Continued

We left off last month at the point where we had discussed two methods of placing the borrowed note into the envelope so that it still remained under the performer's control, so this month, without any further ado, let us get straight on to method the :—

Third. This brings in the use of the Thumb Tip and here I would like to comment that it is somewhat remarkable that Eddie Joseph, in his valuable series on the uses of the Thumb Tip, has so far not yet touched on its use in conjunction with a borrowed note. He may do so in a later issue, I have no doubt. Eddie and I work entirely independent, one of the other, we neither of us consult the other as to what the month's current subject is to be, and again I think it worthy of comment that, to date, with perhaps one exception, we have never clashed. Is it "Just Chance" or "Minds in Harmony"?

In this case the Thumb Tip is worn on the right thumb, and, after showing the envelope to be quite empty, the thumb tip is left just inside the envelope in the act of placing the latter back into the left hand. The note, which has been folded quite small is now taken up and placed into the envelope, really of course going into the thumb tip, and the right thumb, in pushing the note down into the envelope, again enters the Thumb Tip and brings it, and the note safely away for disposal later on. The envelope is then sealed and destroyed, and the note, recoverable from the Thumb Tip when required, is dealt with as the routine demands.

" MATCH BOX STEAL

Fourth, This is a very simple but effective method, which I believe to be my own and which I used for quite a long time. It entails the use of an envelope with a small slit at the back, and a box of matches, the latter, in addition to being used for the lighting of the candle, playing a subtle and secret part in the "taking away" of the note, after it has been inserted in the envelope. The preparation is simple. On the under side of the outer case a small blob of wax has been fixed. That's all, plus of course, the manner of using it.

Fold the note twice across the long way and once across the narrow way, and picking up the enve'ope, insert the note inside and so that about half an inch of it comes through the slit. This half inch is conveniently covered by the left thumb as the envelope is lowered to let the spectators see the note entering the envelope.

With the envelope returned to its original position, the note being now part way out at the back, the left thumb slides it out just a little more, as the right hand reaches for the box of matches. In order to open the box the performer finds it necessary (?) rest the box momentarily on the back of the envelope, transferring the left thumb to the top of the box. A little pressure here ensures that the wax adheres to the note, and after the right hand has opened the box, removed a match and struck it, the candle is lit and the right hand places the box on the table, still open and on its side.

If the matchbox has been positioned correctly when laid on the envelope, it will be found that the note is quite hidden at the back of the box as it is placed on the table . The wax withdraws it from the envelope, and after the candle is lighted and the box placed down, the envelope is sealed and placed in the clip adjacent to the candle. The box is casually taken up from the table and c'osed as it is placed into the side coat pocket. The note may then be removed from the back of the box as circumstances and the routine allow.

CLIP PROTECTION "

Fifth. Here is a method which I believe to be my own, and which I can recommend. It came about by pure accident and I have kept it to myself ever since. In this method, the "treasurer" mentioned above folds the note himself, and he himself is allowed to drop the note inside the envelope, which he may previously examine to his heart's content, for the simple reason that it is in no way prepared. Or, if you prefer it, you may openly drop the note in the envelope yourself, and even allow the spectators to see the note inside before it is sealed.

The secret is simply that the note is wangled down to one corner of the envelope and this is best done by holding the envelope open by squeezing that corner, in the manner of a conical bag. With the flap opened up, if you squeeze across the bottom and side folds of the envelope, (very difficult to explain, this) the latter will open almost like a sugar bag. You must have done this many times yourself. The note is dropped in and retained in the corner, and the flap sealed.

At the time I discovered this little ruse. I was using a rather large bulldog clip mounted on a slender pillar, and always, I found, after the burning of envelope, the part which was protected by the clip was never burned ! There you have it. Place the envelope in the clip, seeing that the corner holding the note goes between the metal grips. Thus that part of the enve'ope, and the note, will be protected from the flame.

This is particularly useful if you are fortunate enough to have an assistant, for after the 'catastrophe', she can remove the clip (and with it the note) and get the note prepared for the final reproduction, by simply extracting the unburnt corner, then the note from the corner. If you work on your own then this has to be done during your frantic efforts to put out the fire. You ease the clip, to take away the ashes etc., palming off the unburnt corner and later extracting the note at your leisure, say, inside the pocket, or behind some larger article on the table.

"FAKED CLIP"

Sixth. This method arose out of method five and is particularly useful where the performer has an assistant. The note is quite plainly placed into the envelope and without any further ado, the envelope is placed on its stand and fired, either purposely, or by a "well planned accident". While the performer 'fiddles about' with the ashes on a tray, the assistant removes the stand or clip, and, out of sight, she has access to the note and can dispose of it as the performer wishes.

The secret is mainly in the clip or stand which the performer uses. At the back of the clip, a small box has been fixed, large enough to receive the folded note. The envelope, as you may have guessed, has the small si it at the back, and after placing the note into the envelope, as outlined in methods two and four, it is allowed to protrude through the slit at the back. With the envelope sealed it is placed in the clip, and at the same; time, the protruding note is eased down and into the small compartment at the back of the clip. After the envelope is burned and the ashes collected,, the assistant removes the stand and with it, the note, to be dealt with as desired.

The above half dozen methods of disposing of the borrowed note will have to suffice, for the time being, at any rate, but before going on to the last phase of the trick where the note is recovered, it might be well to point out that, in all the above methods, the borrowed note was dealt with directly. That is to say, in full view, it was folded, and placed (or apparently placed) into the envelope, from whence the destruction of the latter proceeded. In other words the note was not switched.

" SWITCHING

In some routines it is desirable that the note (to be correct, a substitute note) remains in view, while actually the genuine borrowed note is being disposed of by the performer or his assistant, ready for the later denoument. One effect to be gained by this procedure is the impression given to the audience that the note almost appears to be in two peaces at one time. One moment it is visible, and the next it has vanished or destroyed and recovered from some remote place or article, where it seems almost impossible that it could be.

So. for a moment let us consider some methods of switching. It may be that the borrowed note is to be switched for another genuine one of your own, or, as most frequently happens, because 'the note' is to be destroyed later on, the genuine note is switched for a dummy note, which remains in view while the genuine one is secretly dealt with. In the use of a dummy note, please do make sure that it is a good match, that it looks iike what it is supposed to be, the borrowed note.

"MAKING THE DUMMY"

Many years ago an effect called "Pound Note and Security" was put out, privately, I think, by a Mr. Sanderson, then of Sheffield, and this entailed the use of a dummy note. I remember with what meticulous care those sample dummy notes supplied had been prepared, and I cannot stress too firmly the necessity to see that such care is bestowed upon any dummy notes you may make up for yourself. This does not necessarily mean that you will have to sketch the whole of the note, but only the part which will be seen when the note is folded.

First see that the paper you use is a passable imitation of that used for treasury notes. If you will compare a few types of paper with a pound note, you will find that most of them are yellow in comparison, and therefore a good white paper is desirable. A little experimenting is well worth while. When you have found what you want, and have cut pieces to the correct size, take a genuine note and fold it to the size you will later use in the effect. Make a note of the parts of the treasury note which are now visible, open out the note and take a tracing of these parts and the design thereon on some transparent paper. From this tracing you can prepare many dummy notes.

On the back of the tracing, with a very soft lead pencil, a BB or even BBB. rub the lead all over the lines which are visible through the paper, thus giving those parts of the paper a coating of graphite. Lay the tracing, graphite side down, on the blank 'note' and careful'y trace with a hard pencil, all over the lines originally drawn from the genuine note. The result will be an outline sketch of the parts required, and many reproductions can be made from the same tracing. A further rub with the soft pencil will replenish the graphite back, and, in one evening devoted to the job, you can turn out a goodly number, perhaps sufficent for your needs for a whole season.

As an alternative to the graphite tracing you may use a good green carbon paper for dummy pound notes and a good red carbon paper (lightly used) for dummy ten shilling notes. If you can obtain brown carbon paper so much the better. Now comes the tinting in of the outlines, and although at first this may seem a little tedious, you will find, after you have prepared a few that the job becomes easier as you acquire the knack. Water colours may be used for the tinting, but I think the best and easiest method is to use coloured crayon pencils, obtainable in scores of colours from a good art supplies shop.

There is no need to go into a lot of detail, for it is well to remember that your dummy note, folded to little more than one and a half inches square is not (we hope) gong to be seen at a disdistance nearer than six feet. Therefore fold your genuine note as at first and position it some distance from you, then with the crayon pencil in hand, colour in on the dummy, what you see at that distance. For a pound note you will need a good middle green and a magenta red. and for a ten shilling note a brown and a light red. Thsee two latter colours are blended in until the required shade is obtained.

"STAGE MONEY

Many conjurers complain that the "stage money" obtainable looks iike nothing on earth, but it must be born in mind that vendors of these "props' must keep within the law and that such props are only produced for what they are, stage money. Making up your own dummies enables you to, at least, match the colour a little better, and as you will only simulate approximately one sixteenth part of a note (that is, one eighth part of one side) the task is not too arduous.

With such dummies to hand then, let us consider some means of effecting a switch of a dummy (or your own genuine note if the routine demands it) for the borrowed note.

(1) An easy method is affected while working a 'gag' as to instructing the lender how to increase his money, something we all wish to do these days. With a dummy note palmed, proceed to fold the genuine note to match, explaining to the spectator that you will show him how to increase his capital. When the note is folded, the dummy one is slid on to it and the two lined up and he'd to view, as one. "If you will carefully fold your money like this, sir", you explain, "on opening it out you will find it in-creases". Which pun usually brings a laugh, and in placing the notes back into the other hand, the genuine note is slid back into the palm position.

If you are using a genuine note as a 'dummy', then of course you may proceed to actually open out the note as you utter the last few words of the gag, and call attention to the "creases".

"MENTAL" SWITCHES

(2) A study of books on mindreading and mental ism will put you in touch with several methods of effecting the above mentioned switch (though of course, without the use of the 'gag') and these will have to be rehearsed to get the correct timing, which is most essential. There is a one handed switch where, with the dummy note in the same hand, the genuine note is drawn into the palm and the dummy pushed up to take its place. A two handed switch necessitates that the folded note be held in the fingers of one hand while the dummy, hidden behind the fingers, reposes in the other, under pretence of transferring the genuine note from one hand to the other, the genuine note is drawn back into the palm as the hands meet and the dummy note is pushed into view thus simulating a transfer of the note.

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