Coloured Discs

Thinking that he needed something colourful for his upcoming ^I/tv, M)th & Magic show, David devised the following routine. It was another example of "Thinking big," combining as it did two well-known dealer effects in order to produce an entertaining item with plenty of production value.

It was featured in the first part of the show, subtitled The Psychology of Man, and was introduced with some remarks about the influence that colour has on our lives.

Four volunteers are asked to join David on stage. They stand in a line, awaiting instructions. On a table to their left is an oblong box made of polished wood. David opens it to reveal that it contains five snooker balls: one blue, one green, one white, one red and one yellow. The box is closed and he walks to the far side of the stage, his back to the volunteers.

From there he asks the four men to walk up to the box one at a time, open it, secretly take out a snooker ball and put it in one of their pockets. They should be careful that no one, especially David, sees which ball they take.

When each of the men has chosen a ball and the lid of the box has been closed, David turns around and says, "It's very strange, but very often, when I ask four men to take a coloured

hall each they invariably leave the blue ball in the box. Lets have a look." Me walks to the table, opens the box and, sure enough, the ball left behind is the blue ball. Coincidence or. as was suggested earlier, can colour influence choices we make?

The men are then asked to turn their backs to the audience and face the rear curtain. Raj, David's assistant brings on four large discs, each about 2 feet in diameter and one is handed to each man. The discs resemble dartboards and have sixteen different numbers around their circumference. The men are inv ited to think of any one of the numbers and then turn around to face the audience. As they do so, another revelation is made for on the other side of each disc is a large square div ided into sixteen smaller squares of different bright fluorescent colours. The plot is gradually unfolding.

David approaches the first volunteer and says, "You look like a man who is very creative, possibly artistic. It may not be in your job but you have it nevertheless. And most people in that category would pick...the green ball." Everyone can see that the man is absolutely astonished, it's now obvious he took the green ball. "But wait," says David, "before you confirm that. 1 think you would put the ball in your...left trouser pocket. Is that correct?" The man has to agree and takes out the green ball from his left trouser pocket. The audience applauds.

I le repeats the divination with each of the volunteers, revealing not only the colour of the ball but the location of the pocket they placed it in. But that's not all. Returning to the first volunteer he asks what number he thought of. "Eleven," comes the reply. David directs the audience's attention to the chequered square on the front of the disc the man is holding. Starting at the top he counts to the eleventh square. It is green, the same colour as the ball he chose! Again this strange coincidence is repeated with each volunteer who, counting to their thought-of number on the disc, also arrive at the very colour they selected.

David thanks the four men and they leave the stage. David takes the applause, walks towards the table and says, "But there's one thing I still don't understand." As he walks past

(This illustration appears in colour on page 9.)

the table a large banner drops into view and unfurls. Emblazoned across it are the words, "Why Do They Always Leave the Blue Ball?"

Revelations: Many of you probably recognised the wooden box from the description. It was a dealer's item that enabled the performer to know the order in which the different balls were taken. The precursor to this effect. Behind The Eight Ball, was electronically operated and can be found in Arthur Buckley's Gems of Mental Magic. A number of other variations have been created and marketed.

It was important that the men stayed in order throughout the routine and therefore David's instructions to them had to be precise: "I would like you to come up one at a time, go to the box and with your backs to the audience secretly take one of the balls and put it in your pocket. Now you've got a big choice, you've got inside left and right jacket pockets, outside left and right jacket pockets and your two trouser pockets. You've plenty of choice but try not to let anyone, particularly me, see which pocket you've put it in. And once you've taken a ball and put it in your pocket would you stand over here, in a straight line."

The special box explains how David knew which man had which ball but how did he know which pocket it was placed in? A small concave mirror provides the answer. When he was standing at the side of the stage he fingerpalmed the mirror, which gave him a good view of each man as he walked up to the box and pocketed a ball.

Forcing the correct colours on the discs is David's elaboration of a small pocket trick

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THIS WAV UP WILL FORCE: 1, 6, 8, 14

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THIS WAY UP Will FORCE: 4, 5, 7, 15

that he picked up as a dealer item (another version appears under Rupert Gilbert's name as Pre-cognition in The Gen for May 1951). The chequered boards on the discs were designed so that they each forced a different colour. The colours were bold fluorescents and arranged so that it didn't matter which number the volunteer named. David could always count to the force colour on the board (see illustrations).

The original dealer item that inspired this routine was just 5 inches square. It also had a weakness. To count to the force colour the board had to be turned around depending which of the sixteen numbers had been chosen. David overcame this weakness in the design by incorporating the board onto a disc and then positioning the numbers around the circumference to facilitate the force.

The original board forced only one colour. David came up with the notion of having five boards, featuring five colours, each of which forced a different colour. The five discs were housed at the back of the stage in a stand that was on castors so that it could be moved easily. The discs were also marked on their edges so that Raj, when the time came, could bring out the correct discs.

At the centre of the numbered side of each disc was a square design and inside the square a circle of holographic foil. This was a highly reflective material that glittered brilliantly under the stage lights. It added a little glamour to the prop. The square, however, served a more practical purpose. It was arranged in the same position as the chequered square on the opposite side of the disc. By looking at this square David knew whether the disc was the right way up for the effect.

The prediction of the last ball in the box required five different banners. They were made of silk, wrapped around dowel rods and weighted at their lower end. The banners were marked so that they could be recognised when in their rolled condition.

At the beginning of the routine the ball box was on the table and the five banners

hidden behind it, arranged so that any one of them could be picked up easily. The carrier holding the discs was offstage.

The mirror told David in which pocket each man had hidden his chosen ball. When he returned to the table, the gimmicked ball box revealed which man had chosen which colour and which ball remained. Each man now needed to be given the disc that would force the colour matching the ball he had chosen. David secretly signalled this information to Raj who was waiting in the wings and she brought the correct discs on, two at a time. David took them and handed them to the men as they stood in line. The distribution of the discs appeared random and casual. The fifth disc remained in the wings and was never seen.

While distributing the discs he performed one more important task. He casually picked up the banner that matched the ball that hadn't been chosen and placed it in front of the wooden box. You'd think that the audience would spot such a bold manoeuvre but you'd be wrong. David was busily engaged in talking to the volunteers and giving out the discs. No one paid attention to anything else he did and no one later would remember just where the banner came from. Everyone assumed it had been there all the time.

David asked the men to hold the discs up high and slowly rotate them between their hands so that they could see the sixteen numbers set around their circumference. As they did this the holographic material in the centre of the discs reflected back the spotlights making for a dazzling and somewhat hypnotic display.

"Keep turning the disc between your hands," said David, "think of one of the numbers and bring it to the top" One by one the men stopped turning the discs. As lie went to each volunteer he noted whether the square design on the numbered side was oriented correctly with its top edge parallel to the stage. If necessary, he adjusted the disc in the man's hands. It took only a moment. He simply lowered the disc, turning it slightly in the process.

When this was done he stepped back and said, "I lave you each got a number in mind?" Everyone had. The men were asked to turn around and face the audience. As they did so they brought the fluorescent coloured squares into view and provided a colourful, visual surprise.

The mathematics of the discs made the revelations simple to execute. Each man named the number they thought of and David counted to it. starting with the top left square of each chequer board. The final square of the count always revealed the colour of the ball the volunteer had chosen.

The finale came when David lightly brushed against the banner and allowed it to unroll as he walked by the table. He'd already announced the prediction about the blue ball and taken applause for it. And yet, the sudden and unexpected appearance of the banner allowed him to take applause a second time and bring the effect to a natural conclusion.

The routine allowed for great byplay and lots of comedy with the volunteers. There were a limited number of hiding places for them to put the snooker balls. If two men chose the same pocket then David made something of the coincidence, suggesting that they were of a similar personality. Knowing where the snooker balls were located also enabled him to make predictive statements early in the routine, such as, "It's very strange but whenever I get four volunteers up, two will always place the balls in their jacket pockets and two in their trouser pockets." The routine had now become a game and the audience played along, trying to guess which personality type each volunteer fell into. The task of deduction had been shared and the audience felt more involved.

It was possible that every man would select the same pocket in which case there was another coincidence to make the most of. Or every man but one, in which case he would be singled out as the outsider. David already knew who this man was and so just before he got to him he said, "There's always one that has to be different. You're not the sort of man that follows everybody. You like to take the lead. You wouldn't put it in your jacket pocket would your You'd put it in your trouser pocket, in fact the left trouser pocket." On stage this always got a laugh not so much because of the words but because of the situation and timing.

The mathematical method lying at the heart of this routine has a mechanical quality to it and this, for David, represented a problem. The basic discovery of the right colours at the chosen numbers has all, apparently, been accomplished without the intervention of the performer. It was a series of mechanical coincidences. Where was the credit in that? That's why the business of identifying which coloured balls where chosen and which pockets they were put in is so vital. The performer must get the credit for what happens on stage otherwise he has no part in the mystery. When the audience had applauded the four revelations David walked over to the wooden box and reminded them that there was still one ball inside. The blue one. It was no mere coincidence after all. They realised that the choices and revelations were all engineered by David. After a pause he flicked open the banner on the table to reveal his prediction. And took his applause.

THEY ALWAYS LEAVE THE RED BALL

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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