A little over two hours after we left Waterloo, the train pulled alongside the "Caronia" at Southampton. The custom formalities were quickly complied with and then we tread up the gangway. The ship which was to take us across the Atlantic is approximately twice the size of the one that brought us over from India. This, the first of the post war Cunard liners was specially built tor luxury travel, and the seven days we spent on it were fraught with much activity and excitement.
Here again when it was discovered that I was a magician, the officer in charge of ship entertainment got us to take part in the farewell concert. However, during the first morning's breakfast at sea a Radio message was delivered to me. It was sent by Abbotts and worded "Happy crossing—impatiently awaiting arrival". The crossing did prove very happy indeed and on the morning of Friday, 8th. August, the ship anchored at the Cunard Pier in New York. It was a wet and dulf morning but along with everybody else the first thing we admired were the tips of the famous tali buildings which from our distance seemed to kiss the skies. That first glimpse of the new world was deeply awe-inspiring and thrilling. The experience of that moment had no previous parallel in my recollections.
In due course we were all lined up for cross examination by the immigration officers. I have not used a wrong term when I stated 'cross examination' for That was precisely the nature of the encounter between passengers and the questioning authority.
After the landing formalities were got over, we proceeded down the gangway on to the pier. Like everything else in New York, we found later that even the pier was far above the road level which we could only reach in an elevator. There we were happy to be greeted by Gladys and Percy Abbott. They travelled the day earlier from Colon to meet us. Also waiting were John Mulholland, editor of SPHINX, Milbourne Christopher, Dr. jaks and Ken Allan. This being my first meeting with them although we corresponded in the past. I am sorry that our initial meeting had to be brief because we were told that there was a great deal yet to be done before the get-together which was 10 days away.
From the pier, after a short stop for lunch, we started on our 1200 miles drive to by EDDIE JOSEPH
Co.'on, Michigan. When I say drive, I mean just that, all the way through without any sleep and only intermittent halts for petrol and snacks. Incidentally it took us 24 hours to reach our destination in the village of Colon. Our route took us across the new Turnpike highway and also under the river. Although this method of travelling was very tiring but for us it was highly illuminating. We certainly got to see far more of the country in this manner than we would have if we travelled by train or plane.
It was late Saturday afternoon by the time we had arrived. We were all very exhausted and went straight to bed. As there were a number of my new tricks and books scheduled to be released during the get-together week I had to work fast and practically incessantly to get them ready in time. During the first week I was also the principal guest of the Lion's Club where I spoke, dined and entertained the members. That was my first show on American soil.
As soon as it became known chat I had landed in America I was being welcomed by several long distance telephone calls and telegrams. Johnny Piatt was the first to phone through from Chicago and the first telegram came from "Swami" DORNY. I had met johnny many, many times during the War years in India and Dorny I had only known, until then, by name and fame. Dorny and I along with my family did get to meet later in Chicago and of which I shall have to relate in due course.
The official opening for the get-together was set for the 18th August. The village of Colon, of which I first heard many years earlier when Harry Blackstone started his magic business, now suddenly began ro hum. Almost over night people began flowing in from every direction. Most of them were not strangers to me by name and reputation. I had previous correspondence with some and others I read about. Neither space nor memory will permit recalling the names of everyone that I had met. But whoever I had met provided me with additional thrill at the time because I had always learnt to regard every magician as a personal friend. The fina' official registration was recorded as 640 although according to previous plan a ceiling limit of 500 was fixed.
John Muiholland was amongst the early arrivals. Others I can recall now were Al Saal, Gene Gordon, Dr. Zina Bennett, Dr. Harlan Tarbell, John Braun, Adrian Smith, Arthur Buckley, Stewart James, Sid Lorraine, Major and Howard Shonting, Johnny Piatt, Rev. and Mrs. Elz and Billy Russell.
Goodliffe, who by then had already established himself as a hot favourite with the American magicians, flew in during the week with the English contingent. The others in his party were Francis Haxton, Tom Harris, Donald Crombie and Graham Adams. Their plane landed at Battle Creek, a distance of some 35 miles away, where they were met by many conventioners. They all drove into Colon together. It was genuine pleasure for me when presented to Goodliffe and party immediately after their arrival. Every minute the crowd was swelling and the little village of Colon soon began to assume the appearance of a busy and prosperous town. Magicians were seen clustered everywhere. Then, later in the week most unexpectedly that charming and fascinating lady of magic and worthy editor of 'GENU' magazine, Geraldine Larsen, appeared on the scene . I rejoiced sincerely at the opportunity of meeting and talking to her. About that time Bill Neff also arrived with his show. I shall always cherish the friendship I had struck with Bill and will for all times hold the highest admiration and respect for him. When one spends the amount of time as I did in his company during and after the get-together week then only will one begin to realise the full import of what I am trying to convey.
Now to return to the official opening of the get-together. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were partly spent in putting the finishing touches to my manuscripts, demonstrating my new releases before visitors and making new friends. Wednesday was the day reserved for the night before party. Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the big night shows. I had to appear each of the four nights with a different programme on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Besides I had to do a two hour demonstration lecture on Friday afternoon and a Close-Up session of practically the same duration on Saturday afternoon. When Sunday morning came round I, at least, was one person who was happy it was all over. By then, I was beginning to feel like a sinking ship.
During the get-together week, I was entertained twice by John Muiholland at his cottage. Over there I got to meet other magicians. We all started an impromptu session and that was the first time I got to witness and enjoy Mulholland's suave manner of speech and work.
On the Monday morning following the get-together week, Goodliffe and his flying sorcerers feft Colon for the 35 miles ride back into the air fields of Battle Creek. I enjoyed driving out with them and seeing their plane take off for Chicago. Almost suddenly Colon began to assume its usual tranquil outlook as the rest of the visitors gradually departed.
The excitement of that hectic week took time to wear off. However, according to previous plans, soon after the get-together, Abbotts took us to North Michigan and we stayed for five days as guests of Mrs. Gladys Condit who owns a beautiful 800 acres Ranch known there as the SUNNYLAKE Ranch. Apart from rest our visit there was also to fill pubic engagements at Glennie Hall, Glennie and the Veteran Memorial Hall, Lincoln, two of the towns in upper Michigan. Michigan is known throughout the new world as the state of lakes. Consequently it is nature's heaven for those fond of fishing. Besides fishing it is a popular hunting ground for deers.
The first week of September saw us back in Colon. Then came our visit to Chicago. Monk Watson who is the ex-Mayor of Colon and known to magicians everywhere befriended us during our stay in Colon. Monk I found out is very popular with magicians because as I was told by others, he is always ready to extend co-operation whenever needed. As he was driving into Chicago he offered to take us with him. The 165 miles drive was covered by car in three hours. We spent a most enjoyable time whilst there. We visited the Chicago Round Table at Drake Restaurant where we lunched. We met most of the Chicago magicians and of course, it will not be complete if I did not say that we visited the home of Johnny Piatt where he treated us royally and then spent a very enjoyable evening at the "GAY 90" a wing of the Hotel La Salle where Johnny went to work for a week and now after SIX years he is still there. We visited the magic dealers there as well.
However, the highlight of our Chicago visit was the meeting with Dorny. Earlier during the day we met Mrs. Dorny at the Sherman Hotel and she informed us that the man himself would be returning to town sometime in the evening. Dorny along with his wife turned up at the hotel and took us out. He kept us in a state of continual laughter for several hours with his chatter and treated us to a sumptuous dinner at a Chinese hotel.
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In spite of the many methods for cutting and restoring a rope, there is surely an opening for one in which the rope is cut and knotted by a member of the audience and then held by her whilst being made whole again—with the knot being fanned away.
The requisite for this trick is a special fake which can be easily prepared. Take a short piece of rope about five inches long. Unravel a single strand from a regular pipe cleaner and connect it to the two ends of the short piece as shown in Fig. 1. This fake is clipped on to the centre of a five feet length of rope as shown in Fig. 2 This is all the preparation you need. Before you present the effect place a folding fan in your right coat pocket. A pair of scissors is also required and this you place in your outer breast pocket.
THE PRESENTATION.—Come forward with the rope held in your left hand. The thumb of this hand covers the point where the fake is connected to the rope. In this position it would appear as though you were holding a length of rope doubled in the centre. Fig. 3 depicts the exact position of the rope at rhe beginning of the trick.
Say that they have seen many magicians cut a piece of rope and they restore it into one piece again. You are now going to present something similar but with one difference. You will permit anyone in the audience to cut the rope and will then proceed to apply your magic formula and restore the pieces into one whole length again.
At this point you request some lady from amongst your spectators to approach and help you to perpetrate a modern miracle.
Hold up the rope to view as shown in Fig. 3. As you talk give rhe audience a good view of the interior of your hand. Everything will appear perfectly normal and the spectators will accept the loop part of the fake for the doubied centre of the rope.
Take out the scissors from your pocket and hand to the lady with rhe instruction that rhe cut the rope in the middle. After she cuts the rope you take away the scissors. Now tell the lady to tie the two ends together •:-.to a knot.
You now trim the ears of the knot. The rope may now be held by one end allowing the rest of it to hang. The fake will not drop off the centre and it would seem as though there is a genuine knot holding the two pieces together. The scissors in the meantime are returned to your breast pocket.
Hand the rope to your assistant but see that she grips it by the two ends. The fake will not be noticed even at this close range. Ask the lady to stretch the rope tight and say that you are going to restore it by your magical powers. Place your right hand over the knot and with the left reach into your left coat pocket for the fan. Since this is merely a ruse at misdirection you deliberately reached into the wrong pocket. The left hand now grips the rope in the centre while the right pulls away the fake piece and reaches into the right pocket. The fake knot is dropped in there and the fan brought out. Naturally the left takes its position on the identical spot where the right was to give the impression that the knot is still there. To cover your action the left fingers must go through motion of squeezing the knot (?). With the right hand you fan the rope and then move the left out of the way to show just one length of rope again just as it was before you started.
You will find this a welcome change from your regular routine and it may be incorporated into your usual rope trick for a repeat effect. The first piece of rope is tossed out and then you pick up the faked piece and go through the effect just described.
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