Bits Of Presto

Everyone, X think, likes to see a good trick performed. Many times, though, I have seen a clever performer, who could do the most difficult things with ease, fail to intrigue his audience for the reason that the tricks didn't join each other smoothly. The subconscious Impression left behind was that his act lacked direction. In the theatrical profession good direction Is necessary always in order that ones talents be brought out to best advantages In the history of the business very few people ever have been able to direct themselves.

I have liked magic since I was old enough to know that it meant, roughly, something vanishing or appearing. It is the challenge of it all that holds my attention and thought. Not having the time,and quite possibly the digital agility, the tricks requiring skilled action have eluded me.However, at parties and little get-togethers, my fancy for bewildering and puzzling people has given me a few simple tricks which I have gleaned from one place or another. They may not sound so mysterious to your readers,but I can assure you that they are veterans in use and have made many well known thinkers worry about how they might be done. And, after all, isn't that what a legerdemain-lst Is supposed to do? Loot a spectator's mind of all his reasoning powers?

One of the first little cheating mysteries with which I upset not a few was a stunt where someone touched an article while I wae out of the room behind a closed door. On my return a grand display of thought would be climaxed by getting the article and locating he who had touched It. Of course, this isn't to be performed any time or place. And that's pertinent. Most talked of tricks flourish under impromptu circumstances.Take advantage of what is at hand and make the most of it.A bunch of loose articles, eight or ten, were taken from around a room and put on a card table. But the keyhole in the door was my secret. I had set the ta^jle in range and called for lota of gadgets. Then I made much ado about being escorted into the other room.

And could I locate a chosen card under Impossible circumstances? Anyone took any deck into another room, put it face down on the table,took out any card and put it with Its face up next to the deck. He was to repeat the name of the chosen card three times and wind up with "Abracadabra." Replacing the card he would shuffle them well. I would go into the room after him and return holding the very sa,me card selected by the astonished spectator. Wa3 everybody bewildered? All but one.That one was always a close (continued on page 361)

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