There are two basic actions required to perform this entertaining routine. One is to open the purse in a "normal" fashion, enabling you to show the interior of the legitimate pocket of the purse. The other action simulates opening the purse in a normal fashion, but bypasses the legitimate interior, accessing the secret pocket instead. To the audience, both actions should appear identical.
First, to open the purse in a normal fashion, hold it in the left hand with the springtop between the left thumb on one end and the left first and second fingers on the opposite end. Squeeze inwardly and the legitimate interior of the purse will pop open. Relax the pressure and the spring-top snaps shut. The secret pocket side of the purse should face the left palm.
The secret move simulates opening the purse in a normal fashion, but allows you to open the secret pocket instead. It's performed when it's necessary to remove one of the four slips in the secret pocket. To perform the secret move, hold the purse in the left hand with the pocket side facing your palm. The end of the spring-top is held in the first joint crease of the middle finger; the end of the spring-top is held against the pad of the thumb. Until you are ready to perform the move the first finger should rest near the middle finger.
To access the secret pocket, move the first finger until it's resting behind the center of the spring-top. Push outward against the middle of both springs with the tip of the first finger. Simultaneously, squeeze inward with the middle finger and thumb. The double spring top is bowed outward toward the audience while the secret pocket snaps open. From the audience's perspective, the appearance of the purse is the same as if the purse had legitimately been squeezed open. Immediately bring the first finger back to rest at the upper corner of the purse. The inward pressure of the middle finger and thumb hold the secret pocket in an open position. (Note: I always condition the springs of the purse before they're shipped. When you receive them, the pre-conditioning ensures that the secret pocket will "snap" open when the double springs are pushed outward.)
A slight upward motion of the hand will cover any movement of the first finger as it pushes the springs outward and then returns to its position at the upper corner of the purse. Those of you who have seen me do the purse effect in person or on videotape will attest to the absolute "invisibility" of the move. The right fingers enter the secret pocket to extract the proper slip; just be sure you keep the outer edge of the purse tipped slightly back, away from the audience to prevent them seeing the edges of the double springs.
To simulate closing the purse after removing the slip, relax the pressure of the thumb and middle finger, allowing the purse to straighten with a snapping sound as if the spring-top had actually closed. The illusion of sight and sound is extremely strong and very deceptive. Be sure you practice this move until you have mastered it to perfection. Incidentally, even though I've pre-conditioned the purses by rapidly opening and closing the secret pocket and immediately reopening the purse in the normal fashion, they should be reconditioned prior to performing. I always do this several times to make sure the secret pocket pops open as its supposed to. The slight bend in the springs makes the act of performing the secret move much easier. Should the pocket ever fail to pop open, simply use the tip of the first finger to reach down into the secret pocket and pull it open as inward pressure is applied by the thumb and middle finger.
To perform the effect as described, follow the presentation detailed under "THE EFFECT." Display the four purses and invite the spectator to select one, for example, purse number two. Place the remaining three purses under your right armpit and hold the selected purse in your left hand. Pretend to open the purse in the normal fashion, but access the secret pocket instead. Remove the smallest of the four slips (easy, because the index is stepped). Immediately allow the purse to close. State that obviously this is not a $100 bill. Immediately reopen the purse in the normal fashion and drop the slip inside. Keep the purse open as you extend the purse to the spectator and invite her to remove the slip of paper. As soon as she has removed the slip, show here the inside of the purse and ask if there is anything else inside. Naturally, she'll reply in the negative. This is a beautiful subtlety that was not included in the original instructions. It strongly reinforces the fact that there was only one slip in the purse.
After the slip has been read aloud, retrieve it, and place it inside the purse. Deposit the purse in your left hand jacket pocket and retrieve the three purses from under your right armpit. Have the second purse selected. Repeat the same procedure as described above for the next two purse selections. In each instance, you remove the next larger prediction, the one predicts that the spectator's second choice. The third largest slip predicts the spectator's third choice. Each subsequent revelation will be greeted by increased audience reaction. After three purses have been freely selected and it has become apparent that you actually predicted the order in which the purses would be selected, hold up the final purse. "This is the purse that contains the money," you state. Open the purse to the secret pocket and remove the folded hundred dollar bill. At this point you mention that there's also another piece of paper in the purse. Remove the largest slip, close and re-open the purse to show it otherwise empty.
Open the slip and read it aloud, asking the spectator to look over your shoulder to make sure you read the message accurately. As you read the poem, your assistant should bring the long stemmed rose on stage. Immediately hand it to the spectator and call for a nice round of applause for a good sport. The gift immediately takes the sting out of the spectator losing the wager, Naturally, you can substitute any prize that you wish. I often give away a Teddy Bear using the routine described previously, change the poem to read: "You missed on all three guesses, not the best of scores. But since you've been a marvelous sport, a lovable gift is yours!"
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