When I was a kid, I loved close magic, especially sleight-of-hand. Anybody could buy and learn how to do a big trick, and such things do take a certain amount of ability, but doing a trick with the audience standing close enough to touch you and amazing them with nothing more than skill and pure legerdemain impressed me more. Especially, for me, coin tricks.
Back in the days before video players, you saw a television show once, and maybe in the summer, a rerun of it, but there was no way to call it up for study. One evening, I think it was the old Maverick TV series, there was a scene at a card table and one of the gamblers rolled a coin across his fingers.
I was mightily impressed, having never seen that before.
Today, you can can go on YouTube and chose from a dozen tutorials, step-by-step how-to instructions. Here is the trick I saw:
But I only caught it the one time, and when I sat down with a half-dollar to try it, I made a fairly big mistake: Which side of the hand the roll was done on. It was a knuckle roll, across the backs (dorsal sides) of the fingers, just past the knuckle joints.
For some reason, I remembered as having been on the other side of the hand, the palm-side, and on the tips of the fingers. I resolved to teach myself how to do it.
It was a bitch, the trick. I think I wore out a couple half-dollars by dropping them on the concrete (or into the pool) as I sat on a lifeguard's chair one summer, fiddling with the coins.
Eventually, I practiced it enough so that I got fairly adept at it.
Then one day I went to a magic shop. I think it was at Disneyland, but it might have been Berg's, in Hollywood, and wanting to show off, demonstrated it to the guy behind the counter.
Wow! he said. That's cool! I've never seen that one before!
I was puzzled. I got it off an old TV show, I said. Maverick, I think. Years ago.
Oh, you mean this? Whereupon he showed me the knuckle roll. Anybody can do this, he said. I've never seen your trick before.
I realized he was right. I'd misremembered what I'd seen, and in my effort to duplicate it, had wound up inventing (or maybe re-inventing) something else altogether. Probably somebody else did it first, but I've never met anybody who claimed it.
How weird is that?