The Basic Handling

To execute the basic "Flashback" effect, simply offer the spectator a choice of books. It doesn't make any difference whether you use two, three or all four of the gaffed books that come with "Ultimate Flashback," since they're all identical with the exception of the cover. Once the book is selected, hold it in your left hand with the spine of the book in the crook of the left hand with the left thumb on the front cover and the remaining fingers on the back.

Grasping the upper right hand corner of the book approximately one inch from the top of the book, riffle the pages using the right middle finger. Ask the spectator to call, "Stop!" any time that he wishes. When he does so, pull the book open at that point, just enough for the spectator to see the first few lines on the right hand page facing him.

Instruct the spectator to remember the first word of text on the page. Simultaneously, glance over the top edge of the book and quickly memorize the second word from the end of the top line on the page facing you. This word is identical to the first word on the page the spectator is looking at. Please don't make a move out of this. A quick, casual glimpse is all it takes as you instruct the spectator what to do. Be sure to hold the book at a level that doesn't require any straining to see over the top edge.

Immediately close the book and toss it aside. You can now reveal the spectator's word as dramatically as you wish. Naturally, there are other variations possible. For example, you can make a tongue-in-cheek wager with the spectator. State, "You've heard the expression that one picture is worth a thousand words. Tonight, one word could be worth a thousand pictures. One thousand pictures of George Washington on a thousand one dollar bills. In other words, if I should fail to correctly reveal the one word you are about to concentrate upon, you'll win $1000."

For this presentation, I always use a bookmark to mark the page the spectator selects. This will prevent him from later changing his mind and claiming he's thinking of a different word. I have the spectator insert the bookmark anywhere into the top edge of the book that he wishes. I then slide the protruding bookmark to the left, wedging it into the "gutter" to keep it from falling out. Opening the book at that point, I have the spectator memorize the first word on the selected page. I then close the book and place it aside, reminding everyone that the selected page is marked with the bookmark in case the spectator happens to forget his word.

Picking up a piece of posterboard and a marker, I proceed to print the spectator's selected word, however, I purposely mime printing a few extra letters. I state that I have an impression the spectator is concentrating upon a seven letter word beginning with the letter "S." Actually, I've correctly written the spectator's five letter word. I want the spectator to think that I've gotten the wrong word. I continue by saying, "Does that mean anything to you?" Naturally the spectator says that it doesn't. I feign shock and reply, are you sure? What word are you thinking of?" The spectator announces his selected word. I turn the piece of posterboard, word side towards the audience, as I state, "Fortunately so was I!"

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