Barril Richardson

inside the lemon. Use a small quantity of clcar glue to stick the pip back in place and let it dry.

•' So mudi for the lemon: now for the rest of the preparation! Take three letter envelopes and into two of them place a piece of newspaper, cut to the same size as the bill and folded in quarters. Leave the third envelope empty, but made its flap with a large pencil dot • .

Take the rorn quarter of the pre- $ pared bill and fold over the border of its long untom edge. Stack the envelope» with the marked one on top, seam sides up; then place the quarter bill between die top and middle envelopes, with it* folded border resting over the top right edge of the marked envelope. Slip this packet under die clip of a ball-point pen (Figure 3). The pen holds the stack of envelopes and comer securely and safely until you need them.

Take a small tin box (alternatively; you cnuld use a cardboard box, a paper or cloth bag, or any other container that closes and is opaque) and inside place the lemon, a small knife and two feet of toilet tissue.

Finally» you will need a lighter and a safe receptacle in which to bum the envelopes. All these props are placed on your performing table. The performance can now begin.

"How many people in this room haw heard ofHoudini* Everyone, right! Do you know where he got his name? As 1 understand it, he took part ofthe name of the most famous magician of the nineteenth century\ Robert-Houdbu and added an i, making HoudinL

Robert-f loudm was a mechanical genius. As a young man. he worked for a watchmaker. One day he went to the library to borrow an advanced book on watchmaking. By mistake he came away with a magic book. He read it and decided he could make better illusions than those described, to he studied and developed fresh ideas.

'By the time he was forty he had become tht rage of the continent. He built his own theater in Paris and his show was a sellout. He was the Disneyland of his day—or better—The Phantom of the Opera.

1Robert-Houdin performed miracles. Whenever you see a modern magician suspend a person in the airp or transform a silk handkerchief into a bird or many



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other firing* the origin often goes back to Robert-Houdhx. He made automata., transparent clocks, and he used electricity tn ways never thought of before. . , "He did two tricks that u-ere especially captivating, first was thefamous bul-ler-catching stunt He invited anyone in the audience to mark a bullet with a knife, so that, it could be identified later. The gun was loaded and Robert-Houdin .would aim it at his son, ivho stood twenty feet away across rhe stage.

'As he fired the gun the boy fell backward to the floor. The audience gasped in horror, but all was well because after a few seconds he jumped up again, tlx bullet gripped between his teeth. It was the same marked bullet. Exciting right?

"One night he Ijad the bullet marked: he loaded the gun, raised it and fired The boy fill to the floor—dead A terrible accident. Afier that, Robert-Houdin closed down the show and retired [Pause.] Tonight, I need a volunteer!"

The above preamble is nor something I always include in my presentation, but when I judge it will be acccptable (which ii often is) I like to put it in. Requesting a volunteer always garners alaugh> particularly when said in a loud voice, after delivering the previous speech in a low, dramatic rone.

"Don't worry! We aren't going to do that stunt. The second trick, the secret of which he took to the grave with him, was called 'Magic of the Mind 7 will attempt to duplicate this tonight, exactly as it was performed by Robert-Houdin."

Start by picking up the tin box and hand the box to a woman in rhe audicnce, with a request that she keep it tighdy closed for rhe time being You make no mendon of its contents.

Gentlemen, please open your wallets and fjand me a one dollar bill "After some good-humored banter, several men in the audience will produce bills. Take a couple of them and, holding one in each hand, address rhe lenders, "Which one do you want back?" Let the audience decide and return the nominated one. Fold the remaining bill into quarters. 'I lien pick up the stack of envelopes from the table, remove the pen from them and place it into your outer breast pocket. Hold the envelopes in your right hand and place rhe borrowed, folded bill, which you have kept clearly in sight all rhe while, on top of them and under the folded-over lip of the torn corner (Figure 4, next page). Now take the packet into your left hand, holding the bill in place with your left thumb. Again, take care that the bill never leaves the audiences sight. The ostensible reason tor holding the money in this manner is to free your right hand, ^o that it can point to the serial number (which you have left exposed) during the following speech.

'If those gentlemen who still have bills out care to look at tl>em, they will all notice that each has a serial number consisting ofeiglnfigures and two letters. Every bill has its own fingerprint."

Bapjue Richardson

bill (figure 5). Engaging the folded edge of the corner with the bill in.sidc the fbkl and your thumb on top of it makes the addition pf the comer an easy task .The addition completed, put the envelopes onto the\cable, leaving them in full view.

Address a nearby gentleman: "Willyou help met Please readout the numbers on this bill in your manty voice. "Turn the bill over and extend it toward him, so that he actually reads the digits on the detached comer. You will find that, provided the bill is not new {and as you had several to choose from earlier, you can easily guard against this) it is almost impossible for anyone to tell that it is not the genuine comer.

"We want to make the btil ei>en more recognizable. I need a man of integrity Who do we trust?"This question usually causes some amusement.

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