I'd like to start this month's "Focus" with a question. "Has it ever happened to you? Have you ever genuinely thought up an idea, something which you honestly put together, honestly believed it to be your own, only to discover later on that someone has pipped you to the post?" If you take a keen interest in Magic, if you 'play' about with it, trying out this, concocting that, then the answer is almost sure to be "Yes". You will have stuck your neck out, and, what is more certain still, someone is sure to tell you about it.

In my note book round about the year 1930, there is a note of what I thought to be a splendid comedy item. I was to ask a person to take a card and spreading out the pack, at the same time I was to tell him there was no need to leave his seat, for—a card suddenly shot out from under the pack, held at the end of a pair of lazy tongs. I tried the idea out, l?ut it was not too good because I used a set of what were called 'scissors', the wooden lazy tongs sold at the fairgrounds for the purpose of shooting a coloured feather into the .face of the victim, and—it was much too big. I resolved to make myself a set of lazy tongs, much smaller, and in some sort of light metal, and, as often happens, the idea got laid aside.

Recently I ordered a quite newly published book on magic, and when it arrived from the bookseller, there was a covering letter tucked inside one of the pages. Imagine my surprise, when, removing the letter, there, staring me in the face, was a sketch of the very lazy-tongs idea! Which goes to show.

From the May 1954 "Linking Rings" I quote the following:—"George Blake describes a rope routine in the Magic Magazine. It's based on a move he discovered a year or so ago, but he was too late. Dr. Zena Bennett beat him to it, as reference to page 96, Tarbell Course in Magic, Volume III, will show". Thus J. G. Thompson refers to my article "Left-Over-Right-Over-Left" in the March issue. So you see, honours really go to Dr. Zena Bennett for discovering the basic move. When, I do not know. I understand that the good doctor contemplates being in England later on in the year and it may be that we can swap confidences on the subject.

I would however like to assure you, dear reader, and Mr. Thompson too, that I did genuinely discover the move for myself, that I worked upon it and that I evolved the routine published. I am not quite with him when he says I am too late, for, firstly, I don't think I claimed any priority, and, secondly, had I depended upon seeing it in the Tarbell Course, then I am afraid I should have missed it altogether. You see, I candidly admit that I have never been able to afford the Tarbell Course! Sixteen Pounds (1 think it is) is just a bit steep for five books, for me, at any rate, and it may be that I am speaking for a lot of the Magic Magazine readers too.

The main point I want to make, however, is just this. Brush aside for a moment the monetary angle, and assume that one can have access to all magical literature. IT IS JUST PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANY PERSON TO READ THROUGH IT, LET ALONE REMEMBER WHAT HE HAS READ. Perhaps what is needed is a host of Jack Potters, complete with their Potters Bars, and all categories of magical literature nicely indexed into their separate spheres! What a task for someone ! Jack Potter personally assures me that it is utterly impossib'e for him to keep pace with it all. Which, as I said, just goes to show. But, read on.

The last weekend in May saw me at the Newcastle Magic Circle's Twenty First Anniversary of its founding, and in passing I would like to pay tribute to those lads for a sp'en-didly organised function. Grand company, grand magic. At a little get-together after the Convention, the subject of the above-mentioned rope routine cropped up, and one present, Jack Ambrose, assured me that he too had hit upon a similar idea many years ago. He titled it "A Rope Originality", and I sincerely believe him when he says that he discovered it himself. As further proof, he persuaded the genial Jock Marsh to dig out an old copy of the "Talisman", the private journal of the Newcastle Magic Circle, and there it was, in black and white for all to see. The basic move concocted to follow a rope-knot-ting-routine. The date? Ah, I almost forgot to mention it. December 1940. Which just goes to show.

For this month I think I will once more stick my neck out by offering you a little


This has been a favourite of mine for some considerable time, and, as you will see, a nice little mental routine has been evolved from what was previously just a stunt, a gag that sometimes came off and sometimes didn't.

The old gag referred to is the one where you write a figure on the back of a piece of paper, then turning the paper over, you write down the figures 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a vertical column. Handing the spectator the pencil, you invite him to cross out one of the figures. Seven times out of ten he would cross out the figure 3 and when he did, you triumphantly turned over the slip of paper to display the figure you had previously written there, the figure 3!

Seven times out of ten, I said, but even that is a guess. What happened, however, on the other three occasions? Well, you were just wrong and the effect fell flat. I considered that it was too good an effect to allow that to happen, I had an idea that the defect could be overcome, AND THAT THE EFFECT COULD BE REPEATED, in other words, it could be made into a Sure Guess every time.

To do so, I had to alter the routine slightly, but so slightly that any deviation would hardly be noticed. Here then, is the revised routine. First I would boldly write a figure on the top sheet of a scratch pad, tear off the sheet, fold it into a long slip and place it in full view in my top outside coat pocket. Then I would boldly write the four figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, on the next sheet of the pad, hand it to the spectator, along with the pencil, asking him to cross out any figure he fancied. Whatever figure he crossed out, I would take the slip, which had been in sight all the time, open it out and show him that I had written exactly the same figure. The effect would be repeated with a second spectator and, if needs be, a third one.

concoction which I wrote up in july, 1953, for the British Ring Parade in the December "Linking Ring". It went, along with other items to Eddie Clever, but Eddie found that I had sent too much material for that particular issue, and he left it out. He has very kindly agreed that I publish it in the Magic Magazine, and here it is.


The only deviation, as you will see from the above, is that I would write the 'prediction' on a separate sheet, instead of on the one containing the column of figures.

By now you wiH have guessed, especially if you have glanced at the accompanying sketch, that the pad is responsible. It is of the type made with the tear-off sheets, already mounted on a cardboard back. This cardboard back is made double, indeed treble, for two further sheets of board, cut as shown in the sketch, are glued into position to form four long, narrow compartments, open at the right hand edge .

Four sheets, torn from the pad, are slightly trimmed all round, so that, when folded they will just go, one into each compartment. The slips are already numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively, and are placed in that order downwards from the top of the pad. That is, the top slip has Number 1 on it, and so on down to Number 4 at the bottom.

To present the effect, use your own form of introduction, then pick up the pad, and turn back the cover. This can be arranged to fold right back and over the fekes underneath, and thus the pad can be casually shown ail round. Not that this is necessary, for no-one has any idea of what is to happen, and I only recommend that both sides of the pad are 'flashed' as you gesticulate in your introductory patter.

On the top slip write a bold figure 3, tear it off and fold it, placing the slip so that two thirds of it are in the top pocket and the remainder stays in view. Now on the next sheet of the pad write down, in a column, the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, tear it off and hand it, along with the pencil to a spectator, asking him to cross out any figure.

IF HE CROSSES OUT THE FIGURE 3, which happens more times than otherwise, then, without further ado, hand out the slip from the top pocket and show that you have predicted correctly.

You will now have realised that you are in the happy position of being able to repeat the effect, and, if I were you, I would again write on the top sheet the figure 3, folding it as before and placing it in the top pocket. This 'taking a chance' by repeating the figure 3, has more than paid dividends, for many times a second spectator has fallen for the psychological force. But suppose the second spectator (or the first one for that matter), does NOT chose the figure 3? I can sense that you are ahead of me by now, but here, in any case, are the details of procedure.

With the pad in the right hand, you furtively watch to see which figure is crossed out, meanwhile allowing the cover to slip from under the fingerhold beneath the pad. This cover will hang down and form a slight screen, although, if properly executed, the following movement will pass unnoticed.

As soon as you know what the number is, other than 3, slide the second finger of the right hand to the appropriate position and finger palm the correct slip in the right hand. With the tip of the finger well along the slip, towards the left hand side, it will be found easy to slide it into the palm.

Reach for the exposed slip in the top pocket, allow the right thumb to push it down out of sight and bring forward the finger palmed slip.

To repeat the effect immediately after you have had to resort to the above subterfuge, you must remember that you are one short on your stock of concealed slips, so, all you do next time, is to use the last number chosen and write it on the top sheet before tearing off and folding.

As an illustration, suppose that the spectator chose the figure 2, instead of the anticipated 3. The slip having 3 upon it goes down in the pocket and the slip showing 2 is stolen from the back of the pad. The pad is therefore minus the figure 2-slip, so, to remedy matters, you merely write the figure 2 on the top sheet, fold it, and place it in view in the top pocket. Again, you are 100% prepared, and the next spectator may choose what figure he likes. You will be correct in your prediction (?)

I find that to perform the effect three times is sufficient. Often I have ceased at twice, but if you are fastidious and wish to be 200% prepared (if you get what I mean), then there is nothing to prevent you having eight prepared slips, two of each in each compartment. I have never gone that far, but if you do, let me know how you get on, will you?

The smallest of scratch pads are the best, about 4" x 3" and any printer will cut them for you if you are obliged to purchase larger ones. While you are about it, you can persuade him to cut you one or two pads slightly smaller all round, and you can then use these for the conceaied slips under the pad, and thus make the faked pad last longer. To save faking the pads themselves a permanent fake can be made, and this can be lightly cemented under a pad, until the latter is used up, when it can be transferred to a new one.

(Continued on Next Page)


There recently appeared in a U.S. magic magazine a nice effect named "Book Test", which give me the idea to be applied to a Mental Card test, and here is now what I can offer this magazine's readers, hoping it will be of good use.

The Effect.—Performer displays a blank card which he shows on both sides, writes something on it, and places into an empty envelope. This is sealed and initialled by a member of the audience and placed in full view.

A volunteer is brought up to the stage or platform and a pack of cards handed him with the request to give it a good shuffle.

Next, volunteer is requested to take the pack behind his back and make a sign (X) upon any card, then cut the deck so that the card is last in the pack.

Performer, after explaining that he has beforehand predicted the card which would be chosen, takes the envelope and he himself or someone in the audience tears open the envelope removing the written card. Predic-

Use a heavy black lead pencil, and in writing the column of figures contrive to space them out well from top to bottom, so that, in watching the spectator, you can readily see which figure he is striking out, even if you cannot actually see the face of the sheet you have given him. Thus you can be a little ahead with the palming of the correct slip, should he not cross out the anticipated figure.

The sketches, obviously, are not to scale and do not show any particular size. The packing piece shown at "A" must, of course, be thick enough to allow your folded billets to slide comfortably in and out, and although in the sketch this is shown as one unit, it can be made up of suitable slips of board glued to form the required compartments.

Yours magicaHy,

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