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The Card Trick That Caused A Divorce

Here’s my buddy, Randy Enos, telling a story from his art school days. See Randy’s editorial cartoon archive here.  –Daryl

I learned a trick when I was a kid, from one of my father’s fellow insurance salesmen who used to pull the trick on some of his clients when stopping by to collect their premiums.

Here’s how it worked. He asked if they had a deck of cards. Then, when the deck was presented, he asked them to pick a card from it. When that was done, he would make a phone call.

He’d say, “Hello, Wizard?” And then, “Will you please tell this woman what card she picked?!” He’d hand the client her phone. She would then be shocked when an ominous voice would intone, “the five of diamonds!Her card!

I’ll reveal how the trick was done toward the end of the story, but first I must note that in 1954, I was off to art school in Boston with a friend from high school who was going to go to the Conservatory of Music which was very close to my school. We thought we’d both rent a double room in the vicinity. When we found a place, we were surprised to find two more of our high school friends there. They were going to the  Engineering School right in the same neighborhood. So, there we were; all together. On our first night, a drunk on the street was making a racket so we opened the window and one of my pals shouted, “Shut up!” The drunk looked up at the window and said in Drunkanese, “What’s the name of thish street?” My friend said, “St. Stephens.”  The drunk replied, “Who’s that, the patron saint of silence?”

We had an attractive youngish couple as landlords. The woman seemed delighted to have all these young men at her rooming house and she was a bit flirtatious. Eventually, she had an affair with one of the other art students that was living there.

At any rate, one evening, as was our habit, a bunch of us boys decided to go down to the corner cafeteria which was often our nightly hangout. We’d usually stay there drinking coffee until the wee hours of the morning. Mrs. Landlady’s husband worked a night shift at one of his several jobs; she asked if she could come along.

I had never done the trick before (I don’t think I did) so I decided that I would try it on them at the cafeteria. I told them I’d be along soon and I quickly tried to give Ronnie, my roommate, a crash course on the trick. He was to be my voice on the other end of the phone call. Ronnie wasn’t going with us to the hangout. He’d be there near the hall phone so he would be a perfect collaborator. To be the “Wizard”, he would have to know the verbal clues I would be giving him. I wrote them down.

“Hello, Wizard?”= diamonds

“Wizard?” = hearts

“Is this the Wizard?”=spades

“Please put the Wizard on the phone”= clubs

Once the suit was determined, the “Wizard” then starts counting slowly… “ Ace … King … Queen …two … three …” etc. until the card in question is reached, at which point, I, the caller, would interrupt immediately to say, “Please tell this person which card they chose.”

I rehearsed it with him and told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to fall asleep but to stay vigilant and near the phone for the next 30 minutes or so.

So, off I went to the cafeteria to join my victims. Shortly after arriving, I told them that I had brought a deck of cards because I wanted to show them a neat trick. I had someone pick a card and then I made the call to the house from the pay phone without anyone seeing the number I was dialing.

It rang and it rang. And then it rang some more and finally a voice answered. It was not Ronnie! It was our landlord who came home early from work. I was sputtering something and he said, “Who is this?” I told him and he said, “Is my wife down there with you guys?” Then he slammed the phone down and walked the short block to drag her home. We all sheepishly followed, went to our rooms and listened for the next hour to the heated argument a floor below us. Ronnie slept through it all. After a while, a taxi arrived and Mrs. Landlord left carrying luggage. I felt really bad even though Mr. Landlord tried to assure me that it wasn’t my fault that they were going to get a divorce. I couldn’t help feeling that I was, somehow, the catalyst in the whole thing with that stupid trick. A short while later they did get divorced.

I have never done the trick again, and I would warn anyone attempting it to just be careful. Okay?

Randy Enos

Email Randy


Read more more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the National Cartoonists Society


A brave woman cartoonist was imprisoned in Iran for posting this cartoon on Facebook

Brave Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani was imprisoned in Iran for posting this cartoon on her own Facebook page. Please share the video and the cartoon – everyone should see it.

Read the latest news about Atena on the Cartoonists Rights Network site.

You can e-mail Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations at [email protected]. Here is a suggested letter:

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei,
President Hassan Rouhani
Head of Judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani

Honored Sirs;

I am writing to protest the outrageous sentence handed down against Iranian artist Atena Farghadani, and to urge her conviction be overturned and Ms. Farghadani freed.

Freedom of expression and association are universal human rights recognized by all civilized nations, including Iran as a signatory to the UN’s International Human Rights Conventions. The arrest and sentencing of Atena Farghadani is a clear violation of those rights, and also of Iran’s own statutes and international agreements. It cannot be allowed to stand.

In the interest of justice and to demonstrate its recognition of universal human rights, Iran must release Atena Farghadani.


your name
your city/state/country 



Crazy Tom Cruise

Political cartoonists don’t like to draw cartoons about celebrities. In most cases, they view it as tabloid trash and unworthy of the coverage they give to issues like health care reform and immigration. But readers love the bizarre lives celebrities live, and with Tom Cruise suddenly in the midst of his third divorce, our extraordinary caricaturist Taylor Jones (who I syndicate through Cagle Cartoons) drew this funny cartoon featuring Cruise and all his previous wives:

Taylor e-mailed me his thoughts about drawing Cruise:

Despite his extreme looks and extreme goofiness, Tom Cruise is easy to caricature. Sometimes, bizarre looks and behavior can hinder caricature because little is left to the imagination. That’s why I rarely draw comedians. What can one do to, say, Jim Carrey’s face, that he hasn’t already done to himself? But with Tom Cruise, here’s a dashing fellow — but one with buck teeth and a major schnoz. And those crazed, maniacal eyes just scream, “Don’t mess with me! I’m a Scientologist!”

Here’s a classic Cruise caricature by Taylor:


Newt Looks Forward

Newt Looks Forward COLOR © Daryl Cagle,,Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House, presidential candidate, president, campaign 2012, Republican, divorce, open marriage, mug, footsteps