Pasteboard Prang

(A NEW SERIES BY PETER A. McDONALD)

No. 2 -- SOMERSAULT STREET

This item is intended for the dinner table, bar or intimate close-up show in your own home. The props are cheap and easily mustered. Roughly the effect is as follows. A pack of cards is freely shuffled by a spectator and cut. It is obvious that the magician cannot know the sequence of the cards. The magician gives the face-down pack to another spectator and asks him to think of any number up to about twenty. The magician either turns his back or covers his eyes in some way to convince everyone that he cannot see and the spectator, who is holding the pack face-down is asked to deal a number of cards equal to his mentally chosen number face-down in a single pile on the table. For instance, if he thought of fifteen he deals that number of cards into a neat little face-down pile on the table. He is then told to peek at the card now left at the top of the pack. It is abundantly obvious that even if the magician was watching the proceedings at this point he could not tell the name of the chosen card. However, he really isn't watching and, what is more, has no idea how many cards were dealt. When the top card has been memorised the dealt-off cards are picked up from the table and added to the top of the pack. The pack is now squared and the magician opens his eyes.

He now takes the pack and without any tricky moves at all deals the cards just as they come in a long row side by side on the table. The cards are, of course, face-down. He now removes

Continued from Page 31.

MEET JOHN HAYWARD —

sturdy diminutive figure at the first Cotswold Assembly receiving favourable comment and congratulation, particularly from His Honour Judge E. Wethered, who prophesised a great future for him. John Ramsay lured him into a corner, showed him thimble moves and earned a lifelong admirer and friend.

The following year Wilf Tyler asked the Council to raise him to Senior status. This enabled him to enter for the Sylvestre Wand where he distinguished himself by taking two firsts and a second in the three events for which he entered. Here he met Billy McComb and little did he think that they would be sharing the honours of "Hey Presto" in the years to come.

John has been lucky. In the eleven years that he has been practising Magic (excepting the period spent in the Forces where he maintained popularity at Troop Concerts) he has always had a fully equipped, large stage with magnificent curtaining, for all his rehearsals. Deportment so difficult to acquire in one's front room, comes so much easier under these ideal conditions. Entrances and Exits can be studied and angles can be watched. If asked the secret of his success he would say "find a man who knows his job take his advice, act upon it and practise to improve on it if you can. Vary the tempo of your Act, study your OWN personality and sell this as well as your Magic".

Children are fond of him and look on him as a big brother. By playing the Big Brother personality for all it is worth he is now easily one of the most popular Children's Entertainers in the West Country. Any effect that he is to present to the Public he will practise until perfection is obtained but John is not an intimate worker and refuses to put in the hours necessary to become a Magician's Magician.

A keen physical culturist he prefers to spend his spare time in Swimming, Judo, Tennis, Football, Skittles and running a Gymnasium Class at his local Youth Club. There will be time enough when age curbs these activities, he thinks. A Horticulturist by trade and a Magician by hobby. "Green fingers by day and magic fingers by night", describes well a youngster who has made friends all over the country, lasting, sincere friendships with those who value his sterling character as well as his magic.

If you have been fortunate enough to have seen John's act, then you will look forward to seeing it again. If you haven't then you have indeed been unlucky and the sooner this lapse is made good, the sooner will you have a treat in store. Good luck, John Hayward.

a book of matches from his pocket and says that it acts for him in the same way as a divining rod acts for a water diviner. Holding the book on its edge in front of the first card (see diagram) he lets it fall forwards. Nothing spectacular happens. He moves it to a position in front of the second card and again nothing happens. The book just falls on to the table. This goes on until the book changes its tactics and turns a complete somersault in front of one card, ending up touching the card. This card, which has produced such a weird reaction, is turned over and proves to be the chosen card!

Striking Surface.

Striking Surface.

Striking surface*® * AFTER SOMERSAULT

As you will see, this is quite a novel little effect and one which will amuse an audience. What is more they will be left with no clues as to the mechanics. It requires very little skill indeed and can be done with a borrowed pack.

First, the credits. The location of the card . . . and it is freely selected ... is a method I first read in one of Howard Thurston's books, slightly adapted. The fiddle with the match-book I came across first in Blackstone's "Tricks anyone can do". So it is almost an ail-American effect as far as I am concerned, though I'm sure that performers from all over the world will be able to say that somebody else invented both parts ages before Thurston and Blackstone.

First, the pack. This, as I've said, can be borrowed, the only stipulation being that one card can be spotted immediately from its back. If you are using your own pack you can place a tiny pencil dot on the upper left hand and lower right hand corners of the back. If the pack is borrowed and has been used at all you are sure to find one card with a mark or crack or stain on the back which can be used. Failing that, just crack one of the corners of a card. In any event, somehow or another we have a pack and in it is one key card which can be spotted from the back.

Hand the pack out to be shuffled. Take it back, fan it slightly, and cut the key-card to the top of the face-down deck.

Now if you follow the routine given above you will find that the key-card, being the first card dealt, will be at the bottom of the pile the spectator deals on to the table. When he looks at the top card of the pack and then places the pile of cards on top of it, therefore, the key-card comes immediately above the chosen card. In other words, if you deal a row of twenty cards on to the table, dealing them from left to right, the chosen card will lie immediately to the right of the key-card which, of course, you can recognise from its back. Thus a glance at the backs of the cards will reveal first your key-card and then, next to it, the chosen card.

It follows that if you know how to make the match-book turn its somersault to order you can now complete the effect. The real secret is that the match-book you use is completely empty and has been curved slightly as shown in the diagram Note especially the position of the striking surface. If the book is held as shown and is then released it will turn a somersault. If, however, it is held with the striking surface to the front or at the bottom it will just flop on to the table. The thing is to spot the chosen card, therefore, hold the match-book the wrong way when it is released in front of the other cards, and the right way when it is held in front of the chosen card. But some bright sparks may have spotted that the book is held in a different manner . . . what then? Well, you toss the book on to the table. If they pick it up and try to make somersault they will fail. Why? Because you did not let them see that the book you were using was empty . . . the flap was tucked safely into position. And whilst they were busy turning over the chosen card to see if you were right, you quietly switched the empty match-book for one of exactly the same design but containing a few of the matches still in position. If you experiment for a few seconds with an empty book and one with a few matches in you will find that the first will somersault whilst the second won't. So they can try as much as they like with the second one.

One last comment which may be flogging the obvious. Say you spot that the chosen card is right at the far end of the row. Well, have mercy on your spectators . . . they don't want to see a book of matches flop uninterestedly in front of eighteen or nineteen cards. In that case . . . indeed in any case where the chosen card is more than five or six from the end of the row, don't run right along the row. Just pick out about four indifferent cards to "test". By the time you've done the "flop" four times at random the spectators will have become used to it enough to appreciate the difference when you next turn to the chosen card and make the book somersault.

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