Posted by: presco on Jun 22, 2009
Once more we bring this old-timer forth but after you read this see if you can beat it for simpleness and effect.
A spectator opens a new pack of cigarettes and after examining them a cigarette is removed, marked and placed in the performer's mouth. A bill is borrowed and the spectator writes down a number and initials the bill before the performer even touches it. The bill is destroyed in a most open manner, the cigarette being lighted just before this event. The cigarette is now identified by its mark and, while still burning, is broken open and the bill is removed. When handed back, the owner is asked to identify the bill by marks and number.
Take a new pack of cigarettes and open it from the bottom with a safety razor blade. Remove one cigarette and after removing enough tobacco insert a rolled dollar bill, not a new one or an old one, but half way between. Put the cigarette back into pack, remembering which it is from top and seal up the pack with a little glue. Make a neat job of it as it has to stand a look but not much as they always look at the seal and top. Have in your pocket a letter size envelope with a slit along the centre of the face and inside it a piece of paper the size of a folded bill. A candle is sitting on your table at your right and several matches in your left trouser pocket.
Go into the audience and hand the pack out with a request for it to be opened, you starting it at the right side as they are usually opened only a little. Watch closely and have him hand you a cigarette, you can tell if it is the right one and if not just hand it to someone to show the cigarettes are ordinary and ask for another. You may have to do this three or four times, but not more, until you get the right one. The audience takes it for a joke and you are pattering about being generous, etc., and when you get the loaded one say you'll have to quit because you have already exceeded your expense account. Hold the cigarette between your fingers and have a person mark it and place it in your mouth.
Now borrow the dollar bill and after it has been noted and marked walk back to the platform with the bill in
the air and the cigarette in your mouth. Pick up a match and light it (here you get a laugh) but light cigarette and candle. Fold the bill several times and taking the envelope, with the flap to the front, openly insert the bill. It should come out of the slit into your left fingers which are behind envelope. With your right hand fold down the flap and hold it in front of the candle and then into the flame. Here is the perfect misdirection as they will all look at the bill and your left hand with the bill will casually go into your left trouser pocket as you watch envelope burn. After the ashes are scattered go into audience, still puffing the cigarette and have it identified by the marks. Step back or onto the runway and break the cigarette open and unroll the bill.
Now is the subtle move for which I thank my good friend John Sardo of Elmira, N. Y. Nine times out of ten the audience will begin to applaud when you unroll the bill and you bow and ask them if it is a very nice experiment, at same time pocketing the bill and starting back towards the stage. This gets a good laugh and of course you act surprised and then remember the borrowed bill. Go back into the audience and return it, having the gentlemen identify it, but of course when you put the bill in your left trouser pocket and then withdraw it you exchanged it for the original and there you are!