The Baker

roundabout with ALAN KENNAUGH

Hello there. This is an invitation to join the roundabout with one who not only penetrates into the limelight of magic, but also creeps behind the scenes to keep you up to date with happenings which seldom make the headlines. If you accept the invitation, I can promise that you will meet a host of personalities, perhaps an act that is new, or old; or merely get a glimpse into the magical future, or a choice comment on a matter which may keep you, personally, out front and on top of your magic!

Right- now, let us go behind the editorial desk where magicians all over the world are trying to "cash in" on that most exclusive of all tricks — PUBLICITY! Make no mistake about it, publicity, and I mean the right kind, is just as important to a magician as his wand wielding powers. It can set the stage for the successful appearance before the footlights. Why do I use the term "exclusive"? Well in my opinion, few magicians have mastered how to effect their publicity, many do not even bother to try.

In the past it has often happened that an almost overpowering urge to get into print, has sent to press some really fantastic stories about magic and the allied arts! It does neither the operator or his act any credit, and is also apt to be annoying to colleagues who sometimes have really genuine and good publicity to offer. It sounds rather mercenary you say, to criticise opportunity. But let us be quite frank. You can't fool the Press all the time, although you may think you do. Jump into the fray with your choppers, your rabbits and what have you, by all means, but first formulate a plan to present to the reporter.

The successful publicist, and I maintain that no magician can afford to neglect this important side of magic, forms his public relations through the Press with a really good story in mind. If he has no story, let him forget the publicity until he has, rather than dress a concocted idea in a distasteful way.

Never allow yourself to approach an editor unless the story merits it, and one must also consider the tastes of the particular newspaper or magazines to be approached. Get down to earth. Tell the editor why you think

you story should appeal to readers. If possible tie up the magic with a topical angle. This is much easier than it sounds, and one has only to watch the National Press to obtain an angle. The more successful of the I.B.M. Convention National Press stories are planned well ahead, or are taken up by watching the headlines. In the days of a wholesale cigarette shortage, magicians "caught" cigarettes by the hundreds in "m:d-air". The Power-cuts meant nothing to magicians who could light electric bulbs at will, and indeed for any shortage, well, the inevitable top hat could fill the gap. See what I mean? Take any newspaper of the day, pick out one or two headlines, and ten to one you will find a trick among the many thousand already invented, or with merely a twist of plot, to fit in with that headline!

One must also cultivate a human interest, although any good story usually has a basis in this line, and any journalist worth his salt will sift it out and use it accordingly.

It happened only last year that I did a local publicity story for Charles Hague, the ventriloquist. Now as some of you may know, he has two very life-like dolls. In the ordinary way a photo with a caption on these dolls would not have meant much from the local newspaper point of view. Suddenly I had the idea of planting them in a car, outside the theatre with the "old man" slumped over the wheel.

It was amazing how many took notice of the stunt. At least two people reported to the management that an old man had apparently taken ill in his car. Dressed up a little with the theme that the ventriloquist had left his dolls in the car and when in the theatre the "old man" had fallen over the wheel, it made quite a nice photo story. It was just a (Continued on Page 101)

It seems rather strange to think that the use of magnets in magic has been so neglected since the days of Robert Houdin and his 'Light and Heavy Chest'. Since the small magnetic toys appeared a year or so ago however, quite a number of effects using magnets have been published in the Magical Press.

The following, which I can only describe as a magnetic fake, will I think be found useful in many novel and varied ways, and I commend it to the lover of 'closs up magic'. It can also be used for platform effects as I shall explain.

The requirements are simple. A cheap Signet Ring, a small Magnet, and the skilled aid of a friendly jeweller, whose job it is to insert the small magnet in the face or shield of the ring. Now with a playing card prepared by having fixed in it a small piece of tin, one or two interesting and novel effects can be worked.

To fake the card soak it in WARM water and then split it carefully with a razor blade. Next stick a small piece of tin (the sort used to make tins of tobacco airtight is just the thing being thin and light) on one piece of the card, and then stick the two pieces of card together, placing them under a heavy weight to make a neat job.

Turn the ring so that the Shield and magnet are on the inside of the hand. Place the faked card on the palm and over the magnet; arrange other cards underneath and round this card, turn the hand over and there is the good old mesmerised cards effect. A gentle pressure by slightly closing the hand and all the cards fall. Strangely enough no-one ever thinks of a magnet in this version and I suppose this is because the ring is never thought of as being part of the effect as it is such a common everyday object.

Using the same card by forcing it, a really novel card discovery can be worked. This time the ring should be in its proper position, i.e. the Shield outwards.

Force the card, have it returned to the pack and bring it to the top. Now hold the pack behind the back, take out any card (EXCEPT the forced one) shew it to the helper and say: "That's your card." On receiving his emphatic "No", return the card to the pack, still behind the body and quietly bring another card to the top of the pack and on top of the forced card. Say having failed to find the card with the pack behind your back, you will try and do it in full view, and as you make this remark place the pack on the table. Now lift the top card (which it will be remembered is an indifferent one) between the thumb and first fingers, turn it over (and as you do so

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