Dinner Table Pull

Through the pages of now rather dusty literature has been detailed time and again the life and exploits of Alexander Hermann. Much space has been devoted to his constant penchant for impromptu performing at odd moments regardless of where he might be, and this cultivating of notice by the populace near him undoubtedly helped no little in making his name quite one of word of mouth.

The story about his finding coin after coin in objects of fruit picked up from a curbstone cart, with the subsequent refusal of the vendor to sell any more of the supposedly money bearing produce while he, himself, started to mutilate it beyond repair, is almost too well known. Continuous mention has been made of Hermann's prowess at sleight-of-hand, and many are the times when I have read about his sitting at a banquet table, ever entertaining those near him with the evanishment of knives, forks, and FRUITS. That last is capitalized for it is with such things as oranges, apples, etc., combined with the position of sitting at a table, that we are most concerned. Just recently it came to our attention that Hermann had a rather majestic way about him when he would pick up an orange, toss it into the air a couple of times and on the lest throw cause it to disappear. Heretofore, in all print that it has been our fortune to peruse, the trick was passed off with mention of Hermann's sleight-of-hand ability.

That the orange was dropped into the lap on the last throw seemed to be taken for granted, and we passed it up to until we learned from one most certainly "in the know" that TO CIRCUMVENT SUCH A THOUGHT FROM REING ENTERTAINED BY HIS OBSERVERS, HERMANN WOULD IMMEDIATELY PUSH HIS CHAIR BACK, STAND UP, CRUMPLE HIS NAPKIN ONTO THE TAELE, EXCUSE HIMSELF, AND WALK AWAY FOR A FEW MINUTES. With such a showmanlike exit, who could blame those watching him for rapt speculation on the whereabouts of the orange? We do not doubt that they peered under the table, and we are certain that more than one made a quick grab for the crumpled napkin. All of which was perfect psychology. It kept his audience busy for a few minutes and that few minutes of endeavor served to make an Impression that would take a long time to erase.

So now we find that it wasn't ALL a matter of slei£ht-of-hand. Some might say that Hermann was wearing "tails" and made use of the proverbial "profonde." Such a thing could be true, we'll admit, but it would require plenty misdirection while the hand made a pretty long and obvious down sweep below table level. The secret we heard about was far more subtle, and it can be used to-day without special dress.

A stiff wire loop, about inches in diameter is formed and at one part it is twisted a time or two to make a small quarter inch loop. To the large loop a soft cloth tag is sewn of such depth that when the loop is held perpendicularly an object within the bag will hang down unable to fall out past the lower lip of the wire loop.

A package of not too heavy rubber bands now finds use in the forming of about a ten inch length of "pull." One is first "figure 8" looped through the small twist of wire on the bag. Other bands are succeedingly engaged likewise into each other until the desired length is attained. This ten inch length will stretch to more than 4 times normal, and much more than the ordinary and common black elastic.

The end of this pull is attached to the inside of the coat NEAR THE COLLAR AND EXACTLY AT THE CENTER. It hangs at the center hoilow of the back.

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When sitting down at a table, the performer unobstrusively reaches back with the free hand, depending upon which side he approaches the chair, and pulls the bag down TO SIT ON IT. As he maneuvres the chair into position, the other hand naturally reaches down to the front of the chair seat and pulls it forward. DURING THIS SETTLING DOWN PROCESS, THE PERFORMER HAS PLENTY OF TIME TO REACH FOR THE BAG UNDER HIM, FULL IT UP BETWEEN HIS LEGS, AND LET THE WIRE LOOP OF THE BAG REST ON HIS CLOSED LEGS. With a napkin on his lap he may eat his entire meal with no discomfiture at being "ready."

Comes the time when a trick is needed. He may do others as long as he doesn't stand. Then, picking up an orange, apple, salt cellar, or even a demi-tasse from which he has sipped his coffee, he holds it in his right hand, looks upward, and may state that whenever he touches the ceiling with a thrown object it fades away like a comet in the sky.

The left hand drops just below the table edge, pushing the napkin aside, and remains there palm upward. The right hand makes a sweep upward. ONE I Again. TWO! And, always looking upward, the third toss is made. But on the 2nd downsweep, the object is dropped into the left hand which pushes it into the open basr and turns the wire form sidewise so that it will slip between the legs.

During this time there has been no hesitation v/ith the right hand which went up with the count of THREE! The object has vanished, and the spectators' eyes come down. The performer's left hand comes up with the crumpled napkin, he brushes his lips as he starts to rise, murmurs "excuse me, please" and stalks off. The moment he arises six inches frcm the chair the rubber bands have acted in unison and the object whose fate is in doubt comes to rest at the performer's back for removal when out of the room.

The pull may be used in many ways at a table for there are many tricks with small glasses and material at hand which would allow of a vanish at the finish to very good effect.

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