Page 1

I i


arten Wletsbe


\ ' 4





This book is dedicated to my sister Doris Wiersbe

Published By THE IRELAND MAGIC COMPANY Chicago, Illinois 1948

PREFACE Just a brief word of preface concerning this book . . . The effects that follow are, as far as I know, original with me , but such things are difficult to prove. As with my previous book, I have set up a criterion to follow not only in devising the effects, but arranging' them as well. This time the accent is on simplicity in thimble magic: no clips or holders; no black-arl wells or trick tables ; no gimmicked silks ; no elaborate equipment; and, best of all, no trick thimbles. These certainly should be welcome by any magician interested in impromptu magic. Thimbles have been used for everything but tricks these days : vanishes, gags, penetrations, and color changes. These are all wonderful—but I would like to introduce a few tricks and a couple of dandy routines not requiring thimble holders or special equipment. I hope you enjoy them! The fine illustrations—fifty-one of them—found in these pages are the work of a new-comer to magic, Bob Krajewski. Having achieved some success in the cartooning world, he has now turned to illustrating', to the great gain of magic. His clear illustrations certainly add to the explanations; you will appreciate them, I know. This book is the culmination of three years' work in thimble magic. Much of it has travelled between Indiana State Teacher's College and Indiana University. Nevertheless, it is all here —complete to the last detail. May it start a literal "thimble renaissance" in the magic world! Sincerely, WARREN WIERSBE


THE THIMBLES THEMSELVES As far as I know, there are three t\ pes of thimbles on the market: the metal, celluloid or plastic, and the wood or composition. I have seen silver composition thimbles which have the appearance of the metal thimbles but which may be handled similarly to the plastic or celluloid types. Recently a popular machined thimble appeared, but this is not too useful for g'eneral manipulation, its mam use being for production. Generally speaking, though, we may assume the thimbles to fall into two classifications : metal and celluloid. Personally, I prefer the plastic-celluloid type of thimble for many reasons: it is readily available in a multitude of colors; it has a wide projecting rim for use with the back palm or clip; and it has rough surface for the thumb palms. The metal thimbles become unduly moist with continued manipulation, making them extremely difficult to handle at times. Since the plastic thimbles come in so many colors, more variations are possible with the standard effects. The only real defect in the plastic field is that the thimbles cannot be nested closely together as with the metal type. This automatically eliminates using the basic moves of the "Miser's Dream" with the plastic thimbles; the nesting will not permit it. However, I have applied other principles to this effect, and arrived at similar results. These will be described later in the book. All of which means that the thimble you select is the thimble you want to use. While developing the material to follow, I used the plastic thimbles. Perhaps it would be easier for the beginner to adopt this type while wading through the effects about to be presented. The more accomplished performer will be able to make the transition from the one to the other without much effort. MATERIALS Purchase a number of thimbles of many colors. Be certain to have at least one set of red, white, and" blue thimbles; that is one red, one white, and one blue thimble used together in patriotic effects. Silks are handy, especially two white ones of the same size and texture. You no doubt have a regulation magician's wand (if there is such a thing!) A silk (or cotton) American flag about five by eig"ht inches is also required in one of the following effects. The last necessary piece of equipment is an opaque drinking cup, preferably one made of plastic or celluloid.

Certainly not needed are clips, pins, holders, elastic bands, servantes, black-art tables, fake thimbles, thimble racks or stands, or loads of any type. These items have their place in specific fields of manipulation, especially among platform and stage performers. But for the average performer, especially in the impromptu field, they are unused and unwanted. SLEIGHTS I sincerely hope you have somewhat of a background in thimble manipulation; it is not a stringent requirement, but an aid for your own work. None of the items in the pages that follow are so difficult that the neophyte cannot grasp them. But, I am not taking time and space to describe some of the basic sleights of thimble mag'ic: the thumb palm, finger palm, finger clip, regular palm, and back palm. Five basic sleights which, if not known, may be learned quickly in the pages of Jean Hugard's grand text book, ''Thimble Magic." "Modern Magic Manual" also has a great deal of information along these lines. Become familiar with these moves before attempting the material to follow. Much of it requires no extra sleight-of-hand other than that described; but knowledge of the basic fundamentals will give you the poise, practice, and perception to enter into this new material. With these words of advice still lingering, I now introduce you to four sections of new and novel thimble magic. In due turn you will become acquainted with Vanishes, Color Changes, Tricks, and Routines. May your acquaintance be a pleasant one.


VANISHES Four original thimble vanishes are described in the pages that follow. Though all thimble vanishes may appear to the spectator as mere repetitions of the same effect—the vanish and subsequent reappearance of a thimble—in actual practice, of course, each vanish is different. Each one embodies points which are either natural or unnatural, enhancing or detracting, smooth or stilted. Could all the desirable elements of a good vanish be blended into one supreme move—a "Classic Vanish" as it were —it would certainly be a boon to thimble manipulators. Such a vanish is humbly offered under the title "Ru.b-A-Dub Vanish" in the section that follows. And let it be remembered : a vanish is essentially a means to an end, not an effect in itself. Though there are exceptions in the more complex and involved vanishes, two of which are offered here, as a general rule this is true. The classification is left to the manipulator. THE TOSS PALM The thumb palm is a standard move for vanishing a thimble, and I am afraid it is often utilized a bit too much in the average routine. Card workers bring into play innumerable sleights which are means to the same end, the control or sighting of a selected card, for example, by a pass, side-slip, false shuffle, or stack. Yet the same manipulator will literally "run into the ground" the poor thumb palm in lieu of a usable substitute. For this reason, we present this original palm—entirely different in practice and just as simple.

The thimble is grasped by the rim between the right thumb and second finger, the forefinger being moved slightly away from the thimble. The left hand is casually shown empty and held palm up about a foot away from the right hand which is

Pages from tantalizing thimbles