Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive
Advanced Lab 1/98-3/98
“With NOT At!”
This month I’d like to mention something about performance styles. Working with other magicians is a joy for me. I don’t get jealous (I used to) anymore because I know that I could never, ever do even a single effect they do like they do. BUT, they can never, ever do an effect that I do like I do. That seems like a nice trade-off. I can live with that.
Anyway, getting back to the topic. I see many effects and routines performed by other magicians at conventions or multiple performer situations and always feel uncomfortable when I see performers working AT an audience or spectator. By that I mean a constant banter of patter…much of it just filler…usually overly dramatic and perceived as “contrived” by the spectator(s). It’s almost like the magician is “patronizing” the spectator. To say “overpowering” would be more of a suitable description. “Do this”…”Give me the clean hand”…”I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do”…these are examples.I have witnessed many other approaches similar to these. Also any and all double-meaning lines don’t play well with a lot of people, despite what you may think (or hope). “Over show-bizzing” may be a good term for what I see many times. Granted, the people love the magician and the magic, but have mentioned to me ON THEIR OWN when I perform that the other magician(s) “came on too strong”. I’m not saying that I have this problem licked and I am aware of at least 38,762 things that I must improve before I’ll be happy with my work, but this over-doing of the dramatic is a reality and can be a “put-off” to some people. Give it some thought.
No one likes to be “put on”, or “talked down-to”. I believe that working WITH the audience as opposed to working AT them is a much better approach and it seems to make the magic more “magical” if you can believe it. That’s my Tip Of The Wand for January. Happy New Year and here’s hoping that 1998 will be the best year of your life!
It is a real pleasure to have this contribution by accomplished magician Steve Forster. The title for this little gem was created by us, but all the rest is his, including the dynamite illustrations! Try this new variation for vanishing a coin. You will find it to be a valuable asset in your magical arsenal!…BJG
- Hold coin at the top, pinched between thumb and index finger, with the other three fingers curled in.
- Place bottom edge of coin onto open left hand at the juncture of palm and fingers. See Fig #1.
- Simultaneously curl left fingers towards palm and allow coin to lay flat onto left palm.
- just before coin touches palm, insert right pinky between coin and palm. See Fig #2 for exposed view. Left fingers should be shielding pinky action. At this point, make sure the side of the middle bone of the left pinky is in contact with the top of the middle bone of the right hand ring-finger.
- Note that by moving the right ring-finger forward, the coin can be grasped between the ring and pinky fingers. Do so. Then, by curling the two fingers with the coin inwards, the coin can be brought into the right hand. Do this and while doing so, turn the left hand over with the motion of the left hand starting from the shoulder. (this will cause the left elbow to extend slightly leftwards)
- Simultaneously, bring the left elbow towards your body while turning the closed, supposedly coin containing left hand palm up while moving the left hand towards your face. Move face to left hand. (to look at fist) Move right hand with coin to edge of table or lap to dispose of same.
- Make an appropriate gesture, or an in-appropriate one if it suites you!, and show the left hand empty.
If you have performed this properly, woman will faint or otherwise become noticeably upset and men will wonder if you can make their wives disappear…
Ronald J. Dayton
What in the world makes this prediction any more interesting than any other? I’m glad you asked!
This particular prediction uses props, which once made, may be used over and over again. Secondly, this prediction, unlike any other of which I am aware, makes use of ‘ tongue twisters ‘. This prediction, although employing fairly straight forward mentalism, creates a ‘fun’ atmosphere for the audience. And lastly, you may use the Magician’s Choice force in the routine, or try a slightly different count force I have offered.
THE PREMISE: Five sheets of paper, one colored, the other four white are lying on your close-up mat in a row. The colored sheet has been folded in to quarters and is furthest to your left. There is a slight space, then the row of four white packets, also folded into quarters follows from left to right.
The colored packet contains a prediction word. Each of the white packets contains a printed tongue twister. Spectator # one selects one of the white packets. This is given to him, still unopened. A second spectator is given the remaining three packets and asked to open each, and read what is printed on them.
You now announce that indeed, all four packets had a tongue twister on it…and you had a premonition of a single word which would trip spectator # one up as he read his chosen packet aloud quickly four times in, a row. They are now asked to open the packet they chose The tongue twister is read aloud rapidly four times in a row and amazingly, the spectator slips up on one word. They are now asked to take and open the colored folded packet. The word they read on the colored sheet of paper is the same as the one they mis- pronounced while saying their tongue twister.
THE WORKING: Everything is set-up as explained above. The first white packet ( the one to your left ) has the following tongue twister printed upon it: THE BIG BLACK BUG BLED BLUE BLOOD. The second packet has this: SALLY SELLS SEA SHELLS DOWN BY THE SEA SHORE. Packet three reads: RUBBER BABY BUGGY BUMPERS, and number four contains: HOW MANY CHUCKS COULD A WOOD CHUCK CHUCK IF A WOOD CHUCK COULD CHUCK WOOD.
The word which is concealed within the folded prediction packet is BUG. Your task now is to force the spectator to choose or appear to choose packet number one.
You may, as mentioned earlier, simply use the Magician’s Choice Force. I will now explain an alternative Counting Force which may appeal to you.
You point out that four white packets are used for the selection. They are then to call out a number from one to four, and you will SPELL to the packets to be taken. It is important that you say it in just that way…to the packets to be taken. This could imply that you will take, or remove the packets spelled off…or, it could mean you will take the packet spelled to. It is this double meaning possibility you want to leave in their minds.
If they say ONE, you begin your spelling at the far right and spell off o-n-e. You then push these first three right hand packets off to your front right, leaving only packet # 1 in place.
If they say two, the handling is exactly the same. For the number three, begin your count at the left. T-H-R-E-E spelling will bring you right back to packet # 1. Push it forward to spectator number one and push the remaining three toward spectator # 2. And lastly, for F-0-U-R you simply begin spelling at the right and end up on packet number one at the far left. In each instance the spectator is forced the first left hand packet.
When they try to say this unusual tongue twister four times in a row quickly, trust me, they will trip up on the word BUG. Try it, and you will see that it works. Most importantly…have fun with this effect. If done at a party, the other guests will enjoy seeing the two spectators try to make it through the series of tongue twisters. It immediately changes things to a very relaxed atmosphere. And as mentalism goes, this is a decidedly different approach from the usual serious, almost scientific premises. Enjoy!
Ronald J. Dayton
Many performers over the years have given thought to the egg bag. The market has seen the advent of mesh egg bags, fez shaped bags, Santa hats for use with an ornament rather than an egg. And U.F. Grant took the concept to the ultimate logical end, causing the bag itself to change into a funny looking chicken at the end of the routine.
In each of the above instances though, the bag may have been modified in some way, but it essentially was still used for what amounts to a standard egg bag routine. What I am proposing is that if you are considering an egg bag routine, perhaps you can expand its image so it can incorporate the use of several other props and effects.
An Egg Bag is exactly what it states…a bag which carries or in which an egg or eggs is found. But what if you found coins rather than eggs in it, wouldn’t it then be called a Money Bag?!
I see by the glimmer in your eye, you get my drift. A bag, designed to look like a Brink’s Money Bag complete with dollar sign printed on the front, and a light chain and lock used as a draw string would look very nice. When used with jumbo coins for visibility on stage, the thinking performer could easily slip into a full Miser’s Dream routine via the Coin Bag. The close-up worker could use the bag for a jumbo coin routine, then, with a well timed load, do the finale’ production of a huge mock gold bar.
In a similar way, a coin could be marked by a spectator, then vanished only to be found later in a nested set of boxes which had been produced from under the Money Bag/Coin Bag.
Given some thought, it appears that the basic Egg Bag premise can definitely be expanded. I have an additional thought for you to consider in this regard, but first, let me digress to the Egg Bag itself for a moment. Just a thought. What if, at the seeming end of your routine, you produce the egg from the bag and take your bow. As you do, the hand holding the bag swings down and behind your leg where a small but heavy cast frying pan is suspended. The pan is secretly loaded in an instant into the bag which is immediately brought forward. I think this would make for a very memorable finale’. The pan could even be stolen from the back of an assistant as they stand beside you with an egg carton to place the egg/eggs you have produced safely in. Or, another option would be to switch the bag completely for another at the back of your assistant. The method is there for you to work out. Give it some thought.
What other things are bags or bag shaped that might work into an expanded routine? What about a Marble Pouch? Years ago, every school yard had areas for marble players to ply their skills. Now days, the beautiful spheres we vied for then as children are costly collector’s items. I think it would be pleasing for an audience to re-live their childhood with a routine based on that theme. The ‘marble’ might well be a large shooter, (actually, a billiard ball) which would later multiply at your fingertips. The ball might then transform to sponge, and yet another full routine developed. I think there is a lot of potential there for the person willing to work with it a bit. Color changes, vanishes, productions, transformations, you could well run the full gambit of magic with some effort on your part.
Think of things that come in a bag. The list is huge. Consider how these items might be put to use for you. Cookies, chips, pretzels hardware, small toys, craft items, etc., etc.
Other than having things contained in them when they are purchased, some bag shaped containers are used to cover things. The first thing that came to mind…and the thing which inspired the thoughts you are now reading, are the covers golfers use on the heads of their clubs. Tiger Woods has one which looks like a small tiger hand-puppet. These covers would make a unique and clever lead-in to a combined routine with golf balls and golf clubs.
First of all, the golf ball becomes your substitute for the egg. You can go through many of the original moves using the ball rather than the egg…but at the end, the ball can be used for a whole host of things. It can become the multiplying golf balls, or, the diminishing ball. The club which the bag initially covered can become a dancing cane, or it can be made to vanish when rolled in a sheet of newspaper. Actually, it could do both effects if you make a convincing looking club from a marketed plastic cane with the addition of a latex or foam, or even cardboard club head. The cane club vanishes as per the instructions given, and the dancing cane simply depends upon finding the proper balance point and attaching the secret something. Neither of the routines need be lengthy or elaborate. They are just icing on the cake for your basic bag routine.
If you cover a regulation club with the bag, the club can be used in conjunction with the flag used to mark the hole you are playing ( a silk ) for a series of visual penetrations of the club.
A bag made to look like a flour sack could be used in a visible baking routine. The end product being a muffin made from plaster, plastic or rubber. They even have realistic paper-mache’ bakery available in many variety stores. Keep your eyes peeled for this sort of thing.
Be alert for unique or useful items in magic catalogs too which can be incorporated in the routine you devise. Spring Bills for example would make a wonderful final load for the Money Bag idea offered earlier. Bags are also used to cover parking meters. Perhaps you could produce toy cars ( match box style ) from a Meter Bag?!
Even though we have been discussing Egg Bags, this all goes back to what I said when Mr. Hay touched on the Card Box and Card Frame. Take the concept and change it so it has a more casual look, or logical patter theme behind it. This will often make the old, look new.
Use your own imagination and creativity. That, after all, is what I am trying to get you to do. In the world of magic, to be different from all the rest, you must strive to do your own thinking. How many times have you seen a clever move, novel effect, or heard a catchy phrase and said to yourself…” Boy, I wish I had thought of that!” Well, you could have…but someone beat you to it. Don’t just sit there and do what is handed to you.
Enough of my ranting about. Forgive me. I just want you to get the very most out of magic that you possibly can.
Tobacco comes in pouches. The egg bag could now lead to the production of a pipe, and this in turn could develop into the multiplying pipes, or any number of silk and smoking apparatus created by Sam Berland.
Gold Fish come in a clear plastic bag at carnivals…what possibilities do you find here?
If you have seen the text on creativity, you will already understand that what I am saying is to not limit yourself when it comes to thinking of possibilities. A gold fish theme would involve the use of liquids. Why not incorporate a visible fishing routine… or production from a thumb-tip, with a Foo Can or Lotta Bowl? Perhaps the clear bag would give way to a clear fronted, mesh bag type modification…or a bag which is clear on the bottom but still has a darker wide band around the opening. With a jumbo thumb tip, you wouldn’t need a gimmicked bag at all. What an incredible giveaway gift at the end of a routine…a live gold fish in an ungimmicked plastic bag!
If you are an older individual, and have been involved in magic for a while…take any one of these ideas…or different ones you may devise, and run with them. If you are younger, and need a bit of help…I’m sure you can find a dealer or magic enthusiast who will be happy to help you create a routine of your own.
Remember to keep it simple, direct, and real. Story lines people can relate to, or which generate interest to them, are best. As a final for instance…groceries come in bags too. What could you produce…radishes, turnips, plums?? Perhaps a Bananna Bag, and a full multiplying Bananna routine, pickles or hot dogs?! The latex doubles for each of these items are available on the magic market.
That’s all for now my friend. I don’t want to bore you with any.more. chatter. Many possible themes have been offered. Now it is up to you to decide what you want to do with them. Have fun!
Ronald J. Dayton
All of this happens, seemingly without using a move of any kind, but thanks to my association with Jeffrey L. Campbell, some very subtle trickery is used.
A number of years ago I entered Jeff Campbell’s magic shop in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I had devised an effect I thought he might like to see. It was a chop cup routine…but one that used a clear plastic cup. With that initial idea, we worked our way toward the material what was eventually released in book form as The Crystal Cups.
The whole premise was based on the fact that in a three shell game, the newer sponge rubber ‘pea’ will work under and out of the shell by simply sliding the shell in one direction or another. The pea may be ejected in to the waiting hand, or, under another shell. The Crystal Cups used this principle in some very clever ways. The book is available through Paul Diamond’s Magic, or other dealers. You might want to take a look.
It dawned on me that the traditional cups and balls might be offered an additional bit of business if cups and balls of different colors were used. By simply having an extra blue sponge ball palmed in your left hand…a very visual triple transposition could be performed.
The red and yellow cups are positioned as outlined in the opening paragraph, rather close together just to your left. A bit to the right the blue cup lies on its side with its matching blue ball directly in front of it.
You ask the spectator to assist. They are to place the red and yellow balls under their respective cups. This done, and with the cups nearly touching one another, the left hand grasps the red cup down near the table, and the right hand takes hold of the yellow cup in like fashion. The edges of the little fingers of each hand are resting on the table. You then simply shift or slide the cups a few inches to your left. In that moment, the palmed blue ball in the left hand is allowed to slide under the red cup…the red ball emerges and goes under the yellow cup, and the yellow ball comes out
from under the yellow cup and is retrieved by the right hand. I know it sounds incredible…but if the sponge balls are pliant enough, that’s exactly what will happen. You now ask that they place the visible blue ball under the blue cup. Then, grasping the cup at both sides between your hands, it too is shifted slightly to the side…but this time, the movement is to the right, separating that cup from the other two by an even greater distance. But the side slide will automatically load the palmed yellow ball under the blue cup, and eject the blue ball into the left hand.
Ditch the palmed blue ball in your pocket as you go to it for a mini wand. Wave the wand over the cups…then allow the spectator to lift each cup for the final reveal.
You are left clean, with only the three different color sponge balls, each having seemed to fly invisibly to a different color cup. The fact that you so briefly shifted the cups will be forgotten. The strong point being that the spectators will remember THEY handled the cups and balls at the start and conclusion of the effect!
Finding the proper cups and balls may not be easy. You might try the various color NERF balls currently on the market. The cups will be much easier. Medium size drinking tumblers come in many colors. Or, in a pinch, you might try a garden supply center and use smaller plastic flower pots.
This effect is visually stunning, and completely unexpected. With the mis-direction of the final color reveal…just think of the loads you may be able to shift into the cups for your finale. If using flower pots, carnations in red, yellow and blue might be a nice touch. The ladies in your audience would love it!
Work with the cup shift and loading and unloading of the balls. Watch your angles. Use eye contact to help divert the spectator’s gaze. Better he is watching your face than your hands!
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