Piatt Part 6

Caper Case Book I – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)

From Ray Piatt…Volume I contains the original handling for Caper-Case plus five additional effects and additional ideas.


Ray: Yeah, some weird stuff – but–they made sense to him.

SM: (Laughing)

Ray: There was no rhyme or reason to it! He would do things with stuffed birds and have them in a cage. I forget what he actually did with them. He had an idea… I used to make a bill switch. It was redwood, a giant clothespin. You might not even see this in the Stevens catalog. One half was hollowed out and when you squeezed the clothespin the bill would just disappear. I would stick it on my shirt. That was one idea he gave me, to clip it onto my shirt.

Caper Case Book II – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)

From Ray Piatt…This book is a compilation of 11 more routines and variations on Caper-Case techniques.


SM: Did you do straight magic shows when you were younger?

Ray: No. I wasn’t into magic that long. See, when I was sixteen I saw Joseph Dunninger perform. He said you had to keep a clear, clean mind and he would be probing the mind. That was the first time I heard of anything like that. I believed the man. So I tried to keep my mind clean. Then he did the dumbest thing you could do with ESP symbol cards and I fell for it. Then later on at night I was thinking, holy mackerel, he ripped us all off! How dumb can you be? He said, “I’m going to hold it so the back was facing the audience and I want you to concentrate on the symbol.” They passed out pencils and people were writing things down and he gave out an address to mail it to. He was going to check out to find out who was right. I kid you not. That was Joe Dunninger. He had died by the time I got out of the service.

SM: We wanted to know if you perform?

Ray: No, I don’t anymore except for family, friends, neighbors, etc, and then often I’m performing to break in a new effect.

SM: I always wanted to do a straight mentalist act but I never got it going. I try to do at least one mentalism thing in each of my shows, even if it’s a gag. Ever see the baby trick?

Ray: That was me. Yeah. I did a thing called X-perimental. It was a piece of Plexiglas about two feet long, which was shaped to hold five stacks of Jumbo ESP cards. I could predict who would end up with certain symbols and I added a bit to it where I would hand an audience member an envelope and in it would be the order of the selected cards. Let’s say a woman would be holding it. I would pretend that I forgot about her. Then they think I screwed up and I would then ask her to open it and then I got a second round of applause. For that reason, I named it the Stature of Liberty routine. Larry Becker used it with his wife. You know you share things with close friends and they come up with something different. Even Ed Mishell. He was like a father to me. He would invite me to come to his house and his wife’s name was Lilly, but you didn’t want to call her that-she would take your head off. It was Lillian. Ed would take me to his workshop and say, now Ray, I never let anyone come in here, but I’m going to let you come in. You had to walk sideways because of all the magic stuff piled up. He had a suspension. He had a small stage so he could do his suspension. After he died, we took Lillian out for dinner and I asked her if she still had all the stuff and she said, oh no, I sold it all. Kreskin came and took it all–him and some lawyer. Lillian said she would put her foot on the steps and they would be whispering and when they heard her they would shut up until she left. She didn’t tell me what they paid, but they took it all. Then the lawyer was cataloging it and he called a couple of times saying, hey I got a couple of your things here and I can’t figure out what to do with it. No instructions. There was a lock of mine that was gimmicked. It had special keys that worked it you pushed them in and turned them a certain way. He called it the Hemmingway Lock. Same lock, same keys.

Caper Case (The Ultimate) – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)

“Congratulations, Ray and Lisa, on the 25th Anniversary of Caper-Case”–Joe Stevens Caper-Case is the ultimate business card “peeking system” case for the ultimate professional performer. Originally released during the late ‘70s, it has indeed, “Come a long way, baby!” The Caper-Case allows the performer to “peek/read” in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t cause the spectator to “think twice.” Most of all, it may be left in the spectator’s hands (as it should be) until you ask for it to be returned to you. Amazing! A “peeking/reading” commercial business card case that may be handled by others with no suspicion being aroused! After 25 years, each Caper-Case is still produced by Ray Piatt from start to finish. This latest Caper-Case is crafted of genuine bonded leather from Spain, special leather-like black expanded soft vinyl, black nylon and clear non-transferring vinyl. All edges are, “turned” (folded over), not only on the exterior side but also on the interior side thus making it even more attractive and longer lasting! These Great Performers have created personal Caper-Case routines over the years! • Larry Becker • Karrell Fox • Tom Saville • Ted Lesley • Richard Busch • C.L. Boarde • Sal Franchino • Richard Webster • Norman Van Tubergen • Dick Barry • Richard Mark • Dr. Bill Nagler • Roy Miller • Scott Davis • J.B.A. Janson • Bob Baker • and, of course, Ray Piatt… You’re in good company when you perform Caper-Case! Harry Blackstone Jr. is said to have employed his Caper-Case to clinch an advertising contract with a well-known car rental company! President Bill Clinton’s Whitehouse security checked one out and found nothing wrong with it. Most pros that use Caper-Case own at least two while some actually have SEVEN of them!


SM: I did a session quite a few years ago with Dai Vernon. One of the things he taught was that when you are creating a trick, you start with the effect and then use your secrets and moves to make it work.

Ray: That is the secret. If I have an idea, I have the finished product in mind and then I backtrack to figure out how to get from A to Z. Steve Ducheck-they asked him the same question. He would walk around in department stores, hardware stores, and look at something and, hey, he could make a trick out of that.

SM: There was a shop in Allentown called Kratz’s Magic Shop. Did you ever go there?

Ray: Yes, I went there once with my wife and there was some wise-ass kid there. I think he was doing a one hand cut and he was really wise. He came right up in my face and I felt like saying, how old are you kid? You know, I was doing that before you were born. People were calling there and asking if they handled Ray Piatt Magic Maker stuff and they would say, yeah, when they didn’t. There are all kinds of people in the magic business.

Caper Case Book III – (Click the name of the product to visit the product page)

From Ray Piatt…Here you’ll find nine tried and true routines using Caper-Case by several legends in the field of mentalism.


SM: Did the kid have long hair?

Ray: I can’t remember. We’re going back a long time.

SM: Yes we are. I was 23 when I went in there the first time. I was living in Quakertown.

Ray: Quakertown! How about that!

To the woman who make sure it all gets done… Lisa Piatt!

SM: My magic education kind of started in that shop. As a kid I read every book I could get. Mark Stevens asked for a bio and I explained that the pastor of our church did magic. He had a suitcase full of stuff, finger chopper, and he had that thing, Fooled and Fooled Again, that old trick.

Ray: Oh yeah. That was a great trick.

SM: Well, he never showed me anything. He kept his secrets and even though I started to do magic and did shows at the church, he wouldn’t show me what to do. So my first actual magic education was at Kratz’s. Now, I think the kid you’re talking about was a kid named Rich Cowley.