Elliott At Play

While not a magical item strictly, this party game has served me well at times when ny tricks weren't being too well appreciated.

It is

, called "My grandmother likes --- ». it has the advantage of being usable when only one other person besides yourself is present as well as being practical when a lot of guests gather close and enter into the mental arena. At such a time the cumulative "build-up" becomes positively terrific. Let us call it one of those verbal mysteries for which everyone becomes more and more interested in finding the clue.

You begin - "Ity grandmother likes tea, but not coffee." The person opposite you or to your left around the circle is next. He or she says what a grandmere likes and what she doesn't like. You register disgust (in most cases), shake your head, and say, "She's off, batty, or crazy." When someone gives a combination, seemingly no different from what others have said, you may say, "She's smart. A wise woman."

For instance - "--- likes oysters but not clams" (RIGHT) "--- likes meat but not vegetables" (WRONG) "--- likes hay but not straw"

(WRONG) "--- likes a cottage but not a house"

(RIGHT) "--- likes bugs but not snakes" (WRONG)

"--- likes tram car« but not busses" (RIGHT).

I've seen this £0 on for half an hour while the circle grew larger and larger — each participant trying to discover the clue. Ylth every newcomer the performer merely says "This game is called "My grandmother likes tea but not coffee. Get in line."

The aggravating part is that various members of the circle will receive approbation one time around and the next time be told that their grandmothers are "off".

It may not be good manners but everybody has a good time throughout — and the secret is awfully simple. I've tried to quit a party without giving the "necessary" but found that people then said that the whole thing was a fake, pure and simple. Therefore it must be started and built up during a while until everyone becomee "mad" at not being able to fathom the "code" — and then the secret is told and the ring broken up in favor of another game or drinks. Even if at another party you have participants who know the secret - they will "play ball" by being in

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the circle and getting a "RIGHT" or a nod when their turn comes. No one "in the know" ever gives the clue away.

Go back and read that opening line you have given. The first word that grandma likes must contain a T. What she doesn't like must not contain a T. It all is so silly? Noi.' Try it on your next party, or right now with your wife or sweetheart.

THE.GHOST OF A CHANCE (continued from next page)

builds up to a watched for climax, but it does not stop the performer's presentation of numbers on his program. Otherwise there would be a long "stall" during the writing time and the collection period. At the beginning of the man-euvre the master mind may say that he wishes questions for a later test. And when the box finally is returned to the front or platform he lets someone shake it well.

He reminds of the various colored papers and says that because of time limits he can answer but few queries. Thus, on account of color, he can have picked, by chance, some one spectator from each part of the audience.

The performer unties the box and discards the lid. The person who brought the filled box forward takes it and hands the performer one paper of any color. He holds it upon his open palm and answer« the question. The assistant takes it and reads the question aloud.

He then is asked to pick one of another color, and the sane result occurs. This happens with the other two colors. 7/ith four guestions answered the program item is concluded.

It all is accomplished by having the box proper filled with four "forced" questions, each one duplicated upon its own color of paper. The utter duplicity of the affair is psychologically hidden by the fairness of the pad passing and box passing while the performer concerns himself with other deceptives. It is not necessary, as in other question answering cases, to identify the writers. The performer gives his stock answers (according to the colors as picked out) and the assistant then reads the papers. I hope It isn't too late to mention that the spectators are asked to write questions of import but not to write names or initials.

This leaves the performer safe when the assistant reads the paper which the perfoiroer has answered, for, until that time, the audience does not know if he is actually giving a reply to the billet selected from amongst the others. And, without identifying initials, the writing may be from anyone in that colored-paper sector.

The reader must recognise this. The effect is just an effect among others in the program. It is done simply as a program item. No time is lost in distribution, write-up, or collection. The spectators do it all themselves. The performer "answers" one of each color to make it a fair selection - and the audience knows that. And he may even have the box proper passed to various front row observors for each choice, merely telling them to take any one of a color not yet chosen. , __ _ .

The ouestions? And answers? Better people than I have written books upon the subject of answering freely given queries, but here you have a set-up. You not alone know the question for each color, but have an answer ready to recite by rote.

o?is mmm&s watched from amateur days in Toledo, Ohio, to present day nite club prominence plus a most helping wife-assistant of charm, has provided a self-proven practical device really worth consideration.

What has been written here is what was forwarded us from Florida. Mr. Manning concluded his instructions for construction and use by saying, "The rest is up to the performer and the effect he might wish.

The point now is that such a fine principle, with its natural dress, should not suffer by a drawn-out passing about only to be used for a single selection, unless, of course, that picking be for a tremendously effective effect.

In the case of numbers there is little choice. In fact, there is no use for them except when the box is a part of an effect being performed before only from ten to twenty people. No number effect within our ken deserves or warrants the time necessary to have written and collected the individually written billets.

Mr. Manning mentioned, in his copy to us. that he was using the box for a name selection, but he didn't go

Because looking items

I am a firm believer in using simple _ Items in magic - not the fancy painted gadgets sold by dealers, I figured out a sort of billet switch that looks innocent. (I hate the change bag) After making several boxes, a cigar box with double lid, a turn-over device, and so on, this fool-proof and very plain looking idea was evolved and built. It has proven its worth in several ways.

I use a Schrafft's Candy Box, 8£ x 4$- and in the top, at center, is cut a small slot to take the folded billets. Immediately below this slot is a small secret box, pasted or taped to the top, size 3 x 34. '.Vhen billets are dropped into this slotted box they go into the secret box and not into the candy box proper.

After the billets are collected, and the box is shaken up a bit, the lid iB lifted and a spectator allowed to select any jne inside. Thusly a billet is forced for the simple reason that all inside the box proper are alike.

The drawing shows the secret box when pasted to the lid at points marked X. Billets drop into the box through slot A. On each side of the small box, in box proper, have the faked billets - each containing the information which vou wish forced. I have a ribbon tied around the box in orthodox fashion, missing the slot, of course, and it can be passed into the audience from oerson to person by theirselves, for the insertion of slips. After a good shaking by the last person who brings it to yoii, the lid is removed, care being taken that the inside of the lid is not shown to reveal faked box, and a selection is made from those seen in the box proper. The lid then is replaced and box tossed aside.

(By Annemann: Many years ago we tried to work out' methods of forcing which would eliminate the change bap and change basket so prevalent at that time but So out of keeping in the surroundings of drawing rooms and intimate clubs. We didn't succeed to the extent of publishing our results, and now nr. Manning, whom we've any further. It might not be difficult to figure that he could reveal the selected cognomen in some startling way, available to all of us, but still we wonder as to the practicability of spending time for the ultimate choice unless the denouement be worthwhile.

Our last thought upon the natter has to do v/ith questions and their answers. In other words, maybe the box is useful as a force for more than one thing. This may open the minds of some readers to new possibilities.

The five and dime (Woolworth) emporiums sell small packets of pads in assorted colors. Suppose you were to pass a red pad into one part of your audience, a white pad into another section, a green pad elsewhere, and a yellow pad through what is left. The spectators write a query upon the top sheet, tear it off and fold, passing the pad and pencil on to another sitter. It really doesn't matter if they cross - it's the effect of the beginning that counts.

During this time the performer, you, does a couple of mysteries not requiring audience participation. Then the box is started around for the collection of the folded billets. And during this time a couple of more inysteries are presented. In short, the audience members write on various colored papers, fold, and insert them in the passed around box. It all (continued on last page)

The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune for April 20th did right well by the non-exposers of that city. The roto-gravure section carried pics in action of Arthur Kelson, Arthur Johnson, A1 Guf-stafson, Judge P. W. Carter, and James DeVoll with his one man levitation. Following closely upon the Sunday spread given those Daytonians (Ohio) it gives us hope that an era of legitimate magical picturizations may be coming up. After that recent LIFE mag expose wherein the Keith Clark lent himself to a*revelation of a principle which wouldn't have been noticed except for the model's legs and editorially mentioned pants, the western magis' publicity is a clean breath of air.

Russell Swann has made a half-hour "How's Tricks?" script on wax for NBC. It is awaiting a sponsor. The show will personalize Swann's rabbit, (?us, making him a sort of Jiminy Cricket who hops out of a hat to talk back to the trickster from time to time. Radio might take well to Swann's personality, and vice versa, but we wonder what will happen when he has to read from a written sheet instead of being so beautifully independent of words as written by our mentors. Buss is one of the few who can contemplate a "disaster" with a shoulder shrug, overwhelming smile, and then do something with his magic that makes the books in YOUR library turn upside down.

In the May "Tops" Dell O'Dell "Looks Around" in her column and lets us know that our own "Fifth Row, Center Aisle" reviewers don't find favor because one of them suggested she do bending exercises. Out of chivalry alone we would have deleted such a remark but that particular column Is sacred unto its writers. Miss O'Dell's cutest rejoinder was "I'm selling 'Hex' not 'Sex'. Miss O'Dell's column also contained "I" "me" "my" exactly 43 times.

Mr. John Mulholland, Miss Dorothy Wolff, and ourself met in Stuart Robson's (N.Y.C.) Conjuror's Shop the other day. The hour and 40 minute conversation started with John's "What have you against me?" We'll confess that we did little talking. The MUlholland - Wolff - Sphinx side on all matters which have been mentioned in these pages were raked over after being ploughed up. Only a very little stone of contention could have escaped. It was illuminating to learn that The Sphinx, as told us by its editor, recognises a clean cut line of demarcation between that publication and the S.A.M. Personally we think that some sort of brotherly feeling exists between the stockholders and the organization if only because that they are members - mostly of the parent assembly. And even if those stockholders have nothing to say about the majority stockholder's way of doing things. We have been invited to drop in at the office of The Sphinx whenever we have a doubt in our mind. Both Mr. Hulholland and Miss Wolff assured us that information is accessible.

I like Bill Larsen's recognizance of Dr. A.M.Wilson in Genii for May. Especially I like the editorial excerpt (Sphinx-Oct. 1928) which bears repeating every month instead of every ten years, to wit: "While I am belligerent - and not at all diplomatic or tactful - yet I have ever borne in mind the scripture, 'Pride goeth before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction', and have tried to keep from boasting of what I have done (if I have done anything) arid from making vainglorious promises of what I will do in the future." And the Genii editor then says, "That next month we shall begin the publishing of the

I.'.U.U. material that he (Wilson) so fondly cared for and cherished makes us proud indeed." Isn't it strange, if not funny? Here is one nationally known mag humbly happy to take over the Official Organ status of the S.A.M. while The Sphinx, the world's oldest magical journal, associated with M.U.M. for decades, says, through its editor, that it is well rid of the stuff. I hope this sheet lasts long enough to report who is right.

Notice to West Coast magi. Bill Larsen's notebook, when he returns home from his eastern trek of seven weeks, should be full of information, confidential type, of course, about the fellows you've heard so much of but haven't had the chance to trail to their lairs.

Fred Keating telle us that he's Still got a lot of legit show blood to get out pf his system before he let's magic absorb him again. He is planning to tour with Bankhead this summer in "Her Cardboard Lover". It's a swell title for an ex-magico, provided he plays the lead to glamorous Tallulah who gave Freddie his first chance on Broadway when he was disdaining the life of a trickster — which wasn't such a bad way of making a living.

So — the papers say that Rudolph Hess, Hitler's confident, and the man who, to-day, I'ay 13th, parachuted into English arms, was a consort of hypnotists and fortune tellers by way of the stars. We trust that some of the weird wags will say that he took the correct way out whilst others will say that a phase of the moon did dement him. Pick your country to fit the explanation. Soothsayers, like white-caps on a wave, follow the wind.

Orson Welles is a name to be conjured with these days in theatrical and movie circles. Almost every biographical article about him mentions magic and tricks as his hobby when very, very young. It's no press agentry, for to-day, at a crest of nationwide popularity, the man who scared a nation with his Mars-men broadcast can be bumped into at magic shops on both of the U.S. coasts. He's more rabid than ever about those mysterious looking gadgets behind the showcase windows. So — ir you step on somebody's toe while trving to get a good glimpse of that multiplying cream puff, and the fellow says, "Pardon me", it won't be a professional magus, it will be Orson Welles.

The omniscient readers of Tom 'Vorthington's "Tablets of Osiris" ought to begin to bog down after the 141st monthly issue of this Society of Osiris (Baltimore, I'd.) official or^an. It probably is the world's oldest private magic club publication. But Tom, a veteran if magic ever had one, has harped for 10 years plus on a shortcoming of the S.A.I.!. It has to do v/ith that organization's inability to expel just one member for exposing. We are of the opinion that Osiris members are beginning to suffer more than magic - because of the constant repetition of pleas, calls, and beggings for the S.A.M. to decisivly take a stand and toss a body to the windward. We can appreciate the will to do or die, but there come6 a time when the mightiest of fortresses crumble by themselves through weakenesses within. In the interim, however, we think that it might be best to cease the continual chant and make the "Tablet" a "trick" paper instead of a 30 day harangue against and about a group of hobbyists who haven't the heart (guts) to spill on his ear any malefactor who disregards the rules he signs — if the society Can't see, after all these years, the publicity value of such a move, no member deserves ever again to meet a professional and shake his hand in awe. It won't be done, so Tom had better start satisfying his readers some other way. Gabbathai

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