With A Paper Napkin

The familiar classic of tearing up and restoring a piece of cigarette paper has always been a favorite. However, this type of paper is practically a relic of the past. Slydini has modernized this effect into a beautifully modern presentation. Since the effect is so well known, only the modus operandi will be discussed.

A small portion of a paper napkin is torn into pieces and then restored to its original shape.

Preparation: Prior to presenting the effect, tear off a corner from a paper napkin, roll it into a ball and place it by an ashtray or near any other of several objects on the table. Foto 1 is a side view showing starting position with paper ball in place. (Size of paper ball in foto is exaggerated for purposes of illustration.) During performance the ball is out of sight behind the tabled object. Put the ball well over towards left side of table.

Performance: Take a paper napkin, identical to that from which tabled ball was made, open it completely and place it flat on right side of table. This should draw spectators' attention away from left side. Show the napkin freely on both sides, fingers spread wide apart, thus allowing spectators to clearly see that your hands are empty. Perform towards right of table and don't glance towards left at any time. In foto 2 Slydini demonstrates the method for tearing


off corner of napkin, facing towards the right and well above top of table. Retain the torn corner in your left hand and, with the right, toss the rest of the napkin on the floor towards the right. The torn corner should be approximately the same size as that from which tabled ball was made.

Open up the torn corner of the napkin and place it flat at right side of table. Press it out flat on both sides, fingers spread apart. Show your hands empty, back and front, as you say (more or less) : "I want you to watch very closely. Don't blink or I'll fool you! Right now, if you could see an elephant vanish you would be surprised but I promise you that when I get through with this bit of paper you'll be astonished!" While he patters, Slydini picks up the torn piece and very slowly, deliberately, fingers spread well apart, displays it for all to see (Foto 3).

All movements are made slowly, deliberately, without jerkiness. Slydini conveys an attitude of deep concentration on what he is doing. This is an essential misdirective to keep attention focused on his hands.

With hands in the position illustrated in foto 3, corner of napkin is torn into several pieces. Separate the hands showing torn pieces in


each hand. Continuous patter is important to prevent the spectators' eyes shifting from the hands. Slydini says, "Watch! Don't take your eyes off me . . ." Begin twisting the lower ends of the torn pieces together, forming a small paper "bouquet."

It is very important that you work with hands high (about eye level) with body turned towards right until you have formed the "bouquet." Now, start turning towards left as you display the bouquet for all to see— arms out and hands high. As you turn, grasp the bouquet with thumb and forefinger of right hand; hold thumb and forefinger of left hand immediately underneath, giving the impression that they, too, hold the torn paper (Foto 4).

When your hands are directly above the tabled ball (don't look at it, you'll see it out of the corner of your eye), reach bouquet towards a spectator at your left and say: "Touch" (Foto 5).

This is the crucial moment. A split second off time and you'll ruin the effect.

Simultaneously with reaching right hand to spectator, drop left hand on tabled ball. Your right hand stops at the moment your left forefinger and thumb grasp the ball. Don't hesitate! As soon as the spectator reaches out and touches the bunched-up paper, say "That's enough!" (You should get a laugh—and the misdirection is perfectly adequate.)

Immediately, bring your right hand back and your left up beneath it (as in foto 4) bringing the torn pieces over the paper ball held by your left fingers.

Your fingers now work together pressing the bouquet into a ball (Fotos 6 an 7). As you work, contrive to put the torn pieces on the bottom, the paper ball on top.

You can get rid of the torn pieces in any manner you prefer. Slydini's method is a follows:

Hold paper ball between tips of let thumb and forefinger and move that hand in an arc towards left, following it with your body and your eyes. As your left arm moves towards left, drop your right


hand to rest position at edge of table (Foto 8), release torn pieces and immediately bring both hands together over center of table.

Put paper ball down (Foto 9), make a couple of "magical passes" over it, pick it up and —slowly, carefully, deliberately— fingers spread wide apart open it up to show paper completely restored. Allow the paper to float down from your fingers and show that your hands are completely empty.

Slydini "Touches"

1. Several items on table act as camouflage. When table is clean, paper ball has insufficient cover. A white tablecloth helps a great deal but is not indispensable if tabletop contains various items: package of cigarettes, match folder, ashtray, salt shaker, etc.

2. Throw napkin on floor. Somebody may be tempted to match up the corner if you leave it on the table.



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