Advanced Lab 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 10/98-12/98

When Mike first approached me on this and told me that he had a dynamite force that he has floored “heavyweights” in magic with, I was very interested. Now, I didn’t know what he was about to do, but I had just written a primer on forcing myself and “no way” I thought, was he going to fool me with it. Well folks, you live and you learn! Floor me he did! and now here it is for you to floor others with…Gee Wiz, I thought only Bill Wisch could do that to me<G>…BJG

Johann Neopmuk Hofzinser

(June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875)

Fordice/Hofzinser Force
Mike Fordice

This month I’m going to share an intriguing force with you. It is based on an idea from Johann Neopmuk Hofzinser (June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875). Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find a lot more on forcing. Next month I’ll give you a use for this force.

There are books and books written on forces. I probably use about a dozen different forces depending on several things (including my mood!). The force I’m about to teach you is most useful when the “selected” card is to be returned to the deck and lost so that only one person knows the value of the card.

Also we have a few photographs of the mechanics of this force in action. Bobby J. Gallo took these pictures of me doing the force when we attended the Danny Archer Lecture at SAM #161 recently. These photos are from the spectator’s point of view.

1. Begin with the card to be forced on the top of the deck. Get it there any way you like. Perform false shuffles and/or false cuts to retain the force card on the top of the deck. These false shuffles are really easy as you are controlling only one card. Hold the cards face down in your left hand.

2. Using your left thumb, push the top card of the pack (the force card) into your right hand. Push off a second card, and then a third card. Figure #1 shows the position just as the third card is grabbed by the right thumb (left side of photo). The force card is the bottom card of the three shown at the left. This should appear as though the cards are being counted from left to right.

Figure #1

3. Now begin pushing cards with the left thumb to the right; taking them into the right hand without reversing the order. Push the cards off as a spread so that several individual cards are visible. Figure #2 shows the position at this point. The first 3 cards are completely covered by this spread.

Figure #2

4. Have the spectator touch any card in the spread. Break the spread at this point and close the spread by taping the spread again the remainder of the deck. Figure #3.

Figure #3

5. Lift your right hand to the spectator can see the card he “selected” which is actually the force card. Stress that the spectator must remember the card as he/she is the only person in the world who know the value!

Practice this so it looks like you simply spread the cards, the spectator touched a card, and you showed him his selection.

Next month we’ll put this to use!

UNUSUAL! But Good! That is how I can describe this next lesson in the simplest possible terms. And a true lesson it is! Not only is this effective magic that the student can make up with only a small amount of effort, but it gives yet another insight into the creative mind at work. Due to the fact that it uses marbles. It “could” have been equally at home in the “Kid Show Konservatory”. I fully realize that this is a huge departure from the normal card and coin effects that we normally share with you, but diversity of magic is important. I think you are going to like this one. I do!…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

The mechanics for Roller Box first appeared in print in Dec.of 1995 within the pages of MUM Magazine. I made it part of my regular column, ‘ Dayton’s Deceptive Thoughts’. It seems the idea made an impression on master wood-crafter Clarence S. Miller. He later sent me a finished piece of equipment made entirely of fine hard woods, complete with brass knobs on the drawer.

The ingenious addition he made to the box was a means by which the large marbles placed inside of it could be shown to move freely within the drawer, or, seem to vanish or change color via the Roller Box Principle. Mr. Miller is making and marketing these superb boxes. If you are a serious student of magic, or an avid collector of magic equipment, I urge you to contact him for availability and prices. His address is:

Clarence S. Miller, 354 Broadway, Irvine, KY 40336-1281.

I am, however, putting the cart before the horse. The real story begins in late 1993 or early 1994. A friend of mine, Larry White, had sent several random items for me to ‘tinker’ with, and see if a magic application could be found for the. One of the items were several clear lucite spheres, approximately one half inch in diameter.

I placed one of the spheres into the drawer of a small empty box for matches. The drawer would close without revealing a noticeable ‘bulge’. A big, unexpected surprise came when I pushed the drawer open about three quarters of the way out in the opposite direction. It appeared to be empty! Then I pushed it open the other way, and it still looked empty. The ball seemed to have vanished. The light pressure of the outer sleeve caused the ball to maintain a rather centered position within the box, no matter which way the the drawer was opened, or in which direction the box was held. Horizontally or in perpendicular position, the action remained the same.

Try this for yourself after having found the correct size ball and drawer box with which to work. Experiment with the applications. You’ll find that you can do vanishes and productions, color changes, transformations, and even transpositions if two boxes and balls are used. Consider your possibilities. Think about the combination of different balls with different objects. Perhaps a ball can be changed to a silk? A ball to a cube or die? A hard ball for a sponge ball?

As an example, consider this. Find and use a proper diameter cork ball or small ‘super ball’ in conjunction with a finger ring. Having the ball already in the box, and then keeping it hidden from view as you place a borrowed finger ring into the box will give you a Rattle Box and ring vanish all in one.

This is a marvelous little creation which was stumbled upon purely by accident. It is something both the amateur and working pro can make use of. I believe it has such strength that I wanted to share it with the members of I.C.O.M, just as I had with other magicians previously. I don’t want it to fall by the way-side, or be lost within the pages of a magazine among others stacked on a shelf.

We here at I.C.O.M strive to be innovators to the magic community. Though we realize that we are the sole source of magic to many around the world, we like to think that the magic learned here is not of the variety that is imitated all throughout the magic fraternity. Heaven knows there is enough of that! The following is believed to be an original sleight. Learn it and fool the “all-knowing ones” at your next club meeting, or use it as yet another move for you adoring audiences…BJG

The Curl Back Reversal
Ronald J. Dayton

The face down deck is held in the left hand…tilted at a slight angle so its back is toward the spectators.а The left thumb is at the center of the top long edge and the second, third and fourth are at the opposite long edge.а The left hand first finger is curled and pressed against the center of the face of the deck.

The right hand comes over the deck and grasps it in the following manner.а The right thumb is at the end nearest you…the second and third fingers are at the opposite end, and the first and fourth fingers are at either side, near the corners.

In that moment that the right hand covers the back of the deck, the left hand fingers pull down the long edge of the face card at this side and pull it back toward the left thumb…bending or curling the card in a sort of “U” shape side to side.а In the same instant, the left hand first finger straightens toward the right.а The card becomes clipped momentarily between the left hand first and second fingers, and automatically turns over.

The fingers of the left hand press the reversed card against the deck as the left hand first fingers pulls out from between the card and the deck,а toward the front LH corner of the pack.а As soon as the reversal has been accomplished, the deck is cut and the cut completed.

There will be a slightа ‘flicking’ sound when the card turns over.а This can be minimized by using an older deck…by executing the reversal while on the move…or by making a comment at the moment of the reversal.

It will be up to each individual to determine the worth of this move for themselves.а I believe that, at the proper time, and under the right conditions,а it can be a help in achieving a desired effect.

To a certain degree, it has elements of my Reversal Cull which appeared in MUM a number of years ago, and which no one ever disputed as being original.

” The King’s Sword – Excalibur “
Ronald J. Dayton

EFFECT:аа Two items are seen lying on the performer’s table…a cased deck of cards, and a small plastic cocktail pick…the kind which are made of plastic, and resemble small swords.

You remove the cards from the case, and set the case aside.а The deck is held face down upon the palm of the right hand.а Right thumb holds deck at the top.а A card is chosen by a member of the audience.а It is replaced on top of the deck, and the cards cut and the cut completed. The spectator is now asked to pick up the tiny sword, and push it into the deck, somewhere near the center.а This done, the deck is tabled.

You make a magical gesture over the deck with the right hand, then pick the deck up with one hand at either end, and the sword protruding at the top long edge of the pack.а You now ask the spectator to remove the sword.а As they try, they find it difficult to pull from the deck. Eventually, they are able to, but as they do, a card is seen to emerge with it.а The sword is found to be embedded in the card itselfа This card may be given to the spectator if you wish as a momento of your performance.а The deck itself is otherwise clean.

METHOD:а You will need a deck of cards and case, a duplicate of the card you intend to force, a scissors, two duplicate plastic sword picks, rubber cement in applicator brush bottle.

Begin with one of the swords, the rubber cement, and one of the duplicate cards, and an indifferent card.аа If you intend to give the Excalibur card away at each performance, it is a good idea to purchase a matching Pinochle deck, and make several at a time.

Take the duplicate of the force card and apply a coat of rubber cement to the back and allow to dry.а Rubber cement is also applied to the front of the indifferent card and set aside to dry. Coat the blade of the plastic sword on both sides and allow to dry…then assemble the two cards, sandwiching the swordа between them at the center of one long edge. Take care to press the cards firmly together on either side of the blade, so it appears to actually be embedded in a single card.

Take your scissors and cut a slit half way down the side of the card case,а to allow the deck with protruding card to be slipped inside.а Place the gimmicked card face down on the front of the pack, with sword extending to the right.а Put deck into case and close case, and you’re ready
to perform.

HANDLING:аа The case is lying on your close-up mat with the sword handle facing toward you. The second plastic sword is just to the left, and in plain view.а Remove the cards from the case and hold them on the palm of the right hand.а The handle is clipped between and concealed by theа right hand first and second fingers.а The top card of the face down deck is the card you intend to force.а Execute the Cut Deeper Force, allowing the blocks of cards to be lifted directly from the deck while you hold it in the right hand. Allow the spectator to take their ‘selected card’.а While they show their card, you reassemble the deck. They then place their card back on top, you cut and complete the cut.а As the top half is placed under the bottom half, the gimmicked card becomes positioned somewhere near the center of the deck.

The spectator is now asked to pick up the small plastic sword. The deck is held with the free long edge facing them, and they are asked to insert the sword somewhere near the middle., pushing it in up to the hilt. This is the point where the ‘moves’ begin.а I will attempt to make them
as clear as possible.

аааа The left hand approaches the left long side of the deck.а The first and second fingersа are at the left corner of the end furthest from you, the thumb at the left corner nearest you.а As you turn so the front end of the deck is toward the spectators, the left third and fourth fingersа which are curled along the left side of the deck, clip the handle of the free sword between them.аа The left third finger then curls intoward the palm a bit more, pulling and pivoting the swordа free from the deck and lifting it up toward the left palm.а In the same instant, the right hand shifts positions, disengaging from its hold on the gimmicked sword handle.а It simply holds the deck at the right hand fork of the thumb at the forward right edge.

аааа The right hand little finger curls inward and against the front of the deck as theа first, second and third fingers grasp the left long side of the deck under cover of the left hand.а In one move, the left hand begins to move away as the right hand turns palm down and tables the deck.а Due to the way in which the right hand is holding the deck,а the pack is automatically tabled, face up, with the gimmicked sword still at the right side, just as it should be if an actual turn over of the free sword had been executed.

You lap the free sword in the left hand as the right hand gestures over the tabled deck.а You then pick the deck up between the hands, one at each end, with the back of the deck facing the audience, sword at center of top long edge.а Pressure from your hold will prevent them from extracting the sword at first.а After a try or two, relax the pressure, and allow the amazement to begin.а They will pull the sword from the deck, but a card comes with it.а The clincher comes when they not only discover it is their chosen card…but that the sword is now embeddedа right in it, and cannot be removed!!

Your patter begins at the point where they have just inserted the free sword into the deck.а This is where you weave the tale of King Arthur, and the power that all swords have been given since that ancient time.а You will find that this is a powerful, unexpected version of a classic card location theme.а It will cost only pennies to produce, and the props may be used over and over again if you so desire.а By having extra sets of the gimmicked card ready, you have the option of giving the card away at each performance, or, having different sets readyа for possible repeat engagements.а Enjoy!!

November 1998

Co-Directors Notes: If I told you that this was a long awaited I.C.O.M release, you would probably not believe me. But nevertheless, it is! Word of this effect was leaked out of I.C.O.M headquarters some time ago and there are those who are thrilled that they are finally going to have what can only be termed as a trick “in good taste”…BJG

Good Magic, No Matter How You Slice It!
Ronald J. Dayton

This is one of my strangest ideas in quite some time.. .but, it really does work nicely. It involves tried and true principles which are used in an unusual way. A deck of cards which is placed between two slices of bread is sure to attract attention.. and hold it as well.

You will need a deck of cards in their case, a brown paper lunch bag, two clear plastic sandwich bags, and two slices of bread. The only preparation you have made to the deck of cards is to insure that the two cards you wish to force are on top. All remaining props are ungimmicked. Place the deck in to one clear zip-lock bag, and the bread slices in the other. These two bags are then placed inside your brown paper bag, then the top is folded shut.

The brown bag and its contents are on your table from the start of your performance, just off to your left side, but in full view. When you are ready, you glance at the bag as if noticing it is there for the first time. With a sheepish grin, you comment…” Some people think every magician has a ‘bag of tricks’.. but this one is just my lunch.”

Moving the bag nearer, you open it and peer in. You then remove the bread package first.. .and then the deck of cards. The cards will be unexpected. Explain that you’ll have to work up an appetite first by doing a couple of card tricks.

Taking the deck from within the zip-lock and removing it from its case you proceed by asking a spectator to think of any number from one to twenty. Prior to this, you may shuffle the deck, making sure you do not disturb the position of the top two cards. When the number is given to you, you count that many cards face down on the table. Picking this smaller packet up, it is immediately replaced on top of the deck. Now you again count off the number of cards chosen. The last card of the count is shown to the spectator, and he is told to remember it. You do not look at it. The selected ( forced ) card is tabled face down for a moment as you add the small tabled packet of discards back on top of the deck. Now, the chosen card is apparently placed in the center of the pack, but in reality, you slip it on to the front of the deck. The squared up deck is now tabled, face down.

The second force is achieved by using the Cut Deeper Force. This will give a second spectator the second card originally on the top of the deck at the start. The spectator memorizes it, and you replace the card on top of the deck. Give the deck a series of false shuffles and cuts, retaining the two selections on the front and top of the deck respectively.

Now comes the second surprise. You remove the slices of bread from their zip-lock bag and form a sandwich by actually placing the deck between the two slices.

The sandwich is held in the right hand with fingers below and thumb at top center. You comment that there is way too much filling between the bread, and so, with a quick forward jerking swing of the hand, most of the cards are ejected out on to the table.

You now lie the sandwich on the table. The left hand slides the top slice off, and a single card is seen lying on the slice below. You ask spectator *1 what their card was. You then turn the visible card over, and, it IS THEIR SELECTION!

The left hand replaces its slice of bread and you pick the sandwich up as if to take a bite. Then you remember that a second

card had been chosen as well. Lying the sandwich down once again, the left hand lifts away the top slice. There, face up on the lower slice of bread is the remaining chosen card: You’ll have just performed a card trick the audience will really remember. They’ll eat it up.. .with relish!

NOTE: Those of you well versed in magic will recognize that this is a version of a friction grip location of two cards. The only difference is that the cards are held between two slices of bread rather than just the fingers and thumbs of the hand. BUT… the bread gives full cover. It conceals the fact that two cards are sandwiched between them. As you slide the top slice back toward you, the upper card of the two will come with it, allowing the left thumb to get under the slice and lift the card away with the bread.

When you replace the top slice and later lift the sandwich as if to take a bite.. as it is tabled again, it is secretly turned over. You then execute the slide and lift of the new top slice for the final reveal of the second card. The slices of bread make everything pretty automatic.

I have no preference as to the type of bread you want to use. Day old is probably best. It’s a bit firmer, and easier to handle without tearing. Those of you watching your weight, or with health problems may want to use seven grain, or low fat. The option is yours, but remember please… .no butter!

Additional Co-Directors Notes:

  • There is a trick presently on the market that uses FOAM bread slices. If this can be found, the prop may be adapted, with some changes to the above routine.
  • In the beginning I told you that this was an anticipated routine. If you didn’t believe me, tune is next month. We will be featuring variations of this from noted magician, Joseph K. Schmidt! Watch for it…

Co-Directors Notes: I can go on and on about the constant quality of Fordice material. Here is an example of creative thinking and routining at its finest. If you want a pro routine, you got it, right here!…BJG

Group Mind Reading
Mike Fordice

This is an effect to be performed when there is an obvious leader of a group present. I have performed this for the president of a company, the director of sales training at a graduation dinner for sales trainees, the pastor of a church, the soccer coach at the end-of-season awards party, etc. I’ve also performed it (with some modification) for a cousin of my mother-in-law at a surprise 75th birthday party.

The obvious leader (victim) randomly selects a card from a shuffled deck. The card in immediately returned to the deck, the deck shuffled, and returned to the case. As the victim concentrates on the selected card, the entire gathering is able to read his/her mind and announce the identity of the card.

A deck of cards. The Fordice/Hofzinser Force I taught last month. A way of informing the audience the identity of the selected card. For this I use a large (8 x 11 inch) 3 of diamonds. This large card is actually a silk-producing item called “Silk-Dimension” from Tricks Co., Ltd. in Japan. You can use a jumbo card, make a sign, etc.

Ask the victim to join you on stage. Discuss the importance of communication in his/her position as (president, coach, pastor, etc) and that there are various kinds of communicationЛwritten, verbal, body language, etc. What most of us forget about is mental communication or telepathy. (You have to specifically adapt this presentation to your particular situation; this is only a brief description to get you started.) Tell him/her that because of his/her special and important position as _____, you would like to try an experiment in mental communication.

Bring out the deck with the 3 of diamonds on top. Do a false shuffle retaining the 3D on top and force the card using The Fordice/Hofzinser force (see last month). Have the victim glance at the card and tell him/her that it is important to remember the card. Return the card to the deck; shuffle and return the deck to the case. Impress upon the victim that he/she is the ONLY person in the world who knows the identity of the cardЛand that this is an awesome responsibility.

Describe that you are not going to determine the identity of the card, but that the entire group is going to do that! (build this up) At this point I usually offer the victim a chair. I do this primarily so the victim is a bit out of the way as I bring out the large card (or sign) for the audience. Ask the victim to close his/her eyes and concentrate on a visual image of the card–first concentrate on the color of the cardЛred or black. Then prompt the audience to reveal the color of the card–red.

Next ask the victim to concentrate on the suit of the card. Since the audience selected the color red, the suit must be hearts or diamonds. Prompt the audience to reveal diamonds.

Next, we have to work on the value of the card, but do this in 2 steps. Ask the victim to concentrate on the value of the selected cardЛwas it high or low? Again prompt the audience to reveal high or low. Finally, and in the same manner, have the audience reveal the value of the card.

At the end, there is an option. You can show the large card to the victim or can elect not to show it. Most of the time, I show the large card. This leaves the victim scratching his/her head as you take your bows and accept your applause.

When I performed this at the 75th birthday party I did not have my large card. So I grabbed a coloring pad and crayons from one of the kids in attendance and made up a sign showing the 3D.

What I thought would be great fun would be to do this at a large corporate meeting that has rear-screen projection. You would need to 35 mm slide of the 3D (or other card) and have that projected as you proceed with the effect.

Enjoy! And let us know about your successes with this and the other wonderful effects here on I.C.O.M.

December 1998

Noted Magician Joseph K.Schmidt has submitted the following thoughts and patter for I.C.O.M. These are his ideas for a possible handling of the Sandwiched Card Trick described last month…the one in which the two chosen cards become trapped between two slices of bread.

” Bread Sandwich …A Second Bite”
Joseph K. Schmidt

As an alternate handling for the Dayton Sandwiched Card effect…one might well consider having the spectators who chose the cards write the name of their favorite sandwich ingredient on their card with a felt tip marking pen, rather than their name. Once this is done, they may also have free choice of any two slices of bread from a loaf. ” When most people want to catch a mouse, they usually use cheese in their traps. Here in Germany…we use ‘speck’ or bacon. It has the same fatal attraction for the mice. Well I am going to try to use the favorite sandwich fillings you have written on the cards to try to ‘trap’ the chosen cards in this sandwich. “

Just as in the Dayton version, the full deck is placed between the slices of bread. The bread is given a shake, and most of the cards come out from the center. As far as selection and control goes, you could simply take the two ‘fixings’ cards and drop them on top….double undercut one to the face. False shuffle, retaining the cards in place. This is easily done if a riffle shuffle is used.

Another control handling would be to add the two cards to the face of the deck, double cut both to the back of the still face up deck. Hindu Shuffle without disturbing the two cards. Later, turn the deck face down and double cut one to the bottom. This is a Stewart James idea from Tops magazine years ago

The whole premise of this effect is unusual and fun. Maybe you will agree that the use of fillings rather than spectator names on the cards lends itself well to the over-all novelty.

Coming next month
Yes…One more version of the Sandwiched Card Trick!

” Mind Implosion “
Ronald J. Dayton

Keeping track of a simple series of numbers and words dosen’ create a serious problem for the average person. We do it everyday while dealing with names and phone numbers, area codes and addresses. But what I am offering to I.C.O.M members who enjoy the challenge of numbers and words is an ‘apparent’ presentation of a super memory. It makes a nice lead-in effect to other mental routines. Best of all, it requires no memorization at all! This frees the performer to concentrate completely on presentation.

The effect depends upon the selection of specific words…the use of the fact that certain numbers, when arranged properly, and turned upside down, resemble the letters in certain words. The third aspect of this effect is the use of a special method of forcing a word which was originally devised for an earlier effect.

Please look at list “A” first. These specific words are printed on

one side of a piece of stiff white stock. The list begins with the number 37817 followed by the word Scripture, and then the word Bible. List “A” ends with the number 54915 followed by the words : SOFT, SIGHS.

Your job is to convince the aududiencethat you have not only memorized all of the numbers on the list printed on both sides of the posterboard stock…but that you know the word immediately to the right ofthe number,and the word associated with it further to the right. In total, that would amount to memorizing 258 random words and numbers, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Look again at the number 37818 and the words Scripture and Bible. If you turn the number upside down, the last 8 is to your left. The number eight resembles a B…the 1 is an I, the second 8 is another B. Finally, the resupinated number 7 looks like an L, and the 3 resembles an E. When you put them all together, they code or reveal to you the second
word…BIBLE !

Word List “A” consists of every other word on the list having the capability of revealing the second word to you in this way. In other words, when you begin, a piece of stiff posterboard stock is shown to have a series of numbers and words printed on both sides. One side is list “A” and the opposite side is list “B”. There are 86 number lines available. You ask them to choose any number from 1 to 86. If they pick an odd number, you lay the list down with “A” side up and ask them to silently count to their number. If it is not on that side, they are to turn the slip over and continue on the other side. No matter what odd number they select…it will always bring them to one of the special word and number lines. If they choose an even number, side “B” is left uppermost, and same instructions given.

The numbers and letters are as follow:

1 = I, 3 = E, 4 = H, 5 = S, 7 = L, 8 = B, 9 = G, and 0 = O

What the audience assumes, incorrectly, is that the five digit number has been memorized to tell you the first word of the two. The impression that you want to create is that you’ve memorized the numbers, and the word first listed, and the word associated with the first word. If you can accomplish this, you will have a radically mind blowing effect at your disposal.

In your patter, explain that something as basic as the numbers for a lottery are used because the possible combinations are mathematically staggering. Much in the same way basic musical notes have been used for centuries to be combined in variations to create every piece of music that has ever been committed to paper. The possible combinations of numbers and letters in the words of the experiment you are about to embark upon would severely test the most powerful computers of our day.

To begin the routine, the list, the small slip of paper and a pencil are on your table. You ask for the help of a member of the audience in an experiment of the mind. Once they have joined you at your side, they are shown the list casually on both sides. You explain that the list consists of 86 five digit numbers, 86 random words, and 86 related words…a total of 258 basic pieces of information to commit to memory…compounded by the staggering mathematical possibilities of number and letter combinations. They are then asked to choose a number from 1 to 86. As soon as they announce it, you lay the list down on the table correct side up…and step away from the table a few paces with your back turned to the assistant, but positioned so the rest of the audience can see what you do.

Tell the spectator to carefully count to the number position he has selected. If necessary to arrive at that position, they may turn the slip over and continue counting on the other side. when they reach the chosen position, they are to jot down the five digit number they have arrived at on the small slip of paper. They are then to hand this small slip, and the pencil to you.

They are told that just to the right of the five digit number they will see a word. They are asked to concentrate on this word for a moment. You then ask them to clear their mind, and concentrate on the associated or related word immediately to the right of the first word. After a moment,you write something on the slip of paper with the pencil. The slip is then handed to another member of the audience.

The spectator is asked to name the final, related word he has been thinking of. He does. The member of the audience who was just handed the small slip of paper moments ago is now asked to stand and announce the word you had devined and pprinted on the slip. The two words are a perfect match.

There is quite a bit of psycology employed in this effect. The choice of words to emphasize the mathematical possibilities…the supposed use of ‘random’ words, and associated words. It is a strong point that the assistant, not you is the one to jot the five digit number down on the slip of paper…and a strong conclusion when a second member of the audience confirms the match of the written and thought-of word.

The premise for this effect was placed in a notebook over seven years ago, waiting for a method which would allow it to blossom to its full potential. The discovery of the Turn Over Force, with two sections of the same list printed on either side of a slip of paper allowed me to complete the process. Whey ‘you’ come up with a possible effect, make a record of it as well. If the effect cannot be done as you envision it at present, prehaps in time, just as in this instance, amethod will reveal itself. Never abandon a thought.

LIST “A” ( Odd Numbers )

37818-Scripture, Bible
41903-Umbrella, Rain
73817-Attorney, Libel
52168-Television, Shows
57738-Wedding, Bells
70319-Travel, Maps
50705-Singer, Solos
34110-Trees, Limbs
57714-Incline, Hills
61775-Doctors, Pills
50715-Farmer, Silos
39316-Beverage, Java
57719-Fish, Gills
47505-Speed, Races
53045-Laces, Shoes
77244-Mechanic, Tools
55178-Joy, Bliss
34613-Chimney, Roofs
39718-Ships, Bilge
51916-Magic, Wands
57718-Debts, Bills
75146-Boxing, Match
57108-Sterilize, Boils
33408-Chess- Pawns
39317-King, Liege
48373-Eye- Chart
55378-Priest, Bless
35107-Romeo, Juliet
53105-Heels, Soles
79307-Caramel, Apple
55079-Lustre, Gloss
47379-Time, Clock
57734-Devil, Hells
53414-Daily, Paper
57715-Window, Sills
34006-Dentist, Tooth
53907-Cabins, Loges
53709-Light, Bulbs
35007-Hardware, Loose
35107-Hammer, Nails
50907-Company, Logos
47739-Phone, Calls
54915-Soft, Sighs

LIST “B” ( Even Numbers )

66503-Keys, Locks
53751-Emerald, Isles
34357-Ribbon, Bows
35009-Gander, Goose
35908-Marching, Bands
35380-Overweight, Obese
76044-Criminal, Jails
38079-World, Globe
53915-Diamond, Mines
39315-Midieval, Siege
91745-Spider, Webs
58078-Fatty, Blobs
51391-Flag, Staff
53704-Donut, Holes
35591-Library, Books
07734-Greeting, Hello
91531-French, Fries
53507-Gamble, Loses
77203-Numbers, Math
53504-Firemen, Hoses
50153-Knife, Slice
50045-Flies, Shoos
39388-Walking, Stick
53807-Ears, Lobes
03605-Cowboy, Rodeo
53145-Avoids, Shies
59363-Shuttle, Space
77345-Turtle, Shell
77034-Present, Gifts
54914-Lows, Highs
52145-Salad, Bowls
35108-Potato, Boise
37066-Jet, Plane
53708-Cotton, Boles
53780-Baby, Diaper
53080-Woodwinds, Oboes
37606-Thunder, Storm
00791-Eskimo, Igloo
37660-Wicker, Basket
39138-Tan, Beige
53970-Rocking, Chair
53790-Stares, Ogles
00793-Wrist, Watch


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic Members Only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Beginner’s Study 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Beginners’s Study 10/98-12/98

October 1998

Forcing Techniques
(A Primer)
Bobby J. Gallo

When I teach, I study my students very carefully. I do not believe in teaching the same things to everyone. I follow the same line of reasoning that the old secret societies used to adhere to (Masons, Kof C, etc.) and that is to teach only those things the individual student is ready to learn. If I feel the student is just in magic class for innocent fun or mere curiosity, that is fine. But that being the case, that person learns a regimen of tricks that may potentially be found on the back of a cereal box. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, some of this material is actually very good and a person can be very busy learning this magic alone. If the person turns out to be a serious amateur at the very least, I now know that this is a person who will likely keep the secrets of magic to him or herself. They are then rewarded with secrets that I feel are more valuable. Or should I say CONCEPTS!

The concept of FORCING is just such an area of magic that I feel should be relegated only to those who are serious about the art. We magicians often fail to realize that the vast majority of layman have absolutely no idea whatsoever that a magician has the ability to influence them in what appears to be a free choice of objects. This is a very powerful thing indeed! I consider the concept of forcing to be one of, if not THE most guarded secrets of magic from my perspective. Therefore, this lesson may indeed be one of the most important the beginning magician can read and study.

Now that I have that out of my system, let me discuss exactly what forcing is. The I.C.O.M Online Magician’s Glossary defines forcing as: 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.

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that, if a magician can expertly force an object, the potential for magical effects are virtually limitless. The basis of what could be 1/3 of all card magic is based on forcing of one way or another. Forcing, should be learned by all serious magicians, and once learned, only used in select tricks where you want the most powerful mystical punch. Do not over use forcing…

Forcing can safely be divided into two main categories that we will now discuss.

  • The Forcing of a Playing Card or Number of Cards.
  • The Forcing of a Random Object.

Magicians have been forcing playing cards since the times predating Robert Houdin. However, the of forcing random objects such as silks, coins, food articles, furniture, blimps and moon rocks, though sometimes practiced in various routines, is the exception rather than the rule. Cards are by enlarge are the favorite object of forcing by magicians.

Since the subject of card forcing is so expansive, I am going to start with some example methods of forcing random objects. For the sake of expediency, We will for the time being, leave out the forcing of furniture, blimps and moon rocks <G>.

Before I get into actual methods, I would like to first say that to try and cover all techniques in this lesson would be next to impossible. I will not list all the different methods in what is essentially a ‘primer’ on forcing. This is just a different animal than than something like my earlier Torn Corner Techniques, I.C.O.M Archives, where I was able to be fairly comprehensive. If one wants the entire gamut of forces, I could do no better than to recommend, 202 Methods of Forcing by Annemann, Max Holden 1933. This book may still be available and if the student is interested, may be procured through I.C.O.M for a nominal fee.

But do you need 202 methods?…the answer is NO. You may need only about three or four your entire magical career. I will now do my best to give you the most popular and widely used forces that should serve you well.

Methods for Forcing Random Objects

1.Fortunately for the I.C.O.M student there is an original method for forcing random objects that is only available right here in the archives entitled The Force Of A Spell by Ronald J. Dayton. I encourage all that are interested in forcing to find it in the archives, learn it and use it. It is a brilliant way to force just about anything.

2.The second is the famous and much over used method called Equivoque’. (see I.C.O.M Magician’s Glossary) This method is also called “Magician’s Choice” or “Process of Elimination”. In this method, the spectator has a seemingly free choice of any object on a table. The reality is that they have no choice at all. The magician uses a psychological ruse to make them feel that it was a free selection. Let me illustrate with the following example. Warning: this may be a bit confusing!

Object: The magician wants to force a banana on the spectator for the old pre-sliced banana trick!

  • Four fruits on the table: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana
  • Spectator is asked to point to two objects. (notice I did not say “choose” two objects)
  • If the spectator point to the Lemon and the Banana, the performer eliminates the other two fruits leaving the banana and the other fruit. However, if the spectator selects say the Lemon and the apple, the performer removes those fruits. In other words, the object is that no matter which fruit the spectator selects, the banana must always stay on the table. since you never specified what it means by the spectator selecting the two objects, they naturally assume that what ever you do is fair and above board.
  • Now that you have two fruit on the table, say the banana and the apple, you do it again, but employ another subtle ploy. Say, “now out of these two, point to another one”. If they point to the apple, eliminate it and say “that leaves us with the banana”. If they point to the banana, say “You have freely selected the banana”.

3. The next is an old time counting force that is ultra simple to use but very effective. This time we will use six fruits: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana…Kiwi…Peach

Object: The Magician wants to Force the Orange. The set-up must be that the Orange is the third object from the left of the performer.

  • The performer states that he will have the spectator select an object on the table. but in order to have a totally random selection, the spectator is asked merely to give the performer a number from one to six.
  • If the spectator says “one” The performer will spell “one” starting from his left, O-N-E. This lands the performers finger on the orange.
  • The same thing happens if the spectator says T-W-O.
  • Three is the best. The performer then merely counts three from his left, landing on the orange.
  • If four is stated, the performer counts from his right (spectators left) landing on the orange.
  • If five is uttered, the magician spells it starting from his right F-I-V-E. Landing on the orange.
  • Finally, if it is six, the magician spells it starting from his left as in one and two. Starting from his left landing on the orange. S-I-X

4. The last method I will mention is this section deals with use of mechanical devises to force. The popular prop that has been exploited by clown magicians who want to do magic, The Change Bag. This is an excellent way to force small objects. Just have all duplicate objects in one half and a variety of different ones in the other half. Show the different ones and an otherwise empty bag. Drop them all in, make the switch and have a spectator reach in without looking and randomly (?) select an object. Since they are really now all the same, you cannot fail.

To force larger objects this way, Blimps or Large Buildings* for example, Just write the names on slips of paper and proceed as described above.

Methods for Forcing Playing Cards

As I said before, there are almost more ways to force things than one can count and that especially holds true with playing cards. That being said, card forcing can also be divided into two main categories.

  • Forces using a gimmicked (trick) deck of cards.
  • Forces using an ordinary everyday deck of cards.

1. It would not be wise to sit here and explain the working of all the different trick decks on the market. Suffice to say that there are many and some are indeed better than others. Among the classics are:

  • The Svengali Deck
  • The Rough and Smooth Deck
  • The Stripper (Shaved) Deck, (this deck is not ordinarily used for forcing but can with great effect)
  • The One-Way Deck (all cards are the same except for the top and bottom cards)
  • 50/50 Deck (half of the deck are all the same, half are different so that they can be shown)
  • Three-Way Force Deck (each third of the deck consists of the same cards. Used to force three different cards on one or more spectators)
  • Yes, there are more! Incidentally, All of these decks can be purchased through I.C.O.M if desired. Check out our online catalog or e-mail us for prices and availabilities.

2. However, the ambitious magician can dispense with trick decks altogether and be equally effective using a plain old ordinary deck. However, I must state that there is NOTHING WRONG with using a trick deck to force. The only caveat is that there may be times when a crude spectator may grab the deck from the magicians hands. In this case the magician is sunk unless he is using a subtlely gaffed deck such as the stripper (shaved) deck.

We will now examine several classic forcing methods using an ordinary, and semi-ordinary deck. The list is as follows.

  • The Classic Force
  • The Hindu Shuffle Force
  • The Countdown Force
  • The Cross-Cut Force
  • The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force
  • The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*

The Classic Force:

This Classic force may have been the original and is a ‘force’ in every sense of the word, for the spectator is quite literally FORCED to take the card the magician has predetermined. It works like this.

  • The card to be forced is noted and controlled to the top via any number of methods. Once there, the deck is cut. At this point the cards are not completely squared but rather, the spot where the force card lies is held with a pinky break (done by inserting the pinky above the force card hidden and unknown to the audience). The magician notes where the card lies and holds the cards out in a fan. When the magician asked the spectator to take a card he guides the center of the deck, where the force card is, smoothly positioned towards the spectators hands. If you pick a good spectator, they will take the card that is nonchalantly guided to them. That is the classic force.

    In my own work, I have found it to be too risky and not 100% sure-fire. But there are those who swear by this force. Problem is, I’ve never met them.

The Hindu Shuffle Force:

This may be the most popular impromptu force of its kind. And what makes it effective is the fact that it is fairly easy to do “if done properly”. I will tell you how to obtain instructions for the classic method and then I will outline my twist that seems to make it a bit better?

The rather short but complete method for using the hindu force can be found complete with photo illustrations in the I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery.

After reading that description, I would like to relate to the student the method that I actually developed “before” I ever learned to do the classic version of the Hindu Shuffle. This method serves me well to this day.

  • Start by having the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Then instead of grabbing off chunks of card stock as in the original method, thumb off single cards instead.
  • Start slowly then gradually gain speed. After the spectator says “stop”, hold up the remainder of the top stock top let them glimpse the force card.

If this seems a bit unclear, please refer to the Sleight-Of Hand Gallery and read the description of the original method first.

The Countdown Force:

I include this force because it is VERY popular among my beginning students due to its ultra simplicity if not its sheer audacity. Actually, I have fooled a great many people myself with this one.

  • Have the force card on top of the deck.
  • Ask the spectator to name any number from one to ten.
  • Assuming the number was five, ask them to do exactly what you are about to do when you hand them the cards. Proceed to count five cards singly into a neat pile as you count. One, Two, Three, Four, Five.
  • After you have finished, take the pile and replace the cards on top of the deck. What you have done is actually reverse the order of the cards so that the force card is now the fifth card from the top of the deck!
  • Give the spectator the cards and ask them to now do what you did, counting down five cards, the number that THEY chose, and look at the fifth card (the original top force card).
  • Reveal the card as desired.

The Cross-Cut Force:

This force can have no higher praise than to state that it is a favorite of Bill Wisch and has been used on television years ago by none other than the legendary Orson Wells!

  • Have the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Tell the audience member to cut the deck anywhere they wish to make two piles.
  • Then to take one pile (the one with the force card) and place it cross-wise onto the other pile.
  • Talk to them for a bit and distract them from what just happened.
  • Then tell them to raise the top pile and peek at the card on the bottom it. (they will assume that this is where they cut the deck and not realize that this was the bottom card, your forced card!

The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force:

The reason that these two are nearly last is because I do not intend to fully explain them here. Rather, I am recommending them for study. You may find both of these forces already expounded upon in the archives and are still available free as of this writing. The Corner Short* can be found explained in a routine called The Perfect Card Trick!? I.C.O.M Archives, as well as on Ultimate Magic Rap Volume #1 Audio Lecture Tape. The Slip Force can be found in a gem called The World’s Quickest Card Trick I.C.O.M Archives.

Also, as a final note on this subject, having the deck prepared with a corner short is what I consider to be a semi-ordinary deck.

The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*:

This force can be found this month in the Advanced Lab, Check it out!

Basic Sample Routine Using The Card Force As A Vehicle

Before the show starts, remove a duplicate card of the one you intend to force and seal it in an envelope. Then hand this envelope from a string on the far end of the stage where the audience can see it the entire time.

  • Now proceed to force the card that matches the duplicate that is inside the envelope.
  • Have the spectator show it around and place it back into the deck.
  • Shuffle the deck and have the spectator do the same.
  • Take the deck back and pretend to look for it, intentionally failing several times.
  • Tell the audience that do to the fact that you could not find the card, the assisting spectator will get a consolation prize.
  • Go to the far end of the stage and openly take the envelope down and proceed to hand it to the assisting spectator.
  • Have THEM open it up and look inside.
  • After they discover their card, have them show it to the audience and take your bows.

So that it! You now have the means by which many professional magicians have made and are making their livings. Please respect our art and cherish what is contained herein….Thank you!

*This will be the subject of yet another magic technique manuscript coming soon

Levitation Effects for Beginner’s
Bobby J. Gallo

This next offering originally appeared as a Virtual Magic Lesson ™ and is transcribed here for the benefit of all I.C.O.M students…BJG

If you are interested in levitation effects.  There are six as of this writing in the “Archives”.

1)Go Into the Archives and look for the following routines: Kid Show Konservatory: The Stiff Handkerchief Re-Done. 9/97, Streamlined Rising Egg. & In the Beginners Study: The Oldest Dog Of Them All. 2/98: 11/97 Cane Suspension under a section entitled “quickies” & An Experiment in Personal Magnetism. 7/98 The Jennifer Dayton Impromptu Bottle Levitation.

If you have any problems finding the material, let me know and I will walk through the process of accessing the forums. But suffice to say, you just have to click on the appropriate forums to get in.

2)The following is a routine created just for you!  I hope you will like it.

Practical Floating Dollar Bill.
Bobby J.Gallo

(This routine is loosely based on one by a magician named Jean Hugard)

One of the most popular floating effects of the last decade undoubtedly is the “Floating Dollar Bill”  Of course, depending on where you live you will be able to use “any” paper currency that is available.

The method used by most magicians calls for “Invisible thread”.  This enables the magician to perform the effect in very close quarters without the thread being seen, as most effects of this type “use” thread as the means of levitation.  Yes, the old saying that its done with strings is generally true!…especially in this case.

Now, I realize that in some countries it may be impossible to get the same thread that is used by most magicians.  That’s OK, the fact of the matter is, Invisible thread is very hard to work with, and not very dependable anyway.

What I recommend is finding the finest possible black or gray silk thread. This will work fine as well as be considerably stronger as far as breakage. An important fact one must consider when doing thread effects.  It is also much easier to work with since, unlike invisible thread “you” can see it. But properly presented, your audience will not.  After all, the famous “Dancing Cane” uses rather “heavy” thread and it still is not seen from a platform.


From a regular playing card or very stiff paper, cut out two very small pieces and cut small slits in them.  Knot both ends of a six to eight foot length of the silk thread and place each knotted ends into the slitted card pieces.  Now, place two small dabs of tacky wax to each knotted end or in the USA we have a form of all purpose non-toxic putty called “Fun Tack” that sticks to most anything and is removed easily.  Perhaps you have something similar in where you live, check your local stationer for something that can be used.

Now hat you have your magic levitation set-up and your currency note,  you are ready to do a beautiful floating effect.

Before your performance, fix one end of the thread set-up to the back of a chair, bring the other end around to the front of the chair but do not affix that end to anything yet. Just put it on the seat of the chair in preparation of doing your final set-up right in front of the spectators eyes! Display your Bill or borrow one (which is always more impressive).

Now lay the bill on the chair next to the free end of the thread.  Move the chair as though you are looking for a good place to put it.  This is done so that you can easily grasp the free end of the thread along with the dollar bill together without the knowledge of the audience.  Now, at this point it is important to be sure that the thread is not running under the chair and is free of all obstructions.

Now make believe you are fixing your hair and in the process, attach the free end of the thread to your collar.  In rehearsal you will find the best way of doing this.  You may want to attach some “Velcro” to this end of the thread which will attach to another piece previously attached to the collar. Or you may wish to put a loop of thread on the free end and loop it around your ear.  Some magicians have even attached the free end of the thread to a cotton ball and stuck that in the ear.  But that would be very visible and we do not advocate sticking things in your ear.  But it is mentioned here to give you an idea of how things like this can be accomplished.   
Of course there is always the easiest method of all.  That is to have the thread hooked to yourself from the beginning and simply perform your show being careful not to let it get in your way.

Now that the thread is running from your collar to the chair, take the bill and place it so that it touches the top of the thread.  In performance, you must make the audience believe that you are merely holding the bill out in empty space. After all, they must not know that there is a thread running in-between you and the chair.  Crumble the bill up around the thread so that the bill wrapped around the thread. The audience thinks you merely crumbled the bill up at arms length.

Rest the crumbled bill on your palm, make some mystic passes over it with your hand.  Use your best acting ability. Now gradually tighten the thread by very slowly moving your body backwards.  The bill will slowly rise out of your palm and into the air where it will remain suspended defying the laws of gravity!

Now you may pass your hands over and around the floating bill.  You may take a large ring or your magic wand and pass it all around to show the absence of strings (?)  Making sure you do not really touch the string.  You will be surprised at how  much you can do this without ever disturbing the floating dollar.

By nodding the head imperceptibly, you can raise and lower the bill, adding music will also be a major addition to the effect that will create a great atmosphere.

Lastly, be sure to do this in dim light with your audience a sufficient distance from you.  Tell them that if they are not at least (?) feet from you, the mystic aura will not materialize and the experiment will not work.

In closing, I feel that I would be remiss if I did not at least point out some classic magic levitation effects and where to obtain them in the event that you do not feel that this lessons effect is for you.

  • The Zombie: The classic levitation effect. The magician floats a silver ball above a foulard. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Miracle Ball: A less expensive version of the Zombie ball. Also Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Dancing Hankerchief: To be the subject of a future I.C.O.M lesson, watch for it!
  • The Spooky Rising Ball: Similar to “Streamlined Rising Egg” found in the archives, however, no palming is involved with this method. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Rising Cards: A Classic of Magic. Impromptu methods to be the subject of future I.C.O.M lessons.
  • The Floating Glass: A gimmicked version of the “Jennifer Dayton Impromptu bottle levitation”. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Floating Light Bulb: The illusion that the legendary Blackstone made famous! Available through I.C.O.M

There are others that we will also cover in the times ahead. In the meantime, I think that you have a lot to work with here.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Bobby J. Gallo 

Note: This Virtual Lesson is for I.C.O.M members only, and may be used for future I.C.O.M forums. Copyright 1998 International Conservatory Of Magic

November 1998

Bobby J. Gallo

This trick is coming to you fresh. What do I mean by that? Well, most of the time, authors of effects, including myself, will tell you that what they are sharing has been developed through years of trial and error. This is not the case with this lesson. As a matter of fact, this effect and its method, for myself, have been discovered within three weeks of this writing. So that being the case, let me back track three weeks to give you a look at events as they transpired. And in doing so, teach you the routine in the process.

Three weeks ago I found myself outside of Atlanta Georgia performing at the University Of Georgia. Part of my “Sharing The Magical Spotlight ‘With You’ Tour”. As with all of my college dates, I am engaged to perform for one solid hour. Any college performer can tell you, that when working in these extremely difficult venues, only the best and most foolproof magic should be used. The college circuit is an extremely discriminating market, and you have to be very, very good to work it.

My show was going very well that night. As a matter of fact, it was going so well that I lost control of my pacing and found myself rushing through routines because of the adrenaline rush I was getting due to the great response of the audience. Come to think of it, I’ve just decided, pacing should, and will be the subject of a future lesson. It is very important.

I had gone through my entire show and knew that I had only “one more” routine to perform, and that was my closing number. Well, when I looked up at the clock I discovered that I still had fifteen minutes to go! Whoops!, my closing number runs just under 9 minutes. Uh, Oh, what to do? I could not run the show short. I travelled about 600 miles and the school was paying a nice amount of money for the show. I was obligated to give them a solid hour. All I had left were the playing cards I had in my pocket, and one deck on the table.

Ok, I know lots of tricks right? But what can I do on a stage? During the time I was pattering to the audience and asked someone to the stage, (I knew I would need a spectator no matter what I did) I needed to decide on a trick. I considered Joe Karsons “World’s Fastest Card Trick” But that involved making sport of the assisting audience member. And I did not get a good vibe during this show concerning that particular trick. The person was almost at the stage when the old classic, You-Do-As-I-Do popped into my head. No time to waste, I had to do it. Only problem was, I HAD NEVER BEFORE PERFORMED THAT TRICK! I said to myself, how hard could it be, it only involved the use of a key card. A concept I am well familiar with.

Here we go, I gave one deck to the spectator and one kept one for myself. I asked the spectator to shuffle the cards. (which by the way she did expertly!) I did the same. We then exchanged decks. Oh no, I forgot to peek at the bottom card of my deck before I handed it to her to note the key card! No Problem… I told her that “we had to place psychic vibes into the cards or the experiment would not work”. I told her to “take the deck and give it another shuffle!!! and another!!!” Now I said, “hold the deck up to your head like me.”(See Fig.#1) I held up the deck with the bottom card facing her and she did the same. HER KEY CARD WAS STARING ME IN THE FACE! I did all I could to not burst out laughing. After we chanted a little, which as very funny, I asked her to “look through her deck and pick out a card, any card.” I told her I would do the same. In my case it made no difference which card I selected.

Fig. #1

After she selected a card I asked her to do as I did and “place the card on top of her deck. Cut the cards, again, again, again, Now, lets switch decks. I told her to go through my deck and located her card as I would go through her deck and locate my card.” I simply looked for the key card that I spotted when she held the deck up earlier, and knew the next card would be her chosen selection.

We both held our cards out backs to the audience when I said “on the count of three, we are both going to turn our cards over at the same time to see what we have each selected. One…two…three…!” When we turned our cards over and they matched. THE CROWD WENT NUTS…I MEAN THEY WENT WILD! I could not believe that this effect was so unbelievably strong. Two weeks later, I did it again at another college. Russell Sage College in Troy New York. I got the same reaction. Only there I had a little miracle take place. When the spectator looked through my deck to find her card, It wasn’t there! The deck just so happened to be missing card and it was the spectators selection! So in the eyes of the audience, not only did I find the spectators card, but I made it vanish from my deck as well! If only that could happen at a magician’s convention, they would be following me around for years wondering how I did that!

So, Why do I call this You-Do-As-I-Adieu? The key is in the word Adieu, or goodbye. This trick is so strong you can close a show with it. In other words, do it, then say goodbye! Go through this story, and try it out. You will love it. Want a brief overview? Ok…

  • Have Two Decks of Cards, one for you, and one for the spectator.
  • Both Shuffle.
  • Exchange decks.
  • Shuffle again.
  • Hold decks up to foreheads and chant an ancient mantra, noting the bottom card (key card) of the spectators deck. This is my stumbled upon variation which allows the cards to be shuffled after the decks have been switched.
  • Both select a card (remember, yours doesn’t matter).
  • Place cards on top of decks, cut three times.
  • Exchange decks again.
  • Look through cards for your respective selections. (you look for key card, card following key is the spectators choice. Take it out).
  • Hold cards out with backs towards the audience. On the count of three turn them over.
  • Watch the faces of the audience, jaws drop followed by standing ovation.
  • Send letters of thank you to Bobby J. Gallo! (just kidding…send e-mail!)

Co-Director’s Notes: This next lesson originated as a “Virtual Magic Lesson” for one of our students overseas. Over there, they have only heard about the linking card effect. So with that in mind, I developed what I believe is an original handling of the effect. I do however, give credits where I felt appropriate. I hope you enjoy and use it…BJG

Devil’s Play-Link
Bobby J. Gallo

Fig: #4

The following linking card routine contains elements from virtually all who have tread the “trendy” premise of applying the classic “Linking Ring” effect to playing cards.

Among those who should be credited off the top would be Paul Harris and an English magician named “Crabtree” who marketed a manuscript version of the linking cards around the same time the Harris version was released years ago. I believe it was called “The Crabtree Connection”. The date of publication escapes me. It was released through Supreme who is now defunct. Portions of this handling are also credited to Ed Marlo and a generous amount of work done by “yours truly”.

Two cards cards are removed from a deck and are folded in half “width-wise””. Now either a pair of scissors are used to cut out a large hole in the center of both cards (see: Fig #1.). Alternately, you may rip the cards manually, but this is more difficult and not as neat looking. This being done, the magician is left with two pasteboard card-rings. (nothing like an onion ring) The magician now proceeds link and unlink the rings. A third card may introduced and all three are made to penetrate one another. At the end, the cards may be examined.

Fig #1.

You will need a duplicate card of the one you are going to use as your linking “key card”. With this, you need to tear or cut a small slit in the side as you will see in the graphic, (see: Fig #1.). Place this card into the deck proper and take the duplicate and make an ungimmicked ring with it. Place this under the table on the lap ready to do a switch at the end of the routine. The creative student may also wish to use the switch of their choice to accomplish this.

Fig #2.

In performance, remove the card with the slit from the deck as well as an indifferent one holding both as though you were holding only “one” card. Then proceed to cut (recommended) or tear out the centers to create your “ring” cards. Unfold the cards being sure to hide the key card slit in-between the forefinger and thumb.

To perform the first link, hold both cards as in (Fig #2.), By sliding the ungimmicked card onto the “key Card” you can easily link it on. I’m am sure that the student will probably find a “feel” that will best suit him as far as linking an unlinking goes (Fig #3).

Now after you have exhausted all the moves you would like to use, (recommended reading would be “Rings In Your fingers” by Dariel Fitzkee) it is time for the climax which is handing all out for examination. This can be done in two ways.

1) Do not hand them out at all! This is done by applying a light coat of rubber cement to the edged of the slit and “tearing” the cards. (you are going to need beveled edged which are not achieved when cutting). After the routine, press the edges together to “seal the cards together” A nice finish could be to leave the cards linked and then display them on the tip of your finger letting them get a close “look”.

2) Perform a switch, switching the ungimmicked card on your lap for the gimmicked one. An easy way to accomplish this is to lean over the table to hand the ungimmicked card (with the right hand) to one person to examine while the left hand containing the gimmicked card goes below the table and makes the switch.

3) My favorite conclusion is to use a GAG ending that I stumbled upon. After all of the moves are completed I ask the spectators if they would like to examine the cards. After the say YES, (and they always do) I proceed to say, “Sure, no problem, because I have nothing to hide as these are truly ordinary playing cards, you see they even rip like everyday playing cards!” I then proceed to tear them to shreds and sprinkle them on the table in front of the spectator inviting them to examine the remains all they want! Not only does this get a laugh, but it leaves you CLEAN! Think about it…

This routine can also be performed using a third card to make it even more showy and involved (see Fig. #4). In a way, this makes takes the heat off the “key card” even further due to the fact that there is an extra card for the spectators to watch.

Fig. #3

December 1998

Ultra-Simplified Spelling Trick
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is a dynamite, professional quality effect that literally knocks people out. I have used this in my close-up program for years and recently made its way into Bill Wisch’s bag of tricks as well. So that tells you how effective it must be.

Effect: The performer states that he is going to perform the “classic feat of all card magic”. The one where the spectator picks a card and the magician finds it. Easy right? Well, things are not always as they seem says the magician.

A card is selected and returned to the deck. The deck is cut and shuffled. Then the magician, upon running through the cards, takes a card out and with a triumphant look on his face, throws it down onto the table stating that it is the very card that the spectator selected. His glory is short lived however, the audience informs the magician that the card is the wrong one!

The wonder worker then states that when he messes up this trick there is only one recourse of action and that is to have the card find itself!

The performer now asks the spectator to reveal the identity of the card. Upon doing so, the magician WITHOUT ANY SLEIGHT-OF-HAND OR MOVES AT ALL, takes the deck and spells the name of the card. Dealing one card onto the table for every letter of the name. When the last letter is reached, the magician turns the card over and it is indeed the selected card…The crowd roars!

A deck of playing cards.

Method: This really is an easy effect to do. All that is needed is to glimpse the bottom card (key card) after the shuffled deck is handed back to you. Once the card is selected have it returned and undercut the bottom half of the deck so that the key card lands directly above the selection. I prefer to use the Vernon key card placement, but merely cutting the cards will do.

After the card has been selected and returned (with the key card cut to the top of the selection) proceed as in the description. You may even false shuffle and false cut the deck if you desire but in truth, I never do.

Look through the cards until you come to the key card. From there you know that the card just to the right of the key card is the selection. Let’s say for example that it is the six of clubs. Starting with the six, spell the card mentally going from right to left card by card. It must look to the audience as though you are still trying to locate the spectators card. Little do they know you are actually setting up the trick right in front of thier eyes!!!

. Now as soon as you come to the last card that spells the six of clubs, throw out the very next card as the one you pretend to think is the selection. As they look at this card, cut the deck at this point and you will find that the selected card is now at the very last letter when the six of clubs is spelled out. And that is all there is to it!


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Slydini Legacy 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Slydini Legacy 7/98-9/98

Tony Slydini and Bill Wisch shared a unique bond. It was an association that went beyond the normal student teacher relationship. Bill was the only student of Slydini that Tony actually entrusted much of his most valued secrets and philosophies. Much of this material has been withheld from the magical community to this day! To the students of I.C.O.M Online, a special feature and opportunity is presented. The inside secrets of Slydini. This is our way of preserving the brilliance of Tony for all time. Bill will be releasing bits and pieces monthly for all of I.C.O.M. Such material needs to be absorbed a bit at a time. It is priceless knowledge.

The Slydini Legacy-July 1998

Slydini’s “S.O.C. it to ’em!”
Bill Wisch

This is a “nugget”.

You should know me well enough by now to know that when it comes to Tony Slydini, the
“nuggets” aren’t gold…they’re platinum!
It may not seem like much but this little maneuver of deception is “mega” strong. And it also happens to be a lot of fun to perform and for the audience to witness.
There are a number of coins on the table that have just been used in an effect. The magician stacks them, squares them up, slides them to the spectator across the table and lifts his hand. The entire stack of coins has vanished!
You have to see the reaction! Slydini would do this two or three times in a row. After he lifted the right hand and the vanish sunk in he then lifted his left hand showing the stack of coins. Then he’d lean back in the chair and immediately repeat the whole square and slide movements again with the same result. It was a running “gag” if you could call it that. Three times would be plenty. Great fun.
Take about 5 or 6 coins and stack them on a table as you’re leaning forward.The right fingers are squaring the stack as the left hand is cupped around the right fingers. The right fingertips are touching the tabletop and the outside of the left hand ( from wrist to tip of left pinkie ) is also in contact with the tabletop. No one can see the coins from any angle.
Now the right fingers slide the stack away from the left hand toward the spectator, keeping the fingertips in touch with the tabletop throughout the entire movement. You lean toward the spectator as you slide the stack over. Since the right fingertips are hiding the stack from view, and the hand is in motion, it is impossible for anyone to see any coins being slid over. In fact,  the coins stay behind the cupped, left hand as you lean and supposedly slide the stack over. It’s a “mimic” action… pretending is the entire key.
Try this with some coins and see exactly how it looks in a mirror when you actually slide the stack across,  then you’ll see how deceptive it can be by leaving the coins behind while duplicating the supposed stack slide. Remember that the audience is not expecting anything to happen at this point. When the spectator goes for the coins and sees that they’re gone it’s a “precious moment” to say the least. It gets better with repetition, as I mentioned.
Try this and it will become a standard move after any coins on table effect or routine. It’s perfect after doing several of Slydini’s Coins Through The Table handlings. The more you employ the effect, the better and more natural it becomes. Slydini did this a lot and it never ceased to amaze me how the audience would be taken in so completely.
I told you it reads small but it really plays BIG!
By the way, the acronym in the title “S.O.C.” stands for “Stack Of Coins”. Now go and sock it to ’em!
Looking forward to next month.

Slydini Legacy-August 1998

Bill Wisch

Last month I discussed sliding a stack of coins across a table top. The acronym was Stack Of Coins. This month I’m going to write about the Sound Of Coins, using the same acronym…”S.O.C.”, so let’s S.O.C. it too ’em again, OK?
Slydini used a very clever sleight to convince an audience that he had coins (usually three silver dollars) in both hands when, in fact, only one contained any coins. It appears in his books and is no secret but I’m sure some casual readers and fans of the Slydini COINS THROUGH THE TABLE routine feel it’s not all that important, like the proverbial “extra” nuts and bolts left over when the handyman “puts whatever it is back together”. Not only is this an important part of the misdirection and timing but the principle could probably be used in other coin applications as well. It adds the quality and misdirection of sound to the routine and is a highly deceptive element.
The size of the coins matters somewhat so let’s use three silver dollars. Hold the three coins on the palm up, open right hand. Now close the fingers into a loose fist and turn the hand over. At this point the coins can be shaken easily but not fall from the hand.

Keeping the fingers below the coins, bring the heel of the palm up against the edge of the stack, slightly lift the stack of coins , and then release contact
You’ll notice that the coins will make a riffled, jingling sound. Do this several times to get the feel. All the while the coins are held just loosely enough to allow being lifted and dropped, creating the sound.
Now hold your right fist with the coins in front of the body about chest high, ready to release the stack to create the sound. The bring the empty left fist, held in the same manner (as if it held three coins), up between the right fist and the audience. Shake the empty left fist once and at the same time release the edge of the stack in the right fist creating the noise. The illusion is that three coins were shaken in the left hand.
Now here’s the fun part. Without lowering your arms,  just keep alternating one fist in front of the other, shaking the empty left fist while creating the sound with the right…and then actually shaking the coins with the right fist, when it comes out, to create the same amount of noise. It takes some getting used to but the handling will become easy and automatic after practicing a while. Again, the illusion is that you are shaking three coins in each hand, one after the other, in front of the body.
It is an incredible and devastating illusion of sound.  The audience actually hears that each hand contains three coins!

I hope you will investigate the COINS THROUGH THE TABLE routines in the Slydini books. They are among the finest coin creations in magic and  crammed with valuable ideas, sleights, techniques and handlings that literally form a foundation for your magic in general. Karl Fulves did a truly masterful job describing Slydini’s magic in his 1976/78 collection. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I would recommend getting the set from I.C.O.M. as soon as possible and begin delving into them. They are expensive but absolutely worth the investment. Also, I will be referring to and actually using them as a textbook to discuss effects and routines in detail in future lessons so if you’re at all serious about Slydini’s work, get the books. There are two sets; THE BEST OF SLYDINI AND MORE (1976), and THE MAGICAL WORLD OF SLYDINI (1978). Each set contain two volumes…one with text and the other with hundreds of studio photos.
When I did my Slydini tours in the 70’s literally hundreds of sets were sold. The cost was the same as they are now and, believe me, there are many, many hours of pleasure waiting for you in those books.
See you next month.

The Slydini Legacy-September 1998

“Audible Coins Through The Table”
Bill Wisch

This effect is a direct variation of several Slydini versions of Coins Through The Table (“The Best of Slydini and More” by Karl Fulves).
Several variations of Slydini’s famous Coins Through The Table routine utilized six silver dollars and are very well known due to being printed in various Slydini Books through the years. I am including this and three more variations in the coming months because, frankly, I am proud to say that Slydini not only enjoyed them when I performed them during lessons for him back in the early seventies, but also because he was totally mystified by them (and that took some doing considering my hands were shaking like a hummingbird!). It was a thrill to come up with handlings that he not only enjoyed but considered performable as part of his routine.
I have lectured and performed this first variation at many lectures over the years and was honored to have it, as well as the variation I will be describing next month, included in my issue of Genii in September, 1984.
Effect: Despite the fact that a spectator chooses which hand to use, three silver dollars are made to pass through the table in an impossible and completely clean manner.
1) Six silver dollars are in a row on the table before you. The left hand picks up the three coins one by one, starting from the left and exhibits them on the open hand.
2) The right hand fingers, putting one coin on the other, stack up the remaining three coins from right to left.
3) Right after the two coins are stacked onto the third coin by the right fingers, the stack is slid to the edge of the table and lapped at the same time that both the left and right hands turn face up and close into fists, supposedly holding three coins apiece. Actually, only the left fist holds three coins because the other three were lapped by the right hand.
4) The fall of the three coins into the lap must be timed perfectly so they can be “clipped” between the thighs. This closing of the thighs produces a sound EXACTLY like the three coins being gripped by the closing right hand. Also, the sound made by the coins closing in the left hand add greatly to the illusion.
5) Ask one of the spectators which hand he or she would like you to make its coins penetrate the tabletop. Actually, you DO use whichever is chosen…either as the hand above the table or below the table, ala magician’s choice. If the spectator chooses the left hand you open and show the three coins and put it below the table to get the three coins from the lap and complete the effect.
If the right hand (empty) is chosen you just hold it above the table…say,”OK”…show the coins in the left hand…close it and put it under the table to complete the effect. Either way, it looks like the spectator had the choice. The only thing they didn’t realize is WHICH choice. It works beautifully…try it.
You will have to play around with this a while to get the timing and sound you are looking for. It does not appear possible that you could do any kind of sneaky move to get any coins under the table, and the sound is the convincer when the coins are gripped by both hands.
If this technique is given sufficient practice and timing, the effect will leave nothing to be desired and will fit well into your coins through table routine at any point or as a separate effect of itself.

NEXT MONTH…”Five Coin Variation”. 


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/98-9/98

This page is devoted to general studies and information that may not fit neatly into other study areas or is knowledge fit for both beginner and advanced students. It also acts as the I.C.O.M main theory page. Theory is where the true magic lies, study it well. It is the inner workings of the magical art far beyond the secrets of any tricks, effects or routines.

I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

July 1998

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part IX



Do not forget to provide general and special lighting for your magical performances, whenever possible.


As Dr. OM is writing this June issue of his treatise, he is sitting in a deck chair on the passenger loading platform of the Arlington, Vermont Train Station. No, he is not waiting for a train; he is visiting the station, now the home, art studio, and gallery of his good old friend, Dr. Harold Lemmerman. Dr. Lemmerman and Dr. OM worked for many long years together at New Jersey, City University; Dr. Lemmerman as Scene Designer, and Dr. OM as Artistic Theatre Director.
Now retired, Dr. Lemmerman is permanently settled in Arlington. If you are ever on vacation in southern Vermont, just over the New York border, drop in to visit “DOC” and chat about scenic design and construction. He will love to see you. Note Dr. Lemmerman vs rendering of his new home, below:


Driving to school each morning, on the New Jersey Turnpike, Dr. OM traverses a stretch of road which passes alongside a radio transmitter, with the consequence that the station being broadcast annoyingly intrudes upon the station of Dr. OM’s choice. Both signals are of about the same intensity, and yet, Dr. OM, by concentrating, is able to screen out the unwanted station and continue listening to the station he wants to hear.

Pianists, harpists, and guitarists, among other instrumentalists are able to divide the mind, in order to function with both right and left hands. Motorists, organists, and percussionists are able to function with both hands and feet simultaneously.

Lesson: So, too, must the performing magician be able to divide attention between, not only the hands and foot placement, but also between the business of magician’s technique and the business of acting when executing magical effects. Practice and rehearsal makes possible the same kind of eventual subconscious control an experienced driver employs. When such happens, the magician has achieved mastery.

In magical performance, practice is for achieving technical skill and for experimenting with the internal routining of an effect toward growth and improvement; rehearsal is for sequencing the effects, both skillfully and dramatically toward the culmination of an integrated act.

Back home again from school, Dr. OM, standing in the front yard of his home, was taught another magical lesson, this time by Mother Nature, herself. He suddenly became aware of pink and white crab apple blossoms and seeds cascading onto the lawn. They had been shaken down by the intelligent intent of a squirrel which was too well camouflaged among the branches and leaves for Dr. OM to see; had they not been so shaken down by the squirrel, a gust of wind would have inevitably done the job, because the seeds were fat, loose, and ready to pop, at the slightest provocation.

The events, as they happened, provide a small glimpse of the grand design of nature: the squirrel eats some seeds shaken to the ground by whatever means; overlooks some seeds leaving them on the ground; swallows and digests some seeds; and eliminates some undigested seeds, in accordance with the cause and effect plan of nature which, thus, germinates new crab apple tree offspring; but without awareness of the apparent causes, the effects seem truly magical. Lesson: In stage magic, when the cause is not apparent, the effect seems wrought by magic. The causes must be kept hidden, either by mechanical means such as camouflage, gimmick, gaff, or by misdirection or sleight of hand. Sleight of hand is a translation from the French: LEGERDEMAIN, or: LEGER (light); DE (of); and MAIN (hand), i.e., literally:LIGHT OF HAND, or, figuratively: LIGHT FINGERED. The English language has a way of contracting words, In the same way that GOD’S BLOOD became OD’S BLOOD and GOD HAVE MERCY became GRAMMERCY, as in GRAMMERCY PARK, so, too: IS LIGHT OF HAND became: S’LIGHT OF HAND, and eventually: SLEIGHT OF HAND; and by further abbreviational corruption, finally became merely: SLEIGHT.

During the two weeks prior to Dr. OM’s visit to Arlington to arrange a series of magical and musical performances throughout the coming month of August, through Dr. Lemmerman’s venue contacts in southern Vermont, Dr. Om had performed four magic floor shows and three musical shows with his musical partner Marcel Guttierez. Two of the magic shows were exclusively for children (and their parents, of course). On the day of his return from Vermont, Dr. OM was stricken by a strange malady. After several visits to his fine physician, four hours in a hospital emergency room, and consultation with a Contagious Disease Specialist, Dr. OM’s ailment was diagnosed as: FIFTH DISEASE, a sickness Dr. OM had never before heard of. Undoubtedly, he had contracted the illness at one of his magic shows for children. Lesson: Dr. OM recommends that he and other entertainers of children consult with our physicians about safeguarding against children’s diseases, which have a way of afflicting adults much more severely than they do children. Suffice to say, Dr. OM spent twelve days flat on his back in bed.

Mrs. OM enjoys watching the figure skaters on television. Occasionally, Dr. OM watches with her for company, but not without his own pleasure. Some skaters are skillful, some are athletic, some are graceful, and some are poetic. All are beautiful in the special way that only youth can be, but poetry wins out-poetry in motion.

Technically, the attention to detail and the split second timing are impressive. A performing magician can learn much from the movement and choreography of skaters and dancers.

The synchronization with music is quite astounding. The physical prowess of the skaters is awe inspiring, but the poetry, when the poetry happens, is the moment of art. The analog here with poetic magical performance is obvious. Magicians are poets more than athletes. All too often, magical performance is conceived of as a sport, rather than an art. The science of magic must be transmuted into the art of magic.

Please forgive Dr. OM for what might seem to be presumption. At times such as this he is writing as a critic rather than an artist magician, with full awareness that his own performance is subject to the criticism he makes. Alas, Dr. OM will never achieve the goal, but winning closer is the game. Ultimately the magician who lives every moment of his life as magician, in his secret heart aspires to be able to perform non-physical magic without props and clap-trap, to truly make authentic miracles happen; to utter the “spirit ditties of no tone,” as the poet John Keats put it; yes: “heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.”

Getting back to earth, the idealism of the artist magician must be seen as achievable only through the material of his art. The artist is a materialist who intimates spirit through the material of his art; who creates magical illusions. Magicians have gone off the deep end in the necessary belief that what they do is real magic. In an old second rate film starring actor Paul Newman, in his first major role, supporting actor Jack Palance plays the part of the court magician, in the setting of ancient Roman times. Unfortunately for Jack, who has built a high tower from the top of which he is to magically fly, he deludes himseaccommodate into believing he can fly without the rig he has invented. Of course, like Icarus, he falls to his death. No, the artist is a realist and materialist who intimates spirit through the material of his art, and yet, the magician must infuse illusion with belief; belief breeds belief. There is a difference between belying and believing. what should magical material then be; what should constitute the repertoire?

Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch have posed a question for Dr. OM’S consideration, as follows:

why do certain tricks work for some magicians but not for others?

Dr. OM’s response to the question takes the form of the checklist which follows:

1) Does the effect suit the personality of the magician’s persona?

2)Is the magician physically capable of performing the effect vis-a-vis: strength, skill, dexterity, and mental acuteness, e.g: can he lift his assistant onto the broomstick, without toppling over, as Dr. OM has.

3) Is the effect too replicative of another effect performed in the repertoire, vis-a-vis prop appearance or magical form, ie: too many cut and restored, penetrations, or transpositions?

4) Is the effect a performance item too identifiable with another local or national magician, especially televised?

5) How well does the effect generally fit into the sequence of effects comprising the entire act; does one effect flow smoothly into the next?

6) Is there building from one effect to the next toward a climax of the entire act?

7) Ultimately, how does the effect play before audiences? Is there consistent positive response in the form of applause or other reaction to the effect?

ADVISORY: Reading descriptions of magical effects is the most economical way to discover appropriate items for the repertoire. The old saw: “Never be the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last to put the old aside,” is not necessarily true in magic. New and original inventions are always worth trying, and age old classics, like old wine in new bottles, will be brought to new life by imaginative and novel presentations.

During the seven years Dr. OM’s granddaughter, Allcia, and her parents were living with Dr. and Mrs. OM, they shared many happy hours together. On one occasion when Alicia was about seven years of age, she brought home with her for a play day her little friend, Yu, and Dr. OM performed magic for them. when he had finished the performance, little Yu turned quite spontaneously to Allcia, saying:

“Oh, Allcia, you’re so lucky to have a grandfather who is a magician.” Alicia shot back, sardonically: “Yeah, but you don’t have to live with it.” Lesson: “A prophet is never appreciated in his own country,” or, as Gertrude Stein put it: “I write (perform) for myself and people who don’t know me.” Close friends and family see the magician as himself, rather than the persona he projects. They know him too well to see his character; his well known real self gets in the way.

The fact is that Alicia has quite a sense of humor, and does enjoy Dr. OM’s magic. when she was small, Dr. OM named the squirrels in the yard for her amusement. There were Nutsy and his wife Hazel (Dr. OM could never really tell them apart), and their offspring, among which was the runt of the litter. The tiny fellow had no difficulty eating the bird seed, but he was so short legged that he would trip over a slice of white bread held in his mouth by its crust. Day after day, Alicia and Dr. OM watched him tripping, over and over again, until one morning he stopped dead in his tracks, as if an idea had struck him, extended his tiny paws underhandedly under the slice of bread, and folded it over grasping the opposite edge of crust with his teeth without letting go of the other edge. He had successfully folded the slice of bread in half and could easily run with it held in his mouth. Thereafter, Dr. OM observed him performing the same trick, over and over again, and therefore named him Einstein.

Dr. OM has never before nor since ever observed a squirrel perform the same feat. Generations of Nutsys and Hazels and their children have come and gone, but never another such as Einstein. Thinking about the genius of Einstein, the squirrel, Dr. OM concludes that, although others might explain his act as instinctive, perhaps reasoning that squirrels had done so with large leaves to line their nests, since time immemorial, he, Dr. OM, had never seen a squirrel perform the same act with a leaf; and squirrels, after all, have been around a long time before sliced bread. No, the act was a sheer act of genius. Necessity IS the mother of invention, and Nutsy I and Hazel I’s son was the Einstein of the squirrel world. Lesson: Give a personally inventive twist to everything you do in magic. lf a squirrel can do it, so can you. Take it from Dr. OM, there is no such thing as a squirrel proof birdfeeder.


Directors Bobby Gallo and Bill Wisch have asked Dr. OM to give attention to the use of program music in a magic act. The first act of Dr. OM’s own stage show is pantomimically set to music. During intermission he (one man act that he must be) fades out the first act music and brings up the interlude and second act music. Given that his stage act is componentially composed, the first act stands alone as a nightclub or restaurant floor show, causing no problem with working the sound track. For parlour shows or extended floor shows, he goes right into the vocal second act without intermission, allowing the music of the first act to run out as it will. Magical effects are added to the longer versions of the act and cut from the shorter versions of the act to accommodate physical life transitions and the special nature of the audience, but essentially, the show remains pretty much the same. Items cut are usually those which perform well on stage but do not perform well closer up because of angle and other visual considerations. In no case is any effect added or cut at such a juncture in the act as will disrupt the synchronization between physical life action and sound track. The advantage is that when one act serves multi-purposes, concerted effort can be given to practice and rehearsal-the act is everything.

Again, as in all, prevails the demand to suit the music to the personality of the magician’s persona and the theme of each routine contained in the act, be it comedically whimsical, emotionally romantic, or seriously dramatic. Commercially prepared background music tapes and and CD’s are offered on the market, for magical productions. Dr. OM has found a satisfactory combination of selections drawn from both such specialized recordings and a variety of general music-for- listening recordings. He is about to extend into especially composed and recorded original music to embellish his prerecorded sound track; perhaps with voice-over recitations of his own poetry and his own vocal renditions of original and standard songs. At present, adding the original elements is in the planning and experimental stage.

“Splicing” the selections is not difficult to do, especially if the PAUSE, rather than the STOP button of the tape recorder is used. However, even when unwanted low level juncture noise occurs, it passes quickly and usually unnoticeably during the course of performance, because program music, at its best, provides background without being obtrusive; the music should underpin the act but not dominate the act. The music should appeal to the audience subconscious, rather than conscious attention. Of course a seamless recording is always to be desired, given the necessary technological advantage of high quality equipment or the services of a recording studio. Use music is best of all, but show bands and orchestras to perform special arrangements are rare in most venues these days. In the old days, not only would a live musical organization provide nearly perfectly coordinated program music, but musicians in the front row were enlisted by the magician as assistants who would clandestinely slip him props during the course of the show.

However, carefully selected recorded program music as an alternative to live music can favorably enhance the rhythm, timing, and flow of manipulative magic with cards, balls, and rings, and does emphasize the comedic, romantic, and dramatic moods contained in an act.

In practice sessions with card slights and effects other than manipulative, Dr. OM finds that music lends an evenness and rhythm to his handling, even though no music is to be utilized during walk-around performance, in his customary restaurant venues. The ear picks up the rhythms and transmits them to the hands. The ear picks up the mood of the music and infuses the magician’s sensibility. For walk-around, Dr. OM prefers brief, snappy, visual effects performable in the magician’s and the spectator’s hands. The mood he intends is light-hearted and playful. The music he most prefers practicing to for these purposes are the light-hearted songs of Carlo Buti. Such stylistic choices are extremely personal and only the individual magician himself can make them.
Another practical deficiency in controlling music in a one man act without the assistance of a sound technician or live musicians, is that of graduating the intensity of the music such that it does not drown out the verbal life (patter). Music underlying verbal life must be even less obtrusive than background music to pantomime. Thoughtful selection of musical segments with special attention to their intensity and functional placement as program music in the act can alleviate the problem.

In addition to the thematic emphasis music provides, is the time period setting establishment. An ultra modern act will employ ultra modern music; a traditional act will employ traditional music.

Generally, vocal musical background sung by well known professional vocalists is unadvisable, because the audience will recognize the vocalist and the association resulting psychologically detracts from the performance at hand. Dr. OM has found this to be true of ice skating performances which employ songs sung by the late and great Frank Sinatra, or another well known singer. The great artist singer does not need the embellishment provided by the skaters, and audience focus of attention may well shift from the skating to the singing. Besides, there is something akin here to the amateurism of pantomimists of the twenties, thirties, and forties, especially, who visually “sang along” with Rudy Valee, Bing Crosby. or Nat Cole. The less recognizable the source of the music, the better. Even, too famIliar classical, jazz, or popular instrumentals can distract an audience, if only with the thought: “Can’t this guy find his own music?” Ideally, program music should be composed and performed live especially for an act. who would want to attend an announcedly new musical play contrived of songs stolen from George Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, and Gerome Kern? A recital, yes; a new original act, no. Unfortunately, in magic, the ideal is seldom possible, except for high budget acts.

Nevertheless, if carefully selected and re-recorded, canned program music can be most effective and greatly enhance even the low budget magic show. The low budget should be regarded as an additional challenge inventively and artistically met in every aspect of magical theatre. when such is accomplished, the management of program music can set the mood and help to tell the story of an act by subconsciously affecting the audience sensibility and stimulating the sharing of an illusion, the suspense, and the excitement, of a magical performance. The components of presentation transform a mere puzzle into magical entertainment. Without presentational aesthetic a magical effect remains a trick. Program music can play a great part in aesthetic presentation. A cardinal rule of performance might be expressed as: Do not imitate; rather, assimilate and become an original. Any rule of art may be broken, but if you break a rule, be sure to break it beautifully.


Written composition is effected in one of two modes: 1) the prose mood; and 2) the poetic mode. Dr. OM, throughout this present series of articles, has been employing each of the two modes, as he sees appropriate to the subject matter at hand. Therefore, Dr. OM presents to his readers his poem: PSALM FOR SOME, to better express that, as is true of all performing artists, the artist of magic is a risk taker who must be careful not to reveal the secrets of his art to the general public, either by performing ineptly, or by being unscrupulously profit motivated enough to engage in roguish public exposes, thereby betraying the ancient trust of the magic fraternity.


The first law is survival and we do what we must to survive. We are not hypocrites, but we walk the jungle paths cautiously, avoiding this, or that twig of betrayal. We move in shadows wearing borrowed fleece, disguised in the flock, hurting no one but ourselves, letting no blood but our own, and if discovered, butchered, on the hewn block of mutual agreement. Ours is a life of moments stolen from the great hour glass of convention; ours is the day of stars eclipsing pretense with the bright light of emotion. In the valley of the shadow of death, we call upon no one, and yet, when prayers are answered, ours will be the first.

NOTE: The celebratory August 1998 issue will initiate the magicschool program of study on four successive levels: 1) Rudimentary magic; 2) Intermediate magic; 3) Advanced magic; and 4) Master Class.

The following is composed of material that is always handy to have around. These creative, comedic lines can be used to “spice-up” an act giving an added comedy touch that can be so crucial to good entertainment…BJG

I.C.O.M-edy Lines
Ronald J. Dayton

1. Show a card which is bent in ripple fashion and say; ” Psychic’s Key Card!”

2. A theology student once told me no one could play cards on the Arc. Noah was standing on the deck.

4. Never play cards for big stakes if you are a vegetarian!

5. Strange, isn’t it?  Gambler’s earn a living holding hands.

6. Egg Bag Line:  ” Oh, don’t worry. It didn’t vanish. It just got mis-laid. “

7. Opening Line:  ” Good evening ladies and third time offenders…”

8. The acoustics must be bad in here, I couldn’t hear the applause!”

9. I went to see another magician’s show the other night, just to see what MY act looked like.

August 1998

Magical Commandments
Mike Fordice PhD

The following list of “commandments” has been prepared based on actual experiences over the years. Take them for what they are worth–friendly advise!…Mike F.

I. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, request “that trick you did 19 club meetings ago.”

II. Thou shalt not blast intense flashes of light into spectators’ eyes. (ie, FISM Flash is NOT a close-up tool)

III. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, announce “I was going to buy that, but I didn’t think it was that good.”

IV. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, request the source of the routine and/or trick being performed.

V. Thou shalt not take all the punch lines from the performer. (This particularly applies to those who are not performing, but cannot stand the fact that they are not!)

VI. Thou shalt not announce that: “I would never buy that effect because I make all that sort of thing myself.”

VII. Thou shalt not interrupt the performance complaining that the salad dressing is not your favorite kind.

VIII. Thou shalt not ask why the performer has more that one deck of cards in his close-up case.

IX. Thou shalt, prior to performance or quietly on the side, request the performance of a particular routine which you know the performer routinely performs.

X. Thou, as a magician, shalt lead the applause and appreciation of the performer.

Co-Director Notes: When I first read these commandments years ago that Mike wrote, they didn’t mean much to me as a fledgling semi-pro. Now after years as a full-time professional magician, I re-read them and can honestly say, that I was rolling on the floor laughing. Some times the truth is funnier than fiction…BJG

September 1998

Co-Directors Notes: The reason we offer so much material every month is partly due to the fact that not everything will be for everyone. The following is such a piece. I am attempting to relate this to the reader before the mountain of e-mail starts to come in asking what much of this information pertains to. The bottom line is that the following contains facinating and educational trivia and information for those already familiar with many of the classic personalitites in magic history. It is priceless in that regard. If you do not understand some of it, that’s ok, someday you will re-read this and realize it is one of the best articles you have ever read! However, the part on coins should be read by everyone …BJG

Ron Dayton

An interesting book title,  mirroring the name of a classic illusion  to be created by Robert Harbin decades later, was mentioned  by Walter Gibson in a Jinxiana article, in The Conjuror’s Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 1949.  A gentleman named Fulton Oursler had contacted Ted Anneman in hopes of learning the author of a book called, ” Zigzag the Magician.”  A huge part of the plot of this book had to do with the way Zigzag stopped a panick in a theater by steering the audience safely outdoors when a fire threatened.  Years later, a Reader’s Digest account attributed just such cool thinking in the face of danger, and attributed it to Harry Blackstone…who also saved a theater full of people in the exact same manner.  The unknown author and creator of Zigzag, may well have had a premonition, a sense of prophecy…or, was it simply fate??

Mr. Gibson reported in yet another article of Jinxiana the Ted Anneman had done extensive experimentation with the spinning of coins to see if any in particular would come up one side more often than the other.  He noted that the head side of a Buffalo nickle varied from the depth of the stamped tail side…and wondered if this difference would affect the end result of a spin.  As it turned out, one side did not favor the other.. but we should applaud  his sense of wonder. As it turned out, Mr. Gibson discovered that a Canadian King GeorgeV nickel did indeed favor one side over another.  In this instance, the head side came up the vast majority of the time.  It had been a year or more since Anneman began the search, and Gibson carried the thought on.

The point I am making to I.C.O.M members is this.  The principle may well apply today as it did then.  If students here in the US, as well as those abroad take the time to look…perhaps you too may discover a coin which may be used to force heads or tails as well.  Personally, I think it would be worth the look.

By July of 1949, Walter Gibson reported that the ‘way’  Ted Anneman’s publication, ” The Jinx ” got its name, had almost been forgotten.  Now, fifty years later,  I doubt all but the most dyed in wool  historian would know.  I thought perhaps the members of I.C.O.M might enjoy this bit of trivia.

Prior to the appearance of Genii magazine in the early 1930’s, the only publication available was ” The Sphinx.”  Magicians of the day began to playfully fool around, kidding about the lack of  choices.  They gave the publication nicknames…ones which rhymed with Sphinx…and ones which were not always kind.  One of the names that caught on in the New York area was Jinx.

Every friday, when the Sphinx would come out, magicians would enter Holden’s magic shop and ask if the Jinx was in yet.  Anneman, quick to see the value in this, produced his magazine, and called it the ” Jinx “.  He timed its release and appearence with that of the Sphinx.  When the boys came in to Holden’s shop and asked their usual question…he said a resounding, ” Yes!”  And the very first issue of ” The Jinx ” was a total sell-out because of it.

In yet another suppliment of Jinxiana, Gibson reported on exactly how Burling Hull came to devise the ‘ long and short ‘ principle found in the Svengali pack, and others. It began as an effort on the part of Hull to disguise a one-card forcing deck.  What he did was to take one half of the forcing deck and  shuffle in an equal number of cards from an ordinary deck…dove-tail fashion.  The cards were not pushed flush.

After seeing for himself the success of this arrangement which showed one card when riffled at one end, and mixed cards when riffled at the opposite end, the next logical advancement for Hull was to shorten the force cards…and so, that is what Burling Hull did.  The rest is magical history.

A very humorous story comes from a billboard ad which ran in the 1930’s for Blackston Cigars.  The ad read;  Blackstone…Extremely Mild.  Upon seeing the ads,  Harry Blackstone Sr. slapped covering stickers over the ‘extremely mild’ part, which advertised which theater he would be playing at that week.

At first, the cigar company was angered…but then, they saw both the humor and the potential for themselves in what Blackstone the magician had done. This resulted in the running gag of the time for the Blackstone show being, Blackstone….Extremely Mild.

One day shortly there after, John Calvert visited Blackstone in his Los Angeles dressing room.  Someone present opened a magazine, and pointed to the Cigar company quotation, where upon another visitor turned to a different page which carried an ad for a popular adult beverage which read…” Calvert is Milder! “

Martin Gardner was a man who followed the trail of  the elusive gambler, S. W. Erdnase, just as a detective follows the clues to solve a crime.  The reward Gardner and others have hoped to achieve was the confirmation of this mans true identity. The life of Erdnase is filled with mystery and intrigue…as well as the possibility of a crime as violent as murder.

Many first class accounts of this search for the man called Erdnase have appeard in print since, but, one of the very first was within the pages of  ” The Conjuror’s Magazine “, August 1949.

Mr. Gardner located and interviewed the man who illustrated the book  Erdnase was said to have authored…” The Expert At The Card Table,”  which was released as a privately published work in 1902 by Chicago printers J. McKinney and Co.

The artist was Chicago illustrator Marshall D. Smith.  He confirmed to Mr. Gardner that the man he met in Chicago to discuss the lay-out of the work had come to Chicago from New York.  He did not recall the man’s first name, but  stated as fact that his last name was Andrews.  Gardner was quick to reveal that Andrews spelled backwards gives the name, S. W. Erdnase(maj).  It is my own personal flight of fantasy to think that maj might be short for maji!?

The New York directory for 1909 lists a James J. Andrews, occupation; clairvoyant as living on Sixth Avenue.  Further, an article which appeared in the 1909 issue of Harper’s Weekly  was written by one S. W.Erdnase.  In the article, he describes himself as being a thin, blonde, blue-eyed, nervous American. This matches the description Mr. Smith gave of the man he met,  Mr. Andrews.

Oddly enough,  Mr. Gardner also reports that within the Harper’s article,  this man who supposedly authored the article also refers to himself as being Abdul Aziz Khan!!

And so dear reader…the mystery continues to this very day.  It is still debated, and, the search for Erdnase goes on.

Coming in October

Dr.Om’s Mini Miracle Course In Writing For Magician’s

Co-Director’s Notes: I.C.O.M is once again proud to announce the birth of yet another ground-breaking, and not mention, totally original concept in the development of the magical arts.


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Advanced Lab 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 7/98-9/98

You are now in the section devoted “challenging magic”. This forum features top effects that usually require a higher degree of sleight-of-hand to accomplish their ultimate goal. It may also contain effects that are a bit more advanced as far as presentation, overall difficulty of execution, or unique props that need to be made or obtained. Overall, this is magic of the highest quality that all are welcomed to try and perfect. This is the forum that makes the master magician…

July 1998

Twin Influence
Mike Fordice

At the February 1984 meeting of SAM Assembly #168, President Ed Yankowich there presented an interesting card effect. Ed mentioned that this was not an original effect and that he did not remember the source. The effect did not have a name, so I have picked the name “Twin Influence.” At that time, I prepared a description of the effect. Now, some 14 years later I still like the effect, so here it is!

Two cards which are freely chosen by two spectators are removed from a deck of cards (may be borrowed and/or shuffled by spectators). The performer deals cards from the pack until each spectator calls stop and the chosen cards are inserted face up into the deck. When the deck is spread the two cards are seen face up (as returned to the deck). The two face-up cards are removed with the card directly above (ie, face to face cards). Those cards match the chosen cards, same value and same color!!

All that is needed is one deck of cards. The deck may be borrowed. If you wish it may be shuffled by the spectators.

After the deck is shuffled, request the first spectator to name a card. With the faces toward you, remove that card from the deck and place it face up on the table in front of you. At the same time and as part of the same process move the matching value/color card to the face of the deck. Do not show this card.

Request a second spectator to name a card. Remove that card and place it on the table next to the first chosen card. This time you move the matching value/color card to the top of the deck.

Assume that the first card was the Queen of Hearts and the second card was the Four of Clubs (both freely selected by the spectators) . Those two cards are now on the table. In your hand is the rest of the deck with the Queen of Diamonds on the bottom of the deck and the Four of Spaces on the top.

If you desire, a false shuffle could be performed here. Hold the deck face down in your left hand and begin to slowly deal off cards one-at-a-time. Ask the first spectator to tell you to stop where she/he would like the selection returned to the deck When she/he stops you, place her/his card face up in the deck and then place the rest of the top of the face-up card. Pick up the deck and repeat this process with the second chosen card. This will put the matching value/color card above that card.

Spread the deck to find the two selected cards face up. Indicate that while the two spectators believe that they both chose their cards and picked the return positions with out any outside influence, you actually did influence both spectators not only in their selections, but also in the positions at which they called stop. This is demonstrated to be the case as you show that both of the chosen cards are located in the spread adjacent to their matching value/color cards!

Ronald J.Dayton

EFFECT:  A penny, held flat between the first finger and thumb of the left hand near one edge is displayed so the date upon it may be read.  The coin is openly placed on the back of the right hand thumb which has been bent and pressed against the pad of the right hand first finger. The thumb is positioned to flick or spin any coin placed upon it high into the air.

The coin is placed head side down.  It is then openly flicked into the air by the right thumb.Your right palm is held flat and open,  thumb extend to one side,  the hand waiting to catch the coin as it falls.  This is done…the fingers of the hand closing over the coin.  When the hand opens again, a spectator picks up the penny and examines the date.  By some force of magic, the coin has been tossed into another dimension. The date of the coin is now different from what it was at the start!!

METHOD:  Members of I.C.O.M  may remember a means I described earlier in which a small coin placed on the palm of the hand  could be vanished by simply having a bit of wax on the thumb nail of that hand…or, even rubber cement applied to both the coin and the back of the thumb.(See I.C.O.M Archives “Old Dogs, New Tricks”)  This is the same idea,  expanded upon, and modified to create a totally different effect.

Most all of us have a penny shell from the childhood block and coin effect.  That’s where a penny, which is lying upon your table, is covered with a magical block and the coin mysteriously changes into a dime.  Unless you use this on a regular basis ( and there’s no reason you shouldn’t )…take the penny shell and file off about three-quarters of its rim.  This gives you a partial shell which may be placed on top of another heads up penny.  The method should be becoming clear.

Both the partial coin shell and the thumb have been treated in advance with rubber cement. When the coin assembly is placed on the right thumb, it goes head side down.  When you go through the flicking action, the partial shell remains, concealed behind the extended thumb…and the  new coin sails up into the air. 

It’s magic! No, really…this is a very strong effect IF you pay attention to angles, and don’t get
forgetful with your thumb.The shell by the way may be stolen back into the hand by turning the hand over, bending the thumb in toward the palm, and  pulling the coin off with  your fingers\ while they are examining the caught coin. 

Home Work: Are there any other applications you can devise for this??

August 1998

Ronald J. Dayton
Larry White

EFFECT: A playing card is displayed. A large, vinyl paper clip….let’s say its color is yellow…is clipped to the top center end of the card. The assembly is held by the end of the clip between the thumb and first finger.

In a very slow and deliberate manner, the card is turned over to show the other side of the clip, as well as the back of the card. You state that you have another clip in your pocket…and that in just a moment…you will cause it to fly to the card, and the clip which is on the card will travel invisibly to your pocket.

Believe it or not, in the blink of an eye, that is exactly what appears to happen! In less time than it takes for me to tell of it…you are holding the very same card, but it now has a black paper clip attached to it. The card and clip are again shown slowly on both sides. When you reach into your pocket…lo and behold…you remove the yellow clip.

METHOD: This remarkable effect would never have come to be if not for an almost accidental collaboration between Larry White and myself. For quite some time, Larry and I had been corresponding, and kicking ideas around. A couple of years ago, I mentioned something I was working on which was not quite falling into place.

What I had done was to take a laundry marker pen and used it to color a light colored vinyl paper clip black. Then I reposition the clip, and did the same to the new side which was showing. I could then clip the piece on the card in yet another way, and still have a yellow side showing. But I didn’t have a move. Much of the work had to be done
under cover of the fingers.

Well, to make a long story even longer…Larry had the move, and no effect to go with it. It was fate! We combined the clip and the move, and the fantastic transposition was born.

But while I’ve been rambling on…you’ve been wondering just how in the world it is accomplished. Here is the real works:

Take a jumbo vinyl paper clip ( for best spectator visibility ) and slip it on to the end of a playing card. Do not push it on all the way. Allow about one quarter of an inch of the end of the clip to extend beyond the end of the card. Now, take your marking pen and carefully blacken all of the side of the clip which is visible…get as close to the card as possible. Darken the end of the clip as well…then turn the card over and do the opposite side in the same way. Allow to dry thoroughly …then repeat several more times. The preparation of the clip is then done (see fig.#1). If you can find or suggest any clear coating material for the clip…I would like to hear about it. As it stands, after a few performances…the clip must be re-darkened.

To get the yellow surface of the clip to show without removing it from the card…we must use Larry’s move. Hold the extended end of the clip between the thumb and first finger of the right hand. Hold firmly. Then grasp the opposite end of the card with your free hand, and turn the card over. It will only go in one direction…but turn it will. And when it has turned…the yellow side of the clip will have been revealed!!

So there you have the incredible secret! So simple, yet so powerful! When you begin the routine, the yellow side is showing, and the extra matching yellow clip is in your right pants pocket. The clip is pulled away from the card that quarter of an inch we mentioned before…and the thumb and first finger of the right hand conceal the small black portion of clip that otherwise shows. You go through your build up, and then, with a simultaneous action, the left hand revolves the card and the right hand pushes the clip all the way on to the card, and then releases its grip and drops to your side. The card now, when turned slowly to show both sides, will reveal a solid black paper clip. You the smile, and glance at your right pocket. The empty right hand goes to same, and brings out the yellow clip. It looks like a miracle!!

As you can see, the re-set takes only an instant. This is great for those who do restaurant work. Drop the yellow clip in the pocket, revolve the card…pull the clip back just a hair, and you’re good to go

I’ve given many effects to the magic community…but this, this is a real gem. I sincerely hope some of you will take the time to make one of these for yourself. You won’t regret that you did.

The construction of the clips (gimmicked clips shown on one side only)

Special thanks to Jeff Brown of the great State of Alaska for this fine “Comedy Card Effect”. For the magician looking for something a little offbeat and different, you can hardly do better than this for sheer entertainment value…BJG

Hello from Alaska! Here’s the effect that I sent to Ron. Hope you like it. It was developed for my friend’s Mosquito Circus, kind of like a Flea Circus.

Ralph, The Card Finding Mosquito
Jeff Brown

EFFECT: A card is selected and signed by an audience member. A small decorative box is displayed containing Ralph. Ralph, a very rare and expensive mosquito, trained for over ten years in the art of card magic, will find the selected card. As the deck is riffled in the air, Ralph indeed locates it. However, as the deck is spread, it is discovered that Ralph has been crushed on the back of the signed card!

WORKING: Using a Sharpie marking pen and your best illustrative skills, draw a black spot with wings on the back of a card. After it dries, place it on the bottom of the deck. Hindu shuffle the cards and invite the spectator to say stop at any time. Display the card and have it signed. Just don’t let Ralph see it. Using the Kelly Bottom Placement, control the card to the bottom of the deck. Holding both the top and bottom cards, overhand shuffle the deck, leaving the signed card second from the top. Double lift to show, “This is how a normal magician would find the card, but that’s too easy for Ralph.” Cut the deck, leaving the signed card approximately in the middle.

Build up the drama and have the spectator “release” Ralph. Follow Ralph’s “flight” with the deck, and at the appropriate time, riffle down and quickly SLAP the top of the deck and smile. The smile then melts into a look of shock as you realize you’ve crushed Ralph.

Spread the deck to show the “remains” of Ralph on the back of a card. Flip it over to show that indeed Ralph has located the card!

“It’s how he would have wanted to go.”

Well, that’s it! It’s gotten a few laughs, a then when it’s really their signed card, it turns to
amazement. Thanks for checking it out!

Change the world a chuckle at a time!
Jeff Brown

Co-Directors Notes: This my friends is a hot effect. Think of the possibilities and you will realize that Ron has just handed us yet another ground-breaking concept with potential only limited by your imagination…BJG

September 1998

The Force Of A Spell
Ronald J. Dayton

What would you think if I told you it is possible to FORCE a predetermined color of a silk which lies in a row upon your table with four other different color silks by simply having a free selection of one of the colors.. spelling its color out letter by letter until you come to a second random color silk, then repeating until a third random color is arrived at? Would you be impressed??

What if I were to tell you that this simple principle could be used to force names of drinks, foods, countries or gems.. would that impress you? Well, impressed or not, this is all based on a spelling force I have been experimenting with.. .and am about to share with you at this time.

As an example, here are the basics for an effect you might well call Color Choice 20th Century Silks. Five silks are lying in a row upon your table. Their order from left to right are RED, BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW and ORANGE. No matter which silk is pointed to from the performer’s side of the table.. .if you spell its name letter-by-letter beginning with the silk immediately to its left, and spell in a clock-wise direction until you come to a new color or position, then repeat the action by spelling the color of the second silk arrived at again in a clock-wise direction.. .the color you will ultimately land on is GREEN. This seemingly randomly selected silk is then picked up and vanished only to reappear tied between two previously shown Silks via the 20th Century Silks effect.

As a variation on a theme, let’s playfully call the next effect Mixed Vegetables. In this version, five packets of seeds are lying in a row on your mat. From left to right they are LETTUCE, CORN, BEETS, CELERY and PEPPERS. Using the same double spelling sequence, the force word you will land on in this instance is BEETS. Reaching into a paper grocery bag which has been on your table from the start, you remove a can of beets. The bag is then shown to be empty, proving your premonition was correct.

A third variation will be called Mixed Drinks. It has nothing to do with alcoholic beverages however. Cards with the names of several drinks are lying on a row upon your table. Again, the paper bag is visible to one side. The drinks named from left to right are; JUICES, TEA, MILK, COCOA and COFFEE. The drink which is forced via the double spelling system is COCOA. The bag contains a tin of the same.

Cards with images of flags and the names of countries may also be used to force ne particular country. As an example, the names from left to right might be; TURKEY, USA, PERU, ITALY and RUSSIA. Once again, the five letter name, or ITALY is the name which is forced upon the spectator. A replica of the nations flag may then be produced from a production tube or box.

You can also force particular gems such as those which are set into rings. Five finger rings are lying in a row upon your table. Left to right their order is DIAMOND, ONYX, PEARL, RUBIES and SAPPHIRE. The ring which is forced is the PEARL.

I have simply given a method and then followed by making several suggestions for possible presentational avenues to take. You will spell the colors or names in the prescribed manner from your side of the table while initially working with this effect. You will then have to discover for yourself the direction and procedure used if the spectator does the spelling from THEIR side of the table. It is your option to choose which side of the table the spelling is done from. I will not confuse the action further by trying to explain the differences.. .they become evident as you work with it.

As a final example, let’s take one last look at the gem stone force. You’ll recall the order of the rings was DIAMOND, ONYX, PEARL, RUBIES and SAPPHIRE. We will assume the first chosen gem was ONYX. Spelling letter-by-letter in a clock-wise direction from the performer’s side of the table. Touching the diamond you say 0, on sapphire you say N, touching rubies you spell Y, and as you touch pearl you spell X completing the word ONYX. Now the word PEARL is spelled in the same clockwise manner beginning on the word onyx.. the five letter spelling brings you right back to the word PEARL. The force word is PEARL.

These examples simply indicate the variety you can devise for yourself by finding other words and objects which may be listed and spelled to to create a force situation. The order of these cards or objects can be changed around. New positioning will often upset the system, and result in truly random names being arrived at for different spellings. This is a great way to show the spectator what you want done, and how to do it, without revealing your system. Then, when you are ready to do the force, the names or objects are put in to correct left to right order so the desired word, name or object is chosen.

A Sequence for September 1998
Mike Fordice

Well, that’s not much of a name; I can’t seem to think of anything cleverer. But, in fact, that’s what it really is; a sequence of effects. I’ve been using this for a long time with various modifications. What I’m presenting is the current version. Since a minor set-up is required, I use this as an opening effect.

Set Up:
On top of deck a 6 card set up: red ace face down, red ace face up, black ace face down, black ace face up, 4 of spades, 3 of spades. Flip the deck over and look for a black deuce making sure it’s the 2 of spades. To be safe, move the 2 of clubs towards the top of the deck. You want to be sure that when you look at the cards face up, the first black deuce you see is the 2 of spades. Case the deck.

Phase I: Snap Ace Production
Begin by describing to your audience that magicians love to do tricks with the 4 aces. Explain that you want to be more efficient and will use 2 deuces. After all 2 + 2 equals the same thing as 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. 2 deuces, 4 aces what’s the difference? As you describe this, you can do a false shuffle. Also you can dribble the cards from hand to hand. With minor care, the 2 face-up cards will not been seen.

Turn deck face up and remove the 2 of spades and a red deuce (either one); place then face up on the table. Turn the deck face down.

Get a break under the face-to-face red aces (easy because of the reversed card). Pick up the red deuce and place is on top of the deck so you are now holding a break below 3 cards (face up red deuce, face down red ace, face up red ace). Grab the right side of the 3 cards with your right hand–thumb above and 1st and 2nd fingers below. Press down with your thumb so the red deuce curves inwards a little. Move the left edge of the 3 cards right and left a couple of times. Then bring the left edge of the 3 cards all the way to the right; touching your left finger. Then angle the 3 cards perpendicular to the deck at the right edge of the deck, and fairly forcibly let the 2 cards on the left (the red deuce and the red ace that was face down) fall (actually pushed) onto the deck as you snap off the other red ace. You should hear a “snap.” This leaves 2 red aces showing one on top of the deck and the other in your right hand. Drop both of them onto the table. You’ve “divided” the deuce into 2 one’s.

Slip cut the red deuce to the center of the deck leaving the face-to-face black aces on the top. Explain that if you could do this with the red Aces, it’s worth a try with the black cards. Repeat the above procedure with the black deuce. You now have the 4 aces on the table! Place the deck aside.

(Take a peak at the deck; you have the 2, 4, 3 of spades on top. These will be used later in this sequence–this was a neat way of being way ahead for later.)

Phase II: 4-Ace Routines
You can do what ever you like with 4 aces during this portion of the sequence. I would, however, suggest NOT doing Vernon’s ‘Twisting the Aces’ because of the final phase of this sequence. Here’s what I do.

Phase IIa
I begin this phase with ‘Overture’ from Phil Goldstein’s book Focus (Hermetic Press; Seattle, Washington; 1990). This is a great example of the old adage: if you want to hide something, put it in a book; and if you really want to hide it, put it as the first trick in the book. You’ll find ‘Overture’ on page 3 of Focus!

Since it is published, this is a brief description. Place the red aces face-up between the 2 face-down black aces. Explain that you have sandwiched the face-up red aces between the face-down black aces. (I think that you really have to stress this situation.)

Perform a Jordan Count to show that nothing has changed. (Not true: order now is face-down black, face-up red, face-down black, face-up red).

Explain that the real magic is about to occur as you do a Vernon Through-the-Fist Flourish. (see Goldstein’s book for details).

Now perform an Elmsley Count to display the 2 black aces face-up sandwiched between the face down red aces. Spread and display. A total transposition has occurred!

Phase IIb
Next I proceed to something directly from I.C.O.M., with a presentation idea. Take a look at the October – December 1997 Advances Lab Archives for ‘Solid Gold Transposition.’ This reminded me of ‘The Last Trick of Dr. Jacob Daley’ (see Lewis Ganson’s ‘The Dai Vernon Book of Magic’ reprinted by L&L Publishing, 1994, page 210 – 214 for a detailed description). For the student, also look at Tarbell, Vol. 5, p 129 – 131 for a similar effect by Milbourne Christopher. And…the idea was expanded by Larry Jennings in ‘The Cardwright’ (L&L Publishing, 1988). (Who said I have too many magic books???)

At the end of Phase IIa you hold the 2 black aces face-up sandwiched between the 2 face-down red aces. Flip the red aces over so that all 4 aces are face up and move the bottom red ace between the 2 black aces to alternate colors.

While the actual suits do not matter, I¹m going to describe what follows with a particular sequence, so set your 4 aces as follows. From the face (all 4 aces face-up) diamond, club, heart, spade.

Flip the packet face down and shuffle them. What you really do is run 5 cards (one at a time) as if you were doing an overhand shuffle. The aces are now heart, club, diamond, spade (from the top to bottom). Take 2 cards in each hand and briefly display them. Reassemble the 4-card packet and get a break below the second card while doing this.

Do a double turnover displaying the Ace of Clubs. Turn the double and remove the top card placing it into the spectator¹s hand. They will believe that this is the Ace of Clubs (actually, it¹s the Ace of Hearts).

Now do the Solid Gold Transposition count. The cards are now diamond, spade, club from the top. Do a double turnover (push off or buckle) to show the Ace of Spades. Flip the double face down and remove the top card which the spectator will assume is the Ace of Spades (really the Ace of Diamonds).

Here¹s the fun part: Place the ‘Ace of Spades’ above the card in their hand (covering about 60% of their card, but do not let go) and ask them if you should place the Spade on top. Then move it below the card in their hand and ask if you should put it on the bottom. Move the card from top to bottom several times. Finally place it below the first card they hold.

At this point snap your fingers and ask if they felt anything. Ask where the Ace of Spades is-top or bottom. They will respond bottom. You say: No, it¹s here on top, as you flip over the top card in your hand. Flip over the club with the spade. And…you have the red aces! As they look at their red aces (should have been black) this is often good for a

Phase III
I conclude this sequence with an effect called ‘Maxi-Twist 1-2-3-4’ by Roger Smith. I found this in a manuscript from the mid-70¹s.

Begin by placing the 4 aces in club, heart, spade, diamond order from the face (face up). Pick up the deck and get a break under the top 3 cards (the 2, 4, 3 of spade that were set earlier). Lay the face-up aces maintaining a break below 7 cards. As you lift the packet a little off the deck with the right thumb, grip the next card. You now hold a break with 8 cards; a small break between the packet of 7 and the 8th card. You now perform Marlo’s Atfus Move. Thumb the Ace of Clubs onto the deck and regrip it below the packet in your right hand. Next, thumb off the Ace of Hearts and regrip it under the break. As you square the packet against your left thumb, drop everything below the break onto the top of the deck. This is covered by the face-up (8th) card you took earlier. Now thumb off the Ace of Spades and take it below the packet. Place the deck aside being careful not to expose the 2 face-up aces. Square the packet.

As a checkpoint, the packet consists of 5 cards: Ace of Diamonds (face up), 2 of Spades (face down), 4 of Spades (face down), 3 of Spades (face down), and Ace of Spades (face up).

You now will go through a series that turns the aces face down, one by one. You need a little ‘magic’ before you perform each step. I hold the packet in a Biddle Grip and tap it on the table. You could do a twist, or you could hold them by the long edges and give them a little buckle/snap. I like the light tap!

After the first tap, do an Elmsley count to show that the first ace has turned face down.

Tap again, and hold the cards in Biddle Grip. Thumb each card into the left hand placing each on top of the previous. The last card is a double. This shows 2 face-up aces and 2 face-down cards. Close the spread. Order of cards: 4S (face down), 3S (face down), 2S (face down), AS (face up), AD (face up).

Tap again, and hold the cards in Biddle Grip. Thumb the top card into the left hand. Next, draw off the bottom card onto the card in the left hand and then thumb over the top card of the right-hand packet. This gives you a fan of 3 cards in your left hand (AD in the center between 2 face-down cards) and a double in your right hand. Place the double in-jogged on the right face-down card of the 3-card fan holding it in place with your left thumb. Regrip the right card and the in-jogged double with your right fingers and take the 2 left cards in your left fingers. Place the AD (face up) on top of the out-jogged card in your right hand, but below the double and then place the final face-down card in your left hand on top of the whole thing. Square up all the face-down cards leaving the AD out-jogged. Let a spectator push the AD into the packet. Order of cards: 4S (face down), 2S (face down), AS (face up), AD (face up), 3S (face down).

One more tap and do an Elmsley count to show all 4 aces have turned face down.

Tell your audience that very often “people want to know how you do this” and that you’ll show them. Tell them it’s done with 4 cards. Here you hold the cards in right-hand Biddle Grip and thumb them one by one into your left hand. This leaves you with a face-up Ace of Spades in your right hand (actually a double). Carefully place this on the table and then DRAMATICALLY, begin to turn over the cards in your hand as you count 1, 2, 3, 4 revealing the 2, 3, and 4 of Spades! Saying that’s 1, that’s 2, that’s 3, and that¹s 4.

Clean up by dropping all the face up cards on the pack. This gives you an excuse to ‘play’ with the deck for a bit as you turn all cards face down. Shuffle and you¹re ready for your next card effects.


Co-Directors Notes: Thanks a million Mike! That lesson obviously took a lot of time and effort to write. I’m sure all of our card-loving I.C.O.M technicians will have a great time leaning the various sequences involved. I dare say that by the time they have this routine down pat, it will be time for October’s lessons <G>…BJG


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic Members Only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Secret Passageway 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Secret Passageway 7/98-9/98

Ooooooooh, you’ve found the spookiest place in I.C.O.M! What magic related web-site would be complete without a forum dedicated to the weird and bizarre? On this page will be a running compendium of puzzles, tricks, stories and just about anything imaginable and “unimaginable” relating to the kind of magic that goes “bump in the night!” Such is the mysterious nature of I.C.O.M!

July 1998

The International Conservatory Of Magic Proudly Presents

artwork copyright 1998 Ronald J. Dayton

“Shadows” is a publication which will appear, as shadows often do, at different times, and in varying lengths and form. As always, the image cast is dependent upon the amount of light being shed, and its direction. Much like our magic itself, shadows change with movement, Without movement, there is no change.. without light, there is no shadow.

Who knows what mysteries lurk in the shadows!? Darkness surrounds us before our first breath, and after our last. It is the time between, we hope to illuminate.

Shadows, like thoughts, are intangible, ghostly reflections. YOU are the source which gives it substance. We control the shadows of our lives, by moving forward and seeking light as opposed to standing idle, unable to see the darkness we’ve come to accept.

Ronald J. Dayton 12-15-92

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”
Francis Bacon

Volume #1 Page Three

This issue is continued from last month

” THE 27th VICTIM “
Ronald J. Dayton

The performer is chatting with the spectators during a relaxed moment in the show and he comments that people often ask where he gets his ideas for a new trick or illusion. He answers that the inspirations come from a whole host of areas, surprisingly, most often from things not even remotely related to magic. Take for instance, the other evening…I was reading a detective novel called “The 27th Victim.” It was about a serial killer who would choose his victims at random, then, do away with them in a diabolical way. I thought this might make a good theme or story line for a magic trick, and if I may…I would like to show you what I devised.

With these words, the performer removes a cased deck of cards from his jacket pocket. Removing the cards from the case, and setting the empty case to one side, the cards are fanned with their faces toward the audience. A spectator is asked to step forward and remove one of the cards from the fan with out naming it. As the performer looks away, the card is shown to the others in the audience.

The cards are squared up and held in the left hand. You state that you will now riffle the deck at one end until the spectator says stop. This you do, then break the deck at that point and up-jog the rear portion about half an inch. The deck is held in this manner in the left hand.

You state that, just as the killer in the novel had done, the spectator has randomly made a selection. You now extend your right hand and ask that the card he chose be handed to you. It is held with its back facing you so you cannot know its identity. You now ask the spectator to extend his first and second fingers of one hand, and curl in the third and fourth fingers toward the palm, making the hand look like a gun. This done, he is asked to shoot the playing card in your right hand.

Some people will actually make a loud ‘bang’ sound as they pretend to shoot the gun. Others will make no noise, but simply make the hand jump a bit as if from the recoil of the shot. When this happens you say, ” Oh, I see you’ve used a silencer.” The audience will get a laugh from this, and you can move on.

The card is now dead. Do you know how I know this? Because now it is a CARD-daver. So well have to bury it.” Suiting your words to action, you slip the chosen card into the deck at the point of the up-jog break. The deck is now squared.

If the plot of this card trick is in reality following the plot of the detective novel…your card victim should be at the 27th position in the deck. Let’s see if it is!”

The cards are taken one at a time from the back of the deck and laid face up on the table to your right. You count each card as it is tabled, 1,2,3 etc. When you come to number 26, you pause a moment, stating that the 27th victim. The next card ( actually on the cards to your right) is indeed the 27th victim. And that my friends is a KILLER effect!”

METHOD: Two questions have probably entered your mind. How is the identity of the spectator’s card learned, and how is it controlled to the 27th position in the deck. Both questions are answered by knowing that the jokers remain in the deck giving a total of 54 cards…and each of these jokers has been tampered with.

First of all, you must glue a one inch diameter piece of reflective mylar to the back of the first joker. This then becomes a ‘shiner’ card in which you can see the spectators selection while it is being held up to be shot. (see fig.#1) This ‘shiner’ joker is the top or back card of the deck. To gimmick or prepare the second joker all you need do is to pencil dot the top left and bottom right diagonal margins at the back of the card. This marked card is then placed at the 26th position from the top of the deck.

As you remove the cards form their case, take care not to reveal the presence of the mylar shiner at the back. Cards are then fanned face toward the audience and a selection is made. State that this is a full deck, and the jokers have not been removed…so some card other than a joker should be selected. Insure also that you can see the pencil dot marked card as the fan is formed.

If the chosen card is taken from the front half of the deck, simply get and hold a little finger break in front of the pencil marked card. If the selection is taken from within the top 26 cards, the break is made in front of the next card after the pencil marked joker. Now, as you ask them to say stop as you end riffle the deck, no matter where they say stop, you make the break and up-jog at the break you were holding. The rear portion of the deck will always have twenty-six cards.

As you hold the chosen card in your right hand for the spectator to shoot with his ‘hand’ gun ( pun intended ) you will see its reflection in the mylar. His card is then inserted at the up-jog break, placing it in the 27th position. Square up the deck and begin the count off tabling as explained.

The point is, just as you count off twenty-six cards from the back of the deck,  you say, ” And this next card, the twenty-seventh card…is ( name the card ),  then turn it face up for the reveal as you conclude, your chosen card!”

After the effect is completed, remove the jokers and place them openly face up in the card case. this leaves you with a clean deck for further effects.


Co-Directors Note: This effect is an act in itself. Talk about pack, small play big! With the popularity of “Murder Mystery Games” at parties and get togethers, this can be a major hit! Also, the mylar circles can be found in any craft store…BJG

August 1998

” The Unexpected Visitor “
Ronald J. Dayton

This is an effect which is a direct spin-off  of one devised over ten years ago in England. I believe it was Martin Breeze who first marketed it and several others in booklet form at that time.  I loved the potential it showed, and after a while, came up with several strong variations of my own.  Perhaps you will fine even more.

You begin the preparation of a playing card by first creasing it face to face, end to end,  and then side to side as in Fig. ‘a’.  The next step is to fold the point ‘x’ to the right toward point ‘y’. Point ‘x’ will overlap and extend beyond point ‘y’ as in Fig. ‘b’.  Now crease the diagonal which is formed and runs from the exact center of the card to a point about 1/2 inch from each corner… ( see dotted lines in figures ‘c’ and ‘d’ ).  The folds will cause the card to appear as in Fig. ‘e’ when the card is partially opened.  With a scissors, cut the crease marked ‘A’, Fig. ‘g’ to a point approximately 1/4 inch from the top crease.  This card rests on your table, roof-top style, as in Fig. ‘h’. The slit side is nearest you.

A second card is prepared as in figures ‘a’ through ‘f’.  This card can now be folded as in steps ‘h’; through ‘j’ without cutting the card.  This folded card is finger palmed in the left hand, with what appears to be the inner card pointing to the left.  If you would rather not palm it, it may simply be concealed in some easily accessible place.

To apparently produce a playing card from nowhere, instantly at your fingertips…you simply reach down to the card resting roof-top style on your close up mat…the fingers and thumb grasping the card at corners ‘z-z’.  When you squeeze the card together it will fold up as in figures ‘i’ and ‘j’.  It instantly creates the illusion of a second card having appeared as in Fig. ‘j’. Taking the card(s) between both hands, the fingers and thumbs of the hands open the card(s) as in Fig. ‘k’…giving the appearance as in Fig. ‘l’.

What appears to be two playing cards are now displayed, holding them in the right hand. The cards are transferred to the left momentarily as the right gestures magically them.  If you did not finger palm the second card mentioned earlier in the left hand, prior to this move you must have gotten hold of it, and retained it in the left.  So, in reality, you have secretly added a second card to the false card configuration you have been showing. This folded second card is on the left side of the first card, figures ‘m’ and ‘n’. The right half of the first card is now forced over on top of the left half, and on top of the second card as well.  As you  now open out the first card once again to the right,  you also secretly open out the second card as well.  The two cards are then uncoupled and opened out individually, taking care not to reveal the secret slit in
the first card.

This has taken so long to explain…and, no doubt,  many will have to work with the actual prepared cards in hand to get the full idea…but in actual working, it is much, much more simplistic. One card is seen resting roof-top style on your table.  As it is picked up and squeezed in half, a second card seems to magically appear.  You open the cards out as in Fig. ‘l’. Transfer them momentarily to the left hand where a second folded card is palmed and added to the first. One more fold and an opening of the card set…and you show two independent cards casually as the finale’ to a cute card quickie

(end)  ———————————-

September 1998

artwork copyright 1998 Ronald J. Dayton

SHADOWS is a publication which will appear, as shadows often do, at different times, and in varying lengths and form. As always, the image cast is dependent upon the amount of light being shed, and its direction. Much like our magic itself, shadows change with movement. Without movement, there is no change. Without light, there is no shadow.

Let us enter an enchanted forest. let us search for the secrets its thick foliage conceals. Maintain a presence of mind, and a keen sense of direction… for here too, we shall encounter shadows. Naturets floor is dappled in dancing shades of dark and light. Without direction, without the light…we surely would be lost.

Ronald J. Dayton 23-93

Out of the night which covers me, dark as a pit from pole to pole, I thank what ever gods may be.. for my unconquerable soul.”


The Ghostie

Flying Ghosties
Ronald J. Dayton

Here is yet another offering, used with permission, from the pages of a Jim Klein publication…
” Mortimer’s Magic Magazine.” The list of contributors to Mortimer’s was quite extensive. Many names in magic with whom you are no doubt familiar. Spirits Past was inspired by the name of an effect which had been contributed by Steve Dusheck. Since the name ‘Dusheck’ translates to Little Spirit in the families ethnic background.. .it seemed fitting that I title this idea to reflect the same. The name of Steves original effect was ” Ghosties,” page 54 of Mortimer’s * 10.

I thought the idea of ‘little spirits’ or unseen forces helping a magician to achieve his effects made sense. Then, by modifying a concept created by British performer Ah Bongo, his Helicopter Bunnies.. .I created paper ghosts which could actually fly. Logic told me that flying ghosts seemed more credible than flying bunnies. The Bongo idea in turn seems to have had its roots in a simple paper copter found within the pages of the ” Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic ” by Martin Gardner.

The illustration properly shows the shape of my paper flying ghostie. When turned upside down and held at X. . when released, the arms will spread in opposite directions, and the falling figure will spin like the blades of a helicopter. It’s a novel little item, and one that can be inexpensively produced as a give-a-way at your shows. Younger children get a real kick out of them. With your name and number printed on the back… it becomes something parents tend to keep.

Your little spirit friends may be used in place of a magic wand, being waved over an object to cause the magic to happen. They may be used for a torn and restored paper effect. You could use them in a billet switch, and have a spirit message appear on one side of the folded ghost figure. One rolled in a tube and covered with flash paper could easily create a cigarette to ghost effect. I think with a little thought and imagination, you could find a lot of uses. They are cute, novel, and versatile. For a cost of pennies apiece.. what more could you ask for?

Print them in different color stock paper for color change effects… .or simply to create ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ spirits in pink and blue. Make them from Can’t Tear paper for an indestructible comedy twist to a do-as-I-do type paper tear routine.Make them in to Clippo ghosts. The suggestions could go on and on.

People often ask me…” Ron, how in the world did you ever think of that!?” I guess the answer in many instances is, because I simply took the time to think rather than let someone else do it for me. If you put your mind to something.. .you’d be amazed at the results. I hope this little pep talk will have encouraged you to put your thinking caps on, and see what you can make the spirits do for you.

Co-Directors Notes: I really hope the majority of I.C.O.M members do not pass this one by. It ended up here in the secret passageway due to its ‘ghostly’ nature, however, it would have been perfectly suited to the Kid Show Konservatory because of its outstanding value as a novel and fun interlude.


Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Kid Show Konservatory 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Kid Show Konservatory 7/98-9/98

Dedicated to the fine art of entertaining children with magic!


Without doubt, despite what many magicians may tell you, the largest market for magic, far and away, is the birthday party circuit. Hence the need for this forum. In I.C.O.M, students will learn many fine points of presentation and aspects of magic. However, some of these theories go right out the window when it comes to entertaining children. Truly, this genre’ is in a class unto itself. It has its own demands as well as its own rewards. It is one of the only classes of magic that needs a forum all to itself.

Over the course of time, routines will be included here from the repertories of working professionals. Also will be the in’s and out’s of working kid shows, how to prepare for them, booking them, performing them, etc. etc. etc.

July 1998

“Thayer For 2000”

This is the first of a multi-part series focusing on two ancient magical texts from the old Thayer Studio. This Lesson (the first) is a re-vamped version of the Thayer “Complete Soda Fountain Act”. The entire working of the method and routine has been re-worked and re-written by yours truly. No matter how timeless the original concept, most of the old manuscript was hoplessley “dated” and needed much revision. The following is the result, with a multitude of new ideas and insights not found in the sparse original version.

Like much of the old Thayer Manuscripts, They are acts relegated to the golden age of magic. Relics of a bygone era. But that does not mean we cannot learn from the past to create new magic for the present, right?

The following is a routine that “could” be great for children in the right setting. This would be one of the most novel acts ANY performer could possibly introduce in the realm of children’s magic. No one is doing it and I know it could be a reputation maker in the right hands.

The only “caveat” however would be that the performer must make the call for him/herself whether or not they would EVER wish to give food products out to audience members. Depending on your locality, you may even need a food licence of sorts. A course in proper food handling may not be out of the question either. After all, this “is” your career right?

I must admit however, that over the years, I have seen literally dozens of performers hand out lollipops and candy to children at shows, so in essence, this is really no different in my opinion. Nevertheless, we have to state that this knowledge is here for “educational purposes only” and is up to each individual performer whether or not to perform a version of the following act….BJG

“The Soda Fountain Act”
Bobby J. Gallo

Effect: The performer displays a small soda bar of sorts with a number of empty soda glasses. He then shows an empty bottle and proves that it is indeed devoid of any liquid by shining a flashlight through it and letting the audience get a glimpse of the interior of the bottle.

After the music starts the performer says the magic word and lo and behold, pours genuine soda-pop from the bottle! This is the real stuff that you can actually drink! He then continues to pour a large number of soda drinks from the empty bottle and to the audiences delight, they are all different colors (flavors)! For a grand finale, the performer reaches into his pocket and produces a tall glass of milk. An entire act in itself that kids and adults alike will remember for a long time!

Method: Upon studying the old Thayer manuscript, they that the three main aspects to the ultimate success of the “Soda Fountain Act” are the ability of the “personable” performer to…

  • Magically pour…
  • Good looking…
  • Good tasting…drinks

Sounds easy right? <G>

Well, maybe, maybe not. It is important to have all three elements. What good is a great looking drink if, when tasted, may as well be used to water the plants. The flip-side is also the case. If the drink looks horrible, no one will want it. Would you?

The first thing you will need is a “soda bar” of sorts. This can be constructed using a standard card table trimmed in a 1950’s motif’ or any other way you like. The more imaginative, the better! There is no gimmicks in this part of the materials so get creative in its creation. Things you may want to keep in mind of course would be portability and size for travelling purposes. Also, consider a costume. Maybe the type that a 1950’s soda fountain worker would wear. That would be great….!

Next you will need a number of soda glasses. I would strongly recommend staying away from genuine glass and instead opt for the many varieties of “plastic” glasses and tumblers on the market. This is for two reasons.

  • Remember, you are working for kids. And kids drop things!
  • No matter how carefully you pack, glass tends to break during travel.

Try to obtain glasses that are smaller than normal. You will want to make a small amount of liquid go a long way. And never forget a few towels! Nuff said on that point!

Now comes the magical part. You will need a container that will magically produce drinks. Of course you can use a commercially available Foo Can, but they are rather expensive and do not hold a lot of liquid. Besides, the one “I” had was rather dirty inside due to the fact that it was made of spun copper and never seemed to come very clean. Not something you would want to pour “drinks” out of.

The old Thayer Manuscript had a wonderful solution that could be made inexpensively and was quite simple. Find a quart sized colored bottle. Fill it with Seven-Up or other Lemon-Lime Soda. This should be kept refrigerated until showtime. If travelling, a cooler of some type may be used to transport the liquid keeping it fresh and cold. Certain Thermos bottles could be helpful as well.

Now, it is corked with a piece of cork (yes, you can still get corks!) which fits into the neck of the bottle snug. But which is only about half an inch in length. Incidentally, the cork must not be placed intpositionbottle neck until immediately prior to your performance.

Just before your act begins fill the colored glass bottle to the top with the soda-pop. Then cork the bottle so that the top part of the cork is level with the rim of the neck of the bottle.

In the glasses you are using, place a few drops of “food coloring” in each of the glasses using whatever color the drink in that glass is supposed to be. For example, if the glass is to be filled with “orange” soda, use a mixture of red & yellow coloring. With a little experimenting, (mixing colors etc.) you will be able to duplicate the color of almost any soda-pop on the market! Food coloring is obtainable at almost any food market.

REMEMBER: You are only after the color alone to look good. The taste does not matter. Believe it or not, few will ever know the difference in taste between your disguised lemon-lime soda and other flavors! You may not believe this now, but it is true. You may even want to try a blindfold experiment yourself. Have someone give you several soda flavors and see if you can guess which one each is. You will be surprised with the results.

Now have a system where you know which glasses contain which colors, so that during the routine, if someone calls out orange soda, you don’t pour cola!

Last on your list of props is flashlight. This will become more apparent as you read the workings of the routine.

All set? have your music? oh…no music? ok, just read on!

Pick up the bottle in the left hand. Hold it upside down, the cork will not come out if you have picked one that fits very snug in the neck of the bottle. Pick up the flashlight and proceed to shine the light through the bottle. The liquid, being perfectly translucent, will not show. Turn out the light.

Place the bottle on the bar right side up and, as you do, your right thumb (or forefinger) shoves the thin piece of cork right down into the neck of the bottle. It’s presence there, floating atop the liquid, will not be seen for it is at this place on the bottle that the hand holds the “neck” as the pouring is done. However, at intervals, you may have to tip the bottle a bit to again dislodge the cork if it become stuck in the neck again to permit the release of the liquid.

Pretty clever huh? As far as I am concerned, this is far more effective than the use of a “prop” to produce the liquid.

The key here is to rehearse with an empty bottle so that you will have no trouble creating the “illusion” of an empty bottle (before the cork is dis-lodged) when you handle it. Observe how you handle the empty bottle then duplicate your actions with the filled one.

At this point you may proceed to present the effect in one of two ways. The first method is the classic “any drink called for” or in this case, “any soda flavor called for”. So obviously it is important to know what glass has what color in it when called. You also, only want to have one of each as far as the varieties go. Too much is overkill and anti-climactic.

What is nice about this method is that in addition to the magical appearance of the liquid you have the additional effect of magically making the “selected” flavor appear. Also, dark brown can be cola as well as root beer, etc.

The other way of presenting this would be to just do a magical presentation to music, talking about the various soda flavors while proceeding to pour out those being explained at the time. This has the advantage of not having to worry about soda flavors being called that you are not prepared for. Either way, the routine would be effective. Just be sure to pour the drinks out fast and keep your pacing brisk. It would be a good idea to allow an assistant to then pass out the drinks each time you get four or five ready. Always be sure to include a drinking straw in each glass. That’s showmanship and the kids love straws!

You will be amazed at how many drinks can come from one bottle as long as the glasses you use are not too large. And if you wish you may even want to try an old dodge if you have “wise” ones in the audience. An old secret of “any drink called for” performers of the past is to have several glasses of REAL soda behind your makeshift soda bar. Add these in sometime during the routine and pass them out. This proves (?) that you are producing legitimate soda-pop flavors!

A nice climax to the act would be to get a tight-fitting rubber cover for a glass which could either be purchased from a magic dealer or made using a piece of “dental-dam” material and a rubber band. This you have over the mouth of a glass of milk or ice water in your pocket. As a smash finish, pretend to hear someone call out the contents of the glass in your pocket instead of a soda-pop flavor. Reach into you pocket a produce it for laugh and big round of applause!!!

A Word Of Warning

When working the soda fountain act for children. Never let yourself nor her (or him if the assistant happens to be a “him” venture into the audience with the poured drinks) That you’ll be mobbed is a rank understatement of fact.

Here Are Some Patter Ideas

Ask: “Who has a birthday today? Please raise your hand.” If several have birthdays get them to come up and sit down. Next: Who has a birthday this week? Usually you’ll get enough hands on this one to fill a few chairs. If not: “Who has a Mommy orDaddy who has a birthday this week?” Keep this up until your chairs are filled. Then announce that you are to give them a “Magical Birthday Treat” and continue with the soda fountain act.

Finally, a word to those who may do the soda fountain act. Sometimes your host, or hostess, may want you to magically produce drinks for all the guests. In that case simply have that person provide an opaque punch bowl and have it on a table on the stage filled with punch, or otherwise depending on the audience. After you have poured all but a few drops from your bottle, pretend to empty the last of it intthumbbowl. Yes, really pretend to do so. Bring the neck of the bottle well down into the bowl so that the audience can’t see that there is really nothing emerging from the bottle. When finished, pick up the punch ladle, place it in the bowl, stand aside and say “And there’s the rest of it. Mrs. So and So, (or whatever your employer’s name may be) wishes everyone to have a magical refreshment!

End Notes: Well there it is, a complete act. I hope this has stimulated your imagination as to how concepts like this or others that are now lurking within your magical brain can be applied to your own show.

I’ll leave you with some homework.

What other ways can this act be presented? Can this act even be done without handing out drinks at all? Hmmm, there’s an idea that takes virtually all risks out of performing the routine! What are your ideas? We’d love to know!

Best Of Success!…BJG

August 1998

Those who know children’s magic, know that the color changing lace is a sure-fire classic. There have been a few on the market over the years, but what we offer you now is the best of them all!…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

This effect was part of my “One Man Parade” in the March 1990 Linking Ring. It is an off-beat method for achieving a standard effect. In essence, a yellow shoelace is shown in its entirety as it is pulled back and forth through your fist. Audience members may even touch the lace as a form of limited examination if you wish. Then, as the lace is pulled through the hand one last time, it changes color completely, becoming bright red! The lace is held at fingertips, and both hands are otherwise empty. No thumb tips, pulls or complicated mechanical laces are employed.

The Perfection Color Changing Lace is so easy and visual that it actually excites me to share it with you. It is a color change which will catch those who ‘think’ they know, completely off guard. I stumbled upon the method purely by accident while tinkering with a couple of laces. I had rigged up a set of laces as in Fig. 1. for my ( then ) young daughter Jennifer. In that instance, all four laces were the same color. My thinking was, the lace as in Fig. 1 could be threaded up through her shoe.. .and if she ever broke the lace, she would have a matching spare with her at all times. She never took to the idea, thought her class-mates would make fun of her.. but I still think it’s not bad.

Well, now that I’ve given you way more background than you wanted to know, we can proceed with the preparation of the laces. You will need two laces, one yellow and one red. These are the hollow type sports laces. The yellow lace is 24 inches in length, and the red lace is a 27 inch lace.

Poke one tip of the yellow lace through the material of the red lace near one end. Now thread and push the yellow tip up through the red lace until you come to the opposite red end. Push the yellow tip through the material at this end. Bunch the red lace up in sort of a pleated bundle at the center of the yellow lace, Fig. 1. The yellow lace is length A-B, the red lace is C-D.

By concealing the bunched red bundle in your right fist, the yellow lace may be pulled back and forth through the hand, casually showing its entire length. On the last downward pull of the yellow lace the bunched red section is slipped to a position very near to end A, Fig. 2.

Lace tips C and D have been concealed within the right hand. Tip A of the yellow lace is just barely visible above the top of the right fist. As the left hand seems to grasp end A, it actually pulls end C up in to view as end A slips inside the red lace interior. Do not pull end C too far. Stop when the laces appear as in Fig. 3. Inner tip A is at point X in the illustration. The audience can now see that the yellow tip has changed to red.

With the left hand first finger and thumb, take a FIRM grip on end C, gripping inner tip A at the same time through the material and pull upward through the fist. Make it a smooth, unhurried pull. The yellow lace will seem to visibly change to red. It’s a startling revelation.

At the end of the pull, keep the right fist closed for a moment or two, then open it a finger at a time to show the empty right hand. It is at this point that the full impact of the total color change will register.

There are a lot of possibilities for this lace effect. You could use TWO laces within a third for magical blendo effects. If you use oversize laces such as for clown shoes, this could become a highly visible stage or platform effect. By using two laces within a third, you could actually have a spectator freely choose which of the two visible laces he would like to have change color. The one not chosen is simply pulled free of the fist and tabled, leaving you with the original color change set-up explained earlier.

What other Possibilities can you think of? I’m certain there are more to be found, but if you are content with what has already been suggested, you will find you have a remarkable color change at your disposal. I hope you will enjoy performing it as much as I do!

Arial Crayon Production
Bobby J. Gallo

A few months ago I discussed a concept that had been poking around my mind for the better part of the last few years. It was the idea of using the myriad of classic cigarette moves with crayons to create new and different magic for today’s audiences with a manipulative look and feel. This is the first actual application of this concept. I can think of no other effect for family audiences that can pack so small and play so large.

EFFECT: The performer exhibits an empty hat to the audience. He/she then proceeds to spot something invisible in the air above the children’s heads. When the performer reaches up, he produces a genuine wax crayon! This is dropped into the hat and another is caught, then another, etc., etc., etc.

At the end of the routine, the hat is turned upside-down and a whole bunch of crayons are seen to spill out.

WORKING: The hat is ungimmicked. Either a classic magician’s top hat or in my case an inexpensive fishing hat may be used. It is even conceivable in this effect to borrow the baseball cap of some “lucky?” child may be wearing in the audience may be wearing to use as your receptacle. He/she then could be able to keep the mystical crayons after the production. That’s always good public relation and it costs only pennies.

A bunch of multi-colored wax crayons, the type children use for coloring purposes are palmed at the commencement of the routine. These are then held inside the palm as the same hand grasps the hat and shows it empty. In other words, the crayons are held against the inside of the hat near the brim. After showing it empty, the crayons are released and allowed to fall into the hat proper.

However, as the crayons are falling, the entertainer retains one single crayon inthis hands which is then thumb palmed (fig.#1) as the hat is transferred into the other hand.

After the music starts (assuming that you “are” using taped music) the first crayon is produced. This production uses the classic cigarette production move made famous by such legends as Cardini, Frakson, and Keith Clark. The digital illustrations show the move.

The Crayon held in thumb palm is brought upwards with the back of hand facing the audience. With a catching motion, the first and middle fingers are curled inwards to grasp the crayon (fig.#2) which are then extended bringing the crayon into full view.

The only difference in this version as opposed to the cigarette version is the position you end up in after the crayon is produced. Fifty odd years ago, after the cigarette was produced, it was held in-between the first and second fingers in the position most identified with smokers. In our version we are going to alter that to bring the crayon up to our finger-tips as in fig.#3.




After the initial production of the first crayon, the hand containing same is brought down and the crayon is dropped into the hat. However, as soon as the crayon is dropped the performer thumb palms a crayon of a different color and repeats the process. This is done several times. You will be amazed at how quickly the thumb palming of one crayon and the aquisition of another can be accomplished.

Near the end of the production. there is no need to switch crayon colors, merely pick-up speed and pluck the same color crayon out of the air and apparently drop it into the hat, over and over by re-thumb palming the same crayon as the hand enters the hat.

Then, with a grand flourish, turn the hat over and let the crayons fall…Bow…

This is phase one of the routine. You can end it here, or you may choose to expand the act to include the crayon vanish and reproduction described next month.

Presentation Idea: How about having a large artists drawing pad on an easle. After each color crayon is produced you proceed to draw a different element of the picture. When completed, the picture can be ripped off the pad and presented to an audience member.

September 1998

Co-Directors Notes: Ok people, here it is! ‘MY’ personal favorite this month. I feel that with the appropriate presentation, this can be a real feature effect. There is something about silk and rope effects that has an element audiences really find interesting. I know that this is one effect that will finds its way into my own act. I know a gem when I see one…BJG

B U F F’ S L E A F L E T S

R. C. Buff, Editor
NUMBER 3 1984

( Issued monthly and devoted exclusively to Rope Magic )

Ronald J. Dayton

Dear I.C.O.M reader.. this effect might well be called The One That Got Away! As you can see by the format given above, the effect first appeared in Buff’s Leaflets. Full sets and copies of same are now highly collectable. When it appeared in March of ’84, it was noted that I reserved the right to use it in a forth coming book. I never placed this handling in a book however, and so, you are reading it now, a brief fourteen years later.

EFFECT: The magician ties a silk handkerchief on to the center of a length of rope. Holding the rope vertically by one end

with his left hand, he anchors the lower end of the rope to the floor with his shoe. When the free hand pulls back the two ends of the tied handkerchief, just as an archer would an arrow.. when he lets go, the silk springs forward and shoots free of the rope. Silk is still tied with a genuine overhand knot.

EXPLANATION: The fine Joseph K. Schmidt drawings should pretty well tell the story.

1) Pinch the silk together at poing “X” in Fig. 1, then allow the ends to fall, so yo~ can grasp end hAN with the right hand and follow figures 1 through 5. ( Pay particular attention to how bight UZN is held with the R.H. second and third fingers as you

2) Figure 6 also shows a second diagram, a schematic view which depicts the silk as another rope.. .50 you may more clearly see how the knot has been formed.

3) The two ends of the silk are brought around the rope towards the performer as in Fig. 6 and 7, then held by the right hand as you allow the rope to hand down vertically from the left hand.

4) Allow the lower end of the rope to touch the floor and hold that end securely to the floor with your foot.

5) Pull back on the ends of the silk1 just as you would if you were drawing back a bow and arrow, Fig. 7. The tension will cause the silk to release itself from the rope.. but a knot will remain tied in the silk.

6) At this same instant, release your hold on the ends of the silk. You’ll find that it will shoQt forward as in Fig. 8.

7) A few trials will give you the knack of releasing the silk at the proper time. Enjoy!

What a great move!


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