First of all a couple of omissions from the last article. I mentioned a gentleman who was an honorary sheriff of a county in Texas. Well, the other day I showed him the article and he was most annoyed to be described as an 'honorary' sheriff; apparently he is the genuine article. His name is Danny Arnold and incidentally he does the odd magic trick for kids shows.
Secondly, in mentioning my Christmas presents, (and you'll have to forgive me for harping on the subject but they did please me) I forgot to say that the staff (?) of this magazine clubbed together their hard-earned cash to purchase the Boy Wonder a book called '100 Years of Circus Posters.' It's beautiful, I love it. I love you all staff.
Two or three years ago, a friend of mine, Michael Vine who is a professional magician, told me he had seen an Indian street magician performing in the West End of London. During the last couple of years or so I have heard about this guy several times. It appears he occasionally just turns up.
Until a few weeks ago I had never been able to catch him, then I spotted him in the Charing Cross Road not more than fifty or sixty yards away from a bunch of guys working the Three Card Monte. He was elderly, perhaps 65 or 70, and he apparently did three tricks (though I only saw him do two). Firstly the Miser's Dream using a beat-up old tin can, and some very dilapidated old coins. He was at great pains to explain to the crowd who had gathered around that the coins were not real money. He kept remarking they were Indian Coins, they were Magic Coins, they were specially for magic, they were not real money, you couldn't spend them etc. No doubt this was to impress those watching that he didn't have much money and that he was only using theatrical props. The second trick was the Cups and Balls, using three ice-cream cartons. This actually was performed on the pavement (side-walk to you Americans) in a squatting position which is a little difficult to describe. Imagine him with both feet soles and heels planted firmly on the ground with his two arms forward between his legs doing the trick just in front of him. It was interesting in that he used only three moves that I could catch. To vanish a ball it was apparently placed in the other hand but actually retained in the classic palm position, rather than the finger palm as used by most Western magicians. He also did a steal from one of the cups clipping the ball between two fingers, and the third and remaining was loading the ball under the cup straight from the classic palm position. This was a little odd in that most Indian magicians use a cup with a little knob on the top that when held between the fingers positions the cup perfectly for loads from the palm. He did not use this type of cup, but the inverted ice-cream cartons, and he clipped the top (or bottom) of the cup between his first and little finger. In raising it up off the pavement he tilted it backwards so that the ball could be loaded when replacing it. He didn't, unlike most modern performers, finish with a production or load at the end. He merely did several moves and passes and then apparently replaced the ball in his pockets making them re-appear under the cups as his finale. The effect on the spectators for both tricks was very very good. He knew how to handle them very well indeed. The Miser's Dream enabled him to get lots and lots of laughs. He gathered coins from here, there and everywhere — spectators hats, pockets (maybe he lifted other things out of the pockets — I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised!)
He also had the most beaten-up deck of cards I have ever seen in my life but he did no tricks with them and so what he does with them will have to remain a mystery until another time. Maybe he did them before I arrived.
After the Cups and Balls he made a collection. I don't know what he made but I would think he would be better off learning the three card-trick and joining the boys further up the street. I'm sure they made a little more than he did.
On the subject of street entertainers, there was a programme on TV devoted to London both old and new. In a trip around the City the cameras took us to Tower Hill. This is a patch of ground situated more or less outside the famous Tower of London. For centuries this has been a favourite pitch for street entertainers, and on this occasion we had the pleasure of watching two performers, one of whom was an escapologist. The latter was placed in a mail bag and chained up with a couple of swords stuck through. Needless to say he got out in time for his partner and he to take a collection. Let's hope the cameramen chipped in because it was well worth it. It looks as though there may well be a resurgence of interest in street entertainers in London because currently there appear to bea lot of them. There are performers with trained budgerigars, or musicians wandering all over the place. Who knows — we might get more of them who do magic tricks. Bye.
Four silver coins
Four copper coins (old pennies), and four silver coins (ten pence pieces)
Four silver coins
Thumb has just released coins. They are now travelling with centrifugal force into thumb-palm geoff iky
Thumb has just released coins. They are now travelling with centrifugal force into thumb-palm
Four silver coins are twice magically transposed with four copper coins above the table.
The routine which is original with me contains no unnatural moves and was used in my act when winning the close-up trophy at the I.B.M. Convention held in Hastings 1970. It contains a multiple switch which is original with me.
It requires a small leather bag which has a ring attached by a small leather chain. Four copper coins (old pennies), and four silver coins (ten pence pieces) are placed in the bag and the ring is put over the opening. Four extra ten pence pieces (silver) are put into the neck of the bag above the ring and held by a clip. The clip is fastened inside the jacket near the pocket on the left side. (1)
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