Effect: A dollar bill is borrowed and a tale is told about the old silver certificates which could be redeemed at the bank for one dollar's worth of silver. This is how it was in the old days. But it is little known that, if the bill was folded just right, the silver could be extracted without a trip to the bank. The borrowed bill is displayed cleanly on both sides and then folded...and a half dollar slips from its folds! The coin is put away and the bill is folded once again. The other half of the silver value — a second half dollar — emerges from the bill! With full value received, the bill is returned to its owner.
The production of a coin from a bill is far from new. Roger's handling leans heavily upon Jerry Andrus' "Dollar Bill Delusion" (ref. Nameless Notes, p. 4 and, later, Five Dollar Trix, pp. 36-49). However, Roger has added a number of nice handling touches, the idea of using one coin for both productions, and a presentational psychology that is both noteworthy and aesthetically impressive.
Method: Only one half dollar is required — that and a right pants-pocket containing some change. When ready to perform, Classic Palm the half dollar in your left hand and ask for the loan of a dollar bill.
Take the bill, handling it casually, and lay it across the left fingers. The left thumb rests on the center of the bill from above as shown in Figure 1. Notice that the coin is hidden from view by the palm-pad of the left thumb (the Kaps Subtlety).
Now curl the left fingers in farther, until they clip the bill to the pad of the left thumb and the coin is hidden beneath the bill. At the same time, the left hand rotates palm-up at the wrist. This displays the underside of the bill and the palm of the left hand while concealing the coin, as seen in Figure 2.
After briefly showing this side of the bill, return the hand to the position shown in Figure 1 by rotating it to the right and opening the fingers again. As these motions of display are made, you begin to explain how the old bills used to bear the legend "Silver Certificate" somewhere on them. This line of patter gives a motivation of searching the bill's printing for this device, both front and back. It is done merely as an explanatory gesture, as you don't expect to find these words on modern bills. But the psychology is to give a reason for showing the bill and hands seemingly empty without appearing to have that purpose in mind. You aren't proving anything at this point; therefore, the surprise of the production of the coin is not spoiled.
The bill is now claimed by the right hand. Picking it up by the center of the right edge — fingers beneath, thumb on top — the right hand turns palm toward you so that the backs of the fingers and the reverse side of the bill are displayed to the audience. The right hand does not move far from the left as it turns to display the bill. Rather, the bill effectively screens the left hand in this position, as shown in Figure 3. It is under cover of this innocent screening action that the left palm releases its coin onto the shelf of the curled left fingers.
The right hand turns palm-up once more and returns the bill to the left hand. The coin resting on the left fingers is naturally introduced under the bill in this action. Roger equates this loading move with that used to load a cup. It has that sense and feeling to it. There is a slight turning action of the left wrist as the hand moves to retake the bill and load the coin. It is a combination of the turn of the left hand and the cover of the bill that keeps the coin from flashing as it is loaded. A bit of mirror practice will quickly give you the feel and timing for this maneuver.
The left thumb comes down on the center of the bill, clipping it to the fingers and holding the coin steady beneath the bill. This allows the left forefinger to move around and over the edge of the bill, so that it can clip the bill between itself and the second finger as in Figure 4.
The right hand moves to grasp the forward end of the bill, turning in at the wrist with thumb above and fingers below. It then begins to pull the bill forward, through the grip of the left first and second fingers (Figure 5). Just at the moment that the coin is about to be exposed by the near end of the bill being pulled away from it, the right hand turns palm-down and moves back toward you, flipping the bill over and neatly back onto the left fingers as in Figure 6. Thus, the coin remains hidden. This procedure looks simply as if you were casually turning the bill over — toying with it. It is at this point that Roger begins to tell of how his grandfather used to be able to fold a silver certificate in a special way, so as to
extract the silver content from it. But, he claims, it has been years since he has tried to do this. "Let's see...How did it go?" This line of patter and a bit of acting give a firm motivation to the last turnover of the bill and the actions to follow. Again, the bill and hands are plainly seen empty at all times; but it never seems like you are proving anything. Instead, you are fumbling a bit with the bill, turning it this way and that, in an effort to remember the curious fold that your grandfather used to do. This by-play is an excellent piece of psychology; re-
Now the right hand comes to take the bill once more from the left hand. As it does so, the left fingers spread just slightly beneath the bill so that the right second fingertip can contact the underside of the coin. The right forefinger is placed above the bill and the coin is clipped through the bill between this and the right second finger. The right hand then slides down to the forward end of the bill, carrying the coin with it. It stops just at the end of the bill, as in Figure 7. The left thumb holds the bill steady on the left fingers as this gentle sliding of the hand and coin occurs. As soon as this position is reached the right thumb takes over the forefinger's pressure on the bill and coin, and the forefinger moves under the bill to join the other right fingers there (Figure 8).
The right hand having taken over the gripping of the bill and coin, the left hand is freed to move to the near end of the bill. It turns palm-down and grips the bill's end with fingers above, thumb below. Then it moves forward while turning palm-up. This action doubles the bill over on itself — but not straight over. Rather the bill is formed in a sort of "V" shape with the point of the "V" toward you. In other words, the bill is doubled over at something less than a ninety degree angle to itself. See Figure 9.
Immediately as the bill is brought into this position the right fingers shift the coin under the bill, pushing it into the left fingers as shown in Figure 10. As soon as this secret transfer has been made the right fingers release their hold on the right end of the bill and allow it to straighten out; i.e., this right end is unfolded back and then up. As soon as the bill has been unfolded the right hand grasps its end again with the fingers above and thumb below, as in Figure 11.
This folding and straightening maneuver is repeated once more, but with the hands' roles reversed. That is, the right hand carries its end of the bill over and onto the lefthand end, forming a "V" with the bill as in Figure 12. The left fingers slide the coin to the right and into the right fingers under the folded bill. Then the left hand opens the bill out flat again by carrying its end down and back.
At this point the bill and coin are held in the right hand, right thumb above and fingers beneath. The right forefinger is brought around the forward end of the bill and on top of it, taking over the thumb's pressure. This shifts the grip of both coin and bill to between the right first and second fingers.
The left hand casually pulls the bill up and down through the right fingers several times, stopping just before the coin is exposed at either end of the bill. At the finish of this little back-and-forth toying with the bill, it should be held at its near end between the right first and second fingers, as in Figure 13. There is really no pause at this point as the left hand now begins to roll the bill around the right first and second fingers and the coin. In continuation of its forward pulling action of the bill, the left hand carries its end of the bill down and back, beginning the rolling of the bill around the right fingers. Several important points must be noted at this time:
First, while Roger's words and actions up to now have implied a slight uncertainty in what he is doing with the bill, as soon as he begins to roll the bill around his fingers this uncertainty is conquered. It becomes apparent that he has finaly remembered how his grandfather's fold goes. All actions become sure from this point forward.
Second, the coin should be clipped at the very tips of the right first and second fingers inside the rolled bill, as shown in Figure 14. The importance of this fingertip grip will be made clear in a moment.
When you have finished rolling the bill around your fingers, it should be rolled approximately in quarters; that is, two complete turns around the fingers. The right thumb clips the outside end of the bill lightly against the right fingertips so that the bill does not unroll as the left hand changes grips on it. Grasp the rolled bill and the coin in its center at the left end of the tube with the left hand, thumb above and fingers beneath. Then withdraw the right fingers from the bill. It is here that the righthand fingertip grip on the coin becomes most important. If the coin were pinched between the fingers too deeply, friction would tend to drag the coin from the bill as the fingers are withdrawn.
As soon as the right fingers are free of the bill the right hand reclaims the whole package at the right end of the tube, thumb above, fingers below. It casually displays both sides of the rolled bill. Then the tube is tapped several times on the tips of the now outstretched fingers of the palm-up left hand. It is only as these tapping gestures are made on the left fingers that the audience may begin to suspect that there is something a bit more substantial than a folded bill in your hands. Pause for a brief moment. Then allow the half dollar to slide slowly from the open end of the rolled bill and onto the left fingers as in Figure 15. The coin's front edge should contact the second phalanges of the left fingers as it slips from the
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