Tom Gagnon

This move forms the basis for the two items which follow. Since they all require a thumbtip and a folding coin to perform, I feel sure that a lot of you will skip over them. Suffice it to say that you will be back when you see one of them performed,,

Pop Top is described in Tom°s book, Sleightly Original as "The Flip Up Move". I must admit that I didn°t see the potential of the move when I read it. Only after seeing Tom work the following two bits did I appreciate the two things that follow.

The move is simple but will take a bit of effort to describe. That°s okay, though. That°s what I°m here for. You will need a Vernet or Vernet-type thumbtip and a regular cut folding half.

To start, place the thumb tip, mouth up, between the right first and second fingers as one might clip a cigarette. Rest the folding half on the mouth with the cuts of the coin pointing in a direction perpendicular to the fingers.

Place the ball of the thumb on the face of the coin nearest to the second finger. From the right angle, it should appear that you are simply holding a coin in your right hand. Use the ball of your right hand to drag the coin back toward the second finger, just enough so the edge of the coin nearest the forefinger clears the mouth of the thumbtip.

The thumb may now be inserted into the tip in the normal way and you will find that the coin is pulled in with it. The ball of the thumb has control of the coin at all times.

To reproduce the coin, it is a simple matter to reverse the above procedure. Clip the tip as you would a cigarette between the right first and second fingers. Merely pull the coin out of the thumb with the ball of the thumb

riding on the coin. It will drag the coin up and out. This happens automatically. As soon as the coin clears the tip, it will open up and cover the mouth of the tip.

Practice this move until you can execute it without thinking. Continue inserting and extracting the coin until you can do it naturally. The success of the following two routines depends on this ability as well as with some degree of speed.

Regurgitations. You will find the width of the tip, not the depth, to be important. If the tip you are using has a lip curling inward around the edge of the mouth, you should either file it off or stretch it out. You don°t want anything holding the coin in other than the pressure between the thumb and the edge of the tip.

You will also find that the profile cut tends to hang on the mouth of the tip as it is inserted. While it can be done with a profile cut, the regular cut is much easier. Try the move a few times with a new rubber band as it tends to "learn" the bend and facilitate a smooth passage for the coin.

You will know you have the move down smoothly when both the extraction and the insertion can be done in a fraction of a second. It is so fast, the move alone could almost be presented as a production without any covering movement.

Tom was fooling everyone with this one at the Abbott°s Close Up Convention last March. It is a strong, complete vanish of a half dollar which is presented right under the noses of the spectators.

In effect, the magician removes a handful of change. He sorts through it and removes a half dollar. The change is replaced in the pocket and the coin is placed in the other hand. Immediately, both hands are shown to be empty. If desired, the coin can be reproduced using the trick which follows.

The Work. This is almost totally dependent upon The Pop Top Move for its success. Start with your right side toward the audience and a half dollar loaded in the thumbtip in readiness for the move.

The left hand removes a pocketful of change. The palm down right hand sifts through the coins as if looking for a particular one (maybe one that folds?). When ready to display the coin, place the tip between the right first two fingers. These fingers hold the tip while the right thumb withdraws itself and the folding coin. As the coin is withdrawn, the hand turns palm up.

This is a very deceptive way of executing the Pop Top move. At the conclusion, the right hand is holding a coin. It is actually resting on the mouth of the tip, held there by ball of the right thumb. To all appearances, you have removed a coin from the handful of change. The change is replaced in the left pocket. Although you have just executed a production, nobody is aware of it.

You are now set for the vanish. The right hand now apparently places the half dollar into the palm up left hand. Actually, the coin is inserted back into the tip using the insertion part of the Flip Up Production. As soon as the thumb is replaced, your left fingers close and pretend to hold the coin.

Now turn your body forward at the waist as both hands are brought up almost to chest level. As soon as you are facing the audience, both hands are opened and shown to be empty. This is done by aiming the tips of your fingers (and thumbs) at the eyes of the spectators. This prevents then from detecting the presence of the tip.

Note that there is no delay in this vanish like there is in most transfer vanishes. As soon as the coin is apparently taken in the left hand, the body turns, and the hands are shown empty. It is very quick and very effective.

Regurgitations. This is the kind of thing which we all like to do. Even magicians don°t opt for the thumbtip solution since they know it is almost impossible to get a half dollar inside a tip with a thumb. It doesn°t even occur to most of them. And, the removal of the coin from amongst pocket change goes a long way toward saying the coin is normal in a nonverbal way. It is the perfect standup, table to table, topitless, sleeveless, type of vanish which will blow people away. There is simply no place for the coin to go.

This is the perfect follow-up to the vanish just described. Smoothness and rhythm are everything in this production. Before you start working on this, you need to be proficient with the Pop Top Move described earlier. This is a deceptive use of same.

In effect, the empty, palm down right hand is passed over the palm up left hand a few times. At each pass, the left hand closes briefly. On the final time, the left hand opens to reveal a half dollar.

The Work. Start with the right side of your body facing the audience. The right thumb has a tip on it which is loaded with a folding coin as described in "Pop Top".

Flash the empty palms of both hands to the audience, being sure that they never get a side view of the tip. They should always view the tip from the tip. (l didn°t know any other way to say it.)

Your left hand now rests palm up at belt level. Your palm down right hand is about four inches above and fifteen inches to the right of the left hand. You are now going to pass your right hand over your left. Do so in a smooth leftward motion which passes over and past the left hand about six inches. This should be done smoothly and gracefully.

During the pass, the left hand closes loosely and relatively slowly as it turns inward so that the inside of the wrist is toward the performer at the conclusion of the right hand°s swing to the left. As the right hand swings back to the right, the left hand opens and turns back palm up in one fluid motion.

This is an important point 1 ascertained by watching the film of Tom performing this several times.

Everything almost appears as if it is done in slow motion. This is accomplished by the unhurried smoothness the right hand uses as well as the fact that the emphasis is on the left hand which doesn°t have as far to move. The left hand makes its rotation with the same rhythm the right hand uses to make its much larger sweep. Watching the left hand move so slowly makes it appear impossible for any sleight of hand to be accomplished.

After making the above pass twice, the right hand returns to the right. The first two passes set them up for what is to occur. As the right hand returns to the rightmost point, the right first two fingers clip the thumbtip as in the Pop Top Move. As the right hand starts back to the left, the right thumb pops the coin out of the tip.

Try for a minute to forget that there is a coin involved. As soon as the thumb is clear of the tip and the coin is clear of the right hand, the thumb returns to the tip. By the time the right hand reaches the leftmost point of the pass, the thumb is resting naturally inside the tip. The first two fingers still clip the tip but it is out of the spectators0 line of vision.

This action has dislodged the coin. If all has gone well, the coin dropped into the left hand as it closed and rotated inward. This is identical to the extraction explained in the Pop Top Move except that the right thumb gets out of the way so as not to impede the path of the coin en route to the left hand.

All that is necessary is for both hands to complete the pass and the production by returning to their starting positions. Needless to say, the right fingers straighten up as the right hand moves to the right.

Regurgitations. The timing of both this and the preceding vanish are both off the beaten path. Just as there is no delay in the vanish of the coin, there is no delay in this production. The hand is closed and immediately opened again. When it opens, there is a coin there.

It is this kind of timing which may take a little getting used to during the practice sessions. As much as I like it, I am used to the load followed by a short pause before the coin is revealed. The "dump and reveal" of this move is a refreshing change.

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