Remember the Childcraft How and Why Library? I loved those books.
Here is Volume 9. Make and Do.
In the happy days of the late 1960’s I still believed. I believed I could cook, do crafts, and perform magic.
Childcraft told me so. It must be true.
The Disappearing Salt Shaker Trick was a favorite.
The premise is classic magic misdirection.
I would tell my family I was going to make a coin disappear.
The coin went under a saltshaker and a napkin over it.
I always performed this step with dexterity, adroitness, and a hint of mystery.
Step 2 involved molding the napkin around the saltshaker so it took on the shape of the shaker.
My practical mother used paper napkins.
Parts of the salt shaker would inevitably poke through parts of the napkin.
A good Childcraft magician soldiers on.
I was to surreptitiously move the whole shebang to the edge of the table, drop the saltshaker into my lap, then move the empty, salt shaker-shaped napkin back to the center of the table.
And this was to be the fun part.
The napkin was shaped exactly like the saltshaker, right?
So my family would be fooled into thinking it was still there, under the napkin, covering the coin.
I would intone in my mystery voice, ‘When I tap the napkin, the coin will disappear!”
I would tap. The napkin would fall flat. Gasps of admiration would ensue because, Childcraft Wizard that I was, I made the saltshaker vanish instead!
Childcraft didn’t mention what to do about hole-poked napkins, tablecloths that bunched up along the saltshaker’s path to the edge of the table or the remarkable resemblance of the shaker-less napkin to Charlie Brown’s ghost costume. Holes and all.
Good thing Harry Potter didn't learn his skills from Childcraft.