Pentagram

An independent monthly bulletin for all who want good magic

Jum, 1947

f?Mce One SMling.

Cogitation as to the nature of this contribution revealed that I could adopt one of three courses, that is:—

1—Describe an entirely new effect;

2—Disclose a new method of working an old effect;

3—Detail a novel presentation for an old effect.

Item one naturally would be the most satisfactory, but these new effects materialise themselves only at odd and rare intervals.

In my opinion classification two is merely futile, which brings us to the consideration of " a novel presentation for an old effect."

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that conjurers attach far too much importance to tricks. The mere performance of tricks will get you no place, which is poor English but hard fact.

If, on the other hand, conjuring is made of secondary importance in our endeavours to entertain, there is far greater opportunity of touching the high spots.

It will be time well spent if we consider the tactics adopted by a few top-liners in variety, such as Vic Oliver, Stanelli, Ted Ray, Max Wall and Max Miller. They are essentially raconteurs with excellent material. That in itself, however, is not

enough. The members of the audience say to themselves, erroneously, of course, " I could do that. He only tells a few stories, probably written for him by a script writer." So our top-liner concludes his turn by doing something which the audience knows perfectly well they could not do : play the violin, guitar, uke or piano, sing, dance,— yes, why not,—conjure. In practically every case the digital skill is displayed as an afterthought. It is a tail-piece with a sting.

I commend this procedure to conjurers for two reasons. - First, I feel it is what present-day audiences require and secondly, assuming my theory to be wrong, if one can attain a certain measure of success with this method, it will prove a splendid training should one ultimately decide that the performance of tricks is to be the dominating feature.

The sequence of effects I am about to describe is eminently suitable for the method of approach above suggested or can be interpolated in any programme, other than one designed for very young children. The following patter also outlines the effect:

" You all remember the ' Radio £100 Red Cross Competition,' in which you had a choice of A, B or C. I am going to hold a similar competition, but with the ' rub ' removed. In other words you can't be wrong! These three slates are marked, as you see, A, B and C, but on the reverse side of one is written a message. Which is the slate with the message— A, B or C ? You can't be wrong ! C ? Correct. It has the writing, whilst A and B are blank.

" Three packs of cards also marked A, B and C. The backs of two of these packs are red, whilst the third are blue. Which is the blue-backed pack— A, B or C ? Again you can't be wrong ! B ? Yes. As you see, the back of every card is coloured blue. Packs C and A have backs which are red.

** YOU CANT BE WRONG continued from page 59

" Three books, distinguishable by the first three letters of the alphabet, showing on the covers. One of these books contains pictures only, whilst the other two are without illustrations. Which is the book with the picture—A, B or C ? C ? Right again. Books A and B have not a single illustration, whilst the chosen book has the pictures.

" On this stand are three envelopes. One contains a pound note and the other two are void. Now, A, B or C for the pound note ? You can't go wrong! A ? Yes, sir. B and C are worthless (remove these and tear in small pieces). Envelope A has the money. You can't be wrong ! ! "

No gags or wisecracks you notice, because these have been handed over in the non-conjuring part of your act. The four effects must be worked snappily with the minimum amount of word accompaniment, otherwise the novelty of the presentation will be diminished.

No doubt the reader can think of other and possibly better effects which could be utilised. So much the better. It would stand repetition with different tricks at a re-engagement, just as the original radio contest was repeated week after week.

The working will be obvious, but for the sake of completeness details are as follows :—

Slates.—Ordinary slates can be used, but for consideration of lightness I make my own with black card and plasterers' laths, suitably planed. Incidently, if you can secure a bundle of these laths, it is surprising the number of purposes to which they can be put.

Identical messages are painted in white on each slate. I use the wording " £100 Red Cross Contest." One's name could be used or the caption " You can't go wrong." Actually it is a matter of indifference. The slates are marked on the reverse side with A, B and C.

A flap will be required for each slate. The one for slate A will have the letter B painted on. This flap will cover the message on slate A, the B facing towards the message. The appearance of the slate will now be blank on one side and letter A on the other. Slate B is fitted with a flap marked C, and likewise slate C with flap marked A. The slates are held in a fan and shown to be marked A, B and C respectively, care being exercised to keep the backs well hidden. Whichever letter is chosen, the slate so marked is cut to the top and squared with the slate beneath it. The chosen slate is then removed, leaving behind the flap on top of the next or middle slate. Message is displayed to the audience and the two remaining slates are reversed and naturally appear blank.

The Cards.—Three packs of red-backed cards are required, on the top of each being one blue-backed card. On top of the blue cards are white cards, the size of a playing card, on which are printed the letters A, B and C respectively. Rubber bands hold the packs intact.

As soon as a letter is called, pick up the pack so marked and remove the rubber band. Hold the pack face down in the right hand, with thumb on one side ; second, third and fourth fingers on the other side and first finger at end. Remove letter card and reveal blue backed card. With a sweeping motion bring the pack over, across the body, to the left hand, which slides a few cards off the bottom with the left finger and thumb. The right hand sweeps back and again shows the blue-backed card. This is repeated until only the blue card remains in the right hand. Give this a slight flick and add it to the bottom of the pack. The other two packs are shown to be red-backed by the same sort of action. When removing the white card in these two instances, the blue card is removed with it.

The Books.—These are made up on the long and short principle, using magazines of the Lilliput, London Opinion and Digest variety. They should be covered with a bright stiff paper and lettered on both the front and back. It speeds things up somewhat if the books are shown in a fan, the chosen one removed and placed under the arm. The remaining two are flicked through as one, to show no pictures. The one under the arm is then taken, which movement naturally reverses it and shown to have naught but ' picker-tures.'

The Envelopes.—A small stand is required with three divisions—each division being the exact size of a pay envelope. The stand is painted black. Three pay envelopes are painted black on the address side and pound notes placed therein. These are placed on the stand, opening end down and black side facing the audience. The stand should now have the appearance of being empty.

Three empty envelopes are placed on the stand, that is on top of the blackened envelopes. As soon as a letter is called, the non-chosen envelopes are slid off the stand and torn in pieces. The selected envelope remains on the stand. This, together with the envelope behind, are removed as one with the right hand and placed in the left hand, reversing the two in so doing. They are taken in the left hand in the manner a pack of cards would be held for dealing. From the top envelope, the pound note is slowly removed, opened out and put on top of the two envelopes.

Added Suggestions.—I append a few alternative suggestions. These I have not tried out but the " how " should be within the knowledge of all readers :—

Three match boxes, one only containing matches.

Three tubes, one of which covers a glass of milk!

Three billiard balls wrapped in tissue paperj one ball is red, the other two white.

Three paper cones or sugar bags, one contains confetti or rose petals.

5xui Modi &uian'*

Editor's Foreword.—Tan Hock Chuan needs little introduction to readers of this or any other magical magazine. During the World War No. 2 he unfortunately lost all his big props and costumes, but was, in some way, fortunate in saving his books. The slant on the " Torn and Restored Newspaper " which he describes, includes a touch which will be welcomed by all readers. Especially will it be welcomed by the silent performer. It ivould make a still more effective finish to the presentation which Billy McComb detailed in " The First Book of William."

Effect.—On the operator's table stands a glass in which are inserted some short lengths of coloured paper. The operator takes a newspaper which he tears into many pieces. Holding the pieces aloft with his left hand the pieces of coloured paper are removed from the glass with the right hand and tucked into the newspaper. Restoration of the newspaper takes place. It is shown on the outside and then opened to reveal on the inside page, the coloured slips spelling the word " Welcome."

The method of restoring the newspaper is the famous A1 Baker, the coloured slips simply taking their place with the torn pieces at the conclusion

of the effect. The word is, of course, pasted on the duplicate paper beforehand.

The reader will realise that it is not necessary to use the word given. On those occasions when the performer is performing before a special group or Society, the coloured slips could form a greeting to that particular group.

This is quite a good little semi-opening effect, suitable for a manipulator. Round about 1938 I used it quite a lot.

After doing a couple of sleights with a lighted cigarette (the reason for this is that the hands shall be seen to be otherwise empty) operator takes a draw on the cigarette and then pushes it into his left fist. Smoke is blown on to the fist and it is slowly opened to reveal a small packet of silver paper. The packet is opened to reveal a red rose, which is thrown to a member of the audience. The fact that the rose is still damp makes this effect remembered by whoever catches the rose.

The fake for accomplishing this is very simple. First of all take two pieces of thin fibreboard each measuring two inches square (fibreboard is mentioned because it has a natural resilience which is necessary). Join these pieces on two opposite sides with tape (see illustration). On one piece of board glue a piece of silver foil two inches square, whilst on the other a piece six inches square. Shown casually on both sides it would appear that you are holding a six inch square of foil. That is the fake. All that is necessary is to have a clip on the left hand side of the body to hold it.

Preparation.—About five minutes before you are due to appear take the rose you are going to use, trim the stalk so that the overall length is about two inches. Place the rose (it should be needless fame* 3)jougla6?&

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