Keeping the thread taut with the Right hand, I grip the card & the envelope with the left thumb & first& second fingers,so preventing both sinking down into the houlette.Then I walk directly forward to give the audience a 'closer look'.In doing so, I stand directly in front of the assistant so he can't get a glimpse of the thread At the same time my right hand,holding the thread, part way along, is brought it up to the back of the envelope, trapping the thread against it, under the left thumb.Thus the thread was doubled and couldn't be tripped over or caught on anything. As the thread was trapped, my right hand was free to pluck the card out & show it to the audience.Dumping the envelope into my bag.Sometimes, as if to encourage applause I would make a whirling gesture with the left hand so winding part of the thread round the envelope. Again this shortens the thread so no tripping over or catching it and thus it is all dumped safely in the props bag, or on a table.
I do not use a third playing card but have a 'membership card' of the DOPES Club. (Distinguided Order Presigitorial Entertainers Society ) rise up instead. This is what the helper is trying to win by making 2 cards rise. "As being the President of DOPES,("Are there any dopes in the audience tonigh? Oh there's always one ior two!") "I am allowed to award one membership of the Society in each town I perform in! Having succeeded he becomes a member of DOPES and is awarded his card.( with my publicity on it as well)It also means that the 3rd card is pre show loaded, ready in the envelope and eases the handling. Other gags I've added over the years included a giant wind up winder key (from Edwin's Supreme Magic)This was on an Alice band & clipped round the assistant's forehead.It was wound up to make his brain waves work faster. The blowouts, ie those rolled up waxed paper lengths which make a raspberry noise when blown, I usedinstead of the wooden flute suggested, made great gags and were all rigged. The paper in the 1st. was punctured so it wouldn't blow out.The 2nd just unrolled (a weight in the bottom) as he put it to his lips. The 3rd., which I only handled, shot out about 8 feet. This was bought from Alan Alan's Magic Spot in London. Alas no longer there. I also have used one of the electronic mini (4 inch) violins for him to play and a mounted, rubber foot (Houdini's own foot) which when he tickles it, causes it to emit loud laughter. Finally I got rid of the plastic houlette. I made a small 4 inch high stand/holder out of balsa wood, with little feet. Used the jumbo Cards made in Hongkong and the box, which fitted into the stand acted as the houlette.
Do have a look at Ken Brooke's Magic Place by Anthony Brahams for additional information on the Nemo Cards. Next to the Floating ball it is my favourite effect to perform.
Allen Tipton. UKallen@tipton27.wanado