Fly

by DENNIS PATTEN

you're making, you'll want an easier method. Never fear, Patten's here. I have a simpler method.

Buy yourself a yard of black cord elastic or scrounge some from your sister's catapult and get to work. Fasten one end of the elastic to the base of the handle, run it up and pass it through a hole made in the centre of the mesh. Attach the dirty great fly to this free end, seeing that the elastic is taut enough to pull the fly against the wire mesh. Pull the fly down and hold it to the handle base with an elastic band. The working is the same as for the dead-mechanical job, except that to release the fly, you have to ease it out from under the rubber band.

The above may not sound so hot in Max's brown print, but try it, and you'll find it gets the laughs.

JOHN BOURNE fells of things that get

Magicians in the Headlines

Nothing rivets attention to a magician more than some item that is connected with the locality in which he is appearing, or the organisation by whom he has been engaged.

In the twenty years with which I was editorially associated with the daily and weekly Press, I learned that it was this sort of thing that put magicians into the headlines, or at least into the gossip columns—especially of the Provincial newspapers.

Houdini was a master at it. Often he would make an offer to escape from a cell at the police station of a town at which he was appearing. It is worth recalling that he nearly failed on one occasion. The door of this particular cell was exceptionally solid and heavy. The police superintendent, having had a previous experience with Houdini in another town, conceived the idea of shutting him in but NOT LOCKING THE DOOR. Houdini wrestled with the lock for well over an hour until, furious at his failure, he hurled himself against the door. Slowly it began to open. Houdini immediately collected himself and walked out to the chagrin of those waiting outside—who daren't deny that he had "escaped".

P. T. Selbit was another performer who brought off one of the biggest stunts in Provincial newspaper history. I was News-Editor of the Wolverhampton Express and Star at the time and from Tuesday until Saturday of one week we featured Selbit's attempt to put his ladv assistant into a coffin-like box and suspend it in a large tank of water, with the water all round the box. The box had a glass panel through which the girl could be seen all the time.

Several experts thoroughly examined the box and tank. In addition, the investigating committee included two doctors, an electrical consultant, a clergyman, a lawyer, two detectives, and representatives of the Press, Police and Fire Brigade. The doctors maintained that the girl could not live in such conditions for longer than 20 minutes. She was thoroughly examined by both doctors and wore only a thin bathing costume. She stayed in the box—with the committee watching her the whole time—for 1 hour and 35 minutes, and so broke a world record.

On the Friday evening on the stage of the Hippodrome, Selbit handed me a sealed envelope containing the secret which we promised to place in our office safe and not open it for 12 months. A year later, after interviews with submarine experts and the makers of the box, who maintained that the box was air-tight, we opened the envelope and found that there was in fact, no trick about the feat. The cubic capacity of the box was sufficient, provided always that the person in it kept quite still and relaxed, with the head slightly raised. Her breathing had to be very "shallow". Although it was more sensational to place the box in water, this actually helped since it kept the air cooler.

I still think that there was an element of risk and that the girl had courage. One of our staff who elected to try the experiment became quite distressed after only five minutes, although "in order to make the gentleman less anxious" the box was not placed in water—a cute move by Selbit!

Other stunts I can remember were those of walking through a brick wall—the wall being made by a local firm of builders; and an escape from a stone coffin which local masons not only examined for six days but which they cemented down with the performer inside.

No doubt many readers of MAGIC MAGAZINE can cap these experiences. I have merely r°counted them here to suggest the publicity vaiue of feats that have a special news-interest because local people are associated with them and thus make them seem so much more "honest".

Many of us could not manage or afford coffins, brick walls and tanks. But there are many simpler possibilities, as I discovered for example, by the use of "Telomatic"—which Max can supply. In a chat with an Editor, I got him to phone the receptionist of the hotel at which I was staying ten miles away. She immediately told him which card he had chosen without any apparent manoeuvres on my part. That is just one of the little stunts which, without any pressure, have earned me write-ups and about which I will tell you in the next issue.

"Imperial Court of Mystery55

CHRISTMAS ATTRACTION FOR WINTER GARDEN THEATRE—OPENING DEC. 22nd. DAZZLING REVUE OF MUSIC AND MYSTERY

Presented by Charles Road Night the revue will introduce a somewhat fabulous character and mystery man, Count Dominic Le Foe, of whom it is reported has baffled experts elsewhere in the world, and the claims are that he will even do so with members of our own Magic Circle.

Elaborately staged with a company of 25, which includes his beautiful lady assistant Sandra, and an augmented orchestra to complement the mystery man, the show promises to be a spectacle of magic, music and excitement. Many of the illusions will be the culminating moment of dramatic or romantic cameo playlets.

The Count will, "before our very eyes", burn beautiful ladies, saw them in half in boxes—horizontally—not in the accepted upright fashion; invite the audience to inspect a guillotine with a real shining steel knife, which they can test beforehand with inanimate objects, and themselves padlock the lethal object in readiness for the decapitation of the victim, whose lightning and mysterious disappearance they can witness even while hearing the knife descend.

Blonde and imposingly handsome—Count Dominic Le Foe is, we are told, in private life, a Nordic nobleman; a descendant of one of Europe's oldest families, who spent most of his boyhood in the charge of a British tutor, attending Heidelberg University later.

His two obsessions were horsemanship and magic. At one time Count Le Foe was a familiar figure at International horse shows throughout the Continent until a serious fall ended his career in the saddle. From then on he devoted his considerable talents and fortune to the study, invention and practice of magic and mystery. His deep researches led him far back into past centuries and the hidden secrets of dead civilisations. He travelled widely, penetrating to remote places in his quest for the answers to imponderable mysteries.

In his luxurious mountain home, Count Le Foe had his own theatre, where he delighted to entertain his guests and servants with brilliant presentation of bewildering illusions and new interpretations of magic. It was at one of 'these private performances that an impresario suggested that the Count should display his phenomenal skill to the world at large. But it was only after the war, when the Count was deprived of his wealth that he turned to magic as a career. Since when he has toured triumphantly and widely.

Charles Road Night is also producing the spectacle to meet with British appeal, which will be given every evening with matinees on Thursdays and Saturdays and of course two performances on Boxing Day. Children will be admitted at half price.

NOTE —This is the official description given to us of the Count and his show. Time alone will tell.—ED.

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