To get started on a soar note we must play the tune of Sadelle Hoffman, who, testifying that her husband, Charles (Think-a-Drink) Hoffman, night club "magic bar" prestidlgitateur, could pull almost anything out of his hat except marital happiness, was granted a Los Angeles divorce of recent date. The bum cadenza was her simultaneous release of a press photo showing her fanning a deck of cards and winking. Making a living from magic is tough enough without having it used against you.-----On the lighter side is Bert Kalmar's experience with a G-man who partied all one ni¿it throughout a west coast area with the magic loving member of the song writing team of Kalmar & Ruby. The government man phoned Bert the next day. "Did we go to night clubs last night?" he asked. "Of course," Kalmar assured. "Give me a list of them. T've got to go back," groaned the man on the trail of a counterféit ring, "because last night I spent ny evidence."

"No Coffin Por The Corpse" is the title of The Great Merlini's adventure in the realm of fictional crime detection to be published this fall by Little, Brown * Co. In the interim, 20th Century Fox will be fashioning a movie of the plot which Clayton Rawson has evolved from "buried alive" sequences in life as performed by fakirs of whom most of us have heard.

The criticisms "fore and aft" of our lately instigated critical column "Fifth Row, Centre Aisle" have helped us to know how many scan these few pages. May we quote from a professional trade paper, "Variety", of four years back?---to wit:

"Even the magicians don't seem to be able to tell a good act from a bad one, or at least that's the impression given by their trade papers. The pages of any magical society's house organ carries reviews of the shows put on by the various magical societies at their meetings throughout the country. According to these descriptions every act is a fine act. There is never a word of criticism expressed and these papers have the most hypocritical reviewers in print. It's not that the reviewers don't know better; they just don't dare express anything that smacks of criticism. Anyone who tried to write an honest piece about the average magic show wouldn't have a friend left the day after publication. It's just not done. Every act is •a fine act'."

This, by a weekly paper edited for professionals who make a living from other people's hobbies, especially magic, told its story in that paragraph, we have this further thought to offer in reply to those who say that our anonymous reporters don't know what they are doing because they aren't prof or semi-prof magi. How many play critics can write or have written a play? How many book reviewers can write or have written a book? We want unbiased and unprofessional critics for the reason that they are present to be entertained and of the lay public, more or less, which asks for little more than its money's worth. And we believe in keeping them anonymous because we don't want them to lose friends on account of telling the truth as they see it. It's a sad state of affairs but we think it's the best way to begin a new trend of thought towards better magic by honest criticism. And you can bet your last thumbtip that we'll be the first to print credited critiques when a concensus of reader opinion indicates that the writers won't be quartered or tossed to the lions.

L. Davenport's newest catalogue ^booklet Just arrived. 36 pages of English wares from "The Largest Magical Shop in the "forId" sort of proves that our cousins are keeping their elastic stretchable and their pulls, shell coins, and accessories In saleable condition. The tri-eoloured printing is full of late offerings, manjr of them associated with war themes. —- "The Diary of a Magician's Wife" is a compilation of Gerry Larsen's "Genii" column writings. I don't know who conceived of the idea to print the book, but I'll bet it wasn't either Gerry or Bill, even if they didn't object. -— "Reel Magic" by Albenice, has been reviewed by every other magical publication but this by now. It has to do with that fascinating new phase of hank magic which appears like the real thing. We're enthusiastic because we've actually got a way to work some of the "impossible" and "full view" manifestations into a mindreading act! -—— For a preview we can scoop that the Tarbell Course of Magic is to be reprinted this fall. Nat Louis, of New York, wi11 publish the 60 lessons In printed books, five I think. It will be a boon to those newcomers in magic whc find it difficult, and expensive, to buy an original set of what has been called the most comprehensive modern coverage of trickery.

Russell Swann should be running out of space here except that he makes magic pay by not doing magic - he is currently becoming a character. In the past four weeks he has been a Winchell item twice, his name has resulted in 27 press clips from N.Y.C. papers, and on Sun. JU1. 27th that spot for all N.Y. visitors, Leon & Eddie's, broke ads that Swam would be their guest of honor at a soiree quaintly called, "Relax in Your Slax." This press noticery for a magician is unprecedented and it couldn't happen if the guy weren't a shrewd "hale fellow, well met" type of trickster. Whilst others of our unglor-ified clan are content to hie th*irselves away from the place of duty and prop up eyelids with coffee cup handles while talking of the latest "pass" with brethren of the cult, Swann spends what are golden moments to nim by cultivating his employer's customers and intimidating the columnists and writers Who are able to infest the swank niteries where he entertains with what is supposed to be magic tot what really is a display of Swann personality. Eva Tangoay was famous for her song, "I Don't Oare". Russell is noted for the same attitude — but he never exposes any one of his seven tricks. That sang froid, or savoir faire te doom, has made syndicated paragraphs of his love life, local stories of his peccadillos, and at least one (so far) national article about his amours, magical naturally. But, the name of Russell Swann Is important to each happening, and that's why he is playing a holdover at the Rainbow Room, swording a card, hypnotising a rabbit, finding money in lemons, sipping customer*' drinks, harassing his trained snake, and finding fault with his assistant when he isn't yelling into a guest's ear because the person seems not to have heard a somewhat corny joke.

is It magic? Not exactly, and certainly not neSsarily. But his stint entertains and his press notices are of a human quality and frailty. We all can't have an exMayor of N.Y.C. be columnized about a girl acquaintance - few of us can have Winchell give space that he doesn't believe one of our owr press releases. It packs down to a solid fact that if you want to be a professional success or amateur personality you've got to make people say, '"mat's Joe Doakes, he's a great entertainer" — not "I know a magician; his name is Doakes." And if you think I'm kidding, read up on the life of Houdini, and Barnum.

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There are people", begins the performer, "who just don't believe in anything, even when they see it before their veiy eyes. They are the skeptics of the world who hold back and retard progress in almost every line of creative endeavor. My experiment now is to duplicate the accomplishment of many spiritualistic mediums — that of receiving a written message from "the happy summer land", that part of the veiled universe where departed souls live,and strive to make their thoughts and wishes made known to us still among the living."

The performer shows a single slate to be clean on both sides. He asks two close-by spectators to initial each side, one of whom then holds the slate close to his body for the time being.

"While messages have been received codntless times under a stringent condition as this", he continues, "the unbelievers talk of trickery, and that is why I want to try and prove otherwise. I don't want to know what is going to be the result, that is, if we are successful in establishing a contact with the far beyond. For test purposes I cannot ask any certain one of you to help. We must leave that selection to chance."

The performer-medium passes out ten envelopes, each containing a blank card. He calls attention to the fact that each envelope is numbered, from 1 to 10. Each spectator receiving one is to write a simple query upon his card and then seal it inside the accompanying envelope. The performer follows this up by collecting the envelopes on a tray, and dumping them into another person's lap.

"It's best that I don't touch your writings,"he says. Next he takes from his side coat pocket a handful of counters. "There are ten of these," the performer blandly remarks, as he drops them into the hands of still another person. "You see?" He takes them back. "One counter for each envelope,


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and only one will be picked." He drops them back into his side coat pocket and. shaking the pocket, holds it open for a selection by the spectator. "The number?", asks the wizard. Perhaps it is 8. He turns toward the man with the envelopes. "Find the envelope numbered 8, open it, and read aloud so everyone can hear, the question inside."

The spectator does so. It might be something such as, "Will a state of war exist between the united States of America and Germany?"

The performer sees an acknowledgement of the question and tells the man with the envelopes to pass the rest of them around as they are of no further use.

"And thus we've found and determined upon a question which no one of us could have foretold would be asked or selected." The performer says this as he approaches the man who has been guarding the slate. "Honestly, now," he asks that person, "Do you think that anyone has had access to the slate you hold, or that any entity of an invis-able nature might have been close by?" It's a tricky question and the person will have to hesitate. The audience takes this for indecision and you take advantage of the stall by reaching for c,he slate and asking, "Those are your initials, aren't they?"

Then you calx the other "initial man" forward. He sees the other side of the slate and agrees when you ask if his initials aren't there, also.

Then you turn the slate around towards the audience. It bears a chalked on message.' And the writing could read something like, "WAR IS

HELL!" --- a perfect answer to the question asked. We, ourself, would like to finish by saying, "And that, my friends, is proof enough that from another level of being has come an answer as well as a warning."

Now we must take up each step as it has occured, but from backstage. The single slate gets away from the too common set of two. It has a flap, tut the flap has a corner cut out in semi-circle fashion. The answer, supposedly as given herein, is chalked onto the slate and covered with the flap. It is on the table. First it is shown on both sides as you talk, and at that time you chalk on a semi-circle on each side, the chalk following the cut edge of the flap. Directly underneath the flap at this spot has been chalked another semi-circle.

The first person puts his initials inside this section. The chalked line effectively hides the line of demarcation between flap and slate proper. The initials go Onto the slate itself. At this time you go back aft! drop the slate onto your table. Then, as an afterthought, pick it up, minus the flap, and have a second person step forward. He initials the unprepared side in its corner and you push the slate under his coat asking him to hold it.

The envelopes are passed out, but really there are only nine instead of ten. No one can check on this as you distribute them around. Let us say 8 is missing. Who can tell? The various questions are written and sealed. You collect them on a tray. And the tray is faked exactly as the ancient "money trey" used only for children's shows for time immemorial. It really consists of two plates together with the "in between" space accomodating the envelope missing from the set. An opening unaer the lip of the tray provides a means of exodus, and inside there are pins or a sort of track which allows the envelope to freely be inserted and freely to slide out when the tray is tipped that way.

The nine genuine writings are collected upon this tray. They are dumped into a person's lap, and the inserted envelope automatically is added INDETECTABLY to the group. (Editor's note: I would suggest that you have the pile or envelopes on tray to start, pass the tray around for people to take one until gone, and then collect on tray. You hold it at opening side for the first and second part and then change hands to dump. Thus you've not touched envelopes throughout nor made a single false move.)

Next comes the force of that added envelope with the question, the answer to which is on the slate being held. All suit coats are made with a small change pocket at the top or one or both or the side pockets. In V*« pocket proper put ten counters oi tne same number, in this instance 8. In the little pocket put ten counters numbered consecutively beginning at-1. It is from this pocket tnat you take tne counters which you nana some«-one and take back. You put tnem back into tnat little pocket, and shake the entire pocket as you hold it open for a selection. If the coat oocketc have flans so much the better. Keep the flat) open for the first showing and return. Then turn the flap inside and let the spectator reach freely. Hie little pocket is covered. Otherwise merely hold your hand there in an effort to keep the pocket open and make the spectator's task of reaching in easier. (?)

This method was devised by Mr. George Holly as a clean-cut forcing procedure where counters are used.

The rest you know. Just remember that no matter what question you may use, keep it topical, be certain that the answer definitely fits the question so that no checkup with its writer is necessary, and keep the answer short so as to show up on the slate. When you apparently get an acknowledgement after the question first is read aloud, it's a lie — for you look around and then nod with a gesture at — the Lord only knows whom. XTo one else will know either, but you've made a subtle point.


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