Milbourne Christopher explains how to do fifty different tricks with one of magic's greatest gimmicks, the Thumb Tip. Tricks are clearly described and illustrated.
The thumb-tip has been exposed so often in books, pamphlets, magazines, and even newspapers, that one might suppose that its usefulness was about ended. But its continued ability to render service, in the face of mistreatment both in print and on magicians' thumbs, is a clear indication of the vitality of this good old fake, which, according to Milbourne Christopher, made its first appearance on the magic scene around the middle of the 1880's. Used skillfully - which means, as Mr. Christopher points out, keeping it out of the audience's view as much as possible - it will doubtless be a standard piece of conjuring equipment for decades or centuries to come. A good magic fake dies hard, and the thumb-tip is unquestionably good.
Any doubts the reader might have on this score will be promptly dispelled by a careful examination of 50 Tricks with a Thumb Tip. Here he will learn that the thumb-tip may be employed in burning and restoring a handkerchief, in producing a half-dozen dollar bills, in producing "spirit rappings," in performing The Thumb-Tie Trick, in producing a vanished dollar bill from a selected banana, in transforming a cigarette into a piece of string, in burning and restoring a marked dollar bill, in producing a silk handkerchief, in stretching one's thumb, and in doing many other queer things in which the modern wizard takes delight.
Since fifty tricks are dealt with in twenty pages of text, many of the explanations given in this booklet are necessarily short; and yet they are quite clear, for Mr. Christopher has the knack of making a few lines of print speak volumes, as readers of his page in Hugard's Magic Monthly are well aware. Occasionally, as in the feat called Burning a Handkerchief, he profligately gives a whole page to one trick; but even when he crowds three or four items on a single page the explanations are surprisingly complete and informative. In view of Mr. Christopher's demonstrated respect for the English language, we regret that he did not personally proofread this latest of his publications. Had he done so, he would surely have blue-penciled two particularly awkward expressions - "my coat's breast pocket" and "his coat's handkerchief pocket" - which appear on pages 4 and 20, respectively. Also, he would doubtless have caught a half-dozen or so other typographical errors.
It is rumored that a ten-dollar "encyclopedia" of thumb-tip tricks, with explanations of some three or four-hundred effects, is in the offing. Such a rumor suggests the existence of an almost insatiable hunger for thumb-tip magic. There may, indeed, be a demand for information on thumb-tip conjuring that can be satisfied only by an encyclopedic treatise; and it will be interesting to see what so intensive a piece of research can do by way of throwing further light on the subject. in the meantime, magicians who are fond of this little fake should manage very well with 50 Tricks with a Thumb Tip, in which they will find much entertainment for both themselves and their audiences.