Posted by: aramaic on Dec 13, 2009
This was one of the best features of the program given by Guibal when he played at the Eden Musée many years ago. It was not new even at that time; in fact, I had made it a part of my own show in my amateur days; but it is extremely effective if properly handled, and it has always been a surprise to me that it has not come into more general use.
Guibal probably learned the trick from Verbeck, for whom he acted as interpreter during the tour of the latter in England. His clever patter is said to have greatly benefited the Verbeck performance, but later there was a disagreement, and Guibal started for himself, giving practically the same program.
A wedding ring is borrowed from a lady in the audience, and a program from another. A volunteer assistant is invited upon the stage, asked to watch every move and see that no deception is practised. The performer then brings a small hammer from his table and asks the volunteer to hammer the ring flat, but stops him in order first to get the consent of the lady. Her answer being "yes," he then says, "Then, madam, the 'yes' that you have just spoken is as irrevocable as your 'yes' when you received the ring."
The volunteer now hammers the ring perfectly flat. Meanwhile the performer has torn a leaf from the program and holds it spread on his open right palm, with his thumb on top. The assistant places the ring on the paper, sliding it under the thumb of the performer, who immediately crushes it up into a rough package and passes it with the same hand to the gentleman, the left hand never having approached the right, and asks him to hold it a moment. Turning to his table, be picks up a stick of sealing-wax and with it makes three quick motions toward the crushed program and then asks him to open it. On doing so, the assistant finds that the program has changed to an envelope, sealed with sealing wax. Opening this he finds another smaller one, and inside this still another, which contains the ring restored to its original shape.
After the young man acknowledges that he does not see how it has been done, the performer does it all over again. This time the last envelope is opened by the owner of the ring, who finds it fully restored.
The borrowed ring is on the end of the performer's wand, a dummy ring being held on the opposite end covered by the hand. By changing the wand from hand to hand the rings are "switched" and the dummy is given to the volunteer to hold. When going to the table for the hammer, the borrowed ring is left there, and while the dummy is being flattened, the stage assistant carries off the original while taking away some other apparatus. The assistant places this ring inside a set of three envelopes made from a program exactly like the borrowed one, and a little later it is brought on and left behind some object on the table.
During this time the volunteer has flattened the ring and the performer has spread the leaf of the program on his palm, as above, but at the same time he has taken a duplicate set of envelopes with a duplicate dummy ring in the inner one from beneath his vest and holds it underneath the leaf. This is easily done, as the package is small and is held in place by the thumb. When the leaf is crushed up, the two packages look like one, and when they have been crushed quite small, the envelopes are brought to the top and passed to the volunteer, the other package being retained in the hand. This sounds rather difficult, but a little practice will make the move absolutely invisible.
The performer now turns to his table to get the sealing-wax and gets rid of the palmed package, and the trick proceeds as described above.
For the repetition, while the volunteer is flattening the ring, the performer goes to the table and gets another leaf of the program, and at the same time gets possession of the other set of envelopes, which contains the borrowed ring, and the trick is finished as given above.
Guibal used to finish by gathering up the torn envelopes after the lady had opened the last one and found her ring, and rolling them into a ball, passing them to the lady who had loaned him the program. Upon opening them she found her original program none the worse except for a few wrinkles. This substitution was by the same method used earlier in the trick.