I want to describe three dressings for effects suitable for children's shows. They are more particularly suited to the younger type of child having plenty of colour. The first I call :—
The effect is very simple and easy to follow. The conjurer takes a cardboard tube which is shown to be empty and places a sheet of tissue paper over one end, keeping it in drumhead position by means of an elastic band. Now a number of pieces of coloured paper are dropped inside, some lengths of thin wood or wire and some pieces of wicker wood. The open end is now capped with tissue paper in a similar manner to the other.
Now the magic words are spoken, the conjurer taps the paper and breaks it. From out of the tube he takes a small wicker basket. This is placed on the table. His hand goes inside the tube again and this time he withdraws an artificial flower made from paper and wire. This is placed in the wicker basket. Several more flowers are produced which are also placed in the basket, making a very colourful little show.
Though there is nothing out of the ordinary in the plot of this trick, it lends itself to a good story for the very young.
We'll run through the main points.
First of all you require a ' Ghost Tube ' made from cardboard. This follows the style of the original of Ernest E. Noakes (see ' Magical Originalities ') in so far that the inner cone at the narrow end is equidistant from the sides of the tube. There is of course no reason at all why it shouldn't be made up in metal, but this is a harder medium for some people to work in.
A wicker basket round in shape is next purchased (actually I am putting the cart before the horse, for it is essential to know the size of the basket before making up the tube) and the bottom cut away so that it can nest around the narrow end of the inner cone (see illustration). If the reader doesn't wish to go to the trouble and/or expense of a wicker basket, a small bottomless flower por could be made from cardboard and then painted. Next a number of paper artificial flowers are bought or made. If the reader can make these up so much the better as he can tailor them to exactly fit into the space provided. This space is of course that open part of the tube (the illustration shows this easily). One other thing is needed to complete the trick proper and that is a piece of wood six by six by one inch. About the centre a number of small holes are drilled. Into these holes the stalks (?) of the flowers will be inserted. The block can be painted dead black or covered with black felt.
The other accessories are some pieces of coloured tissue, pieces of wicker, some lengths of wire and two elastic bands.
Prior to presentation the tube is loaded and placed load end uppermost on the table. The block of wood lies by its side. The pieces of tissue are folded and placed in the tube so that they conceal the ghost .tube formation. The pieces of wire, wicker and elastic bands are at hand.
The pieces of paper are removed as the tube is picked up and shown to be empty. The load end is then covered with a piece of tissue which, is held in place by means of an elastic band. The tube is again shown empty. ' Not even a fairy inside ' remarks the conjurer. The pieces of tissue, wire and wicker are then dropped into the tube, or if the occasion permits a helper from the audience can perform this part of the ceremony. The open end is now capped and the magic spell recited. Breaking the paper with the fingers at the load end, the wicker basket (or flower pot) is withdrawn and placed on the block of wood so that the holes are central at the base. The flowers are now withdrawn, each stalk being inserted into a hole as it goes inside the basket.
The second effect I call
This is a production number and its only limitation is the size of the apparatus. The imaginative conjurer could get a great deal of fun from this dressing and re-inodelling of a standard piece of apparatus.
On the conjurer's table stands an object that to all intents and purposes looks very much like a Television Set. It appears to have a screen and a couple of operating knobs. The conjurer introduces this as his magic TV set. ' So different from the type of set you may have ', for this uses no electricity, neither does it have valves. ' These are the works ', and with that he removes the inside of the set which consists of a white rectangular tube, the cabinet being left an empty shell. The ' works ' are shown and then this part is dropped back inside the cabinet. ' Even this part is free from any funny gadgets '. The cabinet is now lifted over the ' works ' and also shown to be quite empty. After this it is replaced over the ' works ' so that it appears as it did at the beginning. ' Now ', says the conjurer (how often they say that !), ' when I want to see my favourite television programme its very easy . . . look, let me show you '. A number of pieces of card bearing the names of .programmes are introduced Just take one for me says the conjurer to a child. The latter does so and the conjurer takes it from him and shows it to the audience. ' There, its Andy Pandy, this is how it works The card is slipped into the frame which outlines the screen. Putting his hand inside the works, the conjurer withdraws a model of ' Andy Pandy ' Let's' try another one shall we ', and so another card is taken which replaces the first card, and an appropriate production made. Finally, the card bearing Muffin the Mule ' is placed in front and to complete the production the most famous of all TV personalities is produced.
To the conjurer with a little imagination this can prove a most popular item. According to the age and nature of the children so can little topicalities be introduced. Whilst some of the load items may be expensive the whole effect will be found worthwhile.
The principle of the production is a form of square circle or in this case squared ' rectangle ' and the accompanying drawing gives the ' how '
The actual load chamber whilst filling the works ' part in length does not do so in depth, a factor that helps for a much better illusion as the front of the ' set is completely open. The load chamber should be covered with black felt or black ' flock ' paper. ' Kettles ' of New Oxford Street can supply this. I have not given dimensions because they are only relatively important. Each will decide how big or small the ' set ' shall be.
Round the front of the ' set ' a small frame to take the cards must be made. The cards should be made from a stiff card and the printing well done, so that when they are in place they give credit to the idea of a TV screen.
Incidentally, the knobs on the front of the set should be movable and this can give the performer the excuse of bringing the set to life.
The third effect deals again with flowers and I shall call it
The Flowermaker's Scissors.
The magician tells a story of the poor paper flowermaker who was imprisoned in a Giant's Castle. Of how at all hours of the day and night he had to make paper flowers for the Giant. One day he pleaded for his freedom. The Giant, whose name was Magog, said that the flower cutter could have his freedom if he succeeded in a certain test. " You have boasted of your great skill in making these flowers '. (Actually the poor old man was not given to boasting but he didn't like to upset the Giant ). ' Now, my poor little man, let us see how clever you are. In this box—(and here the Giant took up a box like this)—I'm going to place some paper. First of all I must tip all this stuff out '. (Some articles are removed from the box). The Giant suited his actions to the words, and taking some beautiful coloured paper like this he placed it inside the box like this. (The pieces of coloured
The performer states that he is going to show how a psychic operation is carried out. The subject for experiment is represented by a card which is signed at one end by a spectator and at the other end by the performer. This card is placed in an examined box (representing the material shell) in a spectator's care, and the box is closed. An ordinary envelope is shown to be empty, sealed and placed in full view. This represents a waste receptacle.
The " surgeon " now makes cutting motions over the box. The spectator opens the box and find that the experiment has been successful. Only half of the card is in the box, still bearing the performer's signature. The performer takes the envelope and cuts off the top, withdrawing from within the other half of the card, bearing the spectator's signature. The two halves fit to make one complete card. Requirements
One pack of cards with, for instance, the two of clubs on the bottom of the pack. A duplicate two of clubs and a rubber band ^in. wide to go round the pack. A card box, envelope and a spot of wax. Preparation
The duplicate card is cut into two pieces and one half is signed by the performer and placed in the hidden part of the card box. The other half of the card is placed on the bottom of the pack and a rubber band placed around the pack. The bottom of the pack now represents the appearance of a two of clubs. A small dab of magician's wax is placed on an accessible button.
The performer signs the complete card, and the spectator signing at the other end signs on the half card. The complete card is slipped from the bottom of the pack and by covering the end where the spectator's signature should be, it can be displayed. It is placed in the card box. The half card is easily finger palmed off the bottom of the pack and the small piece of wax is transferred to it's face. After the envelope has been examined and sealed it is taken back and the card pressed on the back of the envelope which is placed in full view.
All is now ready for the operation which is of course successful. When the top is clipped off the envelope, the fingers go into the envelope and the thumb to the rear, and the half card seems to come from within the envelope. The wax is removed with the finger nail.
1. A double envelope may be used instead of a card box.
2. The magician's card may be used instead of playing cards and may be printed, one end being marked " Dead " and the other end " Alive ".
3. I do not know who originated the move with a half card and a rubber band* but I first read it in Audley Walsh's " Open Minds " in " Practical Mental Effects " reprinted from the
* Margaret Mackay, about 1920 (Ed.)
PETER WARLOCK'S 'TEENY WEENIES'~ continued from paper are placed inside the box). ' Now, my good fellow, I shall place this box under my pillow when I go to bed. If you can, with your cleverness, make some flowers from the paper in the box, you shall be set free. If you fail you will be compelled to look at the Television for a whole week '.
The poor old flower cutter trembled in his shoes at the thought of such a punishment. Then he thought of the magic thimble that he had seen upon the Giant's desk. Of course you can't see it, because its a magic thimble, just like this. At least you can't see it at the moment. When you know the magic word its a different matter, it appears just like this. (The children say the magic word and a thimble appears). Now fortunately the flowermaker too knew the magic word, and so, when the Giant was in bed, he crept along to the Giant's study and found the thimble, after saying the magic word. Then to the thimble he chanted the following lines :—
Thimble, thimble, tell me quick, The secret of the Magic Trick.
To which the thimble replied :—
Take some chalk and quickly draw A Pentagram upon the floor, Touch each point and nod your head, Rub out the star and go to bed.
Next morning the Giant awoke. First of all he blinked, for the sunlight shone in his eyes. Then he remembered the box under his pillow. Ever so slowly he picked it up, ever so slowly he opened the drawer. Great was his rage when he saw that the pieces of paper were gone and in their place were these beautiful paper flowers, so lovely that his rage passed, and sending for the poor old flower-cutter he praised him for his skill and sent him on his way to freedom.
This story poor, though it is, is for the very young and requires little except a drawer box, some spring flowers, a thimble and some tissue paper. About twenty spring flowers are placed in between the shell and the box proper and then a number of articles are placed in the box proper. (The choice of these is left to the individual). With the action of the story followed there is little more to say as the trick works itself.
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