Appendix The Billet Switch

The move that I am about to describe is my method of exchanging one piece of paper for another. Please note how the paper is folded. This is the normal "billet fold" and measures about 2h" x 3VS, but the length and width varies *Tith the size of the performer's hand. The left hand plays no part in the exchange.

For purposes 01: illustration, we shall refer to the billets as the white billet and the black billet: they are so shown in the illustrations.

The white billet should be placed along the inner surface of the second finger of the right hand. It is held in place by exerting pressure on the ends of the billet with the first joint and base of the finger. When in plaee, the hand should look normal and relaxed. The fingers are slightly curved. See Figure 3.

Mechanics of the Exchange: With the white billet in position as illustrra-*'' ted in Figure 3, the black billet is placed on top of the white billet, but about 1 inch forward. This black-billet: -should-extend-©veir—che end of the second-finger-^abou-t ^„dnch. It is this billet that is seen by the audience. The thumb of right hand presses on both billets at the first joint of the second finger. See Figure 4.

The first finger of the right hand lies alon^, the top edges of the billets and the third finger of right hand lies along the bottom edges of the billets. By their positions, these finders form a track for the edges of the billets to slide along. They also cause the billets to stay in correct alignment during movement. See Figure 5.

With billets in position (Figure 5), one should move the second finger back to a position \ inch from the top of the white billet (Figure 6). As the second finger is drawn back, a slight pressure is exerted along the edges of the billets by the first and third fingers (see Figure 5). This nressure keeps the billets in place.

To exchange the billets, one simply pushes down and forward with the second finger, and at the same time nulls dorm and back with the thumb. The action described pushes the white billet forward to where it extends over the end of the second finger about Sg inch. The black billet is pulled back to where it occupies the same relative position as that occupied by the white billet prior to its being pushed forward. The exchange is now complete (see Figure 7).

Psychology of the Exchange: Please bear in nind that the exchange I have just described is not a trick and that it should not be treated as one. The mental attitude and movements should be those of simply reaching over to the left, removing the piece of- paper from the top of the glass, and handing it to someone to read. The actual exchange, including the pulling back of the second finger, is made as the hand and arm move forward to hand the paper to a spectator to read. During this action the nerformer is talking to the spectator and his eyes should be on this person and not on his hand. As soon as the spectator removes the naper from the performer's hand, he drops it normally to his side. The exchanged billet in the hand is held in the same position as sho'Tri in Figure 3. One should not be in a hurry to get rid of this billet. If one has acted normally and correctly executed the mechanics of the move, there is no reason for anyone to suspect that there is anything in the performer's right hand. Needless to say, both during the switch and after its completion, the audience is never allowed to see inside the palm of the hand. In billet switching, one should never make an effort to show his hands empty and never make an obvious effort to hide the fact that he might be concealing something in his hand.


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