Merrill, R. D.: Merrill's Knife Book
©1981 Robert Lee Jacobs, 1st Ed
Lee Jacobs Productions, Ohio
Paper, perfect-bound, 64 pages, glossy pages
Merrill's Knife Book

Comments: The Merrill Knife Book is an excellent book on the color changing knives. It includes many clear B&W photos throughout. They show both performer's view of the hands as well as a mirror view to show what the spectator would be seeing. The writing style is very instructional. I personally find some sections a bit irritating with sentences such as, "Try it again without the knife in your hand. Try it again. Now you are getting the hang of it! This is what I am writing about...You were a bit clumsy that time! Try it again. You are trying to move your wrist too much" (page 34). Also, certain paragraphs are written in all capitals, which in the electronic correspondence world relates to being yelled at. Despite these minor points, however, the lessons are good and the explanations are very thorough. You will learn the normal move, the push through change, the twirling change, the snap change, learn some routines, a couple of switches, and read good advice on presentation. An essential guide to the color changing knives.


2 Dedication
3 Preface: about the original Merrill Knives
4 Introduction to Mr. R.D. Merrill by Tommy Windsor
6 Publisher's Apology by Lee Jacobs: delay in publishing, knives from Gary Frank, Al's Magic Shop
7 Table of Contents
8 Basic Paddle or Knife Moves: explained in detail with clear B&W photographs; warns against doing this the wrong way
9 The Push Through Color Change: explained in detail with 12 photos
13 The Turn Around Color Change: knife changes color while turning it around with the fingers of the opposite hand
16 The Switch: a simple in the hand switch, reference to cigarette moves
17 Silks and the Knife: A routine. A knife is shown with two different color handles on each side. A silk the color of one handle (say, white), is rubbed on the red side. Both sides are now white. A red silk is now rubbed on the knife and that side changes to red again. The other side is rubbed, and both sides are now red. Finally, the knife is restored to its starting two color state
19 Advanced Routines for Silks and the Knife (Gib Richards): For stage, perform as above. When the knife is shown solid, it is then turned into a third color, such as green; first one side then the other. The knife then turns to black, then striped! Finally, small pieces of silk are rubbed, and the knife breaks up into lots of tiny knives.
22 The Visible Color Changing Knife: (routine) White knife is shown, which then turns to red. As the knife turned by the fingers of the other hand, it changes back to white. The knife is pushed through the fist, and only one half of the knife changes color! It then fully changes color to end.
24 Advanced Move for the Merrill Visible Color Change Knife: a more visible change
26 Advanced Routines for Two Identical Knives: A white and red knife are held side by side in the hand. They instantly transpose twice. The knives are separated into each hand, and still they transpose (again twice). The hands revolve around each other, and once again the knives transpose. One knife is returned to the pocket, and the other is wiped with a silk, turning it white on one side and red on the other.
30 An Original Routine for Four Knives: Three white knives and one red knife are displayed in the hand. Instantly, they become three red knives and one white knife! The odd white knife is removed, handed to a spectator, and then replaced. The knives then return to their original three white knives and one red knife state.
32 The Snap Change: The knife is "snapped" in the fingers and changes color. Nice move.
35 Advanced Effects for Working With Two Identical Knives: 1) Red knife in palm of left hand, which is then closed into a fist. White knife is pushed through the back of the closed hand and the knives exchange places as they penetrate both ways through the hand. This is repeated. 2) With the knives held in each hand, one hand revolves the knife in the other, and the knives transpose. 3) both knives are held in one hand, one pointing up and the other pointing down. They are shown both sides, then instantly transpose in the hand.
40 Bits and Pieces: Various moves learned at shows: a color change by rubbing the thumb over the knife; A natural rollover move; A good vanish. Comments about multiplying knives, cigarette moves, and more tips.
47 Perception: essay on being aware of what the spectator sees
51 What You Need To Do the Effects Taught In This Book: describes the knives used
52 Conclusion: care and feeding of your knives
53 Check List: ideas to make your routine entertaining
55 Bonus Section: The Shrinking Knife (Al Cohen): an illusion of the knife shrinking in the hands
56 Bibliography: list of 66 color changing knife routines or bits in print (from the 40's to the 70's)
61 Advertisement for Merrill Knives at Al Cohen's