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Profile of BudTCB
I just recently got the rope with 4 ends and I like performing it. It's a neat little trick, but I am looking for some good patter for it. Mine is pretty basic. Does anyone have any good ideas for patter on this that they wouldn't mind sharing? Thanks in advance. Smile

Posted: Mar 7, 2009 12:36am
Thanks everyone. I'll try that.. LOL.
Harry Murphy
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Profile of Harry Murphy
I’ve been doing this bit since Monk Watson taught me how to make it and a basic routine for it sometime in the late 50s or very early 60s. He used it as a throw away. He said find a story and stick to it.

I found my story in 1966 – this is basically a true story and works well with the trick. It takes the simple trick and makes it into a personality piece for me. It starts at a conservational pace and gets more and more frantic and frustrated in actions, voice tone, and presentational actions as the story unfolds.

I hesitate to publish it since I’ve been using it and developing it since 68 but here it is to get your mental juices working.

You’ll need a clear understanding of the trick for any of this to make sense.

You’ll start with the rope folded in half dangling from one hand. The ends dangling from the thumb crotch side of the hand and the bulk of the rope hanging from the pinkie side of the hand. The workings are hidden in your closed hand. It appears that you are simply standing relaxed, with your arms at your sides and talking to the audience.

The story: “I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember the first VW beetles in this country. They were underpowered basic little things. They got almost 45 miles per gallon of gas but had no Air Conditioning or even decent heat. The best part was that they had a little 30-something-horse-power-engine that could be pull-started with a length of rope if the battery ever went dead.

That’s important to know because while driving a Volkswagen beetle from El Paso to Malibu (yet it was the old canvas-slide-open-top with a luggage carrier welded on above the canvas (top could still open even with the carrier loaded). My wife and I were heading out for the summer to surf (yep we had three surf boards tied on top). By the way all this detail goes into the story at the start. You see El Paso is all beach and no water and you had to drive the over 13 hours to get to the beach. But we were college students, good looking, and cool even if we were broke.

Well we had to drive across the desert at night because it was too hot in the day time for that little old 30-something horse power air cooled engine to not boil the oil out, freeze up solid and leave us stranded in the middle of the desert to bake to a slow death. There wasn’t as much traffic in those days as now.

In those days most gas stations closed sometime after dark and you had to stick to the main highways to find anything open. So it was mainly truck stops. Well it came to pass that we were somewhere outside of Gallup, New Mexico when we needed gas. So we found a truck stop open and pumped the nine gallons we needed (that would get up to Malibu, a weekend of driving around and almost back to El Paso).

Well wouldn’t’ you have it, but the battery was dead. I flipped the rear open and jiggle the wires and banged on the engine, because I was a man and expected to do such things. I was saying naughty words out loud when my wife (bless her beautiful female heart) suggested that I just pull start the beast. Well, I had no rope, heck I didn’t even have shoe laces since we were wearing those sandals from Mexico that were made from old tires (but that’s another story).

ANYWAY…I went into the gas station and asked the mechanic if he had a length of rope about this long (raise the two hands and hold the apart about the length of your rope. The rope prop is still hanging from your hand as if you don’t know it’s there). To wrap around the alternator pulley (mime doing so) and pull start my car since the battery is dead.

He said

“Say what? You say you need a piece of about this long (again hold your hands apart the proper length. You can open the hands out and cover the working of the rope with your thumb and not flash badly enough to have the secret exposed or noticed. The hands should remain in motion during this explanation). Sorry fella but I don’t have a piece of rope about this long (mime action of rope size again) you’ll just have to buy a new battery and I got one that only costs $9.25 installed.”

I rolled my eyes (doing so) and said “man I don’t want a new battery for $9.25 installed I just need a piece of rope about this long to pull start my car so I can get on my way…and what’s that piece of rope you’re holding? (Here you hold up the hand that is holding the rope and openly point to it.)

“Oh this piece of rope won’t work for you since you need a piece of rope about this long (again showing gap between both hands) and this rope is a rope with three ends, and a middle (do the first move to make the third end appear. Keep holding the rope at about chest high and moving a bit – one side of your body when the mechanic speaks and toward the other side when you speak).

“I don’t need a piece of rope with one-two-three (you are counting them here) and a middle (finger in the loop and tug a bit to emphasize the “middle” hanging below the hand), I need a piece of rope about this long! (Showing the size you need again).

“Sorry” he said, “but the only rope I have is one that has one-two-three-four ends and no middle (count as you do the move to show the forth end appear); are you sure you don’t want that battery for $12.15 installed?”

“Man I don’t want a rope with one-two-three-four ends and no middle I WANT A ROPE ABOUT THIS LONG!!!!! (Get more frantic in the telling, raise your voice in frustration, show the space demonstrating the size of rope you need/want) and I don’t want to buy a battery!”

NOTE: As you are giving your line here let the two ends drop to the bottom of your hand so it looks like you are holding two short lengths of rope.

Sill in your character (not the mechanic) you continue but lower your tone and sound like you are accusing him of something underhanded.

“Hey man, you can’t fool me…that’s not a rope with four ends and no middle that’s one-two short pieces of rope!” (Here you apparently count them from one hand to the other).

Shake your head as if getting rid of the cobwebs and say:

“No matter I don’t need one-two short pieces of rope (count them back to the start hand again) I NEED A LENGTH OF ROPE ABOUT THIS LONG!!!”

(Snap into the mechanic character) “Oh why didn’t you say so in the first place? You need a length of rope about this long (do the move to make the two pieces melt into one hand hold it chest high in front of you. Pause to let it sink in).

“But buddy this bit of rope won’t do you any good since if it gets a knot in the middle (tie it) and you go to use it will be all knotted up (drop from your hand let dangle showing it all knotted up and immediately toss it into your box or pocket it).

Drop your shoulders and say:
So I bought a battery for $27.50 plus $5.00 to have installed and headed home.

There it is, more or less, based on a true event in my life (I did break down and did try to find a length of rope and did ultimately get gouged for a new battery!)
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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Profile of BudTCB
WOW... great story! Thank you for the Ideas. (That will get my wheels turning.)
Yes, Pun intended. lol. I can assure you I won't use your routine, but that does give me some ideas to work with. Thank you very much.
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Funny, I scrolled down before lookiing to see who did the detailed patter and purely guessed that it was Harry. Good work!!
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
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