The famous Fabian initialling the small brass tube which was used in the bill transposition

side of the tube. Fabian wrote his initials on it and then held the tube between his thumb and forefinger. The initialled sticker was in view at all times. Indeed what the viewers saw was a split screen shot of both studios, the first time the technique had been used in a light entertainment programme. On one half of the screen they could keep an eye on the tube in London. On the other half of the screen they could watch the cigarette case in Manchester.

"On the count of five," said David, "something amazing will happen." The countdown began, "One, Two, Three, Four, Five. Open the case!" Washbrooke did as instructed. The note was still there. Nothing magical seemed to have taken place. "I forgot the drum roll," said David with a smile. "Close the case and we will try again." Washbrooke closed the cigarette case. Fabian stood firm, the little metal tube still between his fingers and thumb.

A soft timpani roll built to a crescendo as David dramatically counted, "One, Two, Three, Four, Five!" Washbrooke opened the case and to his astonishment found it once again full of cigarettes, the note having disappeared. Peter West clasped his hand to his pocket, amazed that they had reappeared in the case. David now turned his attention to Fabian in London and asked him to look inside the tube he was holding.

Fabian did and said that he could see something, a piece of paper. He pushed the contents out. It was more than a piece of paper, it was a ten shilling note! He unfolded it and handed it to the manager of the Bank of England who confirmed that the note was genuine and then read out the serial number. The Manchester studio confirmed that it was the same number. Impossible, but there was more.

David asked Washbrooke where he had stabbed his pin into the ten-shilling note. "Through the middle of the first digit of the serial number. Through the middle of the number nine." In London the manager of the Bank of England held the note to the light in order to find the pinprick. It was there, right through the centre of the number nine! David took his applause and promised to send the note back to Washbrooke, this time by post!

Revelations: Many magicians have said that television is bad for magic claiming that not only does it use up material at an alarming rate but its prying eye has often led to exposure. David believes the opposite. In fact he believes that television is, without any doubt, the best medium there is for presenting magic. Cameras can zoom in onto small objects whether a card, a coin, a book or even a word in that book, enabling the magician to perform small effects for audiences of millions. And far from the camera being some uncontrollable entity that roams unpredictably about the stage, David discovered that by studying television production techniques he was able to exercise control over where the camera went and what it could see. The Ten Shilling Note routine is an effect with small props, three banknotes and a cigarette case, made into a spectacular stunt by the judicious use of television.

The apparatus used was relatively simple. A Roterberg Card Box in Manchester was responsible for the vanish of the note and it was a duplicate ten-shilling note that made its appearance in London. But carrying out such a bold strategy required careful planning. With three of the participants hundreds of miles away David had to be sure that they would obey his instructions implicitly or there would be no effect. At the same time, and this has to be stressed, none of the participants knew how the routine was accomplished. It was as mystifying to them as it was to the audience. So how did he manage to persuade his assistants to help facilitate the effect? As David has often proved, with the right approach anything is possible.

As mentioned earlier David had already transposed a borrowed ring between two radio studios. In that presentation the listeners only heard the transposition. In this version the viewers would see it. The use of the split-screen and the studio-to-studio link gave the routine a dramatic visual style and sense of large scale impossibility. So the first thing David did was to get permission from the BBC to shoot the trick in this elaborate manner. They were as keen as he was on the experiment. It had tremendous publicity value. The press was informed that David was going to attempt something extraordinary on his next television appearance and news stories about the show quickly appeared. Additionally David and Ruth had just become engaged and there was considerable press interest.

A couple of weeks before the show David was performing in Variety at the Liverpool Empire and took the opportunity to visit the nearby BBC studios in Manchester. There he met Peter West who would act as Manchester host. David gave him a briefing about what was to happen although at no time did he actually describe the effect except to say that it involved a banknote.

First he told him that they would need a celebrity to participate in the routine. It could be anyone and David suggested they take whichever celebrity happened to walk through the BBC's doors that day.

He explained that the celebrity would be asked to take out some paper currency, a selection of different notes and choose one. It could be any one as it made no difference to the routine.

"We'll also need a cigarette case," said David. Did Peter have one? "Yes," said Peter and brought out his case. David said it looked a little large. "Perhaps this one is better," and brought out his own case and handed it to Peter for use in the effect. As you might suspect this was no ordinary cigarette case. It was a locking Roterberg Card Box.

The Roterberg Card Box has a deep, self-locking, secret compartment that is ideal for this effect. David had added a strip of narrow, white, elastic to its interior so that it could hold cigarettes and an engraver had decorated its lid with some ornamentation so that it resembled a cigarette case.

He asked Peter to put a few cigarettes in it saying that it didn't matter how many. The case took about five cigarettes comfortably and with five inside David could be sure the case would not accidentally lock (a duplicate five were hidden in the box's secret compartment and David had taken care to make sure that they were of the same brand that Peter smoked). The lid would always remain open and loose. In that condition it was loaned to Peter West and David asked him to produce it when he called for a cigarette case. David showed him how to hand the case over to the celebrity so that it lay open on his hand. Basically David was ensuring that the case wasn't closed prematurely and the secret compartment locked. But to Peter West it seemed as if David was just showing him how best to display the case so that the camera could get a good look at it.

There were a couple of other things David asked Peter to do but they were dropped into the conversation as pointers on how best to make the performance go smoothly rather than any attempt to recruit him as part of the act. He told Peter that when he met the celebrity he should tell him that he would be required to mark the note with a pin. Furthermore that the pinprick should be made on the first digit of the serial number so that the camera could pick it up easily. It seems a logical thing to do, television was full of such detail and knowing where to stand and where to look and how to display objects to the camera was all part and parcel of being a presenter. And Peter, being an accomplished presenter, took all the information in his stride.

David told him that there would be a live link between Manchester and London and that it was important that the props were handled exactly as he had specified because they were going to use a split-screen to show the two locations simultaneously. A bit of humour wouldn't go amiss. It's not important but maybe Peter would be prepared to just clasp his hand to his pocket when the cigarette case was opened a second time? I'd be delighted, said Peter. That's what professional presenters are for. And so by the end of the meeting Peter knew everything he needed to know about the choreography of the props, the instructing of the celebrity and his own bit of byplay.

It's important to note that David did not ask Peter to look astonished when the case was opened and the cigarettes appeared inside. If he'd done that he'd be asking Peter to lie and unless Peter was a good actor it wouldn't be very convincing. All Peter had to do was put his hand on his pocket. When the case was opened he would be genuinely amazed because the note had disappeared. He'd also realise the significance of his putting his hand to his pocket but at no stage did he have to think about acting a role. It would all seem natural on the night.

This may sound rather a lot but it isn't. Professional presenters are paid for their ability to carry out just such tasks. The key is to make all the important stuff sound trivial and all the trivial stuff sound important. You'll note too that Peter hadn't actually been asked to collude in the effect. He didn't even know what the effect was. All he knew was how to facilitate the event for the cameras. All this preparation was.made less than two weeks before the show.

As David was about to leave he made one more suggestion. "Perhaps it would be better if the notes the celebrity used were crisp and clean. It would be a pity if the notes were crushed and wrinkled." David opened his wallet and took out a one-pound note, a five-pound note and a ten-shilling note. Why not hand these to the celebrity and he can choose one of them later? "It doesn't matter which one, any will do." The notes David handed him included a ten-shilling note that had been doctored for the effect. David had obtained four new ten-shilling notes in numerical sequence and from them taken two notes, one whose serial number ended in 4 and the other whose number ended in a figure 1. With two strokes of a thin black pen, the 1 was changed to a 4 so that David now had two identical looking notes.

The faked note was among those that he gave to Peter. The other note would be used in the London studio and had to be genuine because the manager of the Bank of England would examine it. In any transposition effect using duplicates, you always want to finish with the genuine article.

David phoned Peter the evening before the show to make sure everything was still in order but there were no other meetings between them. Peter carried out his instructions to the letter. An hour before the show Peter met Cyril Washbrooke and asked him to appear as a guest. He handed him the three crisp notes and told him to bring them with him to the studio. He also briefed him about sticking the pin in the first number of the note.

In London David stood ready with Fabian and the manager of the Bank of England. And when the show was on air David began to draw the various threads together and weave a miracle. First Washbrooke was asked if he had any banknotes on him. He obliged by taking out the three notes Peter West had given him and placed them on a small table. Via the studio link David asked Washbrooke to pick up one of the notes. David used the phrase "pick one up" in preparation for the Magicians Choice but as it happened Washbrooke chose the ten-shilling note.

David asked the BBC's bank manager to read out the serial number and write it down.

Washbrooke was asked to fold the note in half and then in half again. Does anyone have a cigarette case? asked David. Peter West immediately brought out the Roterberg Card Box David had given him. It was possible that someone else could have proffered a cigarette case. If so, David would have found some reason as to why Peter West's was the best case to use.

Peter West was asked to remove the cigarettes. As he did so David asked how many there were. Five, said Peter who placed the cigarettes in his pocket. Washbrooke placed the note in the case and closed it but, as instructed by Peter earlier, held the case lightly "so it would open easily on camera."

The camera cut to London and David asked Fabian to examine a small metal tube. It was just a garden hose extension but Fabian's scepticism provided a touch of humour. As Fabian examined the tube David took a small gummed label from his pocket and handed it to him. He asked Fabian to stick the label on the tube, guiding him so that he placed it at the centre and match a tube that David had in his left pocket. This tube also had a label stuck to it and inside the tube was the rolled up duplicate ten-shilling note.

David stole the duplicate tube from his pocket and palmed it in his left hand as Fabian applied the gummed sticker. He momentarily took the tube back with his right hand and asked Fabian if he had a pen. The question was rhetorical but provided an opportunity for David to switch the tube. He gave Fabian the duplicate tube and sleeved the original in his right sleeve.

A pen was produced and Fabian signed his initials on the sticker not knowing that it now contained a ten-shilling note. It was a bold manoeuvre. "Believe me," says David, "I hovered while he signed it." David retrieved the sleeved tube later, when the camera was focussed elsewhere.

Fabian had already examined the tube twice so didn't feel the least bit suspicious or in need of examining it again. David held the tube for him while Fabian initialled the label. Then he asked him to hold the tube so that the camera could get a good view of it. Within seconds Fabian was holding the tube, his own fingers and thumb covering the ends so that he couldn't see inside, and the initialled sticker facing the camera. All the preparation had now been made but first a delaying tactic that convinced even the most sceptical that no trickery had yet taken place.

A split-screen showed pictures from London and Manchester. The cigarette case and tube were both in shot. David counted to five and then asked Washbrooke to open the case. He did but the note was still there. David apologised, he forgot the drum roll! He asked Washbrooke to close the case tightly. Now this went against Washbrooke's original instructions but he obeyed because he assumed that David knew what he was doing. David heard the click of the Roterberg Card Box as it locked and knew the routine was almost over.

He counted to five again, this time with a soft drum roll for accompaniment. Washbrooke opened the cigarette case and was amazed to find the note gone and five cigarettes in its place.

In this newspaper photo, David and Ruth, his new fiancée, prepared for the London and Manchester show featuring The Ten Shilling Note.

Peter West saw the cigarettes and, as instructed, put his hand to his pocket. The audience presumed that these were the same cigarettes that Peter West removed from the case earlier.

The action moved to London where Fabian was asked to look into the metal tube he had been holding. He was amazed to find the ten-shilling note inside. The manager from the Bank of England confirmed that it was genuine and bore the identical serial number to the one that vanished from Manchester. He held the note up to the light, looking for the pinprick. He found it through the middle of the number nine. It was the same note. The effect was over and David offered to return the ten-shilling note to Washbrooke by post, a little light humour to end the routine on.

The fact that the broadcast was live sounds awe-inspiring but David points out that all broadcasts were live in the 50s, that was the nature of television. It was no different from any other performing environment and you just had to learn to cover up as best you could when things went wrong. Does David get nervous about a complex routine like this? Sure, but he points out that any performer needs to be keyed up before an event if they are to deliver a first-class performance. In David's case he has his nerves before the routine, not during. He's nervous when he's thinking about what he might do on some special show. He's nervous if he's left the preparation a little late. But he isn't nervous when he is actually performing. Long before he steps on stage he has mentally rehearsed the routine over and over again, thinking carefully about what might go wrong and what other opportunities might present themselves. By the time he's on stage he has been through the effect many times even though this performance may be its public debut. "If you're not nervous at any time between the creation of the routine and its performance, then maybe," says David, "you're not giving it your best."

There is one final touch to this particular piece. Some months after the broadcast Peter West met David and they discussed how well the routine went. Halfway through the conversation Peter remembered that he had something that belonged to David. He reached into his pocket and took out the cigarette case together with the one pound and five pound notes that hadn't been selected.

David had already envisaged this scenario and had made one last piece of preparation. He had another Roterberg Card Box prepared to look like a cigarette case but its secret compartment had been soldered shut. David took the cigarette case from Peter, switched it for the duplicate and, after a thoughtful pause, handed it back to him as a gift, a thank you for his help. When he met Peter again, years later, he still had that cigarette case. And he still had no idea how that ten-shilling note got from Manchester to London. Genius, they say, is in the detail.

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