Info

Nov. 1900.

spontaneous, impulsive, quick—I walked in, and asked if he had a remnant of black cloth about yard square, he had. I then said, " Do you mind cutting it into a circle and place a hole in the middle." He prepared to comply, but asked, suddenly, "What size is the circle to be, and what size the hole in the centre ? " I was wearing a straw hat at the time, with an unusually large brim to suit my rather long hair, so, without thinking, I took it off, placed it upon the square of cloth, and said, " Cut it the size of this." He did, and I put it in my pocket, walked over to my dressing-room, and that night, after two hours practice, I presented the following faces :— Napoleon, An Old Miser, A Coquette, Mephisto, A Clown, Bonne Bouche, "A Good Story," and A Nun, (the last without the white tie which I introduced afterwards). This was in August, 1891. I do not use felt, only a piece of ordinary tailor's overcoating."

Q. "I also believe that, in your own entertainment, you discard altogether such accessories as clips, false moustaches, and the like."

A. "My idea was that if I could present a great deal with nothing it would be clever. I never used clips, false moustaches and wigs in this performance, and I strongly advise that where these adjuncts are used, or necessary, that it would be better for the performer to dispense with the item altogether.''

Q. " Then, tell me Mr. Roberts, how many figures you consider sufficient to form an effective chapeaugraphy show in connection with, say, a Magical Entertainment."

A. " About one dozen, after that it is mere repetition, but let them be pictures, not what is termed facial expressions that amount so many contortions or ugly twistings of the mouth. , Squinting, blowing out the cheeks, and so on. Don't, please don't, do that. It is inartistic and is not facial expression. It is vulgarity in a frame that is not entertaining.''

Q. " May I ask you to describe briefly the culture of the hair and face as best suited to chapeaugraphy.''

A. "You will see in the small photo of myself, taken one day after I had been sitting for some twenty different facial expressions, the effect upon the facial muscles. I possess naturally very fine, pliable, curly hair, 1 have it singed pretty often—the small hairs only—I do not use any preparation for the hair except a little cocoa nut oil."

" I have to a great extent cultivated the " expression " to such a degree that with the aid of the replex action of the muscles of the face, I can tell you exactly how my face is cast. I never practise in front 0/a mirror, and I have only seen my hat performance in photos, and those have rarely been successful, chiefly owing to my being ''conscious"—this is what mirrors produce ; also briefly I feel it—and in sad, sardonic or sweet faces I only require to feel. My early Shakespearean training as an actor helps me here."

"In faces like Gladstone, The Monks, and the Miser, I bring " lines " by muscular power as well as thought, you must think; otherwise it is in vulgar parlance only mugging, or clowning. A round fat face is not advisable. When the face is thin, do not blow the cheeks out, that action dilates the eyes and at the conclusion of the " face " the audience will see you have been winded. Rub the cheeks with a rough towel, until it hurts, every morning, after which, touch your toes twenty times without bending the knees. This will circulate the blood and warm the face, and apart from facial expression it will make you graceful, keep you slim, and give ease in walking 011 the stage."

'' You will observe in my photo of the Nun my face is quite free from wrinkles. I wash once a day with warm water and after that I put cocoa nut oil on before making up, and "take off " with the same material, always rubbing well with a rough towel. Now and then, after the theatre, I have washed with warm water and Sunlight soap, I prefer this severity to having my pores clogged with layers of grease paint, and two shows a day fill up a lot of crevices."

" What little I have been able to tell I hope will interest, and at any time it will afford me pleasure to answer, through the medium of Magic, the queries of young gentlemen who would like to increase their knowledge of facial expression. In conclusion, do as I did,, study the great Lavater, if you can obtain a good unabridged copy. He is the finest writer on Physiognomy, and when you "make-up" use No. 3 grease paint, and do not put black under the eyes." R. A. ROBERTS.

Lightning 5KetChes-

By ELLIS STANYON.

In attempting to give my readers some idea of how to become skilful Lightning Sketch Artistes I will first candidly admit I am writing with but theoretical knowledge. In the absence, however, so far as I can learn, of any work on this subject I hope that the several suggestions embodied in this article will be useful to those who desire to add this form of entertainment to their repertoire.

A Lightning Sketch, as I have always understood it, is a plain outline drawing ; all ineffective lines are dispensed with and but little shading is employed. Perhaps I can the better convey the idea by stating that the signature of any person, especially the scroll that is generally appended, is in every sense a Lightning Sketch. (See fig. 1) Quite so ! that is my own signature, but then you see, I could not give the illustration with another persons signature for the simple reason

Fig. 1.

that I have never practised the drawing.

Note that the lines in the above sketch, fig. 1, may vary each time it is made, i.e. no two signatures out of a dozen will be alike in measurement of parts. The effective form, however, will in each case be the same, the double scroll in the fig.

will illustrate this.

To encourage the beginner I will add that the outline of the face is a much less difficult scroll than that in fig. 1, and may be firmly drawn with but little practise. With the exception of the eye, which requires some little study, the lines of any particular head may be readily memorized. The double (reversible) head representing an Indian Prince in a bath, and reverse the head of a Turk, will I am sure form an interesting subject for practise in con j unction with the above suggestions, while at the same time it will, doubtless, prove a lightning sketch artistes.

To be continued.

Fig. 2.

novelty for skilful

N.B.—Correspondence on any subject dealt within our columns is invited^ and is respectfully solicited.

Lessons in ffiagi(j.

by Prof. ELLIS STAN YON,

Author of " Conjuring for Amateurs," " Conjuring with Cards," " New Coin Tricks,'' &c., &c.

Fig. 5-

MECHANICAL DEVICES for PALMING, &c.

Improved "Spider" Vanishers.—After considerable trouble I have succeeded in producing a '' Spider'' with compressionable (spring) clips which enables the performer, whether possessing a large or a small hand, to keep the fingers quite close together throughout the manipulation, thus making detection impossible. This improved '' Spider '' is complete in itself for vanishing any particular object as under.

The form of the '' Spider " and method of fixing i.t to the hand, is shown in fig. 5. The plate that carries the various accessories revolves freely on the wires and is passed to the back of the hand by a movement of the two middle fingers, as in the case of the coin in A New Reverse Palm (see '' New Coin Tricks," by Ellis Stan-yon , first series). This work also contains a full and clear description of the great coin act entitled, "The Miser's Dream," performed without the aid of apparatus.

When required to vanish a handkerchief the apparatus takes the form of "A" in Fig. 6., one end of the half round box being fitted with an immovable end, if required to change one handkerchief for another the same form of box is used but in this case it is fitted at the centre with a black silk bag, which, at the will of performer, forms a bottom common to either end : its use will be obvious.

In the case of a single coin the coin itself is attached to and revolves freely on the wire (see "B" in Fig. 6. A novel form of '' Spider'' for a single coin is that shown at " D " in the Fig. In this case one wire only is used, and this is provided with a skeleton ring made to fit the forefinger of performer. This is a very practical piece.

In the case of a number of coins the "Spider" is fitted with a round box constructed after the style of a sovereign purse. For plan of box see " C " in Fig. 6.

A Candle Lighter may also be attached to this form of " Spider " with advantage. Fig. 6.

For causing the disappearance of a Cork, a Cork Ball, Cork Egg, and the like, the '' Spider '' is provided with two sharp pins which stick into the object and hold it securely.

The ingenuity of my readers will doubtless suggest other uses for the '' Spider,'' in which case I shall be glad to hear of them for publication in Magic.

Another form of '' Spider '' also four novel Spider Coins will be found described and illustrated at p. 18 of " New Coin Tricks," by Ellis Stanyon (2nd series).

Ascending Cards.—Give the pack to a lad and ask him to present it to three persons severally to chose a card each. Relieve him of the pack, and get him to collect the chosen cards, placing each face downwards in his hand. Note the order in which they are placed ; now present the pack to him fanwise and ask him to put them in somewhere about the middle ; make pass and bring them to the top. The card of the last drawer will be the top one. Now attach a wax pellet at the end of a short black silk thread attached to your vest button, to the back of card and close to top or bottom edge, and place pack in a glass goblet, pellet end downwards. Ask the last drawer to name his card, when the action of moving the glass slightly from the body will cause the card to rise, remove the card and detach pellet retaining it under finger nail. Take out pack to show glass. Again attach pellet, and replace pack in glass. Second person's card called for rises Take out card as before, and remove pack from the glass which latter you place on the table. Palm the remaining top card and give pack to one of the audience to shuffle. On its return replace palmed card on top, and let your manner imply that the trick is finished—You may say '' I have shown all the cards now, I think." The first drawer will intimate that his card did not rise—Apologise, and say that the cards having been so much mixed, you are afraid the third one is lost entirely : you will, however, make an effort to find it. Take the pack in the right hand, fingers on one side and thumb on the other (faces to audience) and in such a manner that the forefinger is resting on the back card. The fore-finger, having been slightly moistened, pushes up the rear card, i.e. the first card chosen, gradually, the effect being as if it actually rose from the centre of the pack.

G. R. REEVES, Australia.

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