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The Hoppy

For those who are too CHEEP-CHEEP to pop for the "Chick Trick," we've put the original, "The Hoppy," here on the site for you. Take note that this was originally developed in 1959 and is a condensed version due to limited space in the NEW TOPS. Ron Bauer's "Chick Trick" is written in the same style as the Private Studies. As a matter of fact, although it's not part of the series, you still get plenty of theatrical features you don't get elsewhere and a BONUS...a virtually impossible to find "right kind of CHICK!"

The Hoppy
Copyright 1981 by Ron Bauer

I don't know whether this is a Card trick or a Frog trick...you decide.

Picture the crowd around the table eagerly and expectantly leaning forward The center of their attention is a charming individual who is introducing, in hushed tones, a sacred treasure. It in his closed fist right now. "Ladies and gentlemen, you are in the presence of... THE HOPPY!"

"That's what I call him," he explains. "THE HOPPY seemed the only appropriate name when I observed certain... features of his... design. But, see for yourselves."

He opens his hand revealing what appears to be a crumpled dollar bill. No, the bill is wrapped around something. Reverently he unwraps the tiny parcel.

"He likes the texture of this type of paper... and can get quite upset if not regularly supplied with it. In fact, if you leave any lying around, he'll GRABITT... GRABITT!" The revelation of the contents causes the crowd to gasp. Can this guy be concerned over that... little TIN FROG?

"Careful!" he warns them. "I cannot be responsible... do not make him angry. He has taken this form to make a place for himself in our society. And, like many minorities have historically done, he has chosen Show-Biz. For example, he has prepared a card trick. I will assist..."

The audience seems willing to give him and THE HOPPY the benefit of the doubt. Two even smile as they each select a card.

"THE HOPPY does not wish to flaunt his incredible abilities, and has directed me to keep this simple. So, I'll eliminate most of the cards in the deck... and use just these few."

He sets all but a few of the cards aside. Then he has each of the two who selected cards return them to this batch. "I'll mix them thoroughly... You cut them, please... and now, I'll deal them into a pattern which makes THE HOPPY happy. I think it reminds him of his pond..." he says, as he deals the entire packet faces down onto the table in a roughly circular pattern.

"Now, before THE HOPPY demonstrates his remarkable abilities, I sense there is some message he wishes to confide..."

The audience tries to be polite, but cannot help reacting somewhat to the first sounds they've ever perceived from a HOPPY. Clicking Sounds! Or is that the sound of Winding?

Too late. THE HOPPY has finished his "message" and is being placed on the table. Suddenly, he comes to life... and scampers and hops about on the tabled cards. Just as suddenly, he stops.

"Ladies and gentlemen! Observe an amazing demonstration proving THE HOPPY'S mastery and control of Numerology and Higher Mathematics. Observe simplicity only possible through genius. Observe the Six of Spades... a Six... One-Two-Three- Four-Five-Six."

THE HOPPY has landed on the Six of Spades. The Helper of the Hoppy counts clockwise around the pattern of cards, one card for each number. He picks up the sixth card and asks the name of the first card selected. The answer and the card match.

"THE HOPPY expects applause after each success... let us not risk offending..."

The crowd doesn't need this cue. The applause is forthcoming. It seems to have only been momentarily delayed by the shock of what they are witnessing.

"I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of THE HOPPY. However, as a reminder of his deserved requirement for ovation, he has requested that I reveal the next card for him in a certain way. Using the remaining cards I'll spell out something for you. It's a reminder that if you forget to applaud... H-O-P-P-Y-W-I-L-L-G-E-T-Y-O-U. Get it?

"Okay. As you see, all but one of these cards has been eliminated...this one. What was the name of the second card selected?"

The card is named. It is the single card. The applause is spontaneous. Does THE HOPPY appear pleased?

"Now, one last, final proof of THE HOPPY'S mastery of magical entertaining. Folks, a new star is born tonight! Henning - Copperfield - Blackstone - even the Grate Thomsonski must yield to THE HOPPY. Point to another card."

The packet of cards is fanned and one card is touched by an adoring fan. Everyone eagerly looks at the selection, the Four of Spades. All are intent on being part of the next few historic moments. While a spectator shuffles and deals the cards onto the table, THE HOPPY takes time for one more brief conference with his Helper. (Is that Winding we hear or not?)

Oh, well, no time to worry about it now THE HOPPY is frantically leaping and dancing over the cards. He stops on one.

Gathering all the rejects, The Hoppy Helper poses the following question, just to build up the suspense, "Since you did it all... picked the card... shuffled it into the rest... dealt them down. Do you freely admit that it would be an unparalleled feat for the... what's the card?... the Four of Spades to be under THE HOPPY at this moment?"

Well, what else could anyone respond? Yes, of course. The suspense is unbearable.

He takes the card from beneath THE HOPPY. Wait! He puts it on top of the discards. What is this? Now he's picking up THE HOPPY, turning him belly-up to reveal - the Four of Spades pictured on the abdomen of THE HOPPY!

"A little joke THE HOPPY thought might amuse you, but don't be disappointed. Look!"

And flipping over the top card of the discards, there it is as promised... the card under THE HOPPY was the Four of Spades after all. Applause. Applause.

"THE HOPPY must leave us for now. But, a magical exit or to go out like a Rock Star? That's the final question to be answered."

THE HOPPY is wrapped in his dollar bill and apparently placed into one hand, but the other hand arouses suspicion. The shaken crowd won't tolerate that sort of magical exit. They want the Rock Star Finale... they get it. THE HOPPY and his dollar bill are ignited into a spectacular and blinding flash! Will his devoted fans ever hear from him again? BET ON IT!

Click to Enlarge


Required are a deck of cards with a simple set-up of eight cards. From the top: 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A-Balance of the deck. The suits don't matter. (Fig. 1) Select one of the lower value cards. In our example it's the Four of Spades. Put pencil dots on the back diagonal corners... upper left and lower right. (Fig. 2)

Next you need a small, wind-up, hopping frog. (Fig. 3) It must be small enough to be wrapped up in dollar bill. On the belly of the frog glue or wax a miniature Four of Spades, that is, a duplicate of the penci1-dotted card you use in the set-up.

Finally, you will need a real dollar bill, a flash bill, and three or four sheets from a flash pad. Wrap the windup frog in the real dollar bill with the dark side outward. Then make a duplicate package... as close in appearance as you can... with the flash bill wrapped around the loosely bunched sheets of flash paper. (Fig. 4)

The set-up is simple: Cards in case, flash package and cigarette lighter in right coat pocket, bill-wrapped frog in closed hand, and the winding key handy.


  1. Place the deck of cards on the table, slightly off to the side.
  2. Show the wrapped-up frog, THE HOPPY. Unwrap and set him on the table. (Do not let the miniature card be seen.)
  3. Have two cards selected from the deck... from anywhere except the top eight.
  4. Remove the top eight cards face-down and discard the rest of the deck.
  5. NOTE: Several times while presenting THE HOPPY, you're required to simultaneously stay in character while performing technical operations. Technicalities certainly conflict with theatrical effect. So, when they can't be eliminated, technicalities must be disguised. The best way to disguise them in card magic is through Casual Handling.

    For example, at this step and at several others, the Pencil-Dot Card is used for the specific purpose of helping to manage the technical requirements of the illusion as Casually as possible.

    Here, a few cards are taken and the rest of the deck set aside. Apparently no thought is devoted to the number. Actually, exactly Eight Cards are taken.

    The principle is that you can see Three cards at a glance. You need not count each one. Look at Figure 5. See the Pencil Dot and the next Three Cards? That's it. You've counted Eight Cards... that is, if the Pencil Dot is on the Four of Spades. (More Casual Handling with the Pencil-Dot Card later.)

  6. Spectator B replaces card on packet of eight.
  7. Spectator A replaces card on top of the packet.
  8. Cut the packet several times. Do the Charlier Shuffle... taking alternating batches of cards from the left into the right... top batches always under, lower batches always on top. The packet is now only cut, not mixed. (Refer to Royal Road to Card Magic for details.)
  9. Have spectator cut off some of the packet onto the table. Drop the remaining amount of the packet on top. Pick up and square them.
  10. Deal the packet clockwise, faces down in a circle. Secretly spot the Pencil-Dot Card. (Fig. 6)
  11. NOTE: This is another example of Casual Handling. The cuts, shuffles and dealing can be Casual because a Glance tells you, thanks to the Pencil-Dot Card, the exact location of both selected cards.

  12. Wind up THE HOPPY and put him in the center of the circle so he may hop around.
  13. When THE HOPPY stops, turn up the card indicated. Using the number of the card, count clockwise starting with the next face-down card. This will bring you to card A.
  14. Ask spectator A to name his card, then turn up the card and leave it faceup on the table.
  15. Gather up all of the remaining facedown cards. While doing this, secretly place the Pencil-Dotted Card onto Card B, and both on top of the packet. Once again, the Pencil Dot and Casual Handling.
  16. Spell "HOPPY WILL GET YOU" taking one card from the top of the packet for each letter. Begin the spell by dealing the top card onto the table, the next card underneath, the next card onto the table, and so on. You will end up with one card face down in your hand.
  17. Ask spectator B to name his card. Show that the card in your hand is correct. Place it face-up on the table next to card A.
  18. Pick up the face-down packet and, using both hands, spread it into a fan as shown in Figure 7. Secretly maneuver the Four of Spades, which is beneath the fan, so it's lined up with the top card. This is the set-up for the Hofzinser TOUCH FORCE. However, the relative position of the force card and the right hand is essential in successfully handling this force.
  19. Ask a spectator to touch one of the cards in the fan. Rush him a bit by pushing the fan slightly closer than necessary, and then begin withdrawing it as he reaches forward to make his selection.
  20. When the spectator touches a card, replace his finger with yours to acknowledge his choice. Then with the left fingers grab all the cards below the indicated card and take them away from the fan. The right hand doesn't move.
  21. Rotate the right wrist so the edge of the fan, where the cards were split, can be tapped against the top of the table. This action squares the cards in the right hand. Hold the packet so the face of the Four of Spades can be seen by the spectators.
  22. Drop the cards in the right onto the cards in the left hand. Hand them to the spectator to mix. Pick up the two face-up cards from the table. Have the spectator mix those in with the rest.
  23. Direct the spectator to deal the cards into a circle on the table as you had earlier .
  24. Wind up THE HOPPY and turn him loose in the center of the circle. While he's hopping around, spot the Pencil Dot.
  25. Put THE HOPPY on top of the card that he stopped at and gather up the remaining cards. Secretly position the Pencil Dotted Card on the top of the packet. Get a little-finger break under the top card as you square the packet in the dealing position in your left hand.
  26. Pick up THE HOPPY and set him beside the face-down card. Take the card from the table and place it on top of the packet. Automatically, you have a break beneath the two top cards of the packet.
  27. Pick up THE HOPPY and hold him over the packet. Ask the question, as in the presentation, and turn THE HOPPY belly-up so that the miniature card may be seen.
  28. Double push-off the top cards of the packet with your left thumb. Flip these cards as one face-up onto the packet with your right middle finger, revealing the Four of Spades.
  29. NOTE: If THE HOPPY lands on the Pencil-Dotted Card in Step 23, skip the double turnover!

  30. Set THE HOPPY down and casually flip the entire packet in the left hand over. Take a few cards and turn them over and put them underneath the packet. Spread the packet and right the remaining cards. This cleans you up without accidentally exposing that the turnover was a double.


  1. Wrap THE HOPPY in his dollar bill. Hold this package in the right hand at the fingertips.
  2. Apparently place the package into the left hand and close the fingers. Actually, you hold the package against the fingers of the right thumb. This move in magic.
  3. Go through the crushing the package ritual with the left hand. Then open the fingers to show that THE HOPPY has vanished. (?) The right hand, meanwhile, is casually put into the right coat pocket where you exchange the package with THE HOPPY for the flash package. Bring out the flash package with the right hand and show it around. Don't give anyone too good a look, however.
  4. This time actually place the package into the left hand. Pause, then open the hand and show it's still there. Turn the left hand palm-down and work the package to the fingertips while the right hand gets the lighter.
  5. Light the lighter and ignite the package. Be sure it's burning at least half-way through before you toss it into the air... where it glows brightly for a moment... then is gone!

Sometimes THE HOPPY doesn't follow the script and lands on one of the selected cards. Don't be intimidated by his lack of professionalism. Merely resort to whichever of the following variations and the plot will remain intact.

VARIATION ONE - THE HOPPY stops on Card A or Card B.

Delete the remarks about "Numerology and Higher Mathematics." Then, since you know which card it is by secretly counting over from the Pencil Dotted Card, ask the appropriate spectator to name his card. Turn the card face up and show it. Go directly into the spelling and the rest of the presentation as explained.

VARIATION TWO - THE HOPPY stops on the Pencil Dotted Card.

Turn it, the Four of Spades, face up. Count four places, and turn the chosen card face up. Place it in front of Spectator A as in the original presentation. Tell the audience, "You see, THE HOPPY not only knew where your card was located... he also anticipated how he would reveal it... look!" Turn THE HOPPY belly-up revealing the miniature, which "proves" he knew which card he would stop at to indicate the location of the chosen card.

Proceed with spelling "HOPPY WILL GET YOU" to find the next chosen card. Then go directly into the Rock Star Finale.


THE HOPPY is based on Hen Fetsch's HOPPY, THE FROG, which, by the way, is based on Howard P. Albright's Gilleegalloo Bird, which, by the way, is based on who knows how many automatons from the past.

However, Fetsch's frog appealed to me because of its small size. It's easy to carry, and it can be wrapped in a bill for the Milbourne Christopher flash paper vanish used in the Rock Star Finale. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find the little metal wind-up type frogs lately. I've had mine for this presentation since the early sixties.

But, there are plastic frogs and other wind-up hopping toys available in the stores. They can easily be substituted without losing the fun element of "a tiny, determined creature who does card tricks." And, as far as the ending is concerned, if you end up with something too large to be enclosed in a bill, I recommend Colored flash paper rather than white. HAPPY HOPPING!

Copyright 1981 by Ron Bauer