"I have a Chinese magician friend, whose favourite mystery is one using two white discs." (Two discs are placed on a close-up mat, one at the lower left corner, and the other at the upper right corner.)
"He covers the discs with his hands, but when he removes his right hand, the disc has disappeared. When he takes his left hand away, there are two discs." (The hands are removed showing the disc has travelled to the opposite corner.)
"Not content, he repeats the process." (The right disc is replaced and the same procedure carried out, but this time the two discs appear under the right hand.)
"Not only does he cause the discs to travel through space, but through solids." (The discs are placed on the centre of the close-up mat, one on top of the other. The right hand covers the discs. The left hand goes under the table. The right hand presses lightly on the discs, and when it is removed, only one disc is left on the mat. The other is produced from under the table with the left hand.)
"He goes one step further." (The disc is taken in the right and placed under the table. The left hand covers the other disc. When the left hand is removed the disc has vanished. The right hand appears from under the table holding both discs.)
"My friend then places the two discs in his left hand, and says, 'Two discs in my left hand. I take one away, what have I left?' I say, 'One white disc, that's logic.' He says, 'No. Two white discs, that's magic.' (The left hand is curled into a fist, and the two discs are inserted by pushing them between the curled thumb and forefinger.
One is removed, and placed in the pocket. The left hand is opened revealing the two discs.)
"Again he places the discs into his left hand, and then asks the same question. 'Two discs in my left hand. I take one away. What have I left?' Remembering what occurred the first time, I say, 'Two white discs.' to which he replies, 'No, one Chinese yen.' (The discs are placed in the left hand, and one is taken away and placed in the pocket. When the left hand is opened, the discs have disappeared, and in their place is a Chinese coin.)
Three white discs.
Three white discs.
A Chinese coin.
A Chinese coin.
The Chinese coin is in the right jacket pocket. One of the discs is concealed in the left hand. It is held at the base of the hand. The disc can be easily gripped by a slight contraction of the hand, without the hand being held unnaturally.
A The two discs are placed in position on the /close-up mat, and covered with the hands. The right hand presses on the disc, and grips it at the base of the hand. The disc in the left hand is released, and left alongside the other disc. The hands are removed to show the transposition.
2 The discs are put in their original positions, and covered with the hands. The left hand grips the disc, and the right releases the concealed disc. The hands are removed and the left hand disc is seen to have travelled to join the other disc.
m One disc is placed on the other in the ^centre of the close-up mat. The left hand, holding the third disc goes under the table, and the right covers the discs on the table. When it is removed, there is only one disc on the table. (The right again grips the other disc.) The left hand comes into view holding the concealed disc, which is placed on the mat.
# The right hand, holding the hidden disc, U'picks up the disc just produced, and holds it under the table. The left hand covers the remaining disc, and grips it, so that when the hand is removed, there is nothing on the mat. The right hand now brings the two discs from under the table.
They are placed one at a time into the left hand, as explained in the presentation. One disc is placed in the right jacket pocket, and at the same time the Chinese coin is obtained and concealed in the hand. The left hand is opened to reveal the two discs.
The discs are placed on the table, and picked up one at a time and apparently placed in the left hand. Actually one disc is picked up, and the right thumb enters the interior of the cap. As it is about to enter the hand it is brought into view very quickly with the words, "Oh yes, it really goes in." The performer has drawn attention to the disc, because he has during the action thrown the Chinese coin into the left hand. The 'jerky' movement of withdrawing the disc affords a natural cover.
The disc is replaced in the hand, but under cover of the right fingers, the thumb draws back the disc into the right hand, which immediately picks up the remaining disc. It is placed in the left hand where it 'clicks' against the coin. It is then placed in the right jacket pocket, where both discs are left, and all that remains is to show the Chinese coin in place of the two discs.
Let's start off this week with one or two complaints. In the last issue of Pabular, reference was made to the lack of space. Several readers have said to me 'there's nothing-else but space in Pabular' and looking through it again they may well be right — there seems to be enough blank space in the magazine to cut it up and satisfy a fair-sized public convenience in Charing Cross Station. It is most frustrating to be reading articles in which you suddenly become interested, to find the editor saying 'I'm sorry we can't explain all of what took place because space * forbids'.
Why doesn't he cut out a lot of the illustrations — particularly those used in the article by Tony 'Doc' Shiels — The Case for Cozenage? Although come to think of it I think I would rather look at the illustrations than read all he has set forth in print. It is many years since I have read such an article. This is the sort of thing that crops up once every so often in all magic magazines, when a guy goes overboard for fortune-tellers, escapologists, sword swal-lowers, market grafters, charlatans and thieves — they have a certain glamour for a certain type of person. Tony says that magicians put mental-ists and such-like performers in the same brackets as pickpockets and highwaymen; he is quite wrong. Dr. Giovanni and the late Vic Perry were pickpockets, and they were also great entertainers, amusing and amazing their audiences by their skill and audacity. A1 Koran, Maurice Fogel, David Berglas, the Piddingtons, and many others have all held the respect of most magicians throughout the world. They have performed for two reasons, perhaps three: money, entertainment purposes, and perhaps to flatter their own egos. But they could not be called crooks — they were honest tradesmen plying their wares. Now we come to the little old lady who invites the housewives in for a 'cuppa tea' plus 50 pence in return for which she will pretend to foretell the future. She is nothing but a con-artist. He quotes Madame Moyer as saying 'Those debunkers who claim all mindreaders are lazy crooks ought to see the time we've spent steaming open envelopes, listening in for hours on party-lines, and digging in the garbage heaps for old letters'. Ugh. What some people will do to make a dollar.
Tony is perhaps correct, and I agree with him, in one instance only in his article and that is that people should be given their money's worth. We obviously disagree on the methods.
Change of subject. One thing is probably missing in the battery of the modern magician's armoury. New magic effects. Just how long is it since you actually saw a new effect? A completely brand-new different effect? A few years ago Alex Elmsley produced the 'Elmsley Count' or the 'Ghost Count'. Since then there have been a thousand variations on this theme — the sleight has been used for countless oil and water routines, dirty deal routines, you name it every one's played with it. This was a new method which resulted in quite a number of new effects. Is it possible that someone can give us a new effect that will produce a new method? I know that the method isn't really all that important and as the old fashioned magicians will say 'it is the effect that counts' but if a method such as the Elmsley Count comes along and is responsible for so many different effects, perhaps it is about time someone invented a new method.
One other thing interests me. and that is the experience of performers in doing close-up Magic. I probably perform a standard act as often as most people throughout the year but very rarely do I ever perform Close-up Magic for money. At parties and such-like I will no doubt do the odd card trick or something similar but I'm not sure of the conditions or what to expect when one is being paid to perform Close-up Magic. By this I don't mean that I have never performed Close-up Magic for money, I have, but not on very many occasions. And some, times I came up against one or two problems that at the time appeared almost insurmountable.
Perhaps one or two of our readers who have more experience in the close-up field than I have can tell us the kind of problems they come up against and how they overcome them. I am at this point talking about performing and not the selling of the act to a prospective agent or booker. What I am interested in is the performing of Close-up Magic for money. An American visitor to these shores, one Ben Martin from Chicago, who performs Close-up Magic professionally, made a point to me that Close-up Magic in the United States seemed to blossom faster when the places to perform standard magic acts in had disappeared. If this is so, let's hope that it doesn't happen here. It seems to me that there should be room for both. The 'hospitality room' seems to be something that is much more prevalent in the USA than in this country. It appears that many professional magicians work in those places, whether it is a trade show, bank or anything else. Come on you Close-up Pro's — tell us! Where do you work and what do you do? Not the effects because we can probably guess these if we know you. But we would be very interested to hear anything about the performance of Close-up Magic in this country for money.
* Unfortunately space does not allow me to comment — Nick Bolton fred iobinson
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