An Opening Effect

Performer shows a piece of black paper carefully, on both sides. He then proceeds to roll it into a tube, TOWARDS THE AUDIENCE, and it is obvious that no load is introduced.

He now remarks to the effect that two blacks do not make one white but he will prove that two whites and four blacks all make—here he shows a short white dowel, which he inserts into the paper tube, followed by four black pieces and finally one further white piece.

By this time he has arrived at the end of the sentence and finishes by saying that two whites and four blacks make—ONE MAGIC WAND. As the last white piece is pushed in, he continues to push and the first white piece inserted comes out at the other end, followed by the blacks and finally a SOLID ONE PIECE WAND IS PRODUCED. This may be rapped upon the table, good and hard and indeed, may be used for the rest of the show. The paper may be crumpled up and thrown away. This is exactly the effect the audience sees.

The secret.—The piece of paper, although appearing so innocent, is really faked. The dimensions for this paper are, at the start, one inch wider than the wand to be used, and as to the length about seven inches longer than the wand. Suppose the wand to be thirteen inches long then the paper will be fourteen inches by twenty. Six inches of this length is folded back. Two inches at the crease is glued or pasted, the next two inches is left clear, and the last two inches glued. This, when stuck down and dried, leaves a two inch pocket, two inches from the end of the paper and running the entire width.

The remaining needs are a hollow wand, of metal or plastic, closed at one end, and six pieces of dowel . Two of these dowels are painted white and four black. Five of these six pieces all slide easily within the hollow by GEORGE BLAKE

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wand, but the sixth piece, a white one, is slightly tapered so that when pushed into the hollow wand, it will jam tight and hold the rest of the pieces secure.

Into this last piece, at the outer or thicker end, is screwed a fairly large screw eye, which, having made a 'thread' into the wood, is removed. This screw is used to remove the last piece in order to set the effect for a repeat performance.

With the hollow wand pushed inside the pocket of the paper, and the six pieces of dowel handy the effect is ready for presentation. It is well here to point out that, in inserting the hollow wand into the pocket, no attempt should be made to shape the paper round the wand, indeed the more flat it can be kept the better. The pocket should assume, at the most, the shape of an elipse rather than a circle. Black felt paper with a 'woolley' surface, almost like blotting paper, indeed black blotting paper if it can be procured, is best for the effect.

(Continued Overleaf).

This is more of a novelty than a trick but will certainly suit the performer who is trying to entertain the Four-year-olds.

A toy car is shown, painted a bright blue. Also a garage where the car "lives". Tell the children that the owner of the car often wanted to change its colour, as he was usually fed up with seeing it blue and of course it always made him feel blue.

Open the garage and show that the car goes in at one end and out at the other. This is done by opening doors at the ends and also opening two doors which are on the side facing the audience. Thus the car is seen to pass from one end to the other as the performer pushes it through.

Now the two front doors are closed, and again the performer pushes the car through, but this time it comes out red. This, you tell the audience pleased the owner very much, but after a while he wanted to change the car back to its original colour. The above procedure is repeated and the car comes out bfue as at first.

The size of the garage will of course depend upon the size of the car you wish to use. In any case, it has a door at each end, and these doors are arranged to open TOWARDS the audience. A partition divides the garage lengthwise into two compartments. This partition can be seen when the two FRONT doors are opened and is taken to be the back of the garage. Behind this partition is an extra car, red in colour.


Open the two front doors and the end doors, pushing the blue car from one end to the other, of course in front of the partition, so that the children can not only see the car but your hand and arm pushing it through. Close the front doors, but this time push the car behind the partition, and of course pushing out the red one from the other end. Repeat the procedure with the red car, bringing it back to blue. Nothing to it, but mystifying enough for the younger generation.

(Continued from Previous Page)

Presentation. Pick up the paper keeping it full face to the audience, and allow it to hang down. Now turn it over TOWARDS THE AUDIENCE, not round towards them, in order to show the other side. The best way to do this is to hold the paper by the left hand at the top edge, then with the right hand, pick up the lower edge and bring it up to the left hand, allowing the top edge to fall. This is repeated once or twice finishing with the wand at the bottom.

Now commence to roll the paper, from the top, into a tube about two inches in diameter, rolling TOWARDS THE AUDIENCE, so that it is plain that nothing is being added, and when the tube reaches the concealed wand, carry on rolling past it to the bottom. This sort of squeezes the paper tube round the pocket and the last two inches of paper complete the roll. The pieces of dowel are now pushed into the hollow wand, first the white, then the four blacks and finally the white tapered piece, which wedges and holds the rest in.

Carry on pushing as far as the finger will allow and finally reach to the other end and slowly pull out the wand. Bend the paper tube in half and throw it on one side, or— it can be opened out, straightened and shown both sides. The wand may be rapped upon the table to prove solid, and as stated, may be used for the rest of the performance or where required.

One has only to attend a few "Night-of-Magic" shows to realise how often performers over-run their allotted time on the programme, thus upsetting all the calculations and arrangements of the organisers, and, more often than not. making it difficult for the artiste following. If this 'over-run' was a matter of an odd minute or so, then it might pass unnoticed, but when a so-called 15 minute act developes into 20 and sometimes 25 minutes in duration, then something is obviously wrong.

The offending performer has either deliberately mis-stated the time he needs for his act. hoping that once he is on the stage, he can get away with that extra five or ten minutes, or, he has not actually timed his act, but made a wild guess and left it at that. It may even be that he has been allocated, say 15 minutes, and has tried to crowd all his repertoire into that quarter hour, indeed it does appear at times that some performers have brought along the whole of their stock-in-trade !

Some on being told how much they have over-run, are genuinely surprised, will definitely assure one that they have carefully timed their acts during rehearsal, and are at a complete loss to understand the overlap. This has happened in my presence more than once, and friendly conversation on the subject, has brought out the following points.

Each effect, and then the whole assembled act, has been rehearsed in probably, a smail back room, or an attic, almost always the conjuror's 'den'. No allowance has been made for the size of this rehearsal room as compared with the room and the stage or platform where the act was eventually to be presented. The performer has stood at his little table before the mirror, and with a gfance at a clock, or his watch, has bluntly commenced his first effect . Point 1, he has made no allowance for any introduction and an opening walk-on. It may be that a mere quarter of a minute was lost here, but this is only the beginning!

His first effect probably necessitated his taking something from his table and coming forward to the footlights, but at rehearsal he remained at the side of his table maybe because there wasn't much room to do anything else. Point 2, no allowance was made for that walk from table to footlights and back again.

One effect required a spectator to shuffle a pack, take out a card, note it and return it to the pack, again, maybe, shuffling the pack. Point 3, no allowance was made for coming down to the footlights or edge of the platform, maybe having to come right off stage and approach a spectator. No allowance was made for explaining to the spectator what to do, and no allowance made for the time taken by a spectator in doing it! Then again there-was the recovery of the pack and a possible walk back up on the stage again.

Our friend under discussion, more often than not, required the help of one or two spectators, on stage, and again, very little, if any, allowance was made for this necessary procedure. Point 4.

So I could go on, bringing out point after point, all centering round lack of rehearsal, or, to use what may be a better term, incomplete rehearsal. One great friend admitted to me that, in rehear§ing a torn and restored paper effect, he merely mimed the actions in order to save paper! (no use tearing up sheets of tissue paper in practice, he said) but was ready to admit, when the point was put to him, that the effect might possibly take up a little more time, in performance, than he had calculated.

By far the best way to time your effects and a complete act, is to have an interested friend do it for you, at an actual performance, where the duration of the act is not so important and an over-run is not likely to upset a stage-manager's calculations. Provide him with a list of your effects, in correct order, a pencil and a watch; very likely he will have his own, but if your friend happens to be a she, then you may have to provide them!

Stand him, or her, in the wings and the first thing to do is to jot down the actual time you make your appearance, when if occurs, right opposite the first trick on the list of effects. Your friend then makes no more entries until you actually commence your second effect, when the time is then jotted adjacent to this effect on the list. So the procedure goes, right through the programme until you leave the stage, when the time is jotted at the bottom of the list.

From this list you can now tabulate the exact time each effect has taken, by deducting each noted time from the one below it. For instance. You made your appearance at 9-10 which goes opposite the first effect. The next time-note says 9-13, therefore your entrance and first effect took exactly 3 minutes. If the next entry, opposite the third effect is, say 9-18, then it is obvious that your second trick took 5 minutes. And so on down the list, the difference between the firsr and last entry being of course the full duration of your act.

That, as I said, is the best and mosf reliable way, giving a record which not only includes your own performance time, but also the time taken up in audience participation, reaction, and applause (I hope) at the end of each effect. Where such a course is not possible, rhen the performer must make the best use he can of his rehearsal at home, but he should be as careful as possible, in that rehearsal, to emulate everything that will happen in actual performance. This sounds so utterly obvious, that it seems almost ridiculous for me to mention it BUT I AM AFRAID THAT MANY PERFORMERS DO NOT TAKE THE TROUBLE TO CARRY IT OUT. If they did, then we should have better timed acts, and less of those who should tirle their acts 'On Tu Long'.

Take for instance. Point 1. It is a simple matter, in rehearsal, and having set your act, to stand away from your table, in an imaginary 'off-stage' position, and make your 'entrance' in as near an imitation of the real thing as space will allow. If your room is very small, then do not be afraid to walk the space available TWICE in order to simulate your entrance upon an actual stage or platform. A minor detail, but if you take the trouble to do this, you will feel more in a frame of mind to remedy the other points I mentioned.

Point 2. You will take the trouble to walk a few paces in your room, as though you were walking from table to footlights. You wiil realise that, in order to correct Point 3, you will take up your pack from the table, walk a few paces, as though to a spectator, rehearse relling him what you want him to do, and then go through the actions yourself, just as though it was the spectator doing it. You will be rather leisurely in this operation, allowing for the fact that spectators are not always as adept and quick at such things and bearing in mind that it is always berter to be a fraction over in your timing than to undertime an action.

You will realise that, for Point 4, it may be necessary to drag assistants from the centre of the Hall even from the centre of a long line of seats, and this takes time. Allow for this, and be generous. The result will be that you will have an act which runs to the time you have stated. If it runs slightly less than the time you have stated don't worry, and don't correct rhe tabulated time immediately. Try the act again. It may be that things ran very smoothly for you. The run-down was convenient, the audience was responsive, and so on. The next set of circumstances may be entirely opposite and from one or two more presentations you will be able to access a correct average for your act. AT LEAST YOU WILL BE GETTING TIME-CONSCIOUS and this makes for slickness.

Whatever method you use to time your effects, do please take a tip from me and keep a record of such. For myself, I have a small blank card for every effect I perform. At the top of the card the title of the trick is written. If it has no title (sometimes it may be a combination of your own) then give it one. At the right hand corner of the card the actual performing time is written. The remainder of the card is taken up in recording the actual articles needed for the effect, and, in the case of a special table setting for the effect, that setting is also recorded. This, and other details, are particularly useful where an effect has been feft out of the programme for some time.

Such cards are also useful in making up an act composed of effects with which you are familiar. Going through your cards you can sort out the effects you think will build up into a balanced act. Jotting the times of each effect together (from the corners of the cards) will give you the total time the act will take and you can increase the length by putting in a further effect, or if too long, you can reduce it by omitting an effect of the required duration. And, going through this proposed programme, card by card, you can be sure in packing that you have included everything, and not arrive at the show minus a thumb-tip or a pair of scissors. It HAS been (Continued on Page 171).

"JHhnost in Confidence"


MANIPULATION OF A BALL (As Performed by Servais LeRoy)


The recent passing of Servais LeRoy reminds me of his method of causing the disappearance of a billiard ball, and of a simple little routine that I worked out, many years ago, using rhe "vanish" in question.

Truth to tell, there was nothing very original in the LeRoy method, but on account of the beautiful way in which it was done, it was extremely effective.

THE LEROY "VANISH" In order to make the sleight thoroughly illusive, the greatest attention must be paid to every detail.

1. Facing the audience, display the ball on the palm of the right hand. Figure 1.

2. Turn rhe right shoulder towards the spectators, and place the ball in the left hand. Figure 2. (For a second, the left hand is almost completely hidden).

3. At once turn the back of the left hand towards the front, and point to that hand with the forefinger of the right. Figure 3.

4. Slowly turn the left hand so that the (closed) fingers are towards the spectators. Figure 4.

5. Very slowly, open the lefr hand—a finger at a time—letting the ball be seen. Pause for about two seconds.

6. Then drop it on to the right palm.

7. Apparently replace the ball in the left hand, but realfy palm it in the right. The view as seen from the front is as in Figure 2.

8. Turn the left hand into the position shown in Figure 3.

9. Now turn the left hand so that the fingers are towards the front. Figure 4.

10. Very Important. Notice how the left fingers are "bunched up" exactly as if they were covering a ball. That is the way in which LeRoy held his fingers, and it is the only correct way. Had I the wish, I could name many experienced manipulators who do not know how to perform the "transfer" in an illusive manner. But "no names, no pack drill". Many conjurers, who ought to know better, hold the hand as depicted in Figure 5. In this position, it must be apparent to any observant spectator that the hand is really empty!

1 1. Make a crumbling movement with the left fingers, then, very slowly, open the hand—a finger at a time—showing that the ball has disappeared. Show the back of the hand, and then the front.

12. Produce the balf either from the back of the right knee, or from the inside of your coat on the left side.

My old friend, the late Dr. Byrd Page, once said to me. "Never produce a ball from the 'air', or the spectators—who are not fools —will immediately iump to the correct conclusion that it was concealed in your hand all the time! Produce it from some ptace where it MIGHT have been!" I have never forgotten that very sound advice.

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