It's Magic

Registered: ​2nd January 1962
Duration: 31 minutes
Feet: 2790 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: ​​​BR/E27083
Produced for: ​United Artists Corporation
Production Company: ​​Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

More Film Stills: ​at baimfilms.com (opens in new window)
Stream Online: at vimeo (password required)

A wonderfully entertaining magic show which will amuse and surprise all audiences.

Title and Credits:

Libby Morris, Alexandra Sinclair, Jill Field, Danny Gray, Wendy Tripp, Primrose Austen, Maggie London,
Gundel Sergeant, Jenny Lemune, Jimmy Baxter, Jill Morris,
That Master of Magic - Glen Mason and David Jacobs

Director of Eastmancolor Photography: Eric Owen
Edited by
: Mark Kingston
Assistant Director: Pat Ryan
Sound Recordists: ​Cyril Collick, Tom Meyers
Camera  Assistant: P. Shillingforth
Assistant Editor: Michael Edmonds
Unit Manager: Tony Message
Produced by: Harold Baim
Directed by: Michael Winner


Everybody likes to be full of personality, admired and successful.

Take this boy. Glen, you think you're doing pretty well.

It's a lovely morning and you think you're successful, but you're not , you know. Now he is really the centre of attraction. Just watch him.

You'd rather watch her? Okay, but even she is looking at him. And so is she. Oh, Glen, you really don't want it in letters ten feet high, do you? They're all interested in the guy that's juggling.

Now, you haven't done so well, have you?

Let me teach you something that'll make you attractive, popular, the life and soul. It's magic. That's what you need. Magic.

And what better place to start than at university? I remember it all. It was Cambridge, a fine spring day. All those agile, learned minds by the banks of the River Cam where they met to practice magic.

All members of the Cambridge University Pentacle Club. That means conjurers.

This student is very handy with symbols. Just watch him closely and see if he can fool you like he fooled me.

Magicians present their work in such a way that the mind takes no notice of the many things that the eyes can see. 80% of conjuring is psychology, 10% sheer skill in manipulation, and the 10% that's left depends on the use of equipment concealed.

Now, we know these thimbles appearing from somewhere and going somewhere. But where?

Back in history, local magicians were as feared and respected as the chieftain. The Magic Man was always the person who had influence, prestige and authority.

You too can have influence, prestige and authority. All you need is a few thimbles. You will arrive at a party, you produce your thimbles, an expectant hush falls over the whole room. And boy, you've really made the grade.

Now, if you think the thimbles are in-for-a-dig, whatever in-for-a-dig means, if you think thimbles just haven't got what it takes, then well, you can switch to rings. Real solid metal rings.

The things you can do with metal rings are fantastic. Their proper name is Chinese Rings, because the Chinese were ringing the changes with them many thousands of years ago. That probably accounts for why they went slant eyed trying to figure out how these seemingly solid rings go through each other like, er, like magic. Of course, you have to start with rings and thimbles and things, but as you progress, you can play around with more varied props such as women. It gets quite fascinating then, I can assure you. I remember one particular occasion at the local music hall. Yes, but perhaps that's another story.

While I was at Cambridge I just did the groundwork. I hope you're watching, Glen. You see that I owe what I am today to my magical training. If you look around you, you'll find it's the magicians that have that extra something.

Glen. Glen. I can see I'm going to have to come and show you. Now, come on, over here. Well I'll leave you to watch.

This trick is one of the most classic of all times. Drawings of it have been found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs. The Romans had a name for it, too. They called it calcularius, which means a man who deals in pebbles. But in those days they used pebbles for this trick instead of little white balls.

Today, the trick is much the same. The final result is three lemons and one onion. There you are, Glen. What did I tell you? It draws them like a magnet. Now don't go. He's doing some more.

Now, now, that's not a sporting approach. The man is doing his best. It isn't his fault you got the brush off.

Meanwhile, back on the building site, they're craning their necks to see what's going on. I'm sorry, Glen. You're too late. You should have been here yesterday. Let me tell you about it.

About 2 o'clock a car rushed up and two fellows got out and grabbed hold of this little guy. They tied him up with 18ft of link chain and they knew their job. They came from a firm of night security specialist which sees all and tells all, and they didn't pull their punches. They wanted to make sure their man was secure.

He's an escapologist named Alan Allen. He thinks he can get out of anything except the stories he tells his wife. This is one time, however, that if he doesn't get out, he'll be in real trouble.

Yeah, that's it dear. Now you've got your glasses on you can see that they have been tying him up. They made his feet secure because they were going to send him up for a stretch.

In fact, he would be stretching upside down, and just to make it all more difficult. They must have had it in for this guy. They set fire to the rope which attached him to the crane, so if he didn't get out quickly, he'd come down. Quickly. And you can take my word for it. And that of the night security men, it was all genuine.

It's very bracing up there. The view is remarkable. You can see rooftops upside down. You see Glen, you could be doing this. Anyone could. All you need is to have the crane driver on your side. A driver who knows his levers. Alan is really attached to his work. Attached by a piece of rope which is burning through all the time.

He seems to have freed himself, alright, but the chains must come right off before he comes down. Those are the rules, and he's stuck with them. Now look out! Oops! And down he comes.

Congratulations all round. Why he wanted to do this only he knows.

It's all over Glen, but there is something else I want to tell you. Like to know what I saw on the beach the other day? Well, get off the screen and I'll show you.

Girls. Girls don't give up so easily. Glen. Do something. Go around and help them. Be a gentleman.

That's better. Off you go. I say,

Glen. Hey, you've forgotten. What about the next scene? You know, the seaside bit?

So there we were, and we saw this girl getting on a plank. Little did they realize, it was all part of an act, a magic act. And when he asked them ever so nicely to take away the deckchairs, what do you think happened? It did. The girl stayed in mid-air. It doesn't seem possible, but he passed a rope round her just to prove it.

Let's take a closer look. It's incredible. And that's another one that Glen Mason missed. What's he up to now? Well, after the girls eh? And I see, you know, a magician. Well, in you go, boy. What a shame, and it's his new suit too, Glen, the magicians come on at one in the morning, not one in the afternoon. Never mind. You sit around while we follow that blonde.

It's rehearsal time at the Satire Club, and here's a young lady who always gets the bird. Blue birds, yellow birds, green birds. She just paints them that way. And they love it.

This bird's gone into the box and she's going to knife. It didn't seem fat enough for lunch. Might have guessed it. The bird has flown.

But back the dove comes and none the worse.

I suppose the female of conjurer is, er, conjuress. Her name is June. Into the bag it goes. And when it comes out, when it comes out, it isn't the same bird at all, it's a different colour altogether.

And here's a good way to get rid of mice. Take a black velvet base and put your mice on it. Then pick them up one by one and put them in a box that has panels of old newspapers. Don't ask questions. This is the way to get rid of mice.

When all the mice are safely in the box, just take the box to bits and you've no mice. none. Now, if anybody happens to be watching, just break the box to prove it's all made of paper. Sit down for a nice cup of coffee and think of all the work you've saved your cat.

If you happen to be worried by coloured doves as well as mice, you can get rid of them too. Here's how. Take the doves, gently of course, and no salt on tails needed, and put them into a box. And be very careful not to fall asleep while doing this, because sometimes counting coloured doves can send you to sleep. The doves know this, and they want you to count them, because if you fall asleep, you can't make them disappear. And there are a lot of doves who don't want to disappear. They're quite happy where they are. And when you put all the doves into the box, take the box to bits, just as you did in the case of the mice, and you got rid of all your doves, and you won't be worried anymore.

Now, these girls who have been sitting there for some time, for no good reason I can think, of are off. But let's see what's going on. It's the Great Franklin rehearsing, no less. Just watch carefully here, because if you can see where these doves come from, you're a darn sight cleverer than I thought you were.

Just a bit of nonchalant nonsense to show there's nothing up his sleeves. Actually, he has got something up there. His arms. I keep mine there too.

They say the speed of the hand deceives the eye. I'm going to count to five. And on the word five, Franklin will produce two doves. If you watch closely while I count five, you might see how it's done. Now, now don't bet on it.

Ready? One. Two. Three. Four. Five. There, did you see where they came from?

Not content with doves alone, he starts producing cards.

You've got a whole supermarket tucked away there. What did I tell you? Here's an egg. I wonder who laid that!

Now, for good measure, he turns the dove into a handkerchief. He can make them disappear as well as appear. And talking about disappearing doves, watch this. It's amazing.

It's still a mystery to me. Let's push off somewhere else. That's it, girls, give us a hand, or should I say a beak?

Now, of course, Glen is still with us. Feel a bit down eh, Glen? They're all so good. Never mind. I'll help you personally. Don't get up. I'll come to you.

There, there. Now you come with me. We'll get you a magic trick somehow.

This is a rather funny place, isn't it? Ah.

Michael, this is Glen Mason. He wants to learn a conjuring trick or two. Will you teach him something simple? You know?

Now, let me see. Have you ever seen me before? Then how do you know it's me? I got just the thing for you. You go over there and watch and I'll show you. This is fantastic. Marvellous.

Little trick I learned whilst I was in the army. Three of us got caught playing the cards, you know, and playing cards for money, and we were brought up before the Colonel. I remember the colonel very well indeed. He sat there behind his little desk, and the three of us stood in front of him. He looked up at us and he said, 'I understand that you chaps have been caught playing cards for money'. He said, 'And you know, that's a very, very stupid thing to do. But since you've only been in the army for a very short time', he said, 'I'm going to give you all a chance'. He said, 'Each of you cut this pack of cards. The number of pips on the card you cut to will decide the number of days you will spend in the guard room. Quite, quite'.

Well, he passed the card to the man on the end of the row. He took the cards and cut the cards. He wasn't very lucky. He cut to a 10, 10 pips on his card. He got ten days in the guard room.

They passed the cards to my friend who was standing next to me. He cut the cards. He was a little luckier. He cut to a 3, 3 pips on his card. He got three days in the guard room. They passed the cards to me. I was on the end of the row. I was very lucky indeed. That was the card I cut to. Commanding officer looked at me. He said, 'It's very clever, Bailey. Very clever indeed. But I happen to know that there's only one blank card in any one pack. Cut again. And so I cut again and again and yet again. In the end, of course, I had to prove this particular pack of pale faced pasteboards possessed positively no pip.

Of course, that wasn't good enough for the sergeant major. Sergeant major was standing by my side, and he spoke to me in that soft, cultured voice of his. He said, 'You horrible, miserable thing, you. You'll be telling us next the perishing backs have gone as well'. Of course he was right. The backs had gone as well, and I showed both the commanding officer and the sergeant major, all I held between my two hands was a pack of very, very blank playing cards.

Colonel looked at me again. He said, 'It's quite obvious what we should do with you, Bailey. You can go to the guard room until the pips come back'. I said, 'Thank you very much indeed, sir. I've a very funny feeling that both the faces and the backs of my particular pack of cards have already returned, and I can only presume that my case is dismissed. How's that?'.

Well, did you get that, Glen? Now Michael, what he really wants is something that he can take and work on at home.

I'll show you another one. It's one I learned from a chap only the other day. Wonderful chap, he had a little blue bag and a trouser pocket, which was quite definitely empty. Now, he placed an empty hand into his empty trouser pocket and produced, what do you think? You're absolutely right. Yes, a small brown egg.

Now he dropped the egg into the bag, muttered the mystic curse, turned the bag inside out, and the egg had gone. I thought it was a wonderful trick, so I went round to his dressing room after the show, asked if I could possibly buy the trick anywhere, he told me the only place you could buy it was China. Seemed a very long way to go, but I flew over to China, made my arms ache, but I found the magic shop. It was 467 High Street, China. I went inside and I said to the man behind the counter, 'Have you by any chance seen the trick where the magician shows an empty hand, places it into equally empty trouser pocket, and produces from that pocket one small brown egg. He drops the egg into the bag. He mutters the mystic curse turns the bag inside out, and the egg, I said, 'has gone?'.

The man behind the counter looked at me for a moment. At least I think he looked at me, you can't tell with these Chinamen can you? They have these venetian blinds. Now, I remember it very well, he said. He said, 'ah', he said, 'I know what. Ha, she gone!' I said, 'that's the one, that's marvellous. Can I buy it?' Well, he sold it to me. It was very expensive indeed. It was 977 yens, about nine pence, ha'penny. I bought it back with me, and this evening I'd like to show you a trick which where a magician has an empty hand, places it into an empty trouser pocket, produces from their pocket one small brown egg. He drops the egg into the bag. He mutters the mystic curse, turns the bag inside out and the egg has gone.

Now, I know you'd like to see how that one's done. It's really very simple indeed. I'm going to show it to you. I ought not to, but I will show it to. It's very, very simple. All you need is a little blue bag and a trouser pocket, which is quite definitely empty. You also need an empty hand and lots of nerve. You also need an egg. Of course, that's terribly important. Now place the egg into the bag. And this is the crafty part. When everyone's looking the other way, put the hand into the bag and take the egg out. Hold the hand facing this way. Otherwise, of course you'll get a rough idea how it's done.

Got it so far? Hand into the bag, take the egg out and place it under the armpit. No one will know it's there. And then, of course, you can turn the bag inside out because, quite obviously, there is nothing there. And I do assure you, 14 or 15 hours practice a day for 14 or 15 years, and you too... I know what you're thinking. You're absolutely right, of course. It's very uncomfortable walking around with your arm like this all evening. That's why if you want to be a real magician, you have to know the real magic words. Then, of course, the egg looks after itself, and all you have to worry about is the chicken in the pocket.

Alright, Glen, now you try it. Take the egg, put it in your pocket. Bring your hand out. Now put your hand in again and see what's happened.

Now, Glen, don't do anything drastic, old man. If at first you don't succeed, give up. We'll think of something. There are many people worse off than you. Him, for example. Take a good look at him. He can't do a magic trick either. Look what it's brought him to.

Perhaps you can learn something from a man in his state. He's pouring beer from a milk bottle. Glen, this is your last chance. You're so close to him, you're bound to see how it's done. What a hit you'll be this evening! What luck!

There, Glen. That's magic. Do you want to see more?

Hey, Glen. Don't go. Glen. Glen.

There's nothing like a good night's rest to fill you with energy. Puts you on top of the world. The next morning, our hero is resting in his garden, ready for the next round in the battle for that elusive magnetic personality.

Now what are you reading? Oh, no. That'll never get you anywhere. You don't mean you really learned something from it? I don't believe you. Alright, show us.

Is that the end, Glen? You can't walk around like that. Nip back for a quick change. Did I say quick change?

What's that you've got? Some more for us? I think you've done it at last.

Alright, Glen, let me see you magic yourself a beautiful girl. Oh, success at last! well, anyway, it's a girl. It's Libby Morris, and she's a girl. And she's fond of you, Glen. I can see that. Perhaps she can cook as well?

What's the matter? You don't look very happy. Do something. Well, now, that wasn't very nice. Come on, try again. Get one for me too.

Very good. Uh, oh. Ah, now that's it. She must be your type, Glen. I like the outfit. You designed it, did you?

Now, now. Never hit a lady. Whoops. There she goes again!

Look, Glen, you really don't need to make girls appear. There's a lovely girl standing watching you. On your left. That's it, Galahad.

There you are. Don't hang around. Get in. Get busy or you'll never reach her, will you?

[The End] 

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