HOPE you all have your hands on your money!" Echoing the thoughts that many ¿C^N^tj) persons have when they see a magician, the performer goes on to tell how he ([L^vmll was recently robbed in the street. The thief took the performer's ring, his watch and his money.
As this story is told, the performer removes his ring from his finger, his watch from his wrist and empties the cash from his wallet. All these articles are clearly placed into a plain pay envelope. But a few seconds later, without the eyes of the audience ever leaving the envelope, it is torn to pieces and the pieces are thrown into the air! The ring, watch and bills have completely vanished.
The performer then holds up his hand to show the ring is back on his finger and the watch on his wrist! And when his wallet is opened, the cash is back inside! Not a good day for robbers.
This is my approach to a plot by Oswald Williams. My actual starting point, however, wasn't Mr. Williams's original trick but Alan Shaxon's treatment of it from his book My Kind of Magic (see "It's a Hold-up!", p. 14). I've used this trick to open my close-up and parlor acts for years, and I'm pleased to say it seems to fool everyone—even well-posted magicians— as thoroughly as I hoped it would.
The main reason the trick is so deceptive is because, although all three items are seemingly placed into the envelope, each is vanished from it by a different method. Each method cancels thoughts of another of the methods employed, thus strengthening the whole and making the procedure impossible to reconstruct.
Apart from an envelope switch (a route I found undesirable for this trick), there are three ways to make an object vanish completely from an envelope:
1) You can put the object in, but immediately palm it out as the hand leaves the envelope.
2) You can put the object in and leave it, but later steal it out.
3) You can ditch the object, but pretend still to hold it as you appear to put it into the envelope.
In this trick I use all three methods.
1) The money is inserted into the envelope, but is palmed out.
2) The ring is dropped into the envelope, and later is stolen from it.
3) The watch is secretly transported from the hand before you pretend to place it into the envelope.
All this will take a litde explaining. The explanation must begin with a description of the props and gimmicks involved.
THE RING: One ring is needed, which you wear on your left third finger. For visibility, a silver, signet-style ring is best. This ring should fit your finger loosely, as you must get it off and on easily during performance.
THE ENVELOPE: The envelope into which the items are placed is simply prepared. It is an end-opening pay envelope, three inches by five, made from opaque manila stock. Slip a piece of cardboard inside the envelope. Then, with an X-acto knife or razor blade, make two cuts, forming a star-trap in the bottom left corner on the address (unseamed) side (Figure 1). This trap should be very close to the size of the ring you will vanish. Drop the ring into the envelope and gendy press it through the trap, tearing the cuts open a bit more if necessary and assuring that the ring will pass through the trap without difficulty.
Discard the cardboard. It is only used for making the trap. Next bow the mouth of the envelope open and lighdy crease it down the centers of both its address and seamed sides, so that it remains open (Figure 2). You don't wish to fumble while opening it during performance. Place this envelope, seamed side outward and flap pointing up, into your outer right-side jacket pocket.
The wallet: This is a z-fold Himber-style switching wallet of the breast-pocket sort. Duplicate stacks of three or four bills are placed in the outer pocket of its two compartments. Prefold the stack of bills you will remove from the wallet into quarters (that is, once in each direction), making creases so that the bills can be quickly and easily folded during performance. Unfold them and place them in the proper compartment of the wallet.
I have also cut a thumb-notch J in the bottom end of one of the wallet flaps (Figure 3). This notched side of the wallet faces the compartment in which the creased packet of bills is stored. Carry the wallet in the inner left breast pocket of your jacket, notched side up and against the body.
the watches: You must have two identical-looking wrist-watches. One is worn about two ' inches above the left wrist. The other lies farther down the arm, on the wrist. This watch has a special finger grip (to be described) and is attached to...
the reel: Here things begin to get interesting. The duplicate watch just mentioned and a feke designed to look like a folded stack of bills are attached to a reel that draws the watch and money feke up your left jacket sleeve. The reel is nothing more than a strong key-chain reel, which can be found at hardware supplies and elsewhere. These are often rather loud when they retract their line, so I recommend taking the reel apart and adding four or five disks of stiff paper to each side of the drum. Before inserting these paper disks inside the reel, saturate them with grease. The greased disks cushion and help silence the reel drum as it turns. Normally key-chain reels come with a chain attached to the drum. You must replace this chain with strong fishing line. If you have an extra "Ring Flight" reel lying around, you can, if you like, draft it into service for this trick.
The reel is not pinned to the jacket. Doing this would pull the garment out of shape whenever the line is extended. Instead, IVe mounted the reel to a simple shoulder harness. This is made from strong nylon belting material. One length of it is sewn into a circle, then a second, shorter piece, roughly eight inches long, is sewn across this circle, forming a cross strap (Figure 4). The size of the harness must be tailored to you. When you put it on, rather
like slipping on a vest, it should fit comfortably across your back and over your shoulders; not too tight, not too loose (Figures 5 and 6). The reel is securely attached to the harness by a loop of the same belting material, just forward of your left armpit.
To the end of the reel cord is attached a five-inch loop of heavy transparent nylon line. And to the opposite end of this line is the second watch and accouterments.The latter items iiiclude a modified watchband and attached money feke.
THE WATCHBAND: The watchband is of the expansion type, but has a specially designed finger grip installed opposite the watch. The band must be cut near its center and a certain number of links removed, the number depending on the fit of the modified band to your wrist. The top portion of the watchband must have the center leaf of a pin-hinge silver soldered to it (Figure 7). This half hinge measures about three-eighths of an inch in length. We will call it Piece A.
To the bottom portion of the band you solder another pin-hinge fitting, this one having a solid sleeve (Figure 8). This is Piece E.
Next you must fashion from brass two litde triangles measuring three-eighths of an inch by one quarter of an inch. A hole is drilled at each corner of these triangular pieces to accommodate a length of stiff brass rod. The length of these three rods equals the width of the watch band and must fit comfortably through the sleeve of Piece E shown in Figure 8. The triangles and rods are soldered together to form Piece D, a special coupling, depicted in Figure 9—however, you join these only when all pieces of the finger grip and money feke are ready to be assembled, as each of the three rods must pass through a different piece. The first of these, the rod at the bottom right is slipped through the sleeve of Piece E, permanently connecting it to the bottom half of the watchband. Piece D should pivot freely on the sleeve when all is assembled.
to Piece F
to Piece C
to Piece C
to Piece E
Two strips of thin, stiff brass are required to complete the finger-grip that joins the ends of the watchband. The first of these is Piece B (Figure 10), which is the same width as the band and about seven-eighths of an inch in length. One end of this forms half a pin-hinge, and about a quarter of an inch in from this end is soldered the counterpart of the pin-hinge for Piece A. Piece B is slightly curved. Its concave side (that which bears the hinge sleeves) is painted flesh color. The convex side is decorated with metal strips to resemble the watchband. These metal strips are actual links taken from the original band, with their backs ground down to make them thinner.
The hinge halves of Pieces A and B are joined permanently with a pin, so that Piece B can pivot freely.
The second brass strip, Piece C, measures about an inch and three-eighths in length and, again, is the width of the watchband. It is bent in a gentle S-shape, as shown in Figure 11, and painted flesh color. The left end forms a sleeve that is the counterpart to the unengaged pin-hinge on the end of
to Piece B
Piece B, and is joined to this with a pin. The right end of Piece C is a sleeve that engages the bottom left pin of Piece D. The assembled Pieces A through E are diagrammed in Figure 12.
This completes the assembly of the finger grip. Now we come to...
the money Feke: The first part of this consists of another strip of brass, Piece F, which is about two inches in length and the width of the watchband (Figure 13). One end has a sleeve soldered to it, which is to engage the last of the three pins of triangular Piece D. Two slots are cut down its length as shown, and on the side opposite the sleeve is soldered a sturdy wire eyelet.
Now feed a length of strong transparent nylon line through the end of the loop connected to the reel. Next, thread the ends of this new length of line around the attached end of Piece F and up through the eyelet. Then thread one end of the line up through the upper slot, the other end through the lower slot, leaving them ready to attach to the money packet.
The money packet is a bill like those you will take from the wallet. This bill is folded in half twice, once each way, and has a thin metal reinforcing interface glued inside. This interface has two small holes drilled through it, not at center but near the right side. Round the corners of the interface so that later, during the vanish, they don't catch.
Using a needle, thread the ends of the nylon line through the front of the bill packet and the holes in the reinforcing panel. One of these holes is near the bottom of the panel, and the other about two-thirds up the length of the packet. Then tie the ends securely together. The completed unit is shown in Figure 14. Notice how, when the line to the reel is pulled taut, the money packet will be drawn snugly against Piece F.
To set the money feke for performance, tie a loop of nylon line around its girth (Figure 15) and cover the back of the feke with some durable flesh-colored material, like cloth bandage. This secures the loop to the feke. Then lay the packet against Piece F, fold these flat against the finger grip and slip the loop around Piece F and Piece B (Figure 16), so that, when you place the watch on your left arm, below the ungimmicked duplicate watch, everything is held neady together at the inside of the wrist (Figure 17).
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