To Perform

Come down to audience, palming egg out of right coat pocket as you do so. Produce egg from a gentleman's whiskers, chin, or ear.

"I was just going to ask someone to lend me a fresh egg, but the gentleman here has anticipated my request and has already accommodated me."

Pick out a little girl in audience and give her the egg.

"Just look this egg over carefully and see whether it is a good egg. Oh, pardon me, someone in the back is making motions as though he cannot see the egg. Just stand up and hold the egg high in the air."

Get little girl to stand up and hold egg up high.

"Or, better yet, just come with me up on the stage."

Take girl up on stage. Ask her name, shake hands with her, and then introduce her to audience. Suppose her name is Ruth.

"Ruth, I want you to meet the audience. Audience, I want you to meet Ruth. By the way, Ruth, do you happen to see any boy down in the audience that you would like to have help you hold the egg? Just point to any boy that your heart chooses."

When she has pointed to boy, say:

"We shall just go down and give him the egg."

Go down into audience with Ruth and give boy the egg. Get him to stand up and come out into the aisle, then finally get boy and girl up on stage. Have girl stand at your left and boy at right on the paper or rubber sheeting.

"Now, Ruth, you can stand on this side of me and you stand about here with the egg."

As you talk to boy, take him by wrist of hand in which he holds egg and move him towards yourself a little. As you do so, push egg out of his hand with your thumb or finger so that it will fall to floor. Your movement must not be perceptible to audience. You must give impression that boy dropped the egg. Audience laughs and boy usually feels discomfited. Look at boy, then at egg on floor, then at boy, at audience, at Ruth, and at boy again.

"Oh, well, do not worry about the egg. I'm sure the gentleman will lay us another." Ask boy his name -- suppose it is Burt. Shake hands with him. "Well, Burt, I'm mighty glad to know you. By the way, Ruth, did you ever meet Burt?" Move her over in front of you and have boy and girl shake hands.

"Ruth, this is my old friend, Burt. Burt, this is my good friend Ruth. Now that we all know each other, we can have just the finest kind of a time."

Reach over to table and pick up Master Hat, containing the eggs. Hold hat in left hand and take your position between girl and boy, Figure 8.

"Burt, did you ever wear a derby hat? There used to be a season for wearing brown derbies, but we couldn't find any more brown sheep to make hats out of so we had to use the black ones. A funny thing happened just before the performance tonight. I had this hat on a table behind the scenes, and when I went to get it, what do you think I found? — A hen sitting in it, using it as a nest."

Show hat empty by turning it so that audience can see directly into crown, Figure 9.

"Burt, I suppose the inside of a hat would make a nice nest. I thought there might be an egg or a couple of little chickens in the hat, but when the hen scurried away, there was nothing left but a small feather or two."

Show Ruth the inside of hat for a moment.

"I guess, Ruth, we got all the feathers out."

This is an interesting piece of psychology here. It convinces audience that hat is empty without saying so. The fact that Ruth looks into hat at close quarters after they had looked into it from a distance adds to their convictions.

At this point I might mention a psychological trick employed by a prominent magician in an emergency. I was in my teens when I saw this done and it puzzled me as well as the audience. It shows how a magician can be master of a situation by his ability to make an audience think as he wants them to. This magician took a hat actually filled with eggs. He did not show inside of hat to audience, but in order to convince them that hat was empty, he had the little girl look into it. His talk was such that the little girl did not suspect magician was giving impression that she was looking into empty hat. The spectators' minds were directed so that they imagined she was looking into empty hat, and when eggs were produced, they seemed to materialize from nowhere.

"Well, Burt, I got to thinking and was just wondering whether it wouldn't be good fun for us to use our magical powers and make this hat play the part of a hen and lay us an egg. Of course, Ruth, it will be necessary for you to blow on the palm of my hand or on the bottom of the hat to get enough warmth to materialize things."

Have her blow on palm of your hand. Now reach into hat and, lifting up flap, remove an egg. Bring it up out of hat and show to audience. While doing this, hold hat up high enough so that children cannot see into it.

"There's an egg. Looks like a good egg to me. Look it over, Burt, and give us your opinion."

Give egg to Burt and whisper to him to smell of it. This brings a laugh from audience.

"All right, Burt, you keep the egg. Now, Ruth, blow again."

Have her blow inside of your hand again, then reach into hat and take out another egg.

"Burt, it looks as though our egg factory is working and that we can dispense with real hens."

Give second egg to Burt. Then continue production of eggs, giving them all to Burt to hold.

After he has several eggs and can no longer hold them in his hands, fold his arms for him so that he can hold the eggs in his arms. To vary productions, have Ruth blow on bottom of hat at different times for comedy. After fifth or sixth egg is produced, turn down flap and show hat empty again.

After boy has a number of eggs in his arms, hand him an egg at his left side just high enough so that he will have to reach for it, causing an egg to slide out from the right side and go crashing to the floor. As you repeat this, pretend to be interested in the hat and do not look at boy so that movement of holding eggs too high for him will seem natural.

The audience is kept in suspense, waiting for an egg to fall from boy's arms. And when an egg does fall, it means a burst of laughter. It is well to allow four or five eggs to drop and break. Figure 10.

After all eggs have been removed from hat, take eggs from boy's arms and replace them in hat. While removing eggs from boy's arms, cause one or two more to drop, which provokes more laughter. Then shake Burt's hand.

"Burt, you did nobly. An incubator could have held them no better. Goodbye, Burt, come back and help me again sometime."

Boy starts for seat.

"Oh, just a minute, Burt. Ruth is going your way, and I'll let you see that she gets to her seat all right."

Shake Ruth's hand.

"Goodbye, Ruth. I want to thank you for making the eggs appear. You blew fine."

Boy escorts girl to seat.

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