Buck

JOHNNY GEDDES.—Continued.

He took the stage, not knowing what he was doing, got into a mess with the 20th Century silks, gagged about in a "would-be" serious act and the audience howled and howled. This was enough to sober any man, and then the thought struck him. They prefer comedy, and so it was comedy from then on.

As the War years crept on, Johnny rose to the rank of Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, and his magic was in the Stores. Yes, Magic was dropped compulsorily for the last two years of the War. In 1946 and demobbed from the Khaki, Johnny looked around and got a situation as a Commercial Traveller, but still no magic. Suddenly he was asked to help out at a Smoking Concert. Johnny and his wife (yes he had married Margaret in 1941) got together and made up an act of about 15 minutes with odd bits and pieces . Off he went, a bag of nerves, in December 1946. He was quite successful and received three bookings from the shows, and so he was back into magic . Publicity later followed in the Scottish papers until he became very well-known in Scotland. By doing the comedy magic with a touch of the clever stuff, at Dinners, etc., the bookings came in faster.

Time marches on and Johnny is doing Concerts, Children's shows, Dinners, and Variety dates. In 1950 after a couple of months in the British Ring (I.B.M.) he was asked to appear in the

All Comedy Show at Harrogate. In 1951 he also appeared at the Festival of Britain Magic Convention in Newcastle, and in the International Cabaret at Bournemouth for the I.B.M. 1952 he also appeared at Hastings for the I.B.M. in "Scotland Calling". By now Johnny had been doing a large number of Variety dates in Scotland, with a 12 minute comedy Magic act. Two years running he won the Max Raskin Cup at S.A.M.S. Convention for the most original act, and was doing one night stands in all areas with a show entitled "Johnny Geddes and his Stars of Variety". For four years running he did a summer season at Carnoustie (the golf town), two of these years he produced and topped the bill. For a short season last year he appeared at Ferryden (Montrose). This year comes one of his biggest plums when he does a two week tour of the Orkney Island. He tells us that he gets a good fee, with all expenses paid, and goes there by 'plane . On Xmas Day last, he appeared on Television in "Christmas Barnstorm". Here a breakdown in the middle of his act brought publicity in the National Press

He has written two books, the first on presenting magic was serialised in the Magic Wand, while the other is being published by Max Andrews in the near future. Has written in practically every Magical Magazine published in Britain and America, and his total contributions comemwess

"THE SNAKE TIN"

What happens when you go to Max Andrews and buy his Lollipops Tin, or, as we commonly call it, The Snake Tin? Home you go, stick it into your act, and your routine goes something like this. You pick it from the table, hand it to a kid, he opens it up, out jump three snakes, a short laugh ... and that's that. Agreed ?

Now in my humble opinion for a comedy act, most in your act should be routined. How can you routine a Snake Tin, you say? Simple, I say. Here is a routine which has proved outstanding. Ask any magician who has seen me use it in my act.

For those of you who like comedy here goes: The tin is lying on your table and an effect has just been completed with your youthful assistant. If you only work adult shows, the same applies.

Bring the kid into the centre stage and point to the tin saying: 'In that tin are three coloured balls . . . one green . . . one red . . . and one blue. Which colour do you want, and if you say yellow . . . I'll blacken you"'. As the kid is deciding what coloured ball he wants, you bring over the tin. If he says (say) red, you hand him the tin and say,

JOHNNY GEDDES.—Continued.

to these magazines comes to about 600. He is married to a very patient girl by the name of Margaret and his two sons, Charlie and Ian, are his sternest critics and they fail to see why "Daddy" cannot be as good a magician as all the others they witness! Actually he has worked many professional dates, such as : The Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen; Caird Hall, Dundee; Kings Theatre, Dundee, etc.. etc. He tells us bookings for Xmas time come in from April onwards, thus ensuring that his date book is always full, and also that Comedy style Magic really pays him.

Good luck from us to Johnny 'Gag' Geddes.

'That's the one in the centre, open the tin and take it out".

Turn to your table while the kid is doing this. A second or two at your table (as if you are getting the next trick ready) should be enough, then you suddenly hear the laughs . . . turn round . . . look at the audience, then the kid . . . look astonished . . . grab the tin . . . he still holds the lid (if he has dropped it tell him to pick it up) grab the snakes, ONE AT A TIME and proceed to stuff them into the tin in this manner.

Hold the tin against your stomach open end out, take the first snake, and start to stuff it into the tin using both hands as quick as you possibly can. In order to make this clearer, the tin is against your stomach open end out, and both hands are cupped around the tin, while the fingers are operating the snakes into the tin. When the first one has gone in keep it in position with one hand while you pick up the second snake and do exactly the same movements, when this one has been tucked into the tin, stretch forward and pick up the third . . . BUT ... as you do so release either one or two of the snakes from the tin. Shout at the kid, telling him to get the lid ready.

Start again to tuck the snakes into the tin as before, this time get the three of them safely into the tin. Put your hand out for the lid . . . saying to the Kid ... "Come on, come on . . . Give me the lid quick", at that you release a couple of the snakes and they fly against the chest of the kid— remember, never in his face. This brings the place down as you are screaming . . . "All I want is the bloomin' lid".

He still has the lid, you have the tin with one snake inside, and a couple of snakes are on the floor. Once again proceed to stuff them into a tin. The quicker you can do this the better, and at the same time say . . . "Coming up here to help me, you're only hindering me. Course it's the wrong tin I've brought". The business of releasing a snake or two in the boy's chest as you stretch your hand out for the tin can go on as often as you dare.

I suggest a couple of times. On the third time, after all the snakes are inside, as your hand goes out release only half of the snake, stuff it back in, out goes the hand, again half a snake comes out, out goes the hand, again stuff the snake back in. This goes on as long as the audience laughs. You can soon time this. As the laughs are dying, let it go again, and this builds up the laughs more than ever.

Now having at last got the snakes into the tin, grab the lid from the lad and stick it on to the tin, BUT place your fingers of one hand over the top of the tin, so that the lid appears to have trapped your fingers. Struggle to get your fingers out, making sure that the audience can see what has happened. To do this, stand face on to your audience. (I should add that while the business of stuffing the snakes into the tin and allowing them to spring out, you should be side on to the audience with the kid in the same position, so that you will not lose the snakes by having them flying over the footlights).

While you are doing this make odd cracks to the kid, as if he was to blame, saying such things as . . . "Look what you've done now . . . Look, look, look, nice mess this is, and stop laughing . . . you're not supposed to laugh". Struggle as long as you feel is sufficient to keep the audience going.

Finally go over to the kid, still struggling to release your fingers, look at him with disgust, standing side on to the audience and say . . . "Here hold this lid a minute, do something to help" . . . Once you have said this, take your fingers out of the tin and attempt to hand him the lid . . . BUT ... let the whole lot fly over him, retaining the lid and tin. This final act brings the place down, your final remarks are . . . "Oh I give up" . . . eventually throwing tin and lid aside in disgust.

Get the kid a big hand and that's that. Believe you me, he will deserve it after the knocking about he has taken. You may think that it ruins the tin and snakes to carry out such a routine . . . well it does . . . but it is well worth it for the laughs it gets, even if you go through two or three sets in a season.

It will be obvious that the greater speed you can carry out this routine, the better and louder will be the laughs, you should get about a couple of minutes out of this. Never at any time let the kid get hold of the snakes, if he does attempt, drop what you are doing and grab the snakes away from him, this still gets more laughs. The best spot for this item is second last, no matter what you finish with, burlesque or straight production . Take off the Lollipop label, keeping the tin plain. After all they have been told there are coloured balls inside, and it looks more natural and the kid will not be disappointed in expecting a Lollipop, as he well may, if the label were kept on.

The greatest secret in this comedy item is without a doubt . . . TIMING, but you will pick that up as you perform it time after time.

SKULL SHAKERS.—Continued.

This is multiplied (say) by 8, giving an answer of 1584 ... the digits of which add up to 18. As explained last month the digits of the answer at this stage, whether there are three or four digits, always add up to 18. All right. Now imagine that the three spectators strike out the 1, 8 and 4, leaving the 5 as the final remainder. Your packet of cards were stacked 9 to ace. When he called out "1" you transferred one card from the top to the bottom of the packet. This left an 8 on top. Then the next bloke called "8" so you transferred 8 (or if you were cute, transferred one from the bottom to the top!) This brought a nine to the top again, Then 4 was called, so you transferred 4 to the bottom, which left a five on the top. This you reversed and inserted in the middle of the packet and the trick was done.

Simple when you know how. But note how the passing of the pad from person to person (1) rules out suspicion of confederates (2) makes for greater audience participation and (3) allows you loads of time for all the moves.

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