A tremendous amount of thought, study and development has gone into the routine and presentation of this effect, the result of many years of refinement and actual performance before paying audiences. Maurice has performed this effect literally thousands of times under all sorts of conditions, in cabaret and on stage. It has been an unfailing highlight of his performances, talked about and remembered. So many mental effects give the audience nothing to look at and use the same old plots. Certainly, from the very moment the audience see the arresting sight of a gallows before them the effect must immediately create interest, and the intriguing presentation which Maurice has so cleverly worked out is guaranteed to keep any audience amused and on the edge of their seats with sheer anticipation.
From the foreword:
Cheating the Gallows was devised as a serious and dramatic presentation in response to the request of Bob Johnson, who was then the Public Relations Officer for the International Brotherhood of Magicians, British Ring. Bob wanted a special stunt for a Convention. I had already performed the "Bullet Catching" and various "Headline Predictions". What could I give them? I wanted something out of the ordinary and dreamed up the Hanging plot. However, Bob proved a little nervous in case some of the audience were against capital punishment, as the controversy over this was well to the fore at this time. That rather annoyed me because I didn't personally see what that had to do with my effect! I saw no real horror in my plot and to prove my point, approached a Padre asking him whether he wanted a stunt for his Garden Fete. He said he would welcome one and I suggested the Hanging effect, which he welcomed with 'open arms', and which proved to be a big success. It was really ironic, and the Daily Mirror publicised this, expressing surprise that the International Brotherhood of Magicians had rejected something which they thought was too scaring whilst a little Church Garden Fete accepted the same stunt gladly and were delighted with my efforts. Since that time, the effect has proven itself a very big feature in my programmes, in Cabaret, Drawing Room, Night Clubs, Theatres and also as a special stunt for publicity purposes.
The magician draws attention to a Gallows, together with five rope nooses. Members of the audience act as a Committee and examine four of the ropes to their hearts' content. The performer shows that the fifth rope is feked and has a heavy snap fastener really holding the rope together. The other ropes are unprepared. In order that each rope presents an identical appearance a cardboard tube slides over the feke join and similar cardboard tubes are on the genuine ropes so that it is impossible to distinguish one from the other. However, whereas if the performer was to place his head into the feke rope hanging from the gallows, jump off from a chair, the rope would instantly sever, if a genuine rope was used, the result would be, for him, rather disastrous and hardly bear thinking about! The ropes are taken at the commencement from a plain wooden box and these ropes are now mixed up and placed along a stand, numbered from one to five in any order the audience nominate. The ropes are mixed around so it is impossible for anyone to know the position of the feked rope. A member of the audience does the mixing and the performer need not touch the ropes, certainly he does not influence the order the spectators place the ropes on the stand in any way. From the box, the magician now takes a large set of five labels. Each label is boldly numbered with a different number, one to five, each label has a cord attached to it. The labels are mixed up and one is placed face-up on the bottom so that all the numbers are hidden. A spectator catches hold of one of the strings, drawing it right out away from the others. Let us assume the spectator chooses number four. The noose at this position on the stand is removed and placed onto the Gallows. The artiste stands on a chair, placing his head through the noose. He explains that by the powers of telepathy he has influenced the choice and, if all is well, the rope at the chosen position will be the feke one. But is it? He places his head through the noose and jumps. The rope snaps into two, and the performer takes his bow to the well-deserved applause.
The last page of the PDF shows the Diploma which the performer presents to the volunteer assistant during the performance.
PDF 12 pages.
word count: 3685 which is equivalent to 14 standard pages of text