Miracle Course in Writing for Magicians


Posted October 1998

Ok I.C.O.M’ers, this will definitely NOT be for everyone. But for those with the drive to go the extra mile in this art, dig your heels in and prepare yourself! This is an exercise is the betterment of your magical knowledge from a University point of view! Who knows? After this, you may be the NEXT Tarbell!!!… Also, please be aware that any mistakes in this course are my fault and not that of Dr. Om. Due to web-page restrictions, I had to restructure much of it…BJG

Magician Harry Lorayne has written two books for the general lay public of special interest to magicians and mentalists: THE MEMORY BOOK and MIRACLE MATH. Magician colleagues, knowing of Dr. OM’s (Oscar Muscariello) background in the scholarship and teaching of prose composition, have expressed interest in and need for sharpening their writing skills for the purposes of notating magical self instructions, writing effect descriptions and instructions for others, and composing advertising copy, news releases, and professional articles for magic trade journals. In answer to the many requests, Dr. OM provides, in this CyberMagic Textbook ™ and the issue to follow, a programmed course of study which possesses the power to rapidly and easily improve writing skills in the prose mode, by identifying the most common fault in writing, THE USE OF TOO MANY MEANINGLESS JOINING WORDS, and by providing specific and systemic means for correcting the fault.

The course of study presented in two parts is entitled: DR. OM’S MIRACLE MINI COURSE IN WRITING FOR MAGICIANS PART A: THEORY (in the August 1998 installment), and PART B: APPLICATION (in the September 1998 installment).


Lorayne, Harry. MIRACLE MATH. Barnes and Noble Books, New York: 1966.

Lorayne, Harry and Jerry Lucas. THE MEMORY BOOK. Ballantine Books, New York: 1974.

Muscariello, Oscar Francis, Ph.D. COMPARISON OF GUIDED DISCOVERY AND RECEPTION STRATEGIES APPLIED TO SENTENCE CLARIFICATION. Dissertation Abstracts International. Volume XXXIX, Number 11, Order No.7911210. Ann Arbor, Michigan: 1979.



EXPLANATION: A. All words in the English language may be assigned to one of three categories. First category words refer to physical objects, animate or inanimate; natural or ;T’anuf actured, which can be experienced through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch. E.G., stone (natural; inanimate, house (manufactured; inanimate), dog (animate), and John (animate; nominal). To identify first category words, close your eyes. If you can imagine an object for which the word stands, the word may be assigned to the first category.

Underline all first category words on the list.

town, a, sharp, honest, forever, kind, Sweet, clearly, beautiful, box, triangular, clear, wind, it, kidney, string, cake, love, tragic, jaw, luminescent, cape, king, blue, loud, murky, short, griddle, latter, all, angry, tall, confusing, had, read, square, swift, despite, many, be, intelligent, you, rough, rich, athletic, pepper, tender, frightening, house, activate, comical, brute, teach, muscular, above, cards, panda, slow, just, stone, operating, each, heavy, certain, enclosed, profane, hat, aunt, gracious, pungent, etching, fattening, running, dark, grave, Jersey City, remarkable, plain, then, prudent, lift, now, second, because, stale, crab, artistic, dish, spaniel, requires, subdue, paltry, we, nest, rebut, lung, few, recognize, John, spine, mother, party, intend, horrible, chair, sensive, screech, were, fort, creaky, tangy, hurry, former, music, ant, seemed, lemon, fat, that, she, generalize, sandwich, steep, when, respectable, monotonous, horrify, evening, awesome, reason, foot, affected, fish, delicious, the, whether, courteous, us, its, inanimate, decode, inauguration, should, too, I, lion, need, gravitate, correspond, cobra, obviously, metal, better, always, way, president, joyful, seem, cruel, strew, Mrs. Murray, nutritious, of, drab, poor, inch, perfect, nitrogen, comfortable, from, corrupt, your, perhaps, although, rusted, liquid, encase, place, fall, meter, preceding, them, sell, moon, etc., predict, angelic, sky, feel, adjust, noose, long, am, dewy, complex, if, scraps, affection, behave, do, their, playpen, curious, others, which, island, you, probably, quite, spicy, some, pastry, lucky, engine, ore, has, labyrinthine, crow, posture, round, root, pigeon, scramble, insipid, been, scuffle, interrogate, comb, my, may, store, calendar, it, himself, bat, boat, pole, camper, goldsmith, frizzy, Paris, lake, staple, garish, courtly, turnip, catch, collapse, these, like, due, on, admonish, could, his, there, refer, head, have, me, how, corrode, but, sandal, dandelion, pretend, they, cringe, leaf, thing, an, Louis Pasteur, train, being, ornate, one, beetle, who, graph, jail, injured, frog, simple, our, bridge, he, herself, grapevine, rollicking, big, this, first, foregoing, cloud, lamb, shoulder, nobody, decorated, golf course, estate, following, portray, none, medal, someone, commodore, ever, clique, however, fancy, neither, brick, myself, iodine, cloudy, believe, everybody, think, new, frozen, British, Honduras, little, anyone, gong, old, bright, no, flashy, itself, cabbage, seems, grape, trumpet, crisp, lance, to, and, prescribe, only, below, apparently, ours, every, never, grasshopper, for, dull, feather, her, flag, gargoyle, must, bed, whom, altered, cotton, might, monstrous, no, everything, don’t, automobile, candle, fresh, him, article, any, at, bread, escape, book, everyone, organization, watchman, nor, manuscript, by, frost, in, landlord, sometimes, stated, cross, those, medicine, would, into, mine, not, one’s, guitar, diamond, column, store, office, pea, room, sand, pleasant, goose, stork, tobacco, something, airplane, eat, woman

EXPLANATION B: Second category words refer not to physical objects themselves, but to that which can be experienced through sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch in physical objects as a quality or behavior. Examples of qualities perceivable in physical objects are:
tall, loud, sweet, pungent, and rough. Examples of behaviors perceivable in physical objects are: run, swift, love, thinking and intelligent . To identify second category words, close your eyes. If you can, imagine a quality or behavior of an object signaled by a first category word, the word signaling the quality or behavior may be assigned to the second category.

EXERCISE Underline all second category words on the list placing a capital Q after quality words and a capital B after behavior words:

town clearly , wind, a, beautiful, it, sharp, box, kidney, honest, triangular, string, forever, clear, cake, kind, love, tragic, sweet, jaw, luminescent, cape, king, blue, loud, murky, short, griddle, latter, all, angry, tall , confusing, had, read, square, swift, despite, many, be, intelligent, you, rough, rich, athletic, pepper, tender, frightening, house, activate, comical, brute, teach, muscular, above, cards, panda, slow, just ,stone,operating ,each, heavy, certain, enclosed, profane, hat, aunt, gracious, pungent, etching, fattening, running, dark, grave, Jersey City, remarkable, prudent, second, crab, spaniel, paltry, rebut, recognize, mother, horrible, screech, creaky, former, lemon, that, steep, monotonous, awesome, affected, the, us, decode, too, lion, correspond, metal, way, seem, Mrs. Murray, drab, perfect, corrupt, perhaps, encase, fall, sell, etc., feel, noose, complex, affection, their, curious, you, quite, lucky, ore, posture, root, plain, lift, because, artistic, them, predict, sky, long, dewy, scraps, do, others, island, spicy, pastry, has, crow, pigeon, insipid, requires, we, lung, John, party, chair, were, tangy, music, seemed, she, sandwich, respectable, evening, foot, delicious, courteous, inanimate, should, need, cobra, better, president, cruel, nutritious, poor, nitrogen, from, although, liquid, meter, whether, its, inauguration, I, then, now, stale, dish, subdue, nest, few, spine, intend, sensive, fort, hurry, ant, fat, generalize, when, horrify, reason, fish, gravitate, obviously, always, joyful, strew, of, inch, comfortable, your, rusted, place, preceding, moon, angelic, adjust, am, if, behave, playpen, which, probably some, engine, labyrinthine, round scramble been, scuffle, interrogate, my, may, calendar, it’, bat, boat, camper, goldsmith, Paris, lake, garish, courtly, catch, collapse, like, due, admonish, could, there, refer, have, me, corrode, but, dandelion, pretend, cringe, leaf, an, Louis Pasteur, being, ornate, beetle, who, jail, injured, simple, our, he, herself, rollicking, big, first, foregoing, lamb, shoulder, decorated, golf course, following, portray, medal, someone, ever, clique, fancy, neither, myself, iodine, believe, everybody, new, frozen, little, anyone, old, bright, flashy, itself, seems, grape, crisp, lance, and, prescribe, below, apparently, every, never, for, dull, her, flag, must, bed, altered, cotton, monstrous, no, don’t, automobile, fresh, him, any, at, escape, book, everyone, comb, store, himself, pole, frizzy, staple, turnip, these, on, his, head, how, sandal, they, thing, train, one, graph, frog, bridge, grapevine, this, cloud, nobody, estate, none, commodore, however, brick, cloudy, think, British, gong, no, cabbage, trumpet to only ours grasshopper feather gargoyle whom, Honduras, might, everything, candle, article, bread, organization, watchman, nor, manuscript, by, frost, in, landlord, sometimes, stated, cross, those, medicine, would, into, mine, not, one’s, guitar, diamond, column, store, office, pea, room, sand, pleasant, goose, stork, tobacco, something, airplane, eat, woman

EXPLANATION C: Third category words are words which refer neither to physical objects nor to qualities or behaviors perceivable in physical objects through sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch, but refer rather to other words. To identify third category words, close your eyes. If you imagine nothing, the word may belong to the third category.

EXERCISE Underline all third category words on the list.

town, clearly, wind, a, beautiful,. it, sharp, box, kidney, honest, triangular, string, forever, clear, cake, kind, love, tragic, sweet, jaw, luminescent, cape, king, blue, loud, murky, short, griddle, latter, all, angry, tall, confusing, had, read, square, swift, despite, many, be, intelligent, you, rough, rich, athletic, pepper, tender, frightening, house, activate, comical, brute, teach, muscular, above, cards, panda, slow, just, stone, operating, each, heavy, certain, enclosed, profane, hat, aunt, gracious, pungent, etching, fattening, running, dark, grave, Jersey City, plain, then, remarkable, lift, now, prudent, because, stale, second, artistic, dish, crab, requires, subdue, spaniel, we, nest, paltry, lung, few, rebut, John, spine, recognize, party, intend, mother, chair, sensive, horrible, were, fort, screech, tangy, hurry, creaky, music, ant, former, seemed, fat, lemon, she, generalize, that, sandwich, when, steep, respectable, horrify, monotonous, evening, reason, awesome, foot gravitate, lion, cobra, obviously, correspond, better, always, metal, president, joyful, way, cruel, strew, seem, nutritious, of, Mrs. Murray, poor, inch, drab, nitrogen, comfortable, perfect, from, your, corrupt, although, rusted, perhaps, liquid, place, encase, meter, preceding, fall, them, moon, sell, predict, angelic, etc, sky, adjust, feel, long, am, noose, dewy, if, complex, scraps, behave, affection, do, playpen, their, others, which, curious, island, probably, you, spicy, some, quite,pastry, engine, lucky, has, labyrinthine, ore, crow, round, posture, pigeon, scramble root, insipid, been, scuffle, interrogate, my, may, calendar, it’s, bat, boat, camper, goldsmith, Paris, lake, garish, courtly, catch, collapse, like, due, admonish, could, there, refer, have, me, corrode, but, dandelion, pretend, cringe, leaf , an, Louis Pasteur, being, ornate, beetle, who, jail, injured, simple, our, he, herself, rollicking, big, first, foregoing, lamb, shoulder, decorated, golf, course, following, portray, medal, someone, ever, clique, fancy, neither, myself, iodine, believe, everybody, new, frozen, little, anyone, old, bright, flash, itself, seems, grape, crisp, lance, and, prescribe, below, apparently, every, never, for, dull, her, flag, must, bed, altered, cotton, monstrous, no, don’t, automobile, fresh, him, any, at, escape, book, everyone, comb, store, himself, pole, frizzy, staple, turnip, these, on, his, head, how, sandal, they, thing, train, one, graph, frog, bridge, grapevine, this, cloud, nobody, estate, none, commodore, however, brick, cloudy, think, British, gong, no, cabbage, trumpet, to, only, ours, grasshopper, feather, gargoyle, whom, might, everything, candle, article, bread, organization, watchman, Honduras, nor, manuscript, by, frost, in, landlord, sometimes, stated, cross, those, medicine, would, into,. mine, not, one’s, guitar, diamond, column, store, office, pea, room, sand, pleasant, goose, stork, tobacco, something, airplane, eat, woman

Part #2
Posted November 1998


Before beginning part B of the mini course, please read and consider the news release below, written by the great magician Claude Alexander, himself and published on April 9,1919 (even the date is in mystical nines), in the TAMPA FREE PRESS. Notice that Mexander frees himself from the restrictions of first person address; free, that is, to report wonderful things about himself, as though reported by someone else. Dr. OM could not resist some bracketed comments along the way.


“To those who witnessed and were mystified by the unusual performances of Alexander, “The Man Who Knows,” [self testimonial] during his previous engagement, the news that he is to return for a special stay will be welcome. [positive assumption] While those who failed to see him will doubtless be on the QUI VIVRE [literally, among those who live; among the living; among those to be present], for his encore appearance [notice; not reappearance, but encore appearance; note, too, how he later informs the reader that the show will possess newness, not be just a repeat performance], scheduled for the Majestic Theater here in Tampa for a period of 2 days.

Alexander has enlarged the magical part of his show this season until the press, wherever he has appeared, has conceded the Alexander attraction to be the greatest [hyperbole] mystery show that has ever toured. Of course it is the famed [hyperbole] Simla Seance that has caused his name to be sesame to the world of science for it is in this [demonstration; he might have employed the subject of the discourse here, rather than the vague word “this”] that while gazing into a crystal ball he answers any and all questions, written in any language and sealed in any manner desired. Something in human nature compels every individual to knock at the door of the future [answers to their heartfelt questions is what they want and Alexander will know how to answer them] and Alexander gives a most interesting as well as astonishing example of opening the door at least a little way and letting each one in turn [everyone’s questlions will be answered] have a peep into his coming fate. Alexander does not claim any supernatural power nor pretend to be a medium of spiritualistic communication [prudent disclaimer]. But he does claim that his success in the psychic field is owing to a lifetime study and to his power of concentration and his use of the positive knowledge that lies in the field opened by that power [reclaims professed powers].

While the Simla Seance is admitted by scientists the world over to be the ultimate in occult [testimonial], Alexander is this season presenting a series of tests that have never before been given publicity [brand new] Included among these is the famous slate test, in which a question is selected at random and a related verse in the Bible appears mysteriously upon the slates, the same being held by a prominent person in the audience, thereby obviating any probability of trickery on the part of the mystic. As Alexander explains, ‘lf there is any fake attached to the experiment it is the auditors themselves who must of necessity be held responsible for it, as they cleanse the slates, [and] tie and hold them during the demonstration.’

The Nartel Sisters, vivacious twins from the Far East are introducing to lovers [promise of romance] of oriental dances the best from an extensive repertoire, including a recent creation, the Dance of Abbal Radhid Myrai, or the crystal dance of India [exotica], a subtle number which allows them ample opportunity to display [a loaded word] their knowledge of esoteric theosophy in motion [notice that Alexander nowhere employs the term: ‘belly dancing,’ but is genteel in his teasing the imagination of the reader; a far cry from the crassness of the present day]. They are proud of the land of their nativity and are conscientiously endeavering to perpetuate their own folk dances.

Ullian Moore, a prima donna [first lady] soprano of renown in light and grand opera circles, will be heard and seen to advantage. She was especially engaged for the present tour and this special scene [note the emphasis upon the speciality of the present production]. Her [Miss Moore’s] pleasing voice, commanding stage presence [she is easy to look at] and unusual personality fitting consistently with the atmosphere engendered by the impressive stage setting and incidental music [Is he claiming that the whole production is as sexy as Lillian Moore?].”

The writing of such remarkable production copy is not necessarily a lost art. Take note that Alexander’s language is image evoking by virtue of the predominance of his use of FIRST AND SECOND CATEGORY WORDS and his use of meaningless THIRD CATEGORY WORDS sparingly, as necessary to “glue” the image evoking words together. Dr. OM considers Alexander’s news release to be a bit of a work of art and a model to be taken heed of.

As a bonus attached to the mini course, Dr. OM will publish in a later edition, under old business, his SIMPLEX COURSE IN PUNCTUATION. Punctuation is easier than you think.


O’Connell, Sheldon with Lon Mandrake. MANDRAKE Incomparable. Hades Publications, Inc. Canada: 1998. (The source of the above Alexander release, among many other magical riches. A must read).


You who are jealous of the birds, think how they are aliens to rest. Exiled to air, they beat their frantic wings, and trace the conic circle of despair; alighting, one claw held aloof, upon some cold, inhospitable roof, still finding breath to sing

Yet we would fly in spite of this surrendering the firmer home, for that cool, secret, airy kiss, which lingers on the lips of stone, and then, exulting toward the sun, to fly, to sing, to die, and then to sing again.

Below is an alphabetical list of all third category words abstracted from the wordlist worksheet. The list does not encompass all of the third category words in the English language, but includes those which are the most frequent offenders in causing obscurity in writing.

Third category words are termed SYMPTOM WORDS because they are symptomatic of obscurity in writing. When an excessive number of ineptly used symptom words occur in writing, there may be suspicion that obscurity occurs.

The checklist may be used to identify symptom words in student compositions. However, the checklist is not needed by the student who is able to identify symptom words by the concepts acquired in the previous exercises.


a, certain, few, above, clearly, first, all, cloud, following, although, for, always, foregoing, am, despite, forever, an, do, former, and, don’t, from, any, due, anyone, apparently, had, at, each, has, enclosed, have, etc., he, be, ever, her, because, every, herself, been, everybody, him, being, every, one, himself, believe, everything, his, below, how, but, however, by, feel, perhaps, if, place, in, preceding, into, probably, it, its, quite, quite, itself, requires, just, reason, latter, like, many, may, me, might, mine, my, myself, second, seem, seemed, seems, she, should, some, somebody, someone, something, sometimes, stated, need, neither, that, never, the, no, their, nobody, them, none, then, nor, there, not, these, now, they, thing, think, obviously, this, of, those, on, to, one, too, one’s, only, others, us, our, ours, way, we, were, when, whether, which, who, whom, would, you, your

The symptom words listed are logically related. Each word listed depends for meaning upon a referent word in the larger written context. E.g., “One can write each one down and explain it, but to separate them is impossible.” The words, “one,” “each,” and “them,” require a contextual referent word for meaning. If the referent word is distant from the symptom word, or if the referent word is nonexistent in the written context, the symptom word is obscure. If too many of the words in a paragraph depend on other words for meaning, the paragraph is obscure. Frequently, even after twelve years of English language study, student writing samples contain symptom words in excess of fifty percent of the context.

Providing students with the Symptom Word Checklist alone is not sufficient. Students are required to revise their own written work. The following list of rules and steps is designed to help students revise their own written work.


STEP 1: Isolate a sentence form the context and underscore all symptom words.

STEP 2: With a pair of scissors, cut out each sentence and attach to a legal size (8-1/2 x 14) sheet of paper.

Example: For someone you can depend on, he’s the one.

Rule A: Do not indiscriminately delete symptom words. Symptom words can be essential to a given sentence. The occurrence of a symptom word does not necessarily signal obscurity.

STEP 3: Determine whether obscurity is actually a fault in the sentence, as signaled by the symptom word. There are three possible alternatives:

Rule B: If the sentence is clear in spite of occurrence of symptom words, do not alter the sentence.

Rule C: If the sentence is obscure, the sentence should be altered by application of the revision steps and rules.

Rule D: If the student is uncertain whether or not the sentence is clear or obscure, the sentence should be altered.

STEP 4: Cover each symptom word in the sentence to determine if the symptom word is necessary to the sentence meaning. Delete the covered symptom word if the symptom word is not necessary to the sentence meaning.

STEP 5: Substitute a specific referent in the context for the symptom word, if necessary for the meaning.

Example: First Draft: For someone you can depend upon, he’s the one.

STEP 6: Remove all contractions.

Example: First Draft: For someone you can depend on, Sam is the one.

STEP 7: Rearrange (turn around) the sentence in a manner allowing deletion of symptom words.

Example: First Draft: For someone you can depend on, Sam is the one.

Revision: Sam is someone you can depend on.

STEP 8: When possible add a suffix to a word in the sentence allowing deletion of one or more symptom words.

Example; First Draft: Sam is someone you can depend on

Revision: Sam is dependable.

Note: The sentence, For someone you can depend on, he’s the one is specially contrived to allow illustration of the Symptom Word Revision Method. In actual writing practice, the necessity of applying every step and rule to every sentence under revision is not likely.

Explanation D: First category words are most concrete and specific. Second category words are less concrete and specific than first category words, but more concrete and specific than third category words. Third category words, termed symptom words, are the least concrete and specific, and produce no images in the mind of the reader. Symptom words have no meaning of their own, but depend upon other words for meaning. Clear, specific, and concise writing consists of more first and second category words and fewer symptom words. Third category words are called SYMPTOM WORDS because their occurrence in a sentence is a signal of possible confusion or loss of meaning.

EXERCISE G – II: Compare the SYMPTOM WORD CHECKLIST with the words you underlined in Exercise F. Answer the following questions.

1. Does the SYMPTOM WORD CHECKLIST contain all of the third category words in the English language? YES NO

2. Should clear, concise writing contain no symptom words? YES NO

3. Do SYMPTOM WORDS have no meaning unless used with first or second category words? YES NO

4. Are first category words more concrete than second or third category words? YES NO

5. Are third category words called SYMPTOM WORDS? YES NO

6. If the answer to question #5 is YES, explain why in your own words below; if the answer is NO, explain why in your own words.

7. Do SYMPTOM WORDS (third category words), if used effectively, perform the important function of joining first and second category words to form complete sentences? YES NO

8. Do unnecessary SYMPTOM WORDS in a sentence cause obscurity? YES NO

9. Does eliminating all SYMPTOM WORDS from sentences result in telegraphic or telegrammatic writing (writing in the style of a telegram)? YES NO

10. On the same of 100 words from your essay on the meaning of love, underline and count the symptom words contained in the sample. What is the percentage of symptom words in your one hundred word sample?

11. What might you suspect about your writing sample?

12. Revise the one hundred word writing sample by employing the revision Steps and Rules.


Remove all the symptom words from the one hundred word writing sample. Replace only those symptom words which are essential to join the first and second category words in the sample. Avoid the Love is Syndrome. E.g., Love is a child with a puppy. Love is not a child with a puppy. Love might be manifested or exemplified by a child’s love for a puppy.


1. Write a message of one hundred words in telegram style. Do not use first person pronouns.

FIRST Nominative-(Singular) I (Plural) We

PERSON Objective-(Singular) Me (Plural) Us

Possessive-(Singular)My (Plural) Our

Possessive-(Singular) Mine (Plural) Ours

Do not use the second and third person editorial pronouns:

SECOND Nominative (Singular) You (Plural) You
PERSON Objective(Singular)You (Plural) You
Possessive (Singular)Your (Plural) Your

THIRD Nominative (Singular)He, She, It (Plural) They
PERSON Objective (Singular) Him, Her, It (Plural) Them
Possessive (Singular) His, Her, Its (Plural) Their, Theirs

(Note that the possessive form of it is spelled without the apostrophe. The spelling it’s signifies: it is)

(Note that the possessive form their is used when the pronoun precedes the noun, e.g., Their house; the form theirs is used when the pronoun follows the noun and verb, the house is theirs. The E preceeds the I in the spelling of both forms).

2. Insert symptom words wherever essential to join the first and second category words in the telegram, in order to complete basic sentence units.

EXERCISE J – II: Compose 10 sentences. The sentences need not be related to the same topic. Underline all SYMPTOM WORDS in each sentence. What is the total number of words contained in the ten sentences? How many symptom words are contained in the ten sentences? Revise each sentence by applying the SYMPTOM WORD REVISION METHOD. Count the total number of words remaining in the revised sentences. How many symptom words remain in the revised sentences? Are the revised sentences clearer than in the rough draft? YES NO

Are the revised sentences more concise than the rough draft? YES NO Which sentences do you prefer? Rough draft Revisions

Explain why:_____________________________________________________________________

By reducing the number of symptom words in a piece of writing, the total number of words is consequently reduced. When assigned the composition or an essay of five hundred words, the student might well have to compose a rough draft of many more than five hundred words in order to end up with a five hundred word composition, after revision by by the SYMPTOM WORD REVISION METHOD. Symptom words cause padding.

3. Which groups of words most vividly communicate? To which of the three categories does each group of words belong?

A. Moonlight/lake/palm treel guitar music/boy/girl

B. Swiftly/ jumping/ leaping/ diving/ swimming

C. Long/ grey/ hard/ sharp/ pointed/ straight

D. Sometimes/ it/ seems/ as/ if/ 1/ do/ and/ at/ other/ timesi not/ so/ much/ as/ it/ can/ be

A suffix checklist is available. Due to it’s layout, we were unable to include it here. If you would like a copy, we would be happy to fax it to you free of charge. Just e-mail us and ask!

Presentation/Demonstration Forum



Welcome to this new page at I.C.O.M!

For quite some time, I.C.O.M has known that many people will want to use a magic effect to break the ice, make a point, make something memorable or just add some fun and variety to a sales presentation, lecture/demonstration, etc.. We realize that, more than likely, you might enjoy the entire Inner Sanctum, even though your interest in actually becoming a magician has not been at the top of your priority list lately.

At the very least, you will more than justify your membership in I.C.O.M by checking out this Presentation/Demonstration Forum page because being in sales myself for many years (retail, commercial, industrial, in-home), I have a pretty good idea of what you would like to get the edge on the competition and most importantly, be REMEMBERED!

I am just giving you a taste of what is to come, but believe me when I say, your membership will be paid back many times over if you just check in and study this Forum.

The Presentation/Demonstration Forum is for salespeople, teachers, demonstrators, trainers, public speakers, bartenders, etc…..anyone who would like to use “ICE BREAKERS AND POINT MAKERS for all occasions!

The effects, tips, and ideas in the Forum will be simple, direct and powerful…NO FLUFF! I can attest to many of the items since I used them myself, and many more items have come from numerous contacts made during mylecture/demonstration career.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

There’s no business without show business!

These are “truisms” to anyone that has ever tried to get someone happily involved in their product or service. I’m going to close this brief introduction this month with one of the truest “truisms” I know…..“You don’t have to be a magician to love I.C.O.M”

“Business Card Turnover”
Routine By
Bill Wisch

This is a must if you’re a salesman or anyone who gives out lots of business cards. Why just give your card to someone? Make it an experience! One of the things Bobby and I try to convey in our salesforce training seminars is that getting someone to remember you (without making a jerk out of yourself) is more than half the battle in this highly competitive environment.

There are a number of ways to give out your business card in a memorable way (check out our audio tape “ULTIMATE MAGIC RAP ™”, which includes a great method entitled “Give Them The Business”. I will be giving you more fun ways in the future editions of this forum, but this is one that both Bobby and I have used for many years. It’s simple, easy to do and QUICK!


A blank card is taken from your pocket, wallet or card case. With a little “magic”, the card becomes printed on one side with your business information. Then the card is made to be printed on “both” sides! Finally,one side is wiped clean and the card is handed out as your business card.


Remove the card from your pocket, wallet or case making sure that the blank side shows. Handle it naturally and place it flat onto your lefthand, which is open and face up. Place it so the card is on the fingers rather than the palm.

1) This next “move” is what accomplishes the effect and is used several times in the trick, so let me describe what happens and you can practice this over and over until you get it smooth. If you were going to actually turn the card over at this point to show the other side, your thumb would come on top of the card, the hand would turnover and the fingers would move back allowing the reverse side to be seen, right? Well, here is a devastating move created by FRANCIS CARLYLE back in
the 1930’s that you will have to try to believe.

2) The left thumb tip pushes UNDER the card and the fingertips at the outeredge go OVER the top of the card. Now if you turn the hand over and at the same time continue to push the thumb until it comes directly under the fingertips on the other side, you in appearance have turned the card over but have only showed the same side twice! It takes a little practice and “feel” to get smooth but if you try it slowly at first and then build up it up to be done in a natural fashion, you’ll have one heck of an illusion.

3) The best way to practice any sleight (move) is to do the natural move (in this case actually turn the card over a number of times) to see how fast or slow you naturally do it and how the fingers and thumb work, etc., then try to duplicate the natural handling using the false handling. Be careful that you don’t “flash” any of the printed side during the turnover.

4) If you want, reverse the moves at the same pace to get the card back into the original position. It isn’t as difficult as you might think and the illusion of casually showing both sides is perfect. Otherwise, just take the card with the right hand…turn the left hand palm up again and place it back onto the left fingers to repeat the move a couple of times.

5) After showing the card blank on both sides a couple of times (don’t overdo it), take the card with the right hand and rub it against your arm,or sleeve, or whatever and turn the card over showing that now one side is printed.

6) Now rub the blank side against the same place and repeat the turnover move to show both sides being printed…simple enough? Show it printed on both sides a couple of times and then rub it on something and show that now it’s back to being printed on one side only. Now you hand it out…miracle completed.

Naturally, you can embellish this effect with whatever patter you like, especially after you become comfortable with it. I usually don’t make it into the Gettysburg Address, I just say something like, “my printer gave me these blank cards…he said I might enjoy them because they are magical (I’ve already removed the card and started my turnover sequence while talking). Watch! If I just rub the card on the sleeve the side becomes printed (show it). Now if I rub the blank side it becomes printed on both sides (use the turnover move, showing the same side each time). Now, if I rub the card on the sleeve again the side goes blank…don’t ask me! My printer was right…these are magical cards and they may be just as magical for you as well…if you give me a call.”

Make it a habit to use this little effect as much as possible. It will give you practice and, again, be REMEMBERED, which is “real” magic, right? It’s a great way to “turnover” your business card…it has meant business for me!

Ronald J. Dayton
“Promotional magic at its finest”

EFFECT: Performer openly shuffles the deck several times end-to-end, then cuts and completes the cut. Holding the cards at one end in his left hand, he states that he will riffle through the cards until the spectator tells him to stop. This is done, and the card stopped at is removed and tabled face up.

You ask the spectator, ” Is this your card?” He will confirm that it is. You then continue…” Well, you may be surprised to know, it’s my card too!” And with that announcement, you turn the card over to reveal your business card permanently glued to the back of his selected card. The card assembly is then given as a momento of your performance.

METHOD: You will need a deck of cards, a glue stick, and two of your own business cards. Apply glue to the backs of the business cards, then stick one card each on to the backs of two indifferent playing cards. When dry, these cards are placed in second and third position from the front of the deck.

When you shuffle the cards, the halves are held by their ends between the thumbs at the inside ends and fingers at the opposing ends. The first three cards of the left hand or bottom half are allowed to fall first. This retains the position of the two gimmicked cards. When you cut and complete the cut, the two special cards are placed at the approximate center of the deck.

Since the business cards add thickness to the cards, they have been transformed into a type of key-card, or locator card, PP. 106 of the •’ Cyclopedia of Magic. “ As you riffle thru the cards from front to back with the thumb of the right hand, you’ll find that the deck will automatically break or open after the first gimmick card, revealing the face of the second gimmick assembly. The front half of the deck is tabled face up without flashing the back of the top card. The front card of the right hand half of the deck is tabled face up. It is then that you ask your curious question…” Is this your card? ”

By purchasing a deck of matching Pinochle cards, you have a ready source for extra or replacement cards from which to make new business card assemblies.

Also, if for some reason you do not hand out the card assembly ( perhaps they already have your business card ), you may replace their chosen card IN FRONT of the other gimmick in the deck and you’re ready for an instant repeat with a different person, which allows them to ‘choose’ a different card from the first individual.

Bill Wisch

Tricks with money are always in demand for “Ice Breakers & Point Makers for All Occasions”. This effect is age old but perfect for that thought or idea you wish to have “magically remembered”. All you have to do is adapt it to the task at hand.

A dollar bill is made to turn over, without actually doing so.

The face of the bill is facing the spectator. Fold top half AWAY from you (downward) and crease. Now fold right half AWAY from you to the left and crease. Do the same thing again. Now you have a small bundle. Open the bill up carefully TOWARD yourself and then lift up horizontal flap. The bill is now upside down, without actually turning it to the right or left!

Patter example:
“There is a need for lower costs in today’s world (show front of bill). In the real world we know that lower costs mean lower performance (show back of bill by flipping it over).  But the boss doesn’t want to look at the other side. He wants lower costs with higher performance (turn bill over a few times) at the same time.

When you try to do this you end up turning your department upside down.  Yet, there IS a way to get from lower costs to higher performance WITHOUT turning your department upside down! (Do procedure carefully and cleanly.)  What it takes is a new way of doing things and that is what I’m here to discuss with you today.”

Naturally this is a sales presentation and it works quite well. I know because I used this exact method and patter many times in the field while in sales. It captures attention and is simple, quick and different. After you do it a few times it becomes second nature and you have greater facility in performance.  Bartenders could easily adapt this as well as any other person who must make that normal face-to-face meeting memorable.

Bill Wisch

Happy New Year! This is the first segment of this Forum for the year and I felt it necessary to mention a few things about PREPARATION, instead of any specific trick or effect this month.

We designed this page of ICOM for anyone and everyone who was in a position of needing an “Ice Breaker or Point Maker for All Occasion”. You may be a teacher, salesperson, attorney, bartender, trainer, or any other professional that needs some pizzazz, and this Forum will be of great value to you. Following this page monthly, as well as visiting the Beginner’s page; the ICOM Library, and any and all other parts of the conservatory, will give you a tremendous amount of ideas, tips, techniques and strategies to incorporate, depending on your aptitude and motivation. But as you know, it’s not WHAT you do but HOW you do it, and PREPARATION for any effect is no exception.

Here are a few guidelines I try to follow before using an effect as an Ice Breaker or Point Maker:

1) What’s the point?
There should be a definite point to why you’re using that specific effect. If there isn’t one it could be more of a negative than a positive, and cloud up the procedure rather than be the picture worth 1,000 words. I was called by a fortune 500 company one time to help design a sales meeting. The first question I had for the Sales VP was what the one , major point of the meeting was for. I know it was an oversight but he didn’t have one! I suggested “The Magic is You” and then every piece fell into place. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s a cinch you’re going to get there! That’s an old axiom that bears repeating. Each effect you use should have a definite point or justification or don’t use it in this context…use the effect just as entertainment if you get the opportunity.

2)Is it simple?
You can check back in the archives for my article on simplicity and get the full gist of this, but for the most part I recommend you keep the effect as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Any multiple stage routine is difficult to use to drive home a major, simple point (there are exceptions, but they are rare).

3)Am I proficient?
You must know ALL the handlings and ALL the patter and ALL the outs and ALL the “business” BEFORE you even think of performing the effect for anyone, especially a serious client or person you want to impress. This is just common sense. Learn any moves or sleights thoroughly before you devise the patter. This was Slydini’s method (I specifically asked him).

4)Does it fit me?
Only trial and error can tell this but give it a good, sincere try before canning a nice idea or effect.
I try a number of new effects out at Caesar’s every month or so and most of the joy of performing close-up is making an effect that you don’t think you can pull off become one of you’re favorites. If you follow the formula…premise…moves…patter, then you will literally create many effects that fit YOU and adapt and adopt many others.

5)What’s my follow-up?
This isn’t necessarily the point of the effect, but what you will do after making the point. Will you put the props away immediately or just let them sit? Will you hand them out for examination or not?
The point here is not to do anything after you make the “magical” point, to diminish the power and effect. Does that make sense?…think about it and I believe it will.

6)What will you say when they say “How did you do that?”?
My advice is to stay on the point rather than be led off by the mystery. No matter how much they are impressed with the effect they will be mystified and will wonder how you “did it”. Don’t be taken off your purpose. Say something like, “That’s exactly the point…”, or “This is why I used this little effect, to demonstrate the_____________(hit them with the benefit or point you want to convey).
Use the effect like you would use a trained sheepdog to keep a flock of sheep controlled.

These six points just touch the tip of the iceberg, but there is enough here for you to get the idea. To put it simply…you are a surgeon and the effects are your implements. “Go ye and operate!”

ICOM Cyclopedia of Magic

I.C.O.M Cyclopedia of Magic

Compiled And Exclusively Written By Bobby J. Gallo & Ronald J. Dayton Copyright 1998 International Conservatory Of Magic All Rights Reserved

More Than 187 definitions Every Magician Should Know. We feel this is the world’s most complete magician’s glossary.


Acquitment: The sleight involved in showing both hands empty where an object is concealed. The Changeover palm is a popular “aquitment”.

Accordion Pleat: To fold a handkerchief or paper in such a fashion as to appear like an accordion when viewed from the side. The purpose of which is to allow the object to expand in a rapid manner during production.

Afghan Bands: A unique effect in which cloth or paper bands are torn in half along their length producing different and amuzing results at the conclusion of each tear.  The effect uses the mobius principle.

Angles: The viewing path of the audience.

Apparatus:  The equipment used by a performer to present his magic.

Appearance: The production of a single article apparently out of thin-air.

Assistant:  That person or persons who assists or helps in the performance, either directly or indirectly.


Balloon Worker:  A novelty or speciality act in which different style balloons are inflated in entertaining ways,  often coupled with the creation of balloon sculptures.

Billiard Ball: In magic, the name of an object used by magicians in the art of manipulation. A small ball of sorts.

Bill Tube:  A tube and cap made to hold a rolled up dollar bill, often with a screw on or locking cap.  Apparatus is usually machined of brass. Vanished bill appears in tube.

Billet:  A small piece of paper upon which information is written,  used in mental effects.

Bizzare Magic: A form of the magical entertainment that relys on occult, supernatural, or offbeat presentations to add drama to a magic effect.

Black Art:  An old, and very deceptive method of stage magic in which the fact that  black on black background is almost inperceptible.  A near perfect form of visual camouflage and concealment.

Blendo:  Usually referring to an effect in which items such as silks or bills are caused to magically blend together in various ways.

Blindfold Drive:  A very risky form of X-ray vision act in which the perfomer’s vision is obscured with layers of gauze, bandages, metal shields etc.,  then an additional blindfold and possibly a cloth sack for good measure.  Still, in some mysterious way, the person is able to drive and navigate a car through streets he has never seen before.

Blue Room:  A Principle in magic as well as a classic illusion in which the graduated reflective properties of a mirrored cheet of glass are employed.

Book Test:   A specific routine in mentalism in which chosen lines or words in a book are divined by the medium.

Botania:  Effect in which an impressive feather flower bouquet is produced from under a large tube previously shown empty.

Bow Knot: A specialized knot used during certain rope sequences.

Bridge Size Deck: The smaller of the two American sized playing cards. Width measures 2-1/4 in.


Card Discovery: The act of revealing a selected card after being lost in a deck during a magical routine.

Card Index:  A pocket file which separates certain cards from one another so they may be instantly located and openly removed from the pocket.

Card Location: The act of revealing a selected card after being lost in a deck during a magical routine.

Cape: Rarely used apparel of a magician. Early on used as a cover for the concealment and production of articles.

Center Tear:   A method for secretly obtaining a message or image from the folded piece of paper upon which it has been written as the paper is being torn into pieces.

Change Bags:  Cloth bags which have secret compartments to switch one object for another. Some bags have attached handles, others do not, some are even made of clear plastic, but the principle remains the same.

Chapeaugraphy:  A specialized form of entertainment, not necessarily magical, in which a large, donut shaped ring of heavy felt is manipulated to form a  wide variety of hats for the performer to wear.  The changes are rapid, and the patter witty.

Classic Palm: The standard method of concealing an object in the hand unaware to the audience.

Clatter Box: Comedy prop box which falls apart when handled by a spectator.

Clippo:  Term used for a unique cut and restored  effect employing a strip of paper and principles of adhesion.

Close-up: The term for magic that is performed less than ten feet from an audience.

Coin Fold: A vanish of a coin or small object involving a small piece of paper coupled with sleight of hand.

Coin Roll: A Master Flourish involving a coin to travel in between each of the performers fingers over the back of his/her hand.

Confederate:  A secret assistant in the audience, who plays the roll of an ordinary spectator, and relays information to you needed for the completion of certain effects.

Conjuring: A term used in magic to indicate the acting out of magic or, a variation of conjuration, or the summoning of demons to gain supernatural assistance in performing miracles. The term conjuring is synonymous with magic.

Conjurer: An actor playing the part of a magician.

Control: A means by which the performer may secretly cause an object to appear where he / she desires at any given point in time unaware to the audience. Mostly associated with card magic.

Commercial: Material tailored to appeal to the mass public.

Coring: The act of removing the center part of magician’s cotton rope.

Coiling: The act of wrapping a length of rope around the hand.

Crimp:  A bend secretly placed into a card to facilitate finding its location in the deck.

Cull: The secret removal of, and repositioning of a certain card or cards within a deck.

Cut: To separate the cards in the center and reverse the packet positions.


Daub: A secret substance which may be placed under the nail of the thumb or on the pad of a finger so secretly  mark cards.

Dealing: The distribution of playing cards to a number of players/spectators.

Deuce: Another name for a two use in magic and card games.

Diminishing:  Becoming smaller, i.e. Diminishing cards, bills, golf balls, die, etc.

Do-As-I-Do: An effect where a spectator attempts to duplicate the feats of the performer, often with humorous results.

Double Cut: The act of cutting a deck twice rather than the standard single cut.

Double Face:  Special cards printed with  suits and values on both sides.

Double Walled: A gaff where the prop has two compartments, one disguised. Often used to produce, change or vanish an object.

Dropper: A device or holder which is worn under the jacket, near the side edge, which will drop or deliver an object into the performers waiting hand.  i.e. Cigarette Droppers,  Ball Droppers, Coin Droppers etc.


Effect:  A term often used by magicians to refer to the apparent magic as witnessed by an audience during a given trick.

Equivoques’ (Magician’s Choice): An extremely useful and valuable method by which the magician’s influences the out come of an apparent choice by a spectator.


Face: The side of a playing card that shows the value and suit.

Face Card: The cards with values Jack through King.

Face of Deck: The position of the deck where the values show and not the backs.

Fake:  A hidden device which assists in the completion of an effect. Unlike a gimmick, the             fake is visible at all times.  It is an object which appears to be one thing…but acutally has a special purpose.

False Cut: The act of convincing the audience that the cards were legitimately cut when in fact they end up in the identical state as they were prior to the move. Used many times when a False Shuffle is not practical.

False Shuffle: The act of convincing the audience that the cards were legitimately shuffled when in fact they end up in the identical state as they were prior to the move.

Farro Shuffle:  A specialized shuffle in which the cards are divided into two packets, then these butted together, end to end, and the cards interspersed in an alternating fashion.

Fakir: An East Indian magician specializing in physical magic.

Finger-Palm: A type of Palming where the concealed objects is hidden the curled fingers.

F.I.S.M : An international convention and competition…which takes place in Europe every four years.  It is like the olympics of magic.  The very best in the world compete for highly esteemed awards.

Flash: A method by which the performer allows the spectator to briefly see an object used in a magical routine for forcing or misdirection purposes.

Flash Paper: Chemically treated tissue paper which has been allowed to dry.  Contact with fire instantly ignites the paper with an intense burst of fire and light.

Flash Pot: A special container, usually activated by an electrical current which will set off a special powder inside the container, creating a puff of smoke.

Foulard:   A large scarf or covering cloth.  Heavier than a silk.

Flourish: A feat that is a mixture of mystery and dexterity. Often used to demonstrate the skill of the performer. Very pleasing to witness.

Foo Can:  A specialized container which may be shown to be empty even though it actually contains a quantity of liquid.

Force/Forcing (card): The ability of a performer to make a spectator unwittingly choose an object secretly selected by the magician. One of the most guarded secrets in magic.

Free Choice: A truly free selection of an object by a spectator to be used in conjunction with a magical presentation.

French Drop:  An older sleight, used mostly with coins for a vanish. Seldom seen  since newer methods have evolved.  Still effective with modifications.


A joke or funny visual climax to a magic or comedy routine.

A technique used by magicians as well as card sharps to gain the identity of a particular playing card chosen by a spectator or dealt during a card game.

Giant Card: A jumbo version of a normal size playing card generally used in stage magic for visibility reason.

Gimmick: The general term for the a secret device often responsible for the magic effect in a given routine.

Glimpse: The act of the performer secretly noting the identity of an object during a magical routine. Mostly used in card work.

Glide: a sleight used to in-jog the bottom card of the deck to facilitate the illusion of the bottom card being withdrawn.


Hat Coil:  A paper production coil…very visual.  Usually produced from top hats or rice bowls. When inverted releases a streaming flow of paper ribbon.  Great cover for the production of livestock.

Hat Trick: The classic routine of producing empty articles from a top-hat or similar receptacle.

Hold Out:  A secret mechanical device which will deliver objects secretly into or from the performer’s jacket sleeve.

Hooked Coin:  A coin which actually has a hook attached to it for vanishes or productions.

Houdini: The most famous name associated with magic. A Turn of the century magician who specialized in escapes, small magic and spiritualistic stunts.

Houlette:  An old term which indicates a decorative or specialized card case or holder.

Hindu Shuffle: A type of shuffle uses to force of control a card or number of cards.


I.B.M: Acronym for “International Brotherhood of Magician’s ™”.

I.C.O.M: Acronym for The International Conservatory of Magic ™

I.C.O.M Online: A division of I.C.O.M, designed for world-wide students via the Internet.

Illusions: Though a term which can be applied to to all of magic, Illusions generally donate large effects wherein a person is used to illustrate the magic.

Impromptu: In magic, a terms that refers to effects that can be done at any time without special apparatus.

Indicator: Widely used in card magic, a card or object that can be sued to locate the selected object.

In-Jogging: The act of shifting a card or number of cards inward toward the body to facilitate a location of same.


Jinx: In magic, usually refers to a popular magician’s publication from the earlier part of the twentieth century.


Key: A list of code or prompt words used mainly in mentalism effects.

Key Card: A card used as a location device in a card routine.


Lapping: The act of dropping objects into your lap during the course of sit-down close-up magic for subsequent vanishment.

Legerdemain:  A word which translates literally to mean, ” light of hand “.  A fancy way to refer to manual manipulation.

Levitation: The act of seeming to cause an object to rise into the air without visible means of support.

Line: A scripted piece of speech used by an entertainer to give justification to a trick or routine.

Livestock:  The animals used in a magic act.  i.e  Rabbits, Doves, Ducks etc.

Load:  Items which are secretly introduced into a specific place or container for future production.

Locater: See Indicator.

Long Card:  A card which is longer than the rest in the deck.  Used as a locator card.


M.A.E.S: Acronym for the Magician’s Alliance of Easter States ™.

Magician’s Logic: Reasonings that the magician uses to persuade an audience that a given routine is fair and above board. This technique aids in misdirection and keeps the spectators from questioning certain handling in the effect.

Master Flourish: The most technically demanding of the flourish genre. Master flourishes often take years of rehearsal to perfect.

Mechanics grip: The standard way to hold a deck of card prior to dealing.

Mentalism:  The field of magic in which various information is seemingly divined purely by the power of the mind.

Mexican Turnover: A card move in which, during the process of using one card to turn another tabled card over, the cards are secretly switched.

Micro Magic:  Closer than, and more specialized than close-up magic. This is where the performer is usually working for only one or two people.

Misdirection: An action of interest capserpents the audience attention. The process of guiding the audiences attention away from the modus operandi of an effect.

Modus Operandi: In magic, a term which refers to the secret method of an effect.

Mouth Coils:  Specially made packets which will fit into a person’s mouth and allow them to extract yards and yards of  three dimensional paper streamer.

Move: A physical action used in a magical routine. A move may either be obvious or invisible depending upon the demand of the trick.


Nail Nick:  The procedure of using the edge of the thumb nail to press down upon and there-by secretly ‘nick’ or mark a card or object.

Nail Writer:  A secret device, very small, often worn under the thumb nail or on the thumb. This gimmick holds a piece of pencil lead, and allows messages to be secretly written.

Nesting/Nested: A type of gimmick where a number of identical objects are manufactured to be concealed within each other.


Occult: Subject matter dealing with the darker side of the Supernatural.

One Ahead:
 A system or principle in mental magic for discovering information before the audience is aware you are doing so.

One-Way: A term generally referring to a deck of cards of which all are identical. Made mainly for forcing purposes. Term may also be applied to the back design of certain playing cards.

OOM:  Oil of Milk.  An oily substance which, when mixed with water produces a liquid which      resembles milk.

Out-Jogging: The act of shifting a card or number of cards outwards toward from body to facilitate a location of same.

Out To Lunch:  An effect and a principle all rolled into one.  The images on a printed card, usually of business card size and held as the top card of a stack with a rubber band, magically changes.


Palming: The act the concealing a small object in the hand unaware to the audience.

Paddle Move: A valuable sleight which give the illusion of two sides of a hand-held article being identical.

Parlor Magic:  In decades past, a parlor was a room in a home in which guests were entertained.  Parlor Magic refers to the style of magic given in intimate surroundings for small groups of people.

Patter: The scripting used in a magical routine.

Penetration: A type of magic which exhibits solid-through-solid.

Platform Tricks:  Magic which must be performed on platform or stage due to the size of the equipment or the distance required to make the trick effective.

Playing Cards: The single most extensively used prop in the entire realm of magic. Originally developed in the middle ages as a form of entertainent. Others claim that they are a modernized version of the infamous “Tarot Deck”. Modern day decks contain 52 different cards not counting jokers. They come in two sizes, Bridge and Poker. Two primary back colors, red & blue.

Poker Deck: The larger of the two American standard size playing cards.

Poker Shuffle: A type of riffle shuffle used by casino dealers.

Prearrangement: To set-up a deck or other prop beforehand to facilitate a magic trick.

Presentation: The entire magical effect including, the workings, speech and staging of the magic act.

Prestidigitation: French translation for “fast fingers”. Means quite literally, ” rapid fingerwork,”.  It refers specifically to handmovement, but in modern times has come to mean magic of all kinds.

Practice: One of the most important and neglected ingredients for the successful performance of magic.

Production: The article of a number of production apparently out of thin air.

Props:  Short for the technical term derived from the theater, ” properties”…refers to any object, seen or unseen which is handled by the magician.


Q & A: A type of mental magic routine where the performer reveals information written down on small slips of paper by the audience. The information having been secretly obtained beforehand.


Reel:  A small device, spring activeated, which will retrieve or wind a length line back into it.

Release: The freeing of a number of ied or bound objects. Term used in escapes and penetration effects.

Repetition:  A ploy used to fool an audience by doing an innocent action often enough that it is not noticed when it changes into a secret move.

Retension: A charastic of human vision in which the image of an object is held by the optic nerve after it is no longer visible. A perfect example is the Retension Coin Vanish.

Reveal:  The means by which the end result of a certain effect,  such as the value of a chosen card, or the re-appearance of a coin is accomplished.

Reverse: In card magic a term used to in the indication of a selected card by magically reversing same.

Roll Down: a difficult flourish used in coin magic.

Rope Worker:  Yet another specialized act in magic.  This individual works the majority of his effects with rope…also utilizing ribbons, silks or rings to facilitate certain routines.

Roughing Fluid:  A substance which, when applied to cards causes them to slightly adhere to one another.

Ruse:  Fooling an audience by doing something openly which at the same time acts as cover for a secret move or action.

Routining: The act of combining individual magic effects to ascertain the best possible combination in an overall magic performance.

Roving: A style of performance where the entertainer strolls around to small groups of spectators exhibiting close-up magic rather than a set stand-up program.


S.A.M: Acronym for the “Society of American Magicians ™”.

Sandwiched: One card between two others, used in certain effects.

Scaling: The act of throwing cards out into an audience in such a way, and with such force that they often travel remarkable distances.  In some instances, the cards are sometimes made to circle back and return to the stage.

Seance Act: (see spirit act)

Self-Working: A misleading term used to indicate a trick which requires no sleight-of-hand.

Servante’: A secret ledge or bag used in the disposal of attainment of small object unaware to the audience.

Shaved Deck:  Deck which has been tapered at each side, making it wider at one end than at the other.  This allows specific cards turned end for end within the deck to be stripped out.

Short Card:  Playing card which has been made intentionally shorter than the rest in the deck. This card is used as a locator.

Shuttle Pass: A basic sleight in which an object in one hand is seemingly placed into the other  with a dumping or tossing motion.

Silent Act:  An act in which pantomime replaces the spoken word…usually performed to music.

Sleight: A physical move used in magic to bring about a misdirecting action.

Sleight-Of-Hand: General term for th use of sleights in the magical arts.

Simulation: Pretending something is so when it is not.

Spirit Act: The pretended use of spiritualism to seemingly contact those who have passed away.

Spot Card: Any playing card ace through ten.

Spring: A difficult flourish used to cause a deck of cards to fly from one hand to the other.

Spread: To lay a deck of cards out in a row on a table in a long even pattern.

Steal:  A term for the manner in which small objects which are attached to the body in a position of concealment are secretly obtained.

Stock: A portion or packet of cards used in a routine. A portion of a standard deck of cards.

Sucker Trick: An effect in which the spectator thinks he has figured out the secret, or caught the performer making a mistake…only to be proven wrong.

Supernatural: Subject matter dealing with the spirit world.

Suspension: Similar in concept to the levitation…but without the movement.  The object simply appears to be suspended in mid air.


Tarot Deck: An ancient deck of cards consisting of two sections. (Major & Minor Arcana). Used primarily to tell fortunes, the modern day magician often uses them to create magical effects with am occult mood. (see: Bizzare Magic)

Top of Deck: The position of the deck where the backs are uppermost.

Transposition:The act of causing one object to magically change places with another object. The act of causing an object to magically travel elsewhere.

Transformation: The act of causing one object to magically change into another object.

Trey: Another term for a three used in card games and magic.

Turnover: The act of simultaneously reversing an entire deck of cards after using the spread.

Trick: General term used to describe al forms of magic feats, stunts or experiments.

A routine that starts off as a magic trick, but winds up having a humorous conclusion that may or may or may not be magical.

Traps: Secret Compartments in the magician’s table top or passageways in the floor of a stage.

Turn-Up: To deal a number of playing cards upwards during a routine.

Tumbler: A drinking glass or large cup used in magic.


Undercut: To cut the lower portion of a deck of packet of playing cards.

Underground: A potentially popular form of entertainment or communication that is not usually considered mainstream or commercial.


Vanish: Technical term for an effect in which a person or object disappears.

Volunteer:  An audience member employed by the magician to assist during a trick.


Wand: The sign of the magician. a small hand-held rod used for misdirecting purposes as well as the production of hand-held objects.

Waterfall: A difficult flourish used to drop cards singly from one hand to another in an apparently solid ribbon.

Wax (magician’s): A tacky type of wax used for conjuring purposes.

Wiztax: Double sided tape used to mimic the effects of magician’s wax.

Working pure: Performing magic utilizing sleight-of-hand as the main form of modus-operandi.


X-Ray Vision: A term used in magic to convince the audience of the performers ability to peer through solid objects.


You-Do-As-I-Do: A premise in which the spectator mimics the actions of the magician. Often with humorous results.


Zarrow Shuffle: Named after 20th century magician who developed it.

Zinab Deck: A once popular fanning deck produced by Abbott’s Magic. No longer made.

Subject not listed? Just e-mail us and ask, or check out the Devil’s Dictionary in the Dr.Om’s Treatise on Stagecraft for Magicians Cyber-Magic Textbook ™


Dr. Om’s magicschool program of study #3





Because MISDIRECT1ON is essential to performing any magical illusion, Dr.OM is devoting the present installment to this important subject, at a juncture in the magic course at which the topic of misdirection is loomingly important The student should gain both concepts and techniques of misdirection from this, chapter and comprehend the component parts of the art of misdirection.

MISDIRCTION is the art of distracting audience attention away from the “dirty work” (hidden method) and focusing audience attention upon the magical illusion being overtly displayed. MISDIRECTION CONSISTS OF: 1) STEALING; 2) HOLDING; 3) WAITING; 4) PRODUCING; 5) VANISHING: AND DITCHING.


Stealing, simply put, means obtaining an object from a body load, utility holder, pocket, table servante (hidden secret shelf), or chair servante. An assistant, dancer, or show band member are used to “slip” objects to a magician, for his later production, as well. Looking away from the source of the steal and fixing the eys on an object in the other hand, an on or offstage noise, the magician being upstaged by the motion of another actor or object onstage within the audience’s view, and/or distracting patter (talk) are misdirective, i.e. misdirecting the audience’s attention from what they should not see to what the magician wants them to see. If the magician looks at the audience, the audience will look at the magician. If the magician looks at a person or object, the audience will look.


A stolen object should not be immediately produced, but should be secretly concealed and held until the magician has moved his hand (when stealing small objects from the pocket, for example) or has moved his whole body (when stealing larger objects from a table, for example) away from the source of the steal, after the magician has had the concealing hand grasp another misdirective object such as a wand or after the magician has moved his whole body onto an open space away from furniture or other actors on the stage and has waited long enough before producing the concealed object.


Vanishing is the effect experienced by the audience. Ditching is the method whereby the effect is achieved. A hand secretly holding an object may ditch (put) the object into a pocket in the apparent act of taking another object out of the same pocket, usually for use in a subsequent effect. The object to be ditched should be held in finger palm position, leaving the thumb and first and second fingers free to pick up from the pocket the object to be openly revealed, as motivation for going into the pocket, in the first place. An object concealed in finger palm position allows the hand to pick up the further misdirecting object, such as a wand or pencil, leading the audience to believe that nothing else but the wand or pencil is being held by the concealing hand.

(From I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery)


(From I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery)

(From I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery)



The Bobo drop is a method for switching one object for another. For instance, A penny is held in RIGHT finger palm position as a nickel is displayed held by the thumb and the first and second finger tips.


The nickel is seemingly placed into the magician’s own LEFT hand, but is allowed to drop by gravity into RIGHT finger palm position as the penny is actually simultaneously dropped into the LEFT hand. The LEFT hand fingers simultaneously close to mask the falling penny and continues to close into a fist. The RIGHT band picks up a pencil from the RIGHT side pants or suit pocket, simultaneously ditching the nickel into the pocket and then with the pencil taps the LEFT hand, as the Left hand fingers squeeze the supposed nickel which is the actual penny against the palm, seeming to grind and compress the coin. The LEFT hand, then opens to reveal that the nickel has been transformed into a penny. Then, the RIGHT hand replaces the penny and pencil into the RIGHT pocket, thereby resetting the effect for the next performance.


The magician moving from left to right stage holding a bouquet of white roses, passes behind a stage scenery tree with a shelf (servante) invisible to the audience holding a bouquet of red roses. The magician switches bouquet by dropping the white bouquet onto the shelf a picking up the red bouquet. The actions are executed quickly, such that when the magician emerges from behind the tree, the bouquet seems to have instantly and miraculously changed color. This effect is a piece of choreography which must be practiced until perfect.


Plays by Luigi Pirandello
August Strindberg’s “The Dream Play”
Kopit’s Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma Hung You in the Closet and I’M Feeling so Sad




Robert Frost defined poetic metaphor as “.. .talking about something while seeming to be talking about something else.” In the poetry of the magical arts, Frost’s definition rings true. David Copperfield’s beautiful presentation of the classic “Snowfall In China” is marvelous, not only in the magical effect of the falling snow filling the entire stage but also, and perhaps primarily, in the metaphor of his storied recollection of the first snowfall he witnessed as a child. The story and the effect appeal because each of us has witnessed a first snowfall. The metaphoric meaning addresses the newness of all first time experiences to a child. That child and that thirst for newness are still within us. Show me a puzzle and I shall be bewildered. Show me a magic effect and I shall be amazed. Tell me a story and I shall remember it forever.

The metaphor of another classic, “The Miser’s Dream,” appeals to audiences because they experience a metaphoric expression of the universal need and desire for money. In “The Miser’s Dream,” coins are snatched from the air-would that it could be so.

Magicians of the historical past were able to create the illusion of severing the heads from animals and humans and then restoring them. Destroyed and restored effects appeal metaphorically to the audience desire to make whole again not only the physically but also the spiritually and emotionally destroyed in their lives. The “Guillotine Illusion” is one later version of head severing and restoration. “The Sawing a Lady in Half Illusion” was especially metaphorically meaningful during the nineteen thirties when so many were economically and emotionally trying to get their lives back together. The question might be asked: from what was Houdini escaping in the subconscious minds of his audience? Recently, David Blaine performed a variation of the old flagpole-sitting publicity stunt, which was popular during the great depression.

Was Blaine’s two-thousand-and-two audience subconsciously and metaphorically sitting it out and waiting with the performer for an ailing stock market to turn around?

After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the “Immolation Stage Illusion” would have great psychological impact. Seeing a beautiful young lady cremated in a coffin shaped oven and then seeing her restored to her whole self again would provide a metaphoric sub-text suggesting the restoration of the twin towers and all the lives so sadly lost when they fell in flames. There would be no need to back project images of the towers on a scrim. That would be funky over kill, and the metaphor of the effect would be powerful enough.

On a lesser scale, torn and restored effects would produce a similar catharsis in a close-up audience. Close- up magic or small prop stage magic employ simple props in miniature, which are no less metaphorically potent, by subconsciously suggesting the restoration of that which has been destroyed in metaphor by the actual props in use. The effect selected for this lesson may be performed almost impromptu anywhere with found objects.



Do not underestimate the audience impact of this seemingly simple “trick” when well handled and presented with a story line patter tailor made to suit the persona of the performer.


For the larger magician’s hands, whole paper napkins may be used. For smaller hands the napkin may be carefully cut into halves or even into quarters, preferably with scissors. Importantly, the two napkins or portions of a napkin must be identical.


The first napkin or portion is rolled into a tight ball and concealed in the left hand finger palm position.

The second napkin is held hanging by a corner between the first finger and thumb of the right hand and stroked downward by the left hand without flashing or dropping the concealed rolled napkin.

1) With the first, to be restored, napkin in finger palm position of the left hand, the second, to be torn, napkin is displayed downstage to the audience in hanging position by the right hand.

2) The right hand gently waves the napkin three times in the air and then performs a series of three passes of the right hand napkin through the left upward held palm.

3) On the first pass, the right second and third fingers and pinky, clip the first napkin ball, carrying it away hidden behind the second displayed napkin, as the left hand is gracefully and casually turned to the audience to reveal the palm empty.

4) On the second pass the rolled ball is re-deposited into the left hand, in the finger palm position, as the extended second and third fingers and the pinky of the right hand are held as if the right first finger and thumb are holding a tea cup, and gracefully and casually turn to the audience to be revealed empty.

5) The third pass is a misdirecting feint during which nothing happens. The second napkin is merely pulled through the left palm.

6) The free fingers of both hands now tear the second napkin into pieces and roll it into a tight ball, which is held between the first an second fingers and thumb of the right hand and displayed before the audience. (Never move too quickly. The audience must see everything of what you want them to see and see nothing of what you do not want them to see).

7) As the audience is so misdirected to look at the right hand display, the left hand forming a fist is turned thumb side upward.

8) The torn and balled napkin is stuffed gradually and by degrees into the well at the top of the left fist and pushed downward into the fist.

9) Before completely out of sight, the right fingers begin to alternately stuff at the top and pull at the bottom of the fistgradually and by degrees revealing the restored napkin. The stuffed torn napkin must be entirely concealed in the fist, before the restored napkin is entirely exposed to view.

10)When totally revealed. The restored napkin is conducted through a series of three passes, similar to that at the beginning.

1 l) On the first pass, the torn ball is carried away and the left hand revealed empty.

12) On the second pass, the torn ball is re-deposited in the left hand and the right hand is revealed empty.

13) On the third pass, the torn ball is again clipped, removed, and concealed by wrapping it secretly in the whole napkin and rolling both into a tight ball between the palms of both hands held with the back of the left hand facing the floor.

14) The Slydini vanish move (See Dr. OM’S lesson I) is performed.

15) The ball concealed in the right hand is sleeved.

16) Both hands are shown empty.

17) The magician bows and de-sleeves the rolled double napkin ball and ditches the ball, as reaching into the side coat pocket for a prop, perhaps a coin or a deck of cards, to be used in the next effect.


Practice before a mirror to avoid flashing (exposing that which is concealed to the audience) and to move the hands gracefully and slowly for maximum display. Do not perform publicly, until your image in the mirror fools even you. DR. OM’s version of THE TORN AND RESTORED NAPKIN combines handling techniques of the napkin effect with dye tube color changing silk technique. Let your patter TELL A STORY compatible with your magician’s character. Only you should compose your patter. Do not use anyone else’s. PRACTICE and GOOD FORTUNE.

  1. OM

Dr. Om’s magicschool program of study #2




I. TO TRANSPORT (CHANGE THE PLACES OF) TWO OR MORE PHYSICAL OBJECTS (Actually: two vanishments and two reproductions)

II. REQUISITE PROP MATERIALS: A deck of playing cards. (See Lesson IV)


This marvelous effect was revealed to Dr. OM by Master Magician BILL WISCH.

A spectator examines a deck of cards and picks any card from the deck. The magician culls three like cards from the remaining deck, for a total of four like cards, e.g: four aces, and arranges them in the order of: Ace of Spades, at bottom (with faces facing the magician), then: Ace of hearts; Ace of Clubs; and Ace of Diamonds, at the top of the packet. The important matter is that the four cards should be alternatingly black and red. The magician then turns the packet over with backs facing up, in the mechanic’s grip (See Lesson IV of the left hand. The order from the top of the turned over packet is now: A-S, A-H, A-C,and A-D.

The magician requests that the spectator hold out his hand, palm upward, to form a little table, upon which the magician may place cards.

The magician executes a double lift with his right hand turning the two cards over, revealing the face of the second card: the Ace of Hearts.

The magician replaces the two cards held as one back on top of the packet, still held in the mechanic’s grip. Lifting only the top card (Actually the Ace of Spades), he says: “I am going to place this Ace of Hearts on your hand.” He does so, actually placing the Ace of Spades face down on the spectator’s hand, saying: “Now you are holding the Ace of hearts.”

Simultaneously, he overhandedly grasps the remaining three cards in his left hand mechanic’s grip, by placing his right hand three fingers at the front edges and his thumb at the back edges of the packet.

Holding the cards so, in the overgripping right hand, he peels off the top card (Ace of Hearts) to the left, with the ball of his left thumb sliding it onto his left hand fingers and he places the Ace of Hearts at the bottom of the packet.

Doing so, he retains a thumb break, at the back of the two top cards (Now, the Ace of clubs on top of the Ace of Diamonds), by squeezing a bit of the the flesh of the ball of his thumb between the Ace of Hearts at the bottom and the two top cards and by angling the front edges of the two top cards downward at the front, to conceal the break being held at the back.

The magician’s hand is thusly positioned to execute the second double lift, which he does so, by turning his right hand over to the right, as before, to reveal the face of the bottom of the two cards (the Ace of Diamonds) to the spectator; the Ace of Hearts remaining on the palm of his left hand.

The magician replaces the two cards held as one back on top of the Ace of Hearts still held on his left palm, saying “Now, I’m going to put the Ace of Diamonds crosswise on top of the Ace of Hearts on your little platform.” He does so (Actually placing the top card: the Ace of Clubs on the spectator’s palm.

The magician says: “Now which card is on top? The Ace of Diamonds. Right? And which card is at the bottom. The Ace of hearts. Right? Now don’t forget which is which. Do you think I can make them change places by merely waving the two black cards over them-without touching them?”Doing so he says: “Ace of Diamonds on top and Ace of Hearts on the bottom.” He stops waving, saying: ‘There. I think that is done. Now turn over the top card to see if they have changed places.” The spectator does so and to his surprise reveals the Ace of Spades and then the Ace of Clubs. The magician turns over the Aces of Diamonds and Hearts he is holding, saying: “I don’t know how that happened. I guess I waved too hard.”





The principle and method for changing one small object into another small object remain the same, no matter what those small objects may be. For the sake of easily obtaining the prop materials for lesson VI, Dr. OM suggests using a penny and a nickel; the penny is to be transformed into the nickel. In addition, a small magic wand should be placed into either the right side jacket pocket or, if performing without a jacket, into the right side pants pocket. The penny and the nickel should be stored in the same pocket with the wand.



Concealment of a small object, in this case a nickle, in the crotch of the second and third and fourth fingers:


With the nickel concealed in right hand finger palm position, the penny is held and displayed between the index finger and thumb of the same right hand. The right hand seems to place the penny into the open left hand but actually drops the right hand finger palmed nickel into the left hand as the left hand fingers close to mask the dropping nickel as the penny falls from the right index and thumb into the same finger palm position previously occupied by the nickel. The left hand is now holding the nickel and the right hand is holding the penny. Do not allow the two coins to clink together (talk) ,as the noise will give away the dirty work and the spectator will catch on.



Exaggerated Magician’s Rear View

1. Penny display and finger palm concealment of nickel

2. Bobo drop of Exaggerated and retention of penny


If at first, the BOBO DROP proves too difficult, use the left hand concealment, until able to execute the Bobo Drop in a smooth, continuous and quiet motion. The left hand concealment method simply requires holding the nickel in the in the left hand finger palm position and pretending to place the penny into the left hand while retaining it in the right hand, just as with the pom pom in lesson number one. Of course, when the LEFT HAND PRECONCEALMENT METHOD is used, the nickel should be stored in a left hand side pocket and the penny and wand in a right side pocket.

PRESENTATION (Using the Bobo Drop method)

Reach into the left hand pocket and scoop the nickel into finger palm position as grasping the penny between index finger (first finger) and thumb. Display the penny right in the spectator’s face, asking: “Do you see this penny?” Execute Bobo Drop with left hand now holding the nickel in your left fist with closed palm upward still in the spectator’s face and reach into the right hand pocket dropping (DITCHING) the penny and picking up the wand. (Reaching for the “wand” provides covering motivation for the ditch. While saying:“In ancient times, the alchemists were able to change a less valuable metal into a more valuable metal; lead into gold. All they had to was whisper the magic spell and wave a magic staff around the base metal.” Wave the wand back and forth under the back of your left hand. At the right instant, say. “DONE,” simultaneously opening the left hand to reveal the metamorphosed nickel.

When the alternative left hand preconcealment method is used, conceal the nickel in the left hand finger palm position before beginning the effect and wait a while before beginning. CONCEALING AND WAITING ARE MISDIRECTION TECHNIQUES.

After mastering the effect using a penny and a nickel, try the same method with other small objects. USE YOUR IMAGINATION.

NOTE: The BOBO DROP is named for its inventor, magician and author: BOBO.


Dr. OM’s Magic Lessons VII, VIII, IX, & X

Having exercised your imagination about the use of the BOBO DROP (switch) taught in lesson VI, you may have already devised the transpositions (substitutions; switches) for lessons VII, VIII, IX and X. If you have not, here’s how:

VII. TO CHANGE THE SIZE OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT-DIMINISHMENT (make smaller) or AUGMENTATION (make larger) (Actually a vanishment followed by a production).

1) Display a small red pom pom at the finger tips of the right hand.

2) BOBO DROP a right finger palmed larger or smaller red pom pom into the left hand.

3)With the right hand, reach into the right pocket ditching the smaller pom pom into the pocket and picking up a pencil or a mini-wand (which you can make by painting a four inch length of quarter inch dowel black and then painting about 1/2 inch of each tip white-use masking tape for neatness sake).

4) Wave the mini-wand OVER the left hand. Whisper a spell, if you wish.

5) Open the left hand revealing the “GROWN” pom pom.

VIII. TO CHANGE THE COLOR OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT-(Actually A vanishment followed by a production).

Perform with a red pom pom and a pom pom of another color and employ the same procedure as for VII, above.

XI. TO CHANGE THE WEIGHT OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT-(Actually a vanishment followed by a production).



1) Two (2) identical One and one half (1 1/2) inch sponge balls

2) One (1) single edged razor blade


4) One (1) one half (1/2”) steel ball bearing or lead ball, or a goodly quantity of steel nuts without bolts


1) Place one sponge ball aside to be used as is.

2) With the single edged razor blade, cut the other sponge ball exactly in half as neatly as possible. Pressing the sponge ball flat makes the operation easier.

3) Hollow out each half as neatly as possible being careful not to tear the outer shells. If you do tear an outer shell, repair it by gluing a bit of left over rubber fragment to the INSIDE of the shell.

4) Glue the ball bearing to the inside of one shell, OR, if you are using steel nuts, fill both shells as full as possible with nuts letting them literally swim in glue. Make sure that all are securely glued or else they will “talk” (make a bean bag noise) during performance. Of course, a ball bearing will cause no such problem. Let dry thoroughly, and then glue the two shells together again at the cut edges, matching the edges which will inevitably be somewhat irregulary cut. Let dry thoroughly.

5) When dry pick off any residue glue and trim irregularities with a pair of manicure scissors. Apply dish soap and rub with a piece of fine sandpaper, then rinse, squeeze to get rid of excess water, fluff up, and let dry thoroughly. When dry, the loaded sponge ball should look reasonably like the unloaded. If not, go the other way and dirty up the unloaded ball by smearing it with a bit of glue, imitating the smears on the loaded ball.

6) Clean your fingers and hands with paint solvent or nail polish remover and lots of soap and water. It was a messy job.

Kids, do not attempt this project without help from an adult to help with cutting the ball and using the model cement.


1) Place both sponge balls in right side coat or pants pocket with the pencil or mini-wand.

2) In concealment in the pocket, right finger palm the loaded sponge ball and emerge displaying the unloaded sponge ball at the right finger tips. Being careful not to expose the finger palmed loaded ball, exchange the unloaded ball from right to left fingertips while saying:

“As you well know, everyone is weight concious these days. Some people diet, some people exercise, and some people do both. Exercise alone tightens up but doesn’t necessarily take weight off. Take this rubber ball (handing it off to spectator), for instance. Weigh it in your hand. Light as a feather, isn’t it (taking the ball back with the right fingers and apparently tossing it into the left hand, but actually executing the BOBO DROP. Let the loaded ball show through the left grasping fingers an instant, for further misdirection, as turning the left hand over, palm downward and rubbing the displayed back of the left hand with the right index finger, for a moment. Then reach into right pocket for the pencil or mini-wand, saying:) This ball exercises, so it looks slim enough, but feel how heavy it really is.” (Drop the loaded ball into the spectator’s hand). FINIS

X. TO CHANGE THE TEMPERATURE OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT-(Actually a vanishment followed by a production).

Cut a piece of plexiglass into the same size as an ice cube from your own freezer tray. Finger palm an ice cube. Have the spectator hold and feel the plexiglass cube. Employ the BOBO DROP and the pencil or mini-wand ditching ploy and drop the ice cube into the spectator’s open hand. Watch the surprise at how cold it is. Magic is principally a visual art, but whenever possible, appeal to the other senses, as well.



To Penetrate a Solid Physical Object With Another Solid Physical Object


EFFECT: A spectator is called up from the audience and asked to remove his tie and unbutton the top buttons of his shirt and to unbutton his shirt cuff buttons, as well. The spectator, having done so, is then asked to relax as the magician grasps the back of the spectator’s shirt collar and yanks the shirt upward and off, apparently passing through the spectator’s arms and coat.

· pick pocketing;
· cut and restored necktie; and
· mock vanishment.

· Spectator/Assistant, Stooge (a stooge is a secret assistant), pre-dressed in rigged shirt;
· A somewhat oversized white dress shirt to fit spectator loosely;
· Two identical neckties;
· A two piece business suit worn by spectator/assistant;
· A pair of scissors;
· A large white bed sheet;
· A chair;
· A small applause sign concealed in stooge’s left inside suit coat breast pocket;
· Dinner table flatware wrapped in a large white napkin.


CUT AND RESTORED NECKTIE: Identical necktie #1 is tied into a Windsor knot, but the broad end is not allowed to hang down as normal. Instead, it is tucked into the shirt leaving only the knot visible.

The broad end of the identical #2 necktie is cut to the same length as the concealed portion of tie H 1 and is neatly tucked into the knot to resemble a whole tie. The broad end of tie #2 is the portion to be cut during performance.

The concealed portion of tie #1 provides restoration.

SHIRT THROUGH COAT: The oversized shirt is donned cape-like, in that the arms do not go through the shirt sleeves. Instead, only the cuffs are buttoned around the wrists. The top three front buttons from the collar are buttoned; the remaining lower buttons are left unbuttoned. The tie to be cut and restored is donned, as described in cut and restored tie rigging above.

The shirt tails are loosely rolled upward and tucked into the pants belting so that they will not be sat on and prevent shirt removal. A loosely secured belt may be worn. NO suspenders or braces.

The suit coat is donned and buttoned to cover the unbuttoned bottom of the shirt.

The dinner table flatware is rolled into the white dinner napkin and placed into the
spectator/assistant’s right side coat pocket. The stooge is then seated in the audience.

NOTE: Some experimentation by magician and stooge, in order to get the costume rig right is recommended. Practice and rehearsal are required. Dr. OM has hilariously performed this classic routine with school principals, male teachers, social club presidents, and corporate executives, before school and adult audiences who just love the fun!


Sir, yes, you sir. Would you be kind enough to come up on stage and assist me. Why thank you, and what is your name?

STOOGE: (tells his name)

MAGICIAN: Oh my, the Principal of the school, and where were you earlier?

STOOGE: (The Principal replies that he was at lunch at a popular local restaurant).

MAGICIAN: And what is that bulge in your pocket? (The magician grasps the napkin corners and pulls the napkin out of the stooge’s pocket allowing the flatware to clatter to the floor).


MAGICIAN: Oh, I’m sorry for blowing your cover Mr. __________. I should have known you are the principal by the way you are dressed. What a beautiful suit (feeling the downstage lapel between the right thumb outside and the fingers under lapel with thumb rubbing outside of lapel). But your tie. It’s a bit too long, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I’ll fix it (producing scissors from upstage special pocket sewn into the magician’s coattail; magician grasps end of stooge’s tie and begins to clackingly open and close scissors menacingly).

STOOGE: (pleadingly) No! Nol (but magician cuts off bottom of tie and repeats cutting two more times, for a total of the magic three of a running gag, finally leaving only a stub of the tie remaining).

MAGICIAN: Don’t worry Mr. _________, I’ve done this a thousand times before. Now if you will sit down in this chair, firstly, I shall vanish you (holds up one finger). Secondly, I shall bring you back (holds up two fingers); and thirdly, your tie will be in one piece again (holds up two fingers again, implying that the magician can’t even count, much less bring the principal back with his tie restored).

STOOGE: I don’t know if I want to go through with this.

MAGICIAN: Don’t worry, (urging him into the chair) I’ve done this a thousand times and I’ve never been hurt.

STOOGE: OHHHHHHHH! (groaningly, as magician covers him almost entirely with the bed sheet leaving only the principal’ s feet conspicuously sticking out of the sheet. The magician pulls stooge’s shoulders back [through the sheeti into the chair from behind. As he does so, stooge raises legs horizontally from floor necessitating that the magician run around him downstage to push feet down to the floor again. Of course, then he must push shouldes [through the sheet] into the chair and then again has to push legs down to the floor finally getting it right by pushing on stooge’s shoulders and knees at the same time).

MAGICIAN: Now we are ready to vanish you. (Magician makes grandiose magical gesture with waving hands).

STOOGE: OHHHHHHHHH! (groaningly).

MAGICIAN: Are you still in there Mr. ____________

STOOGE: Yes (in a small fearful voice).

MAGICIAN: Let’s try again (repeats gesturing). Are you still in there?


MAGICIAN: ONE MORE TIME! (repeats gesturing). Are you still in there?

STOOGE: No (pulling feet under sheet to vanish them. As all of this sight gag nonsense has been going on, the stooge has put the remaining stub of cut tie #2 into his coat pocket and pulled the tucked in broad end of the whole tie #1 from under his shirt. He has unbuttoned the top three buttons of his shirt and cuffs [make sure he does so or you’ll hang him].

MAGICIAN: There, it’s done. He is gone.


MAGICIAN: I’ll prove it. Are you in there?


MAGICIAN: You see, he’s gone. Now to bring him back. (arm gesturing) ABRACADABRA! Have you come back yet?


Are you returned?


MAGICIAN: AHA! (pulling sheet away) You see I have made him come back (bowing), and

EUREKA: Mr. ____________‘s necktie is again in one piece (holding up the broad end of the tie on the palm of his left hand for audience to view).

STOOGE: (saying nothing takes out and displays applause sign from the inside left breast pocket of his suit coat)

MAGICIAN: And now Sir, prepare yourself for I shall remove your shirt right through your coat. (He does so by reaching under stooge’s suit coat collar by standing behind the stooge’s chair and grasping the back of the shirt collar and yanking the shirt off vertically.)

STOOGE: OHHHHHHHH! (in a high pitched voice). He is left in his undershirt and embarrassedly rushes to right stage and off into the right wings.

MAGICIAN: A big round of applause for Mr. __________. What a good sport.



To Levitate a Physical Object

This lesson XII will be devoted to the flotation of a “SNOWBALL” ZOMBIE by employment of a MECHANICAL GIMMICK.

The next lesson XIII will be devoted to the classic FLOATING HANK utilizing a WIRE contrivance.

Lesson XIV will teach the THREAD method of performing the rising pencil from test tube.

The mechanical gimmick, or concealed MACHINE, for large stage illusions; wire; and thread provide the means for LEVITATION, FLOATATION, and ANIMATION of large or small physical objects. In close-up magic, so-called INVISIBLE THREAD or INVISIBLE ELASTIC are used. In stage magic, heavier wire or thread, larger gimmicks, and concealed heavy mechanical equipment are used.

Until the student can afford to purchase a ZOMBIE BALL set from a magic dealer, instructions for making an experimental set are included in this lesson. Sets may be purchased from BOBBY J. GALLO through I.C.O.M.



A. From a craft shop, obtain a STYROFOAM BALL, about three (3) inches in diameter.
B. Prepare a DOUBLE SILK thirty-six (36) inch square FOULARD (scarf), by having the two silk squares neatly stitched together as close to the edges as possible along the entire periphery.

Black silks are preferred, but the silks may be of any color, as long as they are opaque (cannot be seen through).

C. A sturdy WIRE HANGAR, from which the GIMMICK is fashioned, as follows:

1) From the hangar, cut a straight length of wire about fifteen (15) inches long, providing excess which can be trimmed later.
2) Straighten the length of wire, as cleanly as possible where the bends in the hangar occur, then rebend the wire in the following manner:

3) Pierce the center of the 3” Styrofoam ball with the 2 1/2’ portion of the gimmick thus formed:

4) Form a slight bow in the 12” length of wire to finish the gimmick.

Use white adhesive tape to reinforce attachment of the gimmick to the styrofoam ball. CAUTION: Do not use household or model cement to further reinforce, as the solvents will melt the styrofoam. If further reinforcement is desired, use white glue.

If the looped wire hurts the inserted third finger of the right hand, cover the loops with adhesive tape. Paint the entire gimmick with flat black metal paint.

Basic Performance

1) Place the gimmicked ball on a table facing the audience and. cover it with the foulard, in. such manner as the right hand third finger may be easily inserted in the loops:

2) Grasp upstage edge of the foulard consistently with first and second fingers anct pinkies of each band showing OVER edge of foulard and thumbs and third fingers UNDER foulard with right hand third finger inserted in the gimmick loops. Picking up the foulard and conceald gimmick and ball must be ptacticed until both hands move perfectly consistently and syncbronizedly without hesitancy in inserting the right third finger.

3) Holding the two corners, raise the foulard such that the gimmick and ball are hidden behind by slightly angling the gimmick downward. The third right finger and thumb are used to guide and lift the gimmick and ball.

4) Waving the foulard downstage toward the audiece, or practice mirror, or ‘ICR Camera, walk or dance gracefully downstage of the mounting table while with the thumb and third finger causing the gimmick to rise such tat the ball becomes visible from behind the foulard at the top edge; then, cause the gimmick and ball to fall behind the foulard in a vanishment.

These are the most basic moves of ZOMBIE. Once you have experimented and are convinced that you wish to add the full effect to your repertoire and have purchased a professional set, DR. OM recomends: Tim Wright’s video, titled ZOMBIE, as the difinitive study of the Zombie routine. Copies are available trough BOBBY GALLO and I.C.O.M.

Next Lesson : The Floating Hank



Roughly thirty years ago, in the realm of his musical performing, Dr. OM, while shopping for a new guitar, had thrust into his hands a quite beautiful instrument, by a salesman. The guitar was beautiful but encumbered with all kinds of heavy metal levers and gadgets. Dr. OM drew a laugh from the salesman by commenting: “This is a great guitar but what is all the plumbing for?”

The salesman replied through a chuckle, “Well, for instance, this chromed lever, if depressed, will stretch the strings and bend the tones into a smear.” “But I produce a smear with my fingers. I don’t need a lever,” answered Dr. OM. “Yeah, but these young rockers can’t do it with their fingers. They need a lever.” “So skill and technique is driven out by technology,” lamented Dr. Om. “I guess so,” shrugged the salesman. Needless to say, Dr. OM chose an even better guitar: a Gibson L-5, which he has been playing, ever since. Dr. OM fancies himself to be a minstrel-mountebank of an innocent bygone time.Earlier in the day, on this Sunday, before sitting down to write up the current lesson, Dr. OM and Mother Goose, Mrs. OM, visited their daughter. The grandchildren were watching television. Dr. OM was attracted to a toy company’s advertisement with the same feeling he had experienced when holding the plumber’s special. The toy is a levitation device which will cause a ball, about the size of a ping pong ball, to levitate, float through a limited air space, and land in a cup shaped receptacle; additional small objects are provided by the manufacturer, for the sake of variety. The clever device appears to be a miniature version of a piece of apparatus given to Dr. OM by a retired magician, which, by means of an air pump, serves to levitate a balloon.

Dr. OM, thinking of all the study and practice that magicians undergo, in order to perform animation and levitation, suffered consternation at the reduction to toy land he had witnessed; another instance of skill and technique driven out by technology. However, knowing how way gives way to way, and being aware of the obsolescence of the popular toy, Dr. OM has decided to purchase the levitation device and save it in a drawer. Dr. OM will wait until the toy is forgotten. Perhaps, he will mount it where it cannot be seen in his magic table top, in the manner of a black art well, and employ it to levitate small objects, as a modulation to the levitating balloon, in a sequence, yet to be organized into an animation routine.

What is a minstrel to do in this modern age of chromed levers? What is a magician to do in this modern age of cinematic special effects? Is not a magician dependent upon the innocence of the audience? How could Houdin get away with his magnetic box these days?

How could Merlin get away with vanishing and producing potatoes from his sleeves? How does the modem magician without the funds to produce a ten-million-dollar illusion on the grand scale get along?


Furthermore, incorporate any technology, gaff, or gimmick, which will enable the transformation of a conjuring effect into a minor miracle. Do not hesitate to utilize a device, thinking that to do so is cheating, if it will enhance your performance. The great magicians, throughout the history of magic and to the present day, have done so. Devices do not necessarily preclude skill and technique in the masterly employment of a slight, move, subtlety, or misdirection. In any case, if effective, the audience has no idea but guesswork about how you did it.


Levitation, treated in a previous lesson, is in fact, a species of ANIMATION, as defined in the title of this present chapter. A variety of methods exist for the animation of an object, such as masked thread, invisible thread, wire, and mechanical and electronic gimmickry. As an introduction to animation, the masked thread method is treated herein, because it is the easiest to manage. The effect presented is:


Without the aid of offstage assistants, the performance of The Animated Hank in Bottle is possible in a limited fashion.

The Effect

The audience sees a dormant hank (red silk) lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a gallon jug sitting on a table. The magician mysteriously approaches the jug, lifts it from the table, peers at the hank within, and resets the jug on the table. He then, by means of magical gestures, causes the hank to move within the bottle, rise upward and partially emerge from the mouth of the bottle, and then descend to the bottom. The sequence isrepeated, but the second time, the hank sinks to it’s original sleeping posture at the bottom of the jug.












Rising Pencil From Test Tube (The Thread Method)

The three effects in floatation or levitation treated in this series are chosen for the express purpose of illustrating the three possible methods: 1) Mechanical Gimmick 2) Wire; and 3) Thread. If you can floatate or levitate without employing one of these methods, you are either using forced air or you are a supernatural magician. To further clarify Dr. OM defines LEVITATION, as causing the self or another physical object to rise from the floor or ground; he defines FLOATATION, as not only causing the self or another physical object to rise from the floor or ground, but also to cause the self or another physical object to move through the air: up and down and side to side, that is to FLY.

THE PENCIL RISING IN THE TEST TUBE illustrates the thread method. Be it clearly known that once you have learned the methods, the rest is left to your own imaginative invention: the what and how to float, and the presentation, as an actor performing the character of a magician in a play.

See DR. OM’S TREATISE ON SHOWMAANSHIP AND STAGECRAFT FOR THE PERFORMING MAGICIAN, to learn about assuming a persona and all the other critical ingredients of theatrical performance. It don’t mean a thing, if it a’int got that swing.


1) One standard laboratory test tube;

2) One three quarter length of sharpened pencil. The top of the pencil must not protrude above the mouth of the test tube, once inserted;

3) Superfine black thread, or, better INVISIBLE THREAD purchased from I.C.O.M (or magic dealer) or drawn carefully from easily obtained panty hose; and

4) One button to color match the suit coat or vest.



The test tube and pre-inserted pencil are removed from the outside breast pocket of the suit coat and are extended by the left hand. As the magician makes several magical gestures at the props with his right hand, his body moves gradually, slowly, unnoticeably back from them. He does not farther extend his left hand. The movement backward of the body causes the invisible thread to grow taut and magically raise the pencil such that it protrudes from the mouth of the test tube.


1) Move backward slowly;

2) Do not allow the pencil to rise too high or it will fall out of the test tube and hang there, thereby blowing the effect; and

3) Do not extend the left arm to cause the levitation; let the body’s backward movement do it all, in order produce the illusion.


As previously stated, the three effects in flotation or levitation, treated in this series, are chosen for the express purpose of illustrating the three possible methods: 1) Mechanical Gimmick Method; 2) Wire Method; and 3) Thread Method. There is a fourth method which employs air forced out of a machine, not unlike the blower side on a vacuum cleaner, which is used to float light objects, such as balloons, feathers, and confetti.



1) A red magician’s silk, about nine inches square; and
2) A piece of piano wire.

(A commercial version called “DANCING MATILDA” may be purchased from I.C.O.M or your favorite magic dealer)

The color of the silk is left to the student to choose. DR.OM uses either red or white. The term HANK should be used with audiences. Do not say SILK.


With the right hand thumb thrust into the wire loop and hidden behind the silk, the fingers of the right and left hands move magically to right and left of the silk. Never expose the right thumb, but wiggle it behind the silk to secretly cause the silk to bounce and dance. Practice before a mirror moving the dancing silk downstage toward the audience and upstage toward your face and vertically up and down keeping your eyes always on the silk. ACT. . .ACT.. .ACT Use your imagination. Have an idea of what the silk represents and accordingly kiss it or bite it, have it elude you, cause it to tickle you under the nose, sneeze. The presentation is up to you and must fit your show. The expressions on your face are of utmost importance. The silk becomes a puppet OR A PERSON with whom you interact.

For a more sophisticated version of The Dancing-Floating Handkerchief, which requires an offstage assistant, see BOBBY J. GALLO’S description in the I.C.O.M KID SHOW KONSERVATORY. Some of his ideas may be applied to this one man version.


Dr. Om’s magicschool program of Study #1



Here it is! The world’s first step-by-step course on “How To Become A Magician!” We are honored a proud to have the world’s finest magic teacher, Dr. Oscar Mucariello teach “you” the I.C.O.M member the CORRECT way to perform magic. Over time, lessons will be added to this forum until it becomes the DEFINITIVE course on legerdemain. So strap yourself in, get a big bowl of popcorn, a deck of cards, some coins and a generous supply of pom, poms, (you’ll see) and open up your mind to the most prolific man in magic…Dr. Om!

Lesson I


Hereby is initiated the new
on four successive levels:





The student may begin studies at any appropriate level, and yet review earlier levels of study, as needed, or desired.







4) TO TRANSPORT (TO CHANGE THE LOCATION OF) ONE PHYSICAL OBJECT (Actually: a vanishment and reproduction);

5) TO TRANSPOSE (CHANGE THE PLACES OF) TWO OR MORE PHYSICAL OBJECTS (Actually: two vanishments and two reproductions);

6) TO CHANGE THE FORM OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT (Actually a vanishment and a production);

7) TO CHANGE THE SIZE OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT-DIMINISHMENT (smaller) or AUGMENTATION (larger)-(Actually: a vanishment and a production);

8) TO CHANGE THE COLOR OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT (Actually a vanishment and a production);

9) TO CHANGE THE WEIGHT OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT Actually a vanishment and a production);

10) TO CHANGE THE TEMPERATURE OF A PHYSICAL OBJECT-Hot to cold or cold to hot-(Actually a vanishment and a production);



13) TO ANIMATE (seem to bring to “life;” to cause to move) A PREVIOUSLY INANIMATE (lifeless; motionless) PHYSICAL OBJECT;

















F) GIMMICK (A mechanical or electronic aid to the manipulation of a prop);

G) GAFF (An alteration of the original state of a prop, for instance: changing one of the pips (suit indicators) on a card, e.g: diamond to heart);

H) UTILITY PROP: (Hidden mechanical, electronic, or chemical device);

I) PREARRANGEMENT ( e.g: a stacked deck);

J) SALTING (Hiding objects about the venue before a performance);






III. TECHNIQUE DESCRIPTION (Sleights, moves, gaffs, gimmicks, etc.)






IX. EFFECT APPLICATIONS (For carry-over of learnings to other magical effects)


Lesson II








IV. CHARACTER ESTABLISHMENT (Your character must captivate and hold your audience from the first moment “on stage”):










Practice placing a small pom pom into the left hand with the right hand, by actually doing so and memorizing how your own action appears to you. Do so, over and over again, before REST PALMING it in the right hand and closing the left hand fingers over the now empty left palm, but BELIEVE that the pom pom is in the left hand. The left hand fingers close, as the pom pom is seemingly deposited into the left hand. The left hand moves about five inches to the left, as if taking the pom pom away, as the right hand remains perfectly still and in place. If the right hand were to move and the left hand remain still, the illusion would be lost., because the right hand would be seen as taking the pom pom away, which in actuality it would be doing, but your intent is to have the spectator see the left hand taking the pom pom away.

1) In the case of vanishing a small object such as the pom pom, have the fingertips of the left hand close to rest upon the “Life Line,” at the base of the ham of the thumb.

2) In the case of vanishing a somewhat larger object, have the fingertips of the left hand rest as far over the ham of the thumb as they can reach.

3) In the case of vanishing a yet larger object, have the fingertips of the left hand rest as far over the ham of the thumb, as in (2), but extend the tip of the first finger to rest upon the first joint of the second finger and puff up the hand implying an object of larger size is being held in the left hand.

Meanwhile, retain the pom pom in the THUMB PALM (ITALIAN PALM), at the base of the thumb and first finger, allowing the tip of the thumb to protrude above the first finger knuckle, lending a naturally empty appearance to the right hand. Do not move the right hand.


Having registered that the pom pom is in the left hand, rub the left hand fingers against the the left hand thumb and thumb ham, as if massaging the pom pom. Turn the left fist over upstage toward you and and for the first time moving the right hand, magically rub the back of the left fist with the right hand extended fingers with thumb upstage toward you. Rub magically, as if the action is vanishing the pom pom, and simultaneously incline your head to the left looking down at the back of your left hand with your face half-downstage toward the audience. All of the hand action is to be performed at about breast level.

Once the vanish is registered, turn the left hand over again and, with palm facing upward, lightly toss the now seemingly invisible pom pom into the air, letting the eyes follow it in its assent. The tossing left hand should not rise above the chin. Say one thousand to yourself (marking one second); reach up with the right hand pushing the pom pom to the right hand fingertips with the right hand thumb, as you pull the right hand back down again about three inches producing the pom pom at the tips of of the right hand fingers at the stopping point.

NOTE: Other small objects, other than pom poms may be so vanished and reproduced, such as: sponge balls, coins, dice, jacks, cotton balls, rolled up pieces of napkins, cherries, olives, or grapes (being careful not to squish), in other words: any small object.



Three small pink pom poms are displayed in a row on the table top. The magician places two of the pom poms into his right hand and the third into his right side pocket. When the magician opens his left hand, it holds three of the pom poms which he pours back onto the table top. Advising the spectator to pay closer attention, the same actions are repeated a second time, but, again, the pom pom placed into the side pocket magically rejoins the two in the magician’s left hand. The magician then causes all three pom poms to be vanished from the left hand, to be replaced by a climactic giant pom pom.


Four small pink pom poms ( Notice that you are showing three, but are working with four; the fourth is concealed) and one pom pom about three times the size of the small. Note: pink provides the best camouflage against the skin color of the palm of the hand. If the student prefers, sponge balls may be used, instead.


Place the four small pom poms and the giant pom pom in the right side coat or pants pocket.


1) With the right hand, remove the four small pom poms from the right pocket. In the confines of the pocket, hidden from view, first place the fourth concealed pom pom in rest palm position,at the bases of the third finger and pinky, then grasp the three to be displayed with the first and second fingers and thumb. Remove the right hand from the pocket, first displaying them and then laying them in a row on the table top.

2) Point to each of the tabled three pom poms with the right first finger ( Thus avoiding suspicion that the right hand is concealing a fourth pom pom. if you wish, a wand may be used to point, providing even more misdirection, because a hand holding a visible object is psychologically not suspected of holding a non-visible object), Saying: “One, two, three. This is an arithmetic test.”

3) Pick up the first pom pom, at the right, with the right fingers, and display it and actually placing it on the left palm, saying: “One.”

4) Pick up the second pom pom with the right hand, actually placing it in the left hand, saying “two,” but as well drop the rest palmed concealed pom pom into the left hand, at the same time. Curling the left hand fingers upward will mask (conceal) the action and not reveal that the left hand actually holds three pom poms, as the fingers close over the three pom poms.

5) Casually reveal the right hand empty, as picking up the third pom pom from the table, saying: “and the third goes into my pocket.” Do not make a flourish of displaying the right hand empty.

6) Seemingly place the apparent “third” pom pom remaining on the table, into the right side pocket. While still in the pocket conceal the pom pom in rest palm position.

7) Remove the right hand concealing the pom pom from the pocket and tap the left clenched fist, saying: “Now, how many are in my hand?” The spectator will generally say “two.”

8) Pour the three pom poms onto the table saying: “You have to pay closer attention.” (OUT): If the spectator guesses, saying: “three,” say: You know, you’re pretty good at this. Let’s try it again.” (In performance, “outs” are most important. An “out” is A WAY OUT of an undesired response, when a spectators try to out trick you, as they often will, or when something goes wrong, in the execution of an effect, because of your own error).

9) Pick up one pom porn with the right hand, placing it in the left hand, saying: “one.”

10) Pick up the second pom pom, with the right hand, placing it into the left hand, saying: “two,” but drop the rest palmed concealed pom porn, into the left hand at the same time. Curling the left fingers upward will again mask the three pom poms, actually held in the left hand, as the fingers close over the three pom poms.

11) Casually reveal the right hand empty, as picking up the still tabled “third” pom pom, again, saying: “and the third goes into my pocket.” Do not make a flourish of displaying the right hand empty.

12) Actually place the “third” pom pom into the right side pocket, leaving it there and steal ( secretly pick up) the giant pom pom concealed, in the rest palm position.

13) Remove the right hand from the pocket, concealing the giant pom pom and tap the left clenched fist, saying: “Now, how many are in my hand?”

14) If the spectator says “two,” say: “I told you, you have to pay closer attention.” If the spectator guessingly says: “three,” say.” You know, you’re getting better at this,” as you pour the three pom poms onto the table.


15) Point to each of the tabled three pom poms, with the right first finger, still concealing the giant pom pom in rest palm position, saying: one,two, and three.”

16) Pick up one pom porn with the right hand, actually placing it in the left hand, saying: “one.”

17) Pick up the second pom porn with the right hand and seemingly place it in the left hand, but actually steal the first om pom from the left hand, with the right hand, and drop the giant pom pom into the left hand. quickly curling the left hand fingers upward and closing them in a fist will mask the giant porn pom.

18) With the right hand pick up the third pom pom from the table (with the first two pom poms concealed in finger palm position, at the bases of the second and third fingers of the right hand), saying: “and the third goes into my pocket,” actually depositing all three small pom poms into the side pocket.

19) Remove the empty right hand from the pocket, casually revealing it to be empty. Tap the back of the clenched left hand, saying: “Now, how many do I have in my hand?”

20) Irrespective of the spectator’s response, ask the spectator for his hand. When offered, say: “No, the clean one.” Receive the back of the spectator’s hand, in your right hand, both held palm upward. Place the giant pom pom into the spectator’hand with your left hand held palm downward. Close the spectator’s fingers over the giant pom pom with your right hand, asking: “Now, how many do you have in your hand?” Irrespective of the response, say. “Would you please open your hand.” When the spectator does so, revealing the giant pom pom, say: “How did you do that?” as if the spectator performed the magic.


If the giant pom pom is the same color (pink), as the small pink pom poms, a TRANSFERENCE and TRANSFORMATION (size) or METAMORPHOSIS has been effected; if a different color (red) giant pom pom is employed, a COLOR CHANGE has been effected, as well.

ONE, TWO, THREE, AND OUT was Houdini’s favorite impromptu table effect, which he performed with pieces of paper napkins, obtained from the table or napkin holder,as found objects and secretly rolled up into pom poms beneath the table top; his lap serving as a shelf or servante. Houdini did not provide a giant pom pom climax, but twirled the fingers of both hands outward, to finally reveal both hands empty. When performing for children, remember that they prefer productions to vanishes. Generally, every effect should present a climactic surprise. As an impromptu for adults, Houdini’s ending is appropriate and practical.


On more than one occasion, Dr. OM has seen a skunk illuminated and transfigured by moonlight. The light flooding on the skunk, in the otherwise darkness, makes the white of its fur gleam brightly
and as purely as new fallen snow against the jet blackness of the dark side of its coat. Lesson: A magician, in white tie and black tails, in general lighting on stage, or in other irridescent costume, can be made to glisten in the eyes of his audience, in a way that casts a magical aura over his entire person.

A Raccoon, in moonlight, is translucently silver and seems transformed and glorified larger than life. Dr. OM has seen magicians and other actors who are rather nondescript, in ordinary daily life, so transformed and glorified by make-up, costuming, and lighting, that they appear on stage to be heroically larger than life.

There came to Dr. OM’s back yard, for a period of time, a thin and bedraggled raccoon who would look so forelornly and pleadingly at him with her nose quiveringly pointed downward and her eyes peering over her nose, so pitiably upward through her mask at him, that Dr. OM felt compelled to feed her table scraps each evening. Evening after evening, she returned to be his dinner guest, until one evening she appeared no more.

She had been growing fatter eating the table scraps, and Dr. OM was fearful that something had happened to her, else, why had she not returned, when she did so enjoy being invited to dinner. One evening, some time later in spring, she suddenly reappeared at dinnertime, but she made her reappearance with four newborn cubs, Dr. OM happily fed the five of them, for a time, until one evening, there appeared Mrs. Raccoon, her four cubs, and Mr. Raccoon. Dr. OM fed the six of them.

On it went, until on a later evening, there clamored to Dr. OM’S dinner table: Mrs. Raccoon, her four cubs, Mr. Raccoon, Mrs. Raccoon’s sister with her four cubs, and Mrs. Raccoon’s brother-in-law.

Lesson: Perhaps the fascination with the magical multiplication of objects such as pom poms, sponge balls, billiard balls, and coins derives from nature. MULTUM EX PARVO (MUCH OUT OF LITTLE) appears to be magically caused, even in nature. Perhaps, deep within what Jung termed THE PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS resides the primordial memory that spirit magic (Nature Deity) causes much to come out of little, thereby, current illusion based on the form stimulates an ancient recall of that magical belief.

All of art depends upon unconscious mythic recollections and illusions which evoke the mythic past by stimulating the audiences into associations causing a vicarious emotional experience, an alternative reality. Music can cause the feelings of fear, peace, love, agitation, excitement, happiness, and sadness, in a listener in whom, only a moment before, the emotion was entirely absent. Foreshortening in painting can cause a viewer to see three dimensionality in a two dimensional object. The removed fourth wall of the proscenium arch stage, on which a so called realistic drama is being performed, can produce the illusion for an audience that reality is actually being witnessed.

Dr. OM has been complimented by other musicians, for his musical performances. A classical pianist once told him that it was a pleasure to hear his music so correctly played; another musician praised his harmonies; but the greatest compliments occur on those occasions when an emotionally moved, lovely lady whispers a thank you for his music, with a tear in her eye. Applause for Dr. OM’s magical effects is always pleasing, but the sound of the audience drawing its breath, at moments of shared illusion, is so much more pleasing.


Where is Dr. OM When he is dreaming of Dr. OM dreaming of Dr. OM?


I found a weed
that had a

mirror in it and that mirror

looked in at
a mirror in

me that hada weed in it.

Dr. OM’s magicschool lesson number III

As was lesson number one, lesson number two is again devoted to those forms of magic termed:

1)To Vanish a Physical Object; and 2)To Reproduce a Physical Object, but this time with playing cards, instead of pom poms or other small objects. In the case of burying a card in a deck and then finding it again, the envanishment is a mere matter of losing the card from sight; the reproduction is a mere matter of finding the card again–no mere matter without technical device, however.


The choice of a brand and size of cards is individually important. Adults with average or large sized hands should certainly use poker sized cards. Adults with small hands should use bridge sized cards, a The conventional wisdom is that all adults should practice with poker sized cards against the times they must perform with borrowed decks. In fact, professional magicians with small hands do use bridge sized cards, especially for the purpose of palming. Dr. OM, himself uses poker sized red Bicycle Rider back decks, but would have no compunction about using a bridge sized deck, if his hands were smaller. As in all: whatever works, works.

Pre-teens should use either bridge sized or miniature cards. Miniature cards are readily available at magic stores, hobby shops, and party supply shops. Card size advice is here intended for the ladies, as well as the gentlemen.

The student should experiment with the variety of card brands offered on the market. Some brands are stiffer than others; some brands are thicker than others; and some brands are more slippery than others. The choice of both card size and brand is entirely personal.


The card lost in the deck and then found by the magician effect, may not be seen as an envanishment and reproduction by justifiable purists who, should such be the case, may assign it to an additional magical form of preference such as LOST AND FOUND or BURIED AND EXHUMED, but still, the effect is certainly a sub species of envanishment (the card being put out of sight) and reproduction (the card being located and identified).

A LOCATOR CARD is a card used to find a selected (Dr. OM prefers the term: TAKEN) card by deceptively placing the locator card next to the taken card.

A MARKED CARD is a card, the back of which, has been imperceptively and encodedly marked to indicate the value and suit of the face of the card, e.g, value: three; suit: hearts.

The LOCATOR CARD and the MARKED CARD are familiar devices known even to the novice and layman, however, herein is described a most unusual, deceptive, misleading, and misdirective employment of both devices.


A spectator freely TAKES a card from the spread or fanned deck. The magician cuts the deck, requesting that the spectator place the taken card ( Always say: “TAKE a card”, rather than “Pick a card” or “Select a card;” and then say: “CONCENTRATE ON THE CARD,” rather than “Remember the card.”) on top of the tabled or magician’s hand held bottom packet. The magician then replaces the top packet ( a packet is any portion of the deck smaller than the whole deck) on top of the taken and replaced card, and executes a series of cuts (three or five; odd numbers being more consistent with statistical randomization than even numbers) each packet cut is randomly placed on the table top. The magician then reassembles the packet in a random order, causing the taken card to appear hopelessly lost in the deck.

The magician next requests the spectator to do likewise. When the spectator has randomly cut and reassembled the deck, the magician spreads the cards vertically with the faces facing the spectator, such that only the backs of the cards are visible to the magician.

Looking over the top edges of the cards in the deck so spread and directly into the eyes of the spectator, the magician UP JOGS* the taken card such that it rises above the top edges of the rest of the pack, saying: “I sense that this is your card,” and, of course, it is.


Unlike the result of a shuffle, cutting a deck of cards, even many times, will not disturb the adjacency of two cards. The statistical probability of a cut or a series of cuts separating two cards buried next to one another in the deck is highly unlikely.

Unlike a completely marked deck, only the locator card is a marked card. Being the only marked card in the deck, its detection is remote. Dr. OM marks his card with commercially manufactured white transfer marking sheets, placing a white S at each corner of the card just within, not on, the white border. The white S is camouflaged by the white filigreed decoration on the red back of a Bicycle Rider back card. Card handlers usually prefer blue backed cards as more deceptive to the eye, especially in the cases of a double lift or a false count, but Dr. OM prefers the hotter festive look of red backed cards, as more consistent with his style of performance. Until the student is able to obtain commercial markings, an extremely well sharpened hard leaded pencil may be used to impress a barely discernable dot at each corner, just within the white border, which is just as easy for the magician to glimpse as a commercial white marking, but may be easier for spectator’s to detect in later use of the deck when the backs are shown, in a subsequent effect.

Having marked the single card (Dr. OM uses the QUEEN OF HEARTS, his magical muse),

  • preplace the marked card at the bottom of the deck.
  • Have the spectator take a card.
  • Holding the deck in the left hand mechanic’s grip.

Mechanic’s Grip
Swivel cut the top half of the deck to the left by grasping the front edge of the packet with the index (forefinger; first finger) and the back edge of the packet with the thumb of the right hand and twisting the top packet to the left.

Place the top packet on the table and request that the spectator replace the taken card on top of the tabled packet. Make sure that the spectator previously concentrates on the card and shows it to the others in the audience for their concentration, as well.

Execute the series of random cuts and reassemble the deck. Request that the spectator do the same. Pick up and vertically spread the deck with faces toward the spectators. Look over the top edges of the spread into the spectator’s eyes. Glimpse the back of the marked locator card. The spectator’s taken card will be the card immediately to the left of the marked locator card from the magician’s position of view (vantage). UP JOG (elevate) the marked card above the edges of the other spread cards, saying: “I sense that this is your card.”

Remove the taken card and give it to the spectator, but DO NOT say: “For your your examination,” or anything else of the sort. If the spectator does examine the card, it will prove clean. Close the spread, burying the marked locator card. The dirty work is on the marked locator card buried in the pack, once the spread is closed.

MISDIRECTION is provided by the multiple cutting of the deck, the magician looking at the backs rather than the faces of the cards, and the spectator’s attention misdirected to the clean taken card as the dirty marked locator card is buried in the spread.

NOTE: Given appropriate presentation style, the effect is performable as a straight card effect, a mind reading experiment, a feat of ESP, an act of psychic phenomenon, or any other manifestation your imagination can conjure up. Try it; you’ll like it.

*If you need help with any terms, please e-mail us.

Co-Director’s Notes: This lesson was created at approximately the same time as “The Perfect Card Trick” last month in the Beginner’s Study. Though it does have a few similarities in concept there are a number of different subtilties that the student may wish to take note of. See if you can find them!…BJG


(The first installment incorporated lesson I, II & III)


4) TO TRANSPORT (TO CHANGE THE LOCATION OF) ONE PHYSICAL OBJECT (Actually: a vanishment and reproduction).

In each lesson, Dr. OM strives to provide an excellent professional magical effect by way of example of the form under study, even though the primary goal of the course is to convey to the student the CONCEPT of each of the twenty-three forms. The student is encouraged to reread the course description before pursuing each lesson, as a reminder of proper practice procedure.



Variant executions of the DOUBLE LIFT (lifting two cards as one) are in practice among professional magicians. Dr. OM has elected to present here an easy and efficient method, as follows:

1) Hold the deck in the left hand mechanic’s grip (NOTE: Some but not all, left-handed professional magicians of Dr. OM’s acquaintance choose to reverse the order of the hand manipulation, i.e: using the left hand, when the right hand is indicated and the right hand, when the left hand is indicated. The student should make the choice as early on as possible, for long term growth. Switching horses in the middle of the stream results in loss of time).

2) With the left index finger, push against the front edge of the deck, thereby in-jogging the top of the deck to cause a beveled back edge of the deck, allowing for easy pick-up of the two top cards.

3) At the back edge, lift the top two cards as if one card, at the right side back corner, with the right hand thumb and first finger. The right thumb, striking against the back edge of the two cards, push slides them forward on top of the deck.

4) The right hand thumb on top and the first and second fingers beneath, grasp and pinch the two cards together, at the front right corners, holding them as one card.

5) Turn both cards as one over m a sweeping forward, then backward, lengthwise motion, lining them up with the top of the deck.

6) Hold a left-handed pinky break under the back right corner under both lifted cards. A pinky break is effected by pressing as little as possible of the fleshy ball of the pinky under a card or cards, in order to hold them ever so slightly elevated in preparation for a later pick up.

7) Pause, Displaying top face up card (both lifted cards are of course now face up; the actual top card lies hidden under the second card) See photo below.

This is an exaggerated view of the DOUBLE LIFT. In reality, the two cards are squeezed together as they are lifted upwards and are not separated as shown. But here is shows the basic mechanics of the sleight.

8) Place first and second right fingers under back right corners of both cards held in the pinky break. Place the right thumb on top of the same corner and pinch the two cards together as one.

9) Slide the left long edges of both pinched cards as one from left to right along the top of the deck holding the long side edges of the cards in vertical position on top of right edge of deck top.

10) Still pinching corners, turn both cards over as one in turning of book page motion and LET FALL FACE DOWN as one card, on top of deck.

(NOTE: Thought, the left hand continuously squares up the two cards such that they constantly appear as one. With practice, all moves are to be interruptedly executed in a smooth continuous motion. As in the study of anatomy, the parts are broken down for clarity of explanation and progressive learning, but cannot exist and are not to be executed piecemeal. Do not perform any effect before an audience until all moves are mastered as one continuous, integrated motion)


Having executed the double lift moves through Number Eight, turn over only the top card, which will appear as a transportation to the audience who have been seeing the face of the second card, as it were the face of the top card. Herein are the bare bones of the top lift and disclosure. Imaginative ways of disclosing the apparently transported cards are in practice by professionals and should be imaginatively devised by the student. For Example, after having displayed the second card as if it were the top card and having executed the final drop move, the magician might pinch just the top card and extend it at arm’s length, saying: “Are you sure this card is the Three of Hearts? (the name of the previously displayed second card) The spectator should answer: “Yes.” Upon which the performer says: “Are you really sure?” and flip over the card to face the audience, revealing that it and the previously displayed card have apparently been transported. The effect may as well be regarded as a transformation of one card into the other. The lines among forms are at times not finely drawn. More elaborate card effects employing the top lift will be presented in subsequent lessons, as Dr. OM recycles through the study of magical forms.

ASSIGNMENT A: Devise at least one other novel way of disclosing the transformation.

ASSIGNMENT B: Referring to previous lessons one through three, presented in the last issue, effect a transformation of size, color, or entire object, utilizing pom poms or other small objects.

Over the years, Dr. OM has found himself to be amazed by magical effects performed by others, many of them quite simple effects, at that, only to be dismayed, upon having learned the effect himself, to discover that the magicality had passed. Please refer to Dr. OM’s TREATISE ON STAGECRAFT AND SHOWMANSHIP FOR THE PERFORMING MAGICIAN, ongoingly published by I.C.O.M, and read about believing and believability. The magician-actor must believe that magic is actually happening, in order that the audience believes. The treatise is a most important companion piece to the lessons presented in the MAGICSCHOOL. Just “DOING TRICKS” is not the goal of the magicschool. Rather, magical psychology, misdirection, concepts of magical forms, stagecraft, showmanship, and ultimately becoming professional performing magicians are the objectives ambitiously set by Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch for the students of MAGICSCHOOL.

(Actually: two vanishments and two reproductions)

ICOM Simplified Fortune Telling System

The I.C.O.M Simplified Fortune Telling System For “Entertainment“(tm)

As a magician, in time you will inevitably be asked if you tell fortunes. In this Co-directors opinion, it is acceptable to perform this entertainment for your spectators so long as it is understood by those watching that it is indeed done for entertainment purposes only and is clearly stated prior to the performance.

The feature that makes this system practical is that it uses ordinary playing cards. Tarot cards are usually associated with fortune telling but it is justifiable that some audience members may feel a bit uncomfortable with them due to the imagery usually associated with them.


Ask the spectator to shuffle the cards. then lay out seven cards, face up in a row onto the table. These are the cards that it is said will reveal the past. The same is now done with another row. This row claims to foretell the future!

Study the key chart below to learn the representations of the various pips and values. It may be a good idea to print the chart out and keep it with you as a guide until it is memorized.

Ron Dayton suggestion: Special thanks to Ron Dayton for his excellent suggestion regarding the placement of the following key card. Ron recommends printing the key on a small business card size piece of paper and then sliding it into the cellophane wrapper in-between the wrapper and card box which accompanies all decks of better playing cards. With this set-up, the box may be placed aside and casually glimpsed when the reading takes place. This way you are always ready!

Interpreting the cards:

Suppose the seven cards selected are the the King of Clubs, Ten of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts, Three of Spades, Two of Clubs, Five of Diamonds, and the Jack of Spades.

  • The King of Clubs indicates that your father will be involved in something that interests you (could be a hobby or a trip?)
  • The Ten of Diamonds show that you are going to acquire money!
  • The Eight of Hearts says that you are going on a long journey to visit a friend or relative.
  • The Three of Spades foretells that you must be cautious with a decision concerning your job. (ain’t that always the case!?)
  • The Two of Clubs reveals that you are going to love your next hobby (Possibly membership in ICOM with your father as stated by the King of Clubs?)
  • The Five of Diamonds seems to know that the money you will acquire through the Ten of Diamonds will be the subject of a possible argument. (Remember to share!)
  • Finally, the Jack of Spades proclaims that you may someday be your own boss! (A world Class magician by being a member of I.C.O.M!)

The student may or may not wish to elaborate on this system with cold reading and/or palm reading. I feel it is fine as it is as an adjunct to a close-up magic performance. However, this is a personal decision that must be made by the individual performer. For further references and texts relating to the art of fortune telling, e-mail us and I would be more than happy to recommend further reading on the subject. Just use your “Virtual Lessons”.

Remember to weave the answers together with the other cards and always keep it positive and enjoyable. Never, Ever give negative fortunes, remember, this is entertainment!

A First aid kit for magicians

A First Aid Kit For Magicians

Ronald J. Dayton

The scenario is this; You’re away from home, doing an away show when a series of events begins to go wrong…what do you do?! If you are prepared in advance…you can be ready for the vast majority of problems.

1. Make sure your car has been run through the same series of checks you would do if you were going on a standard trip. Tires up to suggested pressure, a good spare in the trunk, fluid levels capped off, horn, lights, belts etc.

2. Have extra money along with you, or credit cards in case of an emergency. Be sure you have your drivers license, insurance cards for auto and hospitalization.

3. If at all possible, have a second change of clothes.

4. Double check your props and how they are stored. Do you have everything? Do you have at least two extra items incase one prop fails, or the host asks you to do a few minutes more?

5. Have a list of phone numbers which may be needed in an emergency. Next of kin, doctor! care provider etc. Insure you have any medical emergency bracelets needed to identify conditions which require special care.

6. If you are working with livestock, insure they are properly secured and comfortable.

7. If you are unfamiliar with the area you are going to be performing at, give youself plenty of time to get there. Take a map with you.

8. Take items such as asprin, bandages, antacids etc. that may come in handy.

9. Take along some standard tools; small wrench! socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, needle nose pliers etc. for both auto and equipment repair.

10. Have a small case with Scotch tape, electrical tape, an extra pair of shoe laces, small sewing kit and spare buttons, a few safety pins and rubber bands, small pocket knife, nail clipper with file, hair brush! comb, clothes brush, toothbrush & paste, packages of moist towlettes, travel pack of kleenex tissue, a few paper clips, elastic cord, shoe polish and cloth, dental floss, breath mints.

11. Be sure to have extra business cards with you in your wallet as well. Nothing looks less professional than to be asked for one and not be able to supply it.

12. For a major trip, you may want to have a cell phone with you as well as a travel iron or steamer.

Creativity by Ron Dayton


Ronald J. Dayton
(c) 1998 International Conservatory of Magic ™

It is my intent to offer suggestions and working methods which will direct the reader toward greater creativity. I make no promises for success. You will have to work a little to achieve that on your own. What I will promise to do is to share every means to that end I am aware of. You will be given lists, tips/suggestions, ideas and examples…but no short cuts. If you are serious about this subject, be prepared to burn the midnight oil.

Creativity is something each and every individual is capable of cultivating. It can be developed to whatever degree you feel most comfortable with. Creativity includes being inventive, but not exclusively so. It is also reflected in the music, patter, costuming, set designs, stage presence and timing for example. These are all aspects of your creativity…all part of the “total” performance to which creativity may be applied. It may be the magical “illusive essence” which makes an act outstanding rather than mediocre.

Every one of us, I believe, would like to contribute something to this world of magic. Something that will leave a mark long after we are gone. It is important to realize, lest we become overwhelmed by the task of becoming creative, that the contribution need not be earth shattering. It may well be something as simple as a particular stance, a gesture or a look. It may be a phrase that captures the imagination of your audience. Like grains of sand comprising a coastal beach, the size of the grain does not diminish its importance to the whole.

One of the keys to creativity seems to be discovering yourself! Knowing who you are, and what you want to achieve in this craft. It isn’t easy. A person must take an honest appraisal of himself and his limitations. You must understand just how much you are willing to sacrifice to attain your desired goal. Creativity, at whatever level, will take real work. Once you come to grips with yourself, you’ll be ready to begin…and to be the very best YOU that you can be!

Another factor which is essential to creativity is a well rounded background. An extensive knowledge of magic itself. The best part is…this is something you can develop. This is part of the work and sacrifice mentioned earlier. Time and effort will be needed, but thankfully, there are many marvelous sources at your disposal. Public libraries, book stores, magic shops, magic catalogs, magic dealers, video and audio tapes, and most notably, The International Conservatory of Magic. Truly the list goes on and on. Magazines such as “The New Tops”, “The Magic Manuscript”, “Magic”, “Magicgram” and “Genii” are all wonderful. Members of the S.A.M. and I.B.M. also enjoy tips and information found within the pages of their respective publications. Various “Magic Camps and Jubilees” are also organized annually both on the east and west coast. Last but not least, one of the most important sources of information of all …your fellow magicians. Young and old alike. Listen to what they have to say. You might be surprised at what you’re able to learn. The older magician may have much broader experience than you have. Perhaps he has seen some of the legends of the past in actual performance. They may be well read, or highly skilled in certain facets of the art. All of which is to your benefit. Absorb the information and lessons they have learned over the years. Take the best, and leave the rest.

The same applies to younger magicians. Do not be so foolish as to pass them by simply because they are young. Youth is fresh and vital. They dare to try the unknown, to take that step beyond, unaware of the supposed limitations which have been drummed into older minds. Youth has not yet been programmed to disbelief. Too often, we hinder ourselves and our accomplishments by listening to inner thoughts, or those of others, as to what IS or IS NOT possible. I’ve heard it said that, the impossible is that which is yet untried! And I firmly believe that is true.

A person might think…how can I possibly learn all about magic, so I can build a strong foundation of knowledge. There is so much to know…and the subject is so vast.

Do not be put off by the scope of magic. There is no possible way you could learn everything, although there are people out there who claim they know it. They are only fooling themselves. The reality of the situation is…the field is extremely vast, and, constantly changing. At very best, much like a medical student, you will do your best to remain ‘current’. Simply do your best to learn as much as you possibly can. You will retain much more information than you realize.

Once you have begun this foundation of magical knowledge and background, we can begin taking the next logical step. You will want to take the information you have learned and put it to practical use.

You’ll recall that earlier, we touched on the fact that negative thoughts are harmful. They are counter-productive. They place limits and restrictions on the thought and creativity process. It would be most beneficial than for us to take an approach which eliminated or forbids negative thinking. One such method is a process called.



Choose on day out of the week and set aside a certain amount of time for yourself. If you are not in the mood when the say arrives, simply reschedule the activity for another time. Do not put if off indefinitely.

Find a room or area where you will not be disturbed. Have paper, pencils…possibly even a tape recorder of cam-corder available to record data, then begin. List all titles, concepts and effects that come to mind. List them all. Do not interrupt the flow of thought with negative dismissal. Consider all ideas to be valid. List as many as you can. Really push yourself! Use one thought to fuel another. Then, when no more ideas or spin-offs come, stop and take a break. Walk away. Have a soda or a cup of coffee, whatever it takes to relax just a bit, then return concentrating all you efforts and knowledge into finding workable methods for the effects you have listed. Again, accept no negative thoughts,. Every solution, no matter how bizarre, should be noted. You’ll be amazed at the incredible amount of material you mind has unearthed. Finally, when you are done, the sorting and sifting process begins. This is best left for another time or day. If you have put a sincere effort into your brainstorming session, you should be pretty well spent. Cleanse your mind for several day, then go back to the material and approach it fresh. Attack it as though it were someone else’s thoughts. Study it. Revise it. Pick it apart! And as always, keep the best and leave the rest.

After several such solo brainstorming sessions it is good to bring at least one other party into the picture. Choose a friend in magic whose opinion you trust and whose magical background is solid. He will be an impartial, objective aid. Things easily overlooked by you will often be obvious to them. Two or more heads are always better than one. You will likely be very pleased with the abundance of ideas and methods you arrive at.

It is interesting, too, to arrange a day during which two or more individuals schedule solo brainstorming at the same time. Later, all parties involved get together to work on their findings. It’s fun to compare similarities in thought, to discover the sharp contrasts as well. It is a form of creative comradery which stimulates the thought processes as well as anything I know.

So! We have looked at what I call solo brainstorming and delayed review of concepts. What is left? Brainstorming in its purest and most enjoyable form! Follow all the guidelines. Select a time, place and format, then get together with several friends. Remember, no criticism of ideas is permitted, Push you mind and will to the fullest extent. Get as many ideas for effects as possible, Use your ideas and those of others to create new variations. List all desired effects, and possible titles for those effects. Yes, titles alone can be a very positive springboard. If there is any doubt in your mind, it may be heartening to know that Jerry Andrus often begins with a name for an effect, then creates the effect and method from that starting point. This is his first step. Phase two consists of brainstorming to list every conceivable method for accomplishing the effect. Finally, he reviews the selections and chooses the handling/combination of methods which will create the desired illusion. Brainstorming works because it is a ‘no holds barred’ situation. At the start, nothing is deemed to be wrong. This gives your mind free reign.

Another force which may compell us to be creative is GENUINE NEED. This is more difficult in many respects, but at least you have a general idea in which direction you are heading. The ‘need’ may be further specialized by falling into a particular theme or performing character. An extremely fine book to study for developing ” need motivated creativity “ is “The Trick Brain” by Dariel Fitzkee. It contains lists, and a systimatic method for actually leading the mind to create desired effects. Everything is spelled out in a clear and exact manner. I strongly urge you to investigate this book more closely.

The third, and possibly most illusive method for being creative or inventive might well be called ‘ dumb luck.’ It is that wonderfully strange way in which we accidentally stumble on, or invent something new. Truthfully, it is often ‘luck’, but, seldom ‘dumb’. This type of creativity makes use of all of the knowledge we have mentioned before. Somewhere in the recesses of our minds, we are aware of every piece of information we have ever been exposed to. The knowledge we have gained while building the strong background or foundation in magic is the spark or insight which allows us to connect ideas and make them interact. This will allow you to be looking through a magazine, or walking down the aisle of a toy or hardware store for example.. see a certain item, and immediately see an application in magic for it. It is the knowledge you have gained which will allow you to be casually playing or manipulating a card, coin, rope or what have you in your hands, and stumble upon a move or handling which is original to you. DUMB LUCK is like being in the right place, at the right time, in your mind. Opportunities will present themselves… and knowledge will give you the tools to take advantage of them.



Simply inventing for the sake of invention is not enough. Clever is nice, but useful is better. If you are determined to be creative from the standpoint of developing new effects.. do your best to give the magic community something they can work with. Something with which to entertain. Put forth your best effort to create something of genuine value to you, your compeers, and the people they perform for. They call it, desire!

Part of this desire motivated creativity must surely lurk within our subconscious thoughts. That could be why, from time~to time, a new idea is conveyed to us in the form of a dream. And, just as it is possible to learn things while we sleep via suggestion or audio tapes, perhaps it is possible to condition ourselves to be inventively creative while we sleep as well. This will not happen easily at first, nor is it a sure fire approach.. but it is fun to experiment with, and can be fairly productive too!

To condition or program your mind for subconscious creativity, you must simply saturate your mind with general thoughts and specific solutions to a chosen problem. It is, in a way, a form of pre-sleep brainstorming. When you retire for the evening ( for me, it helps if I stay up late and go to bed in an over-tired condition. The restless state seems to promote dreams.) your conscious mind will rest, and the subconscious remains active. Sometimes you will be able to very vividly see the working solution to your chosen effect. At other times, random thoughts, methods and effects will be visualized.

If you are lucky enough to awake shortly after the dream, record all information immediately. Try to be as exact as possible. Keep a pen and paper/ tape recorder on the night stand within easy reach.

Please do not confuse what I am saying with ‘pipe dreams’. Dream related invention is simply a way of tapping into your sub-conscious creativity. This may be a source you are presently totally oblivious to. But the bottom line is, it works! All through your day you are adding stimuli to the subconscious mind. It could easily be that all of our senses play a part in this process Visual and audio stimuli to be sure affect the subconscious, but couldn’t taste, smell or touch also act as some sort of mental catalyst?

Something which may be of interest to some of you might be the April 1987 issue of Omni magazine. The cover title reads; HOW TO CONTPOL YOUR DREAMS. The center section of the magazine is called The Omni Experience and has four full pages dedicated to the dream experience, how to enhance it, and how to control where it leads. The information brought to light within the pages of Omni was only a small part of a decade long study conducted by psychologists Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach through a series of four exercises, the prospective Lucid Dreamer. ( One who is aware he is dreaming and controls and recalls what he is dreaming actually learns how to attain a Lucid Dream)

In yet another exercise outlined within the pages of Omni, you learn how to condition yourself to attain a state of Dream Flying. Why learn to fly? For several reasons. First of all, it is considered to be one of the basic forms of travel while in a dream state. Secondly, it creates a feeling of freedom. Thirdly, once mastered, the rather frightening travel form will dispell your inner most fears. You will become a free spirit so~to-speak and be capable of anything you care to imagine.

This may all seem a bit far fetched, bizarre or unreal. Please do not dismiss it completely The goal you wish to reach is attained only by keeping an open mind to all possibilities.


One of the methods I use when developing an effect is to familiarize myself as completely with the object or objects I intend to use in the effect as possible. A cardworker for instance will want to know the following about the brand of card he intends to use. Is the back design conducive to secret marking? Will the pattern allow for secret openings, slits to be concealed by the design itself? Is the card case designed in a useful way? Does the card split easily? Is its degree of flexibility of value? What is the relationship of the card in regard to the size of other cards? Can the border, front or back be used to conceal a secret ingress or flap? Is it a plastic coated or linen card? Does it hold up after repeated creasing or folding? Can the ink be easily erased, removed or otherwise altered? Will the card scale well? Is this a brand the audience is familiar with or will be comfortable with? Is its shape (round, crooked deck, tarot, miniature, bridge, poker or jumbo) useful for a specific effect? Is it a specialized card? Can the fact that it is a Giant Face Deck of value to me?

Perhaps I have taken too much time to make my point, but the implications are clear, and the answers often make your task of inventing an easier one. The questions alone may inspire a thought, or the investigation of the card itself may open new doors.

What is true for cards may, in many ways, be applied to other items. If, for instance, we are considering ropes.. what questions might you ask? How strong is it? Does it cut easily? Do the ends fray? Is it available in colors? Does it cause rope burns? Is it soft and flexible? How much length does it take to form a single overhand knot? Is it easily untied? Does it have an inner core, and if so, can it be removed easily? Can objects pass through the weave? What is the design of the weave itself? What is the rope made of (cotton, nylon, hemp, other)? Can the ends be mended and joined such as with nylon rope? With the core removed, can objects be inserted into the hollow rope? Does the rope soil easily? Can the rope be seen at a distance? Is the rope heavy, light, bulky or compressible? All of these things and more are factors a person should be aware of when considering possibilities with rope. The same may be said for a whole host of objects and materials.

One of my very best coin effects was based on the fact that I observed that the diameter of a U.S. Nickel, when machined properly, was the same as a size eight ladies finger ring. Who’d have thought? All of this too becomes part of the growing knowledge in your firm background in magic.


Other than our own ability to maintain a curious nature, to be as observant and aware of all manner of things going on in the world around us, there is yet another aid to creativity we may make use of. I will call this source, Challenge Creativity. I have used it often, and intend to use it even more in the future. It takes part of the pressure off you due to the fact that someone else is giving you the premise for the effect. They tell you, I want to see this, this and this. You then create a method for producing the desired effect. They have, in other words, issued a challenge to you.

I have accepted challenges, and issued a few myself over the years. Here is one I issued to a friend of mine. An empty glass tumbler is seen resting mouth tp on your close-up mat. A spectator drops a coin into the glass. The coin sinks to the bottom, then suddenly, is seen to rise slowly to the surface of the top. It then sinks slowly back into the glass. when the spectator is asked to tip the coin out of the glass, it is found to be impossible. The coin is discovered to be imbedded or sealed within the solid bottom of the tumbler.

I often got challenges from magic letter pals I corresponded with. It was an enjoyable exchange. The internet offers a whole new world of possibilities. You may also choose to approach various individuals you know at ring meetings, conventions or other social activities you may be attending. You may write or call an outside source for challenges. You may venture so far as to take out a small ad in a magic publication for that specific reason. The investment could be repaid many fold.They will be out to stump you. It will take your finest effort to meet the task. You may, of course, never discover a working method for many of the challenges issued, but that’s really unimportant in the overall scheme of things. What IS important is that the whole process stimulates your thinking.

I have yet to meet the magician who has ‘never’ had the desire to create an effect of his very own. It is conceivable that every individual ‘already has an idea for this effect, but they remain locked within their mind. People have themselves convinced that this idea will be scoffed at by their peers, or fear it will not work, or perhaps be purloined before it takes flight. The fact of the matter is that it will go ‘no where’ if it is not shared and developed. Someone may stumble upon the method for themselves, develop and promote it while you debate if you should take a chance or not. If THEY take the initiative and YOU don’t, the effect will be THEIRS, and your best intentions will be lost forever.

Being creative has a lot to do with finding a balance within yourself. Brainstorming for instance, seems to be finding a balance between the hemispheres of the brain itself. Each side, as you may or may not know, controls a certain set of mental functions. The left side controls language, logic, counting and classification. This is the side we condition in school. It is analytical, objective and orderly. It makes decisions, judgements. It is capable of editing and revising material.

The right side of our brain is the spontaneous side. It is intuitive and illogical. The right side is the ‘idea waker’. It will generate creative thought and allow things to be seen in a new light. Symbolism and association can run rampant here, but there is a catch. One side is usually the dominant side. This is also usually the most developed side… the left hemisphere. That is where the snag in creative thinking arises. The left side is in conflict with the right. In correct brainstorming procedure, the right hemisphere is allowed to work first.

It takes effort at first to get one side to relax while the other becomes stimulated. This is why you must shut out all negative thoughts, otherwise the analytical left hemisphere would have material to work with. Free your mind. Go with the flow, and the R.H. side will soon emerge. Like a toddler learning to walk, the use of the right hemisphere is developed in stages. Extend your time and your goals at each session. Push yourself. And just as a weight lifter gradually increases the weight on the bar, so goes the training of the more underdeveloped right hemisphere. By degrees you will be able to ‘turn off’ the left side of the brain while the right side works. After the creative process has been exhausted, the left side of the brain is allowed to engage and analyze the material.

I have mentioned several sources for creative inspiration. One of my favorites is the magic catalog. If you can get your hands on older catalogs as well as more current ones, you may be able to discover not only useful information, but trends and cycles as well. It seems that effects in magic go in stages. One year, ring and lace effects may be all the rage, the next, diminishing card cases and the following year, movable holes are the latest thing. You see the same thing happen in the motion picture industry. They go from sci-fi to war films, to comedy to prison flicks. The movie goers tire of certain movies and demand something new. It’s the same in magic. So, the catalogs may well not only point you toward a new effect, they may well indicate which type of effect will be coming into vogue.

When paging through your magic catalog, allow your mind to roam. Go from close-up to stage effects, silks to coins, paper to rope. An unrestricted mind will soon begin to form mental links. random unions will be made. An overlapping of thoughts will help you to break away from more stringent lines of thinking. This will work in a similar way to the lists suggested earlier. It will assist your mind in rejecting certain patterns of thought. Seemingly unrelated effects will suddenly begin to merge. It’s a useful method to exercise your mind.


Another nifty way to think in an inventive manner is not to think about it at all! That’s right. Walk away from it for a while. When you are relaxed, and not under the direct pressure of ‘having’ to invent something, ideas seem to pop up at the most unexpected times. I should be embarrassed to say this, but I’m not really, that many of my best ideas have come to me while I was at my place of employment. Here again, when ever an idea came to me, it was quickly jotted down. Too many good ideas have been lost simply because they were not acted upon promptly.

You may also choose to stimulate your thinking by thinking in a new location, or change of atmosphere. Like a creative writer, you may need to get away from the norm. Select new surroundings in which to work and concentrate. Music may be used to set the mood as well as lighting. Make the experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.


Experience has proven time and time again that ideas are exactly that, just IDEAS. All the brainstorming in the world will not prove conclusively that something WILL work. Many things look great on paper but won’t get off the ground in the real world. When the time comes, in many instances, you will need a proto-type.

A number of years ago I developed an idea for a new version of cigarette through half dollar. I contacted a manufacturer of magic coins, and after some study, it was determined that the project would be far too costly. Special compound dies would be required, special tooling. The costs were too high to justify the variation. Three years later, an alternate design became evident to me. But once again, no ‘proof’ of its credibility was available. The design was much easier and cost effective to produce. To make a long story short, The Dayton Ultimate Cigarette Thru Half was eventually born. It is the only mechanical coin ever made which could be shown both sides, before, DURING and after the penetration. An idea, with perserverance, went from the mind, to paper to reality.

When you stick with a project, and it comes to fruition, there is no better feeling of satisfaction. The feeling is awesome.


There is one last phase I would like to touch on in regards to your own personal preparation for creativity, and that is the subject of reading material. I suggest the following:

The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 1-7……………………………………… Tannens

The Phoenix & New Phoenix………………………………………………….. Tannens

Thayer Quality Magic; Vol. 1-4…………………………………………………Magic Limited

The Jinx.. ………………………………………………………………………………Tannens

Harbincadabra………………………………………………………………………. Goodliffe

Rices Encyclopedia of Silk Magic, Vol 1-3…………………………………. Rice

The Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks1 Vol 1-3………………………………… Abbotts

JackHughesWorld of MagicVol. 1………………………………………………Hughes

Encyclopedia of Dove Magic, Vol 1-4…………………………………………Supreme

The Lewis Trilogy
A Choice of Miracles
A Continuation of Miracles……………………………………………………Magical Publications
The Crowning Miracles

The New Modern Coin Magic…………………………………………………..Magic Inc.


The Magic of Pavel………………………………………………………………….Supreme

Darwin’s Thumb Tip Miracles…………………………………………………… Rare Publishing

The Illustrated History of Magic………………………………………………….Crowell

Suspensions and Levitations……………………………………………………… Hades

The Fitzkee Trilogy
Showmanship For Magicians………………………………………………… Magic Limited
The Trick Brain
Magic By Misdirection

All publications by Karl Fulves……………………………………………………Karl Fulves/Dover Press

Success and Magic…………………………………………………………………..Secret Service/Michael Ammar


It is important to make ourselves as aware as possible to new advances in technology, science and electronics, as well as new product releases. Reading publications such as Popular Science and Popular Mechanics may serve you well. Look at items carefully while browsing through your local variety store. Toy stores are also fabulous places to wander. Keep your eyes peeled when those catalogs come in the mail from such places as Spencers Gifts or the Electronic Goldmine. They often contain novel items which the wide awake magician can put to use. Look beyond the original use and try to visualize another form and function. It will often be worth your while if you do.

In the concluding words to one of my books I said: ” Think of an effect my friend. It CAN be done!” Well, needless to say, that raised more than a few eyebrows. Some reviewers felt it was far too broad a statement to make. But think about it. Go back to the concept that THE IMPOSSIBLE IS THAT WHICH IS YET UNTRIED. If you defeat yourself before you begin, naturally you will fail. Make a dedicated attempt at creativity. If the first attempt dosen’t work out, try again! Hang on to all your notes concerning ideas and methods. Perhaps in a year, or five.. .or more, the correct solution will come to light. Above all, maintain your dreams. They too may become reality.

Even the person who is NOT directly involved in the performance or production of magic can assist in its growth and well being. If you choose only to be a magic enthusiast, or a collector, you will be doing your part. You act as a catalyst. Your support and zeal motivate others. Like any part of the whole, your importance is immeasurable.

” Think of an effect my friend. It CAN be done!”


Commando Magic by Bobby J. Gallo

The Original Commando Magic

“How To Perform Effectively In All Situations”

Bobby J. Gallo

(c) Copyright 1994 B.G. Entertainment
All Rights Reserved

Introduction to the reference guide:

In the beginning, Commando Magic was just to be a single “audio tape”. However, after reviewing it and getting feedback from other sources, it became apparent that a reference book was needed to fill in some knowledge gaps that the tape due to it’s short length, could not accomodate. To answer further questions, and replace the tape with lists and the original audio scripts that the student may wish to refer to again and again. However, due to the fact that many would prefer an audio format, the tape will be made available only to those who purchased the book by writing the author. It will become apparent to those who have both Commando magic formats that the wording on the tape does not exactly match the wording here in the reference guide. The reason for that is because things sound different when read aloud as opposed to read silently in book format. I chose to alter certain passages in order to come across better on the tape. The original meanings however should remain the same. Also, at many times during the production of the audio, I ran on “off the top of my head” and subsequently added text in to the scripts at a later date. This explains many grammatical errors in the tape as well as mispronunciations. (my English teacher would be flipping out!) The reason for all of this is that I wanted to come across believably, just like we were sitting together batting these ideas around in an impromptu setting. For these and many other reasons, virtually no editing of the tape was done.

Chapter One

The first question allot of people may have in there mind is the classic quote of this industry, Why another book on magic? After performing for over a decade I finally feel the need to put pen to paper and expound my fertile thoughts about performing in the “Real World”. Notice I said Performing, and not just doing magic tricks. This is a book about performance and all of its allied characteristics. Sure, there will be routines that I have developed within these pristine pages, but more important, there is a philosophy. One that has grown into a conviction through trial and error. One that has been developed while working in the trenches of real world entertainment. This book is written from the perspective of a magician. For that is what I have been since the beginning of my show business career . So, much of the material covered will deal specifically with magic and its allied arts. However, because of my extensive experience in the world of Stand-up comedy and nightclubs, it is not just the magician that can benefit from these pages, but any working entertainer from comedians to ventriloquists to singers. As a matter of fact, any “Live” performer, for the fundamental principles all remain the same no matter what you do. If there are living breathing people in your audience this book will apply, Just ignore the magic routines!

To the beginner, I hope that this book will prove a launching pad for their success. To the Professional looking for further insight into this complex world of show business, I hope that my thoughts and materials will spark your own ideas to understand why I call this book Commando Magic. Of course, there will be those that will read this and dismiss many of my writings as outlandish or not practical, but if you ponder this book and then apply it, you will see that it is worth many times the price you have paid. Consider this a pilgrimage to the guru on the mountain. Consider this Magical boot camp, or just consider this book sage advise and information. of course I like anyone else in this world is constantly changing and growing. I think of new and different approaches to entertainment everyday. This book is a compilation of the knowledge that I have amassed up to this point in time, but I am sure that a decade from now I will have refined many of the statements I am about to make. So the reader is invited to take what he wishes. Then work it out to make the best use of it according to his or her own performing persona and style. If you disagree with what is here, no problem, you will see in the chapters that follow that disagreement is part of the world that we are in and certainly part of the field of entertainment. But I think that I’ve bantered enough here. And I do not want to give away anything prematurely, so as many an adventuresome story has started, “Let the journey begin!”

Chapter Two

What is Commando Magic?

Before we begin our discussion into the title proper, let us imagine, just for a moment……

The house lights dim, tension mounts within the vast auditorium that seems to be practically overflowing with countless anxious faces. A Figure dressed similarly to a hotel bellman is seen walking up and down the theatre lobby selling programs describing the star of the show that everyone has travelled miles to witness in person. Suddenly, a hush falls over the audience. The orchestra begins to play, the stage lights burn a myriad of multi-color as an elegantly dressed man strides to the center of the stage from the wings to thunderous applause! What follows is a night not to be soon forgotten. Birds are pulled from the air, women are put into large boxes and are cut-in-half. An automobile is vanished right in front of the audiences bewildered eyes! For a finale, the Graceful wizard levitates his beautiful assistant and receives his standing ovation as he bows behind the smoking footlights.

Does this scenario sound cliche? Does it sound romantic? Most importantly, does it sound Familiar? I believe that most people on the street would answer in the affirmative to the first two questions. They would however respond with a resounding NO to the third. But why? Isn’t this what most people envision a magicians performance to be? Maybe so, for the above scene is not fictitious. The magicians name was Howard Thurston, and the performance described actually happened………. in the roaring 20’s!

Now I know that there are many readers that may be thinking. There are entertainers of all sorts that perform in auditoriums custom designed for live performances in todays world. Just look at the famous illusion teams at their lavish Las Vegas Casino’s. Look at every magic related television special and notice that gorgeous room that they do their live pieces in. It must seat somewhere around five thousand! After all, is not this the ideal situation for any entertainer to be in?

That is the prevailing question.

Is this the ideal situation for any modern day working performer to be in? The answer for most of us would have to be yes. It most certainly is. However, the harsh reality is, that if you are not a world famous touring illusionist, or a comedian that has just been booked on a cable special. These performing situations will be far and too few between. Then what are most performing situations like? Where do magicians, comedians and even musicians find themselves when they are booked to entertain an average audience? I’m glad you asked that question, And in the following paragraphs I will do my best to answer it.

While brainstorming for possible titles to this book, I thought of numerous names. Names ranging from the brash to the obscure. Names that I will not list here because I may well use them in future volumes! Endless days were spent in search of that meaningful introduction that will be the embodiment of what is contained herein. Then out of the blue the title hit me. “Commando Magic!” It seemed so fitting, so appropriate. It really is a name that embodies every aspect of the magic that through the years, I have been required to perform for one reason or another. This is a term I have used during many occasions when I was called upon to perform in situations that can only be described as “Less than ideal”. What could these venues possibly be you ask? Well, for instance, performing on a dirt hiking path in the middle the woods! Doing a show in the middle of a football field during a windstorm. Exhibiting superb sleight of hand in the corner of a crowded cafeteria during lunch time with my back against a window and no sound system! (It’s hard to compete with macaroni and cheese with fish sticks!). How about entertaining in the middle of 100 cub-scouts on the dance floor of the local American Legion Hall because the room on the stage was taken up by the bingo machine! Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, I may not be meeting you personally, but I know you are probably a professional entertaining on what I have termed “the magical front lines.” If this does not sound familiar, your either (a): Most likely have an exclusive contract with the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas, not unlike that of Seigfried and Roy as stated prior, or (b): you are an amateur performing only in the places where you want to be. (ie. a show your local club may put on once every two years). Now, I do not want to get anyone bent out of shape so early on in this book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with amateurs performing with other amateurs in their local talent nights. However, that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about full-time professional entertainers performing in professional venues. Contrary to popular belief, these places may not always be a glamorous or glittery as many more well known performers have played, whether they are past or present. Which is why when called upon to entertain in todays modern world, we must take on the persona of a Commando. A Commando that has been given the task of doing entertainment in a location that can be hostile at times. Hostile in the sense that the weather is working against you, hostile in sense that rude audience members are inclined to break into discussion groups during your routines. It may be that you have no backstage, no dressing room, no pre-show privacy whatsoever! There may be no stage lighting, or even worse, full florescent lighting, bad sound, bad visibility due to the fact that there is no stage. No room in which to put a side table, or if you are a musician, your instruments and amplification equipment,. and the list truly goes on and on. It is these situations that call upon us to be Commando performers.

After reading the above there may still be a great number of people that still do not know what a Commando is. Thusly, they may not know my full meaning when I coin the term, “Commando Magic”. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Commando as (a) a small fighting force specially trained to make quick, destructive raids against enemy held areas. (b) A member of such a force. In other words a commando is the person who can go into any situation, regardless of the obstacles, and get the job done with quality results. After all, is that not what we are all striving for as performers? To be well received by our customers when we are working in a paid performance? So “Commando Magic” simply pertains to the performer who is prepared. Prepared to walk into any venue with the confidence befitting a true professional entertainer. A performer who is ready for any situation and developed a reputation for being that way. Such a performer would be in demand wherever his given talents may wish to take him. Our audiences may not be likened to enemy held areas, (although some may!) nevertheless the general idea is the same. If we are to be successful in the “Real World” of entertainment, we must view ourselves as Commando Performers.

At this point allow me to give my readers an account that happened to me during a booking for a Salvation Army stage show. I was booked to perform for around 200 people in an outdoor setting at a gathering after which I was to do some walk around magic. When I arrived it was raining. Naturally, I assumed that a tarpon would have been set up for my performance, or maybe that the show was being held under a Pavilion of some sort. When I arrived at the performance sight I looked around only to find that there was not one good place to perform or be seen by the audience. When I introduced myself to the person responsible for booking the event I inquired as to where I was supposed to work the show. To my horror, I was directed to a large boulder protruding from the ground on which there was a person preaching. This rock was not a large flat object like a mini stage, This rock came to a point and I had to balance myself on what seemed to be the summit of this large mountainous object. In this situation I had no place to put a table of any sort. No place to put props, No electrical facilities of any kind for my portable sound system. It was raining, so any equipment that I could not physically hold in may hands would have been ruined. My angles were virtually non-existent and my case out of necessity had to be placed five feet away from me.

What can one do in this situation? In retrospect , there were a number of different options that I could have embarked upon. The first is that I could have said no to the venue and refused to perform under these degrading conditions. However, that would have resulted in (a) Losing the fee for that date. (b) Losing the time spent getting to that date that could have been booked for something else. (c) Irritating to (and possibly losing) the client forever. Last but certainly not least for the professional working performer, (d) Ticking off the theatrical agents that booked you for the event. Because ultimately they are the ones that will suffer from your losing the customer, and you will suffer because agents, in most cases, do not book acts that give their customers any inconvenience . after all “The customer is always right” Aren’t they?

In this case I chose to make the best of the situation and do the show. Of course I could not do my whole show, but rather, only the material that could be performed in the most impossible of situations. For surely, this show or anything similar is a baptism of fire for any would be Commando Performer. The show was a success and the customers were very happy. And I felt that I had just accomplished a tremendous mental victory, overcoming tremendous odds in my never ending quest to entertain my audiences. the type of material that I used out of neccesity will be discussed in the later chapters dealing with situations such as these. The point is, That many times as a professional, you cannot walk away from a venue because it is inconvenient. You must do your best to do your job.

Many performers will argue that they are “artistes,”(said with a smug french accent) and as such deserve the best treatment and circumstances. Others will claim that they will only take work that is conducive to their type of act. Still more will just not work in an inconvenient venue because massive ego problems. Are any of these points acceptable? I will leave the reader to answer that question for his or herself. I will however make one point for myself. I believe the most important criteria for accepting or rejecting a show is “Making a Living!”
I once was very close friends with an illusionists whom I worked with on
several occasions. He and I would have friendly chats about performing before audiences of today. He would say that as magicians we were competing with the likes of Indiana Jones and Star wars for the audiences attention. He would allude to the fact that magic had to be grandiose and of a flashy nature in order to be appreciated by the general public. If this were true, wouldn’t that mean that any form of entertainment would be competing with the cinema as well? If not, what forms of entertainment are excluded? Does any artist have a chance to be an entertainer with star potential without a huge production budget?

With these questions in mind, we are going to start to really get down to the bare bones, what it truly means to be a commando performer. Starting by exploding some pretty well held belief’s about what it takes to make an act work in the world of entertainment. Again, I would like to reiterate that the criteria stated in the forthcoming chapters is not designed to demean persons engaging in a particular style of presenting their craft, but rather to present an argument as to why certain approaches work better than others in the “real world”.

Chapter Three

The Learning Process

Allow me to begin by saying that the aim here is not to write down my memoirs, I truly believe that I am not old enough for anybody to get anything out of my life story thus far. I however must admit that it would make great material for a trashy novel!.(just kidding) No, this is not to tell stories about the life and times of a young magician, but rather to give the reader an insight as to why I am so adamant about conveying conclusions I have come to in this literary work.

I started doing magic at a very young age. After viewing a guest star of the hit television series Laugh In doing a comedy magic sketch with Ruth Buzzy, I was hitched! I wanted to become a magician in the worst way. My formative magic years were spent searching through magic catalogs for that one trick that was going to make me a star. I recall my first magic trick being the Chinese Ring Illusion, purchased along with a nine inch wooden magic wand through a magazine called Boys Life. Dreaming endless hours that a talent scout was going to see me doing my finger chopper and book me as the newest member of the Mickey Mouse Club! However in the years to follow I learned that waiting around for that big break was just not going to happen. If I was going to be the performer of my dreams, I was going to have to do it myself. Fortunately, I believe that I learned that fact at a relatively young age.

My first major performance was in fifth grade. My teacher found out that I did magic and was booked for the headline spot in the school talent show. I rehearsed that act for at least a month. I then told my mother about it the day before the show that I was doing magic onstage. She could not believe that I did not tell her sooner. But many screwed up tricks shown to my family and their friends made be very leery about doing magic in front of anyone that I knew personally (a fear that I still retain in some small part to this day!) But this time it was in front of my whole school. I pulled it off, doing what must of appeared to be microscopic magic onstage! I recall doing not only the finger chopper, but an old Tenyo penetration frame, milk tumbler, and if memory serves me correctly, a collapsible magic wand. All of this for about “three hundred people!” but it worked and I had myself one proud mom. The most humorous part of that show would have to be my finale. I sawed a girl from my class in half.(not commando magic) It was quite a sight when a four foot tall girl entered a black cardboard box and suddenly became seven feet tall! The shop teacher who lent me the saw was sweating bullets as I had him come to the stage to verify the authenticity of the blade. I must admit, that was showmanship way beyond my years at that time! To this day, I treasure the memory of that show even more than current performances where I received standing ovations by a packed theatre full of college students. It was early shows like this as well as others that taught me do things on my own.

Other events in my dawning magical existence helped to train me in the ways of what I now call “Commando Magic”. Every year my neighborhood would have a carnival in someone’s backyard. I would take this opportunity to produce my little magic show for about ten cents a person. (What a bargain!) Funds which went to further the cause of magic shops nationwide! Particularly two companies called “The Top Hat Magic Company” based out of Evanston, Illinois. and House of a Thousand Mysteries out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida I do not know whether either of these two companies are still in existence, but they helped a budding young trickster become a full-time professional.

Through the years I stopped doing magic for the glamorous world of rock music. I crooned and played bass guitar for the rock band Arsenal for about four to five years. Since at that time I was in high school, myself and the rest of the band were all too young to play any of the area nightclubs, we produced our own shows at areas theatres. We had great successes in the endeavors and our methods for doing shows were copied by every band in the area. Little did I know that the same thing would happen to me years later in the comedy club business, which is discussed in great detail in our tape entitled “Producing Comedy Clubs”.(Shameless plug!) After the demise of the band, I gravitated back to magic. I figured that I could possibly make a little extra money doing magic for birthday parties and local civic organizations. That’s when the long learning process reactivated that has culminated into what much of my thinking is today.

After my Pheonix-like rebirth into the world of magic, somewhere, somehow, I had the notion that the more magic props, books, and paraphernalia that I bought, the better magician I would be. Forget about honing my stage persona, forget about, even learning the magic that I had already spent a small fortune purchasing. I just became an accumulator. Unfortunately, there are a great many magicians in this day and age that are accumulators. They think that if they buy “just one more trick”, they will be a star. It never works, for the real secret of performing is getting an act, just five to ten effects, and doing that particular act better than anyone else.

Chapter Four

1. The Fine Art Of Commando Magic.

To have big props or not to have big props, that is the question? This is probably my favorite subject about performing in the art of magic. How the reader handles this single issue alone will determine his success in becoming a commando performer. This subject of props does not just apply to the field of magic, but also of Music, and Stand-up Comedy as well. How much paraphernalia must we have in order to become successful entertainers? Does it matter, or is this just something that should be left to the discretion of the individual? Personally, I think it does matter. But before I tell you why, I would first like to talk about some performers of yesteryear, and how they handled things.

In the first Chapter, you read what is to many modern day performers, a melancholic account of Howard Thurston’s performance around the turn of the century. Mr. Thurston was a master of creating large scale theatrical productions that would take many railroad cars to transport. However, Thurston was not the only one of that era to have this mentality that bigger is better. One of the Great Hermann brothers had several Railroad cars containing their touring shows. Including of course on private car that served as his personal travelling hotel room! As a matter of fact, one vaudevillian magician was so obsessed with the “Bigger is better Mentality” that he would purposely number The crates containing his props starting with the number one hundred. This was done in case anybody working in the theatre itself saw the crates. They would then see the numbers on them and say”Wow” this guy has over a hundred crates, His show must be big, and therefore GOOD! But does this necessarily mean that this man was a great performer? And even if he was, is it this fact that made him a success?

With Mentality in mind. Let us coin a term to be used in conjunction with this way of thinking. We’ll call it, “The Box & Prop Mentality”. The word “Prop” refers to large apparatus.(bigger than a breadbox). The word “Box” I believe is self-explanatory. For many performers, this is not said in a derogatory way. Certainty, Illusionists that perform on a grand scale “MUST” adhere to this line of thinking. After all, this is what they are all about. Putting on massive shows with dancers and fire and flashing lights. There is no doubt that there is a massive market out in the entertainment industry that demands shows such as these. Therefore, the demand must be met with qualified Illusionists that have rehearsed for years in order to accommodate the venues geared towards these types of shows. But what are the drawbacks inherent in this style of magic should a person choose to pursue this very difficult path? Let us examine them in detail. What is bigger, the performer or the Box?

When I mention bigger, I am not only talking about physical size, but also of the mental picture that the audience is drawing from the performance. In other words, what does the audience come away thinking? Do they say, Wow! what a great trick! or do they say, What a great magician! Is the Illusion so grand, that the audience does not even remember the person performing it, or is the performer so dynamic that the audience, in their mind, views the Illusion as being second to the awesome person presenting it? these are the pertinent questions surrounding the performance of Grand illusions. If one is to perform them. He or she must be far more dynamic, in overall audience appeal, than the magical effect itself. That is no small order! For in order to do this, everything from dance to speech training may be necessary to put oneself above their apparatus. However, the same really is true of all entertainment, The performer himself must always be the central focal point of the audience. But this especially holds true for the Grand Illusion and allied forms of entertainment.


It could be said that having a large touring stage show is every young entertainers fantasy. Many performers have attained this goal. But who are these people? Certainly we can see these men and women just by clicking on the television. Going to Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Many of the top paid Casino performers have financial backing and sources of revenues that allow them to stage these productions. It is true that some have started from nothing and have built their careers to get where they are today. Being a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, I truly believe that it is possible. But it must also be recognized that many of these stars have had backing right from the very start of careers, thus accelerating the process dramatically. So if it is in your heart, do it, but also try to look at things realistically as far as what your more practical approach towards breaking into show business may be.


While I have know Illusionists that were able to perform up to four isolated gigs in a given day, It also usually killed them physically and they were limited to engagements that they could drive to quickly. It is just a natural disadvantage of large grand illusions that they are not easily transported therefore ones availability, adaptability and accessibility as a touring performer can possibly suffer.

Other factors:

It is no secret to many fellow performers that I have known, know that I have always been just a bit envious of stand-up comedians and singers. Envious in the sense that these individuals can enter the stage and entertain an audience using nothing but a microphone. Of course it takes skill and years of rehearsal to attain any amount of competence, but the underlying fact of that matter is that they “DO IT”!. and that’s what matters.

With this in mind, let’s ask the next logical question. Why is it that magicians have never been able to apply this to their own craft? Why is it that in magic, The magician “MUST” share the stage with clutter and props that hardly ever impress the people watching them performed?(don’t you just love all of these rhetorical questions?). Can the magician be as , or dare I say it, more entertaining using little or no props? What’s the answer? And the envelope please……rrriiiiiip…..And the answer is, Yes!

At this point let’s get down to the bare bones of Commando Magic. A magical performer does not need anything but himself to put over a stellar performance. It is not necessary to scour the magic catalogs constantly buying prop after prop in order to develop a solid commercial act. Each and every performer must reach from within himself to provide his or her audience with unparalleled entertainment. If an entertainer absolutely must have big objects on stage, use people from the audience! Do effects that require assistants from the crowd, after all you must always bear in mind that people are props! By having audience members come to the stage to assist in a routine you make your performance grow in large proportions. Think about it, a magician can levitate a girl and it seems large, But I can do a mental routine, put five chairs on the stage, fill them with people, (who, by the way are working for free) and all of a sudden I am doing magic that is five times larger that the magician who is floating his high paid assistant! After the show, I have nothing to transport except my small case carrying the essentials. And as I have always said to my personal colleagues, if I need to use an animal, there are plenty of them in my audience! ( That’s a joke!) But even with all of these reasons aside, there is yet more points to be made in favor of the modern day performer who practices the art of Command Magic, (we’ll call them Commando’s) Many of these reasons were born in my mind during actual performances not unlike those stated earlier. But also, ideas were created out of sheer necessity, after all necessity is the mother of invention to coin a classic phrase.
There came a point when I was searching for that ultimate act. a situation I am sure 99% of my current readers find themselves at the moment they are reading these words. But I’m not saying that like it’s a negative. For in truth, perfecting a craft such as magic or for that matter, any variety art, can take a lifetime to achieve. I was searching for an act that would be both humorous, considering that I am a Comedy Magician, and also had to be commercial, so that it would be palatable to a paying public. Lastly, it had to give me, the performer, the peace of mind that comes with knowing that I could depend upon it no matter what situation I was thrust into. For there are other considerations one must take into account when one is a full-time professional entertainer. Such as the business end of performing and how a Commando act can benefit you in this area as well. One must also think of the performers energy level when they are working. When I was carrying a large amount of paraphernalia to each show I was so exhausted by the time I hit the stage that I could not perform to my full potential. There were times that I had to transport my show in 100 degree summertime heat. When I started the performance I was sweating. At the other extreme there were times that I had to move everything in sub-zero weather, hoping and praying that I would not trip and fall on the ice breaking an ankle on the way to the engagement. But probably the biggest problem came when I was booked to do a very prestigious show half way across the country and all of my props absolutely had to be there on time! It should also be noted that I had no way to ship the props where I was going ahead of time and everything had to be carried from the airport into a car that was picking me up, to the hotel, back into the car, to the venue, back into the car, back to the hotel, and the following morning to the airport. But it does not stop there, at that airport I had to board a small two prop commuter plane to a different part of the state where my whole show had to be unloaded, put into a rental car, where I drove to a major corporate office to negotiate an upcoming performance, back into the rental car, to the airport, unload the show and fly home. Now tell me, could I have done all of that transporting a ton of props? I believe you can answer that question for yourself.

Are Large Props Really Larger than no Props at all?

At first glance, this question seems to make no sense at all. However, when you stop to think about it, what is a grand illusion? Most illusionists and magicians would agree that a grand illusion is a feat of magic that involves people. A magician twirls around a big box and whammo! A beautiful assistant pops out. Great Magic? It sure is, however it takes allot of work and expense as stated earlier. Most importantly, it cannot be done in “Most” current performing situations. Now picture this, The magician is going to do the classic bank night effect. But in this case instead of strolling around throughout his audience, having spectators pick the various envelopes supposedly containing the large cash prize, he invites all of them upon the stage. Our situation is now this, a stage filled with, let’s say, five people, each holding an envelope. This entire trick now takes on grand illusion status. It uses five people, where the appearing girl only uses two (magician and assistant). The stage is now filled with five people, all involved with the magic in some form or another. As each person rips open their respective envelopes, they react to the outcome thrust upon them of whether they are a bit richer than moments before. Comedy, drama and magic are interwoven all throughout the effect. Finally, the last person makes the choice, the audience holds it’s collective breath, and the final person makes the revelation of whether or not they foiled the magician. The audience has been thoroughly entertained, the spectators are mystified and the magician has worked for at least ten minutes. Dare I say it, has the bank night effect become larger that the massive production box which takes a U-haul to transport, costs thousands of dollars, and only lasts about one minute? That question is truly a matter of personal preference, but is one was to ask me, I would reply that I have been using a bank night type of effect with great success in my stage show for years now! That is just one example of how minimalist magic can be used effectively for large numbers of people. The golden rule is “People are props!” For every person that is on stage, you have equalled using a Zig-zag or the like as far as props are concerned. Are the Rockettes at Radio city Music hall in New York City considered to be a small production? Of course not, but what do they consist entirely of? The answer is people. The Rockettes are a large number of people on stage dancing, that’s it! People can make any parlor trick into a grand illusion. It just takes creativity.

At this point I am sure that there is a number of readers that would suggest that a bank night type of effect lacks the “flash” of the production box. And that it would not hold the attention of the younger members of the audience. True, the younger members of the audience may not be entertained by this “mental” type of effect. However, one can adapt this principle to any type of magical premise. How about doing the classic rabbit from hat effect using four children on stage? Instead of just producing the rabbit, the performer produces a number of strange items for each respective child to hold. This all leads to the smash climax of the animal production! (using the “spring” type animal) The overall picture is that of a number of children filling the stage each holding strange props while the magician towers over them in the center holding a live animal. Most spectators watching would call that a very big trick. I know, I have been doing this exact routine in my family show for years!

So it was those reasons stated above and many like them that have sold me on the ideas and theories of Commando Magic. The art of performing with a minimum of apparatus. Today each of my different acts fit into their own customized bags that are regulation to carry on any airline. These shows can play Radio City Music Hall if need be, or just as well in someone’s living room. This concept has given me peace of mind, it has made me more mobile than one can possibly imagine, and therefore, able to get up at a moments notice and play any venue offered to me (which makes me very valuable in the eyes of talent agents)! This theory has been proven in actual performances in front of audiences of one thousand or more! It works! And works well! However, it must be stated that at this point I am not the only entertainer practising this, others have in the past and are currently using this style. I believe however, that I am the first to go into this subject in such detail. These are the same techniques that date back to the Parisian artists that performed on the streets of Europe for hundreds of years, they have stood the test of time and prove the adage “What’s old is new again!” But if the reader insists on knowing exactly why this theory of “Less is More” works, it can be summed up in this chapters closing quotation take published here for the first time. Why? Because an entertaining presentation is far more powerful than any large prop will ever be, and a commanding personality is what stars are made of.

Chapter Five

Commando Magic Criteria Check-List

Writers note: among other production goofs in making the tape version of “Command Magic”. The numbering in the criteria list is all out of whack as more astute listeners may have noticed. That’s what happens when you do this stuff off the top of your head! Well, to make up for those rather humorous errors, here is an updated list of criteria for the Command Performer.

1. All of the props must pack small & play big! In other words, material that can play just as well in someone’s living room as well as the largest stages!
2. All tricks must be hand held either in the performers hands or the spectators.
3. Performance material must be angle-proof with instant or no re-set time.
4. Routines must be fool-proof (within reason)
5. No-live animals. Use animals of the “Spring” variety.
6. A smooth performance to command the audiences attention.
7. Have a portable sound system.
8. Carry extra cables pertinent to your act.
9. Carry promotional materials in prop case. Keep everything in one place.
10. Always have your date book with you.
11. Try to embellish material to get maximum stage time.
12. Carry extra routines that are “NOT” in your show. (Adult material, children’s material, etc.)
13. Have a one-man show
14. Wear performing outfit to the venue. (if possible)
15. Create a stage area, rope off an area with a silk, ribbon or rope.
16. Always have close-up magic on hand
17. Re-arrange the area to suit your needs!

Transporting the act

Writers note: in this section of the reference guide, only the main points are listed in a condensed format for easy reference. As opposed to the tape version which goes into more detail with each of the following subjects.

Look for cases in better quality luggage stores to give the act a professional image. Be sure to get a case that is regulation to “carry-on” an airplane.

Interior of bags contain “plastic storage containers” to protect the props. These cans be found in any hardware or department store. Find the containers that just fill-up the interior of your prop case. This helps to protect the props as well as maintain the cases rigidity to double the case as a dump bin. (receptacle for putting props after you are done using them in your show.)

In the main compartment of the bag have all of your show props. In any of the side pockets (assuming that you have chose a case with side pockets) Put your promo materials, and extra cords as explained on the tape.

When you arrive at the venue, place the case onto a borrowed chair, create your staging area, and your on!

Zip it up after the show and you out of there! (Unless you have an autograph signing!)

Bonus Section

In this section, I have decided to give the reader an actual routine of mine using the Commando Magic concept. My personal presentation has been excluded for reasons explained during as well as at the end of the routine, but the most important elements are here for you to study. By publishing this basic “No-frills” routine, the reader has full performance rights.

But before going into the effect, there is one point that was only vaguely touched upon in the tape as well as the reference guide. One that is actually very important to me concerning the practicality of these theories. Commando Magic in addition to letting you perform more effectively in hostile situations, allowing your personality to come to the forefront of your performance, efficiently transporting the show etc. These concepts also allow me to concentrate fully upon the dynamics and presentation of the act itself. Look back upon this book. You will see how the Command Magic concept can help you in concentrating on your presentations by freeing you mind up in other areas the show that would normally be taken up by a whole host of problems covered earlier. Well, on with the routine.

The Jardin Ellis Ring Onstage! (A perfect example of Commando Magic in action!)

This classic piece of close-up is not only neglected as far as stand-up magic is concerned, but it isn’t even being done by close-up magicians anymore. It’s a shame, because this effect is so strong that can really make people have bad dreams!


1. A Jardine Ellis Ring
2. A Length of Dowel rod about 24 inches long spray painted a bright color for visibility. (I use neon pink!)

Set-up: None

Effect: Under impossible circumstances a brass ring continually penetrates the rod as it is being held by two audience members!

Writers note: Portions of the handling are to be credited to Mohammed Bey, a great pioneer in the development of the Ellis ring.

Working: First, to make this small effect large, we are going to have to include people. I invite two spectators to the stage, one examines the rod, while the other looks at the ring. (Minus the fake which is palmed). After both have found their respective pieces of magical paraphernalia to be solid and without trickery, I have the two persons stand one to my left, and one to my right. I then thread the ring onto the rod demonstrating how the rod is smaller than the diameter of the ring. Now listen to this next section carefully & follow them with the props in your hands. I effect the penetration of the ring to the center of the wand while it is held by the two spectators. To do this, hold the ring & fake together as one between the thumb and first finger so that the ring is almost horizontal and parallel to the floor. Now holding the rod at about the center between the right first finger and thumb, and with the back of the right hand towards the audience and tilted at an angle of about 45 to 50 degrees away from you, begin to pass the rod down through the ring, still retained by the left hand. After passing it through about three or more times while you are talking and generally bantering to your audience, create a moment of misdirection. For example, I ask my spectators to check and see if there is anything hidden in their hands. It sound like nonsense but they will actually look! I comment on this, it gets a laugh from the audience, and at that moment I execute the sleight that makes this whole routine work. It goes like this. as you pass the rod through the ring the last time the right third, fourth and little fingers grasp the real ring and hide it as they slide the rod (and real ring) out of the ring!(which is now just the fake!) The fake is still visible thus the audience is unaware of the removal of the genuine ring. You are now in this position, you are holding the wand by the center containing the real ring, the fake is held by the left finger tips displaying it to the audience. Tell your respective spectators to hold each rod end while you hold the center (containing the ring) Show the fake, put it under your hand, and after a bit of byplay show that it has penetrated onto the center of the rod, while you palm away the fake. The astonishment that registers on the faces of the people onstage holding the ends of the rod is amazing and is well received by the rest of the audience who in turn become entertained by the reactions of your onstage helpers as well as by the trick itself.

After the initial penetration, the fake now hidden in the right hand is perfectly covered by keeping one hand behind your assistant standing at stage-right. Just think, you have an entire human body as cover for a 1 inch gimmick! That’s safety!

The moves are repeated a second time to effect one more penetration, after that, the spectators re-examine the props, under which misdirection you dispose of the fake, and you are clean.

The effect looks large because there is now three people on the stage, making it easy for the audience to focus in on the action. Now if there are readers out there who doubt that the Ellis Ring can be done effectively onstage, let me remind them that the linking of three borrowed finger rings (which by the way, are smaller than an Ellis Ring,)have been entertaining large audiences in college and cabaret performances by some of the top touring professionals for years.

This may seem like an oversimplified explanation, but the point here is to give you an example of Commando Magic in action. To show you how and why a routine can work with this style. If you do decide to use this routine, Just add in your own personalized presentation, and you will have a masterpiece! I have not included my presentation, because what I do simply will not work for most other performers (presentations are user specific). Seek out and dust off your creativity and you will be rewarded with a dynamite routine!

One final note; the purpose of this book was not to demean performers who use certain styles that “DO” use large props as well as those magicians who frequent magic shops everywhere. Those performers as well as the paraphernalia they use have their own place in the world of magic. Heaven knows that’s how I got my start. So for those who are not ready or do not wish to practice Commando Magic by all means do the material that you believe is you.

I hope you were mentally stimulated by Commando Magic. If you have any comments concerning the Commando Magic Tape & Book please contact me through B.G. Entertainment.

We also welcome any suggestions concerning future topics of interest to professional entertainers everywhere.