jap box

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Bill Mullins » 05/26/05 09:50 PM

Is a "Jap Box" called that because:

1. an oriental name implies a certain mysticism

or
2. Many of the early ones were "japanned" or lacquered?

This came up in a discussion on the American Dialect Society's email list.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 05/27/05 02:04 PM

According to T.A. Waters' "Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians" it's called that because it's made to look like a type of rice box used in Japan.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/27/05 11:11 PM

An off-line inquiry to Max Maven yielded the following:

The name does not come from "Japanning," as the device is not usually lacquered.

It is of Japanese invention, and showed up in the west in the 1870s. Early English references were more formal: Hoffmann called it the "Japanese Inexhaustible Box."

Whaley cites an ad in 1911 as the first print reference using the term "Jap Box."


Cordially,

Max Maven
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With leads provided by Max, I was able to find a reference to the "Japanese Inexhaustible Box" in Professor Hoffman's _Modern Magic_, Chap 16, Miscellaneous Tricks (my copy is an undated edition). The "Japanese Inexhaustible Box" name was still in use as of as Nov 1906 in Ellis Stanyon's _Magic_ magazine. However, the Dec 1911 issue, page 19, does use the term "Jap Box".
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Postby Guest » 06/02/05 10:52 AM

I have always been curious about this effect ever since I read about it in Rice's book.

Where does one get a "jap" hank box these days?

Thanks
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 06/02/05 12:23 PM

Creekmore makes a great one, with nice routine.
Can be found at: Denny & Lee\'s

And there's always the fine double locking box made by Owens: Owen Magic Supreme item 1619
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Postby Guest » 06/02/05 04:42 PM

Probably it was named by the guy that named

Grant's " Chink Cans " and invented the " Al

Jolsen King of Night Club Rising Card ( I made

one also, I was 17 ).......Mike Walsh

P.S. I cast my vote for the rice box.
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Postby Guest » 06/04/05 05:13 PM

Thanks Mike...

I might be opening up a "chink can" of worms here, (and believe me, I'm as critical as the next guy of the pervasive political correctness that is going on these days), but I think it is time the terms "Chink" and "Jap" should no longer be used in current magic literature (unless used in historical context...ie. a movie depicting times in which those terms were used or referring to old magic periodicals). I have books by Vernon and Garcia with tricks that use derogatory, stereotypical Chinese patter. I just chalk it up to "those were the times". Well these are no longer "the times". To those catalogs still using old copy, please replace those terms with "Chinese and Japanese". I grew up in the late 50's and 60's and those terms were as derogatory then as they are now...and that was 50 years ago! I've been called many names in my life, but those are the 2 that still send shivers up my spine.

Thanks for hearing me out. Perhaps the next topic in the close up forum should be "Where did the title Chink a Chink come from"...certainly not the sound made by sugar cubes :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/04/05 09:25 PM

When I wrote David Roth's Expert Coin Magic, I thought about it and retitled "Chink a Chink" as "The Original Chinese Coin Assembly."
It seemed like a good idea.
I've always used the phrase "Japanese Handkerchief Box" rather than "Jap Box."
And, of course, Ed Marlo is the person who took the old "Tree of Spades" gag in which the tree is seen to be full of caricatures of black folks and turned it into the "Tree of Hearts."
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Postby Guest » 06/05/05 01:12 AM

The first editor of GENII, Bill, Sr., wrote in the early 1940's, how names like chink and chinaman, should replaced with the word Chinese, especially since they were also fighting Tojo as we were.
A generation later, the 2nd editor, Bill Jr., advocated the use of the title, Japanese Box, as more proper.
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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 06/05/05 04:08 AM

Regarding "chink-a-chink".

Over the years, I've heard the phrase "Ka-ching" used to represent the sound of a cash register. Could "ka-ching, ka-ching" have been transformed into "chink-a-chink"???

Maybe???

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Postby Guest » 06/05/05 12:01 PM

Thanks Richard...I noted your title way back when I first purchased "Expert Coin Magic" (which includes a bit of the history of "Chink a Chink") and I appreciated it then.

While we are on the subject and this is the stage and platform forum, does anyone know if Jeff Hobson is still doing his "Chinese Act"? A few years ago I attended the IBM convention in Los Angeles and he was one of the headliners on stage. While admittedly he is one talented guy, he truly offended me with his act. He donned a chinese costume, then rubberband around his eyes finishing his costume with the requisite "bucked teeth". Being an IBM convention, the audience was filled with people from around the world, including many Asian countries. Some might say, well he also offends the gays so what's the problem. Well here's the problem, his act (at least to an American man of Chinese descent) is akin to a minstrel show to the African Americans (IMHO). While not all that good looking, I do not have eyes or teeth like that, nor do I know any that look that way.

Luckily I do not see this much anymore (at least in magic...a hobby of mine for the past 30 years) so I will end it here. Again, thanks for hearing me out once again.

Oh yeah, Richard, thanks for the great job you are doing with Genii...I think I will pick up a subscription once again (esp with Acer editing the Magicana column) The only reason why I haven't for the past 20 years is the storage problem with old issues (ie. my wife) ;)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/05/05 12:39 PM

On a related note, I was sitting with Ton Onosaka at a Steven's Desert Magic Seminar in Las Vegas years ago when some [censored] came onstage and did a psuedo Japanese act, squinty eyes, buck teeth, and was incredibly offensive. I was offended, but Ton was not--he thought it was funny.
So, not everyone feels the same way about these things.
Every performer is free to do whatever he or she wants on stage, and the audience is free to respond however it feels is appropriate. If you want to stand up and boo, go ahead. If you want to walk out and complain to the convention organizers, go ahead.
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Postby Guest » 06/05/05 06:38 PM

I think that old stereotype image comes from WWII. The editorial cartoons (and theatrical cartoons too) all used the shorthand of the buck-tooth slant eyed "Ah-SO!" Japanese. It was not only politically correct, it was encouraged.

I am amazed that it has been eliminated from our culture as rapidly as it has. There will always be a crumb or two left as time sweeps the past away...
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/05/05 06:50 PM

When I worked on a TV Special in Japan, I asked the producers if the Japanese were easily offended by gags aimed at them... the produces said, "No, they like that kind of humor."

A few of my gags (I had brought 20 caucasian magicians to do the tv shows) were: "Do we all look alike to you?" "Do you all have American Gardeners?" And others I forget, but all were OK with them and did get good laughs.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 06/05/05 07:15 PM

This subject has come up many times on animation/film forums I visit regarding the censorship of classic films. It is usually agreed that the offended party is often NOT the party being parodied or stereotyped but rather 'other people' that decide it is offensive to them.

Example: Lots of african american kids love Mammy two shoes from the Tom And Jerry cartoons but the excecutive 'suits' deem it objectionable. Same with Disney's Song of the South which provided some large roles to black actors in the 40s.

I realize some DO find it offensive but what Richard and Pete said bears out what I keep experiencing myself.
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Postby Robert Allen » 06/05/05 08:01 PM

I believe there's a significant difference between old movies and tricks still being manufactured and sold. In fact I have Song of the South, and wish I had the video of the now-banned WWII Warner Bros. cartoons. The Song of the South is actually a lot less offensive than I thought it would be. Despite the stereotypes, what you hav there is an old black man (Uncle Remus) helping out a young white boy in a slightly disfunctional family. Not much racist about that...

In addition I well recall how about 15 or more years ago I was able to see the 1939 version of Jesse James w/ Henry Fonda. The TV broadcaster had to provide one of those "This show is recommended for adult viewing" warnings at every commercial break because of the way a minor character, the black sharecropper, was portrayed. This movie is now seldom shown, and I'll bet it's cut/dubbed when it is.

I think a thick line should be drawn between historical information in old books/movies, and modern products. And no, I don't consider copies of old movies to be "new products", and yes, I do consider movies like Song of the South and the 1939 Jesse James to have significantly more social utility than a set of Chink Cans.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/05/05 08:45 PM

The scuttlebut is that Disney will finally be issuing Song of the South on DVD in 2006 as part of its limited edition Disney Treasures series, including critical commentary to place it in its proper perspective.
There are many Internet boards where Song of the South threads go one and on, with lengthy discussions on both sides of the issue.
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Postby Guest » 06/06/05 07:33 PM

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:
...the offended party is often NOT the party being parodied or stereotyped but rather 'other people' that decide it is offensive to them.
Especially true of the "language police".
Like the genius who decided that Japanese people would rather be called "Asian" than "Oriental"...
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Postby Guest » 06/06/05 09:17 PM

Originally posted by Mike Walsh II:
Probably it was named by the guy that named
Grant's " Chink Cans " and invented the " Al
Jolsen King of Night Club Rising Card ( I made
one also, I was 17 ).......Mike Walsh
I have a set of white on black Tally-Ho "Vipers" that a friend gave me.

The Tally-Ho fox-hunting joker looks exactly like Jolson. made up to sing "Mammy," even if he's dressed up to sing "John Peel."
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Postby Guest » 06/06/05 10:45 PM

The double standards of the politically correct crowd are sometimes amusing. (Let's see how long it takes before this post is deleted.)

"White Men Can't Jump" is a funny title for a movie, but "Blacks and Latinos Can't Do Science" would never (and should never) be acceptable.

California high schools, where white students are now a minority, endorse clubs such as M.E.C.H.A. whose motto is: For those in the Race, EVERYTHING; for those not in the Race, NOTHING!" Can you imagine a high school starting a white student union?

We should either all get thicker skin, or get rid of the double standards which are causing otherwise open-minded individuals to ask what the heck is going on.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 06/07/05 03:07 AM

Robert,
Yes, I'd say there is a difference as you note. I was speaking generally as to what people might find offensive in performance/entertainment.

My real point is that it often decided for everyone what is and isn't offensive by another committee.

Richard Kaufman, I heard this rumor about Song of the South too. I'd like to see it happen but I also heard there was still time for the suits to back out if they got panicky. We'll see. Gone With the Wing has similar sterotypes and is one of the most loved movies of all time.

Also, I might note that I recently viewed the Mickey Mouse in black and white vol 2 DVD set and there is a section of "questionable' cartoons 'from the vault' --Most of these I had to watch several times to even catch what was supposed to be objectionable and there was at least one that I'm still not sure on. Another case of what's offensive being decided for me and everyone else.
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Postby Guest » 06/08/05 05:30 PM

Racism is funny stuff. Selma, Alabama which claims to be the home of civil rights and voting rights, still has an essentially segregated public school system as well as all other "public" services. It's more than noticeably all black. Voters' rights common in the rest of the South are routinely denied in Selma.

The (black) mayor of Selma consistently requests local legislation from Montgomery and the State Legislature to specifically deny Selma voters, taxpayers and citizens the right to vote on local matters. This is a matter of public record.

It also makes Aruba look like a thriving place to be. Selma's crime rate makes Aruba look like paradise too. Selma has about 1/4th the population and many times the crime. By comparison to Aruba; Selma, Alabama is a true third world culture. Its only legitimate claim to achievement is the continued promotion of racism. (If that is an achievement.) It is more racist in 2005 than it was in 1960. The locals were minimally involved in the civil rights and voting rights movements. The outsiders came in, got their pictures made, made the news, and left. Only about 15% of the population of Selma was born elsewhere. The homegrown people are at least as racist as ever. Facts are that Selma is for all intents and purposes all black and staunchly racist. Fact is stranger than fiction.
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Postby Guest » 06/08/05 06:12 PM

The use of the term "Jap" is derogatory towards Japanese Americans.
However, among Japanese people, the use of the term Jap is used AMONG themselves.
We just don't like non Japanese people to refer to us with the term Jap.
Thanks,
Roger
A Japanese American
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Postby John LeBlanc » 06/08/05 06:49 PM

Originally posted by RogerI:
The use of the term "Jap" is derogatory towards Japanese Americans.
However, among Japanese people, the use of the term Jap is used AMONG themselves.
We just don't like non Japanese people to refer to us with the term Jap.
Thanks,
Roger
A Japanese American
And what about that does not seem like a double standard to you, Roger? Just curious.

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Postby Guest » 06/09/05 10:58 AM

I thought Chink-a-Chink was named after the noise made?
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Postby Guest » 06/09/05 12:04 PM

I don't like the term 'Brit' either. Will you please stop you are hurting my feelings.
P.S.-Call me what you want but don't call me late for breakfast.
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Postby Jim Snapp » 06/09/05 12:35 PM

Hi;
I must confess that, in my teen years, I did a routine with a torn/restored laundry ticket called "No Tickee, No Shirty!" Anybody else remember this?

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Postby Brian Morton » 06/09/05 01:01 PM

Wasn't that the pink paper torn and restored effect called "No Tickee, No Laundry?" I think I did that in my early awful kid show years as well...

brian :cool:
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/09/05 01:04 PM

Originally posted by Jim Snapp:
... a torn/restored laundry ticket called "No Tickee, No Shirty!" ...
Sure, and then I met someone whose parents owned a dry cleaner/laundry business.

I suspect it's more a matter or laziness than bigotry. At least I'd like to keep believing that.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Guest » 06/09/05 02:13 PM

I was once a drycleaner, it is laziness.
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Postby Brisbin » 06/10/05 12:19 PM

Originally posted by RogerI:
The use of the term "Jap" is derogatory towards Japanese Americans.
However, among Japanese people, the use of the term Jap is used AMONG themselves.
We just don't like non Japanese people to refer to us with the term Jap.
Thanks,
Roger
A Japanese American
I have lived in Japan, and have also been a member of the local Japanese American Citizen's League here in the States, but I have never heard any Japanese or Nisei refer to anyone else by the word "Jap". I will say that while some find the term "gaijin" (foreigner) offensive in Japan, I didn't really care one way or the other. "Gaijin-san" had sort of an endearing quality when used by school kids.

On a related note, I own a Japanese Handkerchief Box. If anyone would like to share their ideas on updated presentations with the prop, I would appreciate it very much.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 08/03/05 06:12 AM

DEROGATORY. Does this mean that over here we must object to being called Brits? Or is it just a short form , an abreviation of the word? Then there's [censored], Scots, Scousers,Limeys, Taffs, Brummies etc. The list goes on.SOMETIMES it depends on the way the word is used, and believe me I loathe and deplore racisim in all its forms.Do USA citizens object to being called 'Yanks'? I would love to know where this originated from and what it really means. WE first heard it over here in WW2. I can only remember it being used (in the little town where I was born & still known as The Black Country) with great affection towards a group of very generous kindly soldiers who occasionally visited us.
Is is wrong if I want to revive my old Chinese Act to put on a Chinese makeup..and I mean a realistic one NOT an obscene exaggerated one
I can remember some stage union in NY objecting to the English actor who originated the role of the Engineer(the Narrator) playing it, when Miss Saigon was about to open on Broadway, even though he only used a couple of makeup lines to give the eyes an oval look.They felt it should be performed by an Asian. One of the sons of Sir Donald Sinden (the English actor) wrote to the profession's newspaper, The Stage saying, 'Does this mean, to keep everything authentic, that when we act Romeo & Juliet on stage that we replace Juliet every performance. She is a virgin in the first part of the play, but not after the interval. Do we have to get in an untouched actress every night??' He was being humorous of course. But things could go TOO far. It is more important to stop people using any words or actions that could cause offence, harm or hurt to others but it is often HOW or the Meaning Meant behind especially words, that we must consider.
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Postby Randy » 08/03/05 04:23 PM

Don't we all have more to worry about in this world than some dumbass using a word that may offend somebody else. If listening for a particular word that may offend you is the worst that ever happens to you, rock on and enjoy your life. Let's get over ourselves.
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Postby Guest » 11/26/05 11:14 PM

Pete Biro gets my vote again (sorry Pete) although I know he would like to protect his reputation. Being offended is an arrogant American pastime. Nobody does it better or with less grace. I live in Alabama where the most parasitic elements of American culture claim too much class to become adult animals. Of course it is a joke to everyone else.

Ive been in the import business as an importer since 1969. There is no reason to believe that they are offended in Japan. They are not like many Americans; they accept responsibility with no loss of dignity. The emperors clothing or lack of it, does not fool them. (In America it is a story requiring explaination due to our own cultural blindness.) The advanced societies of the world are well beyond many of our handicaps (which we turn into total disabilities with the speed of light).

We are majoring in the minors. It is thoughtful to consider but the answer is very well known to all who actually deal with the East. This is an American problem; not a world problem.

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Postby Pete Biro » 11/26/05 11:21 PM

Merry Christmas... and now who here is offended? Geeezuz Kee riced.
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Postby Spellbinder » 07/10/09 12:15 AM

I am reviving this old thread from 2005 because I am currently working on a "revisitation" of the Handkerchief Box, including delving into its history, various names (PC and otherwise),and then going into the construction of various types, etc.

The biggest problem with the trick has never been addressed in all these years: why such a big box to produce or vanish a single handkerchief? Even today, the latest version on magic shop shelves, Santa's Chimney, frightens magicians who pay $80 for one and discover how tiny the load chamber is. Of course, the solution is to not think of it as anything more than a wooden Top Hat. If you can produce a live rabbit from a borrowed Top Hat, you can duplicate all the wonderful effects promised in the ads for these boxes. You don't learn that, however, until after you buy one. There are probably countless numbers of these boxes pushed to the back of magician's closets.

My e-Book will attempt to revive interest in it, and will show several variations I have worked on over the years, including reducing the size to a 4 inch by 4 inch by 4 inch cube, as well as a take apart box and a box that folds flat. I'll also try to include as many photos of exactly HOW you produce a six foot silk, or a huge load of silks and flowers and perhaps a rabbit from such a box with barely enough space for one thin silk handkerchief.
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Postby Jeff Hobson » 07/10/09 05:17 PM

Spellbinder

I'm glad you've revived this thread since it applies to me on a few levels.

First, to the man who was offended back at the I.B.M. convention when I did my "Fu-Ling Yu" routine. I'm very glad that Pete Biro and Richard Kaufman understands that entertainment is an art form which sometimes offends. The list of entertainers who offend today are off-the-charts. I feel I'm in pretty good company. But the main point is that (other than the "offended" person above), I have never had a complaint from an Asian person. On the contrary, the people who I actually SEE laughing the hardest when I perform the routine are. . . Asians. In my opinion, he's offended because he's an entertainer who is trying to avoid the stereotype for business purposes. For the vast majority of Asians - at least the ones in my audience - they've always been entertained, even to the point to wiping their eyes from laughter.

By the way, if anyone else is keeping track of whom the other person who entertained in the same manner with Kaufman and Ton Ososaka at a Vegas seminar, that would've been Levent. I know since I was in the same comedy competition show that he was and saw the act. Back in the 80's, he did the same stereotype character. Slant-eyed glasses and all. He even pulled out a camera and went crazy taking pictures of an onstage assistant. THAT's comedy!

The other point is about your "jap box" project. I have been using a my own version in my stage act for many years. . . and still do when I perform corporate shows and include a manipulation segment. I have it explained on my Hobson "EXPOSED" DVD newly released. It's one that you can make yourself.

My history of the Jap Box goes back to watching Neil Foster at an Abbott's convention back in the 1970's. He did a "throw-away" of the effect. I asked him
permission to use it and was granted.

Hope we can get some more talk on this subject. . . especially my "Fu Ling Yu" character. I love to ruffle magician's feathers.

~Jeff Hobson
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Postby Jeff Hobson » 07/10/09 05:18 PM

By the way. . . Spellbinder. . . I see you're in New Jersey. So am I.
I'm performing in Carnival of Wonders at the Trump Plaza Hotel on the Boardwalk.

Hope to see you there!

~jh
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/10/09 10:39 PM

I've built an number of these boxes over the years - all locking double flaps. The load chamber can be increased in size by very careful building material selection. The all hardwood boxes are beautiful but have side panels and flaps both almost 1/8" thick. That is 1/4" thickness with no load! This leaves very little space for a silk. Though much cheaper in construction, metal sides and flaps can almost double the load chamber sizes. Crappy as the stuff is, contact vinyl with a wood grain looks ok at a distance and makes the box appear to be of all wood construction. The walls can be only 1/4" thick and still hold a good sized silk if made this way. These are "ordinary" wall thicknesses for a box of this size.

The other problem with the boxes besides the thick walls is the silly two holes in the removable base. What kind of box has two holes in the bottom? By adding a feature to the two flaps, the holes may be omitted. These two features make for a more deceptive box.

The final way to sneak space is to use a thin silk with a very small rolled hem. Some performers even use a larger diagonally cut silk to appear that more silk is there than is.

The apparatus does still have uses today.
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Postby Spellbinder » 07/11/09 12:19 AM

My 4 inch cube box still has the bottom hole, but just one is needed to reach all four sides (and yes, I have built a "four-flapper"). I use the hole for the color change silk feature described in some of the Rice Encyclopedia routines, but it also teams up with another gimmick that goes by the initials T.T. to add some interesting new uses for it. There is no need to have locking flaps on a box this size. I can easily switch it for a solid walled box that I toss into the audience along with the base so someone can put in any object they have on them that fits completely into the box and won't drop through the hole accidentally. That limits what they put in and I have a number of bits I can do with whatever it happens to be so they don't guess my real objective was to get them to "examine the box" without saying so. There's more, but I want to sell e-Books, so I'll keep my mouth shut for now.

Jeff: I'd like to see you in Atlantic City but my owner has me on a short leash, so it's not likely. Do you use the "ruffled feathers" bit in your egg bag routine?
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