The Quizzing Glass

Back to the show and a subtly reworked version of the paperweight prediction which appeared in every show. It begins with David handing out a gift box to each of his guests, Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee. "I've got a little souvenir for you. May I ask you not to open it for the moment."

Turning to Christopher he says "I'm going to show you something that will surprise you. I've collected some of the significant things that you have used in your many films." The guests are standing beside a cloth-covered table. David lifts the drape away to reveal a collection of movie props. Christopher looks at them, amazed that so many could have been collected together in one place. The most obvious is the elaborate gun from the James Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun, in which he played the part of the assassin Scaramanga. Incidentally David was on the production team that designed the weapon for the movie. The prop on the table was his own duplicate. For Christopher Lee every item on the table held a memory. "I'm going to ask you to think of one," says David. "Now all you have to do is look at them and think of one but don't tell me, okay?"

David picks up a small alarm clock and hands it to Ingrid Pitt. He asks her to turn the hands of the clock to any time she chooses. She does and is careful that David doesn't see it. But we, the viewers, get a glimpse of the face of the clock before she holds it against her chest. She's chosen three o'clock.

"Have you set it to a time?" asks David. "Are you sure I can't know?" Ingrid says she has no idea how he could possibly know what time she has selected. He asks Christopher, "Have you thought of one of the objects?" He has.

"If I were to tell you [Christopher] that Ingrid could tell you the object you are thinking of and that you can tell Ingrid the time she is thinking of, that would be incredible, wouldn't it?" Christopher agrees that it would be impossible and then suddenly asks if he can change his mind. David seems to be taken by surprise and asks if he has already thought of something. Christopher says he has and the question seems to be ignored.

Ingrid has a time in mind, Christopher an object. Now David reveals them both. He

On the set with guests Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee.

tells Ingrid, "You thought of five o'clock, right?" Ingrid looks puzzled. "You can be honest and say yes or no. I'm always right." Ingrid says nothing. "What's the matter, you look so worried?" She tells him why. He's wrong. She thought of three o'clock.

"Three?" says David, "You mean I was two hours out?" That's the first time it has ever happened to me. I thought it was five. Never mind, I can't win them all. But I will never forget that I was two hours out." It seems to be a failure and by way of diversion David asks Ingrid to open her present. She opens the small white box and lifts out the contents. It is a paperweight miniature of David's light sculptures. If you watched the Christmas show you know something of what's coming next.

"It's personally engraved to you," says David, "but I'm very upset that I was two hours out." He asks her to look at the inscription on the base of the paperweight and read it out. It says, "With Best Wishes To Ingrid Pitt. The Two Hour Difference Will Always Be In The Mind Of David Berglas." It's a cue for applause and it duly arrives.

Now it's the turn of Christopher Lee. David had seemed earlier to brush off Christopher's request about changing his mind but now he reminds him of it. "Could I ask you the object that you wanted to change your mind to?"

"I can tell you now, can I?" asks Christopher.

"That," he says pointing to a large magnifying glass on the table, "the quizzing glass."

"I see. I made you change your mind although you don't think I did. Would you please read out the inscription? Christopher has already taken out the paperweight from the box. He holds it upside down and reads the message engraved on its base. "The mind of David Berglas influenced the mind of Christopher Lee to change to the Quizzing Glass."

Two predictions skirting the edge of disaster and yet both proving correct after all.

Revelations: In this instance David acquired the information about the guests' choices before the show was recorded and, unlike the Christmas show, the engravings were prepared before the studio session. Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee were ideal guests, both enthusiastic not only about appearing on the show but actually interested in the subject matter.

They arrived well ahead of time and, as is customary, spent part of the day at the studio where the show would be recorded. David met them and told them in vague terms what was about to happen. Specifically that they would be required to choose something. In order that there should be no confusion he convinced both of them to make their choice now and remember it later when they were on the show. Ingrid mentally selected a time and wrote it down on a slip of paper, which she was told she might be required to produce later. David used a clipboard to gain a copy of the information.

Christopher Lee was asked to choose a prop from a printed list. He never saw the actual items until the recording, that way there would be a genuine element of surprise. During the selection Christopher casually asked David if he could change his mind. David said he could and suggested that he might like to raise this very point during the show. Christopher too wrote down the name of his selection and the clipboard provided David with the information.

It sounds simple enough but as previously mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, every day during the making of this series brought its own problems. Studios are busy places, frequently chaotic and time is limited. David had to get the information he required under the guise of helping the guests fulfil their roles. Each guest was approached separately. This wasn't just to make the task easier, it also helped to create the necessary spontaneity when the selections are revealed in the studio. Neither knew what was to happen with the other.

It had to appear that the guests made their choices during the recording of the show, not before it. To ensure that the experience felt as real for the guests as it did for the audience, David emphasised that they should under no circumstances tell him or anyone else what they were thinking of. He wanted them to be genuinely astonished at the revelations.

Having secured the information David worked out the wording of the predictions and got the information to his engraver hidden in the basement of the studio. Being two hours out on Ingrid's prediction was a verbal trick that the audience was intended to see through. They gave him the full credit due. He was hoping that Christopher would, as previously discussed, mention the possibility of changing his mind. If he hadn't, then David would have opened up the subject, saying perhaps, "You changed your mind didn't you?" Christopher would have taken the cue and confessed that he had indeed changed his mind and therefore fit in with the prediction.

There is a degree of compliance involved when celebrity guests are used on a television magic show. They want to play their roles well, be entertaining and make the best of their abilities and talents. They have not turned up at a studio to act as spoilsports (unless of course you want them to). Like any regular volunteer, they want to look good. On a magic show they want to be baffled and, being performers, have no hesitation in showing their astonishment. It makes for good television. This willingness to please and be part of the action is a trait in people that David understands better than most and has put to good use in many of his routines. But, as you will see later, it cannot always be depended upon.

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