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¿Magazine of Close-up¿Magic Vol: 3 ¿^^^¿JV[AR-GACPR. 1977
Once upon a time the universal method used by conjurers — we had not yet reached the status of being called magicians — to cause a coin or other small object to disappear by sleight of hand was the French drop. Over the years variations of this move have appeared in print, some of which, though not many, may be regarded as improvements.
A method popular with John Ramsay was one in which a coin held at the tips of the left fingers was caused to swivel round behind the left fingers with the right hand as the latter appeared to remove it. In John's hands this was completely illusive due as much to the misdirection which accompanied the sleight, as the technique used. Here are three variations, the first one by Patrick Page.
Hold the coin in the left hand with the thumb extended up behind the coin. The tips of the fingers are about the centre of the other side of the coin, leaving about half of its surface visible to the audience (Fig.l). The right hand comes in to take the coin and as its fingers cover it from the view of the audience the left thumb pulls it downwards behind the left fingers where it is hidden. The right hand now moves away apparently taking the coin. The merit of this method is that the left fingers are in a naturally curved position when holding the coin at the beginning of the sleight and remain so after the right hand has removed the coin. No movement of these fingers is required after the sleight to adjust the coin as it is safely in the finger palm position.
Although this looks extremely convincing from spectator's Viewpoint, initial performance may be 'uncomfortable' from the magician's. At first it may look awkward from the performer's single, which might give a feeling that the spectators will think you 'are doing something'. This is not the case, however, as a trial infront of a mirror and live performance will show.
Let us assume that you have borrowed a coin which has been marked, or its date noted. Holding it in the left hand at the fingertips you look at it, and apparently not finding the mark or date on that side of the coin take it with the right hand (actually leaving it in left) turning it over as you do so, in order to examine the other side. As you are looking at the non-existant coin in the right hand ask the spectator the date of the coin, and when he replies just agree with him. If your audience is a magical one, say "I am just making sure you didn't change it", a remark which should cause a smile. Should the coin have been marked, say "You will recognise your coin when you see it again — if you see it again." Still gets a laugh, if timed properly.
The above preamble has been included to stress the importance of having a reason for passing a coin or other object from one hand to the other before causing it to vanish. In this particular case it is to see the opposite side of the coin. To perform the sleight hold the coin between the thumb and fingertips of the left hand (Fig.2). The right hand approaches (Fig.3) and covering the coin from the performers view with its fingers (Fig.4) its thumb going behind the fingers of the left hand.
The right fingers curl round the coin and in so doing come into contact with the edge of the coin, and continuing to press cause the coin to swivel round into the position shown in (Fig.5) where it is hidden from the spectators behind the left fingers. As the right moves away apparently taking the coin it turns bringing the palm facing the performer. This duplicates exactly the movement which would be made if the coin was actually taken for the purpose of enabling the performer to examine the other side. The position of the hands as seen by the performer is as in (Fig.5) at the conclusion of the move.
The final variation on this theme comes from Gordon Bruce and at the beginning the coin is held as shown in (Fig.2). The right thumb, in coming in to take the coin strikes the outer edge as seen in (Fig.6) knocking it out of the grip held by the left thumb and fingers into the left finger palm position at the base of fingers. The right hand then moves away apparently taking the coin.
Moves to show both sides of« business card or playing card blank whrin in fact something is written on one side, are not very commonplace. The methods I have used in the past are all more suitable for a cabaret or stand-up-type of performance, this particular method is very natural in performance and convincing providing the eyes of the audience are below the height of the card in hand at the commencement.
Fig.l depicts the actual right hand hold on the business card prior to the move being executed, in the sketch the back of the card has been patterned for clarity, actually only the performer would see this side of the card, the action is as follows:
1. With card in position as Fig.l, the right thumb releases the card at the rear so that face of card is shown to the audience Fig. 2 this is the audience view.
2. Now with the card held in first finger and thumb R.H. Fig. 2, from this position the right second finger reaches round to the left long edge of the card (performers view) bending the edge of the card outwards. This bending action continues and card is released by the right thumb and gripped between 1st and 2nd fingers only see Fig.3. Note:- this action is hidden from the audience by turning the right hand inwards slightly.
3. The card is now in a horizontal plane position Fig. 4 this is the performer's view of the card. Whilst in this position the right thumb goes UNDER the card levering the card into an upright position again facing the audience, the card being held by the right thumb and forefinger as in Fig. 5.
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