Yet Another Magical Salesman

by BILLY McCOMB (Continued)

In order to demonstrate his marvellous seeds, a packet is shaken over a basket, which instantly blooms forth in dozens of flowers.

A large pill is shown as the end of all digestive troubles. It enables one to even eat razor blades. Six blades are eaten. The pill is swallowed and the blades return neatly threaded together. The case is closed and the magician departs.

There's the act. Next month I'll go into all the tricky details of the why's and wherefore's, and the rather important question of rigging up the case so that everything doesn't get mixed up togerher.

be released and disappear. The hands moving away from the body proves good misdirection.

For the face card, one of 'mine hosts' may be used, the rest retained in pocket.

To execute the vanish, hold the cards in the right hand, thumb at the back and fingers in front covering the eyelet. The feke cards are fanned open with the left hand in the usual way. They are then closed up again, and the left hand grips the cards in the middle with thumb towards audience. Right hand comes to the front to touch the top and bottom edges under the pretext of squaring up the cards, and under this cover the pull is operated, disposing secretly of the feke up the sleeve.

Obviously all you have left now is the one genuine card which you can return.

JOHN BOURNE asks some more

Questions about Magicians

Nearly all my life has been mixed up with actors, both professional and amateur. Bv nature and calling, they are sensitive creatures—generous, enthusiastic and, very naturally, jealous and competitive, especially the amateurs.

Magicians are not so emocional. Although, like actors, they hate criticism, they are more matey and they do not get so despondent. I have never heard of a magician giving up his work in that line. Perhaps that is why they guard their tricks so intensely. Whilst, curiously, rhey are ever ready to pass on information to their "brothers", they resent what they call copying and are given to deriding the suggestion that a trick is new. Over and over again one hears things like "After all, it isn't really any different from Ching-Chang-Chong's", or "Professor Hoffmann described the same principal in 1898", or "it's no good, you can'r beat the old merhod."

On top of all this, magicians have an aptitude of pooh-poohing any variation from standard practice, or the introduction of fresh forms of procedure. Take, for example, the man who makes his magic a comic act. He is frequently regarded (except by the public) as letting down rhe craft. Yet everybody connected with the theatre knows that comedy is the most potent of all weapons in entertainment and the most difficult. That is why comedians are at a premium. I have met many people—women in particular— who dislike "straight" magic. My own wife has only once enthused about a magic act and that was the late Arthur Dowler's. (He will nor be forgotren. He deserved, and will eventually get, more than the short appreciations written about him).

Or take mentalism. Nothing in recent times has rivetted the attention of the public more than turns like The Piddingtons; and no writer on magic has been more respected and followed than Annemann. Yet the average magician, still content with cups and balls, ropes and production boxes, looks down his nose at mentalism and certainly regards it as comparatively easy and not "miraculous". He little realises that the mentalist has to be much more of an individualist than the man who relies on apparatus. One slip and he's finished.

Now what is behind all this? I suggest that if is the cult of magic for the magician instead of magic for the public. To me that is too much like performing a play with the curtain down for the fun of the actors. Frankly, I dislike performing to magicians. I am not afraid or even nervous. Like scientists, doctors, schoolmasters and other clever people, they are easy prey if one's stuff is untraditiona! and strikes a new note. But they are not WELCOMING. They have two anxieties (a) To disprove that there is anyrhing original about it, and (b) to question the method or presentation . Their most annoying attitude, when one has shown them a trick, is to say "Very good, old man. Now have a look at this new routine of mine with a cigarette."

Basically, there cannot be anything new in the miraculous. A strange phrase that, you may say. But, upon closer examination, miracles are only reversals of rhe natural. They can be departmentalised, so to speak, into a restricted number of effects. That is to say—Prediction, Production, Transposition and Restoration in their various phases.

So my plea when you discuss this subject at your club, is for greater tolerance. The way to adjudicate on a performance is to sense its appeal to the lay mind and not merely to appreciate its dexterity from the point of view of magicians, some of whom know all the answers and most of whom think they do. If a performer presents a different twist to an old trick, it amounts to originality and should be credited as such. To all intents and purposes, it is a new effect. In my job as a drama adjudicator, I find that nothing gives point to an assertion like that more than a simple illusrration. Let me close with one.

There has been much recent speculation —and many articles in the Press, including the "Manchester Guardian"—about the value of the Gallup and similar polls in forecasting the possible result of the American and other elections. So I used that idea and, after

(Continued on Page 1 3.)

Dear Max,

The "Strangulation Tie" I ordered from you to hand a few days ago. I have not had a free minute since it arrived, but now that the week-end is over, I feel I must write and thank you for it. It is a brilliant effect. I tried it out on my Friday and Saturday concert party shows and it went over terrific.

It is one of those very rare effects which produce "spontaneous applause" i.e., as soon as it is pulled through neck, the audience claps. I really am delighted with this. It is just the sort of magic I like.

Anyway, I just thought I'd write and tell you.

With every best wish, Yours magically,

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