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Casting Swine Before Pearls This will be a cookie jar of a lecture...loaded with irrelevant anecdotes and relevant magic. When the cookie jar is empty you will have to admit that the goodies were delicious and those who are serious about their magic will find it especially nutritious. There is a “two-for-one” trend today. You know, as in “buy one-get one free”...and that’s what we have here. Throughout this lecture please keep in mind that what is regarded, in England, as “an eccentric” is what we, in the states, call “a nut.” Each lecturer in this unholy duo is a solipsistic yakker. We know them as “Garrulous Billy” and “Loquacious Terry.” When I am with them I never have to worry about bad breath as I never get a chance to open my mouth. Billy loves to talk. He looks at a defenseless ear the way Terry eyes a bottle of scotch. And, there is not a theatrical subject that Billy cannot talk about - whether he knows anything or not! Thankfully, his favorite talk topics are magic and the magicians of today and yesterday. There have been rumors about having his tongue bronzed and put on display at the S.AM. Museum of Magic. A magic convention neophyte once asked me, “Is it more horrible to get trapped in a stalled elevator with Billy McComb or Terry Seabrooke?” I replied, “It’s your own damned fault for getting on the elevator with either one of them.” Billy McComb is the older of the two...yet Terry is the balder (which makes him less likely to have fleas than Billy). Religious folks say that God made Terry to make up for the mistakes He made on Billy! (I say He batted out on both occasions.) I believe it was Aristotle - then again, perhaps it was me - who once said: “Yea, verily, ideal magic fills your brain…commercial magic fills your stomach.” Today, these two old pros will offer both. Magic for your love of it and magic to entertain the laymen and make a buck. Hank Moorehouse, the coordinator of this lecture, must be congratulated on his magical knack of transforming one can of worms into two cans of worms! Hank asked me to write this epistle, which I have done freely. I’ve done it without enthusiasm or eagerness and with a complete lack of shame, dozing off only occasionally. So, as Dr. Freud would say about a lecture like this: “O.K., magicians, everyone up on the couch.” — George Johnstone
Uncle Will’s Slates This was an idea in Gen magazine by Ken de Courcy. I came across it and made the necessary slates from balsa wood so that they would weigh very little. The actual slates measure about nine inches by eleven and one-half inches. The flap measurements are six inches by eight and one-half inches. There are two slates and two flaps required. If I give you the story, you will almost see the working of the effect. The performer tells of his strange Uncle who was a spiritualist and didn’t leave a will, as such. Instead, he left two blank slates with instructions to his lawyer as to how they were to be used. They were to be held over the head by the most guileless of the legatees...there were four legatees in all. The first message on one of the slates reads: “To my sister Chloe, I leave the sum of 1,000 pounds.” (It is sufficient for the slate to read merely: CHLOE - 1,000 pounds - in big letters.) The slates are again placed together. This time the legend shows as: “OSBERT - 800 pounds.” Thus signifying that brother Osbert has been left the sum of 800 pounds. The slates are placed together again. Separating them reveals: “JOSHUA — 200 pounds.” Joshua, it is explained, is the old gardener who is so delighted with his legacy because now he can indulge in a long overdue experiment to plant razor blades with his potatoes, so that they will come up peeled! Finally, the last of the four messages is shown. It says: “To my nephew, Billy (your name is used here) I leave these slates. And that’s how I got these stupid things.” Here again, only write YOUR NAME - THE SLATES, and fill in the rest verbally. The working sounds complicated when you attempt to describe it but if you try out the basics with two visiting cards to act as the slates and a couple of cut-down cards acting as the flaps, you will get the hang of it very quickly. Then, if you like the idea, you can get on to making the actual props. You need two slates, each will remain blank on one side. You will also need two slate flaps. Do not use locking slates. They only complicate the action. On one side of one slate is the inscription: BILLY (your name) - THE SLATES. The matching flap reads: CHLOE — 1000 pounds. This flap and the other flap must be interchangeable with either slate on either side.
One side of the other slate has: JOSHUA - 200 pounds, on one side and this is covered with a flap reading: OSBERT - 800 pounds. To set up for working, you now have the Chloe side of the flap against the Billy side of the slate and the Osbert side of the other flap against the Joshua side of the other slate. Mark the edges of the slates so you will know which is the right way up and which message is where. You can now show two blank slates.
The messages should be done permanently in poster paint rather than in real chalk as chalk smudges too easily and there is a lot of flap throwing and handling of the slates. In line with the story, you first place the Osbert/Joshua slate with the flap side towards you, on top of the Chloe/Billy slate, also flap side up. Turn over the slates and you slide aside the Billy message, keeping it towards your body so it is not revealed as yet. The Chloe message shows on the front of the Osbert/Joshua slate. Place the Osbert/Joshua slate on top of the Billy slate so that the Osbert flap drops down onto the blank side of the Billy slate. Again, take care not to flash the Billy legend. This Osbert message is now shown and you have to be a bit careful here as you are hiding both the Billy and Joshua messages. For the next revelation, that of the Joshua message, you merely place the slates together in exactly the same manner but do not do any form of turnover. Removing this top slate, you can turn it to show the Joshua message. To show the final message, the Billy legacy, I slap the two flap sides together so that the two flaps are caught between the slates. This covers any worry about the flaps falling if you are a bit ham-fisted when placing the slates aside. I turn over the back slate to show the Billy message when the flaps are safely held. What I like about this effect is that it produces the maximum number of messages and a lot of humor along with it. It’s an ideal thing for a master of ceremonies to carry with him. It can be held under the arm while you clap on and off the acts.
BOOKING SHEET DATE: TIME: WHERE: CLIENT: LENGTH OF ACT: TYPE OF ACT: NUMBER OF GUESTS: AGE RANGE: DRESS: PARTY THEME: PARKING: PHONE NUMBER/CLIENT: PHONE NUMBER/VENUE: HOW TO GET THERE: LIGHTING: MICROPHONE: FEE:
The Leprechaun Rope The original idea for this effect is a very old one. Alex Gordon, for a long time the editor of The Magician devised a similar effect but the threading was difficult and none to easy to attach to the clothing as that method required. This greatly improved method allows you to pick up the two ropes from the table - do the effect and - replace them with no attachments to the clothing. In effect, the magician picks up two lengths of rope. He is attempting to join two of the ends when the opposite ends pass through the air and join! The two lengths of rope are each twenty-four inches long. They are cored ropes which have been starched to give them “body” and which will prevent them curling on themselves. There is a circle of thread passing through the middle (lengthwise) of the two ropes. It will be seen that by separating two of the ends widely apart will cause the other two ends to come together.
To allow the thread to run freely through the ends of the ropes, each of the four ends has a small cylinder glued into position with a hole running through the center. Many bits of household articles will give you this facility. I have used bits of ballpoint pens cut to the requisite size. There are also wall-plugging fitments in plastic which work equally well. All you need is something which will give you a smooth center hole and enough diameter to fit the ends of the rope without causing a bulge.
Ed Massey’s “It’s A Baffler” (My Working) I always thought the effect of this trick was terrific. However, the working left a lot to be desired. The original method used a metal clip which had snags. You had to locate a tube into a small tin ring made to hold it by friction and you had to remove a metal clip from a glass tube which was impossible to do without the thing “talking”. Since it is a close-up trick, this latter drawback was a real problem. But first, the effect. The spectator hands you a signed bill. You roll it up and put a small rubber band around this rolled bill. This is placed inside a glass tube which is then corked. This unit is then placed under a handkerchief and held by its ends through the material of the handkerchief. The magician reaches under the handkerchief and removes the signed bill! The spectator turns over his hand holding the handkerchief and confirms that he is still holding the corked glass tube by its ends! How did the bill penetrate through the glass tube? Here is my working. There are two corked tubes. One is corked and in your hand, held so that the tube fits partially in the groove between the first and second fingers and the ball of the thumb. On top of that tube is a blob of Blu-Tac or any of the other putty-like substances sold to hold papers or anything to a wall without putting in metal tacks, etc. A duplicate glass (or plastic) tube with a fitting cork is shown. The bill is signed and rolled and banded. It is placed into the tube which is then corked. A handkerchief is borrowed. While this is happening (or while your own handkerchief is being examined as nowadays so many folks carry paper tissues and don’t carry cloth handkerchiefs), you push the end of the corked tube with the bill against the blob of Blu-Tac. It is now held, making a reverse “T” shape in your hand. When you place this visible tube under the handkerchief, you change your grip so that the duplicate empty tube is being held by the spectator between his index finger and thumb through the cloth material. You are now free to place your hands under the handkerchief. Pull the original tube plus the Blu-Tac from the duplicate tube. Uncork the tube and let the bill slide into your hand. Your hands come out from under the handkerchief with the bill in full view at the fingertips of one hand; the original tube, cork and the Blu-Tac going “south” in the other hand. When you remove the tube and the Blu-Tac, peel the Blu-Tac off from one side with either the thumb or index finger (whichever you feel most comfortable using). Make sure you don’t dislodge the spectator’s fingers from either end of the tube he is holding while you are doing this. Don’t try to do this imperceptibly - remember you are apparently pulling the bill through the side of the tube, so some interference is natural. When your hands come out, with one holding the bill, hold that hand up high and away from the hand with the gimmick. Put all the attention onto the bill as the spectator removes the rubber band. You will find that you have all the time in the world to ditch the gimmicks. Sometimes the spectator will hand you the rubber band from the bill and you can transfer that to the hand holding the gimmick. You can then put the band (plus the rest of the stuff) into your pocket. If you are performing sitting down you can easily lap the gimmick and regain it later. After the bill is examined and his signature or marks or initials are checked you again have all the misdirection of the spectator turning his hand over and checking
that his index finger and thumb have never left the ends of the tube. Watch out that he doesn’t try to remove the tube prematurely from the handkerchief until after the bill is checked, because this will nullify one of the big “talk-making” bits of the trick.
The Knife Through The Coat (New Version) It must be about fifteens years since I met up with the legendary Tan Hock Chuan of Singapore. Our talk covered so many tricks and wheezes that I never got a chance to take any notes. One thing did stand out in my memory and I’ve played with it over the years to the extent that I’m really not too sure what came from Tan Hock Chuan and what I added to it. There are several variants to the more usual “Knife Through Coat” routines. In this version, the coat is held in a different way from the more well known version. One spectator holds the “tail” of the coat in his two hands and the other spectator holds the lapels, one in each hand. The magician shows the knife and a piece of newspaper. He plunges the knife through the center of the newspaper square. Removing it, he places it very fairly and openly from the coat from underneath. That hand never leaves its position from under the coat until the penetration is complete! One of the spectators is asked where he would like the coat to be penetrated and indicates the spot. The newspaper square is placed over that spot and the knife penetrates the jacket. The working is quite subtle. When the spectators hold the jacket, they are asked to hold it so that it is at an angle where the audience can see what is happening. This will bring the sleeve of the jacket which is nearest to you in a position where the hand-hole of the sleeve is concealed by the rest of the jacket. As he slides the blade of the knife around under the jacket and gives it the odd prod up towards the lining, the spectators will be watching that area. One of them is occupied with indicating where he wants the jacket to be penetrated. The performer switches his grip on the knife so that he is holding the blade between his first and second fingers and the thumb takes over the action of the knife blade in pushing against the lining of the coat. At this point the newspaper square is held near the body and hidden by the jacket. This hand, plus the square, takes the hand-hole of the sleeve and the other hand drops the knife down the sleeve. There is no chance of cutting yourself because the knife falls with the handle part first. The hand with the newspaper collects the knife from the sleeve and holds it behind the square. When the spot for penetration is indicated, the newspaper is brought into position on top of the coat in such a manner as to conceal the knife, while the thumb is still poking from under the jacket, giving the impression that the blade is still there. All that remains is to grip the knife handle through the coat and push it through the newspaper placed over the chosen spot and to show the coat is undamaged. Hold the knife handle back and pretend that you have to give several extra tugs to get the handle to follow the blade through the hole(?) in the coat. Having explained the main workings, let me give you a few extra thoughts on the trick which I've had over the years. I would use my own knife to accomplish the trick. This would allow me to blunt the blade. Use a lightweight knife to ease the strain on holding the blade between the fingers. There is enough time taken up with getting the coat and having the assistants hold it in the correct position without wasting more time getting a knife borrowed. After all, as far as the audience is concerned a knife is a knife and there appears to be little you can do with it to fake it.
Years ago I did a mirror penetration with a knife and got laughs from showing it was a rubber novelty store dagger which I used “because I didn’t want to break the mirror.” The same line could be used, saying you didn’t want to damage the coat. However, there is a snag in that a rubber knife won’t slide through the sleeve all that easily because of the friction of the rubber against the lining of the coat sleeve. This could be overcome by covering the areas in contact with the lining with a cellophane or plastic tape to cut down the friction. It all depends on whether you are going for comedy or mystery. For a while I used a Thumb Tip which had fastened to it a plastic nail (sharpened to a point). This tip moved around under the jacket. It would allow the spectator to place the flat of his hand against his chosen point of penetration and then feel the point of the “blade” pressing into the coat material from below. Later I felt that since only one person would be thusly convinced. it was not enough to warrant the extra getting on and getting rid of the Thumb Tip. If you use a two-bladed knife you can have the larger blade blunted and the smaller blade sharp. That way you can carry the penknife and have a normal use for it, too. Some penknives which are suitable have a dull-colored handle. You can re-paint them with a bright color paint which you can easily purchase in model shops (in small quarter ounce bottles of enamel made by the Testor Company). While in the model shop, see if they also have a bottle of #1170 Light Tan. This is a flat enamel which is worth picking up because it is a great flesh color. A page from a glossy magazine is about the right size for the paper and it holds its shape better than a piece of newspaper. Although, if you are on a cruise ship or in a private house they may not be all that keen on your tearing a page from a magazine which they may wish to keep.
Whose Paper Balls? Many, many years ago I attended a lecture by Tony Slydini at an I.B.M. convention in England, and the one item that really appealed to me was his routine with throwing the paper balls over the spectator’s head. It was many years later that I found out, from chatting with George Johnstone, that the idea had originated with Harry Blackstone Sr. and George built up a routine based on the idea and one day Tony saw George working it and this gave him the thoughts for his own Slydini routine. This little story has been written up in Jay Marshall’s excellent book, How To Perform Instant Magic published in 1980 by Quality Books. In Slydini’s version his movements are very lovely and so magical and smooth ... but this type of presentation does not fit in with my chaotic style! I am not going to explain the basic routine as it is too well known and has been published elsewhere, but just my ideas on performing this effect, which does contain some good laughs. First is the choice of napkins which are going to be used. I always try to get a grain in the paper which, when torn in half, it will not be torn neatly, but will tear with a very jagged edge and will look a real mess to the audience. So the routine commences with a spectator seated to my side and I say to him, “Now put your knees together, as this gets rather exciting” When he has done that, you place a small pile of napkins on his lap. Ask him to pick up one napkin and hold it between his hands and tear it in half neatly. This he does and, of course, gets a very irregular tear and should end up with very different size pieces and for this you tell him off and remind him that you said “neatly!” Ask him, “Which of the two pieces would you like me to use? Please note that I did not say what for!” He hands one piece to you and the other piece is placed back on his lap. You now shape the piece into a small ball and hold it between your two cupped hands. Move the hands up and down in front of his eyes, then separate the hands and ask him which hand the paper ball is in. If he picks the correct hand, you tell him to change his mind, and keep at him until he does. Then open the hand with the ball in it and look at him and say, “You shouldn’t have done.” On the other hand, if he picks the wrong hand, go through the same “change you mind” bit and try to get him to change to the hand with the ball in it, and then change back again. Work this “change your mind” bit twice and then, on the third time, throw the ball over his head. Work the routine all over again, but this time with a whole napkin. The reason for this, you mention to the spectator, is, “You will not miss it this time!” For the last time, you pick up about five napkins, one at a time, finishing with the odd torn half napkin left over from the first part, making them all into a big ball — much bigger than your hand can hold. Place the ball between your hands. Move them up and down and say, “This time you will get it right!” As you say this you separate the hands, one hand just about holding onto the large ball which is visible for all to see. You say, “Which hand is it in?” When he points to the hand with the ball sticking out of it, you get very excited as you shout, “He got it right!” Repeat this sequence, crumpling the ball somewhat smaller. Repeat a third time, this time telling him that this time you will squeeze the ball small enough so it cannot be seen. Vanish the ball over his head as before. Thank the spectator, have him stand up and, as he leaves, turn him so he can look behind the chair he was sitting on as you say, “By the way, will you kindly clean up your mess after the show?”
There you have it! A Seabrooke twist on the Blackstone - Johnstone - Slydini paper balls over the head. By the way, when you work make sure there is nothing on the stage behind the spectator’s chair. Once I did not notice the drum set of the band as being too near and at each vanish of a paper ball there was a slight crash as the ball hit a cymbal!
The Swaddle Why this title for this trick? The answer is easy. It is a combination of a paddle trick and the card sword! This is one of the very few logical paddle type tricks and it is very strong to the layman. There are two paddles and on one are glued six small playing cards. On the reverse side of this same paddle are glued a matching set of cards with a card missing in the third posit ion (from the handle). The second paddle has the illustration of a sword on one side and on its reverse side a similar sword illustration with the missing playing card stuck on it. (Refer to the illustrations.) There is, obviously, one card to be forced (the one missing from the one side of one paddle and the same one that is stuck on the sword). The force is handled by using the old dodge of “give me a number between one and six” and for those who don’t know it, it goes like this: ONE ... just spell the letters O N E to bring you to the third card (from the handle). TWO ... just spell the letters T W O to bring you to the third card (from the handle). THREE ... just count 1 2 3 to bring you to the third card (from the handle). FOUR ... just count 1 2 3 4 (this time from the opposite end of the paddle). FIVE ... just spell F I V E (from the opposite end of the paddle). SIX ... just spell S I X (from the handle end of the paddle). The spectator now knows which is his card. You take a paddle in each hand, showing six cards on both sides of one paddle and a sword on both sides of the other paddle (each time using the paddle move). Suddenly, smack the paddles together (at the same time giving each paddle one revolution) and the spectators will see that a card (their card) is now missing from one paddle and that it is stuck onto the sword on the other paddle!
To finish, place the paddle with the row of cards (with one missing) into your top pocket. When the blade of the paddle is out of sight in the pocket, give the handle one revolution (so that the full line of six cards will be visible when the paddle is once again removed from the pocket). Display the other paddle, showing the sword piercing the selected card on both sides of the paddle. Your hand closes over the blade of the paddle and the paddle is given one (secret) revolution. The hand slides off the paddle, showing only the sword remaining on the paddle. The hand must contain the card! This hand makes a throwing motion towards the pocket containing the other paddle. The hand is shown empty, the paddle is removed from the pocket and all six cards are seen to be back on the paddle — a neat finish to what can be for you a great trick!
Mind Your Foot The strange title to this item tells you what can happen if you are not careful in working this trick! You could find your foot pinned to the floor by a pair of scissors! The magician is holding a length of rope, the ends of the rope projecting from the top of his hand. Hanging onto the loop of rope is a pair of scissors. The lower loop is gathered up and placed into the hand and then the hand is shaken. The scissors drop to the floor in front of the performer - hence the title - and the rope is seen to be in two pieces. The two ropes are tossed into the air and one solid piece of rope falls down - a great effect! You need two pieces of rope. One is approximately six inches in length and the second is approximately fifty inches in length. The smaller piece is fastened (at its center) to a pull which will go up your left sleeve. To anchor the elastic of the pull I use a paper fastener called a Bulldog Clip (available at office
supply stores). This is a large clip somewhat like the clip you will find on clipboards. This clip is fastened to the waistband of your trousers. The reason for using this method
of fastening is that it is much more easily moved from suit to suit and its position can more easily be altered than by using, say, a safety pin, etc. The scissors, preferably a heavy pair, are threaded through the longer piece of rope. The whole set-up is held in the left hand with the fingers curled round the bottom of the small loop and the two ends of the long loop. The pull elastic is running down the sleeve. (Refer to the illustrations.) The bottom loop of the larger rope is grasped and brought up to the left hand, allowing the scissors to slide along the rope. This loop is gripped directly below the top rope loop. You are now in the position as illustrated in Figure Two. With a shake of the hand, you drop the two loose ends of the longer rope and the scissors will drop to the floor. It will look (as in Figure Three) that the rope has been cut into two pieces. You then, apparently, throw both pieces of rope up into the air. As you release your grip on the ropes, the pull takes the small piece of rope up your sleeve and the one larger piece falls down and this piece of rope can be given away or passed for examination. There you have it - a very practical rope effect. I am not sure where this idea came from, as I first saw it years ago and made some changes to make it more practical.
Pickacard This is an idea sparked off by a clever magical mate of mine in England, Alan White - a fellow soccer nut! I think you will like this idea as it is a packet type card trick that is simple and resets itself (for you table workers). It can be used as a complete trick on its own or as a card force. The effect is that six different cards are shown, one at a time. They are squared up into a packet and handed to a spectator with the request that he place them behind his back and that he mix them all up. You then ask him to bring one card out to the front and you tell him that that one card must be the Ten of Diamonds - and that is what happens! To explain the routine and working let me go to the instructions as put out with the trick. This is another way of saying that I have the cards for sale, if you want them! The cards consist of five double faced cards. Each of these cards has a Ten of Diamonds on one side and a different indifferent card on the opposite side. The sixth card is a normal Ten of Diamonds. The cards are set, faces up, with the normal card on the bottom and the other five cards faces up (what else) with the non-force cards showing. Fan the cards out in a normal spread of six cards, showing six different cards. Then square them up, turn them over and the regular back of the normal card will show. This packet (apparently faces downward) is handed to the spectator and he is asked to place them behind his back and to mix the cards thoroughly. He is to stop mixing when he is satisfied that they are well mixed. You then say to him, “Please hand me the Ten of Diamonds.” He will bring one card forward, which will be the regular Ten of Diamonds (if you are lucky) or one of the double faced cards with the Ten of Diamonds side showing. Reach behind his back and take away the rest of the cards. If, by chance, the spectator has turned the packet upside down behind his back and if, again by chance, he gives you a card which is not the Ten of Diamonds (but the reverse indifferent side of one of the double facers) say, “I asked you for the Ten of Diamonds and you have given me (name of card).” Reach behind the spectator’s back and remove the stack of cards. Reverse the packet and bring your hand forward showing them as all Tens of Diamonds, saying, “How come you gave me the only card that wasn’t the Ten of Diamonds?” What an out! There you have it - a simple idea which can be used in two different ways, and you just cannot go wrong. It can be used as a prediction or a card change and you really do have two effects for the price of one. Have fun!
In The News This idea is one of those useful epics which can be used two ways - either as a gag, or for the production of a person! The trick is based on using a magazine with a page size approximately thirteen inches by twenty inches (or in modern terms about 35 cms by 50 cms!). (This page size is when the magazine is opened.) The audience sees you thumb through the magazine and you comment that it would be nice if you could see what was in the whole magazine at a glance - and then suddenly the whole magazine falls open into one large sheet!
The prop is made by taking a magazine apart and by gluing the pages together at the edges where shown in the illustration. Glue enough sheets together to give you an overall size of about five to six feet in height and about four feet six inches in width. (In centimeters that is around 160 by 130 — that is, if I have worked this out correctly!) When making this you must be sure to get the front cover glued to the center of the unfolded sheet (in the position marked “Title Page” in the illustration). Leave one sheet of paper in the middle (towards the top) glued only by its top edge, as shown in the illustration. This gives you a flap to look through once the paper is unfolded. If you do not want to do this part of the trick, then glue this sheet down like all the others.
It is very important to fold the paper up in the correct fashion so that it looks like an ordinary magazine when first shown to the audience. First, fold the long sections inwards from each side - the Title Page being on the reverse to the folds. This will, in effect, give you a very long double page, the same width as the actual magazine from which you are making the prop. Then fold upwards from the bottom, concertina fashion, following the actual size of the pages. When you reach the top you should be holding a package which looks like a normal copy of the magazine when the title page is folded as the last fold to do. You must make sure you really crease all the folds to make it easy for opening (and refolding again later for further use). Working the prop: Open the magazine and flick through the pages by the corners and open it right out when you reach the center. Note that the front and back covers are double, with a single sheet next to the double pages - marked with an “X” in the illustration. The thumb and index finger of each hand grip the single sheet by the corners, then flick open the paper and it will drop open into one big sheet as you move your arms apart to hold open at the full width. The loose flap will be in front of your face if you wish to look through to the audience. If you wish to produce a person from the paper, when you unfold the paper make sure the bottom edge of the paper touches the floor and that the side edge of the paper (left or right) covers the assistant hidden behind the table (or coming through the slit in the back curtain or from behind an offstage side curtain). Moving slightly forward to the center of the performing area, it is very effective to crumple the paper over the person before they burst through the paper. Try it!
Gags For New Routines I used to have a problem when working on a new routine, as I would make notes of gags and comedy bits on the backs of contracts, on paper napkins and around the edges of envelopes. Every drawer I opened in my magic den had these bits of paper laying around and I could never find what I wanted when I wanted it! To overcome this, I bought some lined cards and headed each card with the name of the trick. I always carry these cards with me to every show and I added the new gag or sight bit which I had tried out to the list on the card. In this way the routine started building and I could always find the notes on any given trick at any given time. It is amazing how some of the best gags and comedy bits are not written— but come out of an actual performance. And, if they are not noted down straightaway, you will be driving home from the show racking your tired brain for that line which got you that big laugh. In my early days this happened to me many times. Note it down on that card! After a while your card will be full of notes and then it is time to sit down and rewrite it — this time leaving out the “dead wood” and the bits that are not working for you. This will leave space for adding later ideas as they happen. Every now and then I refer to my cards as I find that without realizing it I have left out a good line which I had added along the way. This listing is the only memory jogger I ever need. Even a routine like my burnt bill which I know forwards and backwards has its own card and still, after ten years of performing it, a new line comes up which must be noted down. With an established routine like the burnt bill, I also added the date when a new bit went into the routine as this is most interesting when you look back on the history of what you do in your act. Come to think of it, I suppose my act is history now, so maybe I should shut up and get working on something new for the future! Try this card system - it really does work!
A Side-By-Side Comparison Between Two Show Business Giants!
Crocodile Rock Rocket Man Island Girl Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds Honky Cat Benny & the Jets
Scotch on the Rocks Racket Man Any Girl Terry in the Bar With Highballs Four-Eyed Lunatic Terry & the Hornets “Last Call” Seem to Be the Hardest Word
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
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