Effect: Manipulators have always been fond of multiplying various objects in the hands (see "The Multiplying Aces", pp. 13-18). Billiard balls, coins, thimbles, cards, cigarettes and pipes are among the items one sees between their fingers. Here is a coin sequence, constructed by Mr. Elmsley for stage performance. In it four coins are produced from the air in a quite bewildering manner, particularly since the hands are seen empty at various times throughout the productions.
Method: In the many sequences that have been devised to produce four coins in the empty hands, the idea of holding several coins in a stack, as if they were one, has frequently been exploited. Coins from the stack are then stolen for later production in the opposite hand. In most of these sequences, the stack has to be momentarily hidden from view as each coin is palmed away. Mr. Elmsley chose to avoid this sort of maneuver in structuring his sequence. What he devised was a most progressive handling in its time (1952). It remains as artistically satisfying today as it was then.
Begin with three coins finger palmed in the left hand and a fourth back clipped in the right (i.e., its edge nipped between the tips of the first and second fingers). Turn toward your right and display the empty front of the right hand. Then turn the hand to display its back, concealing the back-clipped coin when you do. Rather than revolving the coin to the front of the fingers while the hand is turned, as is usually done, instead adjust the coin to back-palm grip, using the side of the fourth fingertip to catch the coin by its lower
edge and pull It flat against the backs of the second and third fingers. Then curl the right fingers loosely in toward the palm, while maintaining the coin in back palm (Figure 195, exposed view). The spectators see the back of the hand, but the fingers are curled in just enough to hide the coin from view. This is easier and less angle prone than the conventional back-palm-to-front-palm maneuver; and, if done with a nonchalant air, is perfectly convincing. (Here Mr. Elmsley has taken a Paul Fox card sleight, the simplified back and front hand palm [ref. The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 2, pp. 161161}, and adapted it for use with coins.)
Turn the front of the hand back toward the audience, simultaneously straightening the fingers so that the coin remains hidden. Reach out with the right hand and produce the coin, as if plucking it from the air, by bending in the fingers enough to allow the thumb to contact the coin and pull it quickly to the fronts of the fingers. Pinch it at its lower edge between the tip of the thumb and the side of the curled forefinger (Figure 196).
Turn to the left and, in that turn, momentarily bring the hands together, the palm-up left hand below the curled right fingers. This puts the finger-palmed stack into perfect position to be taken by the right fingers into back palm (Figure 197). The transfer is not difficult and the three coins need only be held in back palm for a moment as they are transported to left-hand edge grip.
In a continuous action, turn the right hand palm-up. Because the right fingers are loosely closed, the back-palmed coins are brought to a horizontal position at the backs of the fingers: visible to you, but hidden from the audience by the coin held vertically between the thumb and forefinger (Figure 198),
Catch the visible coin between the tips of the left forefinger and thumb, holding it by its opposite edges, broadside to the audience.
Simultaneously take the stack from back palm, gripping it by its edges between the left thumb and middle phalanx of the forefinger (Figure 199). While the stack is held horizontally, it is perfectly concealed by the left fingers and by the openly held coin.
Gesture with the right hand. letting it be seen empty. Then return it, palm-up, to the left hand and adjust the position of the visible coin there. Under this pretext, a coin is loaded into the right hand. Relax the left thumb and forefinger a bit, letting the bottom coin of the stack fall into right-hand finger palm (Figure 200).
Move the right hand away from the left, gaze out into space, as if tiying to spot the next coin; then, after a few moments' delay, reach out with the right hand and produce the coin by pushing it to the fingertips.
Grasping the new coin between the right thumb and forefinger, in the same manner the last coin was held (Figure 196 again), carry it to the left hand and place it between the left first and second fingers, positioned broadside to the audience. At the same tune, bring the curled right fingers under the stack and drop the next coin into them (Figure 201).
Again reach out with the right hand and produce its coin at the fingertips. Display the coin, then set it between the left second and third fingers, in a similar position to those above it. Let the right hand be seen empty and point with the right forefinger to each of the visible coins in turn. When the last coin (that between the second and third fingers) is indicated, let the last hidden coin drop from the left thumb and forefinger into the curled and waiting right fingers (Figure 202). From stage, even if this coin openly falls several inches, because it is falling horizontally, its moving edge is not visible to the audience at such a distance.
Produce the fourth coin from the air and place it between the left third and fourth fingers, completing the display (Figure 203).
For those who enjoy a challenge, and have among their accomplishments the mastery of the four-coin roll-down (see "The Rosette", pp. 19-21), Mr. Elmsley has extended this production sequence to accommodate eight coins. Thin palming coins must be used to make the size of this stack manageable.
Begin with a stack of seven coins in left-hand
finger palm and the eighth coin back palmed in the right hand-Proceed with the four-coin production, manipulating the seven coins in the same fashion as that described for the smaller stack. At the end of the production you will have a stack of four coins still hidden in left-hand edge grip.
Let the right hand be seen empty. Then bring it back to the left, overtly to adjust the visible coins there. During this action the edge-gripped stack is stolen into the right hand. Mr. Elmsley's rule of not covering the coins must be broken this one time. As the right hand, back toward the audience, adjusts the coin between the left thumb and forefinger, the right fingers momentarily obscure the coin from sight. Reach with the right thumb under and behind the vertical coin, until the thumbtip can contact the Inner edge of the stack. Push up on that edge, pivoting the stack to a vertical or near vertical position between the left thumb and forefinger. Then stretch the right thumb around the stack and grip it by its opposite edges in Frikell-style thumb palm; that is, in the crook of the first phalanx and thenar (Figure 204), With the stack secured in this new position, turn to your right. During this turn, move the right hand away from the left, curl its fingers into the palm, and back palm the stack of four coins. The Frikell thumb palm positions the coins nicely for transfer to back palm, as a trial will prove.
Exhibit the front of the right hand. Then reach out and produce the whole stack, holding it squared and broadside to the audience, so that it appears to be a single coin. Maneuver the stack, without exposing its nature, to a vertical position between the right thumb and forefinger. Then perform the roll-down flourish, multiplying the one coin to four. This leaves you with both hands filled, coins between all ten digits: an extremely striking and skillful pose.
To appreciate the effectiveness of this production, you must try it several times before a mirror. There seems to be nowhere the coins can be hidden—yet they keep appearing, seemingly from thin air.
July 12, 1952
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