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thing that puzzles them is the blindfold itself and not the tests. This was very obviously the audience's reaction when Dai and I caught Tarbell's act in Brooklyn last winter. After a few tests the interest started lagging and remarks could be heard all over the house to the effect that "it's just a trick."
Now here's my theory of how the thing should be done and tell me if I'm right or wrong. The tests you present should fool the audience even if they know you had the use of your normal vision. In other words, you could do the act without a blindfold and they'd still wonder how you did it.
Another thing. Almost all the blindfold boys depend on "breaks". The night I saw him, Tarbell got no breaks whatsoever and the presentation was plenty sad. On occasion I can see where he might get breaks that he could take advantage of with great results. Finneran also intimates that he depends on breaks to a considerable extent.
Personally, to hell with that sort of thing. I want the thing to click consistently and don't care to undergo the nervous strain and worry occasioned by waiting to take advantage of circumstances.
Anyway, this sort of thing takes lots of experience. Tarbell has been doing the trick for years and is at home with it. But how about us? We'd do it only occasionally and so would want a definite clean cut routine, easy to do and one that will go over well regardless of circumstances.
Frankly, I think it's weak to be blindfolded and then start a protracted routine of describing people, objects, etc. Also, it's a dangerous thing because people will insist that you describe items that you can't see and to refuse them weakens the whole idea. One woman at the Brooklyn show made a monkey out of Tarbell. He said he would describe the contents of her pocketbook. She said, "Go ahead," but flatly refused to open it or let him touch it. An argument ensued in which the doctor [Tarbell] came out a poor second. He also had an argument with a doctor present who insisted that Tarbell touch objects only behind his (Tarbell's) back.
I don't fancy this sort of thing and what I'm trying to get at is that I'd like to do a short snappy routine of say four or five tests carefully worked out with strong patter.
I think Dai's "Brainwave Deck" as Finneran calls it, would be one swell item. (You know, the eight or ten long cards scattered thru pack treated with Slick Ace, etc.)
Of course, there's an element of failure possible with the deck, but this could be easily avoided. For example you hand Dai's deck to one of committee on stage with instructions to examine, shuffle, cut and note card. In meanwhile another committeeman is handed a second deck, straight, except that it contains a short card corresponding to forcing cards in Dai's deck. After regular deck has been shuffled, etc. you take it, locate short card, withdraw and hold it back to audience (i.e. face down). Now ask party name of his card and, if okay, you show yours. If he misses the force, you simply replace short card and again have deck shuffled. Even a second miss would be permissable for, as Finneran says, a mistake in this type of work strengthens instead of weakens.
To make the thing logical you ask party selecting card to be allowed to touch the card with your fingertips only.
Yes sir. I think the above would be a good test. Another would be to borrow three one dollar bills (all squeezed into a ball by owner) and drop them into A1 Baker's faked
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Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.