The Sliding Thumb

This idea was first sent to me by my friend R. C. Buff, of Tennessee, U.S.A., way back in 1933. Eventually, I performed this effect using an old Thumb Tip, although it was not originally used that way. (Max has a brand new model Thumb Tip on sale, which is ideal for this effect).

The thumb tip is actually on the left thumb as you start out by taking your handkerchief (a white linen one )and showing it both sides. Held in the usual way by two adjacent corners, this not only lets the audience see both sides of the hanky, but also infers that the hands are also empty. The tip is, of course, always concealed behind the left corner of the handkerchief during this showing.

The left hand is formed into a fist and the hanky is spread over it, and under its cover, the tip is removed from the thumb and retained inside the fist, opening upwards. Simply close the fingers round the thumb tip. and remove the thumb.

Now push the right thumb down into the fist, taking part of the hanky with it. the thumb actually going into the tip. Throw the hanky over from the left hand to the right, thus reversing it and show that the thumb has penetrated the handkerchief. Reverse all the above moves, that is. throw the hanky back over the left fist, pull the right thumb away, and as you take the hanky again in the right hand, get the tip back again on the left thumb. The hanky is again shown both sides.

Then say "I'll show you that again" but this time, instead of the "penetration" in the centre of the hanky, draw the latter back over the fist a little until a section near to one corner is over the hand. Poke the right thumb in, reverse the hanky and show that the thumb is "through" the hanky again, but near to one corner.

Place the actual corner between your teeth and hold it tight. The opposite diagonal corner hangs down in front of you and to assist in the next move, you lean forward slightly.

With the free hand (the left) you grasp the thumb tip, which is now on the side of the hanky facing the audience, and slightly remove the right thumb. Retain the thumb, however, directly behind the opening of the tip.

The left hand now slides the tip downwards about three inches. Stop here for a moment and insert the right thumb. Left hand can now take the corner from the mouth and show that the right thumb is through the hanky at a different point.

Replace the corner in the mouth, and repeat the above moves. Stop again and show the thumb 'right through', then for a smashing finish, calmly slide the thumb tip right off the lower corner of the hanky. The right thumb must keep pace with the sliding tip. and smoothly done, the illusion is perfect. With the tip in front and thumb behind, both moving together, as tip reaches the bottom corner the right thumb enters, and the appearance is of a Continued on page 147.

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