EFFECT: A ring is borrowed and a rubber band is examined. After it has been confirmed that everything is as it should be, the ring is visibly linked onto the rubber band, and then visibly snapped off, twice in succession. In each case the linking is done in full view, and the ring is clearly seen to be linked onto the band.
COMMENTS: This has grown into my favorite impromptu routine these days. The concept belongs to Bill Kalush, who showed me his "Rubber Ringer" routine years ago, and which Richard Kaufman printed in RICHARDS ALMANAC in September, 1983.1 loved the effect, but could only remember the key grip he used to create the illusion of the ring linked to the rubber band.
I toyed with the handling for some time, and eventually came up with six different phases for linking and unlinking the ring, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I eventually narrowed it down to the two phases included here, plus one alternate phase. The great news is that after I showed my ideas to several friends, they in turn improved further on the ideas to the point that I am ecstatic with the results. Everything fits together just as I like it to, with each phase building upon the next, both confirming links and cancelling techniques.
PROCEDURES: The ideal rubber band is a #19, 3-1/2" (9cm) in length by 1/32" (1mm) by 1/16" (2mm). Certain rings are better than others for the most deceptive linking. I do not use rings with large stones, or large "school-type" rings. These, because of the way you have to hold the ring and band during the linking, prevent a clear view of the rubber band passing through the center of the ring. The best rings are also relatively thin at their most narrow points, allowing you to easily pinch the rubber band around the ring for certain displays.
PHASE ONE: In this phase, you will basically use the original Kalush grip, but with a different lead-in, penetration, and grip on the band. Begin with the ring deep on the left little finger, with the band stretched between the left little finger and thumb.
The right thumb and index finger take the ring by its most narrow point, and move it off the finger and onto the center of the band between the two fingers (FIG. 1). Still holding the ring by the thumb and index finger, the right hand places the middle, third, and ffi^i^^y index fingers over the bottom strand of the band.
This is done through the middle of the band, in the section on the far side of the ring from you (FIG. 2). Insert these three fingers through this section all the way up to the second joint.
Rotate your right hand palm-up to bring the right fingers up to the lower strand of the band on the side of the ring closest to you. However, instead of putting all three fingers through the band, only insert the middle and third finger back through (FIGS. 3 and 4). In this way, when you get into the final display position, the band will apparently be looped around the right little finger, instead of disappearing for no reason into the right hand. I find this small difference from the Kalush handling to be quite important.
To obtain the best illusion posible of the ring being on the band, it is important that the ring is held at the very tip of the right thumb and forefinger. The easiest way to insure this is to grasp the ring with your left thumb and forefinger and pull it out to the tip of your forefinger (FIG. 5). Now the right thumb can once again join the forefinger in gripping the ring.
Holding onto the ring and band in this way, stretch the left thumb and little finger apart; then allow the left forefinger to enter the band and take the place of the little finger. You will find you will be able to conceal the bottom strand of the band along the tip of the right thumb and forefinger, creating the impression that only a single strand of the band passes through the ring. Kalush's concept behind this grip (which motivated further thoughts on the effect itself) is true genius. Aside from the fact that the right hand retains its hold on the ring, this creates the perfect illusion of a borrowed ring linked onto the center of a rubber band. It is wonderful!
Do not, however, show the ring linked at this point. This bit of handling was provided from my long-time friend from West Virginia (who is also one of the best unknown close-up magicians in the country), Gary Plants. Instead of immediately displaying the link, Gary holds the ring above the top strand of the band (FIG. 6). When this is done correctly, it will seem as if you have just stretched the band out and are holding the ring above the top strand (FIG. 7).
As I maneuver the ring and band into this position, I say,"Not only will I let you see the ring link onto the rubber band, 17/ also let you hear the linking take place. Watch:, and listen closely. One...Two...Three!"
As you count, you act as if you are tapping the ring against the top strand of the band with each count. Actually, the top strand is underneath the very tip of the thumb and forefinger holding onto the ring (FIG. 8). On the count of three, however, allow the top strand (the one stretched between the left thumb and forefinger) to snap around the fingers into the center of the ring (FIG. 9). Slowly,
slide the ring up and down the strand of the band. As this is done, "wobble" the ring back and forth to clearly display the band going through the center of the ring. During this phase it is important to hold the ring at the very tips of the fingers, leaving as much of the center of the ring unobscured as possible, to present a clear view of the band passing through the center of the ring. Although the grip may seem tight and a little difficult to get into, you will quickly learn it and be able to present a totally angle-proof view of a single strand going through the center of the ring.
rubber band with the left thumb (FIG. 11). This allows both sides of the band to pass back through the ring. However, as you will notice, the right index finger is contacting the band against the far side of the ring. Keep pressing this finger and the piece of the band against the ring. The left thumb now swings down inside the band, in front of the three right fingers that are still keeping it open (FIG. 12). The left thumb swings around the right fingers, wrapping the band around the back of the ring to create the illusion that the ring is still on the band. (FIG. 13).
"/4s you can very clearly see, the ring is unquestionably linked onto the rubber band, which passes through the center of the ring. But the illusion is a temporary one. I'll ?iow actually let you see the rubber band pass visibly through the metal and clear from the ring."
Now you unlink the ring in a very visual manner. Open your right second and third fingers. One of the strands will spring free (FIG. 10). Keep hold of the ring with the right forefinger and thumb, as you also let go of the
Completely release the band with your left hand and let it dangle. It looks just like the band is hanging on the ring (FIG. 14).
Reinsert your left forefinger and thumb into the band (refer to FIG. 13). Stretch the bottom strand away from you, causing the top, pinched strand to stretch, as if you were going to shoot the ring from a sling shot (FIG. 15). With the ring pointed directly at the spectators, the top of the band seems to be pressed against the upper inside edge of the ring. To cause what seems to be a visible penetration from the front side of the ring, simply release the pressure on the band with the tips of the right fingers, allowing it to quickly shoot around, free from the ring. Be sure to hold the ring firmly here! When done correctly, the illusion is perfect.
PHASE TWO: "just in case you aren 't convinced, VII do it one more time. But before 1 do, let me show you the band on all sides, the ring, and both hands. Now, just by touching the ring onto the band, I make it melt
through the band, creating a perfect link. But as always, it is a temporary illusion, because just as quickly, it pops back off and into your hand."
As you say the above lines, perform the following procedures. Put the ring onto the tip of your right forefinger. Hold the band stretched around the left fingers (FIG. 16). Notice in the illustration that the left middle finger is on the outside of the band; this is to help hold the band with tension on it in a certain way. Once you get into this grip, use your right second, third, and little fingers to pull the strand between the left forefinger and thumb up very tightly, and retain __™.. v„t the tension on the lower section of the band with the left finSers <refer t0 nG- 16)' Release the uPPer strand, and you will find the section between the thumb and forefinger will have the majority of the slack that the band has to offer.
Grip the ring with the forefinger and thumb of the right hand, and hold it above the upper strand. (FIG. 17) Do not have the very tips of forefinger and thumb pressed completely together yet. They are, in fact, poised to press together, because you are about to pinch the band through the center of the ring again.
To get into the grip with a minimum of motion, press down on the strand of band between the left forefinger and thumb, the section which you worked the extra slack into. Press down on the strand with enough pressure to allow you to tightly pinch the band with the tips of the fingers through the center of the rubber band. Your grip on the ring should be such that the very tips of the fingers meet right at the center of the ring (FIG. 18).
As soon as you have the band pinched, return the top strand to a parallel position between the forefinger and thumb. Pause for a beat, with the strand passing right through the very center of the ring (FIG. 19). Again, you are in one of the traditional grips for the standard ring on rope moves, yet as you are here using the rubber band, you are able to perform a beautiful addition to the deceptive-ness of the grip. FIGS. 20 and 21 show how the ring can now be passed back and forth along the rubber band, apparently showing the band traveling freely through the center of the ring. What actually takes place is that the band is stretching and contracting on either side of the ring, where you have it pinched. However, because of the slack in the strand, the illusion of the band remaining stationary as the ring passes along it is flawless!
To conclude, once again release the band completely with your left hand, allowing it to dangle on the ring. Then perform the unlink as described in the first phase, and drop the borrowed ring back into the hands of the spectator who loaned it to you.
I certainly hope you practice this well, because if you do, you will have a priceless routine for use any time, any place, for groups of up to 100 people as well as for one-on-one!
ALTERNATE PHASE: I worked real hard to perfect this phase, yet I still fell prey to Dai Vernon's observation: "MAGICIAN'S STOP THINKING TOO SOON!"
It took Mike Giles, from Visalia, California, to come up with what was literally "the missing link" Basically, you will be doing the handling from Harry Lorayne's "Snap" from REPUTATION MAKERS, but doing it with the ring on the center of the rubber band.
Begin with the ring on the tip of the right index finger, and the rubber band stretched between the index finger and thumb of the right hand. The left hand moves the ring to the middle of the band (FIG. 22).
Continuing the action, the left hand lets go of the ring, as the thumb pushes the rubber band away from you, with the thumb above the ring (FIG. 23). The right thumb and index finger now pinch together and twist away from you. When you do this, the end of the band slips off of the right thumb, and onto the index finger (FIG. 24). As you will notice, the
band creates an "x" as it is pinched between thp thumbs and forefingers of both hands, with the ring resting inside the left section of the "x".
The right middle finger now goes into the section of the "x" that contains the ring, and works it over to the right (FIG. 25). (Don't go into the right side of the "x", as I constantly tried to do, because this won't work For a long time I was just a quarter of an inch away from "the missing link!") This allows the right thumb and index finger to grip together what will be the two ends of the band. When done correctly, you will end up with the situation shown in FIG. 26.
Essentially, what you have done is to take the two loop ends of the rubber band between the index finger and thumb of the right hand, and the center of the band between the pinched thumb and index finger of the left hand. By stretching the band tight and kneading it between the fingers, you will work the two strands of the band together so they appear to be a single strand. It will take a bit of work to make sure the strands of the band are flush together, creating the perfect illusion, but when the knack is acquired, you will be well rewarded.
As I manipulate the rubber band and ring into this position, I say: "What I am about to do is create a beautiful but temporary, piece of magic. Beautiful because all I have to do is toss, and the ring visibly links onto the center of the rubber band. As you can see, the ring is unquestionably on the center of the band, and the band is definitely through the center of your solid ring.
"But I also said the magic is only temporary; because just as quickly as the ring went onto the band, it also melts back off, leaving the rubber band perfectly unharmed."
I should also mention why I stress the temporary aspect in the presentation. I do this because in many close-up situations you might be asked to hand out the ring and band in a linked condition, to be examined. Under structured performing situations you might not be asked to do this, but the illusion is so strong, it would seem a natural next step to hand it all out. By qualifying it up front as a temporary illusion, you don't need to side-step the issue later on.
To unlink the ring, gather the whole works into the left hand, make a flourishing gesture, and reach into the left hand with the right fingers. Quickly encircle all the fingers of the right hand with the rubber band and remove the band from the left hand with it stretched wide, still clearly unbroken. For some time I used this as an opening phase, and ended it by acting as if I had to break the band, letting the ring slide off one end, and having the band (with both strands pulled taut as one.) snap back into the other hand. I then made a gesture to restore the band. After long thought, however, I'm now certain that this breaking and restoration is much better when saved for the kicker at the end of a routine. Please resist the temptation to use it too soon.
Now, is that ring on the rubber band, or what? Bill Kalush is the mastermind that first conceived of this beautiful effect.
During the late 70's, I ate and drank with those doves, and I suppose if I hadn't accidentally built their cage too big to remove from the basement, I'd have slept with them too!
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