Out-to-Lunch, a principle effect in magic, was a marketed effect in 1947 in which an initialed business card with a picture on it (originally a Hindu boy climbing a rope) disappears in a packet and reappears as a blank card saying "Out to Lunch", still with the original initials.
Marketed by Clare Cummings and Bob Ellis, it was based on a masking principle shown them by Cliff Lester, although later found published in his Twenty Magical Novelties (1930) by Edward Bagshawe as part of "The Recurring Name" effect.
Genii 1948 July awarded it as the year's best pocket trick.
Max Maven has found these earlier sources:
- The premise of the principle in William Robinson's book, Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena (1898), entitled The Interrupted Flap
- Tom Bowyer's "A Message From Nowhere" in the April 1928 Linking Ring
- William Larsen Sr., "Finger Prints" in the July 1923 Sphinx."