Johnsonenglish

Newspaper Publicity for the Blindfold Drive and Blindfold Walk for Paul Fox.

LETTER FROM PAUL FOX TO FAUCETT ROSS Undated

Remember the old number blocks in chest with the small magic tube for divining rotation of numerals? This of course had a compass in tube. I have one of those sets from Thayer. Allowing the numbers to be arranged, box closed and clasped and wrapped in newspaper.

You then show magic tube. This is switched for one with compass in it and held over box as you pretend to peer through paper and box and see the numbers. As Thayer makes it, this has one big drawback. You have to feel box, after it is wrapped in newspaper as the blocks being arranged and wrapped is done out of your sight.

As I have said, you have to feel to locate the clasp so you can tell the front from the back; also bottom from top, otherwise you couldn't know you were calling numbers in proper sequence. This, of course, takes a great deal away from the trick, because it would be a miracle, if the box were closed and wrapped in ordinary paper without you seeing it, and then without you touching it you named proper sequence.

My idea for doing this in connection with Seeing With the Fingertips is this:

Thayer's box is perfectly rectangular in shape but I propose to make the box as shown below:

Now you can see that even though wrapped in newspaper you can't fail to get the proper "slant" literally or figuratively. When they put it on the table it must be placed bottom down due to the angle of slant of top also you can't fail to recognize the front from back through newspaper due to pitch of top.

In Thayer's box, at die bottom, there is inset a piece of wood that acts as an offset so the blocks can't be put in upside down or backwards as the lid won't close until the blocks are placed in properly.

That is all taken care of in my type design by the shape of block and box itself, for as you can see the lid on my design can't be closed until blocks are placed in right direction.

Each block has a piece of polarized steel in it. The way this steel is set (imbedded) in block — as to direction — pulls the compass needle in different direction. Hence the necessity of blocks going into box properly in relation to the imbedded metal.

Instead of blocks being black with brass numerals, I'll have each block a different and contrasting color which, of course, will make the trick more visible — also precludes the idea of anyone thinking the solution was possibly a mathematical formula. Here is the presentation.

You have previously done the [Doc Nixon] Videtec Slate. Box and blocks introduced along with a sheet of newspaper. Show how blocks can be arranged in many possible color sequences. (16 to be exact.) Give to assistant at hand — to in turn hand to member of seated audience — along with newspaper.

You turn your back while spectator in audience arranges blocks to suit their taste and then they wrap in newspaper and bring up and place on table.

You turn around and advance to table with slate [used in Videtec Slate] and piece of prepared chalk which you have switched for piece previously used in your vest pocket while your back is turned.

Here is what I think is a great throwoff for using compass. The stick of chalk is real, that is, about % of it — the other W is a piece of metal tubing which slips over end of chalk. The remainder of tubing is plugged with wood (doweling). Hole is drilled through tubing and compass is inset in the wood as shown in sketch. The metal tubing and end painted, of course, to match the chalk.

You hold the slate poised in writing position in left hand and chalk is held as though for writing — between index finger and thumb. Then in line with the idea of seeing with the fingertips the right hand hovers over box — holding piece of chalk — which of course registers color in end position. You then reach up and write the color each time in sequence, as they are in box, onto slate.

I have every confidence that with the proper build up it will prove sensational. That is why I don't want to clutter up the routine with card tricks. Simply a few tests in audience then Videtec Slate winding up with the box and blocks. There simply won't be any explanation.

The original of this letter has been lost. It was, however, included within a typescript manuscript compiled from the Paul Fox end of the Ross/Fox correspondence by Frank Csuri in 1961 called THE MA GIC OF PA UL FOX. The illustrations in the above section of text are those copied from Mr. Csuri's manuscript. I'm sure you'll agree that the Fox method is far more convincing than the Box of Numbers. Faucett's letter of January 17,1939 makes further comments on the Box of Colors. In addition, an explanation of the Videtec Slate will follow that later letter. It should be noted that all manufacturing rights on the Paul Fox Box of Colors are strictly reserved. You are welcome to make one up for yourself, but you may not make the apparatus up for anything other than personal use.

C/iAi-K

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