I first became acquainted with Jimmy Grippo in the late 60’s while I was working in the Dunes baccarat pit. He was a friend of many people at the Dunes Hotel and would stop in the evening after working at Caesars Palace and do a few tricks right on the baccarat table. I would always miss him, because of my day off or working hours.
Then I decided to go to Caesars and meet him. I made reservations in the Bacchanal Room where Jimmy performed by request. He stayed at my table for almost two hours and that was a beginning of a wonderful friendship. I was in awe of his magic and could not believe my eyes. His talent with cards, coins, and other items, coupled with his unique personality, were beyond belief. I had never seen a close-up magician of this caliber.
Jimmy’s master of the card index was one of his greatest feats. I watched and watched. I couldn’t catch a clue. Other friends of mine who watched him posed the theory that he was using a card index. Yes, but what kind? How was it made? I asked myself many questions. I never could get the right answers.
I searched every magic book available to me and found very little information on the index, other than a line drawing sketch of the apparatus. I don’t believe I ever found an actual photograph of the item. I found a set of indexes for sale from Supreme in England. I purchased them and found out very quickly that Mr. Grippo could not be using this sort of contraption. His method was too smooth and too quick.
Jimmy would always invite me to Caesars in the evening to hang around with him at the Palace Court, one of the most lavish restaurants at Caesars Palace. Many nights he would allow me to entertain guests for him, if he had to go to a special request performance in the hotel.
Morrie Jaeger a casino boss at Caesars recently told me a Jimmy Grippo story that would have been lost forever. A Caesars Palace casino employee found an unusual card holding device in one of the many public restrooms in Caesars. The first inclination that this holder was left in the restroom by mistake and probably for sure was a cheating device that a card mucker would use in the casino. Card mucking is a cheating method for switching cards. The men’s room attendant thought for sure he was on to something, especially since the holder had regulation Caesars Palace cards in place. Jaeger was notified and examined the device. Neither he nor any other experience casino personnel could identify its use.
No one was allowed to have a deck of Caesars cards unless they were cancelled.
So he called Jimmy Grippo asking him for his input. Alas Jimmy put their fears to rest. He had left it in the restroom. Jimmy did not explain the use of the item, but simply picked it up and left.
Only at Caesars……………