I don't suppose that I should claim any credit for this bit of writing because the effects are certainly not mine altogether although I may have added some details. I think however, that it will be an interesting bit of knowledge for many who have not realized the value and effectiveness of frame ups that can be ha «lied in an Impromptu manner.
Plants and confederates are not always practical but it is always possible to Introduce one into the program through the good graces of one ef the audience, very few of whom are ever reluotant to enter lnte a bit of oonsplraoy and fool the rest.
The first suoh effect marketed that I can recall was by Tom Bowyer, that congenial trickster from Winnipeg and used cards. A speotator was selected to sit up front and be covered with a sheet. The performer instructed the spectator to keep his mind a blank and when he, the performer, had cards chosen from the deok by various members of tne audience, the man under the sheet was to name the first card that came into his mind. Needless to say the spectator was always right. The secret was one that many no doubt considered beneath them but those with clarity of vision enough to try it out found that it was a grand club number. The performer dropped into the spectator's lap on covering him, a small printed card containing a list of ten cards and the request that he help In fooling the others by naming the cards in order as called for. The performer merely proceeded to force one card after another in different ways and the speotator did the rest.
I varied this after using it for a time by ringing in a different finish. The effect as it stood has a wise guy catch for a possible finish but I could never seem to apply it and get much from it. The spectator would be given a list of six cards and Informed that no matter what the performer might do he was to name a card at a time when oalled on.
In my pocket I carried three letter envelopes and on the flap side and at the upper right corner they were nail nicked so that I could recognize them as one, two and three. The six cards to be forced were in order and in my pocket until wanted when I would add them to the deck. Now I would have a card chosen and the spectator would name it. This would be repeated with the next two. Then the variation came along. The next person who got a card was handed the number one envelope and told to seal his card. This was repeated with two more. Anyone would pick up the envelopes, mix them and hand them to me. I would state that this time we would prove that the speotator could actually become clairvoyant through his own concentration because no one could possibly know (even the spectators) which envelope was whioh or what card it might contain. Then I would hold up envelope number one and ask him to name a card. Immediately that he did so, the envelope would be torn open, the card shown and acknowledge from thr audience. Then number two was held up and finally the last one. This made a nicely rounded out effect with a climax. An Impromptu plant isn't necessary if someone oan be set for it a few minutes ahead of the show. They can sit with their back turned and have a small oard containing the six dards listed in order. Try it.
Another good frame up test is with a watch. Take an open face watch and with a small piece of paper the size of a half dollar and a daub of wax you are ready. Rrite on the paper something like this, We can have a laugh and fool the others if you'll help me by setting the watch at ten minutes after eight.' Make it any time you please. I merely stick the paper onto the face of the watch and pocket it. Taking it out, look at it and picking a spectator ask him to leave the room or go to a far corner and set tne watch at any time he may please. Then he is to return and give it to you behind your baok while you are facing away from the audience, lou hold the watch between your hands behind back and slowly name the hour and then the minutes after. I find it effective to use a slate. The watch Is plaoed in my hand and after holding it a seoond I hand it back and write on the slate. Ihe spectator shows the watch and oalls out the time. I turn the slate and it is correot!
The slate picture stunt Is another variation. Have two slates at hand and one Is prepared by writing In slate pencil writing (not cnalk), 'Help me fool the rest of the audience and we'll have a private laugh between ourselves. Rub this writing out with your finger and draw a large square with a triangle Inside. Thank you. Again this picture may be anything and even a small sketch may be made. Pick your victim and direct him to a corner, going a little ways with him. Hand him a slate and your Index finger points to the writing. Step back to front and picking up your own slate direct him to maie a drawing or sketcn of some kind and you «ill do the same and at the same time, ihen finished he shows his and you show yours to be the same. Telepathy?
A variation along tne same line was used to a great extent by one performer. A slate was handed one of the audience and he was to stand at a far side of the room and think of a number consisting of three figures. This he was to write on the slate in large figures and concentrate, all the while keeping the thought of number away from audience. The performer would select a lady to assist and holding her wrist would count slowly from one to zero. The lady would then be asked to s tell which of the figures Impressed her most and the routine was repeated three times. Thus a three figured number was arrived at and upon the spectators turning his slate It would be found to be the same. Naturally the slate contained a message to the spectator with the number and the lady's wrist was pinched each time the correct figure was passed by the performer. This test Is not half as difficult as many might think and though it takes a little affrontery It is as effective as any test of its' kind.
All of these frame up teats need a little nerve. One must watch for likely spectators to aid and It would be foolish to pick a grouchy looking Individual who doesn't appear to be enjoying himself. Likewise it is bad to pick the smart alek type or wise guy who may be a little loud mouthed. However, there Is an in between type that can always be spotted and these people will always fall In line and help out because they get a kick out of it and are good natured. Viith a little application a performer can run one or two such stunts into his regular program and step it up quite a bit.
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