The following idea has been tried and tested in the close-up arena and found to be an entertaining routine.
After emptying a pencil box of its contents the performer opens both ends of the box and proves it to be empty by allowing the audience to see right through. The box is then closed and a small die is rubbed along the box, and on opening one end a die falls from it on to the table. By repeating the process of rubbing a die along the top of the box the performer seems able to produce an endless supply of dice.
It is one that originally contained a dozen pencils. A small square opening is cut in one side in such a position that it is hidden when the flap marked A is folded back onto the side of the box. Fig.l shows the type of box and the position of the hole in relation to the flap. The opening I use is about three-quarters of an inch square giving ample room for a five-eighths inch die to pass through. To present the routine have box filled with pencils and one die in the right outside jacket pocket and another in the left outside pocket. There is no other preparation.
Holding the box in the left hand with the fingers covering the secret opening show it all round to the audience, and with the right hand open the bevel edged end of the box and allow the pencils to fall onto the table. Open the opposite end (this end should always points towards the performers body) and hold flaps to sides of the box so that flap A hides the secret opening, allow spectators to look through the empty box from the bevel edged end. They will be satisfied that the box is empty. Close up the box and place on the table with the secret opening next to the table top.
Both hands go into" the outside pockets and each bring out a die. The one in the "right hand is displayed to the audience but the one in the left remains hidden. It appears to the spectators that the performers hands go to both pockets because he is not sure which one contains the die. The right hand now picks the box up from the table, and places it into the left, the opening going over the hidden die automatically loads it into the box (see Fig.2). The right hand now rubs the displayed die on the top of the box from back to front along the length of the box. The left hand tilts the box and something is heard to slide to the front end of the box. The right forefinger lifts up the end cover-and the die appears and falls onto the table (Fig.3).
WESTON'S MULTIDIE BOX ' # i
The original die is placed onto the table and the die just produced is apparently placed into the right pocket but in reality when the hand is in the pocket it is taken between the third and fourth fingers and brought out again. There must be no hesitation in the action of putting the die into the pocket and the hand coming out again to take the original die.
The right hand picks up the original die and as it moves twoards the box to commence the rubbing action, the die concealed between the third and fourth fingers is allowed to drop onto the left hand fingers (see Fig.4). The right hand hides any movement of the left fingers as it loads the die into the box through the opening. The moves are done in a fraction of a second and are completely hidden at all times.
This second production is made by repeating the rubbing movement of the visible die along the top of the box and tilting it letting the die fall onto the table.
By repeating the moves for the production of the second die, the number of dice it is. possible to produce is limitless.
Throughout the routine the box must be either in the left hand or on the table. It must never be taken into the right hand.
It will be obvious that the box lends itself to the production of other items providing they are of suitable size to pass easily through the opening in the box. With this in mind we offer the following idea which begins and ends with the production of dice, but in between other items make their appearance. The routine is accompanied with presentable patter lines to fit the production.
"Here's a thing with a box and a DIE A rub on the box — and a mighty big sigh Watch closely now — here comes the DIE" (Produce die)
"Thank you Len — I'll show you again." "Bye Bye American pie — A rub on the box and here is the DIE"
"There's this young lady from Brazil All the boys know she's on the pill
(Produce pill) Her husband is a Brazilian, but Unlike his wife he's a bit of a nut" (Produce nut)
(Magician now addresses lady in the audience)
"If I say you have a lovely figure will you hold it against me?"
(still to lady) "Would you like me to give you a ring?"
(Produce ring) (still to lady) "I've only got sixpence where could we go?"
(Now to audience) "There was once a fella named Ghandi —
Who went into a pub for a brandy"
(Produce brandy and say "Cheers")
Audience will applaud at this stage — so continue with the die productions to conclude as you say "BYE, BYE, NEVER SAY DIE"
As you can see from the above, various items are produced during the routine — these are switched from the right coat and trouser pockets — the arrangement of these articles is as follows. One die and the pill (a small plastic pink ball) in the match pocket of the right coat pocket. Second die in left coat pocket. In the right coat pocket proper place the ring and nut (this latter a plastic nut from a kids 'Bilofix'). Finally put the sixpence and brandy (a cocktail stick shaped to suit the hole) into the trouser pocket on the right side.
ORDER OF PRODUCTION:-
Remove the two dice as in original routine — work with these until ready to make switch for pill, leave die in match pocket and come out with pill palmed. Produce pill and leave in right coat pocket, hand coming out with nut palmed. Produce nut and place in right coat pocket coming out with ring palmed. Ring is produced and left in right trouser pocket coming out with sixpence. Ring is finally exchanged for brandy in right trouser pocket and when brandy is produced it goes into match pocket and a die is brought out to continue die production to complete the routine.
If it is felt the routine is too long it can be reduced even to the point of producing the brandy as a twist at the end, although the dice routine is strong enough to stand on its own.
Other items may be produced so here are a few that may appeal.
A Ball "Having a ball."
Begin with small dice, and switch in large ones
water box with toy watering can.
Remember to make your switches clean at all times. The more you practise the greater the reward. Hope you like it.
This article was received as a letter and as it contains some valuable tips for faro shufflers plus suggestions for Faro Felon by Mark Scudiery which appeared in the April 1975 issue we decided to print it in full:—
Mark Scudiery's "Faro Felon," in the April 1975 issue of Pabular is a good illustration of how faro shufflers will persist in using a 52-card deck for their effects when a 53-card deck (Joker added) would make things easier all the way around.
In the first place, it is easier to cut at the "centre" of a 53-card deck than it is to cut at precisely 26 in a 52-card deck. With a 53-card deck, it doesn't matter whether the 26- or 27-card portion is held by the left hand or the right, as long as you faro the smaller "half" into the larger "half" — a so-called "straddle faro."
In the second place, in almost all the faro tricks involving face-up cards (which capture chosen cards or end up next to chosen cards), you do not have to worry about whether or not the reversed card or cards are in the upper half or the lower half of the deck as you get ready to do your final faro. Just do another straddle faro ("in" or "out"), and the positioning will take care of itself.
In the third place, the use of the Mario incomplete faro peek is fascilitated if a straddle faro is used (an odd number of cards). If a 52-card deck is used, there will be a "loose" card at the top or bottom of the incomplete faro which will have to be supported by the left fingers or thumb, making the handling a little more awkward and a little more suspect. With a Straddle faro, using a 53-card deck, hold the 27-card portion in the left hand and riffle the 26-card portion with the right. The 26-card portion is held as in a kind of 'vise' by the "outer" cards of the 27-card portion, making the handling sure and casual. You can even hold the projecting 26-card portion without touching it at all with the left fingers (you can even hold the arrangement horizontal to the floor without »spilling the cards!). One final advantage which many faro shufflers don't seem to know about: more often than not, it doesn't make any difference if one of the "halves" cut off just before the faro weave is not either 26 or 27 cards. The two portions can be 25 and 28 or even 24 and 29. (If it is worse than this, you need glasses!). All you have to be sure of is that the smaller portion is faroed precisely into the centre of the larger portion — that is, the "extra" or "loose" cards of the larger portion (those not meshed) are the same in number at both ends, or top and bottom. And even if you do this wrong (maybe you should do rope tricks), you can easily rectify the mathematical situation by double-cutting one or more cards from top to bottom or bottom to top, according to the position you want your chosen card to be.
(This is getting to be a treatise. I got started and can't stop!).
Doing a Zarrow-type shuffle in conjunction with the faro is, I think, bad psychology. Both shuffles belong to the same family of shuffles — interweaving the cards at the ends. Using the Zarrow and then doing a faro highlights the faro
ON FARO FELON by Charles M. Hudson as a special move, something you have to do to make the trick come out right. After all, the faro shuffle is supposed to be a shuffle, a convenient in-the-hand method of mixing the cards. Let it be your "false shuffle".
If you must do a false shuffle in conjunction with the faro, I would suggest another in-the-hand shuffle, the overhand shuffle, pulling the cards off in small batches until you reach the centre of the deck, where you run cards singly until you are safely past the chosen card.
In Mr Scudiery's effect, an incomplete faro peek and control will put the selected card in the precise centre of the deck, which in this instance is 26th (the 2 black K's have been removed). An overhand shuffle of the kind described above will keep it at 26, where it has to be for Mr S's trick to work with a 53-card deck.
Mr S's approach is by no means new, of course. Mario has a number of fine effects in which, by the use of the faro, one or more faceup cards locate a chosen card; and Paul Swinford, in his Faro Fantasy describes one, called "The Seekers," which is very much like Mr S's, the only real difference being that the two face-up locators ("the seekers") are removed from the deck after the card is noted, and then they are placed on top and cut into the deck. The straddle faro follows.
But to conclude with my original emphasis: Use a 53-card deck for your faro tricks.
charles m tjudsoh
don alan lectures
For close-up magicians there was no place like Vic Pinto's studio on the evening of Tuesday, January 20th and the reason was a lecture by Don Alan. Don, who performs in American 'Hospitality Rooms' where business executives entertain their clients and has made many T.V. appearances, gave us an evening that will long be remembered.
After a few words from Ken Brooke, who made it all possible, Don seated himself, placed his bag by his feet, and obtained four spectators to sit beside him, two on either side, to act as assistants. Then he immediately went to work and it was at once obvious from the manner and style in which all this was carried out that we were about to witness magic from someone who knew exactly what he was doing. Props were obtained either from his pockets or the bag, and his experienced handling of the spectators, timing and good magic made the next sixty minutes pass by without those present being aware of time.
A layman reporting the lecture would probably have described it something like this: he pushed a lighted cigarette through a coin, made chosen cards rise from the pack, passed coins from one hand to the other, stabbed a selected card from a pack which was in a paper bag, made small cards suddenly turn into a normal pack, and produced a large steel ballbearing from a bowl that was too small to take it. He finished by producing a huge nut from under a hat — the kind that is normally on the end of a bolt.
The above list is a lesson in itself, because the effects produced can be explained in single sentences. Not for Don Alan the long drawn out complicated tricks with interminable counting of cards and lacking punch we conjurers like to show each other. The entertainment of the performance was such that one who was present confessed that after the first five minutes he could not have cared less what methods were used to achieve the effects, which again is a lesson in itself. The coins passing from hand to hand provided further lessons for those who use magic to entertain lay persons. When about to perform the trick Don took from his pocket a small container and remarking that he required six coins for this trick, removed the lid and tossed out a number of coins on to the table. To be precise there were seven. These were gathered up and placed in two rows of three coins and one thumb palmed in the process. No attempt was made to 'prove' that he was using only six coins by the use of clever moves which would only cause spectators to wonder what the performer was 'doing' and would not add one iota to the entertainment value of the trick. He merely stated that he required six coins and 'proved' it by making two rows of three coins, no further proof being required when performing to people other than magicians. The other lesson in this particular effect, the complete absence of moves and the directness of method which was basic. When sliding three coins into the left hand singly the thumb palmed coin is added and the remaining three coins picked up with the right hand. A simple gesture is made and two coins fall from the right hand, the third kept back in the thumb palm. The left hand opens and four coins fall onto the table. The same process is repeated twice more until all three coins have passed into the left hand. The relatively simple technique required in this method makes no demands on the performer who is thus able to concentrate on what he is supposed to be about, entertaining his audience. This is the attitude of the professional and is in direct contrast to the magicians' magician who will possibly spend time borrowing coins, which have to be returned, introducing coins of a different denomination to prove something or other, and finally making .each coin vanish using different methods for each. All this is no doubt very clever but does nothing to increase the entertainment value and only succeeds in confusing the spectators, whereas the effect using the same simple method we saw used by Don, without embellishment, is what is required in professional work. This particular trick has been chosen in an attempt to convey the lecturers approach to magic which is of more importance than any 'secrets' he may have revealed during the course of the evening. The message was loud and clear for anyone contemplating performing close-up magic professionally. The tricks chosen must be simple in effect and capable of being performed whatever the prevailing condition. The act must be started without any signs of preparation and must flow from start to finish without any stage waits and be entertaining throughout. The audience must be involved both mentally and physically and at no time feel they are being performed at, and two or three times during the act must be literally hit between the eyes with some astounding production.
The above requirements are by no means complete but whatever has been left out it is a fair bet that Don Alan has it. It was a great evening an even greater pity that so few had the opportunity to experience what professional close-up magic is all about.
The effect in which a card is vanished only to reappear face up in the pack is not new, but this method is fairly easy and may appeal to those who liked the effect but found the previous published ways of achieving it unsuitable for one reason or another.
Three Jokers are required. One is face up second from the top of pack and the othet two face down on the bottom.
Turn the pack face up and get a break above the two bottom cards with the left little finger. Put the two Jokers at the top of the face up pack face down on the table and take the pack in the right hand with the fingers at the outer end and the thumb at the inner end (Biddle position) at the same time transferring the break from the left little finger to the right thumb. Swing cut about half the pack into the left hand, that is, lift the cards with the right index finger which swivels them to the left and toss them into the left hand. You should now have about one half of the pack in the left hand face up and the others face up in the right hand, the thumb holding a break above the two bottom cards. The left thumb now pulls cards singly onto its packet from the top of the packet in the right hand inviting spectator to call 'stop' at any time. When he does so he is asked to remember the top card of the left hand packet. Push this card about an inch over the side of the packet with the left thumb, and with the left side of the right hand packet do the secret addition move turning the selected card face down onto the left hand packet at the same time releasing the two cards below the break held by the right thumb letting them fall onto the chosen card. With the left
thumb push the apparent selected card face down onto the table beside the two face down Jokers, and drop the packet in the right hand onto the one in the left hand, taking care not to expose the face card of the left hand packet as you perform these two actions as this card is different from the one originally next to the selection prior to the secret addition. At this point there are three Jokers face down on the table, the spectators believing them to be two Jokers and the selected card, when actually the latter is somewhere in the middle of the pack. Turn the pack face down in the left hand and take a break with the left little finger beneath the top three or four cards. Pick up one of the Jokers and put it face up on top of the pack. Take the second Joker and apparently put it also face up immediately beneath the one face up on top of the pack, but actually pushing it into the break. Do not push it in flush with the pack but leave it jogged over the right side of the pack. Pick up the remaining Joker, apparently the chosen card, and taking care not to expose its face push it in immediately below the face up Joker on top of the pack letting it extend over the outer end of the pack as shown in (1). In the action which follows you appear to square up the three cards and remove them from the pack. What really happens is that only the two top Jokers are taken, the one which was put into the break being pushed in flush with the pack with the tips of the left fingers during the squaring action.
The pack is now placed on the table and the two Jokers counted as three cards convincing the audience that the selection is face down
between two face up Jokers. Hold the two cards in a squared up condition in the left hand between the thumb and finger tips near the left side of the cards. The right hand takes the top face up Joker and as it moves in and takes the face down Joker the face up one goes beneath it and is held with the left fingers to be shown as the second Joker. Fig.2 which shows the face up Joker going under the face down one also indicates how the cards are held for this sleight which is well known to knowledgeable cardmen. This brief description is included for those who do not know it.
The two cards are now held between the palms of both hands (3) and the hands twisted to the position shown in (4) with a card palmed in each hand. The hands now part and are held backs upward as in (5) and the two cards released letting them fall onto the table, the chosen card having vanished. The pack is now spread face down across the table, revealing the selection face up in the centre of the spread.
The idea of placing cards between the palms and causing one to disappear in the manner described above was originally conceived by Alex Elmsley to whom full credit is given.
Well, well, well. It appears that mention of an effect last time about a card appearing up one's sleeve has provoked quite a number of responses from our readers. Several people came up with different answers to the problem and perhaps next month or the month after we'll put them together as one article and let you see the results. One or two of the methods described were not really practical from my own point of view, but they may well be from someone elses. In any case, we will include them all. I found it rather interesting that others should be as intrigued by this effect as me. You never can tell — but we'll talk about this smother time.
No doubt you will be reading on another page about the visit to our shores of one Don Alan, who, if my memory serves me correctly, hails from Chicago. Unfortunately I didn't have the pleasure of catching him this time as I was otherwise engaged in trying to earn a living. I've heard nothing but praise both for what he did and how he did it. I well remember meeting Don at an American convention a few years ago and being very very impressed. I think the only way to describe his type of presentation is to compare him performing close-up magic with perhaps Jack Benny telling jokes or Frank Sinatra singing and for me there can be no higher praise. It must be at least fifteen years ago that we first caught sight of Don Alan in this country when he came to appear on two TV shows, both at that time being the two highest rated light entertainment shows in the country, namely 'Sunday Night at The London Palladium' and 'Saturday Spectacular'. His Palladium act was stand-up, but on the Saturday show he performed close-up for the other stars of the show. The reaction on their faces as he performed was worth the price of the TV licence. Come again, Don Alan, and light an other fire under those British magicians who came to watch. And a big thank you to Ken Brooke for arranging it all.
It seems that everyone was fooled by my photograph on the front page of the 'Magic Circular' this current issue. I gave that one to them quite deliberately and apparently no-one recognised me which was the intention.
Towards the end of March I shall be flying to the U.S. to do a few shows and some lectures. The full itinerary is not set yet but I will start in Chicago and finishing in New York with stops inbetween. I hope to meet, as before, many magicians, renew old acquaintances, make new friends and perhaps one or two new enemies. One rather interesting development regarding this visit has taken place. One lecture club is sending a contract that says I will guarantee to explain any of the tricks I show. If I remember correctly their explanation was that they had got rather fed-up with lecturers just selling their new tricks and not explaining the good ones. This is an interesting development which means that in future magic lecturers may have to beware of having to explain their pet secrets. Which means in the future they won't show them. But I can understand the magic club's point of view. It's interesting.
To finish this month, another problem. This is what is known as 'pushing your luck' as my last problem made the adrenalin flow. The effect here is classic and has been mentioned in many books and magazines. But in all my lifetime I have probably only seen the effect properly performed three times. It is simply the production of a genuine glass of wine from a 'cup' — as in cups and balls, Chop-cup etc. Many years ago in this country we had a manipulator called Ericson who did a cups and ball routine in his act, finishing with a glass of wine under each cup. I also saw an amateur magician do a similar thing. On several occasions I saw the late Senator Clarke Crandall produce a glass of liquid from under a die cup as a climax to a die-stacking routine. Both the first two mentioned used trick-tables to achieve the effect. The idea behind my query is to perform it close-up, using a genuine glass of wine. Probably it would have to be loaded from the pocket or lap, rather than from behind a box on the table, like Crandall. The major problem is always how to prevent the liquid spilling and how can the load be done silently. I have played with effect over the years and have never been 100% happy with it, though I have recently been getting close to it. Let's see if we can persuade some of our readers to supply what could be the perfect answer. Maybe an idea here, and an idea there could be combined to give the solution. It would be worth it because the effect is unquestionably stunning. OK fella's go to it because the ball is now in your court.
Goodbye. Patrick Page.
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