Pencil Thru Quarter Finesse

COMMENTS: What folkm-* is not a complete routine. Rather, it is an alternative handling for the end of the Pencil Thru Quarter routine (see page 161). The moment that you give the spectator his quarterback is one of the most important moments of the entire routine. In fact, a smooth return of the borrowed quarter is crucial if you want the audience to never even have the thought that there might be an extra coin. If you fumble the necessary switch of the borrowed quarter for the gaffed quarter, and you tip them to the fact that maybatwo coins are used, the overall impact of the routine is considerably lessened.

David Williamson has used Michael's method for the Pencil Thru Quarter for years. His presentation is different, altered to fit David's unique performing personality, but he uses Michael's exact method for penetrating the quarter. It is the conclusion of the routine where David's contribution comes in. Think about it. If you really pushed a pencil through a borrowed quarter, when the time came to remove the pencil, you would, of course, openly do so; then you would immediately hand the quarter back to its owner. Using this as a guideline, David has devised a very clever sequence of actions to make it appear like you visibly pull the pencil out of the quarter, and then immediately hand the quarter to its owner for examination. No fumbling. No switching action. No kidding.

The procedure is simple to execute, and when you get it working, you not believe how good

PROCEDURES: You have performed Michael's Pencil Thru Quarter routine up to the point where the pencil has been pushed through the quarter, and is still in that condition.

Here is your current position: The borrowed coin is clipped by its edge, concealed between the right second and third fingers (FIG. 1). The pencil is pushed through the gaffed coin, but the coin is not centered on the pencil. Rather, it is about two inches from the eraser end of the pencil. Display the skewered coin by holding the pencil near its point with your left hand. The flap of the gaffed quar-

ter is down, on the underside of the pencil. FIG. 2 shows the position at this point

Bring your right hand over and use your thumb and forefinger to grasp the eraser end of the pencil, about three-quarters of an inch from the end (FIG. 3). Keep the back of your right hand toward the audience so as not to flash the concealed coin. As soon as your right hand affords you cover, use the left fingers and

thumb to rotate the pencil 180 degrees, so the flap of the gaff goes from the underside of the pencil to the top (FIG. 4). As this is done, bring the pencil to a vertical position in front of you (FIG. 5).

Let go of the pencil with your left hand, and then bring this hand under the right hand and use the left thumb and forefinger to pinch the edge (nearest you) of the palmed (real) coin (FIG. 6). With the coin gripped as described, hold your left hand perfectly still. Without pausing, use your right hand to lift the pencil, slowly and smoothly, straight up, making sure to maintain contact between the pencil and the inner edge of the quarter (FIGS. 7 and 8, an exposed view and an audience view respectively). It looks like you pull the pencil directly out of the center of the quarter. The illusion is perfect The audience can't tell that the pencil is actually behind the quarter.

Two important points: First, do not remove the pencil from the quarter too fast The best illusion is had when you remove the pencil slowly and smoothly. Secondly, make sure you continue to lift the pencil straight up, until it is all of the way dear of the coin. It destroys the illusion if you lift the pencil only partially out, and then move to the side as if the pencil were penetrating the width of the coin. Remember, you are supposed to be simply pulling a pencil out of a hole.

Once the pencil clears the quarter, immediately hand out the coin to be examined. David also has a very expedient method for cleaning up the gaffed coin, which is still on the pencil and is concealed in your right hand. Naturally, you can simply put the pencil into your pocket and be done with it. It is better, however, to hand out the pencil to be examined also. Here is how David does it:

You have just handed the rc^ coin to a spectator. Grasp the lower end of the pencil with your left hand. Push the gaff down with your right thumb, forcing the coin's outer edge down between the second and third fingers. Allow the flap of the gaff to wedge onto your right third finger (FIG. 9).

Now, hold the pencil still with your left hand, and move your right hand straight up, taking the gaff off of the pencil, where it remains clipped on the right third finger (FIG. 10). Without pausing, move your right hand up and scratch your face (FIG. 11).

This is a perfectly natural action. Stay calm. Don't act as though you are sliding a coin off of the pencil; just reach up and scratch your face; the gaff simply comes along for the ride. Hand out the pencil and ditch the gaff at the earliest convenient moment.

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