Clue My Smitdvt

EDITOR'S NOTE.—It is a pleasure to introduce into the "Pentagram" an effect by one who is so well known to all who visit the Magic Circle Clubroom, every Monday evening (we believe he returns from holiday to fidfil this engagement), where this contributor acts the part of Host. ATew members are welcomed and made to feel at home. Guests from overseas are introduced and want to become members on the spot. It is interesting to think back and wonder how we managed before the era of Sid Emons.—P.TV.

This is an effect in which the method adopted is intended primarily" for impromptu work ; because of the articles used and the lack of any externals those who witness it will talk about it for many moons to come.

The conjurer, when pressed to perform a minor miracle in the house of someone he is visiting, requests the loan of a small needle and some reels of coloured cotton (there are very few houses where these will not be forthcoming !). From each reel, the performer breaks off a length of cotton measuring approximately nine inches. One of the present company is requested to choose one of the lengths. Taking the piece of cotton designated with his left hand and at the same time showing that nothing is concealed, the cotton is lifted from the table. The right hand now picks up the needle, great care again being taken to show the audience that nothing is concealed within the hand. Both hands are now lifted quickly and momentarily placed behind the performer's neck. The hands are withdrawn and the right hand holds the needle now threaded with the selected coloured cotton. The left hand is of course empty.

The method is extremely simple. Prior to the intended performance the conjurer takes six small needles and threads them with six lengths of different coloured cotton. I suggest that the colours be :—White, black (I know that strictly speaking these are not colours, but they will be found in any lady's workbox), yellow, red, blue and green. The cotton, after being threaded through the eye, is slightly balled up and the six needles in an order known to the conjurer are inserted under the performer's coat collar (see illustration). That is all the preparation.

The presentation is one which as it has been mentioned before is for a family group. When called upon, the conjurer in his most gracious way asks if he may borrow a few items from a sewing basket. The request will possibly be answered by someone thrusting into his hands a box in which cottons, silk skeins, darning wool and needles are entwined together in one glorious mixture. From the contents, the performer selects a needle of similar size to the duplicates that he has threaded. Then as many reels of coloured cotton that will match his duplicates are removed. The pieces of cotton are broken off and laid in a line on the table. One is chosen and taken at the centre with the left hand. The right hand takes the needle. Both hands are now raised and as they pass behind the performer's head, the left hand fingers roll the piece of cotton into a ball (this process can actually be started on the beginning of the upward movement) whilst the right hand adopts one of two courses. If there is a carpet at the back of the performer, the needle is allowed to drop behind his back and on to the floor. If there is no carpet, it is jabbed into the coat. The right hand now locates the necessary needle and with a quick upward and downward freeing movement it is removed. As the coat collar comes back into place the ball of cotton is left underneath it. The right hand now comes forward with the threaded needle.

The needle, if dropped, is picked up surreptitiously at a later stage.

Concluding note : The whole process is almost (from the audience's point of view) instantaneous. It is essential, in view of the fact that many quick needle threaders are on sale, to let the audience see that the hands are really free from any fakes. Older readers will remember that way back in the twenties, Harold Comden placed on the market an effect in which a needle was instantaneously threaded. It is doubtful whether the piece of apparatus supplied could have duplicated Mr. Emons' effect.—P.W.

Sbumcid, Maactan'd

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