The Hole In The Table


IN THIS delightful close quarter etfect designed for use whilst the magician is seated at the table, Jack has brought into ptay a number of subterfuges which, when added together, are capable of giving the competent conjurer a veritable miracle effect. This is the way it goes : — On the table at which the performer is seated rests a glass tumbler and a sheet of newspaper. The newspaper is taken and fashioned around the glass to form a shell that will completely cover it, the topmost part being screwed together to stop any tendency it may have to unroll. The glass with its cover is now placed to the performer's left of the table. The magician then takes from his pocket two coins, a penny and a half-crown (in America a dime and a penny) respectively and places them side by side near the centre of the table. The covered glass is then placed over them.

" My intention " remarks the magician, " is to cause one of these coins, either the penny (at this point the left hand tilts the top of the glass forward whilst the right hand takes the penny, holds it up and then replaces it), or the half-crown to pass through the table .'" This coin is similarly taken and replaced after which the glass is tilted back so that both coins are covered again. Both hands are shown to be quite empty and one of the coins let us suppose the penny, is chosen by the spectator.

The right hand goes beneath the table, taps twice against the underside and then comes up holding the penny which has apparently passed completely through the table. The left hand now lifts the covered glass to show that only the half-crown remains on top of the table!

Retaining the penny in the left hand the half-crown is covered, once more the magician adding that he will endeavour to make the latter coin pass through the table as well! The right hand goes once more under the table taking the penny with it. There is a slight pause and then the performer adds, " Remember, I am going to try and make the half-crown join the penny." As these words are uttered, the right hand comes up again once more showing only the penny in the right hand. Two taps are heard against the underside of the table followed by the sound of two coins falling into a glass._ The left hand at the same time crushes the paper over the glass on top of the table with the remark, " And the glass has gone too." The left hand sweeps the crushed paper out of the way and the right hand comes from under the table holding a glass that contains the penny and half-crown.

That is the effect described in detail so that with all the points before him the reader will be able to see when reading the explanation that every point of misdirection has been covered.

The requisites are few; they are :

1. A half pint size tumbler.

2. A penny and a half-crown.

3. A sheet of newspaper.

4. A shell half-crown with a penny that will lock into position when the shell is placed on it. One side of the penny carries the side of a half-crown. (Though this is not commonly stocked by dealers in this country this type of shell and fitment can be obtained to order. We shall be pleased to give the name of a mechanic, upon the receipt of a stamped addressed envelope).

Supposing that the performer is seated at the table the disposition of the various articles is as follows:

In the performer's right hand waistcoat pocket is the shell half-crown. In his left hand waistcoat pocket the penny that nests in it. The two ordinary coins are placed on the right hand leg, with the penny nearer to the knee. The

glass and sheet of paper are on top of the table. Incidentally the positioning of the two coins on the horizontal part of the leg is the work of a moment as the performer draws in to the table.

The effect as regards presentation goes like this:—

The sheet of paper is taken, folded diagonally and then wrapped around the glass, so that a reasonable fitting cone results. It should not fit too loosely nor too tightly round the glass but the glass should be able to slide out without any pos

sible hindrance. Having covered the glass it is placed to the right of the table and then both hands go to the waistcoat pockets each withdrawing the coins placed therein. Care must of course be taken that the penny is brought out the right side up. The two coins are placed literally side by side and lifting the covered glass it is placed over the coins. At this point the performer remarks to one of those near him, " I want you to choose one of the coins, the penny," and as he says this the left hand cants the glass away from him whilst the right hand takes the penny from under the glass holds it up for a moment or two and replaces it, " or the half-crown." Again the glass is canted, the right hand reaching underneath and taking the half-crown which is held aloft in the same manner. The half-crown is apparently replaced in the same position but actually it is placed on top of the penny and pressed over it so that the latter rests within it. The left hand drops the glass into its original position.

At this stage particular attention is drawn to the fairness of everything and in particular the emptiness of the hands. Whatever the choice made by the spectator, it is the penny which vanishes and so, as the right hand goes beneath the table, the penny is taken with it from the knee. A tap on top of the glass with the left hand and a metallic tap from the hand under the table as the penny held is knocked against its underside. The penny is now brought from beneath the table balanced on the first fingertip. The left hand lifts the glass to show that only the half-crown remains. In a natural way the left hand moves back to the edge of the table and as it reaches the edge the glass is dropped into the performer's lap. As. at this moment, all attention is upon the coins, the misdirection is perfect.

The left hand moves forward and places the empty cone over the half-crown and as this is done, the remark is made that actually both coins can be made to pass through the table. The penny, still held in the right hand, now goes beneath the table again, and this is a very important point; the penny is brought into a finger palm position and on its journey the glass being taken and placed between the knees of the performer, mouth uppermost. This too is the work of a moment and should in no way interfere with the journey of the hand beneath the table. The hand continues on its way. Two taps are given on the underside of the table and then, as though for emphasis, the right hand comes up once more showing the penny and adding, " Now, this is where the half-crown joins the penny." Quickly the penny is brought into a finger-palm position and as the hand goes beneath the table once more the half-crown is taken from the leg. " Hocus Pocus," says



Miss Baird is appearing currently in the Christmas Magic and Fun Show at the Fortune Theatre

From the J. B. Find!ay Collection the performer and the coins are dropped one at a time into the glass. Immediately the sound of the second coin is heard, the left hand crushes the paper cone and the right hand brings up the glass from between the knees.

As the two coins are emptied from the glass on to the table, the crushed paper is moved back to make room for it. This action does more than this for with a carry through movement the shell half-crown and its nested penny are allowed to fall on the lap whilst the crushed paper is thrown over the left shoulder.

In Jack's hands this is one of the finest close-up sequences that I have seen and even if you haven't a locking shell, just try out the effect using a spot of conjurer's wax on the inner surface of an ordinary shell.

" The Art of Pantomime demands not only that gesture he emphatic but also that all unnecessary movements be eliminated. The magician should always remember that movement catches the eye and the mind follows the eve. The performer creates a series of focal points for the audience's attention and everything he does must aid in directing that attention to these focal points."

Leith Loder, ' To Pant or Pantomime.' ' Sphinx,' Vol. 40.

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