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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Great Shooting Act

A file of soldiers march out from a line, one on each side of stage. The one in command takes each gun separately and hands same to performer who looks through barrel, then hands same back, until all six guns have been inspected. Then performer steps to one side of stage.

The commander now calls for cartridges, each man takes a cartridge from his cartridge-bag, commander collects them on a plate, where the soldiers deposit same. They are now handed by the commander to the audience for inspection, and are marked by audience for identification.

Commander collects cartridges on plate goes to stage and hands each soldier a bullet. The soldiers hold up the bullets till the last moment so audience can see them. Commander now orders them out on foot board, about forty feet from performer. Commander gives orders to aim and fire, which they do and performer catches the bullets.

Explanation--The Springfield Rifles are "O.K." The cartridges are fixed, that is, the bullets are only fitted into shell tight enough not to come out easily, so as to allow inspection, (people do not generally try to pull at the bullet.) Each militia man gets one of these bullets which when order for bullets is given are handed to commander, he allows them to be inspected, marked, etc., then collects same on a plate.

As he returns to stage he goes as far back as possible, while doing so he changes the cartridges, substitutes cartridges that have wax tips formed like a bullet, coated with plumbago. The soldiers hold up these bullets. Audience cannot distinguish but that the bullets are "O. K." These are loaded into rifles, the effect when fired is same as a blank shot.

When commander returns with plate on which bullets have been collected, he leaves the real bullets, which are quickly extracted from the shell and handed to performer, who apparently catches them when fired at him.

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