Billy Mccomb – The Egg In The Magazine

Columnist:
Billy McComb

The Egg in the Magazine

I showed this effect for the first time in a lecture in Pittsburgh in 1955. There’s a lot to recommend it because without a shadow of doubt, the Egg in the Newspaper means more than a little to the lay audience. They recognise a broken egg is a messy thing and hard to contain so, if you pour one into a newsprint receptacle, they imagine it must be very hard to hide the traces. When you not only do that but also give them a laugh, you get that much more appreciation.

The magician shows a popular magazine and flicks through the pages. Laying it aside he breaks an egg into a glass. If you have just done something like the Stodare Egg Expose you can get a further effect out of the broken egg. One thing it’s hard to use again is a broken egg! The magazine is lifted again and opened. The egg is poured into the pages. A cigarette-lighter is passed under the magazine. On leafing through the pages, the egg is discovered again…but this time, it is fried.

Find a colourful, glossy-covered magazine. In Britain, the publication “She” is a good example. In ten years time, it’ll probably be something else. The most important adjunct it must possess is that the stapling must be in TWO places. That is to say, where it is stapled in the centre folds there must be about 5″ to 6″ between the two staples.

Procure some disposable plastic bags. I get mine in Woolworths where they are sold to wrap up sandwiches. Make sure they are long enough to allow two or three inches or more to protrude when you slip it under the centre fold and between the two staples. With some Scotch tape, fix it so that the mouth of the bag lies in a get-at-able position just inside the pages. With some good paper paste such as “Grip-Fix” or rubber cement, stick all the edges of the centre two double folds. As you look at the magazine opened at the centre fold in front of you, the situation should be this. You see an unsullied double page, but behind this there lies a plastic bag which extends from about one-half inch in from the edge and across between the centre staples, through to the other side.

If you leaf through the pages, it won’t be seen because you have glued all three edges together in these two centre folded pages. But, by separating the end which has the opening of the plastic bag, you can gain access to it. With the double-sided Sellotape, affix the fried egg to one of the pages.

The magazine is flicked through and shown as normal. The long edges are upwards as you close the magazine. Opening it at the pages which hold the bag, you pour in the egg. As you hold it up sideways and leaf through the pages, you will come to the egg stuck to the centre page. Remove it. Meanwhile, the egg has had time to run down to the bottom of the bag. If you show the rest of the pages you can place the magazine down on the table with no bothers since the bag has been folded and thus trapped the egg into the bottom of the bag.

Several points. The plastic fried eggs can be easily bought in novelty stores. I didn’t honestly think you’d use a real one, but some funny people read magic books. When you stick it to the page, take care not to affix it too firmly, otherwise when you remove it you might find the page will tear and expose the plastic bag behind.

In dropping the egg into the magazine, make sure the mouth of the bag is well open. It helps the egg to land almost down at the fold so that it has little traveling to do to get past the centre fold. Try to hold the magazine high enough so that the audience can’t really see that you are dropping it into a pocket rather than between the folds of the pages. To help in opening the two pages to get at the bag, I cut one page slightly shorter than the next one in the centre. It looks so bad if you are seen to struggle to find the “right place”.

Check the stapling. If it seems weak or if the weight of the egg is liable to cause the two centre pages to tear away from the existing staples, it may be surer to restaple them again out towards the edge of the spine. Four staples should easily hold the weight of the average egg.

Try to pour the egg in from a height so that everyone can see it go in. One man I saw poured an egg into a newspaper with the lip of the tumbler half-buried in the folds. The whole time he held his hand around the glass so that you couldn’t tell whether the egg ever went in or not. Come to think of it, when he put the glass onto the table, he put it behind something… I’ve just had a dreadful thought.

He wouldn’t have!!! He MIGHT have…!!!

EXTRA BONUS: If you are impecunious, you can slip out the plastic bag, throw away the magazine and take the egg home for frying. It will be quite clean.

If you are up against it, you can also tear out the centre stuck-together pages, re-set the new plastic bag between the next two, paste the edges and you are all set to go again with the same magazine.

P.S. When you come to the cover – STOP. Don’t push your luck!