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Here is the effect I promised last month which I use to follow the second part of the Coins Across routine but only when performing for people who have not seen it previously because nobody will be fooled by it a second time. The club at which I work regularly has many steady customers so I do not use it every time.
At the end of the second part of the routine, which by the way is similar to a trick of Tamariz, the copper and three silver coins are lying on the table and the other silver coin is in the recessed bottom of the box.
Commence by picking up the box with the silver hidden in the recess, and place it on the left palm. Remove the lid placing it on the table.
The right hand stacks the four coins on the table with the copper on the bottom and picks up the stack and appears to drop all four coins into the box. Actually only the three silver coins go into the box, the copper being retained in the right hand as follows.
As the right hand brings the stack towards the box it passes over the tips of the left fingers which come into contact with the copper coin on the bottom which stays there as the right hand continues on and drops the silver coins into the box. The situation at this point is that the right palm is directly over the copper coin which is resting on the left finger tips. The latter now pushes the copper coin into the right palm which retains it in the classic palm position as the silver coins are being dropped into the box.
The right hand now picks up the lid and during this action the left hand turns inwards and then back to its original position turning the box over in the process. Because the spectators still see a silver coin (now the one in the recessed bottom) all will seem fair. The right hand puts the lid on top of the box, or rather the bottom.
Next ask someone if they would like to see the copper coin escape from the box at the same time taking the box with the right hand leaving the three silver coins in the left hand which closes into a fist and turned back uppermost.
The box is then placed onto the back of the left hand and as the right hand moves away the copper coin it holds is allowed to fall from the classic palm position onto the base of the fingers which are curled inwards to catch it.
Continue by saying "When I count one, two, three the copper coin will crawl out of the box on the count of three." As you say this bring the right band palm outwards up near to the right eye. This gesture is most important for two reasons. It shows the right to be apparently empty — the copper coin will be hidden by the curved fingers — and it is necessary to condition the spectators minds into accepting the gesture as having no part in the deception. Using the phrase 'crawl out of the box' is also important as it is more intriguing than merely to say it will disappear from the box. They will be watching the box intently to see the coin crawl out of the box. Their whole attention will be on the box which is just where you want it to be as you make the count.
When you count one the right hand is near the box. At two it has moved away to a distance about half way between the box and your right eye. You now say two and a half (the old gag) and the coin is near your right eye, and at three it shoots forward towards the box in a magical gesture.
Between the count of two and three the spectators attention on the box will be at its peak, and also, the longer pause between two and three tends to build up the suspense.
The moment something happens is less interesting than the moment just before it happens. So, when the right hand makes the arc-like movement during the counting it can put the coin into the right eye (like a monocle) with impunity at two and a half, because all attention will be concentrated on the box in anticipation of seeing the coin crawl out.
On the count of three as the magical gesture is made drop the three silver coins from the left hand onto the table. The right hand, which is already back near the box removes the lid and turns the box over showing it to be empty.
You now look for the copper coin. Pick up the three silver coins and make a pretense of searching for the copper gradually bringing the hands nearer your face. Still talking about the copper, coin having disappeared the spectators will eventually see it in your eye like a monocle. Usually there will be some who fail to notice the coin so just keep talking to them until they see it. Quite often a spectator will look you directly in the face and still not see the coin. When he does eventually see it, the expression on his face causes much amusement to the other spectators.
That concludes the routine which commenced with straight forward coins across and progressed with a perverse effect in which the silver coins passed from one hand to join the copper in the other when the performer apparently wished the copper to pass over to join the three silver. The third part described above brings in a penetration effect plus the re-appearance of a vanished coin in a manner which ends the routine with a laugh, an excellent way to close any routine which consists of a series of what might be called 'serious' magical effects.
I have found the following effect creates a very strong impression on audiences of non-magicians. A mentally chosen card passes from one packet of cards to another — a simple plot easily followed by the spectators and can be performed with any pack with previous preparation.
Commence by having a spectator shuffle the pack and ask him to concentrate on any number between one and five inclusive.
Take back the cards and explain that you are going to take off five cards separately from the top of the pack and that he is to note and remember the name of the card corresponding to the number he thought of.
Hold the pack in the left hand in the normal dealing position getting a little finger break under the top two cards as you tell him what is required of him.
With the right hand — thumb at the inrier end and fingers at the outer end — lift off the two top cards as one (the break makes this a simple matter) and show its face to the spectator as you count one. Remind him that if he thought of 'one' he should remember this card. As he is concentrating on your instructions and looking at the card the left thumb pushes the two top cards of the pack slightly over the side of the pack, enabling the left little finger to get a break beneath them as the other fingers closes them back square with the pack.
Replace the double card on the top of the pack, and still maintaining the little finger break, deal one card towards the spectator and a second one near yourself as if playing a two-handed card game. The spectator thinks he has the card he has just seen and you have another one. Actually the reverse is true.
Count two, and repeat the procedure of taking two as one and returning it/them to the top of the pack and dealing one to the spectator and one (the card seen by the spectator) to yourself.
Repeat the above as you count three, four and five, but as you count five the left little finger takes a break under one card only instead of two as previously. This break enables a double card to be dealt without hesitation after dealing the fifth card to the spectator.
The position is now such that the five cards seen by the spectator, which he thinks are in his heap are in yours plus an extra card.
Make your favourite gesture and pick up the spectators packet of five cards and holding them face down in the Biddle position in the right hand, show that it now contains only four cards as follows. With the left thumb pull off three cards singly into the left hand and dropping the remaining two cards as one on top of the three.
Build up a little suspense and remark that you will now see if the missing card is the one he has on his mind.
With the packet held in the left hand face down, turn the top card face up taking a little finger break under the second card as you do so. Take these two cards as one with the right hand — thumb at the inner end and fingers at the outer end. Using the left long edge of this double card flip over the new top card in the left hand face up and place it on top of the double in the right, still face up. Repeat with the remaining two cards.
When the spectator admits that the card he is thinking of is missing drop the packet on top of the pack which has been left in a convenient position. On account of the packet having the bottom card face down anyone picking up the pack later will find just four face up cards on top.
You next pick up the other heap and still keeping it face down slowly and deliberately
count the six cards. Ask the spectator to name the card he has in mind, and slowly turn the cards face up and show that the very card he thought of has travelled from his packet to yours.
There are numerous individual touches which I have not included — such as having someone place their hand on the pile containing the extra card and then allowing them to count the cards before discovering the mental leaper themselves. However, no doubt readers develop their own presentation — one possibly more suited to their own particular style.
One of the rewards of editing a magazine is to become aware that use is being made of the subject matter appearing therein. Under the caption of 'A Plea' in Vol.3 No.10 Bert Graham outlined his ideas on how to organise and run the close-up event at magical conventions. Further observations and suggestions have also appeared in this column.
Points from the above were subsequently discussed with Harry Dewhirst and Bill Lamb, responsible with others for arranging the ever successful Blackpool Magic Club's Annual One-Day Convention. To claim that either the articles or chats had anything to do with the improvement evident in the Close-up event this year would be presumptive, but maybe they helped.
For the record the performers were — Doug AJker, Ken Ashburn, Ali Bongo, Peter Duffie, A1 Glennan, Walt Lees, Dave Robertson and Rovi. I cannot report on their acts being occupied at the Pabular stand but was assured that their task had been eased due to the event being split into two sessions with a lengthy break between them. The provision of more tables reduced the number of spectators at each, but this meant that they did not see every performer. The advantages gained, both by the performers and audience, outweigh this small sacrifice which seems to be the only solution possible in the circumstances.
However, such an arrangement does preclude including a feature performer new to registrants as obviously there would be
justifiable resentment if such a performer was billed and did not perform at every table. There is no answer to this one. Even a large screen enabling the 'star' to be seen by all would be a complete waste of time. The successful presentation of close-up magic depends on the performer being close up and in contact with the onlookers — not a remote picture on a screen.
There is more to conventions than organised events. Often it is the incidental happenings that one remembers most, and the characters one meets. Geoff Ray was there. He had just finished one cruise and preparing for another, told me he was using 'Dropit', which appeared some time back in this magazine, for vanishing a lighted cigarette, and also that it was possible to stick a square bottle oh a flat surface with no visible support. The best use for this stunt I have seen was a chap who stuck a bottle on the wall and hung his hat on it.
Ken Hawes and Vic Allen, both who perform at restaurant tables, one works standing and the other sitting, were in hot debate on this matter which appears to depend on the prevailing conditions. Vic showed a new presentation using the Nudist Pack, an idea of Bob Hamilton's who was also in the group. Bob sent this routine several weeks back for publication — it will appear in the near future. Rovi, who has been booked to appear in Brussels at the FISM Congress 26 June/lst July 1979, was there and gave permission to publish some items he is currently using — more practical material for a future issue.
Continuing with conventions — they will soon be a weekly occurence -- Juan Tamariz informs me that the sixth Journados de El Escorial will take place from Nov. 2nd to Nov. 4th. This event is one of the greatest value to card workers. Limited to less than fifty registrants different aspects of card magic are dealt with in depth. A lecturer is provided for each subject — which last year were -- Rising Cards, Torn Cards, Palms and Palming, and Routining Card Tricks. Following each lecture registrants joined in by either performing or giving further information on the subject under discussion. The end result of this procedure is a mass of specialised information, which together with seeing the effects performed one is able, both to obtain the maximum amount of 'know-how' oe the subject and to see the different presentations from the point of view of the audience. It is difficult to visualise how a more beneficial method of instruction could be devised other than personal instruction.
The most entertaining presentation of the Three Card I have ever had the pleasure to see was performed by Tamariz in The Magic Place some three months ago. Thanks to Juan's generosity it will appear in Pabular with full presentation details.
In Wayne Dobson's first lecture notes an ace cutting routine which ended with the backs of the cards changing to different back designs entitled 'Marked Cards'. Someone thought it was good, because it is now available from Ken Brooke price £3.50 retitled 'Oblivion'. It must be cheap at the price unless you already have about forty packs with different back designs.
Here's a stunt which should get you drink on your next visit to your local. Drop three coins onto the palm of your victim's hand and get him to cup his other hand over them. Take another coin and vanish it saying to the spectator you now have four coins. He will open his hands and seeing the same three coins will disagree. Insist that he has four and he will again maintain that he has only three. Say "Will you buy me a drink if I am wrong." Almost for certain he will agree. When he does tell him what to buy you — because you are wrong. Give thanks to Fred Snooks who caught yours truly with it. More next month.
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