The Phantom Artist

Percy Naldrett first published the effect of this quite perfect program trick under the name "The Celebrity Trick." However, the most important part of the stunt, the cut-out sketches, were not given, and it was left to the individual performer who saw the trick's possibilities to have them specially made.

At that time, twelve years ago, I became very enamored with the idea, and obtained a set of ten pictures from an artist in Syracuse, New York. For several years after that, I believe I was the only one in the country doing the trick. Then I sold several sets, three X think, but to date I have never seen anyone using the trick, let alone my pictures. In its original fora, the pictures were cut out 17 x 22 Inches which required a large display frame or easel together with a mechanical or stage method of switching the cut up paper.

For the first time I'm letting out four of the set, picturea of prominent figures, and of such a variety as to cover moat every type of performance, whether before mixed audiences, political or children, and of a size,8i x 11 in., as to make of it a really practical club number.

The effect is straightforward and quite startling, as well as being different. The magician announces that he has found it possible to call upon spirits in another plane, and have them oon-trol him in such a way that their influenoe or presence is apparent. Someone from the audience is asked forward. Hie performer asks for a number of names of famous people or presidents who have passed beyond. The names are mixed, and one chosen by the spectator who retains it, unseen, in his closed fist.

At this point the performer picks up a blank sheet of paper and a pair of shears. From now on, he states, everything will be left to another power. He starts folding the paper and clipping away at it with the shears. He continues cutting, clipping, snipping and folding, until the paper is only a couple of inches square and in a bunch. Laying aside the shears, the magus asks the spectator to open the paper he holds and reveal the name. Deliberately and precisely, the performer opens out the cut-up paper, and places it against a black background. IT IS A PERFECT BLACK AND WHITE PORTRAIT OF THE PERSON SECRETLY SELECTEDI

Probably the success of the experiment lies as muoh in the credit given perfonner as a clever artist as in the mystery of the chosen name, but withal, the effect has been well received always and won't fail to get a hand. It seems that no one ever thinks there is any fake in the cutting. They look upon the name selection as the mystery or tricky part, and the cutting as pure skill. However, the simple secret is but a force of a name, and a switch of the paper, outside, of course, of natural ability on the part of the performer to make a good presentation of the cutting and folding.

Reproduced in this issue are four pictures. Let it be understood now that a cut out model from one of these will last for four or five actual performances, and you can make three or four models at one cutting. Lay a sheet of ordinary typewriter paper over a picture. With a pencil outline all of the black seotlons. Put this tracing on top of two or three more sheets, thumb tack the corners, and cut out all black sections with a razor blade.

Now take one cut out before you. Fold it in half very sloppily, being careful that small points and parts are folded too and not torn or crumpled. Repeat this each way to reduce the paper to about two inches square in slse. As you make each fold DROP IN A LOOSE SLIVER OR BIT OF PAPER, so that when you unfold it, these chopped up bits will drop out.

Do the folding so that the upper left corner of the sheet will always be outside. When finished, put the packet under pressure until needed. Then, with a dab of paste, fasten it by this corner to an upper corner of a plain sheet. Fold the paper through middle the long way, and with folded packet Inside. Place on your table with shears on top. With this size sheet you won't have any trouble finding a background on which to display it. Almost anything with a dark color will do. And if you work with a suitcase show, you can have a black painted sheet of three-ply with two victrola needles along top edge on which to impale the opened out sketch.

Before paper is shown or cutting even mentioned, have the name selected. I hesitate to give a method of forcing here because any person who will put this stunt to work has favorite methods of his own, and regardless of what I say, will apply those ideas. Some are sold on the Change Bag, while others will merely have names called and write the same thing on all slips. It doesn't matter much what you do as long as the name selected is the one you want.

Now pick up the paper and shears, letting the sheet drop open, but keeping the attached packet to the rear and top, that corner being held with the fingers in front and thumb behind. Now fold paper up as it was at start, with packet inside, and start trlmning. Each time you fold and cut, cut away all paper in back that covers the packet. Pretend you are cutting a design by your actions. Don't just hack at it. Act as those there is something precise to be cut or trloaned. BUT KEEP FOLDING AND CUTTING UNTIL ALL OF TEE BLANK SHEET IS CUT AWAYI And make the pieces small instead of large.

Lay shears aside and have the name looked at and called aloud. Then open up the paper you have and put it against the background. The small pieces you folded In will drop out, and make it all look very real. And you'll have a stunt which you'll be proud to feature.

Page 217

0 -1

Post a comment