This book by Tom Ferrell and Lee Eisenberg is subtitled “The Art of Showing Off and 49 New Ways to Do It.” Published in 1976, the audience is clearly teenage boys, which I still consider myself to be.
There are several great little stunts described in this book, most of which are accompanied by Eisenberg’s charming illustrations.
I was already familiar with many of the stunts (given my lifelong obsession with the subject), but there were many new ones, too. Some of the ones that caught my eye include:
- Tearing a phone book in half. I already know how to do this, but the method here is slightly different. This is undoubtably a vanishing skill, as finding a phone book to destroy is harder than ripping it.
- Sticking a card to a wall. I wonder if this also works with beer mats.
- A “Grandmother’s Necklace” style stunt using thread spools that ends with a dramatic, visual penetration.
- A cat’s cradle style of buttonhole penetration.
- A fun sight gag where a loose thread on your lapel or shirt turns out to be many yards of thread. (Spoiler alert: it’s unspooling from inside your pocket.)
- A fantastic version of the Cartesian Devil, made with an eye-dropper.
- A coffee can rolling boomerang that I simply must try soon.
This is the second volume in the Sneaky Feats series. The first volume apparently has 53 stunts, so I will keep my eye skinned for a copy of that. I found the present volume on Cherokee Street in St. Louis, inside a delightful used bookstore run by a gruff, pandemic-denying old man. If you want a copy (and you know that you do), I recommend the multi-volume compendium, which is currently available on the Amazon.