Here we have an older routine of mine, which I used extensively in my table-hopping times. A simple and amazing routine for the table hopper. After the demonstration, the tour is ready for the next table. I have been performing this little routine because it is practical and requires very few props.
Key case that opens by pressing on the two upper edges.
Thumb tip, made of soft material.
Large padlock complete with a key. The key must fit in the thumb tip.
A few not too big self-adhesive dots and a pen.
Remove the chain with the hanger from the key case. It is not needed in the routine. Put the tip of your thumb upright into the case, put the key in there, the beard points upwards. The case goes in the left trouser pocket, the padlock in the right. The sticky dots and the pencil are ready to hand in your pocket.
1. Have a spectator sign one of the sticky dots This will make the plot flow more smoothly later on. Bring out the case.
“We magicians are rather strange people, and this is also true for our everyday life. Here, for example, you can see my key—the only one I own. The only mistake is that when I bought the key case, I didn’t notice there was no chain on it.”
Flip the key from the case onto your outstretched left hand to show the audience that the case does not have a chain. The tip of your thumb remains in the case. This also proves that the case is empty.
2. Turn to the viewer with the sticky dots and ask him to stick his dot on the key “so you don’t think I have a duplicate key.”
“Now it would be risky to keep a key in such a case without a chain, because the danger of losing the key is high. There is a way to prevent this by holding the case up!”
Throw the key—this time with the beard down—into the case (thumb tip) and show your words by apparently grasping the case with your index finger and thumb at the opening.
Apparently because grasping is not as harmless as it looks. The index finger is located at the outer center of the opening. But the thumb goes into the thumb tip. No one will notice this when the performance is fluid, because it looks like you are just closing the opening of the case with these two fingers.
3. Hold the key case in front of the audience and ask them to do the same. When he grabs the case at the bottom, pull your thumb out of the case along with the tip of your thumb and the key. When done correctly, this stealing of the key from the case is spotless and invisible. The spectators believe that the marked key is still in the case.
4. “Although you now keep the opening closed, I will show you a magical way to get the key out of the case. All I have to do is tap the back of your hand twice. This will cause the key to fall out of the case at the bottom, invisibly, of course, where I can then catch it with my hand. And if you all believe in magic, then it will be visible here again!”
When saying these words, hold your outstretched right hand about thirty centimetres below the case and tap the back of the spectator’s hand with your left index finger. Pretend to catch the invisible key with your right hand and close your hand to a loose fist. The index finger and thumb of the left hand go into the right fist from the little finger side! Remove the key from the tip of your thumb and bring it out of your fist holding it between the index finger and thumb on the beard. The thumb tip remains in the right fist.
5. Take a short break here to let the effect work. Change nothing at the finger positions! You will make the key disappear again. First show the viewer it is the key he marked.
The thumb tip in the right hand is almost in a kind of “thumb palm”. The left hand is still holding the key upright on its beard. Take the thumb tip into the thumb palm and open the fingers a bit. Move the right hand over the key as if you wanted to grab it from above.
You notice that the key almost reaches the thumb tip by itself. By applying light downward pressure, slide the thumb tip over the key and your left thumb. The left hand does not move, only the right hand. The thumb tip is put over the key and thumb.
Immediately the fingers of the right hand close as if they had grasped the key, and the hand moves upwards away. The left hand can be shown empty in the familiar way. However, one must not exaggerate it here, because the disappearance is so strong that it would be watered down by any superfluous movement.
6. Make a crushing movement with the fingers of the right hand and open it—the key has disappeared! Pick up the case from the spectator with your right hand, press it open with thumb and index finger and with your left index finger and thumb take out the key that has reappeared in the case. The thumb tip remains in the case. Place the key in front of the spectator, so he can check the marking again. Immediately transfer the key case from your right hand to your left hand, with your left thumb slipping into the tip of your thumb. Give the case to the viewer (the tip of your thumb is removed from the case) and ask him to close the opening again.
7. “Was that too fast for you? All right, I’ll do the same thing again. But this time, be very careful. Grab the key with your right hand and pass it to the left so that the spectator can have another look at his glue dot. The thumb tip is also transferred to the right hand – in the same position as before, with the opening pointing down to the little finger.
Do the same disappearance as described under 5. and 6. The key appears to have disappeared from the right hand, but is in the thumb tip on the left thumb. Let the viewer check if the key has already arrived in the case. He will deny this. Look a little astonished and say: “I don’t understand this, this has always worked before? Oh yes, I almost forgot, this is a rather shy key – I haven’t had it that long – and it always jumps into my pocket when ladies are sitting at the table!
8. You now let the key appear from your left trouser pocket. However, you load the padlock into your right hand without noticing.
In the previous words, reach into your trouser pocket with your right hand as if you suspect the key is there, but find nothing (this should be clear from your expression) and palm the lock. Immediately the left hand goes into the left trouser pocket, wipes the tip of your thumb off, takes the key out and comes out of the pocket again. The thumb tip stays in the pocket for the time being. Please study what follows very carefully, because the following actions are important, although in practice they only take a few seconds.
Show the key with your left hand and give it to your right hand, which grasps it between index finger and thumb. Immediately look into your left trouser pocket, reach in with your left hand and put the tip of your thumb back on. Pull the lining of the pocket outwards (the thumb tip is perfectly covered by the fabric again) and say: “I don’t understand this, somehow there must be a hole in the pocket.”
9. Stuff the lining back into the pocket and grab the key with your left hand, leaving the tip of your thumb in your right hand at the same time The palmed lock does not bother you at all. After showing the key again (in this routine it is important that the spectators have time to recognise the marking so that the transposition effects can work!), give the key apparently into your right hand, but in reality into the tip of your thumb, which you steal from your right fist in the same movement.
To check: On the left thumb is the thumb tip where the key is located. In the right hand is the lock, but the spectators think it is the key inside.
10. “I know that you are now asking yourself two questions. The first: What does the key fit for? I can answer that. This lock. Open your right hand and show the lock. Drop it onto the table with a loud bang.
11. “The second question: Where is the key now? In the case!”
At these words, as before, take hold of the case with your right hand, press it open and with your left index finger and thumb, take the key out of the tip of your thumb, which remains in the case. Pull the sticky spot from the key, hand it over to the spectator as a souvenir and put the key into the case (tip of your thumb), which you put into the left trouser pocket. Put the lock in the right pocket, and once again a routine is ready for the next table!
First study the routine as described and do not change the procedures until it is clear why everything is constructed this way. The tour may not be easy, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a very commercial and powerful piece of art.