Classic Renditions

THE THUMBHP BILL SWITCH

COMMENTS: Mike Koslowski caused quite a stir during the late seventies when he published his One Hundred Dollar Bill Switch. I remember getting his manuscript as soon as it came out, and 1 immediately added the effect to my show. When the local newspaper reviewed the dinner theatre show I gave at the Bridgegate Dinner Theatre in 1978, the accompanying photo was one of me performing the One Hundred Dollar Bill Switch,

Since that time I have seen many magicians perform the technique, and I even printed Roger Klause's handling in ENCORE?). In Roger's hands, of course, it come as close to magic as humans can get, and while I love changing ones into hundreds and turning money inside out with this technique, I consider Roger's effect, "The Name Is The Same," a brilliant use of the switch. In fact, it is probably the most underused gem of ENCORE 3.

So, the student familiar with either Roger Klause's handling, or the Koslowski handling, will find no new folding procedures here. After all, how many ways are there to fold a bill into sixteenths? But by the same token, I am aware of what "info-junk" is, and I would not print this information if I did not truly feel the thinking behind my technique was significant, and that the detailed finesse I could reveal was not printed anywhere else.

I evolved the finesse, covering gestures, and philosophy used during the switch in the early eighties. During video reviews of my techniques, I noticed the bill visible to the audience going completely out of sight during the taking off and replacement of the thumbtip. Not that this was a horrible problem, mind you, because this brief moment was covered by the natural movements of folding and unfolding the bill

So, you might ask, if the movements were natural, and the bill dipped just out of sight for a fraction of a second, why worry? I chose to worry for a couple of reasons. First, I can't help but give laymen credit for having intelligence. Surely, any reasonable person who sees someone fold up a one dollar bill into a tiny packet, only to unfold it to reveal a one hundred dollar bill, could only have one basic train of thought: "I wonder where MY one dollar bill went, and WHERE did he get THAT hundred?"

I don't mean to burst any bubbles, and I am not a magical pessimist. But surely you can't hope people will really believe that you have magically transformed a one into a hundred, can you? But thinking logically and reasonably doesn't mean the matter is hopeless. Quite the contrary. Uncovering their most likely guess for the method used is crucial to effective deception. Knowing their hope for an explanation is going to be, "He must have switched it...," tells you exactly what train of thought you are going to have to cancel out in order to truly give them a magical experience.

Since I KNOW they are going to try and rationalize the magic by the very human method of switching one bill for another, I now know exactly what train of thought my technique, as well as my presentation, has to eliminate as a possibility. 1 know that key aspects of my presentation should create convenient garden paths for the spectator's minds, paths that make switching one bill for another seem logically impossible. Technically, I know procedures that leave open the door to the "switch" explanation are to be avoided at all cost

If you think about it, the One Hundred Dollar BUI Switch is actually a technical marvel. Under the limited cover provided by the simple process of folding a bill four times at the fingertips, you accomplish a surprising number of deceptive moves. First, you take off a plastic thumb, then you switch the bill out of the thumbtip for the bill at the fingertips, and finally, you stuff the borrowed bill inside of the plastic tip before pushing it back onto the thumb! And this is done undetected, right under the nose of the spectator. Not only that, but you do this by saying, "DON'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF THE BILL/' Pretty amazing.

Now, just imagine the impact of the magic made possible by this technique if the only possible explanation seemed utterly impossible. Mind-boggling transformations, clinical transportations, and impossible restorations resort when you take their only hope for an explanation away from them. If your technique and delivery are so sound that any witness to your miracle would attest to the clinical conditions that created it, you will have achieved something wonderful. If they can't say, to themselves or anyone else, "He must have switched it...," you will have given them something to talk about for years!

The Professor once asked me what effect from my repertoire would I still do if I were really magic. After a full evening of thinking, the only things I would still do, afterall of these years as a magician, would be the One Hundred Dollar Bill Switch, and The Miser's Dream. The effects appeal to people on a gut level. It hits them where they live. Can you think of any other magic effects the average layman might wish they could do? It isn't easy, is it? That level of appeal is very difficult to find.

Desiring the impact this technique might result in, every facet of the delivery and procedures you are about to read is an attempt to create the impression that the forward bUI has never left their view. In fact, during the technical phase I even say, "Don't take you eyes off of the bill, not even for a second. i have already UAd you ¡¿'Hit I am going to do, so don't even blink. I'll move very slowly, keeping the bill at the very tips of my fingers. Don't take your eyes off of it..."

The key to the handling I have developed is to break down the move of taking off and replacing the thumbtip into two movements, instead of just one.

basically it, along with the valuable tip of overlapping one fold in such a way that the entire process can now be done without looking at the bills during the switching procedure. The factor is significant for two reasons. One involves a new esoteric concept called the "gaze," while the other involves spectator psychology.

The "gaze" is a term derived from film theory. It is the notion that the nature of our interest as we look at something is expressed in our face and our eyes, and this is evident to others watching us. For example, a tourist would view Rome with a "tourist's gaze," while the Romans would view it with a "familiar gaze," and the difference between these two "gazes" is usually obvious to others.

This applies to magic in this case, as the performer can inappropriately convey what might be called a "performer'sgaze." This look of concentration then stands in contrast to the simplicity of the folding task as they see it, and betrays the objectives of the magician.

But there is also a definite physical differencebetween looking at a specific something being done behind the bill, and looking at the bill itself. What is interesting is that if you decide to test this asser tion by watching yourself perform the switch in a mirror, you will find it impossible to verify. The only way you can actually see the difference in the direction of your gaze is to video tape yourself performing the switch. This test usually proves that, not only will the nature of our gaze reflect a functional difference, but there will be a physical discrepancy in the direction of our look. In short, youll be looking in the wrong place in the wrong way.

Another reason why I feely ou should look at the viewers as you perform the switch is because of the psychological implications behind your need to look at the bill as you fold it. Are you looking there because you are doing something technically demanding? Is something requiring detailed attention taking place? Of course, both assumptions would be true, but these are the last things that you want them to realize. After all, how difficult a task should folding up a bill be? If you are changing a one into a hundred, wouldn't that be something you had done before? Wouldn't you have done it so many times that you could do it in your sleep? I think that folding up the bill would be so secondary to me, that I wouldn't need to look at the bill at all. Like driving a car with a clutch, I would have so ingrained the process, that every move was done subconsciously, leaving my conscious mind free for the truly important matters, such as who is watching, where is their interest and when do they do what?

One final thought before detailing the technical aspects of this switch, I want to address the issue of the bills being switched. The most obvious option is to switch a bill of one value for that of another value, but there are also cases where you might switch a bill of one value for another bill of the same value, such as Roger Klause does in his "TheName Is The Same." Another possibility of note is the Howard Lyons "Mismade Bill," which is a one dollar bill that has been cut to create the appearance of a bill that has been turned inside out

The reason I feel it necessary to consider what bills are being switched, is because this largely influences the moment during the procedures that the audience realizes the switch has taken place. In foreign countries, the different colors used for different denominations of bills make the transformation instantly obvious, even when the bills are still folded into sixteenths. On the other hand, when using the Mismade Bill, the moment the magic takes place can be delayed for three full unfolding moments. In this case, you can make it seem as if the magic happened to a bill only folded in half. A spectator reconstructing the event in an effort to discover a method, might naturally assume you would need to be hiding a second bill folded in half; a possibility they might easily discard.

If your delivery makes the moment of magic take place the instant the bill is folded into sixteenths, or if you are switching objects that are visibly different, even when folded into sixteenths, then I believe people reconstructing your magic may more easily believe it possible to conceal something as tiny as a bill folded into sixteenths.

As a performing philosophy, I feel the further you separate the revelation of the effect from the method that created it, the more difficult it is to reconstruct the method. Using time as a method to conceal other methods is an interesting notion. For this reason I prefer to use the Mismade Bill when performing the thumbtip switch. The delayed revelation of the effect satisfies my theoretical side, butby no means do I limit myself to this application alone. Do the switch as described with any bill of the right size, regardless of color, and you can switch it for any other bill with confidence.

PROCEDURES: To fold the bill going inside the thumbtip, begin by holding it with the face of the bill away fromyou. Fold the left half of the bill forward, and complete the fold. Continue folding the bill into quarters, by folding the bottom half forward and up. Make these two folds crisp and precise. It is now, during the third fold, that you set the stage for easily handling later in the routine. The third fold, into eighths, is made slightly off center. FIG. 1 shows how the left half of the quartered bill has been folded forward, with the half folded forward being longer by about the width of the white border of the bill. This overhang on the right side should be no more than about one-

should have no trouble staying on your left hand, because of the angle of the hand moving away. To prevent the right-hand band from popping off, the thumb should be held as straight as possible, but the index finger calls on support from the middle finger. The pad of the right middle finger holds the band against the base of the index fingernail (FIG. 4). Look closely at this figure, because it is exact. Notice the middle finger is not hooked onto the rubber band. For the moment, it just rests there.

Continue separating the hands, with the right hand moving back toward you. As it does, the right index finger and thumb start to move toward one another. Nntice in FIG. 5, the middle finger Still JUSt pinches the band between itself and the top of the index finger.

The middle finger does not enter the loop from the opposite side. It simply braces the band against the index finger. The index finger, meanwhile, can move out from under the tension of the stretched band, because it is no longer what keeps the band from popping off. Rather, the band remains held by the tip of the middle finger (FIG. 6).

If you wanted to, you could remove your right index finger entirely, while the middle finger supports the band. But you are in the position for less than one second. The index finger now moves down toward the right thumb, and begins to move into the opening the thumb is in, going into the hole in the same direction as the thumb (FIG. 7). This is the big moment of the move. Notice the middle finger still just pinches the upper strand against the top of the index finger. It doesn't take the band fully onto it, although it could have. All you want is very temporary support while the index finger moves back and out of the upper half of the rubber band, and into the right thumb's opening of the band.

Aa the (eft hand moves away from you, the right in<iex fin ger starts to move toward the thumb. The position the right middle finger is crucial! It supports Y.u band on top of the index finger, allowing it to move on loward the thumb.

The right middle fingertip fully supports the upper strand the right-hand The right index finger is almost touching the thumb, and is prepared to move into opening of the band that the thumb is in.

The right middle fingertip fully supports the upper strand the right-hand The right index finger is almost touching the thumb, and is prepared to move into opening of the band that the thumb is in.

eighth of an inch. More of a ledge is unnecessary, and too much overhang makes it difficult to get the bill all of the way into the thumbtip later.

This uneven fold is what makes later unfolding the bill so much easier, which is, of course, entirely intentional It will be during that particular unfold that you will be putting the thumbtip back on, and if you can initiate that unfold by pushing against that ledge with the back of the right fingernails, you can focus your attention elsewhere. Always use this overlap as you fold the bills, including the bills you borrow.

Continue by folding the packet seen in FIG. 1 into sixteenths by folding the bottom half up, again making this fold crisp and precise. Load this bill into the thumbtip by placing the pad of the right thumb on the one-sixteenth of the bill, leaving one-quarter of an inch in view off of the end of the thumb (FIG. 2). The bottom of the "V" is pointing downward. This allows the bill to enter the thumbtip completely, yet if you pull the thumbtip off, the bill would come along with the thumb in perfect control position.

No matter whose method for the switch you use, the actual switching of the bills is easier to do if the borrowed bill has been pre-folded and creased along the same lines used during the switch. A well-folded bill is far easier to load into the thumbtip than one haphazardly creased during a demanding switch-out maneuver. By pre-folding the bill under some logical patter line, you can pay increased attention to the folds,

being very meticulous and precise. After all, you aren't doing anything deceptive during the pre-fold, and by comparison your casual attention during the switching folds will seem particularly offhand. Make certain to put a good crease into the borrowed bill as it goes into sixteenths, because this is when the new bill will be coming into view later on.

I still pre-fold the bill using the patter presentation printed in ENCORE 3, where I talk about the first trick I

ever learned. J,WouIdyou like to leant the difference between doing tricks and doing magic? Yes? Great! In order to do that, of course, 1 have to first show you what a trick looks like, so that when you see the magic, you will know the difference. The trick I'll show you is the first one 1 ever learned. When 1 was a kid growing up in West Virginia, there weren't any magic shops, but we did have

Liteerios, and when 1 was six years old, they taught a simple trick on the back of one of the boxes. You might even know it^MTself. It's the one where you fold a bill Up pur times, right at the tips of your fingers..."

When foidhiR the borrowed bill, be sure to keep your upper body relaxed. Flexing your shoulders and bringing the bill up in front of your face to fold it can make the technique vulnerable to bad angles. For better control over the angles, keep the bill in front of your chest (FIG. 3). At all times, keep as much of the bill visible as possible. Notice that even when displaying the bill full face forward, the bill is only held by its margin. The thumbtip is on the right thumb, loaded with the bill to be switched in.

Begin by folding the left half of the borrowed bill away from you, and continue by folding the bottom half of the folded bill up, quartering the bill. In FIG. 4, you will notice the bill is held by the very tips of the fingers, keeping as much of the bill in view as possible. In folding the bottom half of the bill up, the bill is held by both index fingers and thumbs, with the middle fingers kicking up the bottom half from behind.

Original techniques called for the thumbtip to be taken off as the approaching third fold

is completed. However, requiring these combined results from a single movement is what caused the bill to dip out of sight. Instead, I have worked out a gesturing motion that allows me to remove the thumb tip first, before completing the third fold. This point is so important I have tried to illustrate it from every angle (FIGS. 5 through 13).

Before i[.!£;, remember that the borrowed bill has been p^Ncre^.std, so all you would need to do to fold this bill into eighths is to pinch the quartered bill at the crease in its center. The left hand approaches the bill to do just that in FIG. 5. As it approaches, the left fingers are naturally curled in, with the curl of the fingers increasing toward the little finger, giving the hand a tapered look, which is shown clearly in FIGS. 10 and 11. *

The left thumb seems ready to pinch the bill between itself and the first two fingers (FIG. 6), and almost completes this movement What actually happens is the left half of the quartered bill starts its fold forward, but before the left hand pinching of the bill occurs, the right thumb shoots to the left, moving the thumbtip to a position where it can be clipped between the base of the left index and middle fingers, and the tips of these fingers. FIGS. 7 and 8 show the tip moving into the left hand, and how the left half of the bill has been folded forward without the fold being completed. As the thumbtip is removed, the bill you will be switching in is retained by the pad of the right thumb, and left concealed behind the borrowed bill (FIG. 8).

FIG. 9 shows how the tip is held between the base of the left index and middle fingers. Be careful not to close the fingers too tightly, or to curl the left thumb outward in a hitchhiker's gesture. FIG. 10 shows how the right hand moves away from the left for just an instant, to gesture with the borrowed bill. The extra bill is behind the borrowed bill, and the thumbtip is hidden along the left index and middle fingers.

It is this casual gesture with the borrowed bill that covers the breakdown of the thumbtip removal into two steps. This seemingly offhand gesture is combined with a verbal reminder that the bill will never leave their sight. In FIG. 11, the left hand now pinches the crease down the middle of the quartered bill by the smallest margin possible, as the now empty right hand gestures an emphasis to words such as, "...sodon't even blink!"As the left hand pinches the crease down the middle of

the quartered bill, folding it into eighths, notice that the entire front panel of that eighth of the bill remains in full view to the audience.

FIG. 12 shows an overview of the situation in FIG. 11. FIG. 13 shows a close-up of how the extra bill has been taken by the left hand, along with the borrowed bill. You will notice that I keep the extra bill away from the edge of the borrowed bill, taking advantage of all cover available.

FIG. 14 shows the final fold of the borrowed bill about to take place, with the leftthumb removed for illustration purposes. It is as this last fold is completed, that the extra bill is brought into vu:w. Begin by matching the left-hand grip with the right. Both hands pinch their edges of the bill between the thumb and index finger, in preparation for folding the bottom half of the borrowed bill forward and up with the middle fingers. Take particular care here to keep as much of the bill visible as possible.

In switching the bills during this final fold, the thumbs move the extra bill, still folded into sixteenths, down and flush with the bottom half of the borrowed bill. Kick the extra bill, and bottom half of the borrowed bill/ up and forward with the middle fingers of both hands. At this point, both bills will be folded into sixteenths, with the extra bill now in front of the borrowed bill. Do not, however, look at or focus your body energy toward the bills at this point, and don't script your patter to indicate that this is the moment the magic happens. Instead, immediately use the tip of the right middle finger to unfold the front sixteenth of the extra bill (FIG. 15). This opens the extra bill into eighths, while hiding the borrowed bill, which is still in sixteenths.

Subtle, yet specific and necessary shifts of the bill and fingers prepare you for loading the bor- . rowed bill into the thumbtip. Immediately following the unfold in FIG. 15, the pad of the right thumb moves the borrowed bill fractionally up and left, to prevent its edges from revealing themselves, and the leftthumb takes responsibility for holding it behind the extra bill. The right hand lets go of the bill in preparation for the next unfold, which, because of our premeditated overlapping, it can do with unmatched ease.

FIG. 14 shows the final fold of the borrowed bill about to take place, with the leftthumb removed for illustration purposes. It is as this last fold is completed, that the extra bill is

In FIG. 16, the right hand keeps its naturally tapered look, just swinging back enough for the back of the right fingertips to push forward on the overlapped edge of the extra b0. This initiates the third unfold, as the pad of the right thumb presses against the borrowed bill in thumbtip loading position. This is the same position used in loading the extra bill into the thumbtip at the start of the routine., leaving one-quarter of an inch of the left end of the bill visible.

ferent way of pushing the tip on, and for opening the bill out to quarters, has been devised.

First, we are going to go get the thumbtip and move it away from the supporting base of the left fingers. But instead of going all of the way to the left with the right thumb, only move to the left far enough to pinch the front edge of the thumbtip between the extra and borrowed bills. This will hold the tip firmly enough to move its opposite edge away from the baSe of the fingers (FIG. 17).

Other techniques, as I interpreted them, now use the base of the left fingers as a brace forpush-ing the borrowed bill and right thumb back into the thumbtip. However, doing this moves the front bill out of sight behind the left fingers, as the right hand moves an unnatural extra distance toward the left. The cover was provided by the left fingers reaching to the right edge of the extra bill to unfold the bill into quarters. But as you can see, if the left fingers move to the right edge of the front bill, the entire front has to go out of sight. There seems no way around that fact, so a dif-

At the same moment, instead of reaching around the front of the extra bill with the left fingers, curl the left fingers in, making certain not to cover the front eighth fold of the extra bill. FIG. 18 shows this from above. FIG. 19 is a front view.

What happens in FIG. 20 is a beauti/u] solution for keeping the front face of the extra bill visible to the spectators. Having pinched the thumbtip between the two bills, left fingers uncurl as the tip is moved to the right The right middle finger moves across the extra bill, pushing the left half of the quartered bill open. The thumbtip has not been pushed onto the right thumb yet.

The left hand now moves to the left edge of the quartered extra bill, pinching the quarters between the thumb and first two fingers. You are going to push the pads of the left fingers against the thumb to facilitate opening the bill into halves. FIG. 21 shows how the tip of the left thumb comes into contact with the tip of the thumbtip, and under cover of the larger action of opening the bill (FIG. 22), the borrowed bill and right thumb are pushed into the thumbtip.

Continue holding the bill by the smallest margins, to give a pristine appearance to your handling, as you continue unfolding the extra bill until its full face is forward. As with other techniques, you are, of course, capable of instantly repeating the switch should your delivery require it.

As the technical analysis of this effect shows, there is a method for the resourceful professional to separate himself from the ever growing body of people who know how magic tricks are done. All one has to do is uncover the fundamental obj ective of the effect, while using their understanding of WHY things are done the way they are to achieve that objective.

The contribution one makes to the Art of magic may well be measured by the substance beyond the core "secret" they bring to any effect If magic is, as John Carney once said, "The art of making the simple look marvelous, "then the substance I offer here is my effort to make the simple "secret" of switching one bill for another, seem marvelous.

any effect,If magic is, as John Carney once said to me, "The artofmakingthesimplelookmarvelous," then the substance I offer here is my effort to make the simple "secret" of switching one bill for another, seem marvelous.

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