connection with the famous EYE trick.

"Numerous correspondants have been at pains to point out that Edward Victor has never been properly credited for the extremely cunning counts he first introduced in this routine. and on which the entire effect is based. The routine was devised long before the "Elmsley Count". Mr Elmsley himself tells me that in fact he developed his count from the one in E-Y-E and from a move shown to him by Eric de la Mare."

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby jim ferguson » Mar 18th, '15, 19:55

mark lewis wrote:I first came across it in one of the Vernon card books by Lewis Ganson. It was described as done at the very tips of the fingers but nowadays it seems to be done in a more natural manner.



Hi Mark.

The fingertip handling you mention is Vernons take on Elmsleys handling - Alex didn't do it at the fingertips, his handling was more akin to the natural handling you mention (ie into mechanics grip).

I believe Vernon first came up with the fngertip version specifically for using the count with jumbo cards. He then used it for his Twisting The Aces as he felt the fingertip handling looked fairer for this particular effect.

The problem with Vernons handling is that in most magicians hands it tends to look like a mixing of the cards rather than a count or display, and just looks confusing. This is not a problem inherant in the sleight - in most cases it is simply a poor understanding of what the move is supposed to be and the proper choreography (which hand to move and when).

It was mentioned in this thread that the sleight should be seen/thought of as a count - I disagree with this (kind of). There are two ways of using the move, as a count or as a display. While there are effects where the move is indeed used as an actual count in many effects the move is NOT used a count but a display (the affore mentioned Twisting The Aces comes to mind). In this effect the number of cards has nothing to do with it and is not in dispute. The move is used to DISPLAY the condition of the cards, one at a time.

The intention will also dictate the EXACT timing of the sleight. The timing when using it as a count should usually be an even tempo - but when using it as a display the timing can change depending on the particular purpose and context.

As an example, if we look again at Twisting The Aces, the purpose of the move is to display the cards to show one has turned face-up. In this case the tempo should be broken and a slight pause should be held when the face-up card is taken. Withought this pause the effect can seem confusing and rushed to the spectators.



Jim

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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby Barry Allen » Jul 18th, '20, 13:50

The following is to the best of my knowledge; relating to both the Count and the grip.

The Original Alex Elmsley Ghost Count was published by Alex in 1959; when he released his brilliant '4 Card Trick' during a lecture tour of the USA.

According to Alex Elmsley, the Ghost Count was created from Edward Victor's superb E.Y.E. trick. This doesn't use a false count per se; it uses three cards - and involves simply a two card push off; whereupon the card(s) is/are lifted for display.

Before this, both Charles Jordan and Laurie Ireland had published a similar two card push off from a packet. The Jordan Count however was not designed primarily for the purpose of a packet false count; but for the displacement of cards.

The Charles Jordan contribution was unearthed by Francis Haxton; outlined within a trick called 'The Phantom Aces' (30 Card Mysteries, pages 37-38) in 1919.

The Eric De La Mare angle was a false count that he had adopted to show four cards as five - with an under packet return of one card.

However, the original idea, for an under-packet return of a card, was similar to what had been published previously by Ellis Stanyon.

So by combining both moves, Alex created the Ghost Count - later to be known as The Elmsley Count. It also involved counting the cards into a dealing grip.

It was apparently Jack Avis who introduced the idea of the fingertip push and grip - because he was working on an effect using Jumbo Cards (given the era, possibly McDonalds Aces or Baffling Bunnies?). This fingertip method however, was adopted by Dai Vernon and duly explained for 'Twisting The Aces' (More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, Harry Stanley, 1960).

In the M.U.M. magazine (Vol. 49 No.7 December 1959) Edward Marlo outlined a false count that Bill Simon had been using since 1957, stating it was an adaptation of the Ellis Stanyon False Count; also mentioning it was a variation of the Avis Ghost Count variant; and recognised that Alex Elmsley had produced something similar.

If you are still awake after all of that, I still regularly use both Elmsley's 4 Card Trick and Edward Victor's E.Y.E. - having purchased them from Hamleys and Murray's in the late 1970's, when just a young 14yo lad.

To my mind, they are still two of the greatest packet tricks of all time. I adore them both to this day.

Last edited by Barry Allen on Jul 19th, '20, 15:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elmsley Count vs a regular count

Postby Mandrake » Jul 19th, '20, 09:22

Thank you Barry, welcome to TM!

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