Since starting this column I am continually being surprised by readers I meet who are regularly working many of the old stunts and gags which one has read in the past and just passed over without giving them a trial. Peter Wentworth told me he often uses the stunt Martin Breese reminded me of — inhaling smoke from a match and pretending to smoke the thumb. Peter also uses another 'oldie' with a wooden match which is held between the thumb and forefinger as in Fig. 1. Cross the other arm horizontally across the chest, causing a ridge to appear in the coat sleeve near the elbow. By pressing the end of the match on this ridge and then releasing it, the match will fly several inches into the air. Not much, you may think, but it could as as a prelude to the serviette trick in which the serviette is rolled into a tube and stood on end. With suitable patter about Polish or Irish space rockets, the top of the serviette is
Matches of a certain brand if struck and allowed to burn as long as possible without burning the fingers, and are then blown out and held for a moment, will leave a head that will fall off. Other brands will not. Find these two contrasting brands and you have a 'betcha' trick.
Did you know it is possible to hold a kettle of boiling water on the palm of your hand? (If you try it with a kettle from an open fire make sure no hot cinders are sticking to the bottom.
Piep-Piep is just one of those funny things in between. While you are shouting Piep-Piep and you are searching round the room looking everywhere you take out a flycatcher from your inner coat pocket and eventually slap it down — catching a mouse on it.
The flycatcher is faked by attaching a realistic toy mouse to a piece of elastic and attaching it as shown in the sketch, the mouse being concealed in the hand and released at the appropriate moment.
My additional suggestion would be to have a real mouse in your pocket and to switch it handing it to a lady.
lighted and when nearly burned to the bottom the ashes will rise upwards a la Red Ashes trick of long ago. I believe Hank Moonhouse sells this with full presentation and patter.
. Instruct the spectator to hold one match as shown in Fig. 2 and tell him to break it by exerting pressure with his second finger. He must keep his arms stretched out and fingers straight. When he gives up get him to slap his hand flat onto the table and the match will break. Wally Boyce who is ever on the look-out for these bits of business to show his workmates works this by first appearing to break it as a genuine feat of strength. He prepares his own match by breaking it but not pulling the halves apart causing to present the appearance of being unprepared.
One of the events I did not attend at the I.B.M. convention was the Karrell Fox lecture. Having seen his stage performances a couple of times previously I judged there would be little to interest close-up magicians and therefore little to report in this column.
Fortunately, we met later in London and over a meal and long after, he performed trick after trick all of which contained something new that in one way or another constituted an improvement of value to the practising close-upper. The following day I was able to recall twenty-five and there must have been at least half a dozen that escaped my memory. A couple of the items I shall not easily forget were a simple method for burning and restoring the centre of a borrowed handkerchief (explained in his lecture) and the most natural appearing 'knot that is not' — I will rephrase that — a knot does not appear when the normal actions for producing one are executed. This effect has been around for at least a hundred years and has suffered various improvements before Mr Fox gave it the kiss of life. Also in the party were Phil Goldstein who now has a new address — 70.70 Franklin Ave. Apt. 101, Hollywood, Cal 90028, and Bob Read who steered us towards the venue which was the Anemos Restaurant.
Visitors to London will be warmly welcomed at this Greek restaurant, 32-34 Charlotte St, Wl. Just ask for Dave behind the bar, mention you are a magician and Louie will suddenly appear who will personally make sure you have an enjoyable time. Open weekdays only from 12 noon until 3.00pm and 6.00pm until midnight. Louie assisted by Dave put on a magic show for the clientele every night except Mondays.
The most enjoyable event for me personally for a very long time was the arrival in London of the 'Professor'. For the first time I had the opportunity of really getting down to the 'nitty gritty' of card magic without the distractions which always occur when a large group is present. Under these intimate conditions it was possible to obtain some idea why Dai Vernon is the most revered personality in magic today, both as a performer and as a person.
It is not possible to comment on all the effects, sleights and moves which were performed : and discussed, much which, in the opinion of many would be dismissed as 'finger flinging'. IThis particular term is usually used in a ^derogatory sense by those individuals possessing -more thumbs than fingers and who are unaware of the value of these exercises in obtaining mastery over a pack of cards. This much maligned practice does on occasion produce new sleights and improvements on old ones. It was after watching a particularly inept and bungling performance that the Professor commented that the practice time required before cards could be handled properly was from five to seven years. I took this to mean the time required before one could expect to be able to perform card tricks in which sleights were used, with confidence, grace and in a casual manner without arousing the spectator's suspicions that something they were supposed not to see, was going to be done, was being done, or had been done.
It is perfectly obvious that to prevent the spectators from suspecting 'something' is being done, every movement made by the performer must appear absolutely normal and natural. Any unnecessary or awkward movements which may arouse suspicions must be eliminated if the illusion is to be complete. It became apparent during our sessions together that a fundamental principle of Dai Vernon's approach to a move or sleight is directed to making all the necessary actions consistant with what is natural to his own personality. This critical attitude to ones magic demands considerable self discipline plus the ability to discern what mistakes are being made and then taking steps to eradicate them.
— handling the cards. Learning the sleights is only the beginning and something to be forgotten when actually performing the trick in which they are being used. If you cannot perform a sleight as Le Paul so aptly put it 'as effortlessly as breathing' there will be a strong possibility that some or all of the onlookers will be conscious that some subterfuge is being used
— whether or not they can relate their suspicions to the end effect is immaterial — they saw 'something', when they should have seen nothing
— what should have been a magical effect has become a puzzle, which they may, or may not solve. When they see nothing, that was what became known as the Vernon Touch. Space is again running out, but must mention Hiram Strait who accompanied the Professor and presented me with a copy of his Lecture Notes No.l which gives methods for Coins through Table, Coins Across, Okito Coin Box Routine and other coin effects and moves plus a method for the Tom and Restored Sheet of Tissue Paper. These are priced Five Dollars and airmailed to Britain for £2.50.
Thanks to Wayne Dobson for Coin Assembly which appears in this issue. It is from his lecture notes entitled Young Ideas which are available from the author whose address is 7 Ripon Drive, Blaby, Leicester, England. Price £1.25 post free and Four Dollars by airmail to tlie U.S. Other tricks are Coins through Table (worth the price of the notes), — Marked Cards, an ace cutting effect which ends with the backs df the pack changing colour. Coins Across — Signature SwitcH
Plenty in the two sets of lecture notes — especially for the coin man.
Plenty in the two sets of lecture notes — especially for the coin man.
Fred Robinson BPOl BOOK REVIEW
THE BOOK OF JOHN - The Close-Up Magic of John Mendoza. The distributor of this book is Jeff Busby Enterprises and the price is Twenty Dollars plus postage.
This book, if a number of perforated sheets of paper held together by a piece of plastic really merits the title, consists of 134 large numbered pages plus nine others. The printing is of variable quality but the photographic illustrations are consistant in this respect — they are all equally bad, and the 36 effects explained are variations on familiar plots without anything new.
If the preceding observations on the physical qualities of this publication have conveyed the impression that it is just another run of the mill effort, which if purchased will end up wherever readers dump their less valuable items of magical literature — I am sorry. What really counts is the value of the material within the covers, and it is in particular respect that John Mendoza has provided a wealth of excellent practical material for close-up magicians, from which to select tricks suitable to their particular requirements.
About fifty per cent of the effects are with cards and require technical skill ranging from average to advanced — there is nothing for duffers. That they are variations of old plots is irrelevant. It is the treatment given to them by the author, a professional close-up magician, who has routined them in such a way as to make them into commercially acceptable magic which he actually uses in his own paid engagements. This is in itself a refreshing change from the hobbyist improvers whose interest does not usually extend to considering the overall effect from the point of view of the spectators.
Card effects include — cutting the aces after a face-up, face-down shuffle after which the pack rights itself. A poker demonstration deal with a running time of six minutes and very definitely for the top flight cardman only. Commencing with cutting the four aces in any order suggested which are then lost in the pack and the effect repeated in a manner which the author claims 'exceeds any challenge conditions' and this is followed with the 'Roll-over Aces' which in turn is followed by the performer proferring to stack a royal flush in spades which is placed on top of the pack to fall into his own hand in a ten hand game using a single shuffle. Instead of the promised royal flush the performer gets the four aces. Offering to try again, a number from one to ten is requested. This time he succeeds, not only in dealing himself a royal flush, but also one to the hand nominated by the spectator. Under the guise of explaining 'how it was done' the performer states he was using marked cards, not the royal flush he is holding which are all blue backers, but the rest of the pack, which, when displayed are seen to be red backed.
Other card effects to receive attention are — Collectors — Card in Envelope — Twisting the Aces — Elevator — Torn and Restored Card etc.
For the Coin man there are two large coin productions, one seated and one standing — Coins through Table — etc.
Among the miscellaneous will be found — Cups and Balls — Chop Cup — Lump of Coal under Fez — and many others.
The last two effects are for the stage — a
The last two effects are for the stage — a
A card selected by a spectator is returned to deck which is then shuffled by the performer and placed onto the table. Spectator is then requested to cut off (remove) from the tabled deck about a third or more cards which are taken by the performer. Performer then tells spectator that he will use the cards handed to him, as a computer machine, in order to locate the card he has chosen. This will be dope, the performer continues by alternating the cards in his hands. First card up, second card down, next ]Lip, next down, etc until all the cards have been alternated, after which the upper group will be pulled clear of the others and discarded.
The lower group left in the performer's hands is computerised by alternating the cards as before, and discarding the upper group. The same process being repeated until just one card remains in the performers hands. This last card is shown to be the spectator's selection.
Each time the cards are alternated and the pper group removed the spectator is asked if e (she) would like to remove some otthe cards that still remain in the performer's hands. The cards removed from the top of the packet being ken by the performer and used for computing, and the lower portion discarded.
When the selected card is returned to the deck bring it to the top of the deck and then by using whatever shuffle you prefer bring it second from the top. This is done each time the upper portion is received back from the spectator. If the spectator elects not to cut off any cards, you still shuffle them bringing the selected card second from the top. This procedure will ensure that the card remaining in your hand at the finish is the one selected by the spectator. Remember that you always discard the upper group of alternating cards and the bottom portion when the spectator cuts the packet. Have fun.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.