The Want Ad Test I Like


IF ANY type, of test making the use of advertisements from newspapers entails the calm prospect of somebody having to cut out those advertisements during the course of the performance, it means a delightful waste of time without any entertainment merit. This little test which I have used for intimate performances over a period of a few years is direct and comparatively fast in action.

Several small envelopes of the " pay " type are distributed to members of the audience. Next a spectator is requested to take a plate containing a number of advertisements that have been cut from various newspapers, glance over them to see that they differ and then to ask each holder of an envelope to take one and place it in the envelope that he holds. The flaps of the envelopes are then to be stuck down. At his fingertips, but without calling attention to the fact, in a direct way the magician collects the envelopes, asking the gentleman who so kindly distributed the advertisements to take one. He is also handed a slate and a piece of chalk. His next instruction is to tear open the envelope, remove the advertisement and look at it. In the meantime the remaining envelopes are handed to another member of the audience. The magician picks up a slate and asks the spectator with the advertisement to concentrate his thoughts upon the largest word in the advertisement. "When you see a picture of it in your mind, sir, just say ' Right'!" With this affirmative given, the magician turns away from the spectator, picks up a date and piece of chalk from the table, the spectator is asked to write on the slate the word he had in mind. As the spectator commences to write so does the magician. When both slates are turned round it is seen that the words are identical. " Let's try it again, sir." The magician cleans his slate and places it on the table and then taking the slate held by the spectator he cleans that too, handing it together with the chalk to another member of the audience. The spectator still holding the remaining envelopes is asked to select any one and give it to the gentleman with the slate. The magician takes his own slate and chalk and asks the holder of the envelope to open it. " Now sir, we'll make it a little harder. I want you to look at the first and last words in your advertisement and fix your mind on one . . . and please don't change your mind when you have come t a decision." The magician starts writing upon his slate and then having finished places it writing side down on his table. " Now please write on your slate the word that you chose. The spectator does this and shows it to the audience. The climax comes when the magician picks up his own slate and shows that he has once again correctly duplicated a spectator's thoughts!

The requirements are few. They are :—

(1) An unprepared slate.

(2) One slate with a loose fitting flap.

(3) Twenty small sized envelopes.

(4) Two pieces of chalk.

(5) Nine similar newspapers.

To prepare divide your envelopes into two heaps of eleven and nine respectively. Ten of the eleven need no further attention apart from being folded across their midriff and then straightened out. Into the eleventh place an advertisement cut from one of the papers which has one word which in length easily exceeds all the others. Because of the pithiness of most advertisements there is little difficulty in finding a suitable one. This envelope now has a small pencil mark made at one corner and it is now sealed and also folded. Think of this as envelope A. The remaining nine envelopes are now folded across and straightened out and into each is placed a similar advertisement, it being necessary for the magician to know the first and last word. The first word is now written on the slate and covered with the flap. If these words can be of similar length and if possible commence with the same letter so much the better. Again there is seldom any difficulty in finding advertisements that fill this requirement. All these envelopes are sealed down. Lastly a large number of advertisements are cut from one of the newspapers and placed on the plate. To actually prepare for the presentation of the effect the following is the arrangement of the particular properties :—

The stack of nine envelopes together with both pieces of chalk are placed in the right hand jacket pocket. On the table is placed the flap slate, flap side up and on top of this the unprepared slate. By their side rest the pile of ten unprepared envelopes and the plate with the advertisements.

In the performer's left hand trousers pocket envelope A is folded over so that its size is reduced to one half.

The presentation is as follows:

The magician picks up the packet of ten envelopes and distributes them; he calls attention to the plate containing the advertisements and has a member of his audience look them over and invites each holder of an envelope to take one, place it inside the envelope he holds and seal it down.

As this is being done the magician stands with his left hand in his trousers pocket and obtains possession of the folded envelope which is finger palmed. All the envelopes being sealed, he comes forward taking the left hand from the pocket and with his right hand takes them passing them into his left hand so that they are right angles to that hand and comfortably cover the folded envelope. When all the envelopes have been collected, the right hand takes them back and in the act of doing sq, inserts the second finger inside the fold of envelope A. In the actual take away this finger runs up inside the fold, straightening the envelope out. It is a movement impossible to detect by the sharpest eye. The packet of envelopes is now casually cut and the envelopes are fanned, the magician noting the position of the one with pencil dot, envelope A. Going to the gentlemen with the plate of papers he asks him to take one envelope and forces envelope A on him. If any reader thinks that this may prove difficult the alternative is to take one and hand it to him or else give the envelopes a mixing that leaves envelope A on top, this envelope then being proffered. When he has taken the envelopes, the magician remarks " You will also want a piece of chalk and a slate." As these words are said the right hand holding the stack of envelopes goes into the right hand pocket, ditches the envelopes that it holds and takes hold of the packet of nine and one of the pieces of chalk which are brought out. The piece of chalk is handed to the spectator, the envelopes then being handed to another on his immediate left. The spectator is relieved of his plate of advertisements which are placed upon the table, the unprepared slate then being picked up and handed to him. The rest of this part is just build-up and showmanship and with the first piece of mindreading out of the way the rest is purely automatic. The slates are cleaned and one of the envelopes taken. The magician writes the name of the last word on the flap of his slate and places it flap-side down on the table so that which ever word the spectator chooses in his advertisement the magician is covered by lifting either the flap with the slate or alternatively leaving the former on the table. Needless to say the remaining envelopes are retrieved.

"Time and time again we have had our ulcers inflamed by listening to some big, or not so big-wig of magic complaining in just about these words . . . ' Ah, if I had to do it all over again, I'd take any branch of the entertainment world rather than magic. Where does it get you? A lousy seven hundred and fifty a week if you're lucky!' Of course in most cases that problematical seven hundred and fifty is gilding the lily a trifle, but let's disregard it for the nonce. It seems to us that this is the basest kind of ingratitude. These characters who moan about the fact that there's no future in magic would in all probability have become coal heavers, salesmen, or piano players in houses of ill fame if they had not been fortunate enough to be born with a wand in their mouths!" Bruce Elliott—" The Phoenix", page 420.



THE IDEA of this little effect was inspired by the ring effect that Stewart used in "Sefalaljia" on page 471 of the Jinx. In the original version I made up, the gimmick responsible for the main part of the effect was static. My friend Maurice Sardina made a suggestion that made it more suitable for impromtu performances.

The effect briefly is that an examined ring passes onto a length of examined cord or rope.

The requirements are as follows :

A length of silk cord measuring four feet.

One large curtain ring or bangle.

A gimmick which has to be made up as follows:—

First of all obtain a small dresser hook or bend a stiff piece of wire to the shape of a hook. The straight part of the hook is then fixed in a small block of lead as in illustration 1

Actually the easiest way is to make a small mould, melt the lead and then holding the hook with a spanner pour the lead round it.

To present the effect have the length of cord and ring on your table. Possession of the gimmick is obtained by the right hand. You commence by borrowing a gentleman's hat. It is taken with the right hand and the gimmick dropped inside in the action of moving back and placing it on the table near the cord. The cord and ring are then examined and taken back, the ring being placed in sight on the table. Taking each end with the right and left hand respectively, the centre of the rope is lowered into the hat the ends being draped over the brim. At the fingertips the ring is now taken and placed inside the hat.

Though hidden from the audience it can be seen that the hands of the magician are tying a knot. Actually what is done is this; the centre portion of the cord is pulled through the ring and part of it is engaged in the hook (illustration 2). The path of the loop continues upwards (illustration 3), and this loop is tied at point A in a single knot (illustration 3). " Strange as it may seem to you, I have without moving the ends of the cord tied the ring on to

the cord so that the cord now passes through the ring!" remarks the magician. Taking the end of the rope marked X with his right hand and at the same time lifting the hat by the brim with the left hand he walks forward. The end X is now lifted above the hat and at the same time the left hand moves down so that end Y runs through the ring and the hook. It is a disarming move for to the audience it simply appears that the rope has been taken from the hat. Placing the hat aside, the left hand takes hold of end Y and the rope is brought into a horizontal position. A little pull is given and the single knot dissolves leaving the ring on the rope. Both ring and rope are then handed out again for examination.

" This type of over-enthusiasm seems to be spreading throughout magic like a miasma. Can't a trick or book come out and be good or excellent; must it always be the be-all and end-all of existence? We predict that if a book were to come out and be named ' Highly Mediocre Tricks ', it would have as good a sale, if the material was good, as if it were called the most spectacularly, wonderfully, terrifically, gigantic hunk of stuff that ever came down the pike." Bruce Elliott—" The Phoenix ", page 428.

THIS IS very much of a Peter Warlock number and we hope that the items described will appeal to our readers. Next month we are running a Jack Avis issue which should have a very great appeal to those interested in close-up magic. Jack to our own way of thinking is possibly the smoothest all-rounder at close-up work in this country. Cards, dice and coins all seem to achieve little miracles when he handles them. The main items that he is describing are three masterpieces of deception. We think we'll give pride of place, however, to the card stab that he has included. It goes like this. Aftei a card has been taken by the spectator and then lost in the pack, the spectator cuts the pack as he wishes. Taking a knife the magician stabs the heap and brings up a number of cards impaled on the knife, the bottom one of which is the chosen card. Just let us add that there is no gimmick and it can be performed with a borrowed pack!

A great amount of credit must be given to Harry Stanley who with private enterprise has done so much to benefit the magical fraternity today. The shows that he has sponsored over the past few years at Victoria Hall have meant that many continental artistes have been seen by their fellow magicians over here. In particular we are more than grateful for the opportunity that it gave us to see such a fine artiste as Punx who in October gave a full evening show. He is one of the few conjurers that we have ever seen who for the period of his performance nearly persuaded us that he was a real magician. Again progress. On the 18th November the Unique Club took up residence at its new headquarters, the Shaftesbury Hotel.

Looking ahead we have asked our friend Arthur Carter to assemble an Annemann number for 1954. Among the items that he is going to publish is a card prediction that he showed us about two years ago. It's a delightful item, and one with which he duly astonished Stewart James a few weeks back. Talking of Arthur Carter just look back at his "One Red Card." Quite a number of magicians have mentioned that they have presented this using jumbo cards. The effect whether you use jumbos or normal sized cards makes a lovely prediction.

Davenports are putting out a fine utility gimmick that mentalists will like. It comes under the title of Bob Ostin's Dice Trick and the outfit includes two dice, a metal pocket index as well as the natural looking object that does the main part of the work. The price is only 10/6 and when you get it you'll thank us a lot.

We hope that our good friend and publisher George Armstrong won't slip again and publish a trick with panties in the " Magic Wand." We have always looked at this old established magazine as being the citadel of dignity. Even if the tricks in question were good there would be little excuse. As it is they are of poor metal.

Just recently we saw a query on the trick called the " Mystic Thirteen " an effect which is a copy cat of Herbert Milton's " Sympathetic Clubs." Herbert never published or gave permission for publication of the effect. Actually when Leipzig was in England in the twenties, Herbert and Nate swapped ideas and effects, and as most Americans know, Leipzig used the " Sympathetic Clubs " in the States. Somehow or another with due credit to Herbert Milton, a version somewhat like the original was described in the Jinx. Later a trick entitled " The Emerald Mystery" used the same plot. The " Mystic Thirteen " though keeping to the Jinx description seems to have evolved a cypher for Herbert Milton's name that reads Adrian Smith and George Wetherald.

Lewis Ganson's latest " Routined Manipulation " work will be the largest to date. We understand that a limited number of copies will be available by the end of the year.

Stewart James will be missed by all those who had the chance of meeting him during his visit to this country. We shall always think of him giving his delightful performance of the " Trick with the Tailor's Dummy" in the manner of a very lazy conjurer. We shall always envy and admire that mind of his which could produce such a remarkable idea as the " Robot" deck.



An easy to do yet baffling book test. The performer hands out a booklet of Mother Goose Rhymes and a spectator selects a word and a page in such a fair manner that the selection seems obviously to be governed by chance, yet the performer can immediately name the word chosen (or he can predict it beforehand If preferred).

This can immediately be repeated and a different word is chosen

Added to the full presentation of this baffling double effect is a triple prediction by George Armstrong, which shows how the book of rhymes can be used in other mental effects.

Supplied complete with four page printed folder of instructions and presentation, and the neatly printed book of Mother Goose Rhymes.

Price 7/6: Postage 3d.




THE MAGICAL WORLD is raving about the naw style Magic Wand, and if you haven't alraady saan a copy wa strongly advise you to sand for one now, bafora thay go right out of print. Alraady tha March issua is fatchtng 12/6 or 15/- a copy whare a copy can ba found!

The third (October) issue contains so much really worth-while material that we cannot possibly list it all here, but a lis? of a few of the contributors will indicate the value of the contents: E. Brian MacCarthy, Edward Victor, Jim Merlini, Ken de Courcy, the late Nelson Lyford Douglas Francis, Harry Latour, A. C. Newitt, Roy Green, Chariy Eperny, Jack Lamonte, W. C. Weber, Tom Sellers, Peter A. McDonald, Toni Koynini, etc. etc.

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