Kid Show Konservatory 7/97-9/97
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.
So without further adieu, We bring you the first lesson in, The Kid Show Konservatory!
While searching for routines to plug into my children’s show, that fit my “Commando Magic” criteria, I stumbled upon the old classic, The Hypnotized Hank” I was a bit apprehensive at first performing what appeared to be an obvious trick. In almost all the of books on magic where it is described, (and believe me, there are many!) It is treated as a “throw-a-way bit” But after dozens of performances. I must say that as far as the kids are concerned. This effect is a winner!
The classic handling of the effect requires the magician to take a silk, then holding the diagonal corners, roll it up so that the entire silk forms a tube. Holding the rolled up silk near the center, taking care that it does not “un-ravel” the hank stands ridged, apparently defying the laws of gravity. Then, by taking an invisible hair off of your head you tie it to the end of the silk and cause the silk to bend to and fro as if being pulled by the invisible hair. In reality, thumb movements are responsible for the illusion. By moving the thumb up, the silk falls away from you, by pulling the thumb downwards, the silk comes toward you. A good trick.
There are a number of very important fine points to this trick that none of the books I have read tell you when they describe the Stiff Handkerchief (or whatever name they have given it.) Sometimes I wonder if so many important little side-notes to tricks are left out of book intentionally, But why would someone want to do that?
- Silk handkerchiefs do not work! They are far to flimsy and will not stand up unless the silk is wound-up so tight that the effect loses its believability.
- Regulation men’s handkerchiefs that can be bought in the men’s department of your local clothier work best. The larger the better for visibility.
- The standard “invisible hair” feint may actually hinder the effect! I have found that some people believe that you actually do have a hair on it! Therefore in their minds, what is the big deal?
- The special secret that makes this work 100% of the time for me is an I.C.O.M exclusive. (Mainly because I believe this is an original idea!) An that is SPRAY STARCH!
Before leaving home, iron the handkerchief using generous amount of spray starch that is available in any supermarket. The result will be a super-stiff handkerchief that almost works the effect itself.
Begin by displaying the handkerchief and showing that their is nothing out of the ordinary about it, and there isn’t! Next, twirl it up into a tube and hold it by the center taking care not to let it unravel. Release the top and the hank is standing straight up! Now, depending on your presentation, you can make the hank do tricks or play it serious. You can even attempt to squash the hank down into your hand only to have the hank spring back up again. If you clip the tip in the crotch of your thumb. and bring your hand upwards, the hank appears to rise and straighten by its own accord!
You can have a lot of fun with this and the children will love it! As a matter of fact, recently upon completing a show, a mother approached me with the intention of booking me for her child part a few months down the road. Guess what trick she mentioned as the children’s favorite? Yes, you guessed it, the Stiff Handkerchief. It is beneficial to also remember these features about this trick.
- There is no set-up.
- It can be done surrounded and under any circumstances. (Very windy days can be a problem however!)
- It can be made to be VERY entertaining.
- It is instantly repeatable making it ideal for roving engagements!
- Takes up no space in your bag and has no weight, after all, the whole effect is one un-gimmicked hank! ( I really wouldn’t consider the starch being a gimmick)
Bobby J. Gallo
Effect: The magician displays a handkerchief to the audience and shows that there are no holes in it. When the audience is satisfied that the magician is truthful. The magician lays the hank over his fist, then takes his wand and pushes it right thru the center of the hank! The handkerchief is displayed once again and is shown with no holes.
Having done that, the performer explains that what he has done is created a “magical hole” that anything can pass through. Since it is magic, the audience cannot see or feel it, but indeed it is there. To prove this the magician then displays an egg and a drinking tumbler.
The egg is dropped into the tumbler and the magical hank is brought over to cover the glass. A small well is pushed down into the glass and the magician covers the covered mouth of the glass with his right hand to keep the egg from escaping. The audience is now instructed to shout out a magic word. When they do the magician exclaims, the egg will rise up through the glass penetrating the hank only to rest on top of same. All in full view of the audience. A penetration and levitation!
With great fervor the audience shouts the magic word and when the magician removes his hand…..nothing happens! Looking very worried the magician has the audience shout out the word again, and again…..nothing. Finally the magician explains to the audience that the trick does not always work and that the audience must forgive him. At that moment, unknown to the magician the egg peeks up to the rim of the glass, rising and penetrating the hank! The audience screams, but when the magician looks, there is no egg, it has gone down again! Two or three times more this comedy continues when finally the magician looks and sees the egg with great surprise, removes it and once again shows the handkerchief with no holes and the glass empty thus proving only one egg was used.
Sounds good doesn’t it?….It is! This is truly one of those tricks that packs small, but will get more response than a grand illusion. Thus making the value of this routine extremely high.
- A wooden egg, golf ball, or billiard ball. (The egg is the funniest visual object of those listed so is the one most recommended.)
- A bandanna or large man’s handkerchief.
- A magic wand.
- A bottomless glass: These are available by most magic dealers. It is a little used prop consisting of a glass with…no bottom! Anything dropped into the top falls into your waiting palm. Usually used to make small objects vanish. I recommend that you find a plastic one so that it doesn’t break. One can even be made, and as I have shown my summer camp students, a heavy paper cup may be made into a bottomless glass when the bottom is removed. Of course, the see through advantage of the glass and plastic bottomless Glasses (BG) are apparent. The audience is convinced that the egg is in the glass if indeed they CAN see it.
Working: In the classic method of this trick, the performer requires two identical objects that will be made to rise. One is in the hank held in the center of same with a rubber band. The ball/egg proper is dropped into the glass the other hank containing the duplicate in placed over the mouth of the glass. By pulling on the sides of the hank the ball/egg is brought up to the top of the glass pulling itself free from the rubber band.
I never cared for this method due to the fact that you could not show the hank as ordinary due to the fact that it contained the duplicate egg or ball. Plus the fact that you have to get rid of the palmed ball/egg in addition to a rubber band that is now in your hand as well. My method eliminates all of these drawbacks and at the same time, allows the performer to get another magical effect into the routine at the same time. The classic wand through hank. This is why I call this version, “Streamlined”.
At the start of the routine, have the glass and egg in your case. Display you hank and show that all is well. Then perform the classic wand through hank described in the presentation. For those not familiar with the move, it goes something like this.
Normally if you were to make a well in a hank over your closed fist, your fingers would be closed into your palm. This would make an ordinary well in the handkerchief with which nothing could pass through. In our case we are going to put the hank over our fist but once the fist is covered, open the fingers so that your making a “U” rather than a tunnel with your fingers. Now, when you make the well, one side of the hank falls in towards your palm making a clear passage through the hank. When the wand in inserted from the top, it is pushed down along the side of the hank rather than through it. But the illusion is perfect. It looks like the wand penetrates the hank.
Now comes the best part of the routine. Show the egg and glass. Place the (BG) on the palm of the right hand. openly drop the egg in the glass for all to see. Now drape the hank over the glass and proceed to push a well into the the top of the hank. Here comes the critical move. The right hand now palms the egg, comes out from beneath the glass as the left hand takes hold of the glass by the sides. The right hand palming the egg immediately points to the top of the glass as the magician is pattering to the audience. Now, using the reasoning that you do not want the egg to pop out prematurely, place the palm of the right hand over the mouth of the glass. Yes, what you have done is openly load the egg into the glass on the other side of the hank!!!! It sounds bold, but it works every time.
Now, go through the motions as explained in the presentation. After an ample amount of by play, pull down on the silk with the left hand holding the glass slowly. The egg will rise to the rim of the glass. Let the kids see this and react. Then, just before you look yourself, loosen your grip on the glass and the egg will drop. This will get volume out of young people you never thought was possible. Tell them you did not notice anything unusual and relate to them that as far as your concerned, the egg is till in the covered glass. Repeat this process two more time. The yells will get louder and louder.
Finally, notice the egg, look surprised and remove it. Show the hank to be undamaged and the glass to be empty and take your well deserved bows.
There is a lot of psychology in this routine. The glass is the last thing suspected if all the attention is given to the by play. The only caveat in this routine is that you have to watch your angles during the critical move when you are palming the egg. Henry Hay in the Amateur Magician’s Handbook states that nothing is harder hide in all manipulative magic than a billiard ball. An egg may be even more difficult do to its oblong shape. But if your pacing is steady and swift. It shouldn’t be problem.
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