This is a detailed description of Keith Clark's 'Phoenix plot' routine, where a cigarette gets destroyed but somehow is recreated - as it were it rises like Phoenix from its ashes.
Celebrated Cigarettes, by Keith Clark, is similar to Silks Supreme and Rope Royale (which were the work of the same author and the same publisher) in that it is edited by John Braun, illustrated by Nelson Hahne, and neatly printed by the offset process and bound in a decorative cover of soft boards. It is an eighteen-page booklet, with twelve pages of text and six of excellent drawings.
Like Mr. Clark's books on silk handkerchief and rope tricks, Celebrated Cigarettes is a step-by-step explanation of one of his own "routines." The performer begins the act by producing from the air, one by one, four lighted cigarettes. The last of these is transformed into a colored silk handkerchief, from a corner of which the magician extracts a fifth cigarette. Next he wraps this cigarette in the handkerchief, and apparently twists it through the silk without leaving a trace of its passage. He now causes the cigarette to vanish and reappear several times; then produces a sixth; and promptly thereafter he closes the act by discovering in the air a lighted cigar and finally a belching pipe. This routine is much like a number of other "cigarette acts," in so far as the general effect is concerned. Its novelty lies chiefly in the introduction of the silk handkerchief, though there is also a bit of by-play with a glass of water.
It is doubtless too much to expect the average spectator to distinguish between cigarette acts, for the main plot is bound to consist of collecting lighted cigarettes from the air. But an audience can certainly decide whether a given performer knows, or does not know, his business - for this decision hinges upon whether the cigarettes seem to "materialize" in the air, or are rather obviously pulled from various parts of the performer's clothing. Probably a writer on cigarette magic can contribute most by giving his readers the technical information that will enable them to present an act with assurance and "finish." This is what Keith Clark has done, and done exceedingly well. Only one real sleight, and that a very easy one, is required in this routine. Mr. Clark explains this sleight clearly, and - at least equally important - he describes the preparation and disposition of every item, however small, that is used in the act. The result is an admirable lesson, by an expert, in the performance of an act that has been "thought through" to the most minute detail and has been tested in the crucible of actual performance. The observant reader will not overlook the fact that he owes much to Mr. Hahne for his fine drawings; and we suspect that Mr. Braun has added to the clarity and smoothness of the text by his careful editing. We can recommend Celebrated Cigarettes as a concise but exceptionally competent piece of writing in this branch of magic.