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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » I've been testing out High Sign again (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

gregg webb
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There was an old trick called High Sign or Magic Compass or Crazy Compass which was a hexagonal piece of wood or cardboard with an arrow drawn on each side. Very few people even magicians seem to remember it but it is amazing. I'd like to get one made of metal and a larger one that is the same but larger so the smaller one could change to a bigger one at the end, like when a coin changes to a big coin. Mine is just cardboard. Works well. I like it because it is different as far as a prop goes. Best wishes, Gregg Webb
Dick Oslund
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MILBOURNE CHRISTOPHER brought out 'HI SIGN' (patter by Clayton Rawson) about 1951 or maybe '52. It was a clever presentation of the old "Chinese Compass" or "Crazy Compass' or "?". I believe the price was $2.00. I first saw it done by Norman Jensen in a USO show when I was in the Navy. (Norman was a close friend of Jay Marshall--when Bruce Elliott "retired" as editor of PHOENIX, Norm and Jay took over.

I bought one (the price was right!) I used it for years (packed flat, and all that). I still drag it out once in awhile, and it still plays. I really don't think it is THAT amazing, but it is funny. There have been many variations.

Why use metal? Mine is poster board or ?, and it still "works"! (60 years later!) I sprayed it with one of those clear plastic transparent "sprays". Cardboard is lighter to carry--when you get older, you'll appreciate that!

Magicians get bored with an effect. Did you ever ask the audience what THEY THINK? As mentioned, there have been many "improvements". Frankly, I will continue to use mine as is.

At one time, I put together a "sign" routine (mainly for MC work.) I had the Hi Sign, my pal Gene Anderson's "Permissive Signs", and OLD friend Arnold Furst's "Fresh Fish Sold Here Today", It played well. At various times, I used all these bits in the high school program. I liked them all, because they were "Grab it and do it" props.

I did, some years ago, write up some lines that involved a CIRCUS 24 HOUR MAN. ONE OF HIS DUTIES IS TO MARK THE ROUTE TO THE NEXT TOWN WITH CARDBOARD ARROWS. I don't remember details anymore, but when I did a show for a CIRCUS FANS PICNIC, it was a big hit.

BTW:::Bev Bergeron has a very nice handling for the turn over move. It's more natural. He had it in his lecture about 30 years ago. He lives in Orlando, FL. He mighthave a copy of his notes.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Motley Mage
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Hey Dick--That's twice in a week or so you've mentioned Bev; I'll be seeing him tomorrow evening at our monthly IBM meeting (Ring 170-the Bev Bergeron Ring) and I'll ask him about his notes...
Dick Oslund
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Give him (please) my very best wishes! I haven't visited him and his lovely lady for several years.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
gregg webb
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Hi. I wanted to mention that the Compass I'm using I made myself, I probably saw something on it in the old Phoenix or a Bruce Elliott book, but mine is small, maybe silver dollar (old silver dollar) size so I can hold the opposing 'corners' of the octagon between my thumb and first finger. I can flip it over with one finger of my other hand. The one Rebo used was big and I think he had to use both hands. My point, the configuration I'm using is very illusive. Carry in your pocket etc. Regards, Gregg Webb
JNeal
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Gregg!

I believe both John Mulholland and Harry Blackstone (Sr.) did something similar : as an impromptu with a Saltine Cracker (about 2" square)! They would do this in a restaurant and draw the arrows on with a pencil. Then they could eat the evidence at the end! The patter was something about stacking crackers facing the 'right' direction in the box.

Regards-
J.Neal
visit me @ JNealShow.com
Dick Oslund
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I vaguely recall Harry Sr. doing something along that line, but don't have any details.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Gregg' The tiny 'closeup compass you have had the octagonal "design". ADAMS made a version in the '50s.

HI SIGN was the version sold by Tannen. Clayton Rawson 'did" the patter. It was about 9" square ad originally came with a little 'clip" so it could be stood on a table top.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Julie
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I remember a close-up one from the late 1950's/early 1960's that was called "Orla Moody's Cuckoo Clock". It had little protuberances around the "dial" which made the handling easy.

Julie
migwar
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Sounds like something similar in the Paul Daniels Adult magic book
gregg webb
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Thanks for all the new info. I mainly want to say that laymen like it and don't seem to know of it, which is kind of neat in itself not having to hear they saw it on TV last week or the like. Regards, Gregg Webb
NicholasD
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Steve Beam sold a very funny routine using a nicely made sign with UP on one side and DOWN on the other around 1983.
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