Lets Hit The Bottle

COMMENTS: Do you need a strong piece of magic that will rarely conflict with any other effect you might do? One that packs small, plays big? Try this. Trust me.

EFFECT: A half dollar is examined and an identifying mark is scratched on it with a pocket knife. A bottle of champagne is uncorked and examined. The bottle is re-corked; a spectator holds it by its neck. The half dollar is now driven through the bottom of the bottle. After the bottle is examined, the coin is magically removed from inside and confirmed to be the original.

COMMENTS: I love this. I really do. I've changed the handling slightly from my original method to take advantage of the Topit, but I'll explain both handlings. I've also developed an alternative presentation, which I'll explain at the end. I'll explain my original presentation as well, because I had tremendous fun with it while performing a series of Dinner Theater shows.

Some people might be worried about laymen who know about folding coins, and that is somewhat legitimate. I'll make two suggestions. First, structure the routine in a way that would have made Erdnase proud. What do I mean by that? Structure itso "thatthemostcriticalobserverwoidd not even SUSPECT, let alone DETECT," the fact that a second coin might be involved. Secondly, the truest danger would come from actually handing the bottle out to be examined, with the folding coin still inside the bottle, by someone with a knowledge of folding coins. Why? They'll shake it out! Thafswhy! But, as you will see, there is darn little chance for that to happen in this routine, and it is doubtful anyone would stand up in the middle of my show to announce his suspicion to the rest of the audience.

While deciding upon a method for introducing the coin into the bottle, I was aware of how someone in the past had hollowed a cork out from a wine bottle for holding the coin. Clever, I thought, so I began a long search through different bottles and different corks. Research, you understand.

Finally, my dedication to the task paid off. I discovered that Andre's Champagne has a plastic cork with a hollowed out portion built in that was perfect for holding a folding coin. After popping the cork and drinking the champagne, I filed away the ridges on the cork so it could be corked and uncorked from the bottle more easily.

The next step was to develop a presentation which would achieve a variety of things. First, I wanted the presentation to emphasize how impossible the effect was, by driving home every aspect of fairness in the handling. Second, in an entertaining way, I wanted to project the effect to well beyond the few people who were actually physically involved. Hopefully, I have made this routine a presentation piece, capable of playing to several hundred people.

PROCEDURES: Begin by putting the coin into the plastic cork (FIG 1). Notice that the coin has not been stuffed all of the way inside the cork. Do that, and you'll never be able to dislodge it. Next, carefully insert the cork into the bottle, making sure you don't dislodge the coin.

I remove the labels from the bottles 1 use, but I have added a row of tape near the neck. I'm doing it for cover; it is mistaken for some foil left around the neck- If the bottle you choose actually contains some covering, great (FIG. 2).

On platforms or small stages leave the bottle on your table or off to one side with an assistant. In nightclubs, put the bottle in an ice bucket and have a waitress or bartender bring it out when called for. You must slightly alter the presentation, depending on the arrangements and the situation.

After presenting an effect which reaches a desirable climax, put yourself into a celebrating mood and call for a bottle of champagne. As if s being brought out, or before you bring it from your table, pass out a half dollar to be examined and marked.

Address the audience, '"vV>'vgot some rhamps^ne left 0<>rr from last night, and we're alt among friends, so let's take a minute to toast — ."

(relate to your last effect).

When the bottle arrives, wipe it off, and either sit in a chair or on the edge of the stage, with the bottle pointing up from your lap. Simulate the actions of popping the cork from a full bottle of champagne. Act a little worried about the expected pop; glance at the ceiling, point it away from you, and flinch a little. The spectators infer fromyourbody language that the bottle is lull and the cork will soon pop off. When the cork comes out, itjust drops into your lap. Look confused and put the bottle up to your eye like a telescope.

No belly laughs here. In a cute way, I am hoping to mislead them as to the purpose of the bottle, and in particular, the cork. Acting like the bottle might contain something, provides a reason for having the bottle corked.

Say, "Is that all that's left? Wow, no wonder last night's show was so much fun. "Set the cork on the stage, or on a chair, and pass the bottle to a nearby male spectator.

Continue, "You, sir. You look like you 're familiar with bottles. Would you look closely at the bottle and make certain everything is as it appears to be. Good! We have an expert's opinion, this is a bottle. Would you mind joining me up frontfor a moment? - I always hesitate to ask someone ifthey'ljjoin me. I'm afraid they'll say, "\N}\y?Are you ttmingapart?' * Thank you and please bring the bottle with you."

Re-cork the bottle and have him stand to your left, holding the bottle by its neck, with his left hand. Have him hold the bottle firmly in front of his chest, parallel to the floor with the cork to his left.

Say, "O.K., Now where's the coin? Over here? Good. You hoped I'd forget it, didn 'tyou? You have marked it for future identification haven't you? Good."

Place the coin on the side of the bottle being held by the spectator. Say, "Glass is not an immovable object. By that, I mean that it's shape can be altered. But if the shape is altered, even by a fraction of an inch, it will Ai^-'i":' There is nogettingaround that. With those thoughts in mind (speaking now to the helper), do you believe it would be possible to pass that coin down through the side of that bottle, visibly appearing inside, without harming the bottle. Well, would you be impressed if I were to throw this coin at the bottom of that bottle, only to have the ¡Y.!?; alter it's physical reality just enough to allow it to pass through the glass itself, arriving inside, with no damage to either the coin or the bottle? Would you be impressed? (They always say yes.) Darn right you would, I'd like to see tJiat myself!"

Play these lines tongue-in-cheek, along with the rest of the routine. Have FUN with this, and it'll come across very strong. Take the coin from the bottle with your right hand, and position the bottle in your helper's hand at a forty-five degree angle, with the neck pointing to the left. Help hold the bottle yourself with your left hand, because you are about to hit the bottom with some force. The coin is in a right-hand classic palm and the right hand is closed.

Say, ' '¡aim to please, and if that's wlu'li you want, then thai'::,'U'ita! I'll do. At the count of three. One! (Show the coin.) Two! (Strike the bottle with the coin, dislodging the folding coin from the cork.) Three!"' (The left hand, still holding the bottle, now shakes it to display the coin inside.)

It is actually on the second count that you swing your hand forward, open it, and strike the bottom of the bottle with enough force to jar the folding coin out of the cork. Be certain to strike the COIN against the bottom EDGE of the bottle and NOT just your hand. This adds the element of sound, and insures the coin stays in a palmed condition. Hitting the edge of the coin against the bottle bottom also prevents any potentially painful bruises on the palm of your hand. No joking, I learned this the hard way.

The shaking of the bottle comes on THREE; not everyone is able to immediately see what has happened. The sound of the rattle makes it clear, and it causes the assistant to smile or look puzzled. The immediately conveys to everyone that you have done exactly what you've said you would do. At this point, you might use the Topit handling described later, but if you have a good classic palm, leave the coin in palm position for the rest of the routine.

Give him the bottle and say, "Is it in there? Yes, great! Take the cork off and look inside. Do you see his markings? How about that?"

Bold? Darn right it is. But remember, he never really examined the coin to know exactly what the marking looked like. They usually see the edges the coin and assume the "fold lines" are the identifying marks. Judge from the situation, and the general nature of the spectator, before you use this line. In nightclubs, pass the bottle quickly to a couple of tables, but don't let it get away entirely. Keep control of the situation.

When you return to the front, balance the bottle upside down in a prominent position, so that the coin can be seen in the neck of the bottle. In nightclubs, this could be on the most prominent table. It drives home the fact that the coin is obviously too large to pass through the neck of the bottle.

Continue, used to leave the coin inside, but the expense almost drove me to a life of crime. 1 did think of three ways to get the coin out of the bottle. I could shatter the bottle and pick the coin out from among the pieces. Not very impressive. I could cut a hole in the bottle large enough to allow vie to 'YY"'; in and take the coin. Not very magical. Or 1 could do the physically impossible. Not very likely "

As you talk, take the bottle with your left hand around its middle, while inserting the mouth of the bottle into the loosely closed right fist. The mouth should rest by the crotch of the thumb and be encircled by the index finger and thumb. The right middle finger, however, should be curled tightly FIG 3, bottle removed for clarity). This way, the folding coin won't fly out the bottle and through

your hand. Instead, it will come out far enough to hit the middle finger, stopping it in a perfect thumbpalm position. The marked coin is still palmed in your right hand.

Say, "Bud will attempt to do that very thing right now! There s the coin andthere's the bottle, all due to magic!"

As you say this, raise the bottle to the left, then thrust it SHARPLY down to the right (FIG. 4). This forces the coin from the bottle into the cupped right hand. The right hand thumb palms the folding coin and drops the marked coin, either onto the table, or hands it to the spectator (FIG. 5). Set the bottle down, timing your actions with your words for an applause cue.

ALTERNATE HANDLING: If you have the ability to use the Topit, by all means, use it here. One way to discourage anyone from suspecting you are using a second coin that folds is to display obviously empty hands during the times they might be looking for something extra.

After you have just slapped the bottom of the bottle with the coin in your palm, dislodging the coin from the cork, allow the coin in the right hand to fall to fingertip rest position. This is done as you take the bottle into your left hand. We'll take advantage of the fact that something resting on the naturally curled right fingers can be propelled to the left if the right palm were suddenly turned upward and outward. Holding the bottle to your upper left, and your right hand curled naturally at waist level, you are in a perfect position to secretly Topit the marked coin.

The left hand tosses the bottle into the right hand, which turns palm-up to catch it. As this is done, the coin from your right fingertips is propelled past the edge of your coat and into the Topit (FIG. 6). Continue to display the bottle.

After your hands are casually seen to be empty, place the cork into your left coat pocket, stealing out the marked coin in the process. Proceed as described above, removing the coin from the bottle, handing the marked coin to the spectator, and ending up with the folding coin in a right thuiribpaIm(FIG. 7). Curl your right fingers, allowing the thumbpalmed coin to fall to fingertip rest position (FIG. 8). Conclude by using the exact Topit actions just described to ditch the folding coin.

Using this method, you are clean going into the routine, because the folding coin is hidden in the cork You are clean in the middle, because of the Topit, and you are clean at the end because of the Topit.

ALTERNATE PRESENTATION: After years of thinking about it, i'w decided that I'll stick to the use of a half dollar instead of a quarter. This is for a very specific reason. I began to suspect that most laymen believe a quarter can be cut down enough to actually be slid in and out of a bottle. Several laymen have mentioned this to me. Therefore, they are led to suspect that you simply switched the borrowed quarter for the cut-down one. But you can't use that excuse with a half dollar. If you cut a half dollar down that much, you sure couldn't pass it for another half dollar. This way, if they don't know about folding coins, they might be lost.

The following presentation evolved from trying to emphasize the impossibility of a coin as large as a half dollar passing in or out of the bottle. Begin by placing the half dollar that matches the folding half inside of a coin purse, along with a dime.

Say to a spectator, "Vdlikeyoutoopenthatpurse, take out everythinginside, andtell uswh&t youhave. Ahalfdollarandadime. Thankyou. I've selected those coins far a veryspecialreason. First, because the dime is the smallest coin in circulation in the United States, and second, because the half dollar is the largest coin in circulationin the U. S. "Now, I 'd like you to look closelyat this bottle, and... thinking quickly... hold up the coin which wilMOT fitinside that bottle."

One in a hundred people will hold up the dime, testing your flexibility. That is the reason you tell them to merely hold their choice up. In those cases, proceed by saying, "Thedime?You've either been taking advantage ot'our open bar, oryou 'vedisplayedshrewdinsightintothegoing 'son, here. Hangonto that dime, hand me the half dollar, andl'U showthe others where we 'regoing with this. "Invery Zen-like fashion, you've absorbed his energy, and flowed with it.

Take the half dollar, and either hold the bottle by the neck, or proceed as in the previous method where the spectator holds the bottle. When using this particular presentation, I usually don't have the spectator hold the bottle. It'sjust a personal choice, but I can easily see how the two routines can be combined.

Continue, "Mostpeople pick the half dollar, because theythinkl'm talking aboutputtingthe coin in the bottle through the neck. No, no, no. 1 'm talking about something altogether different. 1 'm talking about going through the bottom of the bottle itself. Solid through solid, anditlooksjust like THIS!"

Smash the coin against the bottle (FIG. 9). The real coin is ditched into the Topit as described. Rattle the coin around, taking full advantage of the sound it makes inside the bottle. Then take off the cork, and put it away. Rest the bottle upside down, if you can, as you take back the dime.

Say, T/u' funnythingis, theneckofthis bottle is so tiny, that even a dime couldn 'tpass in and out through the expected way. It's tha tsmallo f an opening." See how this ties together? After demonstrating the truth of the statement by placing the dime on the mouth of the bottle, put the dime away m your left coat pocket, retaking the real half dollar from the Topit as you do so.

Say, "'^hcn youconsiderthesizeofthecoin, in relation to the size*.; thebottle 'sneck, itwouldseem that the onlywayfora coin topass through this opening would be if it could temporarilybecomeliquid, flowing

out the top, only to re-solidify on its emergence. Allow me to demonstrate... sir, would you cup your hands together in front of you? It would look just like THIS! There's the coin, and there is the bottle."

Just as before, shake out the coin, immediately handing out the real half, and Topiting the folding half as you toss the bottle to the right hand.

FINAL SUGGESTION: Lef s say you don't want to use a Topit, and you don't want to use a Champagne bottle. What then?

To secretly load the folding half into the neck of the bottle, begin by handing the bottle out for examination. Then go to your pocket to take out the coin purse. Take out the folding half at the same time. As the bottle and the coins inside the purse are being examined, you have plenty of time to fold the half.

Proceed as before, up until you take the half dollar from the spectator. Place this half directly on top of the folded half, and during the part of the presentation where you say, "because they think I'm tlllkingabougoing in through the neckof the bottle. No, no, no/f tap the half dollar against the mouth of the bottle. As this is done, the right index finger pushes the folding coin into the neck of the bottle. Continue with the routine until the folding coin has appeared in the bottle. As you are shaking the bottle around, casually place the coin purse back inside your right coat pocket, leaving behind the half as you do. Again, continue as before, only this time the dime is replaced into the right coat pocket, allowing you to steal back the real coin.

The Coin in Bottle has always been one of my favorite effects, and while I have experimented with many different methods, my presentations have always been attempts to clearly communicate the effect to an audience.

Double Spread Photo - Take #233. Even at this early age I would have given my right arm to be ambidextrous.

Chapter Seven

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja

Knife Throwing Techniques of the Ninja

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