Richard Durhams


(This fine close-up trick was a favorite of J. W. Sarles. In his hands it took on the proportions of a miniature illusion; what the audience saw was a series of logical actions leading inexorably to a remarkable conclusion. It was also in the Stewart Judah repertoire. When the Judah Folios were being prepared I wanted to include it in the safety pin routine beginning on pg. 850,but could not locate Richard Durham in time. He was finally located thru the intervention of Sid Lorraine, and permission to reprint the routine obtained. At the end of the article 1111 list other avenues that may stimulate the thought process. KF)

The magician borrows a pocket hank, folds it in half, and pins a safety pin thru the center of the hank. He then opens the hank out to show that the pin is fairly pinned to the hank.

Again folding the hank, the magician proceeds to wrap the hanR arourd the pin, but leaving one end of the pin in full view.

After the hank is completely wrapped around the pin, the magician has the spectator pull the pin. Now, believe it or not, the pin (still closed) slides free of the hank and everything is left for examination.

What is most remarkable about this trick is that there are no hidden moves and no handling other than what the audience sees. Thus we have a trick that looks impossible yet is completely self-workingt

Method: Any borrowed hank may be used but when you practice the trick,make sure you use an inexpensive hank.The reason is that if you make a mistake or are not too sure of the handling, the hank may tear or snag.

Mr. Durham suggests the use of a DeLong safety pin with guarded coils. You'll probably find that the trick works with any safety pin as long as the tension is not too great in the coils.

The hank is folded in half and the pin passed thru the doubled hank at about the center and down about a half-inch from the fold, Fig. 1.

Open out the hank so the head of the pin is away from you, then turn the hank over and spread out on the table with the pin underneath. All that shows is a portion of the pin as indicated in Fig. 2. Be sure the head of the pin is toward you.


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Grasp the top of the hank and fold it toward you so the coil end of the pin shows, Fig. 3.

Taking hold of the pin at the coil end, turn it over and over, there by wrapping the hank around the pin, Fig. 4.

Take hold of the coil end of the pin and pull. Impossible as it may seem, the pin slides free, Fig. 5.

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Notes By Karl Fulves The above write-up is substantially the same as that which appeared in a 1950 issue of Genii where the Durham trick first appeared. In an effort

to build a story around the trick, I thought of demonstrating it as an old gypsy swindle; you pin a dollar bill to a hank, wrap up the bill inside the hank, then show how the gypsy stole the bill out.

Swell idea but it didn't work.The bill got snagged in the head of the pin and tore. I tried it with several dollar bills, tried different approaches, tried using file cards, playing cards, tried using playing cards without the dollar bill, tried damn near everything, but I could not get it to work every time. Also, if a safety pin is pinned to a playing card and you then pull the pin free without tearing the card, there is little cover for the action. The onlooker is therefore not too far removed from seeing the method as well as the effect and there is a lack of visual impact.

One day I mentioned the problem to Slydini. He mulled it over for all of 10 seconds, then said, "I can do it with a pin and a dollar bill." I told him it was impossible. He then did it. The method is not the same as the Durham method, and it looks impossible. It's going to be a while before I get Slydini's method into print. In the meantime you may want»to try your hand at the idea. For those who are reading the Durham trick here for the first time, I urge you to add it to your repertoire of close-up miracles. It's an amazing trick.

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