Alex Elmsley

THE IDEA of this routine was given to me by Tan Hock Chuan's effect the " Astral Coin," which appeared in the Pentagram a few issues back.

Effect. The magician is sitting at a table, two cards are shown and placed on the table. A sixpenny bit is vanished and appears beneath the cards. The cards are separated, and the sixpence travels from beneath one to the other. Finally the sixpence penetrates the table.

Preparation. To a sixpence glue a short length of hair. The glue will grip the hair more firmly if you knot the end of the hair. Halfway down the side of one of the cards, make a small slit between the layers of the card. Into this slit put the other end of the hair, and glue it in, re-glueing the layers of the card at the same time. The length of the hair between the card and the coin should be about half the width of the card. If you wish to try out this routine before going to the trouble of making up the fake property, you may make it up roughly with thread and Sellotape.

Routine : At the start of the routine, the cards are held one in each hand, gripped by the tips of thumb and fingers at the middle of one of the long sides. The hands are palm upwards. The fake card is in the right hand and is being held by the side to which the hair is attached. In this position the sixpence hangs down behind the fingers, which are pointing upwards, and it is hidden by the fingers. The cards are twisted round by the fingers

to show them back and front. Then the card in the left hand is placed in front of the fake card, and the left hand carries both cards back onto the right palm, turning them so that the sixpence is beneath the cards and the fake card is above the other card. The cards are left on the right palm, while the left hand goes into a pocket for another sixpence and lays it on the table. The left hand then lifts the cards off the right palm, with the thumb above, and the fingers below, holding the faked sixpence. The cards are placed on the table, with, unbeknown to the audience, the fake six pence beneath them. The side of the fake card to which the hair is attached should be towards your right.

Now the visible sixpence is apparently placed in the left hand, using any vanish you like. The pinch vanish is very suitable. As the left hand crumbles the sixpence over the cards, the right hand comes back to the edge of the table, and laps the sixpence. The two cards are flipped over, on their right long edges, to reveal the faked sixpence.

Next comes the second phase of the routine. The two cards are flipped over again to cover the sixpence. The left hand takes the two cards with the thumb at one end and the fingers at the other end and lifts them about a quarter of an inch off the table as you say. " Two cards and a coin." Take the top card (the fake card) by the inner right corner with the right hand (Fig. 2.) "Suppose

we only cover the coin with one card." As you say this the right hand, in a very casual manner, moves the card it holds about eight inches to the right and leaves it there. This card of course, takes the sixpence with it. Throughout this move, keep your gaze fixed upon the card in your left hand, acting as though the fake card was, for the moment of no importance to the trick.

Slowly bring the card in the left hand down onto the table again, and rub it thereon, finally showing that the sixpence has vanished. Then use this card to flip over the fake card, from the left so that ii turns on its right edge and reveals the sixpence.

Now we enter upon the last phase. The unfaked card is held in the left hand between the thumb above, and the fingers below. The sixpence is covered with this card, but you do not let go of the card. With the right hand you turn the fake card over again, rotating upon its left edge, and as it comes down over the other card, the other card is slid away to the left in such a manner as to convey that you are stealing the sixpence. " Once more we separate the cards. Now, where do you think the sixpence is?" If you have acted your part alright, the spectators will plumb for the unfaked card. However you lift this card with the left hand to show that there is nothing beneath.

" Oh no, I did that to see if you were watching. But you are quite right in thinking that the sixpence is not here." As you say this a lot happens. You pass the unfaked card into the right hand, which takes it between finger and thumb at the inner right hand corner. It is then used to pick up the faked card. The left forefinger is placed on the left side of the faked card, to steady it, while the right hand slides the unfaked card beneath the faked card from the right. Because of the hair, this brings the sixpence between the cards. Continuing the action of sliding one card beneath the other, the right hand lifts both cards together by their inner right corners and turns them to bring their lower surfaces towards the audience, and their long edges into the horizontal. The sixpence is hanging between the cards and the edge of the faked card to which the hair is attached is upwards. In this position you pause a moment (Fig. 3.).

Then, the left hand takes the cards by their lower left corners, and the right hand reaches below the table, picks up the lapped sixpence, taps it a couple of times against the underside of the table

" GRAND FINALE " by Jack Chanin (Published by the author, price 3 dollars. Distributed in this country by George Armstrong).

This book of some ninety-six pages deals with the silk act. The main aim is the production of silks, such productions being heightened in the closing stages by the introduction of items like the " stack of fishbowls."

Mr. Chanin is concerned with the pure side of magic and to bring about the necessary effects, the only apparatus that the audience should see during the production of silks are the magician's hands. In the main the various routines described (and there are nine in all) commence with the production of one small silk from bare hands. The details regarding the handling of this initial in order to convey that it is at that moment being pulled through the table, and then brings it up and throws it on the table. The cards are dropped into your pocket as you bring out some change (the reason for the change is to distract attention from the fact that you are getting rid of the cards), you add the sixpence to the change, and return it to your pocket—finis.


The handling is such that no suspicion is likely to be attached to the cards. If however, someone wishes to look at the cards before you have got rid of them (and you should not be in too great a hurry to ditch the cards), just break the hair. It takes only a couple of minutes to fix up another one.

Play with the fake. There are many moves possible with it which I have not mentioned. For instance you can use the faked card to flip over the other card, and perform the Mexican turnover.

You may use the presentation idea of the original Astral coin, i.e., you show a ring or other object, and wherever you put the ring, the coin follows.

Throughout the routine, only one side of the faked coin is seen by the audience. At the start of the routine you may have the original sixpence marked, taking care that it is marked upon the side which, with the faked coin, never appears. At the end of the routine, the mark is re-identified.

Don't be frightened of the hair being seen. I have performed this routine on a white table cloth, in front of magicians. Several saw the hair, but none connected it with the trick.

feat should with a little practice give the reader a miraculous production. From this small beginning the tendency is to produce larger and larger silks, until the performer finishes with (say) a 12 foot square. Where there are such extraneous production items as for instance the aforesaid stack of bowls very full details of handling are given, and I think the reader is left in no doubt that he is reading the result of long experimentation and experience.

For those who essay a silk production and from our own point of view it is one of the most pleasing things that a stage act can introduce, this book is most essential. Though the author makes no pretence about being a writer, he sets down in very simple language everything that the reader will wish to know.

" The experienced conjurer knows that the secret of any good practical illusion is simple, and he admires it accordingly. It is only the novice who scoffs at simplicity and hankers after complexities, because he does not realise the amount of work that has to be done to attain what he is apt to treat with contempt, as being too simple. Dear amateur, the bicycle is a simple machine, as it is now. But glance back at the history of its evolution, and consider! So it is with a good illusion."

David Devant " Our Maf/ic," page 287.

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