The Thing Returns Again Bud Whitford

Okay. I'm risking running a good thing into the ground. I'm also establishing The Trapdoor as a haven for tricks using body parts. But, in the interest of the chainsaw massacres, I ask you to bear with me.

I used The Thing (#12) and Mr. Jimmy (#13) on the lecture tour and they met with a great response. There will probably be a rush on body parts at the next several magic conventions. The stuff you can do with them is just plain funny.

After the Memphis lecture, Bud came up to me with some additions to what I was doing and I knew you wouldn't forgive me if I kept them for myself.

Before I continue, I don't consider either this or the following trick to be risque. However, if there is any chance of offending anybody in the audience, save them for another time. It just isn't worth jeopardizing your show (and my subscription renewal).

Bud presents The Thing as a baby. Start with the right hand palm down. Extend the right first and second fingers. Place a foot, toe up, on each of the two fingers. Take a sponge ball which has been soaked in water and place it in your right palm. The third and fourth fingers will hold it there secretly. Now wrap the whole hand in a white handkerchief trying to make the whole thing appear as if it is a baby. (Okay, so it's an ugly baby.) The set up described above takes just a few seconds and can be done under cover of reaching into your brief case to remove your "little friend".

Approach a member of the audience. "Would you like to hold the little baby?", you ask with sadistic pleasure. As they reach out to take the baby, squeeze the sponge ball, leaving them with a handful of (for lack of a better word) wee wee. "Whoops!", you apologize insincerely. "I'm afraid he's not yet paper trained."

This is done either as a warm up or a follow up to the preceding trick. The set-up is exactly the same less the sponge ball. Ask if they know whether the baby is a boy or a girl. When they reply in the negative, push your right thumb up between the first and second fingers forming the baby boy's outdoor plumbing.

Regurgitations. Neither of these things is really magic but both fit well with the magical material already provided with The Thing & Mr. Jimmy. Try some of this stuff the next time you feel like you are performing in the morgue. "Cute" material like this will almost always bring them back to life.

After playing with the above idea, I realized that it is possible to accomplish the same gag using the regular Mr. Jimmy set-up as described in issue 13, page 217. All that is necessary is to eliminate the third foot which normally resides on the second finger. Continue with the routine exactly as described in the original. When ready for the above gag, let the second finger straighten out and take its rightful place.

Count On Me John Riggs

This is a sight gag which should be useful for both stage and close up. It is to be used in tricks which require the magician to count to a number between ten and fifteen. (However, see below for numbers between five and ten.)

In effect, the magician states that a certain trick requires fourteen seconds for the magic to happen and that he, being darn close to a mathematical genius, will do the counting for the rest of the audience. One at a time he extends the appropriate finger as he counts. "One, two, three, ". When he arrives at the number ten, he pauses as if to wonder what to do next. He has run out of fingers.

Not wanting to be accused of not being prepared, he reaches into his coat pocket and removes a rubber hand with all of the fingers curled into a fist. As he counts, "Eleven... twelve... thirteen... fourteen", one finger jumps up for each number. "I knew this would come in handy one day", he triumphantly exclaims.

The Work. Pardon me when I say that there is very little to this other than the handling. Start with a rubber hand in your left coat pocket. You can add this to almost any trick, but I prefer to take one that is not inherently funny already, and spice it up with something like this. Obviously, you wouldn't want to put this in a trick at a time and location where it would confuse the effect. So, we will assume that you have a location for it --- at a point where the magic is supposed to happen. Follow through with the patter above. When you get to the number ten, pause and let the fact that you are out of fingers sink in. Reach into your left coat pocket with your left hand. Use your left thumb to fold all four fingers down into the left palm of the fake hand. Remove the hand from the pocket and smile as you slowly continue your count.

Regurgitations. As I said, I am using this to inject humor into otherwise unhumorous tricks. I have found that even puzzle / mathematical / dealing tricks can be made entertaining when spiced up with gags such as this. You can also use it at a point when you are holding something in one of your hands. Assume, for example, that you are holding a deck of cards in your right hand. Tell them that it takes nine seconds for the magic to happen. Count to five. You are in the same predicament. You are out of fingers.

Reach into the pocket and remove the hand. Continue the count up to nine. Pause for a second. You can follow with, "I'm glad it didn't take any longer for the magic to happen My socks don't match."

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