I am a fan of the classic Diary effect (aka Fate's Datebook, popularized by Alex Elmsley, based on a Ted Danson routine, or Bob Cassidy's Chronologue, or Paul Gordon's excellent version, or... okay, you get the idea: there are a lot of Diary/Calendar effects out there).
For those who are not familiar with the effect, it is basically this: a spectator chooses a date, and a card. When she looks in your pocket calendar/diary, at the date she chose, the name of her card is written there. It is a very simple effect, but when done well, very baffling. Sometimes the effect is slightly different, with the spectator choosing a date, finding which card is written on that date, and this matches a prediction card. (Cassidy's Chronologue uses this approach).
Wink's Diary (by Bill Thompson, with ideas by Peter Nardi) also uses the prediction effect. What makes Wink's Diary interesting to students of the Diary effect, and for performers who want to have an alternate method, is that it is very easy to do (no memorizing or secret calculating), and it uses a shuffled deck (or no deck at all). It looks like this:
Spectator is handed a prediction envelope to hold, and also a pocket calendar, which she looks through it. There is a card name written on each date -- she can examine this; they are truly randomized throughout the calendar. She closes the diary, she puts it in her pocket for safe keeping and you ask her to draw a card out of a shuffled (could be borrowed) deck -- or she just names any card. Using a simple mathematical formula, she converts her card to a date. Now the magi focuses on the calendar/diary she holds. She is asked to turn to the date which was deisgnated by her freely chosen card. Suppose it is June 12th. She looks at June 12th, and reads the name of the card written on that day -- suppose it is the two of clubs. She looks at the prediction envelope and inside she finds the Two of Clubs.
The weak part of this routine is that the spectator has to choose one card that she then converts to a date -- why not just pick a date? Okay, that is a valid call-out. But if the focus shifts to the diary after this card/date conversion, the strong prediction finish will take over. Despite the extra process to ascertain the date, the choice seems very fair and full -- it is a free choice but a limited free choice. So, yes, drawbacks, reservations, but also a handy and effective impromtu version of the classic diary effect.
One more thing: I liked the idea of a the limited free choice so much, that I created my own version, which I call Think's Diary -- it eliminates the use of a card value to ascertain the date, and instead uses some random numbers that the spectator choose. I will include instructions for Think's Diary to the buyer of Wink's Diary!
This DVD sells for $30 online, which I think is way too much. get it here for less, plus the instructions to my personal version, Thinks Diary.
Only one in stock, this one has been viewed, but is otherwise in perfect condition. (To be clear, no calendar is included. DVD shows you how to make your own)
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