OFFICIAL I.C.O.M PAST LESSON ARCHIVE
Dedicated to the fine art of entertaining children with magic!
Without doubt, despite what many magicians may tell you, the largest market for
magic, far and away, is the birthday party circuit. Hence the need for this forum.
In I.C.O.M, students will learn many fine points of presentation and aspects of magic.
However, some of these theories go right out the window when it comes to entertaining
children. Truly, this genre’ is in a class unto itself. It has its own demands as
well as its own rewards. It is one of the only classes of magic that needs a forum
all to itself.
Over the course of time, routines will be included here from the repertories of working professionals. Also will be the ins and outs of working kid shows, how to prepare for them, booking them, performing them, etc. etc. etc.
To be completely honest with all of I.C.O.M I was planning to start my series on Crayon effects this month. But alas, I find myself going on yet another performance tour tomorrow. I was prepared to spend the entire night photographing the digital images that were planned on being here, And I would have done that since there is nothing more important to my magical existence than our I.C.O.M membership. But then I was given a request by one of our new members overseas to supply a routine for the classic egg bag. After reading Ron Dayton’s excellent treatise on the bag (found in our very own archives), they were intrigued enough to ask if I had any ideas for a complete routine. Boy do I…! I typed out a “virtual lesson” to our esteemed member and was very pleased to say the least. The following is my complete professional routine that use at every show! In retrospect, I could not offer anything better in this forum than what you are about to read.
Commando Egg Bag
“A Professional Routine”
Bobby J. Gallo
I call this the Commando Egg Bag for the very reasons set forth in our Cyber-Magic Text Book (tm) entitled Commando Magic ™. It is streamlined commercial magic with a simple premise and maximum impact. I have done this on television as well as literally thousands of “live” performances. If you compare this to earlier published versions of classic egg bag routines, you will notice that I do not introduce extra props into the bag as a climax or use the “under the arm gag” that everyone and their brother uses. Not to say that prop climaxes are bad. It is just that this routine was designed for a specific purpose. And that is to be practical to the working pro. But there is no reason it will not work for the serious amateur as well.
The following is an exact transcription of The Virtual Lesson.
I am going to give you “MY” original egg bag routine that I use over
here in the USA. I do it at EVERY show and it never fails to get a fantastic response.
It is based on an idea from Ken Brook that shows that an egg bag routine does not have to be very complicated to work well. All that is required is an egg and the bag. (I use a wooden egg)
Start by having the egg already inside the pocket and the bag turned inside out before the start of the routine. Take the bag placing one hand inside the bag and slapping the bag with the other hand to prove it is empty. Ask the audience, “what is on the outside of the bag?” They will answer, “nothing” Now, turn the bag inside out again, (actually, you are now turning the bag, right side in but the audience does not know this) Slap the bag again asking the same question and they will give you the same response, “nothing”.
Now hold the egg in the upper corner of the secret pocket in the palm of your hand as you allow a spectator to feel inside the bag. Ask them if there is anything in there. They will say again,”nothing”
Remember, at this point, do not tell them what you are about to do. Let the appearance of the egg be a surprise and it will get a great response.
After the spectator removes their hand, have the whole audience raise their hands and say a magic word. Ask them to wave their hands towards the bag. at this moment drop the egg down into the bag, reach in and act as though you do not know what it is, take the egg out and look very surprised. (this always gets a laugh because an egg is a naturally funny object to look at, so take advantage of this fact!)
Now I Challenge the audience to see if they can catch me make the egg vanish. This gets them very interested and makes them watch the routine very closely. Challenging the audience is an old Slydini ploy.
Take the egg and slowly place it into the bag. As you do this, place it inside the pocket and now allow the spectator to feel the egg through the bag. Ask them if it is there. They will say “YES”. Then ask them to hold out their hand. And in one smooth motion, take the hand out of the bag as though it were holding the egg. (actually, the egg is now in the bag inside of the secret pocket) and place the imaginary egg in the spectators hand acting as though you are really doing it. Look away as you are doing this and pretend not to notice that there is no egg in the spectators hand. One of two things may happen at this point.
A) The spectator thinks that you are letting them in on some inside magic secret and will actually pretend to hold the egg. In which case you can do a real miracle by waiving your hands and asking the spectator to open their hand up revealing that the egg has vanished.
B) They will look shocked to see that the egg has vanished and will stare at their hand in astonishment. Some will actually say that they saw the egg vanish in their hand….It’s true!
Either way, you will get some applause at this point. Now you are set to go through the first set of moves to prove that the egg is NOT in the bag. (Inside out, spectator feels inside the bag, etc…) After this is done. I have two comedy endings that I use.
1) If someone is wearing a hat in the audience, I tell them that the egg in under it. When they lift their hat I say “wouldn’t that be amazing!” This gets a big laugh…
2) After the spectator feels inside the bag to show that it is empty, drop the egg in the bag through the pocket and ask them to feel inside again. They always take the egg out. Do not look while they are doing this and pretend that they did not take out anything. This gives you the opportunity for a lot of comedy. If you are working for kids they will scream like crazy trying to tell you that the spectator has the egg.
Finally look at the spectator, notice that they have the egg and act very surprised. Motion for the audience to give the spectator applause, get your egg back! and bow.
The one aspect of the egg bag I have found needs the most rehearsal is getting the egg in and out of the pocket smoothly. That is why I developed the ploy of placing the egg in the pocket while the spectator is feeling the egg through the bag. This works very well.
This routine first appeared as a “Virtual Lesson” to an I.C.O.M.
member. One more reason everyone should take advantage of them……
wishing to do this routine and do not own an egg bag, there is a quality felt bag
available through the I.C.O.M Online
Catalog called the E-Z Egg Bag.
Co-Directors Note: What can be more familiar to a child than a drinking straw? The following routine is well worth your study as it can be a worthwhile addition to any performance for children. It also constitutes the first in our series of magic that can be done with crayons. This is my kind of magic. Simple in premise, and dynamite in effect. Hopefully it will be a favorite of yours too…BJG
“Surprising Straw Variation”
Ronald J. Dayton
On page 148 of Henry Gordon’s book, ” Henry Gordon’s World Of Magic,”
you will find an effect called A Surprising Straw. His effect is novel
and has a nice surprise ending to it. My version creates the identical effect. Only
the handling has been modified a bit, allowing you to use objects longer than a soda-straw
which has been cut in half. If you wish, you may also eliminate the comedy ending,
and do a straight vanish and reproduction of the object.
You may use a full length soda-straw if you would like, or a crayon, or any other wand-like object of appropriate length. The handling I am giving uses a standard *2 pencil which has been cut down in length one and one half inches with a coping saw.
Begin with the pencil held at the eraser end as shown in Fig. 1. The other hand holds an opaque handkerchief at one corner. The hanky is draped over the pencil as in Fig. 2. For a brief moment, the end of the pencil is grasped by the left hand at X through the material of the handkerchief as the right hand turns palm down. The right hand is in a very relaxed fist, and the eraser end is inserted deep into the fork of the right hand first and second fingers. The left hand releases its hold and lowers momentarily to your side. The covered pencil is displayed.
The left hand now grasps the hanky at point Z in Fig. 2 and begins to pull it back off the right hand. In a simultaneous move, the right hand swings upward and fingers extend. The two movements should be timed so the empty palm of the right hand is facing the audience as the removal of the hanky by the left hand is completed. The pencil will be concealed at the back of the right hand, Fig. 3. Angles are important. Shorter objects are not as critical.
Now your options may be applied. For the comedy reveal…the left hand immediately tosses the empty hanky into the air and allows it to fall to your table or floor. With palm facing the audience, the left hand criss-crosses in front of the left. The hands move back toward your mouth, where the unsharpened end of the pencil is taken between your teeth. Then, after a moment, the hands lower to reveal the missing pencil held in your mouth. This will kill a bit of the magic…but it will bring you a nice laugh. Perhaps as a lead-in to some serious sleight of hand, this would be very nice indeed.
If on the other hand you would like to keep it purely magic… this is how you might choose to proceed. The hank is retained in the left hand after the initial vanish, and the pencil is concealed at the back of the right hand. With the right palm still toward the audience, the left begins to cover the right once again with the handkerchief. ( Shake the hanky well before hand so they know it is empty…or toss and catch it prior to the covering.) Once the right hand is almost half way under the hank, it lowers and turns palm up. In other words, the covered right hand now rests flat and palm up under the hank. The pencil is suspended beneath it and concealed by the draping of the handkerchief. The left hand now pats against the palm of the covered right hand to show in this way that the right hand is empty. The first finger and thumb of the left hand now reach in and grasp the center of the hanky at the right hand palm and begin to slowly lift it up. As it does, you turn your right hand over so it assumes the position shown in Fig. 2. The left hand releases its grip once the pencil is fully upright, and allows it to be shown as in Fig. 2. You again take hold of end X for just a moment as the right hand repositions itself, taking hold of the eraser end of the pencil as in Fig. 1. The handkerchief is now lifted away for the reveal of the reappearance of the pencil at the right hand fingertips.
Any object which may be clipped between the first and second fingers…or an object, the end of which can be gimmicked so it may be clipped between the fingers will work for this effect. Wands, candles, bread-sticks etc. Crayons, ladies curlers for their hair, if its of the correct general shape and length, you just may be able to use it. Best of luck in your search…
Variation for adult performances only!
Naturally, for those of you who still smoke…cigarettes and cigars may also be used (of course this is not appropriate for childrens shows, but may be effective for adult cabaret performances). Even a pipe which is not too heavy might work well. Bowl end must point in the right direction to be deceptive.
Co-Directors Note: OK,…I admit it! I perform over 400 shows a year and YES,…I use a rubber chicken!!! Why you ask? Because it’s funny!…Period. That being the case, I was extremely delighted when Ron showed this manuscript to me containing the following material. I can praise it no higher than to say that as of this moment, I am actually using more than a few of the following lines. If the Kid show entertainer is looking for pure entertainment, in my estimation, one of the best investments he/she will ever make is in purchasing a rubber chicken. (I can’t believe I just said that, but its true) ….BJG
“You Say It…I’m Too Chicken”
Ronald J. Dayton
My friend, Jim Klein, editor and publisher of ” The Magician’s Home
Companion “ has once again consented to my using material from that
three volume hardbound set. This time it happens to be lines and ideas for the classic..
Rubber Chicken. Thank you Jim!
Alright then. You’ve just pulled your chicken from a square-circle, or from under your jacket.. now what? It may be true that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but it’s not entertainment. You’ve got to say something son! Here are eight ideas which will will either make you a hit.. or get you hung. Are you feeling lucky?
1) This punch line isn’t mine. All I’ve done is to dress up the presentation a little. Take your chicken and tie a two foot length of one inch wide red ribbon to each leg. Now sling the chicken over your back, bringing the ribbon over each shoulder and tying it at the front of your neck in a bow. When you enter, make sure the audience sees the chicken hanging down your back. Turn to face them, undo the ribbons and hold the chicken out in full view at your side. Say, ” What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever seen a magician with his cape on?” ( Capon )
2) Hold the chicken by the legs in one hand and hit it with a small plastic baseball bat held in the other hand. Look at the audience and say, ” Battered Chicken!” Smack the bird so it flies out of your hand. Now tell the, ” Oh, oh.. fowl ball.” Be sure to emphasize the word FOWL.
3) Make a slit in the lower end of your bird and insert a small squeeze-bulb bicycle horn. Display the Rubber Chicken and secretly honk the horn. Look at the audience and tell them it’s a “Leg horn Chicken.”
4) This is for those of you who own U.F. Grant’s Comedy Climax Egg Bag. Dissect the legs, wing sections, and head from a Rubber Chicken and use them to replace the cloth chicken parts found in the Grant bag. In this way, the “chicken” you transform the bag into at the end of the routine will look 100 times better than the original.
5) This use for the Rubber Chicken may be regional, depending upon which products are available in your supermarkets, and how well they are known to the audience. Here in Wisconsin, it works well. Take some foam rubber and some red felt material.
Make a small set of boxing gloves and form them so they may be placed on the feet of the Rubber Chicken. When you bring the chicken into view, look at the gloves and say, ” You’ll never guess what I got at the supermarket today.. .Tyson Chickens.” ( If your audience doesn’t know who Mike Tyson is.. find another town to work.)
6) Novelty shops now have small Rubber Chickens on key chains available. They look just like the normal sized chickens, and they offer a lot of potential for magic. You could have shrinking
or growing chickens. How about a ” chick (chip) off the old block?” The small chicken could be produced from within a plastic egg which appeared in your egg bag. This could be a tie-in to the Grant Egg Bag mentioned earlier.
7) Cut a slit in a Rubber Chicken and insert either a real or an artificial orange. During the show, display the chicken and have it ‘lay’ the orange. Say, “I’ve heard of orange duck before but this is but this is ridiculous.” Produce a small plastic bowling ball and tell the audience its for the ” Pin Feathers!”
8) Two ideas which involve a Rubber Chicken and a play-on-words are as follow: Pin a large name tag on the front of your chicken. The name printed boldly on the tag is TUCK. Look at the Rubber Chicken and then at the name tag. Tell the audience, ” Must be a fryer.” ( Friar ) For the second suggestion, tie a thin blue curtain sash cord around the chicken’s nick. Your comment to the audience? ” Chicken Cord-On-Blue!” ( Cordon Bleu )
All of this may never answer the question Jim Klein asked, “Which came first, the Rubber Chicken or the Weller Egg?” But it may offer some ideas to those inclined to flaunt the latex bird. Not something everyone might wish to embrace, to be sure. But at the right time…in the right hands…it can be pure magic.