Have pin stuck in lower edge of right hand side of vest, head pointing downwards so that it may be removed easily, as in Figure 1.
Table is in center of stage and thereon lie the two pieces of tape rolled up. The two rings may be on table or in pocket or anywhere within easy reach.
"For my next experiment I need the assistance of two boys."
As you say this, pick up the rolls of tape from the table.
"Two of the best or two of the worst boys in the audience. There, you are just fine. And that boy over there makes the other."
Two boys come up. Have one stand at the left of you and the other at the
Shake hands with the boy on the left.
"And may I ask what your name is?"
Whatever he says, call him by his first name.
In this instance, suppose he says, "John."
"I'm mighty glad to meet you, John."
Turn to boy on right.
"And your name?"
In this instance, suppose he says, "Robert."
"Robert? That's fine. Have you two boys met?
If they say, "No" you introduce them.
"John meet Robert. Robert meet John."
If they say, "Yes," omit the introduction. This opening is given for use when you are performing before strangers or on the stage. If at a friendly gathering, it is not necessary to use this beginning as you already know the names of the boys.
"By the way, are you the best or the worst john boys? Both? Most boys are. First of all, I want you to examine two pieces of tape, each about four yards long. Look at them closely, pull on them to see that they do not break apart in some mysterious manner. John, you look at this piece and, Robert, you inspect this one."
Give an end of one tape to John and an end of the other tape to Robert.
"So that everyone will be convinced that these are just two ordinary pieces of tape, each of you walk away toward the audience with your ends and I will hold the other two ends. We'll hold the tape up so that all can see."
This brings you and the two boys into a triangular position, holding the tapes (see Figure 2). Hold tapes high so that all can see them.
"This tape also acts as a measuring tape. You can readily see that it is just as far from John or Robert to me as it is from me to John or Robert. And John, as Royal Inspector, will you give your official O.K. to the tape? Now, both of you bring the ends of the tape to me. The exercise will do you good."
Take both ends of tape and place them evenly with the two ends in your hands. Hold all four ends in left hand while right hand picks up two rings.
"You might also like to inspect these two rings. If there is a trap door in one, you tell the audience immediately—or if fire should fly out, you give the alarm at once."
After rings have been given to boys, run your right hand along the tapes until you reach the middle of them. Hold tapes at that point in left hand, and while talking, take pin from vest with right hand (see Figure
"Let Robert hold the ring and, John, if the ladies don't mind, let me have your coat. May I borrow it and do anything I want with it?"
While you are talking and John is removing coat, slip pin into tapes, fastening the two pieces together, as in Figure 4.
Then place first finger of left hand on one side of pin BETWEEN THE TAPES and thumb of left hand on the other side of pin BETWEEN TAPES, as illustrated in Figures 5 and 6. You may help your left hand get into position with the right hand if necessary. Boy is taking off coat while you are doing this, and attention of audience is drawn to him.
"John, you are going to be a big help to me."
After boy has removed his coat, go towards him and reach for coat. In the meantime, your left hand drops to your side, you turn slightly to the left, and under cover of your left leg, throw Tape A forward by BRINGING LEFT THUMB UP OVER FIRST FINGER. Then remove other fingers from between tapes.
The two tapes are now doubled back, each upon itself. The joining of the tapes by the pin is covered by thumb and first finger of left hand, as in Figure 7.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT MOVE. The success of the trick hinges on this move. I want you to practice this move until you can do it speedily, easily, and smoothly so that you will not be noticed. At no time must your eyes be on the tape while you are pinning it or while you are performing the above move.
"Hold your coat front towards me and back towards yourself, and I will put the tapes through the sleeves."
As you say this, place right hand up in front of left hand and spread tapes apart, as illustrated in Figure 8. To audience it looks just as though you held the two tapes by the middle. They suspect nothing unusual. In reality, this is what you have. You started with two tapes AA and BB, as shown in Figure 9. You pinned them together at the middle and performed a move which brought AA together and BB together, as in Figure 10. Thus instead of having one end of each tape together, you have two ends of one tape together.
"I will thread these two ends into and through the right sleeve. Reach up the sleeve, Robert, and pull down the two ends."
Thread the two ends of tape on right side into the right coat sleeve and pull all the way through. Figure 11 shows threading of tape into sleeve. Then cover left hand with right hand and take joining of tapes in right hand. Audience will not see joining as it is covered by right hand.
"And these two ends through the left sleeve. Reach up and get these two ends too, Robert."
Then thread other two ends of tapes through the left sleeve of coat. Figure 12 shows tape threaded into sleeves.
Progress so far with effect is shown in illustration.
Then take coat from boy with left hand, grasping coat by the collar. Turn back of coat to audience and then release hold on tapes. To the spectators it looks as though coat is threaded securely on two tapes.
"You are convinced, Robert, are you not, that John's coat is well threaded on the tapes? I will just lay the coat on the table so that I can tie the coat on."
Lay coat on table, open side down. Pick up the four ends of tapes and tie a single knot, bringing ends of sleeves close together, as illustrated in Figure 13.
"I had to muss the coat up a bit but I couldn't very well tie a knot without doing that. I know, however, that your tailor will not mind, and you certainly don't, do you, John? I always ask permission to do it afterwards as it is much safer. Now, Robert, give John a ring and you take one, and each of you thread a ring on two ends of the tape and have a race to the winning-post. Just slide them down. The knot is the winning-post."
Boys slip rings onto tape and push them down to knot. See Figure 14.
"Now I will tie another half knot, making a complete knot. And, Robert, by the way, may I borrow your coat? I guess you haven't anything breakable in your pockets, have you?"
"I was doing this trick the other night and a boy had a bottle of sticky medicine in his pocket. The cork came out of the bottle and so did most of the medicine—and a good time was had by all. The boy got well. He thought he'd take his medicine with the party instead of afterwards all alone. Only last night a gentleman was helping me and he had a bottle in his pocket that he said was medicine."
Thread coat onto tapes in the same way that you did the first coat— two ends of tape through left sleeve and two ends through right sleeve.
"There the second coat is on the tapes. John, you hold two ends."
Have John stand at your left and give him tapes coming out of coat sleeve nearest him.
"Robert, you hold the other two ends."
Have Robert stand at right and give him the other two tapes coming from the other sleeve. Boys should be several feet apart so that audience can readily see performer and coats. Turn to John.
"Please give me one of your ends. Either one will do."
Take one of the ends from John.
"And, Robert, give me either one of your pieces of tape."
Take one of the ends from Robert. Tie a single knot with these two ends, as in Figure 15. Thus far you have the tapes threaded through one coat, a single knot tied, two rings threaded on the tapes, another single knot tied, a second coat threaded on, and a third single knot tied.
"I'm going to tie one more knot and this I will leave in full view of everyone. See, Robert, your coat is now all mussed up like John's. May I muss your coat, Robert? Thank you. Robert, hold an end of the tape again."
Give an end of tape to Robert.
"John, hold this end together with your other end."
Give other end to John.
The reason for tying the last single knot is to exchange ends of the tapes and give Robert the end that John held, and John the end that Robert held.
Now each boy is holding A and B ends of tapes instead of AA and BB as formerly.
"Now to test your powers of observation. Tell me confidentially which went on the tapes first, the coat or the rings."
As you say this, reach under John's coat, which is the one underneath, and take out the pin which holds the tapes together. Stick the pin into your left coat sleeve under cover of John's coat.
"Rings? Did I hear someone say rings? I generally find rings are mentioned by the ladies. Most of them are much interested in rings. Don't laugh, Robert, you'll find it is a very serious matter some day. Well, John's coat went on first, then the rings, then Robert's coat—so if John's coat went on first, we will take it off first. You are holding your two ends, aren't you? And you are holding your two ends, aren't you? Now then, one-two—Don't look so serious, John. It may come out all right. One-two-three—there's the coat."
Take coat off tapes. This, of course, is very easy to do. Coats should be raised off of table, holding bundle with left hand and John's coat with right hand. After you have removed bottom coat, give it to John, who can
hold it over his arm.
"Just have a look at it, John, and see that I have not torn it to pieces and then sewed it together again. All right? Now for the rings. Robert, would you know your ring if you saw it again? You wouldn't. I had you look at it in the first place so you would know it again. Well, here it is. It must be yours because it has a hole in the middle and, John, the other one must be yours."
In removing rings you may let coat fall on table if you desire. Be careful that ends of tape under coat are never visible to audience. When rings are removed, give one to each boy to examine.
EXERCISE GREAT CARE AT THIS STAGE. There is danger of the boys suddenly pulling on ends of tape and bringing the trick to a premature conclusion. To prevent such a catastrophe, after rings have been removed and all knots have been untied, insert your first or second finger of left hand in one loop of tape and thumb of left hand in the other loop and hold them tight together, as illustrated in Figure 16. Ask boys to pull a little if there is unnecessary slack in tapes.
"We still have Robert's coat on the tapes. I should like to have both of you boys pull hard on the tapes when I say. Three. Don't pull until I say. Three. If you do, you may pull the whole back of the coat out. Robert wouldn't like to have the back of his coat so removed. Are you ready? You can all see the knot in the middle? Now, one-two—"
Hesitate a moment here. The boys will probably pull hard even though you haven't said "Three," because they expected you to say it.
"No, I didn't say three. Something happened anyway. Just a few stitches in the arm. But what's a few stitches between friends, eh, Robert? There's the knot still there and you are still holding the ends of the tape. One-two— THREE!"
Illustration 17 shows effect at this stage. You are holding coat with right hand. (Your left hand is holding loops of both tapes behind coat.) There is a knot in the tapes between the sleeves. A boy at each end of tapes is holding AB and AB.
At your count of Three, boys pull and you release tapes. This move frees the coat and leaves it hanging from your right hand. The two tapes are left stretched straight between the two boys. See illustration 18.
"The coat is off and the knot has vanished and you, boys, are still here. Robert, here is your coat. Oh, the torn seam. Hocus Pocus—there, everything is all right."
Take tapes from boys and shake hands with them, if you are on a stage and boys are going back to audience. In a parlor this is not necessary.
"Good-bye, Robert. Good-bye, John. When you get married and you help your wife do the washing, you will not have to use clothes pins. You can thread the clothes on the line. Then hocus pocus, and they are off again."
When you have left stage, don't forget to replace pin in edge of vest.
NOTE: If you use men for assistants, merely vary the patter a bit to suit the occasion.
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