Card Racket Philosophy and PHUN

by MAX ANDREWS

In case some readers get the wrong idea, let me say straight away that this is not a new way of making money, but an idea of my own for catching a playing card on a tennis racket. Incidentally I am assured by an authority that this is now the correct way to spell this word!

A showy effect which will be talked about afterwards (since all appears to be so above board) is that of catching a selected card on a tennis racket.

The card is selected and shuffled back into the pack. The tennis racket is shown all round (and can be seen through) after which the performer sticks a spot of wax on the centre of the strings. The whole pack is thrown into the air and the selected card caught.

METHOD.—Similar to card in balloon. A clip slide is made to go up and down on the handle and is the width of the card. The card is fixed on a spring arm which is hinged to land the card in the middle of the strings. The slide is covered in binding to match the handle. The card is bent round the handle and the slide is pushed up over it. The arm is painted to match and would not show if racket is swung round casually.

To catch card—pull down the slide and the arm will spring up. Or swing the racket sharply forward whilst holding slide. This makes the racket slip out of its own accord, thus releasing the card.

with BILLY McCOMB

Seems to me that one of the most outstand-i n g things which might be mentioned this month is the viewing figures for television are equal to the listening figures to the Home Service programme. With the opening of the Scottish TV station, that figure should be easily extended. With TV being such a tremendous shop-window for magic, I 'phoned the Number One Variety producer, Richard Afton, and asked his views about magic in general and TV in particular. He thought there was quite a representative number of magicians appearing on TV, and said that in booking a magical act he looked for novelty of approach first of all, and personality second. He thought that if either were found, the other was usually present in some degree. On the question of new tricks being shown on TV, a fact that worries a lot of the dealers, he thought there shouldn't be any worry at all. for to the lay person all tricks are merely variations on a theme, the theme being already sufficiently familiar. Not only is any trick with a silk hanky merely a silk trick, but any vanish is merely a vanish and any production a ditto. This was a bit shaking, but of course Mr. Afton must have his finger on the pulse of the viewing public.

As to the future of magic, he expressed a feeling that a good magician with only one act could do TV maybe once or twice in the year. A magician with several acts and a sense of presentation and personality, could even hold a series. He was against exposure of tricks on TV and stated that he thought if a magician accidentally exposed, even allowing for sudden changes of camera angles, then he was not a good magician and had only himself to blame. Without a knowledge of the special requirements of TV he did not think that the average magician could knock together an act which would go over the airlines without the intervention of a qualified TV producer. So that is what a BBC producer thinks of our magic art. This should, give you a bit to think over, anyway, and any helpful suggestions would be welcome.

On other matters I have been having fun trying out the razor blade trick with fish-hooks and fishline. On the removal of the last fish-hook on the line I have a small rubber fish impaled on the end, and finish with the gag . . . "Shouldn't have eaten those sardines before the show!"

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