The routine was met with favor all around the world (England, France, Norway, Sweden, and the United States) before all types of audiences and under all conditions. Mr. Clark presented it with great success during his engagements at New York City's famous Rainbow Room and Loew's State Theater on Times Square.
Forty years ago, in 1902, Hamley Brothers of London published Stillwell's Handkerchief Manipulation Act, which purported to explain a vaudeville act with which George Stillwell was then creating something of a sensation in English music halls. Silks Supreme, which is the subject of this review, provides an interesting parallel to the Stillwell pamphlet, in several respects: (1) It has to do with tricks performed with silk handkerchiefs; (2) it is written by a performer who is himself presenting the feats with great artistic and financial success if reports which reach us are not exaggerated; and (3) it is not merely an explanation of tricks as such, but a detailed description of a routine as it has been perfected by its originator which is quite a different matter. Described baldly, the routine consists of the following steps:
- From bare hands, the performer produces a large silk handkerchief magically from his fingertips.
- Several knot-tying sleights are performed with the handkerchief.
- The one handkerchief magically turns into two.
- The handkerchiefs are tied together and thrown into the air, whereupon a third handkerchief appears mysteriously between them.
- The three handkerchiefs now become six.
- The Sympathetic Silks is now performed with the six handkerchiefs.
- The six handkerchiefs multiply to twelve.
- The twelve handkerchiefs become eighteen, or even more.
We have not yet had an opportunity to witness this routine as presented by Keith Clark, but our recollection of his cigarette act of several years ago leads us to conclude that in Mr. Clark's hands these handkerchief feats must be both puzzling and beautiful. Also, it would be hard to improve upon the painstakingly thorough explanations with which the author initiates the reader into the secrets of this charming series of handkerchief effects. Seldom if ever have lessons in conjuring been taught with greater care or illustrated with better diagrams.
George Stillwell did not publish the details of his handkerchief act until after it had been widely pirated. Keith Clark has chosen what we hope will prove to be a wiser course - to make his routine available to other performers, for a consideration, while it is still a novelty. For any magician who has use for a brilliant handkerchief act which is wholly independent of tables and other stage trappings, the charge is very modest indeed. Silks Supreme was designed not merely to sell, but to instruct. It performs this task admirably. It is a 24-page booklet, with 44 line drawings by Nelson Hahne, and is bound in soft boards.