Silken Smoke

(Continued from last month)

While technique is of great importance in a trick one must aim at something more than technical proficiency in order to achieve artistic results. Technique in a sense is the collective mechanical components of a trick. The quality of the 'dressing' given to the trick »during the presentation is responsible for its artistic evaluation.

In the present writing I shall describe my treatment of the handkerchief ball in conjunction with a cigarette. I am sure the interested reader will not fail to recognise my unusual handling of this familiar gimmick.

The effect aimed at in this presentation is the single handed production of a cigarette followed by three different silk handkerchiefs of contrasting shades.

My handkerchief gimmick is made out of a table tennis ball. First prick a hole in it with an awl. The tiny hole is then enlarged with a small round file to about half-inch diameter. The edge around the hole must be smoothened out finally with fine sand paper. This last operation is very necessary for the slightest sharp point in the edge, if left unattended, will cause embarrassing consequences later.

Now that the gimmick is ready you will require three contrasting coloured silk squares of 12" each. Take the first and poke it through the hole in the ball by one of its corners. Use the unsharpened end of a lead pencil to push in the rest up to one inch of the outside corner. The second silk is next taken by one of its corners and twisted around the protruding corner of the one in the ball. A genuine single knot is next tied. Figs. 1, 2 and 3 illustrate the initial stages of our

arrangements. The second silk is now pushed into the ball in the same manner as the first and a corner of the third is then joined to it. The third silk is finally poked in up to one inch of its outside corner. See Fig. 4.

Next take a cigarette and wedge it by one end, into the ball at an angle. The springiness of the silks within will hold it tightly in position. Our illustration in Fig. 5 depicts this stage. You will see that a corner of the last silk to be poked into the ball is left protruding, to be got hold of conveniently later on. The jamming of the cigarette into the ball keeps the silk corner in position.

When ready to exhibit your magical prowess you start by getting the gimmick into the traditional thumb-grip position in the right hand. See Fig 6. Extend the left arm at about shoulder level with the palm of the hand facing front. The right forefinger now points at the bare palm as

The right hand next passes across the left, palm to palm. Fig. 8 is an exposed side view to show exactly what happens when the two hands get into this position. The left clips the cigarette between the tips of its two middle fngers. It then turns over to bring its back to view while the right

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