In Town Tonight

In Thirteen Steps to Mentalism Corinda mentioned what he thought were some of David's more outlandish ideas for publicity stunts such as vanishing Nelson's Column, a famous London landmark, or stopping all the traffic in Piccadilly Circus. "It took me three days to talk him out of the last fantastic scheme," wrote Corinda who feared that causing chaos in Piccadilly might land them both in jail. Readers probably thought Corinda was joking. But Corinda wasn't joking and neither was David who not only wanted to do the stunt but also had a method for carrying it out. The opportunity to put the idea into practise arrived some years later when David was asked to appear on the television show called In Town Tonight.

In Town Tonightwas one of the BBC's most popular Saturday night radio shows. It began in 1933 and featured interviews with anyone famous who came within striking distance of the BBC studio, including Hollywood film stars like Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper and Jane Russell. The show opened with its signature tune and over the music you could hear the roar of traffic and the hooting of car horns. And through that you'd hear a women selling flowers and calling out, "Violets, lovely violets " Then a newspaper vendor could be heard, shouting, "Standard, Standard, get your Evening Standard." For the listener it conjured up a picture of a busy Piccadilly Circus, the traffic endlessly circling its famous statue of Eros. Then, suddenly, a voice called out, "Stop," and everything stopped. No traffic, no flower seller, no newspaper vendor. And the voice continued, "Once again we stop the mighty roar of London's traffic to bring you some of the interesting people in town tonight." It was a well-crafted and memorable opening to one of Britain's most popular radio shows.

The series ran for decades and later spawned a television version. Rather than alter what had proved to be an effective formula the producers decided to visually translate the opening sequence to the new television medium. Now the viewer could see as well as hear Piccadilly Circus and the traffic and flower seller and newspaper man. A voice called "Stop!" and the picture literally froze. A simple television trick achieved by freeze-frame.

It was the opening sequence of the show that had inspired David's vision of literally bringing Piccadilly Circus to a halt. The intention was to dispense with the usual opening film sequence and begin the programme with an introduction, live, from Piccadilly Circus, the hub

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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