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Some Notes by George Blake

Since Johnny Platts performed this effect in the Gala Show of the British Ring Convention in Edinburgh on Saturday, September 19th 1953, there seems to have been a lot of speculation amongst magicians as to just how the trick is performed. Some of the speculation seems to have been wild, especially on the point as to whether a gimmick was used and even today some magicians are still adamant that there MUST be a gimmick.

My own opinion is that magicians have gone more wild about the trick than has the lay public, simply because the secret is not common knowledge to them, the magicians, and it only goes to emphasise what I have advocated for many many years, viz: that conjurers are prone to admire 'secrets' at the expense of 'effects'.

johnny Platts performed the trick exceptionally well, and there is no doubt that the effect was suited admirably to his costume act, but I am sure that even Johnny himself would not claim it as the 'show-stopper' of his programme.

Be that as it may, I was very much surprised to find so many well-versed magicians who had no prior knowledge of the trick, and even when I imparted to them what information I had, there were still doubts about that "ghostly gimmick', and the culminating point came when I was able to demonstrate, before two well known magicians, just how the thing is done. I am sure they were convinced, and I am sure they will now support me when I say that no gadget is at all necessary.

For the benefit of those who did not see the effect, this is, briefly what happened The performer shows a brass vase or bowl, into which he pours ordinary uncooked rice. Having 'padded' this down a little he takes a knife, or dagger, thrusts it down the centre of the rice and then lifts up the knife and the rice and bowl are suspended on the blade. Brought back to rest upon the tabfe, the knife or dagger is easily withdrawn, and AT THAT STAGE EVERYTHING CAN BE EXAMINED, FOR THERE IS DEFINITELY NO PREPARATION ABOUT THE BOWL THE RICE, OR THE IMPLEMENT USED FOR THE SUSPENSION

It has been said that one condition for success is that the bowl must be heavy. Why that is said, I don't know, for my demonstration was successfully given, using a GLASS preserve jar which weighs exactly 3-^ ounces! I used just about one pound of rice, just as it came from the grocer and for the suspension I used a table knife, followed by a full length wooden pencil and finally a knitting needle no more than one eighth of an inch thick! In case the foregoing is read with derision, I had better mention the names of the two well-known gentlemen who witnessed the demonstration, and I am sure they wiM forgive me, under the circumstances, for so doing. They are Geoffrey Buckingham and Stanley Thomas.

There are two essentials to the performance of the feat The shape of the jar or vase and the packing down of the rice. Provided the jar has a 'shoulder' which is, obviously, wider than the neck, I cannot see you going wrong. To give you a better idea of the shape I would liken it to the well known glass fish bowl, or globe slightly sloping outwards from the base to form a shoulder and then narrowing in to form the neck, then out again to give a rim. Many Indian Brassware bowls are seen in this shape, and not many years ago dealers sold sets of Chinese or Japanese Rice Bowls, in brass and having just this bulbous shape.

Having the right type of jar or bowl, the rice is poured in until it is level with the shoulder of the jar. At this stage, by gently pounding the bowl on the table, the rice will be seen to settle down considerably, and more is added, to bring it to the rim. This can now be pressed down with the two thumbs, the endeavour being to pack the rice firmly within the 'bulb', and it is true to say that, the more rice you can pack in up to and just above the shoulder line, the easier will you succeed in the later suspension.

If you will now take an ordinary table knife and firmly thrust this down the centre of the rice you will notice that it is relatively easy to insert the knife, but, the further down you push the knife, the tighter the rice seems to be packed Pressure must be firm and (Continued on Page 22)

^SEcïïE6 One Day Convention


This must be the time of the year when more magicians are free from commitments of shows, or family holidays, for again a very big crowd gathered on Sunday morning to fill the Theatre Royal, which had been engaged for the event.

There is, of course, nothing to take the place of a real theatre, to give the acts the scope and setting they require, and it says much for the organising ability of Mr. M. H Noor and his colleagues, that everything ran so smoothly and the day eventually drew to a very successful conclusion.

The dealers were given the use of the dressing rooms, and as these were exceptionally large, we were able to demonstrate our wares before very enthusiastic audiences. Sales were very brisk, and the comments on all

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