We are dealing here with another classic of magic, “The Thumb Tie”. Seldom does a trick pack so small and yet is SO capable of entertaining an audience of any size. The masters of magic that have featured this trick are many. One thinks of FRANK DUCROT, LES LEVANTE, TEN ICHI, PAUL ROSINI and many others.
This is not a method of doing the thumb tie that I’m going to tell you about. It’s rather a strong COMMERCIAL piece of business that I use with it.
TARBELL devoted a full chapter on thumb tie methods in his course of magic (Vol. 4). Years ago, MAX ANDREWS of England wrote an excellent manuscript of thumb tie methods. Among my favorite methods are, the “MASONI THUMB TIE”, marketed by SUPREME MAGIC of England, Jay Marshall’s “JASPERNESE” method, using pipe cleaners and Irv Wiener’s clever, “RED TAPE” method. Take your pick, they are all good.
After your thumbs are tied and inspected by the assisting spectator, you pick up a large, solid steel ring, (mine is 18″ diameter). I stand about five or six feet from the spectator and say, “At the count of three I am going to toss this ring to you, please catch it.” You count, toss the ring and he catches it.
Then say, “I’ll count to three again and you toss the ring back to me the same way. Do you understand?” You count, he tosses the ring and you catch it. “That’s perfect, now, do it again.”
As you walk towards him, you separate your thumbs, allowing the ring to enter; however, don’t allow the audience to become aware of this. Hand him the ring (stage whisper for him to hold it tightly) and turn to walk away from him.
As you walk away, stop suddenly (as if you were caught on a hook). It is at this point that he, the audience and YOU first realize that the ring has penetrated your tied thumbs. Look at the ring, then at him and ask quizzically, “How did YOU do that?”
Study the ring as though you’re trying to figure a way to get it off. Shake the ring from arm to arm. Notice that the spectator is observing you and say to him, “Don’t just stand there: You got it on, now figure out a way to get it off.”
The spectator is to your right, give him a whisper cue to scratch his head and then to move the ring all the way up your right arm to your right shoulder. Another whispered cue tells him to slip the ring right on up past your shoulder and over your head and around your neck.
The next cue has him slip the ring down over your shoulders and to your waist. He then moves the ring down to your “fanny”. Bend your body a little at this time and the ring will apparently be stuck. Turn your back to the audience and wiggle your “fanny” a little, apparently trying to help him get the ring unstuck. When you straighten your body the ring will continue moving down to the floor.
At this point, step out of the ring and have him raise ring back up to your arm. This entire moving of the ring over your body is a study in futility. Because after all, the trouble of moving the ring up the arm, over your head, down to your waist, all the way to the floor and back up again, THE RING IS RIGHT BACK WHERE IT STARTED, still locked onto your right arm.
“Never mind” says the magi. “Here, you hold this”, he hands them the ring, releasing it from between his hands at the same time. “I’ll get the scissors, and you can cut me loose.” He reaches to his breast pocket, thumbs still tied and removes a pair of scissors. The assistant cuts the thumbs apart, is thanked and you’re finished.
One more thought. Take a wire coat hanger ad bend it into a circle and experiment with it to find out the proper size to have your big ring made. You’ll be amazed at how small the ring looks, yet it will still be big enough to pass over your complete body.
I have found this routine to be a winning combination of laughs and mystery. Hope you agree. If you don’t, may the ring “stick” for real, when it’s half-way over your body!
“The Joy household in peaceful rural Ohio was recently thrown into a state of strife!! It all started with the arrival of a Bundle from Britain. The ‘bundle’ contained a copy of ‘Clever Like a Fox’. “C” thought that Bill believed in the old axiom ‘Ladies first.’ Bill believed that as the head of the house he had first choice. They argued, they fought, then happily they compromised . . . they read the book together. And their opinion, – IT’S REALLY FIRST-CLASS. “Sincerest congratulations to Karrell Fox for a MASTERLY publication and to the publishers for a WONDERFUL book.”
–‘C’ and Bill Joy, Brookfield, Ohio
To MULTIPLY your fun in magic, DIVIDE it with others.