Ten Shilling Note

In 1954 Robert Harbin asked what chance working magicians had if David Berglas continued his forays into the realms of the miraculous, creating ever more impossible effects. Specifically he mentioned a routine in which David borrowed a ring and made it vanish from one radio studio and appear in another. Harbin's remarks were made in the pages of Abracadabra magazine where he and others had expressed concern at the speed with which the new medium of television consumed material.

There was concern too about the possible exposure of effects under the close scrutiny of the camera, a cold eye that refused to be misdirected. But while many discussed the limitations of television, some even seeing it as a threat to their livelihoods, David was busy exploring the benefits the new medium brought. It was a rare television appearance that didn't see the birth of a new Berglas routine. He tailored his magic to take advantage of studio production techniques, exploiting weaknesses where he could, and sought ways in which to integrate the many technical innovations on offer. A good example of the way in which television could be used to enhance the magician's performance can be found in a routine Berglas performed on BBC's The Holiday Show in 1956. Ironically it was an even more impossible version of the transposition effect mentioned by Harbin.

This unusual presentation took place between two television studios the first of which was located at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, a former variety theatre. An audience was present and David was there with two expert witnesses. One was affectionately known to the public as Fabian of the Yard, an ex-police inspector whose biography had turned him into a celebrity and who was later to have a television drama series named after him. The other reputable witness was the senior manager of the Bank of England.

The second studio was in Manchester, over two hundred miles away. The host there was popular sports commentator and television presenter Peter West. Flanking him were cricketer Cyril Washbrooke and BBC Manchester's own bank manager. Having established the credentials of all concerned David, speaking from London, directed his attention to Cyril Washbrooke. Washbrooke had literally been pulled into the studio an hour before the show was broadcast and had no idea what was going to happen. David asked him if he had any

Photographs from David's television appearance: In Manchester, Peter West, Cyril Washbrook and the manager of the BBC's bank. The men mark the note with a pin hole.

In London, David with the manager of the Bank of England and Fabian of the Yard. The men check the note for its identifying marks.

banknotes on him and Washbrooke produced three different banknotes, a one-pound note, a five-pound note and a ten-shilling note. He placed them on the small table provided. He was asked to choose just one of the three. He chose the ten-shilling note and then handed it to the BBC bank manager who read out the serial number aloud and wrote it down for later verification.

David then asked Washbrooke to pick up a pin which was also on the table and to prick a hole somewhere in the note so that it could be identified later. He turned around as he did this so that no one could see exactly where the hole was placed. He folded the note in half and then in half again.

David asked if any of the three men in the Manchester studio had a cigarette case. Peter West volunteered his. He opened it to reveal several cigarettes inside and David asked him to remove them and place them in his pocket. The case was handed to Washbrooke who was instructed to place his folded note inside, close the lid and hold it lightly in his hand.

The camera now cut to London where David called upon the assistance of Fabian. He handed the detective a small brass metal tube and asked him if he knew what it was. "Well I suppose it's one of your infernal magic apparatus," said Fabian. "Actually," said David, "It's the extension from my garden hose." And it was just that, a small metal tube used to connect two lengths of hose pipe.

Fabian examined it carefully. David took a circular gummed label and stuck it on the

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