Thumbtip Finesse

COMMENTS: I developed and have been using these three handlings with the thumb tip almost tenyears ago. Foryears I didn't printthem because I thought, "Big deal. Peopledon't care about such attention to detail work. And besides,!justputthethingonalittledifferent... "Aftershowingitaround,I found that people do care. In fact, if enough attention is given to detail, it makes all the difference.

The funny part is that even after I was convinced of the value of these moves, I still didn't print them, because I didn't think it would be possible to teach them! However, I'm ready to give it a try. One more thing-it might help if you also know whyl developed these handlings. All the thumb tip moves I had seen became immediately identifiable as thumb tip moves as soon as you learned them, even from across a large room. As soon as you see a magician ball his hand into a fist, put something into the well between the curled index finger and thumb, followed by a stuffing action with the right thumb, what else would he be doing? Think about this. The prop is designed to defy detection right under the noses of critical observers, yet the techniques almost everyone uses are recognizable from a city block away.

TECHNIQUE # 1: The first move is designed as a complete vanish of a borrowed bill, jr if the iei-fr hand conceals something else, such as four quarters, it can create a powerful transformation.

The main objective was for the hands to approach each other in a manner that exactly duplicates the actions of the real world. So, I first tried to learn what the most natural way of putting something from the right hand into the left was. Then, I tried to duplicate it while loading the tip during the act of executing a fake transfer.

The first thing I noticed was that the kit hand never curls into a fist so that the right hand has to stuff something into it. In the real world this never, never, never happens. Never.

Basically, objects are transferred from one hand to another by one of two actions, either by Putting, or by Taking. Taking actions are actually the types most used naturally. The moves in magic that duplicate Taking actions are moves such as The French Drop. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to load and steal the tip during one move of a Taking action.

The fact that Putting actions are most often used in magic isn't as much of a red against naturalness as you might imagine, because Putting actions serve the purposes of display movements better. Since most magic takes place under display situations, putting actions can be natural.

In a putting action, the hands might approach each other with the left hand palm-up for the placement, as in the Retention-of-Vision Vanish. Or the hands approach each other with the curled fingers of the two hands pointing toward each other, the receiving hand turning palm-up for the placement. This is the movement I found easiest to duplicate while executing the necessary sleights.

In order to load the thumb tip and steal it in one move, the tip needs to be pointing toward the hand doing the putting. The base of the thumb tip rests at the base of the secondfinger, while the opening of the tip is held by the tips of the slightly curled fingers (FIG. 1). This is how the tip will be held for the vanish of the bill. FIG. 2 shows how the tip can be held while edge-gripping fourquar-ters with the curled third finger.

The bill must be foldedinto sixteenths in order to fit into the tip and remain completely concealed. Display the bill in the right hand as in FIG. 3, with the thumb covering three-quarters of the back of the bill, while the fingers try to keep as much of the front of the packet exposed as possible.

The hands approach each other in FIG. 4 very naturally, but FIG. 5 shows what is actually taking place. The left thumb has moved in to take over holding the tip, in order for the opening of the tip to be cleared forinserting the bill. FIG. 6 shows the right thumb moving on into the tip with the bill as the left hand continues to close.

The important thing to remember is that the right hand does not move far enough into the left hand for the tip to be completely pushed onto the thumb. It would be just slightly unnatural. However, you don't need to drive the tip all the way home at this point. All you have to do is keep the bill and thumb tip from falling. As soon as the tip is on the thumb enough to be relatively secure, move on to what's depicted in FIG. 7.

In FIG. 7, the left hand has closed and moved away from the right hand; the right hand's slightly curled fingers conceal the tip and partially-inserted bill. FIG. 8 shows the final part of the move, as the right middle finger moves to the tip, first pushing it securely onto the thumb before snapping against the thumb tip itself. Few people realize that you can still snap your fingers in spite of the thumb tip, and this fact alone disarms most people against your use of a thumb tip.

TECHNIQUE #2: This was developed as a method for vanishing a lit cigarette. Again, notice the fact that only one movement is necessary for the placement as well as the steal of the tip. I feel this is much better than placing the cigarette into the hand in one action then with a second action pushing it further for the steal of the tip.

In FIG. 9 the thumb tip is concealed in the left hand in the same way as in FIG. 1. However, the right hand holds the cigarette at a right angle to the fingers, while you blow on the hot coals.

In FIG. 10 the cigarette is pivoted toward the opening of the tip at the last moment. The left thumb does not hold the tip this time to clear the opening. Instead, the opening is cleared because the left fingers have begun to curl in a little earlier than in the previous method. These methods for clearing the opening are interchangeable.

FIG. 11 shows how the right fingers still conceal the tip from the front as the tip of your thumb pushes the cigarette into the tip, using the base of the left fingers as a brace. As before, don't make too aggressive a plunge to the left with the right thumb. Just enough to secure the tip and cigarette on the thumb. The final plunge onto the thumb is made as the right fingers snap as a magical gesture.

FIG. 11 shows how the right fingers still conceal the tip from the front as the tip of your thumb pushes the cigarette into the tip, using the base of the left fingers as a brace. As before, don't make too aggressive a plunge to the left with the right thumb. Just enough to secure the tip and cigarette on the thumb. The final plunge onto the thumb is made as the right fingers snap as a magical gesture.

TECHNIQUE #3: This method is similar to those just discussed, yet radically different. The

loading procedure is basically the same, yet this time the tip is not loaded onto the thumb, butonto the middle finger.

Begin by holding the tip in the left hand in the same basic position as the previous methods, except this time the tip is rotated a quarter turn clockwise, so the nail of the tip points out between the thumb and the first finger (FIG. 12).

The right hand is able to approach the left with a bit more open appearance, since the bill will be held by only the right thumb and middle finger. Once again, the bill is folded into sixteenths. The middle finger covers only half of the bill. The left palm points up and to the right, with the nail of the tip pointing out the opening between the thumb and first finger, which are NOT touching at the tips (FIG. 13). As the left hand turns palm up, the right middle finger pushes the bill into the ods, the tip is not completely loaded onto the middle finger yet, but just enough to support the bill inside the tip (FIG. 14).

As soon as the tip is supported on the finger, the right thumb moves into the spectators view. This is not just to disprove the fact you are using a thumb tip, but to further the deception in general. The thought being that the bill can't be in the right hand without being supported by the grip of the opposing thumb. The right middle finger curls in, but do not actually close the right hand (FIG. 15).

FIG. 16 shows the audience view of what is going on. The tip is on the right middle finger, as the left hand closes palm up. Make a crumbling motion with the left hand as the right index finger gives a slight gesture toward it.

The beauty of this method is that the right hand can be shown to be empty in what seems to be an even more natural way than with the standard thumb tip showing moves. However, instead of pointing the tip of the tip at the spectators by displaying only the tip of the thumb, the right palm is shown along the broad-side view of the thumb. FIG. 17 shows how, afterthe Jefthand moves away, the tip is pushed onto the middle finger by the right thumb. This is done as the right hand lifts, turning the palm - and the tips of the right fingers - to point toward the spectators.

POCKET LOADING: I've been doing the One Hundred Dollar Bill Switch for over ten years now, and one of the things you have to think about is how to go into it with the bill loaded into the tip on the thumb in the middle of a sequence of things going on.

In order to have control over the tip inside my pocket, and to facilitate loading the tip onto the thumb with one hand, I tried to devise a holder for inside the pocket. This was a pretty simple affair, being just a strip of one-inch wide elastic about four inches long. This was sewn down on each end, then two other equally spaced strips down the width separated the strip into three equal sections. This way I could control three different tips in loading position in one pocket if I wanted to, or I could use the other sections for holding color changing knives, or whatever.

This worked fine, except that even with the tip properly positioned, there was a bit of fumbling inside the pocket when loading the thumb into a tip that already contained a bill. Also, you still needed an excuse for going to the pocket in the first place.

FIG. 16 shows the audience view of what is going on. The tip is on the right middle finger, as the left hand closes palm up. Make a crumbling motion with the left hand as the right index finger gives a slight gesture toward it.

What I finally ended up with was logical, natural, simple, and well covered. J of i; v;.^ to load the thumb into the tip inside of my pocket, I call for the loan of a bill from the spectator. This is immediately followed by the right hand going into my own pocket, while I say," 7 could use one of my

OUW, but that wouldn t be nearly as fun."

As I say this, I quickly take out the thumb tip with the right hand. The tip is loaded onto the thumb at this point. The mouth of the tip is held between the first joint of the thumb and the middle finger. The bill protrudes from the tip just enough for the pad of the right thumb to grab it.

The hands swing close enough together for the left fingers to pull the tip away from the bill and into the basic grip shownmFlG. l.The right hand displays the bill as in FIG. Sataboutthetimeyou are saying "...But that wouldn't be nearly as fun... "From this point, go directly into the execution of Technique # 1, as you seem to take the bill into the left hand, which places it into the left pocket. Don't bother snapping the right fingers, however, because no magic is supposed to be happening. Continue by borrowing the bill from the spectator.

I greatly admired the magic of Slydini, and I spent years trying to achieve the strong impact and direct procedures his lapping created in my own stand-up work

No, I wasn't selling products when this picture was taken. From the on my face, I'm almost certainly talking about magic. People who have seen me lecture have often said I seem to love what I do, and I'm here to tell you it's true. I'm the luckiest guy in the world!

Chapter Three

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