Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Bathing Beauty

This perennial small apparatus trick focuses on a banner showing a young woman at the seaside. The banner is rolled up and a piece of her costume is removed from the roll. Each time this is done, the banner is unrolled to show the picture of the woman has altered accordingly. When her final garment is removed from the rolled-up banner, the visual punch line is delivered: She is shown up to her neck in the ocean. This trick is the invention of British professional Fred Culpitt, who called it "The Seaside Poster". This trick was in Culpitt's act not later than 1921; see Le Prestigiditateur, Vol. 3 No. 27, March 1921, p. 214.

The trick was first marketed by the short-lived Blackstone Magic Company (without credit to Culpitt), and later by the Abbott's Magic Company. Culputt's claim to the trick was made in print by Max Holden in The Sphinx, Vol. 29 No. 2, Apr. 1928, p. 64. Sid Lorraine provides a brief but more detailed history of it in The Tops, Vol. 4 No. 1, Jan. 1939, p. 7.